Dear family and friends,
I am still doing quite fantastic here in Urbana! This week felt very long and certainly had its reasons why, however, it was a great week. I love the gospel and the atonement that allows me to carry on in hope and optimism in slow weeks. I just love it! It also helps to have a really great companion who you can get along with so well. Even though the week was long and had a lot of disappointments we also witnessed a lot miracles, tender mercies and teach a good amount of lessons. I suppose the week felt long and dreary was because no one really kept their commitment. But God is so good, and He certainly puts a lot of things in our path just to show us He loves us. If we open our eyes to it, we'll find them. And if we do our part then it wont matter what happens, we will have peace, contentment and joy.
One great thing that came out of this week comes from one investigator named Clarence. Clarence was investigating before I got here but for a while they/we couldn't get a hold of him. He wouldn't answer phone calls of texts. Clarence is a pastor of a different church and when he was taught the restoration he didn't take the idea of priesthood authority very well and argued vehemently about it. We were thinking we would have to drop him if he didn't get an answer from him really soon. Just the other night we got a text from him that said he had been thinking a lot lately and that being baptized again might not be such a bad idea, but that he's still thinking about it. We set up a time where we could meet with him at a members house. He wanted to continue hearing the lessons we teach, so we began the plan of salvation with him and got to the point of the atonement before it got too late. He is a very good listener and certainly knows the bible well. But using the bible, The Book of Mormon and our own testimonies we explained the pre-earth life, the creation, the fall, our life on earth and the atonement. He asks such great questions! I love it because it assures me that we are teaching to his understanding because many of his questions are actually just him making connections with other true doctrine. He thought it was all very powerful and he especially was interested in the fact that we lived with God before we came here; were taught and led by Him with each other before this world was even created. I love the Book of Mormon and the clarity it brings to doctrine. We were reading the teachings of Nephi and after the lesson he explained how he really liked how Nephi "throws down on the doctrine, explaining it so simply."
We are excited for Clarence. He has a desire to truly know if our church is true. He had to humble himself to the possibility, and now he is earnestly seeking his answer. He will have to make some big sacrifices if he chooses to join when he finds out it's true.
Francisca is doing very well in the church. We went to see her this week to begin teaching her the new member lessons but she used much persuasion to get her husband, Juan to sit down with us and listen to our message instead. Juan, simply put, just doesn't want to change religions or take the time to find out truth, so when we began telling us what he believes and "always will believe", Francisca started telling him how wrong he was and pretty much began scripture bashing with her own husband, pulling out scriptures and things we taught her only days before to prove him wrong. However inappropriate bashing is, it was really remarkable to see her testimony and conversion displayed with such certainty, conviction and power and her desire for those she loves to have it too when she had only been a member of the church for two days! She learned that day however that bashing gets you nowhere so she won't do that anymore.
I'd love to go on and on about things that I did this week or things I noticed or loved but I am running very low on time. Just know I am loving life so much! And I love all of you very very much. I say that every week, but it couldn't be more true. I love you guys!!! I hope all of you are well. May the Lord bless you and may His love shine upon you!
-Elder Aaron Curtis