Monday, October 10, 2016

10-10-2016 New transfer, new people!

Elders Holdaway, Larsen, Evans, myself, Judkins, Goodson, Willicome, Ma, King, Chu. Sisters Goodwin, Blackham, Morin, Morris, Stammerjohn, Adair, West, Corey, Alldredge, Young. 

Last picture with our zone before transfers. 7 out of the 10 companionships are changing up with different missionaries coming into the zone. We're excited to continue to serve them all this upcoming transfer!

Zone activity last week at the mission home in Burke. It's always fun to be there with the Huntsmans! 

New transfer! Elder Judkins and I are super excited to be able to spend a 3rd transfer together here in Alexandria! We've got a lot of great work happening and we're pumped for the next 6 weeks! Our zone changed up quite a bit. Out of the 10 companionships, 7 of them are new to the zone. We have a diverse zone! One missionary from Frankfort, Germany, two from Canada, one from England, and one from China. It's going to be a great transfer! 

Elder Ma is now back home in China!! I'm going to miss this legendary missionary. He didn't speak one bit of English before his mission but now speaks it really well, and plans on going to BYU. I'm going to miss him, but I'll see him again one day! It was fun serving with him in this zone. He's got an amazing conversion story and got to baptize his Dad right when he returned home to China a couple days ago! 

We taught a lot of great lessons this week! 

Hannah, the lady we met a couple days before General Conference that came and watched with us, is doing great! We had a couple brief lessons with her this week. She kept telling us how tough her life has been, especially being here in America away from all of her family. But she said since she's met us she's felt much happier and feels blessed. We talked about how the ward can become a ward family to her. She works every other Sunday which is tough for church, but she's excited to come next Sunday! 

We've been getting a lot of media referrals lately which have been great! This week we got a referral for a lady named Rahel, from Ethiopia, that visited and requested a Book of Mormon. Most of the Ethiopians we meet are usually pretty set in their ways and want nothing to do with us (Ethiopian Orthodox). But Rahel is way different! She was so interested in everything we have to teach. She accepted the invitation to be baptized and even accepted a baptismal date in November! She was super happy to find out that the church has a couple branches in Ethiopia really close to her home where she will eventually be moving back to. Her permanent address is in Alexandria, but she's actually currently living in Annandale and will be living there for the next few months, so we passed her off to the Elders in Annandale. They were excited to hear about her, and she came to their ward yesterday! They're all set to start teaching her this week! I'm excited to hear about her progress in the coming weeks. 

Let's see...whose else...Fatu! We were standing along the side of a road, making a couple phone calls, and this lady driving by stopped right next to us and said "Hey brothers, I've been waiting to see you. You keep coming by but I'm never home. Wait here, I'm going to go park and you can come on in." This lady is named Fatu and she's from Sierra Leone. Her son is Mohammed and her daughter is Dora. We met her a couple months ago and have tried to stop by about once a week, but she was never home. We just happened to be standing right by her apartment when she drove by! We went in and taught her along with two of her kids. We had a great discussion with them! She actually saw pictures from Isha's baptism on Facebook and thought that was pretty exciting so she was curious to know more about it. 

With our investigator Sheila, somehow we ended up teaching her a little bit about temples in our lesson with her. As we were visiting with her she began to tell us about a couple of incredible experiences she's had in the past. She has nearly died a number of times in her life, and a few years ago while in the hospital, she had a dream. In her dream she remembers seeing herself going to the DC Temple! It was really special as she described it. She testified to us that she knows that God has a plan for her and that He has sent us to her for a reason. We're trying to help her realize the reason! I know there's a lot of happiness waiting ahead for her! She's committed to coming to church each of the last few weeks, but she wakes up in the morning and never feels good. She's been going through a lot of adversity lately in her life with battling cancer, so hearing about her dream about the temple makes us know that she has been prepared! 

We've taught some other lessons this week, but these ones were probably the highlights! I've really enjoyed reading through the conference talks this week!

One quote from General Conference that has stuck out to me this past week comes from President Uchtdorfs talk at the Saturday morning session. He said "It seems to be human nature: as we become more familiar with something, even something miraculous and awe-inspiring, we lose our sense of awe and treat it as commonplace." When I heard this, I immediately applied it to my mission. The longer we have been out on our missions, the more familiar we become with missionary work, and for many I think we can start to treat this experience as commonplace. But when we truly think about it, this is such a marvelous work we are engaged in! We are going to be reflecting back on this time for the rest of our lives, so why not make the most of it? It is "miraculous and awe-inspiring" to be a part of this great work. I hope that I can keep this perspective throughout my mission. This also applies to the simple truths of the gospel. We all become familiar with the principles of the gospel and sometimes, like President Uchtdorf says, I think we can forget how miraculous the truths are. We have an eternal Father in Heaven that loves us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to the earth and he died for us and was resurrected. We will all be resurrected one day as well. We have a prophet on the earth today that receives revelation for the world. The fullness of the gospel, including the priesthood authority and the Book of Mormon, have been restored back to the earth for our benefit. We can live together with our families forever, through the ordinances of the temple. All of these truths are so simple, yet so amazing! I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to share this message with the people here! 

Hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Our investigator Desmond with 3 of his kids: Mohammed, Desmond Jr., and Desmona. This is he man we visited in the hospital a few weeks ago. He's traveling back to Sierra Leone soon and is going to check out the LDS church when he visits there. 

This is Rahel. She was super excited to find out that there's a branch of the church in Ethiopia, nearby where she will be moving to in a few months. 

Mariatu and her daughter Maisha. We've taught her a number of times, but her progression has been pretty slow. She loves having us come over to teach, and her daughter climbs all over the place.

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