Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017 He Will Pay the Rest

At  our ward mission leaders house,
with his son Sterling.  Brother Williams
is the best.  He's from England and is
one of my favorite ward mission leaders.

Hey everyone! We had some exciting things happen this past week. We only have one more week left in the transfer, so we'll find out on Saturday if Elder Ostendorf and I will be doing another transfer together. Also happening this Saturday- our investigator Kristina is getting baptized! At our Ward Mission leaders house, with his son Sterling. Brother Williams is the best, he's from England and is one of my favorite ward mission leaders.
She is Vietnamese, but was raised in the US. She has been coming to church since September, and finally decided to make the choice to be baptized. She lives next to a few different member families and comes with them to church. She hadn't been progressing in her testimony, or towards being baptized, so she stopped meeting with missionaries in January. But the ward members continued to fellowship her and she kept coming to church. Without any push by us, she approached us while we were walking through her neighborhood and told us she's ready, and that she knows she needs to do it. We couldn't believe it in that moment, but it's happening! This past week we had a couple lessons with her, reviewing everything she's learned over the past 8 months, and taught a couple new things. She also had her baptismal interview last week and is all set to be baptized this Saturday! Certain things were said that changed her perspective, and she felt the spirit confirm to her that she needs to just do it! We set a goal at the beginning of the transfer to have at least one baptism this transfer, with no idea who that one would be. We had no idea Kristina would all of the sudden make this decision, but we are so proud of her! She's been on the fence for a while, so we and the members in the Tysons ward are super excited for her! There's been a big change in just the past couple of weeks with her, it's incredible! We had interviews with President Huntsman this week. It's always nice to sit down and talk with him for a few minutes. I'm so grateful for President and Sister Huntsman and all that they do for us. We had an exciting lesson with Swati last night. We just read through some verses in Alma 32 and talked a lot about faith and things we can do to "nourish the seed" to help our faith grow. She finally committed to coming to church and said she'll be able to start coming in May, so hopefully she keeps her word. It's been fun teaching someone from India, I've met a lot of people from India throughout my mission, but haven't been able to teach many consistently until meeting Swati. She's super open minded and curious to learn. She reads anything we assign her to read, and her next step is church. She knows she needs to do it, but just hasn't made the effort yet, but it'll happen! Towards the end of the lesson we heard a few sirens from outside from fire trucks that drove by her house on the highway, but didn't think much of it, we hear them all the time.

The house on fire outside of Swati's house.

After we said the closing prayer and walked out the front door of her house, we immediately saw her neighboring house, directly across the street was on fire! Tons of smoke coming out of the windows. There were multiple fire trucks, fire engines, and fire fighters there with hoses putting out the fire. Nobody was harmed, the house was vacant and nobody currently lived there, and it's a mystery how the fire started. We watched the action for a few minutes with her and the member that came with us to the lesson. I just thought it was funny how we were in the lesson with Swati, completely oblivious to her neighbors house up in flames. It was pretty exciting! (I probably wouldn't have said that if people actually lived there or if someone was harmed of course..) At church yesterday there was a man named Dennis, from Moscow Russia, that came with some members! He is their neighbor and his son is friends with their kids, and his son wanted to come to church, so they came! They immigrated about 5 years ago to the U.S. and his wife is from Ukraine. He was baptized as a Russian Orthodox many years ago, but told us he fell away from God for a while, and he then told us that he is "now starting to come back." He chose a good place to start that's for sure! He came to our gospel principles class and asked a lot of really good questions and is curious to learn more! We're excited about him and we're working with the members to schedule a time to meet with him. I want to share a few thoughts again from when Elder and Sister Rasband visited our mission Easter weekend. Sister Rasband gave an incredible talk about the Savior's atonement. She used a beautiful symbolic story to help us understand His sacrifice for us. I'll try and describe it, but there's no way I could deliver this message as powerfully as she did. The story was about an Elder in their mission, the New York, New York North Mission. This particular Elder dreamt his entire mission of getting his shoes shined from one of those nice stands in Manhattan, where you get to sit up on a nice comfy seat and someone shines your shoes for you. He thought it would be so cool to have his shoes shined. However, this missionary was never assigned to serve in Manhattan. When he was coming down towards the end of his mission, he was assigned to serve in the Bronx, another suburb in NYC. He was sad because he felt like there wasn't any nice shoe shining stands in the Bronx like there are in Manhattan. One day, however, while he and his companion were walking down the street, he heard from around the corner a voice shouting "shoe shine, shoe shine, anybody want a shoe shine?!" He was excited hearing these words, thinking this might be his chance, his opportunity to have his shoes shined like he always wanted! He approached the man and asked him "how much does it cost?" This humble man then responded, to the elders' surprise "as much as you are willing to pay." The man then knelt down, on his hands and knees on the dirty sidewalk and began the process of shining the missionaries shoes. He dipped his stained fingers into his small container of black polish and applied it to the shoes. He then looked down at the sleeve of his shirt, looking for a spot on the sleeve that was slightly cleaner than the rest, and used that spot to polish the shoes. Then to finish it off, he lifted up his sleeve and the elder saw his filthy arms, and the man looked for a spot on his forearm that was less stained up than the rest of his arm, and used that spot of his bare skin to finish off the shoes and make them look nice. As this man was doing all of this, the missionary's perspective changed. He now started to envision the Savior. He was reminded of the Savior, taking the stains--the sins, the hurt, the anguish, all of the mourning of all mankind, upon himself. He let it all dig deep into his pores so that we wouldn't have to. Jesus Christ atoned for each one of God's children, individually, giving us all the opportunity to 'walk away with our shoes shined.' The missionary then reached into his pocket and gave every cent he had to the poor old man, and then his companion did the same, and he walked away with his shoes now shined, and his appreciation and relationship for the Savior enhanced.The Lord calls out to us the same thing as this man did "Sole shine, sole shine, anybody want a sole shine?" We may ask the Lord, "how much does it cost?"To which he will respond "however much you want, I will pay the rest." All he asks of us is to try our best- to use the knowledge we have been given and act accordingly. He suffered for us all. 1st Nephi 19:9 says "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."   Because of His loving kindness, he will make up the rest. We should try all we can to faithfully follow Him, but we'll always fall short, but He's promised to "pay the rest!" His love and mercy is always there, we just have to invite Him into our lives. When we apply atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives, our appreciation for Him and what he did for us him will increase, and we will come to know Him better. I've seen that to be true. I thought this little story was a beautiful representation of the Saviors atonement!Anyways, I hope you all have a great week! Love you all! 
Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Brother Blake took us to lunch a couple weeks ago before he moved, he's awesome!

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