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Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy and Stunning Fall Harvest

Elder Crandall is tired but really good.

We had a tougher past week.  Seems as though there is a sick bug traveling the nation because I wasn't feeling too hot for a couple days... then my companion wasn't... then my zone leader... well pretty much everyone in my district except the sisters have been sick this week.

I was on exchange with the Zone Leaders when I was sick... and I did my best to push through it but boy is it hard to be motivated and excited to talk to people when you feel like crap.  None the less, we had some pretty amazing lessons together in which the Spirit took over and we were able to be bold enough to keep a family on tract for being baptized this Saturday and a Father started on a road of repentance.  Then... the next day I was able to go to 5 hours of church... without my companion.  My comp stayed up all night not feeling well so I went with another Elder to church... and while we were at church... one of the Zone Leaders... not the one I exchanged with was feeling sick... so I finished church for him and he went home and did another exchange with my companion and slept all day.  So therefore... I was substitute zone leader for the day... or at least that is the position I gave myself haha!  I was still wiped out from being sick myself... but it was fun to be with Elder Matheny (the zone leader I just had an exchange with).

Also, some other crazy stuff happened in  my district.  I am now in a Tripanionship covering 2 full areas.  An Elder in my district went home last night which was really tough and hard... but it will be for the best.  Since I was substitute zone leader for the day too... we had to drive him up to Tehachapi which definitely wiped us out even more.  Missions are something that cannot be done without the spirit.  I could not make it through a single day as a missionary without the guidance, protection, and comfort that he brings.  I hope you feel the same way about wherever you are at in your life.  God is giving us help... just make sure you don't put your back to him.  Know which way you face.

I learned a lesson from my zone leader while I was with him.  We are God's tools... and if we are a broken tool (completely exhausted, without the Spirit, angry, etc.) then we are just as useless as a tool that sits on the shelf unused.  We need to work hard... but we shouldn't break ourselves while we work.  This is definitely a lesson I need to learn.  I hate wasting time... and therefore I hate giving myself a break... but I am going to reevaluate in prayer and see what I can do better to let myself rest without wasting time so I never feel like a broken tool.  I'm sure my companion will appreciate this as well hahaha.

Missionary work is a fun, uplifting, happy... if it doesn't feel that way... then there is probably something that needs to change.  I love being a missionary.  I love helping others.  I love being one of God's tools and I hope He uses me often. (go easy and don't break me though;))

Shout out to my mom and to Aunt Lou! Thank you so much for the packages! My companion and I are practically diving into candy every chance we get!

Elder Crandall the pan handler

Monday, October 20, 2014

A wonderful baptism of a beautiful young woman.

These young women remind Cody of two women he was
teaching in Sierra Leone. They have  been an
answer to Cody's prayers. 

Apparently Cody met someone who went to high school
with his dad.  Yes, this is Steve while in High School.  :)

B. A. L. H's Baptism!

We had another incredible week with so much going on!  We had interviews with our mission president this week.  He is such an awesome leader.  He is completely different than my last mission president but is awesome in his own way.  I would trust both of them with anything.  I am really enjoying being a District leader because I love to help someone when they are going through a hard time.  Being a missionary is not easy... but my word... it is WORTH IT!

B***'s baptism was really great.  She is much more quiet than her sister, but has a fun personality.  She asked me if I would give a talk on the Holy Ghost... and if I would do the Missionary Minute which is were missionaries share the restoration.  I was a little nervous because I didn't just want to wing it.  I wanted to make my talk sincere and heartfelt.  I ended up sharing about how the Holy Ghost is our comforter and I shared the story of how I felt reassured that S**** and I*** (From Sierra Leone) were taken care of through teaching and baptizing both her and T***.  I was pretty emotional just because I love the people in Africa so much and I know they are in serious need.  The spirit was really strong though and that was the first time I had shared with either of them that they were an answer to MY prayer.  Before we had even met them they wanted to switch missionaries so that they could have sisters teach them... but they were in our area so the sisters had to pass them to us.  They told me that the first time they met us they knew and felt that they were suppose to be taught by us rather than anyone else.  It was really special to be a part of their conversion.  There are no Coincidences with God and I know he had this planned from the very beginning.
(Just an FYI, Cody found out this morning that a family from Sierra Leone who was recently baptized has been impacted by the Ebola Virus.  The mother passed away 2 weeks ago, the father on Saturday and the baby yesterday.  There are still 5 children in the family who now are without parents. Cody loves the people there very much and this impacts him more than it does us because he knows these people who are all living there with this threat).
So Tuesday, while my companion was filling out some teaching records... I was randomly flipping through the area book when I stopped on a former that had been taught by missionaries 2+ years ago.  I had a strong feeling to write that specific name down and the address.  We have over 100 formers and I only wrote that one name down.  We were out doing our thing that day when the thought came to me to go and visit that house right now.  So we drove over and found out that the address led us to a trailer park.  So we wandered around looking for Lot number 29.  We had made it all the way around the whole trailer park and it seemed as though nothing existed after like 26.  We kept wandering and finally found lot 29... The whole time I was thinking to myself.... they taught this lady... C*** J***.... so long ago and this is a trailer park so there is nooo way she could still be here.  we could hear the Television on inside the trailer so we yelled out Knock Knock. We were just about to leave when a hand flew out the screen door and a man with a handle bar mustache came out.  I thought he was gonna yell at us.  He asked what we wanted and we told him we were wondering if C*** J*** still lived there.  His response was a little muffled and he said "I wish.... she died this last December....She was my wife of 15 years."  After saying this we could tell he was pretty tender.  He said that she had died because doctors told her she needed to stop smoking or her lungs were going to give out and she wouldn't stop.  He asked us if we wanted to go inside and see her ashes and the little shrine he had put up to remember her.  We went in his trailer... surprisingly... it was completely spotless.  He had an entire shelf in his bedroom dedicated to her.  He obviously hasn't been able to let her go in the least degree.  As he talked about her he began to cry quite a bit.  He showed us a pillow that he found after she had died that he had never seen before that said "Angels are among us" and he took that as a sign from her that she was still around.  I shared a brief message about the plan of salvation and I testified with all my strength that I knew he would see her again.  All three of us stood in the trailer together and pretty much wept.  It was so sad to me to see how a lack of gospel knowledge left this man hopeless of ever seeing his wife again.  We asked if we could come back and share more and he told us that he wanted us to come by and be his friend... but he needed a little more time before he wouldn't be mad at God.  As we were leaving he told us that while we had been there he was able to feel her presence.  I could feel it too.  As we walked away we could hear him bawling inside his trailer. 

Please.... Please don't take this gospel for granted.  The knowledge that we carry with us is life changing.  So many people live in this world with out hope or faith of a next life.  We must live in a way that when we pass we are capable of receiving all of our Heavenly Fathers eternal blessings.

The next incident is also pretty cool.  We were out street contacting and tracting in a neighborhood we just barely discovered.  Within the first half hour we had already taught the restoration to the first person we met, placed 2 books of Mormon with return appointments and gotten rejected by a Jehovah's Witness through a side window! haha So we felt like we were on fire with missionary work!  We decided to swing down onto another street and see what was happening there.  There was a guy on the other side of the street smoking a cig and I kept having the feeling to talk to him... but he for sure looked like the kind of guy were you say hi and they freak out and start swearing at you so I walked by.... but I had the same feeling again.  Just then he yelled to us and asked if we would come over.  He asked us if we had ever experienced anything with demons and if we thought they were real.  We told him that satan is definitely real.  He shared an experience he had a month ago when he saw this girl he was with pretty much get tossed around by some sort of Dark presence.  He said it scared him so bad that he hasn't been able to feel safe in his house.  He said ever since then he is a full believer in Jesus Christ.  I asked him if he wanted us to give him a blessing of comfort and he agreed.  We went into his house and I kid you not... there was a repeating thumping sound that we had no clue were it was coming from.  He took us to his room and got a chair to sit on.  He told us that this was the room that the experience had happened to him and I could feel it because of the erryiness that accompanied it!  I gave him one of the most interesting blessings I have ever given.  My mind was blank as I spoke but words were just flying out.  I prayed that any evil spirts and dark presences would leave this man and the house. When the blessing was over... both Elder Harper and I noticed that the thumping had stopped and the feeling in the room was  completely different.  We then chatted for a little bit and I found out he use to be way into snowmobiling so I shared with him how boss my mom is at snowmobiling.  The feeling when we left and when we arrived were like night and day.  It was pretty intense.  We also gave him a book of Mormon and he said that 2 minutes before he saw us he was talking to his ex wife.... who is a Mormon... and she told him he needed to go get a bible! Well, I love being the answer to someone's prayer!! 

God is real... Satan is too.... We know who will win in the end... so who's side do you want to be on?

I love following the promptings of the spirit and seeing miracles come from it.  I have never turned to my father in heaven for so many things.  He cares about the details of our lives... so make sure to include him with everything you do!

Love you tons!!

Elder vandal the Crandall!

Monday, October 13, 2014

I have no idea what he is cooking, but I am impressed
with his clean kitchen and his apron.  Go Elder Crandall.

A beautiful young lady with a basketball scholarship
who was baptized on October 11, 2014.

A beautiful family in Palmdale.

This is Elder Harper from Ogden Utah.

T's Baptism

I hate starting these dang emails.

T***'s baptism was awesome.  I have yet to have a baptism run smoothly.  It made me feel like I was back in Salone waiting for a water truck to come for over 2 hours and then just doing it at another church instead.  We called our bishop right when it was starting and helped him to remember that he was suppose to preside... so we sang some hymn's while we waited.  The water was low in the font... another commonality with fonts in Salone... and so she had to be baptized a couple times... the awesome thing is.... The spirit was still present and it was a great experience for everyone that came.  When do things ever run smoothly..??  Being on a mission is constant plan making and plan canceling... we must learn to adjust whether it be wait 20 minutes for the bishop or change missions.... when the storm settles everything will be ok!

One of our investigators named J*** is an ex gang leader.  We have taught him for the past month or so... but missionaries have been talking with him for about 4 months.  We have been helping him overcome cigarettes... but the whole time I had a feeling like this guy has a past... and I know it is a little much for 19 year old missionaries to help him overcome.  We set up a interview with our mission president so he could get some things off his chest and repent fully and completely.  As hard as it was for him and as hard as it will be to wait for at least a year to be baptized... He has some seriously strong faith.  We will continue to meet with him and help him stay active so that one day when he has done what it takes to be baptized... he will receive the sweet remission of his sins.  Repenting takes time.  I admire anyone who faces their problems head on and will do anything to be right in front of God.  R***... J***'s son.. wanted to be baptized with his dad... but now that he knows it will take his dad a while he wants to continue on his own path toward the waters of baptism.

We had to drop 5 investigators with a baptismal dates this week.  It was really hard, but our president has been talking about the urgency of missionary work and how the Lord has people who are prepared and ready... we just need to find them.  It is good to teach investigators for some time... but their comes a point were if their desire isn't there... you must move on.  I was really bummed cause I love having a lot of people to teach... So our goal was to keep our teaching pool about the same size.  We found 6 solid investigators this week and 4 of them came to church!  I was amazed at how quickly Heavenly Father answered our prayer and how serious he is about the urgency of missionary work.  These are the last days.  We need to be ready and those who won't act on the answers they receive need time to realize that the Gospel is the only way to find Happiness in this life and in the life to come!

I have loved teaching with conference talks this past week.  The apostles can get the message across much better than we can.  There is such a powerful spirit when they testify.  Prophets and apostles are real.  I am so grateful to have them in my life.  We don't have to walk alone on this journey.  We are so lucky to have family, friends, and inspired messengers from God.  I can't believe I didn't take advantage of conference talks before my mission.

B***'s baptism is this Saturday... Pray for her that she will pass her baptismal interview! 

I bore my testimony in church this week.  I used to be so afraid of public speaking and doing things in front of large groups!  My heart was still pumping like crazy while I was up there... but I spoke straight from my heart and talked about the blessings of missionary work.  I love testifying.  I know what I know... and no one can change that or make me doubt that.  I also had to sing a duet in priesthood because no one knew the tune of the song... wasn't pretty... but I did it! haha yay for overcoming fears! haha (None of the Crandall's are known for their singing voice.  I can't even imagine this.  Kuddos to Cody for his courage on this one.)

Thanks for all of your prayers!  I love and miss you all!

Shout out to Shane Woolston, you are my hero and I love you.  I have never met a more honest and loyal friend.  Thanks for being such a great example to me!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, October 6, 2014

I'm on a Cloud!!

I have had one of the best weeks of my life.  So many great things have happened.  I have such a strong love for the people I am teaching.  There was a talk that I liked... don't remember who it was by... but it says that when you do missionary work... in a way you are that persons savior!  I want to be the best example I can be to those I am saving just the way Jesus Christ is the best example for me!  Obviously Jesus Christ is the ultimate savior... but I have had little saviors who have helped me to become who I am today.  My brother has been my savior many times and because of it we have a bond that is indescribable.  I have developed similar bonds with all of my priesthood leaders growing up.  I shouldn't even start with what my parents have done for me because I doubt an email could even send a file that big! haha  None the less, thank you for everyone who has been a part of my life.  I am eternally grateful for all of you and I can't wait to share eternity with you!

I am still in my same area but I received Elder Harper from Ogden Utah.  We have not stopped laughing since the minute we were put together!  We have very similar personalities and we connect pretty well.  He is very spiritual and has already connected well with all of our investigators.  This is gonna be a great transfer, I can feel it!

We had a great lesson with T*** Friday night.  We took a talk by Thomas s. Monson and listened to it with her.  4 memebers came with us... they were all teenagers but they have all grown to love and support T*** as much as we have.  After listening to the talk I had a strong impression to just turn the lesson into a testimony meeting.  It was awesome.  It really helped T*** see that God loves her and He is sending her people to help her prepare for her baptism!

T*** T*** is going to be baptized this Saturday!  Her baptismal interview is tomorrow and I know she will pass.  She is the type of person missionaries are looking for.  She has been prepared throughout her life and now is just the perfect time.  Cool tender mercy...she was worried about how she would be able to keep the Sabbath day since she will be playing college ball at san Francisco state.  She went down and met the coach and the team this week and guess what..... The head coach is a active member who goes to the temple every Wednesday and doesn't hold practices or workouts on sundays!  T*** called me that night after she found out and was so stoked because she knew this was an answer to her prayers!  Her sister B*** will be getting baptized the week after.  They are going to be incredible leaders and examples to the rest of their family!

Conference=jaw dropping/spirit filling/ people loving/ and revelation down pouring!

I stayed awake!!! Give it up for Elder Crandall!! WOOT! haha I was far from tired.  Every session I would sit down, glue my eyes and ears to the speakers and next thing I knew that session would be over in what felt like 10 minutes!  I felt extremely happy and so full of the spirit! I took 21 pages of notes!! Sounds like I just wrote everything down that they said.... but what I actually wrote down was whatever thoughts or impressions came to me as I sat and listened!  Heavenly Father Speaks to his children!  I wrote down like 9 specific questions and all of them were answered in some way... whether they talked on my question... or that I received personal revelation from Heavenly Father that answered it!  Conference is definitely a little slice of Heaven.

My favorite talks were by Elder Christofferson, Elder Bednar, Elder Holland, and Elder Nelson.... In reality I should just put every one of their names down because I loved them all!  I wish I had more time to go into details about everything that hit me but I will just share a couple of things.

So first off.... I needed to know how my Sierra Leonians are doing.  Not from a statiscal stand point but from a spiritual and physical standpoint. Elder Holland's talk brought me perfect peace about their welfare.  He never addressed Sierra Leone specifically but while he was talking about assisting the poor and providing for the needy I knew that even though they have some pretty intense trials in their life right now... the church and many others are doing what they can to bring them aid.  We are a church of service and we will not leave anyone behind.  When he asked "Are we not all beggars?" I was basically in tears.  It is so true.  We all need divine and sometimes temporal help.  So when we have our feet underneath us... we need to do what we can... and even if our feet are out from under us... doing what we can WILL restore us back on solid ground.

Also while in the shower today I was thinking about Sierra Leone and about my investigators I** and S**.... I realized the biggest tender mercy I think I have ever felt.  God sent me to T*** and B*** so I could "finish" the progress I had started with I** and S**... I left I** and S** at about the same place we picked T*** and B*** up at!  So this whole time... I have been finishing what I started.  I know someone else finished what was started in Sierra Leone for those 2 and I'm glad I could be a part of it in a way while serving in Bakersfield.  God has an awesome way of working his magic! haha

Elder Christofferson's talk was quite fruitful... whatever that means haha.  I loved it.  We all want mercy... but there are conditions to receive it.  When we repent we open the door to obtain mercy.  We cannot choose our own sins.  There are eternal truths that no matter what your opinion is... they cannot be changed.  God will not make us someone we don't want to be.  If you want to go to heaven... then prove it!

Can you imagine if an investigator listened and took notes on every session of conference?  They would be rushing to the baptismal font! There is no way you can listen to conference and not feel the spirit.  Now imagine if all those who are less active watched and acted on how they felt.  I want to invite anyone who reads my emails to share your favorite talk with someone who is not of our faith or is struggling on their path to figure out their faith!  It's your time to be a missionary!

Shout out to Prophet Thomas S. Monson!  We love you and are so grateful for your service!  I hope I grow up to be like you!

Elder Crandall the vandal