Monday, December 19, 2016

18 December 2016 - Twas the Week Before Christmas

Hey everyone!

This next week is the last full week of the transfer, I can't believe how fast this transfer is flying by. Transfers are on the 29th!

This past week was full of more great experiences! At the beginning of the week we had one final visit saying goodbye to Isha and her kids. Due to the ward boundary changes, she's no longer in our ward, but we were able to have one last lesson with her and give her a Christmas card we made. I'm grateful for the time we have been able to spend over the last several months teaching and helping Isha! In the background of the picture you can see that she has her baptismal certificate framed on her wall, along with a picture of us all together on the day of her baptism. She was sad to have to say bye to us, but she's in great hands! There's some awesome members in the other ward that are going to take great care of her. I'm grateful to have been involved with her conversion every step of the way.

We're going to miss Isha and her kids!
We had an exchange this week with one of the district leaders in our zone and his companion. I got to be with Elder Chu for a day again! It's always fun to spend a day with a previous companion. I found out this week that Katie and Jackson, a single mother and her son that I taught in Centreville are likely going to be getting baptized in a couple weeks! (Refer to letter back on May 9th) finding them was a miracle! Katie and her kids made it up to the temple yesterday night and made a nice post on Facebook thanking all of the missionaries who have helped her along the way. Elder Shelley and I were the ones that originally found her over seven months ago. I'm grateful for the other missionaries who've helped her along the way! I had no doubt that she would eventually make it to this point! I hope to be able to make it out to Centreville for her baptism!

Edgardo came to watch a baptism that we had in our ward this week of a woman named Najwan. She is from Egypt! The missionaries in another ward had been teaching Najwan, and due to the boundary changes she was baptized into our ward last week. Edgardo enjoyed the baptismal service! Following the baptism we had a lesson with him, to help him understand more about baptism and why it's important. He came to church for the second time on Sunday and is enjoying getting to know more members of the ward! He will most likely be getting baptized within the next few weeks!

Recent convert Chris Ricks came out with us this week to teach a few different people.
One of them was to Bernadette a woman we met a couple months ago and have a taught a few times.
Chris Ricks and Michael Heaney both got received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday and were ordained priests. Elder Judkins ordained Chris, and then I was able to ordain Michael. We're so excited for them to be able to exercise their priesthood and bless the lives of others through their service!

Group of us with Michael after the New and Returning Member Fireside.
Julio in the middle is now our assistant Ward mission leader.
Michael spoke last night at the New and Returning Member Fireside and did a great job! These are my absolute favorite events to go to. I haven't been to one in the last 6 months or so, but they're great! There's nothing better than listening to the conversion stories of all kinds of people, hearing how the gospel has changed their lives for the better. When Michael spoke he talked a lot about the atonement. Growing up, he was taught about the atonement, but never fully understood it. He always thought Jesus Christ's atonement was something that was just there, and he didn't quite know how to personally access it and what that would mean if he could. But after learning about and accepting the restored gospel, he finally came to understand that the atonement fully applies to him individually. He now knows that Jesus Christ did die for him personally, and that He loves him unconditionally. He compared the love that Jesus Christ has for each of us to the love a mother has for a newborn child. As a mother holds her newborn baby, she looks down upon it thinking that she would do anything in the world for that child, to ensure they grow up happily. This is the same way Christ feels about each of us! He would do anything for us to help us make it back to him. In fact, he already has done everything for us! We just need to have the courage and humility to allow him to help us. It was great listening to Michael and other recent converts speak about their experiences.

I am excited for Christmas! We've got some great plans with different families next weekend. Yesterday at church, I ran into my cousin David Phillips in the hallway! He's in the Annandale Ward, which meets in the same church building as our ward. It was fun to talk with him for a few minutes and I will likely be seeing him again this weekend.

With my cousin, David Phillips!

This is going to be a great week! Hope you all have a merry Christmas! Love you all!

Merry Christmas from the White House and National Christmas Tree!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

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