Monday, May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017 Surprise Transfer & New Assignment

Hey everyone! 
I had a pretty big change happen this week! 

Elder Yang and Burleson and I
. It was fun being with them in a trio with them
 for the past few days. Tomorrow Elder Burleson
 will be transferred out to a new area.

Elder Ostendorf and I were discussing the upcoming transfers. We were guessing that I'd probably serve in the Tysons Ward for 3 or 4 transfers, up to six months. Just a couple hours after this conversation, we got a call at the end of the night from President Huntsman. He totally caught me off guard. We thought Elder Ostendorf would be getting transferred, and that I would take his spot as the district leader, or maybe train a new missionary in the Tysons ward.  Instead, President Huntsman asked me if I would be willing to be transferred to the Fort Belvoir Ward and serve as one of his assistants! Didn't expect that! So I was transferred on Friday night to the new area! I spent the past few days with Elders Burleson and Yang, as they "showed me the ropes" and taught me about different things I'll be responsible for in this new assignment. 

With Elder Yang and Elder Burleson at
 the Ronald Reagan Airport.

We help out a lot with transfers, and will be presenting training at all of the Zone Conferences throughout the mission and at the Mission Leadership Council meeting, and do an exchange with each set of zone leaders during the transfer, and do a bunch of other stuff. But at the end of the day, we're still assigned to serve in the Fort Belvoir Ward and will be spending a lot of time proselyting in our area. 
I am super excited for the opportunity I will have to serve more closely with President Huntsman, and continue to serve the other missionaries in this mission. Thankfully, President Huntsman strongly believes that even though we are his assistants, we should still prioritize proselyting in our area as much as possible. So we will occasionally go into the office to fulfill certain responsibilities and accomplish different tasks with training other missionaries, but we still proselyte a lot!

This lady is a member of the Fort Belvoir Ward
 from Africa. This is a common sight
walking around talking to people!
 It's so cool how they do it so easily

I'm super happy to serve in this ward, I was able to go on exchanges there multiple times when I was a zone leader and it's a great area to serve in. I loved serving in Alexandria for 6 months before, and now I'll be covering a different part of Alexandria. The ward has a lot of military families that live on base at Fort Belvoir, and then the demographics of the communities nearby the Fort are tons of Africans- Ghanaians, Ethiopians, Sierra Leoneans, etc. We have a lot of different people we're teaching right now and I'm excited to help them all!

I'm replacing Elder Burleson, and Elder Yang is my new companion. He's awesome! I'm super excited to serve with him as an assistant. He's a couple years older than me and is a convert to the church from China, joined when he was 18. He spent a couple years at school at UC San Diego. 

Before getting taken out of Tysons. Elder Ostendorf and I got to go to the temple with Michael last week to do baptisms for the dead with him. Elder Ostendorf and I both taught him prior to his baptism. He stood proxy for 15 of his ancestors and I was able to perform the baptisms. It was such a great experience! He has been super into family history. That's actually one of the things that initially perked his interest in the church. I'm grateful for the relationships I've made on my mission with people like Michael, who I know I will stay connected with through the years. Michael is looking forward to going to the temple in December at the year mark of his baptism, so I'm super excited that I will be there for that, right before the end of my mission. 

At Kristina's baptism! Elders Smith, Ostendorf, and Harding
 and I with Kristina. She has a twin sister who has been
skeptical of Kristina learning about the church,
 but she came and supported her at the baptism!

Also, Kristina had her baptism on Saturday! I was transferred the night before, but was still able to go back and attend it. She asked me to give a talk about the Holy Ghost at the baptism and Elder Ostendorf performed the baptism. Kristina's been on a long journey to get to this point! There's was a lot of members and missionary's there to support her. Kristina's a great example and I'm excited to see what lies ahead for her in the future. It was a good experience being able to teach her and help her prepare for baptism! 

Today we are spending the day picking up the new missionaries from the airport and taking them to the mission home for a dinner, interviews, and some brief orientation stuff. We are currently at the airport waiting for them to arrive! I'm excited to welcome them to the mission! It feels like just yesterday that I was getting off that plane! I'm excited to have a new perspective as we pick them up! Then tomorrow right after transfers we will be taking the departing missionaries to the temple which will be super fun as well! There's a lot of missionaries I love a ton going home the next couple of transfers, so I'll be able to go to the temple with them on their last day. 

I'm going to be pretty busy the next few transfers! It's going to be fun. I hope that I can do a good job of loving and serving the missionaries throughout the mission, and be a good support to President Huntsman. 

I love you all! Hope you have a great first week of May!  

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

With Brother Williams, my ward mission leader
 in the Tysons Ward. It was sad saying bye to him,
 he's great!

At the airport waiting for the new missionaries!
 You can see the Capital building in the distance.

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