Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017 Love the Lord thy God

Hey everyone!

Another busy week here in Fort Belvoir! Every week just seems to fly by!

Elder Hastings, one of the Zone Leaders,
and I, with the coolest recent convert Eshetu.

We were able to teach Pam a couple more times this week and she made it to church on Sunday! We taught a really good lesson on obedience to commandments in general, emphasizing prayer and scripture study, as well as a lesson on the Word of Wisdom. I love the scripture from Matthew 22:36-40 where Christ explains the two greatest commandments.
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Every commandment that we're are given by God is an opportunity for us to show our love for Him and our love for others. When teaching any commandment, whether it be the 10 commandments, tithing, the word of wisdom, Chastity, etc., I love sharing this scripture first because it sets a good foundation. Every commandment ties back to showing our love and gratitude towards our Father in Heaven. As we taught the Word of Wisdom, Pam agreed with it all! She understands the importance of the commandment and is willing to start trying to live it. There are a couple things she is going to need to work on, but I know she can do it! She had a great time at church yesterday and the testimonies that were given were perfect for her to hear. She's excited to come again next week!

Elder Ure and I with our investigator Kwadwo.
His name means he was born on a Monday. 
Each day of the week has they're own name. 
I am Kofi, which is Friday, and 
Elder Ure is Kwasi, which is Sunday

We also found a sweet new investigator this week named Kwadwo. He's from Ghana and just barely moved here to Virginia about three weeks ago. We met him at the beginning of last week and we have already taught him three times! He is so humble and receptive to everything we've taught him. He believes everything we've taught and keeps every commitment that we've extended to him. He's in his mid 20's and is a good friend. When we see him we call him "mah damfo," which in Twi means "my friend."

We were able to teach an awesome lesson to a Nigerian family that we found last week! I can't pronounce their native Nigerian names, but they go by Paul and Amanda. They have three of the most respectful and kind little kids ever! It was fun teaching them. In the middle of our lesson, their 3 year old was trying to be welcoming to us, their guests, so he went to the refrigerator and grab a Corona Light beer and wanted to give it to me. I thought it was super funny! Paul felt really bad about it and apologized, and told his son to grab us some water. It was nice of the little boy to do that for us, it's the thought that counts, right? Another funny part of that lesson was when Paul randomly cut us off and said "Your church is Jon Huntsman's church right?" We said "Yes, he is a member of our church." That comment caught us off guard and we started laughing, and had to explain our connection to the Huntsman's. We told him that we'd be seeing his brother later that evening and he was surprised. Paul is really into politics and stuff. We're thinking of getting President Huntsman to come join us in teaching him a lesson.

President Huntsman up frontat the amphitheater speaking to all of us.

President Huntsman decided to have our Mission Leadership Council meeting at Burke Lake, which is nearby the mission home. We did it at the little amphitheater near the lake. He said that every time he goes there it reminds him of the Sacred Grove. The first part of our meeting was having everyone share an experience or story about the Prophet Joseph Smith, or a revelation, quote, or teaching that he gave. It was a great meeting at a beautiful location! I am so grateful for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and my testimony of it increases little by little each and every day.

Here are all of the Zone Leaders and
Sister Training Leaders in our mission right now-
a great group of people!

Well, this is the last week of the transfer! It's hard to believe that I've already done about 6 months in this area! Elder Ure and I have been together now for three transfers, and we are assuming that I'll be getting transferred to another area, since I came into this area first. But President Huntsman hasn't told us yet whose staying and whose leaving. We do know that one of us will be getting transferred though, we will find out within the next couple days who is leaving and who is coming in to replace one of us. This week will be busy in preparation for the new transfer!

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

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 "Light"

Hey everyone!

We went to the George Washington Masonic Memorial museum today. I went outside of it once last year, but today we paid for a tour to go inside and to the top. It was really intriguing learning more about Free Masonry!Some interesting similarities, that's for sure.

Cool statue of George Washington,one of the most prominent Masons

From the top of the George Washington Masonic Memorial Museum.
With Elders Bryson, Benard, Dunn, Jones, Ure and myself

One of the upper floors,
which had some cool stained glass windows.

A picture from the top, looking towards D.C.

 A panoramic looking into downtown Alexandria, with King Street right down the middle.
D.C. Is on the far left on the other side of the river.
You can also see the Free Mason symbol down in the center of the picture


We had a pretty busy week, with 3 exchanges with different sets of zone leaders. We always seem to meet and find some cool people on exchanges.

We met a really awesome guy named Samuel this week. Samuel is from Liberia. I don't know what it is about Liberians, but out of all the different Africans we teach, they probably have my favorite accent to listen to. Anyways, we parked our car and got out, and Samuel was one of the first people we street contacted. We ended up walking with him for about 20 minutes towards his house, teaching him the entire first lesson as we walked with him. By the time we got to his house and finished talking to him about the Book of Mormon, we found out that his cousin is a less-active member of our ward who we've been trying to work with. Samuel didn't even know that his cousin was a member of our church, but once we found out they had the same last names, we made the connection. Samuel is excited for us to come back this evening to teach him again and to meet his wife!

 With Elders Medrum, Ure, Smith, and Williams.
They were in a trio and we had an exchange
with them this week.

We had two really good lessons with Pam this past week. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Jesus Christ lessons, and she is progressing really well. In both lessons we brought different members from the ward that were able to connect with her really well. She was really curious to hear their testimonies and asked them herself how they came to believe everything. Listening to her, I can tell how genuine she is with her desire to learn and to come to know if what we teach is true. A lot of people we teach seem to be really interested in simply learning about what we believe, just to increase their knowledge. But Pam is different, and is committed to finding out for herself if it's true. In our second lesson with her she brought up how excited she was to come to church on Sunday, but we had General Conference, so she was a bit disappointed that we weren't having our regular church service, but she was excited to watch some of the conference. She's awesome!

Had to pick up some Krispy Kreme
 donuts in between sessions of conference on Saturday.

I really enjoyed General Conference this weekend. It's hard to believe that this was my 4th General Conference as a missionary! I always receiving revelation from the Lord through the leaders of His church. I learned a lot from all of the different speakers and look forward to reading and studying all of their talks again in the coming weeks.

One of the talks that I particularly enjoyed was President Uchtdorf's talk from the priesthood session, where he talked about light.
He said "Darkness is not an indication that there is no light. Most often, it simply means we are not in the right place to receive the light. …
It is up to us to be in the right place to see and feel the divine light and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even when night has fallen and the world seems dark, we can choose to walk in Christ’s light, keep His commandments, and courageously testify of His reality and His greatness."
I think this is a pretty cool analogy. Just because the sun goes down at night, and it gets dark outside, does not mean that the sun has stopped shining. The sun is still burning brightly, but we are just on the wrong side of the earth to receive the light. This is such a great metaphor. The love of Jesus Christ, who is "the light of the world" is ALWAYS there, but in order for us to be able to fully embrace and access that light, we need to be in the right places, doing the right things. When we mess up, and we don't feel the presence of His light, does not mean that He has stopped shining. It just means we need to reposition ourselves to be in a place where we can feel the warmth of His light again.
When I first heard him say that "darkness is not an indication that there is no light" I first thought about the Light of Christ, which "is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moroni 7:16). Sometimes we may meet people who we initially might think "wow, this person is just full of darkness". But rather than having a perspective of them being full of darkness, we should realize that instead, it's just a lack of the presence of light. But whether or not it's readily recognizable, the light of Christ is still within them with the potential to burn brightly once again. Once we can realize that everyone has the light of Christ, then we can do what President Uchtdorf says when he stated that "[we] are instruments in the hands of the Lord with the purpose of bringing light and healing to the souls of Heavenly Father’s children... [and that] Christ’s light brings hope, happiness, and healing of any spiritual wound or ailment."

I am grateful to have the light of the gospel and the light of the Savior in my life and I hope and pray that I can continue to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring more of that 'hope, happiness, and healing' that comes from Him.

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

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Elder Meldrum!
We were in the MTC together,
but sadly he went home this morning because
he blew out his knee playing basketball a couple
weeks ago and isn't going to be able to finish
 his 2 years here. I'm going to miss him!

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25, 2017 "Great is Your Reward"

Hey everyone!

We're about halfway through is transfer. I'm not sure if I'll do another one here or not yet since it's my 4th transfer here, but I am continuing to enjoy each week!

Elder and Sister Craig (housing coordinator
and mission nurse)-going back home to Kentucky!

 Elder and Sister Hansen (finance
and office secretary),
going back to Utah.

Elder and Sister Browne (car coordinator 

and referrals/supplies manager),
 going back home to Orem.
I've interacted with them the most of
 all the senior couples.
I'm going to miss them all!

After finishing the rest of our Zone Conferences this week, we said goodbye to the 3 senior couples that work in the mission office. They each have finished their missions and are being replaced with new couples. I've gotten to know them all super well over the course of my mission, so I will miss each of them!

We were able to meet with Pam a couple times this past week. She's doing pretty good! She has already read a decent amount of the Book of Mormon on her own. Without us giving her anything specific to read, she read through Joseph Smith's testimony, along with the testimonies of the three and eight witnesses, and understood quite a bit of it! She continues to tell us how she's searching for more peace in her life, and she recognizes the spirit she feels after meeting with us and wants to keep building upon that.

We have one investigator named Dorothy, who we have taught pretty consistently over my past 5 months in this ward. She has slowly began to understand the gospel as we have met with her. We had been debating whether or not to continue teaching her because she didn't seem to be progressing much. But she surprised us on Saturday night when we invited her to church (for the 15th time) by saying yes. She came to church yesterday and really enjoyed everything! She mentioned how it seemed to her that "there is a place for everyone!" She liked how all the kids, youth, adults, men, and women all have a place in the church. She's excited to continue learning and to start coming to church more regularly. We told her last week "people can meet with us all they want, but until they actually come and see for themselves, they'll likely never truly be able to gain a lasting testimony of what we teach." So finally, she was able to come and see, and had a great time.

We've been teaching Edith and her daughter
Audrey for a little while. They're sweet!

We were also able to find a couple other investigators this week, one named Octavia, and a young couple named Cindy and Andres. In both situations finding them, I know without a doubt we were led by the spirit to go to the specific places to find them. Sometimes it's hard to discern what's just our own thoughts and what's the spirit, but I know we were led to them.

We pulled up into his neighborhood,
 and Kofi came running to the car to see us.

                  Every week we are able to find numerous new investigators, and people to teach the message of the Restoration to. We meet people who are nice, and willing to listen with open ears. On the other hand though, each week we'll come in contact with people who will say and do things to us that aren't nice at all, and will just want to argue and contend with us. With this in mind, a couple scriptures bring me a lot of peace, as well as confidence and assurance.

This first is 3rd Nephi 21:9-10
"For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil."

The second scripture is Matthew 5:10-12
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Missionaries and members of the church throughout the world are sharing the great and marvelous truths of the gospel, but there are people everywhere who will try and oppose, reject, and ignore the truth. There has always been opposition and always will be. But we can continue to press forward with confidence that we are in the Lord's hand, and that he will reward us in heaven for proclaiming His gospel, even if we may be ridiculed for doing so. I am so grateful to be a missionary here at this time and I am grateful for the testimony I have of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm looking forward to General Conference this week! I'm excited to learn from the leaders of the church and hear what they have to say. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, September 18, 2017

September 18, 2017 "3rd Nephi 5:13'

Hey everyone!

Enjoying some Jollaf rice!!!

We've had another great week! I'm amazed by how many people we are able to talk to and teach each and every day. 

I just want to share one brief experience of someone we met this week. We had a neat experience finding a lady named Pam a few days ago. She's a testament to me that God truly does put people in our path. We were parking our car and then walked across a street and she was up on her balcony with her dogs. We just said hello to her as we walked by and to our surprise, she asked us if she could come down and talk to us. When she came down, she told us she just glanced out her window and saw us parking and decided to step out on her balcony and see which direction we would walk. She wasn't going to initiate conversation with us, but decided that if we walked her direction and talked to her, then she would come down and listen to us. She said this has been the hardest year of her life, with tons of trials and adversity that she's experienced, and when she saw us she felt like she needed to talk to us and see if the
Some jollaf rice from one of our African members in the Ward.
message we share could help her feel some peace. She was going in for a surgery today, and our visit with her a couple days ago helped to not only bring her some peace in her time of stress and anxiety, but also opened her eyes to a lot of truth she's been searching for. After teaching her about the Book of Mormon and reading a few powerful verses about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, she could not wait to have a copy of her own. She is excited to continue meeting with us, and is excited to start coming to church. I'm grateful that we were placed in her path! I know that the simple truths taught in the Book of Mormon are powerful and that the witness of Christ that is found in its pages can help heal any wounded soul. 

Can't do missionary work without food.

 Elder Ure and I at one of the Zone Conferences
 last week. I feel blessed to have had some great
companions throughout my mission!

We had two Zone Conferences this week that we trained at. Due to having such a large percentage of our missionaries that are in their first few months in the field, we were asked to train on the importance of teaching simply.  Harold B. Lee stated that we as missionaries and "teachers are not being sent out to teach new doctrine. You’re to teach the old doctrines, not so plain that they can just understand, but you must teach the doctrines of the Church so plainly that no one can misunderstand." We have THE most important message that anyone could share! We have a message that has a life-changing, and eternity-changing impact on those who embrace it. So we need to teach this wonderful message in a way that the Savior would have us teach it. We decided to not merely train the missionaries on the concept of teaching simply, but to teach it as the Savior would teach it. Under the "Teaching the Gospel" section in True to the Faith, it gives us some great insight! It states  "In your efforts to teach the gospel, look to Jesus Christ as your example. Study accounts of His mortal ministry, and look for ways to teach as He taught. He showed genuine love and concern for those He served. He strengthened people individually, teaching gospel principles in a way that would help them with their unique needs. He awakened in some the desire to understand and live the gospel. At times He asked questions that would help them apply what they learned. He taught the saving truths of the gospel, helping His hearers understand what they needed to know, do, and be in order to receive the gift of eternal life."  
I love all of these different things the Savior did as he taught! It humbles me to know that as a missionary, I truly represent Him and His restored gospel. So we need to be sure we're doing all we can to teach His gospel in a way that he would want us to teach it. I love what Mormon says in 3rd Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." This applies to each one of us missionaries as well, called to declare the restored gospel so that those we meet can access the eternal blessings of the gospel. Remembering that I've been called to represent Him every day helps me to keep pressing forward, trying my best to preach His gospel by the spirit. 

Sister Gutzwiller knows my Aunt Becky and Uncle Tom  and others
from when they lived in my home town,Temecula.
And her daughter was friends with my cousin Starla.
What a small world!!!

This is Sister "Gutz" Gutzwiller, a member living in

Woodbridge. When she found out I was from Temecula

she got super excited! She has lived in Temecula with her family twice and started making a lot of connections with me. Super nice woman! I love how small the world is within the church. Throughout my mission I've been surprised by how many connections I've made with different people.

I am grateful for each one of you, all of the wonderful examples I have to look to in my life. But I'm mostly grateful for the example of our Savior and I know that if we look to him, we'll never go wrong. 
I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

 Elder Ure and I at one of the Zone Conferences last week. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017 Dancing with Grandma

Hey everyone!
I felt quite a bit of peace this week with the passing of my Grandma Smith. I am grateful that I was able to say some final words to her over the phone, but most of all I am grateful to know that for this past week she has enjoyed a sweet reunion with Papa Smith and Uncle Randy! I am so blessed to have had 4 amazing grandparents in my life. I love them all! I am grateful for my Mom and Dad, who wouldn't be the great parents who they are if it weren't for their parents. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, that has blessed my family and brought so much peace and joy.
One of my favorite memories with Grandma was one of the Sundays that she came over for dinner. For a while, she and Uncle Mark would regularly come over to our home on Sundays. One time, I remember that I randomly took her by the hand and starting dancing with her in our kitchen. I think there was some music playing. It was really fun and she was laughing a ton. There's nobody else I'd rather dance with than my sweet grandma! I figured that someone had to dance with her in place of grandpa, but now she's probably happily dancing away with Papa Smith in heaven! Many of my memories with her over the past 5 years include sitting by her chair in her bedroom making her laugh. I enjoyed sitting in front of her, allowing her to put her hand on my head, letting her scratch my hair. She always had the prettiest smile, and nothing brought me more joy than making her laugh and seeing her smile. As a child, I also always looked forward to Christmas Day breakfast when I would have her yummy coffee cake for breakfast, and I remember getting to make it with her a couple of times. We had a member of our ward here this last week give us some banana bread that reminded me of hers!
I will miss grandma but I know she is in a better place. And I know, without any doubt whatsoever, that I will get to see her smiling face again! I know that she will be watching over me as I continue to serve as a missionary, and I know that she will continue to watch over all of us as we continue our lives here on earth.

This is the video of Jeremy dancing with his grandma Smith taken on December 23, 2012

Early Wednesday morning, dropping off all of these
great missionaries off at the airport! It's been an interesting
feeling being able to be there in the airport each transfer
 as we say goodbye and send them all back home. If anything,
 it motivates me to keep working hard each and every day.
 I'm grateful that it's not me on that plane, and that I still
 have a lot of time left to serve here in VA.

We had a busy week starting off the new transfer. We had to spend a little more time in the office again this week than we usually do, taking care of a bunch of changes and things that have happened as a result of all the new missionaries arriving last week. But we still were able to teach quite a bit this week.
Our main investigators right now are Tenisha and her children, and Michelle. We taught them both this week multiple times and they are both doing great, reading the Book of Mormon in between our visits and enjoying everything that they learn. I'm grateful to be a missionary in this area and I am grateful to be able to share the gospel with people each and every day. I am grateful for the great Plan of Happiness and our Savior Jesus Christ that is central to it all!

Elder Ure and I have been looking every day to try and find 3 or more unplanned opportunities to serve someone. It's been awesome and we've met some pretty cool people as a result! We've helped quite a bit of people carry groceries inside from their car, opened tons of doors, and taken people's trash out. Elder Ure even cleaned someone's headlights on their car for them while they were cleaning their car. He used to detail cars for work, so he knows how to clean cars super well. They were pretty impressed with how clean the lights looked (bug spray was the secret, it cleans the lights really well). It's cool to see how simple acts of service soften people's hearts. We've been able to introduce a lot of people to the Book of Mormon and even taught a few lessons as a result of the simple acts of service.

I finished the Book of Mormon again this morning! The Book of Mormon truly is the keystone of my testimony! I know without doubt that it is true. I am grateful for the more personal relationship with Jesus Christ that I have gained from it as a result of studying it and trying to "abide by its precepts."

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

Elder Jeremy Duvall

Michelle is so sweet! Her testimony of the
Plan of Salvation after we taught it to her is so solid!

Early morning breakfast with the Office Elders
at Denny's, right after leaving the airport.

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, September 4, 2017

September 4, 2017 "Down Payment on Tomorrow's Happiness"

Hey everyone!

Today is the day before transfers, and we picked up 34 brand new missionaries from the airport today! That is the biggest group that President Huntsman has had since being a mission President. Elder Ure and I had to drive separate cars full of missionaries, along with President and Sister Huntsman each having to drive a vehicle as well. It was fun welcoming them all to DC! Each time I go back to that airport, I think back to the time that I walked off that plane. It always feels as if that were just a few weeks ago, but when I stop and think about it, SO much has happened since that day. I've had so many experiences and met so many incredible people over the past 20 months!

This past week marks one year since Asif and Isha were baptized. They are both doing well! Asif was baptized at the end of August last year, and Isha was the first week of September. Isha has been doing great. Her ward meets in the same building as us, so it's fun running into her every now and then.
I emailed Asif this week checking up on him, pointing out that it has been one year since his baptism, asking how he and his family have been doing in Dubai, and his response was the best. I love imagining his accent saying these words, he responded "Thanks a lot brother, me and my family following all our lord Jesus Christ commandments and we are very happy and always thankful to you and our brother Elder Judkins as well. Thanks a lot for remember my baptism day, I feel it's my birth day. We wish our lord Jesus Christ will bless us and give us a place in the celestial kingdom, where he's living with his beloved father in the name of Jesus Christ amen."

Last night we had the new member fireside that we do every transfer, where recent converts speak and talk about their conversion stories. That is by far my favorite meeting. I've been able to attend it numerous times over the course of my mission. Sitting up at the front looking out, I noticed a companionship of sister missionaries walking in late in the back. They walked in with Katie, who I found and taught in the spring of 2016, who was eventually baptized at the beginning of this year. I made eye contact with her and she saw me and just had the biggest smile on her face. I had the thought/impression while seeing her, that if she was the only one I had an impact on on my mission, these two years would have all been worth it. I have been able to see many people's lives blessed by the gospel, but perhaps hers more than anyone else. Her path towards baptism took a while, through many sets of missionaries, but has been strong in the gospel ever since her baptism. Talking to her after the meeting, she explained that she just accepted a calling to serve as a Young Women's Sunday school teacher, which she is nervous about, but I know she'll do great!

This week was pretty busy. We don't usually spend much time in our mission office, because we try to proselyte in our area as much as possible. But we had a lot to get done in preparation for this week, so we were there a bit more than usual this past week.

Here's Tenisha holding her brand new baby.
 I think she weighs a little over 4 pounds now.
And then there's two more of her kids, Amaree and Amani.

But we still were able to teach some great lessons to our investigators this week. We had an awesome lesson with Tenisha and a couple of her kids, Amaree and Amani. We met her months ago, but we're finally able to start teaching her a couple times a week the past few weeks. She has had many health struggles that've prevented us from meeting with her, and has been in and out of the hospital throughout the year, but her health is finally starting to stay steady. She actually just had a baby as well about a month ago. The baby, named Amaya, was born premature though, at 2.5 pounds and had to stay in the hospital for the first month until last week when she was able to take her home. It's growing really healthy though and is such a precious little thing! Tenisha has been extremely humbled by everything that's gone on in her life, and has really embraced the opportunity to learn about the gospel. It's cool to see her enthusiasm to learn, despite all the struggles she goes through.

Elder Ure, Logan, and I with Gifty,
one of our many Ghanaian investigators
who we've been teaching.

A quote that I heard a while back from a good friend said that "Gratitude is a down payment on tomorrow's happiness." We all will experience different trials in our lives. But no matter where we are at, we can find all things to be grateful for. If we hold on to the good memories, good experiences, and blessings that we do have, instead of focusing on what we don't have, we can and use that perspective to motivate us to press forward. Tenisha, and many of the people I have taught on my mission, have exemplified this perspective, having a spirit of gratitude despite their circumstances.
I know that that is something that can help all of us, and I know that as we express our gratitude towards others and towards our Father in Heaven, that it truly will turn out to be "a down payment on tomorrow's happiness."

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

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28, 2017 "Better and Happier"

Hey everyone!

We had another pretty good week!

This guys name is Atta. We see him all the time in his
neighborhood. He's always sitting out on these steps
 and enjoys talking with us. He says that one day he will
come to church with his neighbor, who's a member.

I want to start this email by quoting Elder Holland. I read an article the other day and came across a quote that I really like. He said "If my life has taught me anything, it is that kindness and pleasantness and faith-based optimism are characteristics of happy people. In the words of Mother Teresa, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness--kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” (September 2017 Ensign)
I am grateful for the happy people that have blessed my life with their kindness, pleasantness, and optimism. I hope that each of us can strive to be someone who leaves others "better and happier" after they interact with us.
Over the course of my mission, I have tried my best to live this principle, striving to leave people better and happier than I found them. As I have tried to do this, I have definitely seen it to cause myself to be better and happier.

Kadiatu was excited to take a picture
 with me and then post it on her Facebook!

We had a really cool experience meeting and teaching this woman named Michelle this week. We were street contacting people and talking to a couple guys, and began talking about the importance of families and how we believe families can be together for eternity. While testifying of eternal families, Michelle walks out the door of the apartment building, sees us and hears what we are saying and then begins to get emotional. We went over to talk to her and found out that she had been in her bed all day praying for the strength to get up and go do something in the day. She in her 50's and had a daughter (who was about 30) that passed away a couple moths ago, and she has been depressed and discouraged ever since and has just been extremely sad and unmotivated to do much. But after she saw us and heard us talking about eternal families, she wanted to know what it was that we were sharing. So we taught her the Plan of Salvation right there and she loved every bit of it. So many of her questions and concerns that she has been having over the past few months were answered. We then saw her the next day and there was a whole new light about her

We usually visit Kadiatu (Katie) once or twice a week to 
read the scriptures. She has really enjoyed coming
back to church after not being in so many years.

than the day before. She was smiling and happy! We were able to teach her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and she loves everything we've taught. She lives in a neighborhood that we are in all the time, where we have a lot of investigators, and everybody in that area knows who the missionaries are because they see us all the time. She has heard false things about us from her friends and family, and has always brushed off the missionaries when they've approached her in the past. But when she stepped outside that day and met us, in that moment she felt like it was a sign from God that she needed to no longer ignore us and actually give us the time to talk to her. After meeting with her just a couple of times, she said she wished that she wouldn't have ignored the missionaries for so long, and that there's so many misconceptions she has had that held her back. But now she says "it's time to focus on Michelle's salvation and not care what anyone else thinks." Were excited to keep teaching her. Im grateful for the peace and comfort that God's plan brings to me and to the people that we are able to teach it too. I'm grateful for the many people we are able to meet and teach every week!

 Elder Baxter and I with Kwasi.

I had a great exchange with Elder Baxter this week! He's one of the Zone Leaders right now. We had a few sweet lessons together. One with this older Ghanaian man named Kwasi who we met months ago and were able to teach him again. He's had a Book of Mormon for a while, but hasn't truly understood it. Even though he's met numerous missionaries during his life, he never actually knew that the Book of Mormon is all about Jesus Christ. We've been reading some chapters out of 3rd Nephi with him about Christ visiting the Nephites and he kept saying "why haven't your colleagues before you that came here ever told me about this!" He is really enjoying reading the Book of Mormon and is praying for an answer to his prayers. In the past he's been pretty set with his church, but now he sincerely wants to know if what we teach is true.

Yesterday at church we had a new couple that just moved into the ward. The husband is a member of the church and his wife isn't. The husband approached us and told us that his wife was meeting with missionaries right before they moved here from Georgia, and that she has a testimony and is looking forward to being baptized! So he asked us if we could start teaching her and helping her prepare for her baptism! So of course we're pretty excited about that.

This week is the last week of the transfer, and President Huntsman told us that Elder Ure and I will most likely be spending a 3rd transfer together! I'm looking forward to another 6 weeks in this ward! We have another huge group of over 30 new missionaries coming next week. About half of the missionaries in our mission will be within their first 6 months, which is pretty crazy. So President thought it would be good to have some consistency and keep us together another transfer.

Remember to "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier." I know that as you do this you will be happier as a result! I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

On exchange with Elder Walker, another one of the Zone
Leaders.This is with Eishetu, the coolest recent convert, and his brother
in law Tezera, who we've been trying to teach and help come to church.

 A sweet family we found and taught last week.
The mother is Yaa, and her kids names
are Enoch, Prince, Evelyn, and Peter.