Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016 Dubai is in Good Hands

The Khan family at the  Washington D.C. Temple

Hey everyone!

I hope I can convey how remarkable the last few weeks with Asif have been! I haven't given too much detail about him in my previous few emails, so I'll try to explain his story in a little more detail.

It all started a few months ago when Asif had multiple dreams from an angel telling him he is going down the wrong path. The same dream happened three times, but he didn't understand it the first two times. The third time, however, he says it was extremely clear. He knew he needed to explore to find the truth that was missing from his life. So, like any normal human trying to find answers to questions, the first place to go is the internet right? Thankfully for Asif, after typing in "how can I follow Jesus Christ?" he found himself chatting on with two Sister missionaries in Salt Lake. They referred him to two elders in Mt. Vernon, who taught him in his hotel. They proceeded to teach, testify, invite, and promise Asif many things regarding the Book of Mormon. From there, he started to read it every single day. As he read, he began to feel feelings that he had never felt before, which he now knows have come from the Unfortunately, he had an emergency to take care of in Dubai with his businesses, so he lost contact with those two elders and had to return home. However, he never stopped communicating with the two sisters in Salt Lake via chat. He then came back to the U.S. a few weeks later, this time to Alexandria.

So it was an average day, on August 4th, and we were in the elevator heading up to our apartment for dinner. Phone vibrates. Little did I know at the time the miracles that would result from this single text. Here begins a 3-week long journey in "missionary paradise."
Elder Judkins looks down at the phone and states "Sweet, looks like we got a media referral." Then continues on and says "Mr. Asif: call before you visit. They are staying with friends but really, REALLY want to be baptized. Call ASAP. They've been taught lesson 1 and know it's true." I looked at him, thinking he was being his usual joking self, laughed and said, "so what does it actually say?" but he then turned the phone to me and I read it for myself! We immediately called him and set an appointment for August 6th.

On the phone we asked if the information was accurate saying "We hear you want to be baptized?" He said "yes, that is correct." We were esctatic! Our first visit consisted of getting to know him and his understanding of what he's already learned, and helping him understand what would need to happen for him to be baptized here.

Since then, the last 3 weeks have we had the privilege of teaching the most prepared person I've ever met. Truly a missionaries dream. He knew he would have to learn a number of things and come to church a few times before he could be baptized, so he delayed his stay in the U.S. He even came to church on August 7th, knowing his wife would be going into labor that very same day.
The first words he said when he stepped into the church for the first time were "I feel really good. I don't know how to describe it." From this point, we proceeded to teach him the principles of the gospel and he soaked it all in. He spent hours studying the Book of Mormon, watching Mormon Messages, listening to general conference talks in between our visits. He told us in our last lesson before his baptism "I've never felt this way before in my life. It's truly amazing! The more I learn, the happier I get!"

The sister missionaries in Salt Lake, Sister Clark and Sister Gomes, got permission to Skype into Asif's baptism. That was such a neat experience! Those two sisters were extremely happy and emotional to witness the results of their hard work on the other side of the country. One of the sisters told me that the day they met Asif on chat, they had strong faith and specifically prayed that morning to be able to find a family that would be baptized into the church. Asif has been teaching his wife, and she will be baptized within the next month at their congregation in Dubai. They plan on raising their two children in the gospel. I told Sister Clark on skype that we had been praying around that same time to be able to receive some solid referrals that would progress. We've received a number of media referrals, but none of them have seemed to get anywhere. Asif proved otherwise.

The baptismal service was great! Elder Judkins and I, along with a few sister missionaries in our zone sang a musical number "This Is the Christ." Asif bore his testimony at the end, which was so amazing to hear! He bore his testimony again in sacrament meeting after his confirmation. I was able to confirm him a member of the church and that was a neat experience as well!
These last few weeks has only been the beginning of an eternal journey that's in store for Asif and his family. We were able to go up to the Temple Visitors Center with him and his wife on Saturday. I've been there numerous times, but this trip was special. We watched a few different films, one about Joseph Smith and another one about families. Then the Visitors Center Sisters taught about the sacred and special role that temples play in fulfilling Gods plan for us. We showed him pictures of the inside of the temple, as well as the replica cutout model, as we explained the temple ordinances. After learning about baptisms for the dead, Asif immediately brought up that he has a deceased brother and he wants to be baptized for him. Then after learning the basics about endowments and sealings, he said that he would love to come back here in one year with his wife and kids to be sealed for eternity!

Myself, Asif Khan, and Elder Judkins before the baptism.

I am so grateful for the priesthood authority that's been restored to the earth that can bind us together with those we love forever. I'm grateful for temples and the special role they play in our lives.

We have never been happier than we've been these last few weeks! Asif has been such an example to us of faith, courage, love, humility, and sacrifice. I have no doubt that he will remain a strong member of the church. He's going to be a blessing in the lives of many!
It was sad to say bye to him. We've grown to love him tremendously theses last few weeks. But we will be friends for the rest of our lives! I'm grateful for the worldwide church we belong to. It's been a blessing for us to see the support throughout the world! Asif is now getting in contact with his bishop in the Dubai 2nd ward and looks forward to leading his family in truth and righteousness there. Though the numerical membership in Dubai may be small compared to here, they have a strong new addition with Asif!

Elder Duvall, Asif, Naureen, Sofi, and Elder Judkins. Sofi is about 3 weeks old. The day she was born was Asif's first Sunday at church!

Pictures outside the temple. It is currently closed for cleaning and they are repairing the top left spire, which is why part of it is missing.

The Khan family at the Temple Visitors Center next to the Christus statue.

The message of hope and happiness that the gospel brings is the same, no matter where you go in the world! It's quite amazing.

Here are a couple videos from the weekend. One is after attending the Temple Visitor's Center on Saturday. The other was some final words from Asif on Sunday after his confirmation that he wanted to tell us before he left to go back to Dubai. He wanted to write us a note, and he had me write down his words because he hurt his hand trying to do single arm push-ups, so he can't write. He constantly tells us how happy he has been since learning about the gospel! It has been a miraculous couple of weeks. We are humbled and grateful to have been able to help Asif!

I am humbled and grateful that the Lord has entrusted us to be His instruments to help out our dear friend Asif Khan. A man willing to depart from the traditions of his fathers, to follow his heart with what he has come to know to be true. Unaware of future challenges that may lie ahead, but undoubtedly trusting in the Lord that all will be well. I've learned so much from his example and from this whole experience.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! I've just been so happy, I couldn't stop typing. There's so much more I could say about Asif, but that's what my journal is for!

My love for whipped cream hasn't faded away!

I won't write too much about everyone else this week, but Isha has her baptismal interview tomorrow night! We're excited for her! She gave us a bunch of African bracelets this week and her kids are finally starting to warm up to us. Quintin has been busy traveling and it's been hard to contact him the last two weeks and we haven't been able to teach him in a while, so we're not sure if he'll be getting baptized the same day as Isha or not, like they had originally planned. I guess we will find out soon! And then there's Kim. She's been all over the place. It seems like everyday she's changing her mind on whether or not she wants to go through with baptism. She attended Asif's baptism and really liked it! But then she went to her other church on Sunday. We're having patience with her and trying our best to support her and help her out in any way that we can. She is still striving to quit smoking and has made a ton of progress in that regard, which is awesome!

My district this last transfer.

My zone this last transfer: Sisters Young, Alldredge, Richardson, Morris, West, Corey, Moore, Blackham, Adair, Hansen. And then Elders King, Norton, Goodson,  Larsen, Hall, Ma, Mecham, Evans, Judkins and myself.

We were sad to say bye to Elder Mecham! He was a great district leader this transfer.

I look forward to the upcoming week!

I love you all! I hope you have an amazing week as well!

Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016 Asif is amazing! 12-Step Program


Hey everyone!
This transfer is over on Thursday! It's gone by the fastest of any transfer so far. We've been busy and it's been fun. I look forward to another great transfer in Alexandria!
We had a very eventful week with Asif! He came to the United States temporarily before moving back to Dubai, but has scheduled his plane flight for August 29th, so that he can be baptized on the 26th and the confirmed next Sunday on the 28th. We had a lot things to teach him before his baptismal interview, so we taught him about a lot of the commandments on Friday and his interview was on Saturday.

August 16th With Asif after one of our lessons with him this week

August 19th With Asif after another of our lessons with him from the week

We covered the topics of following the prophet, the 10 commandments, tithing, fasting and fast offerings, the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity all in a single lesson. That'll probably be the only time on my mission that I'll ever cover that much in a single lesson! But with the limited time he has here, it was necessary. The more he learns, the happier he seems to get! He is super excited to start paying tithes and offerings, and after learning about the word of wisdom he immediately stopped drinking coffee. He went from 5-6 cups a day, to zero without a problem. He's pretty devoted to everything he's been learning, it's amazing. He brought his wife and newborn baby to church with him yesterday and is super excited for his baptism this week. She is super supportive of him and will continue learning about the gospel as Asif progresses. I've never seen someone progress and prepare for baptism as fast as Asif! His level of understanding and his testimony of the gospel is incredible considering his Muslim background and limited knowledge of Christianity before meeting with us. He originally planned on going home about 2 weeks ago, but prolonged his stay to be baptized, so he doesn't have much to do with his time, so he spends hours each day studying the Book of Mormon as well as other materials we've given him to read. He explained how his employees back in Dubai want him to come back but to take care of his businesses, but he has decided to stay here! His baptismal interview was great and our whole district happened to be at the church building at the time of his interview, so we decided to sing a song for him. We sang "Nearer My God to Thee" in the chapel which was a sweet experience! He points out all the time how much he feels the spirit of God whenever he's around us or in the church building. We have the information for the congregation he will be attending back in Dubai and we will most likely get to Skype him on a weekly basis to continue teaching him principles of the gospel! He tells us if we ever go to Dubai, we have a place to stay!

August 20th After Asif's baptismal interview, he loved meeting some of the other missionaries in the area!

We watched the conference talk "Choices" from President Monson with Isha this week and talked about the importance of prophets on the earth, and taught her about the Word of Wisdom as well. She and Quintin came to church together again, and Isha brought her little kids with her as well. As of right now, they should both be getting baptized on September 2nd!

Kim has been back and forth in her mind all week. One day she'll be excited for baptism and the next day she'll be unsure about things. She's changed her mind multiple times throughout the week, but every time we visit her, she enjoys learning more about the gospel. She has such a great desire to quit smoking, she even went to the addiction recovery class with us on Sunday night. A church service missionary couple conducts the 12-Step Addiction Recovery Program each week. They allowed us to join in, and it was a special experience! I've never felt the love of God for people as strong as I did than being here in this class listening to these humble men and women discuss their struggles and successes as they work on overcoming their addictions. I'm grateful for everyone that works for and works with LDS Family Services! Miracles are happening in the lives of these individuals, although it may take time, it's amazing to see what can happen through relying on Jesus Christ to help overcome addictions! Kim added quite a bit to the discussion and we got to participate a little as well. The 12-Step program that the church has is incredible!! We will probably get to attend the class more in the future if Kim decides to keep going to it.

This past week, our mission set a goal to find 300 new investigators during the week. Our district did a few different finding activities that helped contribute to finding more people to teach. We did chalk drawing of the Plan of Salvation at a local park which was super fun. We met a lot of cool people that day! We also tried doing some street contacting in Old Town Alexandria, where we were able to talk to a ton of different people. It was great! We also tried doing a couple of church tours, inviting a ton of people to come see what the church is like. Our mission surpassed our goal of 300, finding 432 new people this week! Because we beat the goal we will get to have an extra trip to the temple this year! We're excited about that, but more importantly, we were able to teach and testify to a lot of people to help the, access the blessings of the gospel.

Our district had fun drawing out the Plan of Salvation in chalk.

Another missionary took a picture of us teaching these two high school kids about it. They were pretty interested in it all!

We went to Great Falls on the Potomac River today! All I have to say is that nature is truly amazing.

Some pictures at Great Falls on the Potomac River. Maryland is on the opposite side, and this river is the boundary of our mission.  The weather was amazing today! There were people kayaking and rafting in the river, it was cool to watch them!

A time lapse video of the Potomac River

Congrats to my brother Danny and his new fiancée Sarah! I'm excited to have another Duvall added in the family in a couple of months!

And a Happy Birthday video to my momma!
Happy birthday to the best mom in the world! Love you tons Momma! 

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016 "The Love of God" and a lot of progress!

August 15, 2016
Hello family and friends!
I've been in Alexandria for a month now! The last month has gone by fast and so much has happened. We've seen a lot of great things happen.
Everyone's doing great! We went on splits again this week with our Bishopric. Brother Stewart and I went and taught Isha about some commandments to help prepare her for baptism. We focused on the Sabbath Day, tithing, fasting and fast offerings. She is just soaking up everything we teach, it's awesome. She even asked us "do I have to wait till after I'm baptized to pay fast-offerings?" It's amazing to see how much she wants to serve those in need. We thanked her for giving rides to Quintin for church and she told us how even though they've only known each other for a couple weeks, she feels like they've known each other for years. Since they're both from Sierra Leone, they instantly felt connected. The whole African community here just embraces one another like family, it's cool to see. I also forgot to write last week that when we went to the baptism, I told Amy Koroma that we've been teaching her friend Isha and that she's preparing to be baptized, and Amy was ecstatic! She will try her best to make it out here in a few weeks to support her at her baptism.
We were able to teach Quintin about the same set of commandments this week as well, he and Isha are progressing at the same rate. We also found out that Quintin's roommate is a less active member. He had actually been telling Quintin that the church could help him a lot in his life. Now it makes more sense why he randomly called out from his balcony asking for our church address when he saw us walking by. So he had some more familiarity with the church than we actually thought, plus he had seen missionaries back home in Africa before moving here. It's been great teaching him, and we hope to get his roommate involved soon as well.
Kim is doing well. We met with her a couple times this week as well. She didn't make it to church yesterday so her baptismal date was pushed back a little bit, but she's still trying her best to quit smoking and work towards baptism.
Asif came to church again and is super excited to be baptized before moving back to Dubai in a few weeks. He reads the Book of Mormon all the time and recognizes how it is helping him in his life. He's sharing everything he's learning with his wife and kids and they seem to be pretty supportive of him! He even told us he would postpone traveling back to Dubai if he has to wait!
A couple weeks ago, we went to a BBQ that our apartment complex put on and met some nice people. A man named Aaron, from Ecuador, walked up to us and said he remembers when he was a kid, his mother would have the missionaries come over and teach his family. We gave him our number that day, and he called and invited us over for dinner last night. He has such a sweet little family! I've never had a nonmember family, who barely even know us, openly invite us into their home for a meal, it was awesome! Hispanics are just so kind. His two little boys that were so excited to have visitors come over. Aaron's in the military and moves around every two years or so, and he's moving to Mexico in a few weeks. He and his wife said that the only church nearby their new home is an LDS church in Mexico. They're going to have us over one more time before they move, and then we'll get their new address for the missionaries in their area. Here's a picture of us with the two boys, they were excited to put on their Halloween costumes and show us how cool they are:
I've thought a lot recently about the topic of God's capacity to love. I came across a talk from the October 2009 General Conference, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, titled "The Love of God."

He says "Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount--that is the measure of God’s love for you.
     God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
     He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
     What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us."

Obviously, we will never be able to attain this same level of love for those around us, at least not in this life. But we can, however, strive to emulate the love he has for us in our interactions with others. This can be hard in many circumstances, but the blessings that come into our lives as we strive to view everyone as divine children of God are incredible! My favorite portion of that quote was "Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely." I'm so grateful for the knowledge that we have a Father in Heaven that knows and loves us perfectly. I know that as we remember the perfect love He has for us, we will be happier and will have a greater desire to fulfill the two great commandments of loving the Lord and loving others. At the end of the day, the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest manifestation of God’s love, so if we can remember our covenant to always remember him, we will be able to more fully exemplify his love in our own lives.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Also, today for p-day we went into DC and were able to go to the National Archives Museum to see the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution. It was pretty neat to see it all in person! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

8-8-2016 Alex & Kadiatu's baptism, Quintin, Isha, Kim, Arlington National Cemetery

Hello everybody! We had a great week and have had of lot of work going on.

I'm pretty sure I've taught more lessons this week than I have any other week in my mission. It has been amazing how busy we have been! So much has happened I wish I could convey how great the last couple weeks have been.

We taught Quintin a couple times this week. We brought a member of the ward with us that speaks Krio, so he was able to connect with him! Quintin is progressing really well, and he even joined us in a lesson with Isha later on in the week. Quintin and Isha are now on the same track as far as lessons go, and they are both excited to be baptized. We coordinated with them a day that would work for both of them, and they are preparing for September 2nd!! When we got to Isha's house on Friday, she was having a rough day and was pretty sad about some news she received regarding her sons development and progress with his autism, but by the time we left she had a huge smile on her face and said she felt much better! It's so great to see how happy people can become as they embrace the gospel!!

This is Leroy, a member of the ward that came to join us in our lesson with the Ethiopian family. Before we got into teaching anything, they gave us a bunch of food to eat and it was pretty good! 

We had some amazing lessons with Isha and Quintin this week. We had a couple separate lessons and were even able to do one together! The one on the left is Isha's sister who we haven't gotten to know to well yet. And Isha is holding her son Ali here standing next to Quintin. They've become great friends in the last week! 

We have an investigator named Kim that's started learning about the gospel a couple weeks before I got here in Alexandria. In one of her first visit with missionaries, they were having a good discussion with her, but when she was invited to baptism she immediately said no and then kicked them out of her house. About a week and a half ago she called and told us she's been reading the Book of Mormon and that she's felt really good about it and wants to keep learning. Then a few days later, she called us early one morning and asked if we could come over and give her a blessing because she was in the hospital the night before. So we went over and gave her a blessing and had a cool experience with her. After the blessing, she immediately told us she felt her burdens lifted off of her and that she feels at peace. She said that she wants to work towards being baptized! She struggles with smoking, but has a strong desire to quit, and has already made tremendous progress. She came to church for the first time yesterday, and got up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting! I've never seen that before! Someone whose never been in the church before, who barely started learning about it, got up there and testified that she knows this is the right path for her and that she hopes that she can have the strength and courage to be baptized! She calls us everyday just to check up on us, and asks "How are my friends doin on this beautiful morning?" She's the sweetest woman! She leaves us voicemails occasionally as well, telling us things that she's learning from the Book of Mormon and how she feels the spirit as she reads. We're so grateful for Kim!

This is the Olsen family, with our investigator Kim. Kim loved meeting different ward members this week!

At church I felt like I was moving all over the place this week. I first was sitting with Elder Judkins and Kim, but then I went to sit with Isha and Quintin once they got there. A few minutes into the meeting, these two Ethiopian ladies showed up that we've been teaching! Their names are Lydia and Tringo. We had 5 investigators at our sacrament meeting today which was awesome!

We then went to another wards sacrament meeting with another investigator that we taught this week that couldn't make it in the morning. His name is Asif, and he's from the United Arab Emirates, specifically the city of Dubai. He's pretty wealthy and came to America to buy some hotels and gas stations. He makes it sound like buying a hotel or gas station is like buying a piece of candy. It's funny how he says "If I like the gas station, I'll buy it" like its no big deal. From what we understand, he owns a big advertising company in Dubai. He's an interesting man, but he's super will to make sacrifices to become a member of the church. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and knows that it's true and is super motivated to learn! We found out that there are actually a couple LDS congregations in Dubai that we will get him in contact with when he returns.

This is Asif!  He's such a great man! 

One highlight of the week was being able to go back to Centreville a couple times. We had a Mission Leadership Conference in Centreville with all the Zone Leaders and District leaders that was really good. President and Sister Huntsman have a son that just returned home from his mission in France, so it was cool to be able to hear from him and some of the experiences and lessons he learned while serving there.

Alex Koroma and I. He was so happy when he found out I was going to be able to come to attend his baptism!

On Saturday I was able to go out to Centreville again to attend the baptism of Alex Koroma and Kadiatu! It was probably the most spiritual baptism I have ever been to. I got to participate in the service by saying one of the prayers at the baptism and Elder Chu and his new companion did the baptisms.

Kadiatu, Alex, Elder Wickham, Elder Chu and I. I'm so grateful that I was able to attend their baptism and be a part of their conversion process! 

 At the end of the baptism, Bishop Deursch had both Alex and Kadiatu bear there testimonies. Kadiatu doesn't speak any English, but we were able to start teaching her through translation from Amy and she was so happy when she found out she could be baptized here, even if she didn't speak English. I felt the spirit so strong as Kadiatu bore her testimony in Krio! Amy translated so we could all understand, but she kept saying over and over how happy she is that her whole family has now been able to become members of the church! Alex shared his whole story as well. When he got here to America about 2 months ago, it was the first time he had ever travelled outside of Sierra Leone. He came to church with Amy his first Sunday here, when Amy bore her testimony in sacrament meeting. Then we started teaching him about the gospel that week. He really liked how we encouraged him to find answers for himself and not just accept what we tell him. So he did just that! His story of praying to know the truth and receiving his own answers was powerful! He told me how happy he was when Elder Chu told him I'd be coming to his baptism! Kadiatu was so happy to see me again as well. I met Kadiatu my first Sunday in Virginia and she's the kindest woman, always has a smile on her face and loves everyone around her, even though she doesn't understand any English. I'm so happy that I was able to go witness their baptism, and be a part of their conversion. Their whole family has been such a blessing to me, and many others that they've interacted with and I can't wait to see what's in store for them. It was fun to see some of the members of the ward there as well.

I'm so grateful to be involved in these amazing miracles the last few weeks!

I'm also grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in this country and the opportunity we have to worship as we please. Today we were able to go to the Arlington National Cemetery. Regarding war, President Hinckley has stated "As we contemplate the human misery created by war, we need to recall our debt to those who have sacrificed so much for human liberty." I'm grateful for those who have gone before us and sacrificed their lives in effort to protect the freedoms we enjoy.


 Good view into DC from a hill inside Arlington National Cemetery, right next to Robert E. Lee's house

Arlington National Cemetery with the Pentagon in the background

 An amphitheater right next to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where we watch the changing of the guard ceremony.

Well, I'm loving it here! I love all of you! And I hope you have a wonderful week.

Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016 Exciting Week! Iysha and Quintin

While helping a family move out of their apartment last week, I got a call from Elder Chu in Centreville with some awesome news! Amy Koroma's brother, Alex, and her mother, Kadiatu, are both getting baptized!! I'm so excited for them and their family! It was a pleasure getting to start teaching Alex once he arrived here from Sierra Leone. I've known Kadiatu since my first week in Virginia and she is the nicest woman ever! She doesn't speak any English, but has been able to learn about the gospel via translation from Amy. It's so amazing how that whole family has slowly joined the church. I will be able to go out to Centreville to attend their baptism, so it'll be exciting to see everyone out there again!

The work here in Alexandria is progressing quite a bit as well! One morning, I was flipping through our area book, trying to plan some visits for an exchange that we were having that day. I was going to be with Elder Goodson for the day and I wanted to try and schedule some solid appointments with people. While flipping through the area book, I came across a name "Isha Sesay" that looked super familiar. I started looking at her background info and all it said was "Iysha is a referral from a recent convert in Centreville and is really nice and interested in learning more about the gospel." Right after I read this, I distinctly remembered sending the referral for this person over here a few months ago. Iysha is a former coworker of Amy Koroma, and Amy had the chance to share some of her feelings about the gospel with her. I remembered teaching a lesson to the Koroma family about missionary work and encouraging them to share the gospel with their friends. A couple days after that lesson,

Amy gave us the address for Iysha and told us to send it to the missionaries in that area, and it just so happens that Iysha lives here in this ward!! So I immediately called Isha and scheduled an appointment for that night! Elder Goodson and I went, along with a member of our ward, to teach her. The lesson was amazing! She was receptive to everything we taught and we commit her to be baptized on August 27th! When we invited her to be baptized, she said "that'll be the happiest day of my life, I can't wait!" When we sent the referral here, it was right before Iysha had to go to Sierra Leone for a couple months, and she just got back here about 2 weeks ago. So the missionaries here at the time weren't able to teach her much, but now she's back and she's super motivated! She came to church the last two Sunday's and loves he feelings she gets as she comes. She told us that she's going to teach us how to cook some African food soon so that'll be fun!

There was another miracle that resulted from that as well! As were walking through her apartment complex about to teach Isha, someone yelled to us. We turned around and looked up, and there was a man on his balcony that saw us walking by and the first thing he asked was what the address of our church is. 


This is Quintin from Sierra Leone. We taught him this morning and he is probably going to be baptized the same day as Isha!

His name is Quintin and he went to the LDS church a few times in Sierra Leone a couple years ago and he wanted to go again. We were able to come back and teach him a couple days later, and that lesson went super great as well. He doesn't have a car, so he told us he'd be willing to walk to church if he had to! He is super committed! We were able to arrange for a member to give him a ride so that he wouldn't have to walk, but he had a great time at church yesterday! He met Isha and they seem like they'll make good friends and she'll probably be able to drive him to church since they live so close. We were walking down the hallway at church and Isha was telling Quintin about how she's getting baptized in a few weeks, and then she told him "You should join me, we could get baptized on the same day!" And he responded saying that that would be really nice. It was the coolest thing to see her fellowship him, as well as the other ward members that are from Africa. August is going to be an exciting month working with them both, helping them prepare for baptism!

The members of the ward have been supporting us a lot! We've been able to have members come out with us multiple nights a week to help teach and fellowship the people that we've been working with and it's helped a lot!

This is Paul Heffron, the "Missionary Dad" here in Alexandria! He loves having us over for lunch every now and then!

We've also been teaching a group of four ladies from Ethiopia. They are the nicest people! Three of them live together and are Ethiopian Orthodox, and they have a neighbor from Sierra Leone who's Muslim, and she loves joining in on our lessons and asking questions. It's always fun going over to their house! The four of them are planning on coming to church this Sunday.

Yesterday I was able to attend our stake missionary correlation meeting, which includes the stake presidency, bishops, ward mission leaders, and zone leaders within the Mount Vernon Stake, and President Huntsman as well. It was awesome to be able to discuss the missionary efforts in the area with all of the leaders here!

Elder Judkins and I came up with a "zone vision" that we presented to our zone this week, which we think will help us become better missionaries. We made a little card and gave it to each companionship. It has the scripture 2 Nephi 5:27 on it which states "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." And then on the card we listed three main things that can contribute to our happiness as missionaries. The three factors are 1) Obedience 2) The Holy Ghost 3) The Atonement. As we are obedient to the commandments that we've been given, we will have the freedom and happiness that will come from the blessings we'll receive as a result. As we strive to constantly be worthy of having the Holy Ghost with us, we will be able to have the promptings that will allow us to do the things that will make us most happy. And as we utilize the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives, through daily repentance, we will be given the strength that will allow us to be more effective instruments for the Lord to work through. Ultimately, obedience, the Holy Ghost, and the Atonement all go hand and hand with each other and will allow us to be happier each day. There is so much joy to be found in serving others, so why not get the most out of it by doing the things we know will make us most happy, while we dedicate this time on serving our missions!
I love you all!  Have an awesome week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall 

Washington DC South Mission

Elders Goodson, Hall, Judkins and Elder Duvall

Super nice apartment complex that feels like a hotel