Monday, July 28, 2014

11 DAYS I WAITED!!!!

 

to write this email.  I almost couldn't make it. Like, first real breakdown of the mish happened. 10:08 AM on the 26th of July, 2014. No joke. Kinda embarrassing (#compstruggles), but don't even worry, I'm so good now.
 
Anywaaaaaays, hi there. HAPPY FIRST REAL P-DAY. Legit. Okay, so these past 11 days were filled & I'm SUPER great at writing novels. Buckle down.
So last few days of the MTC were great. (Until I started getting so anxious and thought I was ready to be in the field!)
 
Highlights:
- All of the Elders gave the Sisters in our district Priesthood blessings. The best. And super awesome bc Elder Bradshaw, who gave me my blessing, said some things straight out of my Patriarchal blessing and setting apart. No joke. It was a special experience to hear everyone in my district be blessed through the Priesthood. It gave us all so much comfort as we prepared to leave.
- Sister McIntire & I sang a special musical number in Sacrament meeting ("Where Can I Turn for Peace?", 129). It was very scary and I was shakin', but it was powerful. I loved it. I was blessed to have her as my companion.
- We had several Skype/phone call lessons with members. Strange.
- Learning how to teach the Law of Chastity was realllllllyyyy funny. Esp E. Bradshaw & my teacher (see photo). So he was obviously very uncomfortable and my teacher was trying to help and gave him a scripture to share. It ended up being the wrong one or something, but crazy enough, it was one of those ones that talks about "casting down into fire" and stuff like that. So he was saying, "cast down into. . ." then he just stops and continues teaching, like, doesn't finish the scripture bc he realizes it's freaking the investigator out and it's not right. We all laughed. Real hard. I, personally, don't find teaching something so straightforward, so challenging. (However, next week when we have to teach one of our current investigators..... we'll see. He lives with his girlfriend, and she's pregnant.. so, that's that.)
- Elders in our district made an ice cream sandwich tower and had rootbeer drinking contests that last day in the cafeteria. SO stinkin' gross. I was called Momma Pound because I disapproved so hard.
- Our last lesson with our teacher as our PI was sad. We both cried. And she sang with us. #tendermoment
That finishes the MTC! Crazy life, but it's a good one.
 
SO TRAVELTRAVELTRAVEL & there I was, in Cleveland. Very humid, but BEAUTIFUL. Like, green everywhere and wildflowers growing on the side of the road. Kills me. Such beauty.
We met President and Sister Vellinga at the airport and had some orientation and stuff. Stayed at the mission home that night. Huge & niiiiiiiice. Best night of sleep ever. The next day we went to Kirtland!!!!! SO KIRTLAND is like, maybe my favorite place now. I'm blessed to be serving in this mission. I sat in roomS, very sacred, where Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ appeared, where Joseph Smith received and recorded several revelations, and in those same rooms, I told the Lord what kind of missionary I hope to BE. It was incredible. The Spirit was like nothing I've ever felt before. Can't wait to visit with the family.

Then we had transfer meeting, and I met my trainer. We knew who they were (had photos) and they didn't know who we were yet. We surprised them and it was kinda fun and weird. I miss Sister McIntire, but Sister Hodson, my new companion, is great. We are in Massillon, Ohio. I don't know how to tell you everything that's happening, but I'll try. I guess I can just tell you about people. Lists are the best. Here we go:
- Sister Hodson: Trainer, new companion. Very patient, obviously bc she's paired with me.
- Sister Thomas & Sister Olson (from Fallbrook): Companionship we live with. Fun. 
- Carol: A recent(ish) convert of 2.5 years who just lost her husband, Frank (They were sealed in March!). Has a daughter, Leilani, who is pregnant and living with her. Also, her boyfriend lives with them (referred to above). Very sweet soul.
- Tyler: Leilani's boyfriend-fiance type thing who is also our investigator. Very country. Doesn't believe Joseph Smith could've seen God in person. We're working with him.
- Hildebrands: Couple who contacted mom with my address. Very funny and just, strange. I love them. Pam & Ralph fed us last night and they had us wear these huge white shirts as bibs. (see photo)
- Ricky: black guy, young, investigator. Came to church!!!!! Hope he starts progressing more. He's been investigating since last November.
- McLivers: young couple who are NORMAL. Sister McLiver makes good cake that I eat too much of. Ward mission leader. Fun.
- Michelle (50s maybe) & Cheyenne (9): SO GOLDEN. Baptismal date on September the 13th. PRAY for them. They are wonderful. Hoping we visit Kirtland with them on the 9th of August. Really, they make everything hard worth it, because after a lesson with them, I feel like I am on top of the world.
- Carolyn: 83 year-old black lady, investigator, who talks for AGES. So much faith in Christ. We taught the Plan of Salvation and actually got through! Really cool to realize we truly can answer questions people have about where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going.
- Matt: investigator, married to an LA who wants to return. Wants all the knowledge before he can commit. Sad. But he gave up coffee cold turkey and is reading the Book of Mormon. I'm excited to teach him bc the situation vaguely reminds me of Roxane & Mike, and I really know the gospel will bless their little family (they've got a wild 3 year-old) so much. I want them to have those blessings so badly.
 
We work with a bunch of less actives (LAs). So far, this is my least favorite kind of work because all of these people know what they should be living and doing! But, they either don't have desire or motivation. It kills me. I don't know how to help someone find that desire yet. Really, all they need is contained in those basics they already know: reading scriptures, praying daily, and attending church. So important. But I realize I can't put people's commitment on my shoulders, or I'll just be disappointed. I can only INVITE & HELP. Really. That is all I can do. And pray for them.

I've shared my favorite scripture, oh, maybe a million (okay... 5) times. D&C 50:40-42. Love it. Also, of course I bore my testimony first Sunday on the mish. It was good. I made sure to go after the new Elder though, bc he's like, crazy excited and passionate and I couldn't follow that up. hahah #classicPoe. Church was okay. I'm definitely not used to being in a home ward any more. I will get used to it though. I'm excited to help the Massillon ward. They need a little shot of energy. I can do that. (I mean....... Elder Poe is like the over-the-top energy boost, I'm just a little shot compared to him.)
 
Random: Don't know if it's a mission thing, but meal time is like the best time. I get so stoked to eat food. HAHA can't wait for those extra 20 pounds.......... (Don't worry, Mom. I kid.)
So all in all, these 11 days were crazy. And way super fun and good and a roller coaster of emotions. I don't know how to adequately explain all that's going on. I've just tried. I am learning to be ever so patient with myself. As patient as the Lord is with me. It's a long process of learning and getting up to speed, and I'm so happy and grateful to be learning so much, still. The Lord is truly there for each of us, personally. I wouldn't still be here if I didn't have such a great cause and pupose. I am learning to be strong and find joy in little things, because I'll need to do that to thrive on this mission of mine. I know the Atonement strengthens each of us. I have seen it strengthen me in moments where I just want to wallow. Jesus Christ lifts us and gives us motivation to carry on. I do know that. (Moroni 9:25)
 
hugs & snugs,
 
Sister Aubrey Pound

GOOD(ish) STORIES & QUOTES:
- "Thanks for all you think, thanks for all ya do. Thanks for all you think you do!" -Brother Crosby
- "Happy Founder's Day!" -Michelle, investigator [referring to Pioneer day]
- "Y'ALL GOT THAT GLOW!!!" -black lady, Carla, we tracted into. Carla was very concerned with the rapture, a 3-headed beast, and something about needing to have a stick in our arms if we want to buy bread after the 2nd coming. So fun.
- As we were walking away, Carla says, "I'll pray for you!" We say thanks, but she motions for us to come back. She had us hold hands and she prayed. Called us angels and messengers of God. Good moment. "We are TRULY TRULY blessed."
- "Sister Pound, you are just SO ADORABLE!" -Ralph Hildebrand, old guy who definitely reminds me of dad in his humor.
- Ralph dancing and singing "Wild Thing". Disturbing. And hilarious, like most things that happen on the mish.
- [We were looking at the photo in the BofM with Chey, where they are baptizing in the Waters of Mormon, explaining..] "CAN I DO THAT?!" -Chey. Why yes, Chey. Yes, we would be SO HAPPY if you chose a date. #goldenmoment #nojoke #joysofthemish
- BLACK SQUIRRELS IN OHIO. I remember Jordan Gray telling me about those things. Kinda freaky, not gonna lie.
- "Thank you for sending the Sisters in times where it seems like I need them most." -Michelle. Best prayer of the week. Still makes me smile.

Sister Pound's Mission Definitions:
#compunity: When we, as companions, finish each other's thoughts/sentences/teach well together. It's a good feeling. (I use the word "good" too much. Sorry.)
#compstruggles: A hashtag used to describe the struggles of not realizing some awkward/weird/unexplainable things happen when you're around the same person 24/7. Also, you realize your little quirks that weren't really quirks, but were normal when you were alone.
#missionprobs: Things that could only happen on the mish. #sisterprobs is a variation, obv only for Sister missionaries.
Massillon magnet: something the Hildebrands talk about that is SO REAL. Massillon attracts weird people who don't always have all their limbs, teeth, or sanity. (#bunchacrazies; #notkidding)
classy Massy: Something we sarcastically say to express the craziness of Massillon. And Ohio.
#classicPoe: Elder Poe, described above, does things that only he can do. Like, eats really fasts or says the weirdest things. Thus, #classicPoe moments happen.
OCM: Ohio Cleveland Mission, aka maybe possibly the greatest mission. We have our our mission song to the tune of Armies of Helaman. I'll take a photo and send it next week.
 
/endnovel

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMACITA

Aubrey Pound aubrey.pound@myldsmail.net

Jul 17 (5 days ago)
 
 
Okay, first off, let me just say FELIZ CUMPLEANOS to my amazing mother. Love you, momma. Hope your day is wonderful :)
 
SOOOO I have a LOT to write and very little time. I'll try to give you all the highlights. 

My companion, Sister McIntire (MACK-in-TIRE; I abbreviate to Mc (read as MACK)) and I were called to be the Sister Training Leaders (STLs) our fourth day here at the MTC. Last night we welcomed in the new sisters in our zone. So fun. We get along so well and we love teaching and learning when we fail. We haven't completely failed as of yet, because we are speaking English, but we are being strengthened in so many ways, learning new ways to teach SIMPLY. I love it.
 
First day here, I was kind of overwhelmed, but I couldn't stop saying, "I'm just excited to be here!" I think I described everything as 'exciting' that day. It really truly was exciting though. I couldn't wait to get my nametag and then I finally had it and then I met my teachers and my district and my companion and it was EXCITING. (Side note: I finished the Book of Mormon on the shuttle on the way to the MTC.. good stuff. Really great book, I'd give it 10/10 and I highly recommend it.)
 
We taught our first lesson our second full day here. It was an amazing experience to feel that much guidance from the Holy Ghost. Our invitation to "Kaylee" was to pray to feel her Father in Heaven's love. When Sister Mc first invited her to do that, she said no. After we bore more testimony, I felt prompted to invite her again. She said YES! The Spirit is so present in our lessons and BLESSES us immensely. We couldn't do it without that divine guidance. 
 
(DID I MENTION SISTER MCINTIRE IS SO MUSICALLY GIFTED. SHE'S AMAZING. We sing at the beginning of every lesson. The Spirit is so "thick" when we do that and then pray.) We study for hours on end and can get pretty tired of it, but we pray A LOT. We pray for focus and for the Atonement to strengthen us. We pray that we can be guided and prepared to share things the Spirit tells us to in each moment of the lesson. Prayers can be answered. We've seen them answered even on what seems like the least exciting of days. I love prayer and the Spirit. 
 
Our purpose as missionaries is to INVITE and HELP others to come closer to Christ. We do this by extending invitations and commitments during lessons. YES, I've extended a baptismal invitation, and they said YES!!!! (I mean, it's just our teacher role-playing as our Progressing Investigator (PI), but it was so joyous! Sister Mc and I were stoked on life and the Spirit after that lesson.)
 
The MTC is truly an amazing place to be, we learn SO much in so little time! Seeing people who all want to progress and help others progress is just super impressive and motivating! Everything is worth it (even classtime and studying for ~9 hours a day) when we go into lessons and feel others' faith growing as they desire to come closer to their Savior! What a blessing it is to see even our "fake" investigators growing in the gospel. As we extend invitations, we, too, commit to doing those things. We can extend those invitations in confidence because we know that's what Jesus Christ would do (and did do!). 
 
Now, we are to the point where we teach 3 lessons a day: 2 for TRC Progressing investigators (actors/ our teachers) and 1 for a member. So much fun. We love teaching. Every time afterwards we know we could not have done it without the Spirit. 
 
We have class time twice a day for 3 hours each. In class, we learn from Preach My Gospel (PMG) and role-play. I am not a super huge fan of role-playing, though it does help. It helps us to learn how to answer questions, listen, and teach SIMPLY. Our teachers, Sister Zibetti and Brother Crosby, are amazing. They are very helpful because they are inspired! The Church gives us such amazing resources to help us as missionaries, including PMG and those little pamphlet thingies that go with each lesson. Our teachers have both paid us very high compliments, telling us that we are great teachers and "very advanced" to the point he was at near the end of his mission. Again, all credit to the beautiful gift of music and prayer and the Spirit. (Common theme here: THE SPIRIT!)
 
GOOD(ish) STORIES AND QUOTES (too many.. my life is embarrassing..):
- In our first lesson, when we tried to begin singing, I couldn't find my note and started singing crazy notes and Sister Mc was NOT helping. I forgot the melody for a split second (she always sings these crazy amazing improv harmonies and I'm the melody!). She started laughing so hard she almost fell over. We eventually pulled it together, don't even worry. 
- I ran into a pole (I DID NOT see it at all!) at the cafeteria with my tray. Luckily no spills or breaking things there, but still my pride was shot a bit.. I should get used to my life being embarrassing..
- I sing "Scripture Power" and one Elder in my Zone beatboxes and it's pretty great if you ask me.
- Sister Mc knows I'm deathly afraid of all things crawly so she will randomly gasp and then  I scream in horror, "NO!!!!!" and almost cry. She loves it. (Also, side note: do not squish a pregnant fat spider!!!!)
- We taught a funny lady and I was describing our perfect bodies in the Resurrection as "very prime". She thought that was extremely funny. I think I'm a dork.
- Our branch presidency member describing his wife as "the kind of woman you would kill tigers for!"
- "There are, like, a billion missionaries here. I counted." -Elder Bradshaw
- "What time is it?" "I don't know, I lost my phone a couple hours ago!.." (first day here, a couple hours in.)
 
Well, love you all. Be good. I would invite you to take up that challenge in Moroni 10:3-5. The Spirit can do AMAZING things for you, if you would just pray! (and pray OFTEN!)
 
The Atonement gives us so much power. I couldn't do anything without it. I couldn't keep going each day. I couldn't be learning so much, so quickly. I couldn't be changing as much as I am.

hugs & snugs,
 
Sister Aubrey Pound
 




Aubrey Pound aubrey.pound@myldsmail.net

Jul 11 (11 days ago)
 
 
Hi family and friends,
 
I'm here. And it's really great. 
 
I am sending a letter today, so look out for that. Our P-day is next Thursday, so expect a longer email then. I just have 5 minutes to tell you I'm well.
 
Well, thank you for your prayers, because I don't miss you guys at all. (Does that sound too mean?) I love you all, but I know that we have eternity to be together and this time will bless our family! (see D&C 100:1 and insert name there!)
 
We learn so much, so fast. I love it. Also, we have our first lesson today. My companion is Sister  McIntire and she's the best. We are excited to teach together.
 
Two things I have learned:
 
1. The Spirit is so vital in missionary work (and in our lives).
2. Prayer is amazing. All the prayers said here are powerful. We need to take advantage of that more often than we do.
 
I am having such a fun time. I'm so happy, it's ridiculous.
 
:) hugs & snugs,
 
Sister Aubrey Pound