Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016 It's very hot here, but I'm very happy

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

    Well, I made it through the heat wave this week in Minnesota alive- so that is great! But really, the weather here is so strange haha. It got up to 109 degrees plus humidity, so the second I would walk outside I was automatically sweating!  I am grateful that we have a car that we can drive around in, and that we don't have to ride bikes!! Then the next day there was a huge storm. And don't let that fool you, because it was still REALLY REALLY hot. The trees looked like they were all going to just snap in half! But later that day, we went and played soccer at the park and it was nice and sunny and beautiful! I am grateful that we have a car that we can drive around in, and that we don't have to ride bikes!!

    This week was so awesome! Every day I am just loving being a missionary more and more. I don't even know where to start because I feel like so much has happened and I feel like I have so much to say!

    Every Tuesday we volunteer at this place called Prince of Peace. It is kind of like a DI/Bishop's storehouse kind of place. It's owned by another church, but the missionaries in our zone volunteer there every single week.  There was a group of kids there, who were all from Wisconsin. They were on a mission trip, and were stopping by different places to volunteer at.  They were all super funny and we had a good time getting to know the differences between Wisconsin and other places... did you know that they call a drinking fountain a "bubbler?" I think calling it that is so much more epic haha.

   We taught a lesson with this amazing lady named Guadalupe. Hermana Brittner and Hermana Hughes (her companion before me) knocked on her door right before transfers, but this was the first time was had a lesson with her! She was literally like a sponge. She was just soaking everything that we were saying in, and wanted to know more and more. She is super excited to know more about the gospel, and committed to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and pray about it. She just has a light in her eyes, and it makes me so so happy to think of how much happier she is going to be with this gospel!  We are teaching her again tomorrow!!!!

   On Thursday, we were just doing some finding and knocking on doors of previous investigators; and despite the fact that it was so hot outside, we decided to walk around the trailer park from house to house instead of driving.  So that's what we did!

We were in a trailer park, and thought that this looked kind of like a jungle.. So we took a picture!!!

We didn't end up being able to contact any of the previous referrals; but, we ended up meeting a really nice girl named Kylie! We talked with her about Prophets and about prayer. And she was so interested to hear that we have a living prophet on the earth today who receives modern-day revelation. She also said that she feels the need that she needs to pray more! We have an appointment set up with her later this week! Before we started walking around, we set a goal to talk to 7 people outside of our plans, and we did it! Even though there were a couple people who just were like "no" and shut the door on us. Those experiences can seem sad, but honestly I just think "If you only knew what message we wanted to share with you...if you only knew." And that's the things! So many people don't know! So it is our job to go out and share this joyful news!

   We had a really cool experience with prayer! Hopefully I will be able to explain it in a way that does it justice. We were going to meet with lady named Maria, and were wondering if we should bring a member with us to the lesson.  We weren't sure so we decided to say a prayer. We ended up calling the member, but she couldn't come. So as we were getting out of the car, Maria was walking out of her garage (which is on the back of the house). We would have missed her if we hadn't taken the time to stop and say a prayer! Perfect timing!

   Andy, our investigator who is getting baptized is doing pretty great! We are teaching him about two times every week.  We had to change his baptismal date because there is a wedding that is being held at the church building that day, but Andy is still really excited to be baptized!

    I was reading in Ephesians 3 the other day and I came across a verse that I absolutely just love (although that whole chapter is pretty great so I suggest that you all should read it).  Verses 11 and 12 say:
           "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access by the faith of Him."
This scripture just gave me a lot of comfort; and I know that through Faith in Jesus Christ that we can do all things! I also read a talk this week called, "He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. I really love this talk because it talks about how the Savior is literally always going to be there to help us, we just have to turn to Him!! Read it, it's amazing!!

     I am so very grateful that I have been called to serve in this mission! I already love the people here so much, and I love speaking Spanish too! Although it is difficult at times to communicate, I have definitely been blessed with the gift of tongues and the strength from my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary!!

Hermana Duvall
July 23, 2016 Just look at the sun rays. SO PRETTY. GOD IS REAL.  I took this on Saturday night after our ward activity at the park (where only two people showed up besides us, the elders) haha. We played soccer and it was so fun! I remembered how much I missed playing!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18th, 2016 First week in Minnesota

Hello friends and family! So I made it here to Minnesota! I love it here. My companion is Hermana Brittner. I got so lucky to have to her as my trainer. She's from the San Francisco area. So we were both from California, the coolest place ever. We are living with members, the Jensens, and they are super nice!

The weather here surprisingly hasn't been super hot. It's actually been quite nice! But apparently this week on Tuesday through Friday it's going to be over 100 degrees because of the humidity. So we have to make sure we stay hydrated and have sunscreen. But luckily we have a car, so we won't be biking!

The first night here we ate dinner with the Olvera family. And I couldn't understand anything haha, but they were a super nice family! So that was my first experience here in Minnesota. On Thursday we visited with a recent convert named Leonor. She's an older lady from Spain, so her vocabulary is a little different than what I know; sadly, so found out that morning that her son passed away. But we have visited with her a couple times, sharing messages about the amazing Plan of Salvation and about the atonement of Jesus Christ.

On Friday, we were knocking doors and we went up to a house thinking they were Hispanic, but they weren't. His name was Jeff, and he said that he would be interested in learning more about our church. So we gave him to the English sisters and they've taught him a couple of lessons. He said that we found him at the exact time that he has been wanting more religion in his life!!! There are no coincidences.

Another cool experience that we had was that we were following up with a referral. It was a girl her wanted a Bible. So we took the bible to her, but she apparently never asked for it, but that's another story because her parents are actually about to open a church. Anyways, she had a friend, Alex, who was super interested in finding out more about our church. We ending up teaching him the first lesson, the Restoration. He doesn't live in our area and wouldn't tell us exactly where he lives, so we are hoping the missionaries in the area that he lives will be able to find him! He said he would read the Book of Mormon. We probably will never find out what happens with him, but there are no coincidences and I know that we met him for a reason.

We have once date set with a guy named Andy. I haven't met with him yet since I've been here, but we are teaching him later today, and I'm excited to meet him!

So overall, all I really have to say now is just that I love it here so much! I love the people here, especially all of the Latinos because they are just so nice. The food is amazing. Yesterday I had some of the best fish tacos ever, they were like heaven. Spanish is difficult, but I can understand more than I thought. I know it will come eventually as long as I rely on my savior and continue to press forward with faith.

I want to share a scripture that has helped me here. It's in Proverbs 3:5-6, and it says " Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." That scripture is just the best, because our Savior Jesus Christ really does know what's the best for us. As we learn to make our will more aligned with his will, we will be so much happier and our life will just be so much better! This is definitely something that I have learned here, and I know it's something that we continually learn throughout our lives.

I love being a missionary, and I am so grateful for this opportunity and privilege that I have to share this happy news with the people here! Love you all but most important Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you so much more!! Con Amor, Hermana Duvall

So today we had our zone meetings and district meetings so sorry that I have been on and off here.

In between the meetings Hermana Brittner and I had the chance to teach a lesson to Andy! Andy has a date set to be baptized in August. Today we taught him about the Word of Wisdom and the blessings that come from living the word of Wisdom.  He was a little sad to think about giving up coffee, but apparently he hasn't been drinking coffee for the past 3 months! That was awesome to hear! God really does prepare some of his children to be ready! This lesson with him was just awesome. He is such a sweet guy, and has been able to recognize the happiness that this gospel is bringing him. Also, he asked me how long I have been speaking Spanish, and I told him 6 weeks! He was very surprised to hear that, and said that I am learning very quickly! That was so nice of him to say, because my Spanish is a little rough but esta bien.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July 14, 2016 Just Checking In from Minneapolis Minnesota-Lakeville Area. Companion Hermana Brittner

Hello mis padres!

Hermana Duvall and her CCM Companion, Hermana Anderson arrived from Mexico City CCM in Minneapolis Minnesota

I just wanted to send you an email saying that I am here safe and love it! I am serving in the Lakeville Area, and my companion is Hermana Brittner! She is from California, the Bay Area.

Hermana Duvall meets her new companion, Hermana Brittner 

Last night we went to a dinner at the Olvera Family's home, and it was fun meeting them. We live in a members home, and it probably is the nicest set up that any missionaries have honestly.  I have an iPad but I still have to set it up, so I am emailing from a library.

We have an appointment that we are supposed to be at, so I will email you next time on Monday which is my new P-day.

Thanks for everything. 
Love you all!
Hermana Duvall

Some candid shots of Hermana Duvall after arriving to the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 12, 2016 Last Email From Mexico

Hello family and friends!!

I know that I said last week that that would be my last email in the CCM but I got permission to spend a little time writing home today!  So I just have a short time to write a quick message, and update on my last week here in the CCM.

Last Wednesday we went to the Temple and it was literally so amazing! I just love the temple so much! I feel the spirit the strongest when I am in the temple, and I know that it is because it really is the House of the Lord! The Mexico City Temple has an amazing chandelier in the Celestial Room that is just incredible!

On Friday we had an “In field” orientation all day, and it was basically just about the different things we can do in the field to be the best missionaries! I loved it so much, and it just made me feel so ready and excited to leave for Minnesota!

in TRC the next day, Hermana Anderson and I had the opportunity to teach a real investigator!! Normally, the people who come into the CCM to be taught or to hear a message are miembros, so when we were sitting there in the lesson we were initially pretty scared when we found out he was not a member of this Church.  His name was Eric, and he was the nicest guy ever. He was so patient with our Spanish! We just taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it’s important to read, just like the Bible.  He said he wanted to continue to learn more and that he would read the Book of Mormon and pray to see if it is true! This lesson was just such a blessing for Hermana Anderson and I, because we were given strength and help to actually teach this lesson.

I am so excited to leave for Minnesota tomorrow morning! Every single day here in the mission, I am just reminded why I am here. It’s because I want to help all of my brothers and sisters come unto Christ and receive eternal happiness in their lives.  I love my Savior with all of my heart, and I know that the Atonement of Christ works and is for everyone. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the only true church on this earth. Every source of happiness that I have in this life has come from this gospel! And this is why I am just so grateful for this privilege to be a missionary and set apart representative of Jesus Christ!

I love you all! But more importantly our Savior Jesus Christ loves you more, and our Father in Heaven loves you more! Please don’t ever forget that!

Hasta luego,
Hermana Duvall

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 6, 2016 “Turn outward, not Inward”

Hola mis amigos y mi familia!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Here in the CCM they decorated the comedor with Red, white, and blue table clothes and we had burgers, fries, and fruit, and cupcakes decorated with the American Flag on it! It was definitely different being away from home, but it was a special day for me!

I will be leaving the CCM here in Mexico next Wednesday! My flight leaves Mexico at 6 am, and then I have a layover in Dallas, and then I will be in Minnesota!! I am so so excited and maybe just a little bit nervous!

I forgot to mention that last week in Sacrament meeting Hermana Anderson and I got to perform a musical number. I sang Joseph Smiths First Prayer (in Espoñal) and she played the piano! I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God!! I know that he translated the Book of Mormon through the Power of God!!

This last week wasn't too different than all of the other weeks here in the CCM. Our schedule actually got changed around, but luckily our P-day stayed the same! More and more missionaries are getting here every week. It is just so exciting to see how many missionaries there are ready and willing to serve the Lord. I just think the fact that so many 18 and 19 year olds are willing to put their lives on hold to serve others is just a testament that there must be something good about this church, right? Well the answer is that it's because this church is true!

Hermana Anderson taught several lessons this week. Actually I should just say that we weren't the teachers, the Holy Ghost was.  I have learned how important it is to teach lessons with the Spirit and how important it is to follow the Spirit, not just in lessons but in my everyday life!! One of my favorite lessons this week was with Franklin! We taught him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ! We had a miembro (Hermana Kindall) sit in on the lesson with us, and when she bore her testimony about the Atonement and how it has blessed her life it brought the spirit even stronger into the lesson! Overall, throughout all of the lessons that I have taught, it is just so amazing and wonderful to see the change in the investigadores. This gospel can change lives, and Christ can help you become someone you never thought you could become, if you just turn to him and let him!

This last Sunday night, I had the opportunity to listen/watch a talk that was given by Elder Bednar on Christmas 2011 in the MTC in Provo.  He talked about the Character of Christ! (Literally one of my favorite talks that I have ever heard). But I just wanted to share my thought with you all about it.  What is the character of Christ? Elder Bednar said that is when Christ turns outward, and when we, and our natural man, turn inward. There are so many instances where the Character of Christ is shown in the scriptures, but there are few that really just stand out to me.  After Christ atoned for all of the pains, sicknesses, temptations, afflictions, and sins of EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was betrayed by one of His apostles, and, amongst all of this one of the soldiers ears got cut off. Again, Christ had just suffered to the point where he sweat blood out of his pores (just imagine the pain) and what did he do? He healed the soldier’s ear!!! What would we do? Probably think, I am too tired or still in too much pain. BUT HERE Christ turned outward, when we would turn inwards. Lastly, In Luke 23, it takes about when Christ was crucified. In this chapters there are so many characteristics of Christ that are exemplified, however, I want to point out two of them.  First, Christ was spit on, beaten, had drilled into him, had thorns on his head, and was rejected by his own people. Yet instead of being mad, he says to the Father, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." That is just the ultimate example of love and turning outward, when we would turn inwards.  Also, when he's on the cross he comforts the two thieves that were beside him and said “Verily, I say unto thee today shalt thou be with me in paradise." He comforted them, even though he was in so much pain.

So I would just like to put a challenge out there.  Turn outwards, help those around you. Literally think, what would Jesus do? I know it's difficult, but we have the PERFECT example to follow.  I know that my Savior lives. I am so grateful for this knowledge that I have, and that I get to go share this wonderful news with the people in Minnesota! This time next week I will be there!

I love you all, but most importantly Heavenly Father Loves you SO MUCH MORE!

Hermana Duvall

This juice is really good!  So here's a picture of me with some jugo.
Hermana Anderson and I took some time to study Espoñal last P-day, June 29th. Here was the end result of us practically going crazy trying to just understand Spanish!