Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hello everyone! Yesterday, we received what are known as "T-Texts", or "transfer texts". These are text messages that are sent to every phone in the mission, listing every missionary who will be transferred to a new area. It is a heart-stopping experience to finally get that T-Text for the missionaries in your zone (general area), and to quickly scan over the list of names to see if you have been voted off the island. Or given the axe. Or are found "the weakest link". I could go on, but I think you get the idea of how it feels.
For those who do find their names on the list, they know only two things: they are leaving to a new area, and everyone else listed is also leaving to a new area. Nobody knows for sure where they are going until our transfer meeting on Thursday, but speculation begins as to where they could go. What an exciting time- it means much more to you as a missionary, that's for sure. I found out that I will be staying in the Weston 1st Ward, and Elder Yurevich will be transferred away. No good guess on who my next companion will be.
At the beginning of my mission, I felt strongly that trying to guess where other missionaries could be going was a waste of time and energy. It's funny how much we can change; in a little over a year, I am a completely different missionary from what I started out as.
Also, the things that I once thought were important, or effective for missionary work, have largely gone out the window. What I see myself doing with my time ha changed dramatically. It seems to always go back to the saying, "Work smarter, not harder." I realize, however, that the only way I could learn to work smarter was by working hard. The smarter paths would then materialize after I had pounded out the hard work. I have also found that it takes less out of me to work smarter first, and the reward is greater.
Let me give you an example, and this will give you a better idea of the decisions that missionaries in our mission make every day. Tracting door to door for four hours straight might be a great missionary activity; we would talk to many people, and we don't have to over think it because we know exactly what our objective is, and so do the people that answer the door. While this approach doesn't take very much brain power to plan out, the mental drain of having hundreds of people reject you one after the other certainly does challenge your brain. After doing this for hours, missionaries are proclaiming how happy the gospel makes them... through gritted teeth, while massaging bruised door-knocking knuckles.
Instead of tracting, let's say the missionary used two of those hours to instead look for service opportunities in the community they live in, asked around for different activities going on, and brainstormed what things they could do to connect with the people. For the next two hours, they set up different service opportunities and activities that they could participate in for the upcoming weeks, and asked members if they would also like to be involved.
The difficult part of this? Many people won't understand why you chose to use your four hours this way. Some people will judge you as being lazy, looking for ways to get out of working hard. This comes from members/missionaries/onlookers that believe missionaries should be knocking doors all day long, and that's what makes them a good missionary. The only problem with this is that I want to be a great missionary.
In the past weeks, my companion and I have volunteered to rake leaves for an elderly lady, help out at a community farm, participate at a charity soccer tournament, and shelve food at a food pantry for the needy. The outcome of each? The woman we raked leaves for wrote a full page letter to the elderly services department (which they forwarded to us), and the entire thing was about how grateful she was that they sent (quote)"the most polite and courteous young people I have met in a long time". Phrases from the letter included many comments on our church, how we "did the entire yard completely, and I mean all of it. I do not believe that there is a single leaf left", we "were very pleasant to work with", and she said "When we finished they wanted to know if we had anything else for them to do, as this is their mission in life, for two years, to help people and do things for anyone who needs help." We never approached this wonderful woman saying we were missionaries- we simply came to serve, and answered her many questions.
Serving at the farm was a similar experience. Oh the happiness it brings to tell people that I am from Arizona, will be living in Massachusetts for two years, am not working or attending college, and am doing it to serve others for two years! It is much more fun letting other people ask what in the world you are doing, than to tell everyone right off the bat. Eventually my companion will simply explain that we are missionaries for our church, and the questions keep coming after that. We have talked to probably 20 different people that had never met Mormon missionaries, an opportunity you just can't get tracting door to door, hour after hour.
It doesn't stop there. At the farm, we meet two high school seniors who are also volunteering. We chat and shovel compost together for about an hour, and they mention to us that they would be holding a charity soccer tournament that Saturday, and the money raised would go to food pantries in the area. Seeing that it was a 4 vs. 4 tournament, we decided to accept their invitation and make a team. Elder Yurevich and I went on exchanges for that day, and I went with another missionary who enjoys soccer, along with a member of our ward who brought his nonmember friend. That event was great- those high school students in charge of it were very pleased to see us, we made a great impression with all of their friends, and we were able to talk with the nonmember guy who played on our team. I don't think a "good missionary" would have liked the idea of us participating in such an activity, but that is the risk you take in doing things that really are beneficial, instead of only looking beneficial. Not saying that tracting isnt' great, but there is a time and a place for everything.
Our service at the food pantry has been the same experience as with working at the farm. I love my mission because I decided to go out on a limb and try to give serving and living with the people a shot, instead of "working hard" and trying to convince myself that tracting for four straight hours was fun. I would rather do something that puts me in a position to show how much fun living the gospel can be, and lifting the community I live in. I believe in the phrase "moderation in all things", and it is interesting how that seems to be the battle we have within ourselves throughout our lives: how we can be happy without overdoing something.
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love how spiritual truths beat scientific truths any day, and how hearkening unto the counsel of God will bring us farther than the wisdom of men. I believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I believe that we are each put into positions in life to see if we can learn what God wants us to learn. I love people more and more the longer I am on my mission, and I know that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we really are in the service of our God. Stay strong!
Elder Crandell
P.S. Elder L. Tom Perry visited us on Sunday at church! He talked about how we need to live up to the oath and covenant of the priesthood, and remind others of this oath and covenant. This is in Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-42.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Greetings, and Happy Mother's Day! This week was wicked good, we have big things going on. Stephen and Diane Fay came to church together for the second time yesterday. They are an awesome couple that we met about 4 months ago, and they are doing really well. We had plenty of uplifting Mother's Day talks and discussions at church, which Diane enjoyed quite a bit.
One fun experience came on Friday while we were walking and talking at a place called Babson College, an activity that we believed to be allowed. Perfect weather, happy people, beautiful trees and flowers- everything was going our way. That is, until a police car drove up behind us. The officer rolled his window down, asked who we were and why we were there, and more or less told us that we weren't able to talk to anyone of the campus. He was really nice about it, but it was abnormal because we were under the impression that the main road through the college was public property. We decided to obey and left the campus.
Elder Yurevich and I are working well together, and getting the message of the restored gospel out there to the world. I wish sometimes that I could do more than what I am doing; on occasion, I feel like my talents could be put to better use somewhere else. My scripture for the week: "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!... But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me" (Alma 29: 1, 3). We should be grateful for the responsibilities that God has given us! I love you guys, I love my mission, and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I find peace and joy when I follow the example of the Savior. I challenge you to read the Book of Mormon. Stay strong!
Elder Crandell

Monday, May 2, 2011

It has been a fantastic week, and not only because of the great weather we are having. Last Monday, we got together with about 20 missionaries and played soccer for a few hours. I was very happy to be playing again, although my muscles throughout my body were not nearly as pleased with the physical trauma I put them through.
As the weather becomes friendlier, there is a noticeable difference in the people. We went out and decided to try something a little different this week, which included chalk, a stretch of sidewalk along a busy main street packed with stores, and the plan of salvation. We decided to draw out the plan of salvation on the sidewalk; Elder Yurevich chalked as I talked, trying to invite people over to check out God's plan for everyone, and the true meaning of life. After several uninterested people, we were able to talk to some students passing by who took the time to check out what had been drawn on the sidewalk, and we shared a quick summary of God's plan. This led to both Elder Yurevich and I talking with them for a solid hour, and they eventually had to run but want to meet back up to learn more. It was a ton of fun to try something different to reach out to the people here, and it worked!
I am excited about the talents and abilities that we all have; they really can bring people together. I feel that it is important to show how much fun living the gospel really can be, we don't need to walk up and down the streets reading the Bible or the Book of Mormon and preach to everyone- sometimes it is more important to live the gospel in your daily life. This week, I learned that I can do a better job of making the gospel more about happiness than about showing the "work" involved. Thank you to all who have supported me and are sharing my mission with me through reading my emails, I could do a better job of sharing more of my mission. Stay strong in the faith!
Elder Crandell

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello everyone! I don't have too much time to write this week. Elder Yurevich and I are still out there teaching the gospel and trying to find more people to share our message with. One insightful comment that Stephen (guy that we have been meeting with) said during one of our lessons about the plan of salvation was, talking to his wife, "But Deedee, they're all mansions. He's not going to put you in some hut!" talking about the three kingdoms of glory described in 1 Corinthians 15: 40-41, and referring to John 14:2 when Christ refers to the "many mansions" in His Father's house. It was cool seeing him put together the fact that although there are different levels of glory that we can rise to depending on our obedience to God, they will all be mansions.
I love my mission, even though it is difficult. There is more to this life than what we can see with our eyes, and there is something greater than us that moves and shapes our lives. Everyone is on a journey, whether we want to accept it or not. I love reading from the Book of Mormon because it helps me to see my journey more clearly. Keep the faith, stay strong!
Elder Crandell

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greetings from Massachusetts! The work is going great here in the Weston 1st Ward. This Sunday was excellent- a nice married couple we have been teaching, Stephen and Diane Fay, came to church together. This was Diane's first time at church. Incredibly, everything went as planned; all of the talks were spiritual and nonmember friendly, we sang somewhat normal hymns in sacrament meeting, the lessons were simple and stayed on course with the teachings of the Church, and there weren't any awkward moments thrown at us. If any of you don't know why I find that incredible, please ask your nearest return missionary what it is like taking someone to church for the first time.
In all seriousness, Stephen and Diane had a great time. Stephen has come four times now, and has really become comfortable with the members. We have a baptismal date set with him for May 31st, which is his father's birthday. The only difficult part about it is that Stephen has the desire to be baptized in a river, preferably one in Maine where they have a summer getaway. We'll see if we can get approval to go up with him since that is definitely outside of our mission, but it will still work out if we aren't able to.
I have enjoyed serving with Elder Yurevich, we are getting along great. We have been together long enough for us to both know how the other will react to any situation, which is either comforting or frustrating (just kidding). The work is going well for us; we spend most of our time trying to find new people to teach. We are looking everywhere for them, believe me. Sometimes you just need to wait for something to happen, I've definitely learned that on my mission. For some reason, you can find 10 people to teach in one month, and then 0 people in the next month, even though you are doing the same exact things. There are always lessons to be learned from the ups and downs.
Thanks for all of the support from back at home, I wish all of you a Happy Easter! Remember the sacrifice that our Savior gave for us, and follow His example by looking for opportunities to serve those around you.
Elder Crandell

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hello everyone! The mission is going great. This week, Ani Miranda was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Her family, some of them not members of the church, attended, and it was a very sweet experience. Ani has an amazing testimony, and she will be a fantastic example to everyone around her, especially me!
We tracted a bunch this week, and we are still working on finding new investigators. Things are going great for those that we are teaching, we can't ask for very much more. I have found through reading the scriptures daily that no matter what happens outside of me, I am able to stay secure on the inside. If I can make that, and other small changes, habitual, then my service on my mission has already paid me back more than I could have imagined. Being a representative of Jesus Christ for these two years definitely brings forth the blessings of heaven, that's for sure!
Hope you all are doing well. I challenge whoever reads this email to read and pray from the Book of Mormon, because reading and praying brings me more peace than anything else I have found in my life. I promise that it is worth sacrificing a couple minutes to find out what the Creator wants you to do today.
Elder Crandell

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hello everyone! We had an awesome week here in the Weston 1st Ward. Ani Miranda got baptized on Sunday! The service was excellent, lots of people showed up (including many nonmembers from her family and some of the people we have been teaching). The Spirit of God, like a fire, was burning! We are very excited for Ani, she has a strong testimony of the restored gospel. She is a better Christian than me, that's how I feel.
General Conference was good, but it went by too quickly. I'm not sure how it happened, but suddenly I can watch 10 hours of talks within two days, and wish that there was more. Staying wide awake during all of it is also astounding. In all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed conference and feel a great desire to improve myself. That's the amazing thing about listening to the modern apostles and prophets, they give us messages from God.
One funny experience from this week came during a lesson with a man named Stephen, who we have been meeting with for about three months now. He joked that we weren't giving him all of the material that we read from, and insisted that we give him "Doctrines and Consequences", which is what he calls "Doctrine and Covenants". He jokes about how I'm going to write Doctrines and Consequences when I get older.
Wonderful week, I'm looking forward to the next one. Elder Yurevich and I found out that we will be staying together for another transfer! This will be three transfers together, it's kinda crazy. I'm excited to continue working with him, we have some good stuff happening here. Miracles happen, and God definitely provides a way for us to ease the burdens we have if we are looking for His help. Love you all!
Elder Crandell

Monday, March 28, 2011

This has been an interesting week for Elder Yurevich and I. We have seen some amazing changes in people. Things are looking great for Ani, she will be baptized this Sunday before the first session of conference that day. Another guy, Steven, came to church again, and he really connected with the others in the ward. It was awesome to hear him talk about how much he needed the spiritual boost in his life, from going to church, reading scriptures, and praying. He has really been touched by the Spirit, I know for a fact that the changes I have seen in him cannot be explained in any other way.
I am excited for this next weekend, it will be great to hear from the apostles and prophets. It not only helps me realize the areas that I can improve myself in, but gives me direction on the actions I can take to making those changes. It will be a very uplifting weekend with Ani's baptism and General Conference!
I feel great, especially when I keep the commandments. We really do get the blessings that we are promised for keeping them.
Elder Crandell

Monday, March 21, 2011

It was another quick week here in the Weston 1st Ward. We are doing a bunch of door to door finding, and it has been going well for the most part. This transfer has been the quickest of my mission, that's for sure. Elder Yurevich and I get along just fine and we are always busy, it has been rewarding.

I made a chart to track my reading of the Book of Mormon, Bible, Jesus the Christ by Talmage, and Doctrine and Covenants. It has been going really well! I try to read a chapter from all of them every day, and that has been helping me out very much. I think I'm into each of them about 100 pages, and it has been really good so far. I think it has helped me to stay focused on the missionary library that we are given, and also to compare the Book of Mormon and Bible. Seriously, it has been awesome. I've already read the Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ on my mission, but this will help me become closer to both the old and the modern scriptures. I hope I can stay in the habit of reading the Book of mormon for the rest of my life.

Not much else to report, we are hoping that our baptism with a lady named Ani will work out for April 3rd, before the conference sessions. That would be awesome! I hope that something I have said will be of some benefit to some of those that have read some of my ramblings. Somebody needs to stop me, before I write some more. Love you all: Jesus is the Christ, the Book of Mormon is true, God talks to us personally and through modern prophets who are with us right now, and we can have our prayers answered.


Elder Crandell

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello everyone! We had a great week, taught a bunch and had some very spiritual experiences. I don't have too much more time to say anything else today, but I love the Lord and love the gospel. Stay strong!

Elder Crandell

P.S. I gave a talk in church, that was pretty cool.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hey everybody. I'm on the downward slope of the mission after hitting my one-year mark, but I want to make sure that doesn't become a "downward slump". This was a good week, we gave out 21 copies of the Book of Mormon, which isn't too bad because some of the people in our area can be, as they say in New England, "all set".

I should talk about this phrase, I don't think I've gotten around to explaining it. Basically, the phrase "I'm all set" means "I am content with what I have, my position in life, my current state does not need a change". Examples: somebody who is offered mustard on their sandwich but does not want it, will say, "I'm all set"; if you offer to help someone pick up books but they don't need help, they'll say, "I'm all set"; or whenever us missionaries come to a door, and the people aren't interested, they will say, "I'm all set." Needless to say, I have heard this phrase thousands of times. I have grown to love and adore hearing the phrase, "I'm all set."

This was a good week, we worked hard and taught some awesome new people. It pleases me when people are NOT "all set". I don't think I will ever reach a state in my life where I am "all set", because I will always be progressing somewhere. I hope, at least.

Not much else to say, I love you all and love the gospel.

Elder Crandell

Friday, March 4, 2011

This was a great week. I saw a bunch of people progress in the gospel of Jesus Christ, it's great to see. We were visited as a mission by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Burton of the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Claudio Costa of the First Seventy, and Elder Matt Eyring, who is our Area Authority. Sorry for those who are not members and are reading this, I'm sure none of those titles made any sense. Basically, some great leaders in the Mormon Church. We listened to them for 2 hours, and most of it was question and answer with them. It was spectacular!

I wanted to include some experiences from my mission for all of you. One of them came a few weeks ago when I was on exchanges with another missionary in my area. We had just left from an appointment that had been cancelled, so we had some time before our next set appointment. I decided we could go try to visit some members of our ward. The first person we tried wasn't there, and I checked for who else we could meet. There was one lady on the list that had a note "Doesn't like the missionaries or the Church", but I thought we could go see her anyways because i had never met her.

Instead of finding her home, a man answered the door. He introduced himself as Peter, her brother, and explained that he was visiting from New York. He said we were lucky that it was only him at home, because his sister would have kicked us out. He invited us in to chat for a little bit, and we found out that his sister had been hurt by a member of the LDS church and it had gotten to her. He wasn't a member, and didn't know much about the Church.

Talking to him more, we learned that Peter had recently witnessed a miracle in his life after asking God for help, even though he was an atheist. He had grown up Catholic, but at the time no longer believed in God. He said he didn't know who or what he was praying to- he just looked up at the ceiling and asked for help, wondering if there was anyone out there listening to him.

Peter was amazed that the thing he had asked for really did happen- he was able to get some prescription drugs (for his back- he's had 10 surgeries for herniated discs and other problems) 4 days earlier than he should have been able to, because it was 4 more days until his 30-day refill on pain medication. Since Peter had lost some of the medication, he no longer had any, but should not have been able to get any more. Yet somehow he was able to, which he said was impossible: his doctor couldn't prescribe more medication for him due to a strict contract that the two of them had both signed, he himself couldn't sign for additional meds, and the pharmacist couldn't allow him to pick up his next refill early. Not only that, the pharmacist's computer should have spotted the error and raised a red flag- if not, then the drug company's computer would have picked it up.

Peter said that many of his friends and family members had dismissed his miracle as a glitch, but he alone knew that it was impossible. The guy was so passionate about it; I was amazed at the power and strength of his character. He's a smart He said that he had continued in praying and asking for different things, willing to make changes if necessary, and his prayers had been answered over and over. One thing he said that stuck out to me was "I don't have a name for this Being I'm talking to. I don't know who I'm worshiping." We asked him if we could be the people he was looking for, and he said he believed it could be true. We taught a simple lesson about God and prayer, and we'll keep in touch with him because he was headed back to New York.

There are many reasons why we shouldn't have been able to meet with him. The only reason we were there was because our appointment (which was usually a solid one) at that time had dropped, and we had chosen to go see a member that we knew didn't want to see us. Peter was there because a friend of his was over an hour late in picking him up from his house when we got to him, he was visiting from New York for just a few days, and was heading out the very next day. And his sister just happened to be out of the house when we met him. There was no way that it would have all happened without help from a loving Heavenly Father who wanted us to help Him answer the prayers of someone who has finally started to turn his life around.

I love the mission, and I am grateful for the many experiences that I have been blessed to have. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ, and that the authority of God is once again on the earth. I know for myself that miracles happen.

Elder Crandell

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hello everyone! Today is Wednesday, and I'm emailing because our P-Day switches to Wednesday for transfer weeks. I found out that both my companion and I are staying here in the Weston 1st Ward! Very good news. Things are going very well here, we are teaching a bunch of people, and should have a baptism within the next couple of weeks.
I love all of you. I have been very blessed to grow up with awesome people all around me. That helps me when the difficult times come. Not much else to write, just excited to find out who the new missionary to our apartment will be. The other companionship we lived with got switched up, so we'll have a new roommate. I'll write again next Monday.
Elder Crandell

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hello everybody! I'm loving my time here in the Weston 1st Ward. We have found a bunch of people to teach, and our investigators are coming to church as well as reading/praying about the Book of Mormon. It's very satisfying to see people find the same truths and happiness that you have found in your own life. It's a good reminder to me that I need to keep doing the basic things, such as reading from the Book of Mormon and praying every day.
Not much to report, everything is going great. My companion and I are getting along great and teaching well together. Almost every lesson, he will say something that I myself would have said if I was the one talking at that point in the lesson- it's awesome to feel that both of us are being directed by the same Spirit when we each feel prompted to say the same things. Transfers are in a week and a half (this transfer has flown by!), so I will let you know what's going on next Wednesday, which will be our next emailing opportunity.
Love you all!
Elder Crandell

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello everyone! Another fantastic week in the Weston 1st Ward. We found a bunch of new people who are interested in hearing from us missionaries; things are really working out well at the moment. I seriously don't understand how we were able to have so many good things fall right into place for us, it's almost like we just sat there while all of these things happened around us. This ward is great, and I'm excited for next week.
During a lesson a few days ago, a man we were teaching was saying that his wife (who was seated in the room with us) needed to quit smoking and drinking. Then he said to his wife, "I will become a priest holder and save you from your apostasy", and I just about died from laughing because he said it so sarcastically. It might not be exactly correct the way that he had phrased it (should be priesthood holder), but it was very unexpected. What was crazy about it was that this was only the second time we had met, and we hadn't talked too much about men receiving the priesthood except for when Joseph Smith had received it. Apparently he had read all of the pamphlet that we had given him, and somehow he had put it all together that way- that the world was living in apostasy, and that the priesthood was restored to put an end to apostate traditions. It was fantastic, and I've found that laughing and joking with investigators has made for some of my favorite moments in the mission. I love New Englanders, and I feel like I am becoming one of them.
Serving this mission has been the best experience in my life. I love sharing my beliefs with others, and I've learned many things about people in general (sometimes the hard way). I know that Jesus Christ lived and died for us, and that's why I'm here in Massachusetts.
Elder Crandell

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hey everyone! An awesome week in the Weston 1st Ward, we got a couple of new investigators and member referrals. Things are looking pretty good right now! I love coming into a new area and making a fresh start, it's great. My companion and I get along great, and we have been teaching well together. So far, this transfer has been the best yet.

It's really cold here, much colder than in Brewster. It was 2 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, and it is supposed to get below 0 the next couple of nights. On top of that, we are expecting a snow storm tomorrow night, which means Wednesday will be a shoveling day! We shovel all of the houses in our circle, because some of the houses have single women living there, which makes for a nice service opportunity. Plus, we can't drive if it snows too much- we get a text saying that we aren't allowed to drive on some of the snow days. It's happened about four times- not something that happens in Mesa.

The work is awesome. This transfer is going really well. We have found a bunch of people to teach in the last week and a half, and it should only get better and better. I love being a missionary. I would say that I am still the same person, only now I am more aware of my weaknesses. I cannot tell you how great this has been for me! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, as the names implies, the true Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth today. I love you all, stay strong!


Elder Crandell

Oh my goodness, I am definitely not missing Arizona after hearing about your cactus experience! Haha just kidding, but that sounded like a really difficult situation. I hope everyone heals up ok from it!

Yes, my bishop is Danny Ainge. He is the one from Arizona, and he is currently the GM for the Boston Celtics. Preston will know all about that; he is one of the most famous LDS figures in sports history. He's awesome, I met him just yesterday and I'm pretty excited to be in this ward. I love the area, love the people, love my companion... man, this is definitely needed, because I need some time to recuperate from my last experience! Everything is awesome.

Great to hear from you, say hi to the rest of the family!


Elder Crandell

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hello everyone! This is Elder Crandell, writing from my new area in the Massachusetts Boston Mission. I am now serving in the Weston 1st Ward, and my new companion is Elder Yurevich. He is from Belarus, which is right by Russia. He has been in the U.S. for over two years because he attended BYU, and his English is very good. He has been out for 16 months, so he is ahead of me by 5 months about. It's great being with an experienced companion, Elder Yurevich is a fantastic missionary. I can't believe I've almost been out for 11 months! This transfer is going to be awesome, I'm very excited for this new opportunity and change, although I am sad that I had to leave Brewster. I guess there is a purpose for everything though, so that's ok.
Not much time to write, but I love all of you. Keep the faith, and stay strong.
Elder Crandell

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hello everyone! I'm leaving the Brewster Branch, and I'm not sure where I'll be going. I find out tomorrow at our transfer meeting. I'm sad to leave this awesome area and all of the people that I got really close to, but hopefully the next area will be half as good as Brewster has been.
I have a testimony of missionary work. It can make the bad times good and the good times great. Sometimes I have to admit that I don't understand why some people have to go through such difficult things, but I have learned many things about myself with the different challenges that I have had. Guess it really is for our benefit in the end! Love you all, I'll write more next Monday.
Elder Crandell

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello everyone! It's been another awesome week here in the Brewster Branch. The weather is getting a little warmer and most of the snow has melted since the last snow storm. The mission continues to provide a limitless number of opportunities to learn and grow. The members are excellent at helping us with the missionary work, and the branch is doing well.
The work is going great. I don't have much time to write, but I love you all and wish you a happy new year!
Elder Crandell

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hello everyone! We had our first real snow experience here on the Cape- we woke up this morning and everything was covered. The weird thing is that whenever it snows or rains, it gets warmer here, so that's the positive side to the weather.

We had a baptism yesterday at 3 pm! Our friend's name is Jim Tuttle, and he's been listening to missionaries for about 7 months, but only in the last month and a half has he really started progressing. He started reading the Book of Mormon every day, and before we knew it, he was accepting everything we taught, had gotten over some of his fears, and was willing to follow all of the commandments and do anything he needed to do to prepare for baptism. It was amazing to his his conversion. There were about 25 people at his baptism, which is a good number seeing that there were less than 40 people at church earlier that day. The only unexpected event came when Elder Henson and Jim went into the water of the font, and the water turned out to be freezing cold even though we had filled it with hot water from the beginning. Apparently there wasn't too much hot water at all, so the majority of it was filled with cold water. The positive side of this story was that I was standing in the warm, comfortable room watching the baptism, instead of in the water!

The work is going great. I've made lifelong friends out here with members, nonmembers, and other missionaries. I love being a missionary, and I feel God's love when I am serving others. Merry Christmas!

Elder Crandell

P.S. I've been nicknamed Elder Cranberry, Captain Chaos, and Krendoll by some of the people here. Very strange names.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hello everyone! This week was great, we got a bunch of good things done. We have a baptism set for Sunday with one of our investigators, Jim. He is a really good man, this will be awesome.
The mood of the people here as a whole has been happy, which is nice. The Christmas spirit makes missionary work fun. Hopefully that friendly feeling can stick around for awhile!
Not too much time to write today, they are kicking us off of the computers early here at the library where we are emailing. I love the mission, and I'm learning all the time. I feel that my mission call was inspired, and that Massachusetts is exactly where God wants me. I love you all, stay strong.
Elder Crandell

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mason left 9 months from today!! Crazy!!!


Transfers came, and Elder Henson and I will be staying for another one here in the Brewster Branch. Things are going really well. We had three of our investigators come to church, and it was a really big step for one of the guys. It has taken months of effort to get him comfortable with the idea of attending church, but he finally came! He's awesome, he had a great time and the members love him.
Not much else to write, we don't have too much time. Let me say that patience is indeed a godly attribute, but I question how far you should let something go without taking action. I've been patient with things that I shouldn't have, I don't think patience means letting yourself get walked over and pushed just so you don't offend anybody. Patience is doing what is right while enduring well, not giving in to certain activities just to keep peace. Keep the faith, stay strong!
Elder Crandell

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hello everyone!
What a crazy week. We had a bunch of lessons to our investigators that members came to support us, I got to go to Martha's Vineyard twice- once on exchanges for a day, and another day for a district P-Day activity, and we met and taught a family of 4 with members. The week was packed, and we were ridiculously blessed. Sometimes you have to wonder how you can get handed such opportunities, because things just came together perfectly for us time and time again. There was some serious divine intervention with us this week.
We are excited to have Thanksgiving here in Brewster. We have certainly gotten enough offers for breakfast/lunch/dinner on that day. The people here are family already, and I've only been here for 4 and a half weeks. The weeks fly by, it seems like I just got out here on the mission. We find out in a week what happens with transfers, so we'll keep you informed.
I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers, and I have faith that some of the things that I've been praying for will work out eventually. It is a good feeling when you feel like you have at least made a small impact on the lives of the people that you are around. The mission will always be hard for me, because it will always stretch my limits and make me feel like an idiot. That's a good thing!
Elder Crandell

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15th

Hey everybody! It's been another fantastic week here in Brewster. We've had 4 member referrals here so far, which is amazing! The members have really helped us out in finding people to teach and then also teaching with us. I would be okay with staying here for quite some time.
We had a couple of interesting things happen this week. On Wednesday we went to a leadership meeting and I got to see Elder Davies and Elder Ichi again! That was nice seeing them again. There were about 40 missionaries there, which was nice because it can sometimes feel like we are isolated way out here in Brewster. We have to track our miles, so it is hard for us to make any extra trips to have district activities or anything. It will all work out, though.
We are helping a woman named Carolyn to prepare for baptism on December 4! She has done a really good job in overcoming obstacles that have been holding her back; we are hopeful that she can be ready for this next big step. We also taught Jim a couple of times. Jim is one of the nicest guys I have ever met, and he has also shown a ton of progress. Hopefully we can help him prepare for baptism in December, he is definitely heading in the right direction. We have some of the best people around us, it's great.
Hope you all are doing well, wherever you are. I love the mission. It is really challenging. I keep finding out more and more ways that I can improve, which is nice because it means there is always something to do. I have a long way to go, let me tell ya!
Elder Crandell