Monday, October 3, 2016


To buy or not to buy? That is the question. 

I didn't buy it, but we bought some more fabric! More ties coming soon.

This is our friend Wara. She was amazed by the ties we made with her fabric! She laughed at us as we we trying on some African shirts. As we left, we spoke some Krio to them and she and her friends started laughing hysterically. I guess it's not often that two white boys in ties talk to them in Krio. 

Hello Everybody!
General Conference this weekend was a spiritual feast! I'm definitely well fed. I'm excited to read through all of the talks again. When I try to think of one single thing stood out to me, I first think of Elder Ballard’s talk. There were many things said during the conference about how we can maintain a firm testimony of the gospel, but I love what Elder Ballard invited us to do. He said "before you make the spiritually perilous choice to leave... STOP AND THINK CAREFULLY... whatever it was that brought you to your testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in the first place. Stop and think about what you have felt here and why you felt it. Think about the times when the Holy Ghost has born witness to you of eternal truth." It’s a simple principle. We have all had experiences in our lives where we have felt the Holy Ghost's influence manifest truth to us, but what matters is that we remember and act upon those feelings. Elder Ballard then promised the following, "I promise you in the name of the Lord, that He will never abandon His church and that He will never abandon any one of us." I know that is true. No matter how many times we may have turned away from Him, no matter how far we may have distanced ourselves from Him, He is still there. He still loves us. And He will always welcome us back into the fold with open and loving arms. He loves us so much, however, that He gives us the agency to choose. He won't force us to stay on the path, and he won't force us to return to it. He will lovingly encourage and motivate, often by means of other people, but He will never force us to follow Him. Living the gospel may seem to get harder as the world around us slowly drifts further and further away from Him. But no matter how hard it may seem to stay firm in our testimonies, or how hard it may seem to return to the truth we once knew, it is worth every effort and every struggle. The promised blessings are amazing! When thinking about the promised blessings of the gospel, my thoughts always turn to the temple. There is nowhere in this secular world that can provide the eternal knowledge, peace, and joy that can be received through the temple and the covenants made there. It got harder to many of Christ's disciples to follow Him, and many made the perilous choice to leave. As this was happening, Christ turned to the 12 and asked "Will ye also go away?" And Peter responded "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." Christ loved all His disciples, it must have been hard for Him to see many fall away. The same applies to us. We may see people we love fall away from the eternal truths of the gospel, but we have to answer this question for ourself "Will ye also go away?" If we can do what Elder Ballard says to "stop and think carefully" about what it was that originally built up our testimony of the gospel, than I know we can answer "no" to that question! 

I know that Jesus Christ is the only means by which we can return to live with our Father in Heaven. He has blesses us with the Restored gospel, with all of the ordinances and covenants that allow us to make it back to Him. Once again, I know that while the world drifts further away from the truth, if we stay steadfast in what we know to be true, we will be able to experience the true, eternal joy of the gospel. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen! :) 

Anyways, this last week was great and we had some more wonderful experiences! 

A couple weeks ago we had a "fourth floor, last door" experience while out tracting. (This happened before President Uchtdorf's talk from the Woman's session of conference) We were in a particular complex and were getting rejected over and over until the last door on the fourth floor.

This is Caleb and Dorothy Mwanja, from Uganda.

 Such a kind family! 

Dorothy, a mother of four kids, from Uganda answered the door. She didn't give us much time, but she accepted a Book of Mormon and said we could come the following week. The next week, when we decided to go back to talk with her again, I realized that I accidentally wrote down a wrong building number that didn't exist, and we couldn't remember exactly where she was in the complex. So we wandered around the complex for a few minutes until we saw a man with a huge cart of groceries, attempting to carry it up the stairs. There was no way he was getting it up the stairs by himself, so we walked over and helped him. We asked which floor he was going to, and he said 4, then I asked if he knew a Dorothy, and he said she is his wife! If I hadn't had written the address down wrong, we probably wouldn't have met her husband, Caleb. He is so kind! We weren't able to talk long, but he allowed us to come back a few days later. When we returned he let us in right away. We talked briefly about our church and mentioned General Conference, and showed a brief video about it, which included a few clips of President Monson speaking. After watching this, he told us "There's something special about that man and something [positively] different about you guys. What is it?" It was incredible to see the humility in the questions he asked and his genuine desire to learn what we believe. So we taught him about the Restoration, with an emphasis on the priesthood and modern day prophets and apostles, and he loved every bit of it! He was amazed with every principle that we testified of and loved it all, especially the fact that the church today is organized the same way Christ established the church when he was on the earth. His wife told us that he's actually a pastor for a church in Maryland, so it surprised us to see how receptive he was. But he still committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and wants to come check out our church sometime soon. We will see what happens! It was a neat experience finding and teaching them! 

 Exchange with Elder Chu, just like old times! 

Except in a car this time, not a bike. 

So Elder Chu got transferred from Centreville into this zone at the beginning of this transfer, and we were able to do and exchange with him and his companion this last week. It was fun being with Elder Chu for a day again! We had a successful day together. We were able to find and teach a new investigator named Mariama, and then we went and taught Isha. Quintin came along with us as well, and we decided to show them the video about Sierra Leone that we found last week ( In the video, there's a Sierra Leonean named Samuel Browne that narrates part of the history of the war in Sierra Leone as well as the growth of the church there. Right as his face popped up on the screen, Quintin immediately said "That's my boy Samuel! I know him! He's a member of the church now too?" Before coming to the states, Quintin was good friends with this man, and it was a neat experience seeing Quintin find out that Samuel is a strong member of the LDS church there in Freetown. It's such a small world in the church! Isha got quite emotional during the video because she witnessed firsthand a lot of the terrible things during the war, but she also feels blessed to have endured through those trials to be where she is today. Isha and Quintin are both excited to eventually visit Sierra Leone again soon and meet more of the Latter-Day Saints there. 

This is Hannah, we barely met her and then she joined us in watching some of General Conference two days after we met! She's an awesome lady! 

We actually felt prompted to show that same video to a lady we met named Hannah at her door, after she told us she was from Sierra Leone. As Elder Holland talked about the strong faith of the African members and the beautiful children, she asked "how can I join?" We proceeded to tell her that she would need to be taught a number of things and come to church, but most importantly come to know for herself of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. She didn't have time to sit and have a lesson, so the visit was about 10 minutes at the door with the video and a brief discussion afterwards. But, we came the next morning with a member and had a great lesson on the Restoration. And she also joined as for the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference! After watching the session of conference, we gave her a brief tour of the church building. She loved the talks and was glad she came and is excited to come join us at church soon! I'm amazed by these amazing people that we continue to meet each week! 

Cool random facts of the week- 
*Elder Judkins and I have put together zone "certificates of appreciation" for each missionary rewarding them for something they did well at. 
*Today we're going to the mission home for pday! IOS 10 update on the iPad makes for some awesome missionary slideshows. 
*A less active made it to the Priesthood session for the first time in years, and loved it, a man we've been working to retain. 
*We got cinnamon rolls three times this week! 
*I wore a sweater for the first time in months! WOO! Finally cooling down. 
*We found three new investigators on Thursday! 
*Asif watched all five sessions of conference live in Dubai!! That's right, he pulled a couple of all-nighters (8 hours ahead in Dubai). 
*We bought six more yards of African fabric for more ties, and possibly shirts. 
*Transfers are this week! I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you all! 

Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission

We found this cool bridge over this river, and met some cool people here. So we had to stop and take a couple pictures! 

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