Friday, May 15, 2015

May 11, 2015


Okay, so it was kind of a slow week, but still kind of exciting and there were definitely highlights.

We sustained the new second counselor in the branch presidency yesterday as well as an entirely new relief society presidency. We are anticipating an entirely new elders quorum as well. So many changes!

Unfortunately we haven't been able to meet with Brian or Samantha and just about every other investigator is pretty much at a stand still right now. Some of them we'll have to drop unfortunately.

We are still able to keep solid appointments with some investigators such as, Mike, Brandon and Mason. It's frustrating with Mason and Brandon because they are both so ready for baptism. We've gone through absolutely everything they need to prepare and they're keeping all of the commitments they can, they just can't come to church. UGH!... One day. One day.

When we go see Mason we never know what we'll see, hear or learn or what to expect. When we arrived this week to teach them, we ended up being taught how to give someone a tattoo- practice with a real tattoo gun included (It was on paper, not skin).

The best lesson we had this week was easily the one we had with Robert. We taught him the restoration. The lesson went well I think; Robert was very attentive the whole time and participated well and we testified by the Spirit often. As we began wrapping things up I asked Robert "Do you believe that these things are true?" He looked at me and with a light in his eyes he said, "I know they're true." Slightly taken aback at his surety, but feeling the spirit of what he said and seeking the Spirits guidance I looked back at him and simply asked "How do you know these things are true?" and he firmly replied, "Because of the way I feel."
What a perfect answer! It was obvious that he was feeling the Spirit and was able to recognize that its reassuring feeling which he was experiencing were a witness to the truth of what we had told him. We were so pumped up with the Spirit after that lesson! I still get stoked about it when I think of it. Moments like that are the golden gems of missionary work.
Robert is pretty dang solid. We knew he wouldn't be able to come to church yesterday because he was really sick the night before when we were teaching him. But I believe he will be there next week.

Hopefully we will get things going with our other investigators. Thanks for your prayers!

Love, Elder Curtis

May 4, 2015 (Star Wars Day)

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!!!

Man, there's so much to share and not much time. Hopefully I can get through it all. You might not get many details though.

Transfer calls came. Elder Abbott and I are staying here in Litchfield! So my address remains 1120 N Montgomery Litchfield IL 62056 for at least another 6 weeks. I am glad I am staying here. We are anticipating a very good transfer with lots of exciting changes and improvements. The work here in the past has been very slow, (near stagnant). I'm told that general authorities in SLC have had their eyes on it and have asked a lot of questions why it has been in that condition. But over the past 3-8 months it has slowly been making great improvements and just recently some changes have been made in the auxiliaries and there has been a general shift in attitude in the branch lately so things are beginning to progress and function well again! I'm glad to be a part of it. Much of the success in the branch is due to the Nance's, the senior missionary couple who have been here for 18 months, living right next door to us. But they completed their mission and moved back to Utah just last Monday. Oh how we miss them! They were the best missionary couple ever! We owe so much to them and they have really earned a special place in my heart forever. (It's so weird without them, but on the bright side we have very nice furniture now.) It will be difficult without them but we are eager and excited to keep working hard with this branch. I am seriously so thrilled with everything happening here. You could only understand if you were here and involved with everything like we are. It's miraculous!
Last week we had something interesting happen as well. We do service at a local thrift store and while were there we started talking to one of the other volunteers named Robert. He asked us where our church is located. After explaining it's location he pleasantly exclaimed that it is a lot closer than the lds church he and his wife had already been going to. We were a little perplexed. He explained that his wife is a member of our church but we didn't recognize her name after he told us what it was. We got his number and later set up an appointment with them where we met his wife, Jinnifer. She was so thrilled to see us. She had joined the church in an alternate stake and married Robert but moved into our branch boundaries about ten years ago and had assumed that the closest meeting house was in Edwardsville, which is about 45 minutes south of us and still in a completely different stake. Some how she was able to slip into the unknown for ten years and yet still went to church off and on without being found out where she lives and that her records need to be moved. Thankfully she is found now, her records are being sought after, and Robert was picked up as a new investigator! He said the only thing that would probably stop him for joining the church is his anxiety of someone asking him to give a talk... I think we'll just deal with that.
Last week I also went golfing for the first time. That was actually quite thrilling. I'm horribly bad at it, I think, but I was starting to own that 4 iron. We didn't keep score but I think the best I did was a bogey. I still really enjoyed it and we'll probably go again next Monday.
Okay, so get this. About a week and a half ago we got the announcement that we were going to have another mission conference on May 2. We already had a mission conference this year where Elder Sitati of the Seventy presided. But suddenly we were having another one. Well Okay! So on Saturday the whole mission met in St. Louis for this spontaneous mission conference. Oh! It was so awesome to see everyone in the same place again; that just doesn't happen. I got to see almost all of my so many missionaries I've served around and have grown to love like many previous companions, Elder Ivey, Elder Julian, Elder Davis, Elder Johnson, Elder Lazaro, both Elder Andersons, and Elder Cook... And by Elder Cook I mean, Elder Quentin L. Cook. That's right ELDER QUENTIN L. COOK!!!!! The one that's an APOSTLE!!!! He and Elder Ulisses Soares of THE PRESIDENCY OF THE SEVENTY and Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, the PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (these are in all-caps because I just can't get over those flipping awesome titles!!!) were coming to Saint Louis for a multi-stake priesthood leadership meeting which I guess happens every four or five years. With two hours of extra time in their schedules, Elder Cook wanted to meet with all the missionaries. We all got to shake their hands and they all spoke to us. They did a Q and A and Elder Cook bore probably the most powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and the church I have ever heard, especially in person, and then he gave us an apostolic blessing! POWER. That's all I feel like I can say to describe the whole experience with them and the Spirit that was so abundant. It was an occasion I will never forget. I'm still so giddy about it!
Jesus Christ lives. This is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Leader of it. These are facts. I know they are true. I have been assured that that is true, not just by an apostle of the Lord, but especially by the Spirit of God. It has become so real to me that these things are true since being a emissary of Christ myself, and Saturday just solidified it so much in my heart. I know that Christ lives and this is His church! It's true guys. It's all true! We are so blessed to have this knowledge! God really is our Father and we are going to live with Him again! Christ really is our Redeemer and paid for our sins. He really does. Joseph Smith really did see them, exactly the way he said he did and they really did call him as a prophet and have called each prophet since. I know all of these things to are true. They are reality. I am so grateful for these truths. I testify of these things in the Savior's name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Apr. 27, 2015

Hey everyone! We had a busy day today and we got to emailing late. I have stuff to say but literally no time to say it. So basically this is for you to know that you were not forgotten/neglected completely and I am doing swell! I have exciting news to share next week so get on the edge of your seats!
I love you all!

-Elder Curtis

Apr. 20, 2015

Hey everyone!

So not much happened this week. Nothing new anyway. We're teaching and finding every day almost so that's super nice and I'm loving it!
Brian was not able to come to church and neither was Samantha. They were up all night with the baby crying. At least it wasn't a one-sided bummer that no one came to church sometime. Brian and Samantha were both pretty bummed about it as well.
That is pretty much it and I'm really tired, so I'm going to go even though this is probably the shortest shortest and driest email I've sent. (Sorry Mom)
Thank you so much for your love and prayers!
I love you guys!

-Elder Curtis

Apr. 13, 2015

I have some very exciting news today. It will sound great to you but I don't think you will fully understand the joy that I feel because of this...
BRIAN CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!! That's right, you read that correctly. Brian Hilt, our investigator from Litchfield, Illinois, came to church on Sunday. And get this, he loved it! He liked how multiple people speak on different things and the feeling there. I was deeply pleased with how many of the members of the branch came up to him and introduced themselves and made him feel welcome and comfortable. He told some members that he would be back next week! I a so happy!! I thought I would end up going my whole time here without someone even coming to church but now I don't have to worry about that anymore. Brian in progressing very well. Things with his adoption are now final and the baby is his. This is such a huge relief for him and his family. On Friday we were able to meet him at his house where we were introduced to his daughter, Samantha. Brian told us at an earlier date that she is even more interested than he is and she would often take his Book of Mormon to read it, so we were definitely pleased to finally meet her and teach her the restoration, which went very well. Samantha was unable to come to church because she had to watch Roger (the baby). I think part of Brian coming alone was to see if he would be comfortable bringing Roger with them so Samantha could come too. Hopefully he will do that. Thank you for everyone who kept Brian in their prayers. He and Samantha are now working on picking a baptismal date. And Brian also informed us that his oldest daughter is pretty interested in the church as well!

Earlier this week we picked up a nice elderly woman named Vanessa, who lives two housed down from Brian. We had a very nice discussion on the restoration on her front porch and I could tell that she was deeply touched by the Spirit as we shared that message with her. We hope to be able to get her progressing as well. We explained how to get to the church from her house and she seemed willing to go but was out of town this weekend.

On Thursday we picked up two more investigators in a town called Gillespie. Their names are Jacob and Wendy. Jacob comes from a religious background but Wendy does not. She had many questions about God and the world and how it's hard to be a good person. We had a really great discussion about the atonement, Christ's grace, the restoration and so forth. Before we left Wendy said "I feel a lot better now than before you got here. It's no accident that you came here today, especially after the week we've had." Hearing things like that just warms my soul.

We also received a bunch of referrals this week! There has also been a giant shift in the state and attitude/progress of the branch this week. My hope for this area is really catching some flame.

Also on Thursday we had some severe weather. There were supposed to be tornadoes but nobody spotted any, which I'm honestly kind of bummed about. I think it would be really cool to see one of those. But just before the storm the sky got deep, dark yellow and soon the rain was coming down in sheets and the wind was very strong. After an hour or so all the heavy rain was gone and the the worst of it was over. We got reports from our mission vehicle coordinator that six mission vehicles were totaled due to soft-ball sized hail that landed on them and made giant holes. Though we were clear of any hail we did end up with a nice little lake in our back yard which we subsequently called Lake Curtis, located in the Abbott National Forest (which consists of the three to four trees we have in the back yard). Below is a picture of me in Lake Curtis.

I think that is all I had for this week! Thank you for all of your prayers! They are being answered. Have a great week! Sure love ya!

-Elder Curtis

Apr. 6, 2015

Hey everyone!

Wasn't General Conference just glorious? I loved it so much!! How blessed we are! I am so grateful for living prophets on the earth today. I am so grateful to have a fullness of the gospel in my life. I am grateful to be a missionary and have the responsibility to serve the Lord full time. The gospel is the best thing on earth!
Time is sparse today; we need to be somewhere at 1. So first off I need to do a little correction regarding my address. I gave you the address of the people living next door to us who are senior missionaries. The reason being that when I first got here we were told that we would be moving into that apartment at the end of April and closing the lease on ours. So instead of having to switch addresses on you in the middle of a transfer I figured I would just give you the address next door since I would be in there soon. Turns out I had to switch addresses anyway The people in the office have changed their mind and we are actually keeping our apartment and the one we were going to have to move into is going to be closed. So, the address you need to write on any mail is:

1120 N. Montgomery st.
Litchfield IL 62056

I want to make sure you caught that. 1120 NOT 1122.

We had a fair week with its typical ups and downs. We had an awesome lesson on the plan of salvation with Jeff and Natasha. They thought it was "really cool" and made a lot of sense... (DING!) but they won't agree to a baptism date until they see what the church is like. In the past they've had some bad experiences at church so they want to see what we're like. Understandable.

We had another great lesson with Mason! His parents even broke out their old quads and were reading along in the scriptures with us. It was a lesson all about Jesus Christ and the atonement. It was so good!

Please keep Brian in your prayers! He is our really solid investigator that we just can't meet with. He's going through some adoption issues right now and it's really got him stressed out and we haven't been able to meet with him lately because of it.

Okay, time to go. I love you guys! I do. I do. I do. Have a great week and remember, the blessings of general conference come AFTER the conference is over. Review, study and live the principles taught.

Sure love ya!

-Elder Curtis


The scar

​Can we be any more cool?

​I finally found someone who would just listen! He was very quiet, but his name is Abe. I was impressed with the high standards he has and his baller outfit.

​Getting stitches!

March 30, 2015


So good news: My eye is doing very well and I've got some cool scars now! (A picture will be added if possible)

Also, we picked up two new investigators! We're continuing the same pattern here of picking people up, teaching a modest amount of lessons, getting good stuff done and feeling the Spirit abundantly and yet nobody comes to church. Man, if I had a dollar for every time someone committed to coming to church and then didn't then I'd be handing one fat tithing envelope to the bishop.

We did set a date with one investigator, Mason Smith. He's a 10 year old from a less-active family. The date is for May 16. It's a goal for the whole family to start coming back to church and stay active. Mason himself is awesome and extremely solid. He wants to be a missionary one day! We just can't baptize him until his family starts coming as well. They want to, they just have a couple medical reasons keeping them from coming...

I told you about Jeff, the 20 year old we tracted into who is living with his girl friends parents. Well we had another lesson with him and picked up his girlfriend, Natasha, too. We taught them the restoration; it was marvelous! Natasha shared personal, past experiences as to why she has a faith in Jesus Christ, related to prayer. Later when we asked them if they would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know that is is true and Joseph Smith was prophet. When they said they would we asked them if they believed that God would answer their prayer and Natasha pretty much bore her own testimony of prayer and that God hears and answers them. She knew that God had answered her prayers before, so why wouldn't He now? She showed great faith and it was inspiring.

In other news: I got my new companion on Wednesday. Before Wednesday I had to be in a Tri-companionship because Elder Anderson had to go early, so two Elders from another area came down here. I don't ever want to be in a tri-companionship again. It threw everything off. It was like having two third wheels. Among other reasons I was glad when Wednesday afternoon came along and I was able to get Elder Abbott. He is cool. He's from Centerville, UT. We're getting along very well so far, it should be a pretty smooth transfer again!

I AM SO STOKED FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And Easter! I think Easter is probably my favorite holiday. I love the meaning of it! Jesus Christ lives! I can't think of anything greater to celebrate. AND we get to hear from Him through prophets! AHHH! I'M SO PUMPED!!! Everyone, do everything you can to watch every session of general conference. Watch it! Listen to it! Read it! There is nothing better for you to do this weekend, so do it.

That's it for this week! Actually, I'll see if I can get some more pictures sent.
Everyone have a super great week!

Sure love ya!

-Elder Curtis

March 23, 2015

It was a rather eventful week, or at least a lot more interesting than what usually happens in a typical missionary week. I don't know that I'll be able to remember all that happened but I'll give my best shot.
First. Last week I mentioned that we would be driving up to Springfield to play some sports with a bunch of other missionaries. (That alone makes this week much more interesting than our typical week in Litchfield) The first game we played was kickball. I was the only one who scored a home run. Woot! My team still lost by one point though.
Next we played football. It was the last play of the game, it was all tied up and we had possession of the ball. It was 2nd and goal with about 9 yards to go for a touchdown. The ball gets snapped and I take off for a pass. I get open as I cut for the middle. The ball gets passed just ahead of me so I pick up speed, my eyes fixed on catching it. Just when the ball was inches from my hands I came to a very sudden halt as I crashed face first into the field goal post. I rebounded to the ground where I realized what just happened. I couldn't believe I did that. All the Elders gathered around me, I tried to get up but they refused me. The FIRST thing that was said was "Oh man! You're going to need stitches."
I had a big gash just above my right eye and another smaller one to the side of that. Blood ran down my head as I was lying there supine so it looked like I had Indian war paint! I also bit a good chunk of my upper lip out (the exact same spot that was bitten out a few years ago playing church ball).
The zone leaders decided I should go to an urgent care as asap as possible so before they got me to the car I asked for a priesthood blessing and then we left.
We got to the Springfield Clinic and after the waiting process they brought me in and saw me. Well they wanted to give me a CT scan for some reason, but didn't have the people to do working then so they insisted that we go straight to the E.R.
We got to the E.R. and waited and waited until I was admitted into a room and to cut it short I did not need the scan but they took several other tests, x-rays of my arm and random exercises. After several 6 hours of that, rotating through several different doctors, one finally took another look at my eye and said surprisingly "Oh, you're going to need stitches!" It took them that long to figure out the only thing I needed them to do was give me the stitches when one missionary noticed it immediately. Haha
After another hour and a half we got out with five stitches on my face. We were hungry and tired and we didn't get back into Litchfield until11:35pm.
Don't run into stationary objects. Especially really hard ones like metal poles.
I got the stitches out on Friday.

The next day we had an appointment set up with someone we tracted into named Jeff. He's 20 and living with his girl friend in her parents house. The lesson was really good. It was mostly just introductory stuff with a lot of testimony and promises. The Spirit was really strong and his eyes watered at least three times. He is looking hard for a job so he can get transportation and a phone and so he can take care of his two month old son. He really wants to learn more and he also really wants his girl friend to be there when we see him tomorrow!

Later on in the week we had another appointment scheduled with a potential investigator, Lori, and we were pleasantly surprised to have her 12 year old grandson, Keenan, join us because he's "extremely intrigued" by us. It was a really good lesson about the atonement and the grace of Jesus Christ. Two more new investigators! YEAH!

This week was transfer calls. I am staying here in Litchfield but I am losing Elder Anderson. He is now in the mission office. Because of certain things he has to do as an office Elder before transfer meeting he had to leave this morning instead of Wednesday. So right now I'm in a temporary tri-companionship with some missionaries from Taylorville IL. My next companion's name is Elder Abbott. I don't know anything about him yet. We'll see on Wednesday.

Hmm, I know there's more that happened this week. I can't remember though. I think I'll close anyway. I'm trying to attach pictures of Monday but it won't let me. I'll keep trying.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I love you!

-Elder Curtis

Oh, and for those of you with the sharp comments on my inability to contain myself while giving talks in sacraments meeting... Trust me, I'm working on it. But until then:

"Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?"

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

"blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."

"Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you" gladly I might add. It's not like you have anything better to do. ;)

Spring is Here!

March 16, 2015

Hi guys!
This will be a quickie; we're going to Springfield today to finally do something with our P-day with other missionaries. Should be fun.
This week was not very eventful. I had corned beef for the first time. Mmm.
We had to drop our date with Brandon. :( He said his dad is refusing him to get baptized and as long as he's living with them he's not allowed. UGH! So frustrating.
Brian is still super swamped with a sick, constantly crying baby he's trying to adopt. We're in contact though.
Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on forgiveness. I could have given a whale of a talk on it but I only had fifteen minutes. I went over anyway and received a note from a member of the branch presidency behind me letting me know my time was up. To be fair, when I was asked to give the talk I told him I have a tendency to go over time a lot. I don't think I told you all already, but my last week in Urbana I gave a talk in sacrament meeting that was supposed to be 15-20 minutes long but I went way over time making it a 45 minute talk and all I got to do was throw out the points I wanted to make. I didn't get to expound or elaborate on most of them at all. Shortening my talks is probably something I should work on.

We met with a lady this week who is 101 years old. 101!! I was so cool! And she was just yammering on, talking and thinking extremely well for someone over a century old. She is completely deaf though, so we communicated to her with white boards. Other than that she was awesome and had lots of interesting experiences like the first time she saw a TV, or used a plumbed toilet, or a microwave. She lived through WWI and WWII. That's crazy old! She was awesome.
Okay, that's all I've got for all of you today. I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Sure love ya!

-Elder Curtis

March 9, 2015

I was going to start off this email telling how great this week was, but then I thought, "why was it such a great week?" It was a great week. I am extremely happy. But when I thought about it there wasn't too much reason to share that would explain the happiness I have.
-Monday: all of our appointments in the evening fell through. None of our back up plans got us in anywhere.
-Tuesday: Every appointment fell through. Went tracting- every door that opened greeted us with rude comments, glares and gestures. No new potentials.
-Wednesday: Get dropped by text by Roger during studies. Says his church is all he needs (we will be stopping by later anyway). Every appointment fell through, including service. No new potentials.
-Thursday: District Meeting in Springfield- enjoyable but half our day is gone. Every appointment fell through. More rude people. No new potentials.
-Saturday: Show up to our appointment with the Tofte's, two of our more promising investigators- they drop us and denounce The Book of Mormon even though they only read the first 12 chapters three weeks ago and haven't picked it up since. Every other appointment fell through. No new potentials.
-Sunday: Our phone doesn't switch the hour automatically? Late to church. No investigators come. Our appointment with Brian cancels.
Not the most ideal week and certainly not very common to the idea of fun and happiness. So when I was going to start this letter why did I truthfully want to exclaim how wonderful the week was?
Throughout the week I never realized how poor our week was to the natural point of view. To many this would not make sense. But to me it makes perfect sense. When we do what the Lord would have us do each day and then capitalize on the good things and search the good in the bad things surely and instinctively we will be blessed with joy and peace of mind.
"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."
When we do what as we are commanded He says "I, THE LORD, am BOUND" He is bound to bless us. And not by some pitiful man made bond, a celestial, eternal, divine, all powerful, unbreakable bond. Surely when we do as the Lord commands we are greatly blessed. Every time. Sometimes we are left wondering where the blessings are. Don't worry, they're there. Sometimes we need to look harder and deeper, but when we do we find them and we gain a deeper love and stronger relationship and trust with our Father when we do look for them. Sometimes I think when the blessings are not immediate to us it's because Heavenly Father wants us to become a little stronger in faith and better in noticing that which is spiritual. There is much we can learn from how/when He gives us the blessings.
In January I started The Book of Mormon over again. Yesterday I finished Fourth Nephi and began Mormon. Throughout the entire record we see example after example of the Lord blessing and prospering His people but soon enough the people forget and as a result stiffen their necks and harden their hearts until they are willfully rebelling against God and pay no mind to the counsel given to them by the prophets. How quick are they to forget the goodness of God, the blessings, the miracles, the joy and the life He has given them when they are faithful.
"Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be let away by the evil one." (Alma 46:8)
We may not be doing iniquity after bad moments, bad days, or bad weeks or even years come, but how quick are we to forget still the many blessings we have? Capitalize on the highlights, on the good, and on the blessings. If you do you will find blessings where you didn't know you had them. How can we make it easier to do that? I think a formula was given already: do what the Lord would have you do [always]. Always be caught doing the work of the Lord. You'll find you only have time to be happy and pleased. That I promise. It is written that Christ is "An High Priest of good things to come". I have a strong testimony of that.
-Friday: Had a lesson with Brandon and his less active grand parents-set a baptismal date for April 11. Correlation meeting with the branch mission leader- he's felt discouraged lately. We had a beautiful opportunity to lift him up; the Spirit was so strong as testimonies were shared and hope was illuminated. We traveled to a small town called Raymond- knocked the wrong door, found a less active member; great discussion. Knocked the correct door- met a less active family, they are desirous to come back, they've been teaching their three children about the gospel for a while now, the 10 year old wants to be baptized, all of them are thirsty for change. Had a great lesson with an investigator named Mike- fellowship was made, understanding was increased, desire increased with it. Had some extra time afterward- decided to call unknown contacts in the phone just because we could- set up two appointments with people interested in learning more from us. That's two potentials with a set appointment, one unexpected visit with a less active member, three lessons with a member present, and one new investigator. There was a gorgeous sun set that evening as well. I love those.
In Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5, I think there's a reason he exhorts us to first remember how merciful the Lord has been to us from the beginning. It makes us grateful. Gratitude, as taught by President Uchtdorf, is a catalyst for obtaining all Christ-like attributes.
Remembering He has been merciful and knowing He will always be merciful, let us seek His guidance and do His will. His blessings are there. I hope that I will remember how merciful the Lord has been to me. I know that when I do and when I obey Him I will be happy and I will have peace of mind and conscience no matter what life throws my way. I have a personal witness that that is true, and I know it's true for all of us.
"Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all". Let's all do what He wants.
I know Heavenly Father has infinite and perfect love for each of us. He sent His Son to offer Himself up lovingly as a sacrifice so that we can return to His presence. We are eternally indebted to Him for that.
I love all of so much. I am grateful for the light you are to me and the love I receive from you. I feel it. Have a blessed week, finding the blessings around you.

Sure love ya!
-Elder Curtis :)

March 2, 2015

I don't know that I'd be able to express how up and down but all around great this week has been so I'll just stick with the highlights. Things were really getting hard because we were doing all that we could to get things moving here but it seemed like everything we were doing didn't amount to anything, and that was how our week went until Thursday which is the first highlight.
We had President interviews! It's always good to see "the big man" and his wife (President and Sister Morgan). My interview was great. They're usually pretty short because he has a lot of missionaries to go through but I ended up spending a good 20 minutes with him just talking. It was nice. He knew our area has been struggling but he trusted us to get it going and he promised things would look up soon.
Well they did. We picked a new investigator who investigated before but was dropped for unknown reasons. We taught him the plan of salvation on his front porch. He lives with some baptists (baptists really hate us in this town. They are literally out to get us) so they wont let us teach him inside their home. It was cold and there were some workers cleaning out the sewer in the middle of the road with a big machine so it was loud and really stinky as well, but it was great! Roger understood it better than we had anticipated and he had been reading in the Book of Mormon and was retaining everything in it really well. We'll be seeing him again this week.
On Saturday we had a lesson on the plan of salvation with two investigators Glen and Tracie Tofte, who have been investigating for a couple weeks now. They know the bible extremely well but really seem open to our message and are very interested in understanding us. They seem sincere but it will probably be a process with them. We're just trying to focus on helping them get a spiritual confirmation that it's true, then all the questions will take care of themselves. It was a really good lesson I think.
It snowed a lot that day and after the Toftes we went tracting. Tracting has produced so very little results for me personally but every now and then we find someone from it and on Saturday we did! An 89 year old woman by the name of Luara. She was convinced we were trying to sell her something of take her stuff from her because "that's all people ever want from me" she says. We finally convinced her otherwise and that we were actually there to give more to her. We had a wonderful discussion on the restoration of the gospel and she seemed very moved by it. She said she can't just accept this right away. "I have to pray and ask God about this first". She has great faith and we are looking forward to meeting with her more. We shoveled her side walk and drive way after that but it didn't do much I think because soon the snow was back falling even harder. We had to drive in it for 40 minutes to get to our dinner appointment. It really wasn't all that bad of a storm, I've been in worse, but there were people going 15 mph on the interstate. I need to work on patience I think...
On Sunday there was more snow and church was cancelled. Our cars were even grounded so we weren't allowed to drive them anywhere. So Elder Anderson and I stomped around town all day yesterday trying to get in some homes. By the end of the day my socks were drenched. It was the first time on my mission I wish I had boots. I've always hated snow and I never enjoy being in it, but despite that I really enjoyed being out there working. There really is no excuse for getting out of our responsibilities and doing the things the Lord expects us to be doing. We simply need to decide to go and do, no matter what.
A few days ago we were trying some people in a town called Hillsboro and we noticed a former investigator named Brandon on our list. We decided to give him a try because his record seemed pretty solid. We ended up meeting his grandparents who are actually less active members of the church. We had a good discussion with them and asked them about Brandon. Turns out Brandon was really into the discussions and wanted to be baptized but was not allowed to because his father is against the church but that Brandon would definitely be interested in investigating again. We set up a time to meet with them again with Brandon which was this morning. We met them at their house and Brandon is definitely eager to learn more and make the steps toward baptism. We're going to see him again on Friday and I am so excited for that. Now that he is 18 he doesn't need the approval of his father. I have a really good feeling about him.
Overall it was a great week. Things won't always go smoothly or be easy, but when we are spending our time doing the things the Lord would have us be doing we are happy and that makes it all worth it. I do love the Savior and the atonement which allows us such joy which is everlasting. I am so grateful for the time I am given to represent Him. I promise all of you that if we do all that we can to please Him then the pleasure will be returned to us a hundred fold.
I love all of you very much! Have a wonderful week!

-Elder Curtis

Feb. 23, 2015


I starting to feel like I've adjusted well to Litchfield now. I've finally met pretty much all of our teaching pool, which for some reason was a big struggle for since I got here, and I'm remembering the names of the members better than I expected to. It's confusing though because half the branch it seems is related to each other so there's a lot of repeats. There's a lot of old people too. I'd say the average age in the branch is in the sixties. This branch does have more youth than the ward I was in last transfer which still isn't saying much but they've got that going for them.

Last night we finally met our investigator Brian. After first contact with him the elders here weren't able to contact him for a few weeks besides a phone call where Brian said he was really busy otherwise he would have been at church that week. We stopped by unannounced to see if we could at least set something up with him. He was happy to see us and gladly let us in to talk. Brian is legit! He talked to us about how he got interested in our church (Mitt Romney's election being the reason) and since he first started researching it he's come across a lot of anti material and false accusations about the church from his baptist church leaders/members, but he described why and how he believes none of that can be true. He then went on about the church he grew up in and why he was turned off by them but how everything he knows about our church to him feels right and that he wants his family to come to church with him because he is greatly impressed by the youth of the church. Then he went on about some of the commandments of the church that he'd have to obey and how he has no problem with that and he would easily give up his three glasses of wine a year if he had to. We didn't even talk about the word of wisdom with him! He's only been taught the restoration. Next he talked about how people get a witness from God or a strong feeling that He's there and loves us when they read the scriptures and go to church but how he's never gotten those feelings, but when he reads the Book of Mormon he feels it a little. He told us how after reading the Book of Mormon one night he decided to pray and he's been praying every night since and he's seen a difference.
He has definitely received a witness of the church and the Book of Mormon, so we are going to work on helping him recognize it. I'm pretty sure he's the first investigator I've had to commit himself to the missionary commitments before being asked to. I'm really excited about him.

That was basically the highlight of the week. There's a lot of baptists here that just seem like they're out to get us. But every time one of them contends with us I feel like my testimony of this gospel only gets stronger as the Spirit whispers to me again and again the truth about faith in Jesus Christ and the ordinances of the gospel and the need for a living prophet. God works in mysterious ways but I feel His hand in all these experiences as He continues to prepare me and help me grow.
This might have been a hard week where almost none of our efforts seem to be amounting to anything but that usually means something good is on the way. The only thing I'd change about my condition here is the weather. Ugh! It's been so awful. Below freezing with killer wind chill and lots of snow which resulted in our cars being parked for a good portion of two of our days. But come what may and love it, right?

We're hoping to pick up lots of new investigators and make some progress with the ones we have. Thank you for all of your prayers, they are so appreciated! I love you all so much and I hope you have a very pleasant week.

Love, Elder Aaron Curtis