Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18th, 2016 Transferred from Centreville to Alexandria

I've been transferred to Alexandria!

My last couple days in Centreville were great! I was able to have lessons with and say bye to most of the people that we have been working with. We had a recent convert lesson with Michelle that was great! She told us that she just finished reading the Book of Mormon! It's crazy to think that I knocked on her door my very first night in the mission field. It's been a journey with her and I'm glad to have been a part of it!

It was and honor to be able to teach the Koroma family the last 6 months and to see their love for the gospel progress. I will miss them tremendously! But I will get to go back and visit when Omarr gets baptized next year and when Amy goes through the temple next February!

We visited with Katie and Jackson my last night in Centreville and invited them to pray about a date to set as a goal for Jackson to work towards for baptism! They are thinking about the end of August! I'm so glad Elder Shelley and I were able to have a neat experience finding them, and I'm grateful for the loving persistence that we showed to them that helped soften her heart. I'm confident in Elder Chu and his new companion as they continue teaching them!

It was sad saying goodbye to all of the people that I've grown to love in Centreville, but I am excited to get to work here in Alexandria!!

Leadership calls go out on the Monday before transfers, and we got a call from President Huntsman last Monday night. When he called, my initial thought was that that maybe he would be asking me to be a District Leader in another area. But he gave me the assignment to serve as a Zone Leader here in Alexandria with Elder Judkins! I am humbled and excited to be able to serve in this capacity, and I know that the Lord will me! Elder Judkins is from northeast Texas and he's an awesome missionary. We are both beyond excited to be able to work together here and to serve in this zone!

My first few days serving here in Alexandria have been great! Serving in this city has a completely different dynamic than out in Centreville. There are a lot of big apartment complexes, buildings and condominiums and not as many individual homes. The ward is also a lot different. It's a smaller ward and it consists of a lot of young couples along with a few elderly people and then a few different families from Ghana. Since there's pretty much no young men in the ward, we got to bless the sacrament on Sunday for the first time on my mission which was sweet! I'm excited to get to know the members of the ward! I've already made a few connection with different members from California. Our Assistant Ward Mission leader is from Murrieta! There are a few other members from SoCal as well so that's sweet.
I've loved serving in this district my first 6 months. Different elders have ome and gone,but I have loved them all! (Left to right: Elders Bradley, Beatty, myself, Chu, Teeples, Marshall, and Elder Strawn and Vasilyev in the front.) 

We're in a car, so I'll probably be off of the bike for a while. There's a lot of really humble people that are ready and willing to listen! There are A TON of Africans here. So far, most of the ones I've met have been from Ghana and Ethiopia, and they're all super friendly. We've taught some great lessons together and I'm excited to get to know more of the people in the area and hopefully start to help some of these people progress in the gospel.

We've spent a lot of our study time the last couple of days preparing for our zone conference that we have tomorrow! This is Elder Judkins 2nd transfer as a Zone Leader, and my first transfer as a Zone Leader, and neither of us have ever led a Zone Conference before... But we're super excited for it! It'll be a spiritual meeting and we're always happy to learn from President and Sister Huntsman!

Elder Judkins and I have decided that we want to focus this transfer on having a greater sense of faith and hope. Preach My Gospel states that "Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good." I love how it says when you have hope you "expect" results to occur. When we do our part, exercising faith, we can have hope and "expect" that blessings will come. This isn't only true in missionary work but in our lives as well. If we are obedient to the commandments, center our lives on Christ, and serve others, we can have the hope and confidence that everything "will work together for [our] good."

I'm super excited to get to serve here in Alexandria! Can't wait to see the work progress here and to serve alongside the missionaries in this zone.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Duvall

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