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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lots of Picutres, but prepare yourself. haha.

They both got Santa Pajamas on Christmas Even.  I'm so glad they had a lot of fun.

 

Baptism on December 26th.  Woot.
 
This dear sister was also baptized on December 26th.  Elder Crandall wasn't able to attend as it was in Bakersfield.
Thank goodness he was able to go up and visit with her the day after.
 



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

White Christmas


This week was so much fun! I loved talking with family and more than anything just seeing them.  It's amazing how much changes in such a short time.  The highlight of the whole skype phone call was when Milo got on to say hi and said "HI Daddy!" Good to know that we are twins with our devilish good looks! Just you wait Milo, we are gonna play so much when I get home that you might even be able to tell the difference between Uncle Cody and Daddy Tanner! haha

 

S** B** was baptized!  The focus in the mission this month has been to give a gift to the Savior by helping someone to the waters of baptism.  S** is so cool and just feels like family.  It was quite obvious that she felt the spirit and that she could recognize her Savior's love for her. I can only imagine how proud Heavenly Father is of us when we take one step closer to him by following the Gospel.  Our Gospel principles class today was on Exaltation so it was a perfect lesson that outlined what comes after baptism.  Thankfully we know that baptism is the gate to begin on the path back to God... he would never leave us or expect us to be perfect from there on out.  There are many tools to be used and spiritual experiences to be had as we strive each day to be more like our Savior. I know that if we are faithful to the end we WILL live with Him and Heavenly Father forever.

 

E** L** was also baptized in Bakersfield 5th ward this weekend! She is the daughter of S** L**.  We had worked with her for awhile and something seemed to finally click.  She wanted me to come back and baptize her... I was at least able to get pictures of her baptism and stop by this evening and congratulate her!  It is amazing how much the gospel can change someone when they allow the spirit to work in them.

 

No one could ever break M** D**'s testimony, so satan broke his leg instead. He had a compound fracture on his ankle while working on his truck in Florida.  We have been praying for him as much as possible and thought we wouldn't be seeing him for awhile.  When most people would be angry at God for something like this... M** clearly recognized his answer from God that being a truck driver is not in is plan.  He is going to be back in Palmdale this week and has already asked if he can wrap a plastic bag around his leg so he can still get baptized.  I wish you could read the texts he sends us... If this man wrote a book on following God, it would be a best seller!

 

Alma and I have the same wish

 

Alma 29:1-2

 

 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

 

I love you all and hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!

 

Shout Out to Daphne Ballantyne! Congrats on giving a gift to the Savior for Christmas! My mom sure loves you! I'm excited to get to know you and your husband!  Thank you for your example!

 

Shout Out to my one and only Nana Banana! Happy Birthday! The world would be a different place without you.  You save the world one shake and one hug at a time!  I can't believe you still look 40!:)

 

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!


Check out this video we made.... Hope this gives you a taste of what the mission field is like during the Holidays.

Elder Crandall the Vandal


If that doesn't pull up, go on youtube and type in 

Silver Bells in the Mission

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ho Ho Ho

December is a Month of Miracles


It is so fun being back in Palmdale and running into people I knew from my first time serving here.  I bumped into the Henderson Family! The coolest one so far though.... was seeing Trayona at Church!  She came back for the break to visit! I about fell over when I saw her at church I was so happy! She will be going to the temple to take out her endowments sometime this week!

 

So last week we had lost contact with S** one of our most progressing investigators.  We were pretty worried about her not returning our calls/texts or answering the door when we would come by.  We left straight from Bakersfield on tuesday and went straight to her house.  As we pulled up... she happened to be outside.  She very quickly told us that she didn't want to talk and that tonight wasn't a good night.  We felt the spirit prompt us to stay there and just keep talking to her.  Satan had definitely done a number on her and she was doubting almost everything we had taught her.  I've never hoped and prayed that I was worthy enough to know exactly what I needed to say.  It was a very humbling experience that reminded me how important it is to ALWAYS have the spirit to be with me.  We set an appointment with her for the next day at the church.  Elder Houghton and I were pretty worried that she just wouldn't show.  We fasted and prayed all day for her... word's do not express the real power that fasting has.  I've fasted in the past... but when your heart is really and sincerely in it... I know the Lord hears and will respond.  She showed up and we had one of the most bosom burning lessons we've taught in a while.  We were able to teach her again later on in the week and with the help of the Holy Ghost we were able to resolve all of her concerns.  She will be getting baptized this Saturday :)

 

A***. is one of my Hero's.  His family has been taught by the missionaries for the past year or so.  Elder Houghton and I prayed really hard to know the best route to take in helping this family come closer to Christ.  We decided put all our efforts into just teaching A***.... (the youngest of the family..13 yrs) He is a pioneer for his family.  He will be getting baptized this Saturday as well.  I've never met a more gung Hoe teenager.  He is so cool he even takes notes when we teach him!!!  I wish I had faith like that!

 

M** continues to travel all over the states driving trucks... but the very moment he sets foot in Palmdale he will be Baptized a member of the only true church on the earth!  He happened to be in Tampa today and was able to go to church... Last week the only one he could make it to was a YSA ward.  This man is dedicated!

 

We had a Christmas Morningside this week.  We watched "It's A Wonderful Life!" I've never seen it before but it was so good!  That was the first movie I've seen for 22 months that wasn't put out by the church!  We watched it with the thought in mind... "What would the world be like if I didn't go on a mission?"   I can't even imagine who I would be or what I would be doing if I didn't decide to serve a mission.  If there is any young man or woman who is questioning whether or not to go on a mission... GO! Don't think twice, just GO! There is not a single thing I regret about coming on a mission... the only bad thing about a mission is that it has to end.
 

Merry Christmas to everyone! I Can't wait to talk to my family!  

 

Love,

Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, December 14, 2015

The exact place Elder Crandall and Elder Houghton met one year ago. Reenactment
This is one happy person.  I love that about him.
Spread the joy.  Tell the world.
MLC Group after Training.  What a great group of people this is.
Bishop and Sister Mac***.  Reunited after returning to Palmdale.

Christmas is Coming!


I am still adjusting to being an assistant on the East Side of the mission because of all the travel.  We spend 2 days in Bakersfield so by the time we finally get down to Palmdale the week is half over!  I'm trying to adjust as fast as possible because I have no time to waste!

 

Elder Houghton was sick at the beginning of the week so it started off slower than normal.  I have been so blessed with a healthy body on my entire mission.  I noticed however that I get super antsy when I don't have anything to do! I was pretty much pacing from room to room trying to think of something I could do that would be effective!  I never thought staying busy would be so satisfying.

 

We spent the rest of the week playing catch up with all of our lessons and exchanges.  As soon as Elder Houghton was back to health we didn't slow down!

 

Friday evening we got a text from M** D**... he was making a special trip through Palmdale in hopes that we could set up a baptismal interview for him.  We were able to have a late night baptismal interview in which he passed with flying colors... We are just waiting now for him to come back in town and He will get baptized! I've never met someone so adamant and excited to follow Christ!

 

I was able to have dinner with my Hero.  Bishop M** is the most spiritual, loving, knowledgeable man I have and ever will meet.  It was such an honor to see him again and ask him all my deep questions that no one else has a clue on.  :) He even made me his specialty for dessert.. triple mac mountain chocolate something or other!  :)

 

My personal prayers have really improved lately.  I've noticed that as I pray for specific people my love for them grows!  It is so amazing that as busy as Heavenly Father is, He is never to busy and we are never too far from his reach.  He hears all of our prayers.  We are never unworthy to pray.  He cares and wants to help us with even the most minute of concerns.  I love my relationship with Him and I am excited to see how much stronger it will become throughout the rest of my life.

 

I've heard a lot of talk and worry lately about how the world is such a horrible place to live now days.  As I read in Mosiah this week the spirit was very warm and reassuring.  Abinadi stood up face to face against the world.  He knew from the very start that he was going to be killed for his testimony. He made sure he delivered God's message before they could put their hands on him.  He was so straight up and bold.  He wasn't doing this to be offensive but to point out to the people at that time that they needed to change.  We cannot change with the world... we need to stand firm by God and His commandments.  If we have changed... then we need to run away from those bad friends, bad influences, and our own natural man. Alma didn't stick around, he felt the spirit and acted on it!!

 

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

 

#ASaviorIsBorn (Taken after MLC last week)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I HAD CAFE RIO!!!!!

One of Elder Houghton's recent converts from an old area drove down to Santa Clarita and picked it up for us!  She is without a doubt my new favorite person.  I took the bag it came in and made myself a shirt:) haha

Weeks Turn Into Days!


This might have been one of the busiest weeks we've had in awhile.  I am most definitely ready for a nap and I'm praying I'll wake up from it! 

 

We had Mission Leadership Council (MLC) this last Wednesday.  The last one didn't go as well as we wanted it to... so we made sure this one would make up the difference.  We probably spent 5+ hours planning it on Monday.  We had a really powerful counsel with all of the leaders in which we received some very specific revelation from the Lord.  If missionaries will teach on the spot and not give people the opportunity to say no by giving them an out... such as asking "are you busy?" "would you like to hear a message?" but rather simply beginning to testify and teach... and also promise investigators blessings when they have legit excuses... then the Lord has promised us that we can find a minimum of 3 New investigators in each area.  We felt the spirit so strongly as we came up with these action plans and we know that the Lord will hold his end of the deal if he hold ours!  

 

We were able to travel up to Lone Pine and be a part of the Ridgecrest zone training meeting.  It was the first time in awhile that I've seen real mountains... I was definitely expecting more trees... but then I remembered the place is called "Lone Pine." haha.  It was a great meeting... it is always awesome to see how excited missionaries get when they talk about the potential they have in the coming month.  

 

M** D** should be getting baptized this coming Saturday.  He is still such an amazing example of faith!  We texted him this morning about going to church while he was on the road.  He said, "Church is going to be me in my semi truck and my Book of Mormon"  We told him that he would need to go to church so that he could partake of the sacrament and also so that he could meet the requirement of going to church at least 3 times.  His next text back was "Alright, I'm going in Blue jeans!"  Real Faith=immediate action.  I love M** and I've only taught him over the phone!  I'm excited to teach him in person this coming Tuesday!  He is truly a Christmas Miracle!!!

 

We also have been working with a lady named S**.  I realized after seeing her the first time... that I had given her a pamphlet and shared a short message with her about a year ago when I was on exchange with the assistants!  She had fallen off the map and has recently reappeared! She came to church last week and this week.  Not to mention she gave us all of her cigarettes and is working towards baptism on the 19th!  Nothing beats seeing investigators progress and put their trust in the Lord!

 

For those of you who haven't seen the video the church put out #ASaviorIsBorn... I would encourage you to go watch it right now.  Every time I watch it I feel the spirit.  I also love the African boy... Every time he says "From our sins... From our sadness"  I can't help but smile and think of the people of Sierra Leone. 

 

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Friday, December 4, 2015

Farewells in Bakersfield and "Welcome Backs" in Palmdale

Saying goodbye to Rita, Misael, and Jerry
Elder Houghton and Elder Crandall
President M has tons of birds and he let us hold them...
I couldn't stop laughing because I thought they were going to bite my ear!!
Every transfer the missionaries serving in the Ana Verde ward would bring me all of the drawings that Soukup kids made for me... they put some extra effort in this time and made life size superhero's to give to me! This time they were delivered in person:)  I definitely felt loved:)
 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thanksgiving in Palmdale!


Since I don't have a ton of time... and pictures speak louder than words. I'll send a lot of pictures!

 

I was able to eat not only one... but two thanksgiving dinners with my 2nd family!  I love the soukup's so much!  They said they are planning to move in the next several years.. I told Robin soukup that she can't move to Idaho or any other place that I don't have family close by... her response was, "It doesn't matter where we move... if we move to Idaho, then you'll have family in Idaho!" 

 

Every transfer the missionaries serving in the Ana Verde ward would bring me all of the drawings that soukup kids made for me... they put some extra effort in this time and made life size superhero's to give to me! This time they were delivered in person:)  I definitely felt loved:)

 

I wish I had a couple hours to write about all the hilarious times Elder Houghton and I have already had! He feels like a long lost friend and we've finally been reunited!  We sat down on planning day and made a list of all the things we need to do to baptize 8 people while we are together.  We are both ready and willing to do whatever it takes to be apart of some amazing miracles!  I couldn't ask for a better person to serve with for my final 2 transfers of the mission.

 

There is a man named Mark Davis who came to stake conference last week.  He wanted to get baptized the same day of stake conference because of the spirit he felt.  He was taught the first 3 lessons in one day!  He is set for baptism on Dec. 12.  Elder Houghton and I were talking to him on the phone Thursday night to get to know him a little better because he is in our area. He just recently got a job driving trucks so travels all over the country.  He called himself the craved after convert and a golden investigator.  We finished talking to him and were just in complete amazement about how sincere this guy was.  Elder Houghton and I were so excited that Elder Houghton literally started hyper-ventilating for at least 15 minutes.  I haven't laughed that hard since spending time with my bud Brandon Wilde!  

 

Well, after that night we felt like Mark was too good to be true. So we decided to call him and ask him all of the baptismal interview questions. We kept telling ourselves that he had to be on probation, parole, be living with some, or something else! Well, we got a nice "god smack."  He answered all of the questions better than anyone else I've ever taught.  He has been studying on his own and been reading the book of Mormon daily.  He said he shared the message with several different people while out on the road.  He is truly a Christmas miracle!

 

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

 

P.s. Check out my womping willow model shots;)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Mighty 5th Ward


Words cannot express how amazing my experience has been in the Bakersfield 5th Ward.  I have met some of the most amazing people and seen some huge changes in the 6 transfers I've been here.  I had the strongest feeling when I left the 5th ward the first time after only being here for 2 weeks... that I had much much more to accomplish in this area! I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for Providing a way for me to return and accomplish all that He asked of me.

 

This last week was filled with a lot of goodbyes and a lot of preparing for transfers.  We were still able to teach and find as if it were a normal week though! Little things like that are just a miracle to me.  I can't wait to bring my family back to visit all these new Family Members.  I always wondered when I was little why we would call people at church brother or sister... After being on a mission, calling someone anything else almost doesn't cut it, especially when you've had spiritual experiences with each other!

 

I am going to be Companions with Elder Houghton the Mountain.  He might not live up to that name in stature... but he sure does in spirituality.  I am ready to hit the ground running in Palmdale 1st and work as hard as I can until the end of my mission.  I am giddy to see the miracles that will surely come as we build each other's faith and those we will teach!

 

Shout out to Elder Bird, He was one of the assistants serving with us who just went home.  I've never met a more up beat, lively, impressive missionary.  If you are looking for the Ideal missionary... He is the one! We will miss you!

 

Love, 

Elder Crandall the Vandal

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Travel Plans :)

I got a short note from Elder Crandall on Sunday night.  It said,


" I love you so much mom! Sorry I don't have time to write you tonight, we had tons of last minute changes we had to make and we will be busy with all of the other crazy transfer stuff going on...so if I find time to write you an email I'll do my best.  Have a great night!"


He was right.  He has been so busy, I haven't received an email from him yet this week.


But on Monday, I got this:




Your trip
Booking ref:
6LOXQB
Issued date:
23 November 2015
.
.
Traveler
Cody Steven Crandall
Agency
CHURCH TRAVEL CWT
Jacob Kyle Harper
50 East North Temple St
Mckale Simpson
SALT LAKE CITY UT 84150
Kennedy Tidwell
Telephone
801 240-5111
Fax
801-240-5115




He will be returning home on February 17th.  I'm more than happy to receive his travel itinerary in place of a letter this week.  Less than 3 months to go.  I'm not sure he will get on an airplane when the time comes, but I can hope.


I know he was transferred back down to Palmdale yesterday.  He will still be an AP, but just at the other end of the mission.  This means he will be traveling up to Bakersfield every Sunday evening and returning on Tuesday, so he will be able to spend time in both of the two areas he has served in while in California.
Unloading Cases of Books of Mormon

Sister Cox left here on Wednesday 11/18 to return home to Bakersfield.
She delivered Cody's box of Christmas to him as soon as she got home.
He is still just like a little kid at Christmas.  I love his smile.
Merry Christmas Elder Crandall

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scooby dooby doo.


This past week was really fun! We were able do a lot of work in our own area.  We have been “cycling” a lot of our investigators and picking up lots of new ones.  Cycling is basically were you spend a proportional amount of time with the effort investigators are putting forth to learn for themselves.  Missionary’s time is one of the most important things.  If there is one thing I’ve noticed lately, it’s that 2 years is an extremely short time.


We met a guy this week with a very interesting view of the Atonement.  We know that the Atonement is for EVERYONE  and is sufficient to cover any sin, struggle, or short coming. Faith---->Repentance---->Grace.  This man said that Faith---> Grace---> Repentance.  We are in fact saved by grace… but it is conditional on OUR choice to repent.  One of the miracles of the Atonement is not that we can just go home… but that we can learn to be comfortable there.  We don’t have to be perfect before His Grace will start to apply to us.  We don’t have to be worthy to have a 2nd chance.  All we need to do is simply keep our head up and to never quit… eventually we will become like the savior.


We finally got someone to church after having a dry spell for a couple of weeks.  We have started teaching Sheila’s daughter Erica again.  She is 40 or so years old.  As we’ve had lessons with her, it is very evident that she has a “head” knowledge that our message is true… but it hasn’t quite transformed into a “heart” knowledge.  The only way for that to happen is to receive a personal witness from the Holy Ghost.  Why do people think it is so hard to receive an answer from Heavenly Father?  The scriptures are filled with versus saying all you need to do is ask and you will receive.  The scriptures aren’t there to suggest blessings…. They are there to PROMISE blessings.  It is just a matter of time before we go back and she will have the same look on her face just like her mom when she had receive her answer from GodJ


I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.  He isn’t just the prophet when he tells me what I want to hear… but even more so when he tells me what is hard to swallow.  Build your foundation in Jesus Christ and his Gospel that is taught to us through prophets… and when the chaos comes… nothing will affect you.  Heleman 5:12


I am so thankful for the companions I have had on my mission.  Elder Horan is not just a companion… but he is a life long friend and brother.  I have sincerely loved all the time we’ve spent together.  We’ve been a part of some pretty amazing miracles that are sealed within our hearts.  There is no bond that can bring someone closer than the Holy Spirit of  promise.


Shout out to Rach! Happy Birthday today!!!!!!


Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, November 9, 2015

Novembaaaa


This was a great week.  By the time Sunday comes around so much has happened I don't even remember half of the things I've done.


We had Mission Leadership Council (MLC) on Wednesday.  We put a lot of preparation into it, yet I was still feeling a little unprepared by the time it came up.  One of the best ways to receive revelation is to counsel with one another.  As you discuss principles about anything... the more you counsel the more the truth will rise to the surface.  So the way we run our MLC's is by counseling with one another.  Let me just tell you... it is not easy to facilitate a council with 38 people in it.  I've done it many times before... but every time it requires so much spiritual focus and attention that it just wipes you out!  There were moments when it would feel like we were way off topic and no where near the vision of the mission... but as things wrapped up it all came together.  The last thing you want as a leader is to send mixed messages because then the vision can never really be carried out to the rest of their stewardship's.  As weird as is sounds...my testimony of council's has definitely increased this past week.

We had Stake conference this weekend and Elder Bragg of the Seventy came.  He seemed so young! There was no question that he has been called of the Lord.  He was so personal and so genuine.  He shared some amazing stories.  One of the stories he shared was about how as bad as the world may seem at times with all its doom and gloom... The good still outweighs the bad.  There was a church building in california that burned down a couple months ago... and he shared how the firefighters fighting the fire wanted to save any of the "Sacred Relics" that may be inside... they ended up saving all of the pictures of Christ that were hanging on the walls. They even set the picture of Christ praying in Gethsemane on the engine of the firetruck facing the fire hoping that He was there watching over each of the firefighters as they fought the fire.  The chief of police had a gut feeling to clear everyone out and within 10 seconds of everyone being clear, the building collapsed.  He testified that there are still many miracles being performed even when things don't look the way we want them to.


I heard a story this week that I really liked that helped me understand the role of the sacrament.  A lady volunteered to go and help clean the temple.  She was given a white rag and went around cleaning different things for about 2 hours.  After wiping things down during that whole time she returned with her rag still completely white.  As she left she felt disappointed because she felt as though she didn't clean a single thing while she was there.  Then she realized that the temple is cleaned so often that it never has the opportunity to become dirty.  She related that to our lives.  If we are going and partaking of the sacrament each week then it keeps us constantly clean.  If you clean as you go then there is never a big mess that will take a long time to fix!

We have been struggling lately to get people to keep return appointments.  No one can progress in the gospel unless they are willing to keep commitments.  We gave a training about the simplicity of giving commitments and how if someone doesn't have a goal they are working towards... then they will never accomplish anything.  You know someone has been prepared for the Gospel when they are ready to Act.



We will be working on Transfers tomorrow.  I can't believe it is that time already!


Love, Elder Crandall the Vandal

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Be a Little Bolder

I don't have much time to write a lot so I'll write as quick as I can.

This past saturday almost all of the recent converts I've had while in this area were able to go down to the temple for their first time and do baptisms for the dead.  The ward put together a "ward temple day" and it sounds like it was quite the success.  Unfortunately we weren't able to go because it is out of our mission boundaries... but listening to all of them talk about the spirit they felt and how amazing the temple is was music to my ears.  I think spiritual experiences are just the coolest things.  As a missionary I strive to create the perfect climate in which others can have a spiritual experience... well, if you take someone to the temple the climate is created for you!!  Many of them were able to take family names and be baptized for their parents.

Something that we have heard a lot this week as we've talked to people is that..."You don't need to go to church to have a relationship with God... I just stay at home and pray"  That is such a contradictory statement to me.  Relationship: the way in which two people are connected, or the state of being connected.  All relationships take effort to make them a GOOD relationship or a STRONG relationship.  I think that the most important thing in our lives should be our relationship with Heavenly Father.  There is an actual being who puts 110% into watching, listening, loving, and helping us with whatever we need. Yet we often say to ourselves "ehh I'm gonna skip out on church"  We decide what kind of relationship we want to have with him through our actions.  Going to church is one of the most basic things we can do to show Heavenly Father that we care about the personal connection we have with Him.

I've just begun reading the Book of Mormon again.  As I've read in 1 nephi it is amazing to me how quickly Laman and Lemuel begin to murmur.  They have amazing experiences... they even see an angel... and quickly complain and make excuses.  I hope and pray that I will be like Nephi.  I want to go and do anything Heavenly Father asks of me.  We had zone conference this week in which we had a really really sweet instruction from President Wilson.  He used the story of Nephi when he breaks his bow and quickly takes action while trusting in the Lord.  Nephi is a master problem solver!  

President wilson handed us all a little rock and asked what we saw... He said to him that rock was what he wanted us to be.... He wants us to be "A little Boulder"  I'm a sucker for puns:) haha

This coming week is going to be quite hectic with many many meetings and exchanges.  I love the life of a missionary!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal!

Monday, October 26, 2015




Beautiful Family.

A perfect way to spend a Saturday.  Woot.
Growth Cycle

Growth Cycle

This week was exactly what I needed.  I have been praying very hard that I will not lose any fire as my mission gets closer to the end... and this week was the perfect splash of Gasoline!

S** applied the enabling power of the Atonement this week as she resisted the temptation to smoke and enlisted in the Army of God.  Her baptism was a success and was amazing to be a part of.  She has family who has been quite negative and very against her being baptized.  However, she has received an answer from the power of the Holy Ghost that this message is true.  She knows it... and she knows that God knows it... and she cannot deny it.  Her knowledge of the scriptures is unreal... she said it best when she said, "If people would just pick up the Book of Mormon and read it they would understand!"  

I will attach a picture below which is entitled the Growth cycle... I wish I could make it look prettier but I didn't have time to redraw it.  This is based on something my brother taught me before my mission and reminded me of this past week.  We were able to use it many times and see not only our faith grow... but also missionaries we went on exchanges with... sisters we trained in a meeting... and an investigator who sincerely prayed for the first time.

I'll start with our exchange.  Our focus was on thinking of something that makes you reach out of your comfort zone or that you think is possible but sounds difficult to do... then praying for specific help in that area... and then watching the evidence of your faith appear... or in other words witness a miracle.  The zone leader I went with said that he always feels uncomfortable talking to people who look busy.  So, that was what we prayed for... to find someone who was prepared for our message but looked busy.  We were able to find not only 1... but 2 people that were busy and set them with Baptismal dates.  The first was a man living in the richest part of our area... in which I've never found a new investigator.  He was about to take his son to soccer practice but put that on hold for 15 minutes to hear our message. Miracle.  The second man ran outside randomly to yell at his dogs to stop barking right as we were walking by.  We asked him how his night was going and he said "busy, I'm fixing my truck"... well we chatted him up for a few minutes and then began to share our message with him.  He also set aside his "busyness" to hear us and he walked away with renewed hope. Miracle.

Also, on our exchange it was around 8:45 when Elder Horan and Low ran into Elder Warby and me.  I said jokingly... "There must be a reason we ran into each other at this very moment.." Well, there is truth to every joke.  We decided to knock a door, all four of us, and see how it goes.  The first door we knocked a lady came out and all four of us taught her the restoration and set her with a baptismal date.  We each taught a part of the lesson and it had to have been one of the best times I've ever taught with so much unity.  Elder Warby happened to record it... so if I get the recording I'll send it to you!;)

Next.  We used this same idea in a meeting we held with the Sister Training Leaders.  We had each of them give us something that would push their faith.  We then did some really funny and hilarious roleplay's that focused on these area's.  Each of them had to "Face their Fear" in front of all the other sisters and as a result we saw each of their own pool of faith expand. Miracle. (By far one of the funnest and most revelatory meetings I've been to.)  I was able to share my own experience I had with Tanner when I applied the Growth cycle for my first time and had one of my most powerful spiritual experiences.

Lastly.  We had a lesson tonight with the M**'s. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and told them that next time we come over... they would teach us the Plan of Salvation.  It was a really really good lesson in which they asked lots of great questions.  N** M** is the only one in the family who hasn't been baptized and hasn't even come to church... However, he participates in every lesson.  We were coming to a close when we asked each of them "Do you want to live with your family forever?" All of their responses were yes.  We then pointed out that the only way to do accomplish that goal is to Follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit was pressing on N** and he blurted out "I don't know if I should be rebaptized"  We asked him if he would be willing ask God.. right here.. right now.. He said yes.  We all got on our knees and listened as he offered a very humble and heart felt prayer.  When he finished we all stayed silent.  After about 4 minutes of complete silence we asked how he felt and his response was"I know the Holy Ghost is here."  He said the spirit keeps telling me to open the door... stop just peaking through... and open it!"  I wish you could feel the power of the spirit that was in that room.  He and his mom hugged each other while they were on their knees and just held each other for a long while.  That had to have been one of the best moments of my entire mission. Miracle.

I know with a surety that is Gospel is True.

Elder Crandall the Vandal

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Elder Crandall and Elder Horan won these T-shirts
playing miniature golf.  Proud little puppies aren't they.
Elder Matheny went back for a visit.
Goofy missionaries.  Wow.
Elder Crandall and Elder Barrick
ready to make a favorite dish from Salone.

The last supper for the missionaries who are leaving
the California Bakersfield mission.


Elder Crandall looks pretty proud.
Elder Horan looks pretty hesitant.

Finished Product.  A dish from Sierra Leone.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Never Content.....But Always Grateful!!!

Transfer week always throws us for a spin.  We are so use to proselyting consistently that when we have a 4 to 5 day gap of going without... it makes you feel a little empty.  We didn't get to start working until Thursday evening.  Its funny that when you first come out on a mission you look and look and look for stress relievers... whether that be saying really sincere prayers, meditating, writing letters, scrap booking (weird one I picked up a little bit haha), or making good food.  However, the longer I've been out my very best stress reliever is going out and sharing the gospel.  If I don't have enough time in the day to teach true principles to complete strangers I feel incomplete!

It is always fun to be around the new missionaries when they arrive.  They all seem anxious, nervous, but excited to go out and work.  I try and look back and think of what I must have looked like when I first came on a mission... I'm sure I looked pale not knowing what was to come... but maybe that was just the contrast between me and all the other Africans I arrived with;) haha

It is also an interesting experience being with the missionaries who are going home.  Many of them you have served around.... many of them you've heard amazing things about but never really met... and many of them you've shared spiritual experiences with.  The contrast in confidence and knowledge of the gospel is amazing from the ones coming and leaving.  2 years can really change a young man or young woman if they let it.  Change has come to be one of my new favorite words while being a missionary.

Elder Houghton is the new assistant who replaced Elder Haubner.  I've had a blast serving with Elder Haubner and learned so much from him.  He is one of the boldest people I've ever met and he always encouraged me to never be content. I am now the oldest assistant... the senior assistant if you will haha!  I am sooooo stoked to work with Elder Houghton. He was one of my zone leaders that I've had the honor of working with the whole time I've been an assistant.  I'm amazed at his skills as a missionary and I've got my fingers crossed that they will rub off on me.  He definitely seems like the kind of kid I would have been best of friends with back home!  

Elder Matheny came and visited me this week and took Elder Horan and me out to lunch.  It was so great to see him and see that he is continuing to be an example to friends back home.  I've had some of the best times on my mission serving with him!  He definitely helped me realize that there is nothing back home that is more important than the work we do as missionaries.  It would be nice to be able to watch a movie, be lazy, or hug a girl... However helping someone change their life for eternity out weighs any of that by a loooonnng shot.  

S** is preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday.  She is one of the neatest people I've met. She is trying to quit smoking and has been clean for 5 days so keep her in your prayers!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The AP's out miniature golfing.  Nice to see them relaxing and having fun.  I think one of them is having a lot of fun.



While on the miniature golf course, they decided they couldn't let a "house" go by without knocking on the door and checking to see if someone was home.  Funny boys, my goodness.
 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mosiah 28:3

My ponderize scripture for the week was Mosiah 28:3 which says...

 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

There were times throughout the week in which I felt very exhausted and tired... but as I thought about this scripture, it gave me a reminder of why I am a missionary.  I want everyone I meet to have the Gospel.  I can't force it on anyone... but I know the blessing that will come if they choose to listen.  I have seen many lives changed and filled with hope after they felt the influence of the Holy Ghost.  We had an amazing experience this week that I would like to share.

As we prepared for MLC this week we decided that as a mission... the disconnect between our High number of new investigators being found and the low number of baptisms is because of our  teaching skills.  As we counseled with President Wilson it became very clear that the power in which the Restoration was being taught in the first contact needed some improvement.  We prepared a training on teaching for understanding in the very first contact.  I was a little unsure if this was the exact route we needed to go... Heavenly Father will always give us a confirmation if something is true... so I decided if that was the case then he would reassure me.

A couple weeks ago while on exchange I saw a lady climbing some stairs to her apartment... she was too far away to chase down... so instead I yelled to her.  She looked over at us and recognized us immediately.  She said that she had met with missionaries with her family 5 or 6 years ago when she was living in Myrtle Creek Oregon.  My immediate thought was... how cool would that be if Tanner was the one who taught them.  She told us to stop by in a week.  This week we went by their house and knocked on their apartment door.  She opened the door and the first words out of her mouth were "ohhh... well... I don 't know how to put this nicely... but we are not interested at all in your church"  When someone says that right off the bat... it is pretty easy to give up on them... but the first words out of my mouth were... "Have you read the Book of Mormon?" That immediately brought out her concern... she answered No and told us her real problem was that she couldn't believe in Joseph Smith and that she had never felt "filled" when she heard about our church.  We asked her if she would allow us to share a 10 minute message and we promised her that she would feel that our message was true.  She let us in and to our surprise, her husband and son sat on the couch to listen as well.  We began to share the message of the Restoration and immediately we could tell they had many many questions.. We answered a couple of them and then told them that all of their questions would be answered with our message.  We taught one of the most powerful lesson on my mission.  The spirit was so strong that S** was in tears, her husband M** expressed feelings of the spirit, and chance told us he wanted to go on a mission.  They asked if we could please make time for them and come back:) "Well... I guess we can squeeze you in;)" haha

In our MLC I was able to testify with Confidence that when we teach for understanding with the spirit... People will understand the Restoration... If the Restoration is truly understood then people will read the book of mormon, come to church, and will plead to be baptized.  It was an awesome meeting:)

The second meeting with the D** family was just as good.  We took Brother K** with us (He is my favorite... he is an amazing teacher)  Right from the start M** opened up to us and expressed some of his problems.  We testified that the Atonement is there to help us where we are at... not to help us once we are perfect.   In his own words he said "Before you guys came I felt like I had a 4 ton Elephant on my shoulders... within 15 minutes I felt that burden lifted just from talking with you guys."  He definitely has some huge obstacles to climb... but I wish you could have seen his face when we talked about baptism and being given a clean slate:)

I love being a missionary and can't believe how time slips away.  This coming week is transfers so we will be on the go non stop for the first few days:)  

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

Love Elder Crandall

Friday, October 9, 2015

Elder Crandall's sister sent him on his mission with envelopes filled with letters from various people at home.
Written on the outside, it told him when he could open each letter.  It looks as though this one was a bit confusing to him.
The first letter was opened when he was on the airplane, on his way to the MTC in Ghana. 
I'm wondering if this is one of the last ones.  Only 4 months left, so there couldn't be too many more.


Elder Crandall and Elder Barrick with the father of another missionary fro Sierra Leone.  Elder Lehr was reassigned to
the Louisiana Baton Rouge mission when he was evacuated from Sierra Leone.  Elder Crandall and Elder Lehr were
in the same apartment when Elder Crandall first arrived in Salone.  They ran in to Brother Lehr at the Los Angeles temple.

Elder Crandall and Elder Barrick.  Salone brothers and Bakersfield brothers as well.  So amazing.
 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Conference is Killer!

I want to start off by saying... I didn't fall asleep for even a wink during ALL of conference! WOOO! haha My notebook is pretty much filled after all that I was trying to capture and put on paper!  Thank goodness I can't put into word's how I felt, or I would have filled every notebook I've ever owned! haha

I've been asked several times who my favorite speaker at conference was... I've decided that is an impossible question to answer.  I'll share some of the things that stuck out to me.

James B. Martino... "God doesn't answer questions of curiosity, but rather questions of intent and sincerity."

Several times I heard that if the Holy Ghost whispers something for you to do... then DO IT!  The more we heed the whisperings of the spirit, the more he will whisper to us!  When we have the Holy Ghost... We are able to see as God sees.

Fransico Vinas..."Repentance is a process not and event."

Allen D. Haiyne spoke familiar words as he described playing in the mud and then not being let inside.  I could picture myself doing the same thing when playing at lake powell.  Who knew why I would go and dig random holes... it's a boy thing. haha  This talk had a such a unique analogy that I connected to perfectly.

Devin Durrant.... "PONDERIZE"

Gregory A. Switzer... True disciples desire to inspire the hearts of men.... Stand up and Testify!!

D. Todd Christofferson made it quite clear why church is necessary.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say "I don't need to go to church to have a relationship with God." well people... According to God... You definitely do! ha

Elder Holland reminded me that the only thing comparable to the Savior's love for us... is our mother's love for us.  For those of you who don't know... My mom makes sure she tells me how much she loves me in every single email:) You're the best mom!  

Lastly... I felt the spirit the strongest while listening to the testimonies of the 3 new apostles.  I've already had my own confirmation that the Lord called them and that they are special witness's of Him. 

I found myself wanting to jump for joy several times during the conference because of the amazing feeling I had while I listened.  Many memories of family and overwhelming gratitude filled my soul.  

The Gospel is real.

I went to the temple on Friday with all the departing missionaries.  After the session ended... while still inside the temple I caught eyes with a man who was in our session.  He looked sooo familiar but i had no idea why.  He came over to me and we started talking.  He said he loves missionaries and can't wait for his son to get home in 2 weeks.  Come to find out, His son is Elder Lehr.  Elder Lehr and I were in the same apartment in Sierra Leone in my first area! He has been in the Louisana baton rouge mission since the evacuation.  This was just another tender mercy that Heavenly Father knows who I am personally and out of all the people I could run into it was one of the parents of a favorite missionary friend.  Elder Barrick and I took a picture with him and it felt like a little slice of Salone.

Love Elder Crandall

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tempted to Cliff Jump but realized it wasn't a great idea.
Study Mode.
What an awesome day.  These are wonderful people.

Family Photo.

Aaaaahhhh. What????



Hardest Part of my Week = Figuring out the Title of my Email.

KJ and M** were baptized this week!  Baptisms will never get old.  They stress you out and can be hectic at times... but I would do anything and everything to put myself through more "baptism stress."  haha  I was asked to baptize **K and Elder Horan was asked to baptized M**.  It was neat for all of us to be dressed in white together.  The white we wear at baptism is such a perfect symbol of cleanliness. No one likes to feel sticky or yucky... and no one ever has to.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ cleans any gunk or mess we get ourselves into.  We can have the confidence in Jesus Christ to be clean every single day as we repent and partake of the sacrament weekly.

They both shared their testimonies after they were baptized.  K** talked about how before meeting with us... she felt like she was at the point of not believing there even was a God.  She saw so many problems without any solutions.  She had been hurt many times as she tried to fight her way through life and couldn't see why God would let that happen.  She has felt a change of heart and knows what the Savior's love feels like now.  M** is very shy and not very social.  His mom got up and stood by him as he gave his testimony.  Wow. That might be the only words to describe his testimony.  He didn't look scared or nervous in the slightest and spoke very clearly.  He said the past 2 months that he has been going to church and mutual his nature has changed.  He doesn't get angry as easily as he use to.  He has friends at church that he loves to be with.  He has done many activities he never thought he would be able to do like boating and roller skating.  Lastly, he shared an experience he had one night as he lay in bed praying.  He felt the Holy Ghost touch his heart and then his head.  He felt so warm and happy and knew that God was real.  He testified that the Book of Mormon is true and that he knew this is what he was suppose to be doing. 

We went on 2 more exchanges this week!  I was able to go with a missionary that lived in the same ward as Tanner back in Boston.  We laughed and talked about Milo for quite some time.  Milo must be dang cute if a missionary who has been out for 10 months still remembers his name! haha

Anyways, we saw miracles after miracles and found investigators after investigators.  I almost got to the point of not wanting to find any more people because it is already so hard to keep track of the people we are already working with!  Then I thought... what in the world am I thinking!? The Field is white already to harvest... So you know what I'm gonna do! I'm gonna double cut the field baby!!! wooooooh!!!! (I know you'll like that dad;)) haha

There was a concern that came up this week with our stance on Homosexuality.  One of the people we are teaching has very close friends that are gay and thought that if she joined the church she would have to stop being friends with them or treat them differently! This is not the case!  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love EVERYONE! Whether they be gay, straight, black, blue, a murderer, a rapist, a Christian, or a Buddhist! Their love is so intense and so deep it is almost too complicated for our minds to understand! Their question they brought up to us was..."If God loves us unconditionally, then why can't he love people the way they are?"  Well, that is just it.  God loves us so much and in the "way that we are" but he knows we can be better!  We have unlimited potential and it is only through living and loving the Gospel of Jesus Christ that those limits are unleashed!  As far as homosexuality goes... it is not a sin or an illness to have gay tendencies.  There are several people I know and love that struggle with these temptations... and that's just the thing... it is a temptation.  Just like any other temptation Satan tries to persuade us with... we must learn to overcome them with self control and the Atonement.  God gives some of his toughest battles to his bravest warriors.

So... If you truly love someone... then how can you show it?!  First, you must love them for who they are at the moment. Then, you learn to learn, grow, and change alongside them!  Repentance or change takes some real effort and time.  We can't expect others to change their natures in one night.  However, we can walk the path alongside them helping them every step of the way!  Jesus Christ asks us to do some tough things... but he doesn't ask us to do impossible things.

John 6:67-68

 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Where else can we turn for peace in this life?  Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Love Elder Crandall the Vandal