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Monday, December 29, 2014

Elder Crandall and Elder Hyde on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2014

There was a Santa sighting at the S's home.
Playing with an adorable little boy.
Apparently both Mom's had similar ideas for Christmas trees
their missionaries.  I'm so proud of them for not opening
their gifts early, but putting them under the tree.  One of the
missionaries in our home Stake opened all his presents
when they arrived 2 weeks before Christmas.  So sad.
Santa's Elves dressed up and ready to play.

Elder Hyde and Elder Crandall in their matching Onesie Ninja Turtle Jamies.
Both going crazy with the anticipation of Christmas morning.

Elder Hyde in their fort in his jamies.  Crazy Missionaries.

The traditional Christmas Eve fort found its way to Palmdale California. 
The Crandall children love to sleep in forts on Christmas Eve.

He can't wait any longer to open his presents.  Woooot.  Merry Christmas
Elder Crandall.  We sure do love you.

Christmas was DA BEST

This last week was soooo much fun.  We worked hard when we worked and we played hard when we played.  Since it was the week of Christmas we weren't able to meet with as many people because they were either out of town or busy... but we found some new investigators so that was pretty rewarding.

Family is everything.  I can't express how great it was to talk with you guys.  I know that the Lord is not only blessing me while I am on a mission but he is blessing you as well... and for that... I will always do my best... because I want the best for my family.  You are in my prayers daily.

We made the COOLEST fort you could imagine on Christmas eve... took me back to the good ole days.  That will definitely become a Crandall tradition when I am a daddy.

I realized once again how awesome the Ana Verde ward is.  They made sure we missionaries were taken care of and well fed.  The Soukups, Spencers, Giffords, Hendersons and Macfarlanes are practically family.

R*** K*** spent Christmas in the Hospital.  He got another issue on his other bum cheek.  We went and visited him.  He was very tender but it was apparent how much he appreciated us stopping by.  He is going to look dang good in the new ties we got him:)

I want you all to know that I know this is Jesus Christ Church because this is the only place that the FULL Gospel is taught and the full authority to teach it and administer the ordinances is found.  The book of mormon is the BEST book you could read if you want to develop a personal testimony of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ suffered for me personally and helps me daily to overcome my struggles and temptations.  Eventually through my relationship with the Savior I will be able to become like Heavenly Father and live with my Family for eternity. This life is a test... The Holy Ghost whispers the answers to us every minute of everyday as long as we are willing to listen and act.  Helping others to find the answers to this test is life changing.  When you teach someone about a subject you in return learn and grow.  Let's pass the test and help everyone we can to pass theirs as well!

John 13:8  If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.  

Let the Atonement work in your life.  Don't walk away from the cleansing power that comes through repentance.

Shout out to Nick Tracy.... Happy birthday!!! and Happy year mark!!! I will never forget the sleep overs at my house on Saturday nights so that we could get each other up and go to church! Thanks for being such a good example to me!

Shout out to my fee fi fo nana bo banna banana!  I love you. You make good shakes.  You can probably still do the splits... and for that I will forever be impressed.  Don't worry... be happy!

Monday, December 22, 2014


I am super excited to talk to the FAM BAM!  Holy smokes.  I have also realized that I am a sucker for anticipation... so if for the rest of my mission someone just kept telling me I was gonna talk to my family in 4 days then I would stayed energetic and animated constantly!  

The Ana Verde ward feels like my family.  God couldn't have put me in a better place to adjust and feel loved than in this ward.  It's almost like God knows me perfectly or something;) haha.  I know everyone's name and what they like to do.  I never realized how easy it is to make someones day just by greeting them with their name and then asking them about their week.  One thing that was hard for me when I worked at my dad's clinic was small talk with old people.  I wanted to care about what they had to say... just never clicked... because rather than thinking about the needs of that person I would be thinking about what I was gonna do when I got off work.  I can't tell you how much that has changed!  I love small talk now!  Nothing makes me happier than to hear someone talk about something that makes them happy.  

"People are intensely interested in people who are intensely interested about them."

Take some time this Holiday season to sit down with someone and genuinely show them you care about them just by listening.  Charity is an attribute you have to develop... so if you want it to be a part of your character... then prove it! 

Joseph Coronel invited us over for dinner Saturday night.  We had a dinner planned but they ended up having to reschedule so we were able to go have dinner with him instead.  His son left to his mothers for the holidays so he was alone.  We had a great dinner as we shared our thoughts on repentance and forgiveness.  We didn't think much of it.  The next day in Elders quorum we had a lesson on the birth and life of the Savior.  Joseph shared how just the night before he felt completely alone.  He was torn between  traveling down to San Fernando to be with some old friends... but he knew if he went he would end up drinking and smoking.... or staying home.  He called us instead.  He was crying as he talked about all that the church has helped him to do and the change he has seen and felt.  He gave Elder Hyde and me a shout out for being his best friends and always showing up right when he needs us.  I had no clue our visit the night before had touched him so much.  He is trying soooo hard to leave his past behind... and it is evident every time we meet.  (He literally just called us and asked if we wanted to join him for dinner on Christmas.)  He is like a brother to me. I love him so much.  It is awesome to see your love for someone grow the more time you spend with them and the more spiritual experiences you have with them.  It's a cool thing to know you personally have been a blessing in someone else's life.  I can't imagine how connected Jesus feels to each one of us.

I am so grateful to be on a mission this Christmas.  As much as I wish I could spend it with my family.... I couldn't ask for a better way to spend it than by sharing the gospel to those who don't have it.

God Bless you..... Every one.

Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, December 15, 2014

4 Baptisms this past week. What a wonderful way to celebrate the True Meaning of Christmas

Of course we get another shot of Cody's food.  Food is a priority for him.

Crandall, K***, and the C***s

We had an awesome time this week.  We had one of our best teaching weeks we've ever had.  This ward has been doing such a great job at supporting us missionaries.  We were able to teach 9 lessons with members help... we normally only teach about 4 or 5 on a good week. 

Alright... Now time for the fun stuff.  So Elder Hyde and I promised each other that we would do ALL we could to help the K***'s and R** C*** be baptized this last Saturday... and oh boy that is a promise we kept... but it wasn't easy haha!  So brother K*** had a boil on his behind that was removed 2 or so weeks ago.  He has had a nurse come over every day since to change his bandage.  Well, she normally comes right around the time the baptism was being held... so he told her not to come that day... and instead... he asked us if we would bring him some Neosporin he could put on before he put on the water proof bandaid.  We got to his house and the first thing he said was... "I'm sorry Elders" we both looked at each other very confused and were expecting him to say something like... I can't make it to my baptism... but instead... he let us inside and handed us a big bag of rubber gloves.  In that moment we realized how real our promise to do all we could to help him be baptized was haha! So he layed on the couch while we changed his bandage for him! haha!  I pray that I never get a boil back there... cause that thing looked ridiculously painful! haha..

So after being scarred by looking at a little Asian mans bum....I was really excited to feel the spirit at the baptism! haha  We got there and helped everyone find their baptismal clothing... There were 4 people being baptized by 4 different people so it was pretty fun trying to figure out what clothing would fit.  R** C*** was baptized by Brother Bird (reminds me of dad and Uncle Greg... he is my favorite)  Elder Hyde baptized P** K**.  I baptized R** K***.  L*** L** baptized his wife K*** L*** (really awesome because he was less active for a LONG time and saw the Elders on the side of the road... told them to come by... and 2 months later he was worthy and ready to baptize his wife).  I don't know if you could tell by their name... but the L**'s are Tongan... so their WHOLE family came.  We ended up having the baptismal service in the chapel.  I seriously love the glow on a newly baptized person.  They are always bright and smiley!  After the baptism... we had a luau in the relief society room.  I was in heaven.  I love food!!  The baptism couldn't have been any more perfect than it was.

Later that same night was our ward's Christmas party.  It reminded me of B-27's Christmas party.  All of our newly baptized friends came and had a blast.  2 mega feasts in one day! WOOT!  We sang a Christmas carol with the bishop and his wife as part of their Christmas tradition.  We are also going caroling with them tonight with some non-members... I'm stoked!

Church was awesome this week. Everyone was confirmed and I was given the opportunity to do P***'s confirmation.  I just followed the whisperings of the Spirit and it was a great experience for both her and me. 

Later day we went and helped sister Mc*** make carmel popcorn... and then we went over to the C***'s for a bbq.  It was R** C***'s birthday on Sunday and he received the best gift he ever could, a new best friend... the Holy Ghost. He looked happier than I have ever seen him and I asked him how he felt now that he had the Holy Ghost.  He said "I am so much happier and I don't even know why!"  I Love the C***'s soooooo much.  J** was definitely one of my homies in the pre-earth life.  Guess what... he and I both thought I would be leaving... so he gave me a snowboard!!! haha!  So now I have a snowboard that I have to figure out how to get home!  One of the best days I've had on my mission for sure.

That night we got transfer calls... It was a 50-50 chance that I would be transferred.... When we found out  we were both staying.... Elder Hyde and I both yelped out a girlish scream! (maybe just me.... but I was so loud that he might have too haha).  I am so pumped to be with him for another transfer!  We have not had a single day that we didn't laugh hard and work hard.  I get to stay with my home ward for Christmas and it is going to be a blast! 

I could just keep going with all the awesome things that happened this week... but I'll call it quits and send you pictures instead! I love you all!

Shout out to Jen... Glad you are alive.  That car reck looked pretty intense.  You seem to be car accident prone... just glad you didn't bump your head this time.  I love you and I am so grateful you are MY sister!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Elder Crandall saw a tank driving down the street in Palmdale.  I'm not sure if it was because of the rains they had
or what the reason was, but it was significant enough that it is the only picture we got this week.  Enjoy.  :)


I was sooo nervous and stressed going into this past week.  We had a leadership meeting Wednesday, a meeting with the Stake President on Thursday, a Zone Training Meeting on Friday, and our last exchange with a District Leader.  Just thinking about what was coming scared me out of bed every morning so I would get to work.  With all of this going on.... we had one of our best proselyting weeks.  God is so awesome.  If he wants something done... he will help you to find a way to accomplish it... every time!  We have 3 baptisms this coming Saturday that I can't stop smiling about every time it comes to mind.  They have all come a long way and are changing every time we meet with them.

On exchanges Elder Hyde and I have really wanted to be able to show our missionaries that miracles are real and that they can happen everyday.  I prayed real hard that I would be able to find a new investigator and set them with a date.  Well, because of weird circumstances... we only had 3 hours to proselyte and all three hours we had set lessons.... so I was curious to how it was going to happen.  Well, if you pray for something that is good and in agreeance with God's will... then prepare yourself... cause He is gonna help you out with it!  We had  30 minutes before we needed to be home and we went to one of our planned appointments.  The guy we were hoping to see wasn't there so we talked to his brother... Taught him the restoration... and set him with a date! BOOM!  Knock and Daniel will open unto you... Ask and he will receive the baptismal date of Jan. 24 haha

The Christmas Devotional was incredible.  It was almost like Heavenly Father's treat for me at the end of the week.  "Elder Crandall.... just sit back.... I'm about to explode your insides with the amazing feelings of the spirit."  Probably word for word what Heavenly Father wanted to say to me right before I watched it.  I am just a sucker for stories like the one Elder Christofferson shared.  It is good to hear about people going the extra mile to make memories that will last an eternity.

Well, after that.... I thought I had felt the Spirit to the brim for the night.... but apparently Heavenly Father likes to stretch our souls sometimes and cram all the happy feelings He can inside.  We went to the Kangs house... (Pauline and Robert are being baptized this Saturday).... and watched the Restoration video with them.  Pauline is easily distracted and so we really wanted her to have a powerful spiritual experience before she was baptized.  I told her to really focus on the feelings she felt as we watched the movie.  She didn't move once from her seat or look at her phone.  She was glued to the T.V..  Afterwards, we asked her what she felt... and she explained the exact feelings I felt in that moment.  It was a cool experience for me too because I felt the Spirit in a different way than I have before... yet we both had the exact same feeling.  We pointed out to her that that is how God speaks to us.  She was so excited to be feeling God's love.  We promised her that she will have that feeling constantly once she is baptized and receives the Holy Ghost.  Awesome Sunday.

Shout out to Jesus Christ.  Thank you for being the perfect gift.  Thank you for continuously giving your love and support.  I love you Brother.
Elder Crandall

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Pictures with 3 families Cody adores. Thanks for making his day so awesome.

Thanksgiving Hangover

Lot's of fun things happened this week including thanksgiving, and a couple of exchanges.  I guess I'll start with exchanges.  The first exchange we went on was with the District leader in the Palmdale 4th ward and his 2 companions.  Elder Hyde went with the District leader and I went with both of his companions.  They just changed the way that exchanges are done so now all of the Elders work in one area... the leaders area.  So we had 5 missionaries in my area on Tuesday.  Which also means we had 5 elders in an apartment for the night with only 2 beds and a lot of candy and soda.  Anyways, both the Elders I was with go home in less than 2 months.  I have noticed that missionaries either go out with a bang.... or they crawl to the finish line.  I hate to say it... but both these Elders have just been enjoying the ride on the back of their District leader companions coat tails.  It was a really hard exchange to be on because neither of them were that motivated to fulfill our purpose as missionaries.  That didn't slow me down though.  I made sure that I would stay positive and excited the whole day... Oh boy did I do it.... but oh my heavens it sure wiped me out for the next couple of days haha.  In our companionship study on the exchange we were talking about how we feel about what we have accomplished on our missions.  They both were really deep in thought and expressed some really tender and regretful feelings.  I WILL not have any regrets from my mission... because I will do all I can NOW.  If we want to avoid problems in the future... then we do what we can to align our will with God's will today. Or in other words... we don't procrastinate the day of our repentance.  I invite any missionary or any person who is thinking about going on a mission to read "The Fourth Missionary"  My brother sent it to me... and it made me realize what it takes to be the best missionary I can be... sacrifice.  Sacrifice what I want for what God wants.

The other Exchange we went on was with the assistants.  So it was a much different experience than the first.  I learned a lot and felt the spirit.  In both of the exchanges we had blown through our plans much much quicker than we thought we would... but miracles were apparent with the assistants because we were optimistic about the work even if it was simply knocking on doors or street contacting.

Thanksgiving was awesome.  We started off the day in the best way possible.  We played football with 30+ members at the park and it was a riot.  We played on the nice wet dew and everyone except me had cleats... so I think I won the award for most times on the ground.  I hustled my hardest and my dad would be "so proud of me" if he was there.  After that we had to plan for the coming week which was overwhelming because this next week we will have lots of meetings and then have to do a lot of trainings for the missionaries in our zone.  Back to the good stuff. Then we went to a thanksgiving feast that my bishop and his wife put together for anyone in the ward who didn't have family to spend it with.  6 of my investigators showed up for it and it was so great.  I have never seen them so happy and so thankful.  Bishop Mcfarlane is the best bishop ever.  He truly lives a "number one christian life"  I want to be like him when I grow up.  After this we went to the So***'s and had some more delicious food and got to play with their kids for a bit!  We played dark tag... it was a blast.  I love that family so much!

We had a couple of baptisms planned for this weekend... but they weren't able to come to church this week so that was a bummer. However, we might just have a big baptism the following week! Pray for the Ka***'s and the Co***'s.  They are so close they just need a little heavenly push!!

Shout out to my Sister! I love you and I am so proud that you are smart!  Can't believe you are graduating this week! WOOT! I would love to have a elementary teacher like you!

Check out the He is the gift video... super great.

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cody is a happy person, no matter what he is doing.

I have to explain the attached picture of Cody with the TV.  I laughed so hard when I saw this picture.  We get garbage dumpsters put in our neighborhood every summer for 1 day for people to put all their big garbage and yard trimmings in.  The last year before Cody’s mission, he and his buddy, Brandon, kept finding these random TV’s all over the neighborhood and brought home about 3 in a couple of weeks' time.  I told him I didn’t want all of these huge TV’s in our home, to go along with a small fridge he got from a friend (because it didn’t work and his parents were throwing it away).  He said he was going to get the fridge to work again.  Well, we got rid of the TV’s he collected and the mini fridge after he left on his mission.  I’m not sure we told him about that.  haha.  Oh well.  One of them was absolutely huge.  With everyone purchasing flat screen TV’s these days, they are throwing away perfectly good TV’s, but we don’t need a dozen big bulky TV’s around just because we can.  Sooooooo, when I saw this picture of the TV, I just about died.  Not sure if it was from laughter or from a panic attack.  Haha.  He is a funny boy. 

These pictures are of Cody and the other missionaries who helped their bishop moved this large rock down by a garden area next to their home in Palmdale California..  The bishop's wife sent these to me pictures to me with a sweet note about how hard they worked.  It is fun to see all their smiles.  Awesome boys aren't they!!!  They worked very hard to get this rock down where it was wanted.  Looks like they had a lot of fun doing it.  Cody has grown very close to these young men. 

Thanksgiving Week Eve.

This week has been great just like all the other weeks.  We had some really fun lessons and we have 4 investigators who are progressing quite nicely to their baptisms coming up.  Heaven knows there will be curve balls though... always is :) haha

I love Elder Hyde.  We have not had a single day were we don't laugh our heads off together.  His laugh reminds me of my best friend Brandon Wilde.  I've had enough laughs with Brandon to last a lifetime!  Laughter is a very important part of missionary work because it helps you to let loose and step back from all the chaos.  Lot's of new missionaries think they shouldn't laugh.  There is a time and a place... but laughter is necessary!  

I can't wait for Thanksgiving this week.  I LOVE FOOD!  I will definitely weigh myself before... and I better weigh at least 10 pounds heavier when I am done!  We have some really good cooks in our ward so its gonna be a real good time!

I read my patriarchal blessing this week for the first time in awhile.  I know that Heavenly Father knows me personally and that there is a plan set out for me.  I just need to seek him and everything will fall into place.  We all have a lot of potential and every choice we make affects that.  

This story below is one of my favorites that I have come across while on my mission.  I feel the spirit every time I read it and I know it is true.  I hope you all take the time to read it and share it with others.  Just imagine all the other experiences that people have like this that we don't even know about.  God is real.  This life is but a short experience that we will remember forever!

 "Free the Birdies"
By Lloyd Glenn, Mission Viejo, CA

I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak today regarding the topic assigned me, the importance of Temple attendance. “Brothers and Sisters, Throughout our lives we are blessed with spiritual experiences, some of which are very sacred and confidential, and others, although just as sacred, are meant to be shared. Last summer my family had a spiritual experience that has had a lasting and profound impact on us, one we feel must be shared. It's a message of love. It's a message of regaining perspective, and restoring proper balance and renewing priorities. In humility, I pray that I might, in relating this story, give you a gift my little son, Brian, gave our family one warm summer day last year. 

On July 22nd I was en route to Washington, D.C. for a business trip.  It was all so very ordinary until we landed in Denver for a plane change. As I collected my belongings from the overhead bin, an announcement was made for  Mr. Lloyd Glenn to see the United customer service representative immediately.  I thought nothing of this until I reached the door to leave the plane and I heard a gentleman asking every male if they were Mr. Glenn. At this point I knew something was wrong and my heart sank.  When I got off the plane a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, "Mr. Glenn, there has been an emergency at your home. I do not know what the emergency is, or who is involved, but I will take you to a phone so you can call the hospital." My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over. Woodenly, I followed this stranger to a distant telephone where I called the number he gave me for Mission Hospital.

My call was put through to the trauma center where I learned that my three-year-old son had  been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes, and that when my wife had found him, he was dead. CPR had been performed by a neighbor, who is a doctor, and the paramedics had continued that treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital. By the time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart. They explained that the  door had completely closed on his little sternum right over his heart. He had been severely crushed. After speaking with the medical staff, my wife informed me that our Bishop and home teacher were there and were waiting for the doctors to give them the go ahead to administer to Brian. She sounded worried, but not hysterical, and I took comfort in her calmness.

The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son laying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He was on a respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream.  I was filled in on all the details and given the guarded prognosis.  Brian was going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was okay- two miracles, in and of themselves.  But, only time would tell if his brain,received any damage.

Throughout these seemingly endless hours, my wife was calm. She told me the Bishop had given a blessing so powerful and so reassuring that  she felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung on to her words and faith like a lifeline. All that night and all the next day Brian remained unconscious. It seemed like forever since I had left for my business trip the day before.  Finally, at two o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken. He said, "Daddy, hold me," as he reached for me with his little tiny arms.  By the next day he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread  throughout the hospital.  You cannot imagine our gratitude and joy. As we took Brian home we felt the unique reverence for life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush death so closely. In the days that followed there was a special spirit about our home. Our  two older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were closer to each other, and all of us were very close as a whole family. Lifetook on a less stressful pace.  Perspective seemed to be much more focused, and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our gratitude was truly profound.

Almost a month later to the day of the accident, Brian awoke from his afternoon nap and said, "Sit down, Mommy.  I have something to tell you."  At that time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases, so to say such a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on the bed and  he began this sacred and remarkable story.  "Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you, but you couldn't hear me.  I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the 'birdies' came."
"The 'birdies'?" my wife asked puzzled.

"Yes," he replied.  "The 'birdies' made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me."
"They did?" she asked.

"Yes," he said. "One of the birdies came and got you.  She came to tell you I got stuck under the door."
A sweet  and reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a three-year-old has no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to help him from beyond the veil as "birdies" because they were up in the air like birds that fly.

"What did the 'birdies' look like?" she asked.
Brian answered, "They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white, all white. Some of them had on green and white, but some of them had on just white."
My wife thought this was intriguing because Brian had no clue what the color green was.
"Did they say anything?"    

"Yes," he answered.  "They told me the baby would be all right."
"The baby?" my wife asked, confused.
And Brian answered, "Yes, the baby laying on the garage floor." He went on, "You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave."
My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body, and seeing his crushed chest and unrecognizable features, and knowing he was already dead, she looked up around her and whispered, "Don't leave us, Brian; please stay if you can."

As she listened to Brian telling her the words she had spoken,  she realized that his spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless form.  Then what happened?" she asked.

"We went on a trip," he said, "far, far away." He grew agitated trying to say things he didn't seem to have words for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was so diffrcult.  Finally, his eyes alighted on the picture of the Oakland temple that hangs in the room and he ran to it."I went there!" he shouted. "There, Mommy," he pointed to the temple. "And I went to other ones like this. There are lots of them. They are everywhere, and I went to some of them with the birdies.' We flew so fast up in the air.
"To which my wife said, "That's one of the temples." "YES! YES!" he shouted. "I went to the temples." "They're so pretty, Mommy," he added. "And  there are lots and lots of 'birdies' in the temple. Lots of them are in cages and they want to get out, but they can't by themselves. They need us to let them out of the cages. "Mommy, I have to go to the temple and let them out. They are so sad and they need me to let them out.  Mommy, you have to go  there now and let them out.  And Daddy too.  And everyone. We have to let them out of their cages."

My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known. She thought of the spirit world, the spirit prison to those who have not had saving
ordinances done, and she knew that such spirits were relying on us to do these ordinances for them. She thought of how Brian had said some of the 'birdies' were wearing green and white, and the significance of
that swept her with longing and understanding.  Brian went on to tell her that the 'birdies' told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the temples and the 'birdies' in their cages. He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck, a little fire truck, and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man that the baby would be okay, but the man couldn't hear him. He said the 'birdies' told him he had to go with the ambulance, but they would be near him. He said it was so pretty there and so peaceful, and he didn't want to come back.  And then the bright light came. He said the light was so bright and so warm, and he loved the bright light very much. Someone  was in the bright light and put their arms around him and told him, "I love you, but you have to go back. You have to play baseball, tell everyone about the temples, and slay the alligators." Then the person in the bright light kissed him and waved bye bye. Brian got in the ambulance with two of the 'birdies.' The ambulance doors closed after the people got in, and he said, "Then I saw my beautiful, beautiful 'birdies' waving bye-bye. Then whoosh, the big sound came and they went into the clouds."

The story went on for over an hour. He taught us that the  'birdies' are always with us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes, and we don't hear them because we listen with our ears. But, they are there, and you can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart). They whisper the things to help us do what's right because they love us so much.” Brian continued, stating, "I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan. Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We all must live our plan and keep our promises. And the 'birdies' help us do that 'cause they love us so, so much."

In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all or part of it again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never changed or out of order. A few times he added further bits of
information that clarified the message he had already delivered.  It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he spoke of his "birdies."  Everywhere he went, he told total strangers that they had to go to the temple. Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this.  Rather, they always got a softened look on their face and smiled. Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray that we never will be.  My wife and I have gone to the temple repeatedly since then, and always Brian is waiting to hear how many "birdies" we set free each time we go. Brothers and Sisters, of all the messages Brian could have brought back, he brought this one--We must go to the temple and free the  "birdies." I testify that the things I have shared with you today are true. They are of sacred worth. They are of eternal consequence to us all and to the spirits who await the work only we can do for them.  May we all go to the temple and free the "birdies" - for this truly is the Lord's work and His glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I leave you with this message in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

We all have a plan.
Love, Elder Crandall

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Names, Faces and Families of Ebola

This is the Williams family.  The husband, wife and their child all died from
Ebola at the end of October 2014. They were members of the
Kossoh Town Branch in Sierra Leone.
The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to be strong in spite of the challenges they are facing with Ebola in their country.  They have experienced hardships throughout their whole lives.  When some primary children in Ghana were asked what they are thankful to Heavenly Father for, some answers were, "For protecting us" and "For giving us another year of life."  This should help us keep perspective of our own challenges.  They are nothing like what the people in Africa are going through every day.  We need to count our blessings and be charitable to those who are struggling and have no means by which  to help themselves.

This is the Kamara family.  They were baptized in November 2013.  About
October 4, 2014 the mom and youngest child both died from Ebola.  Simon,
the dad, also died from Ebola on October 18, 2014,
leaving 5 siblings with no parents.

The 5 children were quarantined at their home for 21 days to make sure
they were not also carrying the Ebola virus and not spreading it to others.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made sure
they had supplies since they have no family to take care of them.

The first Sunday after they were finished with their
quarantine period, the children got themselves dressed
and walked to church together so they could attend
their church meetings. I believe the oldest child
is just 14 years old.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cody's District before Transfers
Amazing how much these crazy missionaries
actually accomplish when they work.  They do
need some downtime.  Crazy kids.

This is a picture of Cody's dad telling Cody
how proud he is of him.  It is kind of
a funny family joke.

He thinks he is a farmer now.
Little does he realize he comes from
farming ancestors.
The beautiful open country side of Palmdale California.
Doesn't look to me as though he is working too hard.

Cody with his new companion, Elder Hyde
Cody with Bishop McFarlane
More memories of Cody when he was little.
He loved his bow and arrow at home too.  He even got the
scouting merit badge for archery.

What a week

I really love being on a mission.  I can say that every single week I have had on my mission has been amazing.  I might not have had things go the way I wanted... but I have learned what I need to in order to improve.  God knows how to give perfect gifts.. He isn't going to give us exactly what we want all the time... because we don't know what is best for us.  That's why we have Him... to help us learn!

I was able to do a lot of service for Bishop McFarlane this week.  He has a tractor that he uses to move rocks and wood around his property... but this last week it was mainly used to carry us missionaries :)  He also let us shoot his bow and pet his horses!  Safe to say it was a really fun week with a lot of exhausting service!
We also went up on Friday and had a breakfast/2hour study with the bishop and the Anaverde District.  He is an institute director so he knows his stuff.  I love doctrinal conversations more than food.... and I love food more than life itself haha.  We talked a lot about Isiah and how it is hard to understand... but once you break through the wall and start to figure out what it is saying... there is a reason why the Savior advises that we study from it!  The scriptures are awesome and taking the time to read and ponder them everyday will help you with your daily decisions.

My new companion is Elder Hyde.  He has been out 6 months longer than I have.  He is really dedicated to the work and is an awesome leader.  I am stoked to serve with him.  We have already been laughing quite a bit together:)
We were asked to teach Gospel principles this week in church.  We talked about the Gathering of Israel.  I like teaching a subject that I don't know much about because it gives me the opportunity to learn.  It ended up being a really great lesson and I realized that the Gathering of Israel in simple terms is missionary work.  We as members and missionaries are fulfilling prophesies when we open our mouths and share what we know to be true.

We were going over to a less actives house one night and we saw this husband and wife outside talking by their car.  I had a really strong feeling to talk to them and to start testifying.  They had a bunch of crazy little kids running around the yard but we were able to have an incredible lesson with them.  We taught them the restoration and I have never seen a more focused person with so much chaos going on around.  The wife, C**, asked some really good questions that helped us to know she really understood our message.  I didn't even get the baptismal invitation all the way out of my mouth before she blurted out yes to being baptized!  The husband said yes as well.  They looked at us like we were the answer to the problems they had been having.  I know they were able to feel the Spirit and I can't wait to continue teaching them.  The Spirit is a taste of eternal life... and they sure got a bite of the celestial while we were there!  Can you imagine what we and they would have missed out on if we didn't go and talk to them?  People are prepared and we have to listen to the promptings of the Spirit or we will walk right past them.
Love you all!  

Shout out to RACH! Happy Birthday!! You are so awesome, thanks for being so great to my bro... I love having you in the Fam!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cody's cousin, Sister Crandall,  is a missionary
serving in Florida.  Her mom sent them
matching Halloween costumes.  Be sure
to notice the elf ears they are both wearing.
Bishop and Sister McFarlene and the missionaries at their home.  Thank you
for taking such great care of our missionaries.

Some of Cody's favorite people along with Elder Harper, a favorite companion.

Last Week of the Transfer

It has been busy as always in the Anaverde ward this past week.  The tripanionship was a blast and we had some really powerful lessons.  I've had this feeling lately that I need to be preparing for something a little bit tougher and a little bit more stressful but I didn't know what it was.  Well, I got a call from President Wilson Saturday night and not gonna lie when he asked if he could talk with me in private I thought something happened to my family because that was the only reason he would be calling... or so I thought.  He said he had 2 things to talk to me about.  First, he was releasing me as a district leader.  Secondly, he was calling me to be a zone leader for the Palmdale zone.  It was a little cold outside and I think that's what I'll blame my jittery voice replying "absolutely" rather than the nervousness of my new responsiblilty.  I am really excited but man oh man... I thought I was already as busy and stressed as I could get! haha

Funny for the week.  We were at a baptism and my companions were giving the missionary minute while the person who was baptized was getting changed.  Then the witnesses realized that when he was baptized his full name wasn't said because they left off Jr.  So they had to do the baptism again.  Thank goodness Christ gives us 2nd chances! However, the part that cracked me up was right after Elder Harper gave the first vision... a guy sat back on his iPhone and siri went off and said.... "I'm sorry, I missed that"  There could have been no worse/better timing for that to go off.  Satan knows that the first vision brings the spirit like no other so he has found a way to cause some distraction every single time haha!

We had a bbq with our investigators J** and his son R**.  He made some dang good ribs.  He kept saying he wanted to repay us for all that we have done for him.  We were watching Mormon messages while we were eating.  He loved them and kept saying how proud he was to be a Mormon.  He has to wait over a year to be baptized but none the less he feels 100% loved and if he keeps it up I will definitely be traveling back to Palmdale to be a part of his baptism! 

I'm really glad I am staying in this ward.  I feel so at home and so connected with many of the members.  We had a lot of help from them this week and were able to teach 8 lessons with a member there to add their testimony.  Testimony is powerful and is all that is need sometimes to pierce a hard heart. We are still working with T** but she is going to need to figure this out between her and God. 

T** T** went to the temple for her first time this Saturday and sent me a text right after saying she just experienced heaven.  She then lead music for her first time the next day as the new chorister in the ward.  It was awesome to see the light that is now a part of her. She might not have had the timing right... but who really watches the chorister anyway.... oh wait... everyone.... because she is just a big prism of light! haha

Love, ME

shout out to my wampa bear!  I love you and I loved your letter.  Glad you got to spend time with my favorite sister at the game!  Don't you worry about me, I'm not in Africa;)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cody is pretty excited to find out his brother and sister-in-law are having a girl in March 2015.

Cody holding Baby Franken Berry (cereal).  He is very excited for his new niece to come. 
He is an awesome uncle already.
Elder Crandall with a wonderful family.  He says she is an excellent cook and
that she and her kids are really awesome.

Some little warriors never grow up.  This reminds me of when he was 4 and would run around the house with light sabers.


This last week was an interesting one.  We were in a tripanionship which was really fun but at the same time a little bit difficult.  Missionaries are real life walking thinking humans with their own inspiration.  Sometimes it can be hard to make decisions with just you and your companion... but when there are 3 missionaries and 2 areas that need full attention to both of them it can be pretty stressful and difficult.  However, we did our very best and we definitely stayed busy.  I love my companions and I have enjoyed the spiritual experiences and fun laughs we've had together.

We had some really great lessons with Tonia Priest this week and even had everything set up for her to attend a baptism with the bishop and his wife.  Well, turns out her family isn't the biggest fan of her becoming a Mormon and because of it have sat her and her 8 year old son down and tried to convince them otherwise.  The sad part is her parents aren't very religious themselves so they don't want to learn about the message for themselves yet they don't want her to be a part of it! She is now having serious doubts even though she has felt the spirit soooo many times and has gained her own personal confirmation that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  So frustrating but all we can do is guide her and invite her.  She was planning on being baptized this coming Sunday.. the day before transfers... so we are kinda in the dark with what's going on with her right now.

The Book of Mormon is the Key stone to our religion.  If you know that the book of Mormon is true you also know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, seer, and revelator.  You know that Jesus Christ is your Savior, and you know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom once again established on the earth today.  Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.  None of us can deny what we have felt.  So why do we make excuses....?  We need to stick with what we know... and the things we don't know... we should pray about them. simple as that.  The Lord knows how to give perfect gifts.... What He lets us know and feel are truly perfect gifts if we choose to accept them!

I have learned this week that sometimes love can only be shown by caring and listening.  I don't have answers for everything.... nor do I for most things.... but the scriptures do.  All we can do is listen and love.  I don't like the word mourn because it makes me think of people who are sad... but we need to mourn with those that mourn.  Lots and lots and lots of people are hurting.  If only they took the time to understand for themselves the power and reality the atonement can have in their lives.  Most times there isn't a quick fix for problems of life.... but the atonement can be.  The second you turn to the Savior you will receive immediate help!

We got a new car which was pretty fun to zoom around in.  I still love my ole protégé that takes  40 seconds to go 40.  I wish I was on a bike because there are so many people you drive by that you don't get to stop and talk with. 

It is starting to get really cold here... I think its just cause I have acclimated to the heat... but it has been fun being cold rather than sweating to death. 

Tonight we get to have dinner at our bishops house.  He is the institute director for all of antelope valley.  He has a massive library in his house about church history.  We go over there every other Monday for a deep doctrine conversation usually after an amazing dutch oven dinner.  It is safe to say he is my favorite person in the ward and I would love to stay in contact with him.  His house is up on the hill and has an incredible view.  Usually nights like tonight get my spiritual juices flowing and I feel really close to my Savior! 

Lastly, I want to share how important it is to ponder.  We must think deeply and take time out of our busy lives to think, hope, and imagine.  Usually when investigators don't ponder the material or the lessons we teach them is when they don't have a spiritual attachment to the gospel.  I will forever thank my parents for taking me to Lake Powell because of its beautiful scenery and the tendency to think deeper than the normal.  I have had some incredible prayers answered while taking time out of life and just enjoying nature.  Take a minute to slow down this week and ponder what God has done for you and the Potential you have as one of his spirit children!  God is good all the time... all the time God is Good.

Love you more than all the back flips I've tried wakeboarding, and the incredible adventures I've been on with my buds... (wayyyy tooo many to count)

Shout out to My brother and his wife for having a Baby Girl on the way!!!!!!!!! There were definitely more pink candies!!;) 

Shout out also to the Martin Family! Thanks for your love and package! The popcorn was gone in an instant!

Elder Crandall the thankful Vandal 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy and Stunning Fall Harvest

Elder Crandall is tired but really good.

We had a tougher past week.  Seems as though there is a sick bug traveling the nation because I wasn't feeling too hot for a couple days... then my companion wasn't... then my zone leader... well pretty much everyone in my district except the sisters have been sick this week.

I was on exchange with the Zone Leaders when I was sick... and I did my best to push through it but boy is it hard to be motivated and excited to talk to people when you feel like crap.  None the less, we had some pretty amazing lessons together in which the Spirit took over and we were able to be bold enough to keep a family on tract for being baptized this Saturday and a Father started on a road of repentance.  Then... the next day I was able to go to 5 hours of church... without my companion.  My comp stayed up all night not feeling well so I went with another Elder to church... and while we were at church... one of the Zone Leaders... not the one I exchanged with was feeling sick... so I finished church for him and he went home and did another exchange with my companion and slept all day.  So therefore... I was substitute zone leader for the day... or at least that is the position I gave myself haha!  I was still wiped out from being sick myself... but it was fun to be with Elder Matheny (the zone leader I just had an exchange with).

Also, some other crazy stuff happened in  my district.  I am now in a Tripanionship covering 2 full areas.  An Elder in my district went home last night which was really tough and hard... but it will be for the best.  Since I was substitute zone leader for the day too... we had to drive him up to Tehachapi which definitely wiped us out even more.  Missions are something that cannot be done without the spirit.  I could not make it through a single day as a missionary without the guidance, protection, and comfort that he brings.  I hope you feel the same way about wherever you are at in your life.  God is giving us help... just make sure you don't put your back to him.  Know which way you face.

I learned a lesson from my zone leader while I was with him.  We are God's tools... and if we are a broken tool (completely exhausted, without the Spirit, angry, etc.) then we are just as useless as a tool that sits on the shelf unused.  We need to work hard... but we shouldn't break ourselves while we work.  This is definitely a lesson I need to learn.  I hate wasting time... and therefore I hate giving myself a break... but I am going to reevaluate in prayer and see what I can do better to let myself rest without wasting time so I never feel like a broken tool.  I'm sure my companion will appreciate this as well hahaha.

Missionary work is a fun, uplifting, happy... if it doesn't feel that way... then there is probably something that needs to change.  I love being a missionary.  I love helping others.  I love being one of God's tools and I hope He uses me often. (go easy and don't break me though;))

Shout out to my mom and to Aunt Lou! Thank you so much for the packages! My companion and I are practically diving into candy every chance we get!

Elder Crandall the pan handler

Monday, October 20, 2014

A wonderful baptism of a beautiful young woman.

These young women remind Cody of two women he was
teaching in Sierra Leone. They have  been an
answer to Cody's prayers. 

Apparently Cody met someone who went to high school
with his dad.  Yes, this is Steve while in High School.  :)

B. A. L. H's Baptism!

We had another incredible week with so much going on!  We had interviews with our mission president this week.  He is such an awesome leader.  He is completely different than my last mission president but is awesome in his own way.  I would trust both of them with anything.  I am really enjoying being a District leader because I love to help someone when they are going through a hard time.  Being a missionary is not easy... but my word... it is WORTH IT!

B***'s baptism was really great.  She is much more quiet than her sister, but has a fun personality.  She asked me if I would give a talk on the Holy Ghost... and if I would do the Missionary Minute which is were missionaries share the restoration.  I was a little nervous because I didn't just want to wing it.  I wanted to make my talk sincere and heartfelt.  I ended up sharing about how the Holy Ghost is our comforter and I shared the story of how I felt reassured that S**** and I*** (From Sierra Leone) were taken care of through teaching and baptizing both her and T***.  I was pretty emotional just because I love the people in Africa so much and I know they are in serious need.  The spirit was really strong though and that was the first time I had shared with either of them that they were an answer to MY prayer.  Before we had even met them they wanted to switch missionaries so that they could have sisters teach them... but they were in our area so the sisters had to pass them to us.  They told me that the first time they met us they knew and felt that they were suppose to be taught by us rather than anyone else.  It was really special to be a part of their conversion.  There are no Coincidences with God and I know he had this planned from the very beginning.
(Just an FYI, Cody found out this morning that a family from Sierra Leone who was recently baptized has been impacted by the Ebola Virus.  The mother passed away 2 weeks ago, the father on Saturday and the baby yesterday.  There are still 5 children in the family who now are without parents. Cody loves the people there very much and this impacts him more than it does us because he knows these people who are all living there with this threat).
So Tuesday, while my companion was filling out some teaching records... I was randomly flipping through the area book when I stopped on a former that had been taught by missionaries 2+ years ago.  I had a strong feeling to write that specific name down and the address.  We have over 100 formers and I only wrote that one name down.  We were out doing our thing that day when the thought came to me to go and visit that house right now.  So we drove over and found out that the address led us to a trailer park.  So we wandered around looking for Lot number 29.  We had made it all the way around the whole trailer park and it seemed as though nothing existed after like 26.  We kept wandering and finally found lot 29... The whole time I was thinking to myself.... they taught this lady... C*** J***.... so long ago and this is a trailer park so there is nooo way she could still be here.  we could hear the Television on inside the trailer so we yelled out Knock Knock. We were just about to leave when a hand flew out the screen door and a man with a handle bar mustache came out.  I thought he was gonna yell at us.  He asked what we wanted and we told him we were wondering if C*** J*** still lived there.  His response was a little muffled and he said "I wish.... she died this last December....She was my wife of 15 years."  After saying this we could tell he was pretty tender.  He said that she had died because doctors told her she needed to stop smoking or her lungs were going to give out and she wouldn't stop.  He asked us if we wanted to go inside and see her ashes and the little shrine he had put up to remember her.  We went in his trailer... surprisingly... it was completely spotless.  He had an entire shelf in his bedroom dedicated to her.  He obviously hasn't been able to let her go in the least degree.  As he talked about her he began to cry quite a bit.  He showed us a pillow that he found after she had died that he had never seen before that said "Angels are among us" and he took that as a sign from her that she was still around.  I shared a brief message about the plan of salvation and I testified with all my strength that I knew he would see her again.  All three of us stood in the trailer together and pretty much wept.  It was so sad to me to see how a lack of gospel knowledge left this man hopeless of ever seeing his wife again.  We asked if we could come back and share more and he told us that he wanted us to come by and be his friend... but he needed a little more time before he wouldn't be mad at God.  As we were leaving he told us that while we had been there he was able to feel her presence.  I could feel it too.  As we walked away we could hear him bawling inside his trailer. 

Please.... Please don't take this gospel for granted.  The knowledge that we carry with us is life changing.  So many people live in this world with out hope or faith of a next life.  We must live in a way that when we pass we are capable of receiving all of our Heavenly Fathers eternal blessings.

The next incident is also pretty cool.  We were out street contacting and tracting in a neighborhood we just barely discovered.  Within the first half hour we had already taught the restoration to the first person we met, placed 2 books of Mormon with return appointments and gotten rejected by a Jehovah's Witness through a side window! haha So we felt like we were on fire with missionary work!  We decided to swing down onto another street and see what was happening there.  There was a guy on the other side of the street smoking a cig and I kept having the feeling to talk to him... but he for sure looked like the kind of guy were you say hi and they freak out and start swearing at you so I walked by.... but I had the same feeling again.  Just then he yelled to us and asked if we would come over.  He asked us if we had ever experienced anything with demons and if we thought they were real.  We told him that satan is definitely real.  He shared an experience he had a month ago when he saw this girl he was with pretty much get tossed around by some sort of Dark presence.  He said it scared him so bad that he hasn't been able to feel safe in his house.  He said ever since then he is a full believer in Jesus Christ.  I asked him if he wanted us to give him a blessing of comfort and he agreed.  We went into his house and I kid you not... there was a repeating thumping sound that we had no clue were it was coming from.  He took us to his room and got a chair to sit on.  He told us that this was the room that the experience had happened to him and I could feel it because of the erryiness that accompanied it!  I gave him one of the most interesting blessings I have ever given.  My mind was blank as I spoke but words were just flying out.  I prayed that any evil spirts and dark presences would leave this man and the house. When the blessing was over... both Elder Harper and I noticed that the thumping had stopped and the feeling in the room was  completely different.  We then chatted for a little bit and I found out he use to be way into snowmobiling so I shared with him how boss my mom is at snowmobiling.  The feeling when we left and when we arrived were like night and day.  It was pretty intense.  We also gave him a book of Mormon and he said that 2 minutes before he saw us he was talking to his ex wife.... who is a Mormon... and she told him he needed to go get a bible! Well, I love being the answer to someone's prayer!! 

God is real... Satan is too.... We know who will win in the end... so who's side do you want to be on?

I love following the promptings of the spirit and seeing miracles come from it.  I have never turned to my father in heaven for so many things.  He cares about the details of our lives... so make sure to include him with everything you do!

Love you tons!!

Elder vandal the Crandall!