Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26,2016 BLIZZARD!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

I made it here safely to Washington DC! President Huntsman welcomed all of us new missionaries to the airport on Wednesday! He and his wife are so awesome! They took us to the Lincoln memorial and the Washington Monument before we went to the mission home which was super
cool. There is so much history here that I am excited to be around! We each got to spend a few minutes alone getting to know President Huntsman. He's great! He advised all of us to be strictly obedient to the mission rules and God's commandments if we want to be successful. One piece of advice I particularly liked was that we "need to make the choice each day to be happy" and that if we do that, we will be much more effective in fulfilling our purpose as representatives of Jesus
Thursday was the transfer meeting, where we all got our first companions. My trainer is Elder Yeager! He's so great and I'm super excited to get to work with him for at least the next 6 weeks! He's been out here since September. Elder Yeager is a baller, so we've been enjoying beating all the other Elders at basketball! He grew up in Sheridan, Wyoming and Lehi, Utah. The area that we cover is Centreville, in the Centreville 1st ward. Our area doesn't get a car so we are on foot or bike most of the time, which is no problem! A lot of missionaries told me that this is one of their favorite areas to serve! The members here are super awesome and the people we get to work with are sweet!
We spent my first couple days meeting some of the members of the ward and meeting with some of the current investigators and less active members. They're all super nice and I've already had some mothers say that us missionaries are their adopted sons. But don't worry Mom you can never be replaced!
I'm already amazed at the diversity here! We have copies of the Book of Mormon in our apartment in about 15 different languages because there are people everywhere.
Blizzard!!! The weather has been crazy here. I'm definitely not in California anymore! Apparently it's been a pretty nice winter with barely any rain or snow the past couple months, but of course the day I show up it starts snowing. They projected it to be the biggest snowstorm in the DC and Virginia area for the last few years, predicting 28-32 inches of snow. There's definitely more than that in a ton of places, up to 40 inches! Some cars are entirely covered in snow! It ended up snowing all day Friday and Saturday. There's no better way to preach the gospel than to go help people shovel some snow! We walked a decent amount in the blizzard on Friday and Saturday, wearing more layers of clothes than I ever have in my life. There were pretty much no cars on the streets other than the snowplows, so we walked in the middle of the streets where it was flat, because if we tried to walk on the sidewalk we'd be walking in two to three  feet of snow. People looked confused as they drove by seeing us walking, but we were glad to get to help some people out. Our arms are super sore from all the shoveling we've been doing, but it's been fun!
Church was actually cancelled on Sunday, which was a bummer, but it's crazy how much snow is piled up everywhere. The mission President advised us to not go too far from our apartments and to stay safe in the blizzard. So we've been doing extra studying and planning inside.
The first lesson I got teach was to Amy, a single mother, and her two kids Kadija (8) and Omar (6). They are from Sierra Leon, Africa. They are amazing! They are getting ready to be baptized in a few weeks! Amy is nervous to make this step in her life but she knows that this is what God wants for her and her family. Her faith is super strong and she wants her kids to grow up "knowing the word of God." Her accent is super sweet! I'm excited to continue working with them. We haven't
been able to meet with a ton of people yet due to the storm, but we've tried to make the most of it.
My first week in the field has been great and I can't wait to get to work! Centreville is an awesome area and I can't wait to start working with the members here! I know that as members get involved in missionary work, they can grow closer with their families and with Heavenly Father, as they share His gospel with those around them.
Elder Yeager and I are going to emphasize that every member should be a missionary and encourage them to share the gospel along with us. 
Well, I'm alive and was safe in the blizzard, but it was pretty crazy!
I got a nice cold welcome to the Washington DC area. I love you all at home and I pray for your everyday! Have a great week!

-Elder Duvall

(My p-days are Monday's, but this week was switched to Tuesday. I'll be writing on Mondays.)

January 21,2016  Elder Duvall and Elder Yeager after the "Transfer Meeting"

Friday night (1/22) walking back to our apartment. This road is normally super busy but there were no cars other than snow plows this night. This was towards the beginning of the blizzard before it got super bad.
This was Saturday morning (1/23). Constant snowing all through the night and continued to pile up throughout Saturday and Sunday. To the point where you couldn't even see these two cars.
2016-01-25 Centreville, VA Ended up with up to 4 feet of snow in some areas!

2016-01-25 Centreville, VA

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