I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We had a big Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of families in the ward that got together at the church building and put together a big feast. That was kind of our "goodbye" to a lot of the members of the ward that got put into other wards due to the boundary changes. After the dinner we took a bunch of the leftovers into our car, then we drove around and found homeless people to give food to. That was super fun!! We met some pretty kind people doing that. It's sad to see people all alone, with no family to be with during the holiday season, but it felt great to be able to serve them even if it's in such small ways.
So the Alexandria 2nd Ward that we were in no longer exists and the new ward is the Lincolnia Ward. They took portions of 4 different wards to create this new ward. So this week we had a bunch of pass-off lessons with other missionaries. We passed some of our investigators, but we also received a lot of investigators from the three other wards that are now in our ward. It was a busy week! Sad saying bye to some members and investigators that we've worked with a lot, but we look forward to getting to know everyone in this new ward.
One person that is now in our ward is a man named Michael. He's about 50 years old, originally from New Jersey, and is going to be getting baptized this Saturday! He's coming from the portion of the Annandale Ward that's now in our ward. In our gospel principles class on Sunday he bore a strong testimony of his conversion and how much happier he feels having the gospel in his life. We look forward to working with him!
We also got a recent convert family, the Penedo's from the Alexandria 1st Ward. They're from Guatemala and we're just baptized a couple of weeks ago! We had a really good lesson with them, along with the missionaries that taught them last week.
The Tarnue kids were baptized last week! Their parents were converts that joined the church years ago, but have been less active for a while until recently they started coming back to church. The father was able to baptize his 3 kids and Elder Judkins and I were the witnesses at the baptism. It was so cool watching their Dad baptize them! He looked so happy and proud of his children making this decision. It was a miracle for us to be able to teach Addu everything in such a short period of time. The covenant of baptism is so special and every time I attend a baptism, I reflect on how grateful I am to be a member of this church! I'm so grateful that I have been baptized and that I have the opportunity each week to renew those covenants through partaking of the sacrament. Because of the boundary changes, the Addu, Francis, and Jeanni were baptized into the Franconia Ward. We decided last minute to swing over to that ward quickly after leaving the Lincolnia Ward to be there for their confirmations, and the bishop asked if we would do their confirmations. So Elder Judkins and I, and a member of that ward, each did a confirmation of the three children. I'm glad we decided to go so that we could participate in that! I'm grateful for this Liberian family and their great examples!
Addu Tarnue before his baptism!
The Tarnues, along with us, our bishop, and 4 sister missionaries. We taught Addu, two of the sister missionaries taught the two girls, and the other two sister missionaries will be working with them from now moving forward in the other ward.
I am so excited for this years Christmas initiative, #LIGHTtheWORLD. If you go to mormon.org, there are a series of sweet videos with ideas on how we can "light the world" with service during this holiday season. Jesus Christ was the perfect example of love and service and I know that as we strive to emulate his example throughout not only this next month, but throughout our lives, that we will be blessed. More importantly, we will be able to bless the lives of others. I have definitely grown much closer to my savior since being here in Virginia on my mission. It is certainly true that we can come to "find ourselves" as we "lose ourselves" in the service of others. If you are going through your own trials and are stressed out with anything, I believe that serving other people is one way that we can have greater access to the atonement of Jesus Christ, to give us the strength we need to endure our own struggles.
I can't believe it's almost December!! I hope you all have a great week!! Love you all!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
Julio and Roberto Penedo. Roberto was baptized a couple weeks ago
This is Bennie, an investigator from another ward that's now in our ward.
In the evening on Thanksgiving we went to the Holm's and learned how to make beanies with a looming set and yarn. It was cool to make some beanies and they're going to donate them to people in need. We're going to miss the Holm's!