Monday, June 20, 2016

6-20-2016 Trip to the ER! Tender Mercies. Stake Conference with L. Whitney Clayton!

Hey everyone!

We had to go to the ER last week!! Don't worry, everything's okay!  Last Monday (5/13), we were at a park playing soccer with about 20 missionaries in our zone. After playing for about two hours, I turn around and see my companion, Elder Chu, on the ground grimacing in pain. He immediately knew that he dislocated his shoulder! Another missionary accidentally bumped into it at an awkward angle with a lot of force. He's dislocated it over 20 times in the past, and is usually able to pop it back into place the last few times it has happened, but he couldn't get it back in this time and he was in a ton of pain! We got in the car quick and rushed to a nearby urgent care, who then redirected us an ER a mile away! Thankfully the ER wasn't busy at all and he got in right away and the doctor popped it in within a couple minutes! It was intriguing to see the doctor know exactly how to get it back in, but at the same time it was a disturbing sightseeing a shoulder poking out at a weird angle.  It was pretty stressful seeing Elder Chu go through so much pain and I couldn't really do much to help. He asked for a priesthood blessing in the car, so I gave him a brief one while on our way to the ER. We're glad everything turned out okay! He withstood the pain like a champ and didn't ask for any pain meds at the emergency room, all he did was bite on a towel! From the time it got dislocated till the time the doctor got it back in place was probably about 45 minutes or so! His shoulder was pretty sore throughout the week, but is doing better now. Being in the emergency room, I was reminded of the last time I was in one a little over a  year ago for the "Every 15 Minutes" program I was involved in.

We have tender mercies happen to us all the time! But I wanted to write about a couple from this week. First one, we were walking through a neighborhood and a bunch of little kids were running around, and it was super hot and humid outside. We walked by an ice cream truck and I thought to myself how refreshing it would be to buy an ice cream, but didn't think it was really necessary, so we keep on walking. Then I hear a high pitched voice yell "Elders! Elders!" I turned around and saw a short Hispanic woman with a huge smile on her face telling us that she wants to buy us an ice cream. We said we didn't need one, but she insisted! Her name was Marina, and she is a member of the church and didn't speak any English, but it made her SO happy to please us to an ice cream! The ice cream was a nice treat, but the smile on her face as she bought them for us was priceless!

Another tender mercy we had has to do with a thunderstorm. On Thursday night last week there was a huge thunder and rainstorm that started around 7pm and went all through the night. Thankfully, the rain started right as we were getting to our lesson with Greg. Bishop Duersch joined us for the lesson and then he drove us at the end of the night. We were so grateful that we didn't get caught outside in the crazy storm!

Lastly, the coolest tender mercy that happened is week was getting back in contact with Katie and Jackson! (Refer to letter sent on 5/9/16). Katie told us a few days after our experience meeting her that "this was too much" and that she's "not ready to make this a part of [her] life again." And then she has ignored us the past month and a half as we've tried to contact her. But we were walking through her neighborhood last Sunday and she was outside with the kids! We spent about 20 minutes talking to her and she asked us to come a few days later and have a lesson with her and Jackson! So we went over on Thursday afternoon and had a really great lesson with them! Katie said she was super nervous and stressed out before we came over, but by the time we left she said she felt so much more at peace and was glad we were able to clear up a lot of her questions and concerns about the church. Jackson is such a smart kid! He's 9 years old but understands a lot about God and Jesus Christ.

We had a great Stake Conference this weekend! Elder L. Whitney Clayton, the senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy, and Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Seventy, both came to the Centreville, VA Stake this week. I got to meet both of them afterwards, they are such great men!  Elder Palmer served as a mission President over the Spokane Washington mission a number of years ago and he said he had an Elder Duvall in his mission. I just told him I have a lot of family that lives in Moses Lake, and he said he's been there numerous times! Elder Clayton is from Irvine, CA, and he knew exactly where Temecula is. He sarcastically said "you almost live in the promised land" referring to Irvine. It was pretty funny! Elder Clayton was talking to a few of us missionaries and he told us how lucky we are to have President and Sister Huntsman. I agree with him! President and Sister Huntsman both spoke about missionary work at the stake conference and did a great job!

My favorite talk from the conference was Elder Claytons. He shared a story about some people who were traveling by boat, and all they had to navigate was a compass. He explained how if their compass was off by even the slightest degree, they would end up in a place they never intended to be in the beginning!
Then he related this story to our lives. He explained how it's too easy for us to let things in our lives distract us from our course. We might not realize how little things can affect us now, but as time goes on, we will find ourselves in a situation where we would have never desired to be when we started our journey! We know where we want to go, and we know what it takes to get there. If the "compass" of our lives is off by even 1 degree, we will slowly deviate off of the path that leads back to our Father in Heaven. Elder Clatyon encouraged each of us to constantly ask ourselves "How is my compass working? What can I adjust?" I loved his counsel he gave to us! We all have adjustments that we can, and need, to make in our lives. That's the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ! Even though we may deviate off of the path, it's never too late to come back! Although "adjusting our compass" through relying on the atonement, and making necessary changes, may not be the easiest thing to, there is so much peace and joy that comes from doing so! I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to turn to Christ to help make sure I stay on course! Happy (late) Father's Day to my amazing Dad and all other fathers out there! I'm so grateful for you all! Thanks for being such a great example to me and showing me what it means to love others and how to be a righteous priesthood holder!
I love you all! I hope everyone is enjoying summer! Have a great week!
Elder Duvall

This is my zone this transfer! Great group of missionaries!

I didn't ask to get on his shoulders...Elder Bradley just picked me up!

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