Monday, December 30, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

A year ago I had just found out I was going to serve in Panama, and I
thought it was the best Christmas gift I had ever been given. Now, here I
am, living and loving Panama, and I am certain that this is the new best

More than anything, this year I am grateful for my gifts of the Holy Ghost,
repentance, the Atonement, and courage to overcome. What wonderful, eternal
gifts that our Father in Heaven gives us on a daily basis! We don't need
Christmas to remember Christ. We only need humble hearts and willing minds
to remember Him in all we do and say.

Last week we had a mission Christmas party, and it was fun seeing mission
friends. Then I had immigrations on Thursday because turns out my visa was
denied, so i'm just here on tourist terms. Cool, huh? We had successful
divisions with the Hermanas from Las Tablas on Friday and Saturday, and I
learned a lot from serving those sisters. I got to know a relatively new
sister from Arkansas, Hermana Scott, who is just ten kinds of amazing. She
reminds me so much of myself when I started the mission.

Well, Merry Christmas, y'all. Enjoy these special days, and soak up the
Spirit of Christmas. Forgive the people you need to, forgive yourself, live
and learn from Christ, and UNDERSTAND the miracle of forgiveness and

I love you all!

HAPPY NEW YEAR - Dec 30, 2013

Christmas was perfectly panamanian! I was able to speak with my family, and
that was exactly what I needed. It was a wonderful week of singing, talking
to all the families outside of their houses, and sharing special moments
with members of the church. We had divisions in Penonome with the sisters
serving there. I was able to meet really special investigators and
less-actives that they are currently working with. One brother said, "You
two sisters must have months together!" Hermana Arana and I laughed and
said, "No we only have about 4 hours!" He replied, "Thank you for following
the prompting to come visit me. You have brought the Spirit to my home in a
way that I haven't felt in years." It's neat how the Lord places us exactly
where we need to be!

We found a wonderful family who, in the first visit, asked us for the Book
of Mormon so they can read it. All of the less actives we visited this past
week came to church! Gaete and I taught the gospel principles class
yesterday about repentance, and it was a heart-changing experience for me.
It amazes me that there are saints who WANT to actively participate in the
work of salvation. Please, do not miss your privilege! Find your role, take
your place, and fight for the eternal cause of happiness and JOY!
I am excited about this new year. There is so much we will witness and
experience in 2014, and I'm sure we will all learn and grow in ways we have
never expected. Life is beautiful!!

I hope you all have a safe holiday season, and that you kindle a new
dedication to follow our Savior.He lives! He loves us! His Church has been
restored in an incredible way! Seek Him. It is amazing how far He is
willing to come, and how far He has gone to make our journey possible,
bearable, and enjoyable. Think, ponder, pray-- your answers are awaiting
you on the wings of peace, consolation, and everlasting HOPE!

Paint the sky with your desires. Live your heart's song.

I love you all.

December 16

I testify that the Lord answers prayers in a way that will edify His kingdom on the earth. For quite some time now I have been praying that my weaknesses may become strengths, and that I can understand more fully what it means to come unto Christ and be changed in Him. I have been called to be a Sister Training Leader, which is the only leadership position (other than training) that we as sisters can have in the mission. I never saw it coming, and quite honestly I was overwhelmed when I saw my name in changes--
(z-ella is the nickname for the sister leaders)
So, here I am. In a new area that I know NOTHING about, with an amazing companion from Costa Rica, and doing divisions with 2 companionships every week to train and teach the 14 sisters in my zone. We also will teach 2 trainings each change, and solve any problems that arise between the sisters. We travel more, we participate more, and we fast and pray more. I have been so humbled to be in this position, and I dont think I've ever relied on the Spirit so much to tell me what to do.
I just want to tell y'all about the Spirit. He helps in every way you could imagine. I have been so extremely blessed on my mission to understand more fully His mission in my life, and the way I can more fully receive inspiration from Him. I feel as if the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest gift I have ever received in my life, and I am grateful for the moments where I must rely FULLY on His guidance.
With Christmas around the corner, I want you all to ponder the life of our Savior. I know He of humble birth came here to do the will of His Father. I know He lives again.The Spirit testifies to my heart that Christ knows me personally.
I love you all.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hermana Bondp! - December 14, 2013

I've got changes. I'll be in a new area with a new companion for Christmas.

Our zone made a tshirt and they misspelled my name. I'm now Hermana Bondp.

One of Rodrigo's neighbor's lost gold when a parrot flew into their house and ate it. The neighbor asked for Rodrigo's help and he said, "The only Person who can get your gold back is God!" So, he said a prayer and asked God to help him get the gold back. An hour later he was sitting in his house, and the parrot flew into his house, landed on his arm, and dropped the gold on his lap. He proudly marched back to his neighbor's house, and delivered the gold. 

On a lighter note, I used a pickaxe for the first time ever.

I was really inspired by 2 Nephi 28 this week.

The Bishop found out I had changes, and asked me to give a talk yesterday in church. Of course it was about missionary work, but I felt very inspired to take a different direction. I talked about Doctrine and Covenants 110, and how Elder Ochoa told us in Stake Conference that this is no longer "missionary work", but is now "the work of salvation". We have got to leave our doors and share this gospel. And if for whatever reason we cannot, we must do our part with our ancestors. This gospel is glorious. I am so grateful for each gift and grace my Father in Heaven has given me during these short months in Panama. 

I love you all!

I ALMOST FORGOT. Please remember the challenge given by President Packer about contacting one person before Christmas to share the gospel with! If you need ideas, you can look here!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, AGAIN! - December 2, 2013

*note from Haley - So sorry this one is late everyone! I was sick all week and forgot to post this one. :D

This coming Sunday is Mothers Day here, so HMD again! And happy December to all of you. What a special time of year.

Well, Hna Rios and I were SUPER sick all week, but we've bounced back and we're working hard again. Because we were sick we weren't able to go to the zone Thanksgiving, but we made up for it last night by cooking Thanksgiving dinner for Rodrigo. 

Yesterday was a great fast and testimony meeting. I find myself strengthened and uplifted every time I leave from a testimony meeting here. There is a sister in the ward that always gets up to give her testimony and says, "I know that God lives." and sits down. I love her. 

I went on divisions with Hermana Vasquez this week in her area, Burunga. We went to visit a less-active family with a daughter who wanted to get baptized on saturday. The father was indecisive and wasn't so sure that he wanted her to get baptized. I shared with him my experience from when I was baptized, and how my dad sat next to me that night and held my hand. After I got baptized my dad told me, "Michaela, I'm proud of you." Those words are most precious to me, because I could almost hear my Heavenly Father's voice echoing through my dad's. I told Yerania's dad that if he couldnt pray about whether or not it was a good idea for her to get baptized, to atleast pray for the courage to sit by her daughter the night of her baptism. Saturday rolled around, and Yerania got baptized. And her father came. 
I just realized I don't have much more to say. We do all of the same things every week. The experiences, people, and neighborhoods just change. But, we push forward and do our best. 

I love you all.