Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 28th

Hello everyone!

It's been another great week here in the Cambridge 1st Ward. The city is still as crazy as ever, you kinda get used to having "unusual" people approach you as a missionary. It's part of the job.

- We taught Josh again last week. He had some problems with us calling our church the "true church", because he said that if there are other churches that allow us to grow closer to God, and we also agree that the members and leadership aren't perfect, then what makes us the "true church"? Do we just have less imperfections than others? The lessons are much more confusing, so it's hard to break them down into a short summary. He's doing well, though.

- Working with Erica still to get her off coffee. We are bringing a member that had to overcome coffee with us, so that should help out.

- We are teaching Sandra and her family, but there was a bunch of drama that kept them from coming to church. Hopefully she can get it all sorted out- it was really annoying that this happened because we had worked all week on getting them a ride to church because they don't have a car, but that's the story of a mission! There's always next week, though.

- Garth had some interesting questions. He first asked why the Book of Mormon chapters about Christ teaching were so similar to the Bible, which was good because that meant he had done some reading! He also asked why the doctrines of Jesus Christ are important, what new ethics are presented in the Book of Mormon, and why people were predisposed to believe a certain way depending on how they were raised. Very intellectual guy, but those questions aren't very difficult to answer: Jesus Christ allows us to become clean again, something that nothing else can take the place of. Should be a great lesson coming up; he gave us some pages of Aristotle to read, that was pretty funny. We are going to make that part of our lesson. Garth also said that even though his father was a pastor and his mother was a missionary for another church, we have a "fervent dedication" that impresses him. That was awesome to hear.

- David is back in town, so we are going to revisit the Restoration and see how much of it he remembers. He is awesome, but we will probably have to pass him off to the singles ward, same with Garth. :(

- We beat Jude in basketball, so we taught him a lesson about God's plan for us afterwards. That was pretty cool, he says that he wants to "do the right things in life". He also agreed to have us teach him at a members house once a week! Shazam!

- Taught Anna again, and after getting to know her a little better, she opened up and said that she did have some desire to have her questions about life answered. She is going to be busy for the next couple of weeks, but she was pretty amazed that we could be so sure that our church was true when there are so many other religions. She was impressed by our testimonies.

-Things have been going really well with the members, too! We keep committing them to do stuff, and follow up with them until they do it. It feels like home already, it's great.

There's more, but I don't have much time. Hope all is going well for you all! Something that everyone asks here is, "How can you be so sure that your church is the right one?"

I suggest reading Alma 31 and following Alma's example to better understand what to do in a situation like that, where something seems "astonishing beyond all measure" (Alma 31:19).

Love you all!

Elder Crandell

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20th

What a crazy week. We met so many more people to teach, it's crazy. Even when we would take the effort to go to someones house, and get rejected or cancelled on over and over, we would find people who were willing to hear the message we share, close to that same area. It happened like 5 or 6 times, no joke. The Lord has blessed us more than we deserve! We might have lead the zone in teaching last week, and we should do even better this week if we just have faith in our goals and focus on those we are teaching.
-Josh, our intellectual guy, said his first prayer with us at the end of a long, confusing discussion that we had with him. But even though he said a very sincere prayer, he didn't end it in the name of Jesus Christ because he doesn't have faith in Christ yet. Very confusing, but we are making some progress!
-Set up an appointment to teach a man named Alfredo, and he said his friends are going to be there to. Don't know how many friends, but he said he is making chips and salsa! Should be fun, we are going to explain the Book of Mormon and its background with them.
-Met a nice younger woman named Margaret who we taught on her doorstep. Said she had heard some stories from missionaries when she was a little girl, so we gave her a Book of Mormon and said we would drop by sometime because she is really busy. That was an awesome tracting experience.
- Met another woman named Anna who we also taught on her doorstep. She has no belief in God, doesn't have any background of religion, and says she doesn't know why it would be important to know where we came from, why we are here on earth, or if there is anything after this life. But she agreed to have us back nonetheless! We are bringing a member so that we will be able to teach her, that should be an interesting lesson.
-We have another appointment with a man named Garth for this week, he seemed really interested in our beliefs from our last lesson. He said that he sees the Mormon way of life as one of the more successful ways to live, but we want him to clearly see that it is because we are blessed when we do what God would have us do.
- Erica, investigator with a coffee problem, says she will continue to work on it so that she can get baptized. That's the only thing holding her back! We will try to find a way to help her overcome it.
- We found a way to teach a kid named Jude, who is 16 and a friend of one of the ward members, Luc (pronounced "Luke"). We are playing the two of them in basketball today, and they agreed that if we win, we can teach a lesson. Missionaries have to be creative!
There are so many more, but these are the biggest things that have happened. The Lord has blessed us more than we deserve! Love you all, stay strong.
Elder Crandell

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12th

Work in Boston is going really well! I've had a bunch of great teaching experiences:
We taught a young couple named Josh and Kara, who have been taking the missionary lessons for 9 weeks now. Very long time! Kara seems almost ready to accept it, but Josh is very intellectual and has to have everything explained to him even though he doesn't have faith in the smallest things. We teach him with another member that is also very smart, but honestly I think it's kind of a show that Josh puts on. We are working on getting him to the point where he will look to the scriptures on his own.
Taught a man named David Dixon (a different David than the one from Arizona). He is an ex- Marine, and pretty strong guy. He was curious about what he needs in his life, and how he can know truth for himself. We taught him about the restoration, and he kept asking "how can I know if something is true?" because he says he doesn't trust his feelings. So I told him that he can base his testimony on reason, feelings, and experiences from experimenting on the word. He liked that approach for some reason, and accepted a B.O.M. to read and pray about.
We have more people that we teach, but I don't have enough time. Love you all, and hope all is going well for you!
Elder Crandell

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2nd

I'm officially a mishkimary, preachin' the gopsel! (inside joke with the fam). I'm here in Boston, Mass. More specifically in a city called Cambridge. It's just crazy exciting here; Elder Davies and I have an apartment all to ourselves. Our address is on the letter, but hopefully you already received that in the email I sent.

The weather here is terrible. I think they have declared a state of emergency for all of the New England area. It's raining constantly, flooding, cold, and miserable. But the work must go on! Tracting in the rain is fun.

This letter might have random topics/requests in it, I apologize. For example, the four temple names included were still in one of my suit pockets. Enjoy!

-We meet/visit/teach a blind member named Herby once a week. He is hilarious, has some edgy jokes, feeds us plenty of hot dogs, ad has unlimited ice cream. A;sp teaches us to put ice cream in hot cocoa- it's pretty good. So we'll visit, maybe have a meal, and share a lesson or principles from a lesson. I wish you could meet him; he's awesome.
-A black guy that's usually riding on the trains or standing in the stations calls us missionaries "white devils" in a not-so-friendly tone. We see him quite a bit. I wonder what he's say to a black missionary...
-The ward that I'm in is the same ward that had (some) members wearing a rainbow button to church in support of the gay marriage propositions. Perfect- I love controversy!
-I've had rice three times this week from members, no joke. But the rest of the food has usually made up for it. I miss not eating a ton of whatever I wanted at the MTC, but I'm gettin' by here.
-I always need to pee here for some reason
-Someone text Brooks and tell him I accidentally picked up a newspaper called Bay Windows; it's slogan is "Serving New England's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities." And it's free to pick up, so I can read it anytime! Haha JK
-Shower here has plenty of hot water. Yay!

I love you all, and I miss you terribly! Tell Toby and Tootsie that I miss them, too!

Love, Elder Crandell

P.S. Read Alma 26: 23-30. I am working on bearing my afflictions with patience as I teach people, so that I may experience this. Excellent chapter!