First off, I would just like to say congratulations to my brother Danny and new sister in law Sarah!! I love both of you so much! I am so happy that you were able to be sealed in the San Diego Temple for time and all eternity!
This week we didn't have any random things happen to us (like a snake appearing in our study room) and I guess you could say I am grateful for that! It is seriously SO pretty here! All of trees are changing colors, and it is fun actually experiencing a real fall. My favorite trees are the orange ones (that's my favorite color). When I am driving, every couple of minutes I look out the window and say "Ah it is just so beautiful!" It feels like I am driving around in a movie.
Sister Richardson and I saw this really pretty tree so we took a picture in front of it !
On Tuesday we had exchanges with the STLs. I ended up staying in my area with Sister Richardson. I was pretty nervous because it was the first time I was going to be staying in my area, which meant all of the Spanish work was up to me (Sister Richardson is an English missionary here in Minnesota and doesn't speak spanish). To my surprise, everything turned out okay haha! It was a miracle! I was able to understand everything that was said to me, and I was able to teach two lessons. It surprised me how much I was able to understand and say, and it was fun to realize that I actually can communicate with people in Spanish. But, I know that I wouldn't be able to do this without the help of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! Seriously.
On Wednesday we had a miracle! All of Wednesday morning we weren't having much success finding people who were interested in hearing our message. We talked to a lot of people, but no one was really interested. We were a little discouraged, so we said a prayer that we might be able to teach at least one person who was prepared and interested in hearing our message before we left the trailer park in Apple valley. The next door we knocked was a lady named Griselda! As soon as we told her we were Missionaries she let us right in! We taught her about prayer and about Jesus Christ. She said she hasn't really made much of an effort to strengthen her relationship with God and Jesus Christ, but that she was going to start by saying her prayers. She is one of the nicest people I have met here, and we are excited to go back and teach her some more!
On Thursday, we had two awesome lessons with teenagers (who just happen to live next door to each other haha). Both occasions, we were trying to contact their moms, and instead we met their kids! The first guy was Bryan, and he's a senior in high school. We taught him how to pray and he was really excited to pray that night. Later in the week, we followed up with him and he said that saying a personal prayer, and speaking to Heavenly Father, felt amazing! He is really busy with school and theatre right now, but we are hoping that we can meet with him again soon! The next girl was named Aaleyeigh. When we asked if we could share a message with her about Jesus Christ, she let us in and was really attentive. She expressed her love for prayer, and she loved the story of Joseph Smith's prayer being answered! She really wants to meet with us again, but has to get permission from her mom.
We had a Family Home Evening with la familia Trinidad this week! We were finally able to set up an appointment with them. They were taught by the sisters up in North Minneapolis, and they moved down here a little over a month ago. We had a lot fun together. The kids, Evalyn and Ismael, acted out the story of Nephi building a boat. Laura, their mom, has a really strong testimony and shared a lot of good advice with her kids. We also did a little experiment with water, soap, and pepper. They loved the experiment! Overall, it was a super fun night with them. Laura wants to be baptized; but, she works on Sundays and it is hard for her to make it to church. We are working with her, and hope that she can make it to church soon! Her husband, Mauro, was working when we had the FHE with them. But they were all really excited to continue having FHE every week as a family. I am so grateful for my parents who took time every week (even though all of our schedules were extrememly busy) to have a family home evening. I know that this is an inspired program to help strengthen families all around the world. The time that we spend with our family is time that we will never regret.
As some of you may have heard my Grandpa passed away this last week. Hearing this news was really sad and a little difficult. The knowledge that families can be together forever has brought be a lot of comfort this last week. This morning I was reading in a talk that was given by Elder Robert D Hales titled, "The Eternal Family" (October 1997 General Conference). He said something that really stuck out to me:
"The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ brings great comfort in stressing times of mortality. It brings light where there is darkness and a calming influence where there is turmoil. It gives eternal hope where there is mortal despair. It is more than just beautiful doctrine. It is a reality in our lives that if we can be obedient and obtain the eternal rewards that God grants us, if we will draw nigh unto Him and embrace the eternal doctrine, we will be blessed."
The reason why the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring us comfort is the simple knowledge that families can be together forever. This is TRUE. This gospel has provided me with so much light in times where I feel like darkness just might overpower me. The hope of Jesus Christ's atonement is a source of this true and eternal light. Because Jesus Christ performed the atonement we can not only be forgiven of our sins, comforted in times of trial or despair, we can overcome death and be resurrected with perfected bodies. What a beautiful truth that brings so much comfort! I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ that Christ established when he was on the earth. I know that through the proper priesthood authority that Families can be sealed for time and all eternity. I know that this life isn't the end. I look forward to the day that I will be reunited with all of my family members and friends who have passed on. Until then though, I am grateful for this knowledge that provides me with the strength to keep moving forward. I am also so grateful for this opportunity that I have right now to share this this happy, joyful news with the people here in Minnesota.
I hope you all have a happy, wonderful week! Don't forget to smile and remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel because of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thank you all for you support and love. I love you all so much! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all SO much more!
Hermana Rowland and Hermana Duvall enjoying beautiful weather outside!
Our lesson with Leo later on Tuesday night!
Blurry Zone Picture
THOUGHTS ABOUT MY GRANDPA DUVALL written 10-19-2016
This morning I was talking to one of my STL's about grandpa. I talked about how he had been in and out of the hospital the past couple of weeks. As I was talking about this, I had a thought come to my mind "Grandpa Duvall is going to be one of your angels who will help you here on your mission." One of the blessings I was promised when I was set apart as a missionary was that I would have ministering angels, some of who would be my ancestors, help me in my missionary work. So this thought didn't seem random or weird, but I think it prepared me to hear about grandpa passing away. I received a phone call from my parents later in the day with this news. When I think about all of the memories and good times with grandpa it makes me smile. Grandpa was always such a happy man; he always had a smile on his face. I remember one time I had the chance to have a dance with grandpa. I don't remember exactly what we talked about or what he said to me. But I do remember the smile he had on his face the whole time, and that he told me that he loved me so much and how proud he was of me. I remember going to hear his band play, and looking up at the stage at grandpa just wondering how he did it all! He can play the saxophone, he can sing, and he can make people laugh! He's a stud. I also remember telling my friends: "my grandpa is in his 80's and still rides around on his motorcycle. He's so cool." Grandpa always gave the BEST advice and always had a story to prove his point; and, I think that anyone who has ever had a conversation with him would agree. I loved listening to his stories so so much. I am going to miss being able to sit on grandpa's lap and listen to his wonderful stories, and talk to him about random things for hours on end. I treasure his all of his advice that he has given me. He always told me to remember who I am-A daughter of God- and that I have a purpose in this life. He always stressed how important it is to continually strengthen your testimony by doing the things that we are commanded to do. There was no just doing anything "half-way" with grandpa. That is what I will always adore about grandpa. I love the fact that whenever he had the chance, he bore his testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and the reality of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Every time he did, I could just feel the power behind his words. Grandpa is an amazing example of what it means to truly be converted to Christ and His gospel. He didn't just know theses things to be true, he lived it and showed it through his words and actions. Hearing about Grandpa Duvall passing away is really hard and sad. However I feel very, extremely grateful that I am here in Minnesota where Grandpa served his mission and also where he met grandma as well. This first person I talked to after I opened my mission call (and found out I was going to be serving in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission) was grandpa! He was so happy, and he immediately started telling me about his mission and how he got to be in a musical performing group. He also told me the story of how he met grandma and how she was born in Rochester, Minnesota. So, for me, it is sad that I cannot be together with my family at this time. But I feel at peace and happy that I am in the very place where Grandpa served his mission and met grandma. If grandpa hadn't served his mission, he would've never met grandma, and I wouldn't be here on a mission in Minnesota. There is a rhyme and a reason to God's will, and I know that it isn't just a coincidence that I am serving here in Minnesota. I am so very grateful for the knowledge that I have about the Plan of Salvation, and that I have the opportunity everyday to testify that families really can be together forever. I know that this is true! I know that another angel just joined god's army in heaven, and that grandpa is already up there teaching people the gospel. For me, it's special to think that I am serving a mission alongside grandpa, sharing the same wonderful gospel with those who are searching for truth. I am so grateful for this gospel and for the knowledge it gives me! I am going to miss you so much grandpa, but I am grateful to be a missionary right now just as I know you are as well!
Hermana Duvall Minnesota Minneapolis Mission