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.