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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Apartment in Bo.  Fort on top of the garage.
It is now rainy season.


Cleaning the Baptismal Font

Baptism of Harold and Alusine


Sweet Feeling of the Spirit


So I know that i titled this email sweet feelings of the spirit but I have to share what has probably been the funniest part of my mission so far.  We had just left Harold Rogers house and we could tell that it was going to rain pretty soon and rain super hard!  We were trying to hustle our way to our next appointment so we wouldn't get caught in the rain.  Well, we didn't make it... and it was one of the bigger rain storms we've had!  Elder Allen and I were under like the corner of this roof just hanging out waiting for it to slow down.  I was thinking to myself... what would I do if I were back home and it was raining this hard.  Well I would have been running, sliding, jumping, splashing, laughing and I may or may not have clothes on.  However, since I am a missionary I figured that might not be too appropriate haha!  I still thought about running in the rain but I had tons and tons of paper and there is no way I would sacrifice my scriptures for any amount of fun. so we sat and waited... BOOM... all of the sudden this 5 year old came flying around the corner of the house BUTT NAKED!  haha!! I was laughing so hard because I was literally just picturing myself doing that!!  Sad that my thinking was the same as a 5 year old... but I am still working on it haha! As he ran by us at a full sprint I lifted both my arms and cheered him on!! He gave us a loud scream of freedom and threw a double fist pump into the air! haha Elder Allen and i were laughing so hard!  I know  that bobo was feeling as free as ever.  I'm glad too that I could live the experience through that kid without having to get sent home from my mission haha!  Seriously made my entire week.

 My weird thought for the week.. when it rains the roads turn into like flash flood streams... so I thought to myself... what is the best and fastest way to spread the message of the restored gospel to everyone.  Well... We need wax paper pamphlets that I can fold into paper boats and just let them sail throughout the roads of sierra leone haha!  I'll try a demo this week and let you know how it goes.  I might end up just reteaching myself to do things the Lords way or the Hard way... but we'll see;) haha!

So I had one of the sweetest lessons about repentance this week with a member who has been going less active.  His name is M*** and he had a very strong desire to go on a mission but he has been getting in with some pretty rough friends.  It all kinda started when he asked me if it was possible to be baptized twice.  I knew immediately that we would be talking about the Atonement and I love nothing more than a spiritual lesson about the Grace of God.  I could tell that he was hurting spiritually.  he said that lately he has lost the desire to pray and that he even felt weak when he would pray.  He said that God hasn't answered any of his prayers like he use to.  I remember what Bishop Larsen told me one time.  He said that whenever we stop praying... everything else will start to fall apart.  Morning and Night prayers are so important.  I could just see weight just pushing down on M*** and I bore my testimony about the joy that comes when you repent.  I am just an emotional guy because I felt the coolest surge and tingle throughout my entire body as I talked and I was struggling to hold back tears.  I had an impression to read a scripture but I didn't have one in mind.  I straight up just flipped open my scriptures and the first verse I read was EXACTLY what we all needed to hear.  it was D &C 20:5-6.  I was blown away at the immediate response Heavenly Father sent us.  We are never done repenting... the question is have we begun repenting and are we willing to continue to repent.  The times I have felt the power of the Atonement the strongest is when I was humbling myself before the lord and repenting.  If we fall away from the iron rod... we can always come back.. it is hard... but it is worth it.  I wish I could explain in words the joyful feelings I felt as we talked about repentance.  If you had asked me in high school, I would tell you that repentance is scary... but now... There is nothing sweeter.  

 I made brownies this week... :)

Harold Rogers and Alusine Johnny were baptized this Saturday!! YAAYYY!! I don't even know were to begin with how awesome it was.  I'll start with Alusine.  We called him like 5 times on Saturday morning and we were getting a little nervous when he hadn't shown and he was 10 minutes late for his own baptism.  He has been really really struggling with some trials in his life and has felt like there is no hope, no light, and he just hasn't been able to push through this trial and be happy.  He met all the qualifications for baptism and has really really wanted to baptize.  He finally showed up and the second he walked into the chapel his mood changed from how he had been the past 2 weeks.  You could just see that he was very nervous and he even said in his testimony that he was a little scared to be baptized but he knew it was what he needed to do.  The instant he came out of the water I have never seen a bigger smile or happier person.  He told us that he felt like he was a whole new person and that he could just leave all his problems in the past.  HE WAS SO HAPPY!  However, my favorite part of the day and probably my mission so far was being able to baptize Harold Rogers.  He wanted to walk by himself to the font so he could do his part.  It probably took him 10 minutes but he did it all just using his crutch.  He is half paralyzed on his left side.  Dad, I know you could help this man I just wish I had some of your gifts of healing.  Anyways, I was able to pick him up and carry him into the waters of baptism.  We put a chair inside the font and tried to attempts with it but it wasn't working.  He wanted to stand just like Alusine so we  gave it a try.  He when down and I was able to give him a big hug to bring him out of the water.  I felt quite honored to be the first one to give Harold a hug in his "new" life.  I had some help to get him out of the font.  I put his left arm around my head and got him out.  his left arm is the one that doesn't work so when I set him on the ground he had me in a killer head lock that he couldn't control! hahah!  I was laughing so hard and I had to squeeze my head out of his accidental death grip!  It was really the coolest experience ever.  I may or may not have double fist pumped just like the boy in the rain when I was in the bathroom changing haha! I was SOOO Happy!! I love the feelings of true and everlasting Joy!! Missions are so sweet!  I definitely was filled with the spirit and I know that I can have more experiences like this if I work hard and stay obedient!

Don't ever let Satan get a grip on you.  He wants more than anything to make you sad and unhappy.  If you are having a hard time in your life.... turn to God.  Say a prayer.  Heavenly Father is sitting and waiting in heaven to give you what you need.  I love my Father in Heaven.

Also, take advantage of the Sacrament.  I wish I had understood the significance before my mission a lot better.  Every week my favorite moment is when I get to take the bread and water.  Why? because I feel so happy.  I don't have to think about anything else except my savior.
 
Shout out to all the people who are thinking about serving a mission... DO IT! It is the best thing for your life.
 
quote I liked from Elder Gherkins "Mission is not the best 2 years of my life.... It is the first 2"  I am learning how I really want to live for the rest of my life.
 
Oh and I finally can teach full lessons in krio now!!! I can talk like a 3rd grader... woot!!! haha

love you all hope you have a great week!!
 
Elder Crandall the Vandal
 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Amazing Days in Bo, Sierra Leone!!!!!

 Cody with the children in Bo.
 
 Corndog Happiness!
 
Becoming a native to Sierra Leone.

Ow ye de do?!

So this week was pretty good.  I am done with training so I am a legit unnoobish missionary finally!! in the words of Steve Crandall... "Can I get a hoop and a holler?!" hahaha

So I think I have always known... but I am not a morning person.  I struggle to get going and I am not really "there" until about 9 o'clock.  So I am really really working on that.  I do push ups... then the next thing I know I am lying on the ground in push up position and 10 minutes have gone by haha!!  I love reading the scriptures and having time each day to let God speak to me.  But... if you are constantly nodding off while you read... then you aren't going to get much out of it.  I think maybe I'll just go by some coffee or something!;) just kidding just kidding!!! haha!

The one thing that I continually relearn myself of is that any spiritual experience will give me energy or brighten me up.  The holy ghost truly is a gift from our Father in Heaven because it gives me inspiration to get up and go to work!  I've also found that it is impossible to be sad when feeling the spirit.  So if any of you are struggling ever... turn to your Father in Heaven and look, search, and Find the Holy Ghost.  He wants to be with you... you just have to want him there also!

So one of the things I've heard and experienced about missionary work is that it can get hard and repetitive if you don't make it fun.  So I have really been trying my best to think outside the box and make the work fun!  well, my companion has been quite pessimistic to all of my ideas lately and I was getting to the point were I was seriously wondering if I just had a massive bag of bad Ideas... well, in our Companionship inventory he was able to explain to me why he has been so negative towards some of my ideas.  He said he has really been studying humility lately.  He knows that I am much younger on mission than him and he has been really mad at himself because he hasn't been the one motivated to really do much.  I am not writing this to pat myself on the back at all... but It really helped me to see from his point of view.  We all need to be humbled... Either we can humble ourselves... or we can wait for the Lord to humble us.  I was so impressed that he was willing to humble himself and truly express his feelings he has had lately.  It is not an easy thing to do.  It turned into a pretty sweet spiritual experience.  We have been doing much better as a companionship after that.

I need more faith.  we all need more faith.  Something my brother said when I was talking to him on Mother's Day really hit me.  If we have 99% faith that something will happen and only 1% doubt.... then nothing is going to happen.  We need to be all in!  We are really really working on finding people who will build up the church if they become a member.  I have been praying a lot to find a family or even just an independent person that God has already prepared.... well... I haven't found them yet.... the reason... I haven't acted on my faith.  Faith without works is dead.  All week I tell myself to go find that person but when I am actually out proselyting I have just a little bit of fear and doubt... hence... I haven't found them.  This week I am going to act on EVERY single impression that the holy ghost gives me!! I am ready to get shut down and told "me na muslim" but I HAVE the faith that I will find the person/family I am looking for! 

We have 2 baptisms this week.  I am really excited because one of them is Harold Rogers.... my half paralyzed bud! he is such a stud.  He has come to church 3 weeks in a row!!  I snapped a picture of him with his reading glasses on... he is just too adorable. haha I will try and attach it!

Played some soccer Today... I love sports!!! I am definitely a thrill seeker and that is not really a part of the mission life.  I think today was the first time I have run in 3 months...wowsers... I am also quite sunburned haha!  This is africa I guess!

I love you all! 

 

Shout out to my bestest brother.  Happy Late Birthday!! You are my Hero.  I will always look up to you.  Thank you for your amazing example.  I love my Tanner Bear!!!!

 

pictures
dopest hat ever.. and harold rogers

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wonderful things happening in Bo, Sierra Leone!!!

 Cody with Harold
The paralyzed man they put on the motorcycle.
 
Cody with Elder Gherkins.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Loved talking with the Fambo!


I was just counting down the minutes all week to the time I was able to call my family!  I loved hearing all of your guys voices and especially Milo's!  I was debating who's voice sounded cuter... Dad's or Milo's... Sorry dad... the cute voice award goes to the best nephew ever!!!  I don't think I have ever really mentioned it.. nor did I ever think it would happen.. but I have been a little homesick.  I brag about how awesome my family is to everyone and then I realize how little time I gave to them while I was home.  Makes me wish I could come back and just spend all the time with you guys but then I am reminded.... I get to spend eternity with you guys so I guess I can finish my mission first ya? haha

So while I was talking to you I told you I would share the experience over email of what happened when I went on Exchanges with one of the Zone leaders.  So I was able to go to their area and I was with Elder G***.  A little bit about him.. my first couple impressions were that he is and extrovert and is a nut about missionary work.  I have had the opportunity to talk with him a lot because we serve in the same branch but after our exchange... he seriously feels like one of my best friends and I look up to him so much.

We exchanged Thursday night so I was able to sleep at his apartment.  We spent like 2 or 3 hours just talking and laughing about all the crazy things we did before missions.  He is a lot like all my friends back home and has very similar interests.  He is way in to wake boarding and just being weird and making people laugh... which are my hobbies haha!  So after all this talking and sharing stories.... Our conversation changed small.  We talked about how much fun we had but how our desires are changing.  Don't get me wrong.... I will always do weird things with my friends... but my perspective on life is changing.  We went so deep and were talking about the desires of our hearts and how it is possible to change our desires.  Our conversation went from just laughing and light hearted to one of the most deep and spiritual experiences I have had.  He shared with me some struggles he has had and I was able to relate with him perfectly.  I cannot even explain in words the powerful spirit that was there as we talked.  We both want to be perfect followers of Christ but we both know that we fail... and that we fail often.  The only way to really change a behavior is to change your desires.  However... changing your desires takes time and incredible amounts of effort.  After listening to him share his struggles... I couldn't hold back the feelings I had inside any longer.  I told him that everything he said was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  A Tender Mercy as my dad likes to call it.  I shared with him about why I knew God wanted us to go on exchanges together and it was for this experience.  He spoke to my heart.  I felt so much love and peace.  We both stood up and bro hugged it out for like 30 seconds.  When you have a spiritual experience with someone... you are connected with them on a whole other level.  I am eternally grateful for the prompting Elder G*** had to share his struggles with me because it is the exact message God wanted me to hear.  There are no coincidences with God. 

Elder G*** and I then went on to have one of the most successful days I have ever had.  We would get bounced and so we would decide to say a prayer and ask where we should go... and the first people we talked to were itching to hear our message.  This happened twice that day.  He helped me to understand sooooooooo many things while we were out together.  I can't wait to apply what I learned.  I am so glad that Elder G*** didn't get transfered and he is still my zone leader.

Lot's of other cool things happened this week.  an investigator has been going through a really really hard break up.. He text us one night and told us that he was going to kill himself because he couldn't bear the pain anymore.  We were able to rush over and read scriptures with him.  I was able to explain the atonement.  We gave him a blessing and I have never heard a more spiritually guided blessing.  I know Elder Allen was saying exactly what God needed our investigator to know.  I was literally crying during the blessing, I need to stop crying on the persons head ha.  Sweet experience to be the tools for God.  I love being a missionary. for true true one.

Something I learned while talking to my family.... I need to have more fun!!!  So if anyone has any weird ideas of fun things or games I can play through out the day I would love to hear them!!  I get plenty of spiritual fun but I am lacking in the physical fun! haha 

 

Shout out to my Mom.  I love you more than all the stars in the sky.  You are the best person and mother I have ever known.  I am sorry I am so good at making you emotional haha.  I can feel the love you have for me all the way across the world.  Thank you for everything.  Happy Mother's Day yesterday!

first pic is me and Elder Gherkins at the end of our day....

second pic is me and Harold.. the paralyzed man who came to church this week as well as last week!! woooo!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cody Eatting Fire Grass, Rainboots and Spiders

 Cody Eating Firegrass over Rice (twice a day)
 
 These are the rain boots and umbrellas the mission office issues for the missionaries. 
There has to be a lot of rain for them to need rain boots this hefty.
 
Sierra Leone is not for wimps. 
Cody says the spiders are as big as his hand.


God Helps Those Who Help Themselves!!!


I had a pretty sweet week!

So holy smokes... I have no clue where April went!  I have already been out for 3 months!! Can you believe it??  It is weird to look back... I feel like I have only been gone for like a weekend trip.... yet I feel like I am starting to forget certain things about home.  Like the sweet taste of cafe rio pork... I try and imagine every night while laying in my bed what a pork burrito tastes like.... all I can taste is mashed up fire grass on top of rice... haha... yum!

So I went on Exchanges this week with an Elder that is younger than me on mission!!  Elder Brandt is still in his first transfer.  I went to his area, so he did all the planning of who we would go see.  I realized how much I have grown while I have been out.  When I first came, if I knew I would be going out as senior companion I would have been stressing! However, the whole day we were out together we just followed the spirit and we had some sweet lessons and contacts.  I am slowly getting over my fear of going up and talking to random Africans! I can almost offically speak poor poor English... or in other words... Krio.  So mom, all those years of working on my grammar went to waste.  If you had taught me bad grammar then I would have been perfectly prepared for Sierra Leone! haha  Transfers are next week and it is very possible that I could train so It was really nice to go out as 2 noobs who still are learning and see that it is possible to make things happen!

One of the highlights of my week. I got a text from Elder Muthoni... my companion back in my last area.  They were having a baptism with 4 people that I had helped find and teach!!  One of them in particular... her name is Suba Johnson.  When I first met her she was one of those people you would say to yourself " man she would never accept the gospel"  well.... Never judge... cause BOOM... she just got baptized! ahhh so sweet!  I got that text at 6:30 in the morning too so it helped motivate me to work out.  So she got baptized.. and i'm keeping from putting on the pudge(fat)! haha

It has been starting to rain.  I thought I would hate it... but it has been cooling everything down!  I love the sound of the rain on the tops of the tin roofs here.  You know it is raining before you ever feel it because you can hear it hit the roof tops way out in the distance!  Another blessing.. since it has been raining... we finally got power for the first time in like 4 months in Bo!!  And it lasted for a whole 30 minutes!! yay!! haha  We get 3 hours a day with the generator on and then we shut it off so we can sweat the bed.  It is an awesome experience waking up wet and realizing the body print you left on your bed is just from sweat haha!

The best blessing/miracle that happened this week was definitely with a Man named Harold Rogers.  Harold is paralyzed on his whole left side.  He has been taking missionary discussions for the past 4 months but has never been able to come to church.  We told him that if he would make the effort to come to church 1 time, then we would prepare him to be baptized.  Well, the past 3 weeks I have tried to do everything to help him come to church but he always ends up coming up with an excuse.  So... I had the strongest impression to go to his house before church this sunday.  We showed up at 8:15 a.m. and saw him sitting in the same spot on his porch as always.  We asked him if we wanted to come to church and he again began to give excuses.  I said like 10 prayers inside my head while we were standing there talking to him.  Finally, after helping him realize that all of his concerns could be easily solved.  HE CHOSE to come to church!! yes!!!!!  we went and called a motorcycle to take him to church.  We helped him get ready and then lifted him on to the back of the motorcycle.  He had a helmet that was much to big and kinda hung off his head crooked.  He looked absolutely adorable haha!  A young boy rode on the back so he was sandwiched in and wouldn't fall off.  I cannot explain the pure joy I felt as I watched him ride off to church.  Man.... Missionary work his sweet. I read today in Jesus the Christ about happiness and Pleasure.  Happy memories are easily looked back upon and that same joy returns inside my heart.  Pleasurable memories don't have that lasting feeling.  Watching Harold ride to church will definitely be a lasting happy memory that I will never forget.

Our area has had a very slow start.  I am doing my best to find and teach more people and especially families.  Families are so important in this gospel.  I am so grateful for my family and the support and love I am given from them.  Family is definitely one thing I took for granted while I was home.  However, whenever I look back on the memories... they bring that lasting happiness.  So sweet.

I can't wait to talk with my family on mothers Day!! Woot!!!  

Today is our super P-day so we were able to watch Ephrams Rescue.  Wow.  Powerful movie.  If you haven't seen it I would suggest watching it.  I hope that one day I will have the same amount of faith as the pioneers who crossed the plains.  "God helps those who Help themselves"  quote from the movie that I loved.  People in Salone don't really understand h0w god works.  They think that if God wants them to do something then HE will make it happen.  However, if we don't put forth the effort first then we can't just sit and wait for the reward.  Do your best and then Christ will do the rest.  
 
funny quote for the week while talking to a boy who has been a member for 10 years.  "Wait... Prophet Mohamed isn't a Prophet?!?" haha I about died when he worded it like that.

Shout out to all my friends at college!!  Hope finals went well! Can't believe you are all moving back home! I had some of the best memories just that 1 semester at Utah State with you all!