Monday, June 30, 2014

Kesäkuu is coming to an end...

Dear family and friends,

Wow so much has happened this week and for some reason I can't remember any of it so we'll see how long this email is.

Well, transfers were this week and since we're now the closest apartment to the mission office, we had 2 sisters staying with us Tuesday night. Sister Curtis and Sister Schellenberg! Both sisters were with me in the MTC so we had a little too much fun talking and catching up but we loved it!

There is a senior couple here named the Thelins and on Tuesday their granddaughters were here on vacation and we got to go on splits with them! So we went contacting in the park and to a couple of lessons and to visit less actives and just showed them what a day in the life of a Finland Helsinki missionary would be like. 
Wednesday was pretty normal. language study with our member friend and she taught us some way cool Finnish phrases and figures of speech. Now I can actually start sounding like a Finn :) 

Thursday was way fun! We had a movie night so our investigator with a baptismal date could meet a bunch of the YSA. We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and it went so well! I think about 10 people ended up being there so she's basically part of the ward now :) Oh we also had District Meeting today and got to meet our new Sister! Sister Dowd! She's serving with Sister Woods (the other sister companionship in our ward) And we're super excited to get to work with them! I always love meeting new missionaries. Speaking of new missionaries... I walk into the mission office today to email and guess who's there?! President and Sister Rawlings and President and Sister Watson! The change takes effect tomorrow so we're super excited for that! we have a "Meet the President" Zone conferenceon Thursday so I didn't think I'd get to see him until then, but here he is! 

Friday we had a miracle story. This less active we've been trying to work with forever called and invited us over to make dumplings! Hehe so we made dumplings with her. And now we actually have a really good relationship with her and were able to teach her roommate a lesson and it just went so well!

Saturday was so cool! So we got a call on Thursday saying that somebody in Tazmania wanted to talk to us... uhh okay! So I pick up the phone and it ended up being two elders there who are teaching a Finnish foreign exchange student girl who had some questions about the church here in Finland and really just wanted to talk to finns and Finnish missionaries about it. So we got to skype her on Saturday! She's 16 so we had our young women's leader with us and we got to talk to her and answer all her questions and it went really well! Just another example that this gospel is true wherever you go :)

Sunday was an awesome day as well! Our investigator with a baptismal date has been a little scared to be baptized, but she just learned about priesthood blessings and we offered her one to help with her nerves. and she accepted! So Sunday morning before church the elders were able to give her a blessing. And then she stayed for sacrament meeting and loved it! So everything is going well with her! The third hour of Sunday School was also combined and bishop taught an awesome lesson about missionary work and really got the members excited! So I can't wait to see how this week will go! We've been spending a lot of time planning our ward's 4th of July party and inviting members to invite their friends so hopefully it'll all go over well! (No, Finns do not celebrate the 4th of July... but there are a LOT of Americans here so we're doing it anyway).

Well, that's my week! This week we've got lots of changes and goals and plans and I just can't wait for the rest of this transfer! I love you all! Happy 4th of July! Thank you so much for all your emails and letters and love! It's so appreciated :)
Sisar Crandall

the district and Gisel in an elevator with some lovely elevator guitar music provided by Elder Downs

the sky at midnight

Monday, June 23, 2014

Miracles: Spanish and Baptismal Dates!

Dear Family and Friends!

Holy cow I have so much to tell you! There are literally so many miracles and cool things going on that I can't type fast enough! So first things first, transfers. SISAR JOHNSTON AND I ARE STAYING TOGETHER IN NEITSYTPOLKU! YAY! So yep! another 2 months here in Helsinki! I'll be here until the end of August! Sisar Bunting got transferred out of our district and then Sisar Woods is training a greenie so there are just 6 of us now in this ward.

(This is Kathryn's current Address:)
Lönnrontinkatu 42 H 109
00180 Helsinki

-It snowed this week! This week was Juhannus (Mid-summer's) and is a big deal here in Finland and we celebrated with a barbeque in the park with a member and our investigator. But it wasn't a nice sunny barbeque like in Mesa or anything. We all had jackets on and went inside to eat as soon as the food was cooked because it was too cold. Pretty lame summer here in Finland, but all the light is nice!

-On Thursday was my year mark! So us and the other sisters went out to eat at Vapiano's. It's a way good Italian restaurant (kinda like Olive Garden but without the breadsticks) And they make the pasta in front of you and everything so that was super fun. It was also Sisar Bunting's year mark so we got to celebrate together.

-We headed out to Suomenlinna again this week to meet with our less actives out there and got lost in some medieval castle looking for a potential. So that's what a lot of the pictures are of.

-On Monday we played frisbee with all the missionaries (6 of us now) and some members and some less actives even showed up! It was way fun and it poured the whole time so we were soaked, but it was P-day so it was worth it.
and now.... MIRACLES!!

So recently people have just been handing us people who are ready to be baptized. So that's cool! The Lord has really been preparing these people and have now just put them into our laps. So we found 3 NEW INVESTIGATORS this week! two of them are a Finnish couple we were finally able to set up an appointment with after just stopping by and teaching twice and the third one is a miracle story!

So this woman's name is J and she is from Spain. Cool huh? Well except for the fact that she doesn't speak ANY English or Finnish. Well it would be nice if she lived in the area of two missionaries who speak Spanish, but she doesn't. She lives right next to Sisar Johnston and I :) yay. So J met missionaries in Spain and they taught her all the lessons and then moved to Finland and now wants to be baptized. Well she didn't have a way to contact the missionaries here so she came to the mission office and left her number and said she wanted missionaries to call her so we did! I have talked to people in Spanish on buses and on the street before but all I can say is "We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I don't speak Spanish well but we'll put you in touch with someone who can" Well shout out to all my Spanish speaking missionary friends because Holy Cow teaching in Spanish is HARD! I feel like I'm in my first week at the MTC again. I struggle to get out a complete sentence and all that comes out are Finnish words and it literally took us 15 minutes to invite her to be baptized, but we got it! And she accepted a date! So we met with her on Friday, Saturday, and then she came to church on Sunday! Way cool! We use LOTS of pamphlets and movies and just read things to her in Spanish and we get by. Luckily our comprehension skills are SIGNIFICANTLY better than our speaking skills so we can understand her questions fine and then just send her to the right chapter to find her answer. It's been a SUPER humbling experience though. And this week I had a dream in Finnish and then the next night in Spanish! Yep, my brain's all messed up now, but the Lord is moving his work along in any way possible! And I'm just glad that he can use me as a tool in it :)

The Espoo Elders met this AWESOME girl on the bus.   Her name is H and she's 25 and a Finn! So she met with them for a while and then moved into our area as well! And she has a baptismal date and is progressing and was in church! So everything is falling right into place there and she's so willing to learn and I love it :)
So we ended the week with both of our investigators with baptismal dates in church and with some awesome lessons and miracles falling into place this week.

We're busy planning and helping out with the ward's 4th of July party (there are lots of Americans here). We've also really been focusing on praying always and when something goes wrong instead of asking "What more could I have done?" Asking "How can we more effectively involve the Lord in HIS work?" And miracles are happening! We have some awesome potentials and now with some more people in town after Juhannus hopefully everything will go well this week!


Lost in Suomenlinna... (It's a castle fortress island thing)
This place is beautiful
Wandering through the tunnels...
Beautiful nature :)

Completely empty metro on Juhannus. EVERYONE goes out of town...
Pictures with the sisters and Gesil in the metro station
mirror ceiling picture
We have too much fun together...

Me and Sisar Bunting. (And the Elders...)
Good-bye Sisar Bunting ;(
Neitsytpolku District
about 10pm at night :)

The one-year olds :)
yumm :) Pasta at Vapiano's ;)
My very productive language study :)

They're weird...
Got to see Sisar Lund this week :)
Late night smoothies :)
dinner at Vapiano's :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Recognizing the Lord's Hand

Well family and friends, This week has been another crazy one. And one full of reflection and goals and changing and learning. Yep, I didn't think all of that was possible in the same week, but somehow it happened once again! This Thursday, I hit my one-year mark on my mission. Holy cow. That's crazy. So throughout my personal studies I've been studying and thinking about how the Lord's hand has been such a blessing in my life the past year. And then I I realized that I wouldn't have been able to receive a lot of these blessings if I wasn't out here in Finland on a mission. Every day I see more and more reasons as to why I personally need to be where I am. Yep, I really didn't have enough time to write down all the miracles I've seen, but I thought I'd share some of the bigger ones with you all. So, in honor of a full-year as a missionary, Here are some way the Lord has blessed my life in the past year:

-I've been able to improve my relationships with my siblings and parents

-My family has all become stronger and closer in the gospel

-I've learned a lot about teaching the gospel and how to establish a Christ-centered home in the future for my kids

-I've been able to gain a testimony of the gift of tongues and learn Finnish (This one's still in the process)

-I've been able to develop my relationship with my Heavenly Father through prayer

-I've had the opportunity to literally walk with people to the temple. This past week, the missionaries in Estonia put their recent convert in contact with the missionaries here in Helsinki. so the 6 of us (4 sister missionaries, one recent convert from Estonia and one recent convert from Helsinki) had the opportunity to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. It was my first time doing them in the Helsinki temple and the first time doing them in about a year and a half so I was pretty excited. We walked around the temple before it was time to go in and talked a lot about what happens. We were able to teach them about the blessings of the temple and how we might be baptized for 5 names, and each time we go, we'll do more and we probably won't remember them all, but THEY will always remember our names. We're making salvation possible to them and we'll be thanked for it one day. They absolutely loved that idea. And while we were walking to the temple from the train station, we rounded the corner and it was the first time this girl from Estonia had ever seen a temple in real life and she just teared up at how beautiful it was. I couldn't help smiling and just seeing her excitement brought tears to my eyes as well. It was one of those "THIS is why I'm on a mission" moments. Seriously, one of the most special experiences I've had so far.

-I've been able to develop MY testimony. It's true what they say, a testimony really is found in the bearing of it. It's not that I ever doubted any of these things were true, but when we're teaching about it and testifying about it, I can't help but feel the spirit testifying to me that everything I say is true.

-I've been able to meet a lot of amazing general authorities and church leaders including my mission president.

-I've become a lot more outgoing and confident in public speaking than I used to be (talking to strangers in a strange language will do that for ya)

-I've been able to meet 6 wonderful best friends who I like to call my companions. They've all taught me so much. Sisar Howell taught me what it means to lead by example. She's a great example of quiet dignity and just patiently doing everything she can. She really taught me that I person to be loved is ALWAYS more important than a problem to be solved. Sisar Ballif taught me all about service. She truly made ever companion feel like the best companion ever and never ceased showing me and everyone around her she loved them. I think most of us just think "Oh, she looks nice today" Or "Oh, I should probably help her with that" But Sisar Ballif taught me to just say it and go do it and spread some love around. Sisar Dayton taught me that missionary work is fun! She was so happy and positive all the time and always lifted my spirits. She really helped me understand that this is a gospel of good news and that we should enjoy sharing it!  I don't think I've ever laughed so much in a 4 month period than I did with her. Sisar Lund taught me how to listen. She was truly interested in everyone and everyone loved talking with her because they knew she cared. She would sit and listen to me talk for forever and honestly take interest in what I was saying. It meant a lot and it really just showed me how much care you can show to someone by simply being a listening friend. Sisar Curtis taught me to just forget yourself and go to work. She was very good at staying focused and not getting stressed out or worrying too much about things you can't control. She knew that if she put in her all to fulfill her purpose 24/7, that was all the Lord asked of her. And she always encouraged me to be better and do the same. And Sisar Johnston. She continues to teach me everyday, but I think the biggest thing I've learned so far is how to connect with people and apply the gospel to their lives. She's always able to just sit down next to someone and then walk away from them being best friend! And I just sit there smiling and confused. She truly is always happy and people are attracted to her light because of it. So I guess she's taught me to let my light shine.

-All of these lessons have a billion stories behind them that have helped me get to where I am today, but I guess the biggest thing I've learned so far is Hope. Hope that through the Atonement, everything will be made right in the end.

So with all of this in mind, let me tell you a little bit about my week.

Tuesday was Zone Conference and it was AMAZING. It was President and Sister Rawlings' last one before the head home and we focused a lot on praying always. So Wednesday and Thursday Sister Johnston and I went out and focused 100% on praying always and saw MIRACLES! Two main ones were super cool. 1. We had this potential family's name in our area book, but the problem was that they lived on this island in the middle of no where that we had to take a bus and then walk across this bridge and then we got to their house. So we finally had a chance to get out there and we prayed about what to say to them and really just asked the Lord to help us and it went amazingly well! We knocked on the door and she seemed busy, but we asked if she had 10 minutes (like we had planned) and she said sure! And let us right in! So then her and her husband sat down and said "Ok, you have 10 minutes, what's your message?" Finally! Someone who's willing to listen! So we introduced the Book of Mormon to them and explained it and Moroni's promise and about praying to know if it was true and it was one of the best lessons ever! They were really intent and asked a lot of questions and they have 3 sons who are also interested! It was a family! So yeah. the Lord really helped us testify to them and we're super excited to start working with them more. 

2. We have been trying to get into this Less-active's building for like 4 months, but it's always locked and we've never been able to catch someone walking in or out or something like that. So we weren't planning on stopping by at all, but I just had the thought as we passed her house "Hey, maybe someone will open the door for us now. It's summer, maybe more people are home during the day" So we went to the door and it was locked (as usual) but then I looked through the window and we saw that the back door was wide open! So we quickly ran around the building and walked right in! So now we're standing at her door and we say a thank you prayer and we go to knock on her door and we just hear all this yelling and shouting and a baby crying i think and we debated if we should come back or not. Well, we said another prayer and still felt like we should knock because we had finally been able to get in. So we knocked and this mom answered the door and it ended up being the Less-active lady's daughter. She was holding her little girl so we asked if we could just sing a song to them. She agreed and we sang "Oon lapsi Jumalan" (I'm a child of God) we were able to talk to them and really help bring the spirit into their home and it was a super cool experience. And she also gave us her mom's new address (the less-active) so we're going to stop by her house tonight! So yeah, there was definitely the Lord's hand in that one.

Last night Espoo ward put on a "Music and the Spoken Word" Where lots of different people sang different songs with some poems and stories and scriptures read in between and it was so good! Definitely something we'll have to try here in our ward. And also, Another less-active came with us and loved it! It was a great ending to a great week.

So this Friday are transfer calls. I'm pretty sure I'm staying here in Neitsytpolku with Sisar Johnston, but just to be sure, send all mail to the mission home. This week is also Juhannus (Mid Summer's) and everyone is so excited! Finns love their summer! So we have 2 red days where we have to be indoors or in appointments, but not out walking around so I'll let you know how that goes. It's super bright here now, but I love it! I'm soaking up all the sun I can get! But it's still cold sometimes. If it rains, I have to wear my red jacket because it's too cold with the wet and the wind. But usually I'm okay in just a cardigan or a sweater.

Well, this past year has flown by, but it literally has been the happiest and most rewarding of my life and I'm excited to see where these last 3 transfers will take me! I love you all so much and I hope you have a wonderful summer! I'm off to play frisbee with the district again and then to Tortilla House (my favorite Mexican Restaurant here in Finland) for dinner! Thank you so much for everything :)


Sisar Crandall

President and Sister Rawlings and the Helsinki Temple

View out my window at 6:00 a.m., and some cool clouds

Monday, June 9, 2014

Interim Week!

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this week was awesome! We had Interim which meant that the Kuopio Sisters (Sisar Nielsen and Sisar Bates) were staying at our apartment all week! Fun stuff! So I really don't have a lot of time, but basically Interim was awesome and being with the mission President straight for 3 days really helps me re-focus on missionary work and remember why we're all out here and what we're doing. So yeah, here are some awesome one-liners from the one and only President Rawlings:

"Sharing the love of the Savior is veil breaking"

"The Lord is not just building the kingdom, He's building you"

"What looks like a failure is sometimes a success in God's eyes"

"Following the spirit is the biggest stress reliever on the planet"

"The first hour out of your door will determine your day"

"We didn't come across the ocean so that people could have a discussion with us, we came across the ocean so that they could have a discussion with God"
And last, but not least "These words are pregnant with meaning" (Said while talking about a scripture)
So yeah, he's basically a general authority and I'm always writing as fast as I can while I'm around him. So I guess it's safe to say that I'm re-energized and ready for some awesome missionary work this week!

We were able to go to the temple on Thursday (10 of us missionaries) And that was a super cool experience. I've been 4 times now in the Helsinki temple and not gonna lie, some of the vocab is very unique to the temple so now that I've been there enough times I actually know what's going on in Finnish instead of having to translate it to English in my head. 

(Pic:  Sisar Nielsen, Sisar Johnson, Sisar Bates, and all 4)

So since we had 2 companionships we were able to have double the appointments each night and it went awesome! We ended up teaching a lot of lessons this week and got some awesome potentials and meeting with a ton of less actives. It's just always fun to be on splits.
So one of the main things I loved about Interim was the story in Mark 4:35-31. I love how Jesus knows the end from the beginning. He knows that we're going to the other side and He's in the boat with us. We're never alone. :)

So I hope everyone has an awesome week this week! And a big Happy Birthday to Rhett and Savanna for turning 11! And Happy Father's Day!! (Father's Day is in November here so that threw me off...) I love you all! Thank you for everything!
Sisar Crandall

(Pic:  With Sisar Baliff Visiting, and a Windy Day)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Welcome to Kesäkuu!

Hello Everybody! 

First off, Congrats to Camille for getting a scholarship! So proud. 

Well I'm emailing on Sunday this week because we have Interim next week! 

So MondayTuesday, and Wednesday all the trainees and trainers will be in meetings/trainings with President and Sisar Rawlings from 10 to 5 ish. Kinda long, I know, but this also means that we get to have the Kuopio sisters stay with us! Sisar Nielsen and her trainee Sisar Bates will be at our apartment all week so we're super excited for that! We'll also have 2 companionships in our area in the evenings so that means a lot more work will get done! So I'm excited to see what'll happen this week. That also means that on Thursday I get to be on splits with Sisar Nielsen all during the day while our companions are in Kieli Koulu (language school) and then ALL of us get to go to the temple! It's the first time they've done it that way so I'm pretty excited. It's also our President's last Interim (He goes home end of this month) So obviously he saved the best for last and it's going to be awesome. So anyway, that's what I've got coming up this week. But as for last week, Here's what happened:

Monday- We had our ward activity! It was a dessert competition! Sisar Johnston and I made a Finnish version of Oreo Truffles (I wanted to make muddy buddies but Rice Chex doesn't exist in Finland...) And they turned out really well! And apparently people even voted for us! But we didn't win :( But the cool thing was that we had an investigator and a potential show up! So they got to see the church and meet some members and it went super well. And I was super proud of everyone in our ward for coming out. Usually ward activities have a kinda sad turn out here in Finland, but this one went great! 
Tuesday-Not much happened today. Just a LONG District Meeting with our new District Leader, Elder Smith, and studies and some Less actives. We had a lesson with our new investigator today and... she dropped us. I guess she found out a little more about "mormons" from the internet or something and wanted to give us the Book of Mormon back. We told her to keep it and it ended on a good note, but that still was kinda disappointing. But then we finally got to meet with this less-active girl! She's about 27 and super cute and seriously would be best friends with our investigator V so we figure we'll re-activate her through missionary work.

Wednesday-2 NEW INVESTIGATORS TODAY! Last week we really focused on talking with everyone and we got some awesome potentials and we were able to get in contact with them and make them investigators today! Yay! We really needed some addition to our teaching pool... And then we were also able to finally meet with our Less-Active! And the lesson went AWESOME! She really has become friends with us and is now totally open to coming to all the YSA activities and to meet with us and everything. She just needs some more friends in church and she's good to go! And we also got to meet with this referral we got from a member. We went over a couple of weeks ago to help her do some spring cleaning and clean her windows and then invited her to the ward activity on Monday. She wasn't able to come, so we brought her some of our dessert tonight and talked a lot about families and we gave her a copy of the Proclamation and that went really well as well. So we still have a TON of potentials that we're working with and hopefully they'll become a little more interested soon!

Thursday-Well we ended up not having any lessons scheduled today, but we did have Weekly Planning and then helping our Ward Mission Leader move (don't worry, he's still in the ward). So that took up a chunk of our time, but we were still able to make some awesome plans for next week with the sisters here!

Friday-Well to be honest, today was a struggle day... One of those "everything that can go wrong does and everybody cancels and is rude to you" kinda days. We were able to meet with a LA and it went really well, but she was upset that we had to hurry and leave and help another member move and then after some missed buses and metros and getting lost, we finally were able to help two YSA girls in our ward move (also still in the ward) and then we had to run off to meet our recent convert and we were extremely late and then our appointment afterwards cancelled and everything was just crazy and somehow we ended up at the baptism of a member boy in Marjaniemi with our recent convert. The baptism went REALLY well and the Dad's not a member and it was just a great experience for everyone. So we ended up on top at the end of the day :)

Saturday-BEST DAY! Today was one of the best days I've had on my mission. Which was awesome because Friday was a bummer. Well, first off, The Sister's investigator got baptized!! Yay! So we got to have another baptismal service and it was absolutely beautiful. This investigator had been married to a member for 30 years or so and had kids her were members and it was just his time now :) He was baptized by his son-in-law and the whole family was there and I just loved it :) I didn't even teach this man but I teared up a little bit just thinking about all the potential their family now has. It was wonderful :) 

And another amazing thing happened today! We were just in our apartment studying before we had to head out to the baptism and the door bell rings. That NEVER happens so I was slightly hesitant, but I answer it and guess who was there?!! SISAR GRETA BALLIF! My old companion/trainer who went home in November came back to visit Finland with her whole family! And they were staying at the hotel across the street! I seriously freaked out! It was so so good to see her again. So after a few hugs and catching up for a minute or two, she invited us to come have dinner with her and her family. I was so excited! So that's what we did tonight! We ate at Tortilla House and I got to meet 7 of her 9 siblings and it was so cool! We were companions 3 months so I had heard so much about everyone so it was just so great to finally meet them all! Seriously, one of the funnest things that's happened in a long time. So yeah, A baptismal service and Sisar made today great :)

Sunday-Fast Sunday and church and nothing too exciting so far. We have an appointment with our new investigator and a member today and I'm super excited for that and then some awesome plans next week so I'll letcha know how it goes! Sorry this week was basically just a journal entry of things that happened. Hopefully I'll have some cooler stories and insights next week. Well, I love you all so much!  Have a wonderful week! And Welcome to June!
Sisar Crandall
p.s. Sorry for the lack of pictures this week. I did take them! And I even remembered my cord! But I left my camera at home...