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

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