The Washington DC South Mission, joined by Elder Ballard and Elder Rasband, and other General authorities of the church! See if you can find me! :)
The Sister Training Leaders for our zone made this flag thing and had everyone in the zone sign it after our Zone Training that we had this last week. We have one of the smaller zones in the mission with only 18 missionaries.
Well, we now have a new President! Apparently there's been a lot of crazy things going on this last week, but we are completely oblivious to it all. It's kind of nice to be honest, not having to be in the loop with the news and the political world, being able to solely focus on the work we are doing here.
One cool fact about this area at I've forgotten to mention the past couple weeks. Robert Duvall, the famous actor, lives within our ward! Geographically, this is the biggest ward in the mission, so he lives about 30 minutes away from where we live. Since the day I got here in the ward, a ton of people have been mentioning that he lives out here, but nobody could say exactly where he lives. Last night though we were checking on a few less active members of the ward on the list, and we got to one member of the ward who saw my name and she asked if I was related to Robert Duvall (which is a question I've gotten so many times in the past few weeks here). Then she told us that he lives right down the road from where we were! She described to us which house was his, but we were in the middle of forests of trees and it was late so we couldn't see hardly anything, but we drove right past his property on our way back at the end of the night! One of these days I'm going to have to go and try and knock on his door and see what happens. Im sure we have some common ancestor somewhere down the line..
We have an old couple that has been meeting with missionaries for quite some time that we've been able to teach a couple times recently. Their names are Art and Joanne Depuy, probably in their early to mid 70's. They are definitely a pretty unique situation that I didn't ever think I would encounter on my mission. They are firm members of the Community of Christ church (formerly known as the RLDS church) and have been for most of their lives. The closest Community of Christ congregation is about an hour away though, so they don't attend church services there often, since they moved out here to Warrenton. They have a few things that have kept them from wanting to join the church, but they do enjoy coming to church with us! And they know quite a few of the members of the ward. After not coming to our church for a while, they came each of the last two weeks! Tonight, they will be having dinner and a lesson with us and the Manwarings. Brother Manwaring is a former mission President, who served as president for the Frankfort, Germany mission a little over 10 years ago. Also, fun fact about the Bro Manwaring is that we have a common ancestor a few generations back in our family tree! We're excited to join with them all there tonight.
Elder Shelley, who I was companions with for a few months last spring, is currently serving as an assistant. The zone leaders go on an exchange with them once a transfer, so we went out to their area this week. I was with Elder Shelley for the day and it was awesome! We were able to teach a few lessons and find a lot of awesome people! There are a lot of sweet Africans in their area being taught, so it was fun to interact with some of them again! However... after finding two new investigators, on our way back to the car we realized that our car had gotten towed. Apparently the "visitors" parking spot in that complex still needed a parking permit from the complex. So we had to get the other missionaries to pick us up and drive us to the tow-yard, where we had to fork out some cash to get it back. I got towed a few months ago in Alexandria, which made me pretty sad. But I remember the last time I got towed I thought to myself "If I ever get towed again, I'm just going to laugh it off and choose to be happy" so that's exactly what I did! Money is just money. With this situation and any situation, we choose how to respond. We can either choose to let it bother us and be sad, or we can just accept it as it is, do what needs to be done, and move forward. We were able to move on the rest of the day and had some cool experiences that evening!
Last week I wrote a bit about Jimmy and James Mitchell. James attends scouts every week and recently we've been able to teach him more about the church, and what most of the scouts in his troop believe. Jimmy wanted to take a step back from learning, but is still open to having us teach his son. James said he would love to come to church sometime soon! (contingent on permission from his mother.) Jimmy, the father, even though he said he'd like to remain where he's at religiously, still spent over an hour onMormon.org watching videos and learning more about the church, which I think is pretty sweet! I hope we can continue to help out their family!
We saw a lot of deer this week. They jump out into the streets all the time on some of the windy country roads we drive on. I'm nervous that I'll accidentally hit one one day. I hope that doesn't happen!
I love these scriptures from the Book of Mormon of Alma counseling his son Helaman. He is talking about the Liahona and how it guides them according to their faith. (Alma 37:40-41, 46-47)
"It did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day. Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell."
If you want to stay firm in your testimony and conversion to the gospel, it comes down to doing those simple things that are of utmost importance. The small things make the biggest difference in our lives. Likewise, neglecting to do the small things can make the biggest difference for the worse. So remember to pray everyday, keep the Savior and His atonement in your mind throughout the week, and study the scriptures frequently. Do those things and you'll be much more likely to stay firm in the faith!
I'm grateful to be here! Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission