I tried writing a lot of what has been going on in my journal... but I think my mind and body are working as hard as possible to not feel or think. I am almost positive I went into some type of shock because I have felt weirder this past week than I ever have in my life. I definitely have emotions that are bottled up but there is no telling when those are gonna explode out of me ha.
So basically on Thursday about 1 1/2 weeks ago we had just finished weekly planning and were getting ready to go out for the day. We were all laughing and joking in the apartment and everything was good. Then our district leader came in the room with a pretty sickly look on his face and told us to pack everything and be ready to go in an hour. I can honestly say my heart dropped straight to the floor. We basically started throwing everything we have into our suitcases as quickly as possible. I had 3 suitcases.. a big bag with all my shoes in it... and my back pack that were just loaded with jumbled stuff. We went and got a taxi and had it take us over to the couples apartment on the other side of town. We unloaded our stuff and were told we were going to wait for a bus that was coming from Freetown to pick us up. All of the Elders in Bo were there and we just kinda hung around waiting and wondering. Actually we sang hymns nonstop for like 6 hours haha. The bus came and we crammed all of us inside and traveled 4 hours to Freetown.
The next morning all of the Bo elders were just hanging out at the mission home. We still didn't really know what was going on but we tried our best to keep our missionary schedules. I think that was the first day I have taken a real nap on my mission haha!
The next day was Saturday I believe. We were told we had a devotional in the mission home. I could see one of my favorite people I've met on mission Sister Kanzler.. a senior missionary.. just crying and crying so I figured what we were about to hear wouldn't be very good. President Ostler talked about how everything is done in the Lord's way and that all of the instructions he was receiving were directly from the twelve. He then told us that we had all been reassigned and that they would be taking all of the Elders out of Sierra Leone... This time My heart dropped through the floor. He had us stand when he called our names and then gave us our new mission. My heart was beating like crazy and the only think I was thinking about was PLEASE let me stay in Africa. "Elder Crandall, Ghana Accra West Mission" I was still pretty devastated to be leaving Sierra Leone but one of the things comforting me was that I would be staying in Africa. After he called all of our missions we sang "I'll go where you want me to go" The spirit was more powerful and overwhelming than I think I have ever felt in my life. I had my arm wrapped around Elder Mukwaira's (his current companion from Zimbabwe) shoulder and his around mine. We were just crying and attempting to sing. I don't think I have ever seen more 19 year olds cry in my life. It was very spiritual but nothing I would ever want to experience again. Immediately after that meeting I went and said one of the most powerful prayers I think I ever had. I basically bawled for like 15 minutes to the Lord. I finished and saw one of my best friends on mission Elder Gherkins. We gave each other a hug for a very long time and just cried on each others shoulders. I have NEVER cried so much in my life.
We were told that our bags had a weight limit. We could have one 44 pound suitcase and one 22 pound carry on. I probably had over 150 pounds worth of stuff so I spent the rest of the day throwing away all of the stuff I wouldn't be able to take. I did this in the hot sun with dried tears on my face for at least 6 hours. It was awful.
We were there for another night or 2 I'm not really sure.. everything has blended into 1 awful day in my mind. Finally after still being in the dark about when we were leaving and all of the other details, All of the Elders with American Passports were rushed into Podas (last time I will ever ride in a Poda:( ) We went to the boats that take you across the bay to Lungi where the Airport is. We then stayed in a hotel in Lungi while we waited for a charter flight to land and be able to take us. I think we were there for 2 nights and 3 days. It was pretty fun hanging out with all of the Elders... but it got boring pretty quick because we are all very use to keeping busy. All of the African Elders were still at the mission home with NO plan yet to get out of the country. I felt so bad, I honestly think I came to love the African Elders waaaayyyy more than the American Elders. They are all so humble and have a strong desire to follow God. Anyways, we finally left Sierra Leone on a charter flight to Portugal. We had medical people on the plane checking our temperatures and asking us questions. We landed and were taken to this conference room... I can even remember the seats.. they were lime green... the reason why is it was in this room that I got the news I had continually been praying I wouldn't get. "Elder Crandall, California Bakersfield Mission" My mind went 100% blank and seriously couldn't think for the rest of the night. I spent the night in Portugal in one of the nicest buildings I had seen in 6 months. I woke up at 4 in the morning and started my horrific travel day back to the States. I flew from Portugal to Newark New Jersey with 3 other Elders... they were going to Louisiana though. After we landed I was on my own for the rest of the Day. After being a missionary and being use to having someone with me all the time I seriously felt like a lost confused sinner haha. I went from New Jersey to Denver Colorado... and then Colorado to Bakersfield California. (Note from Cody's mom, there was one other elder traveling to Cody's same mission, but he was on a flight the following day. They spread the missionaries out as much as they could and had them take their name tags off so as to not draw attention to themselves.)
One of the worst things about this whole adventure is how I felt. I felt homesick... but I'm sorry to say I didn't miss my family. I missed my Sierra Leone family. Because my schedule has been so whack I haven't been able to do the things that help me feel the spirit. I didn't feel like a missionary for the past week and except for a few experiences. I didn't really have the spirit with me. I have since gotten it back but I really felt what it feels like to not have the spirit. As hard as I was trying to have a good attitude I just wanted to keep asking myself why? I've had more time to think about it... I have repented for asking myself those questions.. and I think once I did that I immediately felt the spirit again. I know I am in Bakersfield for a reason. I don't know what it is yet... but I will find it.
I am still adjusting back to life in a 1st world country. I have never been so disgusted at some of the things Americans think is normal. I can't believe 10 year olds are running around with iphones! Also, the horrible media that is displayed everywhere is ridiculous. Satan is real and he is also everywhere. Thankfully God is too.
Also, incase anyone is wondering... Bakersfieldians don't speak Krio... my list of things for next week is to try and speak English while attempting to contact haha!
I am so grateful for all the prayers that have been said in my behalf. I don't know if I would have made it here without them. I love you all.
Shout out to all my Fellow Sierra Leone missionaries. I have shared some of my most sacred experiences with you. I will never forget any of you. I am praying with my whole heart for you guys. This is not an easy thing but the Lord is on our side. Kushe for the work.