Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28th

Hello everybody! Things are going great in the Cambridge 1st Ward, we just dedicated our new stake center which is just one street over from where we used to meet for church. Our ward will meet in the new building, along with 5 other wards! There are two chapels, one of them smaller and on a different floor as the other, so two congregations can meet at the same time. The Portuguese branch will be meeting at the same time as us at 1pm, and our youth programs will all be combined because all of the youth know English. This will help out a ton because we don't have very many youth, so this will be very helpful.

We have had a pretty slow week because we were giving tours of the new building for many of the days. Even though we didn't have very much time to teach people because of the tours, our lessons were pretty high quality. Quality over quantity, right?

Since I don't want to bore anybody who reads this, I guess I will mostly write every week about something that I have learned, instead of rambling on about people that most of you will never meet. The interesting thing I thought about this week was what I actually believe for myself, and why (or how) my testimony is different from that of other people. It is interesting to me that so many people can be so devoted to defending creeds that I honestly don't think they can truly believe. It seems like some people try to serve God and mammon at the same time, and I often check myself to see if I am doing the same. Since the creeds and beliefs that I hold dear have thus far directed me toward serving God, I feel like I can trust the things that I have put effort into finding out their truth for myself. Love you all!

Elder Crandell

Friday, June 25, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21st

Hello everyone! What a great week to be a missionary! We are still teaching quite a bit, and had a good week even though it was transfer week and blazing hot these past couple of days. Since Elder Davies and I are going to be together again for another six weeks, we definitely have a grasp of the area and people. With summer here and school getting out tomorrow, we should be able to get some things done with our younger investigators!

I think the hardest thing to do is to try to find ways to uplift and inspire others without looking self-righteous or appearing to "check things off of our list" when we do them. We have had some interesting discussions in church about serving and fellowshipping others out of love, and not because you want to meet a quota. This is interesting to think about; because missionaries use goals to increase our productivity and effectiveness, there might be some who take it the wrong way and only work towards meeting those goals. I think it's important to always remember why we do things, because our actions will change based off of our reasoning behind them. Teaching people becomes enjoyable when you view it as sharing light with your fellow brothers and sisters here on earth, for example. Alma expresses this same sort of view in the Book of Mormon, in Alma 8:14. Even though he had just been rejected and spit upon by the people of Ammonihah, he sorrowed for the people because of their wicked ways, not because he himself was rejected or that he wasn't "successful". Reading about how much Alma cared about these people helps me to remember what my mindset should be when I work as a missionary.

I'm working on teaching with more purpose, and using my goals to increase my effectiveness while still maintaining my purpose. We have some baptismal dates set for July 11th, so hopefully we can help prepare them to make that a reality! Love you all, hope all is going well. Stay strong.

Elder Crandell

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16th

Hello! We got the transfer results, and Elder Davies and I are going to stay together again in the Cambridge 1st Ward! This will be our third transfer together, and Elder Davies has been here since December 31st, so that's pretty crazy that we are both still here. It's awesome at the same time though- we have been privileged to see a bunch of blessings in the missionary work here with our ward! We are both hoping we can continue to improve, and we have a bunch of people that we are teaching or have found to teach lately. Hopefully we can find those opportunities to serve people and better the community here. Sometimes it's hard to remember that success isn't necessarily determined by a spectacular number of positive results we see, when there are so many steps that must be taken before fruit can be produced. Planting seeds of faith can be tough when you don't think anyone wants to listen to what you say, or that your efforts might be wasted, but those seeds can stick with people and continue to grow- until they grow into a tree that produces amazing fruit. I have usually applied this analogy to only myself (from Alma Ch. 32 in the Book of Mormon), but now it helps me realize that other people may be in the middle of this same process, and that something I have said may have planted that seed. It is comforting because even when we don't see someone enjoying the "fruit" that we have found and tasted of, the planting of the seeds becomes more meaningful if we look at it as a growth process. This brings me comfort! Love you all, hope everything is going well. Patience is a Godly attribute!

Elder Crandell

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 7th

Great week to be a missionary! We had a bunch of cool experiences this week:

-Met with Victoria, a 23-yr-old that we met while street contacting. When we went over to teach with her family, we also met Ralph, an 18-yr-old who is just graduating from high school. The whole family was there, but they didn't really want to stay in the room for the lesson, so we taught Victoria and Ralph the Restoration and talked about baptism. They said that they would think about it, and we are meeting them in a couple of days.

-Taught Jude again at church, the 16-yr-old that we started teaching after playing him in basketball. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and the young men's leader that was with us teaching basically gave Jude another baptismal invitation, and committed him to read the Book of Mormon everyday with his member friend. Jude said he had some concerns about baptism, but after we talked about baptism for a little bit, he said that his questions were answered. He says he will read and pray before deciding.

- Taught a less active family for the second time, finished teaching about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and we set a baptismal date for their 10-yr-old and 8-yr-old! Hopefully we can start getting the family to church! They are awesome, and the kids love hearing the lessons.

- We taught Carlita and her son, Shahime, again on Saturday. We set a baptismal date with both of them, and they said they would read and pray together. Carlita listens to Book of Mormon tapes, so she is working on reading and coming to church with her son. It's going great!

Those are the big stories from the week! Hopefully we can work on getting them over some of the stumbling blocks that are in their way towards baptism. It's so hard to see people say that they know the Book of Mormon is true, or that they feel a connection to us missionaries, but then can't make it through some of the commitments.

I hope I can continue to become a better teacher, too! There's so much I have to learn, and I'm excited about that. Love you all, stay strong. Reading for this week is Alma 60:36. Don't mess with Moroni!

Love you all,

Elder Crandell