Saturday, May 5, 2012

Journal Entry 45: Beautiful Upon the Mountain

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 45

I have some great friends that are such great examples to me. My friend Wendy, from Maryland, was in town once and we decided to go hiking. She suggested we bring our journals and scriptures. The hike turned out to be a great symbolic lesson. It got dangerously stormy up there, but after some prayers and patience, the storm stopped and the hike back down the mountain was clear and sunny.
"Wednesday August 3, 2010
Right now I'm sitting on top of the mountain behind the Draper temple. Wendy and I decided (she's staying with us right no) to go on a hike and bring our journal and scriptures, she's an awesome person- always thinking of that kind of stuff.
This was the view we had while reading scriptures & writing in our journals on our hike
 It's been quite the adventure. It started raining partway through, so we stopped and ate lunch on a bridge and then later it was lightning and thundering and POURING- so we stopped and waited it out. It reminds me of a quote my aunt had on her blog that says 'Sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes God calms the child and lets the storm rage on'. It's been an awesome experience.
Wendy writing in her journal
 We're all drenched, but the view here is beautiful and the half storm/half blue sky looks so cool... Wendy is such a great example- I'm thankful for her. Well I'm going to read my scriptures now. (River is with us and she just brought a rock :) I'll write soon.
River went down into the River to get this rock as big as her head.
 Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin

P.S. I've been reading in Mosiah 15- right now Mosiah 15:15-18"
 This is Mosiah 15:15-18...

15 And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!
16 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!
17 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!
18 And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the afeet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of bpeace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;

I didn't look for that scripture to read, I just happened to be reading it. I now have it highlighted and "Hike with Wendy 2012" written next to it in my scriptures (along with some rain marks and dirt from the hike).

Love Always,
Michelle


Friday, May 4, 2012

Journal Entry 44: Merry CHRISTmas!

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 44

This next entry doesn't need much of an into, so I'll just jump right in...

"Thursday December 17, 2009
I'm sorry I haven't written in here for a while, I've been keeping a 'gratitude journal' for 100 days and I just finished this week. 
Today was a good day. I took my last final exam today which means I'm done with my first semester at college! I finished at the same time as Apenisa (the guy from Fiji in my class) and he was going to practice Rugby, so I walked and talked with him. He told me a little about when his famiyl and he were introduced to the church (1995 I think) and when they were baptized, it was a nice conversation.
Then I called my family to say I was done, becasue they were going to my cousin's... concert. They had a ticket for me, but I didn't know how to get there and I didn't think I'd make it on time, but I tried. I took an exit I've never taken before and just haded toward the temple. I never would have found it if I wasn't going toward the beautifully lit temple. I prayed that I would make it on time and I barely did. One we got inside, I sat down and less then a second later eveyone stood. THey stood because President Uchtdorf was there and was standing to wave to people. Elder Oaks was with him too. It was so neat to have them there.
The concert... was beautiful. THey had Steven Covey as the narrator and several guest musicians and singers like Michael Ballam and Lawrence F Gee, Stanford swim and sam cordon. It was a beautiful performance.
Cell-phone picture of President Uchtdorf after the concert
 Afterwards everyone stood up and waited for president Uchtdorf and elder oaks to leave, they left behind the curtain, so I thought they'd left but elder Uchtdorf was shaking the musicians hands. I thought it was cool to be to just be so close, but then he ended up walking out the same door as me and I got to shake his hand and we exchanged 'Merry Christmas's. A very appropriate creeting, I think, from an apostle of Christ. It was an amazing expirence. It wasn't until I was in my car that I realized it had been an answer to a prayer. During the concert I said a quick quiet prayer hoping to meet him and then didn't think about it again. God does answer prayers. Merry Christmas! Love Always, Michelle Curtin"
I know it's the beginning of May, but Merry CHRISTmas!
Love Always,
Michelle


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Journal Entry 43: The Book of Mormon

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 43

A new journal. I started in on my 18th birthday. On page 2 is an entry about conference.
I've talked about conference before, but this next one was a very memorible one...

"Sunday October 4, 2009,
So this weekend was general conference. Each session has been a different expirence.... This afternoon I went with 10 other people in my ward... to the conference center. We had floor seating which was nice. The hymns b the choir were beautiful. They sound amazing when you are actually there- completely angelic.
All of us before going into conference
 The first speaker was Elder Holland. It was certainly a talk to remember. He had Hyrum Smith's book of mormon and he spoke about the truth of that book. He spoke with confidence, authority, conviction and strength. The whold room was silent as he spoke and when he finished it was like a unison of a breath of amazement. Josh turned to me and said exactly what I was thinking 'Incredible'. It truely was. 
The other talks were amazing too. It was a great conference. When it was over and President Monson was walking off, he waved to everyone and blew a kiss. When he was aobut to leave, he stopped and pointed to a little boy who went and shook his hand. and beause he was so short, he jumped up and gave the Prophet a high five. He also let 2 other kids be lifted up. One of them, he fixed his coat and straightened him up while he spoke to him. Another he just took the time to talk to for a little before he finally waved one more time and walked off. He is such a loving and humble man. Truely a prophet of God. If I had to chose a theme for this confrence (which I do for my BYU class) I would say love. God's love for us. It seems God really wanted to make sure we knew he loves us and that we need to love each other. It really was a great conference. Well it's time for prayers and scriptures so love ya.
Love Always/ MichelleCurtin"
I remember Elder Holland's talk well. And here's a snipit of it for you:


I recently finished reading the Book of Mormon again. And I asked. As Moroni tells us to, I knelt and prayed. The Book of Mormon is full of truth.

Love Always,
Michelle


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Journal Entry 42: The 400th Page of My Life


This is the last entry from my Blue (second journal). Crazy huh? I'm catching up to myself. 

"Hey Journal,
Today is September 28, 2009. I have 2 days and 4 pages left of my childhood. Kinda a sad thought. Andy got me a new journal though (this same kind, except brown). This book will conclude approximately the 400th page of my life. It's kind of fitting to have me starta  new one when I turn 18. My first one (the Red one) was basically my young childhood- elementary and middle school. THis has pretty much been my teenage/highschool years and now volume III will pretty much )as scary as it sounds) be my college/adult years. Crazy huh? I've been reminiscing about all thsoe days lately, from fairies to crushes to sports to adventures to vacations to friends and family- just everything. I found some old notes from years ago when I was picking up my 1st journal, they weren't taped in so I guess I'll put them here as a final little look back at random stuff..."
I wish I had time to take pictures of or type up each letter that's taped into the last pages of my journal, but that would take way too much time. Almost all of them have some sort of testimony-building experience in them though. A lot of them relate to something I've already written about though. Like there is a letter I started to write but never finished to my friend Jordan, or a letter from my 2nd EFY counselor, the letter Kelsey wrote to me after reading the Book of Mormon or a letter from my friend Andrea at girl's camp. And then, on the back page, I taped in a bunch of clips of my name from different things (name tags and doodles n such). The one I noticed first though, is a fake black name tag that says "Sister Curtin- the church of JESUS CHRIST of latter-day saints" it's a fake missionary tag. Interesting.

Last page of my 2nd Journal

Love Always,
Michelle

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Journal Entry 41: I Thank Thee O God For a Prophet


My extended family is very split on our UofU vs. BYU rivalry. I know that many think going to BYU is cliche and high-and-mighty. Eh, some of that may have truth, but I am so glad I chose to go to BYU. It has provided me with some very unique chances to listen and learn from some wonderful people like the prophet.

One of my Senior pictures- ready for BYU
"Dear Journal,
Today is September 15, 2009. I got to see the prophet today. I went 2 hours early to the Marriot Center BYU devotional and waited in line with Thomas, so we got decent seats (in F19) and we saved one for Jessica who I've become friends with ever since our Freshman Y Group. It was a cool experience. Everyone was talking and then all the sudden everyone stood and went silent in respect for the prophet entering. Then someone starting singing 'We thank thee Oh God for a Prophet' and everyone joined in. Then we sang 'Come listen to the prophet's voice' which of course was beautiful and strong with a full marriot center.

Then a student from Hawaii gave the prayer- it was a beautiful prayer- full of meaning, emotion and truth. He was extreemly greatful for sacrafices made for us to be there today and emotion struck his voice and touched me deeply....

Then combined choir then sang 'I stand all amazed' I'm normally fairly picky with groups singing, but they sounded beautiful and they sang as one. Afterwards the Prophet soke to us about the prophets he knew personally (see my notes). I didn't include the best parts- the parts that illistrated how human (although still divinely inspiured) these men are. He told stories about one... that ran a red light because he was colorblind (thus Pres. Monson offered to drive after) or one that loved putting this stuff in his milk then eating it with a spoon (Thomas S. Monson's face was priceless when describing this and when he concluded by smiling and saying 'I did NOT follow that example') or even when he spoke of one prophet... who after dealing with a parent's complaint noted that some parents are very strange (and then President Monson said 'he chose words nicer than I'd have used- but then again he wasn't in the Navy... that was NOT in my original prepared talk...')

I didn't expect to laugh so much at this devotional. The prophet isn't a perfect man, but he is a chosen, a righteous and a guided man. Only Christ was perfect.

God will never allow his prophets to lead the church astray. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be there today, and the witness I personally had of the truth of it all. I can't describe the feeling- like a warm shiver running though you, but I certainly felt it at times during the devotional. I few to love the Prophet even more, almost in a friend-like way. What an awesome experience, I wish it would have been longer (which I rarely wish about church meetings). I am very blessed to go to BYU where I could have that opportunity. Well despite the amazing beginning to my day, I am exhausted, so I best get to sleep, so goodnight.

Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"

I've had several great opportunities to listen directly from the Prophet or one of his counselors. Although not perfect, they are great examples.

Love Always.
Michelle

Monday, April 30, 2012

Journal Entry 40: Set Apart



So this blog is more-or-less revolving around me preparing for a mission. But in reality, I've already been set apart as a missionary for a time. In my first single's ward, I was called as a ward missionary. We worked hard in that calling (much helped by the fact that our mission leader was a fresh returned missionary). This next entry is from when I was set apart. I took out the parts where I talked about what was actually said when I was set apart because they were meant for me, not for a blog, but hopefully it doesn't take away from the meaning.
"Hey Journal,
Today is Sunday September 6, 2009. I don't remember if I told you, but I got called as a ward missionary. The bishop approved it even though I'm still 17. Our mission leader is Cory who just got back from his mission in Chile. Today we got set apoart as ward missionaries. Bethany, Brian and another boy got set apart first and I was grateful to be able to listen to them, because I notices how personal each was, but then mine came and I can't tell you how personal it truly was- I knew that what he was saying was for me and I surely gained a testimony that Brother Jacob is a man called of God and has the priesthood... it was then that I knew and felt that it wasn't brother Jacob, it truely was a blessing from God. Only God could have known my inner desires and the truth of them... I know this is a calling from God and I'm grateful that my testimony could grow today.
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"


Maybe that calling was to give me a fuller desire to share the gospel. No matter what, I'm grateful for the insight God has into my life.

Love Always,
Michelle

I wasn't actually there for this, but this picture was taken when my great-grandma went through the temple to be sealed to her husband and children. What a blessing missionary work is at any time during someone's life.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Journal Entry 39: Bula!


Fiji! Wow, I was lucky to have that experience. After I graduated from high school, I went to Fiji on a trip to work in some small villages (Dranikula and Galoa) and build septic tanks. I know I've mentioned it before, but I think you are the most in-tune with the spirit when you are serving others. I was in Fiji for a couple weeks, so I have several experiences I could type up. Unfortunately, I just don't have time for that, so I will try to touch on the main ones...

The first one is about a trip we took to the temple in Fiji after working. We brought along the only member of the Church who lived in the village- Lasaro. He had never been to the temple before, so it was exciting.
"Bula!
It is now Thursday. Another good day. We're almost finished with our group's bathroom. I painted today so I have pink and green all over me, but it's been good work. I had plenty of lemon leaf tea (everywhere I go- 'Asayla! Come have some tea!' especially 'Nana' (mom) from our group) We left early again today to go to Sauva to go to the temple.
Lasaro and I in the village
 Lasaro came with which was cool because it was his first time. (he said after that he felt excited and happy). I say with him again and we listened to my ipod. We chose churchy songs to listen to since we were going to the temple- like Josh Groban, Christain bands and 'only hope' by Mandy Moore which he knew and the song 'I can only imagine'. It was nice.
The temple was very pretty. It's very small, but looks like many other temples. The font was cool because it was small and the seats where right up next to it. Mikah and I got confirmed first, so everyone was already waiting. I loved walking in and seeing Lasaro smile at me. He looked very happy.
We opened with 'I am a Child of God'. We've sung it many times on this trip, but boy did it sound beautiful in the temple. Maybe it was an echo or the added voices of the temple workers, but to me it sounded like a choir of angels backing us up. It went well. We did about 20 names then went outside. The air felt beautiful- somewhere between hot and cold.
Allison and I walked around the temple and then sat on the stairs and talked until everyone else got done. Afterwards we went to the stake center where 'sister Sara' had made us dinner- delicious- this food is really growing on me....
I loved the drive there and back while listening to songs like 'you are loved' because everywhere we go, people wave at us and say 'Bula!' and we see communities spending time together- especially playing sports like rugby. I love it. Well tomorrow is a new work day so I best get some sleep. MATAKA- MODA
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"
The temple trip was fantastic, but I felt like every moment of every day was a testimony-building spiritual moment. One of those, I have already blogged about here. I also had some 'real' mission experiences. One specific one was when I invited one of the guys who was working in our group, his name is Ili, to come to church. He did. And then he agreed to let the missionaries come speak with him. This next entry is from that day (which also happened to be our last one in the village...)


"Final Bula Journal,
It's Wednesday now and we leave back for the USA tomorrow :( Today was way good though. We worked on Lasaro's bathroom (even got to sign and flush it). Some of our 'family' was there too like my brother Kaju. We have like 2 families since we've worked at Romeo's and Lasaro's. Romeo's mom is definitely our 'nana' tho.
Us with 'Nana' (in the middle) in front of the bathroom we built them

We didn't do a ton of hard work, but I did walk with Lasaro clear though the village, across the road, along a path, through something that was a mix of a pasture, weed-patch and sump, past a random cow, past random piglets and past caged pigs and a boar to get gravel for the cement. Most of the other work was simple. We even had extra time so Allison, Connor and I helped shave palm branches for brooms. I left early from that tho because I went with Lasaro and the missionaries (brother ili and brother Mcmillian) to Ili's house for his first discussion. It was a cool experience.
Ili, Me and the Missionaries at his Ili's lesson
 Ili chose to do it in Fijian, so I couldn't understand it other than the Godhead, Jesus Christ and a couple references, but it felt way cool. At the end they bore their testimonies and asked me and I just explained that even though I couldn't understand them, I could feel it to be true... It was really cool and Ili thanked me for coming with him. I have him a book of Mormon that I signed my name in and wrote Moroni 10:4-7 in.

Later after lunch and work, we all went down to the beach and swam one last time in the ocean. (the Fijians came too) and then we took a boat out to the middle of the ocean where there's this random tree. It was cool, but it was killer with the coral.
The tree in the middle of the ocean
 After that. the bus came and since the kids will be at school tomorrow, we had to say goodbye to them all. I gave 'Luggy' a dress that Wendy and I had gotten for amp and some of my tennis shoes and her mom gave ma black sulu. I gave Lindia and Maryanna and little margreta (although I think bill stole it) and Toreka stuffed animals and/or bracelets, but then we had to go. Luggy also slipped me a ring (was cool looking) and earings that are way nice minus the 2 stones missing (which in this case makes it that much better). Aw I love the kids so much....
Me and Daniel with my kids. (my BFF Lugy is in the Blue)
 I'm going to miss them so much tho- how they reach up to the bus, how they climb all over you and play games and hold your hand and call your name and give you the most humblest yet greatest of gifts. That's what love it.
 I've loved the work here... I love the people too. That was the other part I talked about tonight- what Pres. Hinckley said: "You can never love God until you serve him by serving his people". I love these people. I really don't want to say goodbye tomorrow. It's going to be so hard. Especially Lasaro, Ili, Kaju, Romeo, Balo, Mojie, Nana, Michael, Ruby and...Melba. I've really gotten to know some of them so well. Aw... well it's late and once again the girls are already asleep so "G'NIGHT!" ...

Motha/Domine eeko!
MichelleDCurtin/ASELA"
That quote by president Hinckley really sums up my feelings about that trip nicely. Serving with people is exactly what brings us closer to Christ.
Love Always,
Michelle
video