"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, February 23, 2015

CONVERSIONS CONTINUE & CONAN CHUNDERS

February 23, 2015

TURBACO
Turbaco Ward, Los Alpes Stake
Companion:  Elder Montoya



Hey friends and family!

This week was better!  Things are definitely improving!  Turbaco is going well and definitely growing.  I forgot my paper where I write everything that I want to say to you guys so I'm going to go just on my memory!

So this week Edelma put a date for her wedding on the 4th of March so we will be planning her baptism for the 7th.  It's so cool that after around 5 months she is finally going to take that final step to come into the fold of Christ.  One can really see the changes everything has had in her life and you can really see her transformation.  It's great!

Last Monday we had a family home evening with Mara and Andres, some less actives that we are teaching, and a ton of their nieces and nephews.  It was pretty fun.  I'll send some pictures of that too!  

Family Home Evening Fun
Valeria is also doing pretty well.  We went over to their house and talked with her and Gloria on Thursday.  They have a dog named Conan and one night we were sitting outside talking and the dog came over to me.  I started to pet it when all of a sudden he started barfing all over the place.  It was pretty nasty, haha.  It almost went in my bag, haha. So that was a pretty interesting night.

Things here are good.  Getting better that's for sure.  We have 2 weeks left in this transfer and I'm not sure what is going to happen.  I could either stay here in Turbaco to see the people we are teaching progress and be baptized, or I would get a change.  We will see what happens.  Maybe I'll end up staying here 9 months like in my last area!

I can't really remember too much more of what happened this week!  But it was a good one! Today we are going into Cartagena to a mall so I'll try and get some pictures and send them.  

Lunch at Subway in Cartagena

Tell Dad Happy Birthday from me.   Too much fun that you guys get to go to Texas and visit this week.  

Well I hope you all have a great week!  Love and miss you guys!

Elder Crandall

Monday, February 16, 2015

HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN TURN TO THEIR FATHERS

February 16, 2015

TURBACO
Turbaco Ward, Los Alpes Stake
Companion:  Elder Montoya


Friends and Family,

This week was pretty good.  It went better than last week, that's for sure!  We also had a baptism this week!  Valeria got baptized!  

Valeria's Baptism with Jorge, The Ward Mission Leader, Elder Crandall & Elder Montoya
We have been fighting for her baptism since I got here in November, but the missionaries before have fought for it too.  The problem mainly was that her dad didn't want to give her permission to get baptized.  But with her birthday on Wednesday she turned 12 and her dad decided to let her.  So we had the baptism!  We really have seen the promise in Malachi be fulfilled that says:


"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children
and the heart of the children to their fathers"
(Malachi 4:6)


So all this started with Sister Socorro, the Grandma of Valeria.  She joined the church back in 2013 and since her conversion, 1 daughter and 4 grandchildren of hers have been baptized!  She is so supportive of her family, it's great.  What's even greater is that after Valeria´s baptism Gloria, Valeria´s mom and Socorro´s daughter, said that she wanted to baptized.  What a great experience to see the spirit touch people's hearts.  It's an amazing experience to be a part of this.

We didn't get the baptism all too easy though!  We went to the church Saturday morning to begin filling up and cleaning the font.  We got there and there was no water.  We were scrambling around the church trying to solve this problem only to find out that there IS water, but the pump is broken.  The Bishop came and he has a little water pump so we put that in the big water tank and used a hose to fill up the font.  It took like 5 hours, but we got it filled in the end.  We found a pool as a back up plan just in case we couldn't get the font filled.  I almost wish we didn't get it filled so that we could have baptized in a pool, how cool would that have been!?   Also about an hour before the baptism Ricardo, Valeria`s brother, got super sick and they all had to go to the hospital so we had to start the baptism a little late!  He had some bad food poisoning or something!  They put an IV in him and after like an hour he was okay.  But everything turned out well in the end.  Why is it that a baptism can never go smoothly??

Well, everything has been going good.  We are having some success and hope that within these next couple weeks we can see the fruits of our labors!  I think I will have a better week this next week. 

Nothing else too exciting happened this week.  We had an oddly high number of drunks come up and argue with us and invite us to drink.  But other than that everything is good!

Well I hope you all have a great week!  Love and miss you all!

Elder Crandall

Monday, February 9, 2015

ON THE TRAIL OF LIFE

February 9, 2015

TURBACO
Turbaco Ward, Los Alpes Stake
Companion:  Elder Montoya


Hey everyone!

Well this week things have improved a little.  We had a zone conference on Friday.  We got to watch the new church movie called "Meet the Mormons".  It was awesome!  I would love to get the DVD.  Then we had another conference for all of the trainers on Saturday.  It was nice to be so spiritually uplifted!

Elder Muir, Elder Arevalo, and me at the zone conference
Things are going pretty good here.  This week we are preparing Valeria for her baptism, which is on Saturday.  We have worked for around 3 months to get her Dad to give her permission to be baptized and finally on Thursday night he signed the paper and everything. It was such a great feeling.  I was so happy!  We just have to keep working now until Saturday!  Valeria is great though.  She is 11 years old.  Her brother is another recent convert and she was a reference from her grandma who was baptized just over a year ago. The whole family is really great and tonight we are going to go over there and have a family home evening lesson.

Also this week we found a couple new investigators from a recent convert named Zully.She is 13 and invited some of her neighbor friends to come to a lesson that we had.  She brought around 3 of her little friends that are between the ages of 9 and 13.  They all reminded me of playing with my little Johnson girl cousins and my nieces.  Too fun!  They are super receptive and I'm looking forward to teaching them some more.

My leg feels a lot better this week.  It was a blessing.  My leg didn't hurt me really at all.  It hit my knee dead on.  It should have been broken or I shouldn't have been able to walk, but really it was completely normal. 
My leg last Tuesday
My leg today
My companion is doing a lot better this week managing his stress.  He has had a tough time these first couple weeks in the mission and the months preceding his mission.  But God has been helping me to help him.  I feel as though God guides my words when my companion is in need and he helps me to help him.  Something I've realized this last week is that when we help people, God helps us.  I know I may seem big physically on the outside and all, but I do still have my weaknesses and may not be the biggest in other matters.  I've realized that God is helping me by helping my companion.  Sometimes in the mission I think and wonder if I'm really progressing.  It is perhaps difficult to see progress day to day, but month to month, and year to year it's a lot easier to see.  In this "hike" we know as life, we don't always see our progress and blessings in the way we want, like hiking up a mountain. Sometimes we just put our head down and keep walking without really noticing how far we have come.  It's not until you stop and look down the trail that you see how far you have come.  I know I'm not perfect, but I'm taking my steps up the mountain one foot at a time.

While on the topic of trails, I had to give a talk Sunday.  I based my talk on the first part of the scripture found in Proverbs 4:26 that says "Ponder the path of thy feet".  Our Prophet, President Monson, gave a talk about this topic in the last General Conference that I really liked.  I just think that each and every day in our important decisions we should check our stance, look where we are, and look where we want to be.  We learn in Lehi´s vision in the Book of Mormon that there are many wrong paths in life, but only one that leads to the tree of life.  As President Monson often teaches us, "Our Decisions Determine Our Destiny". I like that a lot.

Well, I struggle, but I grow too.  I love and thank all of you for so much love and support!  I hope you have a great week!

Elder Crandall








Monday, February 2, 2015

I WAS HIT BY A MOTORCYCLE

February 2, 2015

TURBACO
Turbaco Ward, Los Alpes Stake
Companion:  Elder Montoya


[*Please check out new pictures posted yesterday from last week.]  

Hey everyone!

Well I should probably start by explaining the title.  Yes, I was hit by a motorcycle on Saturday. Colombia has a ton of motorcylces, crazy drivers, and tons of accidents and deaths due to the large number of motorcycles.  So the story... On Saturday we had an exchange and I was with Elder Paredes.  We were going to our first appointment before lunch and we were crossing a relatively busy street (the streets in Turbaco aren't really too busy at all).  A motocarro (like a small taxi) stopped in the street to let us and some other people pass, so all the cars behind him also stopped.  We looked both ways, normal, and went to cross.  I went to take a step when Elder Paredes grabbed the back of my shirt and a motorcycle came by and nailed my leg.  I went spinning, but did not fall, and the motorcycle went tumbling down the street.  Wow, did that hurt. Anyway, the guy on the motorcycle did not have a helmet on, but luckily he was not hurt.  He was way dazed and scared and confused. I told him that I was okay and everything so he went on his way and we went on our way.  I have a huge black bruise on my leg now.  I'll send a picture.

The aftermath of my leg encountering a motorcyle!
It seems that I have gotten more bumps and bruises in the mission than I did at home! I guess the title of the email should be "A Motorcycle was Hit by Me" since I didn't fall, haha!

Anyways, this week wasn't the best.  Elder Montoya has been having stress attacks/meltdowns and that's been pretty hard to deal with.  We have been studying and reading Adapting to the Missionary Life, and it's helped a little.  But it's going good. These are just tests, mountains to climb as President Eyring says.  I will get better through these hard times.

I finally found a member with an oven, so last Monday we had a family night and I cooked the funfetti cake mix you sent me for my birthday in December!   Wow, how I miss cakes from the US.  The sweets here... but it was great! 

Funfetti Cake

Family Home Evening when we baked the cake

Another cool thing that happened was that a kid in the ward here named Cristian got his mission call to Birmingham England, how cool!  He is the one that always like to practice his English with me.  He learned principally by reading the Book of Mormon in English. He is a great kid and he tells me how he really feels that the Lord was helping prepare him with learning English. For instance, when he wasn't able to pay for some of his classes in the university, some of his classmates helped him out with that.  Too cool!

So this last Tuesday we went to contact a referal.  It was two people named David and Cindi.  They are pretty cool and we were able to teach them a little.  The part that was cool is that David says that he has never talked with missionaries before, but he always sees them and whenever he sees them, he says that they always are smiling and laughing, haha. A little cheesy, but it kind of made me think about how it's true.  We are always walking, sweating, getting hit by motorcycles, but we continue to be happy.  It's a blessing that we receive every day and it's our own proof of how the gospel brings us happiness.  I know it's true because I live it every day!

Well I love and miss you all!  Wish for me to have a better week!  Thanks!  Stay safe!

Elder Crandall


P.S.:  
Kurt's Mom received an email with pictures from Sister Cira this week.  Kurt said that "Sister Cira is where we ate lunch every day the last 2 weeks.  I was drinking coconut water.  They have a lot of plants like bananas and things like that that they give us every lunch.  They are so great.  They are the ones that just got sealed in the temple in December after saving money for 5 years to go to the temple!" 

Email:
Desde Colombia, envĂ­o estas fotos de Este gran misionero. Elder Crandall, Saludos a todos sus familiares, les queremos mucho. Abrazos
Lunch at Sister. Cira's Home

Lunch at Sister. Cira's Home

Lunch at Sister. Cira's Home

Sunday, February 1, 2015

ADDED PICTURES FROM JAN 20, 2015



Hey we didnt get back until like 9 o clock last night so President gave us permission to finish writing this morning. Wow how cool was the cheeba tour of Cartagena! There are some real gems there! Ill send a lot of pictures and I'll include descriptions.  

1) plaza de San Pedro again
2) me getting into the cheeba
3-10) views from the cheeba
11) from inside the cheeba, its a bus with a bunch of benches and you sit in there and drive around the city looking at the sites
12) a view of the ocean
13-14) castillo de San Felipe, an old fort built by the spanish here in Cartagen (super neat)
15) Some other missionaries and I in front of the fort
16-27) views from the top of The Popa, a huge hill where there is a really old Catholic Church, the view is amazing, pictures cant justify!
28) then we went to the castillo and went into and onto it. Its actually pretty big and they let you go inside! too cool!
29) One of my zone leaders from Argentina, theres a funny similitude between him and Frodo Baggins
30) one of the entrances of the fort
31, 32) Me right there on the walls
33- 35) by a big flag up on the fort, with some other Americans
36) Some of us on an old cannon!

Thanks!