Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 25, 2015

Helllllooooooo! 

Well, this past week was such an improvement from the week before. Sister Hamatake and I have worked out a lot and we are moving forward. Our week was really wonderful. This area is not slow at all. We have SO many people in such a little tiny area. It's overwhelming at times. It's the complete opposite of St. Marys, really.

Apparently there were riots in Cleveland this weekend so we were told by our District Leader, Senior Missionaries, the Assistants to the President, and President Vellinga not to go to the east side of our area!!!! Part of our area is SUPER sketchy... Don't worry, mom -- I haven't seen any terrible things with crime and such.

However, we had some very sad experiences this past week. The hardest thing about this area is the poor people. I went into the worst apartment I've been into my whole mission this past week. It was so dirty and tiny. The lady used her old couch as a bed and had no cabinets in her kitchen.. her dishes were just laying on the floor. We sat on the floor and she sat on one little chair she had. The only food she appeared to have was some potato chips she had just bought, mike & ikes, and coca-cola. She wasn't all mentally there, but it was interesting how the Lord led us to this woman again. We ran into her for a second time walking down the steet. I know we were supposed to be there to comfort her and share a message about Christ.

Later, we met a Romanian lady that was sitting in her car with the window rolled down and looked heartbroken. We found out she is homeless and can't find a job or anyone to help. I just felt sad that we couldn't offer more than the Gospel. I've never seen someone look so distraught in person. She didn't have any tears left to cry and just sounded exasperated. Then I started crying and she got out and just hugged us. I truly felt like the Savior in that moment. I just imagined the picture where He is holding that man (see attached). It felt like that. It made me appreciate the Savior more and His perfect comfort only He knows how to give.

We just had a lot of experiences like that that made my heart heavy. The amazing thing is that every time we have had free time, we have found someone who needs us. We pulled over and stopped to help a Grecian lady with her yard. She said she was worried and praying about what to do and God sent her two angels. It is just the best to know we are where we need to be. I feel like the work we are doing is meaningful. I am so grateful to be growing from so many different experiences in Lakewood already!

I am so grateful to be a missionary because of the great purpose I have. I can't think of a better way to spend time! I love inviting others to come unto Christ to experience the lasting joy that comes. I am grateful that "[His] strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) I need the strength of Christ to carry on each day. I know that His strength is absolutely essential to each of you, too. Each day we face so many things. We can never know what to expect and we don't know what will happen, but we can be sure that with the Lord we may overcome all in this lifetime and prepare to enjoy eternal peace in the life to come! What a comforting thought. I love the Gospel with my whole heart!

I love you all a very lot. Make this week a splendid one!
Sister Pound :)


STUFF THAT MAKES LIFE GOOD:
"As you consistently focus your life on the most basic principles, you will gain an understanding of what you are to do, and you will produce more fruit for the Lord & more happiness for yourself." -Richard G. Scott
- "Victory doesn't come from a comfortable glide through life." -Elder Hansen
- "We are making more space in Heaven!" -Elder Dimond
- "As we obey God, [. . .], He helps us changes the desires of our hearts." -Preach My Gospel, page 62. 
- When our recent convert, Katie, just totally interrupted her husband's (Albert) prayer (he was praying in Dutch) and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! Would they be called 'streetwalkers' in Dutch?!" Then she proceeded to make a mini aside in his prayer on the subject.. We all laughed, then he continued praying. :)
- "Search inward. Reach outward. Look heavenward."
- A member from Arizona pulled over the other week and called us over. He insisted on giving us $40... Well, we are not supposed to take cash, but we did because he was very persistent. It felt weird thinking we got money for the work we were doing. But then we taped it to the wall in our apartment with a President Vellinga quote: "If you want to earn pay as a missionary, earn a smile from the Savior."
Last week, we found a really cool new investigator! Her name is Marissa. After talking about the Book of Mormon, we asked her to explain what she understood. She just plainly said, "Well, the Bible is a record of the people in Jerusalem and the Book of Mormon is a record of the people in the Americas." No one ever does that!!!! Most people are skeptical and have some sort of disbelief, but she didn't! Plain and simple truths understood are the best.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Life in LAKEWOOD!

May 18, 2015
Familia!!!!

I am in the MOST beautiful area. Honest to goodness, I am obsessed with it! I have taken so many photos.. of trees and houses and pretty things. Saint Marys prepared me to love and embrace the area! We are right next to Lake Erie (we literally live a 5 minute walk across the street) and we go to the pier in the morning and exercise and we live by all the senior couples who work in the mission office and they are so cute and make us cookies and wow. I am in loveeee! 

My new companion is Sister Hamatake (Hah-mi-talk-ee) from Grantsville, Utah. She just got done being trained.. so she's pretty new. It's been difficult to say the least. I am now realizing how much I have really learned on my mission. I am short on time, so I will share more about the people next week!

I want to share something I am learning about being a Latter-day Saint! I was reading in Mosiah 3, verse 19. "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

The question came to my mind: "Well, what's the opposite of the natural man?" From further study, I came to the conclusion that it IS a SAINT! We can become Saints by putting off the natural man. I like this quote by Boyd K. Packer: "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors." 

As Latter-day SAINTS, we need to be immersed in true doctrine! We need to have meaningful study of the scriptures and the words of Prophets! We need to TRY each day, for as we learned in General Conference, "a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying." (Renlund) Our study changes us to become Saints, through the Atonement of Christ.

I love you all! 

Hugs & snugs, 
Sister Aubrey Pound


GOOD QUOTES:
- "Jesus is better than you." -Sister Lee, old lady we visit.
- (excuse the language) "Pound... huh, that's a helluva name to have." -Darlene, another old lady we visit!
-  > "Can we have a volunteer for the opening prayer?" -Sister Abbott 
   >"This is a church of callings, not volunteers." -Sister Hamatake
- "It's important to give people chances." -Sister Olson
- "The Lord didn't put a 40-year old head on a 20-year old body." -LeGrand Richards, the Lord knows us! He doesn't expect more than we can give. How comforting. :)
- "Why does God command us to be grateful? All of His commandments are given to make blessings available to us. Commandments are opportunities to exercise our agency and to receive blessings. Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

P.S. attached is a photo of the Cleveland skyline from our recent convert's apartment!!! WHAT?! I am not in Toledo anymore.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Hasta la vista, ninganings!"


(Translation: "See you later, baby!" Spanish + Marshallese.)

May 12, 2015

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

GUESS WHAT?!?!? By tomorrow this time I will be in my third area. MY THIRD AREA!!! I can't believe it! It's my time to be transferred again. Of course I am sad to leave St. Marys. I love the people. Most of the missionaries I talk to say that when they are being transferred, they feel they have done what they could in their area. I don't think I will ever feel that way. I always feel like there is more work to be done, but I know the work will move forward with someone else who is called to be here. I have done so much with the Lord's help. I find myself thinking about after my mission. Sometimes I am scared that the people I served won't remember me.. but I think now I don't mind if the people forget me, I just hope I will always remember them, what they taught me, and how I have changed because of that. ("Who am I today because of what I now believe?")

It was a wonderful week here in St. Marys! We did all we could this week to reach our goals we set. It was amazing to see the Lord's hand in finding new people to teach and talk with! I love sharing the gospel with so many different individuals. The best things that happened were little, but oh-so significant to me. The Sisters are going to start having weekly FHE with the Mohrman family. The Felvers told us that they have a goal to go back to the Temple and that they are working on it. I was so happy to hear that. We have also been sharing a "Family Mission Plan" with members and the Pharr's ended up being amazing. I also got to Skype with my momma and dad and brother on Mother's Day! I loved this past week.

St. Marys has taught me to rely on the Lord in HIS work. It has taught me to be patient and humble if I want the Lord's guidance. It has taught me to talk with everyone and to be kind. It has taught me to be bold and loving for the sake of other's salvation. Oh, how I am grateful for those lessons and the ones I am just beginning to learn! I am excited!

Make it a good week. :)

xoxo,
Sister Pound


Good quotes:
- "I'm like cow poop... once you see me, you'll see me everywhere!" -Jim, a guy in an electric wheelchair that we met. We always see him zooming around town!
- "Please gives us signs or show us that this is of your liking." - Jeff, praying about the Book of Mormon.
- "That is probably one of the best films we've seen. Jeff was sitting there, tearing up." -Sister Longsworth, about watching Prophet of the Restoration.
- "I just need to do it. I need to get back to church." -Sister Longsworth
- "You done a lotta good while you were here." -Brother Yule, Branch Mission Leader.

"The Temple of Tolerance" in Wapak...Some guy built this in his backyard....eerie feelings. THIS IS A HUGE PLACE. I wish you could see it in person..

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

porch sitters wanna talk to us


May 4, 2015

Familia!!! How are you all?!
The weather was so nice this past week! Lots of people in Ohio sit on their porches and I always joke that when they come out, they definitely want to talk with us.. so of course we talk to them first!
Some updates on the work in St. Marys:
- We started teaching a family - a mother, daughter, and granddaughter! (LouAnn, Michelle, and Chloe) They are excited to come to church to learn how to pray. I am so excited about this because they are humble people.
- We got to finish up the Restoration with Jeff this week. When we asked him if he believed Joseph Smith could've experienced what he did, he replied, "Without a doubt!" So awesome.
- I got to go on exchanges up to Bowling Green this week and go biking for the first time ever as a missionary!!!! It was scary.. and yes.. I bled. :) We saw an investigator named Tracy, who LOVES Christ and the missionaries. She has been taught for over 6 months and has never come to church. We talked a lot about Christ and his suffering for us and at the end asked her if she was coming to church this Sunday. She said, "I don't know.. We'll see." So then, being a genius, I said, "We just talked about Christ and all He did for us! He spent His whole life for you, you can spend one hour at church for Him!" Now I am known as Sister Guilt-Tripper, but she said she would come! :) Sometimes I can't catch my brain up with what my mouth is saying. Woops!
- Update on Amy from last week. We went back and she just said, "I've looked into it and I'm staying with what I believe." So you see, many miracles that we find are short-lived, but they are miracles nonetheless. We were able to share the Restoration and the Book of Mormon with her and now she has the ability to act on it!
I have been able to reflect a lot the past week on all the Lord is doing in my life. I was reading in Jacob 5.. Goodness gracious! The Lord is at work. He is doing all He can in our lives. I am ever so impressed with how much He reaches out to us! I hope I am always grateful enough to notice the good things happening. I hope I am always grateful enough to act on my faith in obedience to the commandments. Boyd K. Packer said, "We find safety and security for ourselves and our children in honoring the covenants we have made and living up to the ordinary acts of obedience required of the followers of Christ."
Live up to "ordinary acts of obedience"  each day of your life! Don't make excuses for putting off scripture study, daily prayer, family home evening, and other things the Prophets (and our Savior) have asked of us. If you feel that your load is too much, rely on Christ's Atonement to help you become better. Doing small & simple things will bless your life beyond belief! I love this quote about Christ's power in our lives:
"Because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, [the Savior] has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power." -David A. Bednar
Rely on Him to help you!
May the fourth be with you! I love you all!
Sister Pound
P.S. Fun fact: We met a former, Dave. He "reads" handwriting and can tell you about yourself just from looking at the word "little". I have some sort of psychic ability, am well-balanced, always do the right, and help others to do the right, apparently. It was a funny experience!

A LITTLE INSPIRATION THAT KEEPS ME GOING:
"Celebrate any progress. Don't wait to get perfect." -Ann McGee-Cooper
- "Heavenly Father does not play favorites." -Sister Jackson
- "There is nothing wrong with this church. Absolutely nothing." -Jim Felver
- "We're the limiters!" -Brother Parsons, on belief/faith in God's power.
- Joel, our recent convert, was telling us about an experience sharing the gospel with a co-worker. His co-worker jokingly told him that he was "Joel with passion" as they were talking about the Gospel. Joel was like, "Yeah, THIS is what I care about.. not gel! 'Oh, blueberry, yay!'" (He works in a Jello factory type thing.)
- "Who are you, and who are you becoming?" -Lawrence E. Corbridge
- "If you want the mind and will of God, get it!" -Brigham Young
- "Wherefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you." -JST Luke 14:28
- Sister Jackson and I visited a nursing home and the cutest, flirty old man sang "You are My Sunshine". It warmed my heart. :)
- "Each day we decide the degree of our discipleship." -Larry S. Kacher





















"Shared joy is double joy."


April 27, 2015

Hola mi familia y amigos! 

This past week was a roller coaster! We have a new investigator who is AWESOME!!! Her name is Amy. She was a super old potential who we stopped by. She still lived there and let us right in! We taught her the Restoration and she said, "This is a lot.. I'm gonna have to pray about this." YES. Perfect! We are seeing her again today. I sincerely hope that she has prayed to know of the truths we have shared with her. 

We saw the Arnetts again and Sister Arnett's boyfriend, Boogie, sat in! Well, he is also investigating now (again). He asked at the beginning, "What exactly is a prophet?" Did you know that missionaries LOVE when you ask them questions?!?! It is probably one of my favorite things because it shows that people are seeking truth and are willing to listen! Another example is Jeff, Sister Longsworth's husband. We were able to share more about the Restoration. He paused and said, "Wait a minute. I have two questions." Then just laid them out! We are able to have really meaningful discussions with people when they are sincere. The best past is that we try not to directly answer. We get to use the scriptures and answer with follow-up questions and invite people to study it out for themselves. Being a missionary is fun. I love to share the knowledge I have been so privileged to grow up learning! 

Another little random experience was when we went out to lunch at Bangkok Bay, a Thai place here. We were able to talk to our waitress, Watana, about the new Temple being built near her home back in Thailand! She was really interested and though we had a language barrier, she was curious about the Church. When we showed her a picture of the Salt Lake and Hawaii Temples to show her what a Temple is, she lit up! She asked us where our church is and said she will have to come join us and visit sometime. (Of course as long as we come back to her restaurant and visit her!) :) It is little things like this that help me know that the Lord is directing us and puts us in the right places, at the right times.

We also had our interviews with President this past week. I LOVE THAT MAN SO MUCH!!!! It was bittersweet because it was the last one with him. We will be getting a new Mission President in July. Some good things he said: 
  • "Rejoice in seeing people do well! It makes life more fun. And you will do well, too!"
  • "Please go to heaven. Everything we do in life is so we can go back."
I hope you find something from that counsel. I needed to hear those things! Another scripture that has frequently been mentioned the past few months is 2 Kings 6:16 "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." I love the Gospel so much! No matter what, I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us so infinitely. They are with us each day! Be good & do good! 

Love always, 
Sister Pounds of tears (nickname given by President Vellinga)


P.S. Our mission had a "Social Media Splits" day this past week. Members posted with #clevelandldsmissionaries and #adayinthelifeofamissionary if you would like to look at the posts. I think I am in a couple. We really just got to do lots of service including taking off wallpaper, cleaning up by Grand Lake, putting together a little wagon, pulling out a whole bed of plants in the rain, etc. It was fun! Not very many members here in the Branch understand social media, so it was interesting to say the least. Brother Yule (our Branch Mission Leader) was thoroughly confused about the whole thing. Heart points go to whoever "shares" the photo of me on facebook and explains what I am doing on a mission! There's an easy suggestion to share the Gospel! :)


A LITTLE INSPIRATION THAT KEEPS ME GOING:
- "Build an eternal family." -President Vellinga
- "Seek to help, not to hurt." -President
- "Everyone can be something here & there." -Sister Genster, talking about WHY we need to be diligent!
- "We are all doing mission work and sharing the word of God." -Sister McKee, recent convert.
- I have moved  up from "city-slicker", to "girl", to "honorary country girl", thanks to the Felvers! :)

P.S. I got to hug a polar bear this week!!!!!! Get one of these and maybe I'll come home.


St. Marys is warming up!

April 20, 2015

Hey y'all!

Seriously, did you know that Ohioans are 100% happier in the Springtime?! It's so awesome to be a missionary when the people you meet are happy (mostly)!

Some cool happenings:
- We totally got a new investigator, Jeff (husband of Sister Longsworth), by offering to teach him how to read sheet music! He agreed to take the lessons in exchange. He's committed and we are excited to go back and share the Restoration with him this week!
- We got to have a fun time meeting the Mohrmans again! We stopped by and met their whole family. I talked about them a long while back. Okay, they are so cool! Gregory was there and asked us questions about the Book of Mormon. His mom, Laura, was so nice and wise and has a lot of potential. They said we could come share more!
- Sister Arnett said she is not going to buy any more packs of cigarettes!!!! WAHOO!!!! And she wants to work on quitting coffee, too. She is on a roll. Lots of family challenges coming from her kids, though.. but most everyone (even her son who ALWAYS stays in his room and really has an attitude towards us) was at our most recent lesson! Tender mercy! 
- Betty is a new investigator! She is so open and just asks, "So how do you believe?" Way cool.
- We were driving around looking for people to talk with. We saw one family and parked around the corner, said a quick prayer, and walked to them. They said they had just moved in and didn't have a church to go to. The cool thing was that I had misjudged the man and thought that he would really not like us being there. He was nice! And he was agreeing with most of what we were testifying of. 
- We have had good contact with Brother Hobbs, a less active member. He literally NEVER opened his door the whole 5 months I've been here. He is a self-proclaimed "hermit". He came to General Conference and has since met with the Joos. Yesterday, he actually opened his door and talked with us for 25 minutes! So cool! He says he wants to meet now that the weather is warmer. I'm telling you.. Spring brings blessings!!!

Anyways, that's enough information for now. Hopefully you can follow all the craziness that happens each week. 

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!!! It is! Living the Gospel brings happiness.. eternal happiness! "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:17

xoxo,
Sister Pound


A LITTLE INSPIRATION THAT KEEPS ME GOING:
- "We can either go to the Temple or we can stagnate." -Brother Maurer
- "We have to apply what we pray." -Sister Shinn
- "Those who have eyes single to the glory of God are those who see the most of reality." -Neal A. Maxwell
- "Act as if what you do make a difference. It does." -William James
- "It is seldom that the Lord will do something for us that we can do for ourselves." -Brigham Young
- "Service is what Godhood is all about." -Marion G. Romney

Sister Martinez and I! I love her. She is Mexican. :) haha, she says I am like her sister.