Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30, 2016 Q & Quinn, Temple Trip, NARMF fireside‏

May 30, 2016

It was a beautiful day at the temple today!!

Last night President Huntsman dropped a couple hints to Elder Shelley and I that makes us pretty sure that we are probably going to get split up this week. Transfers are on Thursday! We'll see what happens!

We had a great first lesson with Q this week! Before we even started teaching he said "I want to be baptized like everyone else in my class at my church" and then he asked his Dad at a certain point in the lesson "Dad, can I be baptized this Sunday?" Last week was his first time coming to church and he loves it so much already! Quinn wants his son to be baptized as well, but he wants to make sure that Q understands the importance and significance of that decision before doing it. We are so excited to continue teaching him about the gospel, to help him be prepared to be baptized! Quinn Jr. asks the funniest questions so it's a little hard to keep him focused on a certain topic, but he's a super smart kid and understands a lot! Aside from the lesson, we also had a lot of great conversation with Quinn. He told us more stories from his mission, and talked about the importance of keeping a journal. He kept a pretty consistent journal for most of his mission, and at a certain point he wrote a message to his future self, which he re-read last Sunday after going to church. This particular message made a pretty big impact on him and his decision to start having his kids learn about the gospel that he grew up in. I've kept a really consistent journal so far and I know I will be able to look back at it later on in my life to help me out as well!

Kadija convinced her mom to feed us dinner this week rather than just having another one of our usual visits. African food isn't that bad! She made us a dish called "yolaf." It's a rice dish with different meats mixed in and a "sauce" of a bunch of vegetables mixed and squished together. Along with the “yolaf” she made some meat and vegetable kabobs, with the meat cooked in peanut butter! It tasted pretty good! We brought a priest with us who's about to graduate from high school and start school at George Mason, and he had a great experience joining us for dinner and for their lesson! Amy Spoke at the "New and Returning Member Fireside" (NARMF) last night and did great! This transfer the fireside was at a chapel in Mount Vernon. Everyone there enjoyed hearing her testimony and her conversion story! She explained her whole story from the time missionaries starting teaching her brother when she wasn't interested, up until where she is now. The spirit is always super strong at these meetings where new members of the church testify of how they found the truth and how much it has been a blessing to them in their lives. Michelle Frick also came to the fireside to listen and she was really glad she came as well! At church yesterday, the bishop asked Michelle to bear her testimony. She wasn't expecting it so obviously she was nervous, but she bore a wonderful testimony to the congregation about how she found so much more direction in her life through the gospel, and how it has kept her grounded through different trials she's been through. We were able to go to the temple this morning to do baptisms for the dead with Michelle! She joined a group of about 35 youth from a ward in Maryland and Michelle just looked super happy the whole time we were there! She's done so much family history work that she didn't have enough time to finish all of the names she did. But she is excited to go back soon to do more work! It has been such a blessing to see her progress in her testimony!

We went up to the temple early this morning before Michelle got up there and we were able to do an endowment session. It was my first time doing endowments since I got here to DC and it was wonderful! I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to spend some time pondering and praying while in the celestial room. I'm filled with joy and gratitude for the opportunity I have to be here serving a mission! I'm grateful for this gospel and the eternal perspective it helps bring into my life.

I read through a talk entitled "Of Regrets and Resolutions" be President Uchtdorf a couple days ago and I'm so grateful for what I learned! Our live on earth is such a small portion of the eternity that's in store for us, yet this short life is so crucial in determine how much happiness we will be able to enjoy forever. President Uchtdorf said: "One day we will take that unavoidable step and cross from this mortal sphere into the next estate. One day we will look back at our lives and wonder if we could have been better, made better decisions, or used our time more wisely. To avoid some of the deepest regrets of life, it would be wise to make some resolutions today. Therefore, let us:
* Resolve to spend more time with those we love.
* Resolve to strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.
* Resolve to find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.
It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today. If we have sinned or made mistakes--if we have made choices that we now regret--there is the precious gift of Christ’s Atonement, through which we can be forgiven. We cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can repent. The Savior can wipe away our tears of regret and remove the burden of our sins. His Atonement allows us to leave the past behind and move forward with clean hands, a pure heart, and a determination to do better and especially to become better. Yes, this life is passing swiftly; our days seem to fade quickly; and death appears frightening at times. Nevertheless, our spirit will continue to live and will one day be united with our resurrected body to receive immortal glory. I bear solemn witness that because of the merciful Christ, we will all live again and forever. Because of our Savior and Redeemer, one day we will truly understand and rejoice in the meaning of the words “the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. The path toward fulfilling our divine destiny as sons and daughters of God is an eternal one. My dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, we must begin to walk that eternal path today; we cannot take for granted one single day. I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Everyone of us will regret mistakes we've made throughout our lives. But we can all make decisions now that can have eternal impacts for good. I love his counsel on relying on the atonement which will allow us to move forward with a clean slate! Just like President Uchtdorf said, towards the end of our lives many of us will "wonder if we could have been better, made better decisions, or used our time more wisely." I hope that by the time my life comes to end I can confidently say that I made my time matter by spending it with those I love and in the service of others, and that I always strived to live up to my potential by constantly relying on the atonement of Christ. We're faced with decisions every day, and our future relies heavily on what we choose to do now. I'm so grateful to have the knowledge of Christ's restored gospel that helps me make decisions that will keep me on the path back to our Father in Heaven, and I'm so grateful for the Atonement that allows us all to get back on the path when we deviate from it.

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

Elder Duvall

Last week on P-day we went fishing near our apartment for a little while until a thunderstorm came out of nowhere. It was sunny when we started then the clouds started coming and then we got soaked walking back to the apartment, but it was fun!

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 William, Megan, Dolla$, and Quinn‏

We had another great week! Transfers are next Thursday, June 2nd. There's a chance I could be transferred out of Centreville, but we both think I'm going to stay! I love this ward a lot!

We were able to meet with William this week! Our first visit with him he started explaining to us a lot of the struggles that he and his family have been going through lately. They live in the basement of a small town-house here and it's not the best circumstance for his family. We read 2 Nephi 2:2 with him that says "Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." This scripture is Lehi counseling his son Jacob, who's gone through a lot of trials and tribulations for his whole life. Lehi teaches is here that all of the trials we go through in our life are put in our lives to help us learn and grow. We encouraged William to try to think about what he has gained from the trials he's been going through. He began to think and then explained how his living situation has actually forced him to spend much more time with his wife and kids that he didn't have before, and how he's grown so much closer to them through it all. Even though it's not the most ideal situation for them, the Lord has blessed him and his family a lot! This scripture really comforted him! We were able to teach him most of the Restoration, but had to leave before getting all the way through it. The lesson went great and he accepted our invitation to join us at church! He wasn't able to make it yesterday, but said he would love to come this Sunday! We're supposed to meet with him again tomorrow.

We had a quick visit with Megan this week. She's super busy because her senior year is finishing up and doesn't have a lot of time. We shared a portion of President Uchtdorfs talk "The Infinite power of Hope" with her and she loved it. My favorite portion of the talk comes at the end when he says  "And to all who suffer--to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely--I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart." Even though our lesson was super short, she told us that it meant a lot to her! I'm so grateful for the hope that we can have through Jesus Christ to be able to make it through all of life's challenges!

We had a couple lessons with my man Greg Dolla$ this week. He finally rapped for us! (he kept it clean of course) but he's pretty good! He's got a long ways to go, but we've really enjoyed becoming good friends with him and helping him make his way back to church. He's such a great member-missionary! It seems like each time we go over there he brings a friend with him for us to teach. His friends have some pretty interesting outlooks on life, but they're all super chill and relaxed (for certain reasons that I won't describe haha). But it's fun to work with them!

About month ago, we knocked on a door, and a lady answered and immediately said "Go on into the backyard and talk with my husband." We were a little sketched out, but we went around the house and into the backyard and her husband, Quinn, was on the deck grilling chicken and he said "Oh hey Elders! It took you long enough to find me, you slackers!" We had no idea who this guy was but we began to talk. He then invited us up and we talked with him and his son for over about 2 hours. He ended up being a member of the church, and served a mission in Cambodia! (check my letter from 4/25/16) he has some crazy mission stories! He went away from the church shortly after his mission before he started his family. They just moved back to Virginia a few months ago after living in Saudi Arabia for the last couple years. Over the last month we haven't been able to really meet with them at all, but we've dropped by his house each week and sent him a few messages. He let us take his dog out a couple times when he went up to Philadelphia one weekend, but aside from that we didn't have much contact with him. To our surprise, he showed up at church yesterday, with his son Quinn Jr (goes by "Q")! Q loved primary and Quinn participated a lot in our Sunday School class! He bore a pretty powerful testimony during the class and gave a little bit of his background and struggles he's been through in his life. And then it got to a certain point where he said something like "And it wasn't until these two punks with the same name tags that I once wore (pointing at us), showed up in my backyard while I was barbecuing, that I even thought of coming back here today, but here I am." We laughed about it when he pointed at us, but the spirit was super strong and he was super sincere with his desire to change. He wants us to come by this week! We're hoping to be able to teach Q, who just turned 9, more about the church! I'm grateful that we were able to meet Quinn and be a part of that whole experience!

This upcoming Sunday we will be able to go to another "New and Returning Member Fireside!" Amy Koroma is going to speak! We're super excited for her to be able to share her story with other recent  converts, investigators, members and missionaries!

We're going to the temple next Monday with Michelle to do baptisms for the dead! It is open for Memorial Day until 12:30. We look forward to that! We might get to go up there early in the morning to do an endowment session! I'm excited because I haven't been able to do a session yet! We're only allowed to go once every 6 months, but that'll be a great experience!

Just a quick thought from my studies this morning from Alma chapter 30. This is where Korihor preaches blaspheme and demands a sign from Alma to prove that there is a God. Alma simply replies in verse 44: "Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."

The sun was shining super bright through these trees, so we had to stop and take this picture.
We live in such an amazing world!! There is so much beauty all around  us and all of the Lord's creations on the earth truly denote to the reality of Gods existence and miraculous power! I'm grateful to know that we were all created in His image and I'm grateful to know that we can return to live with Him again! I'm loving it out here on the east coast! It is so green!! It's been raining a lot this month, but it's beautiful out here! I love you all and hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Duvall
We all thought this painting looks a ton like Elder Eyring! Haha

A family friend of Elder Teeples was able to take our whole district out to lunch to
Red Robin after our district meeting! He has a cool conversion story and is a funny guy!

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016 The Warrior Report

May 16, 2016
We had a great week! Today for p-day we walked around DC a little bit and spent some time in the Natural History Museum. It was a fun day!

We didn't hear back from Katie and Jackson for a couple days and as we were riding by their neighborhood the other day, I told Elder Shelly "we need to remember to call Katie tonight" and literally two seconds after I said that, they honked from their car at us and we're happy to see us! We didn't get the chance to teach her and Jackson and actual lesson this week, but we visited with them for a few minutes and had a great conversation with them.

To follow-up from last week, the Hermanas and the Spanish Elders were able to contact a few of the referrals we gave them last week. They said they had great lessons with a couple different families! It's cool that we were able to find prepared people for them to teach!

We had a sweet lesson with Michelle this week. We taught her more about eternal marriage and families, and the priesthood. Her testimony of temple work has grown a lot and she has such a strong desire to do what she needs to do to be able to have an eternal family! She worked on more family history this week. Our family history representatives joked around with us and told us that we need to tell her to calm down because of how much she loves doing it! We will be going to the temple with her at the end of the month!

We had Zone Conference this week and received a lot of great instruction from President and Sister Huntsman! President Huntsman focused his messages on faith and repentance. Just as important as it is for our investigators to exercise faith and repentance in their lives, it's equally important for us as missionaries to apply all of the principles of faith and repentance. To be able to testify to them with the spirit, we need to do everything we can to be worthy of the spirit in our own lives.

This week I was asked to write something called the "Warrior Report" for the mission. Each week, one missionary is chosen to write a letter which the whole mission reads at their district meetings. Attached to the letter is pictures of anyone baptized that week in the mission along with other facts about the mission. In that letter we can write basically anything we want, whether we want to share a spiritual experience, or testify of a specific aspect of the gospel or missionary work. It was hard deciding what to write about, but I figured if I could give one piece of advice to about 200 missionaries, it would be about "choosing to be happy."

This is what I wrote for this weeks "Warrior Report": Gordon B. Hinckley proclaimed that "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!" There is so much joy to experience throughout our lives. Personally, my greatest source of joy comes from my family and the knowledge that I have that I can be with them forever! I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to serve here and help others receive complete joy that comes from the eternal blessings of living the gospel of Jesus Christ! What a marvelous work we are engaged in!

Aside from my family, there are so many other experiences and blessings that have brought so much joy into my life. Along with the joy we experience in life, we will all experience disappointment, sorrow, and sadness at times.

Missionary work is the same. Many of us have days where we may seem less motivated or slightly discouraged. But the bottom line is that we don't have to feel that way! If we simply take a step back and re-evaluate the eternal significance of this work we can find the strength and desire to diligently press forward! Alma states "And behold, when I see many of my brethren... coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me... yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me" (Alma 29:10).

They keyword here is remember! We all meet specific people and have certain spiritual experiences that allow us to feel this joy that Alma felt as he saw others come unto Christ. The Lord has blessed each of us with so much. Whenever I start feeling down, I just take a step back and think for a few minutes about the people, the experiences, and the blessings that have brought joy to me in my life and on my mission. Ultimately, our happiness is a choice! We can choose to remember and recognize the Lords merciful hand in our missions, or we can choose to endure through each day until it's over. But what fun is that?!

My stake president told me the day I left home something to the effect of: "Elder Duvall, you have 2 short years to fully devote your time, attention, and efforts solely on the Savior, Jesus Christ, and his
gospel. And then you have the rest of eternity to reflect back on your mission. So go out there, work hard, and have no regrets!"

If I'm going to reflect on my mission for eternity, I want to remember it as a happy time where I made the most of it! It is my hope that each of us can choose to be happy every day! That is my invitation to each of you. We know what we need to do and what we need to change in order to "live after the manner of happiness" in our missionary service. We just need to have the conviction to make the changes that will allow us to have no regrets in our service. ENJOY YOUR MISSION DON'T JUST ENDURE IT and CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. It is my testimony that no greater joy can come into our lives than by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ and progressing towards our goal to live with Him again. This is a gospel of change and a gospel of joy. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen."

I'm grateful for the chance I had to write this message to the mission! I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to serve here! I'm so grateful that I am able to find so much joy in the service of our Savior! I love this gospel and I know it changes lives. I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Duvall

It was beautiful weather today in DC!

Monday, May 9, 2016

5-9-2016 Special experiences and the significance of our choices‏

 It was great to be able to talk to my Mother and family yesterday for Mother’s Day! I'm so grateful for an amazing and loving family!

We had a great week and had a couple cool experiences!
I guess you can call us the Rescue Squad! (5-5)

We finished teaching a lesson to this Filipino lady named Georgina who we met about a month ago and we were walking away from her house and saw a few kids climbing a tree outside and went to say hi to them. One of the kids was Aiden, Georgina's grandson who we also met a month ago. He's 8 years old and likes us a lot and thinks we're pretty cool. He yelled over to one of his friends who was across the neighborhood and said "Hey Daniel! Come here, hurry! These guys are from God! They're really nice!" We started laughing, but I guess he's right! One of the boys that was climbing the tree with Aiden, named Will, asked us if he could have a Bible and was said of course! We didn't have one so we told him we'd bring one back another day. We had to go back to the apartment that night anyways so we figured we'd grab a Bible and bring it to his house that night. We knocked on the door and met Will's father, also named William. Their family is from El Salvador. We ended up talking with William for a whole hour! He remembers seeing missionaries back in El Salvador, and he met missionaries in the past when he also lived in Texas. He didn't remember much about what they taught him in the past, but he's always admired missionaries and is curious to learn more. He asked us a lot of questions and we had great conversation with him. He really enjoyed the concept of eternal families! After our conversation with him, he said he loved talking with us and that he felt the presence of the Holy Ghost and he's really interested in learning more! We're supposed to be meeting with him again tomorrow afternoon. We were definitely put in the right place at the right time! We weren't originally planning on meeting with Georgina that day, but felt like we should go by, and then we were able to meet this little kid that randomly asked for a free Bible, which allowed us to come back later to meet his dad William!

We had another cool experience on Saturday. We were biking on our way to check on a referral that we got and this Hispanic guy that was walking towards smiled and waved at us yelling "¡Amigos, Amigos!" We were probably biking about 20 mph so we waved happily and kept on going. After we got about 100 yards away, we figured it's not too often that a random person smiles and calls you their friends, so we  turned around and went back to him. His name is Francisco and he is from Guatemala! He speaks broken English, but with my broken Spanish and his broken English we talked with him for about 10 minutes. He lived in Utah years ago and talked with missionaries there, but hasn't had the opportunity to meet with any of us since he moved out here. He told us he has a ton of questions and that he wants to learn more from us! He has been learning English recently but has a ton of questions and it would be much more beneficial for him to meet with Spanish-speaking missionaries. He said he was super happy to see us ride past him and he was SO glad we came back! I'm so glad we did too! We gave his information to the Hermanas and they'll be meeting with him next Saturday!

Later that same night we were about to head back to the apartment, but decided to go to one more street to find a particular lady that was in our area book. We couldn't find her address on the street but figured we had to be in the neighborhood for a reason. It was almost 9pm, but we saw a father and son shooting a basketball at a nearby court so we stopped and talked to them. Their names were Jack and Jackson, and it was both of their birthdays that day! The dad was their visiting his son (who just turned 9 years old), but he doesn't live there. The Dad has had a rough life and feels disconnected from God. He said he has high hopes for his son and wants him to grow up religiously. He told us come by Sunday afternoon to meet with him and Jackson. We went there after church on Sunday and Jack had already left to back to his home, but we met Jackson as he was running around outside with kids in the neighborhood and then he told us where his Mom was. She was sitting on her porch watching the kids play, so we went and talked to her. Her name is Katie. She thanked us for talking with her son the night before, and she said that when Jackson got home he told her "Mom, I made two new friends tonight from a church!" She told us she knew it must've been the Mormon missionaries. Just like her ex said the night before, she really wants her son to grow up with God as part of his life. She actually grew up going to the church and her mother is a member. She herself was never baptized, but she remembers going as a kid. She just moved here about 2 months ago and she said that as she's moved around, the missionaries always end up somehow running into her, so she felt like us running into her son, and then coming to meet her was "a sign from God that it's time to start making religion a part of our lives again." She emphasized that she doesn't want to start coming to church unless she's fully committed, but that she really wants her son to have the opportunity to. She was crying as she called us "angels," and she was battling a flu so she didn't want us to stay too long, but she's excited to have us come back to teach her son!

Michelle is absolutely loving doing family history work! She has gone with us multiple times to the family history center to work on finding family names to be able to take to the temple! It's awesome to see how much she's enjoying it! She'll be able to go back up to the temple sometime in the next few weeks to do baptisms for those names!

The last two weeks we've gone over to Sister Moore's house multiple times to visit with her and her son. They are from the Caribbean, specifically Trinidad, and they converted to the church about 10 years ago, but her son Greg has been away from the church for a while. Greg is currently an aspiring rapper and he goes by the name Greg Dolla$! He's super funny and enjoys visiting with us! We've been teaching him and reading scriptures with him trying to help him remember the spirit he felt when he joined the church. He came to church yesterday and sat with us and his mom. He leaned over during one of the Mother’s Day talks during sacrament meeting he leaned over and told his mom how much he loved her, which was awesome to see his heart soften a little bit! They're pretty sweet people and I love their Caribbean accents!

Our Zone was able to do service at a local food pantry this week!
It was great to be able to serve alongside other members of the community to help out those in need!

In President Monson's remarks this last April, he talked about the importance of our choices on earth. "When we left our premortal existence and entered mortality, we brought with us the gift of agency. Our goal is to obtain celestial glory, and the choices we make will, in large part, determine whether or not we reach our goal. . . Although it is imperative that we choose wisely, there are times when we will make foolish choices. The gift of repentance, provided by our Savior, enables us to correct our course settings, that we might return to the path which will lead us to that celestial glory we seek. May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. MAY WE EVER CHOOSE THE HARDER RIGHT INSTEAD OF THE EASIER WRONG."

I love what he says about our choices. The gift of agency is one of the greatest gifts we have, so we need to use that gift wisely! Our day to day decisions play such an important role in determining where we will go during this life, and where we will end up after it. If we can simply remember who we are and what we stand for, we can have the strength to “choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong."

I love you all! Have a great week!!

Elder Duvall

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016 Happy Mothers Day! Megan's baptism! Miracle in Sierra Leon!‏


Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing mothers out there! I'm so grateful to you all and for everything you do! I'm especially grateful for the love of my own mother and all that she does for me and for my family!

Last October, Elder Holland stated that "no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." I KNOW THAT THIS IS TRUE! I can't even begin to comprehend how much God loves us when comparing his love to that of my mothers. I know that she loves and cares about my siblings and I so much! She has devoted over 30 years of her life to teaching, loving, nurturing, serving, and praying for my family and she continues to do so every day! I love her more than words can express! I'm so grateful for families and the opportunity we have to be together forever! There's truly no greater joy than that.

Elder Holland went on to say: To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle--and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’ ” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone." ("Behold Thy Mother", Oct. 2015)

I love Elder Hollands remarks on a mothers love for her children. I know that the love of a mother truly is divine! If anyone struggles to recognize the love their mother has for them, it is there! And it is stronger than you think it is! I love you Mom! Thanks for your unceasing love and Christlike service to me and our family! I don't know where I'd be without you. I won't go on in this email, but I hope the letter I mailed gets to you by Sunday! :)

Anyways, this week was great! Megan had an awesome week! We had a couple lessons with her early in the week about the different commandments which went great. She sent us a text every day leading up to her baptism telling us how excited she was! The baptism itself was amazing. There was so much support there from her friends and from the ward! The room was packed. She had a lot of support from her family as well. Her parents, grandparents, and siblings all came! Drake Wilkinson baptized her and a couple of her friends from the ward gave talks! We went over to Bishop Duersch's house after for refreshments and to visit with everyone that was at the baptism. Megan asked me if I would perform her confirmation in sacrament meeting on Sunday. That was my first time doing a confirmation! It was awesome. Megan bore her testimony at sacrament meeting, in front of a few hundred people! She said that she has no regrets with her decision and that she knows that this is the true church. It's been wonderful seeing her testimony grow since I've been here. She texted us this morning saying "Being baptized was the best and greatest decisions I've made in my life." She randomly sends us messages like that all the time, and we love it. It's super awesome to see how happy the gospel has made her!
Drake Wilkinson was able to baptize Megan on April 30th! He is her best friends
little brother that just turned 16 and became a priest within the
priesthood! It was a cool opportunity for him to baptize someone so
soon after becoming a priest!

Megan has some great friends that have helped her a lot the last few months!
The youth in this ward are great!

Amazing miracle this week!!! Amy called us on Friday and told us "I AM SO HAPPY!" Amy has been fasting and praying constantly for her family back in Sierra Leon, specifically her father, that they can somehow learn about and accept the church into their lives. Amy’s dad was a minister or pastor in a church there, and religion is something they never talk about when she calls them. She has been too nervous to tell him that she joined this church. Amy's mother had to go back to Sierra Leon for the next two months to be able to renew her visa, and when she got off the plane there, she asked Amy's dad which church they've been attending, and he told her the LDS church! Amy's dad met missionaries in Sierra Leon and was baptized last year!!! Amy's prayers were answered before she was ever praying for them! He was even baptized before Amy knew anything about this church. It's crazy how she never knew this until just now! Now that her mother is back there for the next two months, she will be able to be taught by missionaries there and be baptized before she comes back to the U.S.  In two months! Without the language barrier, it will be much easier for her to learn about and understand the gospel. She has already learned a ton from Amy as she's been coming to church and having Amy translate for her every week, but Kadiatu is super excited! We were so happy to hear this news!! I'm grateful that the gospel is universal and that the church is the same all over the world and that it blesses people everywhere! I'm glad that the missionaries there were able to find and teach some of her family back home! I seriously love African people so much! They're amazing and have such a strong desire to follow Christ.

We were also able to do some family history work with Michelle! She was able to get about 10 names to take to the temple to do baptisms for the dead soon! She loved going up to the visitors center last week and is excited to go up there again soon to be able to actually go inside the temple!

There was a talk i read by Dieter F Uchtdorf this week that I really liked. He said "Brothers and sisters, if you ever think that the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back, look at your life from a higher plane, and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus on the basic doctrines, principles, and applications of the gospel. I promise that God will guide and bless you on your path to a fulfilling life, and the gospel will definitely work better for you."

The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple! I know that if we take a step back and evaluate where we are in our lives, that we can make changes that will bring us closer to the Savior. Having an eternal perspective helps out so much!

I'm so grateful for this gospel and the happiness it brings!

I hope you all have an amazing week! Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing women in my life, especially my own mother! Love you all!

Elder Duvall

Kaylie carries this bear around with her everywhere, 
so we had to snag it and take a picture.

Here's a couple more pictures from last week (4-24) up at the temple with Michelle and Kaylie!