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.
Really the only thing I have of importance to tell you all is this: I met David Archuleta.
Sister Smyly Crawford
I'm just kidding, I'll type a little longer. So, yeah, last week on
Monday after I finished emailing ya'll, Sister Taggart, our Mission
President's wife, had a special P-Day activity she wanted people to go
to, so we headed over. We got there, met the new Mission Presidency
counselors, and sat down. Sister Taggart reminded us that we were not to
have any cameras or ipads in there. We stood up and sang Called to
Serve and in the middle of the song, David Archuleta walks in. I just
want everyone to know that I called it. He gave a wonderful musical
fireside, complete with spiritual thoughts, experiences from his mission
and career, and songs sung by him. His voice just gets better and
better every time I hear it. Every single sister was swooning, and even
some elders were swooning, although they tried to hide it. I got to
interpret his testimony and his song, "Glorious". It was, ahem...
We had exchanges on Tuesday. I went
English for a day with Sister Jessen, on of our Sister Training Leaders.
She was really cool. I met so many people while I was there. It is
amazing to see that the work is progressing even outside our little
bubble here in the Deaf Branch.
A few weeks ago
the other sisters found a couple of orange folders in their apartment
in the stuff left over by previous sisters. It was full of potential
investigators that were previously in branch boundaries, but where the
missionaries couldn't go because the boundaries were not open yet. Now
that the entirety of the branch is open to the missionaries, we can go
and visit them. My companionship was given forty names! So awesome! And
these people live all over. Some even live way down in Laguna Niguel.
Talk about a long drive. I'll have to figure out what to do in the car
when we drive that far... But we are so excited to go and visit all
We already tried a few of these
people who live in Huntington Beach. We had a couple of weird
experiences doing it. I think the most awkward experience was this:
*we knock on the door*
*a young, hearing man in his twenties opens the door*
Young Man- "Hi!" Me-"Hi! We are looking for... Jonna?"
Me- "Jonna? That may be spelled wrong." YM- "Oh, you mean Joanna?"
"Yeah, she has been dead for about seven or eight years now." *turns to
a person out of sight* "Hey Dad, how long has Grandma been dead now?
Eight years? Yeah, eight years."
Me- O.o "Oh, my condolences. We apologize for taking up your time. Thank you!"
it or not, this was not even the most awkward conversation about
looking for a person who has passed away. Try going to a retirement
community and having a conversation with one old woman turn into a
conversation with three old women and an old man. All saying things
like, "Yeah I think she died. Was she the one next to so-and-so? The one
that died a few months ago? Oh, wait didn't she go to bingo? Or was
that the other woman?" I swear I am not exaggerating.
this has been my week. It was a lot of fun. But more importantly, it
has been very educational. I am discovering more and more every day how
strong I really am. And even better than that, I am discovering more and
more how strong the Savior is. I love him so much; he is my best
Nothing too crazy happened this week, so apologies for a short email :)
had an awesome lesson with the Rico family. We played "Mother May I?",
but I changed it around to "Heavenly Father May I?" Let's just say, it
was the cutest thing ever. The boys ended up saying "Dear Heavenly
Father...may I..." It was so adorable. Don't worry. I got videos.
we and the elders had an AMAZING lesson with Cheri and Irving, a
married couple who have been our investigators for FOREVER. But, guess
what. They agreed to be baptized and will be preparing to become
baptized on April 12th. Hopefully everything will go over well and will
Oh, I guess I could mention... We
got in a car accident. Don't you worry, we are completely fine. We were
already stopped and the guy behind us was already stopped. But a car
didn't stop and hit the guy behind us, who hit us. No one is hurt. At
all. Don't you go worrying Mother :) Our car had no damage. Can't say
anything for the other two cars. I watched it all happen in my rearview
mirror (oh yeah, I got my license in the mail, hurray! High-five for
being back on the California interstates!) and Sister Stucki was reading
a talk on her ipad. She will never forget that talk now! :)
Well, that was my week! Hope you all had a great one too! :)
So much has happened this week, I don't think I will be able to put it
all into one email. I will try to summarize the best I can.
had another amazing lesson with Jeaneth. She is so motivated and eager
to learn the truth. I respect her so much more for wanting to know the
truth and actively searching for that truth, rather than wanting to
become baptized for welfare, which is a common issue here. However, on
that note, I have seen many people join the church for that reason alone
and then become converted to the gospel afterwards. Never doubt the
Lord and His ways! :)
We met the cutest deaf
little girl named Idhalia. She has autism, and is not accountable, but
she is so sweet. It is such a tender mercy to talk to her mom (who is
hearing). Her mother is always so happy and desirous to chat with us.
She loves the idea of us coming over to play with her daughter and
serving her. Although Idhalia is not accountable, we will continue to go
over and visit her. Maybe through our service, the spirit can soften
her mother's heart to want to learn more about the gospel.
we also got to go down to the temple to have a temple tour with Annie,
Adriana, Alisa, and Jazmin. To say it was amazing is an understatement.
Annie and Adriana were incredibly focused and drank in everything the
sister tour guides told them. Jazmin and Alisa asked many questions
themselves. I think the miracle in this was before we left for the
temple trip, Annie told me she was not sure she would go to temple
baptisms on Friday. After the temple tour, she was dead set. If I could
high-five the Holy Ghost, I would.
we went all the way down to Lake Forest, which is in the middle of the
Irvine mission. Quite the drive. We went to go see a new investigator,
Michelle, but she was not home. So, instead of heading all the way back
up to Anaheim, we went a little further south to visit Albertina and
Serafin, who are wonderful members of our branch. For the longest time
the branch boundaries where they live were not open to the missionaries,
but now that the boundaries are open, we can visit them! Serafin is the
studliest old gentleman from Cuba. He speaks fluent Spanish, but is
hard of hearing and signs in Cuban sign language. Heads up, Cuban sign
language is nothing similar to ASL. But he is so nice and, again, a
stud. Albertina, his wife, knows ASL, MSL, CubanSL, and some GermanSL.
She's amazing. While we were there, Serafin cooked us Cuban potatoes.
It's like mashed potatoes rolled into a fist-sized ball and then fried.
It was delicious.
Saturday was the best day
ever. TEMPLE BAPTISMS WITH THE DEAFIES!!! Veronica and Juana were in
their white dresses (because they think they have to wear white) and
were as cute as can be. Serafin and Albertina were there. Annie was
there. And many other members of the branch. The elders do the
baptizing, and the sisters go and interpret the confirmations. My
favorite experience in this was interpreting for Xa. Xa is like Veronica
and Juana in that she does not sign, but knows a few basic signs. I had
to sign what was being said, as it was an ordinance, so I am not sure
how much Xa would normally understand. However, as I signed to her, her
eyes glowed and seemed to understand everything I was signing to her. It
just teaches me how much the spirit teaches people when means of
communication otherwise fail. Also, at the baptisms, Elder Bouck had to
do baptisms in English, ASL, and Spanish. It was kind of a shining
moment for him :) He is doing great as the new district leader.
My favorite scripture this week: Psalms 55:16-18,22.
Love you all! :)
Sister Smyly Crawford
Dahila, her daughter, and Sister Stucki
I am so incredibly happy. Before I started my mission, I didn't think I
could be this happy, but I am. I am surrounded by the best people. I am
surrounded by love. I am surrounded by joy.
part of my week was FHE with my favorite family. This is the family with
Ashley, Adriana, and Alisa. The entire family and more gathered around
in a kneeling family prayer, along with us four missionaries. We asked
Julio, the dad, to pick someone for prayer. He turns to me and asks me
to pray. "No, Julio, you need to ask a family member to pray!" I said.
He looks at me and says, "You ARE family." I just about cried. I love
these people so much.
Remember Cliff? We had
passed him to the elders back in December. That man has changed entirely
for the good. We were teaching his wife, Michelle, who is a member, and
she turns to me and says, "He is so happy all the time. He comes home
from work and is so tired, but he is so happy. He is always saying to me
that I am his wife and he loves me so much. We even have gospel
discussions! He is just so happy and I am so grateful for the
missionaries working with him." I witnessed for myself this happiness
when we went over there to look for their granddaughter. He sees us and
says, "Sister Crawford!! How are you?? How is your mom and dad??" And we
just chatted about everything. I have never seen him so truly happy.
The turning point to this happiness is when he actually followed through
with his commitment to read from the Book of Mormon. This is evidence
that the gospel changes lives. The Book of Mormon changes lives.
drove down to Lake Forest on Saturday to meet a new investigator, named
Michelle. Lake Forest is in the middle of Irvine mission and it took us
about 45 minutes to get there. But, man oh man, is this woman amazing. I
am so excited to teach her. Sh is so happy all the time and is very
willing and eager to come to church. She would make a wonderful, strong
addition to this branch.
Transfers are today.
Sister Stucki and I are staying together! Yay! By the end of the
transfer (the 4th together) we will have been together six whole months!
We are pretty excited :)
Elder Hayes (well, I guess he's not 'elder' anymore...) came down to visit this weekend! It was great to see him!
got new iPads. These are the ones that we will be keeping. We are also
getting many mission-wide iPad trainings over the next couple of months.
Elder Brent H. Nielson came down to give this week's training. He told
stories of the missionaries in the Philippines who were caught in the
typhoon that swept through recently. One story he told was of a
companionship of elders who huddled in the middle of their hose and the
wind completely blew away the walls from around them. Know what they did
next? They found their way to the nearest center of people and served
them. The same can be said of internet use and missionary work. On the
internet and technology in general, we are surrounded by typhoons and
whirlwinds. We could be swept away in this storm or even allow it to
destroy us. We could use it to help us learn and grow. But no matter the
insanity of the winds or the speed of the floods, there is always a
place we can go to serve others. We always have that choice to go spread
love and joy with others, even in the most devastating of places.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Smyly Crawford
Sister Crawford and Sister Stucki enjoying their new Ipads
I am terribly sorry my weekly emails are not very good. So much happens
in one week, but I forget it all when I sit down to email. I will try to
do better. I will repent. :)
I will just go through my area book and see what I can remember...
day, we walk into our favorite house, the one with my CODAs, and
Cecilia, the mom, before saying anything, says, "Crawford! Crawford! I
am making meatball soup tomorrow. You coming??" My response, "Um, YES."
Let's just say this cute little woman is the greatest cook ever. I
watched her make said soup before and she has this legitimate mortar and
pestle she grinds spices with. So we come over the next day and she
sees me and goes, "I am SO SORRY. I didn't have time to make the soup!
But don't worry, I will make you something else." So she proceeds to
feed us a Mexican version of alphabet spaghetti-o's with lime in it.
Also tuna fish and corn sandwiches. Oh, and Kool-aid. Lunch of champions.
Don't worry, later that week, when we showed up she had her trusty
mortar and pestle out and was making her meatball soup. Greatest
surprise of my life. It was delicious.
continuing to work with Maria and her progression. She is progressing
wonderfully and is learning so well. Only problem is that she is still
not willing to marry Alberto. Many background issues and reasons to
that, but it only means she cannot get baptized. So my comp and I, as
well as the Elders who work with us, decided to really get super serious
about the marriage thing because this family needs to progress and get
over fears by putting them on the Lord. So Sister Stucki and I went over
to teach Maria. Stucki had to distract the boys because they were crazy
again, so the teaching was left to me. I was not expecting to say
everything that I said to her, but the Spirit was telling me to say it
all. It basically ended up with me telling her that it was a commandment
and law from the Lord that she was expected to follow, not a desire
from the missionaries. By the end, I could tell the spirit was really
working on her to help teach her. Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost! :)
had an awesome lesson with Jeaneth. She is so golden, it is ridiculous.
We were going to teach her about the Book of Mormon, but she out of
nowhere asked about baptism, expressing how she knows she needs to get
baptized (as in a general baptism, but not necessarily in the church),
but needs to be ready before that. So we start to teach her about
baptism. She interrupts and tells us about a dream she had where she was
in front of this pool of water that was lined in white, and she climbed
down the stairs into the water, walked right under it, fully immersed,
and came up the stairs on the other side. Now what does that sound
like...? :) So of course I latch on to that and show her how that
exactly relates to how baptisms work and how you need the proper
authority. She was flabbergasted on how perfectly it matched up and is
very willing to get baptized now. I love that girl :)
I will have everyone know that Ashley, Adriana, Alisa, Adriana's friend
Jazmin, Annie, and Toni all came to church yesterday. I don't think we
have had that many young women attend this branch at the same time in a
loooooong time. I am so proud of these girls for making right decisions