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Monday, June 30, 2014

Teaching a Pastor and a Catholic. :)

I had a really fun and effective week!  I was really focused on not wasting any of the Lords time and we were able to teach 10 more lessons than I have ever taught in this area!  I received a new companion and I knew the best way to show him that I am here to work... was to work hard these first 2 weeks and then it will be a habit for the rest of the transfer! 

Mission is so interesting.  Never have I wanted to be so close to the spirit.  All day long I am doing the best I can to create situations were others can feel God's love.  African's love to blast their music and it can be heard from miles away so it can be difficult sometimes... but when you witness the light appearing in someone's eyes who has been in darkness their whole life it is the coolest experience!

This week we taught these 2 twenty year old friends.  One is named A**** and has been taking very well to the lessons but after we teach him... his friend... the other one... I**** comes and tries to contradict what we say.  I**** is so smart and is very educated in the bible.  He is a pastor in another church (A****'s old church).  We have been teaching him about the priesthood and why it is necessary to do ordinances such as baptism.  He has been baptized in his church and has baptized many people.  We have been trying and trying to make it click in his brain.... well this week... I SAW that click!  The lesson started in a similar manner as lessons in the past of him coming to us with a bunch of scriptures that contradict what we believe... we were able to resolve those concerns.  I had  a feeling that we should teach him about how Christ set up his church while he was on earth.  He said that he knew that Christ was still alive and that for a person to be an apostle of Jesus Christ they have to actually have seen him and talk with him.  I just smiled so big I couldn't help it.  I just felt so strongly to teach about our current prophet and apostles.  I seriously saw light come into this guys eyes.  He was just filled with the spirit and he knew that everything we have been teaching him is true.  We showed him scriptures in the BofM that answered perfectly his questions.  He just kept saying.... I will do anything for the truth... I cannot wait to meet with him this week and explain more to him and help him to become a very strong member in this church! woooo!!

One of our other Investigators is M*** A***.  She is my favorite.  She is a 40 year old Elementary school teacher.  She was also once very Catholic (before she met me hehe).  She has been teetering on the fence lately trying to decide if she should be baptized again.  We took her to a baptism in our District center.  She said I want to witness this whole thing before I dive in and do it.  Well... she must have felt the spirit because as we were leaving the baptism some other people were asking her if she was a member and she said.. no But Elder Crandall is going to baptize me on the 19th and then I will be!! I over heard that and couldn't help but smile.  We met with her this Sunday and her desire to be baptized is so strong now!  She has run into a few problems with commandments that we just taught her... But I know that the Lord will provide a way for her.  Her desire is there... she just needs to follow it now.  The investigators who really become converted are the ones who have to overcome something so they can be baptized.  Oh I just love helping people change:)

We played Futbol today against what I am pretty sure is an organized team haha!  Missionaries vs. Sierra Leone.  We got wrecked!  Some of the missionaries were sooo angry and it made me really sad to see them forget their purpose so quickly just because of a game.  If you knew me before mission... you would know that I am a competitive kid and I like to have fun while I win... well... mission must be changing me or something because I have never been so happy while getting my trash kicked at soccer! haha! That was not the case for my companion though... lets hope this game doesn't effective the rest of his week ha!

This world is a nasty place.  It is so sad to see how some live their lives.  I feel perfectly comfortable with what I do as a missionary and I love how free I am from guilt and shame because of the Atonement.  People in this world do the best they can to try and hide or push away their guilt.... but it will never go away without the help of Jesus Christ.  I pray that if you ever feel guilt or shame... pray and ask Heavenly Father what to do.  He will put you on the perfect path.  We all need repentance and I know it is the key to living a righteous and happy life.  REPENT DAILY!!!!  There is nothing better than kneeling down at night and going over my day with Heavenly Father.  He helps me to recognize things I can improve and things that I am doing well.  With his help and guidance we can become perfect! Me personally... it will not happen in this life or even in the next millions years in the next life.  But through Christ I will be made perfect if I can but endure through this journey and keep fast to the covenants I have made!

I love life! I love Mission! I love My Father in Heaven!!!!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lots of fun pictures this week. Cody loves serving in Bo.

 Baptism of A... P.... 
 
 This young boy playing soccer has only one leg. 
Cody says he is sooooo good and wishes he could take a video of him. 
So happy to see him playing hard and not letting this stop him.
 
 Book of Mormon boy. So cute!
 
 This guy reminds Cody of one of his favorite Cousins, Trevor Boulter!!!
 
Cody and the kids.  I love the way some of them are just staring at him. 
Looks as though they have never seen a white person before.


Transfers This Week

I have just been so happy and loving life for the past week.  I am really really trying to do everything in the Lord's way... and after doing so.. showing gratitude in whatever way I can.  My prayers have been based on 2 things for the past month or so.  1. I want to be happy in whatever circumstance I am in.  2.  I want to improve my area and be able to see the fruits of my labors.  Well I can see God answering my prayers everyday.  Sometimes we forget what we prayed about so when it comes a reality... we don't even realize it and we don't show our appreciation to our Father in Heaven.  Prayer is a commandment and a blessing.  Why not do something that will benefit you?? haha... no clue.. makes me wonder why it has taken me so long to understand the importance of prayer.

Elder A.... will be leaving me this transfer and be going to Thunder hill (Freetown).  I am so grateful for all the experiences we have shared together.  We have had some of the roughest times together but we have also had some of the most unforgettable times.  He has taught me so many lessons that I needed to learn.  My goal was to help make him happy doing the work.  These past 3 weeks have just been a blast and I cannot even explain the change I have seen in both of us.  He will go on to do many wonderful things in this mission. I will miss being with him 24/7 but I know I will see him again!  One thing I have truly noticed while I have been here is that when you feel the spirit with someone... there is an unseen bond that is formed.  If you want to strengthen your relationship with someone... find a way to have a spiritual experience with them.  For example, My aunt and Uncle just went and did a church history trip... no better way to strengthen a relationship than spending time doing something that invites the spirit.  

I will be receiving another Zimbabwean.  I have served around him a lot.  His name is Elder Mukwira.  He is a big strong guy with a sweet smile.  I am so stoked to have another African companion!  I know I am put with certain companions for certain reasons so I can't wait to learn and grow from him.  

This week I was lucky enough to go on an exchange with the A.P.'s.  I was a little nervous but I love both of them so I knew it would be an awesome experience.  I went with Elder H..... who will be flying home tomorrow.  He is from Spanish fork and is the perfect example of who I want to be like when I am finished with my mission.  I was trying to squeeze out every possible tip, hint, or idea possible from him.  He has 2 years of experience that he is going to take home with him so I wanted as much help from him as I could get!  He is so close to the spirit and does everything the way the preach my gospel teaches us to.  There were so many awesome experiences that I had with him but no time to write them.  The coolest thing that happened though.... we got bounced from a lesson and decided to go under a tree and pray for inspiration to know where to go to find someone to teach.  We both felt prompted to go a certain direction and we ended up talking to 2 guys at the same time who showed sincere interest.  We taught them about temples and how you can be sealed to your family for time and all eternity.  When we finally left they were almost begging us to come back so they could know more about uniting their family for eternity.  So Awesome.  One of the other things that I noticed he is really good at...  He can make anyone smile.  I realized how simple it is to give someone a compliment and make their day.  I want you all to try something this week.  Give someone an sincere unexpected compliment and look at how their countenance will change.  I have been doing it all week and all the sudden it seems like I am only around very happy people!  I am so grateful for the saviors example of charity.  When you learn to love people you are around... you learn to love life!  Don't worry... be happy!

The other A.P. is Elder H....  He is my favorite.  He will be going home at the end of this next transfer.  I found out that he lived in the exact same room as me up at Utah State just 2 years before me.  I have such a close bond with him as well.  I am so grateful for the people Heavenly Father has put me around!

There is no cooler lesson than eternal marriage and families.  I wish so badly that there was a temple in Sierra Leone.  I never ever realized the blessing of having a temple close by.  Something I like to think about.... Would heaven really be as awesome as it sounds if the people I love most in life weren't there to enjoy it with me??  I am so grateful for the covenants my parents have made in the temple and how blessed I am to be sealed to them.  I cannot wait to have my own family!!

Shout out to My papa bear for retiring this week!!  You've done good kid... you've done good.

also shout out to my sister Jenessa la pueps!  I have been thinking about you a lot and I hope you know I love you tons!  Hope you have a great week!

I love you all!

Elder cran man

Monday, June 16, 2014

 
 Apparently the police are trying to enforce helmets for motorcycle riders.  A guy riding a motorcycle tried to get away from the police and crashed, so the motorcycle riders are blaming the police for his death.  Therefore, they were shooting and stoning the police.  The police were the ones with the tear gas, so Cody must have been close enough to the events that he felt the effects of the tear gas.  From the smile on his face and the apparent lack of concern, he either didn’t have a clue what was happening, or else he didn’t feel threatened.  He said there was some rioting, so he was running away from the rioting.  Maybe he should have run a bit faster..............like sprinting?????
Sunday after church

Another Sweet Week

I had such a fun week!!

We had Zone conference this thursday and it was so powerful.  Our mission is really really focusing on finding and teaching independent people so they can help to build the foundation of the Church here in Sierra Leone.  This means... Harder work for the missionaries.  One thing about my mission is that a missionary could very casually do what he is suppose to and not put in any real effort and still see baptisms and people coming to the gospel.  Those people would generally be younger teenagers which is not a bad thing... but they are much harder to retain.  I have been around a lot of missionaries who said that of their first 10 baptisms... maybe 3 or 4 have stayed active... so there is a definite need to build the branches so they can in return build up and support the members.  

Our work is definitely becoming more of a challenge because we are now teaching people with concerns that I haven't really come across.  Older independent people have a definite sense of pride.  I have taught a couple of guys who told me in the first meeting that.. "if I join your church I will be a much higher rating than you guys who are teaching me" haha I always want to respond and say.. "Let's see it" haha they obviously don't realize that that is my true and sincere goal... to build them up past myself! 

These "kingdom builders" are already pretty far in life and have their "routine" such as their own church... or work that requires them to work on a sunday.  So it will be tough helping them to see for themselves.  However, when they do finally "see" they will be so solid and help the growth of the church so much.  I am excited to see some true conversion taking place with some of these types of people.  I don't know anyone who would leave EVERYTHING they know and do... unless they have received their own personal answer from God.  Well... Thank goodness Heavenly Father is just waiting for them to ask! haha

So we are teaching this Lady named M... A....  She is about 40 years old and is a teacher at a Catholic school.  She has been catholic all her life.  We have had some very powerful lessons with her about the restoration... but for some reason... it just hasn't been clicking.  She can explain to us in pretty great detail about joseph smith and the first vision.. and when we would invite her to come to church and she would just say.. oh I really wish I could but I have my own church.. haha... nice.  However... She came this week!! I was so happy to see her sitting inside the chapel before we had even got there.  We had one of the most heartfelt talks given by or old branch president.  I know that talk was perfect for her. Then we had one of the most powerful and bold lessons on the restoration that I have heard taught by one of the missionaries in my zone.  Mary was very active throughout the lesson and I could seriously see the spirit working in her.  We saw her today on the way to email and she said church was amazing.  She said she wants a gospel principles book and a book on joseph smiths teachings!  Wow.  I can't even explain how hard I prayed sunday morning to have a good experience in church.. and of course... My heavenly father followed through for me:)

Another one of our investigators is named K... S....  He his a muslim but is very interested in learning more about our church and would be willing to change anything if he knew God wanted him to.  He is another example of someone who is harder to teach.  Because he is older than us he thinks he has much more knowledge than us.. so when we try and teach him something... he wants to in return.. teach us something.. haha. for instances... we gave him a book of mormon... he gave me a quran haha!  I thought it was kinda funny.  He has a desire to know if Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I know he will find his answer if he does it in the right way.  When we try to find spiritual answers through logic... we will get shut down... this world's technology and knowledge about life is far far behind the knowledge that God has.  If he will humble himself and ask with real sincerity if jesus christ is the son of God.  HE WILL KNOW.  we receive spiritual answers through the power of the holy ghost.. until you have experienced what it is like to receive an answer from God.. you won't fully understand.. so I invite anyone who reads this.. pray and have God answer one of your questions.  He won't leave you in the dark.

A.. P... will be baptizing this week.  He is an example of a golden investigator.  We would invite him to do something... and low and behold.. he would do it... and he would get a result!  WOW.  Magic you wonder?? nope... just Heavenly Father.  He is so solid and I can't wait to see him try and fit into our baptismal clothes because he is a very buff man! haha
 
I want you all to know that I am so happy being on a mission.  I have been filled with joy and I don't even know why at times.  I teach about families on a consistent basis and as much as it makes me miss my own family.. it helps me understand the blessings I have received from growing up in this gospel.  Don't taking anything for granted.  Live the commandments.  Enjoy where you are in life.  If you can figure out these things.. then life is gonna be good!

I love you all very much! hope all is well!

Lake Powell Week

Our Family was at Lake Powell this week.  These pictures finally came through email on Wednesday.  His letter must have had pictures attached because we never got his letter.  I will post it on Monday when I have him resend it to me.  We sure missed Cody at Lake Powell. It just isn't the same without him.  :)  We didn't tell him we moved our week up so he hopefully had no idea we were there yet.  Hoping that makes it easier for him this year.  :)
 
 Typical Cooking in Sierra Leone. 
  
Harold thought it was cold.  :) 
How can anyone think it is cold in Salone?

Monday, June 9, 2014

4 Months Went Fast!!!!!

I am slowly starting to forget what home is like.  Elders will ask me my favorite movie or Song and I honestly can't remember what I use to like! haha!  I am trying real real hard to forget what Lake Powell is like because I know that trip is coming up soon for the family.  I am pretty absolutely positive that the celestial kingdom is just a massive lake powell.  I'd like to say I've seen heaven in some of my dreams because I dream about lake powell wayyyyy to much haha.... and the longer I'm out the more my dreams are me trying to  teach someone a lesson while riding next to them on a wakeboard or other weird proseylting situations haha! 

It's almost a blessing that Heavenly Father helps you to forget about all the details of home and what is happening in the world.  I want to be in this world but I want nothing to do with the commotion of it.  Shout out to my dad for the killer talk he gave at I think it was stake conference about this.  He sent me the talk and I couldn't put it down.  

Being a missionary is so sweet because you get to help change people's perspective of life.  Lot's of people here think that people with money are happy.... ohhh how that is just the biggest lie I have ever heard.  Some of the happiest people I have met have absolutely nothing and are surviving day to day.. Some of the Sadest people I have met have more money than they know what to do with.  Jacob 2: 16-19.... read it... its a sweet one! 

 Perspective is something I never want to lose.  I know that I am here on this earth for no longer than 100 years... and that the actions I take while here will determine where I go for ETERNITY!  Why would we stray from the Gospel of Jesus Christ for even a second?? well.. we lose our perspective.  I can remember going to EFY and leaving thinking... wow... I want to live the way I have for the past week and be this close to the spirit.  Slowly I would lose perspective until I was just right back to doing the same things I was doing before.  So how can I keep my perspective?? Developing Good habits.  Missionaries are so close to the spirit because for a minimum of 2 hours everyday they are feasting on the words of Christ.  We are constantly mindful of the people we are teaching, and just passing by on the street. We are doing our very best to develop christ-like attributes.  I remember someone gave a talk while I was home and she mentioned how her son was about to come come from his mission and the siblings were laughing and joking about how weird he would be for the first month or so. She sad she was a little thrown by the fact that her kids were calling it weird.  She sat them down and asked them... why would we want our missionary to come back and adjust back to life in the world... why don't we raise ourselves up to his level.  He has been closer to the spirit while on his mission than he has his whole life so why would we want him to stoop back down to our level... In no way am I saying that missionaries are better than people who aren't on missions but what I am saying is that.... I hope I am the "weirdest" kid ever when I get back and I hope I stay that way for the rest of my life.  If some people consider being close to God and living his standard weird.... then I want to be like Davis Busteed weird!! (He is the goofiest,most odd, funniest and funnest kid I know) haha!  I don't ever want to lose the habits I have made on my mission. And if I don't.... I wont ever lose my perspective on this life.

If someone has lost there perspective.. no worries.  That is why we are so blessed to have the Atonement.  The Atonement allows us to start over and start fresh.  If you never have had a perspective on this life... I encourage you to read the Book Of Mormon.  There is no other book written that will help you realize your purpose.

We had a baptism this week!  Aminata Sannah was baptized and confirmed.  She is 20 years old and is the sweetest  most giving person I have ever met!  She makes us snacks almost everytime we go to her house so you know I love her haha!  I love when people realize their own personal relationship with our father in Heaven and then act on it by making their first covenant at baptism.  I will try and send a picture of it next week.

I went on a couple exchanges this week and had a blast.  My area is struggling with the number of people we are teaching so we worked soooo hard on finding kingdom builders and adding them to the people we are able to see often.   We found 7 new people!! it was so awesome!!  Contacting people is such a thrill haha! You never know what the person is gonna be like until you talk to them so you just have to "feel the fear and do it anyway" - A very timid Steve Crandall. haha! My testimony of the work is increasing everyday.  It can be hard and disappointing at times but if you never let the things you can't control bother you... then there is nothing to worry about!! 

Shout out to Lindsey Parrish.  She sent me a talk written by Elder D. Todd Christofferson about taking life one day at a time.  I opened it and read it EXACTLY when I needed it.  God works in mysterious ways but I know he had me open that letter at the perfect moment.  When times ever get hard, rely on the lord more than you have been and focus on the NOW.  

I love you all and hope you have a good week!!

Elder Cran man

Monday, June 2, 2014

Elder Incognito

Local Gym

Very large pineapples.  Looks delicious.

The local Country Club


Cody gets to play tennis.  He missed Zeke Richards though.

The greatest tennis player in all of Sierra Leone. 

I PLAYED TENNIS!!!!!

WOOOOT!!  I found out this last tuesday that there is a "country club" nearby with a tennis court and so I asked the second counselor in the Branch presidency if he knew anything about it... turns out he is best friends with the guy who owns it so we set a time to come and I played for a whole hour today!!  I was in heaven!!!  It made me think a lot about the good times I have had with some of the best people I have met while playing tennis.  Especially my one and only dubs partner BABY Z (Zeke Richards) and my second dad ROY BOY (Royal Richards)  I have had more fun with these 2 then i didn't know was possible.  

The guy who owned it is apparently number 1 in sierra leone and he's been playing tennis since he was 12.  I loved that there was someone to play with because incase you didn't know... it takes 2 to play tennis.  Sadly... I bet I could take him no problem but I was just loving the moment.  I will send the pictures.  You will laugh and definitely wonder why I am playing in a junk yard but I was just so happy to play. I have no clue how old the raquets are or how the balls are even still bouncing. There are definitely not any lines and there was barely a net... but what do you expect!  Tennis is alive and well in Africa!! The guy I played told my I look like nadal when I play but I told him will forever be a Roger Federer fan!  My Main man FED!!!  

 I LOVE TENNIS!!  Maybe you can send the pics to the Utah State coach and tell him I am keeping up on my game and I will be joining them quite soon!  

 Well I have used my fun bar all up for today because after tennis we went and played futbol against the other zone in BO.  I am definitely beat and I can feel the sunburn radiating from my face haha! but it has been a very eventful day and I will never forget it!

So this week was District Conference in Bo so we were able to go to both Saturday session and Sunday session.  I love President Ostler so much.  Every time he speaks I feel a rush of the spirit just going through my body.  I swear he is always speaking right to me.  It was really nice to be spiritually fed.  All day everyday missionaries are trying to feed people the gospel and those who take a bite learn how good it tastes and realize they want more and more.  So i will try to put it simply... I was feasting at the conference.  

Something that I thought was really cool too was how basic and simple the talks were.  I have taught the lessons they were speaking on over 100 times... yet I was learning so much.  That is one of the reasons I love the spirit.  500 people can listen to the same talk and they can all walk away with a different feeling or impression of something specific they need to change in their own lives to become a better disciple of Christ.  I sure know there are things I can change so I can be a better, harder working, spirit bringing missionary.  I love the peace I feel when I know the spirit is working inside of me.  The spirit loves to be with us... but based on how we live are we blessed to have his presence.  I DO NOT want to do anything that would make the spirit leave me because he is starting to become like my best friend.  I love the spirit!!

I am really trying my best to pray that my spirit can control my body.  The second we start letting our body take over is when we fall into sin.  Jesus Christ is the best example of this.  He never sinned because he was so in control of the natural man.  Sometimes I get really tired from all the work we do in the hot sun and I just want to lie down and sleep.  That is my body trying to take over my spirit.  yes, sleep is necessary... but in no way to I want my sleep to be the reason someone didn't have the chance to learn about how to gain Salvation.  Fasting is a perfect example of letting our spirit control our body.  We give up a natural thing (food) to be given spiritual blessings.  I can remember when i was really really nervous to give my farewell talk, my dad suggested I try fasting.  I was able to make it through with only minimal tears rather than gallons of tears haha! Let me tell ya... the power of fasting is real.  Pray to let your spirit shine forth and be the ruler of your body!! I can really see a change.  My thoughts are much better and more focused.

One thing that is different here in Sierra Leone then back home is the frequency of Death.  I have met several people and even taught a couple people who have died.  All the time we will go to a person's house to teach and we find out that a brother or a aunt has passed away.  Death is not something I was very use to back home.  We take for granted how good of medical care we have in the United States.  Even this week, we are teaching a lady named monica.  She is probably 50+ and fell down and straight up shattered her arm.  The second I saw it I could tell it was broken in like 2 places.  She couldn't go to the hospital however because she doesn't have the money for it and all they would do is tell her... "yep.. that sucker is definitely broken"  I have seen a lot of deformities because of poor medical care.  

However, this makes teaching the plan of salvation and even the Resurrection so spiritual.  I love being able to explain to someone who has physical hindrances that they will be healed.  That is life is short.. and that God will make everything perfect in the next life.  It is all possible because of our Savior Jesus Christ.  He is just the most neatest person ever and I love him so much.  There is literally no way to explain the miracles that will happen because of the infinite Atonement that is so easily accessible to those who want it.

I love the uniqueness of my mission... it is hard.. but it is sooooo worth it!!

I love you all and I hope you have a great week.

Shout out to Brighton Tennis, Congrats at state! I loved being a bengal and playing in state!!  I loved the team we had last year and I know all of you guys will go on to do some sweet things!  Thanks Coach Natalie and Poole for all you guys do!

Love Elder Crandall

Oh and we are teaching a guy who owns a gym so I pumped for a little bit with him haha!