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Monday, September 29, 2014

Blah

We had another fantastic week.  We are continuing to work hard and work with members.  We taught 10 lessons with a member present!  I really don't know what we are doing differently... but Heavenly Father just really wants to bless us!  I keep trying to write in my journal all the details so that when I come to a really hard time in my mission I can look back and try to emulate what I have already done.  Mission is a constant up and down battle... so when you are on top you've got to make sure you are constantly trying to obtain good habits so when the downs come... you just push on through making it look and feel like no problem!

We received transfer calls last night.... I normally don't care too much whether I go or stay.... but I have been praying I stay.  I really love the ward I am in.  I have met so many amazing people who I hope to be life long friends with.  Also, the relationships I have built with my investigators are incredible and the relationships I have seen them build with God are even better.  When all is said and done.. all that matters is where we stand with Him.  I really try my hardest not to care what people think of me, whether it be good or bad.... what really matters is what God thinks of me.  That is something I try to help my investigators to understand... Eventually when I leave, all I want is the feeling that I will see them again... maybe not in this life... but if they keep doing the things we teach them... then in the Celestial Kingdom!  I know I will see many of the people I taught in Sierra Leone there!  But for now.... we've got to push through anything that comes our way!  I'm gonna miss Elder Billings and all of his redneck attributes... but the Lord needs him somewhere else in the mission and I am excited to see the success he will have in his new area.

I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders this last Tuesday and it was awesome!  I love them so much!  They are such great examples and they truly make me want to be a better person just being around them!  Elder Duckworth came to my area with me.  We worked hard and taught some awesome lessons.  We taught one lesson in particular that was so powerful.  We taught 2 sisters named T*** and B*** about the Law of Chastity.  They are pretty close to our same age and so lots of times Elders make it awkward and weird... but there is no reason to.  The Law of Chastity is definitely one of my favorite commandments.  If we want REAL happiness and trust in our lives... then learning to obey the Law of Chastity is the best way to go.  We taught it at a members house and the spirit was just so overwhelming.  I love when I teach and words are just flowing out of my mouth without any thought.  The spirit knows best... and when I get to be the tool for him... I can't explain the peace and happiness I feel.  The more I think about it.... B*** and T*** remind me of I*** and S***.  I*** and S*** were 2 investigators that I was teaching in Sierra Leone that I had some incredible experiences with.  All 4 of them have something in common.  and its not that they are black.. but that is an awesome bonus! haha They have the strongest desire to be close to God!  There is a reason why loving God with all your heart might mind and strength is all we talk about!  Once we learn that... then commandments/rules are something you follow without even thinking about it! Anyways, T*** will be baptized on October 11 and B*** should be following close behind. WOOT!

When you wash clothes with your hands... your hands become clean in the process.  

I feel so much more confident about myself and my relationship with God.  I feel forgiven.  I know I am forgiven.  Doing missionary work has seriously cleaned my soul.  If you want the same feeling... then go share the gospel with someone else!

Shout out to my mom.  I love you. Thanks for all you have done to keep my friends and me in contact.  I can't wait to read about the experiences my buddies are having all over the world! (I put together a quarterly newsletter for 24 of his school friends and just mailed it on Friday.  He is anticipating getting it in the mail today or tomorrow.)

Sorry for sending a short email this week... I have a major headache from schooling all these elders on the B-Ball court!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Awesome People in Palmdale!

Some of Cody's favorite people.


It appears as though Cody hasn't seen any food for a long time.
This is a Pizza Bender from Italian Village at home and
hand delivered by his Aunt Bets. 
It looks like his brains are going to pop out.
Stylish new cap Elder Crandall!

More of his favorite people.


California is just as Fruitful as Africa

I have been having some pretty awesome weeks lately!  We are starting the last week of the transfer today. I can't believe I have been back in the States for a month and a half!  I am seriously praying hard that I will stay in this area.  I feel like I know everyone in the ward and they are all so awesome!  I use to feel badly when we would ask members to help us out because I know they have their own thing going and I didn't want to bother them... but when we ask them to help we are really asking if they want blessings!  The members have been making the work effective!  If you don't ask... then you will never know!

So last P-day we were all finished with the day and just got back to our apartment.  There was a note on the door from our neighbor G**** that asked if we would come over and talk.  We knocked on his door and he invited us in.  He told us that earlier that day he was working on some work on his porch and someone was honking their horn obnoxiously... he went out to see who it was and ask if they would stop.  Turns out it was the Spanish missionaries... they were waiting for some other missionaries and kept honking their horn.  G**** asked them if they would stop and the Elders gave him some sass that wasn't necessary.  Well, a little bit about G****.. he his a very humble Vietnam vet who has some serious PTSD.  He snapped at them and told them how disrespectful they were and told them they weren't missionaries in his eyes.  I'm sure that hit pretty deep inside those missionaries. The interesting part is they were the same missionaries who gave him a ride to the hospital when he thought he was having a heart attack.  So, it is so important that we treat others with love and kindness ALWAYS.. Not just once or twice but show genuine love to everyone and that's what you will get in return! 

Well, it was about to be 9:30 so we asked if he would come over to our apartment and stand outside the door while we stood in our apartment so we wouldn't be breaking any rules haha.  We continued talking and he shared some of the traumatic experiences he was a part of in Vietnam. He also shared the event that occurred before he joined the marines that happened between him and his brother.  We have really become close to him and built this friendship which is why he was so open.  It was obvious that he has been holding in a ton of guilt and hate.  His brother that he had the conflict with is a Mormon with 10 kids and is loved by everyone... G**** has tried to have kids for his whole life and doesn't have a single one.  He told us he thinks it is because Heavenly Father is punishing him for what he did in Vietnam. He has a huge hatred for his brother because he says that people don't know what he is really like.  G**** has been holding in all that hate and anger for over 35 years.  I felt so inspired to share Alma 7:11-12 with him.  I expressed my deepest feelings of love for him and for the Savior.  I didn't know what I was saying but the Holy Ghost was just filling my mouth with words that I know G**** needed to hear.  The spirit was pulsing through me and I could see it doing the same thing to G****.  I asked him to talk with Heavenly Father to gain the strength to help him forgive his brother and more importantly himself.  The past is the past.  We Do NOT need to suffer or punish ourselves for mistakes.  The Savior willingly "took" that pain for us.  I don't know how deep G****'s scars are... but they can and will be filled if he turns to the right source.

 "He his ready to forgive, he is plenteous and mercy unto all who call on him" -from a sweet song Tanner sent me.

Another Highlight of the week... it was Zone Conference and you aren't gonna believe who came and spoke to us!  Elder and Sister Schwitzer from the Quorum of the Seventy and the Butler West Stake!  IT WAS AWESOME!  I went up during a break and talked with Sister Schwitzer for 5 or so minutes.  As soon as I said I was "Steve Crandall's son"  the biggest smile came on her face and of course the first thing she said was.... I can tell... You look just like him! Oh if I only had a penny for every time I have heard that in my life! haha  It is such a privilege to be known as Steve's son!  We had a great talk and I found out that Elder Schwitzer is in charge of the Health of missionaries over the whole world! So he was the one who was making all the plans to get us out of Sierra Leone!  She said that the ebola wasn't the scary thing when we were getting pulled out... it was the government... which is totally true!  I talked with President Schwitzer for a little bit as well and he is just incredible.  Happiness just radiates off of him!  He asked me how I'm adjusting and really cared about how I am doing.  He said he knew I was in Sierra Leone but didn't know where I had gone.... well... I came straight to him I guess haha! 

Anyways, he gave a beautiful instruction on Repentance.  He really put it into a clear perspective.  I learned by the spirit because I have studied repentance a lot in my life... yet I learned sooooo much talking about the exact same thing!  I love Daily repentance more than I love Lake Powell... and for those who don't know me that is quitttteeee a bit! haha  He also talked about finding and how it is a mindset rather than an activity!  If we really have the desire to save souls.. then we will talk to everyone... if we are looking at it like "well we have 2 hours... I guess we can go knock some doors to let the time pass" then we don't have a missionary mindset.  I am praying to improve my state of mind and I can feel it working!  I want to be the Latter Day Ammon!

So my whole life I have heard... Africa is where missionaries get baptisms... if you aren't in Africa... then don't plan on getting very many! Well, that is Bogus!.... there are people prepared everywhere!  I definitely saw success in Africa... But I am seeing just as much success in California.  We had an amazing Sunday yesterday... We had 8 investigators at church not including 2 others who we haven't made investigators yet!  BOOM! That is what I am talkin about!!  We quadrupled from last week to this week!  We will definitely be having some baptisms in the month of October!  I love the investigators we are teaching.  I have felt the spirit so strongly with all of them and I know they can do it!  I love being a missionary more than anything!  I have never seen sooo much real happiness in my life!  California is the new Africa!

Thanks for all the love and support! 

Shout out to my mom and dad!  27 years of marriage and eternity more to come! Thanks for bringing me into our family! Love ya!

Elder Call dad Corny

p.s loved the pizza benders

Monday, September 15, 2014

Howdy

This week was a pretty average week for a missionary... we worked hard and saw a lot of progress in our investigators.  We also did 12+hours of service that was pretty exhausting.  We have lots of people we needed to see so we didn't even have time to weekly plan for this next week... so we should probably squeeze that in pretty soon or this week is gonna be Hectic. 

I never realized the effectiveness of planning before my mission.  If my friends and I wanted to go on a hike... we didn't plan it... we just did it! If we wanted to have fun... we didn't plan it... we just did it!  Well, there is so much to do constantly as a missionary and there are some things that you can only do at certain times... so if you just go out and "do it" you will only be wasting the Lord's time.  Pretty Ironic that I had the prompting to write about this since this is the first week I've completely skipped planning... but I'm just following the spirit! haha  Maybe my next paragraph should be about practicing what you preach... but I will repent and do better this next week.  Anyways, I really enjoy the schedule that we have as missionaries... I use to hate it but I realized how fast days fly by... Every night I just lay in bed like....No way did today happen... It flew by!!  If you have plans... back up plans... and back up to your back ups.  Then Life is sweet!  The second we have to ask.... "well what should we do??" we really didn't plan as well as we could have!

I was studying Alma 34 pretty deep and I loved verse 33.  it says "And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold if we do not IMPROVE our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherin there can be no labor performed.

Heavenly Father expects us to be perfect... but not yet... all he expects is that we IMPROVE while we are here!  We can change ourselves on our own.... but the atonement is a catalyst when it comes to making change really happen!  We teach a lot of people who don't have a lot of hope for the future.  They think sometimes that they aren't good enough to become perfect and that it is too late for them... Well if they keep that same attitude... then it is too late.... but the instant they choose to change.... then they will receive divine help!  I love this gospel so much.  I know that money doesn't buy happiness.... attitude does.  The Gospel is LOADED with hope, help, and HEAVEN! (high five for anyone who enjoyed that) haha

I have developed such a love for the scriptures... I am saddened by the fact that I didn't take advantage of them before.  I wish I could have full days to dive in to them and talk with God!  They are so incredible. 

We have some amazing investigators.  Tanya's dad went to the E.R. literally 5 minutes after we stopped by to make sure they were awake and ready for church.  They spent the whole day reading the BOM in the hospital together.  Devin her son said a prayer on the way to the hospital asking if this was an ok thing to miss church for... None of the family really believed there was a God before we started meeting with them...

Other investigators that we just got Tray and Brandy... Tray is like 23 and has a full ride to a college in San Fran for basketball... hopefully we play next p day and I can get dominated by a girl.  She is soooo ready and so is her sister Brandy... They have no family support other than each other... They work full time, and are always busy... other than the time they set aside to learn about the gospel with us! 

Palmdale has a huge problem with smoking... and I can smell weed at almost every apartment we go tracting at.... People really don't understand what a blessing our bodies are and how disrespectful it is to Heavenly Father to Destroy them.... Word of wisdom pamphlets have been coming in handy haha!

Shout out to the Tracy Family.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  I love you all and I am so grateful for the generosity you have shown to me over the years.  You are definitely a second family to me.  I love you tons. Turn to God.... he is there.... always!

Love Vandal the Crandall

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Some of the sights in Palmdale, California :)

Anaverde is in Palmdale.


Amazing clouds making a stunning sunset.


I'm not sure if it is windy or if he is mimicking Frankenstein.

Monday, September 8, 2014

God is Good!

So many awesome things happened this week and I never feel like I have enough time to share them all!  I just want you all to know how awesome Heavenly Father is and that no matter what problem we are facing... he will do what is best for us whether we like it or not! 

I got to see Aunt Bets!! It was so awesome!  I felt giddy and happy the whole time!  She looks just like you mom and you have similar voices so I felt like I was really at lunch with my momma:)  It made me realize that missionaries can be far from home.... but that the Love for family is immediate!  I couldn't help but squeal when I saw her in the parking lot!  I love ya Aunt Bets!  P.S.  Don't forget to read past that first page I wrote;)

So that was just the perfect start to my week! I felt so energized and excited to work the rest of the week!  We keep working hard... and miracles keep happening... must be some kind of coincidence...NOT!  There are no coincidences with God!  I set tons of little goals just between me and God in prayer... and I kid you not I received an answer to every single one!

For Example, I KNEW that if we worked hard for the last 30 minutes before lunch one day that we could find a new investigator and teach them a powerful lesson.  Well we stopped at a potentials house..... Nothing.... so we were walking back to the car and contacted 2 very Black women.... Nothing that day, but one of those black ladies became a new investigator the next day. But still I had felt that we could teach a powerful lesson and get a new investigator THAT day.... so we turned to the house that was behind us and figured.. let's go for it!! BOOM... just like that we found and Awesome new investigator and taught a powerful Restoration lesson!  Pretty cool right!  When God gives us a feeling... and we act on it then only good things will come of it... if we don't... then we are the ones saying no to the blessings he wants to give us!

This Sunday we had an investigator come for the first time with her 3 kids.  I was so excited but really stressed because her kids are NUTZ!  I can't even explain how wild her little one is.  She also suffers from high anxiety so I was just worried that she was miserable the entire time.  She had her hands full because 2 of her kids didn't want to leave her side.  I prayed that they would be reverent during the sacrament... and they were great and didn't make any distraction!! however... after that.... they made their fair share haha!  I was so stressed because I just really wanted her to feel the spirit and I was afraid she wasn't... I had a laugh attack in the hall with my companion right after we showed them where relief society was.  It reminded me of all the times I have done homework with Brandon Wild and we would just burst into laughter because we had no clue how to do what we were doing!  After church I just kept telling myself she had a horrible time at church and that she probably wouldn't want to put herself through that again... I even fasted specifically for her to just feel the spirit once.  I really didn't feel like that prayer was answered... until... we went to her house that night to see what she thought of church... and for some reason I do not know.... SHE LOVED IT.... blew my mind... she definitely wasn't just saying that to make us feel happy either... She kept talking about how beautiful it was and how friendly all these random strangers were to both her and her kids.  She said she can't wait for next week... she is just gonna do things different... like not forget her diaper bag so that when Her 2 year old does a blow out in sacrament she can change him! haha  She said that there were 2 testimonies given that she felt like they were describing her life and as they talked she felt really good. BOOM! answer to prayer!  When I got home from talking to her I couldn't help but say a prayer of relief and amazement at how even when I might think something didn't go well... Heavenly Father will make it great in someone else's eyes.

We fed a Peacock today.

I think I found my missionary mom.  She is a sheriff in Palmdale with 3 little boys.  We do laundry at her house and is just awesome!  We helped her sand her kitchen shelves while we just drilled her with questions about her job and guns and all that jazz!

Went on exchanges this week and rode a bike for the first time in a while.  I am definitely out of shape and riding a bike that is too small wasn't any help... I just wanted to fit in with all the gangsters that ride their little bikes around town. 

Can't wait for this next week and I can't believe I have already been in this area for 3 weeks! Time flies!

Shout out to Matthew "Grinds" Coffey.  I love you.  I can't imagine what you are going through... but the Savior can.  He can bring you the strength and peace you need.  I will never forget how great of a friend you have been to me and all the awesome adventures we have been on.  You'll see your dad again and how great that day will be.  My prayers are with you.

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pictures from September 2, 2014


My sister went to visit Cody a few days after being in Salt Lake.  We had permission for a one time visit, so I had to really make the most of the opportunity.  I sent him lots of his favorite things from home so he would know that I still knew his favorites and that I would do anything I could for him.  I was so excited to be able to send volume after being able to send so little to Sierra Leone because the cost of shipping to Sierra Leone was so outrageous and there was no guarantee the packages would make it.  A huge thank you to you sister for letting me fill up her car and for making the arrangements to take everything to him and treat him and his companion to lunch.  (Sorry, the lunch pictures are sideways and I can't seem to rotate them, so you don't get to see them.  It looks as though she took him to a buffet though, which is a huge treat for a missionary.  Sorry, I deleted that picture all together). 
 
The greatest thing about these pictures is the never ending smile on his face.  His smile is just as big in the California Bakersfield mission as it was in the Sierra Leone Freetown mission.  I love his attitude and his choice to be happy.  Sure love you Cody.  You are an awesome missionary. 


According to his Aunt, the thing he liked the most were the tennis balls.

Cody with his Aunt Bets.  So Awesome.
Aunt Bets says "I got my first autographed copy of the Book of Mormon."
Missionaries taking care of business.


Elder Billings from Springville and Elder Crandall.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cali FORN I A

I have seen so many miracles this week!!  Heavenly Father is so Cool!!

So last Monday after Emailing all the missionaries in my district went to dinner at our bishops house.  He lives on the mountain away from the city with one of the coolest views!!  We actually went early and flew kites for a little bit... it was awesome!  We bought like 500 yards of fishing line but turns out Palmdale is one of the windiest places ever so our 1 dollar kites didn't really stand a chance.. but we made it fun.

anyways... after dinner at the Bishops we had a pretty awesome discussion.  We went pretty deep doctrinally and even symbolically.  We talked about the miracles of Blessings and the reason we use Olive oil. It all kind of started because I was telling him about crazy miracle healing you would hear about in Sierra Leone that weren't performed by someone with the Priesthood or in the manner that we give blessings.  I was definitely learning by the spirit because we talked about things I have heard before... but for some reason they had a stronger impact on me.  If we have the faith.... like legit faith.... then any miracle is possible and any mountain can be moved!  I remember times when I was younger and I would receive a blessing for a sickness and the next day I would wake up and be fine... and I always just thought.... well I would've been fine if I had receive the blessing or not.  There are no coincidences with God.  Everything that happens happens for a reason.

So now I will explain the Miracle that I was a part of.  So one of the Elders in my District... Elder Rhee.... had hurt his arm on P Day with all the activities we were doing.  He didn't know what specifically did the damage but he was in serious pain and could barely move it.  He is on a bike too so if it wasn't feeling better then he wouldn't be able to do much missionary work.  So Tuesday night, after we had just been at their apartment... he sent us a text at like 10:25 P.M. that said Come back over... I need a blessing ASAP.  My companion and I kinda looked at each other like... what the... we were just there and he seemed to being doing ok.  Apparently after we left it just started flaring up for some reason and he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep with all the pain.  We got permission from our zone leaders to go over and got there as quick as we could.  He was sitting on the couch and looked pretty miserable.  He told us that he had a doctors appointment in the morning and that he just needed a blessing to take the pain away so he could sleep. 

Elder Billings my companion had been stressing over something in his Patriarchal blessing that hadn't happened yet but he felt like it should have.  He had even expressed feelings about it to me that day. 

Elder Billings gave elder Rhee the blessing and Elder crossen and I joined in.  The spirit in the room was so strong.  Elder Billings said a very simple but powerful blessing.  The second he finished the blessing... Elder Rhee gave out a pretty loud gasp... we all kinda stepped back and just stared at him.. He just kept saying woah... woah... We asked him how he felt and he said the Pain was completely gone.  He stood up and moved it around... we were all pretty blown away by what had just happened.  Then....In Elder Rhee's own words... "I feel like I could punch a wall" Next thing I know.... Elder Rhee booked it over to the nearest wall and straight up BLASTED the biggest hole in the wall I have ever seen!!!  I don't even know how to explain what was going on in my head!  First off... I had just witnessed an amazing healing and was feeling the spirit sooooo strongly....but at the same time... I could not believe he just punched a hole through the wall!  I couldn't stop laughing because it was just the weirdest most awesome thing I have ever experienced!  The hand that he was unable to move 1 minute ago... was used to put a crater into their living room wall!  If someone ever tells me that blessings don't work or that the priesthood isn't real.... I will just sit back and laugh at them.  Elder Rhee is a short chubby Korean from New York City... so that just makes the story that much better! haha

I'm just really glad that elder Rhee didn't break his healed arm while punching the wall.... that would have been pretty dang interesting haha!  His arm is still doing great... the pain hasn't come back at all.

This experience was the exact thing that Elder Billings had been praying for... so it was an answer to a lot of peoples prayer.  God is so real... and his Power is evident in old times as well as in times today. 

We got a new investigator this week that is building her faith straight from nothing... Her name is Tonya Preist.  We have already met her 3 times and everytime we go back she is happier and happier.  She is a single mother with 3 kids.  She said that she has been really wanting to just give up on life.. but because of her kids she is fighting through all of her medical and emotional problems... she prayed for the first time with us and asked for strength and energy.  She got more sleep that night then she has had in years... and she cleaned up her entire house and played with her kids for like 4 hours straight!!  She is already starting to glow... I know she is gonna be baptized... but I know she won't be alone on this adventure.

So many awesome things happened this week.  I have met some incredible members.  I can tell I am really going to like this ward.  I hope I stay here for awhile!!

Well I gotta go enjoy the rest of my P-Day... who knows what amazing things are instore for the week to come!  I love you all...

pray for strength when you need it.... it will come!

Also, Next time you ask for a blessing... remember what can happen if you have the faith.  Christ can heal us Spiritually, Physically, and emotionally.  I am so grateful to be serving as his representative and I love wearing his name over my heart!

Shout out to my daddio!! Go find my boy Matheu in Fiji!!  I hope you have some awesome experiences while you are there!!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandall

P.S. Can't wait to see my Aunt Bets!! WOOT!