Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30th

Hello nation. (Colbert fans, anyone?) This week have been fantastic, and I'm not just saying that, Tony Demattia. We were able to see great things happen- we found a bunch of people to teach, we had several people come to church, we have a baptism planned for this Sunday, September 5th, and the ward is doing a great job in helping us out with teaching and being examples to our non-members. This was a really busy week for us, and busy = fun here on the mission. It seems like every week I learn something that I can do better to help with my missionary work, and I'm grateful for that. It keeps the experience from becoming monotonous.

We challenged quite a few people to be baptized this week, and although none of the people accepted, they were definitely open to thinking about taking that step and praying about it. That was good to see- it can be hard to ask somebody, "Will you be baptized by the proper priesthood authority of God? Will you prepare to be baptized on (such and such) date?" when it seems that people would be put off by such a bold question. However, I have seen that if you say it lovingly and pray for the Spirit, the invitation becomes natural.

So yes, this week was great. I may not know everything, and I might not be right on certain things, but I'm glad that I have found a faith and a God that can provide ways and means to bring me to an understanding. If we are here on this earth preparing ourselves to be like our Heavenly Father, then shouldn't we try to do as He does- be the answer to other's prayers, work for the immortality and eternal life of other people, and learn to be creators ourselves? It seems like learning to create a beautiful experience out of a negative beginning, or turning the weak into something strong, is exactly what our Heavenly Father wants us to learn. We aren't on this earth to do things like our Father, we are here to become like our Father. And that transformation should not (or maybe can't) happen after we die. I'm grateful that I can be a missionary, and be working with the Lord in His vineyard to bring out good fruit.

Love you all,
Elder Crandell

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23rd

Hello everyone! It's been another great week in the Cambridge 1st Ward, and Cambridge and Somerville are still (arguably) the best cities to cover in the mission. Good news- we have a baptismal date set for September 5th, and it looks very promising! We have been working with this family for awhile, and the two kids are definitely ready! Elder Ichi and I are happy, and Elder Davies (my last companion) is excited to see them go through, too.

The ward is really stepping up to help us with the work- we have had members teaching with us in lessons, helping us schedule appointments with people, and helping those that we bring to church feel welcome. We have had awesome experiences the past couple of weeks at church, and this next week should be even better because we have a couple of lessons planned with non-members that members have said they will go to.

I've thought about the mission experience lately, and have been surprised at the things that I will do on a routine basis. So many times I have gotten myself into situations where all I can think of is, "Why the heck am I doing this?" The good thing about it is that these moments are all of "good report". Whenever I feel like the work has become drudgery- something that I just have to get done- I have found that the best thing to do is to figure out why I'm feeling that way about a certain part of missionary work. Even if I can't figure it out, I think just giving my all to make the work fun has been the best solution. Laughter really is the best medicine, both for yourself and for those around you!

Elder Crandell

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9th

Hello everyone! Cambridge 1st Ward is the place to be, the work is going great and the members are really stepping up. We have a dinner planned with a member for every night this week! We've also had members coming to our lessons, which really helps those we are teaching to be able to understand what a regular member of our church is like.

Elder Ichi and I have been doing well together. We've been teaching a bunch, and our lessons are going smoothly. He's a really spiritual guy and easy to be around, which I'm grateful for.

We probably had the best Sunday since I have been here. We had 5 people we are teaching come to church, and that's not counting a couple of people we aren't teaching who also came to church. To make it even better, there were a bunch of less-active members who came! It was fantastic to see people make it to sacrament meeting, and I felt like all the efforts this past 5 months were worth it just to witness what happened at church. Sometimes the work might be going at a different pace than you would like, but no effort is wasted. The funny part about sacrament meeting was that the talks were all centered on patience. I guess it was something that I needed to hear!

I've thought about my decision to serve a mission, and I've also thought about why I believe the things that I go out and teach. I struggle with different obstacles week to week, but the mission seems to be designed to bring out your biggest weaknesses and give you an opportunity to make them strengths. Sometimes I wonder what the line is between taking on hardships and just being an idiot, giving myself trials. There are so many things that I don't know, but my testimony is as strong today as the day that I chose to serve a mission. I believe in Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon really is another testament of Jesus Christ. While some may say that scriptural accounts are embellished to enhance teaching, I believe that the events within the scriptures hold truth at the core, and that Jesus Christ was literally the Son of God. He was a real Person, and did all that He said He did. I am grateful for Him and for His example to us all!

We are only as strong as the promises we keep.

Elder Crandell

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 2nd

Hello everyone! It has been a very busy week. We had transfers, and my new companion is Elder Ichi (pronounced ee-shee). He's a beast! Actually he is smaller than me, but he works like a beast. He was born in Brazil, has lived in Utah for 7 years, speaks Portuguese fluently, and a little bit of Spanish. We get along great, and he is an awesome missionary already. This week has been packed with buying him stuff and getting stuff packed away. He has officially been in the mission field for four days now, and he hasn't gone home yet, which is amazing considering he is stuck with me! He is a very good-natured guy and ready to work, so this should be the best transfer yet of the mission.

We are working with three baptismal dates, and still have the same obstacles as before: we need the mother of kids we are teaching to be more active in the Church, another lady to quit smoking, and for the permission from the parents of a teenager we are teaching. Hopefully with Elder Ichi coming in, we'll be able to get through these troubles.

Mission is going great, and I'm still learning a ton. I'm excited for the summer to be over, but at the same time I am fearful for my life when the winter gets here. Cold weather and I don't get along very well.

Love you all, stay strong. Jesus Christ is Our Savior and Redeemer, and He is able to succor us according to our infirmities. (To avoid "plagiarism", I'll refer you all to Alma 7: 11-13 as my source.) He knows what we go through- we are never alone!

Elder Crandell