Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017 Miracle in Tyson's

Hey everyone!

Rachel, Steve, and Blake Sippert. Their basement
is hands down the best place to live as a missionary.
 I'm going to miss them!  Blake felt like a little brother to us.
It's a whole new world out here in Tysons compared to Warrenton. This ward covers portions of Falls Church, Vienna, and McLean Virginia. I've enjoyed getting to know some of the members here in the past 6 days, it seems like a great ward.

After being in a car for the past 9 months, it did feel nice to be out biking and walking around a bit more this week. Elder Ostendorf is great! He is really good at connecting and communicating with people. We've enjoyed this past week! We've knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of different people. Warrenton wasn't very diverse, but being back in a city there's a lot of diversity again! In our area there's specifically a lot of people from India. We actually have a couple investigators we are teaching that are from India. They're super nice! In our apartment complex there's a ton Indians, it's kinda cool! It does constantly smell like Indian curry though and I still can't decide whether I like the persistent smell or not...

Anyways, this week we had some great experiences! We've been able to teach a few different people. One of our investigators is named Swati. She's from India, and has been to the D.C. Temple Visitor's Center and gone to church with and LDS friend in Maryland. She grew up with Hindu beliefs, but has had a lot of Christian influence over the last 10 years. She hasn't been to our ward yet, but has been taught a couple times and hopefully we can help her progress in the gospel.

We were knocking doors on a street and realized and older member lived there so we knocked to try and meet her and nobody answered. As we were leaving her driveway we heard the door open so we rushed back to her and started talking. She is hardly able to walk and make it to the door, but she had a feeling it was missionaries after we knocked a second time, so she mustered up the strength to come open the door. She has a disease that doesn't allow her to leave her house much, and the simple fact that we stopped by to say hi and talk for no more than 10 minutes made her day! It's fun seeing people brighten up from just a brief conversation with us.

This is Claudia, the referral from Elder Crisp in Bolivia,
and her husband Rolando.
We had a good brief visit with them!

We were on splits the next day, and I was with Kirk,
a returned missionary that just got back from Mexico,
 so we decided to drop by and say hello.
He was able to teach her a bit and explain that the
Spanish elders are planning to come by this week.

 Here's the miracle of the week. Last Monday (the day before getting transferred to Tysons Corner) I got an email from my good life-long friend, Ben Crisp, who's currently serving a mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. In his email he had a referral, an address in Falls Church, Virginia for a lady named Claudia. Ben knows Claudia's mother in Bolivia, who converted to the church, and the mother asked Ben to ask missionaries in Virginia to go contact her daughter. I went back and forth in a few emails to Ben explaining that I'd get the referral sent to where it needed to go and make sure missionaries go by and teach her and answer questions for her. I then plugged in the address online and quickly found out that it was in the Tysons Ward boundary, ward I would be getting transferred to the next day! On Tuesday I arrived here and that address happened to be just a few blocks away, no more than a 5 minute bike-ride from our apartment! Crazy! It is SUCH a small world in the church! What are the odds?! I get a referral from my friend in Bolivia, and I get transferred the same week, right next to where the lady lives! So cool! That's not a coincidence- but a "God-incidence." Haha. So we went and of course she hardly spoke any English, but I was able to briefly explain in Spanish the situation with my friend, a missionary in Bolivia that knows her family in Santa Cruz, and how they told him to tell me to come here and meet her. We were able to schedule an appointment for the Spanish elders to come meet her and start teaching her and her husband Rolando! I took a picture to send to Ben to show him that I met them. 

This is Elder Ben Crisp who is serving his mission in Bolivia with the recent convert (the mother of Claudia).
"Ben and Jeremy doing missionary work together!!!!"
 Dana Crisp

I realized something interesting this week while studying in Alma. In Alma chapter 8, verses 3-6, Alma talks about his success in preaching the gospel in the land of Melek. "Alma departed into the land of Melek...he began to teach the people in the land...people came to him...and they were baptized throughout all the land." I'm sure Alma had some miraculous, joyful experiences as he preached the gospel to the people in that city. People were receptive to the gospel and they received the blessings that came to it through baptism. Alma must've been so happy! I find it interesting that there isn't more recorded about his amazing experiences there, but instead there are only 3 verses about it. Then, contrast this to the many verses and chapters following that are recorded about Alma's experiences in Ammonihah. This city was quite different from Melek. In this city "Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people" and "Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer..." to soften the hearts of the wicked people. People rejected him, mocked him, spit upon him, and they weren't receptive. Though Alma struggled in the land of Ammonihah, there is SO much more written about his experiences preaching the gospel there, and the lessons he learned from it. I learn from this that there is so much to be learned through adversity. It's really enjoyable to be having a ton of success, like Alma did in Melek, but often times we will learn lessons through adversity that we wouldn't have been able to learn when everything was smooth sailing. I've definitely seen that to be true on my mission. I've been in areas where we've had so much success and everything was incredible! But there have also been times that were more difficult. But in the difficult times I've been able to learn lessons I couldn't have otherwise learned. I'm looking forward to this upcoming transfer in Tysons. I hope we can work hard to accomplish the will of the Lord in this area!

I love you all and hope you have a great week! I'm excited for general conference this weekend and know that it will be a good experience for all of us.

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Jake and Kelli Seely, and their new baby Maggie.
They had us over almost every week, I'll miss them as well!

Trying to get Maggie to smile, not much luck. 

 I thought this doormat was pretty funny, especially
since nearly everyone seems to have a dog.

I'm going to miss Blake! He's such a fun little guy.

                                             Last Day in Warrenton

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