Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29, 2016 Change and Hope

Hey friends and family!

Last week, we were walking to our language study lab for TALL and we saw this.  We laughed at it for like 10 minutes because we thought it was so hilarious haha.

 Oh, and in the picture, I thought about giving it a kiss, and then right before I realized how dirty it probably was (which explains why my face looks so ridiculous haha)

First off, I made it through the first month of my mission! Can you believe that I've already been out for a month? Time is just flying by. I can honestly say that this last month has been one of the happiest months of my life, because I am doing exactly what I know my Heavenly Father needs me to be doing at this point in my life.
This last week went really well! Not many new things happening in the CCM here in Mexico, because the schedule is pretty similar here every day.  But now Hermana Anderson and I are teaching 4 investigators, and we love each and every one of them.  Patricia and Walter are our new investigators, and they are both awesome. So far we have just taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel.  I love teaching the gospel, and sharing the wonderful story of Joseph Smith helping restore this gospel back to the earth! Franklin and Mariela are both continuing to progress, and it's so amazing to see how much the knowledge of the gospel is changing them.

Hermana Anderson and I's experience in TRC this week was another amazing one! We taught a lady named Fernanda, and she was just so sweet.  I felt the spirit so strongly in this lesson as she told us about her whole conversion story and how much the Gospel has changed her life for the better. I gained so much strength just as I listened to her testimony. I know the gospel changes people, if they turn to the Savior and let Him change them.

Something that goes along with change is hope.  I have been studying a lot this week about Hope. What exactly does hope mean?? I doesn't mean like "I hope I get an A on my test." It means that you have abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It means that you when you work through trials or difficulties, you work through them with confidence and assurance that all things will work out for your good! A scripture that I like that goes along with this is Jacob 2:19:
 "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted."

I know that this is so true. I know that as we remember to always put the Lord first, you will be able find happiness amongst the hardest times or darkest time.  In devotional that I went to within this last week, the speaker Brother Mills talked about if you are struggling to find happiness in your life, stop thinking about yourself. What, stop thinking about yourself? How am I supposed to be happy without thinking about how I can make myself happy? Exactly, you can't be truly happy if you are always focusing on yourself. I would just like to echo this message. Christ had a really hard life, but I know that he was probably one of the happiest people to ever walk on this earth! Why? Because his whole life was dedicated to helping and serving others, His whole life was just for YOU, for ME, so we can all be cleansed from our sins and have our burdens lifted.  I am so grateful for the example of the selfless life my Savior Jesus Christ lived, and I definitely want to be more like him.  I know that true happiness comes when we stop thinking about ourselves, and start thinking about who we can serve this day, right now.

I love all of you, and I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you so much more! I love serving and being a missionary! I hope you all can find the happiness in your life, and continually look for God's hand in your life!!

Hermana Duvall

My whole zone/branch!! President Suarez, the one on the far left, just got transferred to another branch so we took a pic together

This morning when Hermana Anderson and I went to work out, in the gym, there was this HUGGGEE MOTH on the wall. SO GROSS.
Tell Cheri THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!! It was so sweet and fun to meet Hermana Monroe and talk about how much we love Cheri! LOVE YOU CHERI!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! After I met up with Hermana Monroe yesterday, I realized that I should have taken a picture with her, but I ran into her on the way to walking over to where I write home. Perfect timing!! (Cheri Phippen sent a gift to Jenny in Hermana Monroe's suitcase. She arrived at the CCM a couple weeks after Hermana Duvall)

One of my really good friends from BYU!! Love Hermana (Allyn Jasperson)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22, 2016 Tender Mercies and Lots of Happiness

Hey Friends and Family!!!
This is the beautiful road I walk down every day to and from my casa!!!

I can't believe that I am already in the middle of the fourth week of being in the CCM! I love it here, and I love all of the wonderful experiences and things I am learning here.  This wek was just filled with some tender mercies for me.
Last Thursday we started TRC. Which is where we teach either an investigator, less-active member, or member of the church as short lesson. Hermana Anderson and I were pretty nervous, because these people are people who live in Mexico City and we knew that they were probably going to talk SUUUPER RAPIDO. And we didn't have much time to prepare a lesson. We just picked out a scripture on faith and went in! However, the lesson was probably one of the best lessons for us so far. What to know why? Because it wasn't us who was teaching. It was the Spirit helping us know what He wanted us to teach. Both Hermana Anderson and I were able to share personal experiences and our favorite scriptures that we hadn't even thought about before going into the lesson! I could just feel the spirit so strongly in the lesson.  When we walked out of the room, Hermana Anderson and I just looked at each other in awe. That's how we are supposed to teach! With the Spirit! It honestly i just such an incredible feel to be able to follow the spirit, especially when words are just coming out of your mouth and you don't even know what they mean haha.
 Hermana Duvall and Hermana Anderson in the lab where we study spanish and write our families!
Then, we taught a lesson to Mariela again. In the lesson, we taught how Families can be together forever, and then importance of Baptism.  At one point in the lesson, I asked Mariela to read the lyrics to the Hymn "Families can be Together Forever" Then she just right away asked me to sing for her. So not having gone over any of the words, i sand this song in spanish to her.  Simultaneously the Spirit just came into our lesson! This was a tender mercy because when I listen and or sing Hymns and church music, I always feel the Spirit so strongly. And the Spirit testified to me how important it is to treasure and love our families, because we can live with them forever! What a blessing! This just makes me so happy!!

Yesterday, we taught Franklin.  This lesson was just awesome, because both of us were able to follow the spirit as to what we needed to say to help him.  And we didn't even write any notes.  Our spanish is nowhere near to perfection, however this Gospel and the Spirit is perfect. And, as long as we are trying our hardest and putting in our best effort, our Savior will make up for the rest. I am so happy to know that my Savior is willing to help me every step of the way!! 

This week, I listened to a lot of amazing speakers and devotionals, and I have been trying to figure out what I needed to share today.  But, I wanted to share a message that really brought me a lot of peace.  On Sunday Afternoon, we listened to a talk that was given my Richard G. Scott a couple of years ago.  He talked about the importance of prayer.  One of the favorite things that He said went something along the lines of: "The most powerful being in the Universe wants you to call Him Father. The most powerful being in the Universe wants to converse with you!!!" This just hit me so hard! Because, how many times have I just skimmed through my prayers just to check it off? Too many to count.  However, we have the opportunity to talk with our Loving Heavenly Father every single day.  We have the opportunity to talk with the most powerful being in the Universe.  He doesn't just listen to us, he converses with us. But in order for us to really hear the answers he is giving us, we need to patiently listen and be engaged in the conversation.  I challenge all of you to not just pray to our Heavenly Father, talk with him. He wants to hear about everything that you want to tell him, and He wants to give you answers but you must be patient. Recognize how his hand has helped you in your life that day, and let him now how grateful you are for Him. Prayer is one of the most powerful and meaning tools that our Heavenly Father has given us to get through this life.  I know that without prayer and the guidance Heavenly Father has given me that I wouldn't be the person I am.  I know that this gospel is true. I know that my Savior Jesus Christ can turn me into someon that I never thought I could be, because He knows that I can be so much better- and He will help me (and every single one of you) if I just turn to him. I know he loves me!   I know that I can live with my family forever.  I am so grateful for the knowledge and peace and comfort I have, and I cannot wait to share this happy news with those in Minnesota. 

Love you all, but more importantly HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST LOVES YOU!
And don't forget that He doesn't want you to go through this life unhappily, he wants us to enjoy this life and be happy!! 

Love Hermana Duvall

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15, 2016 Lots of Learning!

Hola, friends and family!!
I can't believe that I am already in my 3rd week here at the CCM! Time is literally just flying by, and I just love it here. The days are all pretty much the same, but every day I have such a wonderful time serving the Lord.

I love the temple more than anything!!! SERIOUSLY IT's THE BEST PLACE EVER! I can't wait to help people come unto Christ, and eventually receive the blessings of temples, and know that FAMILIES CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER!

Every day I think, "Oh, I have to put this in my email home!" but then I can never actually remember everything is, so I'm sorry if it seems a little bland haha.  Here´s a list of interesting stuff:

1. They put Pineapple on like everything here, I had burgers with Pineapple last week. It was actually pretty good.

2. Birds flying into our classroom is a pretty normal thing now... people still freak out. Oh, and sadly, there a dead birds everywhere here...

3. The food in the CCM is actually pretty good, but there has been a lot of spicy food that I take because it looks good, then it ends up just burning my mouth haha.

4. I have learned how to fold fitted sheets!!!!!! We had a service activity these last two week on Tuesday.  We helped out in the laundry, and I finally know how to fold them!!!

5. It basically rains here like every single day, and there are thunder and lightning storms here every day too.  I wasn't going to share this story because I know it will freak my mom out but I am going to anyways haha. Last week on like Friday, we were walking to the comedor for dinner, and it was raining.  Then literally simultaneously there was a huge boom (thunder) and then lightning struck the Flag pole in front of us! I was probably about ten feet away, and I definitely screamed at the top of my lungs.

6. Learning Spanish is actually going really well! I'm getting to the point where I start thinking in Spanish without even trying too or in a middle of a sentence I switch to Spanish and then back to English.  As a result of this, my grammar in English is starting to suffer, and I am actually trying really hard to not use any Spanish words in this email. So, basically at this point I can't speak Spanish enough to actually communicate with people, and I can't speak or write in English.. so basically it's just a big struggle haha.

This last Sunday I got called on to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting!!!! They assign us a topic each week, and everyone in our branch has to prepare a talk.  Then at the beginning of church they announce who has to give a talk. And just my luck, I heard "Hermana Duvall" over the pulpit! But it actually went really well! I talked about Faith in Christ, and why it's important in our lives as missionaries. We were supposed to talk for around 5 minutes at least, and I was able to talk for like 8 minutes (in Spanish woo)!

We got 2 new investigators this week.  Mariela and Franklin.  Our lessons with them are going really well, and it’s becoming easier and easier for Hermana Anderson and I to just talk without having to use our notes. It's amazing to see our investigators grow. I am learning so much about how to communicate with the spirit when I don't know what to say.  And there have been countless times where words just come out of my mouth (in Spanish) and I am able to testify with confidence.  I love being a missionary. I am so grateful to be here, because I know that it's where I am supposed to be.  It's where the Lord wants me, and I can't wait to get to Minnesota!

I had the opportunity to go to the Mexico City Temple today, and attend a session.  It’s amazing to see that even in another country, the temple is the same and the spirit is the same.  I love the temple so much, and I love the peace and comfort and love I feel from my Savoir Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father.  It's because of them that I am out here on a mission (and my amazing parents who raised me in this wonderful gospel).  But to me, I have been blessed and given so so so much from my Father in Heaven, and by serving Him and His son for the next year and a half is the only way I can think of how to even repay them.

I would like to close with a scripture that I read during my studies this week:
In Alma 26:35-36, it says; "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repe nt and believe on his name. Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."

I just love this scripture because I feel like it perfectly expresses how much this gospel means to me, how much my Savior means to me, how much my Heavenly Father means to me.  Yet, the joy I receive from this gospel is almost indescribable to be honest.  But all I know, that being a member of this church, and now being a missionary, I have never been so happy in my life.  That's why I know what I am doing is right, because of how happy I am serving the Lord!!! I know that He loves me, and is aware of me!! And I know that He is aware of every single one of you-- AND HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH! Don't forget that!!

Love you all!

Love, Hermana Duvall

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 8, 2016 First Week Down!

Hey Friends and Family!!
I first just want to start off by saying thanks for all of the love and support! I love you all so much.  I know that I am supposed to be out here on a mission serving the Lord for the next 18 months.  I can honestly not even remember my life before the mission, and even when I get discouraged or start missing home I just think "What would my life be without a mission?" and I can't even imagine it.  I love my savior Jesus Christ, and I know that He atoned for me, and for all of you, and for every single person on this earth. I feel as if i owe my life to Him, but by serving a mission I know that I this is the way that I can show Him how much I really do love him.

Hermana Duvall at Mexico City Temple after traveling from LAX on May 31st Day 1 of  Mission

Traveling companions

Many of you know, I was a little nervous about traveling down here and going through immigrations and customs and stuff like that but it was all wonderful! There were 5 other missionaries with my on my plane, so we all got to go through it together.

My companion is awesome.  Hermana Anderson.  We actually met up at BYU before we left on our missions, hoping we would be companions, and what do you know, we are companions.


CCM Companions Hermana Anderson and Hermana Duvall enjoying their lunch!
  My district is awesome. There are four Hermana companionships and 2 elder companionships.  We are all already super close, and helping each other with Spanish and our testimonies. Funny story; on our first day of class a bird flew into our classroom and was flying all around.  It was kind of sad, but the different reactions of everyone was hilarious. Overall, the end result was a smelly classroom, but our first of many random bonding experiences.  I know we were all meant to be in a district together, because each of us have something to offer to strengthen the group.


June 8, 2016  "Districto 12 A"

How's the Español coming? Well, I can now pray in Spanish and teach lessons in Spanish! This last Sunday I bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting in all Spanish, and it was awesome.  I went up there with notes, but I didn't really even use them. I was just able to speak from my heart and what i really wanted to say in Spanish. It was awesome.  Hermana Anderson and I are teaching an investigator named Besner. He is actually one of our teachers in the afternoon, but he is our "investigator" during our lessons.  Our first lesson I had a really cool experience, where we got to the point where we started teaching about Joseph Smith, and I had the thought to share my experience going to the Sacred Grove last year and praying to know if Joseph Smith was really a prophet of God.  I told him God answered my pray, and I now know for sure that he was!!! I shared that all in Español, although probably not very fluid.  But a girl who sat in on the lesson, a Latina, came up to me and said that she loved my testimony about Joseph Smith and that she could feel the Spirit so strongly when I was testifying!!
BOOM. That was on Thursday, my second day in the MTC and I was able to speak and share my testimony about Joseph Smith in Spanish! We've had a lot of cool experiences like that.  We committed Besner to baptism in 2 weeks, and he committed to follow the Word of Wisdom (in his words; "no más café!" ha-ha.  Even though he isn´t like our real investigator, it´s been cool to have revelation for someone else, and to grow to love someone else and see them how Heavenly Father sees them!!!  I's seriously so amazing, and just such a wonderful feeling to know that I really am an instrument in God's hands, helping his lost sheep come unto him, as I speak His words and His teachings.

I really love it here! I wish I could write down all of the wonderful experiences that I have had here, but I don't have that much time left. I just want to end by sharing a thought in 2 Nephi 2:2, which says: Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
I just want to end by bearing my testimony that this verse is so true.  The Lord really is my strength, and He has helped me in all of the good and bad times throughout my life.  I know that He knows me personally and loves me unconditionally.  I know that being on a mission isn't always going to be easiest thing, but I know that because of hi, I can always be happy.  Because of him I can be forgiven. Because of him, I can feel the burdens lifted from my back.  And because of him, I am on a mission trying to following in his perfect footsteps.  He is my song. He is the beat to my step that will always get me to keep moving forward.

Te amo,
Hermana Duvall  

Brother and Sister  Packard are counselors in our branch. LOVE THEM!

"Hola" from Hermana Duvall