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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