Elder Curtis Sudbury

Elder Curtis Sudbury

Friday, December 9, 2011

Letters posted from October 21 through December 4, 2011 - next few posts

Dear Family,
I hope all is well with you. This week was a little slow. I came down with a very nasty cold and we didn't do as much work as I would have liked. I hope this week goes a lot better. I have set myself some goals and I hope to keep to them.
This week Élder Gómez started a tradition of saying two good things to each other every night. It has helped us have a much healthier relationship overall than before.
This last week we started inviting people to let us do family history for them. One older gentleman accepted. We are going to do his family history tree this week. I need to start investigating on how to do that ;). All in all it was an interesting week, but a little bit slow for me. A lot of people had committed to come to church but, in the end, only one came. :( There were a lot of parties and illnesses this week. We're progressing and had some miracles. We put five new baptismal dates this last week. If all goes well, we'll complete our goal of six baptisms this month. We're praying for miracles.
We saw the first presidency devotional yesterday. It was lovely. I love Christmas!!! What a wonderful time to remember Christ and His life and birth! I am so happy to have this time of year to remember him. The first presidency has made a video about the life of Christ and it is fantastic. I was so pleased to be able to see part of it.
Well, that's about all in the news this week. Just trying to work hard and teach well.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel
1. The world has need of willing men
Who wear the worker’s seal.
Come, help the good work move along;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
[Chorus]
Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song,
We all have work; let no one shirk.
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
2. The Church has need of helping hands,
And hearts that know and feel.
The work to do is here for you;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
[Chorus]
Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song,
We all have work; let no one shirk.
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
3. Then don’t stand idly looking on;
The fight with sin is real.
It will be long but must go on;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
[Chorus]
Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song,
We all have work; let no one shirk.
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
4. Then work and watch and fight and pray
With all your might and zeal.
Push ev’ry worthy work along;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.
[Chorus]
Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song,
We all have work; let no one shirk.
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

This church is a church of work. I don't have much time left in the mission (as far too many people are keen to remind me), but I want to work to the very last hour of the very last day. This church, this gospel, is all uphill. One must continue upward and onward. I want to be that kind of missionary. I want to be that kind of person. As Christ said once (this is a translation from Spanish, so it may not be exact) "My Father still works, and I work." If, four-thousand years after the fall of Adam the Lord and the Father still had work to do, I can still work. What's more, they are still working. I know they live and are working because they work in my life and bring about many miracles in both my life and in the lives of our investigators. As long as they work, I will work.

All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Mom and Dad, I hope you had a marvelous anniversary. Melanie and Tim, I hope to hear the news on the little one on the way. SalleeAnn and Matt, I appreciate the note, I wait (as they say in Ukraine, with impatience) for your end-of-the-mission counsel. Noella, I hope to receive your invitation ;). JuleeAnn and Chris, you'll have to let me know how you pass your Christmas this year. I love you all! One O'clock mountain time should be fine Sunday.

November 29, 2011

Well, it was an interesting week. We had two conferences last week and didn't have a ton of time to do good proselyting work, but we had some success. We had a baptism on Sunday. Arturo had some legal troubles with his son and postponed his baptism. He was able to come Sunday, so we prepared the font and he got baptized that day. Our font didn't drain and so we borrowed the font of the ward building next to ours. It was a little complicated. It wasn't the best baptismal service I've ever prepared, but it was decent :). He was very happy to finally get baptized.
Élder Gómez and I are getting used to each other and learning. We both have apologized for many, many things and we're progressing. Things improve little by little.  I appreciate that he has a good heart and a good desire. 
Thanksgiving doesn't exist here in México, so I spent it like I spend most other holidays...that is, working my head off :).
Yesterday we spent the whole day in the doctor's office and in an orthopedic insert store. My companion has what the orthopedist referred to as "Super-mega flat feet." We got home just in time to have the district meeting. It was a very busy day.
A good missionary is going home today. Élder Kyle Benjamin Tidwell has three hernias in his back and has to go home to have and recover from the surgery. If he makes a full recovery, he could return to missionary service. We saw him interned in the hospital yesterday and I had the fortune of giving him a blessing. It was a sweet blessing. He's been a good missionary and, even if he didn't make it back to full time service, he will serve the Lord wherever he is.
That's about all in the news. All is well.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy
1. Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
[Chorus]
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
2. Dark the night of sin has settled;
Loud the angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.
[Chorus]
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
3. Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.
[Chorus]
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
I have always loved this hymn. We sang it in sacrament meeting and then again Arturo's baptism. I don't know much about how it works, but from what I understand, a lighthouse isn't enough for a sailor. The lighthouse gives the basic warning to a ship but without the lower lights along the shore, the ship can't navigate safely into the harbour. Those who faithfully keep the lights on the shore often never know who sees their lights, but they have the assurance that one way or another everyone will arrive safely if they follow those lights. I know that Christ is the Lighthouse. His great Light is the great guide for all of us, but I know that I have a great responsibility in this kingdom to bless and guide. I know that Christ Lives because I have been guided by that light for many years. I know with a perfect surety that He lives. I don't doubt it for a moment anymore. I just have to think of my life and I know. It's been a joy to be guided by Him for years.
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Sorry I haven't been putting PSs. Mom and Dad, it looks like you enjoyed your trip. I can call Saturday or Sunday, it doesn't matter which. In the afternoon is preferrable. I believe I am one hour ahead of you. The package should get to me in another week or two. The elders from the southeast mission should be bringing it soon. Melanie, Happy Birthday! And happy birthday soon to Zoë. Matt and SalleeAnn, your family looks adorable. Noella, I hope you enjoyed your trip. I can't go to the link, but if you send me photos I can see them :). JuleeAnn and Chris, good luck choosing where to go. I appreciate all the little notes I get from you, Ju. I love you all. Happy thanksgiving!

Letter from Curtis November 21, 2011

Well, so I'm not with the Élder Gómez that I thought. This Élder Gómez is from Perú. I'm finishing his instruction as his companion was moved to be a zone leader in Coyoacán. He's a good missionary and has good desires to serve well. I have also been in trio (until tonight) with a zone leader with whom I've worked before named Élder León. All is well.
We've been working hard in the area and have been having some good success. I'm in Paraíso, a neighboring ward to where I was a year ago. I've been seeing that many of my efforts a year ago to help the wards become stronger and follow the order of the church did help in the end. A lot of things have changed in this last year. We had a fantastic ward council meeting yesterday where we talked about all the recent converts, their status, and their needs. It was really a pleasure. There still are a few problems with people attending wards that they don't belong to, but those problems are minimal in comparison with how it was a year ago. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work here.
Not much has happened this last week. We should have a baptism this Saturday if all goes well. His name is Arturo I'm tired and we have a LOT of things to do today, but I'm happy.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn: Again We Meet around the Board
1. Again we meet around the board
Of Jesus, our redeeming Lord,
With faith in his atoning blood,
Our only access unto God.
2. He left his Father’s courts on high,
With man to live, for man to die,
A world to purchase and to save
And seal a triumph o’er the grave.
3. Help us, O God, to realize
The great atoning sacrifice,
The gift of thy beloved Son,
The Prince of Life, the Holy One.
4. Oh, bless us, Lord, for Jesus’ sake,
That we may worthily partake
These emblems of the flesh and blood
Of our Redeemer, Savior, God.
This hymn is a little less common, but it has a great message. I know that Christ came down among men to save us all. I know that He is the great Redeemer of us all. It is incredible to me that Christ would descend below all things to save me, but I know He did! I hope to use my whole life to help others come to Him and feel the love and power that I feel as a result of His sacrifice. I know He lives!
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis November 14, 2011

Well, as predicted, I've been changed. We had a good baptismal service with Sister Bravo. She is very pleased to have had the opportunity to be baptized again. Everything happens for a reason...The baptismal service was very nice. Sister Bravo's family came from various parts of México. It was really quite lovely. I had the privilege of baptizing her. It's always a great blessing and privilege to take part in a baptism.
I will be returning to the Paraíso stake. I was in Palmitas and Xalpa for some time in that stake. I will be in the Paraíso ward as a district leader. It should be a really good district. My companion is a relatively new missionary named Élder Gómez. He's from the same generation as Élder Valenzuela. I'm not sure who will be in my district, but I know for sure that I'll have an old zone leader and one new missionary. It should be very exciting.
Well, there's not much new. I don't know much about the area to which I'm going nor my companion. This last week was mostly occupied with exchanges and baptismal interviews, so I really don't have much else to report. I feel like my job is usually to go to wards that are having a few problems and help them fix a few things. For example, we are now having Priesthood Executive Committee every week here in Ermita and we have several investigators planning on being baptized in the upcoming weeks. It should be a good time. Before we got here there were no ward meetings nor baptisms for over a year. It's a joy to help wards to do that. I usually get changed as soon as the ward gets on its feet. All is well.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Come, O Thou King of Kings
1. Come, O thou King of Kings!
We’ve waited long for thee,
With healing in thy wings,
To set thy people free.
Come, thou desire of nations, come;
Let Israel now be gathered home.
2. Come, make an end to sin,
And cleanse the earth by fire,
And righteousness bring in,
That Saints may tune the lyre
With songs of joy, a happier strain,
To welcome in thy peaceful reign.
3. Hosannas now shall sound
From all the ransomed throng,
And glory echo round
A new triumphal song;
The wide expanse of heaven fill
With anthems sweet from Zion’s hill.
4. Hail! Prince of life and peace!
Thrice welcome to thy throne!
While all the chosen race
Their Lord and Savior own,
The heathen nations bow the knee,
And ev’ry tongue sounds praise to thee.
I know that the Savior will come again, and soon. It is not just a hope or something nice to think about. I know He's coming. He will come to free us all from Sin and Death and the world will be cleansed by fire. The righteous will be rewarded. We are eternal beings. I know that the end of this life is not an end, but rather just a step. We continue and progress in God. I know God and Christ live. All my life I plan on dedicating to Them and Their work.
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis November 7, 2011

An interesting week. Ángel and Diana got baptized this week, but a family emergency took them to Cuernavaca on Sunday. They will be confirmed this upcoming Sunday. It has been a little exhausting. Élder García, we discovered (oficially) this week has flat feet. The mission doctor sent him to get plantillas. It will be a big help to him to have them. Changes are next week. It's been an interesting companionship. Perhaps they'll leave us together...Who knows? :)
It's interesting to see how the Lord guides and directs you and puts you where you need to be for certain missions at certain times. I think the primary reason I was with Élder García was to find out about his flat feet. I needed be here to work hard and show the members that they can have baptisms in this ward. They didn't believe in themselves as a ward, but they are seeing now that it is possible. We will end this change with four baptisms and, if all goes well, this month will see quite a few baptisms here in Ermita. I believed for a time that I didn't know how to help people towards baptism and confirmation. The Lord has shown me that I know how to help them the Lord's way, but sometimes my mission requires something else of me. I am glad to be able to do what He wants when He wants. All is well.
Having fully checked, Sister Bravo, the body builder less active member, doesn't have a registered baptismal date. According to the instructions of the church, we have to baptize her again. She will be baptized this Saturday. All is well.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Let us All Press On:
1. Let us all press on in the work of the Lord,
That when life is o’er we may gain a reward;
In the fight for right let us wield a sword,
The mighty sword of truth.
[Chorus]
Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
[Chorus: Alto, Tenor, and Bass]
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.
2. We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few
When compared with the opposite host in view;
But an unseen pow’r will aid me and you
In the glorious cause of truth.
[Chorus]
Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
[Chorus: Alto, Tenor, and Bass]
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.
3. If we do what’s right we have no need to fear,
For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near;
In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer,
And prosper the cause of truth.
[Chorus]
Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
[Chorus: Alto, Tenor, and Bass]
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.
I have chosen to obey Heavenly Father. It is my sincere desire to follow him no matter what. I know he will help me in that desire. I know that He lives because I receive direction from him often as I pray and read the scriptures and attend church. I have heard His voice in the halls of my heart so often that I cannot deny Him. I know that He exists and loves me and is sincerely interested in me. I know that this is His church. Satan tries to shake me from that knowledge, but in my heart I know it is true. All things happen for a reason, and I know that my God is in control. I know that Christ Lives and is my Savior. I have no doubt any more about that.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom, I hope that letter did the trick. You had more luck than I did :P. They had told me that the package was unrecoverable. Dad, you are oficially an inactive active member :). What stake did we end up in? Everything happens for a reason. Melanie and Tim, let me know what's new in the family. SaleeAnn and Matt, I hope you are enjoying fall in the East. Noella, I hope your plans are going well. Let me know the details about your job (as far as you can). Ju and Chris, let me know where you end up ;). I love you all dearly.

Letter from Curtis October 31, 2011

Dear Family,
It was a bit of a strange week. We had very few lessons. Nevertheless we had quite a few new investigators. We passed by some old investigators and had quite a bit of success. The Lord is blessing us in some ways and trying us in others. I know it is all part of His perfect plan to help both us and this area, but it's a little exhausting. :)
I feel like I'm going to be changed from this area this transfer. I don't know where I'll go, but I think I'll be leaving soon from here.
Part of the reason this week has been a bit slow is because of a national holiday known as the Day of the Dead. In México we celebrate the passing of ancestors. We make altars, have chocolate skulls, and various things. It's a very commercialized holiday here in the Federal District, but it's still fun to see.
We went to a hill called Cerro de la Estrella nearby here this morning. We were there as the sun came up. It was cold but pretty. On that hill every spring they do a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ. The person who plays Christ is pardoned of all his sins by the catholic church. They actually crucify him. I've never seen the event, but it is very well known here. I haven't the time today to send the pictures, but I'll send them soon.
All is well here in México, overall.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Onward, Christian Soldiers:
1. Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See his banners go!
[Chorus]
Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
2. At the sign of triumph
Satan’s host doth flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory.
Hell’s foundations quiver
At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise.
[Chorus]
Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
3. Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the Saints have trod.
We are not divided;
All one body we:
One in hope and doctrine,
One in charity.
4. Onward, then, ye people;
Join our happy throng.
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song:
Glory, laud, and honor
Unto Christ, the King.
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing.
[Chorus]
Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
I didn't like this hymn for many years. I don't like the image of Christ crucified, and this hymn talks a lot about the Cross of Christ. Nevertheless, this hymn is very powerful because we are very much at war with Satan and his hosts. We must stand against all evil. I know that this Church is the Kingdom of God and this Kingdom is at war. I hope against all hopes to be part of this battle until the end of my life. I know that God lives and this war is very real.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom, the package is in the customs office in the airport in Toluca. They weren't answering me, but if you call them some other time you might have some luck. The problem seemed to be that they believed the package was worth more than you declared on the customs declaration. If you want, try to recover it. If not, let me know and I'll cancel the credit card and have a new one sent. I don't know how much it was worth, but you declared it to be worth 45 dollars. I wish you the best of luck. :)
With Love,
Élder Sudbury

lettter October 24, 2011

Raymundo got baptized! The baptismal service started some 40 minutes late, the water was a little cold, and very few people came, but he got baptized. He got to his confirmation some five minutes late and about gave me a heart attack :P. It was an incredible blessing to baptize. I felt the Spirit very strongly in his confirmation. He will be a great member of the ward. The ward was very pleased with his baptism. It's the first real convert baptism that they've had in ages. We were all happy.
Élder García and I are still working out a few things. Each new feud makes us stronger and better companions. We're getting there.
I got my hair cut today. Élder Pérez is not great at it, but all was going well until the end. He slipped a little and I have two holes in my hair. There's nothing for it. I just laughed. If people think I have cancer because of my hair, maybe they'll be more interested in listening ;).
That's about all the news here. President Chávez received the instruction that all missionary companionships are to receive a cell phone. That will be interesting.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Behold! a Royal Army
1. Behold! A royal army,
With banner, sword, and shield,
Is marching forth to conquer
On life’s great battlefield.
Its ranks are filled with soldiers,
United, bold, and strong,
Who follow their Commander
And sing their joyful song:
[Chorus]
Victory, victory,
Thru him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
2. And now the foe advancing,
That valiant host assails,
And yet they never falter;
Their courage never fails.
Their Leader calls, “Be faithful!”
They pass the word along;
They see his signal flashing
And shout their joyful song:
[Chorus]
Victory, victory,
Thru him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
3. Oh, when the war is ended,
When strife and conflicts cease,
When all are safely gathered
Within the vale of peace,
Before the King eternal,
That vast and mighty throng
Shall praise his name forever,
And this shall be their song:
[Chorus]
Victory, victory,
Thru him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
I am enlisted in that army. I will be forever. "The Cause of the Christians" is something we fight for every day. I know that God lives and that this is His church. I know that His son Jesus Christ organized it using Joseph Smith. It's as simple as that, but I know it's true!
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom, dear elder comes to me in paper format once a week through my leaders. The package didn't arrive yet. I hope you enjoyed your trip. Melanie and Tim, I'm so pleased to hear that your family is growing. More nieces and nephews for me ;). SalleeAnn and Matt, enjoy the pumpkin festival. Noella, I'm glad you got Dad to do a 5K. Ju and Chris, thanks for the note :) I love you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Letter from Curtis October 17, 2011

Well, it was a great week and a terrible week. On the good side, Raimundo had his baptismal interview and is on track to be baptized this Saturday at 3:00 PM. He is excited as are we. On the bad side, some of our investigators with baptismal date didn't come to church and we don't know why. We are going to have to postpone their baptismal date for another week. We didn't find even one new investigator last week, as hard as we tried. We had a few companionship problems. It's normal, I think, as you become accustomed to a new companion, that you step a little on your dance partner's toes, in a matter of speaking. We got to talk yesterday in sacrament meeting. My companion spoke about repentance and I talked about the Book of Mormon. We had a great time.
A lot of last week was occupied with a mission leader council, a visit to the offices to help Élder Oillataguerre learn a few things, and a few other things that needed doing. It was, for us, a slow week. We hope to be able to do greater things this week. As Sheri Dew often said in a book I was reading a few years ago, "Onward and Upward."
I complete 19 months today. That's crazy to me. Within the half year many of us (my friends and I) will be coming home. The time has disappeared. If I remember well, a poet once referred to time as water: you need it, you must cherish and enjoy it; but it runs out and you can never hold it still in your hand. It slips through your fingers and goes its way. That is how my mission has been for me. I still feel like five more months is plenty of time, but somewhere in my mind is the knowledge that that time will disappear before I know it.
This week's letter has been brought to you by the chorus of a favorite song of mine that I think I've shared before. The church music website is down, so I'll share a gospel song that I remember from memory (I hope it's mostly right).
There are refugees among us
They don't carry flags or signs
They are standing right beside us
In the market checkout lines
And there are no correspondents
Documenting all their grief
But these refugees among us all
Are yearning for relief
This is a call to arms
To reach out and to hold
Evacuees from the dark
This is a call to arms
To lead anguished souls
To Safe Harbours of the heart
Do you hear the pleas of the refugees
For safe harbours of the heart?
There are refugees among us
That will live what words won't tell
Some are losing faith in Heaven
Cause their life's a living Hell
And the war that they've been fighting
It will not be televised
But the story of their need for love
Is written in their eyes.
This is a call to arms
To reach out and to hold
Evacuees from the dark
This is a call to arms
To lead anguished souls
To Safe Harbours of the heart
Do you hear the pleas of the refugees
For safe harbours of the heart?
I am a warrior in this army. I am fighting a very interesting war. My weapons give life. I am fighting not against "flesh and blood, but against...the powers of darkness in high places." There are many refugees from that war. I want to answer that "call to arms" for that is what my Captain always did. He who healed the sick, caused the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dead to live always had his hand outstretched to heal us, and always will. I love Him. I know that He lives. I am His servant administring the only true Cure in all of the history of humanity. He is the Master Healer, the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, even the Redeemer of us all. His is my best friend. I know without a single doubt that He lives. I talk with Him daily and He talks with me as well.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Zoë, congratulations on your part in the primary program. I hope you feel better. SalleeAnn and Matt, I hope things are well with your future wildlife reservist children. Noella, I'm excited for next September. Ju and Chris, I'm always praying for you. Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoyed your trip. The package has not arrived. If necessary, I'll cancel the card, but please check the address and if you can, if it got here. I love you all!

Letter from Curtis October 10, 2011

We have seen many miracles, Élder García and I, this week. We have another family of three with a baptismal date for the end of the month, we taught a good lesson to Carlos, Raimundo is progressing well, and we are learning and growing. It looks like we'll finish this month with seven or eight baptisms. It's a good start, but we hope to be able to do much more here. We're really just starting in our harvest of souls. We know that, if we are obedient, we will have a convincing faith. It doesn't guarantee baptisms, but it makes them a whole lot more likely.
The influence of an example has impacted me this week. This new family of three with a baptismal date is due the the righteous example of some young friend of one of the daughters. She noticed that she was different and had a special light and way about her and her influence has caused this young woman to seek out truth. As President Monson quoted in April, "preach the gospel at all times and in all things and in all places; and, if necessary, use words." I know that true example changes people.
That's about all the news. Our baptismal goal for this month was nine. We'll probably finish with eight. It's close...we'd have to find one more person this week...We'll see what happens.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Battle Hymn of the Republic:
1. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible, swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
[Chorus]
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
2. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat.
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
[Chorus]
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
3. In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
[Chorus]
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I know that Christ was born. That seems like a small fact, but imagine everything that it implies! He was born the Son of God. He was the predestined Savior of the World, having that role before the world was made. He is both the God of the Old and New Testaments. I know that He is also the God of the Other Testament, the Book of Mormon. I know that this is His Church. He is the God of us all. I know that He lives and loves us. I know His life continues and will continue forever. I know that I can be like He is.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS Mom and Dad, enjoy your trips. Melanie and Tim, I'll write a note apart. SalleeAnn and Matt, your children are brilliant and adorable (and who would think differently from their parents). If you get a chance, congratulate Abby and Lindsay Brinton for me. Noella, have you found a solid job yet? JuleeAnn and Chris, good luck on the job hunts. I'll pray for the family...that's bad news.
Thanks for everything. I love you all.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Did you say...Elder?

The Hombres in the District

Celebrating with plenty of food

Little donut for celebrating

Letter from Curtis September 26, 2011

Hello Family,

 This week was rather uneventful. I went on exchanges with the zone leaders and with one of the companionships in my district. It was altogether uneventful. All is well. Raimundo accepted a baptismal date for the 22nd of October. :)

 The only really interesting thing in the news is that we've received a senior couple. Élder and Sister Oillataguerre. He was born in Argentina and she was born in Chile, but they come recently from Australia. I have the privilege (at least until they change me) of being their district leader. :) They will be in a neighboring ward mostly working with less active members. They are a delight. Sister Oillataguerre reminds me a lot of Mom. I hope they enjoy their mission service.

 As General Conference approaches I wanted to just say how much I LOVE General Conference! General Conference (for those who read the blog and don't know) is when the current apostles, prophets, and leaders of the church speak to the world. It is always a spiritually uplifting experience and I always receive a LOT of personal revelation from the Spirit. General Conference for years has been better to me than holidays or summer break. I always look forward to the words of the Prophets.

 A quick explanation about the pictures. In Mexico the proper way to celebrate the Mexican Independence Day is to dress up in false mustaches and paint your face red, white, and green. I sent a few pictures of my district and I celebrating in this traditional manner :).

 This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn The Morning Breaks

1. The morning breaks, the shadows flee;
Lo, Zion’s standard is unfurled!
The dawning of a brighter day,
The dawning of a brighter day
Majestic rises on the world.
2. The clouds of error disappear
Before the rays of truth divine;
The glory bursting from afar,
The glory bursting from afar
Wide o’er the nations soon will shine.
3. The Gentile fulness now comes in,
And Israel’s blessings are at hand.
Lo, Judah’s remnant, cleansed from sin,
Lo, Judah’s remnant, cleansed from sin,
Shall in their promised Canaan stand.
4. Jehovah speaks! Let earth give ear,
And Gentile nations turn and live.
His mighty arm is making bare,
His mighty arm is making bare
His cov’nant people to receive.
5. Angels from heav’n and truth from earth
Have met, and both have record borne;
Thus Zion’s light is bursting forth,
Thus Zion’s light is bursting forth
To bring her ransomed children home.

This is the first Hymn in the hymnbook that is seldom known in the church due to its arrangement. Nevertheless, it is the song that precedes every Music and the Spoken Word, a program that is at 9:00 every Sunday (right before general conference this Sunday). I know the truth of this hymn. Angels from Heaven and Truth from the Earth have borne record that this is God's Church and Kingdom and that He is guiding it again. I know that we should all give ear to the Prophets of God. Imagine that, Prophets of a living God! What a wonderful knowledge we have. I add my voice to those angels and that record that Jesus is the Living Christ. I know of His reality and His love. I have no doubt. He is my best friend and my Savior. I will spend my life bearing testimony of Him and His Church.

All my Love,

Élder Sudbury

Monday, September 19, 2011

Letter from Curtis, September 19, 2011

Dear World,


It's been an incredible week. We have seen many miracles. We finally had people come to church! We had four investigators arrive at sacrament meeting this week. We were so happy! Raimundo came and we think he liked it. Diana and her kids came because she got sick so her work gave her the weekend off (against their own will), people started coming up to us on the street asking to talk. We started finding people who were interested, and altogether it was a good week. The ward, due to the misunderstandings and our explaining them, has built up a lot of trust in us. We are very grateful that the Lord has helped us in so many ways. We are trying new things to find new people. We are learning and growing.


The Mexican Independence Day wasn't as crazy as last year. They're still tired ;). All was well. I'm making a flyer to put up around our area, so I haven't much time this week. Suffice it to say that all is going well. God is blessing us in many, many ways.


This week's letter has been brought to you by Be Thou Humble:


1. Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.
2. Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord thy God shall teach thee
To serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love.
Be thou humble in thy longing, and the Lord thy God shall take thee,
Shall take thee home at last to ever dwell with him above.
I love this hymn, but this week it had a greater meaning for us. We had to be humble to receive the blessings of the Lord, but He blessed us incredibly. I can't express how incredible it has been this last week serving in the hands of the Lord. God is watching over us and guiding us. I know He lives. I know that He is in charge of This Work. I know that Christ is my Savior. I have felt His redeeming power in my heart many, many times. He is in charge of my life. I am grateful. I know. I wish there was a greater, stronger word to say just how sure I am. I know. That is all that is important. :)
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury


Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter from Curtis September 12, 2001

It was a hectic week. We had our greatest successes in this area so far, but we also had our greatest challenges. We had been working with one less active member about whom I wrote last week. She's a body builder and during our first visit with members she talked about some of the things that she was doing to tone certain parts of her body. One of the members was offended and thought that we, as missionaries, should have stopped her. That was the beginning of problems. She then offered to wash my handkerchief, the which she had used during the lesson. I insisted that I was planning on washing it the next day. The other member thought that word exchange constituted a type of flirting of which I've never heard. Then she lent me a jacket because I just have my waterproof shell and it was cold. My companion has a thicker jacket and so she didn't offer him anything. The member didn't hear her comment about how thin my jacket was and so thought that the flirting continued. Later we commented that, due to how deeply affected she was by what had happened, we should probably visit her, if possible, once a day for a week. The member that thought we were being imprudent and flirtatious, now seriously concerned, called the bishop the next day. Later another member saw this less active member touch my leg as we were climbing the stairs. I think her legs hurt and she reached out to support herself, but of course that is a cross of conduct. I forgot about it, but the member, two days later, commented it to me. We went that same day to explain, as lightly as we could, some of the rules about missionary contact. That same member, however, had also called the bishop. There was a less active family that asked us for a blessing for a child who was going to have a circumcision. We hesitated for a moment thinking who could accompany us and, in that short time, they were offended and asked us not to give the blessing. Later the word got to the bishop that they didn't want missionaries to come by ever again. Turns out they just didn't want the non-member son to feel pressured but that they were willing to have a visit from missionaries whenever they pass by. Another less active family told the bishop that we were "not at all spiritual" when we visited them. Turns out that their version of spiritual was playing and joking around with them, something we didn't feel comfortable doing due to certain environmental factors at the time. By Friday the bishop was highly concerned and had all the members who were going to accompany us cancel until he could talk with us. His cell phone had fallen in water and didn't have our number or know where we live, so he didn't talk with us until Sunday. We were confused and a little angry about the conduct of the members and the bishop because we, oblivious to the many rumors, felt innocent. Our ward mission leader talked with us about them all on Saturday and we cleared up all the stories. He agreed that they were all misunderstandings, having investigated with most of the less-active members to see what they meant when they made certain comments. The bishop called us in for an interview and we explained, with the help of the ward mission leader, everything that had happened. He was somewhat astonished as to the many rumors but saw our sincerity. It was a very complicated week.

We knew Satan was going to work against us, but we never expected this particular attack. The bishop was going to call the mission president to inform him of our "outrageous conduct," when our ward mission leader insisted on checking the situation himself befor that measure was taken. I now understand, to a greater extent, the meaning of the scripture "Pray always, that ye may come off conquerer, yea, that ye may conquer Satan, and escape the hands of the servants of Satan, who do uphold his work." I'm grateful for prayer and the good sense of leaders to check stories and to talk with us.

This week's hymn is Master, the Tempest is Raging


1. Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness.
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?
How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?


[Chorus]
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.


2. Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!

[Chorus]
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.


3. Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.

[Chorus]
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.

I know, from personal, recent experience, that in the storms and tempests of life, if we are on the same boat as the "Master of Ocean and Earth and Skies," we will never be moved. I know that He is powerful to protect His servants. I know that Satan is the master of rumors and gossip and that they are two powerful tools to destroy the Servants of God. If Christ and Joseph Smith and Alma all had to suffer that, I know that I can survive it as well. I must, however, live my life to their stature, "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." I know that Christ lives and hears my prayers. I know that God will protect His servants if they look to Him. I know that They are real and can give us real guidance. This is Their work. I know that this is the work of salvation, which is the reason that He who Would Not Be Saved tries so hard to destroy it. I know that God, in the end, always triumphs with His saints, no matter what happens.

All My Love,

Élder Sudbury

Monday, September 5, 2011

Curtis' letter, September 5, 2011

Well, it was a bit of a better week. We are being tested and tried to see if we will keep going strong even if we see little immediate results. We are comforted by the fact that our efforts will prepare the way for future missionaries to be able to do great things here. We are contacting a lot and we have some good plans to help ward members fulfill their responsibilities this week. All is going well.

We met up with a lot of less active members this week. All of them have had a very hard time. Among their experiences are dictatorial non-membr husbands, alcoholism, imprisoned family, suicide attempts, deaths, and less-than-noble jobs to try to help family members. Life is never easy, but they are finding peace in coming back into the gospel. My testimony has grown a lot this week helping them apply the atonement and feel the Holy Ghost.

We haven't done much else this week. We've been working hard, but we're finding few people. God is helping us. I know He is preparing me specifically for the people I meet. We met an ex-presbyterian-jehovah's witness-catholic this week and the many people I know are helping us resolve his doubts. I don't know many missionaries who would be ready to explain his many doubts lovingly. God puts us where we need to be.

This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Abide With Me; 'Tis Eventide:


1. Abide with me; ’tis eventide.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on.
Within my heart a welcome guest,
Within my home abide.
[Chorus]
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
2. Abide with me; ’tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near thy side.
[Chorus]
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
3. Abide with me; ’tis eventide,
And lone will be the night
If I cannot commune with thee
Nor find in thee my light.
The darkness of the world, I fear,
Would in my home abide.
[Chorus]
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, ’tis eventide.

We sang this hymn with a 106 year old less active woman yesterday. She believes firmly in the gospel, is blind, and one of the pioneers in Mexico. She's a marvel. What she has held onto for over a hundred years is what I hope to hold onto for eternity. I know that this is the True Gospel of the One True and Living God. I know that God is my Loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I wish I could express how deeply in my heart I have felt the truth of the Gospel. I know the Gospel is true. I know that Christ Lives. I know that anyone who so desires will know for themselves if they ask that same God. It is true. I know it because I asked. The less active members here know it because they feel the Spirit assuring them of their path on the way back. I know it is TRUE!


All My Love,

Élder Sudbury


PS Mom, good luck. I don't have any way to really help you from here. You'll be just fine. Dad, it's not super unsafe here...they don't do anything to missionaries. They know we don't have any money ;). I don't feel like it's winding down. Quite the opposite, I feel it's accelerating and becoming busier and busier. Melanie and Tim, do you know if it's a boy or girl? SalleeAnn and Matt, will you send me your plan for the 21 day challenge? Noella, send pictures, if you can. JuleeAnn and Chris, let me know what Boston's like to decide if I should go ;). I won't send pictures this week because I'm using a bit of a slow computer, but I have some. I'll tell you more experiences when I come home ;).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Picture from Mexico Mission

Letter from Curtis August 29, 2011

Well, sounds like you've all had an interesting week in the States...Hurricanes, earthquakes, marriage proposals, job offers, and more...I'm glad I'm here in quiet old México. ;)


We had a hard week last week. We only had 6 lessons in all. The elders before us didn't leave us even one progressing investigator...so we're starting from scratch...again. It's a very long area. It takes us about an hour and a half to walk from one end to the other, but only fifteen minutes lengthwise. It's relatively square, thin, and long. We're adjusting well. Our area borders on Benito Juárez and Iztapalapa. It's considered a somewhat dangerous area, but not too bad, all things considering. We don't have any part of our ward prohibited to visit for danger concerns, so it's not too bad at all.


Our ward seems excited to do missionary work. They're a little unsure of exactly what is a Ward Mission Plan and only have Ward Council once a month, but they are progressing, which is what's important. We're finding where we fit with them.


We are opening a new house again. We got the gas connected today and all is going well. It's the rainy season here in México due to the same hurricanes that are hitting the States, so it's a little cloudy and wet, but all is well.


That's really all. We had a week of almost pure contacting with not too many results. I'll let you know how it goes next week. :)


A strange thing happened to me yesterday. We were in the Zone Leader Meeting and we were introducing ourselves. I was the one who had the most time in the mission. That has never happened to me before. Time is blowing by...


This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Let Us All Press On:


1. Let us all press on in the work of the Lord,
That when life is o’er we may gain a reward;
In the fight for right let us wield a sword,
The mighty sword of truth.
[Chorus]
Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
[Chorus: Alto, Tenor, and Bass]
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.
2. We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few
When compared with the opposite host in view;
But an unseen pow’r will aid me and you
In the glorious cause of truth.
[Chorus]
Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
[Chorus: Alto, Tenor, and Bass]
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.
3. If we do what’s right we have no need to fear,
For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near;
In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer,
And prosper the cause of truth.
[Chorus]
Fear not, though the enemy deride;
Courage, for the Lord is on our side.
We will heed not what the wicked may say,
But the Lord alone we will obey.
[Chorus: Alto, Tenor, and Bass]
Fear not, courage, though the enemy deride;
We must be victorious, for the Lord is on our side.
We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say,
But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.

I know I have used this hymn many times before, but it is the one that describes how I feel right now. I must press on. I must wield the sword of truth with courage. I know that the Lord is on my side. That's not an idle statement, as many people use it. I'm not saying that the Lord always helps those that do good, rather that I know, personally and sincerely, that He is at my side. I can't describe the feeling of complete surety that I have about that. I know that The Lord, the King of Heaven and Earth, the Great Redeemer both lives and fights at my side. I know He lives because I counsel with Him daily and He gives me daily direction. I know He lives because I have felt His healing Power. I know He lives because He has protected me continually. I couldn't be more certain of His existence, His live, His power, His divinity, His love, and His reality than I am of my own. I know He lives. I know that He will prosper the Cause of Truth and that I will obey Him alone.


All my Love,

Élder Sudbury


PS Mom and Dad, thanks for the short notes. I hope you weathered the storm well. Melanie and Tim, my fly home date is the nineteenth...it's going to be interesting. SalleeAnn and Matt, please write with those ideas. I hope you enjoyed your retreat from the storm. Noella, I'll send a note in a bit, though you probably won't be able to read it... JuleeAnn and Chris, I'm glad you survived the tropical storm.


Letter from Curtis August 22, 2011

Well, it would seem the old adage holds true.� The only thing constant in the world is change.� We have been moved from Tlalpan, together, to Ermita.� I don't know much about the area.� In fact, it hasn't been a solo area for some time...we are essentially opening it...just like Tlalpan :P.�

In a world of change I'm more than happy to have the solid foundation that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.� There could never be anything more solid.� All things at all times have testified of our Savior and Redeemer.� There could be nothing more sure in the world.� I'm very grateful for the great Plan that I know is in place.� I know because I've asked and been allowed to see a small portion of that Great Plan of Happiness.� It is truly made for the Happiness of all people.

This last week was a good one.� Diana knows the church is true and will be getting baptized next week.� I truly believe that whoever it is that gets here will be able to help her.� She is truly ready to accept the ordinances of baptism and confirmation and begin her path towards our Heavenly Father.

Well...I don't know what more to write.� Nothing else has really happened.� We were just plugging along.� The ward is well into the process of making a ward mission plan.� All will be well.� I hope to hear great things from Tlalpan in times to come.

This email is brought to you by the letter X...it's just not used enough...and by the hymn Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


1. Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise;
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th誕ngelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

2. Hail the heav地-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Ris地 with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
I know it's not Christmas, but I've been reflecting on just what an amazing message this is.� How incredible it is!� A child was born with no father but the Father.� He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament and he was born to be the Great Messiah of the New.� He was born, he lived, he died, and he lives again to give us second birth, that we may never again die.� It's the most fantastic, unlikely story that has ever existed...but it's true!� He was born and died in such a way as to bring us hope of miracles and freedom.� I know it's true.� History supports it, though it can't explain it.� The scriptures record it, but in my Heart I know because it's written there.� I know that He was born, lived, died, and that He Lives.� All these things happened just as we profess they happened.� Just imagine what that means!� We will live again!� We are reconciled with God, which could not happen without Him.� There is a Law.� Justice and Mercy are in full effect.� It is all true!� I know it in my heart because God has told me Himself in a Still Small Voice that has spoken to my heart for many, many years.� I know.� That makes all the difference.

All my Love,
ノlder Sudbury

PS Mom and Dad, congrats on the book, now hurry up and get it published :P.� Melanie and Tim, congrats on the newest little one to be.� SalleeAnn and Matt, I'm going to write a little bit apart to you two.� Noella, Happy Birthday!!! Enjoy Turkey.� Be careful!� JuleeAnn and Chris, I'll try to write a little note apart as well.� I love you all!

Letter from Curtis August 15, 2011

Well, I hear the United States has entered a bit of a crisis economically. I never thought I would appreciate being outside the United States to be sheltered from the storm of economic troubles. I'll be getting back at an interesting time, perhaps.

We had an exceptionally slow week. Last night we reevaluated ourselves and made some goals for our own missionary work. We had a total of about ten lessons last week. We went to the visitor's center but only managed to bring one person. We needed to change a few things. All will be well. You know that I have great faith that if we do our part, God will do His.

I was reading a talk given by J. K. Rowling that Dad sent me and I was impressed by something. J. K. Rowling had spent some time working in Amnesty International and was given nightmares by the pictures and stories of torture victims. She said (in effect) that we must empathize with other people in order to not become part of the evil that rules the world. Apathy is a great power that exists to destroy all of us. This gospel is all about other people. We are to "mourn with those that mourn" and "comfort those who stand in need of comfort." It is a great contrast to what the world teaches. I'm in an internet place that also has video games. A young man came in, wanting to play some game that has to do with special ops. I don't think it's really all that accurate, but for the last half an hour we have been hearing nothing but screams of torture and the sound (supposedly) of gunfire. This is a particuarly popular game (I'm not going to put the name of it so that I don't get sued :P). This is what the world teaches. If somebody doesn't believe the same as you, shoot them. If you need something from somebody, torture them. What a contrast to what the Lord teaches: "when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man...No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned."

I have learned to a greater degree that the ways of the Lord, the doctrine, must never change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Doctrine of the Church of Christ must never change. The principles may change, but never the doctrine itself. That provides a refuge from the storm. A rock in a world that is constantly changing, for which I am grateful.

Just a few thoughts :)

This letter has been brought to you by: O Thou Rock of Our Salvation


1. O thou Rock of our salvation,
Jesus, Savior of the world,
In our poor and lowly station
We thy banner have unfurled.

Gather round the standard bearer;
Gather round in strength of youth.
Ev’ry day the prospect’s fairer
While we’re battling for the truth.

2. We a war ’gainst sin are waging;
We’re contending for the right.
Ev’ry day the battle’s raging;
Help us, Lord, to win the fight.

Gather round the standard bearer;
Gather round in strength of youth.
Ev’ry day the prospect’s fairer
While we’re battling for the truth.

3. Onward, onward, we’ll be singing
As we’re marching firm and true,
Each succeeding battle ringing,
Earnest of what we can do.

Gather round the standard bearer;
Gather round in strength of youth.
Ev’ry day the prospect’s fairer
While we’re battling for the truth.

4. When for all that we’ve contended,
When the fight of faith we’ve won,
When the strife and battle’s ended,
And our labor here is done,


Then, O Rock of our salvation,
Jesus, Savior of the world,
Take us from our lowly station;
Let our flag with thee be furled.

I know that this is a battle. We are to strike to the heart. The difference between us and the military of today is that, instead of killing, we give life. We are warriors in the Battle for Truth. I know that this Church has that Truth. It is the only one with the Power of Salvation. This church is lead by Christ Himself. It is His to do His work. We are soldiers of Christ, giving life and salvation. I am proud to be part of this army for all my life, for I know it is True.

All My Love,

Élder Sudbury

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Curtis with other missionaries


Curtis and companion at a Baptism




Letter from Curtis August 8, 2011

Hello world,
It was a hard week.  Almost all of our investigators went on vacation this week and we only had ten lessons the whole week, five of those with less-active members.  We are getting better at working as a team and supporting each other.  We're having a few difficulties finding new people to teach, but things are going well.  Élder Valenzuela is progressing as a missionary very well.  He is becoming a much better teacher and has a great desire to apply himself to the work.  We're getting along just fine.
This area is an interesting one.  The ward hasn't had many great missionaries in it for some time.  A lot of the members have become a little discouraged that there are people to find and teach.  We know there are, because we asked Heavenly Father ;).  We're working a lot with the Priesthood Executive Committee and the Ward Council in creating a ward mission plan.  They are getting really excited.  We are creating a ward mission plan that supports all of the different organizations.  Everybody's input has been great.  We truly believe that as we start working as a team here we will have great success.  We are helping the ward get rid of an old false tradition:  Missionary work is primarily the job of the missionaries and the ward members should help or support us.  In place of that false tradition, a ward mission plan helps the ward act in accordance with the correct principle:  Missionary work is primarily the job of the ward and its members and the missionaries are there to help.  It's a complete reversal of an old tradition, but we have already started to make great strides in that direction.  The Lord is blessing us immensely.
I never did get to say congratulations to Bishop Denison on his new calling.  I am excited to report to him at the end of my mission.
Well, after last week's very short letter, nobody really sent me much email, so I don't have much to which to respond.  Know that I love you all and you're all in my prayers.  I'm very blessed to have such a great family.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn: Behold! A Royal Army

1. Behold! A royal army,
With banner, sword, and shield,
Is marching forth to conquer
On life’s great battlefield.
Its ranks are filled with soldiers,
United, bold, and strong,
Who follow their Commander
And sing their joyful song:

Victory, victory,
Thru him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!

2. And now the foe advancing,
That valiant host assails,
And yet they never falter;
Their courage never fails.
Their Leader calls, “Be faithful!”
They pass the word along;
They see his signal flashing
And shout their joyful song:

Victory, victory,
Thru him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!

3. Oh, when the war is ended,
When strife and conflicts cease,
When all are safely gathered
Within the vale of peace,
Before the King eternal,
That vast and mighty throng
Shall praise his name forever,
And this shall be their song:

Victory, victory,
Thru him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thru Jesus Christ, our Lord!

In life's battlefield, I know who is my captain.  Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer is always at my side to guide me and direct me.  I know that He has redeemed me.  I know that through Him I will be victorious.  I know that He is my Lord.  I know that the world will get more confusing and evil, but Christ will never falter.  He is our great Foundation, our Rock.  I know He lives.  I know He is my Savior and Best Friend.  He will always come first in my life.  Nothing can replace Him, for He has saved me out of a pure love of me.  We will be gathered, both physically and spiritually, to live with Him and be as He is.  I know it is true!  This is His church, made to help us become as He is.  That is what a church is for, to help perfect the people within it.  I know that it is true, I can't deny it.  No logical attack can ever shake the sure answer that I have received in my heart that it is true.  I hope to be a Witness of that all my life.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS  Mom and Dad, I'll write you a short note.  Melanie and Tim, enjoy your vacation.  SalleeAnn and Matt, I got your announcement about Abby.  She is darling.  Noella, you're going to have to teach me a few of these games when I return.  JuleeAnn, good luck with the job.  Chris, good luck with school.  Love you all!

Letter from Curtis August 1, 2011

Well, you all wrote such fantastic emails that I'm completely out of time.  I'll learn to read faster and print out some emails, please keep sending details.

This week was a little harder, not many people were home.  Nevertheless, we found one new investigator that came to church and seems to really be progressing.  Her name is Diana and her baptismal date is for the 21st.  All is well.

I wanted to share a line from a hymn, it is: I Believe in Christ.

What a simple phrase, but so profound!  I believe in the being that saved to whole world from sin.  I believe in He who wrought miracles and gave us a perfect example to follow.  I believe in the miracles, in the life, and in His promise.  I believe in Christ!

Thank you for all you do.  You all have my great love.  I'll send pictures next week.

The mission home has been rented, it's the one we found that last week.
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis, July 25, 2011

Dear Family,

A hard week.  We have been working to try to get new investigators, but with little result.  We have a couple ideas for this week that we hope will work out.  We're offering to teach people how to hold a family home evening.  We're not sure exactly how it will work out, but we have high hopes for the week. 

We've been seeing great miracles this week.  We were able to give a blessing of healing to a woman who has had back problems for the last ten years.  We saw her this morning and she has been healed completely.  We also were blessed to give an investigator a blessing and to dedicate her home.  She had felt that there were evil spirits in her house.  I'm not sure that there were, but the Power of a Priesthood blessing gave her a great calm and she hasn't felt the great fear she had felt before since.  The Lord has truly been using us to do His work.  I feel really humbled by these two experiences.

Angie got baptized!  It was a lovely baptismal service.  The first counselor baptized her and the first counselor confirmed her yesterday.  It is always a blessing to be part of a baptism.

My companion and I are getting along very well.  I learned that I know a lot more about teaching the gospel now than I did when I started my mission.  I'm excited to be able to teach when I get back.

We're a little low on time because the letter I wrote to President Chávez was a little longer and I want to write a few individual emails.  But I am happy and blessed.

This letter is brought to you by the hymn For the Strength of the Hills

1. For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God;
Thou hast made thy children mighty
By the touch of the mountain sod.
Thou hast led thy chosen Israel
To freedom’s last abode;
For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God.
2. At the hands of foul oppressors
We’ve borne and suffered long;
Thou hast been our help in weakness,
And thy pow’r hath made us strong.
Amid ruthless foes outnumbered
In weariness we trod;
For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God.
3. Thou hast led us here in safety
Where the mountain bulwark stands
As the guardian of the loved ones
Thou hast brought from many lands.
For the rock and for the river,
The valley’s fertile sod,
For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God.
4. We are watchers of a beacon
Whose light must never die;
We are guardians of an altar
’Midst the silence of the sky.
Here the rocks yield founts of courage,
Struck forth as by thy rod;
For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
Our God, our fathers’ God.
God has been in my life so much.  He has been a guardian of my loved ones.  He has led me from place to place, school to school, and area to area in safety.  I am a watcher of the Beacon of Truth and the Guardian of he Altar of the Lord.  In the silence of the heavens I have heard this voice so often "I Am, and you are my Son."  I know God lives and I praise Him.  I depend entirely upon Him.  I know that He loves me.  I know that I must try my whole life to serve my God and my Fathers' God.  Jesus is my Savior.  I am His missionary for my whole life, and perhaps even after.

With All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis, July 18, 2011

Dear World,
 
Unfortunately I don't have all the time I would like to be able to write this week.  Allow me to explain why...
 
It is terribly uncommon for an elder to stay in the offices for more than six months.  I was no exception.  We thought that I was going to stay, as, because of an odd number of missionaries, we were to have a trio somewhere in the mission.  President got done with changes and I was still in the offices.  Monday came around and something unusual happened.  An elder from Chile had arrived at the MTC in Mexico for his instruction there.  As a result, we never received his flight plans in the offices and assumed he would be temporarily postponed.  I didn't notice his name on the MTC roster until the assistants picked him up.  That night I got a call that I was to have changes.  I've been called as an instructor (what we call trainers in this mission...President Chávez doesn't like the words "trainer" or "to train" because they usually refer to animals and don't appear anywhere in the scriptures) to Élder Valenzuela.  For lack of time I'll send you pictures next week.  The house where we were to live was not yet prepared, so we've been living in another companionship's apartment until we rent a house.  The owner of the apartment where we plan on living met with us and President Chávez this morning as we don't have a co-signer and she wanted to know why.  She was impressed with President Chávez and decided to rent us the apartment.  We're signing the contract in about fifteen minutes from right now, seeing when we can bring our stuff from the other house, and still have a district meeting in the night.  I haven't washed clothes in some time for the same reason and I'm not sure how I smell.  We'll find a way to make it work. 
 
It's been a busy week.  I always seem to get wards who don't believe in missionary work working.  I love those wards...more than that, I love proving them wrong and that God can do things there.  We have seen many mighty miracles this last week.  We have five people with a baptismal date for these upcoming weeks and are very hopeful for them.  One of those baptisms will be for this Saturday.  Her name is Angelica.  She's the ten year old daughter of a part member family.  She's very excited for her baptism, though she's a little shy.  We're excited for her as well.  God has been pouring out his spirit.  I feel we've already started to change the minds of a few people in the ward like the bishop and the counselors, and we hope to change minds of the rest of them.  We want their faith to grow and their ward to heal.  We want to be a blessing here.  The harvest here is truly white and ready to harvest in Tlalpan Ward. 
 
This letter is brought to you by: Be Still, My Soul
 
Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side.
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
 
Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
 
Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
 
I'm plum out of time, I have to make a program for a baptism and still get to that contract meeting on time, but I leave you with this.  I know this church is true.  This is God's church.  We believe in it and learning to perfect our lives.  I know that Christ is our Savior and loves us dearly.  I know that He wants people to have faith in His name, repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.  I know He is helping us bring that, in love, to the people in Tlalpan.  I know my Lord is on my side.  I know that He is always faithful to me, and I hope to always be faithful to Him.  I know that the waves and winds of my life are always going to be in His control.  I know that one day, if I am faithful, I will return to live with Him.  All changes will end when one day I will be with Him and my Family forever.  I will live in Joy with Him.
 
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
 
PS I really am out of time.  I love you all, I'll write next week.  Mom, the backyard looks great ;).

Curtis' Letter July 8, 2011

Hello Family,

I won't be reading any of your emails this week, it looks like.  I forgot to tell you all last week that in my new area we had moved P-day from Saturday to Friday, but that's okay.  It's been a busy week.  Changes are this upcoming week.  The way things are looking, I will likely have changes.  If so, then it will be my time to leave.  I leave it in God's hands.  If I have changes, you'll know because I won't be able to write until the next Monday.

Well.....the house.  We met with the owners of the house we wanted this last Monday.  They seemed nice, but we still had the problem of fiscal receipts.  They said that they could indeed give us fiscal receipts to explain the cost of the house, but they wouldn't be specifically for rent, but rather for something else, but they insisted that they were completely legal.  After hearing that for a half-an-hour we smiled and said we would talk it over with the church accountants.  The church accountants started talking and it seemed like it could work.  We went to work Tuesday and found the number of another house.  We called it just to see the price (it had become a habit) and it was a little high in price.  We didn't think much of it as we had already decided on this other house.  Wednesday rolled around and it turned out that the receipts they wanted to give us would not work at all.  They were indeed fiscal receipts that showed the proper taxes, but instead of being for rent, they wanted to give us receipts claiming that it was for medical treatments.  Perhaps it is legal, in Mexico, but it wasn't right.  We remembered the house for which we saw the number.  We called it and set an appointment for that afternoon.  We saw it and it was beautiful.  The person who showed us the house was one of the owners, can give fiscal receipts, is alright with our alternative to a cosigner, and is willing to negotiate the price.  We put the brethren at the church office building to work on it this morning.  We expect to, in the end rent this house.

The hand of God was clearly in all of this.  We had been spending too much in the mission in the account we use to rent houses before I became financial secretary.  Because I came and cut down the costs, we have enough money for this slightly more expensive house.  We felt we were going to get one house, but we didn't.  Because we were near that house we found the number for the house whose owners we met on Monday.  Because we thought we were going to rent that house, we went to work.  Because we went to work, we ran across the number of a house that isn't being adverrtised anywhere.  God carefully led us down the right path.  When it seemed nothing would work out, He arranged an answer to our prayers in a greater and more wonderful manner than we had imagined.  I am very grateful.

We have been focusing on really loving our investigators.  I've felt for a long time that that is the real key to missionary work: true, pure love.  We have had a marvelous week.  We only have a few investigators in this area right now, but we love them dearly.  In the space of just a week, we have made great friends.  I am happy.

That's about all the news we have.  The work goes on...

This letter has been brought to you by the song Count Your Blessings:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.
In my "conflict" of life, God is most certainly over all.  Angels have attended me.  Christ has blessed me.  I have, more than once, thought that the load was too heavy to bear.  I have felt tempest tossed and that all was lost.  God has shown, time and time again, that He is indeed in charge of my life.  I put myself in His hands and He takes care of me.  Sometimes I cannot see the way He will make things right, but He always does.  I know He lives, for I've heard His voice.  I know He lives because I feel His love for me and those around me.  I know He lives because He has guided my path even when I didn't know where I was going.  God Lives.  Jesus Christ is the Son of the Eternal Father, my Savior, and my best Friend.  I hope, at the end of my life, He will be able to say that I was His Friend as well.

All my Love,

Élder Sudbury

PS Mom and Dad, I'll write you a short note seperately.  Melanie and Tim, your kids are getting so big!  Ryan is huge!  Zoë looks just like her mother at that age.  You are blessed.  Matt and SalleeAnn, I imagine your kids are getting huge too, but I haven't any recent pictures of them, could you send me some?  Noella, when is your trip again?  JuleeAnn and Chris, I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July in Boston!  I love you all dearly!