Sorry I had so much to say to Mommy that I don't have as much time to write all of you:) Last Monday after emailing, Hermana Agurcia and I went to the battlefield visitor's center with Hermana Warren. She's a gringa widow in the branch. Her husband was from Honduras. She doesn't speak a lot of Spanish, but she attends anyway and serves in the primary. She said she's going to take us touring on P-days:) When we went to the visitors' center, my first questions was, "which side won?" And the man at the desk answered, "we did, of course!"--referring to the Confederacy...oh the South:) Here is a little history about the Battle of Fredericksburg:
Fred is about half way between Richmond and DC. The Rappahannock River separates Fred from Stafford, and was really important for shipping supplies, etc. Because of this, it was a great stronghold for the South. In December 1862, the Union started crossing the Rappahannock and all the townspeople fled to Spotsylvania County. There was a huge battle IN the city and the Union took hold of it. The Confederates fled to Sunken Road, which is on a hill overlooking the city. The Union troops destroyed all of the property and then prepared to move up the hill. The Confederacy had better field positioning, because Sunken Road is kind of like a trench. SO, they killed like one billion Union troops. The Union General refused to back down so pretty much every soldier died on the hill. And almost no Confederates died. After the Civil War was over, the hill became a cemetery for Union soldiers and there are more than 15,000 buried there. There are also a few old houses still standing with bullet holes. I've included some pictures of Sunken Road, me, the battlefield, a house, etc. Most of the stone wall has been rebuilt, but some of it is still from the 1800's. And there was a statue of a Confederate who brought water to wounded Union soldiers.
ANYWAY, my reason in writing about this is I've been reflecting on the battle that I'm fighting in here in Fredericksburg! I'm waging the war against sin! It's especially difficult with Hispanics. They feel the Spirit, they know the message is true, they know they need to change, but they just won't do it! Sometimes I feel like my investigators are the enemy;) In reality, it's the adversary. He wants us to take the path of least resistance. So many of our investigators are not legally married. (Probably because so many are not legally here??) They talk about how important Jesus is to them, but they don't want to follow his commandments. Change is hard, but that's why we have the Atonement!
And then there's Eric, the 8 year old. He is so humble and in tune to the Spirit. He attended church again yesterday! We've talked with his parents, and they aren't very interested. I truly understand now why children are the greatest in the Kingdom of God! We need to be more like them. We talked with the ward mission leader about whether or not he should be baptized. I don't want to baptize a less active, but I know that Eric can feel the Spirit. The ward mission leader said, "don't deny him the privilege of being baptized if he wants it." Please pray for Eric:) I really hope he can be baptized!
Saturday night was the General Womens' Broadcast! I pretty much bawled my eyes out the entire time. I felt so deeply and sharply how much I love my Mom and my sisters and my niece. I feel blessed to be in a family of girls! When we sang "I am a Child of God," I felt His love so strongly. He really loves His precious daughters. I loved what Pres. Eyring said about having female role models. I am blessed to have a great Mommy and wonderful Grandmas.
I want to share something President Wilson taught. When he was a Bishop, he said the Church Handbook said that "Sisters should not be unduly encouraged to serve missions." He took out the double negative and decided that "Sisters should be duly encouraged to serve missions." He said about 90% of the girls in his ward served missions. This past week, I hit my SIX MONTH mark. I am in awe that my mission is 1/3rd over. I can't believe how fast the time went by! In addition, I can see now how much I've changed in that time. My conversion has deepened and my capacity to love and serve has grown. I will never regret choosing to serve a mission. I want to duly encourage every Sister I know to serve a mission! Before leaving on my mission, I was reminded that marriage is a higher calling than a mission. TRUTH. It is. I fully intend on being married someday. BUT, I wanted to serve. And, if you have desires to serve God, you are called to the work!
I love you all so much and I hope you have a great Conference weekend! Don't forget to send me your favorite talks!:)
Love, Hermana Sarah Crandall
*P.S. La Familia Moreno! They were baptized about 4 years ago and they are still on fire! Hermano Moreno doesn't have a calling, but he attends ward correlation, all the youth activities, etc. Hermana Moreno cooks for us every tuesday (YUM MEXICAN) and goes out with us to at least 2 lessons a week! Their two boys are Pablo and Santiago (Paul and James).