Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We Must Make Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

I loved your letter. I would prefer a handwritten one if it's going to be long, because I have limited time to email, and want to be able to respond to you effectively, it's hard to when crunched for time. So proud of you doing missionary work!!! Yay! Eternal families soon to come! Whew! I love missionary work! It's so much fun! There isn't anything better I've ever experienced. Oh, and your letter about marriage was fantastic, really helped me out and came at the perfect time. 
I sent another email with a picture from the wedding. Lion's parents. Tanishe and Mike Yarbrough. Super excited for this family. Can't wait to send you pictures from the baptism!   

Inline image 1
Then, the lady who was painting. Her name is Patricia Watts, so the Watts family. A few days ago, I felt the impression. "We must make chocolate chip cookies!" I ignored it at first, it seemed odd and we had much work to do. But it came again, and as a missionary I'm learning not to doubt the feelings of the spirit. (Or stomach, haha) Then I felt the cookies would be for the Watt family. My companions seemed hesitant, they said she had made it clear that she would call us, and we shouldn't go back over. But, we went over to a members home and made cookies. We took them over and delivered them to one of her sons Tony. We left, and the next day we followed up. Quickly after we knocked, Patricia answered and told us to come inside. She introduced us to all of her family, each one of her kids had lots of tattoos except the 3 grand kids. We meet her soon Howard, I believe was his name who had been disabled since birth. 18 years old but the mind of a 2 year old.
The day we had dropped off the cookies, she was feeling low. She was praying for help. Then we came over with cookies for her family. She thought, ooh these guys are persistent, they really care, I like that. Then she had a feeling, an overwhelming feeling, that she needed to meet with us. That she needed to let us in and introduce us to her family. She had felt the spirit testify that we could help her family.
Before we left, we shared a little about the plan of Salvation. In fact, we are expected her to call us later today to confirm our appointment tomorrow to teach her family. It's amazing.

Oh yea! Birthday!
Good birthday. Yeah we celebrated, but what I really wanted to do was get out and work. So that's what we did. Even used the fact it was my Birthday to get into homes we've never been able to before. No one is going to leave a birthday boy outside in the heat....hehe.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Friends, Strengthening Members

Weird to think Krispy Kreme (Kristi King a good friend of Daylen's from Oakley) is getting married, She's younger than I am! I would be terrified. I feel safer in the slums of Las Vegas and eventually Brazil preaching the word than getting married.
The work here has been amazing! The Ward is pumped up for missionary work. Before me and my companions got to this area, it was closed for a couple of years to missionaries. The missionaries before us had no success and weren't liked by the ward just a few years ago. But the ward members love us. Our dinner calendar is full of members who want us over, to meet us and have us meet their non-member friends, families, and relatives. They love how lively we are and our humor. Yet, our ability to understand the time to become humble servants of the Lord and teach with power and authority.
 The members work with us and are excited when they see us bringing people to church. People who have been inactive for years are becoming active. We have had a few investigators at church every week for the past 3, and we work with the Bishop and leaders to see they are friended in this transition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I really have felt a love for the people here, like I've never experienced. I find that when I'm speaking to them, the words that come out are not my own. I sincerely desire to help them and bring them close to the Savior.
Last Sunday, we had two investigators Michael and Heather who we have been teaching that had committed to come to church for the first time. I knew without a doubt, if they attended sacrament meeting it would clear up their doubts, fears, and help them feel the spirit and want to return. We had even walked through the church building with Michael the day before and to help him understand the importance of going. Just before the meeting had started they texted us. They had drove to the parking lot of the church, got a "Bad vibe" and went home.
The love I feel for these people isn't something I can explain. But I would say it is like the same love the Savior feels for them. No matter how hard I tried to be tough, I was unable to hold back tears. I imagined it was just a taste of how the Lord feels when we fail to keep a commandment. When we don't accept His help to guide our lives. I sincerely desire these people to receive the blessings this gospel offers. I never realized how blessed our own family was, until I came to know these families that lacked.
Elder Findlay, (my senior companion, been out for 22 months) said he has never had so much success so quickly in his whole mission since I got here. He said he's never been able to get into homes like this before, never had so many lessons. I am nothing, we are nothing, but the Lord has used us an instrument in His Hands. It's amazing to see, how the spirit guides us, what to say to get into people homes and help them.
Love you all!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Painting the House Part 2 (and more)

Hope you got my letter. And about painting the house story. I can't remember where I left off, but a couple weeks ago we went over to talk with her and see what we could do. She was upset, some new info about her son's death had been brought up. And some of the gang members who killed him were going on trial. Her family is in danger, and her kids refused to testify or show up in court. I felt nearly helpless and cried with her as she told of the trials her family was going through. She insisted and promised she would call us, she wants the gospel, and her kids need it, but she said right now, her family isn't ready. They feel too on edge to listen to anyone. But before we left her front door, I asked if we could just say a prayer. She said yes. I prayed as sincerely and fervently for her family as I could, striving for the spirit to guide it. When I finished, she gave much gratitude, and expressed she never had someone pray for her family.. She said she had never heard a prayer like it.  She cried, and told how she was amazed of the love we had.
       I hope the story doesn't end there, I desire to help her family more, but that is where it's at for now.
      A couple weeks ago we met a 17 year old boy, who was outside roping. We walked over, talked with him and his younger brother and dad. He is super good at roping and has won nationals many times and trains everyday to go pro. We learned he also likes basketball, and we invited him to play basketball with us on Mondays. So he came and played basketball with us. One day, the night before he was suppose to compete in state rodeo, he called us and asked if we could come over and help him the next day. We were confused why he wasn't leaving to compete in State.
       He had been in a little trouble with his parents and they wouldn't let him go. Upset, he called his grandpa (who is a member of the church) and asked for advice. His grandpa and him talked for quite some time, and he realized he wanted a better relationship with God.  So when we showed up, one of the first things he said was "What do I got to do to be baptized?"
       He's been coming to church and keeping his commitments and learning from us. He will be baptized and confirmed in a couple of weeks. He texts us often to thank us, and tell us how much happier he is and how much more love there is in his home. His dad, has been inactive for over 30 years. But he's seen a great change in his son and the joy the gospel brings, and he has started to make changes too.  It was cool to see what started out as a trial, like not going to state, turned into a blessing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Every Member a Missionary

Right before I left the MTC, I saw Braxton Farmer. It was cool. I also spent time with Tanner Peers while I was there. (These are Daylens friends from school)
I've taught ministers, pastors, gang members, Christians, canyon ridge members, Catholics, Buddhists, less actives, atheists, Jehovah witness, and even Cosco members. Each lesson completely different, I often feel humbled in how little I do know. But in This church, what we know will always trump what we don't know. I have felt the spirit strongly work through me, as I testify of truths. I have seen people's hearts prepared and softened. I realized the very things we learn in primary can stump and astound even the most educated bible scholars. I should have been defeated and destroyed by the intelligence of some of these people as they discussed doctrine, but I know this Church has the fullness of  the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know He leads it. I have felt the spirit guide me and give me the ability to teach with power and authority like I never thought possible. I am nothing, and my teaching skills and knowledge are weak, but as I am true to the faith which I've already acquired, holding fast to what I already know, I have felt me be an instrument of the Lord knowing exactly what to say, what scriptures to use, what stories to tell, that change the lives of these individuals forever.
Last thought, our missionary work would be non existent if it weren't for the help of the members. See Acts 8:31 and then 1 Peter 3:15. People can meet with the missionaries, read the book of Mormon, know that it's true, but they need someone to help guide them still. They need someone to invite them to church, sit by them, answer their questions and always be ready to open their mouths and give testimony. I taught primary last Sunday on this, and even at that age they can invite their friends to family home evening, church, and activities. Every member is a missionary. It is terrifying for some of these individuals to start coming to church, we use practically a whole different language of different words unfamiliar to them. They need friendship in the ward, to help guide them make the very social transition. Always be ready to invite people. Ready to give an answer of why you live your life the way you do to anyone you may meet.
Love you all.
Elder Pollard

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Daylen with his companions heading into the Las Vegas Temple
(is it me or is the boy finally putting some meat on his bones) Dad

Friday, June 7, 2013

Help paint the house

Quick story. I just sent one to Jo. Here's another
Because we aren't allowed to tract, I've been amazed of how people just seem to be coming to us. It's putting a whole new spin on missionary work. After eating a meal at a members house, we were walking down the road. I waved to a woman staring out her window at us. She waved back, and called us over. Asking if we would help her paint her house. She was joking, she and her 11 kids were painting. But we said we would love to.
Long story short. Her children have been involved in some gangs in Las Vegas, and a few months ago her 17 year old son was shot and killed. She had been raised Catholic, but she was praying hard for the Lord to send something to help her. She said she knew, as soon as she saw us, that we were the answer. One of the first things she told us is that she wants to see her son again, and for some reason she just knew we had the answers to her questions.
Opps. Out of time. Would give more details.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Lord's Merchandise

Jo! Thanks for sharing your testimony with me, and being so supportive of me. I love your letters and emails.

I am currently at the library. On our way over here the driver, Elder Findlay, saw a large piece of cardboard in the road. He felt impressed to pull over and move it, to do some service. So we pulled over. He and I ran into the road carefully, but quickly, because there was fast traffic. Just upon getting back in the car I noticed a car pulled over with it's hazards on. I suggested we pull up to it and see if they need help.

So we did. We pulled up and met a around 40 year old black woman, who's car kept stalling and couldn't get home. We asked if we could help. She denied us, saying she would be fine, thinking she could do it on her own. But we were persistent. We asked how far she needed to go to get home, and insisted we could push her there. At first she was hesitant, She said "I don't want to ruin the Lord's merchandise." haha. But after failing to start her car again, She accepted. It was around 110 degrees outside and she needed the help.

So myself with 3 other missionaries began to push. It was hot, the car itself burned our hands. I imagine we were quit a sight, many people saw these 4 white guys (all of which are over 6 feet tall, 6"2, 6"4(Me), 6"5, and 6"7), who were all wearing black pants and ties, running down the Road pushing a black car that was burning their hands, in temperatures above a 100 degrees. Well.....I thought it was comical, even the part where she ran a stop sign at a busy intersection. We had stopped, hoping she would break, but she didn't and we ran out after her and pushed her to safety. Luckily we made it through the intersection fine, most people watching just had confused looks on their faces or smiles.

We probably pushed her about a mile, all the way into her neighborhood. (The hill at the end was way tuff)

Safely home she kept saying thank you, many times, ever grateful. We spoke for a few minutes, learned she was a minister of some church, she had been sitting there in the heat. Praying to God that he will get her home, and she believed He sent us. We gave her a book of Mormon. Exchanged phone numbers. One of the Missionaries with us, Elder Chase, will follow up with her. She's in his area, and she agreed to be visited by Elder Chase and his companion.  Me and my companions know some great mechanics she can trust in our ward, and said we would call her to give her some numbers to take her car to.

Now I'm here, sweaty and stinky, but very happy. This is just one example of the many people we have helped here. I have never been full of so much joy, in bringing these Children of our Heavenly Father "Home"

Love you Jo

“I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet”

May 30, 2013

        During Language Study this morning I was practicing the first vision. (Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17). I had it memorized in Portuguese. I was out on the balcony of our apartment, speaking Portuguese out loud to myself as my companions studied inside.

        I pretended to be in Brazil, in a home, looking someone in the eye as I taught them it. I started slowly feeling every word “Vi um pilar de luz…” As I continued, I felt the spirit more powerfully. My voice was a weak whisper by the end, but full of emotion as I uttered the last words “Ouve O (Hear Him)’ with tears in my eyes.

        Before, I had always believed, or at least hoped, the first vision was true, and a real event. It had always seemed logical. I knew the Book of Mormon was true. But today, out there, alone, speaking my mission language,
 I knew.
 I know, as if I had been there myself. I spoke as though I had witnessed it with my eyes and felt the glory of it.

        At the end I was able to say “Eu sei que Jose Smith fa em a profeta (Joseph Smith was a prophet)” and mean it, with every fiber of my being. I don’t care if it may sound weird or odd or impossible to some people, I felt the Holy Ghost tell me clearly through my feelings that he did see the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

        I didn’t need to see a vision or have any form of physical proof. What I felt had a greater impact, and more convincing power than all other things could hope to do. I don’t need proof or a physical witness. What I felt pierced me to the core.

        I’m loving it here. I have never felt greater joy. In some ways, I don’t want to head to Brazil really soon. I love the people I meet, and want to see these people I care about continue to change, and see them baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Don’t get me wrong, as soon as that VISA comes, I know it will be time and I will not hesitate. I love Brazil already, and I haven’t been there yet.

        Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Las Vegas Temple, it’s amazing. As I sat in the Celestial room, I thought, “This is where I want them to be. I want my investigators to get here. To feel of the powerful spirit, the beauty of the temple, and the glorious plan of eternal families.

        There is no greater work. There is nothing that can compare.

        I love my family so much, and feel an increase love and appreciation each day for them. Thank you for your prayers that strengthen me and keep my safe. Never underestimate the power of prayers for other people.

        Com Amore,

                Elder Pollard