"Dear Elder Crandall: you are hereby called to serve as a missionary
for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
You are assigned to labor in the Colombia Barranquilla Mission.
It is anticipated that you will serve a period of 24 months...
You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish Language."

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE:
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God,
that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb,
and upon the covenant people of the Lord,
who were scattered upon all the face of the earth;
and they were armed with righteousness
and with the power of God in great glory."
(1 Nephi 14:14)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BRIGHTLY BEAMS OUR FATHER'S MERCY

JANUARY 28, 2014

Bogota, Colombia CCM

Hola Amigos y Familia!
      
Things here are going awesome! I love being able to wake up every morning and play basketball with some guys and we have a lot of fun learning. We actually got to go out tracting this past weekend for a few hours and it was truly amazing. I really felt filled with the pure love of Christ and felt his love for all of us, His children. My companion and I were our just walking around saying hi to everybody but no one was really saying hi or talking back too much until we walked down this one street and met this lady, Marta. She seemed very interested in the gospel, almost like the perfect investigator because she wanted to read the Book of Mormon and come to church on Sunday. She even asked us to pray for her. How cool! With a new and improved morale we kept walking to find more people to share the gospel. We came to a street and crossed it with cars coming both ways. I quickly ran across and turned around and Elder Nieman, my companion, was not right behind me. While trying to cross the street while some cars were coming he got stuck in between two cars going like 35 or 40 mph and the cars didn't even slow down! It was pretty hectic! We were so blessed and thankful that nothing happened and laughed it off. Better to learn sooner rather than later that cars don't slow down right? ha ha!!  



Anyway, we kept going until we got to a park and started to talk with this guy, Luis, who was around 23 years old. He had awesome long dread locks and skateboarded and was really friendly to us. We had a half hour conversation with him in our broken English and gave him a few informational things about the church. All in all, it was a pretty fun day and great because we got to get out of the gates for once!

       
Also today all of the Latinos and a few north Americans left the CCM for the mission field. It was a little sad saying goodbye because we´ve all grown so close together over the last 2 weeks. One of the kids I had gotten pretty close to these last 2 weeks was named Juan Ishkra and he was from Argentina. He had such a great spirit about him and was a way fun guy to be around. It is amazing how much he loves the Lord and sacrificed to be on a mission. He is such an example to me. Last night before he left he pulled me into his room and gave me this awesome chocolate caramel bar thing that was soo good. He said it was only in Argentina and that he had stocked up on them before he came. ha ha such a funny kid! I gave him one of my crayola twistable crayon scripture markers so that he would remember me whenever he was marking his scriptures. I think I will give all of my companions one of those to remember me by since I have the 24 pack! He then came into our room along with some of the other latinos to say goodbye to all of us north Americans. As he was leaving he turned around and began to tear up and said "remember, always serve the Lord with all of your heart" Such a great example to us all, in fact all of the Latinos are. They each have their own amazing spirits and each love the Lord so much. I can and have learned a lot from them.
Elder Crandall & Elder Ribeiro
So the spiritual thought of this email has to do with a hymn titled Brightly Beams Our Father´s Mercy. On Sunday, Jeffrey Bittner and 4 other guys that left today sang this song acapella for the congregation.
Elder Bittner & Elder Crandall

The spirit was so strong and I'm not sure if there was a dry eye in the crowd. I love this hymn and it is probably my new favorite. The symbolism in the song is so great and I guess everyone probably knows that I love symbolism.  ha ha. Anyway, the song sings about how our Father´s mercy beams brightly like a lighthouse light in night. 

"But to us he gives the keeping Of the lights along the shore, Let the lower lights be burning send a gleam across the wave, Some poor fainting struggling seaman You may rescue, you may save" 

The Lord has given us charge of the lighthouse and it is our responsibility and even opportunity to help guide the struggling seamen back to shore. I love relating this song to my mission work out here. How great. I would invite everyone to search YouTube or something and find an awesome acapella version or rendition of some kind and listen to it either for the first time or for a reminder. It brings great joy unto me!
     
Well, I'll add some pictures from today in this email if I can get it to work. Sorry for the effects of the pictures too. ha ha!  I was just trying it out and they looked cool so I sent them.  

We only get our cameras on Pday so they're all from today! I'll try to add a picture of the temple, of the other missionaries going to Barranquilla with me, my companions and me, and maybe some more. Thinking of you all and love you all too!

Bogota Colombia Temple
Bogota Colombia Temple

Oh yeah, Elder Ryan Porter does know the Nielsens! He is a good kid and plays basketball with me everyday!

Love,
Elder Crandall


Saturday, January 25, 2014

HOT DOGS FOR BREAKFAST!

JANUARY 24, 2014

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA CCM (MISSIONARY TRAINING CENTER)

Hola friends and family!

Well I hope everything is going great there in the US! I am here safe in Colombia at the CCM (Spainish MTC or missionary training center) preparing to aid in the Lord´s work. The keyboard on this computer is different than the english one so bare with me if I make any mistakes! Also we are only allowed an hour so sorry I wont be able to proof read my letter!

Where to begin!... So I am here in Bogota, Colombia! Wow i still cant believe it! My companion here for the first little while is Elder Nieman and he is from Seattle, Washington. He is a great guy. We are two out of the eight Americans that are new this week and 78 other Latinos came at the same time we did as well. It's great practice having them around and they're all great guys. We are kind of forced to speak spanish here too because of all them but it is good practice. They have great spirits and its great to see the sacrifices they made to come on a mission. The spanish is coming along though. I feel as though I can pick out like 60 to 70 percent of the words when they are speaking and can kind of respond back. We have classes all day for spanish and we learn this spanish through learning gospel discussions. I guess you could say its like hitting two birds with one stone!

The food here is a little different but that is okay with me. I never have been a very picky eater, but I do think some of the food is strange. Colombians really like hot dogs as weird as it is to say, so we have them at least once a day whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We usually always have rice and potatoes too. Lunch is the biggest meal here so at that meal we usually get a little bit of them all. The other day though, we had chicken soup (I think) and I found a few bones in it! (ha ha) It was kind of strange but I guess that's how they like it! We had a catering service cooking for us for a while during the renovation of the kitchen here and so it was their food.  The kitchen just finished [it's renovation] so now we have the kitchen staff cooking again and they are good. They consist of three Bishops from surrounding wards in the area.

Well I think it would only be appropriate if I included a scripture in this email.  The scripture is James 1:5 and it reads:

"If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

I feel as though this scripture can be very important in all of our lives. I feel as though there is a definite difference between "feeling good" and "feeling right".  All too often I think we make decisions and do things that feel good to us but not right.  I know that I have. This scripture states that we are able to pray and ask God to know the truth. I can truly testify that this scripture is true and that we really can ask God for a real and true answer.

Attached (assuming that it worked) is a photo taken today on our Pday (preparation day) of my district consisting of all the people that are learning spanish. LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL!

January 24, 2014 - First P-day at Bogota, Colombia CCM

Jeffrey Bittner is here.  It's good to see a familiar face.  I don't really get to speak too much english but it's okay.  Out of all the Americans in the CCM, I'm the only one going to Barranquilla!  The rest are Brazillian or Colombian!  Also, my Pdays are every 10 days and then every 4 days if that makes sense. [while at the CCM] So my next Pday will be Tuesday, but after that it won't be until the following Friday.

Love,
Elder Crandall

FLIGHT 981

JANUARY 15, 2014
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA CCM (MISSIONARY TRAINING CENTER)

Hello!  


I made it here safely and in one piece.  I only have a short amount of time here so this is just meant to let you know that I got here safely.  
Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
Atlanta Airport-connecting flight to Bogota Colombia
So I am here at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) [in Bogota, Colombia] and I made it in one piece! The flight over wasn't too bad. When I got to the Atlanta airport I met up with 4 other Elders on my same flight all coming to the Colombia MTC. When I got on the plane I sat at a window seat next to a sweet older Colombian woman that spoke no English but she still made small talk with me and asked me to help her turn on and off her light at times during the flight.  During both plane rides I was able to read all of the family history stories you gave me, which were awesome and inspiring.  I also kept remembering what dad had told me before I left which was that my time here will be limited and that I shouldn't waste any of it. 
See you in 2
I don't have a lot of time left but just know that I am feeling the spirit very strongly and I know that I am supposed to be here.

Love, Kurt