Elder Curtis Sudbury

Elder Curtis Sudbury

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Curtis Letter April 23, 2011

Hello World,

It's been a very interesting and exhausting week.  Not long after I wrote last week we went to work, as did mother nature.  She apparently saw a mess that needed to be cleaned up, so she got to work mopping.  We had a little bit of hail and a lot of rain.  The streets flooded a bit and we were walking through a couple feet of very cold water.  We saw the blessings of being able to help, however.  We gave an umbrella to a little family with two very young children who quite clearly needed it.  We also helped someone scrape off the hail from their sidewalk...with a broom :P.  It was an interesting afternoon.

Sunday evening surprises continued.  President finalized the changes.  Élder Villaseñor (the hispanic in the photo I sent home a few weeks ago) was sent to Solidaridad as a zone leader to finish his mission.  I am now district leader here in the offices.  We got a surprise when we saw that a third elder is going to be joining us.  His name´s Élder Flake from Snowflake, Arizona.  We don't really know why he's here, but it's been interesting walking around as three white kids in the middle of the federal district.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were absorbed in changes.  Élder Andersen went home Wednesday with the rest of the Americans.  He left behind some excersize equipment, for which I'm grateful ;).  Thursday, Friday, and today we've been dedicating to finding new people.  We've contacted some people that we really hope will receive us and progress.

I'm suffering from a little bit of a cold.  I had been waiting for it for some weeks now.  It was playing on and off with hitting me.  I'm glad it's hit me now so that I can get it over with :P.

I'm extremely tired, but very happy.  I took a nap for the first time in a long time today.  It was short, only two hours, but fantastic. 

I've been reflecting recently on repentance with all the missionaries going home.  What a fantastic blessing is repentance!  I understand the principle of repentance in this way: if you truly repent and turn your heart to God, no matter what you did, He will put you in the same place on your personal path as if you had made the right decision in the first place.  I know that that is the power of the atoning blood of Christ.  His healing is complete and profound.  Anyone who has made any kind of serious mistake, be it going home early from a mission, breaking the law of chastity, living a life of drugs or alcohol, etc. can return to the path.  The blessing is that you don't return where you left off, you return where you would be if you hadn't made the mistake.  That is why I love repentance.  No matter how painful it sometimes is, no matter how hard it is, it is supernally and eternally worth it.  Anyone who has fully repented can have the assurance that they are now precisely in the place on the path that God wants them to be.  I love that :).

I'm out of time right now, but I wanted to share two hymns this week: Come unto Him and Come unto Jesus
1. I wander through the still of night,
When solitude is ev’rywhere—
Alone, beneath the starry light,
And yet I know that God is there.
I kneel upon the grass and pray;
An answer comes without a voice.
It takes my burden all away
And makes my aching heart rejoice.
2. When I am filled with strong desire
And ask a boon of him, I see
No miracle of living fire,
But what I ask flows into me.
And when the tempest rages high
I feel no arm around me thrust,
But ev’ry storm goes rolling by
When I repose in him my trust.
3. It matters not what may befall,
What threat’ning hand hangs over me;
He is my rampart through it all,
My refuge from mine enemy.
Come unto him all ye depressed,
Ye erring souls whose eyes are dim,
Ye weary ones who long for rest.
Come unto him! Come unto him!

1. Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,
Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.
He’ll safely guide you unto that haven
Where all who trust him may rest.
2. Come unto Jesus; He’ll ever heed you,
Though in the darkness you’ve gone astray.
His love will find you and gently lead you
From darkest night into day.
3. Come unto Jesus; He’ll surely hear you,
If you in meekness plead for his love.
Oh, know you not that angels are near you
From brightest mansions above?
4. Come unto Jesus from ev’ry nation,
From ev’ry land and isle of the sea.
Unto the high and lowly in station,
Ever he calls, “Come to me.”
I know that all who come unto Him will find that rest of soul that they seek.  I know because I have felt His healing power in my life.  I have never, perhaps, done anything so bad that it would require deep, painful repentance, but I have had my share of sins.  We can all find healing and peace at the feet of the Great Physician.  I know that He has helped me so much even when I feel that I don't deserve it.  I know that His love is truly infinite and His Power to heal is as great as his love.  My heart will forever rejoice in the knowledge of He who Saves me.  Anyone who feels that they are alone or not what they should be because of some mistake in his or her life, look to the Savior.  Pray to Him.  He will show you the path laid out for you.  I will always remember the words said to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He had failed in a sacred charge of protecting a manuscript of scriptures, known as the Book of Lehi.  He felt lost and forsaken.  He repented and the Lord visited Him with this assurance:
The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.
For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.
Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;
For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.
Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments; and remember also the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.
And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.
For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words—
Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;
 I know that God calls the repentant to His work always.  That is my testimony.
All my Love,
Èlder Sudbury
PS I'm all out of time.  Thank you for all your letters.  Ju, I was talking about going to West ;).  Enjoy the easter egg hunt!

Curtis and companions from the mission home

Curtis Letter April 9, 2011

Hello World,

It's been an interesting week.  I don't remember if i mentioned it last week, but we have an extra Élder here in the offices.  He's being sent home this Monday.  I've taken missionaries to the airport many times.  Some finish on time, some finish early, some finish early because of medical reasons, but this is the first missionary that will be going home that isn't going home with honor.  The hard part for me this week is that we had to wait for approval to send him home from President Johnson, the Area President.  He and all the mission presidents had a seminary this week to talk about missionary work, so this elder has been waiting with us for a full week.  I've grown to love him, but it's been hard for me for many reasons.  He had to come with us to our area.  He's a person rather similar to me.  Perhaps that similarity is what frightens me.  Something that has stood out to me in my study this week has been the various people in the scriptures who have great promise and great promises from God but allow themselves to be tempted and they fall.  Perhaps for me it is a warning.  Never let your guard down.  Satan is working hard.  I still remember President Monson's voice from the October conference.  I remember it word for word: "Satan, that clever Pied Piper...David listened, wavered, and fell.  So did Cain, in an earlier era, and Judas, in a later one.  His methods are cunning, his victims, numerous."  I was studying during this conference how to maintain my strength, keeping my Armor, so to speak, shined and strong.  I realized that a huge power is laid out in the vision of The Tree of Life.  Those who hold fast to the rod and "pay no heed" to those mockers around them are those who were happy and safe at the end of the vision.  We must hold fast to the Rod of the Word of God and only care about what God thinks of us.  I think that's the only way to be really safe.  It's been a bit of a long week, working with four of us in one area.

Nevertheless, God can work great miracles using any means, even the mistakes or sins of an Élder.  Having this elder here as well as Élder Smith has allowed us to work doubly hard in the area.  We have a handful of new investigators and two new people who are planning to get baptized this week.  Their names are Moisés and Karen.  They are children of a less-active member.  They want to get baptized and have been to church a BUNCH.  Hopefully next Saturday will be their baptism.  God works in mysterious ways.

We have some official news that a new mission, the Mexico, Mexico South-East Mission is going to be made this summer.  We in the offices and President are all going to have to move.  Some of our missionaries are going to have a new mission and mission president.  I really don't know how it's all going to work out, but it should be an interesting couple of months.

Happy Birthday Dad and JuleeAnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVE YOU BOTH!!!!!!

This week's letter brought to you by the song True to the Faith
1. Shall the youth of Zion falter
In defending truth and right?
While the enemy assaileth,
Shall we shrink or shun the fight? No!

True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.
2. While we know the pow’rs of darkness
Seek to thwart the work of God,
Shall the children of the promise
Cease to grasp the iron rod? No!
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.
3. We will work out our salvation;
We will cleave unto the truth;
We will watch and pray and labor
With the fervent zeal of youth. Yes!
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.
4. We will strive to be found worthy
Of the kingdom of our Lord,
With the faithful ones redeemed
Who have loved and kept his word. Yes!
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.

I hope to be "True to the Faith" forever.  I am seeking here and will seek to always put myself at God's command, soul, heart, and hand.  I will work out my salvation, holding to the Iron Rod.  I will defend truth and right Forever.  That's why we're here.  We are here to become defenders of Truth.  That's why all of us came to earth.  We are to grow and become Gods of Truth.  We must, as C. S. Lewis once wrote "divorce ourselves of the world."  I hope to stay on that path forever.  I know this Church has the one perfect Path of Truth.  I know that God Lives and Jesus is the Living Christ.  All my life is dedicated to this cause, the cause of Truth and Faith.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

Curtis' letter April 4, 2011

Hello World,

It's been a busy week.  My urine is back to its normal color.  I still am not sure what made it turn pink... But oh well.  I will be receiving a new companion this transfer.  He's actually already here being instructed by Élder Villaseñor in his job as executive secretary.  His name's Élder Smith from Tremonton, Utah.  He has the same time as I in the mission.  I'm excited to work with him.

Two people came to conference this week, as far as we could tell.  Ofelia, an 83 year old investigator, and Lee, an investigator from the UK.  We'll see how that goes. :)

I LOVED conference!!!  I had written out 16 questions, my "rocks" for the Lord to make shine (brother of Jared story in Ether).  All 16 were answered quite thoroughly.  I have received a lot of direction for my life this week.  It's all been carefully recorded in those little black journals dad sent me.  They're a treasure. :)

We started a program here that should be interesting.  If the Elders or Sisters don't turn in their rent receipts one month, they won't get rent for the next month.  It's a bit of a hassle for me, but it's been VERY effective in getting their rent receipts.  We gave them some warning and opportunity, so they're now suffering a little bit.  As Elder Kent F. Richards taught in this last conference, pain is helping them grow.

I'm going to make this letter a bit short, as I'm going to write a few individual letters to my family, but I am well, tired, and happy.

This week's letter is brought to you by The Spirit of God:
1. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!
2. The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first.
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst.
3. We’ll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.
4. How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!
This hymn has a special place in my heart.  I heard it in the first temple dedication that I attended.  I'll never forget the feeling of that same Spirit of which I sung in my heart.  I have felt it so many times that I cannot deny it.  I KNOW this is the true word of God.  I know that the men we heard in Conference this weekend are Prophets of God called by Him.  I know that their words are God's.  My heart is so full of this knowledge.  GOD IS NOT DEAD, BUT LIVING.  PROPHETS ARE NOT PAST, BUT PRESENT.  I know it.
All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

Curtis letter for Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hello World!

To say that this week hasn't been long, interesting, and a little exciting would be so far from the truth that I think everyone who read it would burst out in laughter.  Although I always do like making people laugh, I'll spare you the sore stomach and just say it's been a long week.  Things started Sunday.  I woke up and was feeling a bit off.  I went to the bathroom and, to my surprise, my urine came out pink!  Not red, not anything but baby-bottom-pink.  I was very, very confused.  I of course called the doctor right away and he had me do some studies in the hospital Monday morning to see what would come out.  After receiving the results Monday night I was relieved that there was no trace of blood in my urine.  It just was pink.  No blood, no electrolytes, just a little bit of bacteria.  I went to the doctor briefly with my companion before that and he found that one of my urinary tracts was a little inflamed.  I was going to go to the urologist, but he's on vacation, so my doctor gave me fenazopiridina (I don't know if that's the same in English as Spanish) to clear out my urinary tracts.  I feel much better, but the medicine causes my urine to be a neon orange to a deep red.  It's been a funny week.

After that surprise we had a few other exciting happenings.  Élder Villaseñor left a portfolio in the car we had borrowed while ours was being fixed.  It was rather important because inside were passports, visas, and information about an appointment for the national registry.  He didn't know where he had left it and was really stressed out.  We got in touch with the person in charge of the motor pool and he found it, but there was a conference that day.  I went with the two elders who needed their visas in taxi, got the folder, got the pictures taken, they signed, and all turned out well.  It was a busy morning.

After Tuesday we were largely unimpeded in our efforts to go to the area on time (2:00 PM), but we had a lot of difficulties.  Few of the people with whom we got in touch accepted us, a lot of people weren't home, and we always got home very tired from walking as fast as we could to try to do all the work we could in the few hours we had.  Though we were tired, we were happy.  We feel we've been doing the best we can.  Yesterday we got in touch with some old investagators that seem like they want to listen.  They also introduced us to their relatives that live in the same apartment complex.  We have really started seeing the blessings of the Lord.

Today should be a fairly laid-back day.  We need to go to Wal-mart to buy food for the Zone Leaders that are coming tomorrow and get haircuts, but that's about all.  I'm going to write some people that I really need to write.

In other news, I finished the Old Testament!!!  I had never gotten all the way through it.  I didn't quite meet my goal for the 17th, but I finished it all the same!  I take pride now in knowing that I have read the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  It's a big accomplishment for me.  I'm very happy with that.

That's about all the news we have here.  Next week is GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!! :) I LOVE general conference!  I have loved it for years.  It's an opportunity to receive instruction directly from a prophet and pay even closer attention to the Holy Ghost.  I'm SUPER excited!

This week's letter has been brought to you by the song: We Listen to a Prophet's Voice.
1. We listen to a prophet’s voice and hear the Savior too.
With love he bids us do the work the Lord would have us do.
The Savior calls his chosen seer to preach the word of God,
That men might learn to find the path marked by the iron rod.
2. In ev’ry land, in ev’ry tongue, our prophet will be heard;
How swiftly round the world his voice reveals the gospel word!
The sacred message that he brings will witness and agree
With ev’ry prophet called of God throughout earth’s history.
3. Hosanna! Let our praise ascend unto the Savior’s throne;
Rejoice! The prophet has confirmed that by Him we are known.
Attend, ye earth! The prophet speaks; come listen and obey.
He is the man who holds the keys of priesthood pow’r today.
I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of the Lord today.  I know that, as in times past, the Lord has called prophets again.  We can pray and know that his words are the words of the Lord.  I know He holds all the keys of priesthood power and is authorized to use them all.  I know that he is called of God.  I know because I've asked God if He called him.  I got my answer.  What a blessing it is to have a prophet!  How many people wish God would come down and declare to them His will concerning them.  If one knows a man is a True Prophet, His words are the same as if God Himself came down to tell us what he wants to know.  I know that President Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdof, and all the Twelve Apostles today are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.  I am so excited because I KNOW.  I wouldn't and won't ever trade that knowledge for anything in the world.  I know God Lives, Jesus is the very Christ, and they have a Prophet on the earth today.  That makes everything worth it.

All My Love and Prayers,
Élder Sudbury

PS Mom I hope you enjoyed your trip to connecticut.  Dad, I hope you weren't too lonely.  MA, Tim, Zoë, and Ryan, I hope you are all doing well.  MA, I hope you're feeling better.  SA and Matt, If I end up at Harvard for medical school, we'll live close by!  NA, I hope you are doing well.  Have you decided where to go after your time is up as a clerk?  Ju and Chris, I'll live close by you two as well if I end up at Harvard! ;)  We'll see how the years roll out.

Thank you for everything!
Élder Sudbury