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!

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