Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017 ONE YEAR!

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

 

Just one of the thousand lakes in Minnesota..
oh yeah, and Hermana Davis :)


  First off, happy Memorial Day! I am grateful for all of the men and women who have sacrificed their time and lives to serve our country. This has been a great week for me in the world of missionary work. There was so many little miracles and amazing things that happened this week, and I wish I could share all of them with you. I don't have that time to do that though; but just know that I am writing in my journal every night!

    I was set apart as a full-time missionary exactly one year ago today and then I left my home and flew to Mexico on May 31st. It's crazy that I have been on my mission for a year already. Time has just flown by so quickly. I feel like I am going to be a missionary forever and I still love it!

     So to start off the girl Aleah who we found about 2 weeks ago came to young women's last week and she LOVED it. Her mom is totally fine with her coming, which is great. We love Aleah and her enthusiasm about God, and we are excited to teach her some more.

     We were finally able to teach Valencia this past week! She was a referral from a member and has come to church one time in the past. The lesson was perfect because she had so many questions about the church. We were able to give her a little church tour because we met there for the lesson. She has a desire to find the truth all in one place and is excited to pray to know if what we shared with her is true. She is pregnant and is due soon (or maybe she already had her baby, we don't know haha), so it is going to be a little more difficult meeting with her soon. She said she would eventually be baptized if she learned it was true.

    We also met with a guy named Steve this week! We knocked on his door a couple of weeks ago.  He had several questions about what happens after this life, so we gave him a couple of chapters in the Book of Mormon to read. He said that he had met with Elders before  and they gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He called us last week saying he actually didn't have a copy and wanted us to come give him one. So we did that and he ended up having so many questions about the word of wisdom, law of chastity, the difference between his church and our church, and the nature of the god head. It was just a solid lesson and he is going to read and pray about this church! He also said he would be baptized if he learned it was true!

 

¡Grande eres TĂș! (How Great Thou Art!)
We finished our language study
in the park and sang some hymns.I love music so much nd the spirit that it brings!

  Okay, so last story. Last week, Hna Davis and I were doing language study. All of the sudden Hermana Davis come up to me saying: "We need to go the the Faribault Mill Park...right now." She said she got an impression to go and so we did! It was a cool experience because we ended up being able to teach two lessons. One of them was just a couple sitting in their car eating lunch. The second one was a brother of one of the members in our ward. He recognized us from pictures, knew we were missionaries, and saw us as he was driving past the park. So he stopped to talk with us! It was just a cool experience because we went to this park, and people were just brought to us for us to teach.

    I feel like I learned a lot this week, especially the importance of following the spirit. Sometimes I don't understand why exactly I would be prompted to go something or to say something, but I do know that when it is good it is of God. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:33-36 it says,

 "Fear not to do good, my sons [or daughters], for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.

Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

I know that as we look unto god in every thought, we will be doing what we are supposed to. God is all-loving and all-knowing, and he will never lead us astray. This has brought me a lot of comfort this past week. I love that God loves me. I love that He has provided me with this love, by sending His son Jesus Christ to show us the perfect way to live. I know that as we strive to do what's good, we are bringing glory to our Father and Mother in Heaven.

  I love you all! But more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ love you all SO much more!


con amor,

Hermana Duvall
The Nielsen Family!
Their little girl, Kelsey, really wants to be a missionary
when she's old enough. We love spending time with them. :)



Just one of the thousand lakes in Minnesota..


video

This is a recording of  Hermana Duvall and her companion singing I Know That My Redeemer Lives


Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 President Nelson and shaking his hand!!!!

¡Hola mi Familia y mis amigos!
      I hope you all had a great week. I think the Minnesotan curse of always being able to have a conversation about the weather is rubbing off on me, because I want to share what the weather was like this week haha. This past week, it has basically rained every single day all day. The beginning of the week was hot, humid rain and then it got colder on the weekend. I survived and now everything is more green outside so that's cool.
     

Aleah!! We took this after we met he very first time. 
She is so awesome and I am excited to continue teaching her. 

This week was such an amazing week with meeting so many great people, including this girl named Aleah! Hermana Davis and I decided that we were going to go do some tracting on a street that had a fun name. Outside this one house, there was a super cute dog. For those of you who ever meet Hermana Davis she absolutely LOVES dogs (and fun fact: she can even bark like a dog to). So we went and pet this dog, and the dog "told" us to go knock on the door haha. So we did and we found Aleah! She's the cutest girl ever and loves god so much already. She is excited about the Wednesday night youth activities and she was able to make it to church yesterday and she loved it! She wants us to come teach and meet her family too. We are super excited about her.
      We also had a really fun surprise yesterday at church as well!! After the sacrament was passed and the doors to the foyers opened we saw another investigator named Patrick walking in!! We met Patrick over a month ago! We have been trying to meet with him and teach him, but he has been pretty busy. He always promised us that he would come to church one day and he finally did!! He is planning on coming to church next week as well! We are going to try to teach him this week if his schedule allows it.
 

Ray Chavie (member) and Sue Lukes (investigator). 
They enjoyed the spaghetti dinner and getting
some good deserts from the auction. 

   There are honestly so many great things about this past week, it's hard to pin point the best part. We had a really awesome ward activity on Saturday evening, and one of our investigators came!! It was a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser for the Scout's. They also did a cake auction at the end, and you would be amazed the amount of money people were willing to bet on some of those cakes. We have been finding a lot of great, amazing people who are prepared to listen to the gospel. I know that it's all in the Lord's hand and that as we follow the Spirit we are doing what we are supposed to be doing!
 

Minneapolis Minnesota Mission Conference with President Russell M. Nelson

I think that one of the best things that happened this week was being able to meet President Russell M. Nelson and shake his hand!! We had a Mission Wide Conference where all of the missionaries were able to come hear President Russell M. Nelson speak and Elders Christensen and Stacy. It was a day that I don't think I will ever forget! Most of the Spanish speaking missionaries, including me, had to opportunity to sing "Come thou fount of Every Blessing" in Spansih/English, and that was a special experience. I learned so many great and valuable things during this Conference. I wish I could share it all with you. One of my favorite things, however, was when President Russell M. Nelson talked about repentance. He went through the different greek roots of the word Repentance and defined it. Essentially, repentance is changing your mind, knowledge, spirit, and even the way you breath to be closer to the Savior, Jesus Christ. I love the very last part, that as we sincerely repent even the way we breath will change. I think it's because every fiber in our being, all of our desires and our wants, will act more in accordance with God's will. None of us are perfect, and we all have that "natural man" within all of us. But, we do have a Savior who IS perfect and CAN and WILL help us if we just turn to Him. I know that Christ will always be there to help us if we just turn to Him. I know that God loves all of us very much, and that He wants to bless us for our efforts!!  I know Russell M. Nelson is an apostle of God. When I shook his hand I had a very profound peace and love testify to me that he is a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am amazed with his example. Even though he is already so close to being like the Savior, he was still listening intently to those who spoke and reading all of the scriptures throughout the meeting. He said one thing that I loved: "Those who love the Savior, will want to know more about Jesus Christ. They will want to study, ponder, and apply all of those teachings of Him." I love my Savior so very much, and I know it's a live long process of trying to become more like Him. However, we have the best help there is out there: Christ!
   
      I hope you all have a wonderful week, and try to recognize all of the many blessings God pours out upon your life! I love you all, but more importantly Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you much!!
con amor,
Hermanita Duvall

Last Pday, we were able to all meet up together and spend a fun day
in downtown Northfield! Some person gave us all some free shakes
so that was awesome. Sister Benson, Sister Miller,
Hermana Davis, Me, Hermana Dean, Hermana Bryson!


selfie time



Just a picture of the beautiful clouds after it stormed all day. 





Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017 Feliz dia de las Madres


¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
 
   First off, Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful, amazing momma. I love you so very much. I am so grateful for your wonderful example and for everything you have taught me. Also, Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful women out there who have helped me tremendously in my life. I am appreciative of you all. I know I have been blessed with some amazing women as examples in my life, and I am so grateful for that!

       
Yesterday was probably one of the best days ever because I got to talk to my family!! I love my family so much. I am grateful to be a missionary alongside with my twin brother, Jeremy. He's a great example to me. I'm glad that we were all able to say a family prayer together, even though we are all in different parts of the states.
   

The one and only SISTER CURRY. I love her tons!
She told us to tell our parents that they did a good job raising us :)
Thanks mom and dad! 

 One person who we are really excited about is Major Bell. We knocked on his door a couple of weeks ago and we met his wife, Grace. Then, when we came back the next week we were able to teach Major as well. We have been meeting with him frequently, and he is so solid! He has a lot of questions, but you can just tell that he is searching for the truth. This last week, we were able to go over to his house with some priesthood holders and give him a priesthood blessing. He has been having very bad health issues recently, and hasn't been able to make it to church due to them. He was practically begging for a blessing of health and was happy that we came by. He casually said to us that he wouldn't mind being baptized! We are going to continue to work with him, and hopefully his health will improve soon! He is just so prepared and ready to learn more every time we visit him!
        Other than Major, we have been able to teach and find a lot of new investigators. I love being able to teach people about the Plan that God has for us and also about the Book of Mormon. Hermana Davis and I have been trying to walk around holding copies of the Book of Mormon in our hands, and we have seen a lot of little miracles because of it!
   I am so grateful for my wonderful family, and for my parents who have always set such a great example of faithful followers of Jesus Christ. This marking the day that my Papa Smith passed away 17 years ago, I am also very grateful for my humble, faithful grandparents who raised such amazing parents on great values. I was reading in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" this morning and I found something that I really loved in it and reminded me of my parents. It says,
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities"
I know that as we live the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and incorporate them into our daily lives, that we will all be so much happier. It sometimes feels like it takes a lot of work to do all of these things, but it is SO WORTH IT! If only we could always recognize the happiness that we feel as we are simply doing what's right, even when it's hard. I know that we are blessed for our efforts. I also know that we don't have to go at it alone, because we have the Savior to help us every step of the way!

We substituted a primary class yesterday with 
no guidance as to what to teach. 
Luckily, we had the spirit with us and it turned out great. 
I love this group of crazy kids


Andy! She just had to take a selfie in my iPad haha 



    I hope you all have a wonderful week, love you!! But, more importantly, Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all so much more!

con amor,
Hermana Duvall
Last Pday we decided to have lunch on the Taylor's
back porch, because they have this cute little pond.
We had fun as we tried to feed a duck goldfish, it just ran away from us. 




This was during a thunderstorm last week
and the sun was just setting.  It looked a lot
cooler in person








We were going to dinner at members house,
and the daughter Hannah brought us a frog to hold!
It was really fun!





Here  are some more pictures from our Mother's Day Skype call...Gotta love technology!!!
 














7)

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017 Be Believing and Be Happy!

 ¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos! 
   

You know you're missionaries when you use a
Book of Mormon to prop up your ipad to take a picture

 This was another great week for me, and I hope you all had a wonderful week too! It was so weird not actually going up to transfers because that was the first time I haven't really participated in a transfer. It was quite nice actually :) Hermana Davis and I are happy to still be able to work together and we are hoping for many more miracles this transfer! 

   

The plan of salvation that
Hermana Davis and I chalked at a park 

 We had the opportunity to go chalking this week! "chalking" means that we go somewhere like a park or sidewalk and you chalk out the Plan of Salvation or some cool, inspirational quotes. So, Hermana Davis and I found a park to chalk the Plan of Salvation! We ended up being about to teach a girl named Emily about the Plan of Salvation. It was a really cool experience to talk about God's plan with her, because she hadn't really thought about God as a our loving Heavenly Father. I love teaching people about the Plan of Salvation. We also had a cool experience as we were visiting a couple of less-active members! Their friend, Gale walked in the room as we were visiting them, and he asked right away what we believe what happens after this life. He listened intently as we explained the Spirit world all the way to the three kingdoms of glory, and he just soaked it all it. He said, "well, that makes more sense then just laying in dirt." Yes, yes it does haha. But, we are hopefully going to be meeting with him this week to teach him more!! 


Holly Phillips! I forgot to mention her in my letter.
As we were knocking on some doors,
we noticed holly walking around.
So we decided to go talk to her.
She right away asked us, "are you missionaries?"
And when then explained that she's LDS too!
She doesn't live in our area but works there during the week.
We are happy because we found someone
who wants to go out teaching with us :) 

We've been having a lot of cool lessons and finding a lot of new investigators, which is something that was a struggle in this area for a while. We have been trying to find more opportunities to serve people everywhere we go. Although some people may think it's weird that two girls in dresses are offering to help them with yard work or cleaning, it has opened a lot of doors to sharing a message of the gospel. 

This is Walt! He was in the Korean War
and has a lot of faith in prayer and God.
It was fun getting to know him and all his stories.

We met a guy named Walt this week through offering help, and he was so nice! We had a wonderful discussion with him about following Christ's gospel and how that helps us in our lives. He shared a lot of his experiences that he had while he was in the Korean War. I know God helps us through all the hard times and the good times as well. I love being able to try to walk in the path of Jesus Christ every day. Although, we are rejected sometimes, that's still what Christ went through too! 
   
  This week, one thing that I noticed is just how happy I was in all things. I noticed as I was pulling weeds out of a less active member's yard (and I was wearing a dress) that I did it with a smile on my face. Everyday, I feel like I was just so much happier and I've realized how much I love smiling. I found myself repeating a quote that President Gordon B. Hinckley used to say: "Be believing. Be happy. Don't get discouraged. Things will work out!" I know that as we have faith, trust in God, and follow what He has asked us to, that we are simply so much happier. I was reading in the Gordon B. Hinckley's Book and there's a quote that I just love. He says, 
"Never forget who you are. … You are in very deed a child of God. … He is your Eternal Father. He loves you. … He wants His sons and daughters to be happy. Sin never was happiness. Transgression never was happiness. Disobedience never was happiness. The way of happiness is found in the plan of our Father in Heaven and in obedience to the commandments of His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ."

Trying to take cute pictures with the
cute spring blossoms!
The spring is soooo pretty here! 

As we look forward with steadfastness, knowing that we are all sons and daughters of God, things are just so much easier and happier. This life, we are meant to have REAL joy not worldly, temporary joy. I know that through following Jesus Christ's example and relying on Him in all times, we can find that real joy everyday of our lives!! I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to help others discover this joy in their lives!
I hope you all have a wonderful week, love you all! But, don't forget that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love you all so much more!!
con amor,
Hermana Duvall

Last Preparation day we decided to drive out to Mankato
 to hang out with other missionaries!
We went out to Buffalo Wild Wings


Last P-day we went out to Buffalo Wild Wings
and then we went back to a member's home to
play board games and card games. 





Monday, May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017 The Curse Was Broken

¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos! 
    I hope you all had a wonderful week and enjoyed it to the fullest. This was another great week for me! Of course, I've gotta mention something about the weather. It went back to being colder and I had to actually get my winter coat back out. I don't know what to think anymore about this weather here.... it just loves switching it's mind every week haha. 

Hermana Davis and I enjoyed skipping rocks on this river.
 It took every bit of me to not jump into the water.
..I miss swimmming haha.


     So I cannot believe that another transfer has already come and gone. Time just keeps on going by faster and faster! We heard about transfers and it looks like I'll be staying in Faribault AND Hermana Davis and I are going to be staying together! I haven't had a companion more than one transfer since I got out of training. So she broke the curse and we are staying together. We are so excited for this transfer and for many more miracles that we'll see. 
   

I held a tarantula! It felt so weird. It was really
soft and light on its feet.

 This week was a pretty interesting week! We had a fun P-day last monday. Sister Reher took us to the Nature Center here in Faribault. We went searching for all of the different wild flowers with her and that was so fun! I HELD A TARANTULA. It felt really soft and light on my hand. 






Zone Conference with all of the wonderful sisters :)


Anyways, we also had Zone Conference up in Lakeville so we got to see all of the other missionaries, which is a special experience because we are the only missionaries for about 40 miles in our area haha. We also had about 2 sick days because Hermana Davis ended up getting food poisoning, so we spent a lot of time inside. Luckily the members here are absolutely amazing because they helped us out so much and brought us food that Hermana Davis could actually eat (or drink). 
     Even though this week was a little slower than some others, we still saw so many little miracles and the Lord's hand in the work. I am so grateful that we are led and guided as to know who we need to talk to and where we need to go. We had many experiences where I had the feeling that we needed to turn around as we were driving or knock on a door when we only had a few minutes before our next appointment. Through following the spirit we've been able to meet many new people! 
   
Hopefully Sister Page doesn't get mad at the fact
Im adding her cute selfie into my group email.
A couple weeks ago we told the Pages
 that they had the cutest family
(Virginia and Wallie pictured before are two of her kids)
 and we promised we would make them a cutest family award.
So we sneakily heart attack their door and left this award posted
 with sticky notes for them to see :) Sister Page is like my role model. Love her.

 One of my favorite things about this week was the focus on music and Hymns. At Zone Conference we had a Training on how we can use hymns in our teaching, so Hermana Davis and I took every opportunity to sing a hymn to people this week. It really opened a lot more doors and hearts to at least listening to two girls sing one verse of a hymn. Then at church we had an all hymn sacrament meeting! It was wonderful and the spirit was so strong. Members of the congregation would get up and share what is their favorite hymn and why, and then we would sing one verse of that hymn. I love the power of music and the messages that we can learn as we sing and think of what they're about. One of my favorite hymns is "I Stand All Amazed," and my favorite verse is the 3rd one. It says:

"I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"
      It really is so wonderful to know one day I will be able to stand in front of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and our Loving Heavenly Father, all because of Christ's great atoning sacrifice. I know He lived, died, and was resurrected for me personally and I know He loves me. I know that He performed the Atonement for all of us personally so that we can stand before him at the last day worthily and happy. I will never forget of this sacrifice and I am so grateful I get to testify of Christ daily. 
        I hope you all have a great week, love you all! More importantly, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you more! 
Con amor,
Hermana Duvall 
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission



The amazing Sister Reher!
We had a fun time hiking and looking at all
of the wild flowers and carving our names into sandstone.



The Oelkers brought us ice cream as we were weekly planning at the church
and Hermana Davis finally felt better to eat solid food haha.

Sister Reineke! We love her SO much.
I look up to her a ton and I am grateful
 to have been able to get to see her testimony grow.
She's an amazing women



The Kotas Family! They are probably one of my favorite families ever!
 Both brother and Sister Kotas have such strong testimonies ofthis gospel
and they are going to be sealed as a family for time and all eternity in June!
 I am soooo happy for them. 


Wallis had run away and also Nylala snuck into the picture at this
point haha. Virginia sang the prissy song Gethsemane
for us and it was the sweetest thing!
 I love the sweet spirits that little kids bring into this world


hermana Davis, Virginia, Wallie and I.
 Wallis couldn't stand still for the picture but
look at his cute little red outfit! So cute.

video

After church yesterday we got together and sang some songs with the Pages :)
 Here is a video of us singing I am a Child of God together!!!!