Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aug. 18, 2014

Right now we're sitting in the quiet library, emailing. Before we got here I switched our text-tone on our phone to "cat" and turned it up all the way before handing it off to Elder Johnson to hold. It just went off three times with a loud cat meow. He is so embarrassed right now. People are giving him the weirdest looks and the librarians are giggling. Poor guy. Haha! He's so fun to tease.

Things are so great! We are anxiously awaiting this Saturday for the baptism of Matt Adele. That guy is solid as a diamond and cannot wait to be baptized! It was so easy to teach him; he was so receptive and so prepared it blows my mind. The Lords hand has been SO evident in this whole process. This is exactly what Matt, his grandpa, the branch, Elder Johnson, and I needed and the Lord made it happen. I love Him!

The beginning of last week showed me that God would like to bring back down a little on the pride scale. We were driving to "zone p-day" to play some softball with the rest of the missionaries in the zone. While driving up there my mind was racing, going through a lot of things that I don't even remember anymore. In essence I was very distracted. I rounded an abrupt turn on the highway when I noticed a giant ketchup bottle clear at the other end of the road about a quarter mile away, but it was huge, so it was hard not to see it. Well I now even more distracted than I was before and I ran right through a red light. I didn't even realized what I had done until one of the missionaries in the car with us jokingly said something like "Okay, well I guess red aren't that important to stop at." Luckily there weren't a whole lot of cars going through, otherwise that would have been a lot worse, but it was thoroughly embarrassing.
When we got to the game they put me in center field. I was facing the sun almost directly. One ball was hit directly at me, but I could not see it at all. It hit me square in the eye. Instantly I felt my face swelling and the blood vessels underneath my eye popping. I had a big shiner within a minute. There was no use being upset about anything, so I picked up the ball and threw it back to another player and continued to play.
Later I was up to bat. The ball was thrown and I swung. I don't know how it happened, but when I swung I popped my shoulder out of place. It was just hanging there out of it's joint and I couldn't move it at all. I hit the ball though so I ran to first base where I jerked my arm, attempting to put it back in place. It popped back in, so I think I did it right. It was sore for quite some time after that.
It just was not the best day for me. I was struggling, but it brought me back to remembrance of a talk that I really love by Joseph B. Worthlin titled "Come What May and Love It". In that talk he gives his insight on how adversity can be used to grow, learn and make us happy. The first skill he suggests we develop is learning to laugh. I know this principle works. Through my mission I have seen so much disappointment and misfortune. It would be easy to be mad or discouraged at times, but instead I have laughed. I can see the difference it makes in my life. It is easier to find solutions and to receive joy in your adversity if you can find humor in it. It has become easier as I have continued to practice. Trust in the Lord and our Heavenly Father is still so key. Keeping an eternal perspective on things and recognizing the eternal value of whatever situation or adversity you may find yourself in will always make it easier and will allow you to learn, grow, and be happier so much more than any other way. Perhaps instead of enduring to the end we could try enjoying to the end.

We had the opportunity to go on exchanged again this week. On exchanges we taught the restoration to Ketrick. He is the one I think I wrote about who read one chapter of The Book of Mormon and knew it was true. The Holy Ghost confirmed it to him so strongly that he called his friend who gave it to him and told him he wanted to be baptized.
Ketrick accepted the message of the restoration so well and desires only to learn more and be baptized. But there is one big road block in his way: His mother is very opposed to Mormons and would only let him come to church one time and one time only. She does not approve of him meeting with us. Ketrick is only 16 so he would need her permission to pursue this and be baptized. He fears his mom and does not want to go against her secretly, so he has determined that he will wait as long as he needs to in order to be baptized. He will continue reading The Book of Mormon, try to meet with us weekly, and continue this until he is 18 and will then be allowed to make the decision for himself. He shows such tremendous faith. He knows what he felt and he knows it is true and he will not deny it. This kid blows me away. We are earnestly praying for his mothers heart to be softened.

I am so grateful for the miracles and the blessing I have been able to witness and be a part of on this mission. There is no greater thing I could do than this and there is no other thing I'd rather do. These experiences are irreplaceable. The memories are priceless. The joy is immeasurable. I am so grateful to my Lord and Savior for allowing me a chance every day to try again where I have failed and to pick me up when I do. We owe Him everything. I am so glad I can be His representative for this short and precious time.
I love you all so dearly.

Elder Curtis

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