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