December 19, 2016

Perseverar Hasta El Fin

Mi Familia y Amigos,

This week was just... wow. Another week of miracles, and experiences that truly taught me what it means to be humble. As a mission, we are studying the Doctrine of Christ, and this week our principle was Endure to the End...well Friday we met a woman who defines exactly what that means. Her name is Nuria, she´s been a member for about 4 years but right now is inactive. The unique thing about Nuria is that she is paralyzed. About 3 years ago she had a stroke that left her completely disabled. She couldn´t talk, she couldn´t walk... and she was left to take care of her 12 year old daughter alone. No husband, no family close by, and a mountain of difficulties. As we talked with her, she told us her story. After her stroke she couldn´t work, and thus had no income.... She shared with us how there had been more than one occassion in that she and her daughter came close to starving to death. One day they were so hungry that they had to eat DOG FOOD because there was nothing else, and no money to buy anything, but she testified of the miracle that it was that she had something to sustain her that night. She told us how for 6 months she hasn´t been able to pay for the pills that the doctors prescriped, but then explained that God is strengthening her now more than ever before. She told us that the doctors told her that she would never walk or talk again, but she smiled and said ¨But I put my trust in the Lord and look at how I am now!¨ It literally brought me to tears to hear her words. I have never met anyone so humble. So completely humble. I looked at this woman, barely able to walk, living in a tiny, dirty house made of blocks, telling us about some of the MANY challenges she has had, and doing it all with a smile on her face! She testified of the power of prayer with so much conviction, that the spirit was palpable! She told us that a few weeks ago she had prayed to Heavenly Father that he would send her his angles, and then we showed up. She said that our visit was a testimony to her that he listens.

It was such an amazing thing to see. I´m happy to report that we called some members on Sunday, and after 10 long months, that Sister was finally able to take the Sacrament. I felt so grateful and humbled at the fact that she called us her angels, even though we had done nothing but read a few verses from the scriptures with her. She has endurance, and I KNOW that she will receive a DIVINE reward for her stamina.

As part of my studies, I found a scripture in 3 Nephi 15:9... I encourage you all to read it, and think about how we can "look unto (the Savior)". As I pondered this scripture, I realized the power of a "look". For example, when a woman is giving birth, she looks to her husband and draws the strength from the nervious/excited expression on his face. When a child is doing a school play, they are nervious until they look at their parents and see them smiling with a thumbs up. When a Grandparent is in the hospital, the smiling look of their loved one's brings them that inner peace that everything will be alright. Their is power in a look. So how much stronger are we, how much more confidence we will have, if we "look" at the Savior. If we open our eyes to see him. THAT is what gives us the strength to endure to the end. THAT is what supports us on this path to eternal life. It's him! It is always him.

I'm sorry this email is so long, but it was a great week! I love you all so very very much, and I hope that your CHRISTMAS is absolutely fabulous! Remember who it's all about.


Hermana Van Deusen

"Christmas" apparently means "EVERYBODY PAINT YOUR HOUSE" here in Panama haha

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