"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, June 29, 2015

E--------'s BAPTISM

June 29, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso


Hey guys!

So E-------- got baptized!  I'm really surprised because pretty much everything went smoothly and that usually never happens!  So it was great!  I'd like to explain a little more about E--------!  He is 14.  He is one of the most intelligent people I know, really!  He has been searching for the true church for a while now.  He has been visiting other churches and really investigating a lot for like 3 years, despite his age.  He came across the website of the church one day and began investigating like he had done for every other church.  He saw pictures of missionaries but didn't think too much about them.  Then one day, during a holiday weekend, he saw two missionarries walking and laughing and had the impression to talk to them.  The following Sunday he went to church.  He decided though to try to investigate for himself and lost contact with the missionaries until he came to church again and met us. He was so close to being baptized a couple weeks ago but then got scared and decided to go solo for a little.  Then two weeks ago we had the impression to pass by his house again and we started everything up with him again.  This time around he was so much more sincere in his desires to come unto Christ.  Then he was baptized Saturday!

Baptism
Jumping for joy!
It was a great experience. He is key to the growth of this branch.  He is so excited to go on a mission as well!   He is going to do awesome things!  He's great though!

This week I tried to make cookies at a member's house but they turned out pretty bad, haha!  The thing is, is that there aren't tools to measure with so I never know proportions and I just have to eyeball it.  The members thought the cookies tasted awesome though, so that's okay, haha!  

Our attempt at making cookies
Our attempt at baking cookies
D--------. is also doing great.  I was able to pass the sacrament with him this week for his first time!  Since he still can't walk very well because of his sickness, he passed the sacrament to the front rows at church and did awesome!  He signed up to attend institute class this week as well.  He is super excited and motivated to learn more and feel more. He has such a sweet heart.

We are still running every day.  We like to run down to the lake.  It's a nice smooth run.  We used to run by the highway but it's a little dangerous and boring and smells bad.  

Shout out to Rachel, my sister, who sent me a sweet package with cool socks!

Socks from Rachel
Yesterday I was reading in my personal study of the New Testament in 1 Peter and there was a verse that I really liked.  In 1 Peter 2:9 it explains that we are a "chosen generation... a peculiar people."  I liked this because with the gospel we really are different.  The gospel changes us because it's true!  I know because I am experiencing it!

A wild dog that nearly broke into our house
Maracas that a member gave to me
Well have a great week!

Elder Crandall

P.S.:  Happy Birthday this week to Mom!  Please send me a new belt (mine is breaking and falling apart) and the Peanutbutter Cereal Recipe.


Monday, June 22, 2015

WATER HAS BEEN FOUND

June 22, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso




Hey everyone!

We had a pretty good week this week.  We worked hard and really saw some fruits of our labors!  It was awesome!  I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well and hope that all can have a great week this week!

I'll start by explaining the title!  So this week we found some hidden treasures here in the pueblos!  We were contacting a reference that someone gave us that was on the edge of Palmar, one of our pueblos that we visit.  We couldn't find the lady, but she lives right on the banks of the river Magdalena.  It was actually super cool to see that and it was surprisingly big, bigger than I thought it was!  Then on Tuesday we were jogging (we've started the habbit of jogging every morning)

The road to the lake
The little lake

and we took a different road than we usually take that led us to the side of a little lake that had boats and stuff.  That also was super neat!  I'll include some pics.  The bad part was that there were a ton of mosquitoes so we didn't stay there too long.

Boats on the lake 
Elder Troncoso at the lake
Not sure what this man is doing?
Our investigators and the people that we are teaching are going really well!  We found E--------, the teenager that was going to be baptized a while ago that just dissapeared.  We have been teaching him again and he had his interview Saturday so he should be getting baptized this coming Saturday.  This time around he really seems more sincere with his interest and more sincere with us and himself.  It's been a neat experience to be able to teach him and then watch as the spirit touches his heart and gives him his own needed revelation.  He's a great guy!


A flock of birds flying over the lake
Tall grass
The fields surrounding us
D-------- also was able to receive the priesthood on Sunday which was great.  I'm still just so amazed at his willingness to serve God.  He has such a great heart and desire to do good, like the people in King Benjamin's time.  I love the scripture in Mosiah5:2 that explains that the spirit touched the people in a way that they had no more disposition to do bad, but to do good continually.  That's something like what is happening to D--------.  He's awesome!

 A shell. There are a bunch on the ground
and I tried out the close up feature on my camera
The sun rising
A big focus of our area authorities and our mission has been to help not only investigators, but recent converts and less actives as well.  It's been a neat experience to be able to help people grow in their conversion in all phases of the process, but here it's been a little tough to find less actives to work with since it is only a branch, but this week we made some plans to find some more and work a little harder in that aspect.

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

Elder Crandall

Monday, June 15, 2015

D--------'s BAPTISM

June 15, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso




Hey everyone! 

So yes, D-------- was baptized on Saturday!  Oddly enough almost everything went smoothly! That never happens to me!  Sometimes the investigators get nervous before their baptism and want to flake out but D-------- didn't feel that at all.  He was super pumped until the end and it was great!  
D-------- and some members from the branch that came out to support him.

The only problem we had was with the transportation.  Because we are in Santo Tomas, a pueblito, we don't have a big church building, so we don't have a baptismal font.   We have to go to Malambo, about 20-30 mintues away.  If you remember, D-------- is paralyzed in half of his body still and can't walk really well and can't really get up in a bus. We had planned to have the only member in the branch with a car give D-------- a ride, but he had to cancel last minute for a family emergency.  So we were a little worried calling around to see if any of the members knew someone with a car and luckily we found one.  D-------- and his family were able to get to the baptism and everything well without difficulties!  Also, the missionaries in Malambo had 3 baptisms so it was a great night!

D--------, his mom, his son, his sister, and Elder Troncoso & Crandall
Branch members at D--------'s Baptism.
Our Branch Mission Leader, Brother Aldo, is the one with the moustache.
D-------- is a great guy!  The gospel has really changed his life.  When he was younger he lived a normal life, up until one day he woke up with half of his body paralized from a parasite he ate from some bad pork.  That was about a year ago.  He told us that since that event up until he met us he used to just stay in his bed all day, not talk to anyone, and was depressed.  Then he met us!  At first he was a little hesitant to fulfil with the commitments, but then once he did, he was able to feel the truthfulness of the gospel and see the fruits of good works.  He became happy again, but this time it was a new happy, a fulfilling happy, as he says.  The gospel is a tool to help us align our lives to God and it's the only way that we have to really begin to fulfil our divine potential.  I really know the gopel is true!

We are finding some new great investigators and really trying to work with the converts to retain members and strengthen their testimonies.  Because conversion is a process, we want to help them become self sufficient spiritually!  It's great to experience this!

Well this week was pretty good.  We are really trying to strengthen our relationships with the members here in Santo Tomas. They are such good humble people with big hearts! 

Just in case you've forgotten what a salchipapa is!
I love and miss you all! Have a great week!

Elder Crandall

Monday, June 8, 2015

SELF MASTERY

June 8, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch

Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso


Hey everyone!

I'm doing good here. So absolutely nothing changed here, so I'm still here with Elder Troncoso.  Things are good.

My Zone played soccer this morning.
So D-------- passed his interview Saturday and so, if all goes well, he will be baptized Saturday!  We are super excited about that.  He really has come so far!  I remember when we first went there he didn't want to pray nor read nor do anything!  But now he loves reading the Book of Mormon and praying and everything. You can tell that the gospel has really changed his life!  He is so awesome.

It's also been raining here a lot which has been awesome.  But it's weird because when it rains a ton of frogs appear out of nowhere and fill the street.  We have found a couple little ones in our house even!  I think it's because we live in front of a big giant field.

The street in front of our house
So I've been thinking a lot lately about the topic of self mastery and our fight here against the "natural man" as explained in Mosiah 3:19.  On this earth, our spirits occupy imperfect bodies, which means that our heavenly spirits, with heavenly intentions, fight with a now imperfect body wth imperfect intentions.  Elder Nelson explains a lot about the scripture that teaches us to ´bridle our passions´ and the meaning of bridle.  Before I had always thought that this scripture meant to subdue or dim the ´natural man´ passions, but he explains that it means more to fine tune or to bridle, like bridling a horse.  When one bridles a horse, that one gains control over the horse and can then steer it in the desired direction.  Elder Nelson also explained that Satan desires to distort the correct image of ´bridle´.  An example he gave concerns the connections between marraige and religion.  Sometimes in the world today, marraige and religion don't go well together.  Some may think that to truly follow the gospel of Jesus Christ we have lead celebate lives.  This however is not true.  We know that the family is ordained of God.  This shows an example of what it means to ´bridle your passions;´ to fulfil with God's commandments and in the right time, according to the way in which one bridled it´s passions, may have a family and truly follow the gospel of Jesus. Hopefully we can all work on ´bridling the natural man´ and submitting our will to God´s will in order to have better self-mastery!

There are tons of cows walking around in the streets here in the pueblo!
I tried to get close to them but they got scared.
Well I am really growing here!  I feel as though my testimony has turned to conversion and will continue to do so.  I really do know this gospel is true and that the church is the only church on this earth that holds the priesthood authority of God.

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

Elder Crandall



Monday, June 1, 2015

PRAY FOR ANSWERS

June 1, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch

Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso


Hey everyone!

This was a pretty tough week!  We worked super hard but then on Sunday we didn't see the desired results!  I guess that sometimes just happens though!  But other than that we are doing good!

Tomorrow are transfers and we find out what will happen.  I have no idea what is going to happen!

Oh and it rained for the first time this week!  It's been a pretty dry year, supposedly, but then it really came down!  We got soaked, haha.  But it wasn't too bad of a day!

D-------- is still progressing super well.  This week we are going to finish up the lessons with him and I think he will be getting baptized the following week if all goes well.  He is really an awesome guy that has come so far!  He really can feel the spirit working in his heart and can really feel that these things are true even though he sometimes has a hard time comprehending everything. (D-------- in the pictures below is a different convert that was baptized last October.)

I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Ether about the brother of Jared.  I've been thinking recently about personal revelation and more about the channels of revelation. In Ether, the brother of Jared builds the ships, but then has two problems: air and light.  So he goes to the Lord for help.  God then tells him how to fix the problem of air, but the for the light problem he lets the brother of Jared search for answers himself.  The brother of Jared then thinks and comes up with the idea about the stones and presents the idea to the Lord and he accepts it.  This story made me think a lot about how we can find our own revelation. God sometimes gives it to us straight, but sometimes we have to study it out in our minds and God leads our thoughts to come up with the right idea.  Nephi, for example, made three attempts before he found the right way to get the plates.  I know that if we pay attention to the spirit he will guide us because I have seen it countless times here in the mission.

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

Elder Crandall 

Deibys and Liz with me and my companion 
Me and Elder Troncoso with Deibys and Liz
Our last district meeting of the transfer. Nobody wanted to come for the picture 
and when they did my camera died, haha!
Our last zone meeting
A frog I found in the shower while I was showing.  It freaked me out!
I'm not sure who was more surprised, the frog or me!