June 29, 2016

Week 7

Familia y Amigos,

This week was absolutely fantastic!! Dario got baptized!!! What a blessing!! So I haven't really talked about Dario that much so let me fill you in... He's a 13 year old boy that we have been teaching for about 6 weeks. He's really cool and I just love him!  With all of the other investigators I get nervous about my Spanish and how to word things right and all that jazz, but with him it's so simple and comfortable, which in it's own way has helped me to realize what it means to teach/be a missionary. His conversion has been really fast, and it's really amazing to see such dedication in someone so young. His baptism was so special. The room was full of members that came in support, and I can honestly say that I've never been so happy for someone else in my entire life. The joy that comes from seeing someone make a change and accept the gospel, is something that can't be explained, only experienced. What a blessing it is that the Lord let's us witness these beautiful events... this is truly his work!! So yes, a wonderful week it was for me! 

I don't have much time today, so I will leave you with that!! I love and miss you all so very, very much. Thank you for your love and support... it means the world!! Have a wonderful week! Remember who you are. 


Hermana Van Deusen 

A little more from another letter:

...I've consumed more ants than I thought possible. We had dinner one night with a sister... and the bread she gave use was COVERED in ants.... and we ate it. Because we are missionaries. And that is what we do. Also I ate cow tongue last week. It's not good. 

...Life is great!! Oh changes!! My companion stayed (tender mercy), but my district completely changed. They shut down our district leaders area, so the whole zone got mixed around. So instead of three districts we now have two, so we are with completely new people. But it's all good... I love my zone and the people in it!! And six more weeks with my comp so yay!! 

June 21, 2016

Week 6

Mi Familia y Amigos!! 

Well this week was much, much better!! My companion and I are still sad about Nelly of course, but we have visited her a couple times since then, and I am confident that she will be baptized soon!! HOPEFULLY this change! Speaking of which, I've completed one whole change!! Woo Hoo!! Six weeks in the field!! I can hardly believe it... six weeks flew by. Time flies when you're having fun though, right?! Well, there isn't much to report. We have a baptism coming up! Saturday Dario, a 13 year old investigator we started teaching my first week here, will be baptized!! He passed his interview and is all set!! I am really excited for him, it's so cool to see kids that young have a true desire to follow their Savior and be baptized. It's inspiring! 

Well like I said, there's not much to report, so I'll share a scripture that really stuck out to me this week. The focus of my personal studies lately has been the power that Christ has to heal us. Physically, spiritually, the whole shabang. I was searching las escrituras, and I found the scripture mastery scripture Isaiah 53:3-5, 

"He is despised and rejected of men; man of sorrows,and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefsand carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God,and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressionshe was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." 

I love the last part of verse 5. With his stripes, we are healed. The Atonement of Jesus Christ was so selfless. So completely selfless. Every single thing that the Savior experienced was for us! For you! He is begging us to let him heal us. He already payed the price.... we just have to use the gift. But that's the thing, he won't force us to be healed. He is standing with his arms out stretched... we just have to come. Come unto Christ!! I can't emphasize this enough! I have met so many people throughout my life and my mission that are hurting, but they don't utilize the Atonement. They won't humble themselves enough to realize that EVERYONE needs help. EVERYONE needs to be healed. Don't be that person!! BE HEALED. The Lord wants to help you, trust him!! 
I don't mean to ramble, but I am so passionate about this particular subject!! I feel like I talk about it every week... but that's okay because I'm a missionary and that's what we do haha(: Invite others to Come unto Christ! Anyways, I love you all and I hope your week is absolutely marvelous!! Haz lo justo!! 
Hermana Van Deusen
Hey I took like 4 pictures this week... progress!! I ATE A COCONUT!! Check that off the bucket list!! 

June 16, 2016

Week 5

Familia y Amigos!

In all honesty this week was quite depressing... Our wonderful, amazing, golden investigator Nelly couldn´t be baptized. To make a long story short, she has a unique living situation with her ex-husband, and while she is living every commandment faithfully, our mission president said that she has to wait. Ouch. On Friday Nelly had her interview with our district leader, and passed with flying colors, but we warned her that we were going to have to ask about the living situation just to verify that all was well. So all of Friday night my companion and I were anxiously awaiting the call from President Carmack, and the news was not good. He had to confirm with the Area presidency as well because it was such a unique situation, but the verdict came back as "no". Worst day ever. My companion and I called her and told her that we would be stopping by to talk with her about the answer, and she just asked "is it good or bad news"... All our hearts ached when we said "Bad". There were a lot of tears and a lot of questions... and just to sum it up this weekend was really, really sad. BUT here's the cool part. Despite the fact that she can't be baptized yet, despite the fact that she was hurt and her heart was broken, Nelly was at church on Sunday. She showed up on time, brought her entire family, and stayed for all three hours. That is what I call a convert. Her faith and trust in the Lord blows my mind, in a very humbling and amazing way. This week was so hard for my companion and I to deal with, and while it was undoubtably hard for Nelly as well, she remained faithful and strong, and taught my companion and I something in the process. Sometimes things happen that we don't expect, and can't understand. In those moments it is really easy to question "Why?"... but that's not the right question. The right question is "What?"... What does the Lord want me to learn from this? What can I do to follow the example of my Savior, and look outward? The Lord doesn't want us to suffer, he wants us to learn. So in those moments, Don't you DARE lose your faith. Our Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us, and it is perfect. Our Savior knows exactly how we feel, and we can overcome any and every difficulty through his Atonement. This gospel is true, it is perfect, and it is the only way we can return to our Father in Heaven. Don't lose your faith. Trust in the Lord!! 

Overall a tough week, but a good week of learning. My testimony has been strengthened, and I know that some day soon Nelly will enter into the waters of baptism and participate in the sacred ordinance. I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful, fantastic week!! Remember in whom you have trusted! 

Hermana Van Deusen

Sorry, I failed again with the pictures this week... but there's a couple more, so progress(: 

June 6, 2016

Week 4

Mi Familia y Amigos,

P-day Again??? I can't believe how fast time is flying... it's exciting but lightweight sad!! Almost a month here in Panama... AHHH! Incredible. There is not much to report, this week was really busy and to be honest it's all kind of a blur! Our zone is trying to prepare for our new presidente who's coming next cambio, so our goals are crazy high and we are working really, really hard. But to sum it up the work is progressing and we are meeting a lot of new people.. but there is just isn't enough time in the day!! But Awesome news, we have a baptism on Saturday!! I am so excited!! Nelly is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. She is what it means to be a convert! Her son is a member in a different stake and will be coming down to baptize her, and it's so cool to see how much she is looking forward to participating in this sacred ordinance with her son by her side. AHH, Saturday is coing to be a special day!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully all will go as planned...(: But that is about it. It's been a wonderful week as always! The people here are so wonderful, and I love them more than I can express!! Spanish is coming slowly but surely... some days I feel a little discouraged when I can't communicate in the way that I want to.... but then I just think about how far I've come and I feel better(: The Lord is always helping and strenghthening us.... we just have to take the time to take a step back and see it. There's not much else to say, so I thought I'd share a scripture. In Mosiah 2:41 we read,

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

This Gospel is happiness. That's what it's all about. When we follow the example of our Savior, when we keep the commandments and utilize the Atonement when we fall short of that, we are promised blessings that we can't even imagine. We will be blessed in every single aspect of our lives. We will obtain never-ending happiness IF we are faithful to the end. I mimic the words of Nephi, "Wherefore, let us be faithful to him" (1 Nephi 7:12). 

I love you all and I hope your week is fabulous!! Remember who you represent(:

Hermana Van Deusen

I got to the internet place and realized I took NO pictures this week... no time para nada. So here is a lovely picture of me and my companion walking to write emails! The humidity is doing wonders for my hair, I know(; Also, a cockroach we found in our house last week... Enjoy!!