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!

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