Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13, 2017 Isaiah 30:20

20th birthday celebration with the Crouse family

Thanks for the annual birthday banner Mom! I love all the pictures!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I had a great birthday week last week! On 3 consecutive nights I had a birthday dessert with candies and singing and all that fun stuff. Thanks to everyone that sent birthday cards or emails to me!

I just realized that a year ago today Amy and Kadija Koroma were baptized back in Centreville! I can't believe that was an entire year ago, feels like yesterday! They're doing great though, and I believe Amy is about to start a temple preparation class to be able to go to the temple soon.
another one with Lawrence

This week we taught Lawrence a few times. That kid is so fun to teach! We've been showing him a bunch of different church videos and quizzing him on his knowledge of the gospel. It's true that children are so humble and teachable! I wish more people were like him. We're trying to get the Mom motivated to take him to church because their family hasn't been in a while, but she's open to us teaching him and wants him to get baptized. Hopefully they'll start to come consistently!
Basketball/lesson with Lawrence!
We also were invited over to the Depuys house for dinner and a brief lesson, along with Brother & Sister North from the ward. It's cool when you have investigators that will reach out to us and schedule member present lessons without us having to set it up! They are starting to really enjoy the friendships they are forming with members of the ward, it's great!

We had a great Mission Leadership Council this week. They do one every month with all of the zone leaders and Sister training leaders in the mission so I think this was my 7th or 8th time attending this meeting, and it's always a good experience. We receive different counsel from President Huntsman and the assistants and then the week after MLC we hold a zone training (this week) where we relay everything discussed to our zone of missionaries and provide more training. This month, President Huntsman based most of his remarks centered on this single scripture, Isaiah 30:20- "And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction..."

Beautiful sunset after the snowfall.

Here's some thoughts that I learned from the discussion on this phrase. First, I find it interesting that this scripture implies that the adversity, affliction, and opposition we experience in this life is often given to us by the Lord. Yes, there are many cases where our own stupidity can bring upon ourselves unnecessary adversity. But often times there's things outside of our control that inflict physical, emotional, or spiritual pain upon us. There is purpose and meaning being the trials we go through. The adversary will distract, deceive, and lie to us, causing us to question our testimonies of our Savior's love. He tears down things that are righteous and builds up things that are unrighteous. But we need to remember that these trials are often given to us by the Lord. So why is that? Think of the symbolism in the verse from Isaiah. What do bread and water represent? The Lord gives us the "bread of adversity, and the water of affliction..."
Another picture of the woods
The first thing that comes to my mind is the sacrament, a sacred, weekly experience where we can remember the Savior and his merciful, infinite, and atoning sacrifice for us. So, the adversity we go through can help remind us of the pain and suffering our Savior went through for us, and we can turn to Him for strength to endure.
Then I think about bread and water being essential to life. Without daily nourishment, we wouldn't be able to live and grow. Without experiencing trials in our lives, we wouldn't be able to grow. After all, this life is the time for us to prepare to meet God, and a part of that preparation is learning, and we learn most as we overcome weaknesses and opposition.
Thirdly, I think of the miracles that the Savior performed while on his earthly ministry. Throughout the New Testament we read of so many miracles where the Savior ministered to individual people, as well as large groups of people. In Matthew 14 He fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and a couple fish. In Matthew 15 he fed another 4,000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. In our lives, miracles can happen as a result of our trials. Obviously, we probably won't realize the miracles in the midst of enduring through the adversity. But the miracle is in the growth that comes as a result of overcoming it. And miracles will happen to help us along the way as we overcome it.
At the end of the day, we all experience different forms of adversity throughout our lives. But no matter what it is that we go through, we need to remember that diamonds aren't created without immense amounts of heat and pressure over a long period of time. For us to fulfill our divine potential and to become like our Father in Heaven, adversity is necessary. In fact, we often will grow much closer to him during adversity if we handle it the right way. Having a more eternal perspective will always help us to deal with the challenges we face every day.

Anyways, sorry for the long rant about that. I just felt like I learned a lot from that small verse of scripture and the discussion we had talking about it!

I'm looking forward to another good week! I love you all so much!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
Elder Jones is a beast. (video)

Video of Birthday celebration at the Evan's home

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