Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

    This week was cool. We have a baptism for the 2nd of June. With a young man named Raul. He is 19. He is very cool. Each week he seems to be brighter and to be building a stronger faith in the gospel.
    My first month in the field was the lowest amount of baptisms in the history of the Santo Domingo East Mission. We did pretty bad as far as baptisms go. That kind of stunk but on the other hand they should check the retention rate. Like how many are still active.
    We talked to this crazy guy and heard he walks around at night with no shirt with a machete. 
    Quisqueya is okay. Yesterday we had a 10 year old boy walk around with us to do missionary work. One of the few members that have helped us with our member present lessons. His name is Angel he is way cool. I wish more people had his desire to help and serve the Lord. 
     Happy Mothers Day! With the Skype thing, I think I will have to call you later today. I will try to skype in Quisqueya but I'm not sure if it will work. 

Love you!
-Elder Cudd

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother and Daughter... Oh my!

    This week was a good one. We had a mother, daughter and little baby come to church yesterday. Raul, who´s grandma is a member but is inactive. Even if she wanted to come it would be a slightly long walk however  she could take a motor concho (motorcycle taxi) quizas (perhaps). Anyways, we had these 3 investigators. We got the second councilor of the relief society to come also. We were ecstatic to have such a great turnout. We are going to try to put fechas (dates) for baptisms.
     This was the first time I talked more than my companion in a lesson this week. That was something new. We get a long really well. I talk a lot more in lessons and we are more like equals now. I'm glad he has a good sense of humor or living out here could stink a little. What helps learn the language is I read the Book of Mormon in Spanish with the English one side by side for an hour each day. I learn a lot of new words each day. It helps me out a ton.  This is what helps me speak the language better. I turn on the District 2 videos. The district 2 is like a reality TV show but for Mormon missionaries. I read the subtitles in Spanish but the video is in English. It's a fun way for me to learn during language study. I actually love watching the District videos. My companion always laughs and says, "wow, look at America with there nice church buildings, cool A/C and missionaries with cars."  There are other comical things in it also. I'm cooking a lot better now. We buy groceries in San Pedro after our district meetings on Thursdays. I'm a lot smarter at buying food. I feel like dad now cooking hamburgers. I'm pretty good making burgers and cherry juice.  We also have bitter oranges and we turn those into juices. I recommend subscribing to the Liahonna! I love reading stories out of there. I have pretty sweet agenda. We cut out pictures of comic strips in the old liahonna of Joseph smith  and laminated it to my old cover of my agenda. Its way cool looking. Elder Wood showed me how to do it. I just love whipping it out of my bosilla (pocket) cause it looks cool and I'm starting to understand the importance of being organized on your mission. I'm really organized now which helps me accomplish my goals.  I'm always writing in Spanish in my journal entries. So, I guess only mom can read them.  I have given a lot of thought teaching Logan or Jaxon Spanish. I think that would be so cool! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cherry Drink, Anyone?

So, things are doing good here in Quisqueya. We have a cherry tree outside and Elder Wood picked it and made a cherry drink. It was really good. There are more cherries on that tree then we could ever pick. What a blessing it is to have an unlimited supply. We have a new district leader and he is the companion of my companion when they were in the Provo, MTC. He says its un poco raro (strange).
                       Me voy a tratar escribir en español a Mama. Yo he comenzado escribir en mi cuaderno a noche en español porque yo lo encontré mas facil escribir en español ahora. Este es una poca extrana.. Yo sé pero pienso lo estará beneficio para mi. Así muchas cosas pasado este semana. Pero todavia no muchas personas llegaron a la iglesia este domingo. Esta triste. Pero el Presidente nos dijeron que debemos sentir bueno porque hicimos nuestro parte. Los missioneros de Los Llanos (el Campo como nosotros) nos dijo hoy que el Presidente de la Mission no les espera conseguir un bautismo allí. A menos este lo que ellos nos contaron. Pero mientras Yo estoy todavia en Quisqueya. Voy a tratar bautizar algiuen antes yo salí este area porque estoy determinado.
                       Okay mom there is my paragraph to you in Spanish. Tell me what you think of my Spanish. It also pretty much sums up my week. I forgot to bring camera to the Internet center. I saw the biggest spider in my life and recorded it. It was in our house. It scared me so much I didn't even say anything when I saw it. Lol This week I could understand so much of what everyone was saying. Throughout my whole transfer I have taught my companion bunch of grammar concepts that I figured he already knew but didn't.
                       Anyways, I miss and love all of you! I love hearing about everything. I'm excited that our new zone leader is Samoan (or something) and supposedly he's the best basketball player in the mission. So I'm excited to play him and ask him if he has a uke. Also, i might get a guitar, maybe, I'm not sure. My companion played the big bass in high school and he says he would know how to read it from the hymn book and would teach me. He also plays the piano. So I trust him teaching me if I get one. 
                       Love you!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

To Smile or Not to Smile ;)

Okay, so I had an very interesting week. I first met the parents of Alexi Ogando which is the relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers. We contacted their house and will probably go back later this week. Then we contacted the cousins of Alfonso Soriano.  Alfonso Soriano is a left fielder and second baseman for the chicago cubs. The cousins love us and it would be way cool to convert them. One is a lawyer for a big hotel and the other lady is like head of the education in Quisqueya. They have a nice house. Alexi´s parents said Alexi Ogando lives here when he is not playing baseball.  They are leaving soon to the states to watch their son play for a period of time. So they are not serious investigators just people we stop by to meet. But the Sorianos have a chance to become members I believe. Hopefully it goes well with them this week.
         I don't think anyone in the zone of San Pedro got a baptism this transfer. I really want to experience a one. I know its really hard to get baptisms out here. But still. So ill share this with you. So, I've been out on my mission for 3 months and my companion for 8 months and he has only had 2 baptisms. He said at this rate he would be lucky to have 10 at the end of his mission. Also, do you remember that Polynesian missionary that I talked to a while back, Elder Wolfgram. He said he has only one baptism in 7 months. He lives in La Romana, the only other zone in the country. I really hope I get a few at least in the country.   Something way cool  happened this Sunday. We got our Second Councilor to come back to church. That was probably the highlight of the week. He only came for sacrament and wasn't dressed in church clothes but it was really exciting to see him.
         Okay mom I got my list ready of what I want: 1) my ukulele (just buy a 35 dollar one at that pawn shop dad and I went to that one day. Just a small one. Like Tavita´s ukulele because I don't have tons of space to carry it. Send it remotely fast if you can. Make sure you send it to package mailing address and not the letter one. Just look in my call packet for the package address and can you send that asap. My companion can play the piano and read music. We are going to play the ukulele on our patio at night and on P days. No one plays a guitar here. I cant believe it. No one really does a lot in this country. They are way laid back. You would think they would have at least an instrument to play with being way out here in the country.
2) Mormon Tabernacle CDs that's a must also. 
         Have Christy tell you the really weird story I wrote to her. I told mom about the small things that came in handy in her personal letter. Anyways I have to go. And yes you can have instruments on this mission. Ive checked.
Love all of you go to go.
Elder Cudd
I have a weird story that just happened yesterday. So we have an investigator who came to church yesterday. At the last second she got up to leave before it started. My companion and I got up to ask her what was wrong. She then said she could only tell my companion. So I just watched from a distance and then later we went back inside to have sacrament.  I was assigned a talk 5 mins before it started. My talk went well, I just talked a little about myself and bore my testimony like he asked me too. Then after sacrament meeting the investigator left. So keep in mind she was one of our best investigators and said she wanted to be baptized. Right after the meeting my companion said we have to stop seeing her. I said why? He was a little reluctant to tell me. Then said I don't know how to tell you, its really weird. Then he said "she fell in love with you." I just started laughing. She is a mother with 2 kids and a husband. I was weirded out. He kept going on how she said she knows how you cant have girlfriend on a mission cause against mission rules. Then mentioned she has been doing everything for the wrong reason. We told our District Leader and Zone Leader and all had a good laugh on my behalf. I'm pretty sure it will spread around our small zone. They said stuff like that happens here and not to worry.  I started reflecting and thought, what did I even do to make her "fall in love?" I blame my SMILE. But this is not even the first time where girls come on strong. We are constantly getting "psss" at. Its what they do here. They call girls here frecas. (fresh girls). 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Great vs The Disobedient

I will apologized ahead of time for this letter being so short. I have to go soon. I have had another week where people seem to be excited to come to church and then don't show up. I was told not to get discourage or upset. It´s just how it is. So I have been dealing with "failure" perhaps you could say to my expectations. I'm still a little disappointed. It never feels good when people tell you that their going to church and then don't go! I have been told that Quisqueya is one of the hardest towns and slowest progress. This is Elder Harker telling me this. Hes in my district and lives in Los Llanos and he said he gets 7 or 8 people committed to go to church and don't show. Then have only one investigator show up who still needs to get married. They have assured me its not easy for people to progress in the country to succeed. To put in perspective there are 9 zones and 2 of them are in the country. He told me you have to be special to be put in the country. He also said some missionaries in here go their whole time in this mission without going to the country. He assured me it is a blessing. My companion told me they put 2 kinds of missionaries in the country. Great missionaries and the ones who are disobedient. The president punishes them by putting them in the country. Anyways, I have to go. Oh, I can promise you I'm strictly obedient! If anything I might stay up a little to late writing in my journal about my day and the spiritual parts of the day. I need to stop writing in pencil its starting to smear lol. Anyways Alfonso Soriano lives here and Alexi Ogando (pitcher for the Rangers) I love you all. I'm doing great! I love my district and companion. I love you all!
Elder Cudd

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's better to look up than looking down!

    Last week. when we got home after writing to our families our tinaco had water. So we had running water again. We kind of fixed the leak. We just try to stop it so only a little still leaks but at night we have a full bucket of water to share at night half and half. It works perfectly now. We get just enough water that we need.
    Mom, I still have that peanut butter and jelly jar. I eat so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Its close to being gone. I'm not sure about the appliances. I guess 110 like America. Our only small appliance is a blender and I'm not sure where Elder Wood got it. He bought it from another Elder. He doesn't know where he bought it. My companion is a smart guy. He got a 30 on the ACT score his junior year and didn't feel like taking it again. Did you know if you live in New Mexico where he is from and you go to a instate public university, all tuition is paid for if you maintain a 2.0. Its called the Lottery Scholarship. Apparently lot of people lose the lottery so that's where the money comes from.  

     I was slightly disappointed this Sunday. We left 45 Min's before church started (conference Sunday) to visit our investigators homes to remind them of church. We visited our top 3 families we have and only one mom came. Its important for investigators to come to church because they have to come at least twice to get an interviewed for a baptism. So we need them to progress. If they don't come to church in 3 weeks they are really not serious about the gospel. Lucia is the the mom who came and she has already shown early interest in a baptism however she has to be married. Not a lot of Dominicans are married. They say they are although they aren't by law. So, she has to do that before she can be baptized. She has an awesome testimony of feeling the spirit. She use to smoke then one day on the bus she just was like, "I'm done with smoking " and felt the strength to stop. She even remembered the year she stopped, back in 93. In preach my gospel it says your investigators have been prepared before we have ever came on a mission. I guess in this situation, almost back when I was born. Hopefully her daughter will also. The father is this German guy who cant speak Spanish or English and wants nothing to do with the church. We hope to find a German Book Of Mormon to give to him to read cause he is always reading on his porch. They have been together for about 3 years.  We are hoping to have 2 baptisms this transfer.

    They say baptisms are way hard in the campo and now I know why. Sometimes I wish they would just say they're not going to church instead of misleading us. I felt like Jeffrey R. Holland and plan to be a little bit more firm. I will have to express to them, "if you want us to return you have to make going to church a priority and you cant progress unless you come to church." My companion told me this statistic that out of 14 million members only 7 million are active and only 3 million are full tithe payers. We wonder why Jeffrey R. Holland is so bold and It's because anything less doesn't quite get the job done. I'm not going to be preaching fire and brimstone but be more firm with them. I have to go now. I'm love you all. Every day just seems to get better. Something I have learned is that this who I am. Kind of what Sister Tryons nephew said, to have a positive attitude is how it always should be...  To always look up! I read this talk. Well, Ive read many talks but in last conference Carl B. Cook said he was a little bummed his first week being a general authority. He felt heavy laden and the prophet walked in the elevator and Elder Cook head was still down not knowing who walked in. He than heard, "You know its better to look up than looking down." Its how I kind of felt. Looking down for whatever reason such as no electricity when we're suppose to, being hot, not understanding everything,or kids occasionally laughing at you. I than remember this story and tell myself Its better to look up than looking down. I've heard it takes a great missionary to be happy when things are going bad suppose to be happy only when thing are going good.

Yours truly

Elder Cudd

Monday, March 26, 2012

Settling in Quisqueya

    This week I was hoping for a lot of inactive and investigators to come to church. We contacted 73 people this week and contacting is when you find out there names, share a small message of the restored gospel, invite them to church, and return visit.  Ten people told us for sure they were coming. We revisited many of them on Saturday night to confirm they were coming to church. Only one inactive came to church. It was very disappointing! We are going to start calling to remind them once we get this phone situation worked out. So, we can call more than just the district leaders. We will call the people Sunday morning or walk to there homes to pick them up. I´m not exactly sure what we are going to do but I´m sure we will find a way.
    Other news, we haven't had water for a week. Our nice neighbor Oneida lets us fill our buckets and we use that bucket to clean our dishes, to shower with and flush the toilet. I really had it good in America. Í´m not sure I told you but we don´t A/C here however the frequent rain cools the temperature quite nicely. I enjoying eating cereal or studying the scriptures on the patio when it's raining to feel the cool breeze. It's relaxing!  We don't have an Iron, its a good thing we got those wrinkle free shirts or else I would be in trouble. Yes we cook for ourselves. I heard they use to have cooks like a few weeks ago. They use to go to members home to eat but we cant now cause missionaries were wasting too much time eating instead of working. I make cereal, Ramon, omelets and ham, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and oatmeal (soon not yet but I did buy it). Yeah, that's pretty much it so far. We don´t have siestas. I wish we did. Although the people take their siestas. The tea time I heard we have 20 Min's to grab something to eat. I just usually grab some crackers or something. I have lost 5 pounds more or less. I learned how to use the dryer it´s not that bad, it works.
    Thanks Andy for that advice. About don´t let the time pass by I still think about that. Thank you for the analogy that's pretty cool. Tell Rachel thank you for writing me. I love when people write me it makes me feel good. Something I have learned is that God knows us in Alma 40 it talks about how many hairs we have on our heads. I have been missing everyone so much. The only thing that makes me feel good is sharing the Gospel and opening my mouth. I love you all so much and think about you all a lot. That´s funny about Alex and Russ. Oklahoma. lol Well I have to go! I love you all! Keep writing me I enjoy hearing from everyone.
-Elder Cudd

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chicken and Pigs...Ohhh My!!!

I happy to hear that the Snow's emailed you. They said, they would write you to let you know we're safe. As I'm sure they told you, I'm in Quisqueya, which is in the region San Pedro De Marcoris.  I am in El Campo. We're actually the first missionaries to live in Quisqueya. The missionaries would cover 2 areas... Consuelo and Quiqueya. They normally would travel about 30 min's to just get here and take a guagua (bus) back home when done. 

My living situation is defiantly different than what I'm use too.I have chickens and even wild pigs in our back yard however they aren't our "pero".  We have a refrigerator, stove and oven. No microwave. My companion brought a blender. I put all of my food in the refrigerator. Food is pretty cheap. I had those sugar canes and we bought a big bag for 10 pesos. There are tons of colmados (little stores selling eggs and such) everywhere. We have a washer and dryer... sort of. The washer just spins very slowly in circles and I'm not sure how the dryer even works.  I just put my clothes on a line on our patio. Don't worry its a small gated patio. As of right now, there hasn't been water for 2 days. Hope it comes back soon. We take bucket showers here. The shower head doesn't work although it does leak all day and night when we had running water. I'm sure the water will be back soon.

Unfortunately, our second councilor is inactive and the president of the branch comes every other week cause of work. They say its hard to baptize in the Campos but first we are tying to get inactive's to return to church. Them who received the greater light receive the greater condemnation. So, once we help them they usually can give us referrals. Not this Saturday but the next we will have a class for English. A ton of people in this town have the desire to learn English. Maybe we will be able to meet some new people who want to learn the gospel. Well, I will be in this area for at least 3 more months. But yeah everything is going well.

Did Mataio permanently transferred to Alabama?  I talked to this way cool poly from Utah, Elder Wolfgram, on P-Day.  We talked about football and we have so much in common. It was way cool to meet him. I recently took the advice of mom to only talk in Spanish and don't think about it, just speak it. Ive done this for 2 days so far and I have learned a lot. I couldn't really do it in the MTC cause Elder Dawdle and I were at the same level but now I only talk in Spanish to Elder Wood. He's only been out for 8 months but I have learn from him. I get corrected some times, more than others, however people in the area say I speak really well especially since I just starting my mission. 

Love you all and miss you all probably more now than ever,
Elder Cudd

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Michael arrived on his mission.

Attached are photos of Elder Cudd on his arrival to the mission yesterday. One photo includes President and Sister Hernandez. The other includes his trainer and senior companion, Elder Wood, a fine missionary. Thank you for sharing your son with us at this time in this great work.

Elder Eickbush
Office Secretary
Santo Domingo East Mission

Monday, March 12, 2012

Last letter before entering the field

I have a little bit of time to write to you all. I am leaving the MTC tomorrow at 6:30am. I still don't know what region or city or even companion I am going to be with. I will find all of that out tomorrow. I love you all. Every time someone talks I take pages of notes. There's such a great blessing to write what people say. I have learned scriptures that others have wrote and so much more. I'm constantly writing feelings. It's such a great blessing to be a student of the gospel. It's exciting to be able to go back to remember what they said, how I felt and what scriptures were used. Thank you mom for the many plastic sleeves for my binder I am constantly putting important papers in there. I'm organized and it is such a great feeling. By the way, my nights are the best! I love to write in my journal, review my day and share my experiences. It's so cool. Did you all watch Jeffrey R. Holland's talk called Testimony of the Book Of Mormon? It's on and just search it. It's a short 4min Mormon message video. I recently watched the Joseph Story. it was beautiful and the spirit really touched me. It got me even more pumped than I already was to teach about Brother Joseph. I love all of you so much!
-Elder Cudd

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Teach me all I should know, do, then to be...

 We had splits last Thursday, where I actually went into the field. I went with the Elder Jenson the A.P. (Assistant to President in the East Mission) and he was CRAZY good at Spanish. A good teacher as well. He was way smooth with the discussions and we got 4 new investigators to join church that Sunday. It was way cool. He has a special glow to him and he's constantly smiling. He is a way cool guy. Tomorrow I get to follow up with him and go into the field again for another 3 or 4 hours. I'm really stoked.
              On Sunday, I fated for the Gift Of Tongues and I understood nearly all the testimonies and the whole day I was understanding words left and right. My Spanish is up and down however the more I practice speaking the better I am. I am terrible at speaking Spanish when I am cold. (Haven't spoken in a little while.) It's like I have to get warmed up before I am ready. I have to get in the mindset. And be focus.
              On Tuesday, Elder Cornish talked and he gave a devotional. He is part of the Area 70 and Quorum of the 70. He told me he actually was companions with Elder James B. Martino when they served their first missions. Elder Cornish spoke in last General Conference, it was about prayer and it was awesome. I recommend you all to watch it. So he spoke to us about Conversion and Revelation. He started off with a simple story of a boy who fell out of bed and his father asked why you fall out of bed? Boy responded, I guess I wasn't far enough in. Elder Cornish said, "Our goal is not to convert. You will aways fall. By being faithful we can be instruments of the Lord. The Lord wants to give a man revelation he gives him a question. Don't ask questions of yourself. It will be to your destruction. If you say let me model through my selfish ways as a parent because I am bigger, older, because I said so. You will raise selfish children. What does the Lord want me to do? Teach doctrine."
              What do you think the Lord wants you to do? Not what is in it for me? That's the difference between Satan's plan and God's plan. Elder Cornish said " You should not ask who should I marry?" Because you haven't done your homework yet.
              He said one of the best questions you could ever ask is " What doctrine would God want me to understand my question?" Missionaries are not to share information there is little saving power in that. According to scriptures to understand in your heart is the next step. But that won't even save you. We need people to change. The becoming is what the conversion is about. He said, If I could change the lyrics to  that children's songbook..." Teach Me To Walk In The Light"  I would put..."Teach me all I should know, do, then to be."  If you really want to learn something teach it. Ears, eyes, hands, and mouth. Hearing is the worst thing we can do. Hearing requires no faith or agency. Hearing is passive. You don't remember 20% what you hear at that moment. 10% from far off.  Less than 3% in your life. Eyes you learn more. Working and participating with hands is better but you never forget what you teach.
              I miss all of you guys! When I was on my splits last Thursday I saw small living places. Smaller and poorer I have ever seen in my life. I was always grateful for our houses at home but I am even more thankful for what we already have. Mom i don't know what city or the living conditions are yet. I'm in the field next Tuesday. Hey watch Testimony Of The Book Of Mormon by Jeffrey R. Holland!
              I love all of you guys. I will be in the field next time I write.
Love, Elder Cudd

Thursday, March 1, 2012 do something or be someone!?!

    So I'm not sure If I have told you this but I go street contacting at the University and last week was our last time doing it. I passed out 7 pamphlets and had 5 (10-15 mins) discussions with them on the Restoration. Then provided them contact info for other missionaries with a phone number on the back of the pamphlet. Tomorrow I go on exchanges for the first time and get to experience the field a little bit better with a missionary from my field. I'm really excited about that. I forgot to mention two weeks ago we went to orphanage and sang I'm a Child Of God and shook their hands. Then these 3 little girls wanted to sing a song to us and sang beautifully. A LOT better than us. This last Sunday, in district meeting we went around the room expressing what qualities they liked each missionary had. Our district is only 6 Elders including myself and my companion. So it was a very personal thing because we all knew each other pretty well. We felt the spirit very strong. Our District Leader cried and made me tear saying how much he loves each and every one of us. His name is Elder Gatherum and the other is Elder Grover including my companion Elder Dawdle they are one of my favorite best friends but everyone here is really just great Elders. My Companion is quiet and he has a girlfriend serving a mission right now too. My companion has to be one of the nicest people I have ever met. He's just a really swell guy.
    Elder Todd D. Christopherson in this Devotional we watched on Sunday said "I hope you never never come back from your mission and say I have served faithfully for 2 years, now God owes me!" He said "I hope you will never say that." "I hope you say I owe Him even more" He read Helaman 12:35 he said "Where it says yielding my heart is saying to the Lord. My desire is your desire. He said it could be hard for people because they know not what that intel but isn't that our goal to be like Him? We're fearful to yield to God fearing there will be trials. But why would we be afraid who knows and loves us best? The joy of Christ will swallow the trials and anguish. Any tribulation will be swallowed up."
    I've learned some people "go on a mission" and other "become missionaries." Some "have kids" some "become fathers." There's a difference between to do something and be someone. To be in the truth and be part of the truth. Richard G. Scott said "write your feelings down it will be one of the most treasured things you will take home." At night I try to put a lot of thought and feeling in my journal. One day I hope you all can read it. I'm still reading Jesus the Christ. It's a tough reading I have highlighted all over the book trying to understand. I'm not very far. I'm only on page 72 but I have gained so much knowledge studying it as a student and not reading it for how far but what can I learn from it. I also don't get that much time to read it. I read whenever I have a bit of time in between class.  Also, when I was at the temple when I was waiting to do baptisms I was reading. It's a beautiful book. I'm also reading the Book Of Mormon in Spanish. My goal on my mission is "nonetheless not my will but thine be done. And if ye have not charity ye are nothing."
Yo se que este iglesia es verdadero.
Yo le quiero mi salvador.
Yo se que si nosotros tenemos caridad en nuestro vidas, podriamos ser mas como Cristo
Yo se que el Libro de Mormon is verdadero.
Y yo les amo.
Yo digo estas cosas en el Nombre De JesuCristo, Amen
Elder Cudd 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michael's Schedule

Dear Family,
Sounds like everyone seems to be busy and working hard.  I miss you guys a bunch. I’m going to answer moms questions. The weather has been nice so far. It’s about high 60’s to low 70’s to mid or high 80’s. I’m daily switching between my two church shoes every other day or so. I’m wearing short sleeve shorts every day except Sunday we have to dress full suits. My schedule is wake up at 6:30am. Breakfast at 7:00 at 7:30 we have TALL which is a language software so we practice Spanish each day except Sundays.
Then we have Personal Study at 8:30 to 9:30. (Which is just study for the investigator.) Our teachers are our investigators and we later practice with them if they were a real investigator.  9:30 is when Class starts were we learn grammar concepts that we practiced in TALL earlier that day. Class goes from 9:30- 12:30 (during that time we usually practice with the investigator. 12:30 we have Lunch to 1:15. 1:30- 2:30 we have hour of extra study for ourselves whatever we feel we need help with. 2:30-3:30 we have Language Study. We have our 3 Red Books we practice our Spanish in learning that concept earlier again. 3:55 Gym time we go outside and play basketball or volleyball in the parking lot outside.
But it’s not that bad because the weather is nice and there seems to be a nice slight breeze in the air. Gym ends at 4:45. 5:15 is Dinner. 6:00 to 9:00 we have another class were we learn how to teach more effectively and practice talking to an investigator. 9:00 we plan for the next day and see what our investigators need to know. And what commitments we want to extend to them. 9:30 is Family Prayer with everyone in the MTC.
And then Sister Glazier (MTC president’s wife) lets us pick out a candy before we go to bed. 9:30 to 10:15 is when I write in my journal what happened that day and I say 3 things I am thankful for and usually one blessing I want in my journal. 10:15 is quiet time. 10:30 is lights off.   I am staying healthy even though sometimes I skip my P.E. to read. I have to work kind of hard to keep this weight off. I am taking my vitamins. I have gained a few pounds. We have laundry once a week for our district on Mondays. I do not know the living arrangements in the field yet although the mission presidents our coming to speak to us next week and the week after that. I know we will be cooking. They told us not to buy food from street vendors and let me tell you there is tons of them wherever you stop walking up and down the road or highway trying to sell you something. 
I actually bought a flag from a street vendor. I bought for 250 pesos for a flag.Which is about $6.00 American dollars. A pretty big flag for $6.00. I was assured by Hermano Cuervas that it was a good price. Considering another Elder bought the flag the same size for 400+ pesos. They usually give you a price and you just ask how much you think it’s worth and tell them how much your willing to pay for it.  There is A LOT of flags everywhere on the streets and buildings. I guess because of their holiday coming up. But I guess more or less, America is the same way on 4th of July.
I can’t believe Drew is getting his mission realigned. Tell me where he is going. That’s so cool he can be going to a mission where it just opened up! Apparently our mission was opened up in December 7, 1978. One of the first missions were opened up was Dominican Republic. President Glazier took us where it was announced by Russell M. Nelson and read what he said it was pretty cool. They told us about Peter in Acts where Peter had a dream were he didn’t want to eat the animals that he was not suppose to eat. And that the Law of Moses was no more. That was a dream that symbolized he had to go out and preach the gospel.
So I finally got the Dear Elders you have sent me. I got one from Sister Wawro and Angelica Strasser. Tell them both thank you for the letters and I love to read what friends send me. She said Dad wanted to name Jaxon’s middle name Franklin. I think Franklin would be a good name but I am just honored you named Jaxon’s middle name after me. Angelica asked how the language is going? The language is going well. I don’t know a ton of vocabulary but being surrounded by Spanish everywhere you go I’m picking up the vocabulary very quickly and having teachers who only know Spanish really pushes you even more to learn the language.
So there are 22 new Latins from Mexico, 8 from Honduras, 2 from Peru, some from Nicaragua and 2 from DR. The 2 from Peru are in my mission field so I am excited to talk to them. I have to go.
Elder Cudd
p.s. Let me know how Mitt is doing sorry I would like to tell You SO MUCH MORE but I might be able to get on later today Love you

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Meeting Elder David A. Bednard...

Dear Family,
    So on Tuesday Elder David A. Bednard came to our MTC and spoke to all 18 of us elders. It was open forum so we asked whatever questions we wanted too. I wrote in my journal almost everything that I can recall of the whole situation and remember what questions were asked and who said them. Before he came, the leaders told us to prepare for him and so I did my fasting. I fasted for 24 hours before he came. I fasted to be prepared. I was the only person who fasted. Our district talked about it but they all backed out I guess. But I wanted to make it something very special to me.
    At the end he invoked a blessing on us. Elder Bednard said "I invoke a blessing on you that you will learn to be agents now in our lives and throughout eternity. He described what it meant to be acting as an agent. What he meant by agents is for example when Peter the Apostle saw Jesus walking on water, he didn't sit and analyze if he could do it rather he acted as an agent and jumped out of the boat and tried to walk on water. When Nephi was tied up against a tree by his wicked brothers he said he think Nephi didn't just say give me strength and broke the bonds of the rope and poof and it was broken. But no he acted for himself as an agent and asked for strength more strength if he have not prayed. But Elder Bednard thinks Nephi really had to struggle and wrestle with the rope to get out of it and break free.
    We watched a video Devotional in 2009 on Sunday 2 days before Elder Bednard came where he talked about this a little more in the Devotional at the Provo, MTC in 2009 he said "I have been getting a lot of questions concerning how do I know if it is of the spirit or if it is just me. He said" I'm going to give you an answer that might surprise you. STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT! If you're a good boy, honoring your covenants, keeping the commandments and pressing forward! Then everything is of the spirit. He said the worse thing you can do is sit down and analyze. We have to learn to be agents and do what Nephi did in 1st Nephi 3 which was "I will go and do." He then gave an experience where he skipped a stake conference meeting with a father he saw in the congregation to watch their boys play in the championship basketball game in this tournament right before stake conference started. The father was thrilled to go watch his son! Elder Bednard still didn't know if he did was right and his wife said "David you would do anything to go see a ball game." And he never was sure what he did was right till 6 months later when the father's son died and the father told him the tragic accident of his son and said at the hospital to President Bednard was "thank you for letting me experience my son's basketball game because I would of never other wise would have seen him in a game like that. He gave another story as acting as an agent with Elder Packer. That was a really good one too but that story is little bit too long for me to type. Anyways the best part of the whole meeting was at the end when we could shake his hand. When I was shaking his hand. I quickly asked him 3 questions that I really wanted to know because I never got called on when I was raising my hand because I wasn't fast enough. It was about 30 seconds all these questions were asked and answered.
But I asked Elder Bednard " Can I bear that Jesus is the Christ as strongly as you can?" ( I asked that cause when he stepped in the room. I didn't even know he walked in till I felt something telling me to look up. He has very spiritual presence.) He replied "You don't have to be an apostle to do what I do. You can. Then I asked "Did you know that you would be an apostle? Or were you just surprised? He replied "No man could have known this. And I was [surprised]. Then lastly I asked how does it feel to be a special witness of Jesus Christ? He replied "It feels awesome!" When he said that he was smiling from ear to ear. If felt the spirit so strongly. That was the most important question I felt I had to ask him and it was a few words but to me through the spirit he could not have said anymore.
    I really badly want to share a devotional I watched 2 Sundays ago that Jeffrey R. Holland said but I am out of time. It makes me wanna cry just thinking about what Jeffrey R. Holland said about Jesus and the apostle Peter it is deeply touching but I will share with you next time if I remember.

Yo se que Dios nos ama y queramos vivir con Él
Yo se que actuando un agente podemos ser guia por Su mano
Yo amo mi Salvador y Su sacrifica para mi
Estoy agracedo que puedo pedir por el ama puro de Cristo y Él respuestaré mi deseo
Elder Cudd

P.S. I'm reading Jesus The Christ by the way. I'm glued to that book

Friday, February 10, 2012

Extra time...

hey, I have about 10 more minutes to write. I just wanted to tell mom that they do have peanut butter.  We have eaten it for breakfast on our banana pancakes a few times already. I just got back from the botanical gardens. It was really nice. We drove across town and it is exactly what Weston (Sister Tryon's nephew) said "everyone is constantly honking and the driving is crazy!" People are inches from touching the next car. Everyone is out and about on the streets. It's different than America. I took a lot of pictures of the garden, it was really beautiful. I got to admit it seems a little bit out of my character taking pictures of trees and nature but it was different because they had an jardin japones (Japanese garden) and the Japanese trees were very interesting so that was kind of cool. Then they showed us our climate in this room of how the different parts of Dominican Republic look like and the east side looks really nice. Very tropical and rain forest like. I will not lie, I didn't know one word the lady said on the tour. I need to get better at Spanish.  Anyways love you guys.

Beautiful scenery, tight quarters, and delicious food!

So, I just got back from the temple. It is a 3 story temple. Our classes are not in the temple however it's in the building next to the temple. Our classes and residence are on the same floor which is the fourth floor. The first floor is where we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. The second and third floor is where members fly from different islands and need a nice place to stay a few nights while they are visiting the temple. The rooms are really nice here. They're nicer than the ones in Utah but they are a lot smaller however we have managed to have one of the most tidiest rooms in the MTC. Which consists everyone that I flew with which was about 16 Americans. Plus, there is about 6 islanders here from Jamaica and some others from small islands in the west indies. I can't think of the islands name but all those elders only speak English. It's funny, cause sometimes they try speaking Spanish to us as if we were already fluent. My Spanish has gotten even better than last time when I wrote. I realized in class I have to listen real intensively and focus hard on how the tense ends for each verb because one little ending can mean past, present, or future. Which I get confused a lot. I don't think I know that many words yet. I need to practice speaking Spanish more often when I have the opportunity to speak with the Elders. I got the grammar kind of down for someone who hasn't been here long.  I forgot to tell you I memorized the first vision in Spanish and our missionary purpose. I actually memorized both back in Provo.  Our district in Provo was a pretty remarkable district and we learned lots of stuff.  Not comparing ourselves to other missionaries but observing from what I have seen, we were a pretty exceptional bunch.

I can't remember which Quorum of the Seventy said it, I know it's written in my journal. (By the way I write about 20-30 minutes each night about my day. I write 2-3 pages on average. I think one day I'm going to be real grateful all the spiritual experiences I have felt.) But he said "my best attribute is my desire." How true is that!! I feel in my life and in the  people of the church, have incredible desires to do righteousness and makes us some of the best missionaries and disciples. Not to only have desire in sports and careers but the desire to come and walk with Christ.
Random thoughts:

All of our teachers are natives here and go to the local university in Santo Domingo. You might want to write me on my email instead of Dear Elder because no one in the MTC has received DearElders yet. So, it took till today to find out that Giants won the Superbowl, how disappointing. Oh, our gym is a basketball hoop outside in the parking lot but its not as bad as you may think. It's always super nice outside and always the right temperature. We did a service project at the local university. We were picking up trash and there was a lot of it. It was so nice to get out in the world. At times it doesn't feel like I'm out of the country because I'm always in this building. I'm about to go to some botanical gardens here in a minute so I have to go soon. I'm real excited to go out again. By the way, The food here is 10x better than the food in Provo. Most of the food is similar to mom cooking. For example, today for lunch we had taco soup. It was delicious. We always have tons of bananas and they are available anytime. I'm not sure but I think a local restaurant caters our lunches and dinners. The juice we drink is a brand called Bon. It's delicious. Palm trees are everywhere here as well as fruit trees. Everything is real tropical here. I'm always fighting my tiredness each day, its rough. I have to go.

Yo se que puedamos vivir con cada otra ultra vez
Yo se que Padre Celestial nos ama mucho y cuando obedecemos su mandamientos, El bendices a nos.
Yo les quiero mucho

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm Here!!

I am in the Dominican Republic!!!!! They randomly said go write to your family now,  so I am. It's really nice here. The entire MTC consists of about little more than 20 elders and sisters here at this MTC! It's small but it is really nice. I heard someone say in Miami if we were the church that had the big looking castle. And now i know why. The temple is huge here! and it is really pretty. It really sticks outside! The weather and palm trees are beautiful. They let us walk around outside and there are just trees with fruit everywhere and it feels really good outside it's not hot like you would think. It's pretty down here. At the same time trash is everywhere here! I mean it's pretty bad. The houses are almost exactly how they look like in the pictures, small but have a lot of color. I love all of you. Also, it is crazy walking around and everything is in Spanish. Everyone is really nice here. And I am doing great. I have a new companion Elder Dowdle. I think it takes between 4 days to 10 days to get Dear Elders letters so that kind of stinks, is that true? I hope the family is doing great.

My address is:

Elder Michael Cudd
Centro de capacitacion misional Santo Domingo
Avenida Bolivar # 825, esquina Ricardo Robles, Los Robles, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom

Monday, January 30, 2012

Still in Provo!!

Hola Familia,
I am actually still in Provo, Utah MTC. They revised our scheduled flight to the Dominican Republic to the original date Feb. 2 which is this Thursday again. At 3am is when we have to be ready to leave and we wont be in the Dominican till 9:30 at night. So if your expecting a phone call today I'm sorry but at least your getting an email! Right?  Well here at the MTC has been amazing everyone in our district do not want us to go. Seriously some of these Elders would be like my friends at home. I know for sure that we would all be best friends. So I'm glad I'm not leaving today because there are some big rumors that the prophet or at least some apostle will be here for tomorrow for the Devotional because tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the MTC. I'm happy to hear that baby Jaxon is healthy and well. Also, glad to hear Michelle is doing great. I'm honored you named his middle name after mine. Anthony is a great middle name. So I have taken a lot of pictures for all of y'all I'm excited for you guys to see my companion and elders in my district. They're my best friends. Really it's so easy to be friends with everyone here. I saw Cody here. It was so funny too cause I sat down at my normal table for Lunch and I saw him just sitting two seats down from me. It was pretty funny. Tell me about the Super Bowl? Who is predicted to win? So on Thursday, I'll be in the Dallas airport from 10am to 12:30am. Someone tell Alex Vincent that I love him and tell him thank you for writing me. Tell Bro. Johnson thank you for that quote he sent me, it spoke to my heart. Also, someone tell Katelyn Barnett and Morgan Wilson thank you for writing me. Tell Andy I will never be the master and I will always be the student. Thank you mom for sending me letters all the time. I love you!
Yo se que Dios nos ama.
Yo se que nosotros somos hijos de Dios
Yo se que hay un profeta en la tierra
Yo se que esta Evangelio es verdadero
Y Yo se que estas cosas yo dije nuestro verdad
En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen

Monday, January 23, 2012

Provo MTC Update


Thanks for writing me so many letters. Sorry I haven't written back yet I don't ever really have time. I wrote a letter to Mataio but just cause I wanted him to make sure he reads whatever he wants to read now. Maybe his favorite story because EVERYTHING you do is based on the investigator. So I had to let him know before he got here. Tell Andy I said "Happy Birthday!" he's almost done with residency! So Christy asked if I have any friends? Everyone in my district I'm super close with there like my best friends. Were like the Goofy Goobers but in the Provo, MTC. I'm glad your pictures with Angela Stephens went well. Oh and I have 2 roommates their like polar opposites one's favorite word is "matar" in Spanish and he is loud spoken. The other was is more quiet and well spoken so it's pretty funny between the two of them. If you want to send me something I need a pocket size Himnos if you can't get one don't sweat it because I will be able to get one in the Dominican Republic MTC if not. Yeah just like Elder Child, I don't miss my cell phone either it is quite amazing. So I think I like Jaxon more than Grant but I think any name will be a great name. Maybe you should call him a Book Of Mormon name, that could be funny but not going to lie they have some pretty masculine names in the Book Of Mormon so it may not be as bad as you think. Michelle that story made me laugh when Paige said " Does the baby know how to wave back?" (laugh out loud). I'm sorry about Logan's shots which made him sore and walked with a limp. It kind of made me laugh actually. But I was like "LOGAAANNNN!!!!" I love him. So Michelle some people saying your going into labor on the 24th some say your going into labor the 25th. But whatever day I will pray for a safe and painless delivery. I finally saw Drew today he's been here since last Wednesday and I saw him for the first time today (Monday) in the breakfast line. He looks good. Speaking of looking good, I got a haircut, it's not quite good as Andrea but I still look good. Congratulations Mom and Dad for selling another really expensive house. Maybe your receiving blessings as I am on a mission. Who knows? So I did sealings in the temple for the first time today. It was a neat experience. Ashley Wawro wrote me on Dear Elder as well as Mataio and Kelsey Holman I'd really appreciate their letters. If someone sees her tell her I will do my best to bring others unto Christ and will do my best to make everyone proud! Ashley Wawro I have received a lot of personal revelation. I've learned to not share personal revelation but I do want to share with you to keep a personal journal. I promise the Lord will speak to you if you do. As long as your not writing about pointless things. And if you pray to have the spirit to be with you before you start. I promise you will receive more personal revelation. Mataio I would like to share with you so many things but I just don't have time too. But hopefully you got my letter already. Oh I FORGOT I leave next Monday, well next Monday I report 3am and I depart at 6am and will land in the Dominican Republic 9:30pm. I'll be able to call y'all when I'm at the airport. Which I will be in the Dallas Airport before I go the Miami then to Dominican Republic. So I won't be here next week and I might not be able to email y'all until 2 weeks. Who knows?

Yo se la iglesia es verdadero
Yo se que El Libro De Mormon es la palabra de Dios
Yo se al guidaramos la convenios, Dios bendiciremos nos
Te Amo.
En el Nombre de Jesucristo,

Monday, January 16, 2012


How is everyone? I got y'all letter through Dear Elder. So apparently on Dear Elder you can send me mail for free. And feel free to write me often, because we get mail twice a day!! Elder Groberg gets tons of mail! (elder in our district) He has like 20 letters from his family. My companions name is Elder Perry, he's real cool, he's real knowledgeable. I'm lucky to be his companion. My Spanish has gotten a lot better since I have been here. I have already learned how to pray and bear my testimony! I'll bear my testimony a little later in this letter. I want to write more but I wrote so much in a letter I haven't sent yet. So hopefully I can tell you stuff that's not on that letter. First off the MTC is pretty strict but now it seems pretty laid back because I have settled in and can make good use with my time now.  My mind is just scrambled write now and in the top right hand corner on this computer there is a timer clicking down. I have taken 3 pictures. All of which are of my room. My companions and I side is clean. I know mom would be proud. A member of the 70 spoke and taught us to remember the goals we set for our mission and taught us a lot of things. I wrote it all down. But forgot to bring it to the laundry room where I am currently writing this letter. I wore my white shirt everyday so far. I figured I might as well wear as often now cause I will never wear in the Dominican. I have been writing in my journal every night. Member of the Second Councilor Hermano Anderson in our branch told us to write things down. He said why would God tell us things if we don't write it down? I'll try to put pictures in my next letter. I forgot some of the questions you asked? Well how is Drew's stomach? And I don't like the food here. A member in our district have found at least one long curly hair in our food at least once out of all 3 meals yesterday. Including me. I stick with things packages like potato chips or do a very thorough search through my cooked food.
Yo se que la Iglesia es verdadero. Yo se que Padre Celestial ama nos. Estoy agracedio por todos bengimas en mi vida. Yo amo el Evangelio y Jesucristo. En el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen