Monday, April 28, 2014

"The Shirt is Friday" in Fredericksburg

Querida Bendita Familia,

     In my Spanish class sophomore year at Lehi High, I had Senor Ted Taylor. He is a great teacher! I did very well in the class, and scored 99% on the final exam. The only thing I missed? I wrote "la camisa es viernes" instead of "la camisa es verde." The shirt is friday. That day, 4 years ago, I NEVER would have guessed that I would serve a mission, let alone Spanish speaking.

     This past week I had the most miraculous experience! We had exchanges again with the Stafford Hermanas. I know more Spanish than the Hermana I was with, so I felt as if I wasn't going to have a safety net in case I got confused. I was really nervous! However, things went perfectly! It was as if Heavenly Father flipped the switch and I could speak perfectly! We had three lessons and a dinner and we were able to accomplish all that we needed to! I understood everything that was told me and I was able to say everything that I wanted to. I even helped Absalon and Natalia with a renewal for their apartment contract! I feel very blessed to be here, to speak Spanish, to be a missionary, etc. :) My Spanish has improved A LOT from what it was 4 years ago;)

     On the exchange, we also got to help Hermana Amanda (member) again with genealogy at the library! The Branch had a temple trip Saturday night to do baptisms. We were able to prepare about 10 names! There is a mountain load of temple work to be done in the Branch! Most members are converts, and have never done their family history before. Many of them have committed to call back home (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc.) to get dates and names before their parents die. This is so exciting!

     On Monday, Hermana Agurcia and I borrowed bikes (and helmets) from the Elders. Hermana Agurcia took some pictures, but forgot her camera cord. I'll send them next week:) It was her first time on a bike, and she did great:) Unfortunately, it made my back hurt:( We didn't have time to see the doctor this morning, but maybe tomorrow.

     We had an amazing lesson with Concepcion about the priesthood! After the lesson, we gave her a picture of the Savior. She showed it to her 7-year-old son. She asked him if he knew who the man was in the picture. The son answered, "Yes, He was just barely here with me." How cool is that?! The Savior has promised us that whenever two or more people meet in His name, He will be there. Concepcion is praying about a baptismal date in June!

     On Saturday, I was lamenting to Hermana Agurcia about how much food the members give us. Sometimes it makes me sick. I was sick Thursday and Friday! On Sunday, Hermana Martinez made us some soup. She got a small bowl and put it in front of me. She said that if I liked it, I could have more. Then she proceeded to get a huge bowl for Hermana Agurcia! I was very confused. It tasted great and I finished it, but the small bowl was the perfect portion for me. When we left the house, I asked Hermana Agurcia if she had told the member that I don't like eating too much food. She said no. This is how it happened:

-"Why did she give me less food? Is it because I'm gringa? Or skinny?"

-"She was worried you wouldn't like it. Sometimes it's difficult for Americans to adjust to the food."

-"But she gave me a TON of food last time. Did you say something to her?"

-"Do you have any idea what you just ate?"


     Querida Familia, I ate COW INTESTINE. COW INTESTINE. Remember the story Grandpa Kelsey used to tell about the gas station and the 7-up? There was an extra water bottle in the car and I'm pretty sure I downed it faster than he downed the haunted 7-up. The worst part is that I LIKED the soup. I thought the floating chunks were carne of some type. It's called "mondongo" and it's the most famous dish from Honduras. Yay. I just want to make sure you all know that I ate cow intestine.

     Later that night (which was last night), we stopped by Absalon and Natalia's home. I told Absalon about the experience and told him I wanted to eat something sweet. So we had bread and this yummy caramel syrup stuff! Absalon and Natalia are super prepared for their baptism! The RS is pitching in for food, decorations, and so much food. Hermana Agurcia and I are hoping to pick up matching skirts or shirts or something! We are going to be the witnesses for the marriage:)

     We have a new investigator! Her name is Diana and she is the daughter of the woman for whom we raked leaves for five hours. (And her younger sister is the one that had the One Direction birthday party!) They have opposite work schedules, so we are teaching them separately. Diana is super prepared and started asking questions about the temple, what she needs to do to enter the temple, how long she should wait before baptism, etc. AND she gave us a referral! Hopefully more exciting news will come forth concerning this family... :)

     Here are my notes about Diligence! My Christlike attribute for the month:) Sorry they're coming at you at the end of the month...I can't believe how fast April was!

     "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the spirit; if he gets the spirit, he will teach by the spirit; and if he teaches by the spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."
- President Benson

     I love this quote and I think it applies to all that we do! There is no satisfactory substitute for working hard:)

-Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, energetic, and persistent.
-It is an expression of our love for God! In return, we find joy and satisfaction.
-Joseph Fielding Smith said: "People die in beds. And so does ambition." One of the secrets of success is to get up early!
-Distractions keeps us from working diligently.
-If we truly are diligent, we don't need supervision.
-Diligence is more than just hard working--it is working effectively!
-Set yearly, monthly, and daily goals! Plan well to achieve goals!
-D&C 58 - be anxiously engaged in a good cause.
-Lift where you stand!
-Grandma Crandall always tells me that I know how to eat an elephant:) and sometimes Dad says that too.
-Why does the Lord expect me to be diligent? Because He was. He knew what His purpose was, and He fulfilled it perfectly. Even more than that, He didn't keep any of the glory--He passed it on to the Father.

-"Let us realize that the PRIVILEGE to work is a gift, that the power to work is a blessing, that the love of work is success."  President McKay

     One thing I did this month to help me be more diligent, is that I planned my person studies at the beginning of the month. I'm in the middle of both the OT and Jesus the Christ, so I planned which days I would read which book. I also assigned myself a chapter from PMG each day. I want to be a PMG Missionary, so I need to study it often! Having planned studies really helped me to stay focused!:)

I've gotta go, BUT I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH:)  Love, Hermana Crandall

*PS - In case you forgot, I ate cow intestine last night ;)

*PPS - Just a prompting I received to share this: The YW's Theme is very important. When was the last time you recited it? We are daughters of our Heavenly Father... There's someone I'm specifically thinking of who I hope sees this. I love you and I hope you're doing those things that will bring you true happiness!:)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Friendly Fredericksburg

Hola Familia!

     Last week I forgot to mention the greatest thing ever! After we raked leaves for 4 hours, my back was in SO MUCH PAIN. On Monday before emailing, we finally visited the famous Mormon chiropractor that lives in Fredericksburg! His name is Dr. Brooks and he is AMAZING! He adjusted my back, did some muscle stimulation, and realigned my hips. My injury from my fall 5 months ago was worse than I thought. I had about 3 or 4 vertebrae in my lower back that were basically stuck together. Standing for too long or any type of exercise put a lot of pressure on them. My hips were also misaligned by about 2 or 3 inches. As soon as he said that, I knew he was right! I've been hula dancing in the mornings as exercise, and I could tell that my hips weren't near as flexible as they were in high school. It's not that I'm getting old, it's just that they weren't aligned correctly! Yay! I was in a lot of pain this past week because it was my first ever adjustment, but we went back today and I feel better now.

     A lot of things happened this past week and it all happened super fast!

     Tuesday/Wednesday we had exchanges. I stayed in Fred with Hermana Penaloza. We were able to do some service for Hermana Warren, a member. She is gringa but her husband was from Honduras. (He passed away a few months ago.) She just moved into a smaller house so we did some cleaning and organizing. I really do love this Hermana!:) She chooses to attend the Spanish Branch, even though she can't speak Spanish fluently, because she knows she is needed in the Primary.

     On Wednesday, we painted faces at an easter egg hunt in Wellington Woods! The majority of our investigators and potentials live in this apartment complex. When we heard they were having a party, we asked the office if we could help! Hermana Agurcia and I painted faces while the Elders (Ormond and Steiner) passed out fliers for our free English classes. It was only 50 degrees out, so it wasn't as successful as we had hoped, but we had a lot of fun and all of the kids love us now! The office loves us too, and they want missionaries to come help with a party they're having for the 4th of July! I attached a picture of us missionaries with our poster. The Elders were being kind of weird;) haha.

     Thursday, we helped Diana again (we raked leaves for her last week) with the birthday party of her daughter! (PS the daughter is now 8!) We cooked lots of good Peruvian food and helped decorate and set up. Then she sent us to the Latin Market to buy Inca Kola which is the greatest soda known to mankind. (Yes, I even like it more than Baja Blast!) The birthday party was "One Direction" themed so we heard plenty of them, Taylor Swift, and some Disney artists. By the end of it all, Hermana Agurcia and I were feeling pretty worldly...

     Friday night we had a charla fogonera (fireside) in Stafford for the youth. Dora's teenage daughter attended, so we were able to go! Remember the Launching Leaders fireside I attended in January? We had a mini Launching Leaders fireside directed at the youth. It was taught by Brother Christiansen, who is from Accokeek! He was super happy to see me:) I love that family. Also, I don't think I mentioned this, but three weeks ago we had a youth fireside with Sister Carver, the wife of the Accokeek Ward's Bishop. Did you know I'm attending the same chapel on Sundays? I see all of my Accokeek peeps (including the Fisher family!) every Sunday at church;)
Stafford Branch RS & YW

     On Saturday we had the inaugural English class! Four people attended, including Absalon and Natalia:) The Elders taught this week, and we'll be teaching next week. It was SUPER funny to hear them trying to talk in English. I imagine that's how they feel when they hear me speak in Spanish;) I'm really excited to start teaching. It's a blessing that I took 2 years of Spanish in high school and 3 semesters of Spanish at BYU, because now I know what makes a good language teacher. I am truly grateful for Senora Ericksen, Mr. Taylor, Brother Lopez, Martha, and Senora Robinson:) I would love to earn my teaching license so I could teach Spanish part time in the future.

     Mom is going to die when she reads this. Guess which bug has been nibbling on me? The Genealogy Bug! Seriously I wish you could understand how funny this experience was. Last Sunday, Hermana Torrico came to me after Sacrament Meeting and said she really needed my help. Hermana Agurcia was with Natalia, so I told her we'd meet up later in RS. Hermana Torrico took me to a small class room with another Hermana and started setting up her computer. She then invited me to say a prayer. I had no idea what was going on, so I just prayed that we'd have the Spirit. Then she logged in to and told me to make an account for the other sister. It was SO FUNNY. Hispanics are not very good with computers. They were very confused about usernames, passwords, display names, etc. And then I was very confused about the Spanish, because we were using the site in Spanish and they were talking to me in Spanish. To make it even better, Hermana Torrico forgot the cord and the battery only had a few minutes left. We made the account in time and Hermana Torrico walked me to the Gospel Principles class! (I'm not allowed to be alone.)

     Yesterday, it all happened again. Except this time, there were three other people in the room that needed accounts. I made accounts for two of them, only to find out they already had accounts! Haha:) One Hermana couldn't remember the password to her email so we couldn't activate her account after we made it. I helped one Hermano update his father in his family tree. (Interestingly enough, his father was born on May 19, 1961! But he passed away 12 years ago.) At the end, I went with Hermana Torrico to the ward clerk's room to print some stuff. She remembered that she needed to get the password to access the computer from someone, so she ran out of the room. I looked around a bit, realizing that I was alone, and then stood up to chase after her. It was super funny! I really love Hermana Torrico:) I'm so grateful that I'm able to help these people find their families:) And now I have a stronger desire to do more family history work when I go home!

     For Easter, a recent convert named Hermana Santiago had a HUGE party after church! Absalon and Natalia attended. The food was super good and us missionaries did a little program based on the "Because of Him" promotion by the church. 

     Afterwards, another family had invited us to their home for dinner. Hermano Messinger served his mission in Guatemala and also served in the military stationed all over Central and South America. Hermana Messinger has learned Spanish to support her husband and now they both serve in the ward!:) I wish I could describe how great they are! They live on my dream property! 5+ acres, country styled home, big kitchen, dogs, a horse, fruit trees, garden, huge trees, etc. The food was really yummy and I felt so comfortable being in their home! Hermana Messinger gave us lots of advice about choosing a spouse and raising a family in the Gospel and what not.
     I'm running out of time again, but I'll just tell you the greatest thing in the whole entire world. Absalon and Natalia have decided to be MARRIED and BAPTIZED! On the same day! I'm so excited:) Absalon just LOVED church yesterday. He told us that everyone looked really familiar, as if he'd met them before. Natalia said she can't deny that the Book of Mormon comes from God. Absalon is just itching to go to the temple:) He likes his coffee, but gave it up cold turkey. I am so happy because I know that they are going to be so happy!:)

I love you all so so so much!

Love,  Hermana Crandall

Monday, April 14, 2014

#Fredericksburg #BecauseofHim #GraciasaEl

Querida Familia!

     Have you seen it yet??? The Church has produced a special video just for Easter! The Missionary Department has asked us to promote it. The goal is for over 100 million people to view the video before Easter Sunday. Please share it on facebook, through email, etc! Please use the hashtag #BecauseofHim to promote it. The website is:

*Or you can find it en espanol at:

     Yesterday, we had a new investigator (Carlos) attend church. He was a referral from a member family. After the services, we met at the members' home and had a meal (Peruvian....soooo rico). We watched the video with Carlos and he felt the Spirit so strongly! He said he's been searching for the true church, and this is the only church he feels comfortable in! He has a daughter that he wants to get involved too. This movie was truly inspired:) I encourage you to share share share it!

     Last week, I mentioned that an Apostle was going to be visiting my mission. I'm super excited to announce that ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR will be visiting us early next month! I'm really happy because his talk was my favorite in the most recent conference! Along with him will be Elder Lynn G. Robbins (Presidency of the Seventy), Bishop Dean M. Davies (2nd Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric), Elder Jorg Klebingat (Seventy), Elder Christ Lansing (Area Seventy), and President Alan Baker (Virginia Chesapeake Mission). All of the missionaries from the Chesapeake Mission will also be in attendance. This is going to be HUGE. I'm so excited:) 

*This past week, a lot of things out-of-the-ordinary happened...

     On Wednesday night, our car was towed. We always park in the same place in this apartment complex, and this time we got towed:( We walked out of the lesson, and our car was just gone. Hermana Agurcia thought it had been stolen, haha. Fortunately, we had a member with us--Hermano Dimas who I LOVE. He drove us to the gas station (ATM) so I could take out a whole lot of cash. Then we went to the towing place and waited for thirty minutes for someone to show up. (This was also at 9:30 pm.) Dimas let us chill in his car and we watched some old church movie called "Pioneers in Petticoats," or something like that. So Mom, if you're watching my account, and you see that some money is missing.....this is why. It wasn't a big deal and everything worked out okay:) I'm so grateful that we had Dimas with us!

     The lesson we had just completed was with Absalon and Natalia! They're not ready for baptism yet, because they need to attend church at least three times. If Absalon can't find enough work during the week, then he has to work on Sundays. BUT, they've decided to be married!!!!:):):) We extended the invitation for them to be married and Absalon basically proposed right in front of us:) I'm so happy! Natalia attended church yesterday and she LOVED it! She said that she wants to be baptized now!! (This is after many weeks of her reminding us that she was already baptized Catholic as a bebita.)

     Thursday, we had a lesson with David. He's very pentecostal, and pretty difficult. He wants to learn, but doesn't want to change. He asks us random questions like how much we pray and fast. And whether or not we speak in tongues. Anyway, at the end of the lesson, we asked if there was any service we could do for him. He jokingly said that we could come back and rake his leaves. When we got in the car, Hermana Agurcia said that we should actually do it. I was very confused, because the word for leaves is "hojas" which also means sheets. I thought he wanted us to wash his sheets;) 

     Anyway, we got in touch with the Spanish Elders and the Fredericksburg Elders (they live together) and invited them to come with us. We showed up at David's house and began raking leaves. About one hour into it, he stepped outside. (We didn't know he was home because he normally works during the day.) He helped a bit, but mostly just chatted with the Elders while they worked. Diana (mom) came home from work and started crying when she saw all six of us missionaries in the yard:) She went to the store and bought a lot of food. She came back and commanded us "COMAN" so we took a little descansa and ate:) Then we went back out to finish the job. Unfortunately, we ran out of bags before we ran out of leaves. We filled 60 bags! We were there for about 4 hours. We probably needed only 5 more. David loved the Elders, and so we've decided to pass him over to them. We're going to continue teaching the mom, especially since she wants us to help out with her daughter's 8th birthday party this week. Here's the best part: Hermana Agurcia and I forgot to pack we did all of this in skirts;) wooo!

     We spend a lot of time in the same two apartment complexes: Wellington Woods and Crestview. Most of our investigators live in one or the other. Because we're there so often, we contact our progressing investigators near daily! We also know a lot of the Americans, and we pass them on as referrals. There's this one girl named Amanda, and we always say hi to her. Yesterday, she approached us and said she needed help with something. Her car had run out of gas because both the gas and mileage gauges are broken. She had a two gallon gas can and $5. Even though it was Sunday, we felt it was appropriate to help her;) We drove to the nearest gas station and filled it up! We've passed on her name to the Fred Elders, so hopefully something will come of it:) At least she knows that Mormons are willing to serve!

     Remember Dora? She is golden!:) She called us Wednesday morning because she needed help with another doctors appointment. This time, it was at Mary Washington Hospital. We live on the same block, so we were able to walk there. It was so nice! Normally as a Spanish Speaking missionary, we don't get to go on very many walks because we spend most of our time in apartment complexes. Later in the day, we met up with her family and we talked about the Book of Mormon. Dora loves us and loves the Gospel! We just need to get her to church now! They've begun praying as a family every night and I just love how happy Dora is about all of this! She can really feel how the Gospel will bless her family.

     While in the same apartment complex, we did a pretty interesting street contact. The ice cream man was driving by, and I guessed that he was probably Hispanic. We went and bought popsicles and also got his name and number and address:) Yay! 

     The last out-of-the-ordinary story is that Hermana Agurcia loves to do hair! Every Friday we have dinner with Hermana Benavides in Stafford. She always wants Hna Agurcia to do her hair. Her daughter, Kathy, asked Hermana Agurcia to do her hair for prom! We met her at the church Saturday morning to do her hair and it turned out really cute!:) I wish I had pictures!

     Speaking of pictures...I've attached a picture of me at the Spotsylvania County Visitors' Center. Virginia is for Lovers!:)

LOVE,  Hermana Crandall

Monday, April 7, 2014

Following the Prophet in Fred!

Fredericksburg North Zone
 Dear Amelia and Mom,

     Since you are the only two family members to email me this week, I decided to address my email to you:) I really do love all of you, and I understand that I've been away for so long, but I'm still here and I'm still eager to hear about all of the awesome things that are happening in your life!

Anyway, I would like to start off with the most exciting announcement of all time! An Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ will be visiting my mission next month! AHHHHHHH I almost broke down crying when the Zone Leaders announced it at Zone Meeting last week! We don't know who it is yet, but he will come with two other General Authorities. We'll have a whole mission conference and some missionaries from the Chesapeake Mission will also be in attendance. More details are forthcoming:)

     Speaking of General Authorities.......who LOVED General Conference? Here are some of my thoughts:

      At the very beginning, President Monson did something that I thought was a little unusual. Normally he'll announce new temples, or he won't. This time, he announced that he wasn't going to announce temples. Did anyone else think that was strange? He said that over the past six months, the church has grown without hindrance. Does that imply that there will be hindrance in the future? He said that they will continue to consider where they want to build temples in the future. Are they surveying land in Jerusalem or Missouri?;) Just some thoughts.

     The theme of this conference was very different from the last. In October, there was a huge emphasis on missionary work. I felt like this one focused more on personal preparation for the last days. The adversary's influence in the world will grow at the same rate that the restored Church of Jesus Christ spreads across the earth. 

     The choir number "Let us all press on" really hit me--Saints are going to experience more persecution in the last days, but we know who will ultimately win.

     My favorite talk was Elder Bednar's about how a load is necessary for traction. There are some loads we don't need to be carrying around with us, but it's important that we do carry some burdens. We might not see all of the reasons why, which is why we have a loving Heavenly Father who sees the end from the beginning. 

     I also enjoyed President Packer's testimony. It was very powerful when he testified that he has the same knowledge that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon did--that Jesus Christ lives! He lived a perfect life, he gave his own life, and now he lives. When President Packer spoke, I felt as if I was in a room alone with him, and he was sharing his witness with just me.

     Elder Holland's talk made me reflect on some of the difficult experiences I've had on my mission. I feel honored to be persecuted for the Gospel's sake! We had one mild experience this past week...

     We tracted into a woman named Dora. She's separated and has three kids. She is SO prepared! We taught her the first lesson. Lots of Hispanics live with other people because they can't afford to live on their own. During the end of the lesson, as we were talking about the Book of Mormon, one of her roommates came into the kitchen to cook. I could tell he was listening in. Out of no where, he interrupted and started asking lots of questions and telling us why the Book of Mormon couldn't be real. We explained that the Book of Mormon takes place in the Americas, and that he is a descendant of the House of Israel. He started laughing at us. I felt the Spirit leave--as a missionary, this is the worst thing ever! Dora was quiet, but she looked upset that he was ruining our spiritual moment. I prayed so hard to know what to do! I remembered what it says in Preach My Gospel--all concerns are answered in the Book of Mormon and my testimony is my greatest tool. I realized that he didn't want to hear what he had to say, because he kept cutting us off. Instead I just bore my testimony to Dora. The man shut up immediately. He watched for a while, and then left the room. I could tell that he felt really guilt for what he had done. Dora seemed pleased, and even cried as she said the closing prayer.

     We've since seen Dora twice more. We met her at her doctor's office to help translate her appointment and we stopped by last night to watch "Como Hallar Fe en Cristo," or "Finding Faith in Christ." She said that she's grateful we found her because she knows that the Gospel is going to bless her children.

     Other little tidbit: translating is a great challenge! Last week I sent a picture of the Moreno family. Hermana Moreno had a parent teacher conference for Pablo, and she asked us to go with her to translate. I did the majority of it and it was a lot of fun! I love this language and I feel blessed to be able to preach the Gospel in it!

     Okay I'm out of time. I love you all so much:) Don't forget to send me your favorite conference addresses if you haven't already!

Love,  Hermana Crandall