"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 30, 2015

LAS CUCARACHAS

March 30, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Conti

Family and Friends,

I hope everyone is doing well!  I'm doing great here!  We are seeing a lot of success and having some really great lessons!

I'll start by explaining the title.  Our house is so infested by insects.  We kill at least one or two fatty cockroaches everyday.  We called the office so they can come and spray and kill them all and they told us that they will come to the house next week and see just how bad the problem is.  So we decided to capture all of the bugs we find.  We now have a bag hanging on the wall full of giant bugs that we have found and killed, haha - only in the mission!  Well I'll relate 2 funny experiences. 

STORY 1: On Friday we got back to the house and found one cockroach crawling up the wall by our bathroom so Elder Barreto, one of the other elders living with us, takes the broom to kill it.  He smacked it down but it crawled through the door and we opened the door to find it scampering up the wall.  Elder Barreto then goes in for the kill when suddenly the roach pops out his wings and starts flying at us!  I almost had a heart attack.  I didn't know they could fly!!  So manly Elder Barreto battles down the roach and we place it in our trophy bag.  

STORY 2: The very next day we get back to the house and plan and everything is going normal.  Then we find a huge spider crawling by the rooms.  We wanted to take some pictures before we killed it.  I grabbed my camera and I got down to take a picture when the spider leaped at me!  I had another heart attack but even worse!  Haha!  We have some pretty fun experiences.
The spider before it lunged at me (I swear it was bigger than it looks!)

Well things are going good.  D-------- sadly fell back into drinking last weekend so we didn't have the baptism.  We passed by and set some goals to help him overcome his addiction. Hopefully he will be able to get over this by the weekend after conference.

Another awesome person that we teach is D--------.  He was baptized with his wife and one of his daughters in October and is a way funny guy.  He loves playing video games which is pretty funny.  We finished teaching them all of the lessons to them again so we decided to read the story about Ammon when he cuts off the arms of the bad guys.  Boy did D-------- love that story!  It was so funny reading that chapter with him, haha.  He was all big eyed and in shock imagining everything!  I'm loving Santo Tomas!

Today for our P-day we went and toured a military base with the zone.  I'll include some pictures.  We were able to take some pictures but they said we couldn't take any pics of the planes and stuff.  I did get to sit in the cockpit of one of the military planes which was awesome!  There was also a flight simulator that we got to play around with a little.  Then we went to Pricesmart to buy American food, haha.  It is a challenging choice to come back to Barranquilla because I have such easy access to cheap, good, unhealthy food, haha.  I can already feel that I'm gaining weight again!  Oh well!

Military Base Sign
Naval Pilots Gallery

My companion, Elder Conti and me

Four Elders

In the cockpit of the flight simulator




It's super fun living in a house with 4 missionarries.  We all get along super well and laugh a lot.  We are the only 4 missionarries in this branch.  The other Elders have the pueblos Santo Tomas and Savanna Grande and my companion and I have Palmar (where we always work) and Ponedera (we only have gone there like 3 times, only 1 less active lives there).  We want to start going to Ponedera a little bit more though.  It's just tough because its like a 20 to 30 mintue ride.  Johan gives us rides there in his motocarro so we get there and back free which is nice.

This upcoming week will be pretty crazy because the people here celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week before Easter) like crazy.  But it will be great because of conference and the opportunity we have to listen to our living prophet and apostles.  How great an opportunity!  I'm so very grateful God has again called prophets and apostles to lead and guide us!

Well I hope you all have a great week!  Stay safe!  Watch conference!


Elder Crandall


P.S.:  Pictures from Elder Barreto:
























Monday, March 23, 2015

CHICKEN FEET

March 23, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Conti

Hey everyone!

So to start I'll explain the title.  For those of you that read my email last week know that I ate cow eyes.  Well... this week I ate some chicken feet soup.  It was a normal lunch with soup when suddenly it occurred to me that there were a couple of feet in my bowl!  It was chicken's feet so I guess I can't complain too much.  I wonder what it'll be this week!

A lot happened this week actually!  We had our interviews with President and those went well.  Also yesterday Elder Uceda, the President of the area, gave the 3 stakes in Barranquilla training about ward counsel and how to improve.  There's been a huge focus on retaining recent converts and reactivating less actives.  Woah, I felt the spirit so strong!  It was a feeling of the power and authority that we have as missionaries and as members of God's only true church here on earth.  I also felt a little of that Sunday morning when I helped pass the sacrament in our branch.  I'm so very thankful that God has again restored His priesthood on this earth and that He trusts us enough to administer it.  What great authority!

Another cool thing!  So in the training we had yesterday we got to go to one of the stake centers in Barranquilla with everyone else so I was able to see some people from Ciudadela, my first area!  I was so happy to see all of them working hard!  Also, I dont know if any of you remember about Mabel and Alberto that I talked about from Ciudadela. Their son is in the mission and I worked so hard with them to get Alberto divorced and then remarried again to be baptized.  Alberto has been living with Mabel like 25 years so they were practically married.  They just lacked all of the paper work and everything. They are such special people!  The elders that are there in Ciudadela told me that finally on Friday they got married and on Saturday they got baptized!  I was so happy to hear that!!!

The branch here is growing a lot. I don't think I told you guys this but my companion and his old companion literally opened up this area just a little bit ago and I'm only the 3rd missionary here. We worked really hard this week and saw a lot of success. The attendance in the branch was more than last week which was great!  We are seeing a lot of success. This week Deimer will be baptized if everything goes well.  He will be the first baptism of our area!  He has come along so much!  So everyone knows him as the drunk in the pueblo. One day my companion had the impression to go and talk to him and he has made such a change in his life.  When I got here the missionarries were about halfway through the lessons so I had the opportunity to help finish the lessons and help him change his life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He now isn't drinking, he is reading The Book of Mormon every day, and setting a good example for his son that is 7 years old.  It's great to be God's hands in His work of salvation here on the earth!

Well I love and miss you all.  Take care!

Elder Crandall

Monday, March 16, 2015

SOPA DE OJO

March 16, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Conti

Hey everyone!


So I didn't think it would happen, but I got transferred!  Turbaco is a great ward but I guess it was my time!  I got transferred back to Barranquilla but to a small pueblo called Santo Tomas. It's a branch with the attendance of around 35 people.  Well we live in Santo Tomas and the branch house is in Santo Tomas but we work in another pueblo about 15 minutes away called Palmar.  It's super great!  There are some really great people and a lot of work here.  There are 4 missionaries in our house that live with us, so that is pretty fun!  With the transfer I also got a new companion.  His name is Elder Conti and he is from Paraguay. He's a young guy and only has about 5 months out on the mission.  We get along super great and we work well together.  I was a little sick this week and I almost lost my voice. We are going to get some work done this transfer!

With the transfer I'm not sure if Edelma got married and baptized.  I'll send a picture if Elder Montoya responds to my emails and all.

So I met some really nice people here this week.  They are all down to earth and really humble and nice.  The first people I met were Kelly and Johan.  They give us lunch and dinner everyday.  They are converts of about one year now.  Johan drives a mototaxi and gives us free rides sometimes.   Last week I heard about the infamous lunches Kelly gives us which include soup of any and every part of the cow.  I did indeed eat 2 cow eyes (sopa de ojo) this week!  It didn't taste too bad.  I just couldn't think about it when I went to chew, haha!  Chances are that this week I'll eat some cow brains!

An investigator that we are teaching is named Deimer.  He is a cool guy.  He is a single dad that lives with his parents.  He kind of has a drinking problem, but is cleaning up really well. He really wants to change his life and it's really neat to be helping him.  I'll keep you updated on what happens. 

Well I'm happy right now here in Santo Tomas!  Things are looking up!  I love and miss you all.  Have a great week!

Elder Crandall


P.S.:  Elder Montoya just emailed me these pictures with the good news that Edelma did get married and baptized last week.  Super neat!

Edelma got married
Edelma's Baptism with Elder Montoya & Elder Lund

Monday, March 9, 2015

A LITTLE BIT OF HUMOR CAN GET YOU THROUGH ANYTHING

March 9, 2015

TURBACO
Turbaco Ward, Los Alpes Stake
Companion:  Elder Montoya


Hey guys!

What a tough week!  First of all, on Tuesday, our cell phone broke so we were out of communication with the world and had to buy minutes on cell phone stands in the streets. So many lessons fell through that we were left to walking the streets in the sun.  Also E---'s baptism fell through.  Her baptism fell through because she has to get married first because she is currently living with her soon-to-be husband.  Her marraige was all planned out and when they went to take out the papers they told her that she has to wait a week.  Oops. I guess it's better for everyone because the relief society sisters were stressing out a little because it was so soon.  I think it was God's will that we do it next week.  So this week will be great, that is, if I don't get transfered!  The transfers are tonight and then tomorrow in the morning we have to leave.  So I'm a little nervous about that!

To get back on my train of thought, we had a ton of obstacles this week as I explained in the previous paragraph.  But a thought came to my mind, more of a quote, that I once heard from President Hinkley.  He told us that a little bit of humor can get us through tough times. I tried to apply that this week and just laughed off the stress and frustration.  It worked!  I guess I'm kind of good at handling that kind of stuff and laughing.

Also yesterday the A--- family came to church!  They are a family that we've been teaching since November that haven't really progressed until this last week.  We decided to have a lesson with them Saturday in the church building so that they could see what it is like and feel more comfortable to come!  It worked and they came!  It was a great feeling. I love Turbaco!

A papya and me

With Jose, one of our local members

The Zone 

Not-so-serious Zone 
These zone pictures are from our zone meeting Saturday.  Our zone meetings are usually once a transfer.  We never really know when they are going to be until one or two nights before.  They are held in Cartagena.  The zone consists of Turbaco, Arjona (a town even farther away than Turbaco) and some wards in Catagena.  

Well I also love you all and miss you all too!  I pray and hope you have a great week!

Elder Crandall

Monday, March 2, 2015

AN ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS

March 2, 2015

TURBACO
Turbaco Ward, Los Alpes Stake
Companion:  Elder Montoya


Hey guys!

This was another challenging week, and this upcoming week will be hectic with the marriage of Edelma and also her baptism.  We are praying that everything will go smoothly and well. If so, she will get baptized Sunday morning!  Pray for Edelma!

This week we had our prayers answered in a way different from the way that we thought. So recently we have had this desire to find and teach a family because a lot of our investigators are young adults or incomplete families, meaning we are teaching them but their family doesn't have too much of an interest.  So on Tuesday night we went over to Valeria's house to have a lesson with her, Ricardo, her recently baptized brother, and her mom.  Her mom, Gloria, hasn't been all too open to the gospel but recently she has been listening to us more. So we go there and invited her to be baptized and she said yes!  Ricardo was on his cell phone playing some game when this happened and when she said yes he immediately dropped it and said "serious?"!  Haha, it was too funny!  Leaving from the lesson Elder Montoya and I realized that this was the answer to our prayers, but in a different way!  We are teaching a family, Gloria, Valeria and Ricardo.  Although the process can be slow, and in different ways, God always answers our prayers.  We just sometimes need to be patient and need to be willing to accept the answers in the Lord´s way.

Not too much else happened this week.  On Friday we had an exchange and I was with Elder Paredes again. We decided to buy some pizza and took it home to eat it.  We found some ranch dressing in the fridge so we started using that to eat and when we were halfway through the pizza we realized that the sauce had expired a month ago, haha!  We were freaking out and thought we were going to be super sick, but nothing really happened, thankfully.  

Elder Paredes and Elder Crandall ready to eat pizza
I also made some popcorn last night on the stove!  Elder Baquerizo, one of my old companions, taught me how to do that.  It took me a couple tries to get it right, but it turned out good!    I sometimes cook.  I
 kind of just improvise in cooking and it seems to work out, haha!   Just a lot of random things, like the no-bake cookies, pasta, and other little things!

Popcorn cooking
First batch of popcorn super burnt!
Popcorn cooking success!
Today for P-day we are going into Cartagena to watch a Disney movie, Big Heroes 6, and eat with the zone.  We also ordered shirts as a zone and should be getting them today! I'll let you know how it goes!

Back of new Zone Shirts
Front of new Zone shirts
Showing our new Zone shirts
Zone BBQ 
Elder Soliz cooking the steaks.  He is a recent convert who was a chef
Steaks
Our Zone ready to chow down
Watching the movie, Big Heroe 6, in my Christmas socks from Rachel
Great day with the zone.  We got new zone shirts.  They're pretty sweet!  We all designed them together!  On the front it says La Costa, which means the coast in spanish.  We all thought it was pretty funny to do since there's a brand called lacoste with its emblem on the front.  We watched the movie Big Heroes 6.  It's a pretty good movie!  It's a great one! Although in spanish it's still hard sometimes to understand movies, but I still liked it!  We ate steaks, bread and potatoe salad.  Elder Soliz really is a chef.  He is 25 years old, a recent convert, and before the mission he was a chef!

Well I'm doing good here.  I'm still keeping on thankfully! Have a great and safe week everyone!

Elder Crandall