Elder Curtis Sudbury

Elder Curtis Sudbury

Monday, February 27, 2012

On top of the work in Mexico

Pix from customary even in Mexico

Letter from curtis February 27, 2012

Dear Family,
We had a lovely baptism this Saturday. Ángel has progressed a lot and truly repented since we met him four months ago. I am so pleased to have had the priveledge to have baptized him. He was very happy about his baptism, as were we. This week we have a baptism of an elderly man. He had brain surgery a little more than a year ago and then lost his wife. He can't walk well and has trouble remembering names, but as we taught him the gospel, he felt the Spirit comforting him about his wife and his life. He has a sincere desire to get baptized and go to the temple to seal himself to his wife. He passed his baptismal interview this Sunday and his baptism is planned for this Saturday.
I went on exchanges a lot of last week. Just as my district starts to get the hang of things, they move us all around. It's part of progression. We're facing a lot of the same challenges as we started with a few months ago. Things are, however, going well. The elders in my district seem happy and are starting to baptize. We're working hard altogether.
This week we'll have more exchanges, but I'll be staying in my area. We have a lot of work to do, but all will be well.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Think not, When you Gather to Zion:

Think not when you gather to Zion,
Your troubles and trials are through,
That nothing but comfort and pleasure
Are waiting in Zion for you:
No, no, ’tis designed as a furnace,
All substance, all textures to try,
To burn all the ‘wood … and [the] stubble,’
The gold from the dross purify. …
Think not when you gather to Zion,
The Saints here have nothing to do
But to look to your personal welfare,
And always be comforting you.
No; those who are faithful are doing
What they find to do with their might;
To gather the scattered of Israel
They labor by day and by night.

This is one of my favorite hymns that unfortunately is no longer in they hymnal. When we gather to Zion, that is, when we are baptized and confirmed, we enter into a world of work. The church is designed to purify us. Purification is never an easy process. It involves burning and cutting and is generally very hard. Nevertheless, it leaves you pure. The church is designed to perfect us, to make us, in the end, as our Father is. It's hard, but worth it. I know that that is the goal of the Father and, thus, is the goal of the church. I know He lives and is constantly working. I will work too.

All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Mom and Dad, congrats on your talks. Melanie and Tim, congrats on the reward. SalleeAnn and Matt, let me know the news. Noella, please tell me more about your work and your plans. JuleeAnn and Chris, with luck I'll see you there. I love you all!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter from Curtis January 16, 2012

Hello Family,
It's been a bit of an odd week. We had two leadership councils and I went on exchanges with other missionaries twice this week. I really haven't seen our investigators and I can only hope that Élder Gómez is helping them with their personal needs.  Elder Gomez is trying hard and doing a really good job. I think that trying hard is a good 90% of missionary success.  He officially finished his instruction time in the mission. He'll be ready for a good, long, hard mission now.
This week we began to share our testimonies more in the street when we talk to people for the first time. A lot more people have invited us to their houses. I think the power of a simple, pure testimony really can change hearts and lives. A simple testimony of the Book of Mormon and consistent studying of it will carry both our investigators and me back to live with God in the eternities. I truly believe that. I'm hugely imperfect, but I know I can obtain eternal life by holding fast to the word of God.
We climbed to the top of a hill today in the morning. I'm tired, but it was fun. I loved reflecting on being able to leave the smog of the city to be able to see the clear day just a few steps away. Patrick Kearon commented on that in the Liahona of December. If you get a chance, you should read it, it was especially good.
I wish I could say more about the week. It's just the regular preaching the gospel here in Mexico City.
This week's letter has been brought to you by the hymn Carry On:
1. Firm as the mountains around us,
Stalwart and brave we stand
On the rock our fathers planted
For us in this goodly land—
The rock of honor and virtue,
Of faith in the living God.
They raised his banner triumphant—
Over the desert sod.
And we hear the desert singing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Hills and vales and mountains ringing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Holding aloft our colors,
We march in the glorious dawn.
O youth of the noble birthright,
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
2. We’ll build on the rock they planted
A palace to the King.
Into its shining corridors,
Our songs of praise we’ll bring,
For the heritage they left us,
Not of gold or of worldly wealth,
But a blessing everlasting
Of love and joy and health.
And we hear the desert singing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Hills and vales and mountains ringing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Holding aloft our colors,
We march in the glorious dawn.
O youth of the noble birthright,
Carry on, carry on, carry on!

I love this hymn. It's a very cheery hymn that encourages diligence in continuing forward. As Christ said, "My father still works, and I work." The work of the Lord is not over and He hasn't stopped working. I must work as well until He's done. I know He lives and works because I've seen His work in my life and in the lives of every person with whom I've ever come in contact. I know He exists. I have had so many proofs in my heart and life.  This is His church. Of these things I am completely sure.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Mom and Dad, enjoy the snow ;). Melanie and Tim, thank you for your support and love. I hope your family is well. SalleeAnn and Matt, I hope your adorable children are doing well. Noella, I hear you've selected a wedding dress. I want a picture ;). JuleeAnn and Chris, thank you for the note. You'll be moving soon enough. I love you all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter from Curtis January 9, 2011

Dear Family,
It was an interesting week. Here in México we celebrate something called Day of the Three Kings in memory of the three wise men that came to give gifts to Christ. Families that don't celebrate Christmas or Christmas Eve usually celebrate this holiday as the Three Kings come to give gifts to children that ask for them. It's a holiday almost as big as Christmas, so many people weren't in their homes. Most people have work and school off to celebrate. It's an interesting tradition. :)
This last week I was impressed with the healing power of the gospel. We ran into the father of an old investigator. He asked us to pass by. He wants to change a lot of things. A drug addiction, two separations, and trouble at work have made his life rather hectic and, as we talked, he said that he believes the gospel can help him change. Now, I've never tried drugs, I'm not married, and I've never had serious job troubles, but I know that this message can and will, if he lets it, bring peace back into his life.
All is going well. I was a little sick yesterday with diarrhea. Élder Lee (another Élder from my district) was sick with the same thing, but it hit him harder. He couldn't get up in the morning, so I stayed home with him and they brought us the sacrament. We studied and played chess. I managed to remember enough to beat him twice. ;) I feel much better now, as does he. I'm grateful for a good doctor and good medicine.
That's about all the news for this week. I'm well, and we're working hard. This week I have two leadership councils, so it will be a very fast week.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief:
1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not pow’r to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.
2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
He entered; not a word he spake,
Just perishing for want of bread.
I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate, but gave me part again.
Mine was an angel’s portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
The crust was manna to my taste.
3. I spied him where a fountain burst
Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
The heedless water mocked his thirst;
He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
Dipped and returned it running o’er;
I drank and never thirsted more.
4. ’Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
A winter hurricane aloof.
I heard his voice abroad and flew
To bid him welcome to my roof.
I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
And laid him on my couch to rest,
Then made the earth my bed and seemed
In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.
6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ’mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”
This is one of the longest hymns in the hymnbook, but I love the message. All things we do, we do to Him. He suffered every experience of our mortal lives. Every hurt, pain, injustice, sorrow, joy, love, heartache, and everything else life offers He humbly bore so that He may say that He knows exactly what we're going through. If we say something unkind to another, we do it to Him. If we help the weak or weary, we help Him. All things are done to Him. As we help to heal and succor, we too are healed by Him and "from that hour [we forget] the smart/ And peace [binds] up [our] broken heart". I hope to serve Him all my life. I serve Him by helping others on their path, both temporally and spiritually. I know He lives and I know I am in His service. I have been in His service for years. I hope to continue in His service for the rest of my life. He loves me and has given me everything I have. I know that I would not be who I am without Him. He and His Father Live and this is Their Church. I know it.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoyed ringing bells. I got the birthday package. Thank you. Melanie and Tim, Zoë and Ryan are getting so big! I think Zoë will be my size before I get back ;). Matt and SalleeAnn, I got your Christmas card. Your kids are adorable. Noella, I hope your parties with Cliff and the Judge went well. JuleeAnn and Chris, congratulations on the decision. You will LOVE Seattle. I love you all!