July 3, 2012
Change, change, change. It seems the world is full of changes lately and that includes the Alabama Mission and our mission assignments, or at least the way we carry them out. We have a General Authority visiting in Aug. The week after we arrived last Aug. we attended a multi-zone conference with Elder Clarke as the visiting Authority. It was wonderful. For that, all we had to do was show up and be spiritually fed. This time there are all kinds of preparations being made for the occasion and working in the office, we are right in the middle of it. Pres. Holzapfel wants the office, records, houses and cars to be in perfect compliance for the inspections. It’s not that this is such a hard thing to ask, it’s just that there are so many changes coming out of Salt Lake so as we were feeling somewhat comfortable performing or assignments, things are on the move again. Our mission has been in a beta testing program for IMOS the last month or so and it seems that weekly if not daily we are finding that there are changes in this area as well as other areas . Poor Elder and Sister May, who just arrived six weeks ago, were met with the assignment to bring the mission housing up to the “new” standards. This involves closing some apartments and opening others. It also involves removing any sofas, lounge chairs, anything on the walls as well as other items such as fishing pools, yes, there were fishing pools, weight sets and so forth. Each apartment is supposed to have one working desk or table per companionship and a dining table plus a chair for each missionary. Of course they have beds and storage for personal items, but no more missionaries sitting around getting too comfy in their apt instead of out doing the work. Actually, there have been few if any complaints from the missionaries. As for the Mays, they have been all over the mission in the short time they’ve been here. I think they have loaded and unloaded more furniture than most people do in a lifetime and it’s only just begun. And we thought we worked hard. Thankfully, the same rules don’t apply to sr missionaries. We have a very comfortable and even ‘pretty’ home away from home. Much nicer than we would have expected as missionaries.
All the windows open right onto the edge of the woods giving us a beautiful and peaceful view.
Some of the changes with housing involve me in the way we identify and keep track of them on IMOS and our mission rosters. We have met a couple of times now with Pres H deciding how best to comply with the way Salt Lake has it set up and yet having it workable for Alabama where you can find twenty or more different towns making up just one ward and covering large areas.. To identify a house by simply calling it “Logan” just doesn’t work here. We have a phone conference set up next week with Salt Lake to address these issues. I don’t want to sound like I’m against all this. We’ll work through it and in the end it will all be good. We have seen some helpful changes already.
Besides the beta testing with IMOS, our mission has been asked to pilot a Book of Mormon Mentoring program. Members and missionaries are asked to READ the Book of Mormon with investigators or new converts. Some read daily and others a few times a week, but the success stories have been inspiring. Many new members never read all of the Book of Mormon. This helps them to follow through, better understand it (ask questions) and to build a relationship with a ward member. An experience that was shared by one of our favorite missionaries, Elder Ruff, told of a lady whose husband is a member. She has met with numerous missionaries over a thirteen year period. She took part in this program which resulted in her consenting to baptism. When asked why after all those years, she said that it was from reading the Book of Mormon and gaining a testimony of it for the first time. The Book of Mormon, when properly presented and applied, is a powerful tool toward conversion. The mentoring program is working.We have been doing some traveling around the mission ourselves…..some for business (mixed with pleasure) and some for pure pleasure. Two weeks ago when we went to Boaz to pick up another car we drove about twenty minutes further to Guntersville. We have missionaries there and had heard about the beautiful lake that the town is built around. It was a ‘big’ lake. Another one of Alabama’s sweet surprises. We’d always thought of Guntersville as being in the middle of nowhere. Were we wrong!
Our trip last Friday and Saturday was purely for pleasure. Did you know that Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, AL? Her childhood home and the setting for the film “The Miracle Worker” is now open to the public. The home and gardens are a tribute to this lady of courage. Each June a live performance of The Miracle Worker is presented in an outdoor theater on the grounds. Several of the missionary couples attended. The play was very well done and it was touching to watch it right there on the grounds where these events took place. There is also a school for the blind nearby and some of the minor actors in the performance were from there. Helen Keller was truly a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to improving conditions for the blind/deafblind around the world. It was an inspiring experience for me.
Helen Keller: “I am convinced that despite the barriers any of us face, we can achieve much more if we look to the abilities in each one of us rather than dwell on our perceived “disabilities.” If you let yourself embrace life as Helen did and absorb all that it has to give, in the end, we will all come through to the other side and the personal rewards will be spectacular.
Blessings and love to each of you, Elder and Sister Curtis Mom/Dad