Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Christmas Harry! (sonburg)

Sisters Crandall & McRae
Querida Familia,

     Hi everyone! Long time no see:)  We had a really great and super fast week! The time is just flying.

     On Monday, we spent most of P-day trying to find a ride for 10 Sisters to get to the Christmas Conference in Richmond! It's about a 2+ hour drive and that makes it difficult to find willing/able members. But we finally did it:) As well as received updates all afternoon of the BYU game. (I'm not bitter.) (Except I'm a little bitter that a fight broke out.) (And I hope next season is better.)

     We also putted around the mall a bit, which is one of my favorite things to do during Christmas time! We found the CUTEST $10 matching Christmas shirts. Mine was a little big, but it worked okay.

     Tuesday was the long awaited Christmas conference! Hermana McRae sang "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel" and it was really beautiful! We also did a song in Spanish as a district. It was a medley of "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," and "Angels we Have Heard on High." It was mostly just music and then short spiritual thoughts by different missionaries. 

     Sister Wilson introduced "More Fit for the Kingdom II: Nutrition on a Mission." I don't know if you remember this last year, but it's a fitness/weight-loss challenge between zones. Our apartment is super committed! This time we got nice little yellow bibles to keep track of weight loss and exercise points. It also has some yummy/healthy recipes. It finishes early April so it's perfect timing:) The back cover says, "Go BIG or go home big." Hahaha:) 

     President Wilson talked about how when we set really high goals, we're bound to fail, but we'll achieve more than we would have if we hadn't set a high goal. That and the journey will be so much more worth it. He also talked about the process that the Savior went through to discover that he was the Savior, and how we need to go through a similar process to discover who we are and what purpose God has for our lives. 

     During lunch we had a fun show where missionaries could sing parodies or songs they made up and two Elders did a song about President Wilson called "Fabulous." Because he is always reminding us to be fabulous missionaries! It was super funny--they said lots of President-isms. Hermana McRae got a video so we've been enjoying it all week:) All in all, Christmas Conference was a really great experience and I loved being able to see all of my missionary friends again!

     On Christmas Eve and Christmas day we were super busy with lots of appointments! And most of them gave us food. We spend Christmas Eve morning making lots of cookies and bagging them up with our roommates. Then we visited with Miguelina and her family. They're investigators from la Republica Dominicana. She cooked for us. I went back for a second plate of rice and potatoes. She asked why I didn't get seconds of the chicken and pasta and made me go back and refill my plate. #truestory;) Then we went caroling with the Hermanas and Elderes to a few members. We received two bags of tamales! Mexican and Guatemalan. Next we had dinner with recent converts Maria, Ester, and Keyla. She made us tamales and tortas and turkey. It was super yummy. We did a Noche de Hogar (FHE) and Maria shared her testimony of her conversion. We also gave them a star to put on their tree:) That night we had one more visit with a less-active, Gianfrances, who is going through some hard times right now. We shared "He is the Gift" with her and she cried a bit about being away from her family. (Mom is in NY and dad is  Puerto Rico.) We had a really great Christmas Eve! (And Maria gave us our third bag of tamales.)

     On Christmas morning, we did our normal run except with jingle bells! I hope someone heard us:) I made some french toast with eggnog which was really yummy! We invited the other Hermanas but they canceled last minute. We opened gifts with the Sisters we live with, so that was fun:) They were all very grateful, Mommy, for the cute stockings you sent! Thank you everyone for thinking of me at Christmas time:) Afterwards Hermana McRae and I both made our calls home.

     I was SUPER nervous to talk with you all! I'm not sure what it is, but something about calling home makes me feel weird. I guess I was worried it would distract me, but it didn't really. That and I was worried I would cry, which I did a lot of. I just really love my mission.

     Anyway, afterwards we were able to eat a late lunch with the Almendarez family, recent converts. And we ate two full plates. We went straight from that appointment to the Diaz family, who also made us eat two plates. At this point, I thought I was stuffed to capacity. We were able to visit with la familia Nieves, which is a really great investigator family! And we taught them about the Book of Mormon. The dad is so chevere. Then we went to see Ana (Fabian/Eric's mom) and she fed us the largest tamale I've ever eaten. I don't know if it was actually that big or if it just felt that big after everything I'd already eaten. Our last visit was with a less active named Vicky. She offered me a cookie and I put it in my pocket because I was done.

     So yeah, I had a great Christmas:) Even though I was the fullest I've ever felt, I was also super full of the Spirit and happiness for the love I have for these people and the love they have for me:)
Christmas Cow Concert ;-)

     I am almost out of time and I'm only half way done with the week!!   But GOOD NEWS! Leo came to church again, and Miguelina's daughter Jennifer came to church! They both liked it a lot and we're hoping that Leo will accept a date soon. We also found 3 super golden investigators last night!

Okay I love you all so much:)

Feliz Navidad!

Hermanita Crandall

Monday, December 22, 2014

hula dancing, hillbillies, hole-in-the-wall Chinese, and half-birthdays in Harrisonburg

Querida Familia,

     Hey it's been a happy week here in the valley!  I have lots to tell so this will probably be very sporadic.

     Last Monday we had Sisters' P-day! Hermana McRae and I brought rice and Hawaiian hay stacks (the cream of chicken topping thing) and all of the other sisters brought toppings like pinneapple and crunchy noodles. And we also got Hawaiian punch:) So we all ate together and then did a little white elephant gift exchange. Afterwards, I taught all of the Sisters how to hula dance! We did a little dance to hukilau. It was a lot of fun! I really love all of the Sisters in my zone! One of them, Hermana Gonzalez, has some friends who dance for Living Legends. She told me that I could make it into Living Legends without a problem! That made me really excited and now I want to audition!!

     Also my half-birthday was on Wednesday. No one said anything, but I'm sure you didn't forget. Hermana McRae and I celebrated by eating at a little Chinese buffet. Which is exactly what I did for my birthday 6 months ago;) It also was Sister Lampinen's one year mark so we celebrated that too:)

*As for hillbillies.......

     We did two exchanges this week and both times I left Harrisonburg.

     The first was with Sister Robertson in Waynesboro, which is about 30 minutes away from Harrisonburg. Waynesboro is where the church building is, but she and her companion cover a couple little towns. We spent most of the day in Stuart's Draft. (The names of places here are so weird that I'm used to it.) We received a referral from the Elders of a less active couple that had lost contact with the church 20 years ago. We went and visited them and they were a little crazy:) The Sister told us all about her 10 cats and how she has 23 buried in the back yard. She also said that during their 20 years with no contact with the church, they would watch the BYU channel all the time. They had really strong testimonies of the church still and we were able to get them a Book of Mormon in giant print.

     On the second exchange, I went to Broadway with Sister Burgess, which is about 20 minutes north of Harrisonburg, but part of the Harrisonburg 2nd Ward. Those Sisters also cover a couple little towns. We had a lesson with a really old less active man in Timberville who can't see well enough to drive to church. He prays like a General Authority:) He's single, so we had to teach him outside and it was freezing! We read a scripture to him and he knew where it was in the Book of Mormon! He also complains of evil spirits bothering him in his home. (A lot of the people out here in the country talk about evil spirits and the spirits of old civil war soldiers.)

     We then had a part member lesson at a chicken/cow farm in Linville. Sonny is a recent convert, and they're teaching his cousin and aunt. Linville is the most rural town I have ever been to in my entire life. It makes Nephi, UT look like NYC! Some of the people there don't have bathrooms and use port-a-potties outside instead. Which would be horrible in this weather, if you ask me. Also, I had a really difficult time understanding what any of them were saying because their accents were so thick! Sister Burgess seemed to understand them just fine, but I felt like they were speaking a different language! I understand Puertoriquenos better than that;) Also Sister Burgess said she'll send me some pictures of me with cows so I'll get those out when I can!

     Afterwards we had a lesson with Sonny (outdoors again). And he is one of the sweetest most genuine people I have ever met! His testimony of the Gospel is so strong. He just got baptized about 3 or 4 weeks ago and he went on and on about how much the Gospel has blessed his life. I really hope his aunt and cousin accept it too!:)

      The country is SOOO different than Stafford or Richmond, but I really love it. The people are very humble and willing to listen. It can be hard for missionary work because it requires a lot more driving, but I had a lot of fun!:)

*Our investigators are doing really well!

     We are teaching Ana and her son Fabian. (Her husband is an investigator too, but not really interested.) They just barely got here from Honduras about 6 months ago, so Fabian (10) is still learning English in school. His Spanish is so darn cute:) And we always do English/Gospel activities with him after each lesson with his mom. He also has his own Libro de Mormon that he marks up the scriptures we share in lessons. They both came to church on Sunday which was a MIRACLE! Fabian really liked it! If you can get the kids to love church, it makes a huge difference in the parents coming:)

     Leo also came to church! He got here from Honduras about 6 months ago as well. He's 19 or 20, but went back to high school to learn English. He's not happy about it, and doesn't like being in the States. His mom and brother are really involved in another church, but he's not very religious. We finally got him to come to church, and he said he enjoyed it! His girlfriend also came and she liked it too. She's American and doesn't speak Spanish, so I'm not sure how they work that one out. But we translated the services for her and they both want to come back!

     Nina was supposed to come to church but canceled last minute. She has some family members in New York that are members of the church, and she seems really interested. We taught her about Jose Smith and her first question was, "Is there any evidence?" That was a perfect segway into El Libro de Mormon! 

     Last night we went with some other sisters from the zone to sing at a rehab center. The Spirit was so strong and the people were so happy to see us! Most of them were really old, and some reminded me of Louise. I cried a bit. It was a really sweet experience.

*Sorry I'm almost out of time...

     But, I just wanted to say, that I'm excited to talk to my family on Christmas:) Last week I was really dreading it. I even cried a few times thinking about going home and not being able to tract and testify like I can here. I can't believe how fast the time is flying! P-days seem to come faster and faster. Yesterday I told Hermana McRae that I wasn't exhausted enough for it to be P-day yet! 

     But today...I was looking at a picture of my family that I have hanging by my desk. And the thought came to me that everything's going to be alright. I love my mission SO MUCH. I can't imagine how different my life would be without it. I'm so happy I chose to serve! I miss my family a lot, but I feel really torn about going home in a few months. But the Spirit spoke to me this morning and now I'm excited to see you all on Christmas and chat with you for a while:) And I'm not nervous like I was for Mothers' Day, I promise;)

I love you all a lot and I hope you are safe and happy and warm!

Have a merry Christmas:)

Con amor,  Hermanita Crandall

Monday, December 15, 2014

El Burg de Harrison

Hola querida familia,

     We had a crazy week! Hermana McRae and I started doing exchanges. We did two this week and we have two next week. The following week is the Christmas Conference and then the week after we have Missionary Leadership Council and Zone Meeting, so we wanted to get them all finished at the beginning of the transfer. Then in January we're going to do a few power exchanges.

     Our first exchange was with the other Hermanas in the Harrisonburg Branch. I decided to stay in our area so that I could figure it out a little better. It was difficult because I'd only been here a week, but it forced me to rely more on the Spirit. It was a little discouraging during the day because we taught three lessons, but none of them turned into new investigators. But they were all great lessons!

     The first lesson was with an old woman who didn't seem to understand anything of what we were saying. We talked about baptism and then she'd ramble off about the Bible and say things that didn't really make sense. We felt that it wasn't worth it to try an make a follow up appointment especially because she's returning to El Salvador in a week. But we left the Restoration DVD with her and so hopefully she watched it!

     The second lesson was with a mother and her two kids. She listened and participated in the lesson and the Spirit was SO STRONG! And then at the end said she didn't want to listen more and she didn't believe in Joseph Smith because his name isn't in the Bible. We tried to explain that there's more truth that's not written in the Bible, but she wouldn't accept it. The Bible talks about the ministry of our Savior, but it would be impossible to record every act of love and service that he performed while on the earth. And he continues to live and to love today, and none of that is recorded in the Bible. Anyway, she told us she didn't want us to come back. We felt really good after the lesson, however, because we knew that she had felt the Spirit and it was her personal decision to reject the message.

     We kept knocking doors and we knocked into a Cuban man who told us to come back later. We asked him for referrals and he said he only knew that his neighbor was Hindu and she wouldn't be interested. His comment intrigued me and I felt a distinct impression to knock her door. We did, and she immediately let us in! I can't remember her name, but she was from Nepal and has only been here for a year in the states. Her English was pretty good and she was the sweetest, nicest lady ever! We shared the "He is the Gift" video and talked about how Christmas isn't about buying things, but is about sharing love like Jesus did. Afterwards, she was in tears and said that even though she isn't Christian, she wants to celebrate Christmas now. It was a really sweet experience and I'm so grateful that we were able to bring her closer to Christ!

     After spending all day tracting, we stopped by Little Ceasar's to get a $5 pizza and some crazy bread. It's days like these that I am SO grateful to be serving a stateside mission:) We brought it home to the apartment and had a mini pizza party with the English Sisters. It was a really nice exchange and the Hermana and I had a good heart to heart. The mission is pretty difficult right now for all of the new Hermanas. There are about 5 or 6 Hermanas that go home in this coming year, and the rest are all new. So we have lots of Hermanas who are training with only 2 or 3 transfers of experience. We're at the exact opposite of where we were last year! Last year there were tons of Sister and not enough Hermanas. Now all of the Sisters are going home and we have plenty of Hermanas! (I wonder if I'll be translated back???)

     On Wednesday we had interviews with President Wilson. It's crazy how those seem to come faster and faster! It was a nice interview and we talked about the goals I have for the rest of my mission. He had called us the day before and said he wanted to take my companion and me out for dinner. So after the interviews, we went to a realllllllllyyyyy nice steak restaurant. The nicest restaurant I've ever been too. (The menu was probably 2x more expensive than Texas Roadhouse.) And President Wilson made us order an appetizer and desserts! I've never done that before! It was so nice that it made me kind of nervous and I even dropped my fork, haha. It was nice but wow I felt so out of place! I think if a guy asks me on a date to dinner anytime after my mission, I will tell him no way. But the food was yummy and it was nice to spend some time with President Wilson and my companion!

     Our second exchange was Friday with the Sisters we live with. I stayed in our area (again) with Sister Lampinen, the Sister from Finland. It was fun and it was nice getting to know her better, since she's pretty shy. Or at least not as outgoing as her companion:) She taught in English and I translated for her. All of the people we met with wanted her to pray in Finnish for them, so that was neat!

     Saturday was a really great day because the other Hermanas had a baptism! And right after the Branch Christmas party. We had two investigator families come! It was a great opportunity for them to see how the church functions. Immediately after the baptism, everyone started putting up tables and chairs and bringing out food for the party. Our investigators even helped set up! I love the Church of Jesus Christ:) After eating, all of the missionaries went to the RS room to start making the Christmas Canastas (baskets--which I talked about last week). We brought in one family at a time to help them make the canastas. One family wanted 40. So then it was a made rush to make them. And by the time we finished, we stepped back into the cultural hall and it was all cleaned up and everyone was gone! But Hermana McRae said "bye" to our investigators and they all had a nice time:) Apparently while we were making the canastas Santa came to visit and they did a pinata and I didn't get any candy. But I'm not bitter.

     So that was fun and then all of us missionaries practiced a song that we're going to sing in Sacrament Meeting next week and hopefully at the Christmas conference! 

Church was great. I'm almost out of time. But I love you all so much! Things are going really well!:)

Love,  Hermanita Crandall

Monday, December 8, 2014

Here in Harrisonburg!

Querida Familia,

     My whole mission I have always wanted to serve in Harrisonburg and here I am! It has been a crazy week and also probably one of the slowest of my mission trying to adjust to all of the changes. But things are going really well:)

     On Monday night I had my last lesson with Juan the Cuban. I'm going to really miss him, but he said he'll be baptized before I go back to visit in May! And then on Tuesday morning the Hermana Escoto really wanted to feed me one last time, so we went over for breakfast. She asked if I had any requests, and I said french toast! Yum:) she made it with french bread and everything! She put out syrup, caramel, honey, peaches, strawberry jam, cream, cinnamon tea, and tons of other toppings. She went alllll out for one little breakfast and it made me feel so special:) She and her daughters also picked out a cute bracelet from me. I'm really going to miss that family!! And all of the other wonderful people in Henrico. There were four missionaries serving in one branch, and somehow they managed to feed all of us at least 5 times a week. It was quite the feat! 

     Transfer meeting was basically transfer party because of how many people were there. Hermana Quinones is Hermana Sprunt's new companion in Henrico! I never would have guessed that one!  There were about 14 Sisters/Hermanas that went home including my trainer, Sister Olsen. She is such a great missionary and I already miss her a lot!! The new AP didn't know he was going to be AP until President Wilson announced it, so that was exciting. And I found out that I'd be going to Harrisonburg! So I was really stoked about that:)

     Harrisonburg is WAYYYY different than anywhere else I've served. It's super country! It's about a 2.5 hour car ride from Richmond. And there are mountains here! (Which are actually just large hills.) We're situated in the Shenandoah Valley and we get to drive through the pass on the way. It's really beautiful here, and I can't wait until the Spring when everything turns green again! There's also a huge Mennonite population here. They're kind of like the Amish, but they go to the store and use electricity. Some drive cars, but a few still use a horse-and-buggy. 

     There's also James Madison University here, and we drive past it a few times a day. There are lots of frat houses, where 10 or so college students live together. We saw one last night that's named "Neverland," haha. Hopefully there won't be too many crazy parties because it's almost finals week. Harrisonburg reminds me a lot of Ephraim or Manti in the size of the town and the style of the homes.

     There are lots of Hispanics here, but no construction jobs!!! Most of them work at either the turkey or chicken plant. (One of the chicken plants is "Tyson." So you'll think of me the next time you eat Tyson Chicken!!) There's also a dog food factory! That you can smell :P This is great though, because most of the factories are closed on Sunday.

     My companion is Hermana McRae, and she's from Tooele! She goes home in May. I've already accidentally introduced myself as Hermana McRandall like 3 times. We live with the English YSA sisters too--Sister Edwards and Sister Lampinen. Sister Lampinen is from Finland and she's here on her T-Square outbound mission! Sister Edwards goes home the transfer before me. She and I are both planning on finishing our missions here:) I really enjoy living with other sisters so I'm glad I get to do it again! We go running outside in the morning so it's easier with four of us encouraging each other.

*Anyway...I'll tell you more about my week.

     I arrived Tuesday evening. We realized that President Wilson put together two Sisters that didn't have permission to drive in the mission in Broadway, which is a little town about 20 minutes away. We called an office Elder and he said we should do an exchange for the night and he'd work it out in the morning with President Wilson. So I carried my stuff inside and pulled together a quick over night bag and went to Broadway with Sister Burgess. We visited a less active that night and then didn't have time to do much else. The next morning, we found out that her companion, Sister Bailey, was given temporary permission to drive for this transfer. That was a huge relief because we didn't want to deal with an emergency transfer. So we finally switched back and I was able to go to my new area:) It was a pretty stressful first night in the zone, but I managed it and had a great time:)

     On Wednesday I got more settled in. Then on Thursday, we were on our way to Richmond for the day for a Spanish Meeting! In order to get to a 9:30 am meeting on time, Hermana McRae and I had to get up at 5:30 and be on the road by 6:30. Spanish Meeting was great, especially a training given about language study. I feel like my studies are pretty effective, but they're not going to get my language skills where I want them. Hermana McRae and I set a goal to do companionship study in Spanish and to do language study together! It will take more effort, but I know that will help us reach our goal--which is, we want to have such great Spanish that we could live comfortably and confidently in Ecuador next summer. (We picked Ecuador because we figure there will be less of an English influence, unlike Mexico.) 

     We've been doing lots of finding and we found a ton of new investigators! We also do a lot more less active work here than in Henrico. When I was in Henrico, only one or two less actives lived in my area. Here, we have 12 member families in our area, 3 of which are really active. At the beginning of 2014, church attendance was at about 12 or 15 people. Now it's up to 30 or 40! We decided that we're responsible for making sure that our 12 member families are coming to church. And if they aren't coming, we should know why. They should know who we are, and we should be in contact with them at least once a week.

     Right now we're doing "Canastas Navidenas" which are Christmas baskets. Every family in the branch will have at least 3 baskets to give to their friends. There will be some treats and the "Joy to the World" video. Then, the following week, the family will invite their friends to a meeting with the missionaries. We're hoping that the baskets will help prepare them to receive us! So we've been able to visit with a lot of the families this week to explain the activity and to help them set goals.

     Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference. I really enjoyed the Saturday night session, where they discussed family history. One of the promises I received in my setting apart blessing is that my family would feel the Spirit of Elijah while I served my mission! I can see how that's truly come to pass! Except Dad and Lindsay haven't shared any family history stories with me.........

     Anyway, I felt this really strong desire to interview my grandparents when I get home. (You can now upload recordings and videos to familysearch!) I think it would also be great to have a video of Grandma Kelsey dancing with Jean's Golden Girls!:)

     My favorite part was when the Stake President spoke at the end. His son just returned from a mission in Brazil and they had their Stake Conference right before he finished his mission. So the President asked his son about what they did and if he had any advice. The son said that everyone calls the Stake President in Brazil "the man" because at the end of his talk, he made a promise that he would have a missionary experience with the missionaries every week until the next Stake Conference. Then the President said, "you're probably all wondering if I'm going to do it now!" He paused for a moment, and the Spirit was SO STRONG! It was dead quiet in the chapel. He then made a promise that he would have a missionary experience with the missionaries every week until the next Stake Conference. My heart was touched because I've come to truly love missionary work! There are lots of great ways to do missionary work, but nothing is more powerful than members finding people for the missionaries to teach.

     So yup. I had a great week, and I'm in a great area! I only have three transfers left, so I'm pretty sure I'll be finishing up here. I'm really excited to be serving as Hermana Training Leader! We're starting exchanges this week so I'm sure I'll have lots to tell:)

I love you all a ton!

Hermanita Crandall

*P.S. New address in case you didn't get my other email

1378 Central Ave. Apt. D
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#hastaluegoHenrico #HeistheGift #EleslaDadiva

Querida Familia,

     Como estan todos??:) Espero que tuvieran feliz dia de accion de gracias!

     I would like to invite everyone to watch the new video from the church called "He is the Gift!" You can find it on youtube or This video is going to be the only advertisement on the front page of youtube on December 7th! The Church is predicting that more than 220 million people will watch it that day!! It will also be on a jumbotron in Times Square for the entire month of December! This includes New Year's Eve, so millions of people will see it there too! It's really beautiful and I've seen already how powerfully it can bring the Spirit!

     We found a few new investigators this week. One of them was Veronica, who is a single mom with three kids. She seemed pretty stressed for our second appointment and I was surprised she even let us in. We invited her kids to come into the room, sang "Noche de Paz" (Silent Night), and watched the video. Her daughter seemed really touched by it. We talked a little bit more and then kneeled and prayed with them as a family. It was great to see how this video brought peace to their home.

     Last night was decided to contact a potential, Soyla. (I don't know how to spell it...) When we went by, she wasn't home, but another family that lives there was home and they let us in. There names are Sabino and Loyda. They said they didn't have a lot of time, but agreed to watching the video. After the video, they opened up a lot and wanted us to come back! It softened their hearts. They talked a lot about how the Christmas culture here is way different from what they grew up with in Mexico. They seemed open to baptism too!

*Our other investigators are doing well.

     Juan still works a lot, but said he just worked his last weekend in Lynchburg. He's trying to find work closer to home so that he can be here for the weekends. He's been really diligent with quitting coffee. He's gone from 5 cups a day to 2! He said he wants to come with us to church and it makes him feel bad to have to miss it every week. I can see how is faith is growing and he's working hard to repent. It makes me so happy :)

     Elena. Every week she says she'll come to church and she never comes! And every week we push her baptismal date back another week. But she loves the Book of Mormon, she knows it's true, and she's working on quitting coffee as well. There are always a billion distractions at her house with kids, a few other families that live there, people cooking in the kitchen, people watching TV, etc. We're hoping to get her to a church tour so that she can feel the Spirit and feel more confident coming to church.

*Okay so now I'll talk about Thanksgiving:)

     We had breakfast with the Lowden family which was so much fun!! I think I talked about them a bit last week or two weeks ago. Hermana Lowden made us yummy pancakes and sausage and desserts. She even gave us some extra desserts to share with Juan. Afterwards we watched the "He is the Gift" video and talked about Christmas and Thanksgiving traditions. They have two really cute puppies too, so that was fun:) I love being with the members because it makes me feel right at home!

     Later Hermana Sprunt and I returned home, did our studies, and did weekly planning. We also made some cookies to pass out to our investigators that night!

     We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Diaz family. Now this was probably the craziest experience of my entire mission!!! So back when I was dating Alonso, I remember him telling me that he had a cousin named Shelton that was his age. (Or at least, their families were really close so he considered him a cousin.) Alonso's on his mission right now, and I wrote him a little over a year ago when I received my call to let him know where I was serving. He wrote back and mentioned that he had family that lived in Virginia. When I met the Diaz family, I knew that Hermano y Hermana Diaz were his aunt and uncle because they have a son named Shelton on a mission and they're Peruvian. I didn't really think that much of it because they knew I was from Lehi and had never asked if I knew the Lopez family. Hermana Diaz is also in charge of our dinner calendar so she invited us over for Thanksgiving. 

     Anyway, we show up and we walk into the kitchen and I was speechless! Alonso's oldest brother Alfredo was there! We both freaked out a bit and my companion was super confused, haha. And he called me "Sarah" the entire night. He joined the Marines and is in boot camp in North Carolina. He decided to come up to Richmond to be with some family for Thanksgiving. It was super crazy and definitely the last thing that I thought would happen! 

     But we had a nice dinner and the food was very yummy! We watched the "He is the Gift" video as well and had a great time:) It also lasted for a reallllly long time so finally we got out and were able to deliver some treats to some investigators.

     So yep, that was my Thanksgiving:) I think I enjoyed this year more than last year. Last year, we were with a group of like 5 families and we only knew the host family so we were kind of in-and-out. This year we got to spend some quality time with the family and actually talk about the Gospel. I'm really grateful for all of the wonderful families here:) I love my mission!

     Speaking of loving all of the people here.....I'm out! I'm being transferred tomorrow and I've been given the opportunity to be an Hermana Training Leader!!! I really wanted it 6 weeks ago, but I know that I'm so much more ready now. I feel very humbled by this calling and I'm really excited to move on to the next part of my mission! Though I really did love training and I'm going to miss it. I don't know where I'm going yet, but it will likely be Harrisonburg or Chesterfield, which is where the HTL areas are. (Unless President Wilson opens up a new area.)

Love you all so much!:)

con amor,  Hermanita Crandall