With Elder Jones, Sister Livingston, and Sister Hyer. The four of us were in the MTC together over a year ago now! We can't believe that it's been a whole year!
This has been a great week!
It has been an adjustment being out here in Warrenton compared to the city, but we're trying our best to enjoy every minute of it. We are working hard to find new investigators and clean up the records that were left behind by the previous missionaries who served here. We haven't had too many opportunities to teach this week, but we have been able to do some good service for a few different people
This past Saturday was an amazing day! Despite the freezing cold weather and a lot of snow in the morning, we were able to drive up to the temple and attend the endowment session for a recent convert, Chuck Mason. He really wanted us to attend and we got permission to get a ride up there with some of the members. There were a lot of people in the ward there to support him! It reminded me of the first time I went to the temple. I was the last one in the session to enter the celestial room, where I turned the corner and saw a lot of family and friends, smiling and all dressed in white to welcome me. Chuck was the last one to go through as well, and when he came in the room to see everyone there to support him he was overcome with joy and tears as he hugged everyone that was there. It was a neat experience. I'm glad that we were able to go up there and support him and be part of that special occasion!
At the temple after attending an endowment session with recent convert Chuck Mason, and members of the ward. The temple looks so beautiful with all the snow!
On the way back from the temple, I was able to stop in Centreville for Katie Hubbard's and her son Jackson's baptism! Elder Shelley and I found Katie the first week of May last year at the end of the night. If you go back to the letter from May 9th of last year it's the story of when we met them. There is no doubt we were guided by the spirit that evening where we were led to Jackson. I was able to teach Katie and Jackson for a couple months, and Katie slowly but surely began making changes in her life. Some of the changes were difficult and took some time, but at the end of the day everything she's done has helped her become happier! Joining the church seemed intimidating and overwhelming for her at first, but with patience and loving persistence by the missionaries that've taught her over the last 8 months or so, they were able to help her and Jackson make it to this point. Im so grateful to have been a part of their life! I know this decision has blessed her family tremendously and will bless them for the rest of eternity.Katie asked if I would bear my testimony at her baptism, so I was happy to do that or her as well! She is such a strong woman, with a lot of faith that has helped her overcome A LOT of trials she's had in her life. I know she's going to do a great job raising her three children in the gospel. I have no doubt she'll be well taken care of by the members in Centreville!
Two incredible people making an incredible decision to follow Jesus Christ!
It has started to get pretty cold here. It's been between 10 and 30 degrees for most of the week! And we've had a little bit of snow. This morning we had breakfast at a members house that live way out in the middle of the ward about 20 miles away in a huge house on a lake. The lake was frozen over solid, so we timidly walked on top of it for a minute or two. That was my first time ever seeing a large body of water frozen over like that so it was pretty exciting!
Trying our best to stay warm as we go out to find people!
This upcoming week is going to be awesome! This Saturday we will be having a joint mission conference with the Washington DC North and South missions, with Elder Ballard and Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elders Gong, Muers, Bennett, and Perkins of the Seventy. Later that day will be Edgardo's baptism in Alexandria! I'm super excited for him and excited to visit that ward again. It's cool that within a weeks worth of time I will have been able to go back to both of my previous areas for a baptism. Now we just need to get to work here and find the elect out here in Warrenton that are searching for the truth!
I recently read an article with some good thoughts about conversion. The author writes "Spiritual conversion, like fighting cancer, does not happen quickly or all at once. As Elder Bednar has explained: 'Conversion is an ongoing process. … Gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. Conversion unto the Lord requires both persistence and patience.... Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion. We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel.' "
I love that last part. We can know the gospel is true, through prayer and through the fruits of the spirit. Once we know it's true, we need to be true to the gospel, always striving to become more like Christ and aligning our will with the Fathers will.
This past week was my year mark of being a missionary! I know that I have become more converted to the gospel this past year, and I hope that throughout 2017 I can continue to strengthen my testimony as I strive to love and serve the people here. I love you all! Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
Got to see the Koroma family, Kadija and Omar and their Mom at Katie's baptism in Centreville. Every time I'm able to go back and visit that ward it feels like I'm going home. Both of the other wards I've served in have felt like family by the time I left.