Monday, April 22, 2013

I prayed a lot this past week, probably more than I ever have in my entire life, but probably less than I will. Puerto hasn´t received rain in quite some time, and in my prayers, I asked for that rain. On Thursday, we were going to drop off the baptismal record papers at Daffne´s grandmother´s house (she is a member) because her parents need to sign it in order for her to get baptized. For one reason or another, her parents kept dropping their appointments with us to sign the papers, so thats why we were giving the papers to her grandmother to hold on to, in hopes that her parents could sign them when they picked up Daffne. Well, on our way (its about 2.5 miles from our house) it began raining. It was beautiful. Hermana Cruz ran towards a member´s house and kept saying we needed to wait till the storm passed. I insisted that we keep going to Gladys´ house to take the papers. Finally she said "okay, gringa. vamos pues." As we walked, the rain got harder and harder, and I began laughing, singing and dancing. Hermana Cruz gave in and followed my lead. It was rejuvenating to feel the rain on my skin and to have that nourishment. When we arrived to Gladys´ house, would you guess who was there? Daffne´s mom was there waiting out the storm! We sat down and spoke with her about Daffne´s choice to be baptized, and we gave her the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet that explains the standards for the youth of the church. She was very supportive, but said she would not sign the papers without her husband´s approval. Well, he works a lot in far off cities, so we weren´t sure when that would happen. We asked her to give the papers to her husband to review, and invited her to share the pamphlet with her husband. Well, blessings were not finished coming our way, because within the next 30 seconds, Daffne´s dad pulled up in a taxi. We shared the message with him, too. We prayed with them. I gave them my testimony that I know that the gospel with help Daffne be a better student, daughter, sister, and disciple of Christ. It was an unforgettable moment. AND her parents signed the papers! Everything is set, and Daffne will be baptized on May 4 if everything keeps going at this rate! Pray for her!
We had another experience this week with a 87 year old woman named Andrea. She is an evangelist, and her daughter is a pastor in another church here. She has a sweet little smile, and a cute laugh. We asked if we could sing a hymn for her. I chose to sing "Abide With Me, Tis Eventide". When we finished singing, Andrea began to weep. She said she has been sad for a long time, but when she listened to the words of the hymn, that sadness left her. It was neat to see the influence of the Spirit so directly like that!
On Friday night, one of the members in our branch asked us to come speak to some of her family members. Her father died a month ago, and said it would be a good opportunity for us to teach the Plan of Salvation. When she said "some" family members, she actually meant over 30. No big deal. We taught the lessons, and we promised this family that they would see their uncle, brother, son, father, and friend again through the perfect plan that God has given us.
Well, yesterday I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting, and I spoke about the Atonement. Its amazing that I have the same feelings and testimony of Christ and His infinite goodness in two languages. I am grateful for the support of my companion and my branch. I couldnt have given that talk without the help of the people here, and of course without the gift of tongues that i am developing more and more every day. 
I love the Lord. I really do. and I love all of you! 
-Hermana Bond

(the picture is after we walked 2 hours in the rain. you cant really tell, but i was soaking wet! fun stuff.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

this has been a week of many prayers, and many miracles. this past week was HOT, but i have to say that my tan is coming along quite nicely. i am drinking tons of water, and i am buying sunblock today. we had the opportunity to visit a less active member of the church in our area, and while we were visiting, her 13 year old grandaughter came outside and asked us questions. she was positively interested and curious about the message we had to offer. then hermana cruz gave me the wink and i extended my FIRST baptismal invitation to sweet Daffne, who was more than thrilled to answer yes! she came to church yesterday and was so happy to be there. she stayed by my side the entire time; she said i dont know whats happening, and neither does she, so she will stay by me. haha sounds about right. i had the opportunity to bear my testimony in front of the congregation yesterday during fast and testimony meeting. when i said i believed in the gift of tongues, everyone laughed. my branch is super supportive in helping me learn the language faster. there is even a kind little 8 year old girl who has offered to teach me haha. i really am so blessed to be here in this area. we had 6 people in church with us yesterday who havent been to church in over a year-- thanks be to God! true miracles are stirring up in this branch, and i am grateful that the Lord trusts me enough with this work! 
so i love my companion hermana cruz! she wants to learn english, and she already knows enough to make simple sentences. i taught her how to say "aint nobody got time for that" and "sup dawg" and "darn it". basically, she is going to be awesome at speaking english. 
i have been studying the words of Isaiah, and from the BOM. i encourage you all to read 2 Nephi 17:2 in the Book of Mormon. i have read this time and time again, and i am captured by the beauty of the idea of our hearts being as trees. i know i am planted on the right foundation, and i know the wind will move me, but i will not fall. i will move because that is the natural reaction. i need movement to remind me that i am alive. 
i love you all!! 
-Hermana Bond
oh, and hapy birthday to Cody Hoffman! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Greetings from the beach! I arrived safely in Panama City on Tuesday night after waiting 13 hours in the Guatemala Airport. Thats a whole other story. I met my trainer on wednesday morning. Her name is Hermana Cruz, she is from Mexico, and she is absolutely beautiful and kind! I could not have dreamed of a better first companion in the field! After spending some time in the migration center with Presidente Ward, Hna Cruz and I got on a bus and headed to our area-- Puerto Armuelles. It is the second farthest area we could´ve been sent, considering it took over 11 hours to get here. Our house is.... humble, to say the least. I think I have always taken running water, air conditioning, and pillows for granted. But we are happy in our little abode. Our area is pleasant because we spend most of our days knocking doors along the beach. No but really-- the backyards are sand. I am experiencing new foods, new smells, and new interactions. I am the only gringa within hundreds of miles, so we use that to our advantage. A few days ago Hermana Cruz told me to contact a family we saw sitting on their porch, and just invite them to church. Instead I said "hi we are missionaries and we have a message about Jesus Christ to share with you and your family. do you have time to listen?" and next thing we knew, we were sitting with them in their living room! After the lesson, Hermana Cruz laughed and thanked me for my bravery. Thats why we´re here... to courageously bring the restored gospel to the people of Puerto Armuelles. Turns out there hasn´t been a baptism here in a few years, yet the Lord has already worked miracles as we now have 3 dates for baptisms. I understand this is not a set in stone thing, but we are continually praying and visiting these great families in hopes that they will gain testimonies of Christ´s church and how it can help them. The other day I was a little discouraged with the language and culture shock, so I turned to the Book of Mormon for comfort. I opened to page 213 where Alma sets the example for what it means to be a disciple. he prays "O, Lord have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people." Amen and Amen. I truly know that the Book of Mormon contains the word of God, and in our greatest hour of need, we can turn to the Book of Mormon for comfort and relief.