May 30, 2016

Week 3 - Panama

Mi Familia y Amigos!!

What an amazing week this has been.... I feel like I say that every week.... But that´s just because being a missionary is so cool(; I'm having so much fun... but I'm also learning so much at the same time. Which, when you think about it, makes sense... when we come to learn and except the gospel, we can't help but be happy! We are SO lucky to have the knowledge that we do. I really learned that this week. It was funny because we were in one of the farther parts of our area, and we had two lessons scheduled. The first lesson was, quite frankly, awful. The daughter of our investigator was there, and she had done some "research" about Mormons online... needless to say she felt the need to put us in our place... The spirit was not there and it was really, really sad. We just bore our testimonies, invited her to read the Book of Mormon, and left. As we were walking to our next appointment, my companion simply said, "I'm glad I know the truth". Our next lesson was the exact opposite. It was with one of my favorite investigators named Nelly. She is a little bit older, and we've taught her about 4 times. She has a baptism date for next week, and she is progressing so well. It was an amazing lesson. I started off by asking her "Why do you want to be baptized?" In that moment her eyes got a little glossy, and she bore a powerful testimony about the Savior and her desire to follow him. Wow. What a contrast between these two lessons. In that moment I realized the blessing that it is to have our testimonies, to know that Salvation is possible through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. But the thing is... we have to work at it. Nelly keeps every single one of our commitments, she is constantly trying to learn more. Therein lies the question... are we doing everything we can to strengthen our testimonies?  Do we realize what a blessing it is to have a knowledge of this wonderful gospel?? The Lord is waiting to teach us more... we just have to put in the effort. I am so, so grateful to be a missionary. I can't physically express what a wonderful experience this has been for me thus far... and I've only been serving 2 months!! I am eternally grateful to have the knowledge that I do, that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer, and that I can do all things through his Atonement. "Oh how sweet the joy this sentence gives, I know that My Redeemer Lives!!" I love you all and I hope you have an awesome week!! Remember who you represent!

Hermana Van Deusen

This week was a holiday for Panama... I can't remember what its called, but the stake had a dance party and it was awesome!!! I love Panama!!

May 23, 2016

Week 2

Hola Familia y Amigos!!

What a crazy, amazing week. I love Panama so much... it is seriously my favorite place on earth! It is so beautiful and the people are wonderful. This week was a lot of fun... we did a LOT of traveling. On Friday we had to go to Panama City so I could get all of my migration stuff done... We left at 10 pm and arrived at 4:30 am, and then waited for 2 hours for the office to open. To make a long story short... We didn't leave until 12 pm. The DMV has nothing on Panama Migrations. But it was a lot of fun to see all of the other missionaries and to enjoy the city for a little bit... it is so different from David! After migrations my comp and I went to the Temple. WOW. The Panama City temple is gorgeous, and doing a session in Spanish was a really cool experience. I love the fact that we can feel the spirit despite the language we are hearing, because the language of the spirit is universal! 

We also were able to go to Boquete today which was awesome... its about 40 minutes outside of my area, and its more in the mountains and a little bit cooler. AWESOME. We went to the Jungle! Literally... a place called the jungle(; It was like a petting zoo but they had a baby porcupine, monkeys, and parrots!! I love Panama!! 

On a more spiritual note, this week was a good week for the work. We have 4 people on date for baptism and we are trying really hard to make sure they are prepared for their dates. Spanish is coming along... I am really trying to just open my mouth more and trust in the Lord. My spanish is far from perfect, but He knows who he wants in his church, I just have to trust that he won't let me mess that up(; I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be apart of this wonderful work. This church is TRUE!! What a blessing it is to have that knowledge. Jesus Christ is our Savior, he is always there! We always have someone cheering us on!! What comfort that can bring. I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week!! 

Hermana Van Deusen

May 16, 2016

Panama - Week One

Mi Familia y Amigos!!

I'm here!! In Panama!! I can hardly believe it! It has been a crazy 5 days to say the least. I LOVE PANAMA. My area is right outside of the city David... its a really large, poor area and the people are very calm and go with the flow. My trainer is amazing. Her name is Hermana Peralta and basically I love her to death.... she is a really hard worker, and we have so much fun together! She is from Mexico, but she speaks a decent amount of English so we are able to communicate pretty well. I feel really blessed to have her as a companion, I am learning so much(: Our house is a pretty typical house for Panama... but it is completely different from the US. All of the houses here are made of cinderblocks and have concrete floors.... I'll try to figure out how to send pictures haha. But it's not too bad other than the fact that we live with a bat who likes to make an appearance every now and then haha.... we will be having companionship study and all of a sudden it's duck and cover because the bat swoops in. Panama. Here in Panama I am what they call a "gringa" (white girl) and it's quite funny because people will stop and stare, and everyone we walk up to wants to talk to me in English. It's actually a pretty good ice breaker to be honest(: But it is a different experience to be sure. The mosquitos have no mercy. I counted this morning a total of 114 on my legs.... Killer. But like I said I love it here.... the people are amazing. The other night we had dinner at a less active family's house... and it was a really cool experience. It was amazing to me because we sat in this house that only had a dirt floor and two chairs, and ate rice and chicken because that's all the family could afford... and we had so much fun! Their little boy came up to me and showed me his collection of water bottle caps, and we sat there and played a counting game with them for a good 30 minutes. We just sat their and talked, and they were helping me with my spanish, and we were just enjoying each others company. It was humbling! Panama is amazing. Sometimes it is so hard to be here, because my spanish is aweful and life here is so different... but then I have an experience like that and I remember that this is not about me. This is the work of the Savior, I am his representative. I feel so blessed to be able to witness the change in a persons face when Holy Ghost testifies to them that he is their Savior and that this is his Gospel. It is a privilidge to be apart of this work! I don't have a lot of time... but I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week!! Remember who you are. 

Hermana Van Deusen

May 7, 2016


Mi familia y amigos,

I LEAVE FOR PANAMA IN 2.5 DAYS!!! AHHHHHH!! I can't to begin to express my excitement!! Needless to say... I'm excited!! These past six weeks have been hard, but also amazing... and I know that that will be even more true of the field. 

This week showed me just how much I have changed while being here. My companion and I are the STL (Sister Training Leaders) of our zone, and because of this we conducted some interviews this week with the Hermanas from our new district. What a blessing they are to this work! While I was asking them questions like why they decided to serve and what they have learned from their first week... I could see myself in them, and it made me realize how much stronger I have become in my conversion to the Lord. The MTC is a holy place. It is hard and it is difficult, and sometimes I just don't want to be here... but I testify that this place is a place of the Lord. Angels walk these halls. This is a place of learning, growth, and preparation... and I am eternally grateful for my experiences here. 

A big thing that happened this week was I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON!! It was my zones goal to read 15 pages a day to finish the book before we left the MTC... and I did it!! I am so grateful for this experience. I testify that that Book is the Word of God. It is true. It has power. It is evidence. It is how we can find peace as we search it's words and come unto Christ. El Libro de Mormon es verdadero.

Yo testifico que esta iglesia es la iglesia de Jesucristo. Yo se que cuando nosostros pidamos a Dios para ayudar.... nosotros recibiremos.  El libro de mormon es la palabra de Dios, y es una guia para nosotros a volver a Dios. Esta iglesia es verdadera. Dios le ama. Yo le amo. Tengan una buena semana!

Hermana Van Deusen

May 1, 2016

MTC - Week 5 Already?!

Mi familia y amigos,

I cannot believe that I have been here for a month!! PUES, I actually can... but still time is flying! What a week it has been!! To start off, on Tuesday Elder Dallin H. Oaks came for our devotional! It was amazing. He walked in the door and BOOM. Spirit. It was such a testimony builder for me that the apostles on the earth today are men of God, who have been called by him. What a blessing to be able to hear him speak in person! His opening line was profound, and started the devotional off perfectly. He said, "This is not your mission. It is the Lord's." He then proceeded to talk about how important it is to forget ourselves and become an instrument in the Lord's hand. It was amazing!! This mission is not about me, it is about the people the Lord has been preparing for years to hear the gospel. I am just blessed enough to be able to witness his hand in their conversion process. Oh how I love this work!

On Wednesday we had an amazing class lesson with my teacher Hermana Russell. She is basically the best teacher at the MTC... and my district would know... we have had 12 so far!! But in all seriousness it was amazing. We were reading in 3 Nefi.. and there were two verses that really stuck out to me. It was 3 Nefi 9:13-14. In these verses, Christ is speaking to the Nephites when he says "O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous then they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yeah, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." Oh how I love that scripture! Christ is literally begging us to come unto him, so that he can heal us! He wants to make us feel better, he wants to protect us. He is pleading for us to take advantage of his sacrifice so that we can receive happiness. Oh how I love my Savior. I invite you all to Come unto Christ this week by reading the Book of Mormon a little bit each day. I promise you that as you do so, you will feel the love of Christ, for the scriptures truly are the words of the Lord. 

I don't have much more time... but I GOT MY TRAVEL ITINERARY!! 10 more days and I will be on my way to Panamá!!! Me and the two elders in my district are the only ones going to Panamá from this MTC, and we leave at 4:50 AM...yeesh! But I am so excited!! It is all becoming so real... this is my last week here!! Muy loco! I am nervous and a little scared, but I have faith that through the Atonement I can do all things. Yo puedo hacerlo! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!! 

Hermana Van Deusen