Hello hello hello!
We had some good experiences this week!
We try to do at least one exchange with each of the elders in our zone each transfer. Last week I was able to spend a day with Elder King in Crystal City. It was great! We spent some time street contacting downtown and met some cool people. Walking around the city, I was reminded of when we were in New York City last summer visiting Danny's mission. Although it's not nearly as big, there was just a ton of people walking around it was super crowded, but we had some good conversations with different people. Then we went and taught a couple of less active members in their ward. In one of the members apartment buildings, we were able to go up on the roof (about 30 floors high) and look out at the view. It was the best view of DC possible! All at once I could see the Arlington National Cemetery, Pentagon, White House, Capitol, all the monuments, and the Ronald Reagan Airport. It was pretty sweet! I'll send some pictures of the view.
Awesome view into DC, excuse our faces, the sun was extremely bright.
|Panoramic picture of D.C.|
|Lunch at Good Stuff in Crystal City with Elder King.|
Good news! Quintin is back on date for baptism in a couple weeks. We were finally able to schedule two different lessons with him last week. We finished up teaching him about the commandments and he's basically already living all of them. While teaching him about the law of chastity and the Word of Wisdom, his roommate Mohammed, who is a less active member of the ward sat down and listened in on some of the lesson. It was cool to have him there! Quintin agrees one hundred percent with all of the commandments and wishes that more people in the world would live by them. He had his baptismal interview this morning and will most likely be having his baptism next Friday.
"Here's a video of me trying the Cola nut that Quintin gave meThis morning Quintin gave me an African nut, called Cola nut, to eat. It was the most bitter thing I've ever eaten. Literally tasted like dirt, but it was fun to try! He said that I'm a true man now after trying it..Haha! Never trying that again, that's for sure. It was sad not being able to contact Quintin for a couple weeks, but we never doubted that he would stay solid with his commitment to learn and accept the teachings of the gospel. We're excited for him.
One of my favorite lessons we had this week was with a recent convert family that joined the church in February, Brother and Sister Jalloh and their daughter. They're from Africa as well. We taught them more about temples, specifically about baptisms for the dead and introducing the endowment and sealing ordinances to them. It surprised me that they had not already been taught and understood more about the temple. They have been to the temple in DC to do baptisms for the dead a few months ago with members of the ward, but they hadn't learned yet about sealings. They were super excited to learn that they could be married for time and all eternity and be sealed to their daughter forever. That's easily my favorite aspect of the gospel that we teach people about, and it's so cool to see their reactions as they begin to understand it. They're excited to go to the temple in February to have those sacred ordinances done!
We were able to attend a baptism on Saturday in one of the other Alexandria wards. A set of sister missionaries in our district have been teaching a whole family the last few months and they got baptized on Saturday. A mother and father, and 4 of their 5 kids all got baptized, there's 1 baby boy that'll be baptized when he turns 8. They are the Dillard family and they are an amazing family! There was so much support from the ward at their baptism we had to have most of the program in the chapel, and then congregate over to the baptismal font when the baptisms took place. Elder Judkins and I were able to interview them to prepare them for baptism and I'm so glad we were able to go. Seeing the smiles on their faces as they walked back into the chapel after they were baptized was priceless!
In our zone training last week we discussed a lot about being unified with our Father in Heaven and with Jesus Christ, and also focused a lot on faith. We asked all of the missionaries in the zone to send in a response to the question "How has showing your faith made a difference in your life?" The missionaries didn't know what we were doing with their responses, but we took each of them and wrote them on our "Alexandria Flag of Faith." (The flag was just some of the leftover African material that we bought the previous week). We presented the flag to the zone at the end, showing that as we combine our faith together, we can accomplish tremendous things, particularly regarding the goals we've set as a mission to achieve by the end of the year. We then took the flag and hung it up in the mission office, and President Huntsman took it and hung it up in the mission home somewhere. He thought it was really cool!
Alexandria Flag of Faith!
"The atoning sacrifice of the Savior is what makes perfection or sanctification possible. We could never do it on our own, but God’s grace is sufficient to help us. As Elder David A. Bednar once observed: “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints--for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better.”
I would like to suggest that each of you participate in a spiritual exercise sometime soon, perhaps even tonight while saying your prayers. Humbly ask the Lord the following question: “What is keeping me from progressing?” In other words: “What lack I yet?” Then wait quietly for a response. If you are sincere, the answer will soon become clear. It will be revelation intended just for you.
The Spirit can show us our weaknesses, but He is also able to show us our strengths. Sometimes we need to ask what we are doing right so that the Lord can lift and encourage us. When we read our patriarchal blessings, we are reminded that our Heavenly Father knows our divine potential. He rejoices every time we take a step forward. To Him, our direction is ever more important than our speed.
Be persistent, brothers and sisters, but never be discouraged. We will have to go beyond the grave before we actually reach perfection, but here in mortality we can lay the foundation. “It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today.”
If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us."
I particularly like the thought he mentioned about reading our patriarchal blessings. Those are special! They can give us guidance and direction, as well as hope for the future. I've read mine a couple times recently and it has helped a lot, I encourage you all to do the same! God has experiences in store for us that will bless us, but we need to be willing to make personal spiritual growth a priority.
I'm loving my time here! I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission
We did some service with some elders in our zone and cleaned a ton of trash out of a hoarders house. It was pretty gross, but we had a good time!
We attended the Franconia Ward yesterday because our investigator Kim wasn't able to attend our ward earlier in the day, but still wanted to come to church. While there I met grandpa Orme! (Show this picture to Kelly and Denise Orme). He was excited to meet someone that knew some of his family and said he wants to have us eat with him sometime. Super nice man!!