Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. - Isiah 43:1b The Message

Before moving out to the state of Washington, Curtis wrote me one more time. Before he left, he was asking people that were going out of the country how to say 'I love you' in various languages. He got Tagalog, Spanish, Cebuano, German, Latin, Slovakian, Danish, Malay, and Hawaiian.

One thing that someone spoke in one of his meetings was this: " It will be hard, but God will walk with us every step of the way, and those you left behind will be blessed for your service too." Everyday, I'm sure that he is thinking about everyone and misses them but at the same time, we all benefit from him going on his mission. I didn't realize it until now that in a way this is almost like when I went off to church trips in the summer for a week in middle school and high school. I loved going to those because when you are surrounded by people that just want to worship God through word, song, dance, and etc., it moves you. At the end of the week of these things, I always wanted to stay there because I felt such a close connection to God. For Curtis to be doing this for two years, he's creating an everlasting bond with God. One thing I always disliked was coming back to the "real world" because I fell back into my old ways of worshiping God instead of growing and keeping what I had learned from The Great Escape and Montreat. After realizing that this past week, I'm actually jealous in a way. Then I got to thinking even more (scary I know lol), maybe there's another reason why he has been called to do this, maybe God is trying to bring me back to him more by Curtis sharing his experience with me and helping me to finish my "new years resolution" of reading the whole bible and going to church more while I'm at school. One thing that I have always remembered from both The Great Escape and Montreat is that a theme one year was "called by name." We aren't just called upon by God, but God calls us by name to do his work. He has picked us specifically, individually, and by our name. Another thing is (oops, yea there's two things instead of one that I have remembered) what this one musician at The Great Escape said to us. He said basically that we aren't just children of God, we are princes and princesses. Each and everyone of us. I am God's princess and Curtis is God's prince.

Sorry for the tangent there but here's more about what Curtis wrote to me. Curtis is so excited to go to Washington but anxious about doing well. He also said the he might actually miss MTC (I know he will). He has learned so much from just being at the MTC like how to be bold but not overbearing, how to show people you really sincerely care about them, and examples of faith and God loves everyone.

Curtis found out that he his the 7th generation to be a missionary in his family and finds it cool to be able to do for someone else what someone did for my family way back in the day. He made it to Washington safely =). First day there, he was able to go to the bishop's house to meet him and see how the ward is up there. They grilled burgers for the missionaries and he met some of the young men getting ready to go on their missions, including the bishop's youngest son. Curtis's companion is straight out of high school so he said that this will be interesting lol.

As you can read, he is very excited to be in Washington and we all can only pray for wonderful things to happen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Mail Address

Letters -
Washington Everett Mission
Elder Curtis Ryan DeGraw
PO Box 13390 Mill Creek, WA 98012-6199

Packages -
Washington Everett Mission
Elder Curtis Ryan DeGraw
16124 35th Ave. Southeast
Mill Creek, WA 98012-6199

I think I have this right. Papa gave it to me through text so I may have written it wrong because I'm bad at reading addresses through texts. When I get a letter, I'll let you know if it's correct or not or Papa or Mama can correct me when the get a chance ^_^.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On the Road Again...

For Curtis's birthday, I sent a box that he could keep my letters in, white cheddar popcorn (because that's our favorite), cookies, and a nerds rope (to make up for the time I didn't really let him have any of mine lol). He responded by saying he loved the present. He left the MTC, even though he thought it was amazing the whole entire time, on 14th at about 5 am so he's officially at his Washington residence now and if you want to send anything to him it should go to the Everett address.

I'm trying to make this so that it's an update for everyone and not all about me but I can't help this one part ^_^. He said that his insomnia was acting up lately and he's glad that he has an extra pillow to hold in his arms while he sleeps because I'm the only cure for his inability to sleep (it gets better, or at least to me it does). He's never had a problem sleeping next to me unless it was because he didn't want to fall asleep and he misses falling asleep with me in his arms and waking up with me being the first thing he feels and sees. Yes, it's true. I love this kid ^_^.

I couldn't help that hehe. He misses WoW like crazy because he's always asking about my character and he met a sister missionary that's going to South Carolina so I might be meeting/ talking to her.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Mormon Times presents a letter to the editor from Elder Curtis Ryan DeGraw

So what I'm (Ashton) hoping to do with this is basically give people updates about how Curtis is doing =) and this is what has to say about how things are going right now:

He's very excited about the MTC since there is so much going on. They are keeping him very busy while he is there. In just a week, he feels that he has learned so much and grown more in those days than he has in forever. The coolest part is that no matter where he goes he feels this overwhelming calm and that he is exactly where he needs to be.
He has met many people as in this one Elder is going to the Philippines and has to learn their language. This phrase goes out to Lunchbox or Hutto or anyone else (spelled phonetically) "Mug luglug Ko-Kineemo" which means "I will destroy you" lol (I'm sure he was talking about destroying things on WoW or something of the sort hehe).

(If you think you have it hard schedule wise check out Curtis's)
6:30 Wake Up/ Prep for the day
7:00 Breakfast
7:30 Service Project (Cleaning a building)
8:45 Personal Study/ Prep (Change out of service clothes into a suit)
9:15 Class
11:30 Lunch
12:15 Gym/ Exercise
1:00 Shower/ Change
1:30 Class
3:00 Large Group Meeting
4:30 Dinner
5:15 Missionary Determined Time (MDT)
- He does choir so this takes up an hour of MDT
6:15 MDT (after choir)
6:45 Weekly Devotional (Inspirational Message by someone)
8:00 District Meeting
9:00 Planning Session with companion and daily review
9:30 Prep for bed/ Personal Study/ Companion Study
10:30 Lights out

so that schedule is just for his busy days.
Apparently they are treating him well there because he said that the food is great, better than WU. He's finally learning planning and organization skills lol there. Also he's learning to listen for God and finding him in life. They aren't making him learn how to ride a bike yet (but I'm sure it's in the works hehe... hopefully ^_^). He says he is taking lots of picture. So no worries, I'll post some of those on here when I receive them.

He misses everone and I'm sure he thought about all of us on his birthday!