Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Day Late in Accokeek

*Don't be alarmed...P-day is on Tuesday this week for the holiday:)

Dear family, 

     Christmas in the 'Keek was amazing! On Christmas Eve, a member took us to see some lights around the county. On Christmas day Sister Van Buskirk made yummy cinnamon rolls. I can't believe how much trouble she went to with stockings, decorations, and presents under the tree! She truly served us. I felt like I was at home:) Thank you everyone for your beautiful letters and gifts. We were able to meet with some less active families in the ward and I think we were fed five times. I love Christmas:)

     I dislike the few days after Christmas because no one wants to meet with us. We went three days straight without a single lesson! Most potentials and investigators told us to wait until after New Years. Hopefully things will pick up again on Thursday when school is back in session!

     Transfer calls were Sunday and Sister Olsen and I are both staying in Accokeek! However, Sister Olsen has been out for seven months now and her Visa to Brazil should be here any second. I'm not sure what will happen to me when it comes, but it's highly unlikely that she'll make it to the end of this transfer. Exciting things are going to happen in this ward during the next six weeks!

     Tonya is on date to be baptized, and she is committed! As always, please pray for her! I feel like we're finally making headway because she's sharing her doctrinal concerns with us. She's asking more questions! Yay!

     Kayla isn't on date yet, but she wants to be! We've started taking her with us to dinner appointments. She's making lots of friends in the ward, and now we want to help her understand the spiritual importance of this commitment.

     The Fisher family was handed to us by the Elders because the family has a teenage daughter. We taught them for the first time last Thursday and it went really well! They're ready to be baptized, but they want to do it together as a family. They are more active than some members!!

*Now I thought I'd share a little more about Virginia:

     In the South, people want to give you water. We are offered water at every single house! And sometimes they just give us water without us asking. Here's the cute part: they never give water in a cup with ice. The people here keep water bottles, usually Deer Park brand, so they can give them out. We normally pick up two or three bottles a day. The back of our car is stuffed with them! We throw out SO MANY WATER BOTTLES.

     The names here. And not just the black people! I've met a white Danesha. I've met a Kanesha, and a Tanesha. JayQuan, DeVaughn, Kiondre, Shantay, Tasia, Niedra, Tyrone, Latrice, Asan, Veinza, Kanenye. Seriously!

     Anyway... I have a friend who was ET'd home because of depression so I thought I'd address that a little bit. She wrote me asking about how I deal with depression on the mission. I believe there's a relationship between the way I think and act about things, and the way I feel.

     I've struggled with depression for nearly 10 years now. Sometimes I get stuck in thinking that I can't ever get out of it--that depression will always be a part of my life. My favorite miracle in the New Testament is the woman with the issue of blood. Even after 12 years, she believed that she could be healed. I fully believe that I can be healed, and my mission is helping me. God has given me so many opportunities to learn. I'm trying to be the best student I can be:)

     In addition to her faith, the woman was healed by the grace and Atonement of Jesus Christ. He said that virtue had left him when she touched his robe. She was healed by his strength and purity. I love Moroni 8:26--when we offer up a broken heart, we've opened up space for God to fill our hearts with love and hope. That's sanctification.

     I had a nightmare the other night that my mission ended, and it was time for me to go home. I was so disappointed in myself...I haven't grown as much as I want to and I haven't learned all that I need to. Learning won't come by time, but it does take time. (See: Pres. Eyring's "Mountains to Climb.") There are things that I need to do every single day to overcome this. 

     I know that for me the hardest part of each day is when I first wake up and when I leave the apartment after morning studies. Instead of thinking about them as being difficult, I focus on what I'm grateful for, why I'm serving a mission, and what my opportunities are that day. I have to do this every single day!! 

*As part of my new year's goals, these are things that I want to do to be healed:

-Focus on a Christlike attribute each month (reminder: January is knowledge!)
-Read Jesus the Christ twice to learn more about His life
-Read one chapter from the Book of Mormon every day
-Read my Patriarchal Blessing every day to understand my purpose in life
-Always speak highly of myself and others
-Keep a daily gratitude journal

     Small and simple.

I'd also like to invite my family and friends to read the Book of Mormon with me:) I figured out that if we read one chapter a day, we can almost read it twice before I get home! I'm starting tomorrow, January 1st

     So...that's what I'm doing to deal with depression on my mission. It really is just that--doing. So many things act upon us, and all we can do is act. My feelings can't change unless my thoughts and actions do first. And as my family saw during our Christmas Skype session, I'm a happy little Sister:)

     I love you all dearly. Please be happy and safe:) I appreciate all of your love and prayers and support.

Love, Sister Sarah "Rahrah" Crandall:)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yet Another Week in the 'Keek!

Dear beloved ones,

     Tuesday was my half birthday and all of the missionaries met in Richmond (Henrico/Short Pump) to celebrate me....okay, for the Christmas Mission Conference. People gave short talks on attributes of Christ and there were a billion musical numbers. It took over an hour to feed all 250 missionaries, and then the meeting resumed. We had two investigators drive us there and back. On the way home, I just slept in the car because I was exhausted! Sister Olsen and I sang in a group of Sisters and then she played piano for a group of Elders. (I helped turn the pages!)

     At the Conference, the Area Authority Elder Lansing spoke about the decade of decisions. He said that our missions will help us prepare to make important decisions in the future. It hit me really hard that I will hit 20 next June! I remember my 10th birthday! #camptensalotofhaha. My life has changed so much since then, and I can't imagine how different I'll be when I turn 30. I hope that in 10 years the habits I'm building now will pay off!

     On Thursday we went on 24 hour exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and I was with Sister Stowell. Sister Olsen and Sister George stayed in Accokeek, while Sister Stowell and I worked in the STL's ward, which is Rappahannock YSA. (The ward names here are really cool!) We taught a lesson to a recent convert, helped prepare some things for the Zone activity, had dinner, and delivered gifts to less actives. In the morning we trained on key indicators and making and keeping goals. She helped me begin my own personal constitution! It's still in the works, but I plan on sending it to Dad when I finish so he can help me edit it.
Kayla!!! She came with us to dinner at the RS President's home. We talked about Prophets and gave her a conference address from President Monson. On the drive home, she told us that she wants to be baptized!!!! I AM SO HAPPY!

     We also had a few sad moments with saying goodbye to Christy and Alex. I hope that they'll be receptive to missionaries when they return late January/early February! I made Christy pinky-promise to meet with Sisters:) Transfer calls are Sunday the 29th, so I guess I'll find out whether or not I'll be here for that!

     Stafford is a suburb, so they're aren't a lot of centralized locations for street contacting. In other areas, like Richmond and Fredericksburg, missionaries do "walk and talk" on Saturday afternoons. They spend a few hours walking around parks and busy streets trying to meet people. Sister Olsen and I decided to try it in the middle of the Aventine Apartments complex. It was really successful! We met a few potential investigators for ourselves, for the YSA Sisters, and for the Hermanas! It definitely helped that it was 75 degrees outside! It's about 60 today, but it's raining like crazy.

     Sunday was the fabulous Accokeek Ward Christmas Service! Sister Olsen and I sang in the choir and it was a lot of fun. The conductor, Sister Fellows, is AMAZING! Her husband died a few years ago (similar situation to Katherine Adams) and she has the faith to move mountains. And the voice of Karen Carpenter. (It doesn't sound like Karen's, but it's that good.) We sang "O Come O Come Emmanuel" which is now one of my favorites:)

     I love you all more than words:) Thank you for all of your letters and emails! I got the sweetest card from Grandma Kelsey this week! Shout out to the Nephites! Also, I forgot to mention last week: Congratulations to one of my best friends, Jenna Marsden, for getting married in the Manti Temple!!! Her sister Kim was also married about a week later:) I'm super happy for both of them! What beautiful ladies:)
     President Monson said, "This joyful season brings to all of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree to which we have turned our minds, feelings, and actions to the Savior, whose birth we celebrate."

     I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior! I know that we celebrate His birth because of His life. Christ lived a perfect life and performed a perfect Atonement so that we could return to live with our Father and to live like our Father. God has a plan for our lives. He loves us so much that He gave us His Son! I know that if we spend our Christmas truly celebrating Christ, then we will come to understand His grace and love for us. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've been blessed with to share His love with His children. I miss my family, but I have so much family here, too! The good news of the Gospel is that Christ lives still.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Sister Crandall

Monday, December 16, 2013

This Little Sister Loves Stafford!

Dear family that I love,

     I've begun working on my own set of scriptures--The Book of Sarah. Here's what I've come up with so far:

*Chapter One
1. If thou art in my immediate family, including the husband of Lindsay, thou shalt write me an email every Sunday evening.
2. If ye love me, keep my commandments.
3. My half birthday is tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the bounteous supply of letters you have sent me.

     What do you think?:)

Anyway, speaking of scriptures...

     Mine died. Remember how my back died a few weeks ago? Well my scriptures died this week. I would rather break my back ten times over. Thursday morning, I discovered that one of the Van Buskirk's dogs had peed in my purse. My planner was ruined, and my scriptures were soiled. They're not completely ruined, but they're icky enough that I don't want to use them anymore. The Old Testament is most affected. It leaked through most of the New Testament. I cried a lot :( Fortunately the purse was fine after I put it through the wash and air dried it.

     I know you already sent my Christmas package...but I need new scriptures. First preference is a new set, since mine are only 6 months old. (And I poured my heart and soul into them.) Second preference is one of Dad's old sets that he's marked up. And third is my seminary scriptures. The markings are messy and inconsistent, but they'll do the job. I'm really depressed about this entire situation :( Also, if you can't send them immediately, that's fine. I can use mine still, and I do in the mornings, but I prefer to not carry them with me throughout the day anymore. 

*Here's a funnier, happier story:

     On Wednesday, Sister Olsen and I met with the Accokeek Elders to exchange some paper work about former investigators. Afterwards we met with a less active. It was time to go to the Aquia Church for the free dinner service we do each week, but we really needed to use the bathroom first. We didn't have time (or the miles) to stop by home. The closest member was the Hoole family, who we had Thanksgiving dinner with. We stopped by and Brother Hoole let us in. Then he said, "the Elders are here for dinner!" I was pretty embarrassed. The Elders thought it was funny and they teased us a bit;) I love this ward. Also, interestingly enough, Brother Hoole served in the Richmond Mission! He knew the Elder that was shot and killed a few years ago. He went home a couple months before it happened. (Robert's brother was companions with the Elder when he was killed.)

     Sister Olsen and I divided the ward boundaries into 10 smaller areas. Area 5 is one of the most difficult areas. There are no former investigators and not a lot of ward members there. The area is fairly affluent, and normally wealthier people are less interested in the Gospel. We did a two hour exchange with the Sister Training Leaders and I brought Sister Stowell tracting with me in area 5. We found 4 potentials! That's amazing! The field really is white:)

     There are a few people in the ward preparing to go to the temple. Sister Olsen and I decided to visit some of them to encourage and uplift them. One is a convert of about 10 years and a single mom. We also met with a young wife. Her husband is a convert and they're going to be sealed in January. I love talking about the temple! What an amazing experience they have in store:) Everyone, please go to the temple as often as possible. I really miss being able to go every week. Mommy and Dad can we please go to the DC temple in 15 months??

     We've been doing a lot of work in the ward. We send a report to the Bishop each week about our investigators and about the TLC/less-active members in the ward that we visit. Bishop Carver seems to really like us:) I love Accokeek.

     About our investigators...Tonya is on date again! Please pray for her always. Alex...Do you remember how my most recent ex-boyfriend broke up with me? He sent me a text that was meant for someone else. Sister Olsen and I had a similar situation with Alex last night. He's leaving for his home country this week and we might not be here when he gets back. This hurts more than my break-up...Kayla is wonderful--you can read more about her below. Christy is going out of state for a month. (Why are all of our investigators leaving??) Rick is slowly progressing, and now his girlfriend is on board! I love these people so much!!! We have about 12 or 13 investigators, 4 or 5 of whom are progressing. 

     I had a pretty big faith-building experience this past week. Thursday was a difficult day, beginning with my scriptures being peed on. That evening, we tracted a bit. One man opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. His first word were: "You are deceived." He went on to recite anti material. He would give us a Bible verse and then ask us to quote it by memory. When we told him we couldn't, he said it was because we don't believe in the Bible. He asked if he was going to hell, and we said no. Then he said that we were going to hell and that the Book of Mormon was leading millions of people to hell. He interrupted everything Sister Olsen and I tried to say. All we could do was shake his hand, bear testimony, and leave as fast as we could.

     I felt incredibly vulnerable. The second he began speaking, I felt the Holy Ghost leave me. I've never been so sensitive to the Spirit as I am now. Especially after receiving my endowment, which includes a fulness of the Holy Ghost. Because he doesn't have this gift, he can't perceive the loss of the Holy Ghost. My faith was strengthened because this man taught me what it feels like to lose the Spirit. I will do everything in my power to have Him with me at all times!

     It was almost dinner, so Sister Olsen and I went home immediately after speaking with the man. We walked into our room and I began reciting the Young Women's theme. I am a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves me and I love Him! I'm so grateful for the relationship I have with my Father and for all of the blessings He has bestowed on me.

     That night when we met with Kayla, the 18 year old, we gave her the Personal Progress book and invited her to begin working on it. We talked about how Personal Progress will help her understand her divine role as a daughter of God. It is a powerful program!

     Anyway, I wanted to tie this in to my discussion on faith. The man kept saying things like we are saved by grace alone. In the New Testament, it says that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith. Here's what I've come up with about faith:

     President Wilson said, "faith describes our relationship with deity."
-Consecration is a direct result of faith
-Build faith by bearing testimony in my prayers
-Reread all of the Conference addresses to increase my faith in the latter-day prophets
-Be confident that God loves me
-God is perfect, so we can be confident in Him!
-Blessings and miracles come after faith (See Hebrews 11 and Ether 12)
-"Faith must be centered in Jesus Christ to produce salvation."
-Faith comes by righteousness
-BD: Effects of faith are 1. know my life is on track 2. blessings 3. assurance of personal salvation
-"If you desire to enrich your faith to the highest possible degree, you must keep the covenants you have made." TttF
-"Looking forward to the fruit thereof" Alma 32 (faith is pointed to the future)
-Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, which are true...the truth sets us free! Faith is freedom!
     I hope this helps your study of faith! I'm about half-way through reading the Conference addresses, and I really enjoyed President Packer's. I feel like I always get a lot more out of his after rereading it. 

     I love studying one of the Christlike attributes each month. I feel like the experiences I have always help me develop the quality more fully. I'd love to hear from each of you about your learning experiences!

     I wanted to close with something very sweet I received in the mail from Grandma Crandall! She sent a program from my baptismal services. It's been 11 1/2 years since I was baptized! I didn't know those programs were still in circulation;) She said she's been holding on to it for a time like this, so that I could remember how quickly time moves. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary right now. It's one of those hard-every-day kind of things, but I love being here. My capacity to love and serve has grown and I feel like I'm getting a glimpse of what Spirit Paradise will feel like. 

     I love my family so dearly, and I look forward to being able to speak with all of you next week! (Details will be sent to Dad.)

Love, Sister Sarah Crandall

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow Storm in Stafford???

36 Bags of Leaves... 2 Hours of Service!
      My back is much better! I've begun exercising regularly in the morning and I can perform missionary work as normal. I strained it a bit while raking leaves, so I just need to be careful about the activities I'm involved in. I'm a happy little sister! :)

*To the family I love more than anything:

     For P-day last week, Sister Olsen and I visited the Aquia church! It was formed in 1680, and the building was completed in the 1750's. There was a huge cemetery out back with graves over 250 years old! Stafford County itself celebrates 350 years in 2014. I learned a few more things about Stafford this past week. George Washington's childhood home was in Stafford, and this is where Pocahontas lived! So when you watch Pocahontas and she's running through the woods, that's where I live! I love this place :)

     On Wednesday we had a seven hour Zone Conference in Fredericksburg. I loved a comment made by Sister Wilson, the President's wife. She said that even though we were excited to begin our missions, we knew it was going to be hard. She said that submitting papers is almost like signing up for an 18-month or 2-year trial. My mission is difficult every single day. It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done, and it's also hard work. If I can learn to endure cheerfully, then I'll be prepared to face any challenge in the future. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to spend 18 months in the refiner's fire! Can you believe it's been 2 1/2 already??

     A new rule from Salt Lake is that Elders and Sisters can't drive each other. The Elders took our car to the Zone Conference and we got a ride with Sister Van Buskirk. The Zone Leaders, our District Leader, and one of the Garrisonville Elders dropped off our car at Aquia's Table, where we serve at the Episcopalian Church each week. They came inside to give us the keys and the parishioners offered them dinner. The women of the Episcopalian Church are so fun! They really like us, and it's one of my favorite activities we do each week. They teased the Elders non-stop. Panera Bread donates food to the Aquia Church and so the parishioners gave all of the extra bread and desserts to the Elders. It was really funny :) Also...when we got our car back, they had eaten Sister Olsen's granola bar and left crumbs on her seat! Elders...

     This past week, the Young Women in the ward took cookies to our investigators! It was so thoughtful! When we called Kayla the next day (she's the 18 year old), she was so excited! And because of it she decided to go to the Christmas party. I love the Young Women of this ward.

     We had 5 investigators come to the Christmas party yesterday! Kayla was stolen by the Young Women and spent most of it with them. I'm so happy she's made friends in the church :) Two other couples came. They served finger foods, had a music program, and then we watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas. Which is my new favorite movie besides Tangled and Pride & Prejudice.

*Here's a story from the week that will make Dad roll his eyes and say "that's great..." :

     Penny is the Van Buskirk's dachshund that pees a lot. She was sitting on my bed during morning studies. Then Sister Olsen called to Penny and she jumped over to her bed. Then I called her back. Then Sister Olsen called her. We decided to do this over and over again, as fast as we could. Whoever's bed she peed on lost. Penny probably jumped across the divide at least 10 times before peeing on my bed. Sister Olsen and I started crying from laughing so hard:)

     We had a great experience with an investigator this past week. We started talking a little bit about Mormon culture. She said that when she was growing up, her neighbors were Mormon and they didn't eat chocolate or any desserts or drink soda. She said that when she started meeting with us, she knew she was going to need to throw out a lot of the treats in her kitchen. We explained that she could still eat chocolate and drink Coke. I love that she's already decided that she's going to be a member!! I haven't written that much about her because she's taking the lessons pretty slowly, but she's progressing and I really think she'll be baptized in the future! So happy.

     Alex? Not so happy :( Lindsay called it "divine discontent." He came across some anti and has decided that he will not be baptized. He still came to church and we're going to continue meeting with him until he leaves. (Alex is going to his home country for 30 days right before Christmas.) He believes in the Book of Mormon, but is struggling with his testimony of Joseph Smith. Needless to say, there was some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part at home that night. I love Alex so much and pray that he will someday understand.

     As you likely saw in the leaves picture, it was very warm Thursday! Over 70 degrees outside! It always gets really warm before a storm comes. In Ward Council on Sunday, the Bishop announced that church was going to be canceled after Sacrament Meeting. The only reason he wasn't canceling Sacrament was because it was too late to notify the ward and Sister Olsen and I were speaking. I thought he was kidding. It was a little windy outside, and it looked like rain, but it was nothing like a Utah blizzard.

     Sister Olsen and I spoke, of course, on missionary work. I focused on having courage to share the message. Most people don't share the Gospel because of fear. In 2 Timothy 1:7 (Sister Miller's favorite verse!) we learn that feelings of fear don't come from God. Our ward was about 2/3rds normal size because of the weather, but at least Alex made it! And a less active family we've been meeting with.

     After Sacrament Meeting, our Bishop told us that we needed to park our car at home and not drive for the rest of the day. Then we got a text from our Zone Leaders with the same advice. The snow in Virginia is different from snow in Utah. It was more like ice rain than powder. It wasn't sticking to the ground and the roads weren't too bad. I've lived in Utah almost all my life. I've seen snow to my waist and blizzards where you can't see more than two yards ahead. I have never seen school or church canceled because of weather! We spent the afternoon studying and setting up the Christmas tree. (Sister Van Buskirk bought a live tree for us!!!)

     Today, there's some power outage in North Stafford and all the schools are closed. Fortunately the Van Buskirks have power! Sister Van Buskirk offered to take us on to base today (Marines - Quantico) to do some grocery shopping. The temperatures aren't too bad, and I heard they won't go much lower than 30 for the entire winter. I do miss Utah powder, though, and I never thought I'd ever feel that way!

I love my family so much!  Love, Sister Crandall

*P.S. This is Esperanza! A woman from the ward we would visit often. She spoke very little English but refused to go to the Spanish Branch. We taught her how to pray in English. She kept saying things like, "Dear Gosh" or "Gosh bless you!" So cute :) She's from Lima, Peru and has since moved to Florida with her daughter and son-in-law.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Happy Week in Accokeek!

Two Happy Sister Missionaries!
      Mom, please see Moroni 9:25, and insert "mom" for "son." <3 My back is feeling so much better! The first few days after my accident were painful. It hurt to sit for too long and I was exhausted every night. I feel almost back to normal now! Sitting at church yesterday hurt a bit and I have to be careful with stretching and exercising in the morning. I'm probably not going to see a doctor (sorry) because I'm too busy inviting others to come unto Christ (not sorry). I love my family so much! Thank you for the prayers and support!

Sister Crandall
Sister Olsen
     Last Monday, Sister Olsen and I went Christmas sweater shopping. Mine is atrocious. I will send pictures when we get closer to the holiday!:) We also bought some super cute matching boots! Picture attached. It was perfect timing, too, because it ice rained on Tuesday. The weather here has been so much warmer than I expected! It's normally between 30 and 50, and we have yet to see snow. The wool socks that Lindsay sent me have also worked wonders! I purchased a coat and it keeps me warm and snuggly!

     On Wednesday, we helped out at the Episcopalian Church like we do every week. It's a lot of fun and the parishioners are so good to us. One woman said, "I have a question for you, and I don't want to be offensive..." I quickly said, "No, we're not polygamists!!" She laughed so hard! She was actually wondering if we ride bikes while wearing our skirts. We do not:) We have a car. Our poor Elders ride bikes on 610 and the 1 (Jefferson Davis) and I am NOT okay with it. Anyway, the Aquia Church is one of the oldest churches in Colonial America and Sister Olsen and I are planning on touring it this afternoon!

*Here's an awkward moment in Accokeek for you:

     I'm sure those of you who have served missions have had this unpleasant experience...when someone confesses their sins. Sister Olsen and I have an investigator who I haven't written about before, because they're not one of our regulars. And I'm going to be vague, but I want you to understand that this was a traumatic experience for Sister Olsen and me and we actually had to go through this. We were meeting with the investigator, and they were depressed. (They were crying.) When we asked what was wrong, they began relating an experience they had nearly 50 years ago. It started getting pretty explicit. I could tell Sister Olsen was very uncomfortable, and I couldn't look at the investigator in the eye anymore because the story was going south quickly. I finally had to ask them to stop. So much awkward. Just wanted you to know that that happened. Sister Olsen and I hugged when we got outside and said ten prayers to bring the Spirit back. Depression makes people live in the past more than they should.
Now it's off my chest. YAY.

Kelly's Tree
     Anyway, on Thanksgiving, we helped a woman in our ward decorate for Christmas! Her name is Kelly and she is a convert of about 1.5 years. We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Hoole family, and 4 families that they are friends with. It was overwhelming to learn everyone's names, but we had a good time! And the food was SO DELICIOUS. I talked with one man who is an economist in DC. When he said that, I felt like a bolt of spiritual lightning shot through me. I was reminded of how much I enjoyed my Econ 110 class at BYU! I've never thought about pursuing a degree in economics, but he made me reconsider my major. I love business, but I think I will look into economics when I get home. (I liked Econ 110 more than Acc 200 and Fin 201, and I've always loved economics because of debate.)

     About our investigators...I feel like some of them are falling off of the face of the earth. Alex has been really sick, so we haven't seen him in over a week. Tonya is working nonstop, even over the holiday season. The Elders haven't been able to reach Walter yet. But, we're still working as hard as we can! We found a new investigator, Larissa, who seems really interested in the Book of Mormon. Kayla, the 18 year old, is back on track and wants to come to church. We do a lot of work with less actives and recent converts, too. I really love this ward!!!

     I've been thinking and praying a lot about switching to Spanish. I feel like it's the right thing for me, especially because of what my Patriarchal Blessing says about my mission. Right now, I think I'll wait until April to switch. Please pray for me:)

     Here's a miracle for the month: Sister Olsen and I have been really struggling with miles. Because I'm training, we had to go to Richmond for "Return and Report." We also went to Woodbridge to hear from Elder Sitati. That's when we had our little incident where we got lost and ended up in the DC South Mission. We lived with the Rockhill Sisters for a week while Sister Van Buskirk was out of town, and that was an additional 10 miles every day. By our last week, we had about 20 miles for each day. We did it! We made it through November with 6 miles to spare! We tried so hard to be obedient and we planned very carefully. It was truly a miracle!
Snug as a bug...
     Mommy asked what I want for Christmas. I would love to have a hula skirt and a CD of Hawaiian music. As long as the songs aren't romantic and do not detract from the Spirit, it's okay for me to listen to! I love Keali'i Reichel, Iz, and the songs from Lilo and Stitch. And anything else that I used to dance to. And Don Ho. Please make sure Pua Mana is on the CD:) If you put a hula skirt (preferably my brown one) in a plastic bag, you can suck the air out with a vacuum and get it to fit into a box. I want this for a few reasons: I need to strengthen my lower back, and hula is a great way to do that. This is a talent that I want to continue to develop. Hula dancing makes me super happy! I have 30 minutes every morning to exercise. This would truly be the greatest Christmas present in the world:) That and lots of prayers.

I love you all so much:) Love, Sister Crandall