"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, August 31, 2015

THE PARABLE OF THE ANT HILL

August 31, 2015

El Parque Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Wooden

Hey everyone!

This week was challenging in a way, but rewarding.  I got a new companion!  His name is Elder Wooden.  He is 19 and from the USA!  From Sandy, Utah to be exact.  My first American companion... that's definitely different!  We are able to relate in different ways than with my past companions because we come from the same culture.  We are getting adjusted and doing some good work!  I actually met him when I was in Turbaco in November last year.  We even have some pics together.  Weird to think that time passes so fast!
My new companion, Elder Wooden

Lemonade at the mall with Elder Wooden
Well to explain the week!  We got so rejected.  By EVERYONE!  It was a change. We thought for a second that we were in a different place other than Colombia because we have a relatively easy time finding new people to teach up until now.  We did though have a really neat experience.  After 2 or 3 hours of talking with everyone and trying different ways to find people to teach, we sat down to catch our breath and think for a minute about what we should do or what we should change to have some success.  We said a prayer and just thought in silence for a couple minutes.  We casually were both staring at an ant hill watching the ants tirelessly dig their hole by taking one grain of sand out at a time.  We broke the silence by sharing a couple ideas and we had the impression to just keep going like the ants did.  The following 4 or 5 people received us and we were then able to find people to teach!  I think God was trying to tell us through the ants that our work and time was not wasted and that we just had to keep going a little bit more and we would see the results.  It was a neat parable that we now call the parable of the ants!

One of the neat people we found is named L---.  We found him the other day just sitting down in his house and we taught him and his family.  They were all so stubborn and didn't want anything to do with us.  L--- was a little receptive to our message and his wife was very loyal to her church.  To be honest we didn't really think they would progress far or fulfill the commitments we had left like to read the Book of Mormon and pray.  Yesterday night we had the impression to go and visit them and something very strange happened!  He let us in and said "Guys, I read your book and it filled me!"   He then went on to explain that he had grown up next to some other big churches but had never really had an interest in religion because they never really clicked with him.  He also gave us his Book or Mormon and said that his wife had read it even more than him and we saw the book mark and supposedly she had read 630 pages... and it had only been 2 days!  That's crazy!  We will have to return and see if it's really true!  Either way it was an answer to our blessings!

A---  has kind of dropped off a little.  She told us that she wants a little break to fix up her life and the problems that she is going through.  It's sad to see because the gospel is really the way that she can fix everything!  It's the best tool we have!  She still said it's okay to visit her, just not so often.  We will see where she goes with everything.
Taking a selfie with my companion, Elder Barriga, and the other missionaries
before the transfer

I'm doing well!  I'm enjoying the mission!  It has really helped me to grow and make great changes!  It's because the gospel is true!  I testify of that everyday here!

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

Elder Crandall

Monday, August 24, 2015

FISHERS OF MEN

August 24, 2015

El Parque Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Barriga

Family and Friends,

This was a great week.  We had a zone conference with President Searle.  That was great! The title of this email has to do with the teachings we learned, but I will talk a little more about that later.

So A---  continues to progress. This week we invited her to a baptism that the sisters were having and she came!  She arrived just after the baptism part... but she was still able to feel the spirit and everything.  After the baptism we were able to have a lesson with her about prophets.  The member that was with us bore a super neat testimony about how he came to know that Thomas Monson is our prophet today.  The spirit was really strong.  A---,  little by little, is coming to know the truth of these things.

L--- is doing ok.  We passed by her house a couple of times this week and we could see her or her husband in the house but they never answered the door.  We were feeling like we should give them a little more time to think about things but then on Saturday we had the thought to pass by again and we got to talk to L---.  She really opened up to us on how she is going through some hard family problems.  We testified about how the gospel really will bless her and her family so much.  She hasn't fully grasped the fact, but I think she will soon.

Nothing too crazy happened this week!  W---, the Mexican dude, moved back to Mexico.  We are kind of sketched out about everything with him, but we definitely are going to miss him.  He´s a real character!

It also has been raining a lot this week which was been nice.  I love the rain!  When it rains here though it just makes everything more humid and hot, but in the night it cools things off a little!

Today we went to the Simon Bolivar Museum/Botanical Gardens. Simon Bolivar was the liberator of the northern part of South America.
 

Beautiful Gardens

Simon Boivar Museum
Elder Crandall & Elder Barriga
He died here in Santa Marta and there's a museum here for him with the bed that he died on and everything.  Unfortunately, the museum was closed today, haha but next time!  The gardens were still pretty cool and the other memorials!

In front of Simon Bolivar Statue
Simon Bolivar Memorial
Another Monument
 The park was also full of iguanas!  They were on the ground and some were climbing on trees.  I couldn't resist a few iguana pictures! 





Ok, so fishers of men!  President Searle, going into this conference, told us to study Luke 5:1-10 and John 21.  The first is when Jesus first calls Peter and others to be his Apostles and the latter is when Jesus is resurrected and finds Peter fishing again.  I´ll try to explain a little about what I learned, but I don't know if I will be able to completely relay my feelings and thoughts.  So in Luke 5, when Jesus calls his disciples, he tells Peter to be a fisher of men.  Peter spent years with Jesus in his earthly ministry, he saw miracles, he personally witnessed and testified of the Son of God.  But when Jesus is crucified and laid in the tomb what does Peter do, he returns to his old life of fishing.  He says ¨I will go a fishing.¨ Now when Jesus returns, he finds his disciples doing the same exact thing as they did before. This was probably the reason that Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he really loved Him.  I imagine the third time that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him Peter was feeling a little uneasy and confused.  I think it was because Peter did not comprehend.  Peter didn't fully comprehend that the first call to ´be a fisher of men´ or ´feed my sheep´ was not just a call until the end of the ministry of Jesus, but a call for life.  He should be changed after those 3 years following Jesus and feeling His spirit.  It made me reflect on my mission and the many things I've experienced while here.  I too need to be changed.  It made me think about when I get back what things will be changed and what habits and things I want to keep and accomplish.  All this because we really have been saved by God.

I invite you to watch this video if you haven't seen it.  


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

Elder Crandall

Monday, August 17, 2015

PARQUE TAYRONA

August 17, 2015

El Parque Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Barriga


Hey guys!

What a week!  More like what a day!  We got to go to Parque Tayrona, one of Colombia´s national parks.  Everything was really amazing.  I'll send some pics.  




Parque Tayrona
It's awesome!  So we had to wake up at like 5:30 and we had to be getting on a bus with the 2 zones here in Santa Marta at 6:00.  We got to the park around 8:00 and then walked/hiked for like 2 hours until we got to the beaches and everything.  









We hung out there taking pictures and laying in hammocks until about 4:00ish and then just got back about 30 minutes ago.  


The water looks amazing!  There's a ton of foreigners there and a lot of tourists.  Parque Tayrona is basically a series of beautiful beaches with jungle.  Yes, there were monkeys and I got a picture of them!  

Jungle Monkey
Tayrona, I think, were some ancient indigenous people that lived there and there exists some archaeological ruins but we didn't get to see them (bonus points for the archaeology classes I took!).  The Tayrona people still live there and there's a cool little town where they live.  There also are a ton of huge rocks.  We indeed climbed on them.  







I didn't get too burnt either which was nice.  Overall it was a nice day!

As for the missionary work this week, it was awesome!  A--- is progressing a ton.  She still has some doubts about the Book of Mormon though.  But what is cool is that Saturday we watched a video about the book and bared our testimonies about it and how she too can obtain her testimony.  That night she spent from 9:00 to 1:00 reading the Book of Mormon and came to church!  She is progressing a lot.

M--- is a great person but hasn't come been able to come to church.  She has hip problems and doesn't have too much of an opportunity to leave her house.  She is great though.  She is an older lady and loves when we come over, to the point that she always gives us food. One day she gave us suero costeño from the pueblo where she is from.   It is like a liquid dairy product that you put on bread and other stuff.   I loved it so much that I went to the local store and bought some for myself, but was deceived because it wasn't nearly as good as M---´s.  I told her that and she laughed and she gave me some of her pueblo suero and some cheese.  That was great!

Also we have been teaching the daughter-in-law of one of our recent converts.  She has a lot of family problems in her house and we've been trying for a while to help her fulfil the commitments we give her and this Sunday she was able to come to church which was great.  It's really awesome to see just how the gospel can change our lives!  That's because it is true!

This week I was studying a lot about the Atonement, repentance, and grace.  Sometimes, I know, at least for me, it's frustrating that we as human beings are so imperfect.  Let's face it, we mess up everyday!  Sometimes we say, ¨oh, next time we´ll do it,¨ but then we mess up when the chance arises.  It's like trying to hold water in your hands.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you squeeze, some of it is just going to fall out.  As I was studying I came across Doctorine and Covenants 67:13 which says: 

¨Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected ¨ 

Jesus is so merciful.  He loves us so much and his patience is perfect.  He gives us as many chances as we need until we can finally become perfect.  I know that perfection is not obtained here in this life, but I also know we can obtain it in the next.  The responsibility we have here in this life right now, however, is important but we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus´ Atonement is perfect and infinite.  We can find peace in knowing that right now we are not perfect, but we can continue until we are.
2 Zones today at Parque Tayrona
2 Zones today at Parque Tayrona
Well have a great week everyone!

Elder Crandall

Monday, August 10, 2015

JIM CARREY IS IN COLOMBIA???

August 10, 2015

El Parque Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Barriga

Hey guys!

This week was a good one.  We didn't have any investigators come to church which was a bummer, but we did have this new less active guy come.   He hasn't been to church in a while and we are not really sure why.  He is actually from Mexico.  His name is W---.   He just recently moved here and one day we were walking down the street when he called us over.  He's a pretty funny guy.  He's like only 5 foot tall and about as heavy as I am.  He says he was baptized in the 80's ´ignorantly´.  He said that they just went with a group of people to the beach and got baptized one day.  We´ll have to do some follow up on that. Anyway, he says that his whole family is in the gospel including his sons and his grandchildren.  He is a teacher of character. Oh, and he knows Hebrew.  The first meeting with him he sang a couple psalms in Hebrew and said the last prayer in Hebrew. It's easy to say that we will continue to visit him and help him in his life.

This week there was an emergency transfer and Elder Muñoz from Chile came to the zone. He looks like Jim Carrey.  He's a funny guy.  It was pretty funny because in church W---, in front of the whole elders quorum called him Jim Carrey and now everyone is calling him that, haha.  Things are going super good though.

Well I can't think of too much more that happened this week!  My mind is overloaded right now!  It was a good week though!

Silly faces

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Crandall

Monday, August 3, 2015

BURNED

August 2, 2015

El Parque Branch
Santa Marta District
Companion:  Elder Barriga

Hey guys!

What a week!  We actually had a great week!  Nothing too crazy, but it was fun!

So M--- has been a little sick these days and hasn't been able to come to the lessons or anything and also wasn't able to go to church yesterday which was a bummer.  But she is still doing great.  Another investigator we have is A---.  She is like 26.  Her story is actually pretty cool.  Around a week before I came my companion and his old companion were looking for people to teach and found her in the street and they taught her a little bit. Then I got here.  Her boyfriend (husband to be) doesn't like mormons.  He lets us come though, but never will listen to us or anything.  Almost everyone here in the coast are not married meaning they are not fulfilling God´s commandment of the law of chastity. A--- has also been working with her parents in the Santa Marta market so she has to work Sundays early in the morning because Sunday is the best day in the markets.  We didn't really have too much hope that she would progress fast because of some difficulties, but she has always had a desire to learn and always keeps her end of the commitments, like reading and praying.  Then this week A---´s husband-to-be left and her mom told her that she doesn't have to work Sundays anymore.  What a miracle!  What's even more of a miracle is that she came to church yesterday and loved it!  She is progressing a ton!

Also this week we had our much anticipated Branch Pizza Party!  When I got here we had the idea to throw a branch party to help the branch members have good morale and all.  Friday it happened!  Sorry I wish I had pictures but I forgot my camera that day!  We watched a short mormon message video and the branch president talked a little and then we played the game, Headbands, which was super fun.  And, of course, we ate pizza!  There was a pretty good turnout which was awesome!  What is even more awesome is that some less actives went to church Sunday that attended the activity! 

Speaking of pizza, I ate vomit pizza this week!  Sounds gross right?  Haha, it was actually pretty tasty.  They call it vomit pizza because on top of your pizza they put a bunch of extra stuff like french fries and sauces and stuff.  It was funny on the phone ordering it because after I told them what we wanted they asked me if I wanted vomit on my pizza.  That made me laugh, haha, but it was delicious!  I'll include a picture.

Vomit Pizza
Saturday we had a service project as a zone!  We went to a member's house that lives on the side of a mountain and helped them pick away the side of the mountain so that they can have more space!  It felt nice to do some good physical labor. 
 
The mountain side by the house we were working on

The Before: part of the mountain we needed to work on

Missionaries working on removing a rock

The After: Removing part of the mountain

Our Zone After

Our Zone After


We found a scorpion there!  I didn't know they existed in this part of Colombia! We also found a rat! 
Colombian scorpion

Colombian rat, freshly dead!
The only bad part was that I got super BURNED on my neck and face.  Oh that was terrible to have to wear a collared shirt and tie and everything later that day!  Can you believe that was the first time I've gotten sun burned in my mission?!

I'm enjoying the mission!  I love serving and helping people.  It's a good feeling that you only get from this kind of service! 

Some of our Zone today

Some of our Zone today
I love and miss you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Crandall