Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017 Abiu Espinal's Baptism

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
   

This picture is taken right outside of our new apartment!!
We are so excited to move in tomorrow woooooo

This was a wonderful week here in Faribault, MN. Lots of amazing things happened this week and I am so happy. First off, we had transfers this week and I got a new companion. Her name is Hermana Davis and she is from Spanish Fork, Utah.  She has been on her mission for about 4 1/2 months. We actually served around each other in St. Paul, so it's been fun to be reunited together again. We are already really good friends and I am so grateful to have her as a companion. She's the best, and I am learning a lot from her. Also, we are FINALLY moving out of our mold infested apartment tomorrow. We have slowly been trying to pack all of our stuff up when we aren't out of the house doing missionary work. We still have to pack up a lot of stuff, but we are SO EXCITED.

We took this picture last week before he was baptized.
He loves when we come over and read in the Book of Mormon
with him. Every time we go over there I am always in awe with
the questions that he comes up with.
This week he asked us: what happens if I forget about god?
 He was so worried that he might forget because he loves it so much.
We assured him that he will not forget about god and that
God never forgets any of his children either


Another amazing thing that happened is Abiu Espinal was baptized!!! Abiu is 9 years old and his parents and sister were already members before he was baptized. His parents felt that he wasn't mature enough to be baptized a year ago when we turned 8 years old, but right as I arrived to this arrive they felt that Abiu was now ready to be baptized.  He patiently waited for a whole month as we went through all of the lessons with him; and, every single lesson he asked us to count down the hours to his baptism. Watching Abiu come out of the water with the biggest smile on his face and watching him jump up and down in the water was the best thing to see. He received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday!  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here and to have been able to teach Abiu.
I continue to be amazed at his understanding and love for this gospel, even at such a young age. I love him so much and I can't wait to continue to visit with him and teach him some more :) Because of the fact that everyone in his family are members now, they can be sealed in the temple!!! So, we are going to be working with them and helping them prepare to enter the temple! This family just inspires me and I love them so much.




Hermana Davis, Me, Hermano Espinal, Abiu,
Hermana Dean


Hermano Mynor Espinal, Zabdy Espinal,  Hermana Abdony Espinal, Abiu Espinal,
Me, Hermana Davis, Hermana Dean. This was taken before the baptism!
Hna Davis and I had to come to the church building at 6:30am to make sure the font
got filled up in time for the baptism


   

Selfie with Abiu right after he was baptized. Gotta love the peace sign hah





Most of the missionaries in the picture have served in this area and all were able to make it to Abiu's baptism. We all love him lots. Hermana Bryson, Hermana Davis, Hermana Dean, Me, Elder Porter, Elder Aroaz, Elder Calderwood, Elder Boothe and Abiu.

video

Just a video of how Abiu was feeling! He was so excited afterwads! He just kept jumping around everywhere!  SO PRECIOUS!



 I love this area so much! So many great things are happening here. The members are AWESOME. Yesterday, we had 5 investigators come to church. All of these investigators are friends that the members in our ward just invited to come to church. So, we are really pumped and excited to be able to teach some of them and get to know them better.
       Saturday was just an amazing day, because (besides Abiu's baptism) we got to watch the Women's Session of General Conference!! I loved all of the talks. I feel like all of them had a very specific theme that really stood out to me: remember who we are and where we come from. We are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. Before this life, we lived with Him. We chose to come here to this earth hoping and earning to live with Him again. I am so glad that we do not have to go through this life blindly! I love what Elder Henry B. Eyring said in his talk:"you will at times have your faith challenged by Satan; it happens to all disciples of Jesus Christ your defense against these attacks is to keep the Holy Ghost as your companion. The spirit will speak peace to your soul. He will urge you forward in faith. He will bring back the memory of those times when you felt the light and the love of Jesus Christ." This life can be really difficult at times and we may find ourselves in very foggy places, but I know that as long as we continually remember who were are, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going, that life will be so much brighter and happier!! Yesterday in church a member gave a talk and she said something that I loved. She said, "I'm so grateful I'm not a rock." haha. Hey, we aren't rocks. I think it's wonderful that we can learn, grow, progress, and become better. I know that we all have a divine identity and divine potential, and I know that as we continually search for truth and light that we will feel of God's love that He has for us!!! Ok, sorry for my long rant. I just love this gospel so much and it makes me so happy!!!
       I hope you all have a wonderful week! Don't forget who you really are and that you are loved so much. I love you all (les quiero muchiiiissssiiimo). Also, don't forget that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all SO much more!!
con amor,
Hermana Duvall

 ok. This is sister Curry.
She is my role model!! I love her sooooo much
With Hermana Duvall and Hermana Dean


ALL OF THE HERMANAS IN ONE PLACE! This hasn't happened in a very long time. All of the Hermanas got switched up, so all of us ended up at transfers together. It was so fun to see everyone and previous companions


We went out to lunch with Bro Pietsch with
Elder Boothe and Elder Porter.
Brother Pietsch was being silly and hid behind Elder Porter haha


Mary!! She's the sweet lady from Africa who always calls us her daughters.
We finally found a Swahilian Book of Mormon for her to read and she was so excited.
She loves talking about god and Jesus Christ with her. Her faith is already so strong
and I know this message is helping strengthen her faith even more.

Brother James Taylor sent this picture of Hermana Duvall and Hermana Dean on Monday, March 20th 

"OK, in order to get the missionaries some more visibility I have taken him to a hockey game at my school, Shattuck-St. Mary's. We are a national-caliper team so the play is pretty good - and we are winning. Sis Dean is getting transferred tomorrow (what!?! She just got here!) but Sis Duvall didn't repent enough so she gets another 6 weeks.  Your ladies are doing good and doing well! 

Sincerely, Brother Taylor"


Hermana Davis, Sister Vallaincourt (she loves bunnies) and Hermana Duvall







Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017 Faribault Round 2

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos! 
   

This has been another great week in Minnesota.  Last P-day, one of my old companions, Hermana Rowland, came to Minnesota to visit! We got to spend the day with her catching up, and it was so much fun :)

The lovely Ashia Rowland,  She was my
companion way back in Lakeville and I love her so much!
It was hard for me to not call her Hermana but it was so fun to
see her! She is getting married in two weeks and is so happy.
I am so happy for her!

She is getting married in about 2 weeks and I am so happy for her! It is so crazy that this transfer is already over. Time is just going faster and faster. I am going to be staying here in Faribault for another transfer and I am really happy! I love this area so much; although, I am sad that Hermana Dean isn't going to be my companion anymore. But, my new companion is going to be Hermana Davis. I served around her in St. Paul and she is a gem and is sooo funny. I am really excited to be her companion :) 


This next transfer is going to be great.   We had a really cool experience this week! We have a couple of colleges in our area, so we decided to go visit one of them last week! The campus was seriously so pretty and it has really cool old buildings. Anyways, while we were there we met this really cool guy from West Africa!! He was really happy to find out that we were missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He shared with us that he had a friend who he knew back in Africa who was LDS and was always very grateful for their friendship. He mentioned to us that he had a Book of Mormon once and never read it but, he would if he had one! Luckily, as missionaries we always have a Book of Mormon with us! So we gave him one and he is really excited to read it.      Abiu is going to be baptized this Saturday!!! We had some really awesome lessons with him last week and every lesson he kept asking us to count down the hours until his baptism. Yesterday, we showed him the baptismal font and he was just so happy!!! I have loved watching Abiu's testimony of the gospel grow. I LOVE teaching little kids because they just recognize truth the second they see or hear it. I know that there's a reason why the scriptures talk about how we much become like little children to enter into the Kingdom of God. I know that we are all children of Heavenly Father and that He loves us very much. I am so grateful to have been able to be here and teach Abiu more about the gospel and I am so incredibly excited for his baptism this weekend!!!

Hermana Warmbier!
She is going home in about 2 weeks
from her mission so it was nice to say one last goodbye.
She was my companion when I was in East St. Paul.

   

9 out of the 13 hermanas serving in Minnesota.
 Because there are such a small number of  us we are all
really tight with eachother. I love them all a lot! 

We had Zone conference last week up in Lakeville. It was really fun to see all of the other missionaries that I have served around and to catch up with them. There were 9 out of the 13 Hermanas (Spanish speaking sisters) there so that was fun to almost have all of us together. President Forbes gave an

amazing talk about believing that we can become like God, and I really loved it. I know that because we are all made in the image of God that we all have the potential to become like Him. I am so incredibly grateful for my parents for teaching me and loving me. I am grateful to know that I am a Child of God and that I have a divine nature to fulfill on this life. I know that each and every one of us play a very specific part in Heavenly Father's plan of Happiness. One of my favorite hymns is "O My Father" and although it is kind of long I wanted to share the lyrics. 
 1. O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?
2. For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.
3. I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.
4. When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
    I know that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who both love all of us so dearly. I cannot wait for the day until I can meet them again and thank them. I am so grateful for my family here on earth and I am filled with joy knowing that I can live with my family forever in the presence of God. I am so happy and I love this gospel with all of my heart!!
   I love you all so much and I hope you have a wonderful week. Don't forget: Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. love you all SO much more!
Love,
Hermana Duvall


Elder McVicker, Elder Christiansen, Hermana Dean, and I!
We all went out to lunch on Friday together.
Elder McVicker had to come down for Abiu's interview,
so we went out to eat right before. They are both awesome missionaries.


This was totally not a staged picture haha.., actually it was.
 But we love this family so much. The Taylor Family!
Brother Taylor is our ward mission leader and he is awesome!
We are so very grateful to have them here in our area.


 Maddie Hancock!
She is one of our favorite people to come teaching with us.
 She is currently a senior in high school
but she will be headed to BYU Provo this fall.
We look forward to spending some time together at school in Utah! 

video

 video; a "One stop light" town... Medford, Minnesota.

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017 Eternal Bliss, yet another dead mouse

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Herrmana Duvall enjoyed spending time
 with her former mission companion
Hermana Ashia Rowland as she is visiting
the Minneapolis Minnesota Mission


Hermana Dean and I went to this really good
Thai food place. The food was super good.


This has been another good week of being a missionary and I am still loving it lots. We found another dead mouse in our apartment and Hna Dean was a gem and got rid of it for us.   I am very grateful for Hermana Dean and that she's my companion. She's the best.  This transfer has just flown by and we already only have one week left! It's crazy. We hope we stay together for just one more transfer. Nothing super new, it snowed last night and it was a really cold week. We went finding this week out in the FREEZING COLD and we had a really cool "fourth floor, last door experience." We didn't dress warm enough and we were out tracting in a trailer park. We decided that we were going to knock two more doors until we headed back to our car (because we literally felt like our faces were going to fall off haha). The last door that we knocked on was this guy named Alberto and he was super interested! We are going back next week to teach him some more.


   

 Sister Gotchy. She is one of my STLs.
We took this picture in that one 'two street town', Veseli.


  We went on exchanges this week with our STLs, Sister Gotchy and Sister King. I got to go to their area with Sister Gotchy and Hermana Dean stayed in our area with Sister King. It was a really amazing experience! Sister Gotchy and I taught his  knows a lot about our religion and sat down and talked with us for a while, but in the end he just wanted to bash with us. We also went to a town that literally only had two streets in it! It's a small town called Veseli in the middle of nowhere. There are a lot of people from the Czech Republic and they had a huge church building in the center of the town. We only had the chance to talk to some of the people that lived there, but they are going to go back and try more.
        We are doing a lot of work with the Youth in our ward and they are all so awesome. We were able to go to mutual this week and three investigators came to it! We went on a hike at the Faribault Nature Center and it was a lot of fun. They all really enjoyed it and this ward is super awesome in fellowshipping them. We are excited to continue to work with them.

Sister Oelkers! We love her sooo much.
Her son-in-law, Sam, is a recent convert
and he just received the Melchizedek Priesthood t
his last Sunday and he's so happy.
Sam and Nikki (her daughter) are going to be
sealed in June. We are all very excited 


        Abiu is doing sooo awesome and is progressing towards baptism. We are so excited for him!! We were able to teach him more this last week and everything he says and asks is just so precious. He saw a picture of the baptismal font this week and was just in awe. We also gave him a Book of Mormon for Kids which has a lot of pictures in it, because he has a hard time reading. He was really happy that we gave it to him because he wants to learn more about the stories in the Book of Mormon. I love teaching Abiu, because he just loves Jesus Christ and God SO much and in such a simple way. He has so much faith and trust; He inspires me to be better. He is going to be baptized in two weeks!!!! He is going to have his baptismal interview this week with our district leader. We hope that both Hermana Dean and I are going to stay here for next transfer, because his baptism is next Saturday after transfers. Nevertheless, he is still going to be baptized and we are SOO happy for him!!!
I am reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish and I got to my favorite chapters this morning Alma 36 and 37. I love the loving fatherly advice that Alma gives to his son, Alma. He just reminds him to remember the Lord in all things and remember that literally everything we have is because of him. I love Alma 37:36,44 says:
        "36.Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever...[44]For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss.."
I love this scripture so much, because I know that we can receive ETERNAL BLISS if we just continue to follow Jesus Christ and His example. Yeah, it may be difficult, but it is ALWAYS worth. I know that He is the Savior of the world and that He died for us. I know that we can all receive eternal happiness that will never, ever end if we use the Atonement and continue to strive to be just a little better day by day.
   I love you all so much, but more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ loev you all so much more! Have a wonderful week and don't forget to be happy!!!

Con Amor,
Hermana Duvall

A Minnesota shaped cloud.... can you see it? 





We tried drawing a heart in the snow...
 so if you can't tell it's a heart!


Monday, March 6, 2017

March 6, 2017 "9 months already?!"

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
     

So this was actually last week on the coldest day.
 We didn't really think it was going to be cold,
but nevertheless it was surprisingly really cold.
We were walking around outside
 and every once in a while we would stop
in our car to defrost haha

So this is apparently a tradition...when elders
hit their halfway make they burn a tie
or something like that. When sisters hit
their halfway mark, they take a pregnant
 picture (9 Months) haha. 

So that's what I did!
It's crazy how fast time is flying by.
I love being a missionary.


 I hope everyone had a wonderful week :) this was a really good week for me. I am so grateful to be a missionary, and to be able to help people daily remember that they are children of our Heavenly Father. I love the people here and I love being a missionary. I hit my 9 month last week... how crazy?! I feel like the time is just going by sooo fast and I don't want my mission to end. It's good that I have 9 months left as a set apart missionary.

       Short update on the weather (because i always have something about the weather in my letters). It was just a pretty normal week here in Minnesota. It was a little more on the warmer side, besides one day last week where it was REALLY cold plus wind chill.

We had a lot of really cool experiences this week teaching people about the Plan of Salvation.  Most of the people that we taught hadn't even thought about where we had lived before this life. I am so grateful for the knowledge that we lived with Heavenly Father as spirits before this life, and that he sent His son Jesus Christ to help us return to live with him again. I love teaching about how much God loves all of us because He does! It's such a simple truth that sometimes we can forget.

Abiu Espinal!
Hermana Dean took a picture during the lesson
 and told me afterwards haha.
 We gave Abiu a little fake doughnut
to help him remember to "dough-nut forget to say his prayers"
 He got a huge kick out of it and told us
that he is going to carry it around with him everywhere he goes haha. 

 
 
     

We went and taught a lesson about the articles of faith
 to the girls in Activity Day girls
(Ashley, Carmen, Ande, Hannah and then Sister Voelker). 
They are all so cute! 


We are doing a lot of work with the youth in our ward, and we are teaching a lot of younger kids. I love teaching kids because it reminds me how simple the gospel of Jesus Christ really is. It's not meant to be something complicated or hard to live. In fact, living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best way and happiest way that we can live our lives. We are teaching the CUTEST little boy ever. He is 9 years old and his name is Abiu. His parents are both members and are actually working towards going to the temple! We started teaching Abiu this week because he wants to be baptized.  We've taught him about the Restoration of the gospel and also the Plan of Salvation. He literally asks the best questions every time. For example, when we taught him about Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His son Jesus Christ, he asked: "how does Heavenly Father know my name?" After we were done teaching the Plan of Salvation to him, he was so in awe about the Three Kingdoms of glories and he kept talking about how he really wants to go to the Celestial Kingdom to live with God and Jesus Christ. One of my favorite things that he said was, "oh man, I hope I make it!!" We assured him that if he continues to make good choices and follow God's plan for him that he will make it! He is going to be baptized on March 25th and he is soooo excited!! Abiu is our little miracle. He is such a great example I feel like I am learning so much from him! 

   During my studies this week I came across a quote from C.S. Lewis that I absolutely love. He states, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace” (Mere Christianity). I know that we all go hard things in our lives, and sometimes we do not understand why in the world we have to go through it. But Heavenly Father is molding into the person that he knows we can become. I know that He loves all of us because we are his children. I know that He has given us so many different tools to help us get through this life. Prayer has helped me so much in my life and relying on my Savior Jesus Christ! I know that Heavenly Father knows what's best for us; we just have to trust him!
 
    I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember that Heavenly Father is just molding you into something even more amazing! Love you all. But more importantly Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you so much more!

Con amor,
Hermana Duvall
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission

Hermana Espinal! She's is one of our favorite members in our ward.
She's from Guatemala and joined the church about 2 years ago.
 She makes reaaaallly good food and is one of the funniest
 people that I have met out here! We love her 



The house I grew up in was on Windsor Rd,
so I had to take a picture with this street sign.