Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Notita de Henriquito

Querida Familia,

     Hi everyone I love you so much! I hope you all have a happy thanksgiving!:) I'm really grateful for all of the support that you give me--your letters, prayers, emails, love. I'm so grateful for my mission, everything that I'm learning, and for the restored Gospel! We've been offered thanksgiving dinner about a billion times, but we're eating with the Diaz family from Peru. (They have some Peruvian family in Lehi that you might be familiar with.)

     We had a great week of getting members out with us! It's quite the feat in this branch because there are four sets of missionaries and it's a branch--so there are fewer members. We had at least one member with us every day except Sunday. It was really great and I really love our members!

     Hermana Pina is one of my favorites. Her last name means pinneapple, so we got her a pinneapple for her birthday yesterday! We got to help her do some service last week in a member's home from a different ward. The member is super rich and has a really huge house. And they are a hoarder, so it was really interesting just digging and digging through stuff.

     Another sweet member is Hermana Reyes. She's from Guatemala and has been taking English classes forever! But she's a little up there in years so it's difficult for her to learn the language. She came out with us to a lesson, and then afterwards we ate lunch in her home and helped her do her English homework. 

     Hermana Juanita is also really great. She feeds us dinner every Tuesday and then comes out with us at least once a week. She came with us to meet Juan! Juan is doing really well and he likes telling stories from when he was a fisherman. He said he fell into the sea once during a storm and thought he was going to die! And he's seen a few deaths, some of which he described in detail :P And then I had to describe in detail to my companion afterwards. 

     Elena is still doing really well! She missed church for a dumb reason so that makes us a little nervous. But we taught her the word of wisdom and she's willing to live it! (Juan too! But he's a little stuck on coffee like all Hispanics.) 

     We had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders! Sister Wilson came and stayed with me while Hermana Sprunt went with Sister Walked to Glen Allen. It was hard having to teach without a companion, and it made me realize how grateful I am for Hermana Sprunt and her progress! She understands and speaks very well! She's just finishing up her second transfer, but she speaks more as if she's in her third or fourth. I'm really proud of her :)

     We had a zone workshop this week with President Wilson. We broke off into little groups and took turns practicing while being filmed. Then we watched ourselves and critiqued the videos. It was really weird to watch myself teach! I think I have better posture than I did before my mission, but I need to smile more! However, everyone commented that Hermana Sprunt and I teach in unity well. 

     We had a little scare with our CO detector. It went off and the reading said "280" and the instructions say that "400" is dangerous. We're still not sure what it all means, so we've spent the past two days with our windows open just in case. It's been pretty chilly at night! Hopefully we can get that worked out with the office today. 

     Sorry I didn't have a ton of time to write.  But I love you all so much! Have a great week:)

Love,  Hermanita Crandall

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hope and Happiness in Henrico!

Querida Familia,

     So we ended up not going to the science museum last Monday because President Wilson said we need a member ride :/ But we stopped by Lifeway Christian Store and got some new music! Which was a relief because I'm so sick of listening to the same music over and over again. And our car doesn't have a USB device so we can't listen to the music you sent us in the car. So that was fun:) Today we have Sisters' P-day and we're going to the Short Pump Mall to eat and shop. Yay:)

     This was a sssllllooooooooooooooooowwwww week. As was last week. We dropped a ton of investigators that weren't progressing and didn't want to be baptized. We spent about 3 or 4 hours each day just tracting. We've pretty much tracted out all of the Hispanic complexes in our area. It was very exhausting, but Heavenly Father blessed us for our diligence because we were able to put someone on date!

     Her name is Elena! We were thinking about dropping her because she didn't seem genuinely interested. We stopped by for our appointment and she said she was busy. She asked us to come back the next day, because she had been reading from the Book of Mormon and she believes it's true! She said it while smiling! She was so happy!!! Hermana Sprunt and I walked away from the door dumbfounded. Heavenly Father definitely knows His children better than we do:) The next day we went by for our appointment and put her on date! It was a huge miracle in the middle of some pretty difficult days. 

     To help with the finding efforts in the Branch, we did a tracting "blitz" in each area this week. On Tuesday we knocked in Henrico A, Wednesday in Henrico B, Thursday in our area, and Friday in Henrico D. Each companionship selected a complex or a few streets and we took turns knocking in each others' areas. We got a lot of referrals so we have some more work to do for this week!

     Because we're now four companionships in the Branch, we have an all Spanish District! We had District Meeting on Wednesday completely in Spanish! I love speaking Spanish! At the end we talked about language study and how to improve. I bore my testimony about how it's such a blessing to be a Spanish missionary! I tried really hard before my mission to qualify for this blessing, and I feel very privileged to have been given this assignment when I didn't originally receive it. Because of that, language study hour is very precious to me. I hope I can continue to use the language after my mission to bless the lives of others!

     We're still teaching Juan, the Cuban, but he took a 3-week construction job in Lynchburg. He'll be staying there for a while. But he took his Libro de Mormon with him and he's going to keep reading! We talked about baptism with him and he said he's planning on it happening eventually, but when he feels right about it. When he said that I was filled with so much peace and hope:) He wants to be baptized and he told our member present all about how he loves us, loves our visits, and loves the Book of Mormon!

     We also have a really great new investigator named Araceli. We've been trying to teach her for a few weeks, but her dad in Mexico passed away and so she was really busy for a while. We went by on Sunday (yesterday) to teach her for the first time and she loved the Plan of Salvation! We gave her a Libro de Mormon a few weeks ago and she's already read some of it and really likes it. She's planning on going back to Mexico in the Spring to be with her kids again. A lot of the Hispanics come to the States to work for a while so they can send money or things home, like shoes or toys that they can't afford over there. Apparently there's been a lot of violence in Mexico recently, with a school shooting or something. Araceli said it happened within an hour of where her kids live. Anyway, she said there's a Mormon chapel really close to where she lives. She said she and her husband want to join the church and stick with it. We almost put her on date, but her husband was upstairs sleeping and she wants to talk about it with him first!

     Our Saturday night dinner with the Lowden family was the best because I found out that Hermano Lowden served in Dad's homeward when Dad was a teenager! He loves Grandma and Grandpa and still remembered their address! He said he served in Santa Maria for about 6 months and that he spent a lot of time with the Crandalls! He said that one time he and his companion took Dad and David tracting, and they were planning on tracting for a couple of hours, but the boys left after one hour exactly. He also said Grandpa Crandall helped him out once with some dentist thing. So I believe he gave both Dad and Grandma a call. The world is a really small place if you're a Mormon!

     This morning I was pondering a statement that's included in both my mission call and Preach my Gospel. It says that more happiness than I've ever experienced awaits me as I serve my mission. Up to this point, I feel like I've had a really happy mission. It's been difficult, especially weeks like this one, but I'm very happy. It's not the so-happy-I'm-going-to-die kind of happy, but I feel so much more peace with who I am. I don't know how else to explain it but that my quality of life has more than tripled because I chose to serve a mission. I know how to face challenges, I know who I am, my testimony is much stronger, I have meaningful goals for my life, and I feel like I'm making a difference. 

     I used to think that this statement meant that I'd be super happy on my mission and then go back to being less happy after I finished. Now I understand that the happiness I've found on my mission will carry on with me after my mission because I've become a happy person. It's impossible to describe, but I've learned HOW to be happy! Hermana Sprunt said her MTC teacher said, "Life before my mission was horrible. Mission life was awesome! Post-mission life IS awesome!" So I guess what I'm trying to say is... I love my mission. Like Mommy wrote in her email, my mission is glorious! Now that I'm here, I can't imagine having not served. I'm excited about all the cool post-mission experiences I'll have, but right now I'm content to just keep knocking:)

Con todo mi corazon, Hermanita Crandall

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hey Hey Hey Henrico

Querida Familia,

*Lots of things happened this week. A few were pretty disappointing... 

     So we changed up the areas a bit and now we have a few more apartment complexes! Which is great, because before we were spending all day every day in the same complex. The Elders passed a potential over to us named Gladys. She is so golden! She told us in the first visit that she wants to get baptized! She already believes the church is true, and she said she loves members. She first met missionaries a few years ago on a night she was planning to commit suicide. The only problem is that she's living with her boyfriend who is married to a woman in El Salvador. They've been separated for 6 years, and he has a lawyer in El Salvador working on the divorce, but they can't find his wife. They originally separated because she ran off with another man. And Gladys doesn't want to separate from her boyfriend because they just had a baby girl a few months ago. This isn't the first time I've come across this problem. It's so frustrating because she wants to get baptized but can't unless she's willing to separate from the father of her children. And they're also super poor. So we'll keep working with that and pray for a miracle! There's really nothing that we can do except trust that God will make it happen if the timing is right.

     We also lost Osmin. I think I wrote about him before. He's the one that doesn't talk all that much and came to the states alone at 15. We weren't able to find him for a week, so we decided to take a week break. When we went back to his apartment, his roommate said that he went missing. They haven't seen Osmin since the last time we saw him, which was about 2.5 weeks ago. He left all of his stuff in the apartment and never came home one night. He has a drinking problem, so he's either in the hospital or in prison. I heard that they're not really deporting anyone right now, so he's probably still in the states. But he also told us that he wanted to return to his home country. Oh, and Osmin told us he was from Guatemala and his roommate said he's from Ecuador. We called a few hospitals and we have a member who works for the state and is going to look him up in the prison database. We have no idea what happened to him :(

     And we also dropped Elvira and her 5 kids. We really loved visiting with them, and they loved our visits, but they weren't progressing. Elvira told us flat out that she would not be baptized because she was born into her religion and didn't want to change. We've asked her over and over again to pray and read, but she won't. She was pretty sad when we dropped her because her kids were learning a lot. We told her to pray about it and call us if she changed her mind. It's really sad how people worry so much about what their earthly parents think instead of what our Heavenly Father thinks. Family traditions are super important, but not when they conflict with the truth.

     Saturday was Social Media Day in the mission! We had a YW who was going to come out with us in the morning and then a YSA who was going to come out with us in the evening/afternoon. They were supposed to take pictures of us all day and put them on twitter, instagram, and facebook. The YW called us at 10 PM the night before (we were already in bed) to cancel. She decided to go with the other Hermanas in our branch... I guess the other Hermanas didn't know that the YW was coming with us, so they called her and she decided to go with them instead. So that kind of hurt. Then the YSA didn't answer our calls or texts in the afternoon so she didn't go with us either. Buuut, we did do a service project in the morning which you can read about a little further below:)

*Some things that happened were kind of creepy...

     A creepy guy fell in love with me, which is the second time that's happened to me in Henrico. The first (a few weeks ago) was Diego. We street contacted him and he called a week later to let me know that he thinks it's really cool that I learned Spanish. Then he said he was at home and invited me over to visit him. He was using "tu" form which is singular and very personal, only to be used with family, close friends, or children. So I invited him to church. 

     The second guy, named David, was getting pretty creepy this week. He texted Hermana Sprunt and me and asked what God's name was. We called him back and talked a bit about God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He asked if Jehovah was the Father's name. I explained that Jehovah was Jesus Christ because He is the Creator. I told David that God's name is Heavenly Father, and that's how we should refer to Him. Later that night he texted us and said, "how would you respond to the person that likes the missionary?" In Spanish there are a lot of different ways to say the same thing, and basically the way he said it was very inappropriate. Needless to say we passed his info over to the Elders. I am so creeped out :P

*And some really great things happened!...

     So on Social Media Day we were pretty bummed to not have a member with us. But we did have a RS activity in the morning and the member (Hermana Ainsa) asked us to come by earlier to help set up. She's American and was going to teach how to make American desserts for Thanksgiving! She made us breakfast too:) And we got to help prepare some of the food. Only one of the RS Sisters showed up, so we decided to stay for the activity too and I learned how to make yummy homemade pie and cranberry relish! And she took a picture of us and posted it to facebook:) 

     And Hermana Ainsa gave us free tickets to the Science Museum in downtown Richmond so that's where we're going for P-day today! I am turning into you, Mommy! I love museums! Now I just need to get myself to some of the cemeteries downtown! And the holocaust museum.

     This week we tracted into a high school senior named Brian who said to come back later that night. When we came back, we taught him and his mom Teo. Brian knows one of the YM from the branch and he and his mom both really liked the message! They used to be catholic, but Teo stopped attending when her mom joined another church. They're both really open to learning and are going to pray about baptism.

     On Wednesday we had Zone Conference with 5 zones! I'm in Richmond West and we were with Ricmond East, Midlothian East and West, and Chesterfield. President Wilson gave a really great talk about how the restoration of the priesthood aligns with the four-fold mission of the church. And how the church departments are organized accordingly. It's so cool to be a part of the true restored Church of Jesus Christ!:) 

     Sunday was the Primary Program combined with the English ward, Gayton. It was really cute because a few of the kids shared their testimonies in English and then repeated them in Spanish. They also sang the first verse of "I Love to see the Temple" in English and then the first verse of it in Spanish! ("Me Encanta ver el Templo.") It was really sweet and now I want to be a Primary song leader some day. (I really am becoming more and more like Mom on my mission.)

     All in all, I had a really great week and I can't believe it's Monday already! The weeks just FLY BY! I still can't believe it's November. I love you all sooooooo much and I miss you lots. Have a happy week:)

Con amor, Hermanita Crandall

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Halloween from Henrico!

Henrico Hermanas - Crandall, Sprunt, Powell & Payne
 Querida Familia,

     Hermana Sprunt and I had a fabulous week this week because we celebrated "the week of miracles!" For every street contact, we used this approach. We explained that it was miracle week and we asked everyone to share a miracle with us. It worked really well for some people, and others didn't like it as much and said they were too busy for things like that...haha. But it was a great way to get people talking about God and the blessings they've received! It also helped us get out of a street contact rut. We also saw lots of miracles and were able to find a couple of new investigators! We decided we're going to pick a new street approach for every week this month, and then hopefully at the end of the month, we'll have lots of cool ideas to use.

     On Tuesday we saw a really great miracle! We tracted into this black woman a few weeks ago, and she wasn't very interested, but said she used the church's familysearch program to do genealogy. About 2 weeks ago we saw some young guys doing a fundraiser for their football team in the apartment complex. We had an appointment across the street and from the window we could see that the two boys were harassing her. They kept knocking on her door and running, hiding, swearing, yelling, just being very disrespectful. A little while later the coach showed up and yelled at the woman as well. We felt really bad, so we put together a little treat bag and felt inspired to take it to her Tuesday night to apologize for what had happened to her. When we got to the door, we found out that her house had flooded, she's spent some time in the hospital (she has chronic health issues), and she was just having a really hard time. She was so touched by the treat bag. We offered to help her clean and have been in contact with her since! We're hoping to go by sometime this week to do some service.

     Tuesday was also great because we did an English fast for the entire day. We try to speak in Spanish outside of the apartment, but it's normally just me speaking in Spanish with Hermana Sprunt responding in English. So I got on her case a bit and we did the English fast. We even did companionship study in Spanish! It was really great and by the end of the day I felt like a champ:)

     Wednesday we did day exchanges with the other Hermanas. Hermana Payne, who's been in the field for almost 2 weeks, came with me and Hermana Sprunt went to their area with Hermana Powell. I knew it would be good experience for Hermana Sprunt to have a companion that's at her level with Spanish. It's too easy for her to rely on me to understand everything or to translate for her when she doesn't know how to say something. It really made her stretch and she said she could understand and speak better than before!

     On Thursday we had a Halloween party combined with the Gayton Ward (English). (Our YW and Primaries are also mixed with Gayton on Sundays.) Hermana Sprunt and I dressed up like "Hipster Missionaries" instead of "Sister Missionaries." We forgot the camera cord so I'll send the pictures next week. They did a trunk or treat, dinner, and pumpkin dessert contest which was the best thing of my life.

     We also had zone meeting this week which was nice. We talked about the law of chastity because this month is "no-no November." Each month we focus on a different temple covenant. Sacrifice September, obedience October, no-no November, and consecrated Christmas. It's really cool how on the mission we learn safe-guards that will help protect us after the mission. When I go home, I want to have a strict curfew and be really careful about the media that I choose. Not that I had horrible media choices before the mission, but I've just seen the difference that good media makes in my life. I looooove having the Spirit with me and I don't want to lose it!

     We also had Halloweeeen this week so that was cool! Last year, President wanted us in our apartments by 6. This year, if we didn't have appointments, he wanted us to spend the time with members. We had two lessons scheduled, but both fell through. We couldn't knock doors, and it seemed like all of the members were going to another member family's home for a big party. We didn't feel like it would be appropriate to show up at this big party. I said a little prayer in my heart to know what to do. The thought came to my mind to visit the Escoto family. They have 4 daughters. The oldest is 15, then 10, and then 8 year old twins. We figured the dad might be going out with the kids while the mom stays home. We wrote a thank you letter to Hermana Escoto because she comes out with us once a week, and we brought the Church D&C videos. 

     We stopped by their house and they let us in. The older two daughters were going out with friends, and the parents and the twins were going to stay home--they didn't have plans. Hermana Escoto heated up some dinner for us and we made popcorn and watched "Legado" (Legacy) and "Tan Solo un Carpintero" (Only a Stonecutter). It was so great! I started crying when she gave us dinner because I felt an overwhelming amount of love in my heart. I really love this family and I know they love me! It was so kind of them to let us in, without notice, on Halloween night. We were so grateful! I love this church and I know that it is true. I have never seen such generosity in my life! My heart was so touched:)

     The next day we had a branch dinner. (The picture I sent was from that.) Every member brought some food, we ate and chatted, and then we knelt in prayer together to start a fast for missionary work. It was a neat experience and the Spirit was super strong!

     Then we had the time change, which we didn't know about until the Zone Leaders texted us at 10 PM. So we got an extra hour of sleep which was a huge tender mercy!

     Anyway, great Sabbath day. All is well. Juan is still reading, Kelly and Herlim are still cute, we're still working to find Hispanics, Henrico is a little piece of Heaven, and I'm still a little Rahrah.

I love you all so much:)

Love,  Hermanita Crandall

*PS - You didn't think I'd forgotten, did you???


I love you both so dearly and miss you like crazy!:) Shout out to two beautiful women!

*PPS - On Saturday Nov. 8th the mission is doing "social media day." So look out for #LDSinVA on twitter, instagram, and facebook! Every missionary is going to have a member with them for the day to document the life of a Virginia Richmond Missionary! I believe "The Book of Mormon" the musical is also starting in Richmond this week and a few missionaries will be outside the showing to pass out some copies so the two will coincide very nicely. (The book is better!:)