Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Week in the Great City of Helsinki!

Minun Perheeni ja Ystävini,

I do not even know where to start this week! And I don't have a lot of time so here goes:

Well, I guess I'll start with TRANSFERS! On Monday I sent Sisar Curtis off on a train up to Lahti and then picked up my temporary companion Sisar Nielson. We were in the MTC together and she's the other sister who is training this time so we were together for the rest of Monday and Tuesday until we picked up our trainees. All morning Tuesday until about noon we were in a trainers meeting and then we met our trainees! There were only 2 sisters who came in with this group and President accidentally let it slip where one of the sisters was serving so I knew who I was with before it happened so that was a fun and exciting day! So my new companion is SISAR JOHNSTON! She is awesome! Man, they really do call some of the best sisters to Finland don't they? She's lived in Saudi Arabia for all of high school for her dad's work so she can speak Arabic (Joseph, cool huh?) And it messes with her Finnish sometimes so that's always fun. Speaking of Finnish, she is amazing! WAY better than I was when I came into the country! And she's such a good missionary! She's already taught full lessons to people on the tram which is something I struggled to do for a couple months. So yeah, we're basically equals and she really is pre-trained. She's awesome and we get along great and she's so eager to work and serve and get out there and I love it! She has some awesome ideas for working with the members here and this transfer is really going to be a good one. Oh, Sisar Johnston also spoke in church on her first Sunday here and did amazing! I didn't help her prepare her talk at all and it was so good! Her language was impeccable, but even more impressive was her ability to testify. All the members felt the spirit and came up and thanked her afterwards and it really is sisters like her that help members trust and love the missionaries.

Well, We also got a new investigator this week. Her name is B and she used to be the other sisters investigator and then she moved right next to our apartment so now we're teaching her. She had a boyfriend who she lived with who was a LA member and she wanted to get baptized but he didn't want to marry her so she moved out! So that just shows how much faith she has right there! We're super excited to meet with her some more and teach her and now there's nothing stopping her from being baptized so we're really excited! 

Our other most-promising investigator, V, is also doing really well. We had a great lesson with a member last week and she invited the member to come to the next lesson as well because she liked her so much! So we're really excited to help both of these women progress and come closer to Christ.

This week wasn't all daisies and rainbows though. We had 2 investigators drop us so our teaching pool has diminished quite quickly. So this week we're really focusing on finding. We're using the Book of Mormon and the Palautus (restorations) pamphlet and DVD a lot more in our contacting approaches because a lot of the Finns have heard about "Mormons" But it's just a random name to them and they know nothing about the Book of Mormon itself. So we're here to tell them about it! So I'll let you know how that goes! 
I've also really been focusing on making my prayers more meaningful. It's sometimes tempting to just mumble a quick prayer and then hop into bed because I'm so tired, but I've had to literally schedule in time to pray and start getting ready for bed earlier so that I'm not rushed with my prayers. And it really has made all the difference. My testimony has definitely been strengthened as my companion and I focus on praying always. ESPECIALLY FOR EACH OTHER! I've come to realize that when I pray on the behalf of others (like my companion) my prayers are more meaningful. So, make time to talk to your Father in Heaven. He's always there to listen, I promise.

Well that's all for this week! The weather has gotten significantly warmer! I sometimes wear my lighter fall jacket, but I didn't have to even wear a jacket today! Just a little cardigan and I was fine! So yes, everyone here is much happier and a lot more willing to talk to us since the sun is out and I love it! Sisar Johnston and I also go running every day so that helps us both have a lot more energy too.

So yes, life is well. Lots of ups and downs this week, but somehow we always end up on top. I bet there's a gospel principle in that somewhere... Well I love you all! Have a most wonderful week!


Sisar Crandall

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring has Sprung, Change Has Come!

Dear Family and Friends!

Wow this week has been a crazy one! Here are the top 5 most important things that happened:

1. SPRING! For TWO whole days this week I didn't have to wear a jacket OR boots OR tights! It felt amazing! The sun FINALLY came out and I think this was the first time I've felt warmth since September! Man I just LOVE the sun. "There is beauty all around!"

2. TRANSFERS CALLS! So I'm sitting at home late Wednesday night just brushing my teeth while Sisar Curtis is already asleep. So I go to get in bed and I quickly check the phone to see if the alarm is set for the next day and THERE'S A MISSED CALL FROM PRESIDENT RAWLINGS! One of the most intimidating things to see. Well I wasn't even thinking about transfers because those don't usually come until Saturday morning so I just calmly call him back thinking he has a question or something and we said it was one change call! So I ran into our room and turned on the light and woke up Sisar Curtis just in time for us to hear him say "Sisar Curtis, you will be going to Lahti and you will be companions with Sisar Dayton and Sisar Crandall, you will be staying in Neitsytpolku and training a new missionary" What. At this point, it's 10:30 and we're both freaking out and trying to get on bed on time but not being able to. There are only 2 new sisters coming to Finland this transfer and I honestly training wasn't even an option in my mind because I have so much to learn still! Well apparently I'll learn it from this new sister and I'm so excited! So I meet her tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it next week!

3. TEMPLE! Sisar Curtis and I took our last temple trip together on Tuesday. It was so special. It was completely in Finnish again and I understood a lot more this time. I think I get cool insights to see how things are translated in two languages in the temple and what it really means. I've noticed a lot of symbolism that way and it's really cool. And this time it was even more special because Sisar Bunting and Sisar Vath joined us and we had some good sister bonding time. I even got to see the sealing room and the Brides' room and the baptistry and basically the rest of the temple and loved every minute of it :)

4. BAPTISMAL DATE! Our dear investigator V who I mentioned last week has a baptismal date! We had a church tour with her and a member on Thursday and it went amazing! We asked her what would prevent her from being baptized because she already knows all the doctrine, she just doesn't have a testimony of it yet and she just said "Well, I'm not sure what to say..." So we helped her understand that when we have a testimony of this gospel, we have the desire to follow Jesus Christ and keep his commandments. And since we were in the chapel in front of the sacrament table, we were able to talk a lot about that and why it's important. Then we invited her to be baptized on May 17th and after we reassured her that she's not ready now, but that through reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church, and praying about our message she will be ready, she agreed to the date! I'm so excited! Her mom is the one who I helped reactive in Jyväskylä and it's just amazing to see this whole family just feel the joy of the gospel now. I love being a missionary :)

5. EASTER! Well, of course, the most important event of the week was yesterday. We started off by having the other sisters spend the night because of some weird splits we had on Sunday. We had a wonderful Easter breakfast with Finnish pancakes and muffins. The easter bunny even brought little gifts for everyone and solid chocolate eggs :) Then, We had a wonderful easter service at church where Sisar Curtis, Bunting and I sang "Hän elää! Vapahtajani!" (I know that my Redeemer lives) and the spirit throughout the whole meeting was just so strong. I loved having this time to reflect on the Savior and why I'm even here. I'm here to invite others to come unto Christ and experience the joy and conversion I've felt. I'm not here to preach, or convince people that I'm right, I'm here to help other build a personal relationship with their Savior. There's nothing I'd rather be doing around this time of year than this. Yesterday was just the perfect end to a great week.

I'm just so grateful for all of you and for your love and support! I hope you all had a most wonderful Easter! And I can't wait to see what this week will bring!

Sisar Crandall

Pictures at the Temple

Squeezed into a tiny elevator, yummy mexican food, pretty flowers everywhere!
Waiting at the bus or train stations, McDonald's, matching BYU shirts

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tilling Soil and Planting Seeds

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this week went by surprisingly faster than last week! How's is that even possible?! I'm not super sure...but that means we're busy which is always a good thing! 

This week started off on Monday after email when we had a church tour with our investigator. I'm going to start calling her "D". Finns are super quiet sometimes and just sit there and nod and say "niin" ("mhmm") every couple of seconds so actually I'm not 100% sure what she was thinking the whole time. But at the end we had a really good discussion with her in the chapel and invited her to be baptized. She was super unsure and shaky about it and so we asked what would prevent her from being baptized. She sat there for a minute or two and then asked "Is this the only true church?" What a great question. So we helped her identify that was her question and she agreed to pray about it this week so we'll see! She's also plowing through the Book of Mormon and has now finnished the book of Alma so I'm super excited to see her progress! 

After this church tour and lesson we had dinner with a potential investigator who actually became a new investigator this week! I'll call her "V" (I decided to start naming my investigators so that you all can keep track of them) She asked us what we did that today and we told her about the church tour and SHE asked us "Can I come get one of those?" Uhh yeah! So we're meeting with her again tonight and I'm super excited! Her mom is a member in Jyväskylä and is my good friend and we just found out that her mom teaches the gospel principles class there and calls her daughter each week and teaches her a practice "lesson" over the phone in preparation for Sunday. so cool. So she knows a lot about the church but this week we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and Sis. Curtis wrote her testimony in it and it just went really well.

On Tuesday we had Zone Meeting and then Kieli Koulu (Language School) The Language coordinator who is Elder Downs (My former district leader from Jyväskylä) And Sisar Curtis and Sisar Bunting and I got to spend the WHOLE day together learning Finnish. It's pretty fun usually, but after about 5 hours my brain hurts. But I figured out what I needed to work on and  I'm glad I can keep improving my language skills instead of just leveling out since I can get by on my current language abilities. 

Zone Meeting was super cool though. We talked a lot about the parable of the sower. And how we can be throwing these seeds all over the place, but unless we're planting them in the right kind of soil by talking to the right people, it's not going to benefit anyone anything. After we had this discussion I kinda was feeling bad because a lot of times people reject me and I think "Oh it's okay. I'm just planting seeds" But then I started thinking that all these people's hearts were just the thorny and dried out ground and I haven't been doing anything... BUT then. An Elder Clegg gave this insight and he said "I think one of the most important things that we realize is that soil can be tilled and fertilized and can BECOME fertile." Boom. He nailed it. THAT's the point of missionary work. We're placing the seed in those hearts that are prepared, and we're tilling the hearts of others to hear the word in the near future. Then Elder Clegg commented again "Talking with everyone finds the elect for today and prepares the elect for tomorrow" So yeah. I really am out here planting seeds. I'm out here harvesting all that tilling that has been done for years and I'm preparing the way for future missionaries too. I just really liked this parable related to missionary work and talking with everyone. I know I mentioned last week that Sisar Curtis and I were struggling to talk with the RIGHT people. We talk with people all day long, but now we're just really focusing and praying to find the people the LORD wants us too. 

Other things that happened this week:

-We taught a 7-year-old member girl who's scared to get baptized about baptism and the Holy Ghost and it went great! Her birthday is the 20th and the baptismal service is April 27th so we're excited for that!

-We went to the island called Suomenlinna again to visit a less active and a potential and met some awesome people on the ferry ride over. One of them was a group of three Finnish guys and honestly, Sisar Curtis and I normally don't go up and talk to groups of guys because this is downtown Helsinki, but we had made a goal to talk to anyone who had a "Haglofs" bag (That's a Swedish brand of backpacks that is VERY popular here) And sure enough, one of them had one so we just HAD to talk with them. The conversation went well and they were super nice and everything, but the point of this story is that one of the guys spoke some insane dialect of Finnish and I couldn't understand a single word he said. So much for getting by on my language abilities... The other two guys' Finnish we could understand fine, but his was so fast and so slurred that I didn't catch a word. I asked him what he was studying here in Finland and he said something that went over my head so I asked him what it was in English and he said it in English and it still went over my head. So that made we feel at least a little better about myself because I couldn't understand his Finnish OR English. I had heard that other cities have other Finnish dialects, but that was the first time I had tried (and failed) to understand it.

Another short random funny story. A Finn asked us if we (Sisar Curtis and I) speak differently because we're from different states. I told her that Sisar Curtis says "mounTain", but I say "mounain" (without the T) and the Finn had NO idea what word I was trying to say. She asked "Wait, are those the same word?" And of course any native english speaker can hear the difference, but it was kinda funny to see a Finn struggle the way we do everyday.

-Sunday was Palm Sunday, which is America, doesn't mean much me to. But it's a major holiday here in Finland. Little kids dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating door to door with willow branches for candy. Kinda hard to explain so just so google it, but that was a fun Easter tradition to experience.

-Today we had the Londons over for lunch! The Londons are an awesome Senior couple who work in the office and do so much for us, so we invited them over and made them food and just got to know them a little better so that was nice.

Well, those are the major things that happened this week. It's going pretty well if you ask me! Transfer calls are on Friday and we move next Monday/Tuesday (21st and 22nd) So send any mail to the mission office and I'll be sure to get it there. Sisar Curtis and I REALLY hope that we stay together in Helsinki, but we'll see! This is our Mission President's last transfer so who knows what sort of transfers he'll make! I'll letcha know next week!
Also, I mentioned how they were doing a segment on Sisar Curtis and sister missionaries last week. Well, it's airing this week on Tuesday and Wednesday! You can check it out online too. Just google "YLE" (The name of the broadcasting company) And a Finnish website should pop up and the program's name is "Puoli Seitsemän" It's only like 10 minutes or so, but that's my companion! Sisar Curtis!

I also get to go to the temple tomorrow for one last time this transfer! I'm so excited! And Sisar Bunting and Sisar Vath (The other 2 sisters in our district) will be joining us so that's always fun.

I heard about the family going to the Easter pageant in AZ and I'm extremely jealous and will definitely be missing that since it's probably my favorite part of this time of year. I'm very excited for Easter this Sunday and for this chance to remember the Savior's life, atonement, and resurrection. I hope that people are able to feel the power of our message a little more and be more open to learning about their loving Heavenly Father. I'll have more Easter insights next Monday, but I'm just so grateful for the atonement and everything it allows us to do. To repent, to be enable, to progress, and to just be better every day. I hope we all can take more advantage of it this week.

I love you all! Have a most wonderful week!

Sisar Crandall


Eating Finnish Chocolate Eggs for Easter

I just can't do the skies justice her in Finland. AMAZING.

REUNITED with Sisar Howell for splits!

Splits with Sisar Schellenberg! (And for those of you wondering, yes I still have to wear my winter coat and boots)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy April 7th!

Hello everybody!

Man, pretty fun week and I've got no time! P-days are seriously the most stressful day of the week! And we have 3 appointments today! Yep, we're super busy! Well this week, for a variety of reason, I think I've gone on splits with about 6 different sisters. So that's always fun! I love meeting and learning lots of awesome things from them. Last week I mentioned that we had the goal to teach 50 lessons, and guess what? We taught 47. Pretty good eh? Don't worry, we'll keep pushing ourselves and talking with everyone! But we also didn't find any new investigators last week. Kinda a bummer... So even though we're talking with everyone, I guess it's not the right people we're talking with. So this week we're focusing a lot more on praying always and asking The Lord to place specific people in our path and not just talking to the ones who are convenient. We're prayerfully sitting by people on trams and even if they have headphones in, or a bag on the seat, or any other lame excuse like that, they still need the gospel! So yeah, I'll let y'all know how praying always goes this week.
Other cool things that happened:
-Interim week! We had sisters stay with us and I got to meet lots of missionaries who were in Helsinki for the week and then on Thursday I went on splits with my MTC companion Sister Howell! It was so good to serve with her again. I just love her! We got to catch up and see each other's growth these past 7 months and it was a lot of fun.
-GENERAL CONFERENCE! I haven't watched the Sunday afternoon session yet because of the time delay here, but I got to watch the 4 other sessions (including the General Women's broadcast) in ENGLISH! Man, I love english. And I also found out that a lot of Finns watch conference in English because they speak it really well and they'd rather hear the prophet's words in his own language. Pretty interesting if you ask me. I guess I just never thought about it. My favorite talks were basically all of them (of course) I LOVED President Monson's and Elder Scott's talk about loving everyone. And making sure that those around you, and those you're teaching, and your family and everyone knows that you love them. Such a good reminder. I also loved President Uchtdorf's about gratitude and Elder Bednar's about the Atonement. I'll definitely be studying my notes for a while and then applying it to my missionary work! I loved how Elder Anderson talked about having a family mission plan and a PMG. I sure hope you're all doing that! A family mission plan can be as simple as brainstorming ways to invite people to come in contact with the church or it could be more serious such as praying about who to give a book of mormon too. Either way, it's something we can all improve in. I just love out prophets :) 
-Well, P-day is super short today for 2 reasons. 1st, We (Sister Curtis and I) had President and Sister Rawlings over to our house for lunch today! We invited them a couple of weeks ago and then said yes! So they drove over and ate with us and it was so cool! As far as we've heard, no other missionaries have done that. It's pretty nerve racking to have the mission president in your home and eating the food you cook, but it was a success! We had an awesome salad, and then some sweet potato soup with bread and then passion fruit panacotta for dessert (I know, Finland is super ritzy). So that took a big chunk out of our free time, but it was so worth it! We got to talk with President Rawlings about everything going on in our areas specifically and he gave us lots of great advice and counsel.
Also, we're going to the FAZER CHOCOLATE FACTORY on Wednesday! Fazer is Finland's biggest chocolate company and if I've ever sent you chocolate, it's most likely from them. So yeah, we took out some P-day time and reserved it for that. And basically I'll be making Willy Wonka references all week.
-An investigator dropped us this week :(  Super bummer. but the text she sent to do it was just too interesting to not share. She's a Finn, but sent the text in English so that always makes it interesting too. Here it is: "Hi! I can't come to conference. Its just that if churches keep banging their own thoughts to people's heads without any belief of the holy life itself on every level, I rather be in silence. You can mention this as a reason for your bishop, why I gratefully thank you from an opportunity, but not to be baptized to the Church of Latter Saints, Mormons. Take care girls, and remember to save the whales too :)" So yeah, we had to deal with that this week and we tried calling/texting her to just see what was up, but no luck. So we'll put her on our back burner for now and get back into it when it's the Lord's timing :)
-We met with an awesome potential on Friday for dinner, and she invited us back tonight! She's the daughter of a member in Jyvaskyla and we're super excited her mom wants to share the gospel with her! So that was a really cool thing that happened this week too.
-Tonight we also have a church tour with an investigator! And hopefully she'll be coming to church this Sunday! Let me just tell you all, the work is speeding along here in Finland and I back where you all are too and I sure hope we can all keep up with the Lord's plans!
Well, I love and appreciate you all so much. I hope you can all feel that and realize it. You're in my prayers and I hope all is well back home. Have a most wonderful week full of sharing the gospel and I'm sure i will too! 

Rakkaudella, Sisar Crandall

p.s. pictures may come later today if I can get to a computer and not the Ipad that I'm currently on.