"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, April 27, 2015

EXPANDING BOUNDARIES

April 27, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso

Hey everyone!

I'm doing well!  There were some big changes and I got a new companion!  My new companion is Elder Troncoso from Chile. He is a good guy and a hard worker and we get along well! The other change was that President had to shut down the other area in Santo Tomas because there weren't enough missionarries and we couldn't keep living 4 missionaries in one house because the area presidency doesn't want that.  So President told me to look for a new house and everything.  The branch building was in Santo Tomas, and we live in Santo Tomas, but my companion's and my area was in the pueblo of Palmar.  The other companionship worked in Santo Tomas and Sabana Grande.  We are looking for an apartament in Palmar.  Santo Tomas and Palmar touch and are almost the same city.  The members were feeling a little discouraged and are worried that they are going to shut down the branch for complicated reasons, but really all is well.  We now have to cover the other area and so we have a HUGE area.  We have like 4 pueblos and so we are really learning to manage our time well, haha!  It's definitely a challenge but we are up to it. 

We are finding a lot of new people and working on retaining the investigators of our area and working on helping the people come unto Christ.  Wednesday was definitely a tough day for us because we went to Santo Tomas and I had never worked there before so we were a little lost.  We had some members that went with us and showed us around which was good.  We were feeling a little discouraged when we went to a recent convert's house named I--------.  He is just one of those guys who has a big heart and so that lightened our spirits.  I'm excited to work in these areas!

In our small branch there are around 3 young women and 2 young men.  We are preparing to baptize a young women and one young man shortly, though. 

D-------- is progressing a lot.  I think I said last week or two weeks ago about his condition and how he was in a motorcycle accident.  Well I don't know where I got that from but that's not what happened at all!  I asked him again this week what happened and he said he ate some bad pork that had a parasite that went to his brain that paralyzed half of his body. Maybe we should have left it at the motorcycle accident!  But he is progressing a ton. Yesterday we passed by again and watched the video about the Restoration of the gospel truths on this earth.  The spirit was really strong testifying of the truth and he could recognize it too.  This week we have stake conference a long ways away but we are going to try to find someway to get him there too!  Our stake conference is in Barranquilla which is about 45 minutes away by bus.  

For Family Home Evening we usually have a FHE as a branch since we are still small.  My companion and I are going to take the reins!  Too cool! 

Well this upcoming week will be good too.  Know that I am good and am learning a lot and changing a lot.  I know Christ atoned for us and am very grateful for the opportunity to repent and change.  Love and miss you all!

Elder Crandall

P.S.:  My companion looks like Zach Efron, haha!



Monday, April 20, 2015

OVERCOME AND BECOME

April 20, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Conti

Hey my friends and family!

We had a good week with success!  Tomorrow are our transfers and chances are I´ll be getting a new companion.  I'll let you know next week!

So on Friday D-------- told us that he doesn't want to meet anymore.  A little shocking I´ll have to admit, but I think he just needs a little more time.  He doesn't feel ready to overcome his alcohol addiction, but we will still be stopping by every now and then to check on him and offer our support.  He is a great guy and has great potential, but repentance is a process.  I read a quote that I really liked this week by Tad R. Callister, it says, 

"God will ultimately judge us by what we have become, not by what we were." 
(Tad R. Callister)

How grateful I am that we can truly repent and overcome our weaknesses!

This week we met a guy named R--------.  He is colorful and just orders us to read the bible to him, haha.  He raises chickens to fight and he showed us where he keeps them all and trains them.  (Yes, he actually trains the chickens).  He has a concrete arena and everything!)  He`s a little crazy but loves to hear about God so we will see where that goes.

Also D-------- is progressing a lot!  He actually came to church this week.  It was awesome!  On Saturday we passed by and taught him a little about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we were about to leave we asked him if he knew of anyone that was going through tough times in their life and needed some spiritual support.  He said `yeah actually I have this friend and I was talking to her the other day about you guys.`  We told him to invite her to come to church with him and the next day on Sunday, they both came! To my surprise, D-------- actually knew some of the people there!  It was way great!

Also I don't know if I have told you but we are teaching some people of a part member family.  C--------, who is 17, and her brother C--------, who is 24.  Their mom, brother, wife, cousins, and others close to them have already joined the church and they are so ready to be baptized.  They read the scriptures everyday, and do everything a member would do! They both say though that they are not ready.  They totally are though.  We will keep helping them so that they can recognize that they are ready!

I received my Easter package from mom and Aunt Julie this week.  Thanks so much for all the goodies! 


Well I'm doing well and hope you all are too!  I love and miss you all.  Have a great week!

Elder Crandall

Monday, April 13, 2015

LEARNING, CHANGING, GROWING

April 13, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Conti

Hey guys!

Things are moving along and everything is going well here!  I'm really learning a lot, growing a lot, and changing a lot!  We had a good week this week!  I'll explain a little!

So on Tuesday I basically had one of the best work days on my mission thus far.  None of the lessons were falling through and the members were getting involved and everyone was really feeling the spirit!  One in particular is named D--------.  He is about 23 years old and a really good guy.  A little while ago half his body was paralyzed.  He is rocovering right now but it's a long slow process.  At the beginning of our meetings he felt unsure and depressed about life and would ask why God would let this happen.  It's definitely a tough thing to pass through, and a tougher question to answer.  Now though he is starting to see things brighter and feels as though God allowed this to happen so that he could find God more in his life.  At the beginning he was having a hard time feeling and recognizing the spirit, but on Tuesday we were able to really help him and on Thursday he told us that he received his answer.  So cool!

Another investigator we taught on Tuesday is E--------.  She is a married mom with two young kids.  We were focusing a lot on the Book of Mormon in our lesson and she says "yeah this all makes sense!"   She then read it and prayed about it and feels like she recieved an answer that it's true and commitetted to come to church!  So great!

We also visited D-------- Tuesday and had a powerful lesson about the temples and their sacredness.  D-------- was preparing for his baptism Saturday but things fell through.  We had the font filled and everything but Saturday morning he told us that he didn't feel prepared.  We passed by there to help him resolve his doubts.  He was so ready, he was going 2 weeks clean without drinking and is so smart and knows everything.  We were there like an hour and a half trying to help him but in the end he said "no, not today."  It was a bummer, but it happens. It's definitely a tough thing to overcome an addiction!  But I know that with the gospel he will be able to overcome this and be super strong!

Sunday came around and we were so sure that a ton of people were going to come to church with us but none of them answered their phones Sunday morning and none came. It was the first time in my mission that I didn't have any investigators at church.  I really feel that the discouragements we experienced Saturday and Sunday were lessons that God was trying to teach us.  I felt during the sacrament that this upcoming week we need to be more humble and diligent in our work so we set some goals this morning to accomplish this and really help others come unto Christ.

Really I'm coming to recognize that this work is not mine and the fruits are not mine. They are all from God.  I am just his mouthpiece here and my success is based on how well I listen and follow the spirit.  I'm so grateful to be here serving!

These pictures are from today when we went to a mall.



Elder Conti, Elder Crandall, Elder Barretto & Elder Maldonado 

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

Elder Crandall

Monday, April 6, 2015

SEMANA SANTA

April 6, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodromo Stake
Companion:  Elder Conti

Hey everyone!

I hope all is going well!  So this week was Semana Santa, the celebration of the last week in Jesus Christs mortal life.  Here in Colombia, and in most of south america, people have the whole week off of work and school; its a pretty big holiday.  It was nice because it was easier to schedule lessons and everything.  On Friday, the people celebrate the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but in a terriblly painful way.  Imagine a parade where the people walking in the parade take their shirts off, put bags on their heads, and whip themselves in the butt cheeks every step they take.  That is indeed what happened. And they do it for like 5 km!  It's really insane.  I'll send some pictures.  



There also are people carrying crosses on their backs the whole way and everything.  Supposedly it's to recieve some sort of blessing from God, but the whole thing just looks crazy.  It makes me think of how grossly the Atonement of Jesus Christ is misunderstood.  I have seen a lot of both ends of the extremes of these grossly misunderstood ways.  1) people sinning and saying that in the end Christ and his grace will save them, and  2) people whipping themselves to remember that Christ also bled from every pore.  We must understand that neither of these is true. President Uchtdorf spoke about this in conference actually which is really cool!  Go look up that talk to find a better explanation than mine!

Also this week we were teaching a super awesome investigator named K--------.  So we went to her house to teach her with a member that is her friend and when we get there we realize we can't teach there due to the large obnoxious speakers next door (that is normal here).  So we decide to see if we can teach her in the house of J--------, a less active we are also teaching, that lives around the corner.  It was a win win situation!  So we get there and start teaching and the spirit was super strong when out of nowhere J--------´s daughter comes out and literally yells at us and J-------- for about 45 minutes.  I was afraid she was going to hit me!  So that lesson was kind of a disaster, but the cool part is that K-------- went to conference with us!  It was cool and I know she felt the spirit so strong.

This week we are preparing D-------- again for his baptism.  We are going to try and do everything we can to help him not fall into temptation again.  We even fasted last Friday for him.  He struggles a lot with the temptation to drink alcohol and it doesn't help that his Dad is in the business of selling alcohol, but he is doing really well.  It's really so neat to see just how much that gospel can change one's life!  It's a testament that the Atonement works and that repentance is indeed a divine gift.  Too cool!

I'm also very grateful for conference this weekend!  We did get to listen to conference.  The way they do it here is in the church building with a projector and everything.  But since we are in Santo Tomas and don't have a church building, we got to go to another ward building and watch it.  I watched all of conference in Spanish this time.  I especially loved President Eyring's talk during the priesthood session.  He talked a lot about the power and rights we have being in the true church of God.  I know that this is God's church and that Jesus Christ is at the head.  He has restored his church and again called living prophets and apostles to guide us.  How lucky are we!



Well I love and miss you all!  Have a great week!!

Elder Crandall