Monday, October 28, 2013

A Week with the Members

Hei Hei!

This week has been...uhh... interesting... As most weeks are on a mission. I sit down each night to write in my journal and it'll say "Today was the best day ever!" And then, "Today was so difficult..." In the same journal entry so yep, lots of ups and downs, but I'm still happy and healthy and involved in a great work so that's all that matters!
Well this week I wanted to write about all the member experiences we had this week. Man I love it when members step up to the plate to help us out! 

Well, on Tuesday, we went out with a recent RM who served in, yep, you guessed it, Mesa, Arizona. It was sooo cool being able to talk to him! I also found out that he had taught and baptized two people from my high school who I knew! I was so happy I almost cried. (Which is pretty weird considering I knew these people, but wasn't super close with them) but still, It was awesome! I also couldn't help wondering if I could've done something to help share the gospel with them a little more. They have a billion mormon friends and have been to church/mutual a bunch, but never had a formal invitation to hear from the missionaries. That's all it takes! One formal, bold invitation can make all the difference. Man, I loved hearing about all the work going on in my home state. 

So anyway, We went out with this Elder and sometimes it just takes a fresh, eager, RM to remind you of the spirit of missionary work. Sometimes when we're involved in it every day, we forget the joy of it. So, while we were out with him, we taught tons of lessons and found 3 new investigators! It was awesome.

Then, on Wednesday we held a lesson at a members home where we watched the Restoration movie. Finns are very sensitive and careful about how they use their time, so agreeing to meet with you is a big deal for them. Because of this, we like to keep our lessons shorter, so they know that we value their time and don't want to take hours of their day. Well, this is sometimes difficult because the movie is already 20 minutes long. But, these wonderful members had everything so perfectly set up and ready and all we had to do was sit down and teach. It made such a difference to the investigator when she could just learn and be receptive to the spirit and not worry about how much time we're taking up or anything. So yeah, members rock.

Then, we had another lesson on Saturday with this same investigator. She lives quite a ways away and it takes us over an hour to get there because of the way the bus schedule is and where the bus stop is and walking there and everything. But, once again, a wonderful member agreed to come to the lesson with us and give us a ride and made everything waayyyy easier. (It's only like a 15 minute drive on the freeway) We were able to go to more lessons that day and get way more done because of the help of this member.
Okay, so here are some other cool experiences that happened this week that aren't really member related.
We have a former investigator and her son who we've been trying to get in contact with. We've talked to her on the phone and she said we could come over anytime, but we've gone probably 5 or 6 times now and she's never home. Well, about a week ago we were walking over there to try to contact her again and while we walk places, we usually try to talk to everyone we pass/see (Which isn't a lot of people now that it's cold and snowy outside). So, we were walking and kinda in a hurry and saw a lady on the other side of the street walking the opposite direction and reasoned with ourselves that it would be too out of our way/awkward to talk to her and we were in a hurry so we just kept walking and went to this former's home and she wasn't there :( So then we just went on our day and didn't think much of it. Well, this week we went over there again and she was home! And guess what?! It was the same lady!! The Lord had put her perfectly in our path, but because we didn't talk to absolutely everyone we passed, we missed her. So yeah, we definitely repented of that one. But I learned a valuable lesson: The Lord won't keep someone from hearing the gospel just because he has imperfect people as his missionaries. This work is guided by him and the Lord patiently provided another way for us to get in contact with her. So, moral of the story, talk to everyone.

The second cool experience this week came when, as a companionship, we were prayerfully trying to pick a baptismal date for our investigator. When we started talking about it, the date November 28th popped into my head. And I though "No, Sister Crandall, that date just popped into your hear because it's your birthday. Plus, it's a Thursday and people aren't baptized on thursdays." So, in my mind, I picked the date November 30th, the closest Saturday. Well, then Sister Ballif went on to tell us that baptismal dates should be picked by the spirit regardless if they follow the normal circumstances regarding baptism i.e. On Saturdays, being in church 3 times,... So, then, Sister Dayton and I decided to say the dates we were both thinking outloud at the same time. And guess what, she said November 28th! ! She commented how she though that date had just popped into her head because it's Thanksgiving, but apparently it's the right date! So it was just cool that we both thought of a non-Saturday date. Just goes to show what can happen when your companionship is in unity: the spirit takes over.
So, those are my many stories/experiences for this week. It rained this week which is awesome because that means it's warm enough to not snow. I'm doing well and I'm happy and healthy! Oh, this week was also transfers and the two elders in my district got transferred and we got a new district leader and his brand new companion out of the MTC. Elder Cook and Elder Cummings. I'm way excited to work with them and get to know them more. We've got some great things happening in our area and I just can't wait to see where it'll go!
The pictures included are with Elder Downs and Elder Anderson who got transferred and a picture of me out freezing... p.s. Camille I'm wearing the hat you gave me and it's awesome :)
I love you all and I can feel your support each day! Keep up the great work at home and I'll talk to you next week!
Sisar Crandalla

Monday, October 21, 2013

Winter's Here!

Hey family and friends!!
Well, this week sure has been one of change and learning!

It started off Monday with me buying some winter boots. I didn't really think I'd need them for a while but there was a sale and I wanted to get them sooner rather than later. Well, I NEEDED THEM! It snowed this week! And all of the Finns were warning us that talvi tulee (winter will come) but I didn't really understand until now. It snowed a bunch and then quickly turned into ice so I was really grateful for some good boots. I also had to break out my winter coat this week, but I got pretty toastly in it pretty fast. So I was plenty warm, don't worry. Then, Finland likes to do this thing where they put rocks all over the sidewalk because they have something against salt. So now there is a weird mixture of rocks and ice and slush and snow all over the sidewalks that makes it pretty hard to exercise in the mornings, let alone walk to the bus stop, but we still go running everyday! I wonder how long that will last, but it sure helps wake you up when it's still pitch black outside. I'm glad I have companions who make me get outside. The whole day just starts off right when we do.

Well, then on Tuesday we went to Turku! We had exchanges there and I went out with Sisar Kunz. She's out Sister Training Leader (Sister Zone Leader) and it was way fun. We even went and visited a former investigator from Mexico and got to use some of my spanish! My oh my I've forgotten a lot of it... I had to struggle for like 10 minutes just to invite her to church! But she thoroughly enjoyed me saying a couple sentences in Spanish. (The rest of the conversation was in Finnish). So that was fun!

Then, on Wednesday we had our non-member neighbor invite us to go see this old church in Jyväskylä so we went! It's closed in the winter, but the grounds and the cemetary around it are open so we went and visited it and it was very cool. Attached are some pictures. On the day we went, it was still fall and nice and sunny and beautiful. The pictures of the snow are from Thursday, so it literally became winter overnight! 

Thursday we had district meeting and it was Elder Anderson's birthday so we celebrated with some very American 7 layer dip that was delicious. It's the little things that make us missionaries happy.
Well, the language is still improving daily! I sometimes have a hard time switching from Finnish to English though. Like this week someone asked me "Oletko sinä greenie" (Are you a greenie?) And I was like uhhh  mitä? what? And it just didn't register in my mind that the word greenie was in english and I didn't understand at all... And then later at the store, Sisar Ballif said they bought a suklaamufinni And I was sooo confused because I knew the word suklaa meant chocolate (you learn that word pretty fast here) but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what mufinni meant. (Yeah, it means muffin.) So maybe I just make this language harded for myself, but we laugh at it all the time and it's great!

The rest of the week involved tutoring and decorating and cleaning up for a wedding that was held at the church and overall, it was a great week!I also got Camille and Mom's and Dad's letters this week! Thank you so much! And I got a bunch of pictures of Camille and Hyrum and I loved them! Keep them coming! 

This week I've really learned that the Book of Mormon can truly change people. We had another missionary in our ward come home from her mission in Temple Square and she gave an amazing talk about it. I love hearing these type of stories because I experience them first hand! I see people completely turn their lives around because they know this gospel is worth it. So just remember, you're never too busy for the gospel. Make a priority of scripture study and family prayer and missionary work. The blessings will be repaid far more than you can ever imagine!
I hope all is well wherever in the world you may be! I'm praying for you all and I appreciate your love and support! Stay happy, healthy, and warm and I will too!
Sisar Crandall

P.S. I forgot to mention that this week was transfers and nothing happened in my companionship so im for sure in jyväskylä until at least Nov. 21st when my trainer goes home. I'll letcha know as soon as something changes! But for now my same polkkakuja address should be fine! 
K love you all!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Great Week!

Wow wow wow! I don't even know where to start! 

Well this week was sure one of ups and downs (as I'm sure most weeks are as a missionary) It started off normal with P-day and a visit to the Panda Factory (pictures to come). Then, on Wednesday we traveled to Tampere for zone conference and miraculously took the correct train both there and back by ourselves. I know you're probably all thinking that's easy, but this is the first time it's happened in a while so we were grateful for that!

Then, the rest of the week we got pretty busy! Here are the main stories of what happened:
So we have this film producer of a neighbor who is extremely busy, but super willing to meet. He has a cute little family with two sons and is seriously just so golden. So after struggling for weeks to set up an appointment with him and stopping by and talking to his wife and texting and everything, we were kinda discouraged. I mean, come one, no one's too busy for the gospel. So, we decided we'd do something unheard of for a Finn. We decided to make them dinner. So we went to the store and got some random ingredients and ended up making a lasagna and garlic bread and some hot chocolate and bringing it over to them. We just left it on their doorstep with a note that said "We know you're busy, so we saved you some time, and we'd like to reserve it for ourselves. Call us." (Something along those lines, idk it was in Finnish) So then we rang the door bell and ran away. It's weird how much of missionary work is taking cookies to people or bread  or heart attacking or just things like that (we did all of those things this week), So then we got a very long text about 10 minutes later and it was awesome! He was so apologetic for being so busy and wanted to know when he could come return our pan and it was awesome. So, the next day, we ran into him and he gave us our pan back and he invited us over for dinner and to meet the whole family! So, although it isn't the traditional way of tracting, it worked! We knew we had to do something drastic to show this family that they really do need this gospel, no matter how busy they are. So it was a great reminder to us that no matter how busy you may seem, things really work out when you put the Lord first. 

Okay, second story: 
On Saturdays we still go over and do service and I tutor in trigonometry. It's coming along pretty well, but everytime I go over there I realize how many English words (especially math words) I've forgotten because I haven't had to use them in months! I was trying to describe the Quadratic Equation to him in English (he speaks really good english) and couldn't think of any of the words! we finally had to google it, so I could remember what it was. So yeah, my everyday english is still fine, but anything beyond that is debateable. We also had the experience with that family of not being able to remember the word Excuvator. And the family only knew the work in German so that didn't help at all... But once again we just googled it and everyone had a big laugh about it. Well anyway, that wasn't the main part of the story. The cool part was after this service, we got to sit down and have lunch with the entire family (including the husband who we had barely met before) and had a nice discussion and invited them to come to young mens activities and meet the elders and it was awesome. So, slowly, but surely, the Lord is softening the hearts of those we come in contact with.

K, last story.
Saturday night we had an appointment with our investigator who used to be a former investigator and recently just started meeting with the missionaries again. She's an awesome lady with a really cute 5 year old son we all love. Well anyway, On Saturday night we invited her to be baptized, and she accepted! She has such incredible faith and is just super busy working on here doctrate. So, once again we testified of how if she puts the Lord first, we know she'll receive an answer to the truthfulness of this message. So she's preparing to be baptized next month!

So overall, I'm doing great :) Lots of ups and downs this week with some discouraging cancelled appointments and missed buses, but I always just remember this quote given to me by a good friend from Gordon B Hinckly "The best cure for worry is work..." So I just put my mittens and headband and hat and scarf and tights and socks and leggings and socks again and boots and skirt and cardigan and jacket and coat on and get back out there! (not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea) P.s. I was told "winter" was coming this week. Not sure what that means, but I'll let you know! 

Oh and p.s. an Elder here in our ward in Jyväskylä just came home from his mission in Mesa! It was great hearing his homecoming talk and being reminded of home!

Thank you so much for the wonderful letters and tons of emails I got this week! I'll write back to you all (my siblings) today don't worry! (Oh I'm also going to Turku tomorrow for exchanges so lots of writing time on my train rides!) Stay safe and know I'm praying for you all! I love you!

Sisar Crandall

 (Love the Sunset!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jyväskylä is way better than Helsinki...

Hope all is going well at home!  I was so extremely happy to hear of Hyrum's birth! I loved all of the pictures so much! And I get home right in time to become the favorite aunt again! perfect :)

Well this past week, Sunday through Friday, I was in Helsinki for Interim training and Language School. President Rawlings met with us and we talked a lot about how to improve our area and where we're going as a mission. It was very inspiring. I learned a lot from role playing inviting investigators to be baptized and I'm excited to go implement it all this week! Zone conference about a week and a half ago was great and I have another one this week in Tampere, so lots of traveling! We've only taken the wrong bus 50 times and the wrong train 2 so yeah, we're slowly figuring it out... But we've met some amazing people on those trains/buses so I guess it's all in the Lord's timing! 

Other than that, not a ton is new, I know I say that often, but it's hard to have a bunch of new stories when you're out of your area all week. There's still this family that we go and do service for every Saturday and I'm still tutoring their son in Trigonometry. It's going fairly well and he has a huge test coming up (Much like an AP test) So hopefully he won't fail! haha He'll do great. 

Well we had the opportunity to watch Conference this weekend! Best weekend ever! It started off by going to the mall and getting Conference Candy (mission tradition) and watching the Relief Society sessions and then Sat morning. Then,on Sunday, we watched Sat afternoon and sun morning. I haven't had the chance to watch Sun afternoon yet because it's already Monday here so hopefully I can read/watch it soon! I love Elder Uchtdorf's talk as well as Elder Dube and Elder Nielsen! Wow Missionary work is sure going forth and I love it! People back home ask me all the time what I need or what they can do to help. Really, the most help anyone could be to me, is to support your own missionaries back home. Call them up and let them know you're available to hold lessons or give a ride to church or anything! It makes such an incredible difference when we know we can count on a member. So get in contact with them ASAP! It's the least you can do.

So. all is well here in good old Finland. It's already snowed a couple times so of course we went out and bought some ice cream so there are some pictures of that. I wear tights/leggings everyday and usually a hat too so sorry if I look goofy in some of the pictures, it's the only way to stay warm! I'm also going to the Panda Factory today and I'm very excited! Panda is a huge chocolate manufacturing company so we've been making Willy Wonka jokes all day and the Elders in our district are sick of it, but I love it!

Oh! And I almost forgot! I got a package this week! Thanks Dad!! The best part by far was the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Wow I did not realize how much I missed those. Of course I'm fine without them, but for some reason it's the little things that help :) So thanks everyone for sending your love and support! I got letters from Camille and Mom so I'll be writing home again today! And congrats again to Melissa and Joseph! I love you too!
Sisar Crandall

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Week of Travels

Well hello there!!

This week was another awesome one! 
To start off, I got a package! From dad! It was awesome. My favorite part by far was the peanut butter. They have it here, but it's never the same.
The main thing that happened was that we had Zone Conference in Tampere this week! It was really cool to get out of Jyväskylä and see some more of Finland. Man this country is beautiful. So we woke up at 530 to catch a 635 bus and a 720 train to Tampere. Then the conference started and President spoke to us until about 5pm. It was long, but very spiritually uplifting and motivated our zone a lot. We also have to take a language test whenever we're at zone conference to see where we're coming with the language. Yeah let's just say I need to keep studying... 

The work this week has been great. We met with a former investigator Saturday night and she prayed and agreed to come to General Conference and is really coming along great. No idea why she stopped investigating because she has a testimony so I'm excited to see her progress very quickly!
Also, yesterday I started my work as a Finnish Math Tutor. Oh boy. It went surprisingly well, but it still was in Finnish and I had to translate quite a few words. It almost made me feel like I didn't know Finnish at all, but then I realized that these are words that no missionary would ever learn. Like radius, angle, radian, circumference and everything else so yep, lots of new vocab!
I'm in Helsinki right now and literally have 20 minutes to email so sorry this is so short, I'll make up for it next week. Just want to say I love you all and I'm doing great! And I'll be sure to have lots of stories next week! I'm praying for Melissa and Hyrum and I'm excited to log on next week and see him! Be safe! K love you all!

Sisar Crandall