November 29, 2016

God Is Real!

Mi Familia y Amigos,

 Well this week was Suuuuuuuperb!! Wednesday we found an American family while contacting, and I put on my best smile and got us invited over for thanksgiving dinner!! It was a lot of fun and, although it wasn't the same as back home, it was a beautiful day! The turkey was delicious! The weather here has been crazy because of the Hurricane that is passing by Central America.... lots of storms but nothing too severe has hit Panama. Two people in our neighborhood died though because of a mudslide that totally destroyed their house. It was super sad... thankfully it was the next street over and our house didn't receive any damage. It was a reminder that anything can happen at any time. No baptisms this week, but we are PRAYING that one of our investigators follows through with his baptismal date set for next week. We will see what happens!!

 So this week we found an atheist, which like, never happens in Panama.... everyone believes in God here, it was such a shock to walk up to her door and find her yelling "I'm not a believer!!". It was a crazy experience, but what a wonderful opportunity it was to testify of such a basic truth. God is real. As we were talking with her, the scripture in Alma 30:44 came to my mind. There is so much evidence. There is so much proof that God not only exists, but is our father. That he loves us. It's all around. She asked us how we could possibly believe in God.... it made me think for a second. Why do I believe?

 The answer is mine to keep. In that moment, the only thing that I could think was, "How can you not?". I testify that God is real. I testify that he is my Father in Heaven. I know this church is true. I'm grateful for the scriptures that help me to grow closer to him. I am a believer!

 I love you all, so very very much.

 Hermana Van Deusen

November 21, 2016

3 Nephi 9:13-14

Mi Familia y Amigos,

 Time is flying and I do not like it. I feel like I just wrote you all yesterady, and now I´m here again! I´m so happy to be able to talk with you all again pero aye a la vida, mi mision esta pasanda demasiado rapido.... Yeesh.

 This week we had a mission tour, and Elder Alonso from the 70 came and whipped us into shape!! He is now one of my favorite General Authorities! It´s such a blessing to have so many servants of the Lord come and speak with us in such a short amount of time. I rarely feel the spirit stronger than I do when they walk in the room and we all stand. They are truly men called of God.

 I learned many things from Elder Alonso about the Plan of Salvation and missionary work in general, but I´ll save that for another day because today I feel super duper extraordinarily mind-blowingly grateful for the Book of Mormon. As a mission, we started reading the Book of Mormon about 4-5 months ago... and we finished last week!!!!!! It was so beautiful. I learned so much, and I realized how VERY much I still have to learn. At the conference, we were given the chance to share our testimonies about a few verses that grew our faith during the reading challenge. I knew immediately the scripture I would share.... 3 Nephi 9:13-14,

 "O ye that are spared because ye are more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, 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."

 I know that I have shared that scripture with you all before, but it's because it's my favorite in all the book of Mormon. When I read these verses last month, I understood what the leaders of the church meant when they said that the Book of Mormon is the best way to come to know Christ. Because when he said those words, when I read those verses, it all clicked. I felt his love for me. I saw his character. He wants to heal me, he wants to support me. He knows me. I have met my Savior.

 I testify that the Book of Mormon is true. I know it!!!!!!! PLEASE read it. Don't let a day pass by without opening it up. I know that the promises of the Book of Mormon are real and true. I know that if I read it diligently, I will never forget my faith. This is the truth.

 I love and miss you all!!! Have a FANTASTIC week!

 Hermana Van Deusen

November 14, 2016

Alma 37: 38-46

Mi Familia y Amigos,

This week has been a week of miracles!! We had a lot of success, we found people that ae ready and prepared for the restored gospel, and I can't wait to see what happens with them!! As much as I would love to be able to say that it was because of us, this week's success was due to faithful missionaries, members, and investigators who followed very specific promptings during the week. One sister missionary was walking down the street and passed by a woman waiting for the bus. She felt the need to go back, and she contacted a woman who lives in our area... She and her whole family are now reading the Book of Mormon!! A member in our bishopric told us about a part member family in our ward while we were eating dinner at his house, and said "You might be the missionaries to convince them"... The mom of that family is getting baptized!! That same sister gave us the names of three families that live by her that she thought would like to hear the message of the gospel.... We now have three new families investigating the church!! It's been one of the best weeks of my mission, and it's all because others had the courage to open their mouths and say the words that the spirit wanted them to say. Each one of these things are small and simple acts... but they are small and simple acts of faith. The sister missionary turned around, the brother opened his mouth, and the investigator gave us a name. But look at the miracles!! Look at the consequences!! They are beautiful, and I can't express my gratitude for their actions.

I invite you all to read Alma 37: 38-46. Miracles are brought to pass by small and simple means, we can't be lazy in following the promptings we receive or acting upon the knowledge we obtain. We need to listen, we need to act, and then, if we pay enought attention, we will see just how much the Lord has and will bless us. As it states in the last part of verse 46: "The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever". I testify of that fact!!

I love and miss you all, and I'm so grateful for your support and examples.

Horrah for Israel!!

Hermana Van Deusen

And hey... Thanks everyone for the letters and love! I got everything all at once this week... the smile didn't leave my face haha

November 7, 2016

Ten Animo

D&C 123: 16-17

"You know brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

These past few days in my area have been really hard, like REALLY hard. This week is a week of holidays here in Panama... And you know what that means??!! That means that everyone is drinking and partying, and the last thing they want to do is listen to a message from the Mormon missionaries. And guess what I am?! A mormon missionary. Can you see the problem?? Needless to say, we weren't having very much success. All the appointments fell through, nobody was answering the phone, and it was just a mess of a week. BUT we had a miracle! We were contacting a street in a neighborhood on the outskirts of our area. We were going along and NOBODY wanted to let us in. Typical. It was discouraging, but as we were walking along I kept thinking about the talk by President Uchtdorf "4th floor, last door"... so we kept going...until the very last house. We knocked on the last door, and a rough, half dressed man walked out. He asked us what we wanted, and we told him that we are missionaries and we would like to offer a prayer for his home. His entire countenance changed. He said "Of Course!!!" with a big smile. We said the prayer, and then started to talk a little bit with him. All of a sudden he said, "Sisters, I want you to know something. You are important! You are doing a great job. You are working for the Lord, don't ever forget that. Be happy, keep going... don't forget why you're here. Tengan animo!". And then he asked if he could say a prayer for US. It was the first time on my mission that that has happened. He said exactly what we needed to hear, exactly when we needed to hear it, and left us with a spirit of peace and gratitude. The Lord spoke to us in an unexpected way that day. And how grateful I am for that.

All of us are going to have days when things just don't go the way we want them to. We are going to have problems, trials, and sorrows. Some days we are just going to want to go back to bed and hide from it all. But we can't forget, we can never forget, that our Savior has felt it all too. He knows. He knows exactly how you feel. And yet, in every instance, he begs us to "be of good cheer". He's the only person in the world who has the right to say that to everyone. I love you all sooooooo much! And our Savior loves you even more.... REMEMBER THAT. Make this week a fabulous one.


Hermana Van Deusen

Picture: mistep.