I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more.
But really, I am loving this so
far. It started out with leaving the mission home with my companions,
Sister Pendleton and Sister Stucki. They are dolls. Love them. They are so
loving, patient with my torrent of questions, and we all have so much
fun together. We have only been together for six days now, but I already
feel so much a part of the team. I am so glad I got them.
Sister Crawford, Sister Pendleton and Sister Stucki
district is so fantastic. They are just awesome. They are including me
so much and are showing me so much love. They are a blast to hang out
with and are rocking this teaching lessons thing. I am so lucky to be a
part of this district.
Haha, so my branch I serve
in... I love them. They are insane but I love them. They are all on
different levels of communication skill; some cannot sign a single sign,
and others are pro at ASL, while others are good at using Mexican sign
language (MSL), and you also have those who sign SEE (where you sign
everything as if it had same grammar as English and has very literal
signs), and then you get some who sign a mixture of EVERYTHING and it is
crazy. So basically I need to learn a few versions of sign language
while I am here. I am actually super excited about that.
A highlight of some of my favorite people I have met so far:
Oh Monica. What a sweetheart! She was baptized the Sunday before I got
here. When we went over to visit her, she just blew me over with her
awesome testimony and sweet spirit. She is so level headed and still has
so much fun loving others. I can tell she has been through a lot in her
life. A lot, meaning abuse, and getting kicked out of the house for no
reason, and probably more. But she does not even let any of that keep
her back from learning about the gospel and loving others. She is such
an example to me.
Veronica is quite possibly my
favorite. Yes, I have favorites. She used to not know any sign language
whatsoever before a couple of sister missionaries started teaching her.
Now she is about half educated in it, has been baptized for about a
year, and has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She is expert at
sewing. Apparently, she looked at a car seat cover, then turned back to
her sewing machine and whipped one out exactly like the first. She
teaches the blue box class at church (blue box means the same thing as
gesture. It describes people who do not know any, or very very little,
sign language.) and is so wonderful at it. We go over to her place to
help her prepare for it. Yesterday, at church, blue box class was
awesome. We had a lesson on King Benjamin and why it is important to
face the temple and always go back. We made a tent out of chairs and a
sheet and we acted out, coming out of the tent, seeing the picture of the
temple, and going to the temple. It was adorable. Sister Pendleton and I
were beside ourselves with love and laughter with the other people in
the class. Veronica is the greatest.
such an adorable, lovely woman. She is completely blue box, but that
does not keep her back from loving every person she meets. She is
absolutely one of the most loving people I have met here. She considers
herself the mom-like figure for all the sister missionaries and
remembers each and every one that she has met since she first started to
learn about the gospel.
Earthquake! (2.8 on the Richter Scale)
So I see you all have
seen that I had an earthquake the other day. You spoiled my surprise!
But guess what! I have now had three! I had two that day
(last....Thursday?) and one this morning while we were studying. I love
it. So. Much. The only annoying thing is that each time they happen, I
feel it, but I don't stop to think about it because it just feels like
someone slammed a door down the hall. My companions tell me I have to
stop praying for earthquake experiences because they don't want anymore
and apparently they almost never had any until I got here. Hahahahaa :)
Fun fact: We actually now cover FOUR missions!!
Yay! We cover all of Anaheim, Irvine, Arcadia, and Long Beach. Oh yes.
We are awesome. And because we cover so much, we are the only mission in
the world with this much freedom. We are allowed outside our mission.
Some people are allowed outside too, but not to this extent. We are so
special, I love it.
One last thing, the lesson I
expect this mission will teach me the most is patience. And good thing
too, because that's what I need to learn most. With maybe two or three
exceptions, everyone in our branch and that we teach are on welfare.
They don't have jobs because they will lose welfare and their job would
pay them less than welfare pays them. And on top of that, many members
and investigators are only such because they want welfare from the
church. This bugs me. But, I love every one of them, and I can see the
light of Christ in each one of them. Even if they are in this for the
wrong reason, they are still a part of this gospel and will eventually
see how the gospel blesses them far more than welfare helps them.
President Taggart, Sister Taggart and Sister Crawford
I have arrived in Anaheim! With only 2.5 hours of sleep, and a loooong
morning of travel, I am sitting in my mission home getting to know my
wonderful Mission President and his wife. I will be able to meet my
companions in about an hour. They are Sisters Stucki and Pendleton. I am
so excited to finally meet them, esp since I have already been in
contact with them before I even left for the MTC. California... This is
going to take some getting used to! I'm not in Utah or Alabama anymore,
that's for sure. But it is beautiful here. I have already experienced
the terror that is California driving. This will be interesting. But I
know I will come to love it here. My Mission President and Wife are so
kind and loving. I already feel included. They even bought me a late
breakfast and are making me take a nap so I already love them. :)
p.s. Xina here, we were able to VP (video phone) with Smyly on Sunday night in lieu of the customary phone call from the airport when leaving Salt Lake City. It was so good seeing her and she just glowed. Her ASL has improved immensely and she seemed like she was in heaven. She is gonna show California what she is made of! :)
Four More Days until I hit the battlefront! Woohoo!!
of all, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your emails, DearElders, and
letters! I get so much, the elders in my district are successfully
rolling their eyes every time they hand me a letter. Every. Single. Day.
So congratulations on that! :)
Second of all, this week has been flat out awesome. I cannot even describe it. But I will try!!
of our teachers, Brother Featherstone (remember that our teachers are
recently returned missionaries) had a game for us. Uh oh. He herds us
out into the hallway and we see that he has made a giant V on the floor
with tape. He tells us that we each have to walk with one foot on either
side of the V until we couldn't go any further. Oookkkkk.... But don't
worry! He didn't make the sisters try too hard, especially since we were all
wearing straight skirts. But the elders he made go the whole way. And in
his defense, he did make sure to tell them to stop going any further if
we were going to rip our clothes. Anyhoo, he goes down the line of
elders and they each try it. One elder, two elder, but then the THIRD
elder. He starts walking. And walking. Then he staggers a little and we
hear a POP. In a flash, he jumps up, pins his legs together, and leans
on the wall. He had ripped his pants from crotch to knee! Everyone,
including himself, was laughing harder than we thought we could. We had
to wheel out one of the chairs so he could sit in it and cover his lap
with his suit coat, because he couldn't walk. He was a great sport about
it. His companion and another elder ran to get him a change of pants,
and when they got back, they wheeled him to an empty classroom to
change. So funny.
The second thing I wanted to
share with you was an awesome teaching experience. We teach in the TRC,
which basically means we teach volunteers, who may or may not be
members. For me and Sister Stromness, it is a little awkward because we
always get stuck with the recent RMs who end up teaching us. Cool. Back
in the classroom we have no idea what to do. Bro. Featherstone comes in
and mentions how he knows one of the RMs we taught. He offered us to
teach him, as himself, to get comfortable with teaching members. Ok,
cool. S. Stromness and I start separately studying to see what we could
teach him. I open to a page in Preach My Gospel and see a pic of Christ
and a thought pops into my head that why not do 'strengthening a
personal relationship with Jesus Christ'? Ok, cool. So we discuss how to
do that and come up with prayer and scripture study. Bro. Featherstone
comes back in and sits down. We chat with him for a bit and then offer a
prayer. After 'Amen' he turns to us and says, "Ok, sorry, I know you
have something prepared, but I was wondering if you could help me with
something. You know I have been home for five months and I have found
that my scripture study and prayer have been lacking and not the same as
before on my mission. How can I fix this?" *sly look at Sister Stromness*
"Well, Bro. Ben, interesting you should ask!" Hahaha so we proceed to
teach him the lesson we had already prepared. Because it applied. Then
another thought popped into my head. "Ben, do you ever study and pray as
if you were still teaching investigators, but from the point of view
that YOU are the investigator?" His eyes get really wide and red and he
becomes really focused as I explain how to do that. At the end of the
lesson, after the role-playing is over, he tells us that he actually had
never thought of that before! We actually helped him! We had even
surprised him with how well we taught with the spirit! And this is all
shocking to me, because he is going to be a general authority some day
soon and he knows almost everything. Seriously. So it was interesting
that those thoughts that popped into my head were specifically the
answers to the prayer he had said the night before to Heavenly Father. I
love this. I love teaching people and listening to the spirit to help
them solve their problems. Ben (Bro. Featherstone) was not the only
person we helped this week while listening to the spirit.
but not least, I want to give you a summary of one devotional we had
this week by Elder Larry R Lawrence of the Seventy through my eyes.
Satan has NO power over you. He can try, oh he can try. But he is not
able to read your thoughts. He has NO power to read your thoughts. He is
not able to do that. He only knows the things he does know from your
words, facial expressions, and actions. And he takes notes. Then he has
four tactics he uses against us: direct temptation, lies and deception,
contention, and discouragement. Real original, right? But why should we
fear? We can literally say, "Get thee hence, Satan" and he will flee. He
has absolutely NO power over us. How did Christ live His life so
perfectly? Besides the fact that He is the Son of God? He had a mortal
life, the same as others, so he had to have been tempted more than what
it says in the scriptures, right? But what I realized is this: Christ
understood that Satan has no power. He understood the tactics Satan
uses. He understood how to simply overcome him. If we remember these
things, we can live as Christ did. Yes, we will still be tempted, but we
can have more confidence living in this world and teaching our children
to be safer from evil if we remember these things.
Well, not really, but it sure felt like it. General Conference was fantastic. I have officially decided my top three favorites.
1. Elder Bednar.
2. Elder Holland.
3. Elder Oaks.
love how they have no fear to tell it like it is and put people in
their place. In these days, there is no time or room for too much
sugarcoating. Love it. Love it love it love it.
am really enjoying all the emails everyone is sending me!! Thank you so
much for the love and support you are giving me! I apologize right now
if I don't respond this week, as I have even less time today to write. I
pray for all of you!
OH! Sunday night
devotional: Vai Sikahema. The greatest devotional I have seen thus far.
Not only is he hilarious, but he cares so much about missionaries and
missionary experiences. He makes the most of his life to spread the
gospel where ever he is. What an inspiration. And Tuesday was Brent H.
Nielson of the Seventy. Fun fact, this week we were at 88,034
missionaries in the world. The gospel is true.
am really starting to enjoy teaching. My lessons are less forced and
awkward. Finally. I am more comfortable with the language, even when I
am not using it and only gesturing.
Ya'll want a
challenge? I want you to try this. Try having someone guess what you
are saying while sitting on your hands, not moving your mouth and no
sounds period, while only using facial expressions and body language.
And try having them guess "Your First Baptism". Hardest thing ever. We
eventually got it, but my goodness.
This week I
learned a lot more about focusing on the blessings of our life and not
on the trials. It is so easy to focus on the trials and problems in our
lives and not on all the blessings that Heavenly Father is pouring down
on us. Coupled with that, I hope you all read or watched President
Uchtdorf's talk in the Priesthood meeting. When Christ told His apostles
one of them will betray Him, what did they do? Did they turn about and
wonder which of them it would be? No, they did a self-evaluation and
asked, Is it me? How often do we think that the person with the problem
is the other person? How often to we blame others for our problems? We
need to first cast the beam out of our own eye before even looking for a
beam in anothers eye. This has been a lesson I have always been
learning, and I am so grateful President Uchtdorf addressed it for my
Another experience I have had
happened about two minutes and 38 seconds ago. In the middle of my
email. Because I am Sister Training Leader, the sisters come to me if
they need anything. A sister approached me asking if I could help her
get a blessing. As we all gathered in a room for that blessing, I could
feel the Spirit preparing to show its power. As our 18 year old zone
leader, who has given one, maybe two, blessings before put his hands on
this sister's head, and started speaking, I knew that it wasn't his
voice. It didn't even sound like him. The jests and teasings that
usually come out of his mouth did not show themselves here. As I looked
at his eyes while he spoke, He had a certain light coming from them. I
almost am inclined to believe that his spirit was not there and it was
replaced by an angel from on high as he relayed the message that our
Heavenly Father wanted this sister to hear. I know that priesthood
blessings are from the Lord. They are not of men, nor are they men's
words. They are the Lord's words of comfort and relief. I hope we all
remember this wonderful power the Lord has given us in this day. I hope
we all recognize how easily we have access to this godly power, should
we have faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
But really though, p-day is the greatest. It's not
that I want to wear pants again, or that I can write ya'll (which is
great, don't get me wrong). Why do I look forward to p-day every week?
Cause it's actually t-day. TEMPLE DAY. I LOVE going to the temple. It is
by far the best part of my week. I love the peace I feel there. I love
the things that I learn every time I am there. I love love love it.
I love being Sister Training
Leader. I have had so many opportunities to help other sisters, and even
elders, through this calling. It has helped develop the love I have for
others. I have learned that sometimes the only way one can fix a
problem is to show love and support. Just show them you love them, you
won't show an inch of judgement, and you will help them in any way you
possibly can. It's one of the best ways I can show Christ-like love
GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND.
Are ya'll ready?? I don't know why all of the sudden I am eager for
General Conference. Let's be honest, I slept through half the sessions before now.
But now that the Spirit of Eager Learning has invaded my quiet bubble of
sleeping through conference, I will be staying awake and learning all I
Don't even worry. When I get home, it
won't be weird to hear my first name again. No one actually says "Sister
Crawford" here (since we are in an ASL district and no one says
anything period). They just sign it or wave to get my attention. Or in
the case of Aryanna Hyde's district, I am Smyly. Because Aryanna and I
are still getting used to this whole Sister Sister thing. Ha, I promise
we'll get better.
Also, a funny scripture study I had. Alma 32 is about faith, right? Well
if you change out the words "faith" and "words" with "dating" it is
perfection. My companion showed me this and I about died from laughter.
It starts in about verse 26. In verse they start getting serious and get
engaged. In verse 41 they get married. Hilarious! I know I am missionary. I
am focusing. It was just funny and I wanted to share it.
Teaching is going well! I am
starting to learn how to trust the spirit as I teach and just do as it
says. I love teaching our investigator Ramon. He is deaf and knows no
ASL and only reads very little Spanish. Talk about a challenge! But
people like him are generally more willing to learn and more open to the
spirit. Our other investigator, Taylor, is wonderful too. For ya'll
information, they rarely trust us MTC missionaries with real
investigators. Our teachers role-play a person they know and that is who
we teach. Taylor is actually one of our teacher's grandfather, and with
what Taylor has told us, it breaks my heart and lifts me up with the
personal knowledge I have of that teacher now. I can see how the Savior
has worked in her life and how if we depend on Him, we will get better.