Saturday, May 12, 2012

Journal Entry 52: I Raised My Hand

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 52

I was never the person to plan to prepare for a mission. I'm a planner by nature, but I didn't plan on that. Because of that, I wasn't sure I really was supposed to go. But then someone reminded me that I had always planned on doing the work of Christ...

"January 20, 2012
I have to leave for school in a few mins, so this won't be long, but I thought I should write really quick. Today I went with Brittany Brown (a girl I visit each) to the temple. I read Alma 26(ish)-30ish while I was there that talks about missionary work. Then the temple president came down for a few minutes. He talked about the importance of temple work. And he said something that really stood out. 
This is me, my little brother and my mom outside the temple
on one of the days that we did some Icelandic family names

Remember how I talked about not planning on serving a mission and how I hadn't raised my hand in primary when they asked who'd go- 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 that I raised my hand. I did agree to do the work. I need to focus more on preparing. I need to be more willing to raise my hand again and say 'I will go and do'.
Love Always,
Michelle" 

I did raise my hand. I already volunteered.
Love Always.
Michelle

Friday, May 11, 2012

Journal Entry 51: Remember Who You Are

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 51

So, even though my last entry was a huge turning point, that was 7 months ago. A lot has happened since then, so even though it would have been perfect to end on day 50, I'm going to keep this going. Preparing for a mission after that initial day has been hard, but God had little reminders for me every step of the way. 

"Tuesday November 1, 2011
 I'm going to start with the most import thing and go backwards. President Thomas S. Monson came to BYU today. I said a prayer before I left this morning that he'd say something that would have specific value to me. Guess what he spoke about!? being an example and bringing others to Christ! Very mission relevant. 
He also talked about an example of scripture study that involved a  lot of time and prayer. So I'm going to try to up the quality of my scripture reading. I'm in the "Isiah Chapters" now so it's not easy, but I'm learning. 
I also loved when President Monson talked about being a Light (and when he quoted Lion King- you Are more then you have become. remember who you are!) when he talked about light it reminded me of when my grandfather spoke at my great-grandmother's funeral about light. basically it was a fantastic talk. I sent Candace a message after and thanked her for following the prophet by being an example and light. She's been such a great friend....
A funny picture, but this is me and my friend Candace
 I've had a great weekend and a fantastic day. So many blessings every day of my life. I thank thee O God for a prophet.
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin" 
We're at the point in my journal when I had already started this blog for a different purpose, so there's going to start being repeats. I talked a little bit about President Monson's devotional here. I'm grateful for so many different reminders of who I need(ed) to be.
Love Always.
Michelle

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Journal Entry 50: Stubborn Sign

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 50

Deciding to go on a mission has been a very difficult decision for me. I had never thought about going until the summer of 2011 when I was talking to my friend Candace. And even then, it was such a hard conclusion to come to. I knew it was a good thing, but for me? I wasn't sure. I also didn't want to seem like that girl who is just going on a mission because she didn't get married. I wanted to go, because I was supposed to go.

This next entry is kind of the culminating moment of this blog. It's a very personal moment. I'll be leaving just a little out, but not much. 

"October 9, 2011
I am so stubborn. I've recently started considering a mission. I prayed about it and thought about it and listened at conference. I heard and felt over and over again that I should. But I don't wan to. Not that I don't think it would be a good thing and I do have a testimony, but I just wanted to live happily ever after...and I didn't want to miss a year and a half of Hailey or any of my family's life, I want to finish school, I want to save money... excuses excuses.
 
Picture from conference with my friend Wendy right before this entry
 So, even though I already had my answer, I basically said 'I don't want to go, but if you really need me to I will.. I guess'. SO I set up an interview with the bishop and today I fasted that he would know what to say.
So today I met with him and cried and couldn't stop and he pointed out that it was the spirit. I need to prepare for a mission and that I should stop second guessing myself. He even teared up and said he never cried, but he could feel the spirit too. He said the emotion was my sign.... I know I have a year, but it is so overwhelming.
I'll go where you want me to go.
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"
My family and I during this time (on a Sunday when my brother turned 16 and became a priest)

 I started preparing from that moment on. It hasn't been easy though. I've gone back and forth on it several times and I've slacked in some of my preparing. However, I am incredibly grateful for that meeting with my bishop where I finally realized I needed to take this decision more seriously.
Love Always.
Michelle

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Journal Entry 49: He Loves Us

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 49

I've already written about this next entry on here before I started this project: (here) , but here is the actual journal entry:
Hailey when we were camping
 "Sunday September 18, 2011
It's been a beautiful sunday. And even more beautiful because yesterday I went home to watch the BYU/Utah game with my family. During halftime we put Haily to sleep (they were spending the night) so my mom ready her one book, then Hailey had me read my Icelandic children's book to her. It was fun. Then 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.
My nice Hailey
 
That's all that matters, He love us. Then she said she loved me and gave me a kiss. I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if what she said was literal. Children are so much closer to God, which is why we need to be like them. I smiled and told Hailey to tell me about Heaven, just to see what she'd say and she didn't say anything at first, so I asked again and she said "I'm thinking about it" and so I asked her what she was thinking about and when I asked what she knew about haven she said "I love him". Who knows what she was really referring to, but what a great lesson from a 3 year old. I love that girls so much. I'm excited to someday have a family of my own... sometimes I really wish I could jump in her mind and just know what she's thinking.
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"
He love us, so Love Always.
Love Always.
Michelle

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Journal Entry 48: Ég Elska ICELAND

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 48

Last year I went to Iceland for an individual internship. I still can't comprehend how everything came together so that I could go, but it did. What a blessing. I have a blog that I kept everyday while I was there- www.elskaalltaf.blogspot.com but I also have a couple entries in my journal that were more on the personal/spiritual matters. So here those are:
The awesome couple that I stayed with for my family portion (in Vik)
"Wednesday June 8, 2011
I know I said I wouldn't write again, but I leave tomorrow and want to write one more time. Tonight my dad gave me a father's blessing. It was nice. He blessed that I would have a good experience and would know what to do and who to turn to and could be an example for our family and the church... I am so grateful for the priesthood and for my dad.
Elska Alltaf (Love Always),
MichelleDCurtin"

I obviously couldn't have known then, but I did have a good experience and I did know what to do and who to turn to. 
Me on the farm in Iceland

I have 1 page from an "actual" journal in Iceland (written on graph paper) that are stapled in my journal so here is that:

"Fri, June 23rd (?)
Maybe time for a real journal. I've been keeping a blog and daily research log, but the blog is for so many people that I don't just say anything and the log is research, so same thing....
Egill (One of my distant cousins) and I playing on one of my last days
On the way to Vik today I read my scriptures and read Alma 17:11 which says (in my personalization) 'And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among...thy brethern and establish my word: yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me and I will make an instrument of thee in my hand unto the Salvation of many souls'. That hit me pretty hard. It reminded me of a conversation that I had with Kristjan who is a member in Reykjavik when he said the prophets have told Iceland that if they pray, then the church will explode and they will have a temple. I caught myself responding 'I'll help with that'- what I mean was that I'd pray for that, but I caught myself thinking about what if I really do need to be an instrument in the Lord's hands here? I can't directly proselyte here because of my BYU internship regulations, but I can try to be a good example and allow for questions. I really do hope that I can do some good here. I already love this family and I would love for them to have the gospel. If anything, I will certainly pray for them and Iceland. Goda Nott, MichelleDCurtin"
My amazing family in Iceland. Love these people

My family and others did ask questions about why I am the way I am and other things about the church. I wish I knew more Icelandic then so I could have answered more fully. I'm not sure what they actually thought about me or the church, but I loved my time with my family in Iceland and am so grateful for the love that was there. 
Love Always!
Michelle

Monday, May 7, 2012

Journal Entry 47: Hospital Singing

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 47

Once upon a time, my friend Laura and her boyfriend Jake and I had this awesome idea for a non-profit that would support families. We started a blog http://myfamilybutterfly.blogspot.com to start getting awareness as we worked on it. Then, we all traveled the world and ran out of extra time to work on it and decided we had some other things that needed to come first before taking on such a mass project. Maybe someday it will become a reality, but for now- at least there are some great blogposts floating around about families. 

One of those posts I stapled in my journal because I was too lazy to re-write it all. 

Almost every Sunday for a while, I went with a group of friends to sing at the hospital. I have several journal entries about how amazing and spiritual each one of those times were, so I don't think I'll put them all. But, here is the one I wrote and stapled in my journal:

"Why I Love Serving
So a group of students from BYU and UVU (Utah Valley University) go every Sunday to sing at the hospital. I am NOT a singer, but I LOVE going. It's an amazing experience. Last time we went to rehab, but this week we ended up on the 4th floor (oncology). We didn't mean to go there, but we decided we would stick with it anyway. We walked around to each room, meeting wonderful people in each. One lady, Sandy, was there with her family. Her kids were standing on a chair outside the door coloring on the little window with erasable markers. Her husband had heard just singing to other people and as we walked by he told us his wife would like us to come in. We came in and talked to her for a minute and sang to her. I couldn't help but notice all of the "I love you mom" drawings on the white board and the cute stick-figure drawing on the outside window of each member of her family. I could just tell that the support of her family was helping her heal.

We were just about to leave when a nurse told us we were welcome to go into one of the closed doors. (we normally only sing to people who have their doors open and invite us in). So we decided we would do one more. We went into the room and we were brightly welcomed in by Jackwolyn. She said it was a pleasant surprise and we were more than welcome to sing to her. We sang a song and we're not singers, but
wow, it sounded amazing. It was hard to get through the song though as we watched her eyes fill with tears. "You don't realize how much I needed this. You are an answer to my prayers". We talked to her about her grandchildren (who's pictures were flashing up on one of those screen frame things) and she talked about how much she loved her family. She looked at each of us, took us each by the hand one at a time- and as her eyes filled again with tears she said "if only you realized how much your parents and grandparents and other family members love you". I could see how much of a difference her family has made in her life.
Me and some of my roommates. We all went hospital singing on a fairly regular basis
 Two of my roommates and I decided after we went home that we needed to go back. So today, after my roommate made a delicious batch of cookies (with butterfingers frosting.. mmm....) We took a break from out hectic college schedules and headed back over to the hospital.

We made it there just in time. Jackwolyn was just signing papers and getting ready to go home with her husband. She was so happy to see us. She thanked us again and again for what we had done for her yesterday (and to think, all we really did was stop by and sing one song). She looked at us and said "you must come from amazing families". Family really has made an impact in my life and I could tell that family was everything to her. Her husband came in just as we were leaving and he said "you must be from the group that sang yesterday. You really touched her". I don't expect anything in return for the service I do, but it does feel great to know that you've made a difference.

We also stopped by Sandy's room again- her door still beautiful with cute little drawings. We only talked to her for a minute, but she talked about how her family has helped her heal and how she can't wait to get back to them."


 And here is another one that I posted on that blog:


"Hospital Singing (round 2)


I've been meaning to write about another
hospital singing experience for a while now. A couple weeks ago we were singing at the hospital again. We sang to this beautiful elderly lady. After we were done and she had wiped a few tears away she told us the following story about herself:

"I don't know if you believe in this stuff, but I'll tell you anyway. When I was little, I had a
younger sister born who was sent home to die. They didn't think she would live. She was mentally handicap and couldn't walk, but she ended up living until she was 41. She was my best friend. Now I'm old and I'm sent in and out of the hospital. One time I almost died and I was in a comma. While I was in a comma, I walked with my sister. Heaven is a beautiful place where my sister could walk and I could be with family. Family is so important..."

You don't have to believe in heaven or believe what she said to find beauty in this story. This elderly women, towards the end of her life, knew what is most important in life-
FAMILY"
 I learned so much each time I went to sing at the hospital. I'm not a singer, but service combined with humility and love and family and the spirit makes for some tremendously amazing moments.
Love Always.
Michelle

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Journal Entry 46: Healing the Sick

THE EVOLUTION OF A TESTIMONY: Day 46

My Sophomore year of college was when I finally moved out and got an apartment. There were 6 of us girls, only one of which I had known before. That was probably my favorite year- we all got a long really well (97% of the time) and we're still really good friends today. But of course, there are always new things to deal with when you move away from home with an apartment full of girls. (For clarification in this next entry- Lai is one of my friends who lives in Fiji, so I used to Skype him late at night because of the time difference)...

"Sunday September 19, 2010
So today has been a rough, but very good day. Last night I did get to talk to Lai. It was really good, he had just been out with the missionaries, so we talked bout how  much he wanted to go on a mission and we shared some scriptures and had some great conversations. Then, (that lasted until about 3am) Jess and I talked for about a half hour more and then about 3:30am we decided to sleep.
My roommates from the beginning of Sophomore year (Candace, Jess, Dani, Me, Felicia, Laura)
So I was saying my prayers when I heard Felicia throwing up, Jess and I went to check on her and she was REALLY sick and in a lot of pain. We were really worried about her, so Jess called Jeff... and asked him to come give her a blessing (it was about 4:00am) he come with his roommate Shawn. They blessed her, he blessed her to get better and be able to go to church and some other things to do with school that I think were personal to her. I honestly thought there was no way she'd be good enough for church. Later her mom picked her up and brought her and her car home. Jess and I cleaned until about 5am. Then, this morning we had waffles and eggs with apt. 44, so I got up at about 9am to get ready.
My roommates and some of our awesome friends from Apt 44
Then when we were about to leave, I got a text from Felicia saying she was coming home for church. I am so grateful for the priesthood.... I think I just need to learn to trust the priesthood and I really learned that in several ways today. I am so grateful. 
Love Always,
MichelleDCurtin"
Our apartment was so very blessed to have an apartment of great guys (Apt 44) who we were very good friends with. I know we were all grateful to have friends who held the priesthood worthily and were so willing to help (even at ridiculous hours of the morning). The happens of that night were such a testimony to me of the power of the priesthood.
Love Always.
Michelle