Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4, 2016 Happy 4th! A broken heart and contrite spirit

Happy 4th of July everyone! 240 years of independence! I'm grateful for the freedom of religion that we have in this country and for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith! I know the principles that this nation were founded upon were inspired by God and that it allowed for the true gospel to be restored back to the earth beginning in the year 1820 when Joseph Smith received divine answers to his humble prayers. I hope everyone has/had a safe and happy 4th!

We came across this chalk on the sidewalk! Great advice! Love you Momma!

Just to follow-up from last week, we weren't able to meet with Vincent and his family because they had a death in their extended family and had to travel for a funeral. We will keep praying for them and hopefully we can see them soon! We were able to have a lesson with Brandon again this week which went great! He's hopefully going to start going to the YSA ward soon.

One afternoon last week we were walking by a park and noticed a man sitting down on the bench listening to music through his headphones. At first we thought we shouldn't bother him, but we decided to go talk with him. He immediately turned off his music and allowed us to sit on the bench with him and talk! His name is Stevie! We talked about God and about Jesus Christ and his beliefs in them, and then we taught him about the The Book of Mormon and the restoration of Christ's church. We sat there for about an hour discussing things with him and he was really interested and open to what we taught. At the end of our discussion with him we invited him to say a prayer before we left. He said a really simple prayer, but it was powerful! After he prayed he immediately said "that felt really good!"  I'm grateful for the spirit and power of prayer, especially when we invite those who don't pray vocally often to pray, because you can feel of their sincerity as they communicate with God. It makes me want to strive to be more sincere in my own personal prayers. Stevie is a really humble guy. He has Job Disorder (pronounced like Job from the Bible), which is a rare immunodeficiency disorder of which there are only about 200 current reported cases (don't quote me on that, not sure if I understood him correctly). He's been through a lot, but is really optimistic and has a lot of hope for the future. Before we left, he randomly asked us "hey, can I take a picture with you guys?" So here it is! We hope to get in touch with him again this week.
On Saturday, we had dinner with an awesome family in our ward that are neighbors of Phyllis, who I've mentioned a couple times in previous emails. We invited her to join us for dinner and she came! We had a great discussion afterwards about the blessings of the gospel and talked about different ways that we've all been able to see Christ's hand in our lives. After dinner, their family put on a little firework show for the neighborhood kids, so we stuck around for a couple minutes. (Sorry for the bad quality photo)
Amy Koroma walked into church yesterday, not only with her two kids, but she brought her mother, brother, and nephew as well! Her mother just got back from her Sierra Leone and will be here for a while before she has to go back again. Amy's brother, Alex Koroma, had recently been going to the LDS church in Sierra Leone and he seemed to really enjoy being at church here! We will be having a lesson with him this week! Amy bore a powerful testimony at sacrament meeting about how she came to know Jesus Christ and that this is his church on the earth. I know that her family, along with everyone else in the congregation, felt the spirit strongly as she testified of the truthfulness of this church!

I read an Ensign article recently called "The Promise of the Sacrament." In the article, it relates the story of the Jaredites in the Book of Mormon, to the sacrament.  The Jaredites needed physical light to be able to be prepared to cross the “great deep” to the Promised Land. Without the light they received, they couldn't have safely been guided here. Just as they needed the stones to be lit up so that they could have light, we need spiritual light that will help guide us through our life's journey back to our heavenly home.
The article states that: "The sacrament prayers have the promise that we will have the Spirit to be with us, and the Spirit provides the light we need to make our life’s journey. But was I getting the light I needed from the sacrament? And if not, how could I get it? What could be the stones that I, like the brother of Jared, should bring with me to sacrament meeting? The Lord said that He wants from us a broken heart and a contrite spirit. So it would not be enough to come to the sacrament; I would need to bring my own stones--my broken heart and contrite spirit.”
Wuat does it mean to bring the Lord a broken heart and a contrite spirit? Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has explained that "a broken heart is a repentant heart and that a contrite spirit is an obedient spirit."

I've been trying to focus lately on having more of a broken heart (repentant heart) and contrite spirit (obedient spirit) so that I can get the most spiritual light possible out of the sacred ordinance of partaking of the sacrament each week. To be able to have a more broken heart, I was thinking about how humility ties into repentance. Steven E. Snow said in his talk "Be Thou Humble" (April 2016) that "We must all strive to become more humble. Humility is essential to gain the blessings of the gospel. Humility enables us to have broken hearts when we sin or make mistakes and makes it possible for us to repent." What I got out of this is that we can't truly use Christ's Atonement without humility. It is humility that causes us to recognize that we have messed up, it's humility that causes us to realize we need help, and it's humility that allows us to recognize that without turning to Jesus Christ we can't truly be cleansed. So try your best to be humble, so that we can all have a more broken heart and contrite spirit as we prepare to partake of the sacrament each week!

I love you all! Thanks everyone for being so great! Have an awesome week!

Elder Duvall

Had the chance to go fishing early in the morning and I caught 4 fish within the span of 30 minutes! It was pretty fun! (Please excuse my lack of nametag in the picture...whoops)

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