Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Here's the bottom line... Our trio's down to two!"

Hello hello hello!

I will be honest with ya'll. I wasn't sure how I was going to function without Sister Pendleton, but boy did we have a successful week!

So much is happening... On Tuesday we dropped off Sister Pendleton at the mission office. Surprisingly, none of us cried. Probably because we cried our eyes out the last three nights before she left. When we got home I sat on the mattress (we had pulled all our mattresses out to the living room and slept on one giant bed). I gave myself a kick and got up and got to work. First things first, we had to completely clean the apartment. I tell ya, when you kill a companion, the apartment and car go to waste when it comes to cleanliness. So we did that. Then I pulled a 'Mom' and completely rearranged the apartment.  No shame. Then we went out and worked our tails off for the rest of the day.

We actually worked our tails off all week. More often than not we didn't have time for a lunch or dinner break so we either grabbed something on the way or didn't eat at all. Good thing I'm a missionary and the Lord blesses me, because otherwise, I wouldn't have survived! :)

We actually contacted some people this week that I have not contacted since I first got here (mainly because they refuse to be contacted). We finally got a hold of one of our CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults) down in Huntington Beach. AND she and her mom made a return appointment. Yes! Finally! So that was good. And we worked really hard with the other CODAs this week. And guess what? THREE of them came to church! No, scratch that. FOUR. Usually we only have one! Yeah! I'm pretty happy with that. Granted they might have stayed because Elder Bouck literally herded them into the classroom and sat in front of the door so they couldn't leave. Haha the things we have to do sometimes...

I just want everyone to know... I despise California drivers and traffic and roads and speed bumps and everything. Ok, now that that is off my chest... I am driving now that Sister Pendleton is gone. Sister Stucki drives some, but I have way more experience driving, period, so I drive the interstates and unfamiliar territory (which is almost everything). That being said, I have learned how to drive in California traffic. It's a technique called, "Just Force Yourself in There!" Yeah, I don't like it, but hey, ya do what ya gotta do.

Sorry, I am just rambling. I am just trying to remember everything that happened this week.

This Christmas season I want all of you to remember the Reason for the season. Maybe you have seen the video, but if not, go look at it. "He is the Gift" is a video the church put out about making Christ the center of Christmas.

 Heavenly Father gave Jesus Christ as a gift to the world, to those who had come before him, and to those who would come after. Christ did what no other person could ever do. He made it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father again. He made it possible for us to live with our families forever. He made it possible for us to be truly happy. He is the Gift, the Gift that changed the world. I encourage all of you to watch the video, and then show that video to a friend. Spread the news of the Gift. Be the choirs of angels that proclaim His birth, resurrection, and everlasting glory.

I love you all! \|,,|

Sister Smyly Crawford

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I killed my companion....

For those of you who don't know what that means, it means you and your
companions were together for their last transfer before they went
home. Therefore, I killed Sister Pendleton. She goes home early
tomorrow morning. I don't know what I am going to do without her! And
boy, she is leaving me with some large shoes to fill! I love her so

This week has been fantastic! So much has happened... Let's see if I
even can remember it all...

First off..... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!
:) :) :) :) :)

Second, HAPPY BIRTHDAY FORREST!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Third, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

Whew, ok, now that I have said what I have been dying to say, here's
what happened this week.

I am just over the moon with happiness. The Rico family has progressed
so much. We had a lesson with them earlier this week. At the end we
had Brandon (6) give the prayer with his dad's help to sign it. It.
Was. Adorable. And in the middle of the prayer, Edward (3) turned to
me, upset, and said he wanted to say the prayer. So at the end we had
him say a prayer with his mother's help to sign. Have any of you ever
seen anything so incredibly adorable that you thought you would fall
to pieces? That was the moment that topped all of your moments. Little
kids signing is quite possibly the cutest thing ever.

ANNOUNCEMENT! Kevin Rico (8) has been baptized!  He was baptized
yesterday just after Stake Conference. His mother was so proud and his
brothers were so excited and look up to him so much. He was so happy!
I can already tell this will be something that will bless this family
forever. It will change not only Kevin's life, but all of their lives.
Brandon and Edward said the opening and closing prayers in the meeting
as well. Maria (the mother) desperately wants to be baptized. She
wanted so badly to be baptized with her son. We just need to get them
married! That will be the difficult part, but every time I think about
it, I get a calm sense of peace that tells me everything will work

Now for my funny moment of the week! Here in California, there are a
lot of creepers that love to hit on me and my companions. This is
especially true when we are in the car driving. Don't worry Dad, I
give them my special glare and they back off. But it is still very
uncomfortable. One time, a few weeks ago, we were on the interstate
headed up to the Arcadia mission to teach a recent convert when we
look over next to us and a car of guys was trying to keep even with
us. They were all trying to hit on us. We got away safely haha, but I
decided to keep a Book of Mormon in the glove box just in case I
needed to press it against the window to make them hush. Well, a
couple nights ago we were driving at night and we come to a red light.
Next to us was a truck with a couple of guys. I decided to ignore them
and just casually put my arm up to block them from seeing me, even if
they kept trying to move to see (but I mean, come on, I'm the queen of
not 'hard to get' but 'I will never allow you to get' so it wasn't a
problem). The light turns green and we continue on, but the car kept
trying to stay even with us! Ok, bring out the big guns. I pull out
the Book of Mormon and stick it on the window to block my face. And
guess what? IT DIDN'T WORK. They kept trying to get even with us! Ugh.
So we come to another red light and finally Sister Pendleton looks
over to see what's up and SHE STARTS LAUGHING. I am thinking, "What on Earth do you think you are doing?!" Then I look over. THEY HAD A BIBLE PRESSED UP AGAINST THE WINDOW! Hahahahahahahahahaha We all laughed about that, both cars. So, that is my finding activity of the week. Missionary work for the win!

I don't have too much time today to write any more, because of
transfers, but thank y'all for your support and prayers! I feel it all
every day! Love you!

Sister Smyly Crawford

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME. Even if it doesn't feel like Christmas here in paradise. The lack of chill is pretty weird... BUT that's ok! We have Christmas music! And it is amazing how much love people have, just because Christmas is coming! People who would never talk to us before are so accepting now! I just love Christmas!

And one of the coolest things about Christmas... The lights!!! They go overboard here. Not even kidding. We went to one area last week where the houses are decorated but even better are the trees. They have these hanging balls of light all up and down the streets hanging from the branches of the trees that cover the street. GORGEOUS. And last night we went over to Yorba Linda and Holy. Cow. If any of you ever have money to spare, and don't want to give it to the poor, spend it on Christmas lights (but you should give it to the poor :) ). These houses are built on a lake front and are decked out beyond decked out. My goodness.... And they have little boats (since they live on a lake) that are completely decorated too. It's insanely beautiful.

Since Sister Pendleton is leaving soon we are following her bucket list. Last P-day for her bucket list we went to Downtown Disney to see it in the Christmas lights. So much fun! We all enjoyed ourselves. Especially me, since I went and made a Build-a-Bear as my Anaheim, CA souvenir. He's a bear in an Eeyore costume. Just for your information.

Now I would like to address the package I received from the Relief Society back home. I LOVED IT. I cannot express how much joy and excitement I had opening it. I am not exaggerating when I say that 94% of all the stuff in that package I had thought about buying in the last three weeks but didn't buy yet. Everything was needed and appreciated. And the pictures the kids drew me along with the letters from everyone almost put me to tears. I loved everything so so much! Thank you thank you thank you!

We have the Stake Christmas Concert coming up!!! Why am I so excited, you may ask? Because our adorable Veronica will be performing! She will be representing the branch by signing the song, "Do You have Room" while a girl from the YSA ward sings it. Veronica signs only a few signs normally, so for her to completely sign this song is amazing. We had taught her half the song before we realized she had no idea what was happening in the song, so we taught her the story of Mary. She is practicing like no other. She won't need us to help her in the audience come time for the Christmas. What a doll.

This next Saturday is Kevin Rico's baptism!!!!! I adore that family. They have all progressed so much in the past five weeks. Maria is fully supporting the baptism and when Brandon and Edward become old enough, she wants them baptized. It broke our hearts this week, however, when she told us how much she wants to be baptized. She wants to so bad, but she can't while she is living with Alberto, her boyfriend and father of her sons. But she cannot separate with him for many reasons, and cannot marry him for many reasons. So we are in a catch 22 and it is heartbreaking. I know everything will work out. They have to, because this is His work and His timing.

We had our branch Christmas party! It was awesome! Brother Willis from the high council made breakfast burritos for everyone. And we had a magician come!! He was pretty good, but goodness gracious it was funny. He didn't exactly adjust his show for his audience. It gets kinda awkward for everyone when a lot of his show you have to depend on listening to music. And the audience is deaf. But I think everyone enjoyed him nonetheless.

I have been studying a lot about faith this week. Why is faith the first principle of the gospel? It's because faith is the driving force behind all the other principles! It is the power that pushes us to follow the commandments. Faith means to have a firm belief, to trust, accept, and apply the Atonement. When we do these things, we are not idle in our beliefs. We are taking action and can further see the blessings of faith. In Preach My Gospel, it says, "Faith in Christ leads to action." This is one of my favorite quotes from PMG. We cannot say we have faith and not act as is we don't. We must show that faith through actively increasing our faith. We need to "try as hard as we can to learn about and become more like our Savior. We want to learn about what His commandments are and then obey them." Sister Pendleton came up with a great way to have faith and to build it:

Follow Him - do as He would do and follow the commandments
Accept Him -  He is the Savior of the world
Improve yourself - try everyday to become better
Trust in Him - Show that belief in Him and give Him yourself
Help those around you - serve others

I love you all and I challenge each of you to go out of your way every day to help others! This Christmas time is about Christ and His arrival to this world. Let's thank Heavenly Father for His Gift and do Him a favor by blessing the lives of all His children!

Love you!
Sister Crawford

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's too hot....It's too cold...

Sister Crawford would like everyone to know that finally in the last days of November, it started to get cold. And when Sister Crawford says cold, she means 65 degrees. She pities people elsewhere.

The reason Sister Crawford is talking in third person is because Sister Crawford does not want to bore people who read her letter. Thus, she tries to shake things up. Hopefully this language does not confuse people.

Thanksgiving was so great! President and Sister Olsen (of the Deaf Branch, but they are hearing leaders) planned on having us over for Thanksgiving, and Sister Stewart was jealous, so she had the ASL district over a couple nights before for a Thanksgiving dinner and birthday celebration for her son on a mission. Sister Crawford and her district had lots of fun. The district  is like a family so they assigned people to different positions in the family. Sister Pendleton is the dramatic one, Sister Stucki is the argumentative one, Sister Crawford is the sassy one, and Sister Stewart is the crazy aunt. It all fits, doesn't it? :)

And then the ASL district had Thanksgiving with the Olsens'. The first part of the day, Sister Crawford and her companions taught four lessons, which is unheard of on Thanksgiving, so score! Then they went to a service project. Finally they headed over to the Olsens' house. The whole district played football, and then we had dinner. It felt so good to be in a home where one can feel comfortable and know that lice won't jump on you if you sit on the couch. But that's a story for another day.

Sister Crawford and her companions had a very successful week. They taught 26 lessons, when the standard of excellence in the mission is 15 and the other ASL kids are teaching about that on average. They picked up four new investigators on top of the ones they had been teaching before. They started teaching a woman named Zion Berry. Fun fact: she had her name changed to that. And she's not a member. Isn't that cool? She is so sweet and is just drinking in the lessons! Another investigator the companionship picked up was Thuy. The companionship had been just going through the VP (the videophone that Sorenson gives to deaf people for free. It's quite wonderful, actually.) and see her name. They did not recognize the number so they called it, not expecting anyone to answer. Someone answered. At first Thuy was hesitant. The companionship asked her what she was thankful for (it was Thanksgiving) and she started giving them her address. The companionship was shocked. Then Thuy realized she had a friend who was being taught by the companionship and was very happy and excited to see the companionship. Hooray!

Sister Pendleton gave her farewell talk on Sunday and everyone was terribly sad. This branch loves her so much and is so connected to her. The ASL missionaries did a musical number in which they sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Homeward Bound" and had Sister Pendleton do a beautiful interpretation of it. The entire congregation was either very tuned in or crying. It was so wonderful to see them all feel the spirit.

Ok, to be serious now, I will switch to first person again. I have been thinking a lot about the premortal existence this week, as I am reading Jesus the Christ. I thought about how when people feel the spirit, they say it pierced them to the very center. Why would it pierce them to the very center? Have any of you heard a voice very familiar to you that you haven't heard in a while? And does that voice bring a poignant feeling to your heart that you don't normally feel when you hear other people's voices? I think it is the same with the still small voice. It is because our spirits have heard that still small voice before. We heard that voice before we were born. We heard that voice teach us. We heard it present the great Plan of Salvation. We heard it comfort us right before we were sent down to Earth. And our spirits recognize that voice that is so near and dear to us. How great will be that same feeling of joy when we are in the presence of that voice once again!

Sister Crawford wishes everyone a fantabulous week full of love, happiness, and CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!!

Love you all!

Sister Crawford