Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 Simple Formula

Hey everyone!

We had another great week here in the trio! There is never a dull moment. Elder Smith and Elder Gleed are great companions.We had a neat experience meeting and teaching this girl named Carolyn this week. She was just walking her dog and we approached her and started talking with her. Not too long into our conversation we recognized some of her concerns based on some of her past experiences. She felt like she was putting forth so much effort to be close t God and go to church in the past, but that he wasn’t there and she couldn’t feel his influence, so she decided to stop attending the church she was going to. She recognized that she felt even more empty when she stopped going to church and that she wasn’t as happy anymore. We simply testified of a few brief truths to her that resonated with her. We just told her that God loves her and is aware of her, that he knows her name and what she is going through. We told her that even though she couldn’t recognize his hand in her life that that didn’t mean he wasn’t there. We promised her that if she would meet with us and learn the message that we share that she would begin to feel that joy again. She got really emotional and started crying and said this is exactly what she needed and that she felt like God sent us to her. It was a neat experience meeting her.

It snowed this week, the first time since early
this year! It reminded me of my first week in the
 mission field when there was a massive snow storm
. It feels like that was just yesterday! 

We had a couple exchanges this week with some of the zone leaders. I was able to go to their areas and spent one day in Annandale and another day up in Ashburn. It’s fun to be able to go visit different parts of the mission!

I was asked to give a talk in our ward on Sunday. The topic was “Missionary work: Giving the Gift of the Gospel.” They also asked me to speak about the “Light the World” initiative. The greatest gift we can offer someone is the love of the Savior Jesus Christ, especially during this time of the year. My favorite thing that I shared was a section of a talk from President Uchtdorf from a couple months ago.

“Every time you turn your hearts to God in humble prayer, you experience His light. Every time you seek His word and will in the scriptures, the light grows in brightness. Every time you notice someone in need and sacrifice your own comfort to reach out in love, the light expands and swells. Every time you reject temptation and choose purity, every time you seek or extend forgiveness, every time you courageously testify of truth, the light chases away darkness and attracts others who are also seeking light and truth.

Elder Smith and I at Melt, this famous burger place in
Leesburg, VA.
That’s one big burger!

Think about your own personal experiences, moments of service to God and fellowmen when divine light has shined in your life--in the holy temple, at the sacrament table, in a quiet moment of prayerful pondering, in your family gatherings, or during an act of priesthood service. Share those moments with family, friends, and especially with our youth, who are seeking light. They need to hear from you that with this light come hope and healing, even in a world full of darkness.

Christ’s light brings hope, happiness, and healing of any spiritual wound or ailment. Those who experience this refining influence become instruments in the hands of the Light of the World to give light to others. They will feel what King Lamoni felt: “This light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and … the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul.”

There is so much that we can do in our lives to increase our light, and we should always strive to share thee light and love of the Savior with those around us.

The lights that we decorate our homes with go up a few weeks before Christmas and come down shortly after. But the light of the Savior of the World can and should shine brightly throughout the year. The month off December isn’t the only time where  we should reach out and serve others, but instead we can make Christlike service a part of our daily lives, throughout every month of the year.

Augustine and his son Joshua, we’ve taught them for a while.

I am grateful to have served in this ward for so long and I’m glad I was able to speak! I have served here in the Fort Belvoir ward longer than any of my other areas on my mission. 6 transfers is a long time! I’ve grown to love the members and investigators in this area. The recent converts in this ward did a trip to the temple this week to participate in baptisms for the dead and to see the visitors center. It was a great experience for all that went!

This week I was reflecting on the missionary purpose, which is to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.” Every day as we make decisions, as we set goals and make plans, as we talk to people and teach lessons, we are constantly striving to fulfill this purpose of helping others come unto Jesus Christ. Over a long period of time of serving and helping others, I’ve come to realize that in this process, I, myself have come so much closer to Jesus Christ as a result.

It’s a pretty simple formula- If you want to grow closer to the Savior, help others grow closer to him, and naturally you will simultaneously grow closer to him as well.

I love you all! Hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
This is Elder Duvall with Annabeth and Rachel Goss. Since Elder Duvall is returning home from his mission  on December 28th  I wanted to do something special to help him celebrate Christmas the way we do at home.  We make Christmas Bear Breads and go Christmas caroling on a Family Home Evening prior to Christmas and we deliver the Bear Bread  to neighbors and friends.  Since the bread is best fresh I recruited  Annabeth Goss to bake the bread and make a special delivery of FRESH BEAR BREAD with a card and Santa hats from me. (Annabeth is my dear friend from Warrenton Ward where Jeremy  previously served .  These are pictures from today's Special Christmas delivery.- Sharon Duvall
From Elder Duvall: "When you said that you were going to have someone deliver something personally, I was 95% sure it would be Sister Goss! Thanks for having her do this for us! I am excited to go share these bears with people! We have 3 people in mind for tonight that we will deliver one to, and then we’ll try to give out the rest over the next day or two! Love you TONS Momma!"

Elder Jere Bear Duvall, Elder Bear Smith, and Elder Bear Gleed 

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017 The Chief Corner Stone

Hey everyone!

Our last night with Elder Ure before he went home.
4 beds in one room was pretty tight.
It’s hard to believe that he’s home now,
especially after being companions for 6 months!

Well this week has been a blast! Being in a trio with Elder Smith and Elder Gleed has been great. I’m trying my best to help them learn how to do everything that we are responsible for once I leave and the two of them are together. I’m confident they’ll do great together. We have been working hard and having a lot of fun working together these past few days. We’ve taught a lot of great people! Teaching in a trio is much different that teaching in a normal companionship, but we’ve already developed some good flow together.

I feel like this week we’ve been put in the right place at the right time numerous times to meet and teach different people. There have been numerous occasions recently where people call out to us from across the street, or from a parked car, and say something like “Hey! Can I get one of your pamphlets or something? My grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle/etc. just passed away.” It’s neat that people can see us and immediately recognize us as representatives of Jesus Christ, and they feel comfortable calling out to us to try find some peace. We’ve been able to share the Plan of Salvation with these people and teach about the hope and peace that comes from the resurrection and eternal life. I’m grateful for those short, yet meaningful conversations that we are able to have with people each and every day.

This is Adwa and Benard, two of the many people
from Ghana we taught this week.

We had some great success this week in finding more people to teach. One of our first lessons together as a trio was Adwa and Benard. They are a sweet couple from Ghana. We met Benard a few weeks ago, but were finally able to teach him and his wife together this week. Another was a different lady from Ghana named Edna. We found her towards the end of the night one night last week. We were about to leave the area we were in but decided to try a few more people and wound up teaching her for 20 minutes about the Book of Mormon and she’s curious to learn more.

We’ve been working with this couple, Andres and Cindy. They are a young, newly married couple that have a baby daughter. They live just around ne the corner from our apartment and they are super awesome! He’s from Chile and she is from Mexico, but they both have spent most of their lives here and are pretty Americanized. They are still proud of their Latino heritage. We met them a couple months back, but have had 2 really good lessons with them this past week. We are excited to help them continue to learn. I seriously couldn’t help but thinking of them dressed in white being sealed in the temple. as we were sitting there teaching them. I know that if they sincerely act on the things we invite them to do, that they will gain a firm testimony. We relate to them really well, perhaps because they’re only a couple years older than us. Andres has been really in tune with the spirit, and he especially recognizes it when we pray with them. I’m grateful for the unity and the spirit that prayer can bring to a group of individuals.

Eshetu and Nestanet, a couple from Ethiopia that were
baptized earlier this year. We had a really good lesson with them
about prayer, and talked about the importance of them praying together as a couple. They both said they always pray at the beginning and end of each day, but never pray together. They were excited to accept our invitation to start praying together daily. I know that that will help their relationship grow stronger!

One of the common concerns that a lot of people have that we teach is that they are skeptical of organized religion. I can understand that when they’ve had bad experiences in churches in the past, or when they see corruption going in different churches they’ve tried attending. I’m grateful to know that the organization we belong to, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, isn’t an organization merely put together by men, but rather it is an organization “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). I know that Jesus Christ is at the head of this church and that he leads it through his appointed servants on the earth today.

Last Tuesday we took the departing missionaries to the temple, and it was another great experience at the temple! I came on my mission with the expectation that I’d only get to go there 4 times over the course of 24 months, but I’m grateful to have gone many more times than that. Going at the end of each transfer for the past 5 transfers has been awesome. And being able to go with recent converts has been a great experience as well. This was technically my departing temple trip as well. We were able to have a testimony meeting and dinner at the mission home the night before taking the missionaries to the airport. There’s always such a special spirit in that testimony meeting!

We aren’t able to go up to the Temple Visitors Center this year like we were last year. But here’s a few pictures that a member took that went up there this week. The DC Temple “Festival of Lights” is a super popular event that goes on the entire month of December, with musical performances in the auditorium of the visitors center every night. 

I hope you all have an incredible week! Don’t forget to #LIGHTtheWORLD with daily acts of service throughout the month of December. Love you all!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017 2 New Comps

Hey everyone!

Elder Ure and I
 with President and Sister Huntsman

First things first. Elder Ure goes home this week, so he needed a replacement. On Friday night I got two new companions! Since I’m going home 4 weeks into the transfer, President decided to bring in two new Assistants, instead of bringing one in now and then another one a few weeks later. So my two new companions are Elder Smith and Elder Gleed! They’re great. I’ll be in a trio with them for the rest of my mission. We spent the past couple days training them and teaching them on how to do everything in preparation for transfers.
It’s a weird feeling saying bye to Elder Ure. I’m grateful to have spent the last 6 months with him. Not too many missionaries get to have a companion for 4 transfers, and I’ve been able to do that twice. Today we picked up a group of new missionaries at the airport and tomorrow will be transfers, and early Wednesday morning we’ll drop off the departing missionaries at the airport.

It’s been fun being in a “quad” for a few days. It’s
really interesting proselyting with 4 of us all together, and will soon be 3 of us. It’s cool though, because we’ve been able to split up in twos and find and teach people at the same time. We’ve also had a couple lessons with the 4 of us that’ve been great.

President and Sister Huntsman

President and Sister Huntsman and their family are so awesome.
They have 8 kids and a few son-in-laws.
I think there’s one child missing in this picture.
We enjoyed spending part of Thanksgiving Day with their family!

We had a great Thanksgiving Day! President and Sister Huntsman invited us to join them and their family for an early dinner. Each year of their mission they’ve gone to Mt. Vernon for Thanksgiving, so we joined them at the restaurant there. They had all 8 of their kids here, so it was fun to be able to meet all of them and spend some time with their family. After our meal, we also took a tour of Mt. Vernon, which was my 2nd time going there. It’s a pretty neat place to be, walking where so many prominent early leaders of this nation have been in George Washington’s home. We drive by Mt Vernon every Sunday because our church building is on the Potomac River just down the road from it.

On Thanksgiving, we also went to our investigator Kwadwo’s house, where we were invited to attend for dinner. There were probably 30 Ghanaians there, none of whom were members of the church. It was super fun! We were able to meet a ton of new people and enjoy their food.

Elder Ure and I with Dorothy at her baptism!!

Dorothy Smith was baptized on Saturday! She’s been working towards this day for a long time, so it was a special day! I’ve been teaching her since my very first week in this area. I’ll be honest, when I first met her it was hard to believe that she would progress towards baptism, but as we were patient and persistent with her, we were able to help her make small changes, a little bit at a time to help her prepare for baptism. She was pretty nervous leading up to her baptism, but it went it really well! Elder Ure baptized Dorothy, and then our new bishop confirmed her on Sunday.
Pam has been such an amazing support to Dorothy, and so have the other members of the ward. Elder Ure said goodbye to both of them last night and they were both sad to see us split up, but were excited for him to go home.
Recently I studied a lot about patience. I love what Preach My Gospel teaches us about patience. “Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith--you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.
You need patience in your everyday experiences and relationships... You must be patient with all people, yourself included, as you work to overcome faults and weaknesses.”
I’ve thought about that first sentence a lot. In order to measure how patient we are, we just have to see how long we can go without getting “angry, frustrated, or anxious.” I have learned that I am generally pretty patient with myself and with others and hope to continue to develop more patience.

Here’s our mission picture from a couple weeks ago with Elder Andersen, and a few other General Authorities. I’m so grateful to serve alongside so many wonderful missionaries! You can find me on the left hand side of the picture.

It’s going to be a busy and exciting next few weeks! I’m looking forward to it! I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017 Elder Mervyn B Arnold and OMARR!

Hey everyone!

Long time waiting for this special day!
Omarr and I before his baptism.

We had a pretty busy week this week, with some mission conferences, and lots of lessons and finding more people to teach. We’ve been putting a little bit more extra effort into talking to everyone we see. We had a cool experience finding some pretty sweet people while pumping gas at a gas station. I’m grateful for Elder Ure and his desire to work hard to the end. He goes home next week and I will get a new companion!

This past Saturday was a day that I had been looking forward to since my first transfer here in the mission field. My first few weeks in Virginia, I was able to teach Ami Koroma, and her children, Kadija and Omarr. Kadija was 8 at the time and Omarr was only 6. I remember the day that Ami and Kadija were baptized (February 13th, 2016), which still feels like it was just yesterday. I remember Omarr was sad because he wished he could’ve been baptized with them. I told Omarr that I would still be a missionary when he turns 8 years old, and I promised him that I would come to his baptism. I was able to go back on Saturday to attend his baptism and keep my promise to him. Bishop Duersch (who is now President Duersch in the Stake presidency), baptized Omarr.

 Omar, Kadija, Ami and I.

I just felt so happy being there! It’s been cool to see everything come full circle with that family! It’s been an amazing experience seeing this family stay so faithful and converted. They’ve hardly missed any Sundays of church for nearly two years. Ami was able to go to the temple for her endowment earlier this year, and now her mother Kadiatu is getting ready to go to the temple as welll. Ami continues too share the e gospel with her friends and family. She invited 3 nonmembers to come attend Omarr’s baptism! Ami, Kadija, and Omar, along with their many extended family members and friends that have joined the church as a direct result of them, will always have a special place in my heart!
It felt like I was “home” being there at that baptism. It was fun reuniting with so many of the members in the Centreville 1st Ward, where I spent the first 6 months of my mission.

President Duersch, Omarr and Ami 

We had Elder Mervyn B Arnold of the 70 visit our mission this week for a Mission Tour. It kept us pretty busy. On Wednesday night, Elder Arnold and President Huntsman We had two half-mission conferences on two different days. The night before the Conferences Elder Arnold and President Huntsman came with Elder Ure and I to our area to visit a member family and do a missionary activity with them. Once we got there he told us to “observe well, you’ll be training the mission tomorrow on how this is done.” So we sat there and participated as he did this activity with the family. It was an activity out of Preach My Gospel and it works really well to get the members thinking about people who they could begin to share the gospel. We’re excited to start doing it with the members in our ward! Elder Arnold is such a spiritual man, and I learned a lot from him over the course of the 3 days we were with him. Elder Ure and I each had an opportunity to have a personal interview with him as well which was a neat experience.

Elders Woellhaf, Ure, Oldroyd, and I.
 I 'm always enjoy doing exchanges with the
different sets of Zone Leaders each week. 

He taught a lot of practical things we can do to find more people to teach, how to work better with members, how to be better teachers, etc.
But I’m more grateful for all of the doctrine he taught about and the spirit that was felt during the meeting. I’m excited to see our mission apply the things that he and his wife taught us over the two conferences!

Dorothy is doing really well! She has gone 10 days without smoking now and is excited to be baptized! We’ve been working with her ever since my first week in this ward back at the end of April, so it’s cool to see how much progress she has made, even though it’s been relatively slow, it’s cool to see where she is now. She recognizes a huge difference in her life and in herself and we can see it too.

It’s crazy to think that my sister is in her last full week as a missionary! It’s weird to think that I started 5 months before and will still be here for a month after she’s done. But I’m extremely grateful to be here longer! You are a great example Jenny! Finish strong!

I love you all! Hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13, 2017 Elder Neil L. Andersen

Hey everyone!

This past week was great!

 On Saturday, we had a mission-wide meeting with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. He was accompanied by Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the 70, and Bishop Gérald Caussé, the Presiding Bishop of the church.
It was a wonderful meeting! President and Sister Huntsman bore brief testimonies at the beginning and then the general authorities took the majority of the meeting. The meeting was only about 2 and half hours, but it was great.
Elder Ure, Brian Gore and Elder Duvall

Elder Nielsen was a former BYU Quarterback, a quarterback in the NFL, and a sports broadcaster. His talk was inspiring and motivating. He talked a lot about getting the most out of our time as full-time missionaries, telling us that we “cannot afford to waste a single minute,” that there is too much at stake. This is my only time to be a full-time proselyting missionary. I love what the Missionary Handbook says about time as a missionary:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Time is one of the most precious resources Heavenly Father has given you. The period when you are able to serve the Lord with all your time and all your efforts is extremely short. Use it fully and wisely. Such an opportunity is a privilege.”

Bishop Caussé centered his remarks on a scripture from 1st Corinthians 2:3-5, which states “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
He talked a lot about how our missions are important times in our lives where we can learn how to access spiritual power. A quote from him that I really liked was that “A bold missionary is a humble missionary.” Sometimes we hold back ourselves from being bold out of fear. But if we are bold with the people we meet, and do it lovingly, that actually shows our humility and willingness to do what the Lord would have us do.

Elder Andersen gave us some practical tips on ideas of things we could try to do to find more people to teach and see more success in our individual wards, but most of his remarks to us were about Jesus Christ. He asked missionaries to stand up and share scriptures that we have memorized about Jesus Christ from the New Testament and from the Book of Mormon. He challenged us to identify a few scriptures that we truly do believe about Christ, and then remember those scriptures whenever we begin to have doubts about anything in the gospel. He talked about how so often he meets young adults in the church who are beginning to have their doubts, questions, and concerns about the church. Maybe they have doubts about the calling of Jospeh Smith as a prophet. Maybe they have doubts about the validity of the Book of Mormon. Maybe they have doubts about current church leadership or policies, etc. No matter what our doubts and questions are, Elder Andersen firmly told us to “never lose our testimony and relationship with Christ.” That is the most important thing we need to hold onto. He wants us all to memorize scriptures that we truly believe about Christ. I think that’s a wonderful invitation. We will all have various doubts and concerns that come up at different times in our lives. Some doubts may come as a result of trials and tragedies in our lives. Some may come as a result of the actions and decisions of others. But no mattter what we go through, we should NEVER doubt the example, the life, the mission, the atoning sacrifice, the resurrection, and the infinite love of our Savior! He invited us to constantly evaluate ourselves and ask “What do I really believe about Jesus Christ? and How can I improve my relationship with him?” If we stay solid on the foundation of Jesus Christ, I know we will never fall away into the “mists of darkness” of this world.

The spirit in the chapel was strong get as Elder Andersen bore his testimony of President Monson’s calling as a prophet, and his testimony and witness of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to have been able to attend this meeting and learn from numerous leaders of the church, and to be able to shake their hands and interact with them was special.

We had a fun experience on an exchange this week. I was with
Elder Wright for the day and we went to teach Konadu, one of
our investigators. She watches some of the neighborhood kids for work,
mostly Ghanaian kids, a couple Hispanic. We started trying to teach her,
but it was hopeless with all the kids running around making noise. 

It’s a busy couple of weeks in our mission. This week, we are having two half-mission conferences with Elder Mervyn B Arnold of the 70. These conferences will be a full day event. Half the mission one day, half the mission the next. But Elder Ure and I have to attend both days because we’ve been asked to conduct the meetings. The night before the half mission conference, Elder Arnold will be coming with President Huntsman into our area for the evening to proselyte and make some visits. We are nervous but excited for that!

So Elder Wright went on one side of the room and gathered
them together to teach them a simple lesson about Jesus.
They absolutely loved him. He’s super tall, white,
and has blonde hair, and some of the kids were rubbing
their hands through his hair as if they have never seen a
blonde person before. As he occupied them and taught
them, keeping them quiet, I taught a lesson to Konadu and
 her brother all by myself. It was a fun experience!

Another highlight of our week has been teaching Dorothy. She’s made tremendous progress over the past few weeks. She’s been coming to church and learning a lot. She told us yesterday “You’re the two best missionaries that I’ve ever had!” However, in our minds we think, “well, we’re the only missionaries you’ve ever had, since we’ve been together for nearly the whole 6 months since we’ve been teaching you.” She did used to meet with JW’s, so I guess maybe she’s comparing us to them.
She had a baptismal interview, but apparently needs some more time to work on quitting smoking. We gave her a priesthood blessing a few days ago, then at church on Sunday she said “I don’t remember what you guys said when you laid your hands on my head, but it’s workin’! I was about to smoke, but I felt the strength to not do it” and now she has gone two or three days without smoking. We’re hoping she can have the strength to continue to overcome it so she can be baptized in a couple weeks.

Things are going great in our area. We also have a part-member family who we’ve been working with quite a bit, and the wife finally chose a baptismal date for the end of December!

Elder Ure is in his last couple weeks as a missionary, but we’re staying focused, trying our best to get out and work hard every day!

I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, November 6, 2017

November6, 2017 Baptism & Pentagon

Hey everyone!

This week was great! It’s hard to believe that it is November!

We’ve been teaching Pam a lot over the past 8 weeks!
Here’s a couple pictures from her baptism on Saturday.
President Huntsman performed the baptismal ordinance,
which was pretty neat.

We had daily contact with Pam every day for the last two week, leading up to her baptism on Saturday! We had a few really good lessons with her leading up to the big day. In one lesson we read out of 1 Nephi 8 and 11, talking about Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. Pam has received some opposition from family members about her decision to be baptized, but we encouraged her to ignore the the people mocking her from the side and focus on the end goal and the path that she’s on. In all of our lessons, we usually have taught her in her home, bringing members and recent converts with us to teach her. We did have one lesson with her the night before her baptism in a members home that was great! She has been able to connect well with a lot of members and has told us she has never met so many genuine friendly people in her life!
I believe that President Huntsman was truly inspired to keep Elder Ure and I together one more transfer, so that we could help Pam. I know we were meant to meet her. I have no doubt that the Holy Ghost prompted her to step out on her balcony the day we met her. She saw us and “felt the need to step outside” to see where we would walk. I know we were placed in her path, and that she was placed in ours.
She tells us that we have a special place in her heart and continues to express so much gratitude to us and to the members of the ward who have helped her to make the changes that she’s made to bring the peace and joy of the gospel into her life.

So, after a long week, Pam was baptized on Saturday! She met President Huntsman a couple weeks ago, when he interviewed her for her baptism, and she asked him to perform her baptism for her. It was a pretty cool feeling having our mission President baptize our investigator! The baptismal service went great. A coworker of hers, who she has known and worked with for four years spoke at her baptism, and I spoke as well. It’s been a little less than 2 months since we first started teaching Pam, and once her coworker found out Pam was meeting with the missionaries, she has been a good support to her, encouraging her and answering her questions. There’s been so many pieces of the puzzle that just fell together at the right place at the right time to help Pam make it to where she is today. I’m excited to see her continue to learn, grow, and progress in the gospel! She has made the first step of many great decisions that I know will bless her life eternally! It’s amazing to see the gospel work in her life.

We have a less-active member of our ward who bakes and decorates cakes for a living. We thought it would be a good idea to arrange for her to make a cake for President Huntsman, who turned 50 years old today! Last night we surprised him at our mission office, along with his wife and kids, and enjoyed some delicious cake with them. He’s not huge on celebrating birthdays, but we knew we had to do something special for him! He does so much for us. It was fun for us to treat him to that. It was a fun surprise and the cake was delicious!

We took a private tour of the Pentagon today!
 I’ve driven by it tons of times over the past
two years  and have always wanted to go inside.
 Finally got to do it today!

This morning we had the opportunity to go to the Pentagon and do a private tour. A member that lives here in Alexandria works there and took us on a tour for 2 hours. He took us to a lot of different hallways and offices where the public tours don’t have access to, so that was pretty cool! It was a cool feeling walking by all of these really high up official offices and walking through the halls of the Pentagon.

He showed us where the plane hit on 9/11 and took us to the memorial outside. My favorite part of the whole tour was hearing about his experience on 9/11/01 when he was working in the Pentagon the day it got hit. He wasn’t that far from where the plane actually crashed. He shared with us his experience, sharing so many details of running and tripping through the smoke-filled hallways trying to escape the building, and then describing the scene outside. He got emotional and remembers everything like it was just yesterday. He wasn’t a member of the church back then though. He is a convert to the church, who joined just a few years ago. He actually started investigating the church after seeing “The Book of Mormon” musical, so he’s got a pretty cool conversion story.

It was a cool experience walking around inside,
but it was cool to see the
9/11 Memorial outside the Pentagon.
Each bench has a name engraved on it and
 represents a person who died either in the Pentagon,
or in the plane that crashed into it.

Elder Dunn, Ure, Jones, and I.

A commonly quoted talk by President Uchtdorf titled “Come, Join With Us” was a talk we shared with Pam prior to her baptism, when she had expressed some of her uncertainty.

“Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”
It’s natural to have questions--the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith--even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters--my dear friends--please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here’s a cool path nearby our church building.
I love the Virginia trees in the Fall!

I love what this talk teaches us! We are all going to have questions and doubts. That’s natural. But it’s important that we do not let doubt hold us back from exercising our faith. The peace, love, and gifts that come as a result of strong faith is so great!

A kind lady that we taught yesterday.
Her name is Konadu. She met with missionaries
about 2 years ago somewhere else, and was
super happy to meet us again.

This upcoming Saturday, Elder Anderson, Bishop Caussé, and some other general authorities will be visiting our mission! We are excited for it!

I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017 Overcoming the World

Hey everyone!

Lunch at our favorite Mongolian grill,
called Ghengis Grill.

Elder Ure and I had a pretty good week! This week was pretty busy. We had three different exchanges with different sets of zone leaders on three different days. I feel that doing so many exchanges each transfer keeps me on my toes and helps me to keep working hard and helps me to avoid just “going through motions.” Trying to help some of these younger missionaries, helps me to make sure I give my best effort as we are out talking to people, teaching and finding. I’m also able to learn a lot from them.

With Elders Baldwin and Baxter on exchange.
He’s got some pretty long arms

Our ward had the Halloween trunk-or-treat, chili-cook-off activity this past weekend. Pam came to the activity and had a great time and was able meet a lot more members. She even brought her own candy to pass out to all the kids with us. It was fun! She fit in well with everyone and is getting more and more comfortable with everything.

On Saturday, the Sister missionaries in our ward had one of their investigators get baptized. Pam came to observe the baptism, to get an idea of what hers will be like soon. She even drove our other investigator Dorothy to the baptism. It’s the coolest thing when you have your investigators fellowshipping each other and helping one another out. While driving back home, Pam was expressing some nerves and uneasiness about her baptism and if she’s ready, but Dorothy assured her that she is ready! It’s been up and down this week with Pam, one day she’s unsure about everything, then the next day she’s committed. We hope to help her feel that she is ready! We will be seeing her again tonight.
Pam then also drove Dorothy to church on Sunday, which was cool to have them both there.

We also had one of our Ghanaian investigators, named Kwadwo come to church yesterday. We met him three or four weeks ago and have been teaching him quite a bit. We have some solid members of the ward from Ghana that befriended him really well.

Another exchange with Elders Smith and Nielsen.

So we had 3 investigators at church, and of course the service was bit different than usual. The bishop of our ward got released and we now have brand new bishopric! So there were testimonies given by the former bishop, the new bishop, and their wives. Our investigators enjoyed church though!

As for our lessons with Dorothy, she is making great progress on living the word of wisdom. It’s cool to see her, as she has made effort to quit smoking, she is able to understand everything we teach much better. The scripture D&C 89:18-19 is so true; “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures...” Dorothy’s understanding has increased rapidly since she has been trying to follow the Word of Wisdom.

I’ve been reading through some of Elder Neil L. Anderson’s Conference talks in preparation for his visit to our mission in a couple weeks. I really enjoyed his talk from  this last April, which was about “Overcoming the World.” Here are a few things he said as he defined what it means to “overcome the world”:

“Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity.
Overcoming the world means treasuring the greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”
Overcoming the world is keeping our promises to God--our baptismal and temple covenants and our oath of faithfulness to our eternal companion.
Overcoming the world will always mean that we will have some beliefs that are ridiculed by the world.
Overcoming the world is being less concerned with our online connections and more concerned with our heavenly connection to God.
Overcoming the world is remembering, even when we are discouraged, the times we have felt the love and light of the Savior.
May we each try a little harder in our efforts to overcome the world, not excusing serious offenses yet being patient with minor slips and falls, eagerly hastening our speed and generously helping others.”

There is so much opposition in this world, and so many things that we have to overcome. I’m grateful for the Savior and the heavenly help that He can give us as we strive to  overcome the world. I recommend reading through this talk!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission