Monday, December 30, 2013

Life is so great!!!!

Good morning beautiful people!

It was so good to see and hear my wonderful family last week! That was a great experience; I just wish the time didn't fly by so fast. I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas as well! Thank you so much to all of my marvelous friends and family for he facebook message and thank you Brandon for sending them to me! That was a wonderful gift to receive and it was so good to hear from all of you. :)
Life is so fantastic! Not just missionary life, but life in general. It is just so great! It has been a very slow week here due to the holidays and everyone being out of town, so I had lot's of time to think and reminisce about life. How tremendously blessed I have been. How blessed have we all been! This life is such a blessing. To be able to have this time for us to become like our Savior is a wonderful gift and I am so grateful for the decision I made with all of you to follow our Savior and gain this mortal body. I have been studying the resurrection a lot lately. It amazes me to think of how much more we are capable of doing... ( "WE CAN FLY!!!!" -Elder Ivey ). The resurrection will definitely rock.
But even this time before that is so amazing to me. Elder Ivey always says, "Everything happens for a reason, we just don't always know the reason." Well, I believe everything does happen for a reason, whether positive or negative, things are allowed to happen to us. I think the reason is because every single thing that happens gives us an opportunity to react as Christ would. We are here to prepare to meet God; Christ showed us the way to do that; He is the Way. Everything we do every day is preparing us to meet God. Everything that happens to you, happens *"to give you opportunity to respond by applying the in your life the teachings of Jesus." This is such a beautiful thing! When we truly understand that principle our attitudes and behaviors will change; trials and obstacles become blessings and tender mercies.

...So yeah, there's some of my thoughts for you this week.

It was a glorious weekend! Mike and Adrienne Bailey were baptized on Saturday night at 7pm by their next-door neighbor, Brother Hubbard. It was SO GREAT!!!!! They were just glowing and the spirit was so thick. It was an unforgettable experience. The next day Elder Ivey and I had the pleasure of confirming them as members of the church in sacrament meeting. It was such a neat experience confirming someone who wasn't acting as proxy for someone who is dead.
The Baileys already feel like family to everyone in the ward. That is such a blessing. As a missionary it is so comforting to see these people who you have been teaching and grown so close to be accepted and welcomed by the ward so openly. I know that when I am needed in another area they will be left in excellent hands. :)

I do hope all of you had a super week and a happy Christmas. Enjoy the new year! Always look for opportunities to serve those around you; it is the key to happiness, I know it is. Always follow the Saviors example in every situation. Turn to Him when you need help or need answers. He is there. He is listening. He is answering and helping. I know He loves us. I love each of you so much.
Have a great week!

Love, Elder Curtis :)

*The Fourth Missionary: Lawrence E. Corbridge

Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's been a cold week in Jeff City. I don't know if you know what an ice-storm is or not, but we had a couple of those this week. Every tree branch down to the smallest twig is covered in a layer of ice about a quarter of an inch thick if not more. Even every individual blade of grass is covered in a coat of ice. I have never seen anything like it. It really is quite beautiful, especially when the sun is shining. Every plant is glimmering as if they were made of pure diamond. It's a fantastic sight... but it sure needs to end. It is far too cold for me. No snow though, so that's good. It doesn't stick here very well.
I'm afraid I have bad news concerning our investigator, Eric. He was not able to get baptized on Saturday. We lost contact with him for several days. When we were finally able to get in contact with him we found out that he had lost control of himself and gave in to some old habits of his. He still wants to come closer to Christ and be baptized eventually, but we're going to have to give him a little more time.

Mike and Adrian are still right on track to be baptized this Saturday though. We had an awesome lesson with them on Thursday. We got there and began the lesson on the word of wisdom. They didn't have any concerns with it other than tea. They LOVE tea, especially Mike. We thought we might have a problem with him committing to the word of wisdom before we even arrived for the lesson. We discussed the issue with them further but as we were about ask them to commit to keeping the word of wisdom the oven alarm went off and it was time for us to eat. After friendly conversation and good food we adjourned back into the living room. Adrian was the first one to speak up. She asked us how soon they would have to stop drinking tea and if they could ween themselves out of it. I opened my mouth to answer, but to our great surprise Mike answered for us. Mike is a very timid and quiet guy and not very bold at all with anything, but when he spoke then it was with direct boldness and certainty.
He said, "We need to stop now. They have said it; it has been declared. There is no excuse for us to do it any longer. We've gotta stop now." Elder Ivey and I just looked at each other in awe. This man was in love with tea, but already he had gained a testimony of the word of wisdom and he was ready to live it. After he spoke there was a rush of energy from the Spirit. We asked Mike if he felt it too. he did and so did Adrian. They were ready to commit to the commandment. It was so awesome.
Yesterday and church Adrian told me that she had dumped all of the tea they had down the disposal. We are so proud of the two of them. It had been such a blessing to teach them and witness their progression. We are so excited for their baptism on the 28th! It's gonna rock!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and a VERY merry Christmas!!! I love you all so much!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

End of Transfer


I was so excited to hear that baby Claire will be welcomed into our family today! I am so happy to be an uncle again! I hope that all goes well. I must say, I am super jealous of my family flying out to Georgia this Christmas. Of course it's the Christmas Jen and I are not around for. However, I am very, very excited to talk to you guys on the 25th! I really don't know any details on times of whether I'll be calling or skyping. I know that's frustrating and I wish I had details for you but I really know nothing about it. Hopefully I will be able to contact one of you this week or before Christmas to coordinate everything.
This weekend we got to travel back to St Louis to witness Troy's baptism. It was so great! He has changed so much and his countenance was illuminating. The Spirit was so strong!
We are excited to work with our investigators here in Jeff City and prepare them for baptism. It is exciting and scary too. Satan is work SO HARD on Eric to drag him down. We are really hoping everything will work out with him and he will be able to make right choices and remember the spirit that we know he has felt. Mike and Adrian, who will be getting baptized on the 28th, had a fright yesterday. Their dog was almost killed by another dog. This was very hard on them because their dog is like a child to them and they don't have money for the vet. But they seem to remain faithful and excited about baptism. They are even inviting lots and lots of family over to see it and celebrate with them. But please pray for all of these people. Prayers are needed.
Transfer call came on Saturday. They say that Elder Ivey and I are staying here, but I'm not sure how much I believe that fully, considering what happened last transfer. I can't believe how fast this transfer flew by! I am almost 1/4 of my mission done and that honestly makes me really sad. I love my job and I don't want to quit. I will just use the rest of my time wisely and do as much as I can to build the kingdom.
I hope you all are doing well. I hope you're staying warm and safe. Enjoy the holiday season and always remember why we even have this season of joy.
I love you all so much!
-Elder Curtis :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Hello dear family and friends!

I hope this letter finds you well and happy. As I write it I sure am happy! I have wonderful news for you: We set four baptism dates this week!! Eric will be getting baptized on the 21st, Mike and Adrian will be getting baptized on the 28th, and Michelle will be getting baptized on January 10th! Eric, Mike, and Adrian are especially ready and prepared to enter into their first sacred covenant with God and each of them are SO excited!! I can't tell you the joy we receive from them. We didn't even know them before last week, and now they are preparing to be baptized before the end of the month! We are truly blessed.

In addition to those four, Troy Outlaw will be getting baptized this Saturday! He is the one we were teaching and set a date with back when we were in St Louis. We will be driving down there this weekend to be a part of that experience with him. I am so excited for that! This is going to be the best holiday season EVER!!! Five people entering the gates of baptism. That is so great! I am overwhelmed with joy!!

We also picked up a new investigator this week as well as a really solid looking potential investigator. Her name is Barbara and she was very pleased and receptive to the message of the restoration. We asked her what it would mean to her if what we told her was true, and she sincerely said, "Everything!" I really think she will progress well, if she is willing to do what's necessary. 

I hope all the snow in Utah isn't causing too much trouble for you. It snowed yesterday and the day before but nothing stuck too much. It's just freezing! No matter what we do, we are cold. I will just have to deal with it.

I hope you all took the wonderful opportunity to listen to the Christmas devotional last night. It was wonderful! I hope we all desire to give the Savior something for Christmas this year. Just as President Monson said, the best gift we can give Him is our heart.

I love you all so much! I profusely thank my Father in heaven every night for the wonderful people in my life. All of you have blessed me so much and there will always be a place for you in my heart. Enjoy the holiday season and always serve others!

Love, Elder Curtis

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Good morning my dear family and friends! :)

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and had a wonderful week. Thanksgiving was great here in Jefferson City, but oh man, it was so bizarre without my family and moms outstanding cooking. It was just weird eating thanksgiving dinner with people I only met an hour earlier. But it really was great! We were fed by the Nelson family and they are just the nicest people! This whole ward is packed with people who are trying so hard to live a Christ-centered life and love helping missionaries. I feel like a celebrity here. We are fed nearly every night for dinner and sometimes even lunches! Many of the youth in the ward come up to us with admiration in their eyes and just talk to us non-stop. People love and respect us so much, it's impossible not to love them back. But one thing I've noticed about being a missionary is we have such an increased capacity to just love everybody. I meet people on the street or in a store and all I have to do is look at them and instantly I have formed a love for them that drives me to help them and forces me to be sorrowful when they hurt or choose wrong but on the other hand I receive so much joy and relief when they choose righteously and when they are happy. This love is especially evident for those we teach. I love every single one of my investigators so much, no matter how much they frustrate me because they wont progress and keep commitments. All I want to do is bless their lives and bring them closer to Christ; some of them just wont let me. It's the worst feeling. But where there is opposition, peace and joy come to those who endure.
 Heavenly Father has heard my prayers and has felt my desires and He has blessed me and Elder Ivey with three new investigators this week, and all three have progressed so much just within a couple of days! Mike and Adrian were introduced to us by members in our ward. These members signed up to feed us dinner one night and also invited their next-door neighbors to join us. After our meal we gathered in the living room and started talking to Mike and Adrian about our beliefs. They started asking lots of great questions. Adrian eventually asked, "What sets your religion apart from all other religions?" That was the golden question we were waiting for; we began explaining the restoration of the gospel of Christ and the priesthood. We had the whole first discussion with them. The Spirit in that room was unreal! Elder Ivey expressed to me earlier that that was the most spiritual experience he has ever had on his whole mission so far. It really was amazing and I truly believe it was because the members that were present. There is a profound difference when there is someone there who the investigator knows and loves and can relate to. The testimonies shared by the members have such a greater impact on them. I love it when members invite friends to meet the missionaries in their own home. That is the way The Lord intends missionary work to go. It is the most effective way to further the work and build the kingdom. Mike and Adrian are reading The Book of Mormon! Yesterday they came to church! We have another dinner appointment with them on Thursday where we will talk more about Heavenly Fathers plan for our happiness. They are looking forward to it, as well as coming to church next Sunday! 
The other investigator we picked up this week also came from a member. His name is Eric and he was brought to church last week by his girlfriend. We talked to him there and set up a time to meet with him. When we met with him he had a bunch of questions for us. That took all the time we had with him, but as we talked with him he expressed his desires and his reason for coming to our church and being willing to meet with us. He said that all he wanted was to find a way to build his relationship with Christ and continue making it stronger. I could not believe my ears. You don't get more golden than that!!! That is our whole purpose as missionaries, to help others come closer to Jesus Christ, and all this guy wanted was just that! HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!!!!! He is so prepared and so ready! After we explained that that was the exact thing we as missionaries try to do for people we set up a time to meet with him again the very next day. So the next day we arrived at his house, he fed us chicken tacos and then we dove right in to the restoration. I have never seen someone grasp it so well. He said it made so much sense and it put a lot of puzzle pieces together in his head. He loves the gospel already. He told us he intends on starting the Book of Mormon and finishing it very soon. He couldn't wait to read it. After the lesson we invited him to pray. He got a very worried look on his face and said he couldn't do that. We discussed the matter with him. He said he hadn't talked to God in a very long time and there are too many things he had done that he was ashamed of. We bore testimony to him that God is our loving Father. NO matter what we have done to disappoint him He loves us and wants us to talk to Him frequently. Eric has a son, and we were able to make the comparison: "Just like you love your son more than anything, Heavenly Father loves you. If your son stopped talking to you it would break your heart. But you would be so thrilled to talk to him again, no matter what he had done in the past." This softened his heart and he agreed to offer the prayer after we taught him the order of prayer. 
I don't think I've heard a more sincere prayer, even among missionaries and members. I felt the Spirit so powerfully and I could literally feel the love that Heavenly Father has for Eric as he spoke to Him. After his prayer we asked him how he felt. He said he felt good and we told him that was the Spirit. Tears formed in his eyes and he choked up a bit as he quickly looked down. He looked back up and shook our hands. All he could say was a quiet "Thank you!"
It was so wonderful; beyond words. We are truly blessed. I am so blessed to be doing The Lords work. This is the greatest thing ever! I love this so much! I love the gospel and I love The Savior more than anything. I am so grateful He has trusted me to bring His truth to the people here. I hope each of you will do your part to serve Him. He has done so much for us and He expects us to serve others in return as well as share the gospel. Read (if you haven't already) the first presidency message in the December Ensign. 
 Behold, I sent you out to atestify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to bwarn his neighbor.  (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81) 
That is why we are here, dear friends and family. Let us do our part in assisting our Father in His work. 

I love all of you so much!! I am so grateful for each of you. 
Have a great week! And get out there and serve and warn! :) 
Love, Elder Curtis

P.S. Sarah, Congrats on getting the house! I am so happy for you guys! I have a wonderful feeling about it. Good luck with everything! I love you.