Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2


Sziastok Everyone,

 It's nice to get to write 2 days in a row. This one won't be particularly long because we don't have much time left of p-day after cleaning the temple this morning. Cleaning the temple was good, I love how much detail they put into it. We had a lot of work today, because they expanded some of the rooms at the temple in anticipation of an extra 300 missionaries per day going to that temple in about a month, so we spent a lot of time cleaning out dust from construction but also some other q-tip quality cleaning.

On a quick funny side-note, I found out this week (after 2 months together almost 24/7) that one of the Elders in my district and I have hung out before. Young Elder's brother and friends used to live in my old apartment complex and we realized we'd actually met before. Pretty funny that it took us 2 months to figure it out, but everyone looks familiar here, so we don't normally think too much about it.

In other news, a week from today will be consecration week. That means that we will be speaking only Hungarian for a full week. It also means that our flight to Hungary is a lot sooner than we think. We have a lot of work to do. We've been kind of slacking on practicing the last two days because of the festivities, so we really have to get re-focused.

Follow up on the rest of Christmas: it was good. I really loved Greg Olsen's talk. He's an artist and one of my favorites. He gave some background stories on some of his paintings. Like the one of Christ with a little boy looking up at him was based on a model and his actual son who came and sat next to him. I loved hearing the background of the paintings. I also really love some of his newer work like one called "Worlds without End" (I think) and one that he showed us which is an unfinished painting of Christ and John the Baptist laughing and spending time together like true family. I also loved a challenge Brother Olsen gave us. He said to take 5 minutes, just 5 minutes, to BE STILL every day. Just be still and think of Christ and who he is. I love the scripture that says "Be Still and Know that I am". If we could all just take 5 minutes every day to be still and think of Christ, this world would be a much different place.

Well I hope your holidays were everything you hoped for. Thank you for all of the letters. Hearing from you is one of the best presents to me. I hope you have a wonderful week and a fantastic New Year!

Love Always,
Sister Curtin

 
Pictures and hymn books we wrapped for our teachers.
My new CTR ring in Hungarian - the funny thing is the word Vag also means butter, so I have a butter finger.


Our District in Christmas colors.

Hungarian missionaries
 


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Boldog Karacsony!

Boldog Karacsony!!
 
They're giving us just a couple of minutes to write to you and tell you Merry Christmas. Today has been good and we still have lots to do (a talent show and a fireside with Greg Olsen after this). This morning Elder Russel M Nielson spoke to us. Since I was in the choir in the front row, I was able to watch him walk in.  We were in the middle of a song so instead of the usual silence- he was greeted with two-thousand-thirty-something missionaries singing about Christ's birth. The devotional was good. I have to admit though that it's really really really really hard to be here on Christmas. They do their best to make us feel at home, but trust me- if I didn't know that Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection are and were a reality- there is NO WAY I would chose to be here, without even a phone call to family on Christmas. I miss you. But He IS. He was and He always will be. As Elder Nielson reminded us today, we are called to link eternal families. I would not be here if that wasn't a reality. Elder Nielson was also very real with us. He reminded us that as we go out we need to yes, open our mouths and preach the gospel, but also open our eyes and listen when the spirit guides us out of dangerous situations. This world is a termultious place- the gospel stands in great contrast with that. Even as missionaries, protected in the MTC from the "world" we know of many tragedies in the world right now. With the recent events, we came to an even more critical realization of why the gospel is so key. In so much sorrow and pain, Christ is the only source of Joy. He is Joy. In a world of imperfections, it is comforting to know that God's plan of Salvation is Perfect.
 
I miss you all deeply. My heart feels like it's in so many places at once today- and I know there are hearts that are broken and hurt this Christmas. I'm so grateful for a Savior whose birth we celebrate today- who has the atoning power to seal our hearts, IF we chose to accept and open that great gift of the atonement (Mosiah 4:20). I hope you all remember Christ with Joy this day. I miss and love you all.
 
Please, please, please have a very Merry CHRISTmas day.
Love Always,
Sister Michelle Curtin

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last email before Christmas


Sziastok Everyone!

This is my last email before Christmas. I hope you are all having fun. I don’t really feel any different here. It's white, snowy and peaceful and centered on Christ-just like Christmas time should be, but that's not any different from any other day here at the MTC. Christmas day will be unique though and so I'll write about that next time.

This week has been good. Our Kicsi are here now and they're awesome. The 3 sisters- Sister Westover, Sister Woofinden and Sister Larsen are all great and we love them already. TRC was good this week too. We taught for 40 minutes. It's crazy that when we started, a 10 min lesson in Hungarian seemed so daunting, but now it's hard to keep lessons under time because we have so much to say about Christ. We taught Conner Castagno and after the lesson he asked me what my first name is. Apparently he ran across my blog so he knew who I was and apparently we have a friend in common, small world. (So Conner, if you run across this again, I hope you're having a good holiday and I hope you followed through with the commitment we gave you to serve :). There was also a sister at TRC who just got her mission call to Hungarian. She doesn't speak the language yet, but came to listen. She'll be here in April, so it was fun to meet her briefly. Speaking of April, Sister Dalton (the YW General President) came to teach Relief Society on Sunday and she said that in April there will be 2000 sister missionaries here at the MTC! (To those who have read the Book of Mormon, 2000 should sound familiar). It’s an exciting time. God is hastening his work. The "older" groups of missionaries are reminded almost every day that we need to prepare because we will soon be training and leading in our missions. Speaking of all that- we talked to Sister Dalton and her husband after. Sister Dalton said my companion and I looked familiar and Brother Dalton reminded me that we will be a part of the gathering of the lost tribes. We have been called to call people home. Everyone (whether they realize it or not) is homesick for their Heavenly Home. We've just been called to search out the elect and remind them how to get "home". I'm really excited to get to Hungary. I love those people so much already.

Well I don't have a lot of time. I wish I could write everything. I hope you all are having a Christmas season full of service and family and love and especially Christ. I've kept going on my Book of Mormon project and I've loved learning more about him every day. I'm going slower than I expected because I get so involved in each page. Right now I just finished King Benjamin's address. I love King Benjamin (He might be one of my favorites), because he's such a great leader. Why is he such a great leader? Because he knows how to lead, he serves, is humble, raises a good family, and lives in righteousness. But why is he that way? Because he knows the source of all of his blessings, he knows his authority, his family, his life comes from Christ. The little baby who was born in Bethlehem gives us all. We were reminded in the devotional last night, the only thing we even kind of have to freely give back is our agency- we can chose to give our lives to Him. We can choose to serve Him and live for Him. He deserves so much more, but if we really truly love him we will serve. What are you giving Christ this Christmas?

I love you all and hope all is well.
Szeretelek!
Sister Curtin

P.S. To my Washington friends- I got the traveling journal back from Brianna this week :) which was super exciting. So whoever wants it next needs to be the first one to send me a letter with a promise you'll send it to me while I'm in Hungary :) (The best way to write me quickly is by using Dearelder.com because those come the same day). Anyway- love you all and miss you and hope you're all enjoying this season. I'd love to hear from you all. Merry CHRISTmas!! Kellemes Karacsony!

 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Halfway through the MTC


Sziastok Everyone!

We are officially more than halfway done here at the MTC. Our "Kicsi"- the new group of Hungarian missionaries should be getting here in just an hour or so. The 3 sisters will be our roommates, so we're really excited for them. It's been a good week. At TRC, we taught 2 native Hungarians. It was way fun and super humbling. I'm so excited to get to Hungary and teach though. They're such wonderful people.

It's weird how everyone always talks about the MTC as being way different than the rest of the world, but it is. The other day my companion had to pick up some medicine from the student health center, so we left campus. It was weird to see things like a TIME magazine. It was also a good reminder that we are representatives of Christ. Here, everyone is. But once we leave, people will look to us and watch and we need to be ready. I'm really excited.

Christmas time is good here. We've had a lot of good devotionals and other fun Christmas related things. The BYU men's chorus came and sang and they did a beautiful job. I love all that I learn here. I'm still working on my Book of Mormon project. I've loved it. Christ does so much for us. It's made Christmas (and life) more meaningful. Please don't forget Him.

Thank you to everyone who thinks of us missionaries during this time. We love serving the Lord, but it would be a lie if any of us said it is easy to go through Holidays away from family. We're grateful to be here and excited to serve, but it's not easy. So thank you for the way you serve missionaries, just by remembering us.

Our lessons have been going well. One of our investigators doesn't have faith in Christ. So for my last lesson as a senior companion (we switched halfway through), I told Sister Peterson that we should stop planning and tell each other why the Savior matters to us. We did and I'm so grateful, because once we got into the lesson, I could actually bear testimony of Christ. I told her that I don't just believe in Christ, I know Christ lives. Looking back, I know he has directed every step of my life. The spirit was there, and I hope I can keep that with me when I get to Hungary to tell people that same truth.

I'm running out of time, but here's something I learned from the devotional last night:
"My refiner’s fire is a different color than others, but I still must go through it with a happy, humble, willing, and grateful heart. It's just as hot and just as meaningful. Take His hand and GO. Now is the time to consecrate your life. If you don't let go of the rail on this side- you're going to be pulled knee deep through the coals on your way. Just let go of that, hold onto Him and Go. You can't comprehend the glory of the other side, but his eyes see perfectly, he knows the fire is nothing compared to the green pastors beyond. you can overcome the fire, and rest in peace with the utmost joy; with those you love- including Him who led you through the smoke and flames"

I love you all. I hope you're having a very joyful Christmas time. I miss you all, but Christ probably misses you more. Don't leave Him alone.
Love Always!
Sister Curtin

 
Most of the Hungarian Missionaries

All the Hungarian sister missionaries at the MTC

Hungarian Elders Reflection

The crowded Hungarian classroom.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A New Way to Study the Book of Mormon


Sziastok Everyone,

 This Saturday will mark our half-way point in the MTC. It goes by really fast. Our "Osi" (the older group) left this week. They're in Hungary now. It's weird here without them, but I know they'll do great. Sister Oberhansley, who was the only Sister in that district, passed down a Book of Mormon and a Journal to me that the Hungarian sisters have passed down for a couple years now. The Book of Mormon has everyone's favorite scriptures highlighted and the journal has stories from them. It's been fun to read, and I'm excited to add to it right before I leave too.

The language is coming along-apparently a lot faster than normal. Our district is the first to try the 9-week program. So we're doing the 9-week program in 12 weeks, which means that we will have a lot of time to polish up grammar and what-not, so that's exciting. We still have a lot to learn though. We really need to step up our game too, because when we get there, there will be about 18 sisters total and then the group after that will add 11 more. So we will be almost doubling the amount of sisters in our mission. This means we're going to have to be prepared to train ridiculously fast. We've got a lot of preparation to do, but I'm excited. Our "kisci" group comes a week from today and I'm excited to get to know some of those amazing sisters.

We've been reminded a lot lately in devotionals and elsewhere how important the Book of Mormon is. So I've decided I want to read it all before I leave the MTC. I didn't want to just read it the normal way, I wanted to get something personal out of it. So this week I started a project. I feel like I really need to be as close as I can with Christ before I leave the MTC or I will not be prepared to lead as quickly as He needs me to be. So as I read the Book of Mormon, I am marking my scriptures based on one major question: "How can I gain a closer relationship with Christ". I have a pen with 4 colors- blue, green, red and black. Things I mark in Blue are "Who He is", things in red are "What He did" things in green are "Why He did it" and things in black are "What He wants for me". I'm only to 1 Nephi 9 so far, but every single page is filled with ink. I've loved the project so far. I've taken my mini- Book of Mormon almost everywhere, because I know I can't finish in just our normal allotted time. I read it whenever there is a spare moment. Like yesterday for choir we sang silent night. The Elders sang the second verse by themselves, so I read the Book of Mormon while they practiced their part. It's amazing how much time you can find if you ask God for it. That little 5-10 min time to read was really cool too, because of what they were singing about. They sang "Shepherds quake at the sight..." as I read about the Mercy of Christ in the Book of Mormon; and I'm not sure what exactly the author of that song meant, but sometimes when I feel the Holy Ghost, I quite literally get the chills and "quake", I felt that then and I love how often I can find the spirit strongly here. I'm excited to continue this project. If anyone else wants to join me in the project- I would very much suggest it. I'm planning on finishing by January 14th when I leave for Hungary, but if I can- I would love to finish by Christmas. I think Christmas will mean something much more profound this year because of it. "Come and adore Him".

I hope you all are having a great Christmas season. I hope to hear from you soon. Love and miss you.

God Loves You.
Szeretlek,
Curtin Nover

 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Curtin Nover - One Month


 
Szervous Family and Friends,

This week has been such a crazy mix of highs and lows. I'll start with the good- Thanksgiving was great. Elder Holland and his family came to speak to us. It was amazing. His grandchildren were there and his wife spoke too. He gave a good awaking as to the reality of what we are doing. We are the day that the prophets have spoken about for thousands of years. There is a lot of responsibility on our plates. He also gave a very beautiful testimony of the restoration of the church. I feel like this week I've learned more about why the restoration of the Gospel was so important and I've become more grateful for it. I've also become more aware of how important the work we're doing is and I really want to be able to do it right.

The language is going well. We had a full "SYL" day on Monday and personally I loved it. I'm amazed at how much we learn every day. We still have a long way to go, but we really need to step it up because we're going to be training a lot faster than normal. Our lovely "Osi" (Accent) group- the older district- leaves really soon and then our "little ones" will be coming. After we go to Hungary, the group after us will have over 20 missionaries. We are reminded almost every day that we need to step up our game because we're going to be leaders a lot faster than normal. We're going to train faster and have younger missionaries coming sooner. We have a lot of work cut out for us in order to prepare in the next 6 weeks.

On a side note- I ran into someone I knew yesterday. I was walking down the hall and a Sister said hi to me, and I looked at her and was like "wow, I know you... how do I know you?" and then she made the connection that she knew me from the Brookhaven word- it was Emily Anderson. She works here helping the Senior Missionaries. I can't even think of the last time I saw her, but it was fun to make that connection. Her younger sister Amy who is my age leaves for her mission to Africa soon.

Okay so now I'll move onto the harder stuff. I realized last night how this whole mission thing is quite literally a refiners FIRE. After the devotional, we review with our district. This review was different this time because we have an Elder struggling right now. It was a cool experience to realize how close we have gotten as a district in just a month, but this isn't easy. And being the coordinating sister, I also have to work closely with the Branch President to help the sisters who are also struggling. Missionaries have very real and very hard trials. And so does the branch president. I think being a branch President at the MTC might be one of the hardest callings. The Lord is refining us in such a way that we have to be 100% ready to- as Elder Holland said "not leave Christ alone in the wine-press". It's not easy to see the missionaries struggle. I feel blessed with the lack of hardship I have had, but I still know that I'll have to be willing and able to as Romans 8 says- "suffer with Christ" and do his will in such a way that I am willing to do anything that will bring me or others closer to Christ. It's not easy. The missionaries really need as much support and prayers as possible.

I'm incredibly grateful for my district. I learn so much from them each day. Sister Chamberlain reminds me of a close friend of mine and I have learned so much from her- she is so good about applying scriptures to herself. Sister Burdick has shown great patience and perseverance and Sister Peterson does a good job of using her talents (music) to lift others. They are all very unique and there is a reason the Lord has chosen them to serve in Hungary. I'm very grateful for my sisters and my elders and everyone else who is involved in our lives here.

I hope you all know that I am incredibly grateful for you all. I am grateful for this work. This gospel is real. I'm so grateful for Christ and his atonement and I hope that I can find a way to do all that I can to be his hands. I have so much love for my district and for the people of Hungary who I haven't even met yet- I just hope I can let God direct me in the way that will help me serve them best.

I hope that as we go into the Christmas season, we remember who Christ is and why we needed him. And why we still need him.
 
I already challenged my family, but I hope during this Christmas season everyone can find a way to serve someone else every single day. Everyone's burdens (including your own) are lighter when you serve.

Well I'm out of time, but I love you all and am so grateful for you.

Love Always,
Curtin Nővér

Friday, November 23, 2012

Letter to Santa

Every year I ask the kids to write a letter to Santa, due by Thanksgiving. This is the letter I received from Michelle in the mail today.

"Dear Santa,

For Christmas this year I want you to serve someone everyday for at least the week of Christmas, small or big it doesn't matter. 

Love, Curtin Nover"

If all her family and friends did this, just think of all the good cheer and joy we could bring!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Michelle


Sziasztok Everyone,
The weeks are so full; I don't even know where to start. Classes and investigators and TRC were all good this week. The RM we taught for TRC said he thinks we know more Hungarian in our 3 weeks here than he did 3 weeks into his mission in the field. So that's good, but we still have a long way to go.

Quick funny story- for any of you that know Elder Jeff Enslin, he's here now. He came over at lunch the other day, but I was doing SYL (Speak your Language) which means I could only speak Hungarian, so I couldn't really talk to him minus the few things my companion could translate. I've also seen Elder Cheung and Sister Rowley several times which is always good.

On another note, I have an additional calling now. I'm the coordinating sister for our branch (Sort of like the female version of a zone-leader) and it's been great to have an extra way to get to know and serve the people in my branch. It means I have a lot of meetings, but they've all been awesome. I have a service meeting today for that (I think in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow), so I probably won't have as much time to write letters, but I'll get out as many as I can. Thank you so much to all of you who wrote me (Laura, Grandma Erickson, Grandma Curtin, Chasy, Mom, Sister Simpson, My BYU Bishop and of course Hailey). Some of those letters answered prayers (and not just my own).
I should probably move on to more spiritual notes. After the devotionals on Tuesdays, our district gets together and shares some thoughts and reviews what we learned. Last night's was awesome. One thing I came to appreciate will be hard for me to put into words, but I'll do my best. The devotional was given by Elder Pieper and it was about agency. I thought about how we chose to come here to earth and follow God's plan. To make that choice we had to have a lot of trust in Christ, because he would have to fulfill His promise if we ever wanted to return to our Father. I trusted Him then and made the choice to come. I imagine that I was very joyful and possibly relieved and of course incredibly grateful when Christ finished his work and atoned for me and for everyone else. What he did is completely incomprehensible to me. I don't think there is a more poignant way for him to have proven himself trustworthy than fulfilling the atonement. I realized that I had complete trust in him when I chose this plan and came here, I trusted him when I chose to follow him and He is completely deserving of my trust in every aspect of my life. I don't quite know how to put that into words, but I'm just very grateful for Him and I'm grateful that I feel like I have slowly grown closer to Him every day while here.

Well tomorrow is Thanksgiving. In the morning an apostle is coming to speak to us, then we have Thanksgiving lunch, then we get to do a service project and then we get to have another "special" meeting. I'm really excited. I have a trillion things to be grateful for. I'm grateful for all of you and your support. I'm grateful for the knowledge that I have of the gospel and for the love God has for each of us. I'm grateful for all that I've learned here thus far, and I'm very grateful that I still have opportunities to learn and grow every day.
My district has a sort-of inside joke that "Every Day is Christmas"- everyday there is a gift wrapped up for us- something to learn, a way to grow, an opportunity to serve, but we still have to use our agency to "open" that gift. Occasionally it's a hard gift to open- maybe it's wrapped in chastisement, but if we chose to open the gift- accept the gifts God blesses us with every day- we have so much potential to learn and grow. I'm so grateful for my Savior.
Don't forget on thanksgiving, as you think of the things that God has given you- opportunities, family, safety, the gospel, friends.. that all of those things- all good things- come from God. We are so blessed.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and really enjoy all that you have. Keep unwrapping those gifts, keep improving and keep learning. That's why we chose to be here.
Szeretem Mindig,
Curtin Nővér

P.S. A huge part of the devotional yesterday was about how we need to act. (we need to be the one to open the presents), we can't just let life happen to us. And I love that because of how much I love 2 Nephi 2. If you have time. It's a great chapter to study.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Curtin Nover - Week 2

Sziastok Everyone!

So this computer has a timer. In exactly 22 mins and 10 seconds I will be kicked off, so I'll see what I can get through. It seems nearly impossibly to talk about all of the amazing things that happened in the last week.

First, on Sunday we get to watch Music and the Spoken Word. This time it was very patriotic for Veterans Day and I realized exactly 2 years ago I was there in the tabernacle at that same Music and the Spoken Word. I've realized so much lately how grateful I am for family and thousands of others who have served this country- especially for religious freedom. What a huge blessing. There's an MTC rumor going around that China is going to open to missionaries- whether or not that is true, it makes me re-realize how grateful I am for religious freedom and that I had the freedom to find out that this church is true for myself instead of just being told. I'm also grateful that Hungary has religous freedom so I can go teach them. Along with that note- today we went to the temple. I was given 2 Sweedish names and 3 Hungarian. It's so cool to see know that work for the Hungarians is happening on both sides of the veil.

Lessons and everything have been going well. We're done teaching "Andras" he is now our resource teacher which is really useful. This week we have 3 progressive investigators "Laci", "Lilla" and "David" and we'll be starting TRC this week too (teaching RMs and Hungarian member families). So we will be teaching about 6 lessons in Hungarian each week until we leave. And 2 in English. It's a lot to take in, but it's really exciting to be able to learn and progress and realize that in January, this will be so real. We will be teaching people just like those we are teaching now. I can't wait to invite them to come to Christ. I pray every night that someone will be ready for me to help them. I can't wait to serve them.

My district is still doing good. We still haven't figured out how to upload pictures, so if I can't figure it out today- I will mail home my memory card. If anyone feels like they want to serve the missionaries- one of the best ways to do that is letters. My district (especially the Elders) could use some letters. It's hard to see everyone else get letters each day when they don't. Our district is Peterson Nover (minus the accents on Nover, I don't have time to figure out how to do that...), Chamberlin Nover, Burdick Nover, McCurdy Elder, Hansen Elder, Erickson Elder, Jones Elder and Young Elder. We get a long really well and have a lot of fun together. We also love our older district- especially Oberhansly Nover (the only Sister in that district).- our address is all the same and should (assuming its still there) be on the blog.

I'm very grateful for all of you who have thought of me this week. Laura, Dani and Wendy- thank you for your letters! I will be writing you back later today :) Grandma Erickson- I wrote you back but I hope you get my letter becuase I lost your address so let me know if it doesn't get to you. I also got a box of cinamon rolls from my BYU Bishop (Bishop Warner) when I lived at Le Grande. How awesome is that? I'll be writing him too, but if anyone knows him- tell him thanks. I really appreciate everyones thoughts and prayers that go my way. I have less than 10 mins to finish. This timer is the most stressful thing at the MTC. Honestly- letters (especially "dearelder" letters because they come the same day and are free) are the best way because I have all of Pday until dinner to write letters.

A couple last notes. On Sundays we watch movies and last week we watched the Joseph Smith movie. I forgot that it talks about Hauns Mill in there (where my ancestor Austin Hammer) died. I am so grateful for him and others who sacrified so much for this gospel. Yesterday at the devotional we also watched a movie on the Tanner family who literally lived the law of concecration and gave both funds and time and basically everything to the church. I want to be like that. I want to give everything- EVERYTHING to Christ. There is no better joy than that. Serve WITH Christ, suffer with and for Christ. As Elder Holland said "The road to salvation always goes through Getheseme". I am so grateful for my Savior and hope that I can continue to grow and change and be better prepared to serve him in everything I do.

Well I hope you know I pray for and love you all. Thank you so much for everything. Remember always the love of God and act on it. Serve others. Be grateful for the freedom and religion we have. I know the gospel is true because I had the agency and freedom to find out. It is, I know. and I am so greatful for all I've learned in the last 14 days.

Love always! Seretem Mindig!

Curtin Nover
(Michelle's MTC District: Peterson Nover, Michelle, Chamberlin Nover, Burdik Nover, Hansen Elder, McCurdy Elder, Jones Elder, Erickson Elder, Young Elder) 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Michelle's First Week at the MTC

This photo was taken in front of the Columbia River Temple and includes (Jessica's Mom, Sister Jessica Simpson, (Michelle talks about in this email), Andrea Curtin (Michelle's Mom), Michelle Curtin, Danelle Ertmann, ( Michelle's Aunt )and Ruth Erickson (Michelle's Grandmother). It was taken on our trip to Washington right before Jessica went to the MTC.)
 
Sziastok Everyone!
One week down. It went by really fast. We only have 30 mins total to write e-mails (in the Laundry room) so I don't have a lot of time, but I'll see what I can get in. (To Lynette- sorry if there are any grammatical/spelling errors I have a feeling that I won't have time to go back and check). Well how are all of you? My first week has been really good. My district has 4 sisters and 5 elders (One of the Elders is "Erickson Elder" from Roy. So the Erickson family name will be represented in Hungary too :)
The first day was this strange mix of overwhelming and peaceful. You can tell Hailey that I got my Badge! It's pretty exciting. It's pretty exciting and humbling to be wearing my name with Christ's name on my name tag.
Everything has been good so far, it's hard to know where to start. It's basically a miracle how the MTC functions. There are hundreds of missionaries going every which way all day long, but it really doesn't ever feel very crowded because our schedules are so perfectly planned. It does feel spiritualy congested and crowded though. The devotionals and firesides and classes have been amazing.
I love seeing "Pride Rock" (Squaw Peak but I like Pride Rock better)- it's a beautiful view- especially since it's a view at all. It reminds me of President Monson's talk "Remember who you are"! And then at one of the Firesides/devotionals (they kind of all blend together for me) someone reminded us to "Remember WHOSE you are". We are Christ's. and right now I am more than ever.
Anyway, the language is coming pretty well. We've taught 3 lessons to our "investigator" Andras so far completely in Hungarian and we teach him again tonight. That's been one of my favorite experiences so far. It's amazing to me that even though my Hungarian grammar is a thousand times more worse than my English- with a few phrases, some cave-man words, the scriptures and the spirit you can teach so much. I always get really excited when I can understand his questions and even more excited when I happened to have felt like I should mark a certain scripture during language study that answers his question.
My companion is Peterson Nover. She is from Utah too and has a lot of energy and is happy about every little thing (yes, even the MTC food) so it's good to have her positivity. All of our district and the older district are all great and get along great. I love practicing Hungarian with them.
I've come to realize how amazing it is how much our minds can retain when we don't have a thousand other distractions like texts and phones and TV and movies and music (and when we have the spirit). When you can focus just on Christ and service, you can get sooo much done. I still have a long way to go with the language and such but it's been going pretty well so far.
Today we went to the temple too which was great as always (even though we had to get up at 5:30 on our pday to be there) and the weather was gorgeous.
Also, little miracle- my old roommate and friend "Herman Jessica Simpson" happened to be on our same floor, just down the hall. I got to see her a lot and we sung in the choir together last night. She left this morning for her DC south mission (she'll have a lot of work to do) but it was so great to have her here for a week. I've also seen a couple sisters from my single's ward like sister Rowley and I saw Elder Aaron Cheung come in today (from my ward in Maryland). It's been wonderful to be surrounded by so many servants of God and even more wonderful to see us all change for the better. As President Monson once said "When you Chose to Follow Christ, you Chose to be Changed!"
Well time is running out. We can't seem to get the pictures to work, but hopefully we'll figure it out soon- or else I'll just have to send the SD card home.
Until next week.
Love Always,
Curtin Nover


(Curtin Nover and Hermana Simpson at the Provo Temple.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Drop



October 31, 2012

Today is Halloween for most everyone in the United States, but for me it was one of the hardest days of my life! We woke up early, Michelle is officially a missionary and needs to be up by 6:30 a.m. The whole family woke up early and had breakfast together before Andrew had to go to school. Then David gave Sister Curtin a father’s blessing. How grateful we are to have the Priesthood in our home. It was a very nice blessing and I could feel the love between Dave and Michelle as I listened to the words. Andrew had to leave for school, so there was big hugs and a few tears, but then Andrew came back in the door to give Michelle one more hug, now with big tears in his eyes! I know that he will miss her very much. I haven’t seen my boys cry very often. I think only at funerals, but they both had tears saying good-bye to their sister.

With missionary rule keeping spirit, Michelle talked me into exercising with her. We took River on her last walk with Michelle for 18 months. It was a beautiful morning. Then we got ready for the big, drop off. On the way to the MTC Michelle wanted to get her niece a gift and some more paper and envelopes to write letters home, so please write to Michelle. Her addresses are posted to the right on the blog. I will post all her letters here.

We were still a bit early so we walked around the temple. This seems to be a popular thing to do because there were several families doing the same thing. We took pictures for a family with their missionary going to Texas. We had some sister missionaries going to Russia take this picture of us. It was such a beautiful fall day. It was nice to sit on the temple grounds in the sun, but too soon it was time for the drop.

We drove over to the MTC. The senior missionary that directed us, said the last 3 cars were all missionaries going to Hungary and he had a relative that was one of the first missionaries sent to Hungary “after the wall fell in the early ‘90s”. We drove down the side walk and stopped where we were directed…then it was time…

Saying good-bye to her and watching her walk away was one of the hardest things. I will miss her terribly. I know she is doing the right thing. I know she will make a wonderful missionary, but watching her go was very hard. I didn’t want to let her go. I just wanted to keep hugging her.  I have had the Tim Magraw song, My Little Girl in my head all week and it started again.

MY LITTLE GIRL LYRICS

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go
Gonna tell you how much I love youThough you think you already know
I remember I thought you looked like an angel
Wrapped in pink, so soft and warm
You've had me wrapped around your finger
Since the day you were born

Your beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile
Could melt my heart of stone
Now look at you, I've turned around
And you've (already) grown
Sometimes you're asleep I whisper
 'I love you'In the moonlight at your door
As I walk away, I hear you say"(Mom and Dad), love you more"

Your beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl...(the next verse is for when she gets home.)

I texted the family and told them we just dropped off our missionary. My brother Lance texted back, “Scariest thing I’ve heard this Halloween.” I couldn’t agree more! Happy Halloween Sister Curtin, yep- she is being a Mormon Missionary for Halloween this year!

Yes, I cried all the way home!
 
 

Crab and Blessing


October 30, 2012

Michelle’s wonderful blog has now officially been turned over to me, her mom, for the next 18 months. I will post Michelle’s letters home and upload pictures that she is able to send. Tonight was Michelle’s official last night as regular Michelle. We went out to dinner for crab-her favorite for dinner. Then back at our home it was time for Michelle to be set apart as a missionary. We invited both sets of grandparents; Andrew, Dave and I were also there. The Highland Utah West Stake President, Kevin Anderson arrived to set Michelle apart and give her a blessing. The Spirit was so strong it was an amazing experience. President Anderson asked each of Michelle’s family members to tell Michelle why she will be a good missionary. We went around the room, each member of the family telling Michelle why we think she will be a good missionary. Each person’s comments were personal and specific. I believe Michelle will use these comments throughout her mission. I hope they will give her courage to remember and have faith that she is in the right place at the right time, serving the Lord with all her heart, mind and strength. Many of the comments focused on Michelle’s ability to love others, especially children and people with special needs. Another theme was that she loves different cultures, already going to Fiji, Iceland, Mexico, and Aruba. I know that Hungary will be her new favorite. Michelle also has a love for genealogy work and temple work.  Going to the temple so many times before her mission will help give her the strength she needs to serve. Michelle has been in training to be a missionary for a long time. She shared the gospel and was a great example to many friends in Washington and Maryland.

President Anderson then asked Michelle to share her testimony; she thanked all her family and bore a wonderful testimony of the gospel of Christ and the plan of happiness. Then President Anderson set Michelle apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gave her a very detailed personal blessing. The blessing is very sacred to her and she doesn’t want me to share it in the blog, but I will say that it was like a Patriarchal Blessing. It was very detailed and long (in a good way). I know what strength it will give her throughout her mission and she will see the warnings and blessing full-filled in the next 18 months. It was a very emotional time. It was also hard to say good-bye to her grandparents. I wish we would have gotten the camera out sooner to take a picture of her with Roy and Patricia Curtin and President Anderson before they left, but here are some photos of her before saying good-bye to Darrell and Ruth Erickson, her brother Andrew and dog River.
 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Szia

Yesterday and today were very good, yet very hard days. It was a lot of Hi, Goodbye. Funny that in Hungarian there's a word- Szia- that means both.

Tomorrow I get set apart as a full-time missionary. That means that I will no longer be doing my own blog. Luckily my mom should be posting my weekly e-mails here.

I just want to say köszönöm szépen (thank you so much) to everyone who has supported me. I have the most amazing friends and family. I feel like I have hundreds of Thank-You cards to write, and even if I do get all of those done, it still wouldn't be enough to thank all of you. I can't express how grateful I am for wonderful friends and family.

These 2 girls I've known for so long. Darci (on the right) I've known
since we were 2 years old. And Megan (on the left) since 3rd grade.
Now they're both married and I'm going on a mission. Love these girls.

And this is my best friend. Hailey was probably
the hardest to say goodbye to because she is 4 and
will be 5 1/2 before I get back. I don't want her to grow up,
but she said "that's what people are for". She's such a great
example to me and I couldn't love her more. I will miss
her immensely.

Some great friends. Old coworkers from the Telefund and some amazing
roommates. What awesome people for coming down to support me.

Two more of my favorite people. Love these girls. Life will be
different without being able to talk to them all the time.
My Kamp girls. Both fun coworkers and amazing family.
Working at Fotofly was worth it just to be able to
spend more time with them. And if Lexi decides to,
she'll be an amazing missionary in a few years.
Wow okay. Can I say how blessed I am again? There are so many wonderful people in my life. I'm excited to serve a mission and be able to serve the people in Hungary. I know I'll come to love them too. I really do love you all.
SZIA
Love Always,
"Sister Curtin"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finale

If you've ever read my blog, you probably didn't need to here my talk.
But for those who wanted it/missed it- here is the original version:



"The topic I was given today required me to reflect a lot. I’ve been asked to speak about why I am going on a mission, how I prepared and how I recognized personal revelation.


It was hard to write this talk, because I feel like there are a thousand pieces that came together to direct me to that decision. 

Elder Uchtdorf put it this way: [Those who diligently seek to learn of Christ] will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle…Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together…we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us—not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.”

So I’m going to share a few of those “puzzle pieces” from within the last year of my life that helped me prepare for a mission.

I didn’t plan on serving a mission, but after a conversation with a close friend I started to think about whether or not I should serve.

It started simple.  At first, I didn’t get an answer of whether or not I should serve a mission. Instead, it started with confirmations of very simple principles of the gospel.

 3 Nephi 26 says “Yeah, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things” You’ll understand why I cited that in just a moment.

I’m going to read bits and pieces of my journal to give a more accurate recollection.

“Sunday September 18, 2011
… [After we] put Hailey to [bed]… I stayed and talked to her. I asked her about Jesus and she said something like ‘yeah, he loves us’ and she said He talks to her and I asked her what He says and she said ‘just he loves us!’ and I asked her about God and she said Jesus told her He loves us… when I asked what she knows about heaven she said “I love Him”. What a great lesson from a 3 year old…”



The foundation for my testimony has always been rooted in the Love of God. Which is good, because it’s the first missionary lesson J. That moment with my niece reminded me that I had a testimony of the love of God.  Why not go on a mission if I could remind others that God loves them?

A couple weeks later, I focused more on finding out whether or not I should serve a mission. I got an answer, but I was not listening at first. Elder Uchtdorf  in his talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”, points out that some people expect a grand gesture of revelation and Instead of taking small steps of faith on the path of discipleship, they want some dramatic event to compel them to believe.”

I was kind of waiting for that dramatic event, but then I realize that, as Ether 12:6 says”ye receive no whiteness until after the trail of your faith”. So I decided to have faith and do as we always had been told and fast, pray, and meet with my bishop.

Preach my Gospel quotes Elder Packer who warns that some spiritual experiences “are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others” So once again, I’ll quote from my journal, but just enough to give you an overall idea of my experience.

“October 9, 2011

I prayed about it and thought about it and listened at conference…Even though I already had my answer; I [wasn’t confident]... So I set up an appointment with the bishop and today I fasted that he would know what to say. So today I met with him and [emotion over-came me] and he pointed out that it was the spirit, I need to prepare for a mission and…I should stop second guessing myself…he [said he] could feel the spirit too... At the end he asked if we could kneel and pray, so we did and he prayed for all of the concerns I needed. [which I hadn’t told him about]…”

So that’s how it really began. Personal revelation for me, started with prayer, continued with fasting, persisted by counseling with a leader and concluded with the Spirit.

That was a year ago though, and it wasn’t easy to remember the feelings and confidence I had the day I met with my bishop. I should have trusted those original feelings, but I’m grateful for a loving Father who had patience with me.

I’ve realized throughout my life that you can be inspired by any good thing, as long as you chose to let it inspire you.

Morni 7:12 Says “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God…”

I feel like revelation for me came through very diverse ways- songs, scriptures, friends, service… but ultimately it was delivered through the Spirit every time. As preach my gospel says “[The Holy Ghost] is the Comforter, who the Savior promised would teach His followers all things and bring to their remembrance all things that He had taught them”.

So I’m going to give just a small sampling of my experiences with that.

The first example came because President Monson quoted a Disney Movie.

This came when I was reluctant to change my life for a mission. I said a quick prayer before a BYU Devotional that he would say something relevant to me. President Monson came to speak to us about how we needed to be examples of the believers. To do this, he quoted the Lion King. Mufasa tells Simba “you have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself… You are more then you have become… Remember who you are!”

If I truly was a daughter of God, I needed to show that by being more than I had so far become. In that same talk, President Monson also told us that “when you chose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed”. I needed to let myself, my plans and my life change the way Christ would.

Personal revelation for me oftentimes also came when giving service

President Uchtorf once said “Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving…By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.”

As I prepared for a mission, I was concerned with whether or not I'd have the ability to serve people the way Christ would have me serve.  It seems like no amount of hardwork is ever enough to fully help people.
But then, I realized that sometimes what people really need are the simple things. I learned that by seeing the joy in a little girls face as someone read to her in Spanish while we were in Mexico; I learned that in Iceland when I realized how much it meant to Atli that I would offer to wake up just an hour early to bring in the cows so he could sleep in; I learned that when our adopted Grandma at the rest home took out her teeth so that she could sing Christmas songs with my friend and I. And I also learned that on the opposite end of things, as I remembered the little boy who served me by handing me a half-melted bag of M&Ms because he felt bad that my Camera was stolen while I was in Fiji.

In Alma 7:12 it says “…and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities”

Any kind of service is good. But I learned that Christ knows what his children need more than we do. Those experiences and more helped me realize that Christ would teach me how to help his children if I trusted him by serving on a mission. And as one of my favorite quotes from President Monson says “You can Never Love the Lord until you serve him by serving his people”
 

Several times personal revelation has come in very simple, primary song sort of ways.

            As I prepared for a mission, I wanted a stronger conviction of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, so I had prayed about it right before going to the temple. I was sitting in the Celestial room and nothing had really hit me yet. But as I sat there, I realized a song was running through my head that I hadn’t been paying attention to. The lyrics that were on repeat were: “The spirit will guide and deep inside I know the scriptures are true”. Sometimes prayers are answered but we have to have enough patience and reverence to notice.

And then in preparation for my mission, personal revelation came for me because of what I had written in my journal for about 12 years.

In Elder Scott’s talk entitled “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for your personal life”- He quotes from D&C 6 “Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind...” And then Elder Scott goes on to say  “If you feel that God has not answered your prayers, ponder these scriptures—then carefully look for evidence in your own life that He may have already answered you.”

 

My roommate once asked me something to do with my testimony. So I started a project that I called “The Evolution of a Testimony”. I knew I had kept a journal so every day for 60 days I typed up a journal entry that I had where my testimony had grown. It started before I was baptized with very simple things, then “Line upon line and precept upon precept” it evolved because of family, friends, school, church, nature and basically every aspect of my life.

By going back through these journal entries, I realized how God had been a huge part of my life and I realized I do have a testimony. It had just come in a sunrise sort of way- little by little where you can’t really tell where night became day.

Even after these experiences and after I had turned in my mission papers, personal revelation continued.

I was at stake conference and I kept getting this feeling of “Your mission call is coming”. I pushed those thoughts aside, because I didn’t think my 120 days were even up so my papers probably hadn’t been submitted yet. But that thought wouldn’t leave me alone- so much so that I wrote the words “It’s coming” in the margin of my notes. The next day we were told the call had been issued the Friday before. I received my call that week.
       
 
And even after I received my call to serve in Hungary, God reassured me. My mom and I have gone to the temple with family names several times since I got my call. At 3 different temples, however, the temple worker asked us to do extra work if we had time. All 3 of those times the extra names that I did were all from Hungary.

Now, to close, I want to back up. I said before that I had never planned on going on a mission. When in primary they would preface the “I hope they call me on a mission” song by asking “Who is going on a mission??” I was the only one not to raise my hand. But then came an experience at the temple: (again quoted from my journal)

            "January 20, 2012

Today I went with… a girl I visit teach to the temple… The temple president came down…And he said something that really stood out.

Remember how I talked about … how I hadn't raised my hand in primary when they asked who'd go [on a mission?]- well the temple president said something like- 'I'm going to remind you of your pre mortal life- we were all there when Christ said he would go and you raised your hand to support Him. You agreed to do the work'. I don't remember the exact phrase the president said, but what I remember most is that I raised my hand. I did agree to do the work…I need to be more willing to raise my hand again and say 'I will go and do'…”

You volunteered to be here. You already told Christ you would support him and do his work. 

I guess the point of my talk today is that I am going on a mission because I know, through personal revelation, that that’s what God wants for me. I want to serve and I want to share God’s love. The point of my talk is that God loves you, he knows you.

Personal revelation comes in various ways, but you have to be listening and you have to be living in a way that you can accept it. It comes when you are ready to follow God’s will, His timing, and His higher knowledge. And then, after you have received that revelation you have to trust Him and follow through.

I haven’t learned a lot of Hungarian yet, but one of my favorite phrases that I’ve learned (Thanks to the Hungarian version of the Prince of Egypt) Is “CSAK BENNE BIZ!” which means “Just Trust in Him”.

I feel very humbled by my call to serve. I feel probably a lot like Elder Nelson did when he said: …I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?” ... As I prayed, the feeling came: “You don’t know everything, but you know enough!”

I feel very much like a child when I realize how limited my knowledge is. But I know that the spirit will guide, and deep inside I know the scriptures are true. I’m grateful for a home that is blessed every hour by priesthood power and I’m grateful for a mother who has taught me to love to see the temple. I’m grateful that I can feel the savior’s love and I’m so grateful to have been called to serve.

TESTIMONY"