Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016 Powerful prayers and birthday celebration

September 26, 2016

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
      This week was another awesome week! I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a missionary at this time in my life! I love serving here in the Lakeville area in Minnesota, and I love the people here!

This one is for you Chan! @thekerrfamily 

      We taught A LOT of first lessons this week, and some really cool little miracles.  Last Monday, we were in the Apple Valley trailer park and Hermana Brittner saw this guy standing on his driveway and though that we should go talk to him. So we started walking towards his house, and he like ran inside to his house.  But we knew that there must have been another reason as to why we needed to walk down this street.  There was one house that stood out to us at the end of the street, so we went and knocked on this house.  We ended up meeting this awesome hispanic guy named Eric. At first he was very closed off, but he slowly opened up as we shared with him that Jesus Christ came to the Americas after he was resurrected! We told him about the Book of Mormon, and he was super excited to learn more. We also taught him how to pray.
    I went on exchanges with Sister Richardson on Tuesday, and it was fun to teach some more lessons in English. We met this guy named Tom, and we taught him how to pray! At first he was closed off, but after we taught him how to pray and said a prayer with him he was very grateful that we stopped and talked with him.
   On Wednesday, we had a goal to teach three other lessons, and we only had one scheduled lesson. We were down in Farmington, when we got a phone call (from the person that we were going to have a lesson with) and they cancelled. So, we were just left to doing a lot of finding for the rest of the day. We had time planned on being in this trailer park in Farmington, and we prayed and felt like we need to go to this one street. So we went to Eveleth Street, and we told Heavenly Father that we were going to at least knock 4 doors or teach 4 lessons before we were going to leave the street.  The first door we knocked on was a lady named Angelica, who is from Mexico. She let us right in, and we found out that she had been taught by some missionaries in the past. We taught her about the Restoration of the gospel and she loved the story. We also taught her how to pray, because she had forgotten. Then, we met a lady named Brittany. The second we told her that Christ came to the Americas, she was super interested. We shared a Book of Mormon with her, and she said that she was going to read it that night with her son! We taught her how to pray, and she said that it felt really good to pray. We are going back tonight to teach her another lesson! Then, we saw this boy playing with his Kendama (that wooden hammer thing that you throw the ball that's attached to a string) on his porch. At first, we just wanted to play with it. But we ended up teaching him about the Book of Mormon and how to pray as well. After he said a prayer, Gabe said that it was "refreshing." And that really stuck with me! We have been teaching a lot of people how to pray recently, and sometimes it's crazy to think about how many people don't know how to pray! Prayer has always been such an essential part of my life. I am so grateful that I can help people learn that they have a loving Heavenly Father who wants to communicate with us. Also, it has helped me realize how important it is to actually pray; if you know how to pray, PRAY!!
   We got to meet with Andy again this week! He has been kind of hard to meet with because of his work schedule, but we had an awesome lesson with him! He still wants to meet with us, but we explained to him how important it is for him to personally study and learn even we are not able to meet with him.
    We also had another lesson with Chantel this week! She is solid. Seriously, she already has such a strong testimony and is just soaking in everything we are teaching her! She's so prepared and ready! At the end of the lesson she gave us some brownies and orange juice. It was kind of a funny combination, but they were super good brownies!
    We finally were able to get in contact with Peter and Diana this week! They were the two people from Kenya that we met through a miracle. We brought them a Swahilian Book of Mormon, and Diana was so happy! She said that Peter had been reading in the Book of Mormon, and she had not. But, when we told her that we brought her one in Swahilian, she was so excited! They both were just about to leave for work, but we are planning on seeing them later this week! She said that she was just thinking about us that morning, and then we showed up! Let me tell you, when you follow the spirit, good things happen. It's a given.
     Hermana Brittner's birthday was yesterday so we celebrated!! In the morning, we actually had a lesson with Laura y Mauro, who Hermana Brittner taught when she was back in Minneapolis!

Hermana Brittner - The Birthday Girl

Celebrating our awesome Wednesday with some chocolate milk!! And this was on a ten second timer, so we were laughing about how long it was taking to take the picture haha.

They just moved to our area a couple of weeks ago. So that was a treat for her to get to see them. Our branch got Hermana Brittner this Choco-Flan cake that was decorated and everything. We all sang to her, and it was just super fun! I love the Lakeville Spanish Branch so much; every time everyone is together we just feel like one big family.  Then later last night we celebrated again with the Jensen's (the family that we live in their basement). Sister Jensen made this amazing apple pie that was sooo yummy. You could say that I have eaten way too many sweets these past couple of days... haha
   On Saturday I had the opportunity to watch the General Women's Broadcast, and I loved every single one of the talks. I really loved how they all focused on having a rock solid foundation in the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, because I think that is so important. Living in such a crazy, confusing world it is important to lean on the basics. I especially loved President Uchtdorf's talk. I wish I had the exact quote, but I don't. However, I loved the part when he said we use our eyes to see and ears to hear, but sometimes we forget to seek to understand with our spirits. We need to learn how to "listen differently." As General Conference weekend is coming up, I would like to stress this point. Heavenly Father wants to help us and provide us with answers to our questions; but, if we choose to only listen with our ears we aren't going to receive the answer. I know that as week seem for personal revelation that HE WILL GIVE IT TO US, but that we need to line our will with His will, and then everything will just make sense.  I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and has been called a this time to direct the people in the earth. I fully sustain Him, and His apostles, and I am so excited to hear the things that Heavenly Father wants us to learn and understand! I hope you all enjoy Conference, and remember to listen to the Spirit!

I love you all so much. But Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ, love you all so much more! They both want us to be happy! They don't want us to wander around in the dark!
Until next week!

Hermana Duvall

Hermana Duvall and Hermana Brittner with Aimee

So many people showed up to church this last Sunday!! It was awesome!! Love all of these women.

This is the famous Leo!! Last week when I was sick he brought me some tea to our lesson with him. He is so awesome!!

With our friend, Leonor!

Here is a video we took as we waited at the door -Some super cool African music! We took this video before Diana answered the door haha. So awesome!

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016 Awkward Spanish Phone Call and Lots of Singing

September 19, 2016

Hello my wonderful family and friends!
      So fall has finally come, and hot and humid days are very coming to a close. It is raining here a lot, and it is just slowly starting to get colder and colder and colder. I am excited to experience my first Minnesotan Winter! Even though so many people have told me that this is supposed to be a really bad winter. Then they ask me where I am from... and then just laugh and tell me that it's going to be really cold. Thanks?
      Funny Story. So I really don't like talking on the phone to people who speak Spanish, because it's just really hard to understand sometimes. But the other day, one of our investigators (Andy) was calling us back and Hermana Brittner was in the bathroom. We hadn't been able to talk with him in a while, so I answered it before Hermana Brittner came out. I was talking to him and we were just having a regular conversation talking about work and the Book of Mormon. etc. Then all of the sudden he started talking REALLY fast and I didn't understand anything. He asked if I understood him, and I said I understood a little bit. Then, he tried explaining it in English; but, eventually he gave up because it was too hard. It was actually quite funny and we both just laughed. Afterwards, Hermana Brittner told me that she was actually done right after I answered the phone, but she wanted to give me this wonderful opportunity of speaking Spanish on the phone. So yeah, it probably was just funnier for me in the moment, but I just thought I would share :)
   We did a lot of less active work this last week! Last Monday, we got to meet with this amazing lady named, Rossy (sounds like Rosie). She has been less active for a long time. But, she recently decided to ask us to come teach her more about the church because she wants to learn more. She has such a strong desire to figure out for herself if this church is for her. She expressed to us that she wants to learn more about the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and strengthen her relationship with God and Jesus Christ. Overall, this lesson was basically just awesome and we are so excited for her!!! We also visited with Vivian this week! We talked to her about General Conference and the Prophet. She was so excited to hear that we get to listen to the Prophet and His Apostles in about two weeks! It was fun to see how excited she is for General Conference!
  We had an interesting lesson with this guy from Mexico. He's almost 80 years old. His name was like impossible for me to pronounce, so sadly I cannot remember for the life of me. We taught him about the Book of Mormon. He was happy to hear that there is another testament of Jesus Christ, and is excited to read it during this next week. At one point in the lesson one of his sons got home from work, and he turned to us and said "hey, you should teach him about the Doctrine." and continued to tell us that we should marry his son. It was really funny hahaha. We are going over this next Sunday to teach him (and hopefully his wife too)!!

  LEONOR! Ahh, I just love Leonor so much. I think I have mentioned her before, but she's an older lady who grew up in Spain. She has had a really hard life, so she doesn't smile that often. But this week she sang a couple of songs to us!! She's actually a really amazing singer, and apparently she won some competitions back in Spain when she was younger!! We love visiting Leonor every week!!!

    Hermana Brittner and I sang in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. We sang, "I know that My Redeemer Lives!!" When we were singing I just felt the spirit testify to me that it is true. Jesus Christ lives!!! 

    This week we had a zone conference, and we had a lot of really good training that was super helpful and just awesome. Hermana Brittner, Elder Callahan, and I sang a song. We had about 15 minutes to prepare the song, "Abide With Me" but it turned out really good!  

One of the main things that I loved about the Zone Conference was how almost every message that was given was centered on Jesus Christ. This is a very simple spiritual thought, but I think it is something that is easily forgotten. And one thing that I have noticed is just how much happier life is when you are using the Atonement of Jesus Christ weekly.  The Atonement isn't just for forgiveness of our sins, but it is to help us with literally everything we think or feel. In 2 Nephi 31:20 it says, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." I think this scripture describes how all of us want to feel.  I know that we all want to be happy; we all want to have a perfect brightness of hope; we all want to feel loved. And guess what? We can have that with the help of how savior Jesus Christ. Yeah, life is difficult and there are some curveballs that hurt, but that doesn't mean we can't be happy through it. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each and every one of their children, and I know that they do not want us to be sad. So, remember that the Atonement applies to each and every one of us, not matter what.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and happy week! I love all of you! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ love you all SO much more!!
Hermana Duvall

"Yeah for being sick!"

Hermana Brittner wasn't sick but joined the Gatorade gang!"

Monday, September 12, 2016

9-12-2016 Miracles upon Miracles

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!! 

This one is for Bailey Scott and Bryce Baugh!!  Russian Book of Mormon!

   I hope everyone had a fantastic week, and were able to recognize God's hand working in your lives! This last week was another really good week with a couple of little cool miracles! We stayed with another set of sisters all of last week, and it was so much fun! We got a lot closer. One night, there was this HUGE STORM (I know I always mention really big storms in my emails home... I guess they happen a lot here). But there was this siren that was going off outside of the apartment, and it woke us up. We thought it was a warning for a tornado, but it wasn't. So, we went back to bed about 15 minutes later. Then the storm just HIT, and for the rest of the night it was thundering and lightening all through the night. I didn't get much sleep to say the least haha. 

Homemade enchiladas!! Yum.. Except we definitely made them more Americanized haha

   We moved back into our place Saturday night, and we are happy to be back where all of our stuff and beds are haha. It was sad leaving the other Sisters apartment though, because we had a lot of fun together! The weather here is slowly starting to get colder...and colder...and colder... so that's kind of exciting. I don't think I am mentally prepared for this Minnesotan winter haha.
   We had an amazing miracle last Monday, after P-day ended! We were on our way from Apple Valley to Burnsville and we were passing this Apartment complex that wasn't in our plans to visit.  Hermana Brittner turned to me and said that she felt that we need to go visit a less active member who lived there. So we turned the car around, and went to the apartment building. We accidentally parked in front of the wrong apartment building; so, we had to walk a little bit to get there. When we got to the entrance of the building there were these two people carrying a TV in, and we held the door open for them. They took the elevator; we took the stairs up to the 2nd floor. We walked all the way down the hallway to the last door (because that's where the lady we were going to visit lived). Then all of the sudden the same 2 people that we helped with the TV are walking down the hallway. One of them yelled out to us, "We're coming!" We ended up talking with them for a little bit and teaching them about the Book of Mormon. Their names are Peter and Diana. They are both from Kenya, and are currently working as nurses. They moved here to the US a little while ago, but to this specific apartment just a week before we met them! They are awesome! We gave them a Book of Mormon in English, and they said they would love to have us come back and teach them more! We ordered and got a Shawilian Book of Mormon for them that we are going to give them when we see them next! 

English, French, Arabic(I think), Thai, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and we have a Shawilian Book of Mormon not pictured!!! 

    On Wednesday, we brought one of the members in our branch, Alma, out teaching with us.  We were waiting to get into this apartment building, and then someone was leaving the building so we were able to get inside!! Alma turned to us and said something along the lines of, "Wow, you girls just have doors opened for you! I guess that's what you get when you are serving the Lord." I had never really thought about how blessed we really are, as missionaries, to just have doors open for us when we need to get into apartment buildings! Heavenly Father is amazing, and when we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing, miracles happen! We ended up teaching one of Alma's friends, Abby. We have a return appointment with Abby this week! 
     We had an AMAZING lesson with this lady name Chantel. She has three kids, one 7 year old boy, a 5 year old girl, and a 1 year old baby girl. All so cute and fun. She works with two members in our branch, and asked for us to come over and teach her! So of course, we went over. We taught her about the Godhead and how they are three separate beings but one in purpose. At first she was a little confused, but as we continued to explain it seemed that this wash of understanding came upon her face. That was cool to see. We taught her about the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon, and how to pray! The whole lesson she was practically finishing all of our sentences. We invited her to be baptized, and she said she would if she was ready by then!! We are so excited for her, and she is so excited as well! 
      Something that I have been learning over and over again here, is how important the Savior's role is in everyone's life! There's a scripture that I came across this morning in my personal study, and I just love it. It's in Alma 5:60. It says: "And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed." The Savior is literally CALLING OUT to all of us. I just love the wording of that because it is so true! He is our brother and he wants to help us. When I think about this, I think about my sister and my brothers, and how I know that they are always willing to help me no matter what time, or where I am at, or what I need help with. Jesus Christ is like this, and He wants us to know and remember that he is here to help us with whatever we need! He will joyfully bring us into his arms and change our lives.  He doesn't want us to suffer. He doesn't want us to be sad. He doesn't want us to feel like we don't deserve the help. Because that is SO NOT TRUE. Being a missionary, I have been able to see firsthand how the Atonement of Jesus Christ can just change someone completely, and help them be happier. That's what He wants. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to have joy. He wants us to come unto to Him and partake of his redeeming love. I know this to be true. I love my Savior Jesus Christ so much. I have felt His redeeming love change me day by day and how I am so forever grateful for Him. 

I love you all so much! But more importantly Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, love you all SO MUCH MORE! Have an amazing week. I am praying for you all! 

Hermana Duvall

Cool car dude haha 

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 2016- Lots of Fried Food and Moving!

Hello my wonderful family and friends!
     This week was another awesome week here in Minnesota. However, it was a little different because we had P-day on Friday and got to go to the Minnesota State Fair!! Going to the fair was so much fun! I tried a lot of good food (the food that's really really bad for you). I ate a fried Reese's, Sweet Martha's Cookies (they're like famous here), a torta, some homemade ice cream made from a John Deere Engine, and I tried Cheese curds as well. Needless to say, I didn't feel super great after the fair, but all the food I tried was really good. We ran into a lot of Mormons who were all super excited to see us. It was funny, because randomly we would just hear people cheering and yelling: "LOOK IT'S THE SISTER MISSIONARIES!" The Minnesota State Fair is a HUGE thing here, and it almost felt like I was at Disneyland because there were so many people there!

View from  Skyride way up high above the Minneapolis State Fair

Cool View from on the Skyride

"Homemade Ice Cream made from a John Deere Engine.  Super Good!  I got Chocolate ...OF COURSE!"


"Fired Reese's.  So good but so bad!"

Random Mormon lady that we ran into at the fair. Super Sweet. Her name was Sister Henninger.

This nativity set received the Sweepstakes Award.  My mom collects nativities so I took this picture for her.

My Grandma Smith was a knitter.  She knit stockings for all her children and grandchildren.  I took this picture in honor of her!

Just Abe and I at the Minneapolis State Fair!

"You can imagine that I was FREAKING OUT!!!"

Having some fun at the fair!

     Hermana Brittner and I had to move out of our house this week, because the family that we live with has a daughter Charlotte, who is leaving on her mission next week! They were going to have family come stay with them and needed the space.  So we are currently living at an apartment with some of the other sister missionaries. It's super fun because it's like a sleepover every night! We will be staying there for another week or so!

Moving into the Apple Valley sisters apartment for a week and a half!! Lots of stuff to move around. WOOO!

     WE FINALLY SAW ANDY! We hadn't seen Andy for about 3 weeks, because he works a lot. The first thing he said to us was in English! It kind of caught us off guard, but apparently he has been practicing his english at work. We just caught up with him. He said he wants to come to church, but with work it's hard. We are supposed to see him this next week, and we hope that we will be able to pick up where we left off.  He definitely still has a desire to learn, but he is just too busy.
     Also, we finally saw Julia as well! Julia was the girl we met at the park. She is doing really well. We could only meet with her for a little bit, but we shared a message about the Book of Mormon. She said that she has been reading in the Book of Mormon, and she really likes it! She starts school tomorrow, so we aren't sure when we are going to see her next. But, we are really happy that we got to see her again. She's awesome!!
    We had an AWESOME first lesson this week with Viviana Jimel, and Santos. They are from Puerto Rico, so they talk REALLLLY FAST. I can understand the gist of what they are saying, but it definitely requires a lot of concentration.We just taught them about the Restoration. They had a lot of questions, but they said they would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! We asked them to be baptized, and Viviana said that she would be if she comes to know that the Book of Mormon is true. Jimel didn't really give us an answer, but he wants to read the Book of Mormon with his kids! And Santos was a little different. He is an older hispanic guy, so has a lot of knowledge in the Bible. He's awesome and had a lot of input in the lesson. At one point, he started singing a song to us in Spanish. Surprisingly, he was actually really good!!! He was like performing for us, and it was funny. After the lesson, Viviana gave us some Masamora. It;s a classic desert from Puerto Rico made out of Corn! IT WAS LIKE HEAVEN!!
     We visit this older lady, named Leonor, two time a week. She is in our branch, but she lives in a nursing home. She has had a really hard life, and she's not that happy of a person.  But I love her so much!! And this week she FINALLY smiled at us! She told us a joke, an even though I didn't understand what she was saying, we all laughed and SO DID SHE. Later on during the visit, she sang for us! She told us how when she was a teenager and lived in Spain that she received a lot of rewards for her singing!!! How amazing is that? It may not seem like that big of a deal that she smiled, but it was because she like never smiles. It made me so happy that I almost wanted to cry. Love her so much.
    We had a baptism in our Branch of a 9 year old boy, named Andreas. He was supposed to be baptized when he was 8 but he broke his leg. So, he was so excited to finally be baptized. Afterwards, our branch had this amazing dinner.  I tried this hispanic soup that was sooo good! It's called Posole! I am so grateful to be serving spanish speaking, because Hispanic food is SO good. Also, yesterday Hermana Brittner and I taught sunday school again. I was able to help more in this lesson than ever before. It still is a littler nerve racking speaking spanish and trying to teach in front of a big group of people, but it was a lot easier this time. I know that it's because I have the help of my Savior Jesus Christ!!
     One thing that I have been thinking about a lot this week is the difference between Light and Darkness. In Sunday School, we taught about Ammon teaching King Lamoni. In Alma 19 it has a verse about Lamoni's conversion, and I just love it.  In verse 6, it says, " he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God—"
The light that this gospel brings people is unbelievable, and this is one of the things I LOVE about being a missionary. I love being able to see the change that happens in peoples's lives. Even if we are at the bottom of the sea-the darkest part- I know that Our Savior Jesus Christ can lift us up into the light! I know that His Atonement is real and it works! Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can receive the most marvelous light in our lives!! I knowthat He individually suffered for each and every single person who has ever lived, is living, and will live. He knows how to help us and he is SO willing to help us too! We just have to turn to Him and ask him for the help! I love this gospel and I know that it is true! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Lord every single day!

I love you all, but more importantly Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you SO much more!! Don't ever forget that!

Hermana Duvall

Valeria and Aimee!!!  They are two little girls in my branch!!  Love them so much!!

Entrance to the Chamber of Secrets???