"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)

Monday, March 31, 2014

PROPHETS ON A TOWER

MARCH 31, 2014
BARRANQUILLA
Ciudadela Ward, El Carmen Stake
Companion:  Elder Villarreal


Family and friends!

Hope everything is going great up there in the North!  Everything is going great down here in Colombia.  It hasn't been too hot this week, which was a relief, and things are beginning to run smoothly.  Tomorrow I have an interchange with our District Leader for the day which means he will be my companion for the day to see my progress.   I'm a little nervous because I don't really know the area but I know I'll be fine! 

An average day is like this:  Wake up and go play basketball with 2 other missionaries in our district.  Then we come back and shower and eat.  Then we begin our studying, first personal study and then companionship study.  Then we go to lunch at a members house, then we start our appointments visiting investigators, less actives, and members.   Then we come back to our house and sometimes eat a little snack and plan for the following day and then we get ready for bed by taking a shower or whatever.  Because we sweat so much we take 2 showers everyday!  We just walk everywhere but sometimes we'll take a taxi if someplace is really far away.  Our apartment is on the very edge of our area that we proselyte in so we have to kind of walk a lot.

We haven't given tours yet of our church building and I'm not sure if we will.  We don't teach English classes right now but my companion wants to begin.  Right now though we teach a New Testament class every Wednesday.  I couldn't really get a good picture today sorry.  But I was able to get this one of our street and the back of my companion haha!  He doesn't really like pictures so this was the best I could do today.  



Also we went to the mall and ate Burger King with two other missionaries in our district. It was a way nice and a cool mall!  It was in North Barranquilla in a wealthy part of the city.  It was 6 stories high.  I felt like a king today sitting in the Burger King.  There was a TV high on the wall with ESPN on watching sports.  I also caught a glimpse of the ocean.  It was way cool!

We meet with our district every week.  There are 6 missionaries in it, including me.  We meet with our zone once a month.  And I'm not sure how often we meet with the mission president.  It might be quarterly.  We get to watch Church Conference this week at the Ward Building or the Stake Center, I think.  It is in Spanish though.  They said in one stake where the president lives it is shown in English but I am not in that stake. My apartment is like a 30 minutes drive from the mission office I think.  I haven't been there yet so I don't really know.  I hope it will be good.  I'm really looking forward to listening to MOTAB sing!  I think that would be one of the greatest opportunities to sing in that choir.  

So last week I noticed that I haven't really been talking too much about my investigators and the other people I've been meeting here, which is a big part of the mission, so I'll start informing more about that!   So two of our investigators, Y-------- and M--------, are two great people. Both super smart and want to learn more.  They were investigators before I came to the area. They feed us food every time we go over there which is nice.  They really want to be baptized and stuff but just have to get married first.   We have a date set for their baptisms and I think and hope that they'll get married before then!

Other investigators that I wanted to talk about also lead into my spiritual thought for the day so I'll kind of mix them both together.  So there is the O-------- family.  B--------, the mother, is a less active member that hasn't been active for like 20 years but now really wants to come back and hasn't missed a day in 6 weeks.  She has a son, M--------, who is 15 and he is super spiritual.  He has had a testimony nearly the entire time we've been teaching them which is great!  B-------- also has a daughter, V--------, who is 13 and is very spiritual too.  Also in the home when we teach is a cousin, J--------, who is 16, and he is a great guy too.  So this past week we were continuing to teach them and we decided to ask them the baptismal interview questions to see if we needed to teach more or something.  When we came to modern day prophets, they said they didn't have a testimony about that.  So we began to teach and it just so happened that my companion had a DVD with a little movie that explained prophets so very well.  How great!  What else is great is that we have conference this week and so they will be able to watch and feel the spirit so strong!  Prophets are essential to God´s church here on this earth, they are like on a tower and are able to see unseen dangers and communicate to us the will of God.  I personally have a testimony of the importance of prophets and revelation in our day which in turn helps me teach it to others!  So great and happy!

Well I hope everyone is doing great! Love and miss you all!

Elder Crandall


Monday, March 24, 2014

BE YOUR OWN FREE AGENT

MARCH 24, 2014
BARRANQUILLA
Companion:  Elder Villarreal

Hey!

Hope everyone is doing great!  I'm doing great here and am beginning to adjust to life in the mission field.  It's a different life, but one of great service and joy!  Wow I can't believe it's almost April!  Time really has been flying.  I'm about to begin my 11th week in my mission.  I bought a nice set of Spanish scriptures this week.  It costed 90,000 which is around 45 dollars.  I'm starting to get used to the conversion haha!  I just need to buy some cases for them now. 

That's so great that you guys had the opportunity to go to the cabin. I was thinking about that this week as I was talking to an elder from around that area in Show Low during a big meeting we had.  Oh yeah, you guys won't have any children in public schools.  How crazy!  I've realized these last two weeks that I'm beginning to love reading!  I'm reading a lot of the books that we have in the house.  It's awesome and very neat.

Grandma and Grandpa [Johnson] as well as MaRu email me nearly every week.  It's so great to get an update and feel their love and read their uplifting messages.  And wow how amazing that Natalie is engaged!  Very exciting. 

Thank you so much Mom and Dad for the uplifting messages.  You both have really impacted my life more than any other physical beings in this world and for that I am eternally grateful.  You both have helped me so much in this life in guiding me to be successful here in this life and the next.  Such a great eternal blessing!  I'm really beginning to feel the love the Savior has for his children here in Barranquilla.  There are many hardships that I witness and many things that you may stop and wonder why they have been asked to go through this trial.  It's really tough but I know that the Lord is there and that he will help us walk when we feel as though we cannot walk anymore.  He will always be there in our lives and we have that promise.   What a great tangible and sometimes untangible thing to be entitled to!

This week has felt especially hot.  I'm not sure if I was just imagining it, but it was definitely blazing!  Oh and I don't know if I said this yet but I haven't eaten a hot dog since the MTC in Bogota!  I don't know if that was just a Bogota thing or just a MTC thing or what, but here in Barranquilla when we go the member's houses for lunch everyday we mostly eat rice and some kind of meat (usually beef or chicken).  My stomach is starting to adjust to the food too which is a good thing!  My meals work like this: Breakfast we just eat in the morning.  Usually I will eat something small like an egg and toast or an apple.  Then lunch in the biggest meal here in this culture.  We go to a member's house every day for lunch.  They feed us usually rice and meat. And then dinner we usually just eat at the end of our day.  Again it's usually something small for me because I'm not too hungry so I'll eat some granola bars, crackers and an apple or something.  Never for dinner. Always just for lunch [we eat at member's homes].  Every week or two they pass around a list in Relief Society and fill it out and then give it to us and it tells us where to go for lunch.

I'm not exactly sure how much time we have on the computers.  We go to a store that has computers.  They're on every corner.  We usually go to the same one every time.  It only costs like 2 or 3 mil or 2000 or 3000 or about 1 or 2 dollars.  They don't just randomly shut off though, like Abby [Crandall] said hers did.

So the message I wanted to share this week has to do with something my companion has been teaching me, and that is to be your own free agent.  In the Doctrine and Covenants we are told to be our own free agents and to do many things of our own free will and to be anxiously engaged in a good cause.  I'm really starting to learn to do this.  This last week he told me this because before I'd always just follow him, in lessons and other things, and didn't really listen to the spirit for the guidance.  I know that I'm relatively new at this but it's a good reminder to us that we are our own free agents and have been given this opportunity and responsibility to act for ourselves for good or for bad.  How great an opportunity!

Well, have a good week everyone!  Love and miss you all!

Elder Crandall

Monday, March 17, 2014

TO LOSE IS TO SAVE

MARCH 17, 2014
BARRANQUILLA
Companion:  Elder Villarreal


Hey everyone!

Hope all is well for everyone. All is well here! I'm beginning to become settled in the mission and in mission life.  Just last night while visiting a member's home and sitting there I felt real peace for the first time.  It was a great feeling.  I know that I'm on the Lord´s errand and know that he is watching out for me!  The picture of me with the moustache was after a long day and we were watching one of the church movies and saw this guy and just laughed because he just looked a little out of place haha!  




Wow I can't believe it's already spring break.  I feel like it's still January. Tomorrow marks my 9 week mark which is also weird.   Yes, I did have a zone conference and also a conference with President Searle.  He is a great guy.  Elder Norberg is not in my zone however.  I hear that he is in Cartegena.  I hope that we can see each other before he goes home but I'm not sure if we will.  It would be great though if we can!  Wow I can't believe Max Chaffetz is home!  That's crazy!

So today we went and played soccer (or fĂștbol) with our zone or like 10 other missionaries.  It was super fun.  We were able to play at this court thing that had a turf field and it was a small court under the shade.  It was way neat!  I didn't realize how much fun playing soccer really was!

So I asked my companion this week about how far he thinks we walk each day.  He told me that his last companion had one of those counter things to count steps and such.  He said that we walk about 9 miles every day.  I think it ranges from like 6 miles plus.  It's still hot here but I'm becoming more used to it.


 
Okay Mom I'll let you know when the packages get here.  They're not here yet.  I asked my companion how the mail and packages work and he said that they send them to the office and then my zone leaders get them and then he said that the zone leaders will come by and give them to me.  

I think that we all have to learn and that is a process.  It's something I say to the people when they ask how my Spanish is going.  "Poco a poco" or little by little.  That is how the Lord changes people and I know that's how he is changing me.  After all we do, the Lord will make up the rest.  I just have to remember that I am on the Lord's time and that He will bless me.  I know I have a lot ahead of me and that I just have to remember to forget time, myself, and put my head down and go to work. 

The message i wanted to share this week in Mark 8:35 that says:

´´For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; 
but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, 
the same shall save it. ´´ 

I feel this scripture is great because it says that when we are not thinking about ourselves and instead doing service for others, we are able to truly be happy and have a great life.  And I can testify to that.

Well I hope every one is doing great!  Love and miss you all!

Elder Crandall


Monday, March 10, 2014

TO GET SOMETHING YOU'VE NEVER HAD

MARCH 10, 2014

BARRANQUILLA
Ciudadela Ward, El Carmen Stake
Companion:  Elder Villarreal

Hey everyone!

I found the exclamation mark! [on the computer]   Well this week has been great. Its been nice to be able to go out and work again and not have to sit around because of Carnival.  And this week I wrote my thoughts on a piece of paper so hopefully they will be more organized than last week. 

It's hard out here but I can really feel the Lord helping ease my burdens and helping me fulfill my responsibilities. He also is teaching me a lot!  This week has been good for me. We found 10 new investigators and 4 with a baptismal date.   I'm able to teach a little and understand more and more every day.  I'm beginning to be able to form relationships too with the investigators and members.  Every day we have lunch at a different member's house and I'm able to talk with them more and more.  One family, the Salas family, feeds us often.  We went there two nights ago for a birthday of one of the daughters.  It's neat and they're really nice.   They told me last night that they are praying for me to learn the language.  I also have another neat connection to them because I met their son in the CCM [in Bogota] my first week.

So more about my mission and area here:  I am in South Barranquilla and haven't seen the water and I'm not sure if I will.  There are wild cats and dogs EVERYWHERE!  They don't really bother anything and a lot of them sleep all day, I think because it is really hot.  Oh, and this week we had a ward activity and played games and had other activities.  It was really fun and funny and was great because some of our investigators came.  The work here is great!  Also I found out this week that my companion was an under water welder before the mission.  He only did that for a little though and then worked in administration for the company.  He is 24 years old.

Oh I haven't said how we wash our clothes.  So every P day we call up a laundry place and they bring us washers, kind of like rent a washer.  So we then wash our clothes.  Today while putting my clothes in the washer I found a cockroach the size of my pinky.  Pretty nasty!.  I just tried not think about how it got there and everything!  haha!   Then in the washing machine we add our own water and detergent.  It's pretty much just like a giant blender because it just spins around the clothes.  Then when they're done washing, you rinse the soapy water out and put it into this other compartment and it's like a giant strainer.   Next you pour clean water on them.  Then you press a few buttons and the strainer thing spins really really fast for only 5 minutes and the clothes come out pretty much dry.  Pretty amazing!  Finally you hang up the clothes.   Then we call the place and they come and take the washers back.   It's kind of cool.  That's how we wash our clothes.  haha!

So my thought for this week is from a quote from Elder Richard G. Scott's talk:
it says: 

"To reach a goal you have never before attained,
you must do things you have never before done."

How cool of a quote!  I feel like sometimes in my life I want something new or to be happier but I don't change my ways or anything and just keep doing the same thing.  I think we can't expect something different by doing the same things.  I have seen in my life the happiness I receive as I shift my course more towards the teachings and ways of our Savior Jesus Christ and his gospel.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to attach this week.  I haven't had any chance to take any.  I'll try to get at least one for next week.  Well I hope that everyone is doing great!  

Love and miss you all!

Elder Crandall


Monday, March 3, 2014

THE ATONEMENT

MARCH 3, 2014

BARRANQUILLA
Ciudadela Ward, El Carmen Stake
Companion:  Elder Villarrell

Hey guys,

So I'm here in my new area which is in Barranquilla, so I am in the city.  It is terribly hot here and super humid! You never really stop sweating!    I've never been so sweaty in my life!   I sweat literally 24/7.  We have fans that blast at us all night, which is nice, but even then it doesn't get below 83 degrees according to my clock.

Kurt's first apartment in Barranquilla

All is well, though.  My regular P-days will be MONDAY now.  My first shower was a bucket shower where I dumped water on myself because our water turned off!  My companion said it was the first time it happened.  haha!  

Its been crazy here the last few days though because of a holiday or something called Carnival.  The streets are pretty dangerous at this time.  We have had to stay inside SaturdaySundayMonday, and Tuesday and only allowed to go to church by taxi.

Kurt's first apartment in Barranquilla
It's given me a lot of time to study and regenerate which has been nice.  I understand this is the first part of my mission.  I also just have to always remember that the Lord has a plan for me.  The Lord does really bless us in his infinite mercy.  I taught my first lesson to a kid that is like 13 and he reminded me of Davis [nephew] a lot.  The language is coming along though and I'm able to communicate and teach a little.  

My companion's name is Elder Villarreal and he is from Panama.  He knows some English which is nice so he can help me.  My companion also has some Stapley Junior High basketball shorts.  haha!   He said he got them from Elder Norberg!  Well hope everyone is doing great!  The people in my ward are really nice and understanding.   I got up and bore my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday which was cool.  

We live under the stake president. he told me that sometimes he goes to Dallas for his work. I'm not quite sure what he does though. So there are 8 different areas within my mission and about 200 missionaries and only 38 Americans.  So I most likely will never see them [American missionaries] unless at conferences or something.  I'm not quite sure how things work yet.

So my inspirational thought this week has to do with the atonement.   Just kind of a short message but through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the garden for all of our sins, we are able to repent.  I know this simple and short truth to be true and one of the most vital things in our lives.

Well thanks everyone. If you want to send letters or packages, please send them to the mission home address.  [right side of blog]  Love and thinking about you all.

Love Elder Crandall