Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30th - Hma B wishes you to watch General Conference

I am SO stoked that this coming weekend is General Conference! I just KNOW that Heavenly Father has prepared the general authorities in a way that they will deliver their messages with great power and impact to our hearts. I hope ALL of you have the chance to either watch the broadcast on or attend in person. I promise you that you will receive answers to your prayers, peace to your minds, and joy to your hearts. Life is so good in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!

In my current study in the Old Testament I read 1 Sam 15:22
"to obey is better than sacrafice."
I hope you all may apply this scripture in how it fits best in your current situations. I can truly testify that obedience is key to happiness, no matter how much you give up or give in. Do not just lay down something in vain. Know who you are, and your potential, and strive to live in accordance to that great blessing.

On a lighter note, I am officially a missionary! I got bit by a dog this week!! It was absolutely the most terrifying experience of my life! But i can laugh about it now. Just a small bruise and scratch remains. Aren't i cool?

We went to the mission office this past week after my companion had immigrations. I was absolutely taken away by the wall with every missionary's picture and information on it. I had the overwhelming feeling that God knows each of us, not only His missionaries but ALL of His children. He knows where we are, who we're with, and what we're doing. I also felt the power of the revelation our mission president receives to guide and direct this mission. 

Well, i love you all. Do your best to watch General Conference this Saturday and Sunday! Blessings will follow!

-Hermana Bond

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23rd

well, i am training again! a sweet sister from guatemala, Hermana Rios. she is super quiet, and doesn't quite know what to think of the crazy gringa she got placed with. but she has expressed her love and gratitud to me all week. during our first district meeting she was asked to give a spiritual experience. she said:

"when i entered the meeting to meet my trainer, i saw Hermana Bond. as i sat down, i said a prayer to Heavenly Father, and asked if she could be my companion. as president announced my companion, and Hermana Bond stood up, i couldn't believe it. when she hugged me i just felt the love she had for me, and i knew Heavenly Father had prepared her to teach me how to preach gospel."

life is beautiful. we are working hard, finding new people, and discovering new parts of our area. all is well. 

much love to you all!! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 15th

a friendly reminder from a great band:
"Love will not betray, dismay, or enslave you. It will set you free to be more like the man you were meant to be."
I feel those lyrics come to life with the perspective that Christ has a pure and unchanging love for us. We have great potential, you and I; and it is all possible through Jesus Christ and His Atonement. 

yesterday was Independence Day for Guatemala, so it was fun having a chapina companion. we ate beans for lunch. unfortunately, Hermana De Leon has changes. i'm super sad because i have learned so much this change with her. she has been in this ward for almost 6 months, so this past week she wanted to say goodbye to all of the people she loves. last night some of the members from Columbia invited us over for dinner, and they made us Arepas. if heaven were food, it would be arepas.

i was able to meet a general authority this week, Elder Ochoa. he and his wife came on wednesday and held a multizone conference with the missionaries. as he first stood at the pulpit to begin his planned discourse, he stopped and said "lets just talk" and we ended up having a 4 hour open discussion on questions or doubts we had about missionary work. it was healing as he searched the scriptures and promised us blessings. it's funny how sometimes we forget to have an eternal perspective.

Hermana Carmack, President's wife, also taught a powerful lesson. President was standing beside her, translating her carefully prepared talk. at one moment, the Spirit entered the room with great power, and Hermana Carmack couldnt finish her sentence. Her and President began to weep together as they look out to all of us. I really felt the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. i truly do know God is real.

i love each of you, very much.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 10th - Walking In A Winter Wonderland

well, i had the privilege of going to the temple twice in the past week. the first time was far more special because we took our investigators, The Smith Family and Juan David, to walk around and meet Presidente Carmack. i don't exactly remember if i have mentioned the Smiths before, but they are amazing! about 6 months ago, they lost a baby girl, something very difficult for the entire family. as Presidente Carmack bore testimony of the power of eternal covenants, and that families can be sealed for all eternity, The Smiths began to cry. they were promised that they will be with their daughter again. i will never forget the intensity of the Spirit as we stood there in silence in front of the House of the Lord. Juan David is being baptized this saturday after he received a testimony of the divinity of God and the restoration of the gospel.
i had divisions with a sister from El Salvador last tuesday. her name is Hermana Montepeque and we had a lot of fun walking and teaching. we found a beautiful family of 6 who are looking forward to learning more about the gospel. we also found a woman named "Dosia" who, after we had left her with our names and number, she said "estoy esperando" which means i'm waiting. she had a big smile on her face and was extremely excited for our next visit.
there have been many small miracles this week that have come to pass through my personal scripture study. i hope one day i will have the chance to tell you all about the significant moments i have had on the mission that confirmed my feelings towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
i love you all. and i love this Gospel.

September 2nd - Septiembre

holy september.

some stories for this week.
on wednesday we went to visit an investigator at 11. she fed us lunch. then we had our lunch appointment at 1230. we ate  a mountain of rice. then at 4 other investigators gave us dinner. then we went to our dinner appointment at 630 to eat another heaping mountain of rice and meat. then at 8 we had an FHE with converts. they fed us a huge bowl of spaghetti. I WANTED TO DIE. Hna De Leon put her hand on her stomach and cried out "i think i'm pregnant!" i asked her how many months she had and she said "5 months... of rice and chicken!"
amen, sister.
saturday morning we were doing our morning studies. someone knocked on our door, which is rare. i went to the door, stuck my head out, and greeted a young man and woman. i instantly recognized who they were-- Jehova's Witnesses. they asked me what i read in the newspapers/saw on the news/etc. i stepped out from behind the door, revealing my shining nametag and said "i'm a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. i don't read the paper or watch tv. i am currently studying the scriptures to prepare to teach people about the restored gospel." they were both stunned and instantly found a way to leave. Hna De Leon was laughing at the study table as i shut the door. it made me sad to reject them, because we dont like it when we're rejected. but it was so funny that the J-Dubs contacted us.
we've been working with a returned missionary named Marcos who is inactive. he served in Guatemala 8 years ago, and hasn't been to church since he got home. but yesterday he came to church! it was so good to see him there, hugging the members who have missed him, and singing the hymns loud and proud. he will be helping us to teach our investigators this week.
i love the scriptures, and i know they are treasures of knowledge. i know that covenants is the way Heavenly Father shows His love for us. i know accountability is the way we show our love for Heavenly Father.

i love you all. happy fall!

August 26th

Happy Birthday to Sam Walton! Thanks for introducing me to the gospel, Sam. And happy birthday to Myles Hamm, too!

This week we spent some time with Sandra and her husband Felix. We were able to give them a Book of Mormon, and we hope that they will continue to read and pray like they have been doing.
I had interviews with Presidente Carmack this past week, and he said things that helped me know that he truly was called  by God to be my mission president. He, just like the rest of us, is doing his best to follow the Holy Ghost and pray for help each step of the way. He is very humble and very caring. I'm in good hands!

I had divisions with a gringa named Hermana Squire on tuesday. We walked an eternity to teach a family. They were very special, and we had the privilege to invite them to be baptized. They are excited and actively preparing to receieve those blessings!
I drew a lot of strength from Nephi this week. I love 1 Nephi 17. verses 50-51 really stood out to me. "I know that if God commanded me to do all things, I could do them. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me?" I have come to learn that if we are 1. worthy to have the Spirit, and 2. humble enough to listen when he speaks, we too may be instructed by God to do all that He asks of us.
I love you guys. Good luck starting school this week!

August 19th - Lomas

"The gospel is all about bringing together the people we love." - Joseph Smith
Someone once told me that after every rainy day the sun would shine. How true and applicable that is in Panama! This week we discovered some new parts of our area, but with tons of hills. We returned home every night just exhausted, but happy. One day, we were trying to get a bus back to our neighborhood, and waited for 45 minutes. Finally i saw the bus coming! But as i took my eyes off the approaching bus, i looked accross the street. A woman was staring at me, with a look in her eyes that she had been waiting for me. I smiled and waved, but she just kept staring and waitng. I said to Hna De Leon, "we have to go over there." We looked at the bus, shrugged our shoulders, and ran over to the woman. As we got to know her, Sandra told us about how she had passed our church in Cardenas. We explained to her that its the temple, and how it differs from a chapel. She smiled and asked "When can i go!?" We are excited to return this week and teach her the steps she can take to enter the temple. I learned that sometimes we have to take our eyes off of the things that we want, step out of our comfort zone, and help the people who are waiting for this gospel.
Tomorrow i hit my 6 month mark in the mission. Wow! Time sure is flying. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity to be serving the Lord. I hope each of you has the opportunity to learn more about this Gospel, because not a day goes by that i don't than Heavenly Father for the chance I had! I know this church is truly the restored church of Jesus Christ, and that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet who receives revelation to bless us and guide us in these latter days. I love you all.
-Hna Bond

August 12 - Arraijan

Greetings from my 3rd area-- Arraiján. This is my 3rd time opening an area, and I can't help but wonder if maybe this is one of my purposes in the mission. I am in a ward, not a branch, and the people were SO kind to me yesterday. I had a moment of "hey i might be getting good at spanish!" when the bishop asked me to come up and bear my testimony during sacrament meeting. Without hesitation or fear, i got up and articulated my feelings about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It felt good. I was very grateful for the progress i've made in the past 5.5 months.

My new companion is Hermana De Leon from the capital of Guatemala. She is 24, mature, and loves dancing just as much as i do. This is her first time opening an area, so it's been an humbling experience to try to teach her everything i've learned. 
Some great news is that most people here cook their rice with coconut, so i can't eat it! Woo hooo! That's an answer to prayers. 

I am now in a combined zone and there are 26 missionaries in it. Crazy! Thats more than double of what was in my last zone. But there are 6 of us from my last zone in this zone; we all just moved together! 
We met a woman named Maria this past week. She is incedible. We had a powerful lesson with her about how the restored gospel can bless her family. As i looked into her eyes i felt that special connection that told me that i have known her before. We also taught a family who took a look at the picture of the First Vision and they said "we want to know more". The father of the family called us last night after church and explained how he got called into work for the next week, but wanted to make sure that we were coming back to teach his family.

Things are moving along. We pray, and pray, and pray some more; that we can listen closely to the Spirit and be guided to teach the people who need the gospel.
I love you all!