Monday, September 29, 2014

Wake me up when September ends....

Hello family! 

Well Missionary work is certainly interesting... I'm having so much fun and just working hard and I've never been so tired in my life! But Sisar Jones and I just had a nice half hour run (sprint... She's really fast) to the church so I'm bright and awake now! Life's going great and we're nice and busy here in Tampere! The Sisters in this zone are just amazing and are going to go so far in life! It's cool to get to work with them and see their goals and dreams and realize that they're a sure lot further along in the mission than I was at their age! 

Well Monday started off after email with a lesson with our investigator V. He had a LOT of questions about works and faith and mercy. Pretty deep stuff for me to explain in Finnish, but luckily that week I had just listened to 2 talks "Jesus knows I'm a Christian" by John Bytheway and "After all that I can do" by Brad Wilcox and it explained it super well and I think he gets it more now. 

Also on Monday/Tuesday, WINTER CAME. Holy cow it was freezing this week! I think the lowest it got while we were outdoors was probably 3 C. So Sisar Jones and I broke out our winter coats and boots! It's only September! But yeah, I guess I'm used to it now. I was back to my fall jacket later in the week but still had my big black one and my boots for a couple of days.
Tuesday was an awesome district meeting and we focused a lot of planning by the spirit. We're really focusing on using a whole half hour each night to plan really well and I think a lot less people are slipping through the cracks. We talk to a lot of people and get a lot of phone numbers and potentials and now we're making sure we follow up with every one of them! Then we had a lunch appointment with an older lady in the ward and then headed out to one of one investigators! This awesome couple, the M, who are some of the pioneer members here in Finland came with us. and the investigator wasn't home... which is weird since he's ALWAYS home and has never missed an appointment yet... Well then later in the week we had another appointment at the church and they came as well. And our other investigator who has never missed a lesson either didn't show up! So we felt SO bad that this couple came out with us twice and both the lessons fell through. So I'm just grateful for them anyway. It was fun to get to know them a little better while we waited, but I still felt bad... But they're so cool! After driving away from our investigator's house, we saw someone had  put a box of apples on the side of the road for people to just take for free (very typical here in FInland this time of year. I think I've eaten 100 apples the last 3 weeks...) So the wife told her husband to pull over and said "If this man is nice enough to put a bunch of apples outside, maybe he'll accept the gospel!" And she got out of the car and rang the doorbell! Well the man came to the door and it wasn't really a good time (I think he was like half dressed) but he said we could come back! So yes. There are some AWESOME members here in Finland and I get to work with them! 

And we had exchanges this week! Two of them! On Wednesday I was with Sisar Elliott from Turku here in Tampere and then on Friday I was with Sisar Thayne (from the Tampere 2nd ward) here in my area as well. And they both went great! SIsar Elliott and I talked to a lot of people on the street and taught 2 less actives about preparing to go to the temple. She's only been in the country about 3 months (2nd to youngest sister in the mission) but she's doing so well! Her faith is seriously so strong and it was just the missionary fire I needed that very cold day. We also ended the day by playing sähly and out less active and her non member boyfriend came! Seriously the miraculous highlight of the day! Sisar Thayne is way cool as well. The 2nd ward is SO different from the first ward so we have different challenges, but we talked about them a lot and what the other one has done in their ward to help. She's way cool. She's only 2 transfers (4 months) behind me in the mission and she's training so she's doing well. We had an appointment to go pick apples at our investigator's Mökki (i don't know how to translate that one...) and we knocked on her door and she wasn't home :( so after waiting for a couple of minutes, we started walking back to the bus stop and making other plans. But then our investigator came running off the bus from the other side of the street and stopped us right before we stepped on the bus and it all worked out! Pretty cool timing! So we were able to go help her. Lots of tiny miracles this week I can't even count them!

For example, we've been struggling to have the members do their own missionary work. They're great about coming out with us, but applying these skills into their daily lives is what we're working on now. but on Saturday we had a member ask US if we could come and teach her how to do missionary work and then on Sundayanother member came up to us and said she wanted us to come over and meet her friend that day! so we rearranged our schedule and went and she's a new investigator!
And Sunday was the best day of the week! Throughout the week we've been focusing on just loving and serving everyone. Whether that be in the form of service or heart attacking or little notes or cookies or anything, we did it! And this Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and 5 different people talked about how the sisters had done something for them that week. It was kinda funny actually because I was translating in Sunday School and in Relief Society for our mission president's wife, Sisar Watson, who was in Tampere visiting and someone said "This week the sisters made my day!" And I laughed and she made me translate it like "Uhhh this week we made her day..." This now sound really prideful but it was just super funny/awkward translating things about yourself... So I think the missionary/member relationships are really improving here. There's also a ward fast in the month of October where a member family fasts each day. And lots of people signed up for that so I'll let you know how it goes! Also, that couple that came to the two cancelled lessons made a comment in Relief Society about how it was so cool to go out with the sisters this week and even if it was cold and rainy and dark that they always have a smile on their face and are having fun. So I'm glad that she didn't focus on the cancelled lessons and was able to have fun with us anyway.

We also had a Dinner with a girl who's about to leave on a mission and her mom. She's so excited! And then on the way home I sat down and talked to a man who had these crazy tattoos all over his head and then he got up and left and another man came and sat down to talk to me which has NEVER happened in my whole mission. And he asked about what I was talking about and if our church had any activities to come to! Miracle! So we exchanged numbers and he's coming to Sähly on Wednesday! So cool!

Well sorry this email is all over the place, but I'm doing well! Lots of miracles and lots of cool goals coming up that I'm working on. 

Oh! One more thing! General Conference is this week!!! So when Elder Bednar was here, one of the questions he answered was "How can I prepare for General Conference?" And Elder Bednar's promise was that if you have a question and you pray and study it out this week and that you come to conference with it in your mind that EVERY TALK will answer you question. Not just one or two talks. EVERY SINGLE ONE! So I give that challenge to all of you. Put it to the test! And let me know all the amazing insights you receive! I'm SO SO SO excited for this weekend! Conference is way up there with Christmas for a missionary and we've had a countdown chain for a month leading up to it!

Well life's good and there's never much to complain about on the Lord's errand! I love you all and I hope you have a great, inspired week!

Sisar Crandall

Me and Sisar Elliott at a bus stop
Me and Sisar Thayne with our street sign (long story)
Sisar Thayne, Forrest, Jones, and me (it was pretty cold...)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Miracles on miracles here in TRE!

Kathryn's Tampere Address -- This is different than I initially gave you . . .

MuotiAlantie 72 A 4
Tampere 33800

Family and Friends!

Wow this week has seriously flown by! And I thought last week flew! But one thing I've learned is that time speeds up out here on a mission! We did a TON of work this week and there are so many miracles happening here in Tampere it's AMAZING! Multiple times this week I stopped and stared as Sisar Jones and I just looked at each other and thought "Is this real life?" "Did that really just happen?" AND I LOVE IT!! So Let's recap this week shall we?

Monday- Awesome Busy P-day full of meeting with a less active from Peru! So I got to use my Spanish!! She can understand Finnish pretty well, but struggles speaking it. So whenever she couldn't think of a word, she would just say it in Spanish and then I had to tell her the word in Finnish so she could learn. One of the hardest things I've had to do recently because all the languages get super mixed up in my brain, but it works! And then fast forward to Sunday, I had an entire conversation on the bus with a man from Cuba in Spanish! (He didn't speak English or Finnish) And I was able to tell him we were missionaries and give him a card! So TWO chances to use my very limited Spanish this week. After our lunch with the Less-active (she made us delicious Peruvian food by the way) We went to check out a cool church in the center So see the picture of that.

Tuesday- ZONE CONFERENCE So President and Sisar Watson came to Tampere! We had an awesome zone conference and some "Zone leadership counsel" meetings with all the zone leaders and district leaders and us :) Yep we're the only sisters in those meetings so that's kinda fun. Zone conference was awesome. It was the first one with President Watson so it was interesting to see how he does things differently than President Rawlings. We talked a lot about Hastening the Work in all aspects. Like working with members and investigators and referrals and less actives and recent converts and balancing it all out. And it went great!

Then we had exchanges! So from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening we had the Lahti sisters with us! I was with Sisar Rochette and Sisar Jones was with Sisar Curtis. And we rocked it! SIsar Rochette only came into the country 2 months ago, and she's AMAZING! She's really working hard and progressing way faster than I ever was at that age and it was really fun to get to know her better and learn from her and just teach together for at least a day. We went to a member's house to pick apples and had a blast and then hit some members and formers. 

Thursday- MIRACLE DAY! Okay, let me tell you a little about our investigator named M. He's kinda been investigating the church on his own, but on Monday he called us up to meet and then again today! We gave him a church tour and taught him the whole Restoration and he agreed with it all! But then the real miracle came on Sunday. Well on Thursday we invited him to church and he said he was busy and couldn't come. WELL HE CAME! Sacrament meeting for our ward starts at 10 and he showed up at 11 just as it was getting out. Well we told him there was another ward at 14 and he said he'd come back then. AND HE CAME! But the real miracle came as he was talking to another member and M told him that he had prayed about the truthfulness of this church and after he finished his prayer, he couldn't stop smiling! Sisar Jones and I looked at each other like "Wait, did you just understand that in the same way I understood it?" And that's what he said! So yeah, he's awesome and is taking his time and working through some things and we'll just keep helping him the best we can!  He said we could pray for him so any prayers on his behalf would be appreciated.

Friday- Mission Leadership Council! MLC IN HELSINKI! So last minute we got a text from the Assistants asking us to come down to Helsinki this Friday instead of next Friday. So we rearranged our schedule a little and work up at 545 to catch a train to Helsinki! I LOVE HELSINKI! Holy cow I missed that city so much. We were able to hit a Burger King (Okay I know that sounds really lame but BK is a really big deal here in Finland because the first one just opened in Finland in Helsinki and it's delicious) and we went to the temple!! The session was PACKED and for the first time I had to sit on the man side. The session was also in Russian so I had head phones on and it was fun to listen to some things in Finnish and then in English and just do whatever I felt like. Anyway, then we headed to the mission home in Espoo. IT'S HUGE! The mission home just moved so this was the first time I had been there and it's way cool! So we had a wonderful lunch there and I got to see Sisar Lund (my former companion) and some other sisters from my group. 5 or the 6 sister training leaders came in my group so we're all going home soon and they'll have to call a lot of new ones so that'll be cool to see what changes with that.
We talked a lot about being disciples of Jesus Christ and what that really means. It helped a lot and we're excited to implement it on exchanges with other sisters this week. Speaking of exchanges, we're with the other Turku sisters on Wednesday and then the other Tampere sisters on Friday. Sisar Jones and I are hardly together! Which is a bummer because we get along GREAT! We seriously just love and laugh all the time. Being her companion is so fun! She's a pro at talking with everyone and we had such miraculous experiences that make this week so fun! I just love her :)

Saturday - We had our Ward mission leader meeting and planned our next ward activity! It's kinda like the Music and the Spoken Word concert we did in Neitsytpolku, but it's all about the Restoration! And the ward immediately jumped on it and I'm super excited for that!

Sunday- Church! We taught Young Women's today! First time I've been in there in years... And I loved it! We taught all about keeping the Sabbath day holy and fasting. M came and then after church we met with our other investigator B. She's from Czech and is amazing and we're meeting again on Wednesday!

So yeah, it was an awesome week, just like every week is!  We're super busy and we're having a blast being missionaries! I know some people read these letters who have their mission calls and I just want to tell you that the best stress reliever is following the spirit. Everything will work out. Being a missionary is FUN! So if you're stresses or worrying or not having fun, you're doing something wrong. I love you all so much! Well, We're off to a lesson with our investigator V So I'll let you know how it goes next week! Have a wonderful week and keep smiling!

Sisar Crandall

Burger King Shakes
Us at the temple
The sister training leaders at the temple with Sisar Watson
Trying  "Musta Makkara" for the first time. Google it.

Cool Sunset profile picture

Me and Sisar Rochette
Sisar Jones and I at the church

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mission Conference and ELDER BEDNAR!

Well the highlight of the week was definitely up there in the subject line - WE HAD A MISSION CONFERENCE WITH ELDER BEDNAR!!

Sorry if these are a lot of details that don't really matter, but I just want to tell you everything!

So Sisar Dayton and Sisar Seegmiller came to our apartment from Jyväskylä Thursday night and slept there. Then us and all the Elders from Tampere and Pori and Rauma and some other places were all in Tampere and we took a nice early 7 o clock train to Helsinki! The conference didn't start until 12 and we were all at the chapel at about 9 so we had lots of time to talk and re connect with everyone and then study and prepare ourselves for Elder Bednar. Actually we had been preparing for about a month. He sent some talks or his for us to all read ahead of time and I've been studying those for the past couple of weeks. It was SO good to see everyone again! Some of my old companions I hadn't seen in 6 months and some elders from my original district (about a year ago) were there too and it was just so fun!

So then we studied and got ready and then Elder Bednar came! He was accompanied by his wife and then President and Sister Kearon and Elder and Sister Jouttenus and then the Stake President and his wife from Jyväskylä, The Koivistos. (I skyped from their house for Christmas).

We started off from just hearing from the Kearons and Sister Bednar and then Elder Bednar got up and just asked us "Okay what did you learn from my talks?" so we just raised our hands and had a discussion with him. It was WAY cool. He would just ask us follow up questions that really made us think and in a way teach ourselves. It's hard to explain so I'll just have to demonstrate for you one day. But anyway, and then he let us ask him any question we wanted! So hands flew up and we had some amazing answers and insights but the most curious thing was realizing that the answers to most questions we have as missionaries were the same. He answers were repeatedly 1) Keep your covenants and stay worthy and 2) just be a little better today then you were yesterday. That's all this life is about! I think it's a lot of things us missionaries (and probably more of the sisters) needed to hear. Stop worrying about all the little details of life and just repent and be a little better today and everything will work out. He taught us a lot about HOW to improve and know what to work on and I'm really excited to apply these things. I've decided to really study and pray and fast about what I need to do and then DO IT! I have a temple session coming up and then general conference the next weekend so I'm super excited to go through this changing process of becoming better.

So afterwards we had a mission picture and got to talk to everyone again and then headed back to the train station! After grabbing some Hesburger and seeing some friends from Helsinki (like H and G) We all hopped on a train! Sisar Jones and I have really been praying about how to help the sisters here in our zone and on the train ride back we were brainstorming and came up with it! Answers do come! So I'll have to tell you all about this idea later once we actually implement it.

Well besides Elder Bednar, this week was AMAZING! Here are some other things that happened:

-The Turku sisters came to go on exchanges. I was with Sisar Ross and Sisar Jones was with Sisar Hillebrant. Well Sisar Ross and I had a great day! It started off with a CHURCH TOUR! Which is super normal for us to give, but this one was to an entire high school class! None of them knew anything about the church and it was in Finnish which was kinda intimidating, but it went great! Sisar Ross is only one transfer behind me in the mission so she did great! Then we had some lunch and met with our investigator briefly and just showed him where the church was and then we headed out to visit Sisar R. She's an older lady in our ward who's in the hospital so we went to talk to and sing to her. And then we had a DA with a member family. There's super cute couple with a 1 year old daughter and Sisar Ross just connected with them immediately because the dad is from Turku (where she serves). Then we headed out to a Women's Broadcast from Germany to all the Sisters in the European Area! Elder Bednar and Ballard spoke again and it was awesome! Lots of cool notes on that as well.

-So we have an investigator named J that we set a baptismal date with last week and decided this week to give him to the Elders. So we had a joint lesson at the church on Thursday and then he stayed for the baptismal service of a little member girl in the ward. And he loved it! So even though he's the Elders' investigator now, we're super excited! He came to church yesterday and is progressing and  doing just great!

-Speaking of church yesterday, Sisar Jones and I sang a special musical number! We volunteered to do it and then realized it was ward conference and that ALL of the stake leaders and a bunch of other people were there, but it went great anyway! We sang "Niin Suuri Oot" "How Great Thou Art"

Sorry so so much more happened this week but I gotta go! Have a wonderful week and remember that I love you all so much! You're in my prayers :)

Sisar Crandall


MTC Companion- Sisar Howell
Sisar Jones and I in the fog

Monday, September 8, 2014

First Week in Tampere!!

First Things First . . . Kathryn's New Address:

Sisar Kathryn Crandall
Muotilantie 72 A 4
Tampere 33800

Hello everyone!!

Well this week was quite an adventure! I'm in TAMPERE!! It's awesome! So I woke up early Tuesdaymorning, went for our usual run, packed like crazy (Thank you Sisar Johnston for all your help). We visited and said good by to Sisar T and then had a lunch DA with some members so say good bye to them too. They're the ones that you all met on skype back in May. So they've been really good to me in Helsinki. Then we RAN home and grabbed my bag and RAN to the tram to get to the train station on time. The other sisters and elders as well as H and G were all there to say goodbye. Man, there are some amazing people down in the Neitsytpolku ward that it was kinda hard to say good bye. But now I'm off to a new adventure! I traveled to Tampere by myself (so weird) and just had some time to think and journal and doze off on this almost empty 2 hour train ride. 

So then Sisar Jones met me on the other side in Tampere and our jouney began! Let me tell you, this week has been so fun! Sisar Jones is amazing. She's from South Jordan, UT and came to Finland the same time I did. So she was in Neitsytpolku for 6 months and then here in Tampere for 6 months so she's a master. She's also been Sister Training Leader for the past 4 months so she's showing me all the ropes! A lot of what we do consists of going on exchanges with all the sister companionships in the zone twice a transfer, once in our city and once in their city. So that takes up a lot of time. This week we have the Turku sisters coming tonight and leaving Wednesday morning and then the Jyväskylä sisterscoming Thursday night and traveling to Helsinki with us on Friday for ELDER BEDNAR'S MISSON CONFERENCE! We are SO excited. We've been working really hard to prepare ourselves spiritually and our areas physically. We have 3 hours with just him and all the missionaries in Finland (the members aren't invited) so we'll see what spiritual feast he has for us! I can't wait to tell you all about it next week!

(Sisar Crandall and Sisar Jones)

Well besides our fun week coming up, this week has been FULL of miracles. Sisar Jones is a really good missionary who really talks to everyone about the gospel. So not that my fire for missionary work was ever gone, but it's sure burning even more now! We push each other and we've been reaping our works! This week we ended it with 4 NEW INVESTIGATORS and a BAPTISMAL DATE! Yay! And the baptismal date came from a new investigator we met on Tuesday and taught again on Saturday! This ward hasn't had a baptism in a while, but they're SUPER willing to help out and come on lessons so we'll just get everything rolling here! It also helps being Sister Training Leader because our area is supposed to be the model area and everyone knows it so it puts a bit more pressure on us, but it makes us remember to pray always and talk with everyone. 
They also gave me the opportunity to introduce myself and testify yesterday in church. And all the members are SO nice here! And there were even a couple of visitors from Neitsytpolku and Jyväskylä so it was really great seeing some old friends again. There are also 2 WARDS here in Tampere which is pretty rare in Finland. So there are 4 missionaries in each ward and the work is going great!

Okay, back to the miracles. Well we met our investigator J on Tuesday at a bus stop and it turns out that missionaries gave him a book of Mormon years ago and he just hadn't read it yet! But we had a lesson at the church on Saturday with 2 members and they just shared all about how the Gift of the Holy Ghost has been a blessing in their lives and how we can only receive this gift after baptism so when we invited him, he accepted! And early that week, Sisar Jones and I prayed to know when our next baptism could be in this ward with the Lord's help. We came up with October 11th and that's the date he accepted! Miracles happen! 

Sisar Jones and I also had some crazy cool/hard experiences this week. They were super cool because we met an awesome man on the street and then an awesome woman at the door who was a former investigator. In both conversations the spirit was SO STRONG. Seriously one of the strongest feelings I've ever had. And we testified all about prayer and God's love and the woman ended up bawling and hugging us. Now I say they were hard because then both of these people said "no thanks, I'm not interested" and we kept testifying and trying to help them recognize the truth of what they were feeling, but they just weren't ready for it at this time. So that was definitely a learning experience that we can do ALL in our power, but it still doesn't take away their agency. But this week was a very successful one for us :)

Well I'm running out of time, but I love you all! I'm SO excited to be here in Tampere and I'll have a lot more to update you on next week! This week was a lot of meeting people and finding so I'm super grateful for that! I hope you all have a great week and keep being awesome member missionaries! 


Sisar Crandall

Monday, September 1, 2014

Heipä Helsinki, Terve Tampere!!

Yep! Transfers came this week and I'm leaving Helsinki!! President Watson called Saturday morning to tell me that I'm off to Tampere to be the Sister Training Leader up there with Sisar Jones!! Pretty big news! 

So this week has seriously been a rollercoaster! We've been super busy (which is always good for a missionary) and I don't even know where to start! So here are some major things that happened this week:

-I saw Uncle Kevin! So I'm just walking with Sisar S (the reactivated one) And Sisar Johnston to church and then we walk down the hall to go take a picture because it's my last Sunday and then I come back into the chapel and see Elder Downs talking to a man (in English). So I'm like "Oh, who's the English speaker?" And then after staring at him for a long time trying to wrap my mind around it I convinced myself that it IS Uncle Kevin! So I'm super shocked and I totally go up and give him a hug and then he said "Here's a hug from your mom" and then I kinda teared up a little... but in a good way! It was SO good to see a familiar face. And it was a PERFECT way to spend my last Sunday here in Helsinki! Just basically a tender mercy that reminded me that the Lord is always there and sends me constant reminders of his love. So thanks Mom and Uncle Kevin and President Watson for working that one out. It was way cool. 

-We also had fast and testimony meeting yesterday because of Stake Conference next weekend so I was able to bear my testimony and thank the ward for everything. This is a REALLY hard place to leave. I didn't think anything could live up to Jyväskylä, but I guess you just fall in love with the people, ward, and city no matter where you are. Life of a missionary! But this ward really is AMAZING! I had to take a million pictures with everyone I wanted to say goodbye to and still a lot of goodbyes tonight, but I'm so excited to head out into this new phase of my mission! And I'm really grateful to the Lord for giving me this chance to serve with some other sisters and learn from them. I think it'll really help my focus and finnish strong :)

-We worked a lot with the Less Actives and recent converts again this week. Sisar T is doing well and I get to go say goodbye to her tomorrow morning. (I catch a train at 13) I'm seeing H and A tonight for one last FHE. We've also been working a lot with the N family. She's a single mom with 6 kids under the age of 14. The dad isn't a member and won't let the kids be baptized and it's really difficult to drag all 6 kids to church so a lot of times they just don't come. And recently we've been trying to just do ANYTHING to invite the spirit into their home and help them to stop fighting. So Sisar Johnston and I have been pretty creative to just help this family have a whole family home evening together without any fighting or yelling or cussing. So we went over Sunday afternoon for me to say goodbye and to have an FHE with them. And we played with NERF guns! Sisar Johnston made this cool board with numbers all over it and whatever number you hit, you had to say that number of things that you were grateful for. It started off kinda rocky with the kids not really wanting to participate (I think one boy said he was grateful for his bed like 6 times) But then something changed! And by the end of it, the kids were listing hundreds of things they were grateful for! And every kid at one point said they were grateful for their mom and I know that was something she hadn't heard in a long time, maybe never. And by the end she was crying and it was just really cool to actually physically SEE the difference the gospel makes in family life. 

That's something else I've realized this week. The families or members or have daily scripture study, daily prayer, family home evening weekly, and come to church are just in general happier than the ones that don't. Of course we all have challenges either way, but the influence of the Spirit sure helps with that! Also, Visiting Teaching. I have a huge rant about it, but the Elders just had an awesome reactivation because of a solid Home Teacher so yes, it really does make a difference and it really is missionary work so keep that up as well.

Our investigator I is doing good. We met with him yesterday and H came with us and we were able to cover almost the whole Plan of Salvation without too many problems so that's good!

Well I currently have a million thoughts running through my head and a thousand experiences I want to tell you all about, but there's just no time! So I'll send some pictures of the dear members here and the rest is in my journal for later :) 

I love you all! Keep up the amazing work and thank you for everything!

Sisar Crandall

Girls night with the sisars . . . uuuuuh, We're getting split up, and Hanging in Helsinki