Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017 The Joy in Reconnecting

Hey everyone! This week was incredible! It was probably one of my favorite weeks on the mission. 

Ami and I at the temple

So after looking back in my journal, I realized that on January 25th of 2016, a few days after arriving in Virginia, I taught one of my first actual, sit-down lessons with Ami Koroma and her kids, Kadija and Omar, in my first area in Centreville. A few weeks later, on February 13th, 2016, Ami and Kadija were baptized. And on June 2nd, 2017 (this past Friday), I was able to attend the Washington DC Temple with Ami Koroma as she received her endowment. What an amazing day that was!! It was definitely one of the highlights of my mission seeing the joy Ami felt on Friday. She was surrounded by some of the relief society members of the Centreville 1st Ward who came to support her. It was wonderful to see them all hug, embrace, and congratulate her on that special day! I have loved seeing over the past year and a half how much she has embraced and applied the gospel into her life and the life of her family! I've been lucky enough to be able to see her on multiple occasions after getting transferred out of Centreville last July. The members that were there with her were Sister Duersch (the former Bishops wife), Sister Zanotti (the current Bishops wife), Sister Neary (her visiting teacher), Sister Patten (the Relief Society President), and Sister Zilleruelo (her neighbor). Each of those individuals, along with many others have done a wonderful job helping Ami and her children continue to learn and progress in the gospel. I am so glad I was able to be there in the temple with her! I sat near Ami and her escort, and was full of joy as I congratulated her upon entering the celestial room of the temple. Ami's decision to join the church has led to many other family members and friends entering the waters of baptism, and I know it will continue to affect generations. I am grateful to have been a part of Ami's journey, and I will without doubt stay in touch with her throughout my life. The Koroma family will always have a special place in my heart!

Some of the members of the Centreville 1st Ward
Relief Society with Ami Karoma and I at the temple,
after her endowment.

Elder Yang and I 


Elder and Sister Allen, the senior couple
who drove us up to the temple to be there for Ami.
I'm grateful for the amazing senior couples we have in our mission!

A Beautiful day at the temple!
Yesterday at church I was able to reconnect with another person who I have missed! I was able to see Isha Sesay again! She now lives in a ward that meets in the same building as ours for church. While waiting for Ward Council, I saw brother Erickson, who was my ward mission leader in the Alexandria 2nd Ward (whose also from Murrieta) and talked to him for a few minutes. He then introduced me to Isha's Mom, who was walking through the hallway. It was so great to meet her! Her mother, Fatmata was baptized about a month and a half ago. Minutes later Isha came walking down the hallway, and once she saw me she got this huge smile on her face and ran up to me and threw her arms around me and gave me a big hug. (Yes, I know we're not supposed to do that, but there's really nothing I could've done to stop it). I'm so glad I was able to talk with her for a few minutes! Just like Ami, she is still going strong in the gospel as well! She's been coming to church every week, and now her sister is finally taking the missionary lessons and will likely be getting baptized soon as well. Its a really cool rippling effect that all started with Ami Koroma, who eventually referred Isha to us, who is now helping her family and friends all enjoy the blessings of the gospel.

Just these few interactions this week with people I taught in my previous areas made me so happy! I'm grateful that our mission is so small geographically that we have opportunities to run into people again. I am incredibly grateful for the eternal friendships I have made in Virginia. I know I may not be able to see many people I've grown to love after I leave Virginia, but I will always remember the incredible individuals I've interacted with. Members and nonmembers, investigators and converts, everyone.

Elder Yang and I taught the sharing time in primary yesterday, which was pretty funny. Elder Yang has never attended a primary before, so he had no idea what to expect. He was like a deer in headlights once he saw what the primary was like, it was pretty funny. He's not really a fan of kids, but I love 'em. We had a fun time teaching them though.

We found some sweet new investigators this week. We met these two young guys named Frank and Bouma. They're from Burkina Faso (in West Africa), and speak French. They just moved here from the New York City, the Bronx, just a few weeks ago and have been looking for a church to start going to. We had a good lesson with them and are excited to keep teaching them.

We taught Rob again this week. He's our investigator that is wheelchair bound, and has slowly been regaining his mobility and strength. He's awesome! He hasn't made it out to church yet, but we've taught him a few times and he really likes the idea that we have a prophet on the earth today, and that we believe our church has the oringinal priesthood authority that Jesus Christ held. He constantly brings up baptism In lessons with him, we don't even have to bring it up, but he's got it in his mind that that's something he wants to do eventually.

We decided to start learning how to sing some Ghanaian songs in Twi. They're all pretty short, but fun to sing. Sometimes Ghanaian people won't want to listen to our message, so then we just say "well, can we sing to you in Twi?" And then they make a confused face and say sure... then we start singing, and without fail, they will always smile and start singing and clapping with us. It's the best. And it will usually soften their heart to at least let us share a brief message. We're trying to find some creative ways like that to better interact with the people.

We have transfers coming up next week on Tuesday! This transfer has flown by, but it's been great.

I'll just close with a brief quote from President Monson. He said "As you serve, you will build rich eternal memories and friendships. I know of no field which produces a more bounteous harvest of happiness than the mission field... The world needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless all of His Saints--regardless of where we serve--with a missionary heart."
It is true! If you want to find more joy and fulfillment in life, no matter what stage of life you're in, find a way to serve others. Whether it be through sharing the gospel, or just showing love, I know that as we serve others we can "build rich eternal memories and friendships" and receive a "harvest of happiness!"

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

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission
 This is Maxwell Appiah, a member of our ward from Ghana. He took us to this Ghanaian  restaurant last week called Rahama. We were the only two people in the entire restaurant not from Africa. Whenever someone walked through the front door, they immediately looked surprised and walked up to us and asked how we enjoyed the food. I guess a lot of people aren't fans of their food, but Elder Yang and I enjoyed it. I just got the jollaf rice, with goat meet, Elder Yang and Maxwell got the FouFou soup with the Banku (which is a bitter ball of dough made  from corn meal and water, that you use your fingers to dip into the FouFou). I've had that before, but I like the jollaf rice better.

Texas Sheet cake from some members,
the Taggart's, who are moving back to CA this week.

Just some kids in one of our investigators homes.

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