Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 11,2016 The Savior calls us His Friends

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July last week and I hope everyone is enjoying your summer!

We have had a great week this week and have been busy!

July 11, 2016 On the Metro on the way to the National Zoo

Had a great day at the National Zoo! Left to right: Elders Marshall, Johnson, Jones, Babcock, Chu, myself, Poulson, and Teeples

We got to teach Amy's brother Alex Koroma at her house this week! Alex has been in the states for just a couple weeks, and is excited to start going to church here. We taught him the first discussion and the spirit was strong. It was so great to see Amy and Kadija explain to Alex how they both came to know that this is the true church and to watch them testify that they both know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. When we invited Alex to be baptized, he immediately told us he wants to pray about it to receive an answer from God before making a decision. I have faith that he will receive his answer! Alex came to church with us again yesterday! He said he still praying to get an answer, but he enjoyed church and is beginning to make some friendships in the ward. He's working on finishing up some papers so that he can stay in the states longer and start working, so we're excited to keep working with him!

Stevie came to church yesterday! He's the man that we met sitting on a bench while we walked by a park last week. He stayed for all 3 hours and participated a lot on our Sunday school class and in Elders quorum! He seemed to enjoy church a lot! He's really open to learning and has been reading the Book of Mormon on his own. We're excited to be able to start teaching him consistently!

We had two different lessons with Katie and Jackson this week! The first one was just with Katie, because Jackson was gone at a summer camp, but it was still really good. We visited with her and her friend and answered a lot of her questions about the church. Since she went when she was a little kid, she thought she understood a lot of the basic principles of the gospel, but she misunderstood a lot of things, so it was good to clarify any concerns and questions she had. At our second lesson with them, Katie was super busy with her two little girls so we wound up just teaching Jackson. With him, we reviewed the principles from the first lesson that we had with him a couple weeks ago to make sure he remembered everything we taught. I love how much faith little children have! He's 9 years old but strongly believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true! We encouraged him to still pray to get an answer to confirm his belief that he already has. Here's a picture with Jackson and Katie and one of his little sisters:

Yesterday was the last Sunday of the transfer, which means it was the New and Returnig Member fireside again! I have loved going to these at the end of each transfer! Nothing brings us more joy as missionaries than seeing the faith develop in the hearts of those we serve and teach. The testimonies were powerful and I'm glad that we were able to attend. Alex Koroma came with us and felt the spirit strongly from all of the converts that spoke! Michelle came as well and brought a friend of hers who I met at her baptism a few months ago! I'm grateful for the friendship and the love I have been able to feel as I help these people grow in their testimonies of the gospel!

I wanted to share some of my favorite verses from the bible with you all this week from John chapter 15 verses 9-15 about friends.
9. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

The Savior calls us his friends, and he laid down his life for each of us! We need to follow his example and lay down our lives in love and service to those around us! Be friends to others. As missionaries, we have the calling to be a servant set apart to share the gospel with the world. But as members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we also have the covenant obligation to be a friend to those around us to "mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in..." (Mosiah 18:9).

Yeah, we can be a friend everyone as we mourn with them and as we comfort them, but we can truly demonstrate Gods love for them if we strive to always stand as a witness of God, by serving them and helping them come to know of the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We are all part of God's family and we are all brothers and sisters, but we should all also be friends! I've been blessed in my life with some great friends, and I've made so many friends serving here. I've become friends with the missionaries I serve with, but also became close friends with so many of the people I've grown to love here in Centreville! We have transfers this week! I'll find out tonight or tomorrow if I get to stay here one more transfer! I'm anxious to know already, but I know that whether I stay here for another 6 weeks or if I go somewhere else, it is the Lord's plan for me!

We're on the metro right now heading into DC today for Pday! We're probably going to go to the Zoo today. I'll send some pictures later!

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

Elder Duvall

Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war!

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