Where to begin... Every time I sit down to write at this computer it amazes me that it has already been a week since I was writing my last email!! time is flying by... but at the same time, I have a long way to go, but I am glad I have a lot of time left.
So first of all, I am afraid to get fat... hahaha! I eat so much rice that I am almost destined to get a rice belly and that legit scares me! They love their rice sooo much... and their favorite topping is fire grass... thats what I call it at least.. it is actually casava leaf. They pack sooo much pepe in it that if I don't have a full bottle of water when I start to eat then I practically breathe fire for the rest of the day! Papa bear, you would love the food.. because there is no flavor except HOT! maybe you and Cleo will Serve here!!! We eat rice at investigators house usually once a day. then we come home and every night we make rice with a some kind of tomato paste that is getting old... but we do cut up hotdogs and put them inside... It reminds me of lucky charms because I just fish through the rice looking for the hot dogs! hahaha!
My Companion and I are really starting to click! He is such a stud. Every morning in companionship study he teaches me something new that is sooo interesting and very important for our investigators to understand. We have talked a lot about the Atonement with each other and even though we study it basically everyday... We haven't even skimmed the surface. The Atonement goes so much deeper than we can even comprehend. I love Jesus Christ and I will never stop thanking him for what he has done for me and everyone on this earth!
So this week I have been praying so hard that I might have a spiritual experience that builds my testimony as strong as the time I prayed with tanner. Well, there is this cool thing about God. He answers prayers!!! What?!?! crazy I know right... but it is true and I have the proof. So last tuesday, we had 4 or 5 lessons, and I couldn't focus at all. When I would teach I fumbled over my words and it was just bad. I knew why this was however... I wasnt teaching by the spirit but I was trying to teach lessons the exact same way I had taught them in the past. Everyone needs to be taught in a way that they understand so If I teach the lessons the same everytime, then maybe 10% of the people I teach will truly understand and really feel the spirit. Teaching with the spirit is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo important. It doesn't matter the way I say something but what matter is that they understand so that the spirit can tesitfy the truthfullness of the message. Its a deep concept and I am kinda bad at explaining it, but it became so clear this week so I hope I continue to teach by the spirit. (if the last paragraph doesnt make sense... then say a prayer and have the spirit explain it to you! hahaha)
Anyways I didn't get to my spiritual experiences yet. So I went on exchanges with Elder Allen on Wednesday. He has been out 6 months. My goal was to teach with the spirit and to say whatever came to my heart. Well, we taught a family that has repeatedly rejected the missionaries message because they don't believe there should be another bible. We got there and they started asking what proof there is that the Book of Mormon is ture. Elder Allen is one of those kids that loves to be right so he started reading off scriptures in the bible that talk about the BOM but the people weren't buying it. They continued to argue and I realized our lesson wasn't going to go anywhere so I kinda but in on the contention and bore my testimony about they only way they will find out is by learning for themselves and reading the BOM, I told them that I had wondered the same thing but until I read it and prayed to know if it was true I didn't know either. The lady seemed kind of at a loss of words... after about a minute she accepted to read the BOM even though 10 minutes earlier she said ahhhhh no, I have no time, so just go on your way. People want proof of these things... and the lord gives it if they sincerely look. This made me feel so happy inside because all I did was speak by the spirit and bear my testimony. Thats all the lady needed. Investigators are never taught by the missionaries but they are taught by the spirit. My testimony grew and this was a small spiritual experience that I needed to have because it prepared me for the big spiritual experience that was to come.
I went on exchanges again on Friday with Elder Simmons. He is a great guy who has been out the same amount of time as Elder Allen. We taught a few lessons and the day was going great. We headed over to a lady's house who was baptized just the week before. She wasn't there but we saw 2 guys playing Draft (type of sierra leone checkers) on the porch right next to us. We went over and started talking to them. They said they went to church the last week and had only been taught 1 time by Elder Simmons and his comp. We sat down and started chatting. Immediately, one of the guys, his name is Peter, started asking sooo many questions about the BOM. He wanted to know why we needed another bible if in the introduction to the BOM it says that the bible contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel. Elder Simmons and I showed him some scriptures in the bible that talk about the BOM similar to the ones that Elder Allen had used with the other lady and her family. They 2 guys in return replied with other scriptures that were trying to disprove our point. like I've said, you can never convince anyone of anything. The spirit has to. These guys seemed like all they wanted to do was to prove me and the church wrong. I tried explaining to them a bit more about the BOM and how it makes things more clear when we use the bible and the BOM together. They were very rude and cut me off in the middle of my sentence and continued to bash the Church and BOM. They just kept condemning everything I was saying and everything they have heard about the church. I was starting to get a little angry and It seemed like elder Simmons was too. Elder simmons accidentally said something he shouldn't have that practically condemned their church. They lost it and starting questioning me hard about how missionaries are "suppose to be good, nice people" but now we were saying bad things about their church. The whole time they were saying this they were directing everthing at me! I cut them off and said with a raised stern voice "Look, we are 19 years old... we are not perfect... but God is and if you don't want to listen to us then that is fine, but our message is God's message." I then bore my testimony about everything I know to be true and I bore it more powerfully then ever in my life. I put my entire heart and soul into everything I said. I know this Gospel is true and it is only because I took the time to learn for myself. I seriously was overfilled with the spirit. I have never felt the spirit as strongly as I did when I bore my testimony to these 21 year old guys. Elder Simmons then asked one of them what was on his key chain... it was a concecrated oil container. Elder Simmons then said " Elder Crandall, meet Peter and Samuel, they are both returned missionaries" I cannot even begin to explain the emotion I felt. They had planned to do this the day before. Elder simmons said he was planning on it being a 3 minute thing but peter just kept it going. He said he felt bad because he could feel how powerfully I bore my testimony and how from what I said he Knew I was speaking straight from my heart. Even though this was a prank.... I am sooooooooooo much grateful for what they did.. they challenged my testimony and I stood up for what I believe... Not once did I doubt my own beliefs. Our testimony's grow when they are put to the test. Man, my testimony grew 10 fold. Tears were about to come out of my eyes when I was bearing my testimony. This experience is so hard to explain... but it what I am most grateful for this week. I might not have converted an investigator to the gospel.... but I converted myself to the gospel when I bore that testimony. I wish you were all there to witness how real this experience was. This is a weird way to have a prayer answered. None the less.... my prayer was answered way better than I had even hoped.
I wanted to share one more experience but I don't have tons of time. One of my other investigators named Andrew... He prayed this week and he said the feelings that overcame him were undescribable. He couldn't help but cry when he was praying for forgiveness of his sins. I know that God answered Andrews prayer. Andrews baptismal date is the 29 and he is the first investigator that I have witnessed to have their own spiritual experience. He is awesome.
Shout out to my Father in Heaven this week... Thank you For answering prayers.
I love you all so much!
love, Elder Crandall the Vandal