Monday, February 22, 2016

Because tracting for deaf people doesn't work

We had zone conference this week. It was all about finding new
investigators, which is exactly what our area needs! So you better
believe Sister Clarke and I were paying special attention. Out awesome
Assistants to the President gave a good training on talking to
everyone and President Taggart taught about referrals and working with
members. President Taggart challenged the mission to find us some deaf
people, and he will be contacting the four other missions we cover to
do the same.

So what have we done with this training? Well, for one thing we have
been very sure to look and ask for referrals wherever we go. In the
past we have never had any success from asking our members and
investigators for referrals. The general mindset in the deaf world
over here is that all their friends and family have religions of their
own and will never change. This means whenever we ask for referrals or
ask in any way in order to get referrals, they say, "They are already
Catholic/Christian/JW/etc.". So, it is a little difficult to say the
least. However, we tried in faith this week to find more referrals by
asking. Friday night we were on the VP with a member and we taught her
a short principle and asked if she had anyone she knew who could use a
message of happiness from us. It was like pulling teeth, but she gave
us a name and number. Then, she said, "Hold on, I may have a deaf one.
You want it?" Uh, yes!! So she gave us that one. And then she
immediately said she had yet another one and gave it to us. We had to
go because of curfew, so she said she would see us on Sunday with
about twelve more. Sunday rolled around and she pulled out her phone
and went through her entire contact list and ended up giving us
eighteen referrals just standing there. Needless to say, we were
happy. Only two of the people she referred us to are in our area, but
I'm sure the LA, Riverside, San Diego, Texas, and Arizona branches
will welcome some referrals.

Another thing Sister Clarke and I have been cooking up is an idea to
use the YSA Ward which shares our building. We do not have enough
members who will give us referrals. Not all are like the one member I
just described. However, there are other members. There is a finding
activity we have always heard about, but have been hesitant to try. We
are trying now. It involves going to a member or nonmember's home,
teaching a really powerful lesson on a short principle for about ten
to twenty minutes, and then have the person pray and think of an area
we can go try to find a person. Typically this is used in areas that
are much smaller so they would end up with a road to try, but maybe
the person can give us a very specific area. The whole principle this
relies on is the person's faith, just as when Christ healed people in
his time and when we receive priesthood blessings in ours. Yesterday,
we went into the YSA Relief Society and explained this idea asking for
them to sign up to be the member we teach and receive an area to try.
When we came back at the end to get our sign up sheet, there were
fifteen women who had signed up! What faith!

I know that this work is important. There is nothing more important I
can be doing right now. Our brothers and sisters are out there and we
have the crucial responsibility to go and find them. I don't know
where the people I'm supposed to find are, but I am trying my best to
find them. It is hard, but when we do find someone, I find it is all
worth it. I am so grateful for the Savior and for His love. He is
always searching for me, just as I am searching for those who are
ready to receive the gospel. By His spirit, I will find those who have
been prepared.

Sister Smyly Crawford

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A great beginning for a great end

February 15, 2016

Not much to write about this week, but I'll say whatever I can.

I have loved this week back in the north area with Sister Clarke. What
a happy way to have my last transfer. We are working hard trying new
ways to find investigators, because all the normal ways are not
working and we are in desperate need of people to teach. Plus, there
are deaf people out there. We just gotta find them!

We had a special Stake Conference yesterday. It was a special
broadcast from Salt Lake City to several of the western states and
maybe a few countries out in the Pacific, not quite sure which ones.
It was really good and was presided over by Elder Renlund. Something I
love about this stake is that there is always a really good turnout at
stake conferences. They know they need to be there, so they go.

It was a sad moment afterwards, however, when Veronica comes up to me
and gives me a hug and starts crying while saying, "I love you so much
and I am going to miss you when you go home in five weeks." We both
just stood there hugging each other crying. I really love this branch.
They have become such a wonderful family for me and will always hold a
special place in my heart.

Have a week full of service. Go make someone smile everyday.

Sister Smyly Crawford

Transferred Again!

February 8, 2016

Yup! That's right! Guess where? Haha, just kidding. There's only two areas so where else could I be transferred? North area. And my companion? Drumroll please.......... Sister Clarke! Yay! I love her! I'm so excited for this transfer!!

I cannot say too much has happened this week. Our appointments all keep falling through. However, we had good bonding time with the Figueroa girls. I love them haha. Adriana asked that I come over before school and braid her hair, so we have some service tomorrow morning :)

We did have one thing crazy happen.

This is a story about a cat named Cat Lamoni. Here is what happened. Ever since the other sisters moved apartments they park their car outside. It's a little cold at night so cats like to crawl into cars to keep warm, then in the morning you have to hit the side of the car to scare them out. Well, in their apartment complex they have lots of cats, but after studies and lunch it is noon, so they typically didn't because the cats should be out by then. But sometime Tuesday night a cat crawled into the front of their car close to the engine and Wednesday morning they got in and headed to district meeting. They left earlier than they typically would and as they were driving, and they had been in the car for a few minutes, they heard something in the front of the car, sounding like something happened to the engine or tire. So they stopped and didn't see anything wrong and as they drove it sounded perfectly fine, so they went on with their day. Thursday was a normal day, then as they were leaving the church Thursday night after VPing (video phone) a few people they saw something under their car. Fearing the worst, they called both north and south elders (its about 8:35pm) and they were heading home. The south elders were farther away and since we can't have two sisters and two elders together, they called us to come down to the church. We pulled in and the two of them were absolutely terrified and the elders were putting trashbags on over their clothes. The elders had opened the hood and saw the cat... well... All of us sisters went inside the church because we couldn't stomach it and the elders had a hay day! The south elders arrived and they got the cat out. Soooo moral of the story always hit the side of your car even if you think there are no cats in there! A blessing from this is they couldn't smell good ol' Cat Lamoni because he stinketh not to us even after two days!!!

Sorry if you were grossed out by that story, but it is my duty to report my mission ;)

Have a great week!

Sister Smyly Crawford

Betty Got Baptized!

January 25, 2016

Yes, yes, it is true. It happened yesterday. She was really feeling the spirit. She is so excited to progress in the gospel and learn more. She is so, so happy :)

We took Betty on a tour around the Newport Beach temple this week. She absolutely loved it! Got some great pics, and I will send those too.

Rosario, oh Rosario. We decided to go check in on her and she picked her up again. Actually, it's more like she picked us up again. She was wondering why we hadn't come by in a month... Even though she had asked us not to come by for two months... Anyways, we sat down with her and had an awesome lesson about the Restoration, and she told us about an awesome experience with prayer that she had. I wish I could share more, but let's just say... Prayer works. If she doesn't get baptized now, I don't know what she will do...

I hope you all forgive me for not writing very much. I have gotten to the point in my mission where I am just a little weary of typing, haha. To quote My Fair Lady, "Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words." 

Have a great week everyone. Make someone smile.

Sister Smyly Crawford

Anaheim, where miracles abound

January 13, 2016

Betty is on for baptism! Whoo! She is just loving the gospel. It's such an honor and blessing to teach her. She loves everything she learns and is very excited to have her daughter, Melitta (about fifteen months old) to grow up in the gospel. If all goes well, she will be getting baptized on the 24th! Pray for Betty! 
Now, not too much has happened, but I do want to share a miracle with you all.
We were driving up from contacting in Tustin to ASL class in Fullerton. I don't usually get lost, as I know this area well enough not to ever need a GPS. It was dark outside, but I had the exit signs on the freeways to guide me. Well, we eventually got to a point in our drive when the area didn't look familiar in the dark and I had thought I missed an exit. So I got off the freeway and headed in the direction I knew I needed to go so as to get on the freeway I should have been on. We drove about a mile or so when I realized that I was completely unfamiliar with the area we were in, and that it was not where I thought I was. I had a thought to pull out the GPS to see where in the world I was. It told me to turn around and go back the way I came in order to get to the place I had been originally heading to. It said to go about a half mile further and turn right through a neighborhood to turn around. There was a light up ahead between us and the neighborhood that I could have just made a u-turn at, but I just couldn't bring myself to make the u-turn, so I drove ahead to the neighborhood.
As I was turning into the neighborhood, I could only think to myself, "How in the world could I have gotten lost? That never happens... This has to be for a reason. Maybe there is a deaf person around here we have to find." I slowed down and looked around, searching for someone signing. Then, the houses on my left caught my eye. The thought came to me that maybe there was a deaf person in one of them. My car came to a stop as I stared at one house in particular. In my head, I quickly asked Heavenly Father if we needed to go knock this house. I was filled with the spirit and knew we needed to go contact that house.
You have to understand, in our ASL program, you don't just go around knocking on houses to find new investigators. Deaf people don't just stick out like that. They are extremely hard to find and the chances of finding one where we were, were little to none. But the spirit told me to do it, so I told Sister Richardson we were going to go knock on that house. By this point in our companionship she has learned to just go with it when I do something out of the ordinary like this. We said a quick prayer and went to the door. I rang the doorbell. No answer, although the lights inside were on. "Heavenly Father," I thought, "You sent me here for a reason, they have got to answer the door." I knocked. One long minute later, an older gentleman opened the door. He was hearing. We later learned his name to be John.
John, "Hello."
Me, "Good evening, how are you?"
John, "I'm fine, thank you."
Me *what in the world am I supposed to say... Oh well.* "We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We teach people about how to have our families together, not only here on Earth, but for forever."
John, "Oh, well, I am well aware of your message."
Me, *he isn't interested... Heavenly Father, what do I do?* "Is there anything we can do for you?"
John, "No, I don't think so."
Me, *.........* "I just got a feeling we should come talk to you. Is everything ok?"
John, "I believe so."
Me, "Ok, well we serve the deaf community. Would you happen to know anyone deaf?"
John, "Actually, my daughter is deaf."
This is the point in which I would have hugged Heavenly Father were He standing there, but I settled for a quick high-five with the Spirit.
Turns out John has a deaf daughter who lives with her family in New York. After a little persuasion, he was willing to give us his email address so he could later give us his daughter's information. As we were leaving, he said, "Thank you for coming by! You made my night!"
As we drove away, all I could do was smile and tear up as I felt the love Heavenly Father has for me, to allow me to be a part of such a miracle. Sometimes, He works miracles that are grand and magnificent, such as sending an angel to Alma the Younger. Other times, He works miracles by having one of His many sister missionaries take a wrong turn. I love having the gift of the Spirit. So many times have I had the sense to listen to it and have a miracle turn out. It happen with this miracle, with approaching Rosario and asking her if she wanted to learn, with asking the right questions to others to allow them to open up to the gospel, and more. One of President Monson's greatest loyalties lies in the Spirit, and he always follows a prompting, no matter the nature of it. Being on a mission has taught me how to have the same loyalty to the Spirit, how to hear it and how to follow it. It is one of the greatest, most useful lessons I have learned, and if that is the only lesson I have learned, then I can know I have had a successful mission.
I am so lucky to be on His errand and to do His work. The opportunities to serve His children bring lessons in humility everyday. The work of the Lord still rolls forth as "the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands." Yet His hands are over everything and guide His work through His servants through "small and simple things."
Sister Smyly Crawford

Merry Christmas!!

December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!!! :)

I don't know about you, but I had a GREAT Christmas. Got to Skype my family, visit some less active single sisters in the branch, and go caroling! So much fun!

Christmas eve we went to the Stewarts' home and had a reading and acting of Luke 2. I was Mary. Admittedly, it was a little awkward to wear my tag as I pretended to have given birth to the Son of God. But we had fun!

I'm sure many of you know about my family's Christmas balloon tradition. My companion and the other sisters made sure I had it again this year. I woke up and walked out of my bedroom into a pile of balloons. Points to them. 

Betty and Rosario are doing well. It has been a little hard to contact them this week due to the holidays and whatnot. We have an appointment with Rosario tonight, so hopefully everything goes well.

Transfers were today, but we are all staying the same, with the exception of Sister Backus, who flies home tomorrow. Where has the time gone??

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you will have an even better New Year!

Sister Crawford