Monday, November 28, 2016

11-28-2016 LIGHT THE WORLD

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos! 
    I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate lots of turkey! Even though I just sent a letter out on Thursday, I am going to send out another letter today! 
    My thanksgiving was super fun. Thanksgiving morning we went and played soccer and volleyball with the members in our ward for a couple of hours. 

la Familia Matus

 Then we went to a Thanksgiving lunch con la Familia Matus. I love the Matus Family. While we were there, we played this game where we passed around a stuffed animal and had to say something we were thankful for. 

la Familia Davila

la Familia Davila

Then, we had a Thanksgiving dinner con la Familia Davila. We played this super funny game called "habla chancho" with everyone who was at the Davila's house. It's this game where there's someone in the middle that's blindfolded and has a stick. Then they had to find someone, tap them with the stick, and say "habla chancho." Then the person that they tapped has to make a pig sound, and the person who is it has to guess who it is. This game was seriously soooo much fun!! Overall, I had a wonderful thanksgiving day. It was so much fun being with people who really just felt like family.  

Hermana Duvall with Bev and Steve Spark

Hermana Duvall and Hermana Chavex with Bev Spark

    On Saturday, Hermana Chavez and I got to have another Thanksgiving Dinner with my mom's cousin, Bevie Ann, and her family! That was a special treat to spend time with some family. They live close to the Minnesota and Wisconsin border, so we drove over to Wisconsin! So now I can say that I've been there haha. Shout out to my cousin, Collin Smith!! I am so grateful to have them so close!! 

Beautiful sunset!


 This weekend we were able to meet with Jessica!! I don't remember if I mentioned her last week, but she is 12 years old and is just super awesome. She has so much faith and loves praying and reading the scriptures! She told us that she loves when her family can pray together because they just seems so much happier and unified. That is so true! Prayer is a powerful tool that we have been given, and I know that it really changes our perspective on life as we pray more often. She was able to come to church yesterday, and she really loved it. She has a desire to be baptized, but she isn't able to just yet because her parents don't want her to be. However, they are willing to let her continue to take the lessons and come to church! So, eventually, i am positive that Jessica will be baptized! 
    We recently started teaching one of the sons of a member in the ward named Gabriel. Hermana Santiago, his mom, has been through a lot in her life and had been inactive for a while. But recently started coming back to church and loves it. Gabriel has a desire to learn more about this church and eventually wants to be baptized in the future. We just started teaching him on Friday, but he is excited to learn more and more! 
    As some of you may know, the church recently came out with the Christmas initiative, and I love what they decided to do this year. We have been having a lot of success with sharing this video with people at the grocery store and gas station. I love the theme of this video and the initiative for this Christmas season. The theme is "LIGHT THE WORLD." #lighttheworld We can light the world as we follow the example of Jesus Christ; and, we can share His light as we serve as He served.  What a better way to learn more about Jesus Christ and the true meaning of Christmas than to walk in His footsteps and serve our fellow men!  I want to invite all of you to take up the #LighttheWorld challenge: visit and look at the different ways you can serve. Starting December 1st (this Thursday) every single day we are given ideas of different ways we can serve just as Jesus Christ served!! It says in John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Jesus Christ really is the Light of the World! I know that He is our Savior and as we choose to turn towards Him, He can bring us out of darkness and into the light. I know that as we choose to serve others this Christmas season, we can be the hands that helps those who are lost in darkness feel the Light of the Savior's love!! Check out the link to the Light the World video at:

   I love you all so much and thanks for all of the support!! Don't forget, Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, love you all soooooo much more!! 

Hermana Duvall 
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission

Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24,2016 Happy White Thanksgiving!

My new companion, Hermana Chavez, and I ate at this really cool burger joint the other day. The wall behind us says "Brooklyn Center" 

We decorated our apartment the other day for Christmas. We found a bunch of decorations in our closet, and were a little too excited to decorate. 

(Family.. does that couch look familiar to any of you?? Haha it looks like the one that used to be in our play room) 

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos! First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! My p-day got switched to today, so that's why I didn't write on Monday. I hope all of you are having a happy thanksgiving! 
     I have been here in North Minneapolis for a week now and I love it! It's definitely different than where I was before, but I am enjoying it thus far. My area covers basically just a lot of the cities north of Minneapolis. There are a lot more Hispanics here than in the Lakeville area; the ward is so huge here!! It's so awesome seeing so many faithful saints at church. We translate into English every Sunday, because there are some people that come to our ward that only speak English. So, I had the opportunity to help translate from Spanish into English. It's definitely a lot harder than I thought. It takes a lot of thinking and concentration, and I kept wanting to say everything in Spanish ha-ha. 

The snow FINALLY came!! So happy white Thanksgiving! This is my first White Thanksgiving, so it's really exciting! I really do love looking out the window and seeing the snow. It's so pretty, yet so cold. And, yes, I know. It's going to get colder and colder here in Minnesota. I am excited though, because I will have my first white Christmas here as well. Woo!! 
      There are a lot of investigators that we are teaching right now, because our area is so big. We have some pretty solid people that we are working with that are progressing towards baptism. One of the favorite things that I love about being a missionary is the opportunity that I have to watch people's lives change as they learn about the gospel. The difference is indescribable, and the light that comes and lights up their lives is amazing!
      We have been working with a lot of less active members and recent converts this last week. One of the recent converts that we've visited a couple times is Pakito. He was baptized back in May. He's younger, around 12 years old. He's suuuper awesome! He hasn't been able to come to church that often, because of different reasons. But, they are planning on coming to church this Sunday and the other ward activities. There's another recent converts José Luis who is just solid. His is going to be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood soon. We have dinner with them every Tuesday. I've learned so much from him; he has such a strong testimony. 

This is Carmencita

We taught her how to take a "selfie" haha. She thought it was really funny. 

One of my favorite people so far is this older lady from Peru, Carmencita! She is just the sweetest thing. She loves telling us jokes and laughing. When we got to her apartment building and we were walking to the hall, she yelled: "march!!" (In Spanish). For some reason, she just love seeing us march all the way down the hall ha-ha. And she also joins in with us. She is a convert as well, but she was baptized a while ago. She reminded me a little of my grandma smith for some reason, so it's fun visiting her.
      We've also had a lot of cool finding experiences this last week as well! With it being holiday season, we have gone contacting at the stores. Surprisingly we've had a lot of success meeting people that want us to share more with them. I am excited to see what will come out of the couple people that we were able to talk to!
    This morning I was ready in Alma 26, and I came across the perfect verses for Thanksgiving! In verses 35-37, it says: 
"35 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 repent and believe on his name.

36 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.

37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."
I absolutely love these scriptures because I think like they perfectly explain how I feel. I am so incredibly grateful for my family, especially my parents. I am grateful that I grew up in the church. I honestly couldn't imagine who I would be or where I would be without it. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have a loving Heavenly Father and Mother in Heaven who are also cheering me on as well. I am grateful that Jesus Christ unselfishly came to this earth to atone for all of us, so that we may live again. I could go on and on, because there are so many things to be thankful for! I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary right now, and that I can share this happy message with the people here!! 

   Again, Happy Thanksgiving!! I love you all so much! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ love you all so much more!! 

Love, Hermana Duvall
Hermana Duvall 
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission

 Random bridge that we were going over the other day hahaha

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21, 2016 New Companion-Hermana Sandra Chavez and New area-north Minneapolis- Brooklyn Center

So my p-day got switched, but I got permission to send an email to you today letting you know that I will email everyone and my weekly letter on Thursday morning.

Said goodbye to Hermana Rowland!

Happy Thanksgiving! I love my new companion; she really is the sweetest person ever. She's secretly made my bed and has made me breakfast. Her name is Hermana Sandra Chavez. Her parents are from Mexico, but she was born and grew up in Provo, Utah. She is a little older, 27. But I love her. She's awesome. We live in Brooklyn Center. Our area is really big. We cover Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Robbinsdale, New Hope, Fridley, Plymouth, Hopkins, North Minneapolis, Crystal.. I think that's it. I am not sure exactly of other cities. It is definitely a lot more different than where I was before, but I love it.
My new address is:
4572 58th Ave N apt #276
Brooklyn Center, MN 55429

Hermana Jennifer Duvall

We were together for my first three transfers! Love her so much!

La familia Saldaña. ¡Les quiero! i love them so much.  We ate at their house
every single weekend.  They became like a second family to me!

With Dyayanna

Hermana Alma and Dyayanna

Elder Calderwood and i both got cactuses from our branch president, President Strahl. He gives little cactuses to all the missionaries who serve there and leave.

Sister Jensen! The member I was living with for the last 3 transfers. I will miss her!

Vivian Perez!  And her two cute kids, Jade and Aiden!!

Leo made me roses!

Some of the Spanish sisters at transfers! 

Me, Hna Brittner, Hna Andrus, Hna Chavez, Hna Dean, Hna Vambier


Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016 Tacos, Tamales, Transfers

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
    This was a wonderful week here in Lakeville! We had a really awesome week filled with little miracles. Transfers! Looks like I will be serving up in Minneapolis. My area is called North Minneapolis! I am not exactly what part of the city it covers, but I am really excited to finally get to serve in the city!  My companion is going to be Hermana Chavez. She's super sweet and a native Spanish speaker; so, hopefully my Spanish will improve! I am going to have to say bye to the people here in Lakeville, and that is going to be hard. I love the people so much here, and they have grown to feel like family. But, I know that my new area is going to be awesome! 

   Random funny story: I ate 3 dinners yesterday! We went to a birthday party for one of our investigator's son, Adrian; we had pizza and salad there. After we left the party, we were trying some potential investigators, and we passed this one house that had a taco stand out front. We decided to go talk to the lady because we wanted to know how much her tacos were so we could come back when it wasn't Sunday. Long story short, she's so sweet and ended up giving us some tacos for free!! THE TACOS WERE DIVINE! Then, we went and ate another meal we some members. I felt so full going to bed last night.

Free Tacos

    Hermana Rowland and I learned how to make tamales this week with our good friend, Monica! It was so much fun to learn. Monica had a kitchen aid that we use to make the maza so that actually did a lot of the work for us. Which was really nice, but we still made the actually tamales and put cebolla, queso, jalapeños, y tomatoes in them! And let me tell you, they were delicious! While we made the tamales, we even kind of had a little lesson and watched this cute Mormon message with her. She loved the video! I am so grateful that someone was willing and patient enough to teach us two gringas how to make tamales. Monica is so sweet, and I am going to miss her a lot!

We made tamales with Monica! It was super fun, but a lot of work! They ended up being really good

Gringas learning  how to make tamales with Monica!

    On Wednesday we decided to do this thing called "Windows of Heaven." It's basically where we pray about a specific time and place that we need to be to meet someone who is ready to hear a message of the gospel! We had about an hour set apart for this, and it turned out to be amazing! The second door that we knocked was a 22 year old, Louis. We shared a message with him and he said we could come back and teach him more. We also taught this amazing older lady named Clara. She was visiting her daughter here in Minnesota, but was going to be leaving to go back to Mexico. She's had a lot of trials in her life, and we were able to share a little message of hope in her life. She cried to us as she told us some thing that have happened and was so grateful that we decided to knock on her door. We also talked with about 5 other people who were busy but invited us to come back. Doing this "Windows of Heaven" finding taught me a lot about faith and the way Heavenly Father works. Sometimes we often expect a huge miracle to happen, but that's not always how god works! Even though we didn't find someone that was a super "golden" investigator, as missionaries we are still doing the Lord's work. And, sometimes, the work that needs to be done is planting the seeds in the heart of the people. I love this aspect of the work, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. 
     We had Stake Conference this weekend, and I am so grateful that I got to attend. I learned so, so much. A major theme throughout all of it that really stuck out to me is simply remembering who we are. We are all sons and daughter of a loving Father in Heaven!! This is such a simple truth that we tend to forgot sometimes among all of the trials, heartaches, temptations...etc. Another amazing truth, is that Heavenly Father loves us so much that he sent His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for us so we don't have to suffer! There is a scripture in Isaiah 53:5 that I just love, it says:
:" But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
 I love this scripture because it shows how much love Jesus Christ has for us! He suffered for us, so we don't have to suffer. So, why would we not use the Atonement of Jesus Christ? I am so grateful for this knowledge. Knowing that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father AND I can live with him again brings me so much peace and hope! I am so grateful that I get to share this happy message with the people here in Minnesota! 
  I love this gospel, and I love all of you! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you all SOO much more! TENGA UN BUEN SEMANA!
Hermana Duvall

On Wednesday we got news that one of our investigators went to the the doctors because she dislocated her arm. We were supposed to have a lesson with her, but she wasn't feeling super great. So we brought her un globo y una tarjeta, and she was so happy! She asked if she could take a picture with us. So precious. 

Hermano Leo. He's AWESOME!
Leo:"¿De donde salió el chupacabra? 

Hermana Duvall: "Donde?'
Leo: "De chu-papa y chu-mama hahahahaha"
Leo"Where did the chupacabra come from?"
hermana Duvall"Where?"
Leo:"from chu-papa and chu-mama hahahahaha

A random sucker that has my last name on it!

I said goodbye to Hna Carrillo, because I felt like I was going to be leaving.
 I love her so much, and have enjoyed visiting her every week! 

Hermana Leonor was seriously so happy that we asked her to take a video for our families!
 She smiled so big, even with her teeth. I really am going to miss her. I love her so much! 

Aww la Hermana Leonor.  She is so precious! (oops....Upsidedown video!)

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7, 2016 "There's a plan for all of us!"

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

    I hope you all had a wonderful week! For me, this week was pretty good! With the time change, it's getting dark around 5:00pm so that's making the work a little different. People think it's so late because it's dark, even though it's like 6 o'clock. It kind of makes missionary work a little harder, but the work is still going on of course!

 Random story: I had pizza with jalapeños for the second time this week, and I ate a whole grilled jalapeño. It was spicy, but my tolerance for spicy food is getting stronger, and now if I eat something it seems bland if it doesn't have any spice to it. My tastes buds are slowly changing haha.

     We had a regional conference yesterday. We watched it in Spanish with the members of our Branch, and I could understand basically everything. I was a little surprised at what I could understand. Now, if only I could speak like I understand haha.

     We teach an English Class every Wednesday night! Since I've been here in Lakeville, Leo was the only one who would come each week. Hermana Rowland and I put up somesigns for the English class around our area, and four people ended up showing up on Wednesday! All of them moved here from Mexico about a year ago, and have a desire to learn English. They are all super awesome, and I look forward to seeing them progress in English. We made a deal that I would help them with their English if they help me with my Spanish haha. It was super exciting to have more people come to our English Class!

     One night, we decided to stop by a member's home to talk to him about his cousin Andy. Andy was someone we were teaching when I first got to the Lakeville area, but he moved to St. Paul. We've been trying to figure out what his address is so we could the missionaries in St. Paul can visit him! So, we wanted to see if David has had contact with him. We weren't planning on staying too long, but his mom invited us in. Ernestina had been taught by missionaries before, but didn't want to continue to take the lessons. We ended up talking with Ernestina and then we sang a song to her. After Hna Rowland and I were done singing. She looked at me and said: "I'm not crazy. I had a dream the other day, and in the dream I saw and heard a choir in heaven singing. The voice I heard in my dream was your voice. I want to tell you that you have a loving Father in Heaven. He has a very specific plan for you." So, yeah...that kind of caught me of guard. But it was a nice little reminder that God is aware of me and loves me.

     This week we worked a lot with and found some former investigators. We met Manólo y Egisela. They took the missionary discussions about a year ago, and both wanted to be baptized, but they weren't married so they couldn't be baptized. But when we showed up at their door they were super happy and welcoming! I love finding families; it makes me so happy. They still are pretty interested in the church, and want us to come back and teach them some more.  They still aren't married, but they have a desire to be baptized eventually so fingers crossed!

      We had a really amazing miracle this week! One of our appointments with a less-active member feel through, and at first we were kind of disappointed. But we went about following our backups. We planned on going to this lady named Teo. When we got there her daughter, Areli, was outside cleaning her car. She invited us in to visit with her and her mom. Areli ended up telling us about how the night before she got in an argument with her mom. She said she felt really bad, and so she decided to go to her room and say a prayer. She told us how she told God that she feels like she doesn't really know how to talk to Him anymore, but wants to be better at knowing God again. Then, the next day we showed up at her house. She expressed to us how every time she is at a low point in her life, the Mormon missionaries show up! She told us that we were an answer to her prayer; and, she knows what she needs to do to get closer to God again. She wants to pray more and continue to meet with us! Throughout this whole visit she expressed over and over again how thankful she was that we stopped by. It was sad that our original appointment fell through, but it lead to a miracle that was meant to happen.  Heavenly Father loves all of his children so much, and he has a plan for everyone. I really love seeing some of these plans unfold before my eyes. I know it wasn't an accident that we decided to go to Areli's house.

    One theme that seemed to be very constant throughout this past week is that Heavenly Father really does have a plan for ALL of His children. We don't have to worry about where we are going to end up, if we are following Jesus Christ. It's as simple as that. Of course, we are all going to have difficult times in our lives, but that is all a part of the plan that Heavenly Father has for us. I love this aspect of the gospel, because it provides me so much peace and comfort.The best part is that we don't have to go through this life alone. I love the scripture that is in John 4:1-6:

 "1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

I know this to be true! Heavenly Father loves us all SO much. He sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to die and atone for us. Jesus Christ has provided us with the perfect path that will help us return to live with our families forever and to live with God again. This path is provided for us, and it is up to us to choose whether we will accept it or not.

I love this gospel so much! I know it's true!!
I love you all so much. But, more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all so much more! Please don't ever forget or doubt that!!

Hermana Duvall

The lap blanket that my Great-Grandma, Nellie Beckwith Kime made!! My moms cousin, Bevie Ann, gave it to me a couple of weeks ago. I use it to warm me up every morning during studies

The sun is perfect in this picture.. so majestic haha 

Hey Tree!  What'cha lookin at?"

Some random trees that we just had to take a photo shoot with!! 

Selfie with the tree!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

10-31-2016 Hot Cocoa and Piggies in a Blanket

Hola mi familia y mis amigos! 
   ¡Espero que todos de ustedes tuvieron una buena semana; les quiero mucho! This week was another really good week of missionary work. I love being here in Minnesota! Update on the weather: it is getting colder and colder day by day. However, the good news is that day by day o am slowly getting used to it! When it says that it's going to be 40 degrees, I'm think: "sweet, it's warm!!"  What is happening to me?? Haha... I know that this isn't going to last long though, sadly! I got to meet up with one of my mom's cousins, Bev, on Friday.
  It was super special to see her again and spend some time with her. Family is the best.  She graciously gave me some super cute sweaters, vests, and a blanket that my Great-Grandma knit. So basically  you could say that I am all set for winter because I have winter clothes to keep me warm. However, mentally.. that's another story haha
   We had a Branch Trunk or Treat on Saturday morning, and Hermana Rowland and I dressed up at pigs and we walked around with a blanket around us. Hence, Pigs in a Blanket!! 

The Trunk or Treat was super fun, and we had one of our investigators, Chantel, show up with her family! The members in our Branch are awesome when it comes to fellowshipping our investigators.

We had a lot of cool little miracles with finding some super cute families this week! We saw a name in our area book, Elizabeth, and tried her a couple of times. We were finally able to meet her, her husband, and her two cute kids! They told us that about a year ago sister missionaries came by and gave them a Book of Mormon. They have read from the Book of Mormon a couple of times, and they love it. Also, they told us that they read the Bible as a family every single night! HOW AWESOME! We taught them a quick lesson, and they invited us to come back tonight. Hopefully since it's Halloween they will be home. Fingers crossed! 
      We also were able to meet and teach Bryan's parents, Jazmin and Edgar, and also his two younger brothers! When we first got to their house, Jazmin let us right in. She told us how missionaries came by about a year and a half ago and invited her to pray about something. She said that normally she wouldn't have prayed, but she did and she felt really good. She said that she was just thinking about that pray, and how the other missionaries had never come back, but she was super happy that we showed up!! Her husband arrived home from work just in time for us to teach him as well! We sang them a hymn, and Jazmin invited us to sing at one of her company events. This event is after transfers, so we are hoping that we will still be together so we can sing at this event!! 
      We had some lessons with some of our "eternagators" this last week! The lesson with Abby was so good. We introduced her to the For the Strength of Youth Pamplet, and she loved it! Throughout the whole lesson she was super engaged, and when we asked herwhat stood out to her, she said "TODO!!!" She has been taught by the missionaries for a pretty long time; however, it has been really amazing to see the growth that has taken place even in the past couple months that I have been here! We also had a lesson with someone who has been taught for a long time as well. She gave us "Abuelita" (Mexican Hot Chocolate) and it was SOOOO YUMMY! 

      On Sunday, we decided to ride our bikes around Lakeville. Due to the fact that it is the very end of the month, we didn't have enough miles left to drive our car. It was definitely an adventure. But it was worth it, because we had an awesome lesson with this guy name Jeronimo! We are planning to go back and teaching him again soon! 
We had Branch Conference yesterday in church, and I would like to share the scripture that was the theme of this conference. It was Helaman 3:35: 
"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."
The part I would like to point out is that the Nephites became humble and their faith became firmer and firmer in Christ, because of their "yielding their hearts unto God." To explain why I really love this verse, I want to share the Spanish translation, que dice: "hasta la purificación y santificación de sus corazones, santificación que viene de entregar el corazón a Dios." The members in the branch explained that, in a spiritual sense, the word entregar basically means to completely give yourself and everything you have to God. Not just yielding or submitting yourself to Him, but to literally give your heart to Him. I know that life isn't always easy, it's not supposed to be. However, I know that life is SO much easier when our will is in line with Heavenly Father's will! I know that He loves each and every one of His children, and He wants all of us to live with Him again. And that is why He sent His son, Jesus Christ, so that we could have the Hope we need to get through this life!
I love this gospel so much, and I love being a missionary!! I love all of you, but more importantly, Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ love you all so much more!!!
Hermana Duvall

October 31, 2016 Happy Halloween 

"Super Sassy Jeanette! Love her!"