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Monday, February 24, 2014

First week in Sierra Leone

Ayyy ohhh,

Well I don't even remember the last time I talked to family or friends... I've been out for just about a year plus or minus a few days hahaha! I think... Is that right? So last time I wrote, I told you a lot about my companion I think. Well, turns out, we were best buds by the time we left the MTC! Every night he would say, I will never forget you Elder Crandall... and then right after he'd ask me to by him several things haha! I guess that is just how Nigerians work! We had companion ship inventory earlier in the week and I pretty much dropped everything I had on him... with also a lot of positive things he did that week... but after we talked about everything we just started to click. I think the major impact was, we started laughing together. He would laugh at other things but we never laughed together! He realized that I am a big tease which I'm sure everyone who is reading this knows too. So we were really good at teasing each other about stuff back home and the things we would do in class! I don't know if I said it last week but my nickname for him was elder Slo mo haha and everytime I called him that he would just laugh!!

I want to share my favorite experience in the Mtc. So I had fun the entire time I was there but the culture was super hard to adjust to and because there were only 3 americans that I would only have enough time to say hi to like twice a day. So it was the last sunday in the mtc. There had been quite a bit of contention between a bunch of the Nigerian elders the past few days over a ping pong ball, and some jokes that weren't necessary. So I think its safe to say.. the spirit had pretty much left. We were in Sacrament meeting and President Robison's wife spoke. She talked about repentance. She emphasized that repentance means change. For some reason this spoke straight to my heart. I was confused to why I needed to repent at the end of the day if there wasn't something obvious I did wrong. But she explained it so perfectly. We repent everyday just by changing and trying to become more christlike. Repentance is so much deeper than just confessing you did something wrong! We were sent to this earth to repent. This means we are sent to this earth to change and become better. I am still learning a lot about this in my personal study, but I was so grateful for the way she put it in her talk. Then, President Robison spoke. I thought I was already overloaded with the spirit after his wife's talk but ohhh no he just topped me off! haha He talked about how we WILL struggle throughout our missions and that while I can write friends and family once a week, they wont be here to comfort me. Only one person can. That is my Father in Heaven. I was trying soooooooo hard not to burst into tears because the entire time the spirit was testifying how true and real the words were. He said that we need to be praying with every fiber of out being when we kneel down at night to talk with our Father in Heaven. We cannot succeed in this life if we are not on our knees asking heavenly father what our next step should be. I have repented/changed the way I pray. There is no possible way anyone could serve a mission without the comfort from our heavenly father.

So the reason why I wasn't able to write last week was because we flew out on our P-Day which was last tuesday! For some reason, airports freak me out because there is a lot of unknowns... One of the Elders going to Sierra Leone with me had 1 bag that was smaller than my smallest carry on! hahaha so he checked one of my massive suitcases for me. Otherwise I was just gonna leave all my candy and delicious goods. Heaven knows I wouldn't have survived without that food this last week too! Anyways, I slept at the mission home that first night and then I met my trainer in the morning. His name is Elder Chemhuru from Zimbabwe,he is my district leader as well! In the picture they gave me before I met him he is straight up mean mugging!! so I thought he was gonna be a super serious and intense guy. We have already had quite a few good laughs so I'm not to worried about connecting with him.

I am serving in the Kissy 2 Area. It is on the East end of Freetown, so I am in the city. However, their definition and my definition of city are much much different. My area consists of the mountain and that is it. It reminds me of the type of hikes I would go on with all my buds back home! We basically hike through peoples front yards, backyards, and sometimes we just walk through houses for a short cut!!hahaha! I will try and attach a picture but I don't know if I will have time. The counselors dropped us off at our apartment and we immediately started proselyting. I taught 3 lessons my first day! I am doing better each day, but I have to adjust to a whole new culture and climate again haha! There is seriously garbage EVERYWHERE! I am still getting use to that. They have water running down a little creek in the mountain where I proselyte and it is loaded with trash...but they don't care, that is where everyone goes to clean their clothes!!! hahaha!! I don't know if it is just me but... I doubt they are cleaning any of their clothes, they are only making them worse! haha!

My comp and I live in an apartment with 4 other elders. They are all american which is super nice! I finally have someone to relate to!!haha! My favorite part about the apartment is probably the MASSIVE amount of cockroaches that scatter when you lift something up!! I moved my mattress that I was assigned to and oh boy they just went crazy!! After I set up my bed the other elders were like.... Ya im pretty sure that bed has bed bugs.... All I could think to respond was... NO DUH!!! hahaha! I slept nice and horrible the first night..
I kept waking up to something crawling on my leg! yikes. I'm just use to it now so I've been sleeping better! haha! I use the bug net...
but it does absolutely nothing for the roaches!

Well I have lots and lots of other funny stories but I am running short on time.

Shout out to any woman who has ever had a child.... Thank you for feeding your child in private. Also thank you for not having kids when you are like 75 hahaha!I have already taught 3 lessons were they just whip it right out and start feeding their kid, or grandkid or for the love maybe even their great grandkid... It is super great(sarcasm) especially when I am in the middle of bearing my testimony cause all I can think is.... Look into the womans eyes... And then I forget what I was trying to bear my testimony about! hahahahaha!! The African way is a weird one.... don't know if I will ever adjust to this part of the culture. Thought I would share a TIT bit about this so you can pray that my eyes wont go blind by the time I get home! hahaha!

Shout out to my mother dear, I love you. You are such a great example and I hope that taxes aren't driving you crazy yet! Take care of my ole man! (gramps and dad)

Love you all, you are all in my prayers!!

Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, February 17, 2014

Video of the Ghana MTC with Cody's group. Awesome!!!

See if you can spot Elder Crandall. If you know his personality you should know to look right in the middle!

 Elder Crandall's companion Elder Ekhorutowmen

This link will take you to a slideshow of the Ghana MTC with a few pictures of Elder Crandall

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Email received from the MTC President through Elder and Sister Curtis (Africa West Area President) that was forwarded to us:

I thought this photo might be of interest to Elder Crandall’s parents if you are sending them a note.  Yesterday in the temple, Elder Crandall had a particularly precious experience that I hope he told his parents in an email.  It is an adjustment for our missionaries from the United States to adjust to the culture and feel like they fit in with the other missionaries.  Using his great tennis skills, Elder Crandall quickly had the elders sit up and take note as they played him in ping pong.  He amazed them all.

Please tell his parents that he is a great missionary and will be just fine out in the field.  The important thing is that spiritually he is having the experience parents pray for.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Elder Crandall and Elder Ekhorutowmen

Hey Everyone! I don't even know where to start with this last week.  The first day after I arrived was the worst day ever... I started thinking about family and friends and how much easier it would be if I could just be at home playing with friends rather than half a world a way surrounded by people I didn't know and couldn't understand.  I was reading in the bible and found Exodus 3:11. it is moses asking the lord why him... why was he chosen.  I felt the same exact way all day.  I thought about this while I was going to sleep and realized its because he knew that moses could find a way to get anything the lord asked of him done.  I figured that if the lord is asking me for a 2 year mission, that is nothing compared to eternity.  So for some reason my enter button on the keyboard I am using wont work so this is going to be one big paragraph!! haha!  So... the first night with my companion... I noticed that he was a little quiet and when he did speak he spoke pigan english so I had no clue what he was saying... the elders have no clue that obedience includes bed times, or punctuality, or language... hahaha! There are probably 40 elders and they were all up yelling and screaming (some singing hymns) until 11:30 at least.  I knew that the next day was going to be hard so I just wanted to fall asleep but it is sooooo freaking hot and humid that I have to wait until my bed is a sweat soup and I have sweat out all my energy to fall asleep.  then in the morning my companion Elder Ekhorutowmen (Eh-horu-tomen) flipped on the lights and started shaking me to get up... it was 5:15! I hate the mornings... and I hate being woken up like that so I wasn't too happy. It took me probably 10 minutes to explain to him that we still had over an hour to sleep but he kept saying no no no, we need to study!! As I have been with him the last week I have realized a few things about him.   I reminds me exactly of Radio!!!!!! hahaha!! He walks and talks exactly like him!! I was dying when I finally realized who he reminded me of!  He has a little limp when he walks and he holds his hand out in front of him too!  He is not mental like radio though.  Everything he does is in slow mo I swear.... It takes him at least 5 minutes to take a quick pee and wash his hands and get out of the bathroom.  It has been driving me crazy a little bit because we will go down three flights of stairs and sit in class and he will realize he left something so then we go back up three flights of stairs to get it while he moves soooooo slow and then we go back down stairs and he realizes that he forgot something else. I just want to tell him, hey man, we all forget things but walking slower than dirt is only wasting your time my time and most importantly the lords time.  he wakes up at 5:30 every morning and just wanders around and even with all that extra time he is still 15 minutes late to personal study at 7... which means i'm late to everthing as well!! I have never wanted to be more obedient in my life and I've never felt like someone is pulling me down at the same time.   Alright, enough talking about how slow he is... and about the good things he does!!! I have never met someone with more verses from the bible memorized!  He takes minutes if not hours to open to a scripture... but thankfully he has half of them memorized!!  He is still the hardest person at the mtc to understand.. half the time the other missionaries don't know what he is saying but i am starting to figure him out!  back to the good stuff sorry.... We taught our first lesson yesterday! I was expecting it to go HORRIBLE because he doesn't listen to anything I say and he doesn't understand that we are teaching PEOPLE not LESSONS so I was definitely worried haha!  So we went in and I took the lead and made sure we got to know the person (kanek) before he starting reciting verses from the book of mormon and bible trying to convince the guy.  we taught him about the book of mormon and It actually felt pretty great!  I felt the spirit tingle up my spine as I testified to him about the things I know are true.  my companion did a great job at using the introduction and a verse in isaih to explain how the BOM is just like the bible.  He wanted us to come back!  We will be teaching a lot more this week so we'll see if we can keep it up.  This was the first time my comp and I actually connected and gave each other a hug when we were done!  I get along great with all the other missionaries.  They think i'm pretty funny (brush off my shoulder) haha! So the thing I have noticed the most about them is they are just like the fijians when they laugh! They laugh uncontrolably at absolutley nothing!!  My companion had baggy pants that had a boot cut look and some of the guys in my district thought he looked like micheal jackson!! They laughed forever, it made me laugh pretty hard too.  However, The funniest part of the week was when we were in class and one of the sisters noticed that my comp. had tucked his white shirt into his brief part of his garments.  I kid you not,they laughed for over 20 minutes! my true laugh came out at least 10 times.  I haven't laughed that hard since probably hanging out with Brandon Wilde doing Chem parties!!!  I didn't think it was even that funny that he tucked his shirt in his garments but I thought it was hilarious that they could not control themselves over it.  They love to laugh more than anything!  that is probably their only down fall because they don't know when it is not the right time to crack jokes.  However, my compainion does a really good job at laughing at himself, if he didn't he would probably be a pretty sad kid because he is makes people laugh everyday just from his mannerisms! for instance, he eats the entire bone when we are given chicken for dinner!! hahaha he chews it like a dog!! it is so great!  Speaking of food... it is actually pretty good! it is always rice with a piece of chicken and hot sauce.  The first couple of days I didn't have an appetite but now I am eating a ton... back to normal!  I went to the temple today and did 2 endowment sessions right after one another.  I normally have to pray that I wont fall alseep, but this time I realllllllly had to pray so I wouldn't fall asleep!! haha!  It was awesome to be an escort for a couple of the other missionaries.  I didn't realize how much going 5 times before I left has really helped me!! Thanks for that Daddio!!  The days have gotten much better, I hope this next week goes great as well.  Everytime someone asks me what mission I will be serving in and i tell them... whether they are white or african... they say, ohhhhh that is going to be very hard.  Greeeeaaattt... hahaha!                                                                                                                                                         Shout out to Tanner bear!! I can't believe how much studying with you has helped!! The african learning style is slower than dirt with many repeated answers.  I feel like I have already learned everything they have taught me from you!  I defintely expected the teachers to be like you but then I realized that is impossible because you are soooooo good and you teach with the spirit.  I love you so much buddy and I miss studying with you! Keep up the good work!      I love Jesus Christ and I am so thankful for his gospel, it can do so much for us in our lives! I have prayed for everyone of you guys this week.  tons of love, Elder Crandall

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Arrived Safely in Ghana

What a day.....

So like you knew... I was horrified to fly alone.... so thankfully the first thing that happened... my flight to chicago was canceled after waiting for about 6 hours.  I found elder richman, he was the missionary that we saw when we got to the airport that looked pretty sad and depressed haha! ask tanner, he will remember him!  anyways, I found him and we were both pretty excited to not have to travel alone! So we got new flight plans for a flight that left 30 minutes from when they made the plans and we still had to go back through security and recheck our bags.... I WAS crazy stressed haha!  Turns out, the plane we would have missed by 30 minutes was delayed... a little answer to my prayers.. and we made it to chicago!  Right before we left slc Elder Richman found out that we had a different flight to london, and that his flight took off 6 minutes after we landed in chicago... he obviously missed it.  haha! I had no idea what I should do so I broke the first rule of being a missionary and completely abandoned the poor guy so I wouldn't miss my flight! hahaha! I felt bad, but when we landed he really just disapeared in the opposite direction that I needed to go.  I just about broke down in the middle of chicago because I had no clue were the shuttle was I was suppose to take to get to the next terminal.  I said a pretty quick prayer and right before I lost it, I saw a man with a shuttle hat walking.  I asked him where to go and he had me follow him.  he was the exact person I needed to see at the time!  I ran to my next flight and barely made it.  Whew... haha!  So now I was alone in london... which seemed even bigger than chicago haha!  I felt like I was seriously wandering in the dark but I didn't make a single wrong turn or mess up at all in london!  I made it to the gate with 5 minutes to spare... yikes haha! can you imagine if I was lost for even a second in there?! I definitely would have missed that flight.  I forgot to add it, but from my flight to london, I had a middle seat but the seats next to me where completely empty so I was able to sprawl out and get some rest.... because my flight to ghana was the exact opposite!  I sat by a black man with a lazy eye, and a huge black man with a beard... needless to say... I did not sprawl out on that flight!! haha!  I talked to both of them and they were much softer on the inside than on the outside thats for sure! so that was nice.... It was definitely a big oreo in the middle of the plane! haha!  I landed in ghana... and i walked through a wall of steam not even kidding! It is outrageously hot and humid!  Not to mention I hadn't showered in 2 days so I had some heavy duty B.O.!  I waited for my bags for probably an hour... eventually they all came halelujah! I wandered around for a bit hoping someone would be there waiting for me when a big goober looking elder Robinson found me! I wasn't alone! haha! so here is the funny part... I have technically already been robbed.. in a sense...  So while we were taking our bags out to the van with the MTC worker, these men tagged along and said "I am with you guys" so i obviously thought they were from the mtc because the real mtc guy didn't even have a badge on.  anyways, they helped load my bags and said "tip,check your wallet, and give me a tip, just a little one for helping you" they practically reached in my wallet and tipped themselves... bam just like that, 28 bucks were gone and my wallet was completely empty.. once they realized my money was gone they just ran off.  the real mtc guy apparetly tried to warn me when we were walking to the car but he has a nice mumble that is hard to understand... I am just glad they didn't get my passport pouch that had 250 buck in it... I was laughing pretty hard in the car with elder Robinson.... we figured if 20 minutes into our mission and we had already been robbed then we are in for some crazy stuff!  Also the mtc driver tried to sell us belts... 2 for 50 dollars... the ghanians are definitley about making money.. haha! I dropped a quarter during an interview this morning and the interviwer picked it up and put it in his pocket! hahaha! I have already had some good laughs!  It is safe to say there isn't going to be very much structure while I am in the mtc... we got there at like 10:40and 6 of the french speaking missionaries from nigeria were up doing laundry and laughing doing their own thing! haha  Also in a meeting with the mtc president, he said they have a hard time wearing their garments  when they sleep and they have some pretty fowl mouths... so I'm just excited to see whats gonna happen! haha!  I forgot to mention... on the plane... I watched 0 movies... and it killed me... I figured that If i was a missionary i better start being obedient now cause it will only get harder... they even had parks and Rec playing on the movie screen on the ceiling and all i Did was open up my scripts... that was hard... 

Jen, I already used some essential oils and I can already tell they are helping! love ya!

Mom, I figured you would be crazy worried because I didn't call you again, but I figured I had to learn to fly on my own sometime!

Love you guys

Elder Crandall (hehe, still sounds weird to me)