Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Crazy Week!

It has been a week of crazy!

Unfortunately in the work it has turned down a little. We had so many people ready for baptism, but they all have fallen off the face of the Earth, or have become less interested in baptism. Keesha has dropped us, and we cannot contact her. Rosalia is so busy with her job at LAX that we can't keep in contact with her. Ashley is not so keen on baptism at the moment, BUT she loves coming to church. So we will keep working on that. Bonnie is doing great. She is so cute. And her mom, Peggie, has decided, although so doesn't want baptism for the time being, she wants to keep coming to church. So hopefully we will be able to get Ashley and Peggie to gain a testimony through church attendance.

Besides that, we have been working really hard this week. Without these investigators, we need to find some more people to teach! So we have been searching left and right. In the ASL program, it is not efficient at all to just tract. You don't find many deaf people going door to door. However, we have a few maps with people's names all over it. We don't have their addresses, but we have a general area. So we decided to find that area, and tract it. We had such a miracle day on Tuesday when we did this. There was not one person we tried that we did not have success with. Whether we contacted the person themselves or the neighbors, we found so many new potential investigators. I am so excited to contact them.

I don't have too much else to say... My trainee is doing awesome! Love her so much! :)

Have a great week! :)

Sister Smyly Crawford

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

War Zones, Rest Homes, and Dedications

I seriously cannot get over how awesome my trainee is. She is so adorable and fun. We had a project this week in which we had to cross reference three area maps (keep in mind we cover two and a half missions in the north area) so we had to figure out several investigators/members/less actives. The entire time Clarke would get very excited and be like, "We can contact that person! And this person! And them! And her! Oh! And them too!" We area going to be working our tails off, and that is going to be good :)

Happy 4th of July!!!! I wish I could have been at the farm celebrating, but even more, I bet you all wish you were here celebrating with us. We went over to the Shields' home (Sister Shields is our hearing Relief Society president). Wow. Talk about a party. Their ENTIRE neighborhood celebrated. Each house had a party going on and fireworks going and BBQs and sound systems and family and friends from everywhere. All the parties added up to one huge parties as people roamed from one party to another. This is a yearly thing!!! And I think the most interesting part was as we were walking back to our car (which was several blocks away due to NO parking), there would be fireworks going off around us on the left, right, forward, back, and above. It was like walking through a war zone. It was so pretty! :) Also, a huge tree caught on fire down the street from us and it was completely burned to the ground in under five minutes. Gotta love the California drought!

Bragging time again: Like I said, we have not had a single lesson go wrong or even fine since Clarke got here. She just brings this aura of success! We had so many awesome lessons this week with different people. One of my favorites was with Monica. If you remember, Monica is a recent convert. She is so awesome. She and her sister, Annette, who is also a recent convert, moved up to Pomona this week to their own apartment. She requested that we and the elders come up and dedicate their apartment. We went up there and dedicated it and were able to have a really good lesson with them. I had never been a part of a dedication besides a couple of temple dedications, so it was really cool to do that. It really helps me understand more how the priesthood is an integral part of our lives.

We also had a sweet experience with an older member of our branch. She was very active until she became too old to leave her bed. It had seemed everyone lost where she was because she had moved to a resting home. We were able to find her address last Sunday and went to visit her on the 4th. She cannot communicate very well, as she is limited in her movement. However, our encounter with her was so amazing. She seemed to light up as we promised to go back to visit with Sister Thexton. I had gotten on my knees next to her bed to help her with her blanket and as I touched her hand, she flexed in a way of trying to communicate. I put my hand in hers and with whatever strength she had, she squeezed my hand. That was when I almost started crying. As we were leaving we signed and said to her "We love you!!" She hadn't been able to even lift her hands enough before then to move her blanket, but in that moment, she lifted her arms and signed "I love you" back with both hands. We are going back to visit her every week now. She deserves it.

I hope you all had as good of or better week than I did! You all deserve it too!

Sister Crawford

My Trainee has been Born!

Hello hello hello! GUESS WHAT. My baby is here! She is so cute!!! She arrived yesterday morning! I am so excited to have this opportunity to train here. I can already tell she is going to be amazing and be the change this branch needs.  (Mom here: She has a new Trainee, Sister Clarke....that's what she is talking about.  Silly girl)

  Sister Clarke with the Mission President and Wife.

I want to take a moment and brag on my investigators.

Ashley. What a girl. We met up with her last week, and instead of chatting for a half hour, she said, "How are you two?.... Good, ok. I have some questions about what you believe in." Hahaha! Yes! She just wanted to know about the gospel! A few months ago, she didn't want to talk about Christ at all! So we explained to her that we have five lessons we teach people and asked her if she wanted to take these lessons. She readily agreed. We asked if she wanted to start then, and she replied, "Yeah!" So we taught her the lesson about the Restoration. She had no concerns, no questions. When we brought up the Book of Mormon, she said, "Oh yeah! I have that. I'll start reading it." So she committed herself to reading the Book of Mormon. And then she committed herself to pray about it. When we were walki back to her house, she turns to us and said, "I want to be baptized. And I want to be baptized in your church. I need to think about it more, but I am pretty sure. It feels right."

She texted us this week and said,
"Hey!!! I want to come to church this Sunday! Please?"
Us, "Of course! How is everything going?.... Have you been reading the Book of Mormon?"
Ashley, "Well, that's why I want to go to church, so I can get another one!"
We accept.  And then she came to church on Sunday and was so interested in the lessons. She is still deciding to be baptized, but she feels it is right. Yay! So we will keep teaching her. I love watching the spirit work on her. You can just see the brain working and her figuring out how it all fits together and the truth of it all. It is amazing to watch. It really builds my testimony that we as missionaries are only the deliverers of the truth. The spirit is the teacher of the truth.

And now I will brag on Keesha. Oh my goodness. Our lesson with her last week was one of the best lessons I have ever been involved in, only to be topped by this week's lesson with her. She, like Ashley, is so much fun to watch as the spirit works. She is very much like me in that she depends on what makes sense and what is logical, rather on her feelings. So as we taught her the first lesson (the Restoration), she completely understood everything. It was awesome because she is so educated. This way, we are able to explain things more to her. We went into the background of what was happening in Jerusalem at the time of Lehi and everything! I promise, it really was helpful. At the end of the lesson, we asked if she would pray about the things we taught her, and when she agreed and we promised her the Holy Ghost would answer her prayers. She then got a sad look on her face and said, "But I can't have the Holy Ghost because I haven't yet been baptized..." She had learned at church that week about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism, so she didn't think the Holy Ghost could answer her because she hadn't yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost. So we had to teach her the difference of feeling the Holy Ghost and having the gift of the Holy Ghost. She is so educated! So awesome! And in the closing prayer, she went ahead and asked about the truth of the things we taught her. She is so awesome! And I thought that was going to be the best lesson ever.

The second lesson we had with Keesha was even better. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation. This time around, Keesha was a little different. She was a lot more reverent (she is always reverent, but she had more of a peace around her). We taught the entire lesson through with no questions from her, and when we got to the end we asked, "Keesha, we keep asking if you have any questions, but you say you don't. Are you sure?" She responded by saying, "You know, I should have questions, but I don't." She was very quiet and seemed to be pondering something very deeply in her mind. We looked at her and asked, "How are you feeling right now?" She looked up at us, and I have never, never seen someone with more of a glow about them. She smiled from ear to ear and said, "I just feel so good. I feel happy. I have never felt his way before. You should have seen me before; I would be sad, depressed, etc. But now, I am happy. If I don't go to church, if I don't pray, if I don't read the scriptures, I have a bad day, I don't feel good, and I am sad. I just really love my Heavenly Father." Her closing prayer was almost completely a prayer of gratitude. She absolutely glowed with the spirit and the majority of her prayer was telling her Heavenly Father how much she loved Him.

I love teaching people who have such a personal desire to know the will of God, to know the truth. It is so different from most of my time in the first six months of my mission where most of what I did was maintenance work, trying to keep less actives going on the basics (church, prayer, and scriptures) but having them be stubborn and needy. Now, as long as I have faith, I know that the Lord will put people who have been prepared in my path, that I may be an effective tool in His hands.

I love being a missionary. I love being a servant of the Lord. I love being a part of His work and being the means by which others can come to know Him. I am truly humbled by this opportunity, and it brings me to my knees everyday in gratitude for the Lord trusting me enough with His beloved children.

I love you all!

Sister Crawford _\,,/