Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017 Another transfer in Ft. Belvoir, Alexandria!

Hey everyone!

Elder Yang and I with the Taggart's!
They are moving, but they're an awesome family.
Brother Taggart is getting deployed to Afghanistan,
and sister Taggart and their children are moving
back to Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
 They made us their homemade rendition of
In-N-Out cheeseburgers, that were delicious!

We have a new transfer starting tomorrow and I am getting a new companion! Elder Yang is needed back in the Chinese program, so he'll be spending his last transfer serving in the Chinese branch before going home. His new companion will be Elder Chu, who I trained over a year ago! They'll do great together.

Elder Ure and I had to sit around and watch
all this luggage at the airport for a while,
as we waited for a couple other missionaries
to arrive from Mexico, and for the office elders
to bring their truck to put it in

My new companion is Elder Ure, from Logan, Utah. He started his mission in the Richmond, VA mission, but got moved into this mission last summer when we got the Woodbridge Zone added to our mission. He's been with us for the past couple of days, for the transition period as we show him the ropes on how some of the things work that we do.

So today we are at the airport picking up 13 new missionaries from the MTC, and will be going tonight to the mission home. Starting last night, I got to start driving the 15-passenger van, which we will drive multiple times over the next couple days, picking up new missionaries, and taking the departing missionaries to the temple and to the airport. It's a pretty big car to drive, especially on the super busy beltway, but it'll be fun! can't believe it was already 6 weeks ago that I got transferred here! Odds are I will be with Elder Ure for the next few months, but you never truly know what President Huntsman will end up doing.

This week was pretty good! I got an exciting message from the Elders serving in the Lincolnia Ward, where I served for 6 months, the second half of last year. They told me that Desmond Whitfield is getting baptized in a few weeks! He was someone that Elder Judkins and I taught many times over the course of our six months together. Desmond came to another baptism that we had in that ward, but he never made it to church while we taught him. But the missionaries that came after us were persistent in continuing to teach him, and he started coming to church finally! He reached out specifically asking for Elder Judkins and I to attend his baptism! It is coming up in a few weeks. I talked with Elder Judkins on the phone about it, and we were both just astounded that he finally made it. We were honestly both a little surprised when we got the news, but we are so excited for him! He's the person that we visited at the I.C.U. back in September (see letter from 9/19/16). It'll be fun to go back and visit that ward again for his baptism

We taught Bouma and Frank again this week. They are the ones from Burkina Faso that speak French but are learning to speak English currently, and are doing a pretty good job. We had a really solid lesson with them, where we brought some Restoration pamphlets and a Book of Mormon in French. We identified different important things to read from the pamphlet in French, then we would have them describe in English what they understand, and they understand it all really well. It's amazing how we are able to communicate our message to them, and to see how good they feel as they begin to understand it.

We found a new investigator named Peter Kamara from Sierra Leone this week. He investigated in the past for a few months, and even went to church 5 or 6 times, but then he had a stroke and a bunch of other health issues, and he moved here and lost contact with the missionaries and hasn't been to church since. We were just walking out of his apartment complex, and he saw us and got a huge smile on his face and starting telling us how much he has been wanting to meet with missionaries and start coming to church again! He's truly a miracle that just crossed paths with us at the perfect time. We taught him a couple times, but then when we went to pick him up for church on Sunday with a member, he was sitting out front waiting for the ambulance to come and take him to the hospital. We didn't quite understand what was going on, but he said he was feeling really sick, so we said a prayer with him and then the ambulance got there to pick him up. It all happened so fast it was kind of crazy. He'll be okay though and will hopefully get to start coming back to church next week!

Last night we conducted the New and Returning Member Fireside, which we do at the end of every transfer. It's always a great night, listening to recent converts and members returning to activity, as they describe their conversion process and the difference that the gospel has made in their lives. While listening to all of their newly formed testimonies, I was reminded of a quote from President Uchtdorf that I used in an emailed last year "It seems to be human nature: as we become more familiar with something, even something miraculous and awe-inspiring, we lose our sense of awe and treat it as commonplace." Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily routines of life, that we begin to forget how truly amazing the gospel is. It was so refreshing to listen to all of these people testify of the miraculous change the gospel has brought into their lives, which made me reflect on how much it has blessed my life.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

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