Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18,2016 JOY in the JOURNEY!

April 18-2016

Being in a trio this last week has been great! Its an entirely different dynamic, but we've enjoyed it. It's been cool covering both of the Centreville wards going back and forth for different teaching appointments. We got to meet and teach a couple of investigators that they're working with, including a family from Bolivia and a lady from Jamaica! Transfers are this Thursday, so we will no longer be in the trio once Elder Strawn gets a new companion.

We were able to have two lessons with Megan this last week that were both super great! We finished teaching her about the Plan of Salvation and then we had discussions on faith and repentance. She is super receptive and loves everything that she's learning! The spirit is always so strong in our visits with her. Brother and Sister Jonas are great examples to her and have solid testimonies of the gospel! It's so great to see how effective member missionary work is! Megan recognizes how this gospel has already been such a blessing in her life and she's excited to continue to progress towards baptism in a couple weeks! As Megan told us how much closer to God she's felt recently and how she knows this is the path she needs to take in her life, I couldn't help but think of the impact her decision is going to make. Not only is she being an example to her current family, but her decision to be baptized into the true church will be a tremendous blessing to her future family! Plus, she'll also eventually be able to participate in temple work to help bless her ancestors who didn't have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ while on the earth.

The blessings of the gospel truly have an eternal impact! If my mother hadn't have joined the church while in her 20's, she would've never met my father and I wouldn't even exist! My 4 older brothers wouldn't have served missions and I wouldn't be here in Virginia sharing the joy it brings into my life, and my sister wouldn't be getting ready to go to Minneapolis, Minnesota to serve the people there. My family has been so blessed with our membership in the Lord's church, and now it's my privilege to help people receive the restored gospel into their lives so that they can enjoy the same blessings we've enjoyed through striving to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyways, I can't wait for  Megan and I know that the decision she's making at this point in her life, being only 18 years old, will have a tremendous impact on generations of people!

Because we've been covering both the Centreville 1st and 2nd ward, I was able to meet and teach Sahid (Amy's brother), his wife Aminata,  and their son Sahid Jr. this week! They've been meeting with missionaries for over 6 months, and Aminata and Sahid Jr. are getting baptized this Saturday! When we told Amy they were getting baptized, she was SO happy for them! Amy's testimony is so strong and it's great to see that her family is able to enjoy the same peace and happiness that the gospel has brought into her life. Amy agreed to speak at the baptism and bear her testimony to the people there. I'm excited to be able to support them by attending their baptism this Saturday!

On Sunday night, we were able to go with Amy, Kadija and Omar, as well as Sahid Jr. to a New Member fireside that the mission puts on every 6 weeks or so. This time the fireside was up in Arlington at a church building that is super old. I'm pretty sure it was the oldest LDS church building in Virginia! The fireside was great! There were a bunch of new members that bore their testimony and shared their conversion stories explaining why and how they decided to become members of the church. Amy agreed to speak at the next one which will be at the end of May! It's so great to hear new members of the church testify of truth! President and Sister Huntsman spoke at the conclusion of the meeting. It was an uplifting meeting and the spirit was strong! It is so motivating and inspiring to hear the stories of these people and I'm excited for Amy to be able to speak at one next month!

This week, I read through the conference talk, "Finding Joy in the Journey" by President Thomas S. Monson, given in October 2008. Here's some of the quotes I pulled from his talk that I really liked! :)

  • "This is our one and only chance at mortal life--here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey--now."
  • "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays. My brothers and sisters, there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today."
  • "Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future."
  • "Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important--and what is most important almost always involves the people around us."
  • "Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings."

This is such a great talk and I recommend that you all read through it regardless of how many times you've read it in the past. In the eternal scheme of things, this life is super short, so why not make the most of each day! I think too often we get caught up in constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, rather than enjoying the present. I liked how he says what is most important always involves the people around us and. My favorite memories always involve other people! So as we go through life, we need to recognize the importance of our relationships and interactions with those around us every day! Also, he encourages us to have more gratitude for our blessings. As we take a step back from any current stresses or trials in our lives and think about all of the things we have been blessed with, we can find more joy in our journey on earth. Life is sick! And we're all blessed with so much!

I love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Duvall

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