Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After 8 Months

if i've learned one thing in the past 8 months its humility. i have learned
to fall to my knees and cry out "Thy will be done". this past week was when
Heavenly Father let me know He is pleased with my progress. after 8 months
in the mission, i had the pleasure to see the fruits of my labors. on
wednesday i woke up and dived straight into studying. i read a prophetic
promise that stated, "You dare not live for the moment; rather, you must
live for the eternities. Remember always that if you are obedient, you will
'have glory added upon your head for ever and ever'".
shortly after reading that, the phone buzzed with a message. it was Rodrigo
who said "what do you think about me getting baptized this saturday instead
of the 26th?" i immediately called my district leader, and we set up the
interview for friday. as we worked wednesday, i told hna rios that we were
going to ask a member to come with us to lessions in the afternoon. we
picked up hermana mendez from the ward, and she walked her entire
neighborhood with us. she bore powerful testimony to a few of her
neighbors, and taught me what it's like to love people through my words.
after a few hours with her, she said "hna bond, you know my son turned 8
yesterday? could he get baptized this saturday?"
i began to weep. as a zone of missionaries, we had placed a goal for 2
baptisms for every companionship in the zone. at the moment we set that
goal, i did not feel confident that i would be able to do my part. but, as
i learned more about humility, and applied my heart, mind, might, and
strength to the work, the Lord just provided the way! we set up Leo
Mendez's interview for friday as well.
the interviews went well, and everything was good to go. we talked to the
other sister missionaries in our wardon friday night and they shared with
us that a family i taught last change in their area was also getting
baptized saturday. i spent quite a while praying friday night, in complete
gratitude, for the way my Father has shown me His love.
saturday was the baptism, and a group of missionaries came to support us,
knowing that this would be my first. we sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" at
the service, and i was reminded that i truly do need my God's help every
step, every moment, every hour of this life. how beautiful are the ways He
displays His immense love for us!
saturday was also stake conference, and guess who came back! Elder Ochoa,
who i met last change, and who also spoke in General Conference. hna rios
and i sang in the stake choir, so i was sitting pretty close to Elder Ochoa
when the conference let out. he approached me and shook my hand (the
two-handed kind that i love) and looked me in the eyes. "sister bond,
you're different." "Elder, i had a baptism today. thank you for the counsel
you gave us in august. i did everything you said, and it worked!" "thank
you for changing your life. may God bless you always, sister, to be
obedient to the Lord's word." what a rich moment in my life.
after conference on sunday, we went to the bishop's house for dinner with
Rodrigo and some other families from the ward. Rodrigo, with tears in his
eyes, said "Bond, i want to tell you an experience God gave me today!" he
told me that after church, he was driving home, and he saw a family walking
on the side of the road, so he picked them up and offered to take them
home. they got in. the father of the family asked what church Rodrigo
attended, and he answered "i'm a mormon!" the father made a sigh and said
something along the lines of that Rodrigo had fallen into the routine and
was mistaken. Rodrigo thought for a moment and asked the man if he was a
member of the church. he said yes. and Rodrigo replied "if you really feel
that way its because you arent praying." i am so proud of him!! isn't that
cool? he is already having missionary experiences!
well, my heart is full, and i've never felt such desires to do what is
right. i know the revelation to Joseph Smith given in Doctrine and
Covenants 18:15 is true:
"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance
unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall
be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"
my heart longs for that joy, and i know that through humility and
diligence, i will be able to receive many more blessing that will be added
upon my head.

i love you

Friday, October 18, 2013

My miracle

i mentioned last week the investigator that showed up in his suit and tie
to conference. well, we went to visit him a few times this week to continue
teaching him. on wednesday we talked about general conference, and he asked
why they talked so much about repentance and enduring to the end. we
explained to him the gospel of Jesus Christ which is faith, repentance,
baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. he smiled and
said, "Bond, i was going to ask you sunday after the conference.... can i
get baptized?" i couldnt hold back tears as i told him yes, and testified
to him of the wonderful choice he was making. we set everything up, and he
is preparing to get baptized the 26th of this month.

yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, he leaned over and said "can
anyone give their testimony up there?" "yes, Rodrigo. why? are you going to
give yours?" "noooo! im too scared." well, five minutes passed, and he
leaned over again and said, "me voy!" and marched straight up to the front
of the chapel. he gave powerful testimony that he knew the organization of
the church was true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that Thomas S
Monson has given him words to follow the Savior Jesus Christ. he shed a
tear when at the end he said "i thank God for my new family in the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." it was probably one of the most
precious moments of my mission.

after church we went to the temple with Rodrigo, and a couple Segundo and
Elena who i taught last change with Hermana Squire in divisions. they will
be baptized this saturday. Elena told me as we looked up at the angel
Moroni, "Bond, will you come back in a year when we are sealed in the
templed?" the Spirit touched my heart in a way that i humbled myself and
said a silent prayer to my Father in Heaven. i realized i've been a little
hesitant and the poster child for "she of little faith" lately. i thanked
God for all of these miracles.

i'm a witness and living proof that miracles exist, and that the Lord has
HIS time for everything. i've waiting for 8 months to have experiences like
this on my mission, and every single day of contacting the streets of
panama under sunshine and rain has been worth the huge amount of blessings
i have received in the past week. i love the Lord and i love His work. i
love you all!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8th, 2013

i hope everyone had a wonderful conference weekend! i know i did!

on saturday we went to the stake center to watch conference and the stake president just didnt want to broadcast conference seperate for the gringos in english. i explained to him that conference is for EVERYONE not just for the people that can fluently understand. i asked him how he would feel if he went to the states and they didnt permit him to watch conference in his own language. he smiled and set up the broadcast for us. (sometimes my sassiness comes in handy.) so i had a great time with all of the other gringos as we listened to the voices of living prophets, apostles, and leaders of the church. the Spirit touched my heart many times as i listened carefully to the inspired words.
on sunday we were supposed to have a baptism, but the couple just didn't show up. instead of getting mad or sad, i said a prayer and asked that Heavenly Father would help them prepare for the time when was right for them to make eternal covenants with Him. a few moments later one of our investigators showed up in SUIT AND TIE with his Book of Mormon in hand. he looked so happy, and i was able to share my conversion story with him- that 2 years ago i watched conference for my first time and received my answer that this truly is the Lord's church restored to it's fulness. we are excited to teach him this coming week as he learns more about Christ's gospel.

we went to the temple today. i was able to see the Young family from Volcan that i grew very close to in my short time there. sweet Rachel gave me a big hug and kiss as we laughed and caught up. 

i want you guys to know that personal revelation is real. that even when we feel like we've done all we can, there's always one more thing to do before giving up. as we humble ourselves, search out the answers, and pray continually, i know that Heavenly Father is waiting with a reply. i have felt the Spirit too many times in my mission to deny the truthfulness of this gospel. i can honestly say that i know Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God, and that Christ Himself restored His gospel through that humble servant. i know that covenants are the way that God shows His love to His children, and that through those covenants we will learn how to walk back into the presence of that very Father of our spirits. i love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the true church of our living Savior.
and i love you all.

"...and the heavens have smiled upon her."

picture from the temple today with one of the elders from the office who just became my district leader. we will be leaving the same day next summer. he is from texas, but his family lives in mexico. since i still dont have a camera, i just jump in pictures and hope people send them to me haha