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

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