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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Celebrating his birthday with the Macfarlanes.  Happy Birthday Elder Crandall

Monday, January 26, 2015

20 Years Old?!?!

Dear Family and Friends of Elder Crandall;

Thank you to so many of you who wished Cody a Happy Birthday.  I think this is going to be a birthday he is never going to forget.  I communicated with his companion last week, and was able to send a box of birthday party stuff to the sister missionaries apartment (they are in the same complex but a couple of buildings away) and also an envelope with some money so they could buy lunch for the whole zone and have a very fun day.  I don’t know the details of the events yet, but his companion was so sweet when we corresponded.  This was his response to me last week: 
 
That is so awesome. I am going to make it one he will never forget. Rest assured, your son will have a great birthday party. It is nice having him closer for these kinds of things for sure (he is referring to the fact that I couldn’t have pulled this off if he were still in Sierra Leone).  I will make sure to send you lots of pictures. Your son is awesome. He is my favorite companion because he loves me and helps me when I need it. He is the answer to my prayers, my mom's prayers, and to the prayers to lots of people who need the Gospel. Thanks for having a great son. I will keep you updated, and anxiously await your package. Sincerely, Elder H”

He told me he would send me lots of pictures next week, so I can’t wait.  I hope he has had a very wonderful and memorable day.  It sounds like it has been perfect so far, and he is supposed to go for a hike after emailing, which he used to love to do with all of his high school buddies all the time.

Thanks all.  Have a wonderful week.
Love
Nan (Cody's Mom)

 
Here is Cody's Email for the week:
 
I can't believe you mom.  You are just the coolest.  I technically had 2 surprise party's today!  We came back from doing laundry and our apartment was all decked out!  I thought... "wow, can't believe my mom would do this for me from so far away." Little did I know that there was an even more legit surprise party at the stake center!  Mom... I love you.  You are the greatest woman in my life and you spoil me way too much:)  The Samoan sisters made us tons of food so I very easily could fall asleep while writing this email cause I am stuffed! haha  

It is weird to no longer being a teenager.... I remember when I turned 18... best/worst day of my life.. I could now buy dry ice... but I could no longer make dry ice bombs haha.  20 is a good age... No more teenage probs and I get to spend my entire 20th year in the service of my Heavenly Father! That right there is the best birthday wish I could ever have.

So I opened up a letter that my sister prepared for me before the mission last night that said..."When you know you are where you are suppose to be."  (Note from mom:  Jenessa recruited lots of family and friends to write letters to Cody for him to open on certain days.  Some of them were specific to a particular day, and some of them, like this one, would be opened randomly when the description fit.  We were concerned that he had to leave these behind when he was evacuated from Sierra Leone, but were thrilled to hear that he took those with him.  It was a very special and wonderful thing for his sister to prepare for him and for all who participated and wrote letters for this project).  It is funny that I never opened it in Sierra Leone.  There were times when I contemplated opening it... but it just wasn't the time yet.  Well, when I got to California... I thought about just throwing it away because it was probably all about how cool Africa and the people there probably are.  I didn't want to open it and have it make me feel home sick from my Sierra Leone family.  I held on to it.. and something prompted me to open it last night.  It was hand written by one of my sisters best friends Kenna.  I read the letter and felt the Spirit so strongly testify to me that I am where God wants me.  I have felt that same spirit when I first got here and realized this is where I would be for good and when I met and baptized Tray and Brandi... God loves to reassure us.  One of the coolest things about this letter was that not a single time did it specify Africa.  All it said is that when you open this you will have felt a connection with the people you are around and a feeling from God letting you know he is aware of your situation.  It also said that no matter where we are, we can make a difference.  Holy moly Kenna... I love you and I loved your personal experience about when you felt reassured from Heavenly Father that you were in the right place.  God knew I needed to hold on to that letter for as long as I did.  I love the amazing way that he works.  God is not a God of coincidences.  Thank you Kenna.

We had another fantastic week.  I love exchanges, if you haven't noticed from the past emails I have been sending.  We saw plenty more miracles on this last exchange.  I am grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from the missionaries I serve with.  I may be their leader... but they sure are my teacher most of the time!

Pray that our investigators will come to church because apparently my prayers aren't doing it on their own! haha

Love you all!

Shout out to Heavenly Father for sending me to the Earth at this specific time in my specific family! I LOVE YOU!

Love Elder Cran the Birthday Man

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Mcfarlanes took Elder Crandall and Elder Hyde to the Los Angeles Temple on January 13, 2015

Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work!

We had a fabulous time this past week.  It amazes me how much better each week seems than the last.  

Since my birthday is in January we were able to attend the temple.  Bishop Mcfarlane took us with his wife on Tuesday morning.  Holy cow it has been almost a full year since I stepped foot in a temple and I was DYING to get back inside one.  I had never been to the LA temple but I sure loved it.  It is HUGE!  Bishop Mcfarlane is one of the smartest and most personable people ever.  He teaches institute so he know his scriptures like the back of his hand.  As we drove down to the temple he had me constantly flipping to scriptures that talked about the temple.  

I cannot explain the pure feeling that I feel in the temple.  The Temple is the House of God.  I learned sooooo much and it felt like Heavenly Father just unscrewed the top of my head and dumped in a bunch of revelation.  My face was sore afterwards because I am pretty sure I had a constant smile from ear to ear the entire time I was in there.  I felt so close to my family and to my Savior.

We had some amazing lessons this week and the exchange we went on literally could not have gone any better than it did.  I was able to go with ELDER BILLINGS.  It was a total blast from the past!  We didn't have the car so we walked to and fro talking with everyone who even dared peek out their window! haha.  We taught T** for probably the last time together.  T** has had Heavenly Fathers hand in her life so much lately she just hasn't noticed that it is God.  She was so close to baptism about 2 months ago but had some complications.  The only thing that is holding her back now is her anxiety.  Every time she has come to church she has felt the Spirit.  I wish some people realized the importance of keeping the commandments, especially the commandment to be baptized.  Anyways, we taught her with as much love as we could muster and she definitely felt it.  She should be coming to church this next week. :)

We have found so many people who have been prepared.  I know I might be leaving this next transfer... but whoever is in this area in the next 3 months is going to be teaching and baptizing like crazy!

We had a cool experience with a new investigator named E** this week that reminded me of an experience I had with my brother.  We were talking about God's love and how we can access it. She was talking about a friend she had who "literally felt the spirit" (how she explained it).  I asked her if she has ever felt God's love before... her answer was in the negative.  Right then and there I asked her if she had enough faith to feel His love right now.  She said yes so.... we dropped right to our knees.  We promised her that if she said a prayer and asked to feel His love then she would feel it.  She talked with God... it wasn't just a prayer to satisfy us... It was a prayer in which God satisfied her.  The second she said Amen she looked at us and asked why she felt so warm.  I couldn't stop smiling.  We told her that THAT is the way God answers prayers.  The Spirit was so warm and comforting in the room.  I love being a part of someones first experience with real prayer just like my brother was there for one of my first times.  

There were so many other miracle lessons we had in which the Spirit was obviously present.  I wish I had time to tell you about all of them.  Just know that you can have your own experiences!

Quote I heard while proselyting this last week that just cracked me up.

"No matter how much weed Satan smokes... he will never be the most HIGH GOD."

Shout out to my sister Jenessa la puepes! Happy Birthday! I wonder how much you are gonna grow on your birthday!?

Love Elder Crandall the vandal

Friday, January 16, 2015

If God is for us, then who could stand against us?

The subject line is the Palmdale Zone motto.  I was reading in Romans 8:31 when I found it.  There is a song by Chris Tomlin that goes along with it also... but it just hit me hard and I realized how powerful of a statement that is.  If God is rooting for you, and willing to do anything and everything to help you succeed.. then what in the world is ever going to stop you?!?  No matter what our trial is... finding new investigators... overcoming sin... strengthening relationships... God is on your side.

So being a Zone Leader gives you a lot more responsibility and a lot of opportunity to train.  This week was pretty hectic as far as how many meeting we had.  We had a zone conference on Wednesday that was different than any zone conference they have done before.  It was only our Zone with President and Sister Wilson.  Elder Hyde and I were asked to do a training/roleplay.  We decided to train on the importance of members and how the way to access members in full is by using the Bishop and WML.  I was nervous before we gave it but the second we started training I threw out a "Ow Di Bodi" and after that my butterflies were completely gone. :)  (Note from Mom:  That is Krio for "How are you"?  It stems from "How is the body?")

That same night the assistants trained Elder Hyde and I on how we can help our zone catch "the vision."  We then trained on that Friday for a Zone Training Meeting.  It is safe to say I am all trained out for the next little bit ha!

We also attended 2 other meetings with the Stake President, and the High Counselor over missionary work in the Stake.  Who knew there was so much stuff done behind the scenes.  Dad... I have massive amounts of respect for all you do for the Butler West Stake!

Well if you thought I was done... I still haven't put the cherry on top.  We arrived at church to find out the couple who would be speaking wouldn't be able to come... so they asked Elder Hyde and me to speak for 12 minutes each. hahaha! Elder Hyde gave one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard on the Atonement... He knows how to invite the Spirit like it's his day job...(kind of is his day job haha).  I talked about our Heavenly Father and why He is the center of our worship.  I shared the experience in Africa of when the muslim guy accused me of not loving God because I believed in Jesus Christ.  I won't ever forget that experience because my testimony was tested and I held strong.  I had been through so many meetings and done so much public speaking that week that I felt pretty prepared haha! I was actually excited to speak! Weird.

We had another exchange this week in which we found 3 more investigators.  God leads us to those who are prepared... but if we aren't willing to work... then he isn't willing to give us the miracles!

Lastly, following impressions is the most important thing we can do.  Elder Hyde and I had repetitive impressions to keep returning to an investigators house.  Normally we won't knock the same door twice in one day unless they are expecting us... but we went back several times.  Come to find out he had been contemplating suicide and was ready to do it that day.  We stayed, prayed, and cried with him.  I am so happy we listened to the Spirit.  There was a complete change in his countenance when we left and he even came to church.  If the Holy Ghost whispers something to you... LISTEN!

Shout out to Meggie! Can't believe you are 21! Hope you had a great birthday! Love ya!

Elder Crandall the vandal!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!!!!

I'm just gonna get right into it cause we had some awesome exchanges I want to tell you about!

So on Tuesday we went on an exchange with the Elders that are serving in our ward.  One of them is being trained still so we get the honor of going on an exchange on his 3rd and 9th week to see his progress and make sure he is being trained well.  I was the one who got to go with Elder Earnshaw (the new missionary).  We started the day off by trying to contact some potentials and referrals... it was going really slow and to top that it was REALLY cold.  We knocked on sooo many doors and apparently no one wanted to let any cold into their house cause no one was answering.  (We heard plenty of peephole push up against the door to look out the people) Hehe.  Anyways... we stayed diligent and worked hard.  We didn't see any success from it... but I believe it's because He was saving those blessings for later that night!  That night we went to dinner at a less actives house who has recently been returning back to church.  Her name is G***... she works at a restaurant... Hence, she makes some DANG good food. However, that wasn't the blessing I was talking about haha.  We had an awesome lesson that got her thinking and she commited to learn more about the restoration in her own personal study.  The blessings hit all at once in a lesson we had with J** and R** C**.  I don't know what we did to invite the spirit as strongly as we did... but it was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever been in.  My favorite part about it too is.... we were only talking about the basic principles!  Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  The Spirit was pumping through everyone.  The cool thing about the Spirit is when you point out that He is present they recognize that what they are feeling is God's love.  Practically brings me to tears everytime I feel the Spirit that strong because I can FEEL how much Love Heavenly Father has for me.  I can promise you that any person in that room at the time would have been converted just from the overwhelming feeling of love.  After that lesson Elder Earnshaw just looked at me and said "WOW... do you and Elder Hyde have lessons like that all the time?!?!"  haha. Maybe not all the time... but we are sure trying to!!!

The next exchange was on Friday with one of the District Leaders in our zone.  His area hasn't found a new investigator in quite some time so we wanted to help show him that there are definitely people out there prepared and waiting for us to find and teach them.  I went with Elder Craig (the district leader).  We ended up going by a referral that we have stopped by over 6 times and we just couldn't seem to catch them.  Well, we parked the car and as we were approaching the apartment she was just getting home from somewhere! Woot... Miracle in and of itself.  She looked pretty emotional and stressed.  We introduced ourselves and asked her what was going on.  She explained to us that her ex husband broke into her last apartment, stole money... then ended up breaking into her mailbox... stole some money that was in there... and then right before she had gotten home she was at the bank... left her purse there... went back and it was gone.  She had just finished talking to her apartment manager and he told her that she HAD to pay the 60 dollars left on her bill or she would get thrown out.  Because of all the craziness that had happened all of her money was gone and she had no way to pay for it.  I SOOOO badly wanted to just go to an ATM and get 60 bucks to give to her.  She seemed so hopeless.  Instead, we followed the spirit and began to bear testimony about the love Heavenly Father has for her. No matter what we are going through God is aware and won't leave us empty handed or comfortless.  I shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon with her.  We were going to leave and she asked if she could have the bible I read the scripture from... well, Elder Craig rather than just giving her one followed the Spirit and explained what it is.  We ended up teaching her for about half an hour.  We set her with a baptismal date and when we left she was so happy! 100% change in countenance. After that we ended up having some great lessons with some recent converts and found some more investigators through them!  God likes to prove all things are possible and He tends to do it on exchanges:)

Also, another sweet experience.  We had 30 minutes left before the end of the night on Wednesday and we could not figure out where God needed us.  I said a prayer in my heart and in big bold letters I saw FLOREZ.  They are a family we dropped 4 months ago.  We went by had a pretty good lesson and they committed to come to church.  As we were leaving the 17 year old daughter wanted to walk us out... my first thought was "yikes, she's gonna try and kiss one of us!" instead... the second we stepped outside she started crying.  She said she has been praying that God would reach out for her and show her what she needed to do.... and we showed up.  Her boyfriend was arrested a couple days before and she was worried for him.  She said she was praying that he would get out and if it happened she would do whatever it takes to follow God.  Well, he got out yesterday... so She best be getting baptized in a bit;) haha but it was just really cool to feel so inspired to be in a certain place at that exact time.  I love being the tool God uses to answer a prayer:)

Lastly, We had a lesson with T***, B***, J*** and R*** all at J***'s house last night.  It was awesome to have 3 of my recent converts and one soon to be all in one room.  We asked them about some of the hardships they've had as a recent convert.  We had another powerful lesson similar to the one we had on exchange on Tuesday.  

It is safe to say that I have felt the Spirit quite a bit this week and quite a few different ways.  I love my Mission!

Elder Hyde is awesome... the end.

Love,
Elder Crandall the Vandal