Monday, July 27, 2015

July 20, 2015

Hello there! 

It's definitely been a physically challenging week. That's for sure. We did a lot of service (the kind no one likes to do, like weed-pulling pokey thistles, prepping for painting & cleaning up, and heavy lifting down stairs, etc.) and  I think I was sore everyday waking up. It's a hard life when your super buff companion gets transferred, then you get a companion who just had wrist surgery and can barely lift anything heavy. I am now the "strong" one.. and for those of you who know me well, you know that I am a wimp. I have, like, no arm muscles. But I can definitely say after this week, I have gained maybe a little on my mission. :)  Not to mention, the past few days have been actual summer days in the upper 80s & HUMID.. and I think I sweat more than I ever have in my whole life this past week. (This is the part where my parents get to be super proud because I'm learning "work ethic" or whatever they call it. Lemons --> lemonade. There you go!)

We had some wonderful things happen with those we are working with.. and even more new investigators! Blessings! 

Little joys: 
○ Linda, our investigator, came to visit Hermana Crandall with us because they are super good friend. It was awesome.. and quickly turned into an old people topic kinda visit, with ranting of course. Good fellowship!
○ We sang "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" to poor old Sister Walker (90) who fell and is in a nursing home now. I also sang her some primary songs, including "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam". She had this big grin on her face. Priceless. She remarked, "Well, you can sing those every time you come!" I love old people. I love music. Golden moments.
○ Even though the service has been difficult, it is also a blessing. One of our members is trusting the missionaries more and got them involved in helping her nonmember dad weed his yard and sister move out, then in. 
○ Denise loves us and we can be pretty bold with her. She said she hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon but has been reading the Bible.. then asked us what we thought of that. I said, "Well, number 1: you should read the Book of Mormon.. but number 2: the Bible is good too. They are companion scriptures!" She said she knew that was coming. :) I love when investigators know what we will invite them to do. It's like deep down they understand it will help them come closer to Christ. It's the actual DOING that is tough for them. (Plus, she used to dance ballet on pointe and has shoes that fit me.. I got to try them on and try it out. It's kinda painful.. but I love it! I am so excited for the Resurrection when I get to be a ballerina finally.:) 

Big joys:
○ We went to Sister Thomas' to teach her again.. I don't know what it is with her home, but there's always someone new to teach. Her granddaughter, Raquel, and friend, Terrain, were there and sat in. They used to meet with missionaries. They both have a desire to be baptized, just some concerns. Terrain said she knows Joseph Smith is a prophet and wants to be baptized "Mormon". Awesome!
○ We talked to Carol on the phone.. so update: she came to church, did not like Gospel Principles, and said she feels with her whole soul that her answer is "No." about joining our church. We talked with her again this week. She has continued praying on it and though she still says her answer is no, she said ever since she made that decision, that she has been in "spiritual warfare" and feels that everything has been going downhill.... yeah, we're waiting for her to make the connection. By the end of the call (she talks A LOT and usually these calls last 45 minutes) we actually got her to commit to pray about receiving a Priesthood blessing. 
○ Kinjiru came to church again and we got to have a lesson with him. He started tearing up telling us that he misses having the gift of the Holy Ghost with him. He desires it so badly. It is so cool to teach someone with such a sincere desire, who understands how immense and tangible the blessings of the Gospel are.


It's been a good week, to say the least. I love my mission. And I love the personal instruction the scriptures have been giving to me lately. A goal I am really working on is not complaining and just to love: my companion, my situation, etc. I read in Doctrine & Covenants 9:3-8 and these parts stood out to me:

"Be patient, my [daughter], for it is wisdom in me"
"Do not murmur, my [daughter], for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner."
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind" then, "you shall feel that it is right."

Also, I love that the Lord reminds me to continue on. Keep moving forward! Be faithful and endure. That is how we will all gain the greatest blessings the Lord desires to share with us. I know He is offering help to each of us to do so.

I love each of you!
hugs all around,
Sister Pound

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 13, 2015

Hola all! 

I am just going to hit you in the face with all of the amazing things that happened this past week.. We have 5 new investigators and are seeing some progression with less actives. I LOVE IT! 

1. We started teaching Hermana Crandall's friend, Lily, who cried when we sang "I Am a Child of God". She has a Book of Mormon, given to her by Cierra, a woman getting baptized soon who works at the nursing home they live in! Lily also has a Gospel Principles book and is studying it 30+ minutes a day. (Sidenote: Sister Crandall is adorable and prays in Spanglish and always thanks Heavenly Father for letting her "pequenos angeles" to come visit. It makes me smile.)
2. We had a lady, Denise, move in from another place in Ohio. She was investigating there. We had 4 different sets of missionaries there to help her move in. She is enthusiastic about coming unto Christ and has a deep desire to learn and act! She LOVES the missionaries. And we get to start teaching her and pick up where she left off.. Blessings!
3. Linda is another new investigator who lives at the same building as Sisters Melton and Crandall. They gave her a Book of Mormon and we were finally able to go teach her. She loved it and at the end she prayed so sincerely and humbly. She thanked Heavenly Father for allowing "such good girls" to come visit her at the right time and said, "I completely and totally accept them." Umm.. okay. She's a keeper! She is starting to read the Book of Mormon and has tons of questions that are left unanswered by her religion. Wonderful.
4. Back to Sister Melton.. We visited her this week and she is humbled a bit.. well, a lot actually. We sang her "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount". She said it was her new favorite! That was just an added bonus to her closing prayer, when she told Heavenly Father she knew she needed to start reading the Book of Mormon and get back to church. 
5. We saw Bess and got to have a lesson alone with her. We invited her to read the talk "Living the Gospel Joyful" and she DID! She texted us a little later and said, "I just finished the speech of Living Joyfully. It was awesome & touched me sincerely. I feel it was meant for me!!!!!! TYSVM". It's just one of the best feelings as a missionary when people are keeping the commitments you extend to them because we truly know doing those things will bring them closer to Christ!
6. We had a man, Kinjiru, show up at church. We came to find out that he left The Church in 2009. He came back with a new quad (set of scriptures) and a Preach My Gospel. He told us that he wants to be rebaptized!!! We will start to meet with him every week after church. He blew me away! He asked where we would be studying from in preparation to teach him. He told us that he would study too and come prepared! He is starting to study General Conference again, too. Too good, too good. 
7. READY FOR THE BEST OF THE BEST?!? We went to Sister Thomas' for our regular lesson.. Well, her granddaugher's godsister was there. Lakita is 18 and decided to sit in on our lesson. Sister Thomas asked us to teach God's plan, so we began to share about the Plan of Salvation. When we were teaching about judgment, we talked about the need to be baptized and how that gives us a clean slate and prepares us to meet God again. Sister Thomas bore a powerful witness that baptism cleanses us and how each week when we take the Sacrament, we can be cleansed again. Lakita just asked, "How soon can I be baptized? What do I need to do?" So we are going to keep meeting with her. At the end, I was bearing my testimony about Christ's power to understand and strengthen us. She started tearing up! She is golden.

I often think that as missionaries, we're really just trying to keep up with the Lord doing His own work. I love seeing miracles because I know when I am, that I am striving to do as Preach My Gospel directs: "As the Lord’s servant, you are to do His work in His way and by His power. Remember that your confidence and faith should be in Christ, not in yourself." I can't really say that any of these miracles happened because of our own efforts, however I am grateful that we were heeding to the promptings of the Spirit and were directed to so much good. Here's to the truth of what Ammon, an excellent Book of Mormon missionary, said!
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)

I've been waiting for blessings that would bring me joy.. and a whole flood came. Please do not ever think the Lord has forgotten you! As our new Mission President, President Brown taught, "Be obedient, work hard, and WAIT for the miracle!" I know we will be blessed according to the Lord's timing and will. I know that He has immense blessings in store for each of us. Live the Gospel and wait for the Lord's promises. They will come!

I love you! 
Sister Pound 

Picture of Hermana Crandall 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 6, 2015

Hello you!!! I hope you're doing well! 

Well, I'm short on time (I think I will forever say this..) and there's too much to tell. But I just hope you all know that really, truly the weirdest thing just happened. A whole year of my life has just gone by, like that. I can't even believe it. I can't explain how weird it feels to know that this week, I have been on my mission for a whole year.. I'm actually in shock. I never, never, never, never... never thought I would make it this far. I just didn't. (And I know some of you probably wondered if I would make it, too. I could barely go a day without facebook, snapchat, etc.. hah!) 

At the beginning of my mission, I always thought of ways I would end up going home -- either for illness or some crazy event that would occur. I'm just going to be honest and say that I don't think I made it to this point without Heavenly Father sending me about a million tender mercies. Oh how grateful I am to be on a mission!!! I didn't grow up thinking I would ever serve a mission. The Lord chose a mission for me and I chose to follow the Lord! I was very specifically instructed by Him to serve if I had the opportunity. It has been a blessing to follow His counsel. I love my mission and I am grateful the Lord directed me here! 

To put it simply, this is the best thing I have ever done.

Top 10 things I have learned on my mission, in a nutshell:

1. Choose to be happy. It really is possible. (Just read Mormon 2:18-19.. Okay, and please tell me how poor old Mormon still had hope in his situation.)
2. Let little things go for the sake of unity. I've learned this one time and time again.. Oh the joys of having companions! 
3. Be grateful.. especially in times of trial. It's a commandment to be grateful, so we are blessed even further as we express our gratitude to the Lord.
4. Eat good food because life is pretty short and we don't have time to be a'wasting. Don't go big or go home.. go home big!
5. "First I obey, then I understand." -Marjorie Hinckley.. 'nuff said.
6. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind. Try to understand other people & choose to be kind.
7. Turn to the Lord because one day you will realize it's all you can do.
8. My mom & dad (& family) are a blessing. Their dedicated example has eternally impressed upon me the importance of living the gospel.. and not only to live it, but to LOVE living it! 
9. Love people and love life. Love God. Life is much better & full of joy as we choose to love.
10. Oh goodness! I have learned way too much to sum it up here.. I have learned to be a better communicator, a better sharer of my talents, a more consecrated servant of the Lord, and too much more. I have just learned more than anything that I want to go to heaven!
 
I love my mission more than I can say! We had some little tender mercies this past week, and oh, my heart just aches when I think of all of the tender mercies the Lord has extended to me this past year. I am grateful to know Him better through serving Him. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17) Classic, because it's so true. If you want to feel of God's love, serve & obey.

I love and appreciate each one of you!
hugs & snugs, 
Sister Aubrey Pound

p.s. I haven't hugged my mom in a whole year.. please hug her for me! 



Sunday, July 5, 2015

June 29, 2015

Hola!

I will never doubt what the Lord says in Isaiah 55, verse 8.. Ever again. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways". Oh goodness!!! The changes just keep rolling in! I got a new companion this past Friday. Transfers were last Wednesday and I thought Sisters Norton, Abbott, and I would be staying together for a whole transfer. Well, we figured out that Sister Whearley (my new companion -- she was in my district in Lima) would be coming back to the mission soon.. and it was very soon! Like, Friday soon! We got a call from the Assistants saying that my new companion was coming that day. Oh, mission life is a roller coaster! There are no constants, I'm pretty sure, other than our purpose.

I am grateful Sister Whearley came because I think my mind was about to explode taking over two areas. We were running back and forth and seeing all kinds of people! We had two phones and they just kept ringing, ringing, ringing. (There was one night where I was trying to fall asleep and our ringtone was just playing in my head over and over again.)

The best thing that happened this past week was when Bess asked about Patriarchal Blessings and we go to teach more about that. She said that is one of her immediate goals. I'm so excited for her recent progression! We did have many good things happen, but I think my mind is just turning towards some kinda sad things. For one, Judy dropped us over the phone. She doesn't want to meet again because she feels more comfortable in the church she is going to now. I just cried when she told us. It was like being punched in the gut or something. Then, we had the worst lesson ever with Brother Clark, a returning member. He was SUPER rude and made me cry in the lesson. Then, the next day I was so happy because Carol called and we were actually able to set a return appointment with her (She never sets them because she gets overwhelmed.). Well, she called us later that night to cancel.. So it's been a disappointing weekend. It's been a weekend of adjusting, as well. To a new companion and now to a new Mission President. 

I love the example of the "people of God" -- the Nephites -- where I am studying in the Book of Mormon. There were many who were deciding to leave the church and withdraw themselves from the Gospel. It describes, "Now this was agreat trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them." (Alma 1:25

I know that even though right now is a "great trial" in my mission, the patience I choose to have will be a blessing. I believe it is a test of this life to learn how to bear our trials with great patience, continuing to consistently exercise our faith. We have a Heavenly Father who gives us these experiences that we might continue to understand that His will truly WILL be done. I love Him for giving me what I need, rather than what I want. I am learning to think as He does and be as He is! I know that the things He sets before us will shape us into something grand! And we are blessed for every ounce of grace and patience we offer towards our situation, no matter what we are facing! I am learning how to smile amid adversity and to face difficult changes with a positive attitude. It is hard, but it is worth it. We all have to learn how to love living.. because we will live forever!

I love you all!
Sister Pound

funny tidbit:
- "King Mosiah ROCKS!" -me
  "King Benjamin really rocks!..... He's Ben-jam-in (been jammin')!" -Elder Jackson

June 23, 2015

Hello there!

Well, it has been very, very hot and humid here. We had a big thunder storm last night that was literally booming! Last Monday we had a little "flood".. our whole tires were covered as we drove on this one road. Welcome to life by Lake Erie! Gotta love it!

SOOOO.... CRAZY THINGS HAPPENED THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!! Last week I felt like everything was just going excellently. I loved Lakewood, I loved Sister Hamatake, I loved the miracles we were having, and the people we were teaching, and just everything about mission life! Well, I even told some people that I was just waiting for something to happen... IT DID! This past week of my mission has been one filled with the most change! (And there are even more changes to come -- our new Mission President arrives next week.)

Last Monday evening, President Vellinga called and told us (all four of the Lakewood Sisters) that Sister Hamatake would be leaving in 1-2 days to fill a spot because a Sister had to go home for medical reasons. Because of that, Sister Abbott, Sister Norton, and I would triple up for a week until transfers. He didn't give us an exact day or time or anything! We were a little confused but we accepted it. Fast forward to Thursday morning -- President called again and said, "Either tonight or tomorrow morning early." So Sister Hamatake and I were prepared to split up for a week.. Well, come Thursday afternoon we got a call from the Assistants to the President who told us that Sister Hamatake would be leaving Lakewood after the week she spends away, so she needed to pack all of her stuff! We had to pack up Sister Hamatake's stuff in 1 hour and sent her on her way! We thought our triple up would only last a week.. Well, at the mission home on Thursday night when we were dropping Sister Hamatake off, President told us that our trio could be combined for a whole transfer. And last night that was confirmed in transfer calls. We are combining our area and there will be 3 of us working together. It has been crazy. Our area is much bigger now and we have to learn how to plan together and work our schedules together.. not to mention, I only had 5 weeks to learn about this new area and now I have to "lead" our part of the area. Everything can change just like THAT. And it did!!!! Sister Hamatake and I became really good friends. We had a beginning struggle, but we learned to love each other and it was a really fun and growing companionship. I am sad she is gone. I will miss her. So I will be spending these next 6 weeks with TWO companions!

The best 2 things from this past week:
1. We had a lesson with Bess & Don and invited them to come to the Temple with us! Bess started  realizing everything that she would need to change and said she would pray about it. We went over the next day and she really did! She prayed and was  thinking about it constantly. I am so happy that we are making a goal with them that will change their lives! 
2. We met with Judy and invited her to church again. (By the way, she absolutely LOVED it last week!) She said she would normally dive in and come every week, as she did when she was investigating her 8 previous churches, but because she is so well-established in her new church and has obligations, she said she couldn't come. Not to mention, she said she is getting "near the end" and has to stick with what she is doing.. Well, come Sunday morning, our less active (her fellowship) Sister Haney called! She said Judy was bringing her to church!!!! They came! And it was great! Judy felt overwhelmed, once again, with the amount of knowledge she was receiving, but she is excited to study, study study!!! And I know she will! (Have I mentioned that she did some online studies to find out WHY the people in the Book of Mormon used metal plates??? She found that the weather in the Americas was not suitable for preserving papyrus records!) LaterSunday evening, they both came to a "Cottage Meeting", which is basically a discussion and dessert. It was focused on prayer and Judy absolutely loved it! It was amazing for her to be there because we had so many solid members there, too. They provided excellent fellowship and answered many of her questions! WOW! Good things are going to happen with her.

I am so grateful for a loving earthly father, and for a loving Father in Heaven! Our fathers are important, especially our Heavenly Father. I testify that creating and building a relationship with Heavenly Father is worth it. It brings happiness that will last beyond that of any earthly experience. He loves you and cannot forget you! "He remembereth every creature of his creating." (Mosiah 27:30) Come unto Him! It is the best decision you can ever make in this lifetime. 

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! 
xoxo,
Sister Aubrey Pound

GOOD STUFF:
- "Our tests of faith come when our prayers are answered differently."
- "The secret to a happy marriage is FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!" -Brother Walker, 95 year old man who just had his 70th wedding anniversary with Sister Walker! 
- "I'll be dancing by tomorrow!" -Sister Crandall, who just broke her hip.
- "Who was the richest woman in the Bible? Well, Pharaoh's daughter. She drew a "prophet" from the bank of the Nile!" -Nan Carlson
- "Let's go to the disco and fall in love." -Brother Carlson
- We went to do service for a member's mother, who is not a member. She heard my name and said, "Wow! What a terrible name to have!!! Did you get made fun of a lot?! 'Oh, here comes chubby!'" She was a little bit too sassy for her own good. :)

If you were wondering if my mission makes me happy...... It does. :)