Monday, February 27, 2017

2-27-2017 Getting "grounded" can be fun!!!

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
        This week has been another really good one. The weather went from 60 degrees one day (which was so nice I didn't even have to wear a jacket or a cardigan) to a snow storm the next day.  Now, there is currently a lot of ice everywhere. I was doing pretty good up until this morning not falling. Again, I was taking the trash out and slipped on the drive way. Hna Dean was following me and she also slipped. I guess there is just something about taking trash out and slipping on ice haha. We've had a lot of funny experiences together and it seems like Hna Dean and I are always making memories by getting ourselves into funny situations! We performed at our Ward Talent Show and the ward absolutely loved it. We did a dance to the primary song called "Saturday" and it was so much fun.

 Last Wednesday when the weather
decided to trick us before the huge
snow storm came!!
It was great while it lasted haha

Driving home in the middle of a blinding snowstorm!

Fun in the snow! We woke up and helped
shovel driveways for about 2 hours and now I have
 really sore arms and a sore back.
But it was worth it getting to know our neighbors better!

Video: We performed this at the talent show. We practiced for about 30 minutes before and it turned out pretty well. The ward seemed like they really enjoyed it and told us that they will never forget about it hahah. We had way too much fun doing this!

        We got to have interviews with president and see other missionaries again! I always love getting to see President Forbes and Sister Forbes. I look up to both of them so much and the counsel that they have given me. I am grateful for their examples as well!

 Due to the snow storm, we ended up being "grounded" for most of the day. This meant that we weren't allowed to use our car because the roads were too dangerous. We ended up being able to do our weekly planning and all of our studies, and had a little time to go outside and take pictures in the snow. It was a good day, and we were able to get out and teach some lessons after dinner.

We also had a really cool miracle that same day! We were supposed to be having a lesson with our investigator, Heather, on Friday morning at 11:00am. However, we were snowed in and weren't allowed to use our cars. We had already tried calling her, but her cell phone was temporarily out of service. So, we didn't have a way of getting a hold of her to tell her that we weren't able to meet with her. We ended up saying a prayer to know what we should do (call a member for a ride, walk there..etc.) and then the second we said "Amen." We got a call from a random number and it was Heather!! Sadly, she was also snowed in and we weren't able to have a lesson with her. We are hopefully going to see her this week though!! It was sad that we weren't able to see her, because she is so ready to learn more about the gospel. But, I learned a couple of things from this experience. First, I learned that Heavenly Father really does answer prayers--He always will! I also learned that sometimes, Heavenly Father has a different plan for us, and we just need to trust Him and have faith!

Random snow pile that we found as we were visiting
 one of our investigators. It was huge, as you can tell

This week we have seen a lot of smaller miracles in the work here and it's been great. One thing that I love about missionary work is that when we follow the spirit we can know that we are following the Lord's will here. One of the main things that it seemed like we were teaching this week is our true identity. Sometimes it's hard to remember amongst all of the craziness in the world is our true identity: children of our loving Heavenly Father. I love that knowledge and I am so grateful for it. It has given me so much meaning and purpose in my life.  President Gordon B. Hinkley taught: “You are second to none. You are daughters [and sons] of God. There has come to you as your birthright something beautiful and sacred and divine. Never forget that. Your Eternal Father is the great Master of the universe. He rules over all, but He also will listen to your prayers as His daughter [and His sons] and hear you as you speak with Him. He will answer your prayers. He will not leave you alone” (“Stay on the High Road,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2004, 112).   I know that's true and I know that He will always answer our prayers because He loves us so much.
           I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember that you're all children of our Loving Heavenly Father! I love you all a ton, but more importantly Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ love you all soooo much.
Hermana Duvall
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission

Wildung Alfalfa Mill reminded me of my dad:"I’m sad that I wasn't able to find one that said "buckwheat" but it made me laugh and think of you daddyo!! 
I love you so much. Yo da best!"

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20, 2017 lots of sunshine

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
     This has been another beautiful week here in Minnesota. The weather has been perfect and I only had to wear my coat at nights when it got colder and I didn't have to wear tights on one of the days...MIRACLE!! I have been enjoying this weather too much, because when I walked outside the actually made a difference and it felt so WARM!
It was our first full week here in Faribault and we had a lot of cool experiences. Hermana Dean and I are still getting used to the area and are still getting lost basically every single night haha but it always makes for an adventure and another good memory.

A quick 5 min photoshoot that we decided to take
 after getting a little lost and didn't know where we were.
We took a quick break to enjoy the nice weather outside
. I've been loving this weather here. It's been so nice!
 Fun fact: I feel like there are more train tracks
here than tall buildings..

    We found some really cool train tracks one time when we got lost, so we just had to take some pictures.  Anyways, when we aren't getting lost or out in the middle of nowhere, we have been able to meet some really amazing members and investigators.We have had a lot of cool experiences that have just testified to me that Sisters really were needed in this area. We have been able to meet a lot of knew people this week and teach some first lessons. We aren't teaching as much in Spanish anymore, but we still have been able to teach some people in Spanish. We are doing the majority of our teaching in English though.

We are so excited because we just started teaching this amazing lady named Heather. One member actually referred us to her about a week ago (when he found out that the missionaries were now sisters) and we were able to have an incredible first lesson with her. She has been exposed to our church through friends and is really intrigued to learn more. The second we sat down with her, she started asking us a bunch of questions about the church and what we believe and why we believe different things. We are excited to continue teaching her and help her find answers to some of the questions that she has. Her hope is to eventually become a member of this church and to be baptized, but she wants to learn before that takes place. Which is perfect, because that is our job as missionaries: teach people and help them come closer to Christ :)

MARY! She's from Kenya.
She kept telling us how much
she loved us and loved that we were
 dressed up in a dress like her.
She told us that we are her "daughters"
and that she's so grateful for us. Love her. 

We also met this super cute lady from Kenya this week!!!! We were actually looking for another family member of hers, but he wasn't home. However, Mary let us right in and started talking to us about God. We also were able to sing some hymns that she knows as well, and the spirit was so strong. She is currently actively going to another church, but she is open to learn more about our church. She already has so much faith and love for God, and we are really happy that we can hopefully continue to teach her and help her increase the faith that she already has.

Last Pday! We were all able to go to lunch
 last week at a recent convert’s house on Pday!
 We forgot to take a picture with the family
 but we took one afterwards haha 

As I was sitting in Relief Society yesterday and we were singing the hymn titled, "Come, Come, Ye Saints" I just felt the spirit so strongly and as we were singing . The first two verses of the song says:

 Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell--
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell--
All is well! All is well

 I started thinking about the sacrifices that the pioneers made for us, and all of the trials and persecution that they went through because they were following God's will. Sometimes it's hard as we follow God's will for us and to stand up for what we believe in and what we personally know to be true. As we follow God and His teachings, I know that there are no efforts wasted. I know that through Jesus Christ's Atonement we can be strengthened to get through any tough time that we may have. I know that being a follower of Jesus Christ is worth it. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ SO much. It has brought so much happiness and peace into my life. I am so incredibly grateful to be a missionary at this time in my life. I love it and I am so happy.
Have a wonderful week. I love you all! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all so much more!!!
Hermana Duvall

The amount of food that was given to us in just one day, so nice!
 I seriously don't understand why people here are SO nice 

One of the families in the ward, the Reher’s, have been some of our favorite people here.
 Their granddaughters, Mackenzie and Hannah, made breakfast for us this morning.
It was the most fancy breakfast I have had in a while.
They were so cute and set it all up so nice for us. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tall buildings? No. Corn fields? Yes.

Traditional banner from momma and daddy.
 Hermana Warmbier put it up for me and
decorated the rest of the apartment

Washington DC  South Mission Apron from JereBear for my birthday

Hermana Duvall and Hermana Warmbier

Picture from our last district Meeting.
 I loved serving with my district in the St. Paul area.
Hermana Anderson made an ice cream pie for my
birthday and it was so good.
Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
       I hope everyone had a wonderful week! Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I really appreciate all of the sweet messages that we sent to me! I had a birthday that I will never, ever forget. I got to go out and get sushi to celebrate last p-day, and then on my actual birthday I ate 4 different kinds of cakes, pumpkin chocolate pancakes, caldo de res, panvasos, homemade tortillas con salsa verde, 5 enchiladas, ensalada, and a bunch of random stuff that people kept giving me. It was the best birthday ever and I got to spend it with some of my favorite people.
       It was really bitter sweet leaving East Saint Paul. I grew to love the people there so much only after six weeks. They became like my family. It's funny how goodbyes have become harder and harder the longer that I have been out on my mission. I love being a missionary so much.

EVA! I am going to miss Eva soooo much.
She has been a light in my life
and I have learned so much from her. 

Love her so much.

The goodbye that was especially hard was Eva. We had an amazing lesson with her where the spirit was so strong. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be there with her during this life changing experience. Her faith in Jesus Christ grew so much and she has been able to have the strength the begin overcoming her addictions. When we told her that both Hermana Warmbier and I were going to be leaving, she was really sad because we have been the ones who have helped her and never gave up on her. But she told us that we will see her at her baptism and she will continue to meet with the Elders!!! I cannot wait to attend her baptism in the future and to be able to see her again.

I'm 20!

Sweet Ketzali. Love her sooo much

The Torres family. Hermano Torres was our ward mission leader. He was the best ever and helped us out so much.

Hermanas Duvall and Warmbier with Hermana Cisneros. Love her!

Hermano Cordero is awesome and is so good at futbol.
Going to miss him and his family

Hermano Jorge Brito. He is on fire and working towards going to the temple.
He made me a special birthday lunch (He's a professional chef)
and it was absolutely amazing food.

Our last Dinner as a full district at the 
Vilorios house. I love the Vilorios. 
They have been so nice and welcoming 
to all of us missionaries into their home. 
So grateful to have met them.

Hermana Duvall and her new companion... 'Hermana Duvall" actually it is Hermana Dean
Cornfield photo shoot...

We were driving in the middle of nowhere the other day and we stopped to have a photo shoot in the cornfield haha. I love this part of Minnesota because it's so much calmer than the cities. It's awesome and the stars are really pretty..
 So this last week in Faribault has been one of the most interesting and different weeks of my mission. I am not longer surrounded by tall building, sirens, and a lot of Hispanics. There are a lot of corn fields and other fields, a lot of white people, and no tall buildings. It is really pretty out here. Due to the fact that both Hermana Dean and I didn't know the area at all coming here, we have just been doing a lot of stop by's and meeting people. We have met some of the most interesting people that I have ever talked to and have had some really funny experiences. I'll just say that there are some people here that are very different...

 Anyways, we have an investigator named Zelynda that is supposed to be getting baptized in a couple of weeks. She is so cute and really wants to be baptized. We were able to meet with her once last week and had a really good lesson about repentance. She needs to come to church a couple more times before she can be baptized, but we are excited to get to work with her and help her strengthen her testimony.

This is Zelynda! She's 12 and is really excited to get baptized.
We are going to continue to work together so that
she'll be more prepared for her baptism. Love her already :)
 I love the ward. We have been able to meet a lot of the members here; they really are willing to help us with whatever we need help with. It has been really nice to have their support, because Hermana Dean and I have gotten lost several times. Last night, our ward mission leader had to come find us and drive us to his house because we were so lost haha. I am so grateful to be serving around such great members of our church here in Faribault. There are 2 really strong Hispanic Families that come to church, and we found them on Sunday and were able to speak Spanish to them. It was like a breath of fresh air speaking Spanish and being around those that can :)

Brother Beach!
Elder Porter y Elder Aroaz drove down
and stopped in our area and introduced us to
some of the members. This is brother Peach.
He is awesome hahah

The scripture that has been my motto for this week is 1 Nephi 3:7, which says, "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Although it was hard to leave East St. Paul, I am so grateful to know that Heavenly Father always has a plan in store for us, better than what we can ever imagine. I know that this is the Lord's work and it is not my work, and I am filled with gratitude that God trusts me to help bring some of His sons and daughters unto Christ. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can receive the strength to do all things. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love it. I love this gospel. I am so happy and filled with joy that I have this wonderful opportunity to be out on a mission right now!!
Thank you for all of your love and support. I love all of you!! But don't forget- Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all SOOO much more!!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Duvall
Sushi lunch, last pday. We went to am all you can eat sushi place and it was heavenly.
 I may or may not have eaten way too much, but it was worth it.

La Familia Pliego decorated their house for me
and threw me a fun birthday party.

Hermana Pliego became like a momma to me
while I was in St. Paul!

Eduardo did a really cool card trick
 and gave me that happy birthday card.

They threw me a surprise birthday party at the church.
 I thought we were going to an FHE
 but they surprised me with yet another cake.

This is one of my favorite little kids.
We always called each other “Cucui”.
I don't know how to spell it but it's the
equivalent to the booth man in Spanish.

Hermano Cordero made this for me. It was the best gift... it's tripa.. intestines in English hahaha so funny.

Here are some head smashing into the birthday cake videos... tap to view...


Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6, 2017 The big 20!

 ¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
     First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful week. I would like to start my letter off by telling a funny story that happened last week. I backed Hermana Warmbier out (that's a rule for missionaries haha), however I decided to take the trash out at the same time. So after I backed her out, I was walking over to the dumpster. I looked in front of me and an older man fell because of the black ice on the street.. pobrecito.. I noticed that he fell and I didn't think to look in front of me to see if there was ice. So, can you guess what happened? I fell. That was my first time falling in this wonderful Minnesota winter. Hermana Warmbier and I had a good laugh. Luckily the trash broke my fall so I'm not sore! At least I am making memories right? haha

The relief society made this cookie for me for my birthday!
It was such a cute surprise.
I've loved serving in this ward with all of the awesome members.

   I can't believe that I am turning 20 tomorrow!! It's crazy how fast time has flown by. I'm so grateful for my two wonderful parents who have raised me and for my awesome twinner who has been by my side longer than anyone else!

We went out to an all you can eat sushi place for lunch today for my birthday.
It was seriously the BEST sushi that I have eaten in a while.
Definitely worth it. :) A very good start to a 🎈 birthday.

     We had a really awesome week of teaching a lot of lessons and meeting a lot of new people. I love being a missionary so much. Sometimes people do reject our message, but when that happens it just pushes me even more to find the next person who is ready to hear this message of truth and happiness. I also really love being able to work with the members here! We were able to meet with one of our members, Hna Becerra this week! We are so excited, because she wants us to start teaching her kids the missionary discussions. We have a Family Home Evening with them tonight!

Hermana Duvall and Hermana Warmbier with Hermana Elisa Becerra. We love her sooo much.
 We are going to start teaching her kids the missionary discussions
(I guess the new elders will be doing that after tonight haha).
She's awesome and has so much  faith. Love her.

EVA CAME TO CHURCH! She loved it soooo much.
She's progressing so much in her testimony.
The other Hermanas in the west side of St. Paul
are probably going to continue to teach her.

Our investigator Eva is doing soo good! She has literally become a different person this last week. Before this week, we were having a harder time seeing her, but this week we were able to see her or teach her almost every single day this week; She's on fire!! Seriously, she is a miracle. Her understand of the gospel is just growing and she is soaking in every single principle that we are teaching her. She was finally able to go to the 12-Steps Addiction Recovery Program this week and she loved it. And she came to church yesterday!!! We made some goals with her to help her along the way as she prepares for her baptism. I am so impressed and in awe with the strength that she has.  She has the BEST responses to all of the questions that we ask her. They are so sincere and simple. One of my favorite things is when she said, "Man, Jesus Christ loves all of us so much. He died for all of us. He died for me.. Wow, He loves me!!" She is just so prepared to embrace the gospel fully in her life, but we have to make sure that she is completely clean for a least 2 weeks before her baptism. We actually switched her baptismal date to March 11th. I love Eva so much and I am so grateful to have met her and help her learn about her true identity as a daughter of God. I know that Heavenly Father loves her so much, and that as she continues to embrace the Atonement of Jesus Christ that she is going to receive more and more joy in her life!!

Hermana Warmbier and I took a little trip
to the Cathedral in St. Paul. It was so pretty!
I'm so glad that I got to go visit it before I left St. Paul!

 Sadly, I am actually getting transferred and leaving this area. Both Hermana Warmbier and I are going to be leaving, and elders are coming to "white wash" our area. I've learned so much this last transfer and I am so grateful for everything that I've learned. I loved being STL and learning for the other sisters. I am so sad leaving our investigators, especially Eva, but I hope that I will be able to come back up for her baptism. It's crazy how hard it's become saying by to people even when you meet the weeks before. The mission really changes us haha.

Beautiful ceiling of Saint Paul Cathedral

Cathedral of Saint Paul  

 So I am going to be headed to Faribault with Hermana Dean. We are actually going to white washing that area, which means that both of us are going to be new in the area. It's an enlgish Ward, so we do both English and Spanish work. Then during church we translate for the members/investigators that only speak Spanish. I am so excited for this next transfer. It's definitely going to be different, but I know that I real,y can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! 
     I was reading in the talk "Joy and Spiritual Survival" by President M. Russell Nelson this morning. I love this talk so much; I wish I could just copy and paste the whole thing. I would like to share a snippet of it, and he says:
"My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening--or not happening--in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him...If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy! Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ."
I love this idea that real, pure joy can only come through Jesus Christ! I know that as we continually strive to follow His example, we will find that everlasting joy in our lives! I have seen that in my mission every day, in my life and in the lives of others. I know that real Joy comes into our lives as we let the savior into our lives and continually work on our relationship with him. I know that life can be hard at times, but Jesus Christ is always there to help us and bring us back into the light. I love my Savior SOOOO MUCH! He has become my all time best friend, and I am so grateful for that.

White Bear Lake

I love you all so much! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all SO MUCH MORE! Have a wonderful week :)
Love, Hermana Duvall
Hermana Duvall
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission

 Video of musical number practice ---“Fuente de la vida eterna. We sang it at church last week and at Zone conference last week as well. Sister Forbes had to take a video of us singing after Zone Conference was over haha.