Dear Sister Bond: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Panamá Panamá City Mission. You will report to the Guatemala Missionary Training Center on February 20th, 2013 and prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.
Words somehow escape me when I try to muster a sufficient sentence to describe my excitement about my mission call. I truly have come to know that the Brethren are inspired men of God, and have called me to serve in Panamá because that's where the Lord needs me to be. 18 months will fly by as I more earnestly apply myself to my missionary work. I will miss my friends, family, and church family as I serve. However, I have the utmost confidence that the Lord will watch over them when I leave and allow me to return in safety.
Many of you know my story, but some of you may not.
I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized in Austin, TX on November 19th, 2011. I give a lot of credit to my friend Sam Walton because he is the one who introduced me to the Church when we were in junior high. Right next to Sam, was always his brother Brian Walton who eventually was the one who baptized me. The Walton's were always so kind and loving towards me throughout grade school, and the rumor has it that Sam and Sister Walton would always say I would join the Church in the Lord's time. I am so glad they were right! Of course, I would not be where I am today without the diligent young men who taught me and prepared me for baptism as they were serving as full-time missionaries in the Texas San Antonio Mission. Elder Lucas Charles Brook and Elder Brian Joseph Seigfried were the missionaries who knocked on my door, taught me the 6 missionary lessons, and prepared me to be baptized in 3 weeks from our initial introduction. I told my elders, within weeks of joining the Church, that I would serve a full-time mission and dedicate 18 months of my life to sharing the Good News with people like me; the people searching for the truth.
Brian Walton, Myself, Elder Seigfried, and Elder Brook
November 19th, 2011
Since my baptism, I have had a handful of adventures. I have met the Lord's elite; countless members of the Church who are continually spreading their contagious zeal for the Gospel with me. I worked the summer of 2012 in the midwest as an EFY counselor in San Antonio, TX, El Paso, TX, and Rexburg, ID. I spent a semester in Provo, the mothership, and numbered myself among the blessed to have worked at Sundance Ski Resort. I have been to 9 temples across the map, and cannot wait to attend the temple in both Guatemala and Panamá! I have had trials, ohhaveIhadtrials- but somehow I am humbled and strengthened through each experience and I come out a more faithful daughter of my God.
It is my desire that, through this blog, each of you can continue to hear of my adventures as I serve the Lord and His children in Panamá!
I often find myself relating to Joseph Smith, and as I've fervently prepared to serve my mission I draw strength from his unfeigned dedication to the Restored Gospel. Whatever it is that you are facing at this moment, I would admonish you to search the scriptures for your solace. The scriptures contain the source of our joy, and I hope that you can find peace in my testimony that is coincide with Joseph Smith's in this verse of the 127th section of the Doctrine & Covenants:
"And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it."
I know few things- only a few- but I actually know.
I know that God is our loving Father in Heaven, and that He is merciful. Such a gracious God was He to send His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. It comforts me to know that even though Christ was above all, He descended below all to know us intimately and intricately; He truly knows the desires and cries of our hearts. I know, without reservation, that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw, heard what he said he heard, and restored Christ's Church upon the earth through incomparable faith and determination. I give my name and life to the work of my Savior and Redeemer, and to the building up of His kingdom here on earth- the very earth that is stamped with His fingerprints and stained with His blood. I know this is His Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I have no doubt that my service as a missionary will be recorded in heaven and consecrated for His glory. I know He lives, He loves, and He is.
I am grateful to have this knowledge, and if you have not yet had the opportunity to share in this marvelous work, I invite you to learn more here.