Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 2016 Isha's baptism!

After having a great week with Asif, this past week was another awesome week!

Last Tuesday our zone had our interviews with President Huntsman, which were awesome. He strongly encouraged us to seek personal revelation as we set personal goals for ourselves. I decided that a goal I am going to try to focus on over he next month is to be better at "always remembering Him." Sometimes as missionaries it can be easy to get caught up in the daily routine, that we neglect to genuinely remember Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. His atonement is central to why we are here, to allow people to have access to his atonement through the restored gospel. I know that as I strive to "always remember Him" throughout each day, that I'll continue to be happy and motivated as I strive to share the gospel with the people here.
This week, our Zone we had interviews with President Huntsman.During each missionary's interview, their companion was in a training done by Elder Judkins and I, along with the AP's.Halfway through the interviews, President took us out for lunch and we snapped this picture on the way.

Last Thursday we had another MLC (Mission Leadership Conference), where we set some goals as a mission for the remainder of the year. We discussed different things that we are going to focus on the next 4 months to allow us to achieve some of the goals we've set for the year. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish! At the meeting, we talked a lot about the necessity of faith. In the "Guide to the Scriptures" it talks about how faith relates to miracles. It says "Miracles do not produce faith, but strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, faith comes by righteousness (Alma 32:40–43; Ether 12:4, 6, 12; D&C 63:9–12). True faith brings miracles..." I think this is so cool! Witnessing miracles is not what causes us to have faith in Christ. Rather, it is our personal righteousness and seeing the blessings that come from living Christ-like life that builds up our faith, step-by-step. I know that as I continue to live righteously, then the miracles will continue to happen as a result.
Later in the same day Isha had her baptismal interview!( Elder Duvall, Isha, President Huntsman, Elder Judkins)

We bought 6 yards of fabric from this African mart for only $15! We got creative and made multiple ties out of it and wore them to Isha's baptism! It was easier than I thought to make a tie! She loved them.
Also, the sister missionaries that also serve in our ward wore African dresses to her baptism. It was a fun day!

Speaking of miracles, Isha had her baptism this past week!

She says herself that it has been a long journey leading up to this point in her life, but she is so glad she has made this decision. From the first day she stepped into the church, she immediately felt like everyone around her became her family. Amy Koroma, a recent convert that lives in Centreville and her friend who she used to work at a nursing home with, referred Isha to the missionaries about a month before I got here to Alexandria. They only met with her once or twice and didn't see much progress with her at the time. I'm so glad I was able to come here to Alexandria to meet Isha and help her along the path! She talks about how long of a journey it's been leading to her baptism, but the journey has just begun! Baptism has opened the gate to the path which leads to eternal life!

Amy was able to come out from Centreville to support Isha at her baptism. It was such a sweet moment to see them hug and embrace one another! As our Bishop was bearing his testimony on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength we can draw from it, at the conclusion of the baptism, Isha was crying quite a bit. She explained to us afterwards that "those were all tears of joy" and then she said "I feel so emotional, I don't know how to describe it, I feel so good" in her soft African voice. These moments have made me so happy, seeing the happiness the gospel is bringing into the lives of others! Her baptism was another really special day!
Isha snuck a picture of us singing a musical number at her baptism.

Moving forward, Isha is going to help us out with her neighbor Quintin. He's come to church 3 times now and we've taught him almost everything, but we just haven't been able to meet with him in a couple weeks. But we look forward to the challenge! Quintin is an awesome guy and has a great heart, and he knows the gospel is true, he just needs a little push it seems.

Update with Asif! We were able to Skype him on Friday! So it's pretty interesting, they treat Friday as the Sabbath Day. So the LDS congregation he goes to has their sacrament meeting at 9am on Fridays. Sunday is a business day there. We talked for about 20 minutes on Skype and he was telling us all about how much he enjoyed going to church there. He said it felt a lot different, but at the same time, he recognized that everything they did and said was the same as here. Asif and his wife actually plan on traveling back to the States in a couple months for her to be baptized, because it's a strenuous process getting permission and doing a bunch of paperwork and things for her to be baptized there. It's also safer for her to do it here. We've emailed the bishop there and he enjoyed meeting Asif and is excited to have him there. He continues to read the Book of Mormon every day and is still fired up about the gospel! We will probably Skype him on a weekly basis.

I'll close with a thought on unity. We're focusing a portion of our zone training tomorrow on being unified within our companionships. The Guide to the Scriptures defines unity "To become one in thought, desire, and purpose first with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, and then with other Saints." I like the order it says this in. So to truly be unified with other people, we first have to be unified God and Jesus Christ!

It's been a great week! I hope you all have a great week this upcoming week! Love you!

Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission

Enjoyed some Krispy Kreme Doughnuts today!

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