Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Week 8 in the MTC

Week 8 in the MTC !!!!!

I cant belive it but I have made it this far. I have 3 weeks left. Actually 2 weeks and 5 days. And just typing that brings a tear to my eye. I'm not gonna lie to you. Although the MTC is an extremely spiritual experience, it does begin to wear on you.

3 days ago I tried to remember my phone number I have had for literally 5 years and could not for the life of me. After putting down some rough sketches of a few potentials, I finally figured it out. After 23 minutes! :( Also as I was sitting on a bench reading my scriptures outside, I watched a few cars drive by. As they did, I honestly thought to myself "how are they making those things go so fast?" I then tried to remember how to drive a car and couldnt. I looked to my companion for help, but he had forgotten as well. We then consulted a few missionaries who had only been here for 2 weeks and were able to tell us this crazy story about keys, engines and brakes. They also kept saying some funny words like ignition and gears? I dont know . . . I had them write down the steps so I can read over it bi-monthly and not be completely lost when I return to the real world.

Also I would like to talk a little bit about the Apples in the MTC. What I'm about to tell you actually isn't something that I have found out recently but is something I have neglected to mention. The apples here taste like they nourish them with water from heaven and as they are just starting to grow inject honey into them. When they are perfectly ripe, the MTC cafeteria workers walk outside to the orchard that must be located somewhere inside the MTC and pick them daily. Long story short, the Apples are honestly the greatest apples I have ever eaten. The apple bar in my life has been raised, and I refuse to eat anything less than a perfect MTC apple.

Something else that is way sweet is that I received my Russian name tags. for those of you who can't read syrillic it sounds like "Star-ye-shi-na" for elder. and apperently my name in Russian means sometype of chicken dish, and I was warned that I would be made fun of. Sooo . . . . yeah. :( But all is well. Hopefully, before a group of Russians decides to beat up the missionaries in their area, they will read my name tag, laugh, and I will be able to run away safely.

So probably the biggest news that I have is that 4 days ago while Elder Kempton in our district was digging around his room he found a "Black Journal." In the journal were seperate books like the book of Horn and the book of Smith etc . . and It was like a little Book of Mormon of all the Russian speaking Missionaries who had been living on that floor for the past year. Each section was written as if they were writting in the Book of Mormon too. With common phrases such as "And it came to pass" and "In the 4th week of the reign of district 10." It was way sweet and had some great advice for getting through the MTC and how to "endure to the end" of our MTC stay. Well our district has decided to keep the legacy going and share our stories.

Some crazy stories they had to share with us were the tale of the 404 ceral boxes where for 5 weeks they collected all their cereal boxes till they had 404 and made a gigantic wall of cereal boxes outside the door of some new missionaries. Also a funny prank where they put 8 hidden alarm clocks in some new missionaries room and had them go off at different random times during the night. So we will try and leave our legacy with some of the many things that we have done throughout our MTC stay. I'm excited to create the Book of Curran.

Elder Apsley developed a fun game that we have been playing called the black spot. All it is is a piece of paper with a black spot on it, and the game point is to hide the black spot in creative ways on each others person or things and the last person to have it at the end of the day loses. It might not seem fun, but I promise you it is intense.

Well, to wrap up, I want you to know I know that the Church of Jesus Christ has been Restored to the Earth. We have a living Prophet and by listening and obeying the counsel of the prophet and apostles we will be able to live, will our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again one day. We also have the opportunity to live with our Familes forever! I know that God loves you and so do I.


Elder Curran.

P.S. If there is anyone you know that would like to read this please forward this to them. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Week 7 in the MTC and July 7 Letter

Wow its week 7 and it strangely feels like its been 6 months and 2 days all at the same time. I have a theory that the MTC is a parrallel Universe and a time warp. Time seems to lose its meaning. At the end of a day I feel like the morning was a week ago, but if I think back to last week it feels like a couple hours ago. I live in a combination of the Twillight Zone and Ground Hog Day, because I literally do the same thing every single week to the minute. Its just something to think about.

As for the week same as usual. Full of the Spirit and and again my testimony has waxed strong!As for the most spiritual part of the week we had a devotional on Sunday from . ... someone and he spoke about the importance of prayer. Growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ, I was no stranger to the subject but he really opened my eyes to the TRUE power and the necessity of prayer in conversion. How we can truly speak with our Heavenly Father, God, if we have the faith that he will speak with us. vI urge everyone reading this to read 2 Nephi 32 8- 9 in the Book of Mormon and think about what it says. If you don't own a copy of the Book of Mormon, you can read the passage on LDS.org. ;)

This week was a monumental occasion. We recieved 140 new Russian Speaking Missionaries. When we came in there was an older group of missionaries who had been here for 6.5 weeks. When they left I was incredibly envious of them, because they were leaving and how much they knew as far as Russian goes and knowledge of Missionary work. Now, I am that group of Missionaries and it feels great to see how far we have come. Also, since we have gym and laundry together, and there are an extra 140 people doing laundry today was very similar to the civil war. Elders and sisters running doing hurdles over dryers and washers trying to get a empty machine. A line of missionaries camping out to use 1 washer. Some companionships had to sacrifice some of their clothes. Companionship of elders - "So elder, do you want to wash your whites or darks this week"? It was nuts. And extremely sweaty.

Church was new this week. I blessed the Sacrament bread in Russian and was crazy nervous to mess it up. Also, one of elders in my district, Elder Velazquez, who now speaks 3 languages, said the closing pratyer in Sacrament meeting. Started off in Russian then switched to English and ended in Spanish. After he closed the prayer, everyone was like, "What just happened." It was way funny. You had to be there.

As for my working out and gym. Due to the fact that the sand outside melted the first 2 layers of my feet as I stepped out to play volleyball, I have resorted to playing basketball, which is way fun and actually pretty competitive in the MTC.

We are now coming up to 140 push ups and situps every night and have recuited many of the new Russian Elders to join our Work Out group. We are at about 9 now. Well I love you lots and so does our Heavenly Father. Please read the scripture above and tell me what you think ;)


your Missionary,

Elder Curran

PS please send this to anyone who you think might enjoy reading it. !!!!!!

(letter from July 7, arrived July 20)


How are you? My fourth of July was great, but I'll be writing about it in my e-mail, so I'll let you read about it then. Just so you know, it was the Stadium of Fire. We just watched it from the MTC. It was on AFN (Armed Forces Network)? That's crazy. Of all the fireworks shows in the United States, why did they decide to go with BYU's show?

So the event (4th of July reception) went better than you expected. That's good. I'd rather have tons of people show up and not have enough food, than not that many people show up and have tons of food. An event's reputation is 70% dependant on whether it's a full house or not. You may want to use a better RSVP service such as Facebook or something online.

The 4th of July in Beijing sounds fun.

As far as activities, I play mostly basketball related activities and volleyball. We have Sunday night stretching, which is our yoga. It helps me relieve the stress of the previous week. The flu has died down.

I didn't print out pictures this week, so I'll send some next week. I got the card and code and it works. Thank you.

I'll order my t-shirt now. And yes, I got your packages. Thank you.

I think I said something in my last letter about sending me ties. Please consult Olivia before finalizing a purchase. {too late!} She would know exactly what I would want. You can befriend her on Facebook. She is one of my friends.

Well, good luck with work and the kittens.


your son,

Elder Curran

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

June 30 Letter and pictures

Men of God

Searching for those seeking the truth

Of course, we study all the time.


Utah is a desert, but for the first three weeks, it (the weather) was just random. I don't know why. snow, rain, hail, overcast. It seems to have cleared up now and is much warmer, more consistent.

The other teacher is Brat Smit. He served in Vladivostok. He is a Political Science major, who is specializing in Central Asia.

As far as SYL, it was just for a one-day commitment. However, the last two weeks I'm here, I believe it is permanent SYL.

The older districts, the districts that have been here six weeks before us are leaving in a week, and by the time you get this, we will be the oldest district and most likely will have new Russian elders come in already.

I like your story, but it made me jealous, because I feel trapped in here and not able to leave. But it's ok.

The members in my workout group are all in my branch. I'm not sure if they are in my zone.

The General Authorities came, but I didn't see any other than on a screen from the overflow in the cafeteria for devotional.

Your event (the Embassy's 4th of July reception) sounds nice. Are there positions in embassies for people who just put on all the events? {Yes, they are called Public Diplomacy officers.} How much does that pay and how does one become that?

I did hear that Michael Jackson died. That's crazy. Did Google/other Internet servers relly crash? That's nuts.

There is much less swine flu, and I think the amount of people in quarantine is getting slimmer. I'm hearing less about it, and the people I knew who were sick are now better.

Not as many are writing me as I hoped. Even AJ hasn't written me. :( It will be nice to hear from Happy. I haven't heard from him in a while.

I was not kidding about the treasure maps. My friend found one and I have convinced my entire district to "leave behind their legacy" in the form of a treasure map. I think we're going to work on them our last week in here, which is in six weeks, I believe.

I have received the card. I'm trying to give you an option via e-mail, because I don't want to wait four weeks to be able to use the card. Hopefully, you will use that option.

Let me know how that event went. I don't know much about the business world, but 60% of my event attendees rarely rsvp'd. So, hopefully many people will show.

What is the website the blog is on? I'll send the address in my next weekly e-mail.

Well, I hope you and the kittens are doing well.

The e-mail doesn't let me send attachments, so I sent phtographs last and this week.

Also, in the letter withe the card, there was a card from Dustin saying thank you for visiting. Who is that? Let me know.


Your son,

Elder Curran

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Week 6 in the MTC

Its week 6 in the MTC

I'm gonna keep it short and sweet this week.

First off, Volleyball Tournaments are the new thing! When I first got here, I wasn't very open to anything other than basketball but because of the swine flu scare we couldnt play basketball or soccer. cSo, after endless rounds of Lightning or Knockout depending on where you are from I moved on to games such as 4 square. Don't knock it till you played it. It's way fun to say the least. Anyway so a couple of guys from my district asked me to play volleyball one day and reluctantly I played, only to fall in love with the game and form a solid team of 4 now that have taken over the entire tournament when most teams have teams of 6. Yesterday, they actually brought back basketball and even though I contemplated going and playing, I am just way too engaged in the volleyball tournament to leave it right now. So, 5 days out of the week (excluding Sun and Tuesday) that is what I look forward too most.

WE went back to the RC and I was fortunate enough talk to two people and give basically the First Lesson and commit them to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. They both said they would without question, so I'm excited to call them back in a week and follow up with them. This week's experience was much better than last weeks were a guy yelled at me for 40 min about Joseph Smith being a fraud. I ended that convorsation by politely bearing my testimony of the restoration and how God loves all his children and got off the phone. Hopefully, my restraint from screaming back planted some sort of seed :)

This week, from Thursday morning to Sunday Morming we had SYL, which stands for Speak your language. WE could only spek Russian except in a few rare occasions. This basically was 10 grown men grunting and pointing to things for three days straight as I'm sure we butchered the Russian laungage in every way that we could. Although it was difficult by the 3rd day, I was actually dreaming and thinking in Russian. I'm intrested in what will happen on Aug 5 when we have to speak it for 2 weeks straight.

I also held DL meetings and am currently trying to unify our district through obedience. After I met with each of the elders and bore my testimony, and commiting them to goals where they can improve, I have noticed a considerable difference in our district. Being DL is not easy but it helps me be extra obedient, so I can be an example to the other elders.

And lastly, I'm way excited to leave. I'm begining to talk to inanimate objects such as a bowl of soup and a dryer in Russian. Sooooo, I think I'm going nuts. Lol. No, but really, I'm way excited to get out into the field and be able to share my testimony with others and invite them to come unto Christ!

I want you to know that only through repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ we can be saved and have eternal happiness. I have experienced the blessing of the atonement and hope that anyone reading this will strive to use the atonement everyday.

I love you so much even if we've never met, because we are all childern of GOd and are all brothers and sisters.

Love, your missionary,

Elder Curran

PS fwd this to anyone who you think might like to read it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pictures from the MTC!

Elder Brandt says "That's what I'm here to do."

Elder Olson and Elder Curran at meal time.

The district

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Week 5 in the MTC -- 4th of July and Goodbye to New Friends

It's week 5 in the MTC

Lets start off with What's Hot and What's Not

What's hot

-Outside, Last week I was in Washington with Rain Everyday and now Im in Arizona Roasting. Holy Freak, I feel like baking chicken walking to class.
- Tie Trading - very trendy
- Being the Older Russian district (the oldest district left yesterday and today)
- 4th of July fireworks :)
- Jumping Pictures
- The Holy Ghost - also trendy (permanently)

What's Not
- Swine Flu jokes ( although at one time hilarious and the butt of even normal conversation they have died down and are now out of style
- 7 more weeks in the MTC, a tear literally just fell from my right eye.
-Sitting in class for 12 hrs ( my rear has molded to the shape of a chair)

So the 4th of July! Although there were rumors floating around about the MTC celebrating the 4th of July. Our teachers made sure that our spirits were kept focused by destroying our dreams telling us the rumors were simply nonsense. I continued to be sad about this until lunch on 4th of July when I was greeted by people such as George Washington and Joseph Smith in the lunchroom cafeteria. It was crazy. There must have been 40 actors just walking around pretending to be some Hero directly related to either the Independence of the United States or the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were very professinal and kept in character the whole day. They would ask us how we were doing, and what our day was like and then proceeded to give a descriptive biography of their life. It was definatly an educational and insightful experience. So. after I saw these characters, I knew that something had to be up, and I was right.

At 7:30pm we were dismissed from our independent study to a surprise Devotional / presentation/ Play about how the Lord was influential in the Reformation to the Independence of the United States and then of course the Restoration of his Church. Although the Wigs the actors wore were hilarious and caused an uproar of laughter throughout the congregation of 2000 elders, I was still able to feel the spirit testify just how true this was. After the play, we were then told we were going to be given an hour to watch fireworks which started at 10pm. Now typically, we are expected to be in our Residence Halls at 9:30pm and in our room by 10:15pm. So, to be able to stay outside till 10:45pm was quite the treat. For 30 min, I kinda felt like I was just hanging out with my friends not in the MTC. We took tons of crazy pictures that I will send to those faithful writers reading this ;)

But all in all it was definately one of my favorite 4ths of July ever! And Yes you guessed it. My half way mark is approaching and because of that, the District that was older than us is now gone, making us the older District. To you that might mean nothing, but to us that's crazy. It's an amazing sense of accomplishment. But at the same time, I am pretty sad, because during the past 5 weeks I was able to really gain a love for those guys and a select few I considered really good friends. A couple were even in our workout group, which has now dwindled. But we are still steadily recruiting, so our numbers are going to rise very quickly. One elder from the Older district that recently left I helped beat an MTC record for Push ups. by 34. That was also a great experience!

Typically, every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night thoughout our specific Residence Hall, we hear the hymn "God be with you till we meet again" sung in different languages loudly to the missionaries who are leaving the next day. On Sunday, I asked a few of the Elders if they were interested in doing that for the older district, and although they were interested, there wasn't anyone organizing this "Event" :). So, with my previous experience (as an event planner), I went to each room in our Zone and gathered them together at 10:05pm to sing together God be with you till we meet again in Russian. It was so amazing, and I felt the spirit so strong!

We also had a group of Native Russian Speaking Elders and Sisters Come in. One became my good Friend, Elder Belashov. He was from Ukraine. We all called him Elder Banana, because he literally ate 12 bananas a day! He would sneak them out of the cafeteria and carry them back to his room! It was way funny. Anyway, last night was his last night, and we stayed up a little later than usual and spoke/took pictures with him, as he told us his conversion story in Ukraine. It was way sweet.

Because in the MTC there are literally an endless buffet of desserts at each meal, some other Health Consious elders and I started, a Diet. Although you may think at first we are starving ourselves, it is quite the opposite. We are filling ourselves with healthy foods and being "Nazis" when it comes to desserts and sweets. The plan was to last several weeks and half of the Elders have already dropped out a week into it. I'm still staying strong, although it's really hard when if I wanted to I could eat 14 doughnuts every morning and eat cheese cake until I passed out. So, wish me luck.

Two more things I will briefly touch on.
1) I have been called as our District's District Leader. I was not expecting this at all, but I feel that with the Lord's help I can be a great example to the other elders in my District.

2) I have become enfatuated with Tie Trading. Not that important or intresting, just thought you should know. Just as a disclaimer, I have not traded any ties given to me as a present ;)

Everyone, I want you to know that God lives and that though Him all you problems can be solved. If you have any questions and the faith that God can answer them, I promise you as a representative of Jesus Chirst that he will. I love you all, and I hope that you have a wonderful week!

Till Next week!

Your Fav Missionary ;)

Elder Curran

P.S. Please fwd this to anyone that you think would enjoy reading it

Monday, July 6, 2009

Handwritten letter mailed June 23

Dear Mom,

It's crazy to think that you were dancing, but I guess if it's for your country, you have to do what you gotta do.

So, how does the Turkmen Government plan to advertise their vacation spot and to whom will they advertise? Other Central Asian countries? Europe? Maybe, America?

This letter will contain the billing information for the shots. Will you please do me a favor? Please Google the number for T-mobile and make sure my last bill was paid.

I haven't ordered a mission shirt yet, but I am planning on doing so before next p-day. It is the Russian flag with the word "khorosho!" (good!) underneath.

I'll be e-mailing some pictures today for you to have for the blog. I wish I could see what it looks like.

Philip Kirkirov. What kind of artist is he? {I saw Philip Kirkirov, a famous Russian pop singer, perform at an event sponsored by the Turkmenistan Government.}

Here at the MTC it has been mostly rainy, but it's starting to clear up and be sunny. This week at the MTC, all the apostles should be here for the training seminar for mission presidents. I think mine is here, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to see him.

Mom, as you previously saw in my last letter, I included the names of all the elders (in my district) and where they are from. If you ask me questions, I answer them in the next chance. I have to write. You don't have to keep asking.

Thank you for the packages. I did get them, and they were VKUSNO! (tasty) SPASIBO (thanks).

I'll also be sending you actual photographs as well. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

I'm glad the kittens are keeping you company. Is the mother still there?

Well, thank you for everything. I'll continue to write.

Have a great day.

Na zaftra Ya budu uchit pervyy urok po-Russky! Zdes u nac yest dve russckiye. Odin ruskiy, odin ukrainskiy. Inogda mi govorim po russkiy. (Tomorrow, I will study the first lesson in Russian. We have two Russians (speakers) here. One is Russian and one is Ukrainian. Sometimes, we speak in Russian. )

Schastlive (good luck)

Stareyshina Curran

P.S. Thank you for the food, but I get tons already. If you feel like sending something, maybe a nice tie or two. I'm bored with the ones I have.