Monday, November 24, 2014

11/23/14 Answers to YOUR questions.

Our zone has gained a few more missionaries, the brand new missionaries are my favorite ones to call. They are so excited and anxious. We gave a zone training about effective planning, it was fun, we involved arm-wrestling and spoke about that techniques can make you much more effective than brute force. I´ll show you one day. 
There´s a family we are teaching. Josefa (mother), Elide, Perolá, and Evane. Elide is 23, she´s the oldest. 2 days ago, she asked us a question. ´Why does God allow so much suffering? Why is there so much suffering?´ We could see the pain in her eyes, but wouldn´t give her an answer. For we have learned, when an answer is just given, it´s easily forgotten within a few days. But when an answer comes from the spirit, through seeking it, we remember it for the rest of our lives. 
So, we taught her how to get the answer. We marked 2 Nephi 2. The instructions were simple. Pray-ask God the question. Read the chapter. Go to Church, and you´ll get YOUR answer. Not, THE answer, it will feel personalized. 
One of my concerns here in the ward, is the quality of teaching. In the gospel principles class, I was concerned a great deal of all our investigators and less-actives that went to it. I am certain, that we don´t go to church to learn a few more doctrinal facts, we need to feel the presence of the Lord. I, myself struggled in that class to stay awake. 
We prayed about it a great deal. We didn´t stop praying about how to help that teacher, until we got an answer. We received the answer, that we must show the teacher who she is and who she can become. We thanked her for her classes and her help. She expressed that she felt that students weren´t learning. We suggested that we meet with her and tell her of all the people that come to that class, so she could know and pray for them by name. My companion chose a talk about the Savior´s example of teaching. We expressed our appreciation and assured her that she had been called of God, and He will give her what to do and say. 
We came that Sunday, with many less-actives and investigators, including Eldie. The class was different, more personal. The chairs were set in a circle, instead of rows. The teacher was sitting with us asking inspired questions. She did fantastic. Personal experiences were shared that impressed us. Tears were shed with testimony. And a question was asked by our ward mission Leader ´Some may ask,´He said ´Why does God allow so much suffering?´ Then He answered it. Entirely. Elide looked at me, and I couldn´t help but laugh. I´m so grateful for that class, and look forward to it again. For the manual wasn´t being taught anymore, people were. 
Later that night. Elide expressed how she got her answer, and said she wants to be baptized. Pray for her family. We are grateful for the Lord´s Hands here. 
I love you all. Something my companion Elder Morgan has taught that the greater the Trial, the greater our capacity to feel joy in helping others. I can see clearly, because of his trials, he has a great capacity at discerning the needs of others and helping them. I am grateful for challenges. I am grateful for the Savior, who suffered all things, so that he could succor his people. Succor- meaning to literally run to. He faced pains, so that He could be with us in ours.    
Te Amo! 

11/17/14 Small World

Over one year ago. I was in a pleasant ward named Lynbrook. It composed of only about 6 blocks of the massive city of Las Vegas. I loved our P-Day´s. We would go to the church gym and play basketball. Nearly every week, there was a member named Surf Decker. He was the High School Basketball captain, and he brought some of the best baller´s in the neighborhood to play with us. 

I loved the Decker family. Their home was always pleasant and welcoming to be in. It was full of laughter and life. And yet had a beautiful peaceful feeling. It was a strong family in the gospel and they loved the missionaries. It was Brother Decker who told us about the Carter family to go visit, which we did and Austin Carter was the first baptism I saw on the mission. They were so excited for me to go to Brazil and always showed me great support. They themselves had 2 kids serving missions at that time, with one more, being Surf getting ready to go. 
Someone asked me where I thought Surf would go on his mission. Joking, I said Salvador Brazil.
Well, I entered in the chapel building for transfers on Tuesday. Sister Lisonbee came up to me and told me there was a new missionary from Las Vegas asking for an Elder Pollard. I was filled with Joy to see Elder Decker (Surf)! Haha, small world.  (I´ll send photo next week!)
I have one amazing friend as my new companion Elder Morgan! He´s very loving and kind. He has served me greatly. He cleansed our home of all spiders and dirt. Re-organized all my things and showed me a greater way to live. As he cleaned and served me, he said ´sometimes we can´t express how much we love someone, we just have to show it by serving them.´ 
He´s fallen perfectly into place in the area. The ward has welcomed in him. And the investigators and less-actives he has continued to push on what Elder Reynolds and I were doing, he often says to them ´Do you know Elder Reynolds? He´s my cousin. And God sent me to finish what he has started.´ Of many miracles, I enjoyed how he took all the coffee out of a less-active, Angela´s home and threw it out. After a great message of overcoming addictions by setting goals for today, and not waiting until tomorrow,, she was at church yesterday.
The work keeps going on. We are bringing the gospel to many. 
Love you all!    

I´m loving this area! It´s become to feel like a 2nd home for me. I love the people, they are very receptive and kind. Our ward is amazing, because everyone loves to serve us and help us.  

11/10/14 Saying goodbye to Elder Reynolds

This has been the last week for my companion Elder Reynolds. I feel so attached to him. Before he came, I saw my area as rather a dark, heavy feeling, and dangerous place. I felt like I was in a constant battle spiritually. Never before I have seen so much sin and destruction. I felt weighed down and worried. Then, Elder Reynolds came. He didn´t change our circumstances, He changed me. One of his greatest gifts, is helping someone see their weakness, put it right in front of their face, and then he gives great counsel to overcome them. 
It´s what he did to me. I expressed to him, that at times I was afraid to build people up, to compliment them, for fear that it would cause them to become prideful. But he taught me it does just the opposite. He taught me if you treat someone the way they are, they will continue to stay the way they are. But if you treat someone the way they could and should be, they will become that person. 
He taught me so much about humility. He taught me about always placing others first. To get up and make your companion´s bed, before making your own. To make him breakfast first, then find food for yourself. He taught me to believe in people and to trust in God. He taught me to never let a problem to be solved, ever become more important than a person to be loved. 
He taught me how to patiently wait with joy, even when we are late. He taught me that there is a way to act as the Savior would, when you are in a hurry, calmly and with joy. He taught me how to overcome feeling over-heated or tired. He showed me how to be childlike and to laugh often. 
I love him. and I´ll greatly miss him. It has been so neat to see a noble and great one, finishing his mission. I have witnessed him being upheld by angels. I have seen his words and presence touch lives. I saw the Lord blessing us with miracles. We have so many people ready and many to teach. The church has become so full, I think we´ve been the largest ward in the state.
Our strongest points has been our relationship. I know Elder Reynolds completely, of past experiences and facts I could easily be outbeat. But I know who he is, and who he will be. He is a humble servant of God, who teaches with boldness, most often by example. 
We gave a training this week to the zone, about bettering your relationship with your companion. We had lots of laughs and funny practices. But I was most touched by a senior couple, a sister who stood and said ´I´ve always wondered when it was that my kids who served missions became men. I know they left as boys, and returned men. But at what point did this change happen? I know now, that it happens in meetings like these, searching to get better.´ 
It´s been a great time serving together..............i got a feeling I may just be companions with his cousins, who is also serving here. 
Thanks for everything I love you! Till next week.   

11/03/14 Can YOU meet the challenge.

 You can meet the challenge to pray to find someone. Just imagine for a moment that you already did it. Imagine that you prayed, and felt courage fill your heart, that you feel like your very soul was smiling. After, you found yourself unable to stop smiling. As you prayed, you felt your body entirely renewed. All sores and aches, all tiredness left you. You had a quiet joyful feeling. You still did all the daily responsibilities, that everyone so greatly appreciated. But somehow, it went by faster, easier, less stressfull. At some point in that day, you met someone, unexceptectly. They spoke to you so kindly. You loved talking to them, and felt you had made a new friend quickly.Perhaps you talked about me on a mission. Somewhow you spoke of the gospel, they so despitely needed and wanted. The impression from your prayer that morning came back to your head, though somewhat unsure how, that courage filled your heart again and you invited this person to our home, (the very missionaries could practice with real people) and visit the church with you. Think of the difference that would have today. I know you can do it.  The Lord can ease your schedule, He does it for me everyday. I feel the spirit everyday tell me that my family is being blessed back home. I feel so grateful to be here.

A couple weeks ago, we met Denevoldo, a very drunk, very smelly, shirtless, hairy man came up to us. He had a dirty beard, missing teeth, and walked slowly with a limp. He approached us holding his arm and moaning in pain. He said he had fallen and broken his arm. Looking at the disfigurement of the arm, we believed him. He asked for a prayer or a blessing. 
Reconginzing his poor nurtition, my companion bought him some rice. We walked him to his humble home that was molding away. We prayed with him. Blessed him. Taught him the importance of cleaness. Spiritual and physical. We gave instructions to how to clean his home. We taught the word of wisdom. 
When we saw him next. I honestly didn´t reconginze him. He was clean shaven. Wearing a shirt and pants. His home was cleaner. He was sober. He told us, since that day we came to his home, he never drank again. He came to church with us. Accepted everything we taught, and has a desire to obey. 
       A great lesson I´ve learned these past couple weeks is that ´any excuse, no matter how valid it is, will weaken your character.´ I´ve been trying to cut out any excuse or justification with anything. I don´t want to justify, I want to sanctify. I don´t want to be okay with it, I want to repent and feel peace. We´ve been helping others repent, by helping them stop giving excuses, and start having character. 
I love you all so much! Have an awesome week.