Monday, October 28, 2013


Dear Family and Friends!
Well another week in the amazing land of Opa-Locka. Sometimes it is unreal how fast time goes by because another transfer has come and gone and transfers will be next week! I ain't worried though because I feel very strongly that God has huge things in store for me to prepare me to learn lessons that I need to learn.
One of the things I was pondering on today is how simple it is to share the gospel. We have to remember that we are not planting something foreign into God's children but they heard the Gospel taught by God himself in the pre-earth life. Also all of Gods children whether they have been baptized or not have the light of Christ with them. The gospel has a familiar ring to them. We saw this principle huge Sunday after church as we were able to go out after church and set eleven baptismal dates in less than five hours! Everyone we went and taught wanted to be baptized and was extremely willing to repent.
One of the baptismal dates we set was for this Sunday. It was a lady that I use to teach a couple of transfers ago, but never really progressed due to the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. But we felt prompted to stop back by and ring home the sweet message of the gospel. As we visited with her she had completely changed. She expressed that she had already quit smoking, wants to get married and baptized this Sunday! As we explained her her this was possible there grew a light within her of hope. She is extremely excited to be baptized on Sunday!
Another was a man that I taught a couple of transfers ago as well. We dropped him because he didn't want to be baptized. But as we were teaching him about the doctrine of baptism in the middle of it he asked, "When is the next baptismal service you're holding?" We replied, "This Sunday!" He said, "Alright I'm getting baptized on Sunday." Doctrine changes people.
The last huge experience I wanted to share with you was when we were going to an appointment but it fell through so we decided to knock one door on the way to our next appointment. The door we knocked on changed our life. She answered and accepted absolutely everything. As we went back and taught her the next day a question we asked her made her break down in tears. She then testified of how badly she needs baptism in her life. She came to church yesterday and will be getting baptized on Sunday!
Oh shoot one more experience I just thought of! We were walking out of an apartment complex and I said hello to a lady getting out of her car. As we were walking away she called out to us, "Hey do I know you?" Immediately I responded, "Yes when we were in God's presence before this life." We blessed her and she accepted baptism immediately! The Spirit will direct you exactly what to say we just must trust in the Spirit!
Well the beautiful land of Opa-Locka is doing amazing. I love the people so much, just wish I could express into words how much I love them. I am grateful for the time I have spent here and now I am absolutely willing to go where God wants me to go and do what he wants me to do, whether that is in Opa-Locka or somewhere else.
Be praying for miracles this week, we can feel it!
Love ya,
Elder Pond

Monday, October 21, 2013

WK91 'Change of Lives'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well once again a week full of eventful activities and HUGE miracles as always! I am excited to share with you the things that happened this week to change my life and the lives of others.
First and foremost, this past Saturday we had a mission conference with an apostle of the Lord, Elder Dallin H. Oaks. It was amazing the things I was able to learn from and most importantly the Spirit that was felt as he spoke with 200 missionaries. Some of the things that stood out to me that he spoke about are:
-Our focus must be on the ordinances of the gospel. Because within the ordinances the power of godliness is manifest. We must be baptized, receive the gift of the holy ghost, continue to partake of the sacrament, receive our endowment, and be sealed as a family for time and all eternity. Others goals are worthy and good, but the saving ordinances of the gospel are the most important!
-We must act with TRUE INTENT in order to gain a testimony. True intent means willing to commit to something.
-Also what matters most about your testimony is your conviction and conversion to the simple and basic doctrines. Not how much knowledge you have.
-The temple of God is were we are taught, make covenants, and receive promised blessings.
-Man is absolutely nothing without the Lord to guide him.
But a huge tender mercy from the Lord to be able to sit at the feet of an apostle just like unto Peter or Paul back in the times of Christ. Nothing he said was to profound, but everything he said he had no doubt it was true and from God.
Another huge miracle we saw was being able to baptize five of Gods children yesterday! It was amazing to see the different situations of each of them how the Lord stepped in and allowed them to partake of the first saving ordinance of the Gospel, especially since all five of them were from different households. One was an inspired contact on the street, ever since that day the glow of the gospel has grown and grown and grown. Another we knocked on her door, she felt sick, so we gave her a priesthood blessing. Ever since that day she was healed and felt the power of God more fully in her life! Another kicked out her boyfriend to be baptized so her kids can become like us. Another got married to be baptized and was able to gain the strength to do so through prayer. The last was a brother of my recent convert who just decided to show up to church and loved it! All of these souls are precious unto the sight of God, and as they were baptized I definitely felt the power of God!
But God is amazing! I am eternally grateful for the things I have learned so far on my mission and how I have grown. My mission has meant everything to me. And for the rest of my mission, I am excited to give the Lord absolutely everything I have. So He can change my life while He gives me the strength to change the lives of others!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, October 14, 2013

WK90 'This Mighty Week'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well be ready for the best email ever! Haha. But thank you soo much for your emails and letters this week! I truly do appreciate them. This week I had a lot of reflecting to do and huge miracles seen that I am excited to report on.
As I was in personal study one day I was pondering on how I can finish strong and completely return with honor. I was studying in the doctrine and covenants 30:1-2 and it talked about how we must dwell and focus more on heavenly things than temporal things. This is something that is definitely tough to do but extremely important. Temporal things will perish after this life and have no true meaning, but heavenly things carry eternal importance and meaning. We saw this huge this week. We had a couple of appointments fall through so we decided to go to a new place and find people to teach. As we were walking down the street we were stopped by a homeless man asking us for money. As we began to testify and invite him to be baptized a lady walked past us and the Spirit told me to go talk with her. As my companion dealt with the homeless guy I went to go speak with this daughter of God. As I began to speak with her I could feel of the difficulties she was going through, because for the most of her life she has sought more after temporal things. Well this daughter of God came to church on Sunday. She had a complete smile on her face the whole time and she is getting baptized this Sunday! Her life is improving. Brothers and Sisters, we must seek more for heavenly things than earthly things. Yes it takes faith, but yes it is always worth it!
Another huge thing that I saw this week is the spiritual power that comes as we keep the commandments, especially keeping the Sabbath Day holy. In Presidents email today he talked about this same thing:
“This is a commandment with a promise. By participating weekly and appropriately in the ordinance of the sacrament we qualify for the promise that we will ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’ (D&C 20:77). That Spirit is the foundation of our testimony. It testifies of the Father and the Son, brings all things to our remembrance, and leads us into truth. It is the compass to guide us on our path... The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church. It is the only Sabbath meeting the entire family can attend together.... In his writings on the doctrines of salvation, President Joseph Fielding Smith teaches that we partake of the sacrament as our part of commemorating the Savior’s death and sufferings for the redemption of the world. This ordinance was introduced so that we can renew our covenants to serve Him, to obey Him, and to always remember Him. President Smith adds: ‘We cannot retain the Spirit of the Lord if we do not consistently comply with this commandment’ (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:341).... How can we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide our choices so that we will remain ‘unspotted from the world’ (D&C 59:9) and on the safe path through mortality? We need to qualify for the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We do this by keeping His commandment to come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and in that wonderful weekly meeting partake of the emblems of the sacrament and make the covenants that qualify us for the precious promise that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, October 2008)

Yesterday we had an investigator come to church who we found this past Wednesday. We were running around during church and did not have much time to talk to her during church. But after relief society we went to talk to her and she was walking out saying, "I love this church! I am getting baptized this Sunday! This finna be my home church!" Then she began to walk up to Bishop Andrade and ask him if she can be baptized and be a member of his church. He explained how it isn't his church but Gods and how she absolutely can. That all came to pass because of the spiritual power that she felt as she kept the Sabbath Day holy. We too must keep this commandment and we will receive spiritual power as well!
Well God is good as always. Keep pushing foreword and know if you keep the commandments, then He will be on your right hand and on your left to bear you up through all manner of afflictions!

With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, October 7, 2013

WK89 'I love the Ghetto!'

Dear Family and Friends!

In response to Presidents email today I was pondering on one of my favorite scriptures found in Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths!" I remember sitting in seminary in ninth grade when we were studying the Old Testament. This was a time when I had very weak faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and my heart was completely set upon the world. As my seminary teacher read this scripture everything came down on me and I realized I was not applying this scripture so thus my life was full of disappointment and sorrow. This began my conversion. Likewise as missionaries we need firm trust in the Savior and our Father in Heaven. Elder Harris and myself were actually talking about this yesterday. As we trust in the Godhead, we will never fall no matter what.
“You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer ... you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.” (President Henry B. Eyring. General Conference, October 2010)

We saw huge miracles this past week in our area though. We found a man on Wednesday who was baptized on Sunday just four days later. After his baptism he was smiling from ear to ear. God provided for us as we put our trust in Him. Another huge miracle was as we pushed foreword harvesting to find a family who needed this gospel the Lord lead us to a mother who was extremely elect. After the blessing she told her son, "Look, these are the TRUE disciples of Jesus Christ." Another huge blessing came as we applied your training from MLC literally a couple hours after we left the Mission Home. We have an investigator who has been wanting to put off her marriage until December. During the lesson we both felt a spiritual prompting to apply President Anderson's training he gave to us in MLC and have her offer a kneeling prayer asking specifically if God wants her to get married on Tuesday to be able to overcome her concerns. She did and after the prayer she talked about how she felt goosebumps and a peace come over her. Long story short, she is getting married on Tuesday and baptized on this upcoming Sunday!

Well in short, I love ya! Miami is amazing. I love the ghetto. I love the people. I love my God. He does provide miracles, just trust in him!
With Love,
Elder Pond