Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sisters or barbarians?

August 17, 2015

Hello, hello to you! 

It's really hot out today and it makes me think back to the time in winter when I was longing for summer.. here we are and summer has almost come and gone. This past week was just absolutely wonderful! It has been a week of more tender mercies and little miracles. I love it. 

Last Monday, we went to dinner at the Kirk's home. (Brother Kirk was formerly the Stake President.) They are so fun! Sister Blackner and I experienced one of the best meals we've had on our missions.. and it wasn't because of the food that was served! We had peas, mashed potatoes, salad, chicken, etc.... and the best part was when we sat down to eat, after saying the prayer, Brother Kirk announced that we'd be eating like barbarians that evening.. We hadn't noticed, but there was a plastic covering for the table.... so we really did eat like barbarians! We got no plates or silverware or anything. Just our hands! It was a fun experience. :)

Here's some exciting things (in a list because I am nearly out of time):
- Xaveria, our investigator with a baptismal date, is finally reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it! 
- We met a former investigator, David, who is super golden. Like, he already knows that Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
- We had 17 total member lessons.. Yeah, like I said: the members here are so awesome! We had dinner with a new family that just moved in, the Workmans. They love sharing the Gospel and really want to know how to better the missionary work they are doing. Brother Workman said, "I'm just tired of planting seeds, I just want to reap the harvest!" You better believe we're going to keep going back and work with them!
- A returning member, Sister Demarco, is going to the Temple to receive her endowment on the 29th! She will also do the work for her parents and grandparents. The best part is WE GET TO GO WITH HER!!!! 
- Another returning member, Brother Sciullo, set a date to receive his endowment: October 10th! Progress! He is so excited and is truly searching out everything he needs to do to be prepared for that.
- Our investigator, Jen, and her less active husband both got Priesthood blessings to help them quit smoking! Jen has a goal to quit smoking by the end of this month and wants to be baptized in September! 
- We went to visit the Tarantinos, an active couple. It was kind of last minute and on the way there, we realized we had nothing planned to teach. We thought of a Mormon Message ("You Never Know") and a scripture to share (D&C 108:7). It turns out that Brother Tarantino said that it was exactly what he needed to hear! 
- We have a goal to talk to everyone who is outside walking down the street or on their porch when we are outside. The day after we set this goal, we saw a man pulling his son in a wagon, just on their driveway. We went and met Gary and it turned out that he was super open and interested in meeting! 

I am just amazed at all of the little things that happen that make the days good. I know Heavenly Father is leading us and that we are doing His work! I can't deny the fact that as the days go by, I see the Lord reaching out to His children. I know He loves and knows each of us so perfectly.

I love each of you! Have fun partying it up at Ash's wedding.. I'm really sad I can't be there, but it makes me happy to know that my family will be in the Temple together. It's the best place for you to be. :)

hugs & snugs, 
Sister Pound

"I missed you like a blind man misses a urinal!" -Brother James

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Aug 10, 2015 


Hola everyone!

I have, like, zero time left.. my companion is already done emailing! Well, I said "see ya" to Lakewood last week and went to transfer meeting! When they were announcing where everyone was going (we don't find out until this meeting), I eventually figured out I would be coming to Alliance with Sister Blackner. I got so excited and gasped really loudly and excitedly and pointed at her from across the room.. everyone laughed. But really, it is an exciting thing!

Sister Blackner was one of my roommates and in my District at the MTC one year ago!!! I love her so much! We have been writing back and forth our whole missions. It has already been a great companionship. I think we will have a lot of fun this transfer.

I am serving in the Alliance Ward. Back to a huge area! We live an hour from our church building.. Oh how difficult it is to help investigators understand the importance of travelling that far for church! We will see.. miracles happen! Just from what I have experienced this past week, I know that this Ward is full of awesome members. We have an amazing Bishop and Ward Mission Leader. I am so grateful to be in such a good area!

The best experience this past week was with a woman named Marlene and her family. Marlene was a referral from a recently returned missionary who lives down the street from her. Get this: he returned from Brazil and just heard that Marlene and her niece living here are from Brazil. He went over and knocked on their door and invited them to meet with us! How crazy and bold!!! We stopped by and got to teach all three of them about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We shared about the Book of Mormon, Prophets, and The Family: A Proclamation to the World. They said that they want to come visit our church sometime and check out General Conference! The niece said she wants to read the Book of Mormon. Apparently it was a pretty good experience for them because they ended up sending a message to our member and telling them about it! HOORAY! The coolest thing is that the niece had met with missionaries when she lived in Brazil, so I believe she is very prepared to hear the Restored Gospel. Heavenly Father is in the fine details of everything we are doing!

I am so grateful to be here! I know that this is just part of Heavenly Father's perfect plan for me and for His other children that I will be privileged to serve.

I love you all! xoxo,
Sister Pound

"Trust God and believe in good things to come. . . Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

New address is:
189 Surrey Lane
Canfield, OH  44406

Sunday, August 9, 2015

out-staked & time is a'flyin

Aug 4, 2015

Hello there! 

It is true that I am being transferred again. I will be headed to another area tomorrow afternoon. I don't know where, but I know it's not Lakewood, or in the Cleveland area. And that makes me sad, but I do know that wherever I end up, it will be where I am needed. That is probably one of the coolest feelings as a missionary -- the assurance that you are always in the place Heavenly Father wants you. I love knowing that. So here's my last tribute to Lakewood, a city that has been full of miracles and tender mercies. It has been an absolutely amazing 12 weeks.

Oh my, here's the GOODNESS:
Sister Melton read! Sister Melton read! Sister Melton read! The Book of Mormon! By herself! And she wrote a little insight she learned on a paper and showed us and she was happy and felt the Spirit. She was excited to tell us, "I finally did it! And I'm gonna keep on doing it!" It was just awesome. My whole time here has accumulated to this. We went back to see her yesterday and something awesome happened. Usually when we ask her to read she responds, "I'll try." But yesterday she said, "I WILL!" It's a beautiful thing to see even the smallest change of heart. Progression is really "line upon line". I was able to help her rebuild a part of her foundation that had crumbled. In prayer, she told Heavenly Father, "I will do my best to keep reading the Book of Mormon." This was a little miracle I have been waiting for!
○ We were meeting with a less active, Joseph, in McDonald's. After we said the opening prayer, this guy, DeAndre, just walks right up and asks if we are doing something for church. He was interested and we shared a Book of Mormon with him. He sat down and read with us! We were able to teach him again a few days later about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we were talking about President Monson, he read a quote by him and said he felt something "indescribable" -- the Spirit! Near the end, he was saying that he didn't think we could know if the First Vision actually happened. We testified that he could, by the Spirit, if he prayed sincerely. He said an awesome prayer (in the middle of McDonald's) and it was a long one. :) He started getting pretty emotional as he said it. Afterwards, he said he thought of his uncle who passed away. We got to teach him about Temples and baptism. He wants to be baptized! Sometimes I just can't believe that things like this happen.
○ Member miracles: We created this fun "mission call" for our members and we shared it with Sister Alam. She gets really excited, but I have never seen her this excited! She was squealing and exclaimed, "I feel so honored! I'm going to be a member missionary! I'm ready for this --  I'm ready to move to the next level!" It was great. :) And Sister Thomas, who is already so good at sharing the Gospel, told us that she wants to come teaching with us several times a week and even volunteered to come knocking on doors for an hour or two. It was sweet. She said, "I consider you part of my family." I LOVE THE MEMBERS HERE!
○ We visited Brother Mikulic and ended up changing the lesson right when we got there. He recognized it and said he was appreciative that we followed the Spirit because it was exactly what he needed. That felt good.
○ We saw Bessie & Don. I love them so much. We talked about Temples and Bess teared up. She was feeling a little defeated. But the next time, we talked about the power of the Gospel to change us. Don bore a powerful testimony and the Spirit was so strong. At the end, Bess asked if we could get her an "Addiction Recovery Program" book -- she wants to work on quitting smoking (she has been smoking for 50 years, but quit for 8 months to be baptized)!

So there it is. Miracles are happening! And I got to witness so many this past week. I have truly learned in Lakewood that "his hand is stretched out still". My faith has been strengthened in my Savior, Jesus Christ, as I have witnessed so many wonderful things. I am grateful to have served in this area.

I know that Jesus Christ has the power to lift, heal, bless, and strengthen us! I have felt of that power as I have served the people of Lakewood. And I am sure I will continue to feel of that power as I serve wherever! 

Have a lovely week!
Sister Pound

P.S. This week, Darlene (one of the old ladies we visit), told me. "I'll kick the daylights outta ya!" I actually felt threatened. :) Gotta love the old women of Lakewood!

OH, and the photo is of me & Sister Melton. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jul 27, 2015

"If we're fallin' for the devil, we ain't gonna be close to God." -Joseph

 Hello there! 

Well, I will keep this one short and sweet. On Saturday night, we had a little miracle that reminded me that this is the work of the Lord. We finished our regular dinner with Sister Eddy, a cute old lady who takes us out every week. It was about 6:30 and we had no plans for the rest of the evening. Well, if you remember, missionaries are supposed to be home at 9, so we had to figure out what to do. We decided to stop by some less actives and got to meet a couple people, but no one invited us in. I had a though that we could go see Sister Melton, who is a less active we visit every Tuesday. At first it was a weird thought to me, but I reasoned that it was Saturday night and I thought our purpose was so we could invite her to church and help her feel the Spirit prompting her to come the next day. We called and she said we could come. She said she was having a bad day because she had learned of the death of a family member. We went straight over.

When we got there, we sang her some hymns and asked questions. We came to find out that her step-son had passed away. Well, it just so happened that I ordered some beautiful pictures of the Columbus Ohio Temple and I thought to give one to her. We were able to teach about the Temple and help her recognize that it was her goal to go soon. She said the Bishop told her that is what she needs to do. She ended up saying that she wants to go before the end of this year! We were able to bear sincere testimony that any sacrifice and any commitment she could make would be worth it. The best part was when she asked how we knew to come and we were able to testify that the Spirit led us to her that night. Oh, how I am grateful to be doing the work of the Lord! 

I am grateful to be able to share with so many about the Gospel and the blessings I have received. I love the Temple! I studied a talk by President Monson, "The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World" recently and I want to share some of the best snippets:

"Why are so many willing to give so much in order to receive the blessings of the temple? Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort.

If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is.

Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God."

I know that is true! Temples are so important. I know most of you who read this understand, but I hope the words of the Prophet inspire us all to appreciate and love the Temple more and to attend more frequently. The work we do in the Temple is eternal. I am grateful to be a part of something that extends beyond worldly time and things. I love my mission for that reason -- the work I am a part of extends beyond into the eternities. I am grateful to be a small part of how Heavenly Father is fulfilling His work and promises! I know that we all have that great responsibility as members of the Church -- we can share the joy and peace that have come to us because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

I love you all! 
Sister Pound