Monday, May 27, 2013

hey good lookin people! i have to start off by congradulating one of the missionaries who taught me, Lucas Brook, because he is now married to the beautiful Melanie Jones! congrats, you two!
to sum up a few precious moments of my week:
we are teaching 2 sisters and their children. one of the sisters has a son who is 15 years old, and has the personality of a ladies man. after one of our lessons, we were saying goodbye to the sisters, and its traditional here to kiss women on the cheek. well, the son, not being shy at all, grabbed my companion's hand, and pulled her in for a kiss on the cheek. i supposed because she's used to that sort of greeting, she wasn't too put off. i, however, was dumbfounded. when he tried to pull the same card on me, i jumped back and said "no!!", in which everyone began to laugh. his mom is pretty set on me coming back to Puerto to marry him. the same sweet family gave me new shoes because mine are dead. i am so grateful for that!
we were contacting in a little town called Fabrica de Cajas, and we found a woman named Adrian. she is here with the Jehova's Witnesses, and she is from Georgia. we shared a short message and she gave us skittles and water. she is such a kind woman, and gave me plenty of opportunities to bear my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
last night when we were walking home, we heard someone cry out "hermanas! ven! rapido!" It was one of our neighbors who has a mother who is extremely ill. she shuffled us into the room where her mother sleeps, and when we put the light over her, it looked as if she was about to die. immediately i said "regresamos", and took hermana vargas by the hand as we began to run towards the Elder's house. i called the Elders and said "aceite" which means oil, and they met us on the corner by their house. the four of us ran back to the bedside of the woman, and the Elders gave a blessing. the Spirit was there. I could feel it like never before. it was so powerful to be standing in the presence of the Priesthood, hearing the words of the blessings, and seeing the frail woman begin to calm down. afterwards we taught the family about the Plan of Salvation, and how we know that death is just a part of God's plan. they were relieved and grateful as we shook their hands and returned home. i am so grateful that the people here know who we are, and trust us enough to ask for our help.
i love the gospel, and the priesthood, and the many opportunities the Lord has given me to understand His love for His children.
happy memorial day, up there! eat something fried and covered in barbeque sauce for me!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Well, today I celebrate 1.5 years as a member of the Church by sitting in this internet shop in Bugaba, listening to the rain hit the tin roof, and enjoying the cool breeze. I am happy.
So, we had changes last week, and I ended up going to Panama to receive my new companion. Her name is Hermana Vargas, from Ecuador, 20 years old, and full of energy. I have learned a lot from her already, and I know I will continue to grow spiritually (and in my spanish) this change with her. We had a Relief Society Activity in our branch on saturday, and it was a lot of fun to learn why the women here appreciate this wonderfully inspired program.
Last change we had found a family in our area, but they didnt seem too interested in the gospel. When Hna Vargas came last week, I had the feeling we should try one more time. The wife of the family, Evelyn, welcomed us with open arms. She explained how they are Hindu and they dont know much about what we believe. We taught her the message of the Restoration, then invited her to the RS activity. SHE CAME! Then we invited her to church on sunday, and she stayed for ALL THREE HOURS! Serious miracle. She participated actively, and was curious to learn more. We gave her a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon, and we are going to visit her again this week.
While I was in the city, I was able to talk to Brother Galke who was the session director of one of the EFY sessions i did last summer. His son, Brayden, who was in my company, has received his mission call to NY spanish speaking. Congrats, Brayden! One of my brothers in the gospel, Eduardo Cavazos, is waiting for his call which should be in his hands this week! The work moves forward, and the Lord continues to bless us all with opportunities to serve His children around the world!
Until next week,
Hna Bond

Monday, May 13, 2013

first off, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all of you who have contributed in big ways to my becoming who i am today. also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! my mom turns 21 tomorrow ;)
see ya, Hermana Cruz! my companion is being changed from this area, and i will be spending a few days in Boquete again until i get my new companion. i am excited to update you guys and let you know who she is! i have learned so much from Hermana Cruz in these short 6 weeks, and i know her and i will be friends when we return home.
we were able to skype on saturday night with our families. i think my mom recorded a video of me speaking, and she said she was going to post it on facebook. so if you want to hear a cheesy hello from me, then look out for that!
last p day we went to the mountains in Volcan, and spent some time in the gardens there. it was a perfect little break to play in flowers and enjoy the cold mountain air. AND we just found out that area is being "pink washed" which means its open to hermanas now! tomorrow we are getting 10 new Hermanas and 2 Elders. women are taking over the mission field! and i am STOKED to be a part of it!
not much to say this week, but i am learning a lot. so much. God is in everything, He is my heart, and He loves me. there are so many tender moments throughout the day when i receive that confirmation.
love you guys!
ps. pray for my dad who had a minor little surgery last week! he is healing quickly, just want some extra thoughts sent his way!

It is my privilege and honor to introduce to you Daffne, the newest member of the church in Puerto Armuelles! Her baptism was beautiful, and afterwards we had a great branch activity. Hna Cruz and I sang a song, and there were also a few skits that the Young Single Adults put on. It was a perfect weekend!
The week, however was a little rough. Do you ever have those days where you feel like youre in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from home, and you are speaking another language? Yeah, me too. It all kind of hit me at once. But I am so grateful for my companion, Hermana Cruz. Saturday morning I asked her how I am supposed to be the kind of person Heavenly Father needs me to be. She took me by my hand, looked me in my eyes, and handed me my english copy of the Book of Mormon. She said-- I promise you if you open to whatever page you want, and read the first thing you see, you will find your answer. I opened the Book, and read Alma 29:6-9. My calling is my joy. It humbled me, it comforted me, and it showed me that God is listening and He recognizes my efforts. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon, for the opportunity I have to share it, and for God's plan of happiness.
I spent May 1st in Boquete with a Hermana from Colorado. We were on divisions because our companions had to go to Panama City. It is a mountain area there, with not a lot of sun, and the perfect weather. I enjoyed working there, and have another opportunity to go there next week because unfortunately Hermana Cruz is getting moved to the city. We ate with Hermano Frank who is a CHEF! He made us talapia with mashed potatoes and vegatables. It was so delicious! He shared a little of his story with me, and he strengthened my testimony. I am excited to eat with him again next week!
Yesterday during Relief Society, we were studying Charity. President Mojica's wife said that Charity is not a principle, its a doctrine. I loved that bold statement. The Book of Mormon expounds on that idea in Moroni 7. Well, Hermana Cruz is learning english and she is doing a great job. She leaned over to share a thought with me, and she wanted to say it in english. So she said-- "Hermana Bond, I have Chastity!" in which I replied with a laugh and said "Espero" which means "i hope". We laughed, and are currently laughing about it. Dont worry, I taught her that its Charity, not Chastity.
Last night in our weekly meeting with the Branch Mission Leader, President Mojica asked me to teach a workshop for all of the teachers and leaders in our branch. I will be teaching it in a few weeks, but I am starting to prepare now. I am a little nervous, but I know I will learn valuable things as well, because I have chosen the topic "How to be a Christ-like Leader". I am really excited for this chance to help the branch and to strengthen our Sunday classes!
Take care! Love you all!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

note from Ryan- Sorry I'm late posting this weeks letter. I have been out of town (in Guatemala), and havent had access to a computer). But here it is.

hey up there! i want to start by thanking all of you who sent me birthday cards! i FINALLY receieved them this past week during a training. our mission president came, and he came bearing gifts! i got a package from my dear mother, and about 25 birthday cards and dear elders! THANK YOU! your words mean so much to me! 
so, like i mentioned, we had trainings or "capacitaciones" this past week in David. the Assistants and Presidente Ward came and taught us tons! one of the questions Elder Bentz asked was "is your area better now because you were there?" this question has been heavy on my mind and heart. it has given me a new motivation to talk to more people, bear my testimony more, and to never be afraid. i want to leave my footprints in Puerto Armuelles, and i want to do exactly what the Lord sent me here to do! 
Hermana Cruz and i have planned an event for next saturday called "noche de talentos", and we have the young adults helping us out. its just a branch activity to get people back to church, to invite non members to learn about who we are, and to celebrate Daffne´s baptism! they have asked me to sing "amazing grace" in english, and go figure, someone found me a ukelele. i am grateful i mastered that before i left! so, that should be a neat experience. hermana cruz and i are also singing Come Thou Fount, but in spanish, and one of the members knows the piano part. some other people are dancing and doing skits. i am really excited for it!
on our way to plan on wednesday with the members at Family Home Evening, i heard a sweet voice call out from a car "do you speak english?!" it was music to my ears! a sweet woman named Lynn has just moved to our area from Maryland, and we helped her find the market. she is coming to our activity on saturday! 
we have been visiting a less active member, Daisy, for a few weeks now. this past week, her daughter was off of work and sat in on our lesson. we taught the Plan of Salvation, and Doris (the daughter) seemed to really love it. she said "hermanas, my husband died 4 years ago, and i knew there was something special about where he is right now." we are continuing to teach Doris, and she has expressed her desire to be baptized! i am speechless. the Lord is really pouring out miracles for us!
i dont know if i mentioned this, but i received my first calling a few weeks ago. i teach english classes every saturday in our chapel. it has been hard trying to teach my own language. but its also helped me solidify my basic spanish vocabulary. 
all in all, i am living the dream! oh, congrats to my cousin Amy-- she had her son Xander! i can´t wait to meet him! take care, yáll 
-hermana bond