Monday, July 24, 2017

July 24, 2017 "Called to the Work"

Hey everyone!

Say hello to your bus driver, Elder Duvall!
It's pretty fun driving this big van
with all the new missionaries!

This was the last week of the transfer, and the past few days as well as the next couple days are all super busy!

Last night we had a New and Returning Member Fireside, where we had 7 speakers all share their testimonies and conversion stories. I was asked to conduct the fireside in front of a chapel, packed full with people and into the overflow seating. It was such a great meeting! Hearing their testimonies makes me more motivated to go out and work hard everyday to find more people like them, ready to embrace the gospel. Each speaker was SO different from one another, but the joy and the light that the gospel has brought into each of their lives was the same! I'm grateful for that meeting and for our mission that puts it together every transfer!

We have 27 new missionaries arriving from the MTC today  who we will be picking up from the airport! (Two of them from Temecula!) and we have about 30 missionaries going home early Wednesday morning. So our mission is going through a period with a lot of turnover in missionaries, but it's exciting! Aside from preparing for all the changes that we are involved in with transfers, we had a really great week in our area.

After church on Sunday with Hamid!

We got a media referral this week for a man named Hamid. He's from Morocco, which is in the northwestern part of Africa, and is super cool! He was a diplomat in Morocco and he speaks 5 different languages. We called and scheduled an appointment with him for 10am one morning this week. But at about 9:30am that morning, during our studies, we got a call from him and he told us he was at the church waiting for us! We didn't even know that he knew where the church was, but he took a taxi to get there, so sure enough we jumped in the car and sped over there! We were planning on meeting him where he lived, but we got to the church, showed him around the building and had a lesson in the relief society room, right next to the baptismal font. It was such a great lesson! Hamid reminds me of Asif Khan, who I taught last summer. Hamid converted to Christianity about a year ago, and wants so badly to follow Jesus Christ the best that he can. He then came to church yesterday and had a great time! He happily introduced himself in the Sunday school class and elders quorum, and is excited to keep on coming.

Peter Kamara also came to church again yesterday, his second time coming. Our neighbor Kadiatu gave him a ride. It's amazing to see how great they connect with each other!

This is Christian and Stephanie, and their mother Cris.
 They've all come to church the past couple weeks!
Eshetu also came with us to their lesson.
He comes with us nearly each week to help teach people!

We had a great lesson with Cris and her kids, Christian and Stephanie this week, about family prayer and scripture study. It's such a simple teaching, but there's so many blessings that come from it. It's neat to see their little family grow closer to one another as they have started coming to church and feeling the spirit more in their lives.

We saw a pretty sweet tender mercy happen to someone on Sunday. There was this kid named Brigham, who was visiting our ward from Utah. He was from Cedar City, and is here in the D.C. area for the summer doing sales/installation for Vivint. He usually goes to another church building in Arlington, but took a wrong turn on the freeway, so decided to just find the closest chapel and wound up visiting ours. He approached us after our Sunday school class and explained that his mission call is at his home in Utah and he'll be opening it in a couple weeks. He then started to say how nervous he was, and that he's always dreamt of going to a foreign country, and how he's "afraid" he's going to get called to an English speaking stateside mission. He asked us what our thoughts were about serving in an English, stateside mission. We basically bore testimony to him that no matter where he serves, it will all work out for his good and he will know that wherever he's assigned is where he's meant to be, and that he will love it. Then as we walked into priesthood meeting, for elders quorum, they mentioned that the lesson was going to be based on two conference talks: "Called to the Work" by Elder Bednar (April 2017) and "The Divine Call of a Missionary" by Elder Rasband (April 2010). Both of these talks are great and I recommend reading them! Anyways, I feel like it was no coincidence that he "took a wrong turn" on the busy freeways of Northern VA, and ended up at our ward. I think it was an answer to his prayers attending this meeting. The discussion about those talks were just what he needed to give him the comfort and assurance he needed. I know that no matter where we serve as missionaries, we will always be able to bless the lives of others and we will always be able to feel the joy of sharing the gospel.

Jason Larrabee gave his farewell talk on
Sunday. He's going to Sendai, Japan!
He came out with us to teach people
pretty much at least once a week for
the past 3 months,
so we're going to miss him!

My favorite part of the talk is when elder Bednar expounds on Doctrine and Covenants section 80. Specifically in verse 3: “Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss.”
Elder Bednar states-
"I do not believe that the phrase “it mattereth not” as used by the Lord in this scripture suggests that He does not care where His servants labor. In fact, He cares deeply. But because the work of preaching the gospel is the Lord’s work, He inspires, guides, and directs His authorized servants. As missionaries strive to be ever more worthy and capable instruments in His hands and do their best to fulfill faithfully their duties, then with His help they “cannot go amiss”--wherever they serve. Perhaps one of the lessons the Savior is teaching us in this revelation is that an assignment to labor in a specific place is essential and important but secondary to a call to the work."

I love how we are "called to the work" and "called to serve." Yes, we are "assigned to labor in specific places. And I would add that I am extremely grateful for my specific assignment to labor here in the Washington DC South Mission! But no matter where our assignment is, our call comes from God, through living prophets and apostles who receive revelation on our behalf. And that call to serve is the same for every missionary! Regardless of where we serve, we can see miracles happen, and bless the lives of many people through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The joy that comes as a result is the same, no matter where we serve. I'm grateful for this experience we had on Sunday and the good reminder it was to me.

I'm excited to spend another transfer with Elder Ure! We are having a blast and seeing lots of great things happen in our mission. I hope you all have an incredible week! Love you all!

Elder Jeremy Duvall
Washington DC South Mission

Here's Robert, who we've been teaching for
about 6 weeks now.
Our lessons with him always go great!

 Last week at the mission home with a big group of missionaries
on Pday. It was fun this past transfer getting to go there
every Monday, seeing all of the missionaries, having a BBQ,
and playing basketball and volleyball with them all.

Here are the elders from Temecula:

"Elder Cole Benson and Elder Thomas Deschepper!
Elder Deschepper is a Spanish speaking Elder,
and Elder Benson is a visa waiter, going to Guatemala soon!
 It's fun to have more people from Temecula here in the mission!"

From Sharon Duvall: I sent the picture of Elder Benson and Elder Deschepper to the the Benson's and the Deschepper's here in the Temecula Stake and Sister Deschepper replied back saying: "thank you so so much! I'm so excited! I don't know if Elder Duvall knows this but Thomas and Cole have been best friends for years. They used to teach gospel topics to friends and teachers at TVHS. They were always so excited about it. It makes my heart happy that 3 of God's choicest missionaries from Temecula are there together! Thank you!!"
I asked  the Benson's: "How long do you think your son will get to be in Washington DC South Mission? Have they given you any idea? My son just picked him up at the airport today in this big van"(I sent the picture of the van) and Elder Benson's mom replied back saying: "Thanks for letting us know. This is the first we heard that he was out of the mtc." And "Well, this all must have happened since our last email from him last Wednesday because this is the first I have heard that he is there. I guess we will get an update from him in a couple of days. So to answer your question I have no idea what is going on. Thanks for the update. 😀"

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