Elder Curtis Sudbury

Elder Curtis Sudbury

Monday, February 27, 2012

On top of the work in Mexico

Pix from customary even in Mexico

Letter from curtis February 27, 2012

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

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

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

All My Love,
Élder Sudbury

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

Letter from Curtis January 16, 2012

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

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

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

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

Monday, January 9, 2012

Letter from Curtis January 9, 2011

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

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Missionaries in the mission

Baptism for December 1st week

Curtis will be home in two months!!

Here is The itinerary for the flight for Curtis once he lands in the states:

Q ECONOMY                                  TERMINAL 1
           NON SMOKING      FOOD FOR PURCHASE             NON STOP
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED         2:50 DURATION
                            SEATS 27A/27B/27D/27E NO SMOKING CONFIRMED
If all goes well, Curtis will land at 4:45 on March 21st at the Salt Lake International airport in the American Airlines Terminal!!

Letter from Curtis December 31, 2011

Dear Family,

It was good to hear from all of you this Christmas!  You all sound great and healthy!  I'm especially pleased to have been able to talk with Matt, SalleeAnn, JuleeAnn, Chris, Hannah, Sammy, and Abigail on the east coast on the same phone call.  That is a wonderful maneuver that certainly made my Christmas.

SalleeAnn, Happy BIRTHDAY!!!  I think Matt's birthday is also around this time...I do apologize if I don't remember somebody's birthday.  I don't have my calendar (facebook) to remind me right now ;).

This week finds me twenty-one years young.  I wish I could say I look or feel my age.  I look older and feel younger :)!  I'm not sure how that works out, but it's a fact.  

It's been a wonderful pleasure to serve the Lord full time for a tenth of my lifetime.  I hope to be able to serve him well ALL my life.  It's such a joy and a privilege.

This week has been a little bit slow because of the holidays, but we've had a few new investigators and the other elders from our ward had a baptism.  All is working out. I'm sorry I don't have more to report, it's been a rather slow week.

This week's letter has been brought to you by the hymn Ring Out, Wild Bells:

1. Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light.
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
2. Ring out the old; ring in the new.
Ring, happy bells, across the snow.
The year is going; let him go.
Ring out the false; ring in the true.
The year is going; let him go.
Ring out the false; ring in the true.
3. Ring in the valiant men and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand.
Ring out the darkness of the land;
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Ring out the darkness of the land;
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

I love the haunting tune of this hymn.  I don't believe it exists in Spanish, but at the end of every year it comes to mind.  I love Dad's tradition of bell-ringing.  It reminds me of the meaning of this hymn.  It is a song of change for the better and renewal.  It is a hymn inviting us to let the bad and the weary and the past die with the old year and to let Christ be born, the truth to reign, and a renewal of heart to take place.  

For all these things Christ came.  I know He came.  I know He lives.  I know that, should all the world fall apart, He would still be.  He lives.  I know He lives and actually exists.  Sin and Healing, Light and Darkness, and Eternal Laws are not just nice things to think or talk about, they are actual facts.  I know it.  It is TRUE.  I'll seal that testimony by living it all my life.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Happy new year!  I loved hearing you all!  I haven't any time left.  Have a wonderful bell ringing!

Letter from Curtis December 24th

Dear Family,
It won't be a terribly long letter, as I plan on calling tomorrow.  This week was a little slow.  Almost everyone left for vacations to somewhere that isn't here.  It's not very pretty where I am, so that's not terribly surprising.  I'd probably go on vacation from here too if they gave me the chance ;).

We had the mission luncheon.  The mission wanted us to present some musical numbers, so I sang O Holy Night with another elder in my district playing the piano.  It was pretty fun.

We divided the mission in half to make the lucheon a bit more manageable, but they asked those of us that sang to go to both because the other half didn't have anybody who took the leap ;).  We had a great time.  We played an Old Testament game, President talked about being humble, and then, for our Christmas present from him, showed us a slideshow of his own mission.  It was fun to see him and hear his stories.  

I'm very glad to have had him as mission president.  He's really a fantastic president.  I couldn't be more pleased.  We had a few appointments this week and the ward dinner.  We broke piñatas and ate tostadas.  A lot of our investigators came.  Last night we had dinner with the bishop.  That's really been the sum total of our week.  Not particularly inspiring or interesting, but as much as could be hoped, I suppose.

This week's letter is brought to you by The First Noël:
1. The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay,
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!
Born is the King of Israel!
2. They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel!
Born is the King of Israel!

I know that Christ is the King of Israel and the King of the whole earth.  I know that Christ came to give "great light."  All things are a testimony of him.  Christmas lights reflect the Light of the World.  The food reminds us that He is the Bread of Life.  I believe that there was great purpose in the fact that the Lamb of God was born in a manger.  All things, past, present, and future, testify of Christ.  He is the great Creator, the All-Mighty God.  He is the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the New.  I know that He is God and that He lives.  I know that all who seek a personal relationship with Him will obtain it.  He loves us and seeks our well-being at all times.  I love Him and I know He loves me.

All My Love, and Merry Christmas!
Élder Sudbury

PS I'll talk with you all tomorrow. I'll make a quick phone call to confirm the number and so you can call me back.  I love you all!

December 18th letter from Curtis

Dear Family,

An interesting week, full of joys and complicated things.  This week will mark the end of the trasfer cycle.  This Sunday night we will know if we had transfers or not.  It has been an interesting time with Élder Gómez.  We are very different in many ways, he and I, but we've learned to appreciate one another.  About an hour ago we had a baptism.  Pablo Bahena Sánchez and his son Pablo Bahena Perales were baptized in the Paraíso Ward in the Paraíso Stake at about 1230 Central time.  They've had an interesting journey.  Pablo was catholic, born and raised.  He began wondering about religions many years ago and he asked the Jehovah's Witnesses to pass by.  He was a guitar player in a band but gave up music because they told him it was sin.  Talk about faith!  After a time he asked them to not pass by and, a few years later, some of our companions contacted him.  He accepted the truth very readily.  He's a very good man with a large, good family.  He and his son had wanted to get baptized but didn't feel like they had that final answer to help them take the step.  One day he woke up speaking the words "John 23."  John chapter 23 doesn't exist.  He started looking for the verses (something he learned how to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses).  John 3:23 says:
23 ¶And John also was baptizing in Ænon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
He felt convinced, not being the first time he had been told something like this in his dreams, and decided to get baptized.  His son also wanted to go forward with his baptism.  They finally decided on today at noon.  We are very pleased. :)
The missionaries in my district are learning to follow the rules better and we are progressing.  We are going to have our Christmas dinner with President tomorrow.  All is well with me.  I will be writing again on Saturday but won't be writing Monday.  I'll write again the 31st but not the 2nd, so you can plan your letters ;).  I can only make one call for 40 minutes, so that's that.
This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn Away in a Manger:
1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
2. The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
3. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

What happened in springtime some 2012 years ago changed everything.  A baby was born to save the world.  The dragon was slain by the lamb.  Satan and all his hosts lost all their power against the repentant.  Everyone was given the chance to become sons and daughters of God and Christ.  I know with all my heart and as a witness of Him that He literally lived, died, and lives again as a resurrected and perfected being.  I know it is true with all my being.  He Lives!

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury
PS out of time, I'll write more Saturday

Dear Family,
Arturo was confirmed this Sunday.  He's had a lot of troubles with his son and his family but he's very happy to have taken that step.  This last week we went to the temple and it was a marvelous experience.  I couldn't have been more pleased with the visit.  I love the temple.  We get to go so little in the mission that I have really come to treasure the experience.

We had an interesting week.  I was on exchanges almost every day last week.  I had had a cold and so hadn't done any visits until this week, so I needed to visit all the members of my district this week.  I found some of the members of my district were working hard.  I'm very grateful for the work they were doing.

Today is the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Lots of fireworks, parades, and general craziness.  It's always fun.
We had a small earthquake on Saturday here.  It was the first earthquake that I have really been in.  It was...interesting.  Not too strong, but it was certainly felt. :)

This week's letter is brought to you by the hymn High on the Mountain Top
1. 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!
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.

The truth of the Gospel is so wonderful.  We can, as the hymn says, "save ourselves with all our dead."  The Lord's promises are being fulfilled every day.  We are seeing the fulfillment of scripture.  I know that this is God's church and law.  I know that this truth with go forth into all the world nobly and unstoppably because it is the Truth of God Himself.  I know He lives and exists.  I love Him.

All my Love,
Élder Sudbury

PS Mom and Dad, enjoy your trip.  I received the package of journals.  Thank you.  Melanie and Tim, thank you for having your brilliant children write me ;).  SalleeAnn and Matt, I hope all is well.  Noella, what are your plans for the holidays?  JuleeAnn and Chris, good luck on deciding on all those offers.  I love you all!