Elder Curtis Sudbury

Elder Curtis Sudbury

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Letter from Curtis June 25, 2011

Hello world,

It's been an interesting week...where to start...

Monday we went to the hospital for the surgery with Élder García.  He is still recovering with us.  One more reason never to get fat :P.

Tuesday afternoon we got home from the hospital.  I went with our ward missionary to the area for a few hours.  We set up some appointments for Friday.  I came home and worked a bit in the offices.

Wednesday was a very stress-filled day (and this coming from somebody who almost never gets stressed).  We had to do some special changes in the morning, I kept looking and calling about houses, sorted a few things, and still had a bit to do by the time nine o'clock rolled around.  I left on exchanges with two elders in my district.

Thursday I was on exchanges all day.  It was an interesting day.  These elders seem like they're trying hard, but have a lot of things to learn.  I got home at nine again from exchanges.  Élder Flake went to migration, the church offices, and mail while I was gone.

Friday was an especially interesting day.  We had a fairly normal morning.  We studied, cashed a check and came home.  Élder Flake went to the area with the ward missionary and I took Élder García to the hospital for a check-up.  We stopped home, went to the store, got burger king, and came home.  As we were eating in the offices, we heard some police cars coming down the street.  It sounded like one stopped right in front of the offices.  It was especially weird when it sounded like another one did the same thing.  We didn't think much of it, but we started to worry a bit when there was shouting and banging on the door downstairs.  We figured the police was just dealing with some drunk guy with a knife or something and shrugged it off.  Élder García went upstairs and I started filing some missionary recommends.  Somebody rang our doorbell and I went to see who it was (we have a video intercom).  I picked up the receiver, but there wasn't anybody there.  I figured they had picked up the drunk guy and accidentally hit the doorbell as a result.  Five minutes later Élder García started coming down the stairs and we heard the strangest thing.  Somebody started shouting "¡Ábreme güey!" (Spanish equivalent of "Open the door man!"  This wouldn't have been terribly surprising, except it was coming from a door that led to the patio one the second floor on the inside of the house.  I was honestly a little surprised and closed the door that led to that patio.  I looked out the window and, to my surprise, saw four or five police officers standing outside the door.  I opened the door and the police streamed in and started searching the house.  We were informed that somebody came into our house to assault us.  Élder García and I, in total calmness, just stood still while the police searched the house.  After they searched the house for a bit, finding nobody, they slowed down enough to explain the situation.  A man had been robbing one of the houses behind us.  The police came and surprised him.  In an attempt to get away, he jumped from that house to ours, falling on the stairs that lead from the roof to the patio.  The police thought he had gone in the third story window, armed with a pistol.  Having searched the house in vain, they left.  We went to pick up Élder Flake, telling him the story on the way home.  President had already called my cell phone, but Élder Flake had it.  He had called the offices some five minutes after we had left.  We had planned on calling him to let him know upon getting home.  He already knew.  The area presidency had called him to inform him.  How they knew I'll never know.

As to the mysterious theif, it was nothing short of a miracle that he didn't go into our house.  He could have, easily, to get out.  He likely would have found us and it could have easily been some kind of hostage situation, but it didn't happen.  The police seem to not have taken anything (except perhaps the wallet of Élder García).  We were shaken, but completely unharmed.  One more reason I don't want to live in México. :P

Well, that's my story.  We still don't have a new house.  We're searching on faith that God will provide a way, for we can't find one :P.  I've come to believe that that's often the way God works.  He makes a situation mortally impossible so that we recognize His Hand in changing things for good.  All ends well with God.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If we do what's right we have no need to fear neither spiritual nor mortal threats.  We must be victorious, for the Lord of Heavens and Earth is on our side.  We will never retreat or withdraw our cause.  I know that this is the Cause of Truth.  I will devote my entire life to this cause.  I am committed.  I know the Lord has protected us and is constantly blessing us.  Things will work out.  I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of the Living God.  I know that He is my Father.  I am trying to be a good son.  I love Them and I know They love me.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS I'm fine, I promise.  It was an exciting day ;).  Melanie and Tim, I hope you enjoyed your day at lagoon and the anaesthesiologist thing.  SA and Matt, how is Abigail doing?  Noella, what are your plans for Turkey?  Ju and Chris, I'm glad to hear your hung your last picture.  Get some food ;).  Mom, I hope you feel better.  Dad, I'm glad it was a good week.  Sorry about the short notes last week, I was out of time, but wanted to wish you a happy birthday and Father's day, respectively.  I love you :).

Letter from Curtis Sudbury - June 18, 2011

Dear world,

It's been another interesting week.  We traded out one elder for another who needs the same surgery :P.  I've honestly been grateful to have the time to organize a few things around the offices, but I would really like to go out and teach again.  It's a hard feeling to describe to anyone who hasn't been on a mission, but the desire to go and spread the gospel, to help people you love come closer to Christ is strong.  I don't know anything more wonderful.

We have high hopes for one house.  We need to contract something this week.  All the mission changes happen July 1st immediately.  That is the day that President Morales gets here and everything needs to be ready.  Crunch week ;).

I have been very blessed by the Lord to find ways to maintain the same level of spiritual strength during this time as I have when I get to go out and proselyte.  I've learned to study the scriptures more intently and with greater zeal than before.  It's a great lesson I had been hoping to learn for when I get back.  It will bless my life as a missionary and as a normal member of the church.

Élder Unsworth went to our new area this week.  Élder Flake is staying with Élder García (the sick Élder) and me until the change needs to take place.  I'll send you that photo as soon as President Chávez sends it to me.

That's about all the specific news that I have, I'll be writing a few individual letters in a little bit.

This letter has been brought to you by the hymn Each Life that Touches Ours for Good:

Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior’s name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
I have been blessed by so many lives that have touched mine for good.  I know so many of their lives boldly and sweetly proclaim devotion to the name of my Savior.  It is that devotion that so deeply touched me that motivated me to redouble my faith, strengthen my desire, and put my life in order to be the same kind of devoted servant that I saw a good friend being.  I know that God lives for He guides us to people who can bless us.  I know that He lives for I feel His Love in the smile of a friend.  I know that He lives because I have felt His tender mercies so many times in my life.  I have been blessed by Christlike friends and I hope to bless others in the same manner.  I know that Christ is my Living God.  I know that He is very alive and actively acting in my life and in many people's lives.  I testify of Him with all my heart.  I know that My Redeemer Lives.

All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

Letter from Curtis - June 11, 2011

Dear World,

The job of a Mission Secretary is not glamorous or often enjoyable, but I suppose someone has to do it :P.  I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to serve, but this week has been hard.  An Élder got sick.  When elders get sick, really sick, they have to stay with us.  We don't get to leave.  Élder Araiza is a bigger fellow and all the walking has done him good, but he hasn't managed his diet, so he hasn't lost much weight.  Because of all the walking and the excess weight, his right knee, essentially, blew out.  Saturday night we were informed of the surgery.  Monday we sent some other people with him to do some studies at the hospital.  Tuesday we went with him to the hospital for a simple knee surgery.  His extra weight made it a very difficult operation as they put him under anaesthesia.  They ended up having to stick a tube down his throat to help him breath because the extra fat was closing his throat and not permitting him to breath.  It made the recovery a little more exciting.  We stayed there overnight.  We haven't hardly been able to leave the offices.  We are stuck here as he can barely walk.  It's been a long week.

The extra time has given me a lot of extra time to study and learn and reorganize the offices.  It's been a mixed blessing. :P

Today we had a farewell for the office elders that are going to the new mission at president's house.  He told us how they met.  It was an interesting story :P.  That's another story for another time.  We had grilled steaks.  They were delicious!  We had salad and frozen lemonade in addition to homemade flour tortillas.  I was happy. ;).  We played ping pong and basketball.  My companion and I, Élder Unsworth, kicked everybody's butt in ping pong, as was only to be expected ;).

That's about all.  It's been a rough week because I couldn't go teach as I love to do.  I have taught my companion, but that's about all.  I wish I had more time.

This week's letter has been brought to you by the song: Called to Serve
Called to serve Him, heav’nly King of glory,
Chosen e’er to witness for his name,
Far and wide we tell the Father’s story,
Far and wide his love proclaim.
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our King.
Called to know the richness of his blessing—
Sons and daughters, children of a King—
Glad of heart, his holy name confessing,
Praises unto him we bring.
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our King.

I have been called to serve him.  It doesn't matter where or what or who, just how.  I have been chosen to ever witness for His name in all times and in all things and in all places.  We will declare the story of Christ and His love.  I know His story and I feel His love.  I know the richness of his blessing.  I am the son of a King with my destiny to become as He is.  I will praise and glory in His name.  So many times I have felt that He has been my strength.  I will press forward and onward.  I am so amazed at the fact that, no matter what, He blesses and guides me.  What an incredible love He has!  I know it!  I feel it!  Despite my many imperfections, He sees who I can be and loves me!  I am so grateful.  In the Liahona for the conference that just passed there was a picture that I did my best to reproduce:

        \         |         /
         \        |        /
          \       |       /
           \             /
----------     0    0    ---------------
----------                ---------------

            /     |      \            
           /      |       \
          /       |        \

It's a sun!  That's what we're going for.  Never ending happiness!  I'm so excited! :) Maybe it's a little dorky, but it's my goal.  I know, with the Lord, that it's possible.  I know He lives and loves us and that He wants us to have never ending happiness.  It is precisely for that purpose that He has given us rules.  I'm grateful for those rules.  It's all true, which makes it all worth it.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Take care on the flooding one and all.  I hope all is well at home.  I haven't much time, but I send all my love!  Take great care!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Letter from Curtis - 2

Hello Fam,

I thought I would answer some of the more pressing questions I've been asked in this email that I've neglected previously:

1.  Did you ever get the beef jerky and the journals? 
2.  Did you get the house that you wanted for the Mission home?   Take some pictures of it and of you and your new companion.  Have someone else take the picture so you are not taking it from the point of view of your nostrils---if you know what I mean.
Not yet...Later in the month I'll take a picture of all of us in the offices.  The other two secretaries that are leaving to the new mission are out of the office for a few weeks.
3. Are you the only one left from the mission home group or was the group divided in half for the two missions.
Half and half.  One assistant and two secretaries are going to each mission
4.  What is the difference between your last job and the executive secretary job?
They're completely different.  Executive and materials works with the visas and the physical materials of the mission.  My other job was baptismal records and mission finances.
5.  How long will you serve in that new position?  (Will be it until the end of your mission?)
No idea whatsoever.  Could be six weeks, could be six months, could be anywhere inbetween :P.

Well, having that out of the way, I'll get started.  :)

I feel much better now (with a little bit of a sore throat).  We've had an interesting and crazy week.  We have been house shopping because we were informed that the houses we liked were both picked up before we could get to them.  Monday we had the new people; Tuesday changes and leaving missionaries;  Wednesday I started helping Élder Unsworth figure out his job and we picked up a missionary; Thursday we just had a relatively normal day; Friday we did more house shopping; and today we did more house shopping.  We talked with a real estate agent around here and she told us that we had seen just about every house in the area that was for rent.  Today we saw a house that we hadn't even heard about before.  It's a beautiful three story house for the same price a month as all the other ones.  The renter knows a bit about the missionaries and the church, so that won't be any problem at all.  President is going to see it Wednesday and, if all goes well, we should be able to sign a contract somewhere around next Saturday. 

I'm honestly exhausted.  I have to learn a new job and help my companion learn his.  I know fairly well the job I have, but it will be good to have a little time next week to organize everything.  Every time we've gone to the area we've seen great miracles.  We've found people in places that we've never found people before.  I'm excited :).

That's about all that's been happening with us.  We've just been busy getting things under control again. :P

This week's email has been brought to you by a song called Come to Me.  I will try, the best I can, to put the lyrics from memory:

Come to me, all you who are weary, or burdened
And I will give you rest
Come to me, all you who are weary, or burdened
And I will give you rest

Take my yoke upon you and learn of me
For I am gentle and humble in heart
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me
And you will find rest for your soul

You will find rest for your soul

For my yoke is easy
And my burden is light
For my yoke is easy
And my buden is light.
Honestly, it's somewhat of a repetitive song, but the simple lyrics adapted slightly from the Bible have a powerful message.  Christ, that Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, he whose Hand spans the Universe and contemplates all things in One wants me to give my burdens to Him to carry.  I know it's His greatest desire to carry them for me.  The weight of sin or worry, the sorrow for seeing someone go astray, or whatever is happening in my life, He wants to carry it all.  He asks only one thing in return.  We carry His yoke and burden.  The greek words for the two yokes are so different.  The first is a HUGE burden, somewhat the weight of 500-1000 pounds.  It is the burden of a worker or a seller in Jerusalem.  The burden is yoked to the forehead and the waist and it is very cumbersome and difficult to carry.  The second yoke that he asks us to take refers to a small travelers bag, like a backpack.  I testify that Christ's burden is very light and, though it may seem difficult at times, the yoke is very easy.  I know that because I have felt Him take, time and again, my great burdens and hand me that little bag of commandments and ordinances.  I know He loves me enough to take that upon Himself.  I know the Father loves me as well and will do all He can for me.  I testify proudly of my Loving Father and Brother.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Thank you for everything.  I wish the best for all of you.  Mom, just put your nose to the grinder and get it done.  Dad, good luck on your trip.  Melanie and Tim, I hope you're enjoying watching your children grow.  Matt and SalleeAnn, I hope you're enjoying watching your family grow.  Noella, I hope you're feeling much better from all your various injuries.  I need you to be healthy so you can train with me when I get back ;).  JuleeAnn and Chris, bon voyage!  Buen Viaje!  Be safe ;).

Curtis' letter May 30, 2011

Hello World,

Well, changes were announced yesterday and I found out what my job is going to be and what mission I'll be going to.  I don't want you to be able to skip straight to the juicy information, so I'll hide that information throughout the letter.  You'll have to read the whole thing if you really want to know what's happening... ;)

It's been an interesting week.  What we've casually deemed the "kill count" for the mission increased by one.  Élder David Wayne Patterson II went home due to medical problems.  He has a herniated disk among other back problems and the pain became too intense for him to bear.  As a result of his going home, this whole week got mixed up.  I stayed here in the office with him all of Tuesday and Wednesday.  Those were two very long days :P  Thursday and Friday I stayed with Élder Patterson's companion Élder Aguilar so he could work in his area while he was waiting for changes (tomorrow).  He's my zone leader and a good missionary.  I actually rather enjoyed working with him.  And by the way (non-sequitur) I will be the executive secretary for a while.  :)  We worked well and had some fantastic miracles in his area.  Despite my lack of true teaching ability, we had some great lessons ;).  Saturday I went on exchanges with another district leader to do a baptismal interview for him.  The man had had many problems in his life.  The majority of his problems stemmed from a powerful alcoholism early on.  He has lost everything.  In two weeks, he kicked the habit he had had for more than 25 years.  God works many miracles.

Sunday we didn't get anyone to church, but had a great zone meeting about going to where the investigator is.  I came back, found out the changes for the mission, helped with a few of the tasks that need to be done every time changes take place, and went to sleep.  My new companion's name is Élder Unsworth.  He's a good elder that I only really know in passing.  We should have a good time together.  :)  You thought I was going to tell you what mission I was going to be in didn't you?  Mwahahaha.

Today I don't feel so well.  My stool has been a little bloody, but off and on for a couple of days.  I'm not sure what it could be, but if it continues I'll call the doctor.  It can't be anything too serious or I would have either fainted or died by now.  This letter is proof of my bill of health ;).  I will be staying in the Mexico Mexico City South Mission with President Aarón Chávez Carpio.  So you know ;).  My companions are in the instruction for the new missionaries at president's house while I stay with Élder Aguilar.  All will be well.  :)

We will find out, supposedly, about the house tomorrow.  We have a back-up plan house, but we would still really like the one we saw.  All's well that ends well I suppose.

This letter is brought to you by the hymn High on the Mountain Top
High on the mountain top
A banner is unfurled.
Ye nations, now look up;
It waves to all the world.
In Deseret’s sweet, peaceful land,
On Zion’s mount behold it stand!
For God remembers still
His promise made of old
That he on Zion’s hill
Truth’s standard would unfold!
Her light should there attract the gaze
Of all the world in latter days.
His house shall there be reared,
His glory to display,
And people shall be heard
In distant lands to say:
We’ll now go up and serve the Lord,
Obey his truth, and learn his word.
For there we shall be taught
The law that will go forth,
With truth and wisdom fraught,
To govern all the earth.
Forever there his ways we’ll tread,
And save ourselves with all our dead.
When the saints were to be integrated into the United States of America, they wanted their state to be called Deseret, Hebrew (if I remember correctly) for honey bee, the symbol they had chosen for themselves.  They were an industrious, hard working people and wanted the world to recognize that.  The government was not in agreement with many of the things the saints were doing at the time due to the many rumors that were circulating, and, furthermore, they didn't really want a state with a Hebrew name.  The government, partly to slight the saints and exert their authority over them, chose the name Utah to recognize the Ute tribe that was native to the state.  Only later did the Saints discover that the word Utah meant The Tops of the Mountains.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
--Isaiah 2:2-3
High, on the Tops of the Mountains the Banner of Truth has been unfurled.  All the world may learn the law that flows out of Zion.  We, as missionaries, are carrying that law and that banner into all the world.  We seek to save the whole human family.  God has remembered His promises and has established His house in the Tops of the Mountains.  I know that He lives and that This is His church.  I know that Christ is the center of this Gospel and that He came down from Heaven to reestablish His church.  I know that the Arm of the Lord has been very active in fulfilling every prophecy about this Church and Kingdom.  I know that the times is not far distant when we will all Come to Zion.  I know that High on the Mountain Top Truth Eternal has been unfurled again.
All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS  Mom and Dad, I'm glad you're doing well and that you enjoyed your trip.  Melanie and Tim, Looks like Zoë had a great time in her performance.  Matt and SalleeAnn, congrats again on the graduation.  Noella, I'm grateful for the model of service you are.  The foodbank I'm sure appreciates all your help for the end of the world ;).  JuleeAnn and Chris, leaving home to go somewhere totally random is always crazy, but you'll be blessed.  Be happy ;).  Things will work out.
I love you all!