Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23rd

Hello everybody! I have been transferred; my run in the Cambridge 1st Ward has ended. I am now serving in the Brewster Branch, which is the farthest east that you can go in Massachusetts. My area is pretty much the entire arm that sticks out into the ocean- it is massive. It would probably take 3 hours to travel across the whole area. Our apartment is about 5 minutes from the beach, but that isn't really a bonus seeing that we are missionaries, and also that it is winter. I'm also training a new missionary, Elder Henson. He is from Surprise, Arizona. He's a pretty cool guy, he's about 6 feet tall, black, and likes to dance. I love him already!

We are in for an interesting experience. The area is huge, the membership in the branch is at around 30 active people, and we are both completely new to the area. It really is equal to getting a new mission call. This will be a ton of fun, though! We are pretty excited to start building the area here.

Not much else to report, still trying to figure out what we are doing here. It is such a change from my last area, it is insane. And I'm driving again for the first time in almost 8 months! Love you all, hope everything is going well.

Elder Crandell

October 18th

Hello everybody! The missionary work continues here in the Cambridge 1st Ward. We find out tomorrow whether or not any of us will be getting transferred. I've been here for 7 and 1/2 months, so I will probably be leaving, but there is no guarantee. It seems like missionaries are staying longer and longer in areas on average in our mission, so I could be one of those that stays at least 9 months in an area. I'll be okay with whatever happens; I have been here for a long time, but I'm also comfortable with the area and there are still plenty of people to talk to, which keeps things interesting.

I had a great experience this week, you will all enjoy this.

Many of you know that I am colorblind, and if you knew that about me, then you also knew that it hasn't really affected my life. I just see colors a little bit differently, so it doesn't really seem like a big deal. Well, a couple of days ago I went into my closet to pick out some pants to wear for the day. I have four sets of black pants, and one set of blue pants. Knowing that I am colorblind, and also knowing that I am going to wear my plain black suit coat, I hold up the pair of pants that I have selected and compare them to the coat- I needed to make sure that they were black! After testing them, I put them on along with my suit coat and headed out for the day.

About two hours later, Elder Hansen (a temporary companion of mine until transfers) started laughing at me and told me to look at my pants. I did look down, and realized that I had still somehow managed to wear my blue pants. Pretty embarrassing, especially because I had done this a couple of years ago in high school. You would think that I would be able to catch something like that if I tested it like I did, but I'll probably just have to put my blue pants in a separate closet or have my companions double-check my apparel to make sure I don't look like an idiot.

So things are still fun, and I'm still being humbled in a variety of ways. I love being on the mission, and it is amazing to see the impact that you can have on a community if you just put a little bit more effort each day into helping others out. I will be eternally grateful for my mission. Love you all! I'll write a little bit on Wednesday to let you know if I'm getting transferred.

Elder Crandell

October 13th

Hello again! It's been another great week here in Cambridge 1st Ward. The cities of Somerville and Cambridge are still as fun as ever. Transfers are coming up, so I might only be here for another week! It's weird to think about- I want to get as much stuff done before I head out of here, if that's what is going to happen to me. Oh, and our companionship has three elders now, because one of our roommates who was here waiting for his VISA got it, so he left his companion behind and flew to Brazil. Now there's the three of us left, and we cover both wards and areas. Kinda crazy, but it will only be for 1 week so it won't be for very long.

We have had a great week. We set a baptismal date with someone that was on vacation for awhile, but we were able to meet up with them again. Hopefully we can help him prepare for baptism in 3 weeks!

We also went to an organ concert with our friend Mike at his church in Boston. Not only that, but he played the bells for us, too. I'll have to send home the pics and the videos so you know what I'm talking about hahaha.

We went on exchanges with the assistants yesterday, that was pretty fun. I was with Elder Fowlke, who leaves next week. He's a great missionary, it was a ton of fun. A bunch of missionary fun- I guess I should watch what I say, we didn't go to any movies or anything.

Hope everyone is doing excellent back at home. I'm having the time of my life here, because I've finally found something that has challenged me far greater than anything else, and it is the most rewarding as well. Love you all, and I'll write back next Wednesday about whether or not I got transferred.

Elder Crandell

Monday, October 4, 2010

Well... what a weird week. We had some very strange teaching opportunities. We met a guy who is a return missionary, and has fallen away from the Church. I mean "fallen away" as in "looks like a pirate, not a return missionary." He had a huge, straggly beard and was dressed literally as a pirate would, with a bandanna and ripped clothes. He seemed like someone that would be very difficult to have a conversation with, but we were wrong. Elder Ichi and I got his number down and met up with him another day, and once we sat down and talked to him we noticed that he really is a normal guy. He said that after his mission in Peru (Cedar, don't become like this guy) he came back and let himself relax a little too much once he didn't have so many rules. He said he learned the hard way that most of the commandments are real. He doesn't associate himself with the Church anymore, but he did love his mission and he respects us missionaries greatly. It was one of the most interesting lessons I have ever had. I would say it was 'the' most interesting, if not for another lesson/dinner that we had with Catholic missionaries.

Yes, that isn't a typo. Apparently there is such a thing as a Catholic missionary, but they are a different breed of missionary. They are called "Focus Missionaries", and they stay by the college campuses and target the youth their age. They don't really proselyte or contact people like we do, they mostly hold Bible study groups. We met them a couple of weeks ago and talked for a bit, then we gave each other our information to meet up another time. They called us earlier this week and invited us to dinner, and before we knew what was happening we were having dinner with 4 Catholic missionaries. It wasn't contentious, it was mostly us sharing our basic beliefs and experiences with each other and finding out more about the two churches. One thing that we did not get into was the Great Apostasy, which they asked about and challenged us to show them evidence of, but we felt it wasn't the right place to have that sort of detailed discussion and went back to basics to keep the discussion healthy. It was pretty sweet, I have to say.

We taught another guy who majored in religion, that was also interesting. He was pretty open about hearing our message, which was a surprise because most of the people who study religion in this area either don't believe in God or do not want to hear anything else about God. We'll hopefully meet up with him again this next week to share more.

Another cool experience- we taught an older woman who hadn't been active in the Church for over 20 years. We met her on the street and asked her if we could sit down and talk for a little bit. We found out that she had previously been the Relief Society President of the Spanish branch here in the Cambridge area. It didn't sound like she had been taught everything before being baptized. She had heard some misunderstandings about the temple and what their purpose was. It was such a great experience- she asked us, "Where in the Bible does it say anything about doing things for dead people?", and we were able to show and explain to her several different scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:29; Malachi 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:18-19; and 1 Peter 4:6. It was fantastic- she wrote down everything we shared and said she would look into it. The sad thing is that she is moving back to the Dominican Republic within the next week, so we might not be able to meet with her again.

Yes, awesome week. Conference was very uplifting, and I feel like I learned a ton of ways that I can improve. Hope that everyone is doing well, I love you all!

Elder Crandell