Elder Curtis Sudbury

Elder Curtis Sudbury

Monday, December 27, 2010

Curtis' arrangment for a Christmas Call....

I actually need you to call me at 5:00 PM your time (I believe) that is, 6:00 PM my time :) I love you all!

Christmas Greetings from Curtis December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!
I don't have much time at all this week due to a new plan I'm doing in my district to help them with referrals that I was figuring out, but know that all is well.  The Lord is blessing us immensely for all that we are trying to do right.  This is truly God's work and He is guiding us. 
The big highlight for the week was a family that went to the Mexico City Visitor's Center and asked to meet the missionaries.  They are a good family and the mom and dad have accepted a baptismal date for the eighth of January.  Brenda's baptismal date will also likely be moved to that date.
I'm looking forward to this call, short though it may be.  I can't wait to hear everyone's voices again!
I love the song Oh Holy Night:
(Words by chappeau de roquemaure
Translated by john s. dwight)

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
I want you all to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ.  He was born, he lived, and he died for us.  I know because, as the song says, I have fallen on my knees and, in prayer, asked.  The angel's voice of the Holy Ghost has told me so very clearly of that truth and I know it.  He Lives!  This is truly the Church of He who liveth and he who was slain.  It is true.
All my love,
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis, December 13, 2010

Hello World

Well, it's been an interesting week.  Monday we went to the doctor, tuesday we did some tests, wednesday we got the results, thursday we got the results interpreted, and saturday we went to pick up Élder Wayman's inserts.  It was a very hectic week.  

I'm copying music back onto my iPod, so I haven't much time to write this week, but know I'm doing well and all is well with me. 

The highlights of the last week were the following:  We put a baptismal date with a new investigator, Brenda, for new year's day; the trip to the temple and all the Lord had to say to me there; and I've been made district leader again.

The lyrics for this week have to do with that charge: I'll go where you want me to go:

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle's front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I'll answer dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I'll go where you want me to go.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin
Some wand'rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I'll say what you want me to say.

There's surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth's harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life's short day
For Jesus the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender car,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I'll be what you want me to be.

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I'll be what you want me to be.

I know I will go and do all that God asks me to, no matter how difficult.  I know God is with me.  I know that my Savior lives.  I know that this is His church led by His prophet.  I hope to spend all my life serving my Lord and God.

Merry Christmas (soon)!
Élder Sudbury

PS I got the package.  I just sent a letter to everyone, so just wait a bit for news. :)  Thanks for all your support, one and all!  I love you!

Letter from Curtis December 7, 2010

Well, an interesting week.

We've decided that every time I say something is interesting, it usually means bad news for someone...usually medically :P.  This week we went to the doctors...again.  We went yesterday to the doctor, the orthopedist, and the orthopedic insert factory to fix Élder Wayman's inserts.  They are getting squished very quickly.  Hopefully they will be fixed by this Thursday.  Today we went to the Hospital Ángeles Moncel to do some blood and urine tests for Élder Wayman to test if he's developing diabetes.  He's drinking 5-6 liters a day and so we mentioned it to the doctor.  He recommended the tests.  The results will be in tomorrow evening.  I'm seriously thinking about trying to order that Élder Doctor name tag... :)

Tomorrow we get to go to the temple!  We only get to go once a year, so I'm really excited!  I LOVE going to the temple!

We received new instructions on computer usage.  We can only be on Internet for an hour, but we can write anyone in the direct family that we want.  My emails will probably be a little shorter from here on in.  

Despite not being able to work in our area for very much time, we always see miracles.  Last week we found a fantastic family knocking the door of someone that looked like they were receiving the Jehovah's Witnesses.  Families here are getting excited about missionary work.  All is going well. :)

This week's letter is brought to you by I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
Of peace on earth good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
with peace on earth good will to men."

Till, ringing, singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth good will to men.

At this time of year I happily rejoice in the knowledge that there is peace on earth due to my dear Savior Jesus Christ.  I bear testimony, with the apostles "of the reality of his matchless life and the infinite virtue of his great atoning sacrifice.  None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth."  I know that peace in the world and joy in life can only be found at the feet of the Savior.  I know He lives.  I know God lives.  I know that Jesus is the very Christ.  I know that God is our Father and loves us dearly.  This Christmas season I testify that He lives!

All my love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Thanks for the letters family.  Mom and Dad, happy anniversary.  Don't forget to update the blog... ;)  Zoë, happy birthday!  Matt and SalleeAnn, good luck in the job hunt.  Matt, thank you for the scriptures, I love the message.  Noella, write soon :P I want to hear what's up.  Chris and JuleeAnn, good luck in applying.  Ju, things will work out ;).  I love you all dearly!

-Élder Sudbury

Monday, November 29, 2010

Curtis' companion likes super-heros

Elder Wayman likes balloon art, movies, comics and superheros

Cooking for Thanksgiving - Elder Wayman

Thanksgiving Dinner made for investigators--with chicken instead of turkey

Well, another week in México playing the role of Élder Doctor.
Élder Wayman has flat feet, a fact he didn't want to tell me at first.  We're getting him some orthopedic inserts (the cheaper kind) and that should solve basically all the problems with his feet, knees, and hips.  To arrange everything and to check to make sure I had gotten rid of all my Bronchitis, we went to the doctor or to a medical clinic three times this week.  Needless to say we didn't have a ton of time to do work this week.  Nonetheless, God is blessing us on both sides.  We found a new investigator this week that seems like she'll progress very rapidly.  I'm excited.  We only have one visit planned this week to the doctor, so we should have much more time :).
Élder Wayman and I are getting along well, though our personalities are quite different.  He makes up super-heroes, makes balloon animals, and is constantly thinking in the world of comics and movies.  It provides for interesting conversations.  I've realized, the more companions I've had that I'm more comfortable with people that share my deeply held feelings for Christ and our Father.  I just naturally am more attracted to them.  A lot of times that hasn't made me very popular.  I've always been able to hold a good conversation if I felt I needed to, but as for close relationships, the very few I've had have been founded on mutually helping each other toward following gospel principles.  I haven't come out of life so far with very many really close friends, but I value deeply the ones I have.  I wouldn't trade them for anything.  A bit of a random insight.  Élder Wayman and I are getting along because, although his world is a little centered on other things, I can see and feel the testimony of Truth that he has. :)  We're getting there :).
We took some time to make a thanksgiving dinner with some members and an investigator.  I think it went well.  I made brown sugar carrots, mashed potatoes, and gravy and Élder Wayman made homemade rolls.  It turned out well.  We ate a chicken instead of a turkey, but it all was well. :)
I just got news this week about Élder Bryant.  He's going to have the corrective surgery this Friday.  Apparently a missionary has to get approval from the first presidency to have a surgery.  I had no idea :P  He got approval and the surgery is scheduled.  All is well.
That's about all.  We're waiting and hoping that Thursday, when we get the orthopedic inserts, will be a good and big change for Élder Wayman.
In completely unrelated news, the Utes, I hear, beat BYU 17-16.  Go Utes!!! ;)
This week is brought to you by my favorite sacrament hymns: Reverently and Meekly Now
Rev'rently and meekly now,
Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.
In this bread now blest for thee,
Emblem of my body see;
In this water or this wine,
Emblem of my blood divine.
Oh, remember what was done
That the sinner might be won.
On the cross of Calvary
I have suffered death for thee.
Bid thine heart all strife to cease;
With they brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be
E'en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer
Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit's grace shall be
Like a fountain unto thee.
At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.
I know my Savior is ever pleading for me.  I know that this is His church designed by Him to help us follow divine laws that allow us to progress.  I know that, in Love, He guides and directs us.  I know that He died for me.  I know that my Savior and Redeemer lives.  I know that no matter what we do He will never stop loving us and wanting us to progress.  I know that my God loves me.  I know that God will watch over me and protect me and, as President Hinckley so often said, "Things will work out."  I know that, if we put ourselves in God's hands, things will work out.  I know because they always have for me.  In difficulty and heartache or peace and joy, He has always guided my path along the path that leads to happiness, love, and eternal life.  I know it with all my heart.  I have seen it, and I cannot deny it.
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Dad, the 192 page notebook is the one :).  Mom, I hope all is well with you.  I love you dearly :).  Melanie, Tim, Zoë, and Ryan, enjoy MA's birthday :).  Eat something spicy in my memory at the Mayan ;).  SalleeAnn, Matt, Hannah, Sammy, and Thing 1 (for lack of a name and gender), you must let me know the state of Zion ;).  Noella, doesn't your time clerking end soon?  What are your plans?  JuleeAnn and Chris, I'm glad to hear Chris is healing well. ;)  I love you all dearly!

Curtis' new companion, Elder Wayman

Letter from November 22, 2010

Hello again,

Well it's been an interesting week.  Once again I'm playing the role of Élder Doctor.  Elder Wayman, my new companion, has been suffering for a very long time of something called "oshgood slaughters" or something along those lines.  I'm rather unfamiliar with it, but when I went to the doctor for my bronchitis my companion got it checked at my suggestion.  The doctor then sent us to an orthopedic specialist.  The orthopedic specialist gave him some knee braces and some medicine.  We'll see how it goes.  We have another appointment with him this Wednesday.  I hope all goes well.  I'm finding that is a part of my mission and preparation that God has in store for me, heal the other Elders. :)  My second companion had back problems, the third had sleep apnea, the fourth bronchitis, and the fifth, problems with his knees.  Most elders never ever see a doctor.  He knows me by name, and I've visited two of the best hospitals in Mexico...all on someone else's account.  I'm enjoying it, actually :).

Other than that, Élder Wayman and I are getting along well.  It's always a little difficult adjusting to a new companion, but we're doing well.

We've just, other than that, been working hard trying to find new investigators.  It's going very well.  Our wards have a few problems.  In one ward the bishop has been in the ward for two weeks in the last six months and left again for another month.  It makes asking for a ward mission leader harder.  They apparently both have some especially abrasive members.  I hope it doesn't get too bad.

This week's email is brought to you by the happy birthday song from primary as Melanie Ann Sudbury Dance will be celebrating a birthday soon :)

You've had a birthday, shout hooray!
We'd like to sing to you today.
One year older and wiser too,
Happy Birthday, to YOU! :)

And on a completely unrelated note, I would like to share with you my testimony.  I know the Church is true. This Thanksgiving season it is the Church that I am most grateful for.  It has changed my life and is what makes everything important.  I know God lives, for He talks with me through the Holy Ghost.  I know Christ Lives, for I've felt His saving Grace.  I know the Church is true because I asked the Founder.  I know God loves me because I feel that love.  I know that God will always help us to work out anything we need to.  He will be with us, especially in our afflictions.  I know He is with me.

All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

P.S.  Chris, I'm sorry you have shingles, I'll sing a verse in my heart of "Shingles Hell" for you ;).  JuleeAnn, you usually do get my emotional state right ;).  Of course I know Whitney White! And her younger brother William!  And her other younger sister as well, though her name escapes me right now... Whitney's awesome!  We were in Chorale together.  She recently graduated, if I'm not mistaken, from a chef's school.  I believe it was she that asked me to the dance.  It was a lot of fun. :)  She's really cute and really nice and a fantastic cook. :)  A good friend and a good family :).  Noella, enjoy your thanksgiving in Connecticut.  I don't remember if I asked you this, but what does the law say on sharing music?  SalleeAnn and Matt...CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Melanie, Happy Birthday coming up :).  Tim, I still haven't gotten any news about my Utes.  What is happening?!?  Mom, the appropriate answer to your first set of questions is simply, don't worry so much :P.  The last question of the first set's answer is that he was new.   Dad, thank you for your latin advice ;).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Missionaries in Curtis' district--some without heads

Curtis new district - some without heads

Hello world,
So it's been a great week.  I'm a little sick, but we're doing good work here.  We have a goal of getting 40 progressing investigators by the end of this change.  We are in a very good area and, if we work hard we fully believe that we can do it.  We've seen a lot of miracles as we've worked our heads off.  I'm back to feeling exhausted all the time (partly because I'm sick) and I couldn't be happier.
Élder Carver.....he's a great missionary that is very devoted to the work.  He has found a lot of happiness in serving and obeying with exactness and he's a joy to have as a companion.  He loves soccer (midfielder), we are planning on going running every morning, and does good missionary work.  He's from Fort Worth, Texas and went to school in BYU Idaho (Ydaho) :).  He is also the only boy and youngest of five.  We have a lot in common and a lot different.  I'm excited :). 
That's all that's really new.  We had a mission-wide leadership council with President Chávez.  He talked a lot about exact obedience and I realized I had rationalized letting a few things slip.  I had the wonderful opportunity to recommit to being exactly obedient.  My mistakes were never huge, but I've found, as one general authority said in conference, "it's easier to be obedient 100% of the time than 98% of the time."  I've felt especially blessed as I've done so.
We moved into our new house all the way this week.  It's an extremely secure house with a lot of bars on the door, windows, and even the back porch.  We'll be very well guarded there.  The other elders are also settling into their new house.  All is well.
Well, today and tomorrow México celebrates the Day of the Dead.  In Cuatro Vientos it largely just amounts to the shrine to the dead ancestors and trick-or-treating but one of the elders in my district just called saying that in his rather small town people are shooting pistols into the air to celebrate.  Because of the rather dangerous situation I just told him to stay inside for as long as he felt he had to. :P  México is a crazy, rather unpredictable place.
This week's letter has been brought to you by I Know that My Redeemer Lives.
I know that my redeemer lives
What comfort this sweet sentence gives
He lives, he lives who once was dead
He lives, my ever living head
He lives to bless me with his love
He lives to plead for me above
He lives my hungry soul to feed
He lives to bless in time of need
He lives to grant me rich supply
He lives to guide me with his eye
He lives to comfort me when faint
He live to hear my soul's complaint
He lives to silence all my fears
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart
He lives all blessings to impart
He lives my kind, wise, heavenly friend
He lives and loves me to the end
He lives and while he lives I'll sing
He lives, my prophet, priest and King
He lives and grants me daily breath
He lives and I shall conquer death
He lives my mansion to prepare
He lives to bring me safely there
He lives all glory to his name
He lives my Savior still the same
O sweet, the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives
He lives all glory to his name
He lives my Savior still the same
O sweet, the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives.
I add my witness that I know that my Redeemer lives.  He is my great King and Lord.  I will follow Him and love Him forever for He first loved me.  I know that He suffered, bled, and died for me.  I know that He will always stand and comfort me.  I know He is with me.  A good friend recently wrote me and said that she had begun inviting God to walk with her and talk with her.  I know I've had that privelege as a missionary.  I hope that, my whole life, I'll always invite God to walk with me, and that I'll always walk with Him.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth.  It is the only one.  It is unique.  I know it is hard for some to believe in that, but I know because God Himself told me.  I invite all to ask Him and find the Joy and Happiness that comes from knowing and living that Truth.  I know that we are led by a living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.  I know that God wants us to live with Him and be Happy and has provided me with a way to do so.  I KNOW and that makes all the difference.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom, Dad, yes it was me who sent you that, no worries.  It's an emergency channel I learned about a while ago.  It doesn't always work but it's a way to get a hold of you in an emergency like when my card gets stolen.  Melanie and Tim, I wish youthe best of luck in all your teaching and working endeavors.  Looks like Zoë and Ryan had fun.  Matt, SalleeAnn, Hannah, and Sammy, sounds like you had fun in Zion for halloween.  Noella, good luck in the upcoming scrabble game.  JuleeAnn and Chris, I have a quote here from President Hinckley for you.  "Things will work out.  Keep trying.  Be believing.  Be happy.  Don't get discouraged.  Things will work out."  :)  I love you all!  Happy Halloween!!!!! ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Congratulations to Curtis - He's a new district leader!

Hello world,
It's been a crazy week.  We haven't done much work, but nobody really could with everything that's happened..... ;).  I can't help marveling in the power of the letter.  You all have to just listen while I ramble. :P
I'll cut to the chase (for your sakes).  After I wrote Wednesday we had a decent night of work, including our ward mission leader meeting.  Thursday morning, while I was sitting downstairs studying someone started shaking the door as if trying to break the door down...Then someone started knocking on the window...I recognized the distinctly white color of the skin of the person's arm who was knocking...it was my district leader Élder Griffiths! :)  He had special news for Élder Bryant and I.  Eight elders from the US had gotten their visas approved after several months of waiting, so the mission was undergoing a lot of changes.  The elders were going to be flying in Friday so the mission was going to have special changes Saturday.  Élder Bryant was changed to a delegation in D.F. called Iztapalapa.  Furthermore, they decided to send two more elders to Cuatro Vientos...not to replace us, but to join us :).  I was in charge of dividing the area, getting the new elders a house, and a couple other things...So now our district has six elders in it, two of them are brand new, and they had the crazy idea of making me district leader :P.  So, in the course of a few days, I got a new assignment, new companion, two new elders in my area and to boot I had to give a talk on member missionary work in sacrament meeting.  I'm exhausted. :P
After these changes I really do think I was primarily Élder Bryant's companion to get him well.  I'm excited for this change and to find out why God wants me as district leader at this time. :)
Other than that...nothing really new. :P  I finished memorizeing The Living Christ.  That's exciting.  We met the husband of Rousse last night.  He seems really nice and said that he, along with his family would come to church next week.  I hope so, as that's one of the only things keeping that family from progressing.  We haven't gotten much done, arranging for a new house, getting it approved, moving as well ourselves, and changing companions.
My new companion is Élder Carver, an elder I knew from Volcanes.  I'm excited to have a chance to serve with him.  He's a good elder, very excited, has a lot of experience, and loves soccer as well.  I'm excited to serve with him.
This letter brought to you by the song Remember the Promise
I hear the echoes from the ancient battlegrounds
As clear as if it were today
Familar voices echo, rising from the dust
I can almost hear them say
One thing you cannot forget
This war is not over yet
Remember the promise
Remember who it's from
Remember that its keeping
Is tied to what we've done
Breaking down the walls of pride
Listening to realize
That there's a love that's strong enough
Strong enough to lift us up
The message rises from the dust
Beckoning to all of us
Remember the promise
Ironclad in covenant our captain and our king
Come to wash the flood of filth away
Waiting for freedom only He can bring
How much longer Lord we pray
The day the family doesn't lie down in defeat
Is the day we win the battles in schools and on the streets
Remember the promise
Remember who it's from
Remember that its keeping
Is tied to what we've done
Breaking down the walls of pride
Listening to realize
That there's a love that's strong enough
Strong enough to lift us up
The message rises from the dust
Beckoning to all of us
Remember the promise
Remember the promise 
  I remember the many promises I have recieved from the Lord.  I know of their surety.  I trust in my Lord that is "ironclad in covenant...come to wash the flood of filth away."  I have felt that redeeming power.  I know He is there.  I know this is His Church and Kingdom.  I know that there is a law in heaven, and we receive blessings by obeying that law.  I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God with His authority on the earth today.  I know, more than anything else, that God Lives and Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of the Immortal God.  I couldn't be happier knowing that. :)
Happy Halloween,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom, the package got here, I'm getting it from the offices tomorrow.  Dad, I'm glad you're well.  Melanie, Tim, Zoë, and Ryan, I hope you are all well and safe an that all is going well in your carrers and in carving pumpkins.  SalleeAnn, Matt, Hannah, and Sammy, tell me what you dress up as for halloween.  Noella, I hope you enjoyed the 5K.  What was your time?  Ju and Chris, let me know how the school selection is going.  I love you all!

October 20, 2010

Dear Family and friends,

Well, the first on the list is that last week, after all Élder Bryant's test results came back negative, ruling out parasites, vitamin deficiencies, and a host of other diseases, our mission doctor sent us to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor).  He was a particularly good one (the mission only recommends doctors that have practices in the Ángeles hospital in the Federal District, the best in México).  After a rather thorough exam of Élder Bryant's ears, nose, and throat, the otolaryngologist found that the bone and cartilage in the middle of his nose was bent to one side quite a bit.  He feels quite certain that it is this that is causing Élder Bryant's apnea.  To be certain, he suggested running a test by the name of a polysomnogram. It's a rather complete test and we should get the results in about a week and a half.  If that deviation is the only problem, Élder Bryant will probably undergo a very simple surgery to correct the passage which should solve any problems he has with apnea for the rest of his life.  I'm quite certain that, more than anything, God wanted me in this area at this time because very few other missionaries would have noticed and known what sleep apnea was and commented it to the doctor.  I'm very grateful to be able to be an instrument in the hands of God in this and any other manner.

Layman's terms: we're making progress with Élder Bryant's health issues and I'm grateful to help.

We haven't done much work with investigators, due to the continued correction of Élder Bryant's health, but sometimes that is important as well.  This is a benefit that will last him the rest of his life, and if I can have a hand in that, I'm happy to do so.

I've learned a lot from God this week.  He had a lot to say :P.  The culmination of the many things I learned are found in a talk by Neal A. Maxwell by the name of "Meekness -- A Dimension of True Discipleship."  I have learned, by and large, to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength wherever I'm put.  God has a purpose for me being wherever I am.  All I can do is put myself in His hands and trust in the Hands of the Master Sculptor.  If I truly try to trust Him, He will make me whatever I need to be.

A song on one of the CDs Mom sent me has a line that I really like.  I couldn't find the lyrics online, but the line I like is:

The mistakes you make don't define you,
They refine you.

I know that I have made lots of mistakes, for which I do need to repent and have repented.  The reason I mention that, however, is to show the refining process that I know I'm under.  I know that serving a mission and the entirety of my life is to refine me to make me more pure.  Gold must go through an intense melting process to burn away and separate all impurities; this process is called refining gold.  The furnace of life and the kiln of repentance in which I have put myself is a process that all must pass through throughout their lives to become the pure soul that God wants.  I thought I'd share with you that process in me.  I know I'm not perfect, but my mistakes don't define me, they refine me.  I know that every mistake, experience, and event can be used by the Master Refiner and Craftsman to make us better.  I know I'm in that process.  I know that following Living Prophets is one very good and distinct way to put yourself in His Hands.  I know that there is a living prophet on the earth.  I know he guides--under the direction of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--Their church.  This is the True Church of God created in the last days of the world to refine all humanity who would diligently follow God.  I know the work I'm in is vital in that Work.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Immortal Son of God.  He is my redeemer, my pastor, and my friend.  I know it with all my heart and will hold fast to it.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

Mom, got the card, thank you :).  Dad, feel better.  Well done in Ticket to Ride ;).  Melanie & Tim, do let me know how my biggest neice and littlest nephew are doing.  SalleeAnn and Matt, let me know how the tests go and when you match.  I just sent a letter off to you.  Noella, I hope the letter got to you safely.  JuleeAnn & Chris.....don't let the bedbugs bite ;).  To all, I love you dearly.  I hope all is well.

With Love,
Élder Sudbury

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Helping with the remodel of their ward

Are you lonely--hold a meeting!

Letter, October 6, 2010

Well...an interesting turn of events...little did I know...
In the fantastic movie "Stranger than Fiction" one of the characters rambles for some time about that phrase, "little did he know."  The quote is as follows:
"Little did he know, That means there's something he doesn't know, which means there's something you don't know, did you know that?"
You'll of course forgive the ramble, it builds something some writers refer to as "suspense" and others "shilly-shallying" or "beating around the bush."  A good friend informed me in a letter of the remarkable power of letters.  No matter what you write, the person or persons to whom you write feel completely compelled to keep reading, although, by all rights of human dignity they should just skip to the end...Ah, the power of words, letters and writing...hehehe. :)
A brief summary of recent events include the following, in chronological order.  We found a couple really good people this last week and invited them to conference, but for one reason or another none of them could come.  Conference was AMAZING :).  I am planning to download it.  I didn't get to see a few things because we caught a ride to our stake center with some less active members and got there late, but what I saw I loved :).  I was told Saturday that I needed to travel to the mission offices to sign for my visa, so I didn't have a preparation day this last monday.  I was there all day and got home at about nine.  Yesterday we had district meeting and went on exchanges with my district leader.  I went to his area and his companion came to mine.  We returned late to my house in my area to meet up and rest.  We found one of the elders outside the house and asked him what was up.  He then proceeded to inform us of the mysterious nature of the door being open when they had arrived at the house an hour earlier...having gone inside they found the house in complete order with nothing seeming to be out of place...nothing, that is, except for my iPod that I thought I broke, the one I bought to replace it, my MP3 player I brought from home, my bank cards, Elder Bryant's camera, and all the money we had left in the house.  That last comma is called an oxford comma...fun fact :).  I have officially, for the first time in my life, been robbed.  To say I don't feel a little shaken would be an outright lie.  Someone seemed to have found a window that wasn't locked (I was barely conscious of its existence), climbed through it, taken the things of value they found on the desk, and left quickly out the front door.  So...we're going to move.  We're fine, a little shaken, but fine.  God was merciful with us.  I had pulled out, by accident, extra back-up money from the bank.  They took my back-up money, but I was carrying most of my monthly funds and my back-up back-up money with me, so we have plenty for now.  Other than that, life's good. :)  We had a wonderful conference today with the mission president and his wife about a lot of things...primarily about working with the wards.  It was really good.
This week's going to be rather short for us, as we didn't get to work monday, not much yesterday nor today, tomorrow we're going to a specialist of some kind for Élder Bryant, Friday we have weekly planning, and Saturday we're going to take for our P-day...So yeah :P
This week's letter is brought to you by, the letter 'R'...I don't especially know why...but also the song "Keeper of the Flame."
Believing, receiving the burning inside
Learning and yearning for greater light
Melting the frost
Moving the lost

Through the winds of change
Encircled by the clouds of pain
I guard it with my life
I need the warmth I need the light
And though the storm will rage
I stand against the pounding rain
I remain a keeper of the flame

Inspiring fire blazing in truth
Living and giving
Leading to You
Filling my soul
Willing to go

Through the winds of change
Encircled by the clouds of pain
I guard it with my life
I need the warmth I need the light
And though the storm will rage
I stand against the pounding rain
I remain a keeper of the flame
It is that flame that I have in my heart.  I know of a surety the truth that I bear to the world because of the flame that burns in my heart.  I have asked, and for that reason, I know.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God on the earth.  It is the only church that has all of the authority so required by the courts of heaven to make eternal covenants.  It has been restored by God Himself.  Thomas Spencer Monson is a prophet of God, called by Him to be a special witness of Christ.  I Know in my heart it is true.  I Love my Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and I know They love me.  That makes all the difference.
All my love to you all!
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis September 26, 2010

Hello dear family,
It's been an interesting week.  For some reason this week felt like we weren't doing as much as other weeks.  We have been working with a couple cool families, but a lot of people haven't been getting to church.  I can't help but somehow feel responsible.  Nonetheless, I feel we've been doing our best.  The more we work, the more we feel the adversary working against us, and I can't help but feel tired.  Élder Bryant still is not sleeping well, and it seems to be getting worse.  This week I just feel tired.  I know, however, that I must press on.  God is with me and helps a lot.  A scripture comes to mind from Alma. 
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. (Alma 26:27)
All I can do is sit and wait and work my head off :P. 
By and large that's all the news I have for this week.  It was a slow week, catching up with people after not seeing them for a full week.  We got a new district leader that will be leaving at the end of this change (5 weeks) that seems like a good guy.  I hope this change goes well.  Élder Bryant and I have been working through some difficulties due to our different ways of thinking.  We're getting there ;).
This week's letter is brought to you by Healing Waters
I've built a bridge
All of my strength cannot cross over
I stand at the edge
The end of a road that I have followed
Sinking from the weight of my own world
Wanting the waves of Your ways to wash my feet
Healing waters
Healing waters
Solace flows
Through the river of forgiveness to my soul
Oh, I need You
Healing waters

Pour over me
Water to clean all my intentions
Baptising streams
I swim in the freedom of redemption
Floating on the sea of purity
Knowing I can dive in the love that rescues me

Healing waters
Healing waters
Solace flows
Through the river of forgiveness to my soul
Oh, I need You
Healing waters
Memories are raging high
Floods so deep they touch the sky
All the things I've done to You
All the parts of life untrue
Healing comes from outstretched hands
Saving me from what I am
Carry me
Carry me

Healing waters
Healing waters
Solace flows
Through the river of forgiveness to my soul
Oh, I need You
Healing waters
I have felt, time and again, the power of those healing waters.  I know that my Father will always be there to guide me and direct me.  I know that I can never deny the truth of the things I have felt.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Church and Kingdom of God on the Earth.  God is directing us through His Prophet.  I'm SO excited for general conference next week...the chance to listen to a prophet's voice!  I know that is true and the blessings related to it are wonderful.  I hope to live up to my Father in Heaven's expectations, to be the person He would have me be.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS I hope you're all excited for GC :).  Happy B-Day Ryan!  I hope all is well with the rest of you.  You all have my best wishes and prayers.  Melanie, good luck with the class; Tim, work; Matt, matching; SalleeAnn, twins; JuleeAnn, Chris, and Noella, with the new houses, and Mom and Dad with dealing with all us crazy kids. ;)  I love you all!

Curtis in front of a tiger

Letter September 20, 2010

Dear World,
I'm fairly certain that Élder Bryant has sleep apnea...unfortunate thing is that there aren't very many treatments for it...he could lose a little bit of weight... :P
Other than that, all is well.  Today ended the first 6 weeks of being in Cuatro Vientos, which means the end of a change, which means one of us could go...but we didn't :).  Two elders and a sister left from our zone, but that's about all. :)
This last week was mexican independence day.  It was the Bicentennial of their independence and the Centennial of the revolution (during which, I believe, my great-grandparents were run out of the country).  Due to the possibly dangerous situations that could arise from having two americans preaching a gospel that many associate with the United States, we stayed home wednesday and thursday last week.  Due to the festivities, Tuesday was rather slow, Monday we never get much done because it's our preparation day, Friday most everyone was still half-drunk, and Saturday we were instructed to stay inside due to the possible danger of the hurricane (nothing happened...barely even rained here...at 2 in the morning... :P).  I celebrated by reading the scriptures and wearing my fake mustache :).
Due to our staying inside 3 out of 7 days last week, we don't have a ton of news.  Things are going well, just slowed down a bit.  I hope we can do some good work this week.
This morning we went by a restaurant, the owner of which a few elders know.  This restaurant is a little unique in that it has two lions, two tigers, and a panther in cages next to where you eat, a climbing wall and a zipline.  It made for an interesting morning, but it also made us late. :(  That's about all I have by way of stories.  Enjoy the picture :P.  I'll try to send more stories next week.
I started reading the Old Testament again.  I'm actually rather enjoying it.  I'm using the Institute manual to help me out.  It's actually very interesting :).  All is well.
One last thing.  This week we watched a movie called "Gordon B. Hinckley: a giant among men" and many things hit me.  One of which was his desire and covenant he made with God to forget himself and go to work.  That is my desire and covenant.  I hope I can live up to it. :)  Another thing that stuck out to me was a lesson President Hinckley learned as a boy.  He and a few classmates took a day off school and called it a "strike," and the principal wouldn't let them back without a letter from their parents.  President Hinckley's mom gave him the note and told him, essentially, "off to school with you, remember who you're trying to be like."  President Hinckley said it lifted him to higher ground while correcting the problem.  I need to learn better how to do that.  A few lessons recently learnt.
This week's letter brought to you by the song Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
I know I'm far from perfect, and I know, like most of humanity, I am prone to wander and be a mediocre servant and person, but that is not my desire.  I want God to take my heart and seal it His.  I want to be His servant to bring about His work.  I want that because I know it is true.  I know God lives, that he is there, and that He answers!  I know that it is only by His grace that we can be saved after all we can do.  I know that I have been saved, rescued, and redeemed countless times in my life and I cannot help but be eternally grateful for that.  This church is the Kingdom of God on the earth.  All who seek the blessings and covenants of God can and will find them within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I know it's true, because I've prayed and asked after properly investigating myself.  I invite you to do the same.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

Monday, September 13, 2010

Elder Sudbury and Elder Bryant baptised two more!

Curtis Letter September 13, 2010

Hello World,
Coral and Damaris got baptized this week :).  Both were extremely ready to get baptized.  They love going to church and are both certain it is true. :)  The work continues with the rest of the investigators. It's been a good week and we've seen our share of miracles with our investigators.  A few people have begun to listen who have never had interest in listening to us or any other missionary before.  God blesses us daily.  On a side note, Élder Bryant has not been sleeping well; the which makes him grumpy all day :P.  We're going to talk with the doctor this week to see if we can't get him something to help him sleep.  He was taking melatonin, but it had too great of an effect.  They halved the dose and changed it to once every 3 days, but it's not helping.  We'll see what happens.  Other than that, all is well here in México...other than the fact that pizzas here don't use any marinara sauce...or any sauce for that matter...very distressing... :P

Well, something that Mom sent me made me think of another way to write a letter that I haven't done in a while.  I'm going to just describe everything around me.  I'm in a run down ciber on the lower end of Cuatro Vientos.  My companion is using the computer behind me and both the computers are running rather slowly.  I'm personally of the opinion that they are rather virus ridden and am half inclined to run a virus scan for them before I go :P.  This computer is having difficulty reading my iPod and I think I'm going to ask Élder Bryant if we can switch computers soon.  The kid next to me is chatting on some instant messenger software with which I'm unfamiliar and listening to metallica and Rammstein.  I rather like the songs and they'll probably be stuck in my head most of the day.  :P  México is an interesting place :P.

Other than that...not much is new.  I convinced a member to let me make spaghetti today at her house :).  It actually came out pretty well. :)  That's about all.

This week's letter brought to you by: I Believe in Christ

1. I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.
2. I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
As Mary’s Son he came to reign
’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be.”
3. I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.
4. I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.
It is a fantastic song that I have always loved to sing, for it is my testimony of Christ.  I believe in Him.  He is my King, my Savior, and my Redeemer.  I know that He will come and that I can be faithful to that end.  I know He lives.  I know He loves me.  I know he loves us all and that he wants us all to gain eternal life.  I want to be faithful forever. :)

All my love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Thanks for writing me all!  I love you dearly and hope all is well.  Tell my nieces and nephews I love them.  Mom & Dad, good luck not destroying the new garage.  Melanie and JuleeAnn, good luck in the new jobs! SA, Matt, good luck in the residency picks!  NA, good luck in the new apartment.  Tim and Chris...GO UTES! :D

Curtis' companion doing a little reading

Curtis' companion

Our Baptism for this week

Monday, September 6, 2010

Letter from Curtis, September 5, 2010

Veronica got baptized!!!  :)  She still has some doubts, but she knows it's true and knows it was what God wanted her to do so she moved forward! 
We also have found another family, the family of Rousse.  They are reading the Book of Mormon and have already felt a powerful witness of the Spirit that it is true.  I'm so very happy for them.  Through all of these miracles I don't forget that I am only an instrument in the hands of the Lord.  All the progress that I see is not a result of me being anything special, just that it is their time and God has let us be a part of their miracle.  I know that baptisms are not a part of the success I have, just an added blessing to see.  My success is measured by if I have the Spirit with me and if I'm doing the things I'm supposed to be doing.  Baptisms have nothing to do with success.  That being said, I am extremely grateful to have the blessing to see the miracles that are inherent in baptism. :)
That has really been the focus of the last week.  Help Veronica take that step.  I have seen how absolutely amazing of a member she can be.  I can see the light in her glowing.  I also know that Satan will be working especially hard against her because she is such an incredible person.  I pray she can stay strong.
That's all the big news that comes to mind.  We have two fantastic people who have decided to get baptized this week, Coral and Damariz.  They are fantastic and more than ready to take that step.  I'm excited to be a part of that :)  Um...that's about all...I got a haircut today! :D  Um...yeah...enjoy the pictures.
Song of the week: The Whole Armor of God
What soldier enters life's battlefield,
Without a sword, without a shield?
I take my sword and shield each day,
When I kneel down and humbly pray.
I take my place in the ranks of youth,
I learn his word and I love the truth.
Prepared to do my part in this war,
I know what it is I'm fighting for.
With helmet in place, with sword in hand;
With the shield of faith, we are worthy to stand.
With the gospel of peace, our feet are shod,
Valiant and strong in the armor of God.
We have on the armor of God.
Sometimes I stumble beneath the blow.
My heart grows troubled, my courage low.
When fear whispers that I cannot win,
I put on His strength and rise again.
With helmet in place, with sword in hand;
With the shield of faith, we are worthy to stand.
With the gospel of peace, our feet are shod,
Valiant and strong in the armor of God.
We have on the armor of God.
With helmet in place, with sword in hand;
With the shield of faith, we are worthy to stand.
With the gospel of peace, our feet are shod,
We have on the armor of God.
I know that if I arm myself with the Armor of God that I will be able to stand.  I know that my God will not let me fall.  I am far, FAR from perfect, but I know my God is with me, makes up for my faults, and helps me each day.  My God directs me, testifies of truth, and stands as a witness of it.  I cannot deny the witness I have recieved from Him.  I hope I can be the person God wants me to be.  The church is true!  What else matters? :)
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS if you could send some efy CDs, that would be nice, if you can, in the package.  Food I have more than plenty of ;)  I only have the complete ones of The Greatest Gift and We Believe.  Some good ones that I remember are Remeber the Promise, this year's (I can't remember the name), and also a CD called Spirit by Alex Boyé.  Any one of those three would make me happy :)  I love you all.  Zoë, good luck in school, you'll love it :).  Hannah, Sammy, good luck on the magic words.  Noella, Ju, good luck moving.  Dad, stay awake at work.  Mom, stay awake in class ;)
Élder Sudbury

Monday, August 30, 2010

Letter from Curtis on August 30, 2010

A little more time this week :).
It's been a great week full of happiness. :)
First I have to tell you all about a fantastic miracle that happened this week.  We were in our weekly planning session, Élder Bryant and I, and it was drawing to a close.  We spend a lot of time praying about specific people during that session, especially the people we feel could be ready to take the step of baptism.  We had prayed about all those people and didn't feel that any of them were ready for this week.  We set a lot of goals for new investigators, people with baptismal date, baptisms and confirmations and I like to pray about our decisions for those goals to see if it's what God wants.  We, after praying about the people we had, had put a goal of 0 baptisms this week.  We prayed about that goal and felt impressed that God wanted us to baptise one person.  We had no idea who that person was.  We started praying about everyone we had, trying to figure out who God wanted us to baptize this upcoming week.  I felt it was a person named Veronica, but we were praying individually and Élder Bryant hadn't finished yet, so I kept praying about how we were going to help her get to that point.  We didn't even think Veronica believed in God, let alone wanted to get baptized, so I was on total reliance of the Lord.  As I continued praying I felt in my heart the confirmation of my answer that it was she who was to get baptized this week and that she would tell us herself what she needed the next day. Élder Bryant got done praying and felt the same impression.  We were both shocked but decided to go with God's will. :)  That was Friday.  Saturday came around and Veronica and her family were supposed to be cleaning the chapel (her mom and sister are members).  Miracle 1 happened, the people with the keys didn't show up.  They came back and we met up with them to eat lunch.  They wouldn't have even been there if the person had shown up with the keys.  We had lunch (fried tacos with spaghetti, I made the spaghetti :) ), and she still hadn't said anything.  I felt we should stick around a little bit longer and we got on the subject of the church.  She then told us something extremely surprising to us.  She said "I want to get baptized."  We were hugely surprised.  She had been avoiding talking about baptism with us for over a month.  She is a headstrong, twenty-year-old, half-rebel who does nothing she doesn't want to do.  I think she's awesome ;).  I had been hoping she would get to that point.  She then fulfilled the "prophecy" we had had the night before.  She told us exactly what her difficulties with the church are.  We will be having a family home evening with her family tomorrow.  Pray for us to have the Spirit. :)  This was a wonderful experience for me.  God told me very directly what was going to happen and it happened :).  It was my "fleece," my evidence from God that I could trust in myself (the reference, I think, is the story of Gideon in the Bible).  I'm very grateful.
That's my big story for the week.  The work is moving forwared in Cuatro Vientos.  All is well. :)  We see our share of miracles every day.  God is blessing us in a marvelous and amazing manner.  I know He is with us.
A little more information about my companion.  Elder Jameson Reese Bryant is twenty-one years old, lived in Utah for the first half of his life and comes from North Carolina.  He is a fantastic, fun companion that loves comics and is teaching me how to draw :).
Well, that's about it from the front lines.  I hope all is well wherever you are when you read this. :)
As for personal thoughts, the lyrics from "my holy house" come to mind.
Windows and doors open and close
Keeping out and letting in,
The dark and the light, Wrong and the right.
I decide what enters in.
Things that I choose Determine if I lose
All the light That's within my Holy house.
Shadowy voice speaks at my door
With many dark things to say.
What should I do? The spirit inside
Tells me I should turn away.
A temple of light With windows clean and bright,
Lights the soul that's within my Holy house.
My Holy House
Mine is a house of holiness,
Up to me to keep it clean.
My own temple full of love and light,
Where the Spirit stays with me.
I begin to see Souls in need,
Knocking so gently; Hearts to feed.
Should I let them into my life?
Is there room inside for love, for love?
Seeking to help, seeking to care,
Making a welcome place;
With each kind step, love fills the room,
Granting the Savior's grace.
A temple of light
With windows clean and bright,
Lights the soul that's within my Holy house.
Mine is a house of holiness,
Up to me to keep it clean.
My own temple full of love and light,
Where the Spirit stays with me.
I'm learning to control, as King Benjamin encouraged, myself, and my thoughts, and my words, and my deeds.  It's not especially easy, but God is helping a lot. :)
As always, I end with my testimony.  I know this is God's church. I know that revelation exists, that prophecy is real, that God knows what is going to come to pass.  I know that God lives and answers our prayers.  I know that He has saved me and guides me.  I'm so very grateful for all that I've received.  I know that we are led by revelation from a living prophet.  I know that power and miracles are on the earth again.  I cannot deny it, for I've felt it and seen it.  I know it.
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Curtis was transferred in time to enjoy the fruits of combined labors at a baptism

Curtis' Companion has a great sense of humor

Curtis' Mission Picture with Mission President and family

Letter for August 22, 2010

Dear World,

A fantastic week. We baptized all but the son of the Ramirez Family this Sunday. :) They were very ready to take that step upon them. I'm glad that I had a chance to be part of that. They were all so very happy. :) We are working hard and are seeing the Lord bless us a LOT. We are blessed to have an area that has been well taken care of by the missionaries before us as well as the members. There are quite a few more people who are getting ready to get baptized, many of which made the commitment to get baptized a while ago but fell through for one reason or another. There is a significant retention problem in this area though...I still am not entirely sure if there's a single cause, but I really hope the people who have gotten baptized will continue strong :).

Élder Bryant and I are getting along very well. He appeals more to my nerdy side, but all is well :). Past that I don't have a ton of news. The work is going well, we are getting along well, and God is on our side. :)

As for personal thoughts, I've learned a lot about the atonement this last week. I realized that, when we seriously mess up and would have ruined our own lives, Christ gave his life so we could have another chance. I learned that nothing that we've done is too great to undo by Christ. I've learned more fully what it means to have a Savior. He saves us. I know what it means to have a Redeemer. He makes us new. I'm so grateful for Who I have.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Curtis, and his new companion, Elder Bryant

Letter from Curtis August 16, 2010

Cuatro Vientos.  It's an interesting place and I'm still getting used to it.  Élder Bryant reminds me a LOT of Jacob Cloward.  He likes to draw, star wars, comics, and is just a good guy. :)  We have quite a few investigators here that are ready for baptism.  We have done a lot of contacting because we think most of the 13 current investigators are going to get baptized this month.  I hope we can fulfill whatever the purpose of the two of us being in this area is.  We are both just trying to figure it out as Élder Bryant only had 2 weeks here before his companion got transferred.  All is going well.
Past that I don't have a ton of news.  We are doing the best we can and trusting that the Lord will help us in the meantime.  We should be baptizing three wonderful people this week.  I still don't know their full story, but suffice it to say that they are a miracle.  The Dad never really believed in God, they have lots of questions, but altogether they are a fantastic family that are very ready for the blessings of the gospel.
I'm gaining a bit of weight, which doesn't make me especially happy.  I'm exercising every morning and eating a light breakfast, but there is an unfortunate culture that if you don't ask for seconds, it means you didn't like the food.  As a result, we usually eat about 4 times more than a normal meal would be because they give us more to start with as well.  It's delicious, but my body is suffering a bit for it. :P
On an odd note, the one thing that has been a big surprise to me in this transfer is how to manage money.  I need to make sure not to buy things before the transfer next month because I had to leave my food and water in my last apartment for space problems and had to pull out extra money to replace them.  It is distressing to me, but I'm going to get better.
Thank you all for your support!  The letters I've received, whether through e-mail or snail mail, have really picked me up.  I'm always grateful for the things you all write.  Perhaps I'm weird, but sometimes it makes me cry just to know you're all doing alright. :) 
Another fantastic song that I love is as follows:
In His Embrace
Toes in the water,
Sunshine on my face,
How did I end up in such a heavenly place?
My smile is immortal,
It feels good on my lips.
Free of doubt and free of any fear is what this is.
How long has it been since I was here?

In His embrace,
Safe from the cold.
I was here all along but my eyes were closed.
And I see the light,
It lies in me,
And I will do whatever it takes
To stay in His embrace.

Feet in the quicksand,
Moonlight dark and dim,
A sad and lonely picture of the place that I was in.
But Ive learned a little lesson
From the fury of my past:
The times you feel alone are the ones when you forget to ask
For His saving grace
To be

In His embrace,
Safe from the cold.
I was here all along but my eyes were closed.
And I see the light
It lies in me
And I will do whatever it takes
To stay in His embrace

These arms I cannot see
But they encircle me

In His embrace
Safe from the cold
I was here all along but my eyes were closed.
And I see the light
It lies in me
And I will do whatever it takes
To stay in His embrace.
I have felt the warm, loving embrace of the Lord and I know He's with me.  I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.  God has a plan for me here, though I don't always see it.  I'm growing and learning a lot.  I know the Lord is blessing you for supporting me.  I know that God lives, that Christ lives, and that they love us.  I know without any doubt that peace and joy can be found by following the path the Lord has set out.  I know that, when I follow Him, I have joy.  I know that we have miracles, power, and authority in this church from God because I have seen it and felt it.  For those who want to feel closer to God, all you have to do is ask Him to be in His embrace.  :)
All my Love to you,
Élder Sudbury

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Curtis' second baptism was by candlelight due to circumstances out of his control

Perla, Curtis' 2nd Baptism was ready and baptised within a few days of meeting her

The little flock in Mexico

All the missionaries in their T-shirts. Curtis is #33, his companion is #2

Letter - August 9, 2010

Well, life just keeps being interesting ;).

Saturday we baptized the investigator that came to us and told us she wanted to get baptized.  Her story is interesting.  Perla (that's her name ;) ) married an LDS member earlier this year.  She said she wanted to get baptized, but still didn't know anything about Joseph Smith or the restoration of the gospel. We taught her about the restoration and invited her to pray.  That was Tuesday.  Wednesday we came back to her house and she told us that a bunch of things kept interrupting her when she tried to pray the night before.  We invited her to pray, right then and there, and we would wait outside.  I prayed my heart out.  I knew that it would be a HUGE mistake to baptize her if she didn't feel the Holy Ghost and had a testimony in her heart.  She wanted to know, and I prayed for her.  After about 15 minutes she came out.  She described to us her experience along these lines: I started to do what you asked me to.  I started to ask Heavenly Father if this was His church and if Joseph Smith really was a prophet.  What happened next is hard to describe.  I felt in my heart a LOT of peace and a feeling that I don't know that I can describe.  I don't know if this was my answer, but I liked it.  I almost started crying I was so happy.  We helped her understand that it was from God, that the Holy Ghost was speaking to her, and that she was ready for baptism.  She passed her baptismal interview on Thursday without any problem.  Saturday we went to the mission doctor to check Élder Perez's back.  That's 3 hours away and we hit traffic.  We got back about 4:30 and had the baptism planned for 6:00.  Satan began to work as hard as he could to stop us.  First, we couldn't find anyone with the keys to the boiler room.  Next, the boiler wouldn't turn on.  Then the water ran out.  Then the water that was working was pouring so slowly that it would take 4 or 5 hours to finish filling the font.  Then the lights went out only in the bathrooms and the baptismal font room.  Nevertheless, God helped us.  We found out we didn't need a key to get in the boiler room.  After nearly blowing ourselves up a couple times, we got the boiler working.  We got a brother to help us and we filled up the baptismal font the best we could with buckets.  Finally, we went and bought candles and did the baptism by candlelight.  Satan did not want her to get baptised, but I've never payed attention to him anyway ;).  I'm so glad they can now work towards getting to the temple!

We had a family home evening last night with both wards.  It went really well.  We watched On the Way Home.  The members really liked it.  I hope they keep having those combined family home evenings every week. :)

That being said, I'll miss little San Juan Tehuixtitlan.  I have been transferred, starting tomorrow.  I'll be going to a place by the name of Cuatro Vientos, Chalco.  Élder Perez is headed home to Colorado and I'm going away.  I hope the new Élderes in my area take care of my investigators and baptize them.  There are a lot of people that are ready, right now.  I hope they take care of those people that I care about so very much.

That's about all.  We spent the entire week preparing for this baptism.  I'm so happy :).

I don't think I've shared the lyrics to this song, though it's one of my favorites.  The song is called Prove Me by Hilary Weeks.  It's what I want God to do to me.  I want him to prove me.

Unwavering faith
The kind of courage
And conviction that it takes
To leave your home behind
Part the Red Sea
I wonder
Did God plant that kind of strength in me?

Just a seed now
But may be it will grow

'Till prison walls
Crumble down around me
And I've escaped unscathed from the lion's den
When I have
Walked so far the handcarts start pushin' me
Until then
Prove me

Center on the wheel
Like clay in your hands
Ready to be shaped and molded by your hand
If you'll take this heart
willful as it seems
And through your mercy refine me until I'm complete

Though I'm weak now
You can make me strong

'Till on a wall
Arrows cannot harm me
Until my faith leads me into a grove of trees
When every
Nails in place before the rains
And floods come down
Until then
Prove me

I will step into the fire
So your love can purify me
And I'll stay until you say I am through
Wash away all the falls and
Every earthly imperfection
Until my will turns to you

Until I trust
Without hesitation
When humility is chased away the pride
Until the day and through your grace I'm welcomed home
Until then
Prove me

I've thought a lot about this.  I think another definition of proving something, besides testing it, is also to refine something.  I want Him to test me, to refine me, until I become everything He wants me to be.

I know that through the atonement of Christ, all of us can be saved, proven, refined, and become the people God would have us be.  I know that that gift is free to all who will accept the invitation from Christ to "come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world" (3 Nephi 11:14).  We can still feel his sacrifice, the prints of the nails in his hands and feet, though he is not physically in front of us.  We can feel if he really suffered for our sins.  I know, because I have felt those prints as I've repented.  I know that He takes care of me.  I know that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).  God loves me, He always will.  He gave His Son for me.  His Son gave His life freely.  The Holy Ghost bears testimony of it.  I know in my heart it is true.  I doubt not, I fear not (D&C 6:36).  Past all the scriptures that are written in my heart, is this knowledge.  He lives.  He has given everything for me.  He has restored His church upon the earth.  He seeks to guide us.  He will forgive us if we repent.  It is all true.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church and kingdom of God on the earth.  It is the only one and the only way to truly be happy.  Happiness comes from following God exactly.  Everything else, in the end, brings heartache.  I know it is true.  I have felt it in my heart.  I cannot deny it.

With All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS  Mom: I didn't get any weird illness from nor is it against the rules to skin a rabbit.  Dear Elder letters get here every Monday, so I get them the Sunday thereafter.  I have gotten handwritten letters from you as well.  Family: I love you all!  Please do take care of yourselves and one another while I'm away. :)