"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, July 27, 2015

RAINS and THE HOT SUN

July 27, 2015

El Parque 
Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Barriga


Hey everyone!

This week was great!  We made a lot of progress and helped a lot of people!  But Sunday NOBODY came to church.  That was definitely a bummer.  Last minute everyone cancelled!  Santa Marta is a little difficult in the missionary work.  People reject us!  That's something that you don't really see in any other area in the mission.  In most all of my mission we can just talk to people on the street and they are so receptive to the gospel and Jesus Christ, but the people here aren't too much.  It's kind of cool though because we have to work in new ways to find people to teach. 

So on Thursday the rain really came down hard!  It doesn't rain as often in Santa Marta and this part of the coast as much as in other parts, so everyone was pretty happy about the rain.  The streets turned again into arroyos or rivers and we had to cross a few times so we just rolled up our pants and walked through them, haha!  My shoes have seen some water in their life time, but luckily they've lasted until now!  I always have loved the rain!

Something neat happened to me yesterday!  So we were teaching an investigator.  She is a Seventh day Adventist church member (I think that's what its called in English) and is really active in her church.  From day one she has been so receptive, like a lot of other people from this religion that I've met here.  It's been neat to talk with her because she is an older lady but she loves to read and has been loving reading the Book of Mormon.  I think we had previously invited her to be baptized but I'm not too sure (mistake on our part) but while we were teaching her the clear thought came to me to invite her to be baptized.  I'll admit I was a little hesitant at first because she is so active in her church and everything but trusting in the spirit I did it and she accepted so easily!  It was a really neat experience to first receive and then act according to the prompting of the spirit to be led to do a good act.  She is really commited to come to church Sunday as well even though she has some difficulties walking, so we will see where this all goes with her!

Things have been going really well for us too!  It's been a fun transfer thus far!  For example, we usually play basketball in the morning for our exercise because there is a court around the corner from our house.  Then one day we noticed a slab of concrete like a table in the nearby park (here in Colombia there are a lot of strange things in the local parks, haha).  We then realized that it was a ping pong table so we went out and bought a ping pong net and the paddles and we've been playing in the morning for our exercise.  It's just been a fun transfer!

Elder Barriga eating at KFC
Laundry Day
Laundry Day
I'm enjoying the mission and I love being on the Lord's errand.  It's a great feeling and it definitely brings me happiness.  I feel as though I now have a new clearer view of everything, like I changed a light bulb and now the room is more light than it was before.  It's because the church really is true and I am progressing in my own personal conversion!

Well I hope you all have a great week!  Take care!

Elder Crandall

Monday, July 20, 2015

SANTA MARTA: MINCA & INDEPENDENCE DAY

July 20, 2015

El Parque 
Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Barriga


Hey guys!

Whoa, was this a packed week!  I got transfered to Santa Marta, a small city a little northeast of Barranquilla, where I previously was.  It's way beautiful here!  I honestly feel as though it's a little cooler here temperature wise because I don't really sweat as much!  I mean it's still hot, but not too hot!  The best part is that there are mountains here!  We went up to them today as a zone which was awesome.  I will write a little more about that later in the letter. 

So Santa Marta!  This city is a district.  It hasn't grown enough to be a stake yet, so I'm in a branch again.  About 40ish people attend, but they are all super supportive and everything. We don't really have too many investigators, but this week we found some pretty solid ones. We set a goal as a zone to have a baptism on the 22nd of August so we will see where we can go with that!  It's great here!

Santa Marta is bigger than my last area.  It's a pretty big city.  It's really touristy.  I've seen a ton of Americans and Europeans here.  Our place is in a more affluent part of town now.  My house is awesome!  It's a 2 story house!  There aren't really mosquitoes here which is nice.  To answer our emails on P-day we go to a mall in town.  We get around on foot mostly but sometimes taxis because we have to do some rounds for the zone sometimes. It's nice though because taxis here are always 5000 or 6000 pesos to all destinations.  That's only 3 dollars!

Today we went up the mountains in a van up to a place called Minca.  It was a district activity, but the two districts in the zone went so we were together for a little while.  There are 12 missionaries in our zone, 6 in each district.  Whoa was that awesome! I'll send a lot of pics.  It was about a 45 minute ride up the mountain and then about a 45 minute hike up to a big river.  The Sierra Nevada mountains here in Santa Marta are the tallest mountains in Colombia.  They also have snow, but you can't see the snow from where I am.  The river is made of snow melt I think, and it was super cold!  There are a lot of tourists there swimming and everything, but as missionarries we can't swim but we had a great time enjoying the cooler weather.  We also brought up lunches and everything and had a fun time. It was way awesome!

My new companion is Elder Barriga.  He has about 3 months more than I do, and is a way great guy.  He is 24 and is from Bolivia.  We get along really great and I'm looking forward to this transfer with him!  With him I've had a companion from just about every country in South America except Uruguay and Brazil.

Oh and Today is Colombia's Independance Day!  They don't celebrate their Independance Day like we do in the U.S. but the people do put flags out and everything!

Well the rest of the week was a blur!  Hopefully next week I will have my feet a little more on the ground!  Have a great week everyone!

Elder Crandall
Beach view from bus ride to Santa Marta

Riding up in the van

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

View from the van riding up




Elder Barriga & Elder Crandall

Elder Barriga & Elder Crandall

Mountain views

Elder Crandall & painting

The bridge we had to cross.  It was broken and a little sketchy

Big pools that people were swimming in

Big pools

More mountain views

Hiking up the steep mountian

Pure jungle

Me crossing the river.  I slipped and fell after this, ha ha!

Preparing the burgers we brought up

Butterfly we found

By the river


Crossing the bridge again

A little farm.  In these mountains they grow a lot of coffee beans.

Elder Barriga & Elder Crandall

Elder Barriga & Elder Crandall

More jungles

Our zone

The butterfly we found

Monday, July 13, 2015

LA MOJARRA ERA ASI PUES!

July 13, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso


Hey everyone!

I hope all is going well!  Everything's going well here.  To explain the title, yesterday one of our investigators, invited us over to eat.  We found her about 2 weeks ago.  She talked with the missionaries about 5 years ago and was almost baptized but lost contact with the missionaries for some unkown reason.  Since we made contact with her she's been coming to church and progressing a lot spiritually!  So yesterday she invited us over for dinner and she gave us mojarra.  It is a local river fish, and arroz con coco, or rice with coconut.  Oh man it's so good!  It's like a popular coast food here, but I haven't eaten that in a while so that was great!

This week was pretty fun.  Yesterday in church E-------- was able to pass the sacrament.  He also gave a talk in sacrament meeting.  He is really so smart it amazes me.  Also yesterday the stake relief society presidency came and visited our branch. One of the counselors was a lady from the first ward I was in, Ciudadela, that had moved to another ward in this stake. It was great to be able to talk with her and all!  I remember my first week in the mission I went to her house!  

Well I'm doing well!  Tomorrow are our transfers, and I have no idea what will happen.  I think that they are going to send 2 more missionarries for this branch which will be nice because we have like 4 pueblos in our area.

District Activity
This picture is from our District Activity.  We went and ate ice cream!

I can't think of too much more that happened this week!  We are doing well and having some sure success here.  I'm so very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to share with others that which makes me so very happy!

Have a great week!

Elder Crandall

Monday, July 6, 2015

WORKING HARD WITH BETTY CROCKER

July 6, 2015

Santo Tomas Branch
Hipodroma Stake
Companion:  Elder Troncoso


Family and Friends,

Things are going good here!  Another normal week!  It was a pretty good one though.  We are seeing the church attendance rise which is awesome!   Yesterday E------- received the priesthood so he and D-------- will be passing the sacrament next week together!  HOW COOL!

This upcoming week will be the last of this transfer.  Time really flies!  I'll only have 4 transfers left in the mission!  That's weird to think about.  I'm not quite sure what will happen. I might stay here.  If I leave, I'll probably be going to my last area in the mission.  I'm kind of glad that I've only had 3 areas so far.  I like staying in the same area and really working hard.  When you are in an area for a lot of time you get the chance to really see the fruits of your labors.  It's a nice feeling.

So D-------- has a new girlfriend he tells us, haha.  Actually the first thing he told us was ´Hey I have a new girlfriend and she wants to come to church!´  He shares the gospel with everyone.  He has such a big heart and you can really see how the gospel has changed him!  Oh and he went to institute this week and loved it and said he is going to make that a weekly thing.  HOW COOL!

E-------- is also doing really well.  He made a countdown for when he can go on a mission.  He is only 14.  It was pretty funny because we go there the week after his baptism and he is like ´Hey guys, look at this!´  It was a paper that said like 3 years 5 months 27 days.  He is super pumped about everything the gospel has to offer spiritually and is definitely one of the smartest people I know!

So we were in Exito (Colombia´s equivalent to Walmart) last Monday and I found and bought some Betty Crocker brownie mix.  I tried to make them this week with some converts but they didn't turn out too well.  They came out gooey and then hardened like a rock.  Oh man they were pretty bad.  But the people loved them, which I guess is all that matters right?!

Not too much more happened this week!  We might be changing houses soon which will be sweet.  The new house is by a basketball court so that will be fun to be able to play basketball every morning, that is if I stay for the next transfer.
Zone Activity
Zone Activity
Well have a great week everyone!

Elder Crandall