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Friday, January 29, 2016

Nice to see him working and also enjoying the mountains and the beautiful scenery.
This is the amazing family he met in Lancaster, who are from Sierra Leone.
Ow Di Bodi.  haha

Ever since he was a young child, he has loved swords.
I can't figure out why, but it still puts a smile on his face.
These were the prizes they got from the Chick-Fil-A kids meals.
I'm not sure if that expression is total exhilaration or disbelief.
It looks as though they are both crazy to me.  Lots of fun though.

Is this who I think it is?  A long lost friend from a year ago? 
So happy to see you.

His favorite restaurant is finally going to his mission.  He has waited for 2 years.
It looks as though it is a little late.  Oh well, the pictures probably make him
happy enough. 
Two of his favorite families both together.
The Henderson and Spencer families.  Nice to see them again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tender Mercy Miracles

Just when I thought last week was amazing and that it couldn't get better... God proved me wrong!  To start off this week we were able to watch a world wide missionary broadcast!  I know for sure I have changed as a person because before my mission I dreaded going to any kind of fireside or morning side.... and if I went I was pretty good at folding my tie up as a pillow and falling asleep on it on the bench in front of me! haha! However, this time I took like 6 pages of notes and felt the spirit just pumping through me!  I never thought that with such a short time left I could learn so many things that I can improve on!  Heavenly Father is definitely keeping me busy and wants to fine tune me until the end!  Elder Bednar gave a really sweet instruction about the Role of the Holy Ghost in our teaching.  As missionaries we are the tools for the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father to Convert these people.  Sometimes missionaries think it is the other way around and that the Holy Ghost is one of their tools to convince people.  Without the Holy Ghost it is impossible for some to learn the truth for themselves.


Another "God Smack" as my Recent Convert Sheila L** would put it...

In the Broadcast they talked about mining the Gold mine which is finding through Less Actives and Recent Converts.  We call them LARCS.  Elder Houghton and I have been relying on our own efforts of finding lately and we realized we needed to work through LARCS! We did it this week and found more than we ever have together!  There are always non members living in less actives homes and if not then most of their friends are non members!


So I went on Exchanges out of my area this week and God had some serious tender mercies planned out for me.  I was working in the Somerset ward in Lancaster.  Elder Parsons told me about this African family they were teaching so of course I asked which part of Africa they were from... and you guessed it!!!! They are from Sierra Leone!!!!  They didn't have a lesson planned with them for that day so I had him text them and ask if we could come anyway. They texted right back and said "come on over!" I BEEN TALK KRIO!  AYYYY BO! I Been so Gladi Teh I no able stop for show me teeth!  They lived in such a nice house and as soon as we went inside I saw the mom cooking in some pla sauce pots on the stove! I just yelled OW DI BODI! She turned and said OW DI BODI... and then I said BODY FINE, KUSHE KUSHE! She just burst out laughing and smiling!  She was so surprised to hear me talk krio!  We had a super great conversation! I took some pictures with them but it wasn't on my camera so hopefully I can send it tomorrow!  We read Alma 32 with Na Na.  The spirit was so strong. I forget how spiritually in tune Africans can be!  At the end of the lesson he couldn't stop smiling and said I just feel so happy!  "What do you think that feeling is Na na?" His response, "I know it is from God."  Me know say that God 'en spirit been de de!


Well, I thought for sure that had to have been the ultimate blessing for the day... but once again... God always has more in store!  We had a lesson planned with none other than J** C**!  He has been living in Lancaster for the last little bit and the missionaries have begun teaching him again!  He still has his struggles... but he is doing all he can at the moment to get baptized!  I gave him the biggest hug ever! It was so good to see him and catch up!  He is still just the biggest teddy bear!:)


J** M** is moving right along! She has gone 2 full days without a cigarette! This is the first time in 4+ years that she has done that! She wants to be baptized and her actions are proving it!  We have the freedom to choose. Our will power is stronger than the temptations of the Devil.  We will never be tempted above that which we are able!


On Exchange with Elder Tolutau I had this random spur of the moment thought.  We were in a rush to dinner but hadn't found a new investigator yet so my thought was this...  Why haven't we ever tried to contact someone while we are in our car?! We gave it a shot and the 2nd man we pulled up next to accepted a Book of Mormon, listened to us share the restoration, accepted a baptismal date, and told us to come back tomorrow!  Drive thru Restoration lessons!!! You can get an investigator in less than 7 minutes with the leisure of sitting in your car! hahaha


Saturday night at 8:45 we were in an area stopping by someone else when we saw lights on in this house we had received a referral for on Dec. 29th but had never been able to contact.  We felt prompted to knock on the door so we did.  J** and M** came to the door.  J** lost her 1 month old baby on Jan. 3rd.  She had never talked to missionaries before and had no idea who we were.  We have no idea where or who this referral came from but we both agreed that it was from God.  She was quite emotional but thankful that we stopped in.  She hadn't been to church for a really long time so she promised that she would go to church the next morning.  That is the amazing spiritual part. Now for the funny part... We texted her as sacrament meeting was starting and found out that she was at church!.... but She went to M**'s church in Lancaster! haha! So Close! We will go by this week and help her to understand the restoration a little bit better than she does now;)


This week we will be heading up to Mammoth Lakes to go on Exchange.

No better place to spend my birthday than in the mountains!:)


Love Elder Crandall the Vandal!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Baptism of the man Elder Crandall met
in 7-11.  Got baptized in Florida.

Did baptisms and confirmations inside the Fort Lauderdale temple.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hello from Fort Myers Beach, Florida!

You won't believe this.  Elder Matheny and I talked to this man in a 7-11 in our area about 6 months ago. Elder Horan and I taught him the restoration in which he understood it perfectly and he said he'd never heard such a perfect reason for there being so many churches.  We passed him to some missionaries because he was just outside of our area.  He moved to Florida and still hadn't been baptized.  I got this email this morning.  He is one of the nicest and humblest men I have ever met.  His name is M** Y**.  He is from Saudi Arabia!  No effort is wasted and you never know how far a little effort will go.  I wish I could explain how strongly the spirit prompted me to give him a Book of Mormon the first time I met him while purchasing a slurpee.  Wooooooooooooo! 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 7:48 AM
Subject: Re: Hello!
To: cody.crandall

Elder Crandall

I am sorry for not replying all these days. I am in sunny Fort Myers Beach, FL and things are vetting better. I am super happy to inform you that I got Baptized and confirmed last Saturday. I was also ordained to priesthood with clearance to temple visit on Sunday.  I am due to visit the Fort Lauderdale temple on Saturday.

I hope you are doing well. I will be back in California in early March and if possible lets try to meet. I am so very thankful for you and the other elder (i have forgotten the name) for inviting to church. I will uphold you in my prayers.

Thanks and regards.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A recent convert.  I love the way both dogs posed for the picture.  Priceless.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sweet Satisfaction

Wow... I just had a swell time this past week.  There is nothing more satisfying than going out and working as hard as you can in your own area for a straight week.  This was the first time in a long time that we haven't had exchanges, transfers, or a big meeting to plan for... so we hit the ground running as soon as we got to Palmdale and saw lot's of success!

We have been working with Jeanine Martin.  Her husband was a member but passed away just under 2 years ago.  She never joined the church but has felt this pushing and pulling feeling that she needs to get baptized! We were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation.  It was really cool talking about the spirit world and about temples.  We were able to testify to her that the pushing and pulling she has been feeling is most likely from her husband on the other side of the veil.  She came to church today and was telling everyone about her baptism on February 6. Wooo!!

I love how the spirit works.  When God needs you in a certain area He will get you there!  Lot's of times we will have return appointments that will fall through.  It can be really easy to get discouraged... However, I've found that 99% of the time when something goes wrong... it is about to go right!  We had at least 3 return appointments fall through this week in which as we walked away we talked to the first person we saw walking by and they ended up becoming a New Investigator!

Another cool way the spirit worked this week.  The number 46 kept running through my head. So we decided to knock on 46! and..... nothing.  So we figured we mine as well knock the door right next to it.  The mother and daughter behind that door are now investigating the church!  When we went back later the daughter said "I felt Jesus touch my heart."

If you obey the commandment.  You will always receive the blessing.  Heavenly Father will never leave us hanging or make us worse off.  Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven.  If we let fear keep us from keeping a commandment then we never know what could have happened but we do know that we are letting the devil win.

We were praying to find a family all week and tadaaa! We found one! If you ask, you will receive!:)

I'm so thankful for the lessons I am learning.  I have a long way to go before I will be the missionary that I want to be... I will probably figure it all out in about a month;)

Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Shout out to Jenessa La Poops! Happy Birthday this Saturday! You are so grown up!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Having a wonderful time with a recent convert. 
Dinner with President McEwan and his wife Marla.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reaching New Heights.

This last week was a wild one including both Transfers and Mission Leadership Council.  Elder Houghton and I weren't able to get back to Palmdale until Thursday night!  We didn't begin proselyting until Friday afternoon!  This week definitely came and went.... we had less than 10 hours to actually work in our own area.


As a Bakersfield Mission We Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts!  In the Month of December we did better than we have ever done! The highest this mission has ever baptized in the past was 48 people in one month.  In December there were 61 baptisms.... our goal was 60!  Our standard of excellence for new investigators was 700 and we found 1,706! (No typo there).  If there is one thing I have learned as a missionary it is that you will get what you expect. It is easy to get comfortable and be happy with the average.  When you stretch yourself and really believe it is possible to do better, you will do better!  I love being a part of a mission that strives to reach their full potential!


As a mission we are continuing to not give anyone an out.  When people give legit excuses... We promise legit blessings.  We've seen incredible miracles and increased opportunity to help change the hearts of the people.  Nothing makes me happier than to watch someone accept Jesus Christ's teachings and see the happiness that comes as they follow it.


M** D** came to a lesson with us.  He crutched to the door and then bore incredibly powerful testimony.  The lady we were teaching asked him if his foot was okay and his response was "I can't feel any pain when I am talking about God.  All I feel is His spirit."  We were also able to take him to lunch.  Each of us shared our own personal story of coming to know God.  It was awesome.


Love Elder Crandall the Vandal

Monday, January 4, 2016

Elder Crandall's district in Palmdale.
Elder Houhton and Elder Crandall
So excited to be baptized on New Year's Day.  Now he needs to go to the doctor to see what to do about his broken leg.
Celebrating the New Year with the Sierra Leone flag hanging on the wall.

White New Years!

This past week was great!  I have been thinking a lot about putting trust in God and his timing.  As a missionary when things don't go the way as planned it is easy for me to look at myself and say..."because I did something I shouldn't have, or didn't do something I should have this isn't working out." However, God's plan goes much deeper than that.  He gives his children agency for a reason.  Without it we would never develop into better people.  When things go wrong we should look at the situation from a different angle and ask.  "What am I suppose to learn from this?"  God knows what is RIGHT for his children and he has a way of making it happen. 


3 Nephi 18:20


20 And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.


He will always give us what we need not what we want!


M** D** was Baptized!  He is so inspiring to me! His leg is broken so it was interesting preparing him to get wet.  I've never seen an investigator go the extra mile like M**! He shaved his own leg so were able to duct tape a plastic bag over his splint!  He still hasn't been to a doctor that has begun to treat him... so he probably should have made an appointment with a doctor on Friday... but instead he made an appointment with the Lord.  He was baptized on New Years day! I'm sure he won't ever forget the day he was reborn!:)  I can't think of a better New year's resolution! haha


Transfers will be this week.  This will be my last one.  We found out that we are no longer able to do transfer meetings after this one... So it is going to be chaos next transfer trying to get everyone in their new area with their new companion! 


On exchange this week I was able to go with a missionary that has only been out for a transfer.  It was fun to talk to him about how when I was a new missionary I went on an exchange with one of my assistants in Sierra Leone.  On that exchange He encouraged me to write down 3 goals that I wanted to accomplish by the end of my mission.  They were... 1. Learn how to forgive myself and apply the atonement. 2. Learn to love the people of Sierra Leone with all my heart. 3. Leave every single area better than I found it.  I am happy to say, I feel as though I have accomplished all 3 of them. Even though I am no longer in Africa I have an enormous amount of love for the People of Sierra Leone.  I also love these liberal Californian's more than I thought possible!:) haha


I love my mission!!!


Love, Elder Crandall the vandal