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"