Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Goodbyes, CODAs and Love

(MOM here, I have been SLACKING in updating this each week, here are FOUR updated Blogs) 
Hello, hello, hello! Don't worry, Disneyland hasn't melted to the
ground yet because of the heat and fires. I checked.

First off, we said goodbye to another missionary. Sister Stucki, my trainer, went home on Tuesday. She is sorely missed, but she is going to keep doing awesome work, just in a different place. We love her!

Bonnie is back on track! She has been taking great strides to make herself ready for baptism. She is so great! Her baptism is set for September 13th. Prayers for her would be very much appreciated. She has such a strong faith in Christ and is so willing to follow his will and commandments. I think we all can learn from her example.

One of the best parts of my week was probably Monday night. We had been invited by Cecilia to come to her house for dinner. Cecilia lives in the south area, and she is the mother of the coda girls I always talked about. This was the first time since April I had the possibility of seeing these girls that I love so much. I walked into the house and beelined for their bedroom. I walked in and Alisa and her friend Veronica were there. Alisa saw me, screamed "Crawford!!!!!", threw down her video game controller, and ran and gave me a hug. That is not something we can normally expect from her. The two of them sat me down and started asking about how I was and when I was coming back. They were so happy to see me. Then, I went and knocked on Ashley's door. She threw the door open and had the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face. She immediately started telling me about everything in her life as if I had never left. It was awesome. The best part, however, was when she would turn to me and say, "Crawford, I have missed you. Not just having you come over, but I miss talking to you and everything." I never expected that girl to ever say something like that. If you were to understand who these girls are, you would know how significant this moment of love and affection from them was to me. It really showed me how much good I did with these girls. It really shows how impactful unconditional, constant love really is in a person's life.

Speaking of love, this branch is just full of love. Here are my favorite things that happened at church on Sunday.
-President Olsen was so thoughtful of the different language needs of
the branch that when he printed out his handout for the combined Relief Society and Priesthood class, he printed some out in Spanish on a slightly different tinted paper. I have decided he was actually the first or second counselor to one of the archangels.
-Sister Broome (deaf) and Sister Shearer (hearing leader) spent the entire class in the back of the room knitting like old buddies.
-I cuddled with Cecilia.
-Ubaldo showed me pictures of himself at work when he was a young man. So adorable.
-Sister Miller (hearing leader) and I reminisced about the South, specifically Alabama.
-I interpreted a chat between Sister Jameson (senior missionary) and Sister Thexton (deaf). Sister Thexton has a desire to do missionary work, despite her age and limited mobility. She had a dream in which she was told that Sister Jameson would help her do missionary work, specifically on Facebook. She is so pumped and ready, haha. Look out, world!

I also would like to express to everyone how amazing my mission president is. I am honored to know him. He is one of the most Christ-like men I have ever known. If anyone wants to know someone full of completely unconditional, constant love, it would be President Taggart I would refer them too. He is always there for his missionaries, ready and willing to help, no matter the circumstances. I don't think there could be a more perfect mission president for me and for this mission at this time than he.

I have been reading the Book of Mormon everyday, four pages a day, just like President and Sister Taggart challenged us a few weeks ago. I have gained such a testimony of that book. If anyone were to tell me that it were false, or they didn't have a testimony of it, I would respond by saying they haven't truly read it. I know it was truly written by God's ancient prophets and translated by his first modern day prophet. As Elder Holland would say, "No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." I challenge you all to join with me and read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, as a gift to our Savior for Christmas. I know and promise that as you do so, you will know of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and you will feel lasting peace fill your heart and home every day.

I love you all! I pray for you night and day.

Sister Smyly Crawford

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