Monday, December 29, 2014

Remember This

Well those of you who have been following my emails for the past year and a half have now read about 80 letters from me. Over that time I've written lots of stories, lessons, insights, experiences, and other things I've learned that have helped me and hopefully have helped you too. During that time I've also been studying Preach My Gospel a lot and I've noticed that there is so much to learn and remember that sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Luckily PMG was set up in such a way that on the back cover is a list called "Remember This" as if to say "If you read this entire guide to missionary service and don't get anything else out of it, at least remember this." So, over the past 18 months, if you can't remember anything else I've ever said or done, at least remember this:

1. I love being a missionary

2. I love the people of Finland

3. "Gratitude is a catalyst for all Christlike attributes" (Pres. Uchtdorf) and if can literally make or break your mission. So I'm so grateful for ALL and EVERY experience I've had out here and all the support I've had from home during it all.

4. Have faith that the Lord can work miracles because "If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease" _-PMG pg 10

5. This is the Lord's work and you must "rely on the spirit rather than on your own talents and abilities" -PMG pg 97

6. "When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you won't be disappointed in yourself" -PMG pg 11

7. "When you put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives" -Pres Ezra Taft Benson

8. "Just as vital as what you do, however, is who you are" PMG pg 115. Learning to be like Christ is a lifelong pursuit" "You follow Christ's example - develop His attributes - one action and decision at a time" PMG pg 123 so just be a little better today than you were yesterday

9. "The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way by which we can find eternal happiness" PMG pg 11

10 "All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ" PMG pg 52

This week was a great one and I have so much to tell you all, but not enough time to type all that I'm thinking so just ask me about it later :)

I love you all! I love my Savior and I'm so grateful for him and his sacrifice for me. Have a wonderful week! 

Sisar Crandall

Caroling in the center with the sisters
Last District Meeting! The whole Tampere District
The sun came out :)

I got a pic on Santa's lap

Monday, December 22, 2014

Endure to the End

Dearest Family and Friends,

 Well. I hit my 18 month mark this week. It came and went and I didn't even notice until my companion mentioned that she hit her 14 month mark. It reminded me of a quote I've heard and actually have posted on my fridge here in Tamper "When you come on a mission, you will either be there to serve time or you will be there to serve the Lord." So then I got thinking, what if I stopped serving before I was released? And what if other people did that as well? What if a bishop, stake president, apostle, or even the prophet stopped serving before they were released? And what if Christ did it as well? What if Christ gave up and didn't finish strong his mission? I mean, it's only a week or 2 right? So does it really matter? Well as this week went on, I spent my personal studies really focused on Christ and what he did the last week of his earthly ministry. I studied what happened starting the Sunday of his last week on earth. I'm sure I missed some, but here's the list of what I came up with:

-Parable of the fig tree
-Cleansing of the temple
-Parable of the two sons
-Parable of the royal marriage feast
-Parable of the wicked husbandmen
-Declaring what is the Greatest Commandment
-The encounter with the widow's mite
-Mount of Olives
-Predictions and signs of the 2nd coming
-Parable of the 10 virgins
-Parable of the talents
-Washing of the Disciples' feet
-Establishing the sacrament
-The Last Supper
-Teaching how to pray tot he Father in Christ's name
-Promising the Holy Ghost
-Parable of the true vine and branches 
-"If ye love me, keep my commandments"
-The Lord's high priestly prayer
-Suffering in Gethsemane for the sins of the world
-Submitting to the Father's will and performing the atonement
-Betrayed by Judas and healed the guard's ear
-Endured unfair trial and mockery, whipping, and torture.
-Carried his cross to Calgary
-Died, was buried, and preached to the spirit in prison
-Rose from the dead

I am filled with gratitude that Christ is a finnisher. Without him enduring all the way to the end and finnishing his mission, we wouldn't have all these glorious scriptures and teachings and doctrines, but more importantly, we would be dead both spiritually and physically. So I have all my life to serve the Lord. I've come to realize that it's not limited by a specific call in a specific area. I can serve the Lord and those in my sphere of influence the rest of my life. Whether that sphere be in Finland, Arizona, Utah, or anywhere else the Lord needs me. Either way, my mission and my purpose are the same to "Invite other to come unto Christ".

So, with all of that being said, here are some of the miraculous things that happened AFTER my "time" was up. 

P IS GETTING BAPTIZED!! We ended up having 3 lessons with her this week and she came to church yesterday again for 3 weeks in a row!! And I rarely ask for specific prayers, but they're really needed for this one. Her baptismal date is this saturday the 27th and that means she can't drink ANY coffee or alcohol this week. PLEASE pray for her this she'll be able to do it. She got a blessing yesterday that should help and her member daughter is coming to stay with her on Wednesday for Christmas so that should help and we call and text and visit and are doing everything in our power and preparing with faith that it will all work out in the end. But she is AMAZING! We come to our lessons and she's already read all the pamphlets and chapters in the book of mormon and the bible that have to do with the topic. She also got the new Relief Society manual for next year (President Benson) and she's already read a majority of it and studied it as well! She's amazing and totally 100% prepared and Sisar Dixon and I haven't really done anything but we're sure enjoying finally seeing some blessings of our work and obedience. They come every body, I promise :)

We had Zone Conference!! It was my last one and I got to see all the sisters one last time so there's some pictures of that. I also made a comment that apparently was SUPER funny (I just meant to whisper it to my companion) and everyone died laughing including President Watson. I'll tell you the whole story about it on skype if you remind me, So I have successfully made President Rawlings, President Watson (both very serious and serene men) , and a random Finn on the street laugh. Goal completed :) 

We caroled on a street corner near the center near the joulutori (christmas market) and someone came up to us and said "Hey, we have a stage for you!" And they put us up on the stage for everyone to hear! It went really well! And all of our black name tags just shined under the stage lights. So there are pictures of that as well.

We worked a TON with less actives and one of them finally likes us! She offered us a ride home and said we could come over next week and made some major breakthroughs!!

We had a GREAT sacrament meeting yesterday!! ALL of our less actives showed up! And ALL the members welcomed and greeted P and she loved it! Last second (literally as the meeting is starting) they ask Sisar Dixon and I to do a musical number. Luckily Sisar Dixon sings AMAZINGLY so we did an accapella (no idea how to spell that) version of "Joulu yö juhla yö" "Silent Night" and everyone loved it. 

We also were able to meet with B and V and A (three other investigators) and had major breakthrough lessons with those as well! I'm super grateful for all the members stepping up and helping us out this week so much even while they're preparing for the holidays. 

So basically, this week was great and I'm so grateful that I'm here and still get to serve. Also, I'm grateful that I have such great examples of finnishers in my life. So I guess the point of this email is that no matter where you are in life right now, in school, on a mission, in work, in our church callings, at home, and just in life in general, remember to endure to the end. And especially this week, remember to be grateful that Christ did as well.

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week celebrating and testifying about Christ's birth! Merry Christmas! Hyvää Joulua!

Sisar Crandall

Singing in the Joulutori (I'm on the far right in the huge puffy jacket. It was freezing)
Sisar Curtis and all her former companions (including me and Sisar Dayton :))
"Hämeenlinna missionaries" (quotes because we're only there one day a week)

Sisar Ross and I (we matched)
Sisar Owen and I
Sisar Rochette and I eating our cake balls (don't ask...)
Sisar Pack and I

Sisar Forrest and I
Eating Kebab for the last time!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Faith, Obedience, and Role Plays

Hello family! 

Well this week has been a very faith trying one. But you know what they say, "you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith". So that means that this week was also full of lots of witnesses!! Holy cow my testimony has almost been strengthen more in the past week than it has in the past 18 months. It's kinda like when Satan tries to discourage you, you know you must be on the right path. 

So I'll just run through two of my favorite people of all time and then some other experiences that have happened. 

First. P. She's our investigator who's daughter is a member and she's about 65. She's awesome!! I just love her so much! She wants to meet with us at least every other day and immediately acts on our message and is receiving answers like crazy! She's come to church 2 weeks in a row and has a very solid baptismal date for Dec 27th! What a white Christmas that will be? She's given up drinking coffee and studies the scriptures and prays about it all the time all by herself! She's just awesome. It's just really cool to see how willing she is to change once the spirit has started working on her. We had 3 AWESOME lessons this week with her with members and the members were just shocked with how perfectly every lesson has gone. Well when we found P, Sisar Dixon and I committed to not mess it up! So we've planned SO well and role played EVERYTHING! Even phone conversations! Just to make sure we're following the spirit and saying what she needs to hear. Holy cow everything has gone exactly as planned and I'm just amazed by it every time! But I've started to expect it now! If we plan and role play by the spirit, our lessons and contacts and others things will go a lot more as planned and as we want it to! So I've picked my jaw off the ground a couple times and strengthened my faith that YES there and these people and we find them all the time and people are 100% ready to act on this gospel because it's true! and Yes, our lessons will go as we role played because the spirit was with us in our planning! Makes sense if you ask me :)

So then we have H. She's way cool as well. She's the 17 year old in Hämeenlinna. A lot of our investigators are super different from each other, but it's interesting to see how the spirit can still work on all of them. So H has been struggling recently with a couple questions about prophets and commandments and not really understanding the importance of some things. Some we've been addressing her concerns and nothing's really been getting sorted out... until this week that is! Saturday night, H texted us telling us she's been reading and praying and not really getting an answer and still wanting to be baptized and just not sure what to do about it all. So Sisar Dixon and I really prayed and fasted to know what to teach her when we saw her on Sunday. Well this time we changed the way we thought about H and her testimony. She's grown up around the church her whole life (her mom is a member) and knows what the church believes, but has a hard time applying it to her personal life. So instead of asking her what her questions and concerns are, we focus on what she knows to be true.  We both read and studied Elder Holland's talk "Lord, I believe" (We completely owe this idea and the success of this lesson to him) and realized that we've been too focused on figuring out her concerns that she (and us) are loosing sight of what she already knows to be true. So as we started the lesson and read through some of the talk in Finnish, we had her make a list of all the things she KNOWS to be true. We had her first state and hold fast to what she knows and then we'll work on the faith that the rest of the knowledge will come. Well it worked! She wrote a HUGE list of gospel principles she has a testimony of. Like the book of mormon, the power of prayer, love, and God's goodness. She just started tearing up while realizing that maybe she has already received her answer. She yeah, she's still working on some things, but she's progressing right along and will get baptized soon, but she currently doesn't have a date (she needs her dad's permission first) But the important thing is that she's recognizing this progression and even expressed her desire to be baptized again and it just went great! just like we role played :)

So those are the cool experiences with our 2 progressing investigators this week. Other events that happened:

The Joulutori (Christmas market) opened up this week so we enjoyed exploring that on monday (see the pictures)

Ward Christmas Party: Both Tampere wards had a Christmas party together and last minute all the missionaries got roped into playing Lucia and her attendants (It's a swedish christmas thing I think) So there are some pictures of that. The missionaries also acted out the poem "The grinch" and it went great! It's about a missionary who didn't get any presents for christmas last year so he goes around stealing all the other missionaries presents. But the missionaries don't really care because they have each other and the gospel and the grinch learns all about giving presents all out of love :)  The other skits were HILARIOUS and it was so fun to see the Finns loosen up a little bit. We even had a cool potential and our less active come so that night was a success!

On Sunday was the Ward Christmas Song Night. The missionaries also got roped into singing a song last minute and it went great! I'll show it to you all sometime but it's called "Tulkoon Joulu" And we had a potential that came to that as well! His name is J and we met him caroling in the town center last week and invited him to the concert and he showed up! Honestly, Siasr Dixon and I talk to and invite 100s of people a week to different things so when he showed up and waved to us, we didn't ever remember who he was! But after talking to him for a sec we figured it all out. But out of the TONS of people we invited to that night, he was probably (in my mind) the least likely to come because when we gave him an invitation, he crumpled it up and threw it in his pocket. Well the Lord works in mysterious ways and we taught him at the church and got his phone number and we'll go tell him all about the book of mormon! Cool stuff!

Other than that this week was great! Sisar Dixon and I are still just trying to be 100% obedient and are enjoying it whether we immediately see the blessings or not. FInland is awesome and I just LOVE Tampere! I hope you all have a wonderful week preparing for Christmas and enjoy the real spirit of the season! I love you all!

Sisar Crandall

Sisar Dixon and I at the Joulutori
Still at the Joulutori with the nutcrackers :)
Driving through Finland :) I LOVE our 45 minute drive to Hämeenlinna each week!

Us singing in Finnish and Swedish around Lucia
The sisters with Tanya
Tanya and the Elders

WE thought we looked like the thing on the door... maybe not...
I love the snow :)
We both tried moose sausage. Pretty good actually!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Gospel Glow and the Grinch

Hello family and friends!!

Hope you're all having a beautiful sunny December day where ever you are around the world! A member told us that the news came out with the statistics that the entire month of November , we had only 16 HOURS OF SUNLIGHT. Yep. That's less sun then we get in ONE DAY in the summer here in Finland. So yes, I really miss the sun :) and the warmth it brings :) but good thing we have the light of the gospel! First off I want to start off with a cool story:

Yesterday we were on the bus coming to church with our investigator P! (I'll tell you about her in a sec). As Sisar Dixon and I got on the bus we both noticed a girl sitting there who just looked so different and stood out for some reason we couldn't really tell. Then both of us had the thought, "She looks like she could be a member" But since we were with our investigator, we all sat down together and rode to church. I also know all the members here in Tampere, so I just dismissed the thought. Well, when we got off the bus, she got off too! She was going to church! And she WAS a member! She is from Rovaniemi, living in Helsinki, and came to church in Tampere. It was probably one of the first times where this "light of the gospel'" things was SO obvious to me, It's a very different culture here in Finland. The people really aren't spiritual at all and somehow it shows in their countenances. This bus was PACKED full of Finnish people, all dressed the same, and all just sitting their on the bus, but she specifically stood out. And now I realize just how obvious it all is. If a hundred Finnish people were standing in a line and one of them was a member with the light of the gospel, I could easily pick out which one it was. So I really hope that's what the Finns see when we get on a bus happy and smiling and talking to everyone. You can't help but be attracted to it! 
So other things that happened this week,

-We went on exchanges with the Turku Sisaret. Sister Pack and Sister Forrest. They are both awesome. I was with Sisar Pack who isn't too much younger than me in the mission and we had a blast. I got to meet a couple who had just gotten married and baptized and they're way cool! I love meeting recent converts and seeing their zeal for the gospel :) 
-We've been working with H who lives in Hämeenlinna. We're trying to help her still receive a testimony of the prophet and how this knowledge that there is a living prophet helps us. She still has a date for Dec 20th, but it's not as solid as before. So just pray for her.
-P came to church! Her daughter is a member in Turku and we met her at the bus stop and she became our investigator! We had a great lesson last week and have another one planned for today! She really understands that she needs to study and pray and figure this out for herself which is awesome because she's really willing to. She also has a husband who is kinda sick and not that interested, but we'll work on him as well.
-So our ward Christmas party is coming up on Saturday the 13th and the missionaries (8 of us) were asked to do a little skit in it.  So after some brainstorming, we came up with THE GRINCH!! Slight problem though... The grinch doesn't exist in Finnish.... Well no problem for Sisar Crandall and Sisar Dixon! We wrote our own! So this week for part of our language study, we've been working on writing The Grinch (Missionary Style) in Finnish. AND IT RHYMES! So just coll me Dr. Seuss everyone. Dad, I TOLD you all those days of memorizing the grinch movie would come in handy! It sounds AWESOME! And we went over it at district meeting last week and everyone loved it! I'll send home a copy (It'll be in Finnish though...) next week with pictures letting you all know how it went. Just know that I'm SUPER excited for it! 

-The Joulutori (Christmas market) opened up here last week so all the missionaries went and caroled there! 6 missionaries sang while 2 contacted and handed out "He is the Gift" cards and taught people and just spread some Christmas spirit. I was one of the 2 contacting (I kinda got sick this week and lost my voice a bit... not the point.) and had some interesting contacts. One man was very interested and we ended up teaching the whole restoration with "joy to the World" being sung in the background. Another woman came up to me and said, (in English) "Are you Christians?" It kinda startled me because it was in English, but I turned around and smiled and said "Yes!" She looked at me for about 3 seconds kinda confused, got a little scared, and then yelled (still in English) "No, you're not! You're going to Heck!" (Except for the fact that she didn't say heck...) She walked away and I honestly started laughing to myself. I had gotten that earlier on my mission, but it was always in Finnish and mixed in with a lot of other words I don't understand... but for some reason, hearing it in english just made me smile and feel reassured that I must be doing something right if there are people against it!

-We had an AWESOME lesson with L this week. She's out investigator who knows some members and has a husband and 2 little girls who are ADORABLE! Her girls were sick so we couldn't meet again last week, but she's been reading and praying and shows lots of potential so we're really excited about her!

Well we had LOTS of members out with us and literally did EVERYTHING exactly by the book and by PMG and are really working hard to do everything in our power to help these miracles come to pass and then to give everything else over to the Lord. It's been a little rough number wise, but Sisar Dixon and I really feel like we're doing what we need to be so I guess that's what matters in the end.

Well I'm off to do some Christmas shopping at the market! Have a wonderful week remembering the true meaning of Christmas and that "He is the Gift" I love you all!!

Sisar Crandall

Peppermint Chocolate with the Turku sisters. Sisar  Pack and Sisar Forrest

Monday, December 1, 2014

HE is the GIFT!

Well everyone, What a week! So much to tell you! Thanksgiving and my birthday were wonderful! I had a very American Macaroni and Cheese on Thursday with my companion, chocolate chip pancakes and a thanksgiving dinner on Friday (made by Sisar Watson) and then a full blown thanksgiving dinner on Saturday at a member's house! Other things that happened this week:
-Was asked to give a talk in church right before it started. Used to freak me out, but now I'm used to it.
-Found 4 NEW INVESTIGATORS (I'll tell you how below)
-Got to see both Sisar Howell and Sisar Johnston when I was down in Helsinki
-Did language study with 2 less active members!
-Had a relief society christmas party. It was a Filipino and Finnish party and the food was great!
-Got to go to the temple on my birthday and see the 2nd new film! So cool! 

Okay now I'll just skip to the most important things.

On Friday we had MLC at President's house in Helsinki and it basically changed the way I do missionary work. Kinda wish I would've had some of these realizations about 17 months ago... but now that I get it, Sisar Dixon and I will be focusing on working with the sisters and applying all that we can over the next month! Basically I just haven't had enough faith that EVERY SINGLE PERSON I talk to will accept this message and be baptized. But not anymore!! After MLC on Friday, Sisar Dixon and I went out and talked, literally, to EVERYONE. As we were waiting at a bus stop with about 8 people, we talked to every one! And then once we got on the bus, I think we each moved 3-4 times to talk to every person on the bus! It probably looked comical to some people, but it's working!! I've always been passionate about missionary work, but this week just lit that on fire!! Why you may ask? Well it all comes back to this "He is the gift" video. 
If you haven't seen it yet, it's the new initiative put on by the church. SO GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW! 

So Sisar Dixon and I are trying to get every single person in Tampere to see this video. We decided to completely change our mindset and just go out and talk with everyone and expect that everyone was going to accept the message. It changed the way we did missionary work. In just 3 hours we taught 8 lessons, found 2 new investigators (and a really sweet potential investigator who IS going to call me), went and taught our investigator, and gave out 25 pass along cards with the "He is the gift" video on it and every single person said they would watch it. It was a pretty miraculous day.
And one of the bigger problems here in Finland is that every single person we go and try to talk to has head phones in and is listening to music and scrolling through facebook. It does not matter if the person is 85 or 5. EVERYONE has a smart phone and EVERYONE has headphones in. It's really annoyed me in the past, but this week we turned it to our advantage :)

We go up to someone and ask them "Hey, is that a smart phone?" Duh it always is. "So does it have youtube on it?" Yes. it always does. "Hey well I came all the way from American to tell you about this video. It's about 3 minutes long and the bus comes in about 7 minutes so you should watch it." And they kinda look at us confused... but then they pull it up! And watch it right then and there! I mean, it'd be easier if we were in a mission with an Ipad, but we make do! We've had some interesting contacts, but the video is so uplifting and about Christ that no one has ever regretted watching it. And then they agree to let us come back and tell them more!! We've only done this for ONE day and it's been amazing! So, point of this story is: Go watch the video. Share it with everyone on facebook. Post it through twitter. Email the link to everyone. and then INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TO LEARN MORE. 

It really is such a special time to be testifying of the Savior and the true gift of Christmas. 
So just remember everyone. HE IS THE GIFT. 

I love you all so much! I'm grateful this season for the opportunity to be a missionary and I hope you all have a great December!

Sisar Crandall


Our own thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Mac and Cheese and a salad :)
Thanksgiving Dinner in Helsinki with President and Sisar Watson
Back with Sisar Hubner and Nielsen

I got a package from Justin and Ally . . . and we made turkeys!
Finland temple at night
Gingerbread house from the Young Women

Best birthday cake ever made by Sisar Howell!

Monday, November 24, 2014


Well hello there everyone! This week has been a great one, as usual. Quickly I'll run you through some updates on what's going on. 

H is still progressing towards baptism on the 20th of dec. She's our only investigator with a baptismal date at the moment, but we'll change that this week :) I want to Lahti! The sisters there are amazing! I was with Sisar Owen and we had a great time. It was my first time in Lahti too so it was pretty fun to be able to see some of the city. Sister Dixon was with Sisar Rochette and they just rocked it as well! Really the sisters here are great. 
Friday we helped out at a murder mystery party the young men and young women invited us too. Saturday we taught a class at the stake youth activity all about Preach the Gospel and how to apply it into our pre-missionary lives too. Yesterday was stake conference and so many talks were about the joy the gospel brings and being happy and becoming better. And recently I've been overwhelmed by the love and support I feel and also by the gratitude I feel for everything the Lord has blessed me with. So I wanted to let you all know what I'm thankful for this week especially.

I'm grateful for...
- The winter weather :) it sure makes me appreciate the summer!
- The 3 hours of sunlight. I could be serving up in Rovaniemi with 0 hours so I'll take what I can get
- Sisar Dixon and I's adventures lost in the woods. We found a new investigator and now I know the city a little better!
- The hour of personal study I get each day. That time has become so precious to me as a time to refuel and re-energize for a day of spreading the gospel.
- The members who are always more than willing to feed us. Came in handy this week when we were stuck at the church for a couple hours and the members come to the rescue.
- A living prophet who helps us know what is right and is always there is comfort us with the word of God. I've enjoyed reading the general conference talks this week and I can't help but think how much more President Monson and all the apostles have to give us, if only we were ready!
- The Plan of Salvation. I've so grateful that we have a way to overcome both physical and spiritual death and that we know about it! We ended up teaching this lesson multiple times this week and every time just increased my testimony of it and my gratitude that I have knowledge of this plan and the comfort it gives me.
- The Book of Mormon. No matter what else happens in my life or on my mission I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon and the keystone it is in my life and in my testimony. I've had lots of questions came up (my own and also from my investigators) and I know I can always bank on the book of mormon to help us out.
- Finnish! I LOVE this language so much. I'm grateful that I've had the chance to learn it and how much it's helped me learn about the Finnish culture.
- Finns who always help us with the language. A Finn may not want to talk to me on the bus, but I'm grateful for the many people who answered my language questions this week and helped me learn some new words although they weren't interested in anything else.
- Cold runs in the morning that always wake me up and start my day off right!
- And on that note... hot showers! And that I'm able to live in such a blessed place as Finland and enjoy the blessings of hot, running water.
- The American peanut butter I found from Prisma that keeps me going :)
- Church music on Sunday to direct my thoughts and keep me focused on my purpose.
- Preach my Gospel. I've started studying it all the way through again this week and there are so many scriptures and quotes and things I've somehow missed! So I'm grateful for this guide to help us in our work and also to help me as a member when I'm home.
- My Mission President and his Wife. President and Sisar Watson were here in Tampere this week. I was also to have an interview with him and talk with her for a little bit as well. They truly are inspired people who answered a lot of my questions and helped me with some concerns as well. They gave great advice that I'm now able to apply in my mission and in my life. Thanks :)
- The temple. I have the opportunity to go to the temple this week on Friday and I never realized how great of a blessing it is and how it truly is the Lord's House until I wasn't able to go. I'll never take that blessing for granted again.
- All of my amazing companions who still continue to help me and reach out and love me even though they're in different cities and even countries. 
- All the sisters here in Finland. I've had the chance to go on exchanges with a lot of them (This week it was the Lahti sisters) and they've all taught me so much. I feel like I've had 30 companions! And I just love them all and I'm grateful they all made the decision to come out here and serve a mission so I could meet them.
- Train rides that allow me to see the beautiful Finnish countryside.
- My siblings who eagerly email me each week with pictures and stories and funny quotes and more. I love you all :)
- My dad who sends me hallmark cards with hugs in them just to let me know he loves me.
- My mom who constantly uplifts and supports me with spiritual insights and helps me learn and grow every day.
- My Savior and brother Jesus Christ who supports me in all that I do. He makes it possible for me to even be out here or for me to even be alive. I'm so thankful I'm a part of his work and I hope to keep it up the rest of my life.

As I've pondered all the things I'm grateful for, i've realized how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. But I'm also realized how important I am to the Lord that he's even taken the time to bless me with all of this and more. 

One scripture comes to mind specifically.
13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit;

I am definitely one of "the weak things of the world". Especially out here in a foreign country with my broken Finnish. So I guess that makes me "unlearned and despised" as well. But still, somehow, the Lord is able to use me and my companion and my fellow missionaries to do his work in all the nations by the power of his spirit. How cool is that :)

I love you all! This week will be a great one with a trip to Helsinki on Friday (Also someone's birthday...) And a Thanksgiving dinner with an american family on Saturday! I'll let you know about all the amazing miracles next week! 

Sisar Crandall

Sorry no pictures this week except for one from the murder mystery party. Finns are so funny when they act :)  Mom here:  I can't post pictures of the Finns . . . sorry.

So, here's a picture of the sisters that will be Kathryn's roomies this winter.  I love it!

Monday, November 17, 2014

President Teixeira and the Book of Mormon Challenge

Hello there everyone!

Well this week I am astonished at all that has happened! It literally feels like I just emailed yesterday and yet, at the same time, last month... Well this week was one that probably changed my life. And not to sound dramatic or anything because that happens every week on a mission, but this one especially! Here's why:

On Monday I got a call from President Watson (which is either really bad or really good) but since I'm Sister Training Leader, I've gotten a little more used to it. So I answered and he asked if this was a good time and I said yes and so he proceeded "Sisar Crandall, I'd like for you to have an interview with President Teixeira" Well okay! President Teixeira is a member of the first quorum of the 70 and also the Area President of Europe. Here's a little more about him: He was the guest coming to our mission tour on Wednesday and now I got to interview with him! I thought President had picked a bunch of missionaries to interview, but it wasn't until Wednesday until I found out that it was only me and one other sister! And to make it even better/worse, they recorded the entire interview on camera to use for training purposes. So Sisar Nielsen and I (The other one that got interviewed) were slightly nervous, but it went great! On Wednesday morning we traveled to the Haaga chapel and has to be there by 8am... Then President Teixeira and his wife arrived so they and President and Sisar Watson and Sisar Nielsen and I all went into the chapel. President Teixeira started by asking us how we've found success on our missions. He said that for some reason President Watson wanted him to talk to us, so we must be doing something right and he wanted to know the secret! So we talked about it for a couple of minutes, and then he put us on the camera! We were on there individually and basically just repeated some of the ideas and thoughts we had just discussed. And for those of you wondering, there's not really a secret... it'a all in PMG! But most of mine and Sisar Nielsen's answers revolved around talking with everyone and doing it diligently and full time.  You never take a break of bring missionary minded! I talked a lot about how here in Finland, the culture and the weather and the people in general are very quiet and reserved and to themselves. And I like it! It makes the light of the gospel that we have in our eyes and in our smiles that much brighter! People literally are attracted to us and want to hear what we have to say because we're so happy about it! So I focused on being happy and positive and sharing this joyful message. Afterwards, President Teixeira came up to me and said "Most people would see this culture as a barrier, but you see it as a window!" I had never really thought about it, but it's true! A light burns brighter in the dark. And we're out here as a light and the dark is noticing it!

So all of this took place in the hour before the mission tour when most of the missionaries weren't even there yet. But then we headed into a leadership meeting with the Sister training leaders and the zone leaders and the assistants. President Teixeira and his wife really focused on if we want to help the missionary work go forth, we, as a mission, need to raise our goals. And that all starts with the leaders of the mission. He had us tell him what our goals were for last week and our actual numbers as well and then told us they weren't high enough! So this week Sisar Dixon and I really focused on raising them! 

Then we headed into the mission tour. All this had happened and the meeting hadn't even started yet! So a couple of weeks ago we all took a survey about PMG. How we're using it and how we'd still like some help and what things to focus on. So the meeting was centered around this. President Teixeira helped us out a lot with finding techniques and handing out more pass along cards and the Book of Mormon! We really focused on helping more people receive and then read the Book of Mormon. So Sisar Dixon and I set the goal of giving away 100 copies of the Book of Mormon before the end of the year. It sounds pretty hefty in our minds, but it'll be exciting! So we're talking to EVERYONE and it's been SOO exhausting, but also SO REWARDING! We were led to 3 new investigators and have some potentials we're meeting with this week! The work really is going well and this meeting just helped relight that fire :) 

The mission tour was also the whole Tampere and Helsinki zone together and then the North zone on another day so I got to see Sisar Johnston again! And she's training! And her trainee, Sisar Richards, and I wore the same shirt. So that explains that picture.
Since we were in Helsinki on Wednesday and then Turku on splits on Friday, the rest of the days were packed. We go from lesson to lesson, and run for buses and trains, but the members are helping us out and we're still having time to find. We're trying to focus on working with the Less actives a little more and really be balanced in all phases of missionary work.

Friday we were in Turku. I went on exchanges with Sisar Vincent. We were in the same district in the MTC so it was fun seeing her again. That meant Sisar Dixon and Sisar Ross were together. We had lots of appointments and spent the day talking to everyone and implementing the new finding and approaching techniques we had learned in the mission tour. It went really well and we had about an hour in the evening before we headed home and we ended up singing and contacting in the center. We handed out a lot of cards with our website on them and even got the phone number and address of a man who wants a Book of Mormon in Swedish! So it was a pretty fun and unique finding activity that really made a difference.

Yesterday we went to church in the Hämeenlinna branch. We ended up not having any investigators coming to church because they wanted to come to the music night instead. So after ward council, we drove down to Hämeenlinna. This is a pretty rare thing and may have been the only time we do this, but the bishop really wants us to work with the older single women and too many of them were confused when we would stop by or call them to set up an appointment so we figured they better know we at least exist. Well I ended up giving a talk and leading the music and Sisar Dixon and I did a musical number. Sisar Dixon also played the piano and translated for the less active we brought to church with us (she's from Thailand). We also were able to meet with a couple other less active women while we were there and the branch was SO nice and welcoming. They really just miss having sisters there. 

Sunday night was our musical concert. It's called "Tulkaa Kristuksen Luokse" "Come unto Christ" It's basically the restoration pamphlet that we give out to people in musical form. For example, there would be a short talk about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and then we sang "I am a Child of God" in all different languages and so forth for each page in the pamphlet. It went really well! Our investigator and a couple of less actives even sang and gave talks! And the members helped out by bringing desserts for afterwards and everyone came together and mingled. In all there were about 75 people there. So I consider it a success :) 

So overall this week was great. Super busy and a little crazy and hectic and all over the place, but great. We really and focusing on teaching those who are willing to progress and keep commitments and giving everyone else to the Lord and his timing. Sisar Dixon and I are going great and we're excited for this upcoming week. We're only gone 1 day this week in Lahti so it'll be nice to be able to continue hastening the work here in Tampere.

I love you all! I love being a missionary! Thank you for all the support and love! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sisar Crandall

Sisar Dowd and I
Sisar Seegmiller and I
Sisar Johnston and I

Sisar Howell and I!
Sisar Richards and I and our matching shirts
Sisar Thayne and I

(This was the last time I was going to see a lot of the sisters in the Helsinki zone so I took lots of pictures with them)

Burger King just opened up in Tampere :) And they have OREO SHAKES!! It was delicious. And totally satisfied my oreo cravings. 
Me with the fries
Sisar Richards who is being trained by Sisar Johnston who was trained by me

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tender Mercies :)

Hello there!

Well family and friends this week went faster than the last! We're super busy and ended up going on member splits twice this week so that was a new fun experience! 

This week we were asked to be in charge of the YSA "Chill Night" It's the fhe for all the ysa in both Tampere wards. So we planned some minute to win it games and the other missionaries were there with their investigator who's about to get baptized and then we had 2 potentials come! They LOVED it and they said they'll be there again this week! It's cool to see these people's reactions when they see a bunch of people coming together and having fun without any alcohol or anything and they're all so friendly and happy. They can't help but come back! 

We ended up dropping 2 investigators this week too because they just have no desire to act an anything we teach. We'll give them some time and go back to them later when the Lord wants us to. 
But on Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with our investigators M and R. They're a couple from Tanzania with 3 little kids who are adorable. They investigated maybe 3 years ago and Sisar Jones and I stopped by once and they said we could come back! So We taught them the restoration and they agreed to be baptized on the 20th of Dec if they receive their answer by then. So now we're meeting with them and just trying to help them recognize their answer and the spirit that is so strong there every time we go. They're active in the Catholic church so attending our ward on Sunday has been difficult but we'll just trust in the Lord on that one :)

Wednesday consisted of district meeting, meeting with some members, helping another member move out of our ward and into the 2nd ward, and meeting with L! She's the one from Columbia. She has read a ton in the LIbro de Mormon and even highlights her favorite verses and answers all on her own! We hadn't even shown her that yet! And we taught the restoration and she really likes it. SHe doesn't have a baptismal date yet because honestly we ran out of time. So we'll focus on short powerful lessons and get her progressing right along! She's seriously so cute and my favorite person to talk with because she always makes me so happy afterwards! She's just that in tune with the spirit.
Thursday we had an awesome lesson with B from Czech. We discussed the plan of salvation and then baptism. She has a really close relationship with her husband and wants him to understand and accept what she's doing and she wants to be sure about it. She said she'd talk to her husband about it and hopefully he'll join in on the lessons too because he wants to support his wife. 
Then we skyped with H from Hämeenlinna. It went well! We talked about prayer and how our scripture reading is going and then on Sunday we met with her again after church in Hämeenlinna. And we talked about baptism and she said she wants to KNOW that this is true, not just believe. But she agreed to prepare to be baptized on the 20th of december too! It'll be a white Christmas here in Finland :)

All day Friday we were on splits in Jyväskylä. I was with Sisar Dayton again!! We were together in the same area exactly one year ago! The whole day was deja vu! (no idea how to spell that word...) But I was able to see some old friends and members and actually do some things I had wanted to since I left Jyväskylä. It was a really good closure day for me. I realized that I had done what I needed to and what the Lord needed and that there are some amazing missionaries still in Jyväskylä and all my friends and members and investigators are all taken care of.I have full faith and confidence in the work here in Finland :) And it's so nice to think that I have nothing to worry about.

Saturday was a pretty busy day catching up from everything in the week and having our Ward mission leader meeting and practicing a song with the other missionaries for our concert next week. We were able to "accidentally" run into a former investigator and the Elders' investigator who is getting baptized in 2 weeks so it's the little moments like that when there doesn't seem to be a lot going on and you're not sure where you should go and you realize that you're doing exactly what the Lord wants you to. There were 3-4 experiences this week where I realized that Heavenly Father gave me the chance to make up for something I had done or not done in the past. I think I had let some opportunities slip through my fingers earlier in my mission and this week a lot of them came back up and I was able to teach and testify and really feel that I had done what the Lord had wanted me to. It's a very nice peaceful feeling. 

And the interesting thing is that I didn't 100% realize that until just this second as I was emailing. And as I started writing you all about it, the little tender mercies came back into my mind. And now I'm even more grateful for them. And I'm also thankful for this chance to review my week and really notice the Lord's hand in my life. 

Sunday was also a really special day because we got to Hämeenlinna just as their ward was getting out and we had tons of members coming up to us and greeting us and thanking us for being there. Apparently Hämeenlinna has been praying for sisters for years and even though the Elders are really needed there for the priesthood and all the good work they're doing, the older women that we would go visit really wanted sisters. And even though we're only there one day a week the whole ward is suddenly excited about missionary work! And with H getting baptized in December hopefully it will just snowball from there! But really. we were so loved! And we didn't even know any of these members, but we instantly felt like part of the family :) So I'm really glad I get to half way serve in another branch as well :)

I'm just grateful for everything that happened this week. Things are going well and looking even better! We're out of Tampere 3 days this week so that'll keep us on our toes but I love it! I'm so happy to be a missionary and to be doing the Lord's work and reaping all these seeds  planted years ago and even planting my own :) Have a wonderful week everyone! Take a moment or two to realize all the tender mercies in your life and even count your blessing one by one because I know this week I've sure been surprised by what the Lord has done. I love you all! Thank you for your love and support! 

Sisar Crandall

It REALLY snowed this week!

The snow on all the berries were GORGEOUS!

Sisar Dayton and I back together with our hot chocolate :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tervetuloa Marraskuuhun!! (Welcome to November)

Hello everybody! 

Okay so many incredible things happened that I don't really know where to start. 
Well in case any of you are wondering, I think it's freezing here. But it's only about 0 degress C so it could be worse. I know how to dress now though so I'm nice and warm. It's been "Christmas Season" in Finland for weeks now. Lights are already up all over the town. I'll send some pictures of it. Christmas Music has also been playing in our apartment for about a month so hopefully that won't get old before December... The first Burger King just opened up here in Tamper near the train station. I know this is very important news so I felt the need to tell all of you. IT also gets dark around 16 so that's taking some getting used to again... Well anyway, on to the real important stuff
First off, I got my new companion! Sisar Dixon arrived on Tuesday and we've just hit the ground running this week! She's from Sandy, UT and went to Alta, but I don't think we have any common friends. Tuesday was spent driving everyone and their luggage all over Tampere, but all the sisters here in Tampere made their trains and arrived safely! That's a miracle! So we had the other Tampere sisters spending the night on Tuesday (Sisar Curtis and Sisar Elliott) so it was fun to catch up with them. 
We met with our investigator A this week. She's really wanting this to be a part of her life, but not quite sure yet if she wants to make all the changes. So we'll keep working with her. It may take a bit longer than we thought, but all in the Lord's timing.
Thursday we traveled down to Helsinki for MLC. All 6 sister training leaders were staying in the same apartment near the temple so that was a blast. I had served closely with a lot of them before and we were able to talk about old investigators and members and how everyone's doing. 

Friday was MLC!! and Halloween!! We ended up not going back to Tampere until Saturday morning so we missed the ward Halloween party, but it was one of the best Halloween's ever! We woke up and got to President's house by 9 for our meeting to start. We were fed some amazing food by Sisar Watson and really focused on the mission's training plan. We also discussed the upcoming mission tour. We found out that President Teixeira is coming. And  on Nov 12th we'll be traveling down to Helsinki again to meet with him. And then we got to go to the temple!! Each day they have an english session at 18 so we got to go to that! It was so cool!! I got to see what I think is the 3rd new temple movie. Sooo different but way cool! Kinda different insights came to that was interesting. One of the most special experiences was before the temple, all the sister training leaders and Sisar Watson were just sitting in the bridal room in the temple and talking. Sisar Watson is a very wise and experienced woman and she gave some great advice and the spirit was just so strong testifying about everything that we're doing to be true. That sure gave me some great fire for the rest of the week. 

Saturday we traveled back and had a lunch appointment with a member and she made us pumpkin pie!! It was so good! And so American! Definitely something I missed this season... We were also able to find a new investigator on the bus and meet some amazing potentials. One is a boy named P who we met at the door trying to find someone else (coincedence? I think not!) and was very interested in getting a book of mormon and we really just had a super spiritual experience right there in the hallway. And it was interesting to see his countenance change from not interested to wait I think you're on to something. The spirit really worked on him and it was one of the most visible changes I've seen. So we're going back to him this week too.

But the biggest news came at MLC! Sisar Dixon and I are now the sisters of the Hämeenlinna branch too! There is a 17 year old girl down there who needs to be taught by the sisters and we're the nearest ones! About 70 km away... But we're skyping with her on Thursday and going down every Sunday to teach her. Her name is H and she's amazing! Her mom is a member and her dad isn't, but is letting her decide for herself which church she wants to join. So since we're down there weekly now (we go by car) We had a meeting with the branch president and the ward missionary leader and the elders who serve there and talked about how we can best help. Basically we'll be teaching H and helping her progress and then working with and visiting the single women (active and less-active) that the Elders can't really go to. We're super excited and it'll definitely keep us busy!!

This week we're teaching the YSA tonight and are in charge of minute to win it games! I'll let ya know how it goes next week! We're also traveling in Jyväskylä on Friday for exchanges. October really flew by and November is quickly speeding up! So we're just working on using every minute the best we can! And I've got to admit that I've never been so tired in my life, but I'm loving it! Missionary Work is so much happier when you're busy and having fun! 

So I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you so much! I'm grateful for all your help and support and I hope you can all feel my prayers. Stay safe and stay strong :)

Sisar Crandall

Dropping Sisar Jones off at the train station. She's off to Vaasa!
Us 6 Sister Training Leaders at the bus stop
Sisar Dixon and I on the bus

Sisar Bitner, Nielsen, and I in President's car on the way to the temple
Going into the temple at night
All the sisters after the temple session

Monday, October 27, 2014

Last Change Call . . .

Hello family and friends!

Well this week we got our change calls. My last one... That was a pretty weird feeling. And you're all going to have to read the whole letter to find out what happened :) Well it all started on Friday when we didn't get a call from President. They've come on Saturday before, so we didn't think anything of it, but when it was late in Saturday afternoon and other people had already received ours, we thought something might be wrong. Also, other missionaries knew OUR changes before we did! So we called the APs and they talked to President and he had totally forgotten about us... Good thing we called! So President ended up calling us Saturday night and apologized (He has so much to do it really wasn't a big deal) So then we found out that I'm staying in Tampere!! That's what we expected. And Sisar Jones is off to Vaasa!! It's way up in the North of Finland and they speak quite a bit of Swedish there so that'll be fun :) And Sisar Dixon is coming to be my new companion. We were in the same ward and district back in Jyväskylä last January and February so we already know each other pretty well. We're still the Sister Training Leaders here and we're going down to Helsinki on Friday (on Halloween) to go to the temple and meet with President so that'll be fun! There are 4 sisters here in Tampere (2 in each ward) and all 3 except for me are leaving so I just became the one who knows the city the best and I actually don't know it at all... So this'll be fun! Tomorrow I'm in charge of sending off 3 sisters and all their luggage at the train station and then picking the 3 new ones up and taking them and all their stuff to their apartments. So it'll be busy, but luckily we were able to borrow the car from the Elders so it' shouldn't be too bad. 
But besides that, Here's what happened this week!

Monday we taught the fhe ysa lesson and then had a lesson with our new investigator! His name is L and he's from Zambia. We taught all about the book of mormon and prayer and I think we really got it. He even said "I've been to a lot of churches, but doesn't there have to be one church that has the whole package? I feel like I'm missing something." Yep! We've got it! So we met with him twice this week and his only problem is that he thinks he's busy, but we'll keep meeting whenever he can and helping him progress! 

Wednesday was our Relief Society activity and it was all about First Aid! They came and taught us a bunch of emergency procedures and the number for 911 (it's not 911 here in Finland just so everyone knows) And this information would've bees useful about 14 months ago... but oh well! It was really fun to see the Members having fun and practicing all the emergency procedures and just enjoying themselves. Finland needs a little more of that...

We also picked up a former instigator A. She's a Finn who met with sister about a year ago. SHe told us that she missed the Holy Ghost in her life and she knew that when she was meeting with the sisters a couple times a week and reading the Book of Mormon that she had that Holy Ghost feeling with her almost always. and she wants it back! We watched "Because of Him" And she said she got that feeling again immediately. She's so in tune with the spirit and I'm super excited to go teach her this week!
Sorry I know a lot happened, but I can't remember any of it...

This week we have Mission Leadership Council in Helsinki like I said and then we're racing back for the ward Halloween party Friday night. Lots of appointments Wednesday and trying to get Sisar Dixon up to speed so it'll be fun! I'm looking forward to a great week.

Well today is the first day of my last transfer. So I'm just focusing on finnishing strong! It really helps that we're pretty busy here and that we're out of our area about one day a week so we have to make up for it the rest of the week. I absolutely LOVE being a missionary and as we head into the holiday season it's only going to get better! I love you all! Thanks for all the support :)

Sisar Crandall


Good bye lunch at Pancho Villa :) 

Yep! People just LOVE talking to us when we look like this! We can't help it if it's cold!

Freezing at the bus stop