Monday, August 3, 2015
Hey Yous! So I am just not really that motivated to write this week even though it has been an awesome week! Haha I'm not really sure if that makes sense! The mission is starting to feel a little faster, President refers to it as a roll of toilet paper haha it gets faster the more it goes along, until one day it just roles off the cardboard.
Hello my name is Elder 'Crowley' and I would like to share with you the most amazing Book,(First line of the Book of Mormon musical) First of all after a successful delivery and much labor, "my first born in the wilderness" was born! My trainee is named Elder Bridger Page, he is from Gilbert AZ! Elder Page loves to golf, read, have fun, snowboard when he can, travel, and he is super smart. He is the absolute BEST new companion I could ask for. He has a great excitement, and desire to be out here. We hit it off great starting from transfer meeting, and I already warned him that I was crazy!
Hey Yous! So this week has been really good but not as good for appointments and things going very smoothly haha! You just never know what your week is going to be like here. But we have been getting some meal appointments this week! Transfer calls were this morning and we are all staying except for Elder Durfee (he is going down to Wellsville with Elder Fields) I reserved an appointment at the buffalo library in the rare books section today. They have an original Book of Mormon that you can touch and read from under a specialists supervision! How cool is that?
Happy Sixth of July! Well I hope your Fourth of July weekend was fun and that you were able to remember why we really celebrate Independence Day. I do remember going to that rodeo, (I saw a kid get kicked in the face) the parade up there and having a blast. Chris Matson pulling the boat and leading the ward Parade. I remember our awesome US history trip and being able to have the best Fourth of July Ever! And I loved going to the top of Pikes Peak last year for the fourth as well. Fourth of July (and Pioneer Day) is my favorite holiday except for Easter and Christmas. Almost a week until transfers and my six month mark!:) Elder Durfee has been doing this super hard core southern accent all week! Haha I have been horrible at writing in my journal lately, so I am going to write the things I remember based on our Area Book Planner :) haha Also since our Book of Mormon challenge on June 19th I am almost halfway through the Book of Mormon and am loving the process of highlighting the Savior's name, focusing on Christlike attributes, and when the savior speaks. It is truly evident that NO other book can testify of the Savior like the Book of Mormon can!:) This week has been filled to the BRINK! Tuesday: Our area book now gets all our Headquarter referrals from Mormon.org and we recieved all the ones from the past year and a half, so needless to say there is a lot of names to go through. So that morning I made call after call seeing who had been contacted, who needs stuff still, and who hated our guts :) then we went to a couple lessons. We were riding by this house and this guy (named M) yells out "y'all got some knowledge?" I pulled off to the side and I said "well we aren't that smart but we do have an important message to share." We taught the Restoration on the porch with M and all his nephews. It was super cool because we got the kids all involved and excited about Joseph Smith being their age. I said "who here is fourteen here?" And all these kids yell out their age!:) at the end one of the kids said "I love Jesus" while looking at our name tag, "I do too" I said. :) There are moments like these when you can't help but feel like a true messenger of the Lord sent to teach his children the words of eternal life, and the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to be apart of such small miracles, where the spirit can manifest to me how important each one of us is to our Heavenly Father. Later that night we ran to another one of our appointments with a man named J who knows the Bible really well and just had a bunch of questions about the priesthood and if Christ really is our Savior today. It is interesting to watch how the people we work with literally explain the need for a restoration and then we are able to teach that it has occurred! I told him that a lot of his answers have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that next time we meet I will have answers ready for him from JST and The Pearl of Great Price. Wednesday: We had an amazing lesson with a guy named B who was a referral from some other Elders who he had met out somewhere I forgot! haha we taught him the Restoration and he was loving it and said he just felt so peaceful and like God was pulling him towards him. We told him that if he was willing to act on the things we invited him to do, that he would feel even happier and more blessings would flow. Elder Durfee extended a baptismal invitation to him and he said that he thinks that he will get there He just needs to pray about it. But he was so excited after we left that I can definitely see him taking that step. We met up with the Zone Leaders (I love Elder Haws and Christenson) for lunch and we decided that we would blitz our area and help them with their service project:) so we helped this lady renovate her house, and I felt all manly that I could change out electric plugs and lay down flooring and stuff Haha because I didn't think I could remember but then from my times helping with Dad I somehow remembered! So thanks Dad! Haha While Elder Christenson and Durfee finished up at the House, Elder Haws and I changed back into our Proselyting clothes and tried to visit some people. But no one was home unfortunately. Thursday-Sunday get crazy so I am going to type as much as I can without my head hurting! haha SO Thursday we recruited the Kenmore Elders for a Headquarter referral that Sister K wanted us to go visit on the DAY she gave it to us! So we got down there and it was a nice family who was moving in from Idaho who needed some help moving in. So first of all they were the nicest people, I really could potentially see them getting baptized, and I love service (all the missionaries can attest to that) They had a semi full to the top and they were moving upstairs to this apartment duplex! It was stacked to the ceiling with stuff. Every box was at least 70 pounds each, we weighed one that was 115 POUNDS! Which I know that doesn't sound like a lot but in the summer heat up stairs it was... When we got about halfway through the Semi we find these three outdoor freezers! The first two were a beast to get up the stairs but the last one was twice as big and not only full of food but full (to the top!) of ice. We had to chisel each individual bag of corn, meat, out of the ice (with a screw driver.. no exaggeration) and then haul it up the stairs. At one point her bags of flour that she froze were so wet that they just ripped all over me! I was laughing so hard. (It still makes me laugh until I cry). So because that went so long we missed district meeting and had our ward missionary correlation smelling like rotten meat, with flour, and mouse poop all over us. Brother M was like "what happened to you guys?" Oh and Elder Woerner left his bus pass tucked inside a Book of Mormon and left it on the windshield of this mini van outside the house and it was gone! (The passes are $75) So I told him that something awesome was going to come out of it haha. On our way home we got Elder Woerner a day metro pass. Friday: I had the privilege of going on exchanges with Elder Woerner (pronounced liked Warner, who is the ASL Elder in our district) it was a great exchange and He said that he definitely needed it and learned a lot.:) We had three different major appointments that were on opposite ends of our area so I was praying that we were going to be able to meet them all! After a lot of confusion that morning we were able to meet up with the L at Taco Bell. It was very good to see them and S told me that she had talked to you mom and was felt like Heavenly Father was reaching out to her through you, M, myself, and the F. Elder Woerner and I biked to our lesson with L K (the lady who we gave a blessing to and had an awesome Lesson with on Father's Day) and we taught her the Plan of Salvation. She had lots of questions about what she has been reading,(her Book of Mormon is all highlighted) and said that she prays multiple times a day! She started out with two questions about polygamy, and if women are equal in the church. Which we know the answers to both of those questions. She wasn't sure exactly what happens after we die so the spirit world and the kingdoms of glory were new and very interesting to her. She recieved the message well and you can tell that she wants to take steps to come closer to Christ. M in the Lancaster ward might be helping her get a place out there so eventually her records might move over to the Lancaster Elders. We then ran to the rest of our appointments for the day and all of them were out shopping for the Fourth haha! But we went to this awesome hole in the wall Jamaican restaurant, because some guy said it was good. Haha it was SO spicy and I have had this sore throat for the past couple days so needless to say Elder Woerner kept laughing at me haha Saturday: MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY! Happy Independence Day!:) We started out the morning at the church. I was able to do my first baptismal interview with the Buffalo Sapnish Elders investigator named I! It was such a spiritual experience, to sit and talk with her. She has read the Book of Mormon twice! She will be getting baptized next Sunday. What a blessing it was to hear how her life has changed because of the gospel; the hope and power the Book of Mormon has brought into her life. I have truly gained a testimony of the power of ministering while administering:) As we were about to get on the metro I got a call from D N (a member from my last ward) and he said "did you guys leave a Book of Mormon on the windshield of a car?" I was like yes! He said that was his friends car and he has been talking to her for years about the gospel, and that she called him wondering if he sent the missionaries. So in order to get Elder Woerner's bus pass back we have to visit her:) and she lives right next door to the people we helped move! We then went to help the Kenmore Elders move in a Younger girl named K that needs help moving into a new apartment. And apparently her family left the church when she was young so I don't know if she has even been baptized but I think the Kenmore Elders will help her progress very well:). We booked it to pick up the Spanish Elders and then head over to miss D S (mine and Elder Durfee's investigator) who fed us this huge home cooked meal! It was awesome. We then went and helped the family who we helped earlier in the week finish their move down in Lakawana. Haha When we showed up Elder Durfee said "LDS movers!" haha we then went and met the H family and some ward members at this house for another BBQ. It was so fun and the kids made all these water balloons for a water fight. Sister H got so soaked by Elder Eastman and so she told me to dump marshmallow fluff on his head! Haha it was awesome, I ran for my life! Everyone kept saying "how can you run that fast?" Lol I was like "did no one pay attention to me dumping the fluff on his head?" After that we changed into our Pros. Clothes and braved the crowds at the canal side of Buffalo and Canada for Fireworks with the Zone Leaders. President gave us permission to stay out and watch a firework show and then head home! I was grateful for that:) Sunday: We had a less active of ten years who we met on the bus come to church:) yay! We had a great fast and testimony meeting, this lady named sister C (she is from South America and is one of the most passionate converts I've ever met) went up and said "PLEASE feed the missionaries they are SO hungry." lol I felt bad because it looked like we had payed her to go up and say that. Haha we had a long combined second hour in which we read the recent statement from the First Presidency regarding the Supreme Courts decision on same-sex marriage. It was a very good, Christ centered, and well directed conversation from people with all kinds of views in our ward. Bishop Van Ry truly was inspired while facilitating the conversation and directing it towards our savior, just the same as any other topic. It would take too long to explain but It was just such a good meeting:) I honestly don't care about getting fed as much as I care about developing relationships with the members! So yay for finally getting to know more members:) That afternoon Elder Durfee and I had a Liner with the D Family (really awesome family from Utah) and on their wall they had this old map with pins of everywhere they have been in the world and It was exactly what I want in my home:) Well here we are at the end of the week and I am SO tired but I feel like we have "fought the good fight" for this week. But we ain't done yet! Yous Guys just wait! Love, Elder Crowley
First of all Happy Birthday to Bethany! I hope you have the best day ever and that you know that I'm sending my love from New York! Did you get my card?! Buffalo has really tall buildings, a little like Denver except older. But we are on the East side where there aren't any tall buildings. They have turned most of these houses in duplexes. Bailey ave the Main Street through our area is the really ghetto area. Bars on windows and such. We need to nourish our spirits just as much as our bodies! Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to all be perfect he only expects us to try:) Weakness is not a sin. Nephi said "Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities." 2Nephi 4:17 We learn that even Christ had weakness, but not sin like us. This week.... Monday for P-day we went back to Niagara Falls then up to Lewiston, for the people who just came from Rochester and haven't seen it yet! It was fun to watch them look at it because they all looked like little kids, it was presh. And by the way I've been meaning to say this but Rochester is pronounced like one word not like RAW Chester. I guess that's how you tell a New Yorker from a Westerner. Lol Tuesday we met a barber who was super cool and nice! He was born in Italy and knows French, German, English, Polish, Spanish, and ASL (Elder Woerner in our district is also an ASL missionary so we have been learning sign language) and he cuts hair, can cook, and other cool things; a very diverse guy. Anyway he asked us a bunch of questions about the gospel and after a while he was a little too smart, so I said "your a member" and he said "yes I am haha I am in the Amherst ward." (In his Italian accent) so It was nice to at least meet a friendly face. But Elder Durfee and I ran around like crazies trying to meet people, but no one was home! Blah! isn't that fun when no one answers their phone or answers their door? :) we WERE able to plant two Book of Mormons in the hearts of two people though so I was happy about that:) then we made some calls for L K. Wednesday we had a repeat of Tuesday with people not answering anything. Except one guy named D we thought was going to be solid but it turns out he is like super into his church and was on his way to bible study...so he couldn't meet. Lol we ran into all these little ghetto kids (because school JUST got out here) and they were hounding us to buy their lemonade, but I didn't have any cash I felt SO bad haha Thursday we had District meeting and the spirit told me to discard my training and go over the talk "Swallowed up in the will of the Father" by Neal A. Maxwell from Oct. 1995. It was truly inspired, I also had been looking for on of my favorite quotes by him (I believe you sent it to me once Mom:) ) which I will write at the end of the letter. But it was so sad in area reports to hear the Spanish Elders share their experience of their investigator who had a baptism date just drop them! Flat out just dropped them that morning! After District meeting we took the train back up to Lasalle and met with Miss G; it was a great lesson because we committed her to come to church (which is the LAST thing she needs to be ready for baptism) and she said "as long as your there to greet me at the door, I'll be there." Yay! Hopefully she comes. After that we went over to the H home for dinner with all the other Elders and on the way we listened to a talk about a man who will be a third David (stem, rod, root) in these the latter days, and he shall prepare the way of the lord. He will be great in politics, a leader in military, and spiritual things. I don't know I'll have to study it more. But anyway after dinner we were locked out of our apartment so we had to go to N. Tonawanda to get a key! Wow have they really changed the apartment, and yes I got to see M!:) #whatablessing Friday was a great day we had a lesson with D S who was a teenager in the civil rights movement down in the south! She LIVED it! She is such a nice lady and It is crazy to think some of the things that went on in this country. Anyway the lesson was awesome because we were able to resolve some concerns with her feeling unworthy to be baptized. We discussed the talk "You know enough" by Neil L. Andersen. We are going to help her read her scriptures by calling her everyday. She says she knows the Book of Mormon is true, but just needs to "make time fo da word." As she would say:) but she gave us a couple bags of fruit and cans of chicken which came in handy for our next appointment downtown, because when the homeless people asked me for a dollar and I had no cash I just ended up giving them all our food haha. (Highlight of my week) We had a CRAZY good lesson with B (the owner of Shea's theater, who would always come and talk to us during the Book of Mormon shows, and was super cool) We got a text earlier in the week because he wanted the pictures that we took at the show, and it ended up turning out to a little coffee get together! (No Elder Durfee and I did not break the word of wisdom haha and it was downtown out of our area) We were going to go with a bunch of Elders because we all were there for the show, but I prayed before hand and felt like it should just be Elder Durfee and I. At first our conversation was just about how some of us are old souls, and he said that he felt like I was an old soul. And then we talked about shark tank ( that TV show) money, and how he was once prideful. He wasn't expecting a lesson at first, he just wanted to meet at a coffee shop, but after about an hour of talking he explained why he felt like he needed to meet with us. He said he felt like he should call us and the only way that he had our number was because it was written on the inside of the Book of Mormon we gave him when he flipped it open (we never put our number on the inside of the BOM) . And he thought that there was no coincidence in that. So he texted us and cancelled his plans for Friday night, just to see why he needed to meet with us. About halfway through our conversation he said "I think there is a purpose in just you coming tonight, because if everyone came we might have just acted like friends and never got into the spiritual stuff." We started to have a lesson and he just had a ton of questions about what his purpose is in life, and if the atonement really works for things like that. Which it absolutely does! He talked about how as a kid he loved and he still loves the old Ten Commandments video (reminds me of you Dad) We went over the plan of salvation and he had tons of questions about why we need opposition and why God set Adam and Eve up to "fail". But we read him some scriptures and he understood that you have to fall and get hurt in order to learn and obtain knowledge. And why we NEED Jesus Christ! He also liked the idea of the spirit world and the degrees of glory. Finally we ended with the Book of Mormon. We told him that if the Book of Mormon Is true then that means that God has not left us alone, we have a prophet on the earth, and that we can make it through the things in our lives that seem impossible; just like Moses parting the Red Sea. We read with him Moroni's promise and he just stopped and paused and then kept on reading and said, "I can't stop reading." When challenged to read and pray he said "I will do that, I will defiantly do that." For a minute I saw a searching soul gain a "desire to believe" and "a particle of Faith". Such an awesome lesson. That night Elder Durfee and I tried to figure out how the atonement CAN work. And what we came up with, using the scriptures was that we need to choose Love not Lust. That love and charity are an attribute of Christ, and by choosing to Love and not to Lust we CHOOSE CHRIST. Just like any other choice. And that as we "exercise love the verb, love the noun will come." -Elder Bednar. Our desires can change through the Atonement, and we realize that we can be "yea, born of God, changed from [our] carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters" Saturday. Have I ever said I love the rain? I don't think I have haha Well it dumped the WHOLE day! And we moved three people into the ward. Sunday Miss G never showed up to church:( and I had SO much faith standing by that door! Lol oh well. President Francis came for a Missionary fireside that night at the Buffalo chapel, and it was pretty much a second zone conference because it was just missionaries and a few members! Haha I was able to see M again and some people from the NF ward:). President (he's so good) gave examples from the scriptures of great prophets going through hard times and then through the strength of the Lord they were able to overcome them. At the end he showed one of my favorite Mormon messages called "Good things to come" by Jeffery R. Holland and It really got to me and M haha when Elder Holland calls out to his past self saying "don't you quit. You keep trying." I love that. We have to realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way that we can become eternally happy if we endure! :) *"The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!" - Neal A. Maxwell Love, Elder Crowley "Love is a choice." -Elder Durfee&Crowley
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Hey Yous guys! So I live in Kenmore (where it's nice and not ghetto) but our area is called Eggert which is the east side of Buffalo but church is in downtown Buffalo, so every week we are all over! It is a rough area but not once have I never felt unsafe or unsure. I have the bus system down! And I just love the moments that Elder Durfee and I have in the ghetto, haha chasing busses for blocks (litterally we chased this bus for forever and finally beat it and go on all sweating and everyone is looking at us like these people are crazy! But let me tell you people are really funny and if you are super happy they are too. We see about a gazillion (not that many) cops every day chasing down someone! Lol so there must be a little bubble around the missionaries I am doing alright. It is more challenging in some ways, and easier in others. But I think your attitude changes everything and how you look at a situation determines how bad or good it is. Plus I guess we just have to realize that if we are doing our best then that's all we can do! I just feel a little overwhelmed because there are quite a few less actives. I just want to fix everything! But I know that I can't. In less than a month I'll be burning a tie! :) A member gave me his bike but it is a road bike, and we need shocks and a little wider tires with all the potholes and street trash we ride through. So I am taking Kenmore's car on Wednesday to try and exchange it at a bike shop. Well it's been another crazy but awesome week here in Buffalo! :) So last Monday for P-day we had marshmallow gun wars in the cultural hall with all the tables set up and everything! It was so fun! And the weirdest thing happened we were all sore the day after....? I think it was because we did about a thousand squats each because we were popping up and ducking down every time we shot a marshmallow! Haha cleaning up the mess was fun too :D Tuesday we started our morning early, riding in the rain to meet with one of our investigators named M. We rode all the way down to Lakawana and we were sopping wet from the rain, but I didn't mind:). We had a great lesson with him, I was so happy to hear that he had read the first twenty chapters of 1st Nephi! We had a really amazing lesson and answered a lot of his questions on agency and why bad things happen to good people. It's funny how we sometimes take our knowledge of the gospel for granted, like its no big deal that we have our big questions answered haha. We went to lunch with Brother G who took us out to lunch with the Kenmore Elders. Later that afternoon we got a call from a Bishop down in San Diego we had the privilege of giving a non member sister a blessing . Wednesday we had zone conference! It was a very spiritually uplifting day but it was also very long because it was an 8 hour conference! The whole focus of the conference was "Flooding our mission with the Book of Mormon" as a mission we are going to give out 1,000 Book of Mormons by the beginning of August! (our zone agreed to hand out 350 of those #BuffNorth) And to assist us in this we are going to place the Book of Mormon in our own hearts, by reading it as a mission in a little over a month. President gave us a fresh new copy and we are going to use different colors to highlight. (Anytime he Savior's name is used, anytime an attribute of Christ is mentioned, anytime the savior speaks, and anytime the Father speaks.). I'm super excited as I place the Book of Mormon in my heart!:) My favorite part of Thursday was a lesson we had with a lady named Miss G. She is hilarious! Anyway she has almost been baptized like three times but is always too afraid to follow through because she likes her comfort zone. She says she believes in priesthood keys, she knows that we have a prophet on the earth, she knows the Book of Mormon is true, but she just doesn't feel the same when she goes to our church. So we gave her a lesson on Christ and the apostles, specifically when Jesus came back and said "Peter do you love me?" And then after Peter's response quick response the Savior said "feed my lambs" we also watched bits and pieces of Jeffery R. Hollands talk "The first great commandment" (one of my favorites go watch it!) which also talks about this scenario. We told this story of how Peter and the apostles go from being fishermen, to apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ and then Just return to being fishermen. And Christ having to come back, and have the same conversion, on the same shore, having the same meal; and compared it to Miss G life. She said it wasn't the missionaries, but it was her who needed to change and take the steps she knows she needs to take. So this next week she is going to pray and ask Heavenly Father "what is it that she needs to sacrifice in order to be baptized?" It was very cool, because we didn't know what we needed to teach her but the spirit guided well!:) Friday the appointments that we had fell through :/ but it was a good evening because we met some other missionaries from "The Way" church who the Kenmore Elder got to know, and played V-ball with them and talked about the Bible and Book of Mormon. They have missions around the country even one in Castle Rock right next to Parker! They are our age, have jobs while they are hear, wear normal clothes, and try to start what's called a "fellowship" or a mini church while they are out here. They were super cool, fun, and they are coming to pageant! Saturday I went on exchanges with Elder Eastman (pretty new missionary, from West Valley Utah, and is really cool). I love having the opportunity to minister to, and serve these Elders. And help them think of a few ideas to rub off some rough edges with their companions haha. My pants ripped and not a single person we visited answered their door. BUT the miracle for the day was handing out a Book of Mormon to this solid guy! :) Happy Father's Day! Yesterday was awesome I truly was uplifted and spiritually fed most of the day! So we didn't have any morning meetings because it was, Father's Day lol. Sacrament was awesome! The speaker C B compared the teaching model of Christ with the woman who touched his clothes, Christ said "And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." And how we often apply D&C section 4 to missionary work but if you apply it to being a father it is just as relevant, and applicable. Later on in the afternoon we went and visited L! ( the one who we gave the blessing to earlier in the week) We taught her the Restoration, helped her pray (because she has never prayed) and it was the most sincere heartfelt out pour of a prayer! And in the prayer she asked if the things we taught her were true! The spirit was just SO strong. :) words can't describe experiences like that. It was the best lesson I have had on my mission! Then trekked it home and I called in numbers to the zone leaders. Today we are going to Niagara Falls because all the Elders that transferred from Rochester haven't seen it yet. (I promise I'm not getting sick of one of the wonders of the world haha) "And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks." - 1Nephi 14:1 Love, Elder Crowley:)