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!
It was beautiful weather today in DC!