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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Milo

Something I learned this week in my study of the Book of Mormon was that if we see a sign before we develop our faith then we are quick to forget what we've seen. We need to consistently have spiritual experiences or we will let doubt and fear creep into our life.  The Nephites  saw the signs of Christ's birth and just a few years later had already begun to doubt that Jesus Christ was really the Son of God.  The way we have these consistent experiences is not just going through the motions... but setting goals in front of us and using God's help to achieve them... whether it be for school, work, family, or whatever.  I know that God wants us to feel His spirit often and will provide opportunities we just have to look for them!

Elder Horan and I were out street contacting all day on Saturday and had no success. We were both getting wiped out and dehydrated so we were about to take a break for dinner.  We decided to go by one last referral.  As we were parked outside his house I figured we had better stop and say a prayer to be led to a miracle or we would just keep wandering without seeing any fruit.  I prayed that we would be led to someone who was prepared and ready to act on our message.  So we went and knocked on the referrals door and he let us in right away and even called us Elders.  We thought he might be a member.  We sat down and talked with him. We found out that he lived in Las Vegas for a time and had spent a lot of time around mormons.  He had met with missionaries before.  He said he watched Byu channel almost daily and that he really liked the Book of Mormon.  We decided to read 3 Nephi 11 with him and see what he thought about Joseph Smith, and the priesthood.  He said he believed He was a prophet.  We invited him to be baptized and he accepted! I asked him why he wanted to be baptized now but not in times past and he said "I just really feel the overwhelming power of the spirit and I haven't felt it this strongly before!"  Elder Horan and I walked out of there with big smiles and couldn't believe the miracle we had just prayed for and seen!

We talked to a lot of part member families this week about the importance of getting married and not just living together.  In this day and age people make it sound normal and ok in God's eyes to live with someone before you marry them.  Trust leaves such relationships that would otherwise be there if they were married first.  The point of marriage is to learn and grow together!  I'm grateful for my parent's example of a happy and eternal marriage.  I hope that I will be able to treat my wife the same way that my dad treats my mom.

Shout out to My main man MILO!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I can't believe you are already 2 years old! It seems like just yesterday I was driving down to provo with Mom and Jen to see him for the first time!

p.s. I broke my camera... so idk if you are going to be seeing many pictures!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cody and his companion had the cameras of the 27 departing
missionaries at the Los Angeles Temple.  They came up with
a very effective process.  Cody's arm held all the cameras,
and Elder Matheny took the pictures as they dangled.
Nice work Elders.  Great teamwork.

They had a huge rain storm in Bakersfield. 
Cody and the kids ran outside to enjoy the rain.
Cody said it made him miss the rain and
lightning stores in Sierra Leone, which were
absolutely spectacular.

A fabulous baptism of a beautiful lady.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Great Week

I don't have much time to write so I will just share my favorite things I remember.

C** L** was baptized this Saturday! I was privileged to be able to baptize her! After we were done changing I was talking to her out in the hall. She said that it was one of the coolest experience's and that she felt so good!  She has felt the spirit before and knows what it feels like.  She was so excited to get the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Her 7 year old son was going to give the closing prayer but got nervous so she ended up saying the closing prayer.  It was very simple yet very sincere.  I'm so happy I was able to meet and teach her! She is one of a kind!!  

There were 27 departing testimonies... Elder Matheny and Elder Hyde went last and knocked it out of the park.  I am so grateful I was able to serve with both of them.  I know that part of the reason I left Sierra Leone was to serve with both of these Elders.  I am going to miss them the most of any missionary I've had to send to the airport and I can't wait to reunite with them after the mission.

My new companion is Elder Horan.  He is almost an exact replica of Brandon Wilde!! This transfer is going to be way too much fun!  He was one of the zone leaders I've served around before and seen some sweet miracles on exchanges with.  He is buff as can be too... so that means Elder Crandall is going to be getting back into shape these next couple of transfers! Woot! haha 

I'm thankful for all of the experiences I've had on my mission.  No one would ever understand what a mission is like unless they've been on one.  They are the sweetest!  God knows that when we try to change others... we end up changing ourselves. I hope and pray I continue to see more and more changes in myself. Missions would be a complete failure if you returned the same person... or if after returning you once again became the same person.  I'm thankful for the Atonement and the comfort Christ gives.  I'm thankful that I've had my spiritual eyes opened to the potential I have as a child of God.

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sorry it's late!

So as of late, I’ve been getting a little tired of going to District Meeting.  I’ve been to so many of them and sometimes they seem to be the exact same as the week before.  However this past week I went to one of the most powerful ones on my mission.  What I loved about it too was that the training wasn’t on anything deep or magnificent… it was simply on bearing testimony frequently.  They did an amazing job at inviting the spirit using scriptures and Preach My Gospel.  They then opened up the last 20 minutes for all of us to share our conversion story and our testimonies.  There were only 5 of us in the room so I thought to myself… we might not need this much time.  It was one of the most powerful times I’ve ever felt the spirit.  Everyone’s testimony had something in it that I could relate perfectly to or something I needed to hear.  It’s cool how the spirit can make a meeting feel like it is all for you, yet at the same time, everyone else feels that way too!  “Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith , and there he must make his stand” (A Witness and a Warning, 4-5) We had all felt the pressure and temptation of the adversary in our lives but there was a point for all of us in which we decided what we wanted most.  I’m so thankful for the way Heavenly Father teaches us.  He won’t ever set what we want in our lap.  He makes us work for it and it is through that work that we change and become increasingly stronger and happier.  I’m so grateful for the spiritual experience I shared with those Elders and I know it will be an anchor I can hold fast to and remember when  the winds and the waves come.

The other interesting event this week was running into an Anti-Christ. To make a long story short, we were teaching a lady and her children at her doorstep and this guy who lived nearby showed up because he heard we were out sharing a message about Christ.  He ruined our lesson and got pretty vocal and vulgar.  We simply told him we weren’t there to argue or fight but simply help people live a happier life.  He contradicted himself multiple times as he quoted scripture and then used it to deny Christ.  It made me so sad to see someone chained down and deceived as badly as he was.  A scripture that came to mind as he yelled at us trying to make us feel like dirt was… Moroni 7:13, 16-17 “13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. 16 For behold, the spirit of Chirst is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. 17 But whatsoever thing persadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.”

We didn’t bash like we could have and like our natural man wanted to.  He threatened us with voodoo and told us that that area was his territory and he wouldn’t let anyone listen to what we had to say.  Well, we are being cautious about it… but we are not afraid to go in that area.  We know that our message is true and it is only through it that people can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This is the last week before transfers.  There are 27 missionaries leaving and 17 coming.  It is going to be pretty crazy or at least the craziest one so far.  There are going to be 2 new assistants and 7 new zone leaders.  So I will have plenty of opportunity to train some leaders this next transfer! I’m really excited and I know Heavenly Father will help me to do my very best job.

Something I am trying to focus on is being grateful for what Heavenly Father has given me.  I can so easily get carried away in the thought that I can do more and that what I’ve done is not enough.  Heavenly Father has blessed us so much these past 3 transfers that by asking for more and more and more I sometimes forget to stop and say thanks and thanks and thanks!!!!

We don’t simply fit God into our life, but we find a way to encompass life with God! –Elder Crandall the Vandal

Shout out to the Curtis’s! Thank you so much for getting a Krio Baybul (bible) for me!  I love it! I’m so grateful for the amazing miracles you do for my people in Africa!

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Baking in Bakersfield!!!

I'm very grateful for the time I've been on my mission.  There are often times when I am in my own thoughts and I think of going on adventures with friends, playing tennis, spending time with family and all different kinds of wonderful memories from my past... but as I remember how important my calling as a missionary is and the real purpose of this life, I can quickly put aside those thoughts and feel motivated to go out and serve with all my heart.  There is a quote in Preach My Gospel that I really like by President Gordon B. Hinkley. "We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere.  Let there be cultivated an awareness in every members heart of his own potential for bringing others to a knowledge of the truth.  Let him work at it. Let him pray with great earnestness about it."  If every member in the Church sat back and said ehhh someone else will do it, then nothing would get done.  Heavenly Father has asked us all to do his work.  So ask yourself, am I doing all I can to invite others to come unto Christ? 

This last Monday as we were in a meeting with President Wilson we all felt strongly that the Confidence and power in our missionaries needs to increase.  As we thought about ways of doing that I remembered something that was changing our mission in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone we often talked about how Preach My Gospel is written by latter day prophet's and apostles and that it is scripture.  What more could a missionary ask for than clear direct scripture teaching them how to do every part of missionary work!?  I have a strong testimony that Preach My Gospel can and will teach anyone who reads it how to share these precious truths with others.  We decided to invite all of the missionaries in our mission to read Preach My Gospel from cover to cover by July 21st (Last day of the Transfer)  I'm so excited to see the re-dedication to developing skills and confidence that will permeate throughout the mission.  A missionary is the happiest when they are working hard and seeing success.

Elder Matheny gave a really awesome training Wednesday in Mission Leadership Council.  He talked about the doctrine of baptism and how the second a missionary truly understands it, they will do anything and everything to get people into the water.  Baptism is our first anchor that fastens us to Christ.  D&C 84:20 "Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest."  Baptism gives people the opportunity for God to really speak to them and feel Him.  When I think back to times that I've received my own ordinances, I will never forget the feelings that accompany them.  I remember going through the temple for the first time with my brother by my side and feeling swollen with the spirit.  Walking into the Celestial room was indeed a flash of what the real thing will be like when I enter Heaven and see my family embrace me.  I love this Gospel and will do anything Heavenly Father asks me to do in order to feel the way I've felt with the spirit.

Shout out to Elder Hyde, Haubner, and Matheny.  I have learned so much serving next to you 3 as we've tried our very best to help the Bakersfield Mission.  The atonement has changed all 4 of us and I know we will be best friends for the rest of our lives.  I feel the closest to those I've had spiritual experiences with... and I've had more than I can count with you Elders! 

Love Elder Crandall