Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017 Happy Mother's Day!

Hey everyone!

First of all, Happy Mother's Day (yesterday) to the best Mom ever! I will proudly always be your baby boy! I'll echo the same quote that I think I sent last year on Mother's Day because it is so true. Elder Holland said "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." Thanks Mom for giving me your selfless love, helping me to better understand the love Jesus Christ has for each of us. You're the best!

It was great to be able to Skype with you yesterday! I'm grateful for my family! I'm glad we were able to say a prayer together as a family at the end of the call!

I'm also grateful for all the mothers who have taken such good care of me here in Virginia. There's so many amazing members that take such good care of us. And Sister Huntsman is the best "mission mom" ever.

It's been a busy week! We had 2 zone Conferences for the Ashburn and Oakton zones, and the McLean and Mt. Vernon zones. It's cool seeing half of the missionaries in the mission in just two days!

We found a sweet new investigator named Chaz last week. He's from Ghana. A few days before meeting him we actually met someone else named Deborah from Burkina Faso, a country just north of Ghana. We met her out on the street and had a good conversation with her and she gave us her address and said we can come by whenever. So we came back and met Chaz. They love in a house where there's at least 5 different people living, and none of them are related, which is kind of weird but common in the area. Most of the Ghanaians we meet have really strong faith in Christ, so they'll either be really open to hearing more about him, or they'll be really closed, just depends on the person. But Chaz was pretty open minded and we had a really good lesson with him and hope to keep teaching him.

We have a couple investigators from Ethiopia- Selma and Taz. They are still learning English, so when we teach them we have to teach really simply. We also brought them some pamphlets and a Book of Mormon in Amharic. They enjoy teaching us how to speak a few phrases in Amharic, and they always feed us some sort of ethnic food when we go there. Last week they gave us some homemade bread made from some different grains and seeds from Ethiopia and they also really like injura. Injura is a sour, spongy, pancake-like thing. I think it looks super weird. They are the kindest people! And they work so hard! They actually live with Eshetu and Nestanet, another couple from Ethiopia who got baptized a couple of months ago.

Another investigator we have is named Rich. He's about 60 years old and has been meeting with missionaries for a few months. Currently, he's the only white person we are teaching, which is kind of funny, but he's awesome! He's come to church multiple times and has had all the lessons. He wants to be baptized, just not right now. He has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and enjoys coming to church. The only thing holding him back are his parents, who are devout Roman Catholics. He's a grown man, he should be able to make his own decisions, but he feels like his parents are going to discipline him. We joked with him saying "you're not a teenager anymore! They can't boss you around!" We think he will come around eventually. There's probably some other concern we just haven't found out about yet that we'll need to help him through.

One of our investigators is another person named Isha, from Sierra Leone. It's such a popular name there. She is good friends with a few of the recent converts in the ward (Ramatu and Fatima) that live nearby her. They call each other cousins, even though they aren't actually related. They used to be neighbors in Sierra Leone in Freetown, so I guess that makes them "cousins." We've taught Isha twice so far and she has a super strong desire to join the church and be baptized. She's super receptive to the gospel! I've realized that people from Sierra Leone are generally more receptive than people from Ghana. However she's going to be going back to Freetown for about a month soon, so she has set a goal to be baptized in July after she gets back. I'll still be here, so we'll be able to finish the lessons with her and help her prepare for that. We hope to stay in touch with her somehow while she's gone so that she still has that desire when she returns.

So those are just a few of the many different people we have that we are teaching right now.

I wanted to share a brief portion of President Monson's conference talk about the Book of Mormon. He said
 "...once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.
My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives."

I love those four promised blessings at the end- As we strive to study the Book of Mormon daily 1) we'll be more in tune with the spirit, 2) we will be more capable of resisting temptation, 3) we can overcome doubts and fears that we have, 4) and we'll receive help from on high. I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon and the opportunity I have to study it each day. I know it is true!

I love you all, and hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Last night we were invited to celebrate Mother's Day with some members of the ward from Sierra Leone. This is Fatima and Ramatu, and their mother Kadiatu (sitting down), along with their kids. Fatima and Ramatu both joined the church in the past 6 months. They had a good African feast prepared for us! Yolaf rice (super spicy) , rice aka-ra (fried banana bread balls) and fried plantains, and kasava leaf potato salad (also really spicy).

Ramatu and her Mom, Kadiatu, enjoying the food! I'm grateful for these Mothers that make sure we are well fed. They enjoyed teaching us a few more phrases in Krio.

More Pictures from our Mother's Day Skype Call:


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