We've had a pretty good week this week. Today, for Presidents Day, we were able to go up to the temple! The next time I'll be able to go won't be for another 6 months, but I'm super glad we were able to go today! It was a great experience, always is. Any day at the temple is a holiday (holy-day, get it?) It's been a beautiful few days here in Virginia! 70 degrees or so the last few days, it's been great! But after being here for a while now, it's safe to say it'll probably be back to freezing within a couple of days. Especially because earlier this week we were out tracting in the freezing cold for a couple hours and couldn't feel my face or toes afterwards, but we met a few really awesome people.
This week we did a lot of driving, making it out to some of the further spots of our ward that we don't usually get out to. Our ward is probably makes up about a quarter of our mission, geographically. The closer you get to D.C., the more packed the cities are with people, but out here it's beautiful countryside and people are spread out. We enjoy it out here.
We've been working hard to find new people to teach. We know there people out there that are prepared. A few of the people we have been teaching are on the fence right now, and have been in and out of meeting with missionaries for the past couple years.
Elizabeth and James Brownlows are a couple, who have a few fun, crazy little kids, that have met with missionaries on and off for he past couple years and we've been trying to figure out the best way to help them. They love missionaries and are always happy to let us in their home, but they've got a few things they're having a hard time accepting within the gospel. They've only come to church once in the past few years, but they've had a ton of lessons from missionaries. So we thought the best thing would be to just help them get to know some members. So we did a game night with the Brownlows at the Crosland's home, an awesome member family in the ward and another family from the ward came as well. There were about 10 crazy little kids and us 8 adults. We enjoyed a good evening of games and laughter! The spirit that is felt within the walls of a Christ centered home is awesome. I know they could feel the love that was there in that home.
We stopped by the Depuys house unannounced this week and they were so happy to see us, inviting us into their home right away. We love Art and Joanne. They are the sweetest old couple. People at church mistaken them for members, when they really aren't. They’re still waiting to receive some specific answers to their prayers. They were watching some documentary show on their Roku when we got there and we noticed that they had the Mormon channel pulled up on their TV, which they said they enjoy watching, This was perfect because we wanted to watch a conference talk with them. They have also been meeting with missionaries for a long time and have had all of the discussions. We watched the talk called "Why the Church" given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson in the October 2015 general conference. In this talk, Elder Christofferson explains why it is necessary for God to use an organization, His church on the earth, to carry out His eternal purposes.
He explains that "Following the apostasy and disintegration of the Church He had organized while on the earth, the Lord reestablished the Church of Jesus Christ once again through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The ancient purpose remains: that is, to preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and administer the ordinances of salvation--in other words, to bring people to Christ."
Later on he points out that "There is a second major reason the Savior works through a church, His Church, and that is to achieve needful things that cannot be accomplished by individuals or smaller groups." These include caring for the poor and needy, both locally and throughout the world. This also includes missionary work, thousands of missionaries spread throughout the world proclaiming the gospel, only made possible by sacrifices of members of the church throughout the world. I'm grateful to be part of it!
Lastly Elder Christofferson states that "The final reason I will mention for the Lord to have established His Church is the most unique--the Church is, after all, the kingdom of God on the earth."
He then quotes Joseph Smith who said “Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth... Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come..."
I'm so grateful that the Lord has an organization, His true church, upon the earth to carry out His goal of "bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of [all] man[kind]."
This talk was perfect for the Depuys to listen to & I recommend you all read it! My favorite quote from the talk is this: "If one believes that all roads lead to heaven or that there are no particular requirements for salvation, he or she will see no need for proclaiming the gospel or for ordinances and covenants in redeeming either the living or the dead. But we speak not just of immortality but also of eternal life, and for that the gospel path and gospel covenants are essential. And the Savior needs a church to make them available to all of God’s children--both the living and the dead."
The road back to live with God isn't acquired with no effort. We need to try, and we need ordinances and covenants done by priesthood authority. I'm grateful to be a missionary, trying our best to bring the joy of the gospel into the lives of everyone we meet. I'm grateful for the priesthood authority that we have on the earth, in this church, that allows us to receive all the necessary ordinances to make it back to live with God.
I love you all and I pray for your happiness, safety, and success. I hope you all have an amazing week!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
In our session, when it came time for the prayer, I sat there in my seat closing my eyes, and the officiator started the prayer. As the old man said the prayer, it sounded SO MUCH like Grandpa Duvall!! It was the coolest thing! There were a lot of things said in the prayer that touched me. I felt an extreme sense of peace, knowing that Grandpa and Grandma Duvall, and all of our other loved ones that have passed on are watching over all of us.
Then, in the celestial room, a random lady walked up to us and shared his scripture with us D&C 109:22-23
"And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;
And from this place they may bear exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth, unto the ends of the earth, that they may know that this is thy work, and that thou hast put forth thy hand, to fulfil that which thou hast spoken by the mouths of the prophets, concerning the last days."
We are given power to withstand the adversary when we enter the temple, which truly is the house of God on the earth. I know that part of that power is angels that watch over all of us! I'm grateful for the spirit I felt at the temple this morning, and I am grateful for all of you and that I'm part of an amazing family! :)
Love you all!
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
At our mission office they just put up this picture
After the Zone Training meeting we had we took a picture with our Zone this transfer.
The meeting was on Valentine's Day, hence all the red clothing).