Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 24, 2016 Proud to be a Duvall!

Hey everyone!

Here's a couple pictures of me and Grandpa! One when I'm a little chubster in November 1997
To start, I just want to say that I am extremely grateful to be a Duvall! My grandfather Demar Duvall passed away this past week and he was one of the best examples to me selfless love and service. I will never forget the way he loved those around him. I'm amazed how he took individual time to love and support his 10 children, and his many many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Grandpa and Grandma Duvall have raised an amazing family that I am so proud to be a part of! I am grateful for eternal families and I know he'll be watching over us!
Here is another picture of my Grandpa Duvall and I. This was during my senior year of high school. It was so fun going to a Lakers game with grandpa and Dad!
Just about one hour after President Huntsman called me and told me the news that my grandpa had passed, we went to visit a man named Henok. Our bishop wanted us to go and invite this man and his 2 kids to the ward Halloween activity this week. We knew nothing about him other than where he lived, that he was in his young 30's, and that we needed to invite him to the activity. So we went up to the 11th floor of his apartment building, knocked on his door, and he let us in right away. Shortly after being invited in he began to tell us his story. Henok and his family are from Ethiopia, have lived here for a number of years, and have family members that are members of the church and live in Utah. He's had close contact with the church, specifically with our bishop the last couple of years during these challenging times he's going through. He opened up to us quickly and explained how his wife passed away within the last 2 years, and that it has been extremely rough raising his two little children on his own. He has felt confused, angry, and sad and has had a really hard time overcoming this trial. After explaining his story and all of his thoughts and emotions, he said to us, hoping that we could empathize with him, "It's just really hard to explain how I feel... have either of you ever lost someone close to you?" I couldn't believe the timing of this situation. I was able to explain to him that just about an hour prior I had received news that my grandfather passed away. I told him how I loved him very much, and that I'm sad that he's no longer physically with us. But I emphasized how I know that he will always be watching over us, and that I know I will be able to see him again! We then talked about temples and the blessing of eternal families. Henok was really comforted by us visiting him and he felt much better after our visit. He did come to the ward activity and had a great time there with his kids. I am so grateful for the eternal perspective that the gospel brings to us in our lives!

We had a really cool experience last Tuesday! We got this referral for a man that visited Mormon.org and requested some material a few weeks ago. We've tried a number of times to call his number and have knocked on his door at least five times over the last two weeks and we haven't got any response. So we decided to try him one more time, but this time, if he didn't answer we decided we would spend more time in that neighborhood. We knew there had to be a reason why we kept going there. So after the anticipated unanswered door, we began to walk around and we saw a lady unsuccessfully trying to parallel park her car. So of course, as the professional missionary car backers that we are, we helped guide her into the spot. We then walked and talked with her for about 10 minutes to the very end of the street where her apartment was. (Yes, it was a 10 minute walk, parking in Alexandria is ridiculous. We actually got towed last week, but that's a story that doesn't need to be discussed haha).
This is Hawa! (And Brother Holm, an awesome member that helps us quite a bit!) We will be seeing her again tonight or tomorrow.
Her name was Hawa! She is from Sierra Leone, and moved to Alexandria a few years ago from Maryland. She had met with missionaries years ago but lost contact after she moved. We were able to go back and teach her with a member a couple hours later, and had a great visit! She's glad to be back in contact with us and hopefully we can help her progress in the gospel! I'm grateful that we decided to stick around that neighborhood and find out why we were there!

We went with one of Quintin's new home teachers to his house and had a great lesson. talking about the priesthood and home teaching and how he's going to be able to serve others. Afterwards, we asked him if he wanted to come along with us to a lesson just down the road from his place and he agreed. We went and taught the Afework family, Hailu and Aklile and their two kids, Ruth and Abenezar, all from Ethiopia. We asked Quintin if he'd bear his testimony of the church to them. It was amazing! He went on for about 5 minutes talking about how the church is really a "family church." He talked about how he has no immediate family in the U.S., but since he's been coming to church he knows he has a family there. He promised them that if they came they would feel the spirit of God and know that it is where God wants them to be. And he was direct with them explaining that there's no way for them to find out if the church is true if they don't "come and see" for themselves. He talked about how he had his questions and doubts but once he came he felt at peace. It was a special experience sitting next to our recent convert, listening to him bear testimony of the gospel and how it has blessed him in his life, and seeing this family react to his sincere testimony! They won't be able to come to church for a while because they both work and go to school, but once the new year starts they will be able to finally attend.

Those were just a couple of the highlights from the week, but we took a ton of pictures throughout the week, hope you enjoy them!

To close I'd just like to quote The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which states that "In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."
 I'm so grateful for this knowledge! I'm grateful for temples that unite our families together forever! I'm grateful for my grandparents and parents that have been great examples to me in my life! I look forward to going to the DC temple again this week!! I'm also so excited to have another sister-in-law become part of the Duvall family! Congrats Danny and Sarah! I'm glad to be here to share the happiness of the gospel with everyone we meet!

I love you all and I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Here's some pictures from our zone activity today!
Elder Evans and I, EFY buds!

 I decided to carve Angel Moroni!

Zone Activity-Pumpkin Carving 10-24-2016

We came across all these kids playing football and we threw the ball around with them for a bit. They thought we were super cool! 

This was the morning where we went early to go pick up our car from the tow yard that got towed the previous night. It was a beautiful morning, aside from the money spent to get the car back. 

We started teaching a less active member named Lester, from Honduras, this week. His apartment building has a really cool view of Alexandria at night! 

Had an exchange with Elders Willicome and Stamminger this week. I was able to spend the day with Elder Stamminger. He's from Frankfort, Germany! It was fun being with him, having him lead out his area for the first time. We were able to teach a couple of their investigators and they have a baptism this Saturday. Elder Stamminger is only a couple weeks into his mission, but he's a stellar missionary! It was fun talking with him, learning what it was like for him to grow up in Germany, where my Dad and brother both served their missions.

A couple pictures of us with our African shirts. This was our costume to the ward activity, and the members loved it, especially the African members!  

It was fun passing out candy to the kids while playing this little drum.

This is Abdul Salam, the man who custom fitted us for these shirts and then made them for us.

After the activity we went to go check on Hannah to see how she was doing, and we wanted to show her our shirts. Right as she opened the door, her eyes widened and she was so impressed! She absolutely loved the shirts!

This is Thomas, he's a Ghanaian that rents a room in the same apartment as Hannah. He wants us to teach him how to make these ties. 

This is Abdul Kargbo, a less active member who we've been teaching, such a chill kid.

 A picture after our lesson with the Afework family and Quintin Such a neat experience with such a kind family! 

We teach these two boys every now and then, their names are Hawny and Aiman and they're from Egypt!

Hey Dad and Mom, 

I just got off the phone with President Huntsman a little over an hour ago. Based off of the email you sent last night Dad, I knew what the call was going to be about when we saw his name show up on the phone. I didn't see that email till this morning, but It pretty much sunk in that he had probably passed over the night. So it wasn't a surprise when President Huntsman shared the news with me. I'm glad that you did send that email yesterday so that his call didn't completely catch me off guard. 

I talked for about 10 minutes on the phone with President Huntsman when he called, and he shared all of the information that you relayed to him, and explained the experience in the hospital. I'm glad that it was a peaceful and spiritual departing, and that he was able to receive a blessing. Thank you for talking with him, it was comforting to hear from him. President Huntsman is a great man and I am so grateful for his love and care. He told me how grateful he is for both of you, for raising me to be who I am. He can tell how amazing you both are and he could sense your love for me and for our family! 

Throughout the last few hours, as we've been going throughout our schedule, I have been thinking about Grandpa and what an amazing example he was! I was able to share different stories and talk about him with Elder Judkins, which was really comforting to do. 

I am so sad that Grandpa is no longer physically with us, but I know that he will constantly be around us, protecting us and watching over us! I love him so much!!! It makes me happy to know he is now embracing Grandma Duvall and Dee! I will never forget the amazing example he was of selfless love and service, always thinking about the needs of others before himself. I'm going to take some time over the next few days at night to write down memories in my journal that I have with him! I wish I could be there at the funeral on Monday, but I'm so happy to be here. 

I am excited to go teach people about the Plan of Salvation and to go testify of eternal families! I am so grateful for you, Dad and Mom, for everything that you do for me and for our family! I love you so so much!!! 

Don't feel the need to write a lengthy email this following P-day. This is going to be a busy few days! It won't bother me if I don't hear much about the funeral and the wedding until after Monday. I don't want you to feel overwhelmed by feeling the need like to send a detailed letter on Monday. 

I have permission to communicate over the next few days, as I feel appropriate. 

I hope everything goes well with the wedding!! I am so excited for Danny and Sarah! Tell them I love them! (I'd like to send a card to them too, what is their address where they will be living?) I will be able to go to the temple sometime in the next couple weeks and I look forward to the spirit which is always felt there! I know that will be a special experience being in the temple for their sealing. 

Let me know if there's anything I can say or do to help out the family in any way. I love you both so much!! I have felt overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude today, I'm so blessed to be a part of this incredible family that has been influenced greatly by all of my amazing grandparents! 

I look forward to hearing from you. Love you Tons and TONS!! 

Elder Jeremy Duvall Washington DC South Mission

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