Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25th

Hello everyone! The mission is going awesome here in Massachusetts, and the Cambridge 1st Ward is thriving. We have had an awesome week, there have been so many opportunities and blessings that it's almost impossible to write them all.

-Taught a woman named Carlita, a member referral. She has three boys, who are 18, 15, and 4. We taught her about the Restoration, and everything went amazing. She had been listening to some Book of Mormon tapes that she had gotten from the member who referred her to us, and she said that her life became peaceful when she started listening to them. We taught her that those feelings were the fruits of the Spirit, and she also said that she felt that the things that we taught felt right. We also extended a baptismal invitation, and she accepted it almost before we had finished asking her! We even extended a date for her to prepare to be baptized on, which turned out to be her birthday. Very weird coincidence... Anyways, she said that she wants her sons to be baptized as well. Great experience, she had definitely been prepared by the Lord before we came to teach her!

- We visited a man named Ken, who I had talked to on a bus the previous week. He is a very intellectual guy, and also very atheist, which definitely changed the pace of our lesson. But he is a very nice man, and said that he desires to know truth. We taught him that we can learn the truth of all things by the Spirit. He is wanting us to come back, so that's definitely good. He's so awesome, I hope things go well on our next visit.

- Taught Sandra and her daughters last week, and her husband, Isidro, came as well. He seemed interested, but he can't understand too much English because he speaks Portuguese. He even came to church with the rest of the family! We are working with the Portuguese elders to schedule a time that we can all come to teach them so that they can teach Isidro.

- We were able to play some basketball with Jude, one of our investigators, and his two member friends. That was pretty cool, because we got a chance to talk about the things we had taught the week before. He said that he had thought about it, but hadn't prayed yet. We told him that we didn't want him to feel pressured into listening to our message, but at the same time we testified of how important it was for us to know these truths for ourselves. He said that he understood and would find time to read and pray.

- Interesting experience: We were walking to one of our appointments, and I stopped to talk to a man on the street. He had a big, straggly beard, and looked pretty awful. You could tell that he was homeless, and he also had difficulty speaking - whether self-induced or not, it was nice to talk with him. I told him that no matter where we are in our lives or what stage we are in, God loves and cares for every single one of His children. He looked at me and said, "You may have saved my life today." That was probably one of the sweetest experiences I have had. I was reminded of Matthew 25:40, and the look in his eyes when he said that will forever change my perspective when viewing others.

Not enough time to say everything I want, but I am so glad that Elder Davies and I have been able to see miracles here in the Cambridge 1st Ward. I have a testimony that if you are making sure that you are an able instrument in the Lord's hands, he will find ways to utilize your skills to the fullest. All you have to do is be there waiting for those moments to come. And they will come, I know this for a fact.

Take care everyone, and stay true to the faith.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18th

Hello everyone! The mission is going great, and we are seeing many amazing things. I'll give a quick "highlight reel" of the top moments from this week:
- Met an 80 year old woman who said she is angry at the Catholic pope, and doesn't want to be associated with the Catholic church anymore. She accepted a Book of Mormon, and when we called a couple of days later she said she had read what we had left her, including more than we gave her!
- Met Isidro, the husband of a woman we are preparing for baptism. It was the first time we had met him, and he seemed very friendly but doesn't speak very much English. We are going to bring some Portuguese Elders to come teach with us so we can teach the whole family!
- Taught a man named Ken on the bus the other day, who says he is an atheist. He really enjoyed what we were saying though, and said he wanted to hear more. He gave me his address to stop by sometime and talk more.
- Attended a Catholic wake, and gave a prayer there for a member of our ward whose mother had just passed away. The only LDS people in there were the member and my companion and I- everyone else was Catholic. That was pretty interesting!
- Attended a Catholic funeral, the day after the wake. Again, felt very out of place, being missionaries from another church surrounded by Catholics! But everyone was friendly, and although the service was definitely not what I am used to, it went alright. It was such a weird experience.
There's always more, but never enough time. Hope everything is going great back in Arizona! The Book of Mormon is true, and it is an actual record of God's dealing with prophets and people from the ancient Americas. I have no doubt that this is true, or I wouldn't be out here serving my mission. I am grateful for the spiritual confirmation that I have received as I have put in the effort and taken the steps to find it to be true for myself.
Elder Crandell

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5th

The first transfer period of my mission is complete. Six weeks already! I've learned so much already, it's crazy. Everything's coming naturally now, and the area and ward already feel like home.

We have had some awesome experiences this week!

- Sandra came to church with her two daughters, Korrina and Paula. As if that wasn't enough of a miracle, she also accepted a baptismal invitation, and agreed to work with us towards being baptized on June 5th! We have been very surprised by how much of a change we have already seen in her, it's crazy. Hopefully we can continue meeting with her twice a week.

- We taught Garth, the very intellectual guy with a strong background in ethics and philosophy. He said that he had been "in a funk" the week before, and then he had a "Christian kick" by praying and feeling better. He says that even though he did this, that it doesn't necessarily mean that there is a God. He believes that it is healthy for man to be humble and to confess their feelings to somebody, and that the feelings from prayer can be attributed to this healing effect from believing that someone out there is listening to us. He is a very difficult investigator, because he refuses to believe that the feelings that he has are the result of anything but his own self. He does see something different in us, so hopefully we can work with him.

- Jude came to church, and he has been coming to church activities during the week. He's a great kid; we have basketball scheduled on Saturday that the young men's leader is putting on to kind of bring Jude to us so we can teach him more. The ward is doing awesome in helping us to fellowship him!

- David, the Marine, comes back into town on Saturday. He says that he wants to keep learning more.

- We taught a man named Yusif, who is a Muslim from England. He was a media referral, and said he was interested in hearing about the Book of Mormon. Really funny guy with a funny accent! He was more interested in just learning about the LDS church, but I think he was impressed when we taught the Restoration to him. He might not call back, but at least we left him with a B.O.M. and a good impression.

- Met a man named Frank, and it was the best experience of the week! We were going door to door on Monday, and we knocked on his door. He was really, really unusual: not only was he polite to us, he also let us come into his home and share our message. (This was the first time that we have ever been invited into a person's home right off the bat.) He grew up in the Dominican Republic, and he had family members who were LDS growing up. After we had talked for a bit, he told us that his sister had died, and asked us if we knew whether or not he was going to see her again. The Spirit was so strong when we told him that he would see his sister again, and that he could live with his family forever. We are going back again this week!

The rest of the people we are teaching either have finals this week or are too busy to meet. Should be able to meet back up soon. We have seen miracles in our area, and we have so many people that we are teaching now. Things have definitely been picking up for us, and we are grateful that we have the opportunity to find so many people that have been prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm learning so much, nobody would recognize me anymore. The mission is awesome! I love you all, stay strong and be safe.


Elder Crandell