Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Area Expansion

Okay, this one won't be as long, I promise. There really isn't much to tell. We spent most of the week doing administrative stuff. Last Sunday the bishop announced that the stake would be dividing many of the wards and making other changes. So yesterday the stake gathered together to see what these changes included. Well, the Carondelet Ward (which I am serving in) is no longer called Carondelet. It is now known as The St Louis Hills Ward. But that's not all. They expanded it too. It used to stretch from the Mississippi River to The River Des Peres, which is located right next to our apartment. But now it stretches far beyond The River Des Peres. This makes our area potentially a lot bigger. But we will find out how it effects us more specifically at transfers, which are NEXT week, Nov 6. For some reason all of you thought it was last week. I don't remember telling anyone that though. Chances are Elder Vincent will be transferred away from me, which makes me really sad to be completely honest. I love that guy. I can't see myself having a better companion than him for the rest of the mission. That will probably be the hardest thing for me in the next few weeks. Oh, because transfers are NEXT week, Nov 6, do not sent me anything after tomorrow just to be safe. I will send my next address if it changes. But after Nov 6th, feel free to send me anything you want. :) 

Congratulations to Cody!! That's way awesome! I'm very excited for him! Tell Carson hi for me! Man, I wish I could be there for his homecoming. I know it will be great! 

I'm sorry this is kind of a lame report, but it's all I have time for. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I am praying for as many of you as I can think of and I think of you daily. Oh, I have a challenge for everyone actually. Study Moroni Chapter 7 and seek the Spirit as you do so. Then pick something that you are going to apply better in your life to bring yourself AND others closer to Christ. 

I love all of you so much! Have a great week. 

-Elder Curtis

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Great Week!

Hey everybody!

Things are progressing here in St Louis. We've been picking up new investigators and potential investigators quite a bit. We got a new one at the beginning of last week and two more at the end of the week and we have an appointment with a potential tomorrow. I was set up for us by the sister missionaries in our area so we don't actually know her. The sisters met her accidentally. I don't know all the details of their meeting but it sounds like it was quite serendipitous. Unfortunately they had to turn her over to us because she lives in our section of the area. Hopefully everything works out with that! Also, we got a text from church HQ this morning about someone who referred themselves online who lives in our area so we will go see them this week as well. As you can see the Lord has blessed us with many opportunities to teach His lost children. It is a blessing in many ways. Before all of these new people came to us we were having difficulties finding new people to teach. But we remained diligent and faithful and the Lord has now sent people our way so that we may help bring them back to His fold. Mm. I just love missionary work and seeing how everything just works out.
I've been picking up on some jive here. Instead of saying "gonna" as in "I'm gonna use the bathroom." I've caught myself say "I'm finna go to the bathroom". That's so common among black people here. Also instead of saying "What's up?" We've been saying stuff like "What's good with you?" That one sounds kinda normal but you gotta say it in a black voice. I've also been craving fried chicken a lot. Haha! One thing I hope I don't pick up that is common among Caucasian people here is saying warsh instead of wash. Like we have a member family who are so awesome and they volunteer to do all of our laundry for us (which is so nice!!) but when they stop by in the morning to pick up our laundry they call us when they arrive and say, "Bring us your laundry that needs to be warshed." We even met a guy who referred to Washington as Warshington. Like where does the r come from?! 
Anyway, this past week remained really nice as far as weather, staying in the 80's and higher 70's but today is colder and weather reports are saying it will only get colder from now. Oh man. I'm not looking forward to cold humidity at all. Dad, I think it would be safe to send that coat now. Some nice earmuffs would be excellent as well. 
So to be honest, my ward here isn't as great at helping us out as I might have made it sound. In our efforts to find more people to teach we have been trying to work with members to give us referrals but we haven't been getting anywhere with them and to be frank, our ward mission leader doesn't do much. There are the same few members who always help us out no matter what but we feel like the ward is dying. This is a struggle because the mission is starting a new finding technique called harvesting which is supposed to completely take over and replace tracting. The thing is it is so centered on the help of ward members. So yesterday I gave the lesson in Elders Quorum and totally gave them a piece of mind. I felt like Elder Holland, rebuking all of them. Don't worry, it was still a lesson and not some rant. It was based on the the teaching of Lorenzo Snow and I used several scriptures. So despite my firmness I really believe the spirit was felt very strong in several of the elders. I even used a baseball reference to get their attention because that seems to be the only thing on anyone's mind lately due to the Cardinals making into the playoffs. I hope it makes a difference in the hearts and priorities of the members here. I think it might; a couple people told me it was actually the best lesson they've had in elders quorum in forever. Hopefully others agree.

Well, I need to go for now. Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts! And thank you Alex for your letter. It made me very happy to get it. Keep them coming! Andrew, good luck with the driving test! Just keep studying and you'll be fine. Same goes for school. 

I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Aaron Curtis 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Greatest and Most Important Duty

Greetings to all!

Wow. What a great weekend it has been. I agree wholeheartedly with President Monson when he said "This has been the most inspiring General Conference." How true that was for me. I was inspired by the spirit non-stop. My notes are full. I drained TWO pens!! They literally have no more ink left in them. How blessed we are to have the word of God spoken to us by true prophets and apostles! Exclamation point! I loved all the talks that were given. Some talks that especially stuck out to me were Elder Dube's, Elder Bednar's, President Uchtdorf's ("Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" Ah, that was beautiful!), both of President Eyrings, both of President Monsons, Elder Christopherson's, Elder Hollands of course, Elder Nelson's, and especially Elder Ballards! Every single member (even the ones in Utah) need to thoroughly study his talk and apply it into your lives!!!!!!! EXPLANATION POINTS.
 There was so much inspiration this conference. It will be a conference I never forget. I feel so pumped with the spirit right now. Within the first ten minutes of getting out of our apartment this morning I handed out a Book of Mormon and a card to a young woman on the bus named Destiny. I told her all about it and our goal as missionaries to help others come closer to Christ. She thought that was quite commendable and gladly took the wonderful book of sacred scripture. I also gave her a brief explanation of how Christ's gospel is restored in its fullness; the same church that He set up when He walked the earth personally. I literally saw the light of her soul get brighter and brighter through her eyes. Missionary work is Gods work and it is amazing and it is for all of us no matter if we are set apart or not. Get involved in missionary work. It was quoted multiple times in conference and I will quote it again: After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel. Greatest and most important! It is a duty for all members to preach the gospel. Always remember that. Or better yet, always remember God, because when we remember God we remember all that He wants us to do through His spirit, just like it explains in the sacrament prayers. Throughout your week ask yourself if you are truly fulfilling that promise you make to always remember Him. If we really are remembering Him then we will be serving Him. So if you're not serving Him in some way are you really fulfilling that promise you made? 

Okay, I'm done preaching to you guys now. I am just so passionate about this marvelous work. 

I am glad to hear that all seems to be going well.  Everything is going well here. I am so happy to be here; to be sharing the gospel with everybody. It is difficult finding people who are interested.  I face so much rejection every single day, I can see how the work could get discouraging. But I don't. This is Gods work and we follow His plan. If someone rejects the gospel then I just think it might not be their time to get it. It doesn't mean they never will. Everyone will get it and it is such a blessing to be the one to give it though. Oh how I love this gospel. Oh how I love the Savior!! I am so proud to be serving Him. I am so grateful for the atonement and for the opportunity it brings each of us to improve ourselves each day. Without our Savior we are lost. As I pass people everyday I like to look at them and think how much the Savior loves them. I say in my mind "the atonement covers them too". This is especially helpful when people persecute us. Thinking like this drives the natural man out of me and I feel Christs love more abundantly. 

I love all of you so much. Thank you for all or your thoughts and prayers. Pray for opportunities to help others around you and to be a missionary, then do it. It will bless and strengthen you. When someone comes to you and says "I need your help right now." think of it more like "The Lord wants to bless you right now." It will make serving others easier. 

That's all for this week, even though there is much I wish to tell about. I hope everyone has a wonderful week. :)

Love, Elder Curtis