Monday, November 25, 2013

Week "I lost count after 3..."

Hello my dear friends and family!
How's everyone doing? Well, I'm just great. This week was sure an adventurous one! It started off on Monday getting my dear trainer/companion all packed up! We took her to the train station on Tuesday and sent her off to California! I really hope she reads this and knows that we miss and love her! 

Well anyway, I've had a dinner appointment (sometimes 2) everyday this week. So don't worry, I'm getting fed waaayyy more than I need haha. Must be the Christmas spirit or something. But the good part is that I get to know all the members! They have such sweet spirits and I absolutely love being in their homes.

We started teaching this new family this week. The have 3 kids and are pretty open/interested in religion. The mom only speak Thai though so we've had a little or a language barrier (well, more than usual) So we now talk to the daughter or dad in Finnish and they try to translate it into Thai and then the lesson goes on like that. So, it takes a lot longer, but we're getting there! Luckily, the Restoration movie is in Thai so we were able to show that to her and get the message across much more easily. (I've seen that movie so many times I could watch it in any language and still quote it perfectly).

We had a great little Brunch with a bunch of the older Relief Society women in the ward. They taught us Finnish Christmas songs and talked about the families and traditions and it was a really fun time. 

Then, On Thursday and again on Saturday, I tutored again. This time, it's integrals. So glad I paid attention when I had to learn those in English because now I have to explain it in Finnish. I mean, a lot of the words are the same so it comes along surprisingly well.

Well, a couple cool experiences to share this week. 1st, we were walking to meet a member to go to an appointment when we said "terve" to this lady. This is super weird to Finns and we often get weird looks and "ei kiitos" but this lady just stopped and said "Do I know you?" And we were like "nope!" but then she said "but you're Mormons right?" Yes Ma'am we are. She told us all about her religious experiences and how she's been to a lot of different churches and just never felt anything different. Then she said that she was just sitting at home tonight and decided to go to the Kioski (like a gas station store) and get something to drink for no reason. Ah, little does she know, she'd meet us! So we ended up talking for over a half hour just right there on the street corner and were slightly late to meeting our member (sorry!) But we gave her a Book of Mormon and she asked us for our number and address so we could come back! It was just a really reassuring experience that there ARE people here, and everywhere, more than prepared to hear the gospel. All we have to do is get out there and find them. So I'm really excited to go back there this week and meet with her again.

Well, another cool experience (kinda 2 in 1) happened another night when our investigator cancelled last minute. It was about 8 o'clock and we're not allowed to knock on doors after this time, but we don't have to be home til 9 so it's kinda hard to find "missionary work" to do since there's no one outside to talk to. Well, we figured we might as well go where there's more likely to be people. So we started walking towards the center near some stores where people often hang out who we could talk to. And who did we run into? Our investigators two sons! It was really cool because we'd only ever met them at their door, but we were able to stop and talk to them! And then we talked to them and after a phone call to their dad, they invited us over for dinner on Sunday! So cool! This specific instance was even more miraculous because they live right next to us, but we've been trying so hard to get in contact with them and it just hasn't worked out recently until now! So, we ended up going over there yesterday and eating dinner with the whole family and talking all about the book of mormon and christmas and everything! It was just a really cool night. Yep, the Lord knows where his missionaries are and where they need to be. And although we're so very imperfect and it might take some time, he'll get us there :) I'm really grateful for that.
Well, that was basically my week! A lot of adjusting since I'm now only in a twosome, but we're doing great! I'm surprisingly able to understand what I need to and haven't had too many miscommunications.

Well, it's snowed a ton this week so I definitely wore my snow boots everyday! And I probably will until about March! Can't wait!

I was really excited to hear about Shane and Vendla! Congrats to them! And congrats to Cami and her new baby coming soon and Allyson and her permit and the twins with their duet! Yep, lots of reasons to be proud of my family!

Thanks so much for all your love and support! I feel it everyday. I love you all and I miss you!

Sisar Crandall

Me and my companions on our last day together.
Me and Sisar Dayton freezing at about 5pm. yeah it's pretty dark...

 A cool looking tree. Actually, these are all over now and everything is so white!
Me with me early birthday presents - An awesome ring from Melissa, Joseph, Camille and fam. and then my new sweater courtesy of Grandpa Larsen. I definitely wear it any time we're in the apartment and it's sooooo warm!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Her address in Jyvaskya is:

Polkkakuja 5 C 27

Hello my family and friends!
Yep! I'm still in Jyväskylä! I finished my 12 week training yesterday (Funny how I've been on a mission 5 months and was still in training...) and my trainer goes home tomorrow! So now my threesome goes down to just 2 and it's really sad :( Sisar Ballif is amazing and I'm so glad I got to serve with her! I really couldn't have asked for or imagined a better trainer. I was so blessed in that aspect. So now Sisar Dayton and I are together and on our own. I'm really glad I don't have to leave this beautiful city because I LOVE it here and I'm finally learning my way around and getting to know all the members really well (It kinda takes longer with a language barrier...) But I'm glad I get at least a little more time here! But the next week of my mission will probably be one of the hardest ones so far since we'll be doing lots of adjusting and having to do things on our own but I'm excited to learn a lot! So my Jyväskylä address is still valid and I'll always get anything sent to the mission office anyway. Thanks!
Well This week was sure an adventurous one! Definitely another one for the books. It started off on Monday when we went to an investigator's classic guitar concert. So cool! And then later in the week (I think on Wednesday) we had an AMAZING lesson with an investigator and invitied him to be baptized and he accepted! And then right at the end of the lesson, the Stake President showed up and got to meet him! (The lesson was at the church). And there are only 2 stakes in Finland which means only 2 stake presidents so this was a big deal and such a great experience for the investigator. 

Oh! On Tuesday, we were on our way to choir practice at the church and ran into a lady at the bus stop. She actually stopped us and asked when the bus was coming and started chatting it up and then she told us that she stopped us because of the light we had. It was pretty cool, especially now that it's pitch black outside at about 4. So then we got on the bus and she sat down right next to me and said "So what's this book you were talking about? Can you tell me about it?" Uhhh Yeah I can! (Okay, that's not really a quote since she said it in Finnish...) So we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and got her name and number and we're going back there this week to teach her and her kids! We were pretty late to choir practice, but who cares! She was definitely a prepared person and I gain a testimony of that more and more everyday. 

We also had a great "family night" With a couple in the ward and their non-member daughter-in-law and her son. We made some Finnish food (Karelian pirakka - look it up) and taught her all about Enos and prayer and she agreed to read Alma 32 and let us talk to her about it so that was an amazing experience as well! So yeah. lots of way cool things going on in this area! We've had the goal to split the ward and have 2 wards here in Jyväskylä and we're just working on finding and teaching families to accomplish that goal! 

On Sunday we traveled to Tampere for Stake Conference. All the Jyväskylä missionaries sang in the choir and a huge group of young women sand "Daughter of a King" In Finnish and I just bawled through the whole thing! Maybe I was crying because I actually understood, but the spirit was really strong there. We had a wonderful speaker, Elder De Feo (I think) and he talked all about giving all we can to the Lord and not worrying if it's enough. He will multiply our efforts to achieve his goals. I loved it :) Just what I needed to hear :)
I'm so excited to be a missionary at this time! (Uhh I just somehow centered my email and I have no idea how to uncenter it in Finnish so that's what you get!) Things of course have their ups and downs, but Finland is just gonna explode soon (if it's not already...) And I can't wait! 

Oh, also this week my companions and the other sisters took me out to lunch for my birthday since Sisar Ballif wanted to be there so that's what one of the pictures is. The other picture is of me and Sisar Dayton on the way to a 4 O'CLOCK APPOINTMENT and it's completely dark outside. Jyväskylä had this huge "Christmas kick-off" party thing and it's officially the Christmas season here with Christmas trees and lights on every corner and store and music everywhere and little Christmas shops opening up everywhere and a huge star hung in the city center and I just love it :) Finland really is a magical place to be for Christmas. (Wow I just attached both of those pictures and I just look frozen and fat in both of them... I swear it's just the jacket!)

AH! I forgot the best part of the week! I got a bunch of mail and got Melissa and Joseph and Camille's present!!! THANKS! I absolutely love it! And it fits perfectly! You guys are awesome! (Sorry I already opened it...)
Well, basically I'm doing great and this week will be difficult and full of change but I can't wait to see how it'll go! Thanks for all the pictues! Sounds like lots of fun things going on at home! I love you all so much! Thanks for all your love and support!

Sisar Crandall

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hello There from Sisar Crandall!

Well, not much time to email this week but here's what's new!

Monday was Sisar Dayton's birthday and I enjoyed some wonderful reindeer meat pizza! haha It's actually not that weird and kinda tastes like Tuna Fish, but not as fishy. We also had a great American family in the ward have us over for fhe and celebrated her birthday with a very American chocolate chip pumpkin cake. yum :)

Tuesday we had zone conference and traveled to Tampere for it! We have a new Zone Leader and we're excited to see where the work goes here in the middle part of Finland!

This week has been a pretty up/down one (they usually are on a mission). We've had some amazing experiences with less actives and youth. We also really had the members step up to help us out this week and went on splits multiple times (it's easy to do that with a threesome). However, now the thing we're struggling with is getting the investigators to meet. Three times this week we had a member there and a lesson scheduled and everything was great and the investigator didn't show up or answer the door or something like that. So now we just need all of our member work and investigator work to coincide and take place in the same week and we'll be set!

Well, the good thing with all these splits is that I go out with Sisar Dayton every time (my companion who's been out the same amount of time as me). So we're becoming a lot more confident in the work and in the language since we don't have our trainer with us to cover in case we don't understand. So hopefully we'll be okay when she leaves! (which is next week btw). I also could possibly be in another city or companionship next week so anything that won't get to me by the 18th just wait to send. I'll let you all know next P day!

Well, Christmas has started here in Finland already. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving, obviously, so it jumps to Christmas as soon as Halloween is over. There's snow and lights and Santa and everything already and I just love it! Finns are very proud of their Christmas here and if you ask anyone what their favorite thing to do during Christmas time they'll all say "syödä" "eat" So hopefully I'll be able to make it through this season!

There's also a newspaper here called the Ilta Lehti and it had a HUGE 4 spread page on the missionaries here in Espoo, Finland. It's awesome that we're getting some more exposure! It was all very positive and informative and really helping the work move forward!

Well, Sunday we sang in church in Finnish. Sounds intimidating, but I loved it :) The ward just gets some sort of excitement from seeing the missionaries up there and It's awesome :)

Well I want to wish Allyson a special happy birthday! Hope you have a great day! 
I love you and I miss you all so much! Sorry this is short, but the work's gotta go on here in Jyväskylä! We've got a great week planned this week and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Stay awesome you all :)

Sisar Crandall

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Week for the Books!


Well, as the subject line says, this week was definitely one for the books. It was awesome!! All those weeks of having almost straight zeros and trying to build up this brand new area really paid off! Some AMAZING things happened this week and every day I came home thinking "Man, today is one of those days that makes missionaries say this was the best two years" And that happened everyday this week! So cool!! I don't even know where to start! I guess I just gotta say that slow and steady pays off. 

Well, to start it off, on Monday night we went to FHE with the YSA. We invited a bunch of investigators and potentials to come, but no one had told us they were coming so we were a little bummed out. BUT THEN, Our investigator (the one I've been tutoring in math) texted us right before it started and was like "Oh, yeah, I guess I could come" Haha he thinks he's too cool for all this stuff. Well, he came! And he loved it! And the funniest part was that in the middle of fhe, the ysa leader asked us to run to the store to grab something real quick. So us three ran out, and our investigator wanted to come with. So we were in the store and, of course, still talking to everybody which is interesting when you have someone watching you. So anyway, we talked to this man who seemed interested and we all introduced ourselves and so did our investigator! He just joined in on the lesson and talked to the man and it was great. We all went home thinking "Man, that guy will make a great missionary" So it was pretty cool to have our investigator see us doing what we do everyday outside of his home. Well, then we went back to fhe and he met tons of members and recent RMs and it was great! 

Then, on Tuesday we went to visit this less active lady in the ward. We had gone over right when I had arrived in the country and she did not want us there. So we decided to let her be for a while and not to push anything. Well she came to church a couple times so we decided to call and try to meet with her. Well, she invited us right over! So we were very excited and we went in and she was happy and welcoming and had all these doctrinal questions for us and lots of food and she wanted us to help her order her triple combination and it was amazing! She was a totally different person! It was so cool to see the gospel change someone that much and that fast. It definitely helped my testimony. She was even asking how she could help us and later in the lesson I happened to mention that I really like the blueberry pie everybody makes here in Finland (It's a really big thing) And she was like "Oh! Here's a huge thing of blueberries!" So yeah, I love her! I mean, of course I loved her anyway, but she's just so happy now and it's seeing this change in people that makes me so motivated to just get out there and try to share it even more!

Then, Wednesday came! And for the first time since I've been in Finland, I got to play basketball! It was awesome! And not to brag or anything, but since no one in Finland really plays basketball, I looked really pro at it haha it was awesome. So anyway, our investigator (the same one who came to fhe) came and played with us and a ton of the ysa and the elders and their investigator came and it was so awesome! And then we got to show them all around the church and talk about what happens there and it was great! It's kinda hard to explain but just allowing them to feel the spirit that's there in the church made such a difference.

So, On Thursday 2 cool things happened. First, we texted our investigator (a different one) asking if he could meet tonight and he said he couldn't. So we were kinda bummer when we got that text. But then, before we even texted back, he texted again and said "But I want to come on church on Sunday" And he's never even been to church before! And we hadn't even invited yet! So, yeah, us three were freaking our at that one. It's just awesome that after months of asking and inviting and have no one show up to things that suddenly it's paying off! Also, on Thursday, which happened to be Halloween, a got a package! I got some wonderful pumpkin chocolate chip things from Dad! Thanks! I absolutely loved them and I haven't made them quite yet, but I can't wait!

Friday was so good! Man I know I've said that about everyday this week but it was! We had our ward Halloween party!! This is the first time they've had a ward Halloween party because really no one here celebrated Halloween. So we were really unsure about how it was going to turn out because there are only like 2 American families in the ward who were kinda in charge of it so we didn't know if any of the Finns would even show up or participate or anything. Boy, were we wrong. IT WAS AWESOME!! Everyone showed up! Even the bishop and his whole family and the stake president and his family and ALL the young women and young men put on booths and it was so fun! The entire ward really came together and had a wonderful time! And they all invited their friends!! We sat down as missionaries and tried to count how many non members came and we lost track after 30! It was a wonderful finding activity and we all got to meet each other's friends and investigators and it was so awesome! I can't even describe how big of a deal this was for this ward. Like in America ward parties happen all the time, but this was the first times I've seen the ward so unified! And it was a hit! Man, great things happen when we're unified that's for sure!

Then, Saturday came! Boy oh boy I loved Saturday haha. First off, Here in Finland November 2nd is a national holiday. It's called pyhäpaivää or literally, Holy Day. It's called All Saints Day in English and it's comparable to Dia de los Muertos. So absolutely EVERYTHING was closed. Which was kinda weird because in America even Walmart is open on holidays or something. But every single little store close down. So anyway, The day started off great with me finishing the Book of Mormon! In the MTC I got a brand new copy and marked it all up and read it straight through. And then, On Sunday, I started it again! In a brand new copy that i'll get to mark all the way through and see what I find different this time! Man I'm so excited! So anyway, then we went out to a couple lessons and had a wonderful Dinner appointment at the church with the returned missionary from Mesa. He made us Mexican food. Holy cow it was delicious. It wasn't until right then that I realized how much I missed Arizona! That definitely made Saturday special.

Then on Sunday, Our investigator and her son came to church! And so did another investigator! For the first time, all three of us were super busy trying to get them all to the right classes! But I loved it! It's always interesting sitting next to a nonmember during sacrament meeting and wondering "Oh man, what are they thinking?!" So we'll have a lesson with them this week and find out! The cool thing is, that whatever they're thinking, I know they're feeling the spirit. We had an amazing testimony meeting and a musical number by the other sisters and the whole day was just really a blessing :)

And Today is my wonderful companion's, Sisar Dayton, birthday! She's 22!! Yay! We've had a great morning so far that included an amazing run, some presents, and chocolate chip pancakes! The rest of the day is planned to include a buffet for lunch and some reindeer meat for dinner! I'll letcha know how it goes next week!
Well, I guess the main thing I've learned this week is that no matter what your numbers show, as long as you're doing your best to constantly be led by the spirit, you'll be blessed. We've had some slow weeks, I'll admit, but this area is just started to pick up and soon we'll be so busy we won't know what to do! It's gonna explode any day now! So, the work is great :) I'm great, healthy, happy, warm, and can't wait to get back out there! And most importantly, the church is true.
Thanks so much for the wonderful letters and love and support this week! I'll write back asap! Cute costumes everyone! Especially Allyson haha you're so funny. Have a great week! I love you all!

Sisar Crandall
p.s. I was Sisar Ballif for Halloween. And sorry that I look like a mess, me and Sisar Dayton got caught in the rain right before the party! Anyway, enjoy the pics!