Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WK104 'True and Eternal Growth'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well I am at a loss for words.. But today I wanted to share with you a portion of what my mission in the FFLM has meant to me, and how much it has changed my life.
This past week I was reflecting my on my first week in the MTC and how incredibly hard it was. Going from living the life of skiing every day and chillin with my friends, to studying the Gospel 24/7 and living the missionary schedule was incredibly tough. That first week I felt like two years would take an eternity and as a result there were many times that I wanted to leave and go home. But I am eternally grateful for my Father in Heaven and Him giving me the strength and willpower to endure and be where I am today. In the MTC I learned a lot about myself and more of my purpose in this life. Not only to help myself enter into the Celestial Kingdom but all those of my brothers and sisters around me.
Then likewise I remember my first baptism the first Saturday in the mission field. Once again feeling a little lost but as I saw Elder Shaffer bring this daughter of God into the waters of baptism I felt a change within myself that I did not expect. God taught me of the power of the Atonement that day and every baptism since has increased my knowledge of the power of the Atonement.
Recently Father has taught me a lot about endurance. One day I was studying how the prophet Joseph Smith endured especially in Liberty Jail. "My son, peace be unto thine soul. Thine adversity and afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high and thou shalt triumph over all thy foes!" So essentially as we endure Father will strengthen us to triumph over ALL of our foes [whatever we may struggle with or may be tough for us]. I have seen this principle play out now at the end of my mission here in the amazing area of Plantation. It has been tough but as we have endured we have been blessed to see many of God's children become converted unto the Restored Gospel of Christ. The biggest one has been our first baptism in this area together. It was someone Elder Wardell and myself taught a year ago when I was in this area last time. She came to church and then disappeared and began to avoid us. She had a lot of confusion because she studied with the Jehovah Witnesses for twenty years and couldn't figure out religion. But one rainy day Elder Morgan and myself knocked on her door, she let us in, and was baptized that Sunday! The huge miracle came after her baptism though, we began to see a light grow and grow within her as a result of her baptism. Then this past fast and testimony meeting she stood up and bore powerful testimony with tears in her eyes of the divinity of this work. How Father sent us to her and know she knows the Gospel is real and true.
Over the past two years Father has taught me an incredibly amount, which I am excited to share with you all here very shortly. But this upcoming week, we are going to work harder than we ever have and we know as we do so Father will teach me even more. Continue to give Christ all you have and fear God more than man.
With Love,
Elder Pond