August 23, 2016


Mi Familia y Amigos, 

Wow this week was just... wow. There were a lot of crazy things that happened... but there's not enough time to explain it all... so the moral of the story is that I was extremely humbled. I guess it began with Adan. Adan is a less active that one of the members introduced us to. He lives in a "house" that has no electricity, no running water, no kitchen, no bathroom, no nada. It's basically four walls, a tin roof, and a matress on the floor. He is extremely poor to say the least. Sunday night La Familia Lezcano invited him to come to their house to eat dinner and talk with us for a little bit... it nearly broke my heart. We were talking and he told us about his struggles, the things that have happened, and the fact that he is still alive is a miracle. An absolute miracle. He has little education and doesn't understand much about the Gospel, but he has a lot of faith. He told us that one day he was praying because he didn't have any money for food and he hadn't eaten in almost two days... when he said "Amen", there was a chicken right in front of him that he caught and ate. He told us that because of that, he knows that God is real. Wow. When he was talking, I was just filled with so much, I don't know, Guilt, for all that I have. For my petty wants that I classify as needs. For the things that I used to think were so important. But I am also so grateful. So grateful that my family is together, that we have a home, that my parents can provide for us, that we have the gospel in our lives, that we are sealed in the temple, that I know my Lord and Savior, and that I have this chance to preach the Gospel and meet so many wonderful people. We have been so blessed... and we don't even see it. We can't truly comprehend everthing that the Lord has done for us. But how grateful I am that he loves us enough to bless us despite that fact. The only thing that he asks us to do in return it to keep the commandments. That's it. I'm reminded of when in the New Testament when Christ is talking to Peter, and asks him 3 times, "Peter, do you love me?", when Peter responds affirmative for the third time he states, "Then feed my sheep". Maybe we don't have the means to support every person in need, maybe we can't change everyone's physical circumstances... but we can share the Gospel. We can feed the sheep. We can smile at the people who are walking down the street with a frown. We can visit the less active that we haven't seen in church for a while. We can make dinner for someone who's sick. We can give REFERENCES TO THE MISSIONARIES of people who we know need help. We can follow the example of the Savior, and just show love. I learned a lot this week, and again, I can't express how blessed I feel to be here. It hurts sometimes, and it's really hard, but it is the best experience I've ever had. I'm so grateful for my Heavenly Father, and my Savior Jesus Christ. What a priviledge it is to preach in his name. Help someone in need this week, not for me, but for him. I promise your week will be 100000000% better. I love you all and I am so grateful for your love and support!! Have a fabulous week!! 

Hermana Van Deusen  

August 15, 2016

La Restauracion

Mi Familia y Amigos!

This week was incredible! It was so cool. We taught two very distinct lessons about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Two lessons that changed my mission. Let me start with Isabel. Isabel was an LPE that Hermana Peralta and I did about 2 weeks back. She was really positive and let us right in, and we did "how to begin teaching" to recognize any needs that would dictate which lesson to start with. It was nice, we had a good chat, and we went on our way feeling like the Restoration was A-Okay to start with. Well changes happened and kind of made things crazy... so we didn't have to chance to return until this week. WELL, it was fabulous. Normally we like to split the Restoration into two parts so as not to throw too much information at the investigator at one time, and to explain slowly as to allow them to understand better. With Isabel it was not like that. She was so prepared, so ready to hear this message. We shared it all in one lesson, and we could see in her face that she UNDERSTOOD. She felt it. She knew it. The spirit was undeniable. And after the lesson she told us, "my whole life I felt like something was missing... and I think this might be it." We left that lesson in tears. 

The second sister is named Maria. She is an elderly woman that has invited the missionaries into her home for the past ten years. We have visited with her a few times, but had never shared an actual lesson. Well we went to her home on Wednesday and asked her, "Hermana Maria, do you want to be baptized?" and her immediate response was, "Oh Hermanas, I've wanted that for the past 10 years". Again, we left the lesson in tears. We came back the following day and taught her the Restoration again, kind of as a refresher. When we were talking about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon I asked her, "Hermana, do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true"... her answer hit me. She said, "Hermanas, everything we know comes from books. And all books are written by men. I know this book is true, because it wasn't written because no man could write it." ... wow. Absolutely incredible. The only thing stopping Maria from being baptized is her husband... he's catholic, and thus so is his family. I made her a promise that in two weeks, her husband would let her be baptized. As soon as I said the words I was like... Uhhhh, should I have said that?? But I have already seen the Lord's hand in making that promise come to pass. How incredible it is to be a missionary. 

My testimony of the Restoration was fortified this week. I TESTIFY that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he restored the church that Christ established, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is the most correct of any book. I KNOW that these things are true, I FEEL it with everything that I am. And I can't believe that the Lord has given me the opportunity to help other people realize that same fact. What an absolute blessing it is to be here. I love you all!! I miss you all!!! And I hope this week is wonderful for you all!!! Keep your chin up, and remember who you are. 

Hermana Van Deusen

August 8, 2016

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Well this week was full of changes and craziness! Like I said last week, my companion Hermana Peralta se fue.... tears were shed. She was a wonderful trainer and our 2 cambios together were so much fun!!! But with every ending starts a new beginning... My new companion is Hermana Espinal!  She is from Honduras, speaks 0 English, and has about 2 weeks more than me in the mission. We actually go home on the same day haha. So with that, we are both pretty new and ready to work. I was pretty nervous to be the "guide" of the area and take the lead for the first little bit.... but so far so good. We've only gotten lost like 19 times.... success. Haha... but no she is really great and we are learning a lot together. This week we had a decent amount of lessons, and met some AMAZING people that we are REALLY excited to start teaching. AND We had another baptism yesterday! His name is Ariel, he's 12 years old, and he is pretty awesome. He's already attented church 5 times (he hasn't missed one Sunday since we started teaching him). His baptism was crazy because my companion and I didn't really know what we were doing and it was lightweight chaotic...BUT the spirit that was felt when Ariel came up out of the water was undeniable. There is no way to explain how precious a moment it is to see someone you have grown to love take that step and be baptized. It is incredible. I've only had the privilidge of being a part of that process 3 times... But every time is more powerful than the last. How grateful I am to be a missionary!!!!!!!! These 4.5 months have changed my life, and I can't wait to see what the next 13.5 bring. I'm so grateful for all of you and your support!! I love you all and I hope you have a fabulous week!!! 

Hermana Van Deusen

I have a ton of pictures to send.... BUT this computer is old and won't let me... Fingers crossed that next week I get a good computer!! 

August 1, 2016

Another Change Down...

Mi Familia y Amigos! 

Another week has passed....and another cambio too!! 3 Months in Panama!! Crazy!! AAANNNNNDDDDD... I just found out that my dear companion is leaving me. Sad, sad day. We thought that she was going to stay because she only has one change left..... but the Lord had other plans. AHHH, my heart is broken!! But it's all good, and I know it's for a wise purpose. She's been called to be Hermana Lider and open a new area about 5 hours from here. I still don't know who my new comp will be or any of that... It's a little crazy right now to be honest and my mind isn't really here... so this email will be short... 

BUT we had a baptism Saturday! Our dear sweet investigator Diana was baptized, and it was awesome!! To see her face when she came up out of the water was the coolest thing ever. What a blessing it is to be apart of this work and to be able to see the changes in these people. But the coolest thing is that we have the opportunity to renew these convenants that we have made each and every Sunday when we partake of the Sacrament. What a tender, merciful Lord that we have. The Gospel is wonderful!!!!!!!!!!! 

Well... that's about it!! But I love you all and I hope this week is absolutely fabulous!! 

Hermana Van Deusen

I have pictures but the computer is being dumb... next week!