Hi. I'm Sister Crawford.

Hi. I'm Sister Crawford.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dec 14, 2015 my last mission letter 

With a raincoat, happy heart and packed bags I rode down to McAllen from Corpus yesterday morning following the baptism of Meryk. As a 'congratulations' gift, we bought a journal and got all of Meryk's friends to write their testimonies in it; as well we had the chance to write ours. As I wrote it, I realized that my testimony is the most precious possession that I'm taking home with me from the mission, South Texas and all of the experiences that I have had here will be a positive influence on the rest of my life.

Meryk & his grandparents 

Some of the truths that I shared with Meryk and I'd like to share with you. 
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And because of that, I know that Joseph Smith was a called as a prophet of God and we have a prophet of God today - the chain of the priesthood keys hasn't broken since then. 
I know that families are essential to progress and that Heavenly Father is truly our Father in Heaven, He has a perfect and unique plan for all of us to make it back to Him. But all of our plans revolve around the Savior. 
I know that Jesus Christ came to earth lived and died and resurrected. He is our perfect example, our best friend and knows everything that we go through in life. All sadness, temptations, sickness, sins, pains - anything and everything bad has been overcome by Him. Because of Him, we can overcome all of those things too. 

The Atonement is real, and repentance is real. We have to use them in our lives otherwise we'll never be happy, and that is the point of this life. 
Happiness is available to all of us, because we have been given the gift of agency; seriously that is the best gift ever. 
I know that the companionship of the Holy Ghost is real, we can rely on Him for comfort, counsel and protection. We just have to learn how to listen for Him. 

Testimonies are constantly growing and that is the best part. I knew all of these things before the mission, but my testimony of each one of them has grown hundred-fold since being out here, and I can't wait for it to continue growing through the rest of the experiences that I will have in life - it's a process and a short one at that. This life has got to be used to it's highest potential, since it really is not a lot of time until we will see our Father in Heaven again and the Savior, but that is a happy thing. 
I love the gospel and choosing the right, now it's time to "go and do" in the words of Nephi. 
training in Mexico at the start of my mission

Dec 27, 2015  9:00 am
10018 Farwest Dr SW Lakewood WA 
would love to see you

Love from a South Texan Princess, 
S. mckenna Crawford

Monday, November 30, 2015

Dec 7 2015

Best week ever, except next week will be better. I've pondered the idea of supply and demand a lot lately. When supply is limited - the demand and value of that item is so much higher, so it is with time. These last couple weeks have been going by faster and faster and our decisions in 'how to spend our time' have become more important. There is more demand and less supply and it makes time more valuable - faulty since, in reality the whole mission is so short - all our time should have been looked at with as much value as I view it now...good lesson to learn in application to life. 

We went on splits, multiple times this week and I chose to spend the week on the bike - since it was the last week for my bike to be able to cruise Texas, and the weather has been wonderful. Another excellent part of the past week was it included 'The Best Day of the Year'.
Do you have a favorite day of the year? ...whenever people ask me, for at least the last four years, I tell them - Dec. 2nd and once again, it didn't fail me. 
Wednesday, Dec. 2nd. - was probably our least planned day of the week, as far as actual appointments and activities go but it ended up being a great day! Everyone, now I mean 'everyone' in our plans - potentials, referrals, investigators, members - they all let us into their homes and we were able to teach little messages all day. We got brownies from one lady and the next door we knocked gave us a cookie and set up a time for us to come back. It was just miracles on miracles (since usually people slam the door in our face, which didn't happen once). 
Now I concluded that this was a result of a positive attitude. I woke up excited, cause it was "the best day of the year", not knowing that all of those good things would follow. 

Highlight story; arriving late to the adult session of stake conference and when we walked into the foyer - we recognized the voice of Presidente Maluenda (our mission president who lives 3 hours from Corpus Christi). The story behind this is hilarious but it will have to be saved for another time. Mortified, I walked into the chapel with my 'mini-missionary for the day', a 16 year old who was doing splits with me, as well as my district and zone leader who accompanied us to a lesson on the island. As a result of this lesson though, our investigator Meryk is set to be baptized this coming sunday, more work to do! 

Love every minute, and keep being happy. 
la sister mckenna crawford

Happy Late Thanksgiving! And almost, first week of December. 

Well this last week, we ate A LOT of turkey, and mashed potatoes. Good news, I don't have much that I need to buy from the grocery store this week with all the left-overs. 

There were lots of opportunities to waste time over the last week, where we could do the easy thing and just sit and squander an extra hour in the day in warm houses with warm food. In moments, when we are presented with an easy road or a more difficult one, the decision should be based on our 'why'. 
What is our reason for doing anything in life? 
In the mission, when it didn't seem like a big deal to sit and waste an extra fifteen, twenty, thirty min - I thought of my 'why'? Why am I on a mission? 
It's to serve, and love other people, and as a result serve the Lord. The minute that I thought about it, the decision was easy to get up and do the 'less appealing' but 'more fulfilling' option. In those extra minutes when we left from appointments 'ontime', basically no one answered their door. But we still felt good cause we were giving it everything that we had, we tried to take a more 'difficult route'. 

Working hard, makes you feel better about everything. And that is definitely what we did this last week, also we had a lot of support from people on 'thanksgiving break' - we even had a cute mini-missionary for the day on Saturday who came out and visited people with us all day long. 

Happy note, we also got to go to the aquarium on Monday, and I made friends with the cutest giant turtle. 

Overall, life is good and it's moving quickly.
S. mckenna Crawford

Monday, November 23, 2015

In celebration of thanksgiving this week - I will go ahead and list somethings and events that I am grateful for from this last week. 

1. folding chairs, what john clap sat upon as he read aloud the Book of Mormon to us and we pulled a bunch of weeds in his yard
2. vocal cords, laughing after we knocked the 15th door in a row and no one was home. 
3. cars, since we spent five days on bikes
4. construction paper, for cut-out hearts to attack doorways of the people after they canceled an appointment
5. non-iphones, (people can't see when or if we received their messages) since we had three investigators text us on wednesday that they didn't want us to come by again and we just went by anyway - "what text message?" 
6. watermelon, I am always thankful for watermelon - and I bought some last week
7. gardens, we harvested some squash and ate it on Friday
8. 'sweet swirl' frozen yogurt, for when our dinner appointment fell through but we weren't near the apartment
9. my yellow nikes, and our morning runs on the sea wall
10. jean pants, since we got to do service projects three different times this last week. 
11. tights, since now it hit 60 degrees and my acclimated legs thought that they were popsicles.

Also I am grateful for the opportunity that I had yesterday to give the longest talk that I've given thus far in my life - 25 min people...that's right - and the meeting still ended early. 
While studying for that talk, I looked up the definition of 'grateful'. 
Grateful (according to my little-janky dictionary): feeling and showing appreciation for something that another has done or given. 

Now think about when have you 'felt' gratitude recently and then how have you 'shown' that feeling? The best things that we have to be grateful for are those things that Heavenly Father has given everyone access to, we just have to magnify them. 
I am grateful for my family and the plan that Heavenly Father created that we can be together forever with Him. I am grateful for my time to be able to serve as a full-time missionary and I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ps; I love the Book of Mormon. 

Love y'all and Happy Thanksgiving
S. mckenna Crawford

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Back to the grind. 

Well some fluke stories from this last week, all of which required extreme planning and then nothing seemed to work out. We worked hard, we tried to bring people with us to every set lesson and appointment that we had, which means more people to call and confirm times and move appointments. Three lessons. One mission wide meeting. And two service projects. 

We had organized with three new investigators times to go by and have a lesson, and for each of these three investigators we set appointments for the beginning of the week. We called members - and that requires patience as the first number of people that we called couldn't make it. After we had found someone to come with us and confirmed the time on both sides, we went and all three fell through - then we rescheduled for later in the week and they all fell through again. 

We had been told on Monday that we had a 'Mission-Wide Sister's Meeting' on Wednesday, at 11am, and we would have to ask a member to drive us down to McAllen (three hours away). Well we called basically the whole roster, and then sweet S. Buckner told us that she could drive us down (apparently we even woke her from a nap when we called). Well Wednesday morning I woke up in a slight panic with the thought, that the meeting started earlier. I texted some people to confirm the start time and we were again told, 11am. Well then we're driving down to McAllen and we get a call from the assistants at about 10am - "where are you sister's?" ....yes, we arrived an hour late. Humiliating as we were sitting with S. Buckner, and she felt awful but it wasn't her fault or ours either, just faulty communication and therefore bad planning. 

Then we set up a time to go and teach a craft at a rest home with S. Deal. Well the craft finished quickly so we went out and tried visiting some of the less active members who lived around her that she knew - not a living soul was home. Straight up, we took this cute grandma out and knocked nine doors, and not one of them answered. After about the fifth door she turns to me and says, "Is this normal? I vote we never do this on a Thursday again." Our efforts were being made, but it just wasn't what was suppose to happen. 
~side note: when S. Deal dropped us off at the apartment, somehow my thumb got smashed in between the front and back door - we thought it was broken, it looked broken. Moments after entering into the complex, I passed out....S Pirir tried to catch me but apparently I was too heavy so I woke up with a headache on the floor.
The second service project was deep-cleaning a woman's house but on our way there, our investigator Meryk called and said that he was waiting for us at a member's house and S. Pirir nearly killed us as she about tried to do a U-turn on the highway. 
Miracle is we're all still living. And even though our plans didn't work out in the way that we had hoped and arranged and worked for. Heavenly Father has got his own plans and His plans are better than ours. 
A quote comes to mind of one of my favorite talks, Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence by Elder Klebingat that says, "When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end." 

Life is never perfect, but it sure is good. 
S. mckenna Crawford

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Island life, is good. 
S. Hortal has officially flown the coop, and left me for the second time to go down to Brownsville. My new companion is S. Pirir, she was born in Guatemala and lived there for five years before their family moved to Utah. She is the third child of ten kids and is nearly 26 years old. 

The weather here is starting to change, we're getting cold fronts regularly and rainstorms occasionally, but it's been fun. I love knocking doors in the rain, I was asking S. Pirir what she liked to do before the mission and she was a latin ballroom dancer, naturally I asked her to show me some of the basic steps to her favorite dance, and now I know how to salsa. 

When you are left to know and do things on your own, you realize how much you don't know. At first the adjustment is a little frightful but then it becomes manageable with just persistence and patience. This last transfer, there were two other elders in our ward but then they both left and we got two new elders in our ward - the members and the new missionaries both keep contacting us to get information and questions answered. But heaven knows that I don't know most of what is going on, but it's been great. In those moments that I don't know what to do its been an opportunity to say a prayer and regain perspective. 
This last week we started inviting the members out to introduce us to their neighbors. We were visiting with S King this last week and she mentioned that one of her neighbors had just moved in and then we asked if we could go and meet them with her. We said a prayer and S King started asking all of these questions of what specifically we would say and do; well I sure didn't know. It terrified me, but that is when I just said a prayer and trusted in Heavenly Father that it would be fine. Small and Simple things are what guide our lives. 
We went and met her neighbor, they let us in and showed us their home. By the end of our visit the women offered to teach us how to sew and cook her special 'arroz con leche' and 'mexican rice'. It was a huge testament to me, even when you may not want to do something, if it's the right thing to do and you trust in Heavenly Father. The lord will provide.


happiness comes through trusting in the Lord. I love being a missionary! 
S mckenna Crawford

Monday, November 2, 2015

This has been quite the adventure. We had meetings and activities planned for almost every morning starting at 8am this week. Now, almost every single day of my mission up to this points has been spent with "studies", starting with personal study at 8am every morning for an hour. I was shocked over the course of the last week, the impact that it had on the day to have to 'make-up' studies at different times in the day or just cut them to 30 minutes, like seriously, having time to read, think and write what I have been learning in the scriptures makes a huge difference in the overall tone of the day - especially as a missionary. I didn't know how precious it was to me, until this week, as I had to adjust for all of our scheduled meetings. 

Anyway, the previous preparation day was spent - the entire day - on the king's family computer, as I watched defensive driving video after defensive driving video following each hour long clip with a quiz...and there were 6 videos to watch. Sister Hortal cleaned the King's home and folded there laundry as I sat on the computer, that poor cute girl. But she didn't complain. 

We had zone meetings and interviews for the whole zone with president this last week as well. President counseled me to learn 'who I am' and 'what I want' then fight for those things. Its definitely a principle of integrity and it's left me to ponder on the power and potential of agency. When you make decisions for ourselves, we don't have anyone to blame or praise when things fail or thrive, but it's so easy to pass off responsibility when you have a companion to counsel with. I guess, I need to have a bigger opinion, without losing the ability to listen. Interesting topic to ponder. 

The weather has been beautiful and horrendous. The wind and rain really picked up on thursday and was suppose to stay through the weekend, the power even went out in our whole apartment complex for most of the day on Friday, which is when we do our weekly planning - so that happened in the dark. Luckily, Saturday it cleared up in time for the tricker-treaters, though here on the island only one street on the whole island passes out candy - like thousands of people go to this one street, "Hawks Nest". We went around and 'Boo'ed all the members on the island and asked them to put 'Casper, the friendly ghost' on the door of someone that they'd like us to visit. Hopefully we'll meet some new people through our little friend, it was a fun week. 

In closing, my watch broke this week. Heartbreaking, it lasted this long without a new battery and then it died on me. I will be getting it fixed today, but it made me think of counsel that my Grandpa Hales gave to me before I left on the mission, he said, "Be like a watch." 
-with busy hands always doing good work. 
-with an open face always turned outward, looking for the opportunity to serve.
-well regulated, steady and dependable, worthy of other's trust. 
and full of good works.   
...I know that there was more but those are the ones that I have thought a lot about since my watch broke. I hope that when I end the mission and for the rest of my life, people can look to me and rely on me as much as their watches. 

waves of love from the gulf headed your way, hope this letter finds you well. 
S. mckenna Crawford

Monday, October 26, 2015

Well church was canceled, following the cancelation of stake conference this weekend due to Hurricane Patricia, and the mid-Texas cold front. It would've been the only week in my mission without church, but we ended up going to another ward that was holding only sacrament. I've learned over the course of the weekend, that the best place to go when there is a big storm near, the beach! We went running on Saturday morning on the sea wall and were absolutely drenched when we got back to the apartment, but it was awesome. 

Miracles from the storm: 
One of our investigators - John Clapp - saw us on the side of the road and noticed that we weren't wearing any jackets and it was raining (our raincoats were in our backpacks, since you get hot after walking for awhile in 70+ degrees). But he went home, found some old ponchos that he had and then tracked us down. We were out knocking some doors of potential investigators and people who'd invited us back; then John showed up with rain ponchos. Still not sure how he'd found us, we were appreciative that he had taken the time to come and do something nice to get us out of the rain. 

One of our member - the Castillo Family. They saw us on the side of the street and pulled over to offer a ride. We didn't need one at that moment but they ended up driving us around at different times throughout the day, it was a huge blessing to have them willing to put everything aside and just come save us whenever and wherever. 

Sister Castillo & daughter
Random people on the street, invited into their house to dry off, or offered food and water. They repeatedly told us to "go home." but it was an a sincere caring sort of way. 

Other exciting news from the week, Elder Dubei came to visit the 'Texas McAllen Mission', he is from Africa. His insight and the way that he expressed himself reminded me of the character - Rafiki, from The Lion King. Anyway, he was so excited when he talked with us, and it was contagious. I wanted to share with you and African proverb that he shared with us: 
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." 

He connected the proverb to our companionships but I have come to see that it can be applied to families, communities, church and school groups...ect. 
We wouldn't have gone nearly as far (or fast) without the help of people on the island all throughout the weekend with the storm, but we had to accept the service when people offered. Service helps both sides, and I was definitely on the receiving end of it this weekend. 
Also working with other people is more fun. S. Hortal and I had an absolute blast, we danced and sang as we walked in the rain and just were enjoying every minute of it, there is no way it would've been enjoyable without her. We've got to appreciate the people around us. 

keeping mexico in our prayers. lots of love
H mckenna Crawford

Monday, October 19, 2015

The struggle is real, ladies and gentleman. Sometimes you just get attacked with negative vibes and all you can do is look upward and press onward cause there really isn't any other logical choice to progress. 
We had some struggles with our investigators this last week. And their families. I went to the court-house to deal with the speeding week from about two weeks back, that went worse than expected, this also required us to drive all the way up to corpus two different days. Then I got vertigo and threw up for the first time on the mission, before going on an exchange - where we then ran out of food, thank goodness for subway.

Now the problem with all of my problems from this last week was that they're all self-inflicted. There was preventative things that I could've done to stop all of the above from happening but I was behind the curve, just messed up, or wasn't thinking and then was forced to deal with all of the consequences. 

My driving record is officially 'clean' though I am not sure it was dirty before. I had to go and present my case in front of a judge, in hopes that he would explain my options and maybe have some mercy on me. Well, the judge was incredibly nice, but he didn't actually help me at all. I had to pay for court costs, something else and then finally the defensive driving course which all adds up to about the amount of the ticket. In addition, I will be spending the next six hours on the computer taking an online defensive driving course - pobrecita sis hortal gets to sit next to me and watch. 

Something I failed to mention in my last email from when we got to go and visit the USS Lexington, S Hortal and I had a rather creepy encounter with a worker named Jeremy who tried to show us the locked up parts of the ship - like some type of 'special tour' anyway, we got out of there and away from him rather quickly but S Hortal has now been suffering with nightmares. When you're companion suffers, you suffer. Waking up in the morning to nightmares has been a little stressful, though luckily I haven't had any.

Our investigators really boil down to Meryk, his grandparents are from Washington - lacey, lakewood and tukwila area. There is a point in time when as a missionary we are suppose to drop people who are not progressing or who have heard all the lessons before and haven't done anything. Meryk's grandparents are getting cold feet with Meryk's baptism and we've gotten to the point where we have taught him all the lessons, he just has to decide what he wants to do. The mission leaders say, he either needs to get baptized or we need to stop visiting them, we'll see. 
Now for the story on throwing up after getting vertigo. Well it was self-inflicted pain, all starting with a pineapple. Yes, I had bought a pineapple last preparation day and then proceeded to eat all of it during weekly planning on Friday and that really was a bad idea, I felt sick for the rest of the day which cause me to not eat much of anything else until that night, before the exchange we stopped and got an ice cream cone from McDonald's since we hadn't had dinner and apparently that was a bad idea. The 'acidity' from the pineapple and the 'base' from the ice cream didn't sit well in my stomach - weird part was it caused me to feel as though I was spinning until I threw up the ice cream, it was a rough day. Never eat a whole pineapple, ever. 

As I said before, I could've avoided all of these things but I wasn't paying good enough attention. I was transgressing. I didn't know or pay attention to the amount of pineapple that I consumed, I didn't see the "school zone" sign while I was driving, S. Hortal and I didn't know we would be in danger when we wandered away from the elders, but we suffered for all of the above. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to making mistakes. We just have to pay attention and make the best decisions that we can. We will save ourselves a lot of pain. 

Still loving the island, and all of you
H mckenna Crawford

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dr. Suess once said, "A person is a person, no matter how small. but I would like to add that - "A miracle is a miracle, no matter how small." And we're seeing lots of small miracles over here on the island. 
We've been working like crazy over the last couple weeks, just doing everyting that is in our power to meet new people and just do the work. As a result we broke records for the number of people that we were able to get in contact with over the last week. That included knocking doors, having people just go up and introduce us to their neighbors, it was a lot of 'get-to-know-you's. 

We made a deal with one another to not let anyone pass us without just saying hello and then if possible asking them a question about them.
This brought various responses: but it kept us busy and like I said we saw some miracles just from opening up our mouths.
One example; we had packed our lunch on Thursday and to go to an different city that is apart of our area - Port Aransas. While there we sat on their pier until two fisherman came by and started fishing in front of us, so naturally we talked to them. Turns out that one of the fisherman was a member, but he hadn't been since he was baptized at nine. His father lives on the island and was an inactive member of the church as well - apparently he had just moved here and recently became a father, we set up a time to go by his new house to meet his wife and baby girl. Pretty miraculous, at least we were pretty excited. 

walked all day and then..........
Our investigator Meryk, his grandma and grandpa (who are currently his caretakers) are from Tuwilla and Lakewood, Washington. It was just this happy little miracle that I got to hear about home. Also when we discovered this little news, the grandma looked at me and said, "I think that God sent you to me." The grandma isn't a member but Meryk's grandma grew up in the church. Minor but miraculous. 

Miracles are everywhere, and they're usually pretty small. But life is what we make it, so we just have to use the small miracles that surround us for bigger things. 

island vibes, peace, love & blessings

H. mckenna Crawford

Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference weekend, that was the highlight of the week for sure. But a number of other things happened this week. 

I now know how to change bike tires and that is pretty awesome, but I am getting more practice than I would like. We replaced my back tire last week and patched my front tire but then another couple 'espinas' got into my front tire and it popped so I will have to replace the front this week too. 
I can't complain too much though. It popped officially while we were out at the 'community garden'. The sisters a couple sets of missionaries back, arranged with the "community garden club" to gave a planter box and so now we are currently growing watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers and tomatoes. I haven't gotten to try any of what we grow cause it was mostly dead when I got here two weeks ago but we went and replanted all of it and so far its looking good. We get to stop by and water it every couple days and talk to whoever is at their planter box. How cool is that? Who else gets to grow a watermelon and pass out Book's of Mormon at the same time?

Since we don't have 'garden-goodies' to pass out to members. We made some cookies at the beginning of the week and it just happened to be on a day that we were fasting so we couldn't try them. We also didn't have flour so we went and gave them to a neighbor, his name is Kip, and asked them how they were. He told us that they were delicious. And by taking his word, we passed them out to most of our members on the island. That night we broke our fast with a cookie each...and then spit them out because they tasted like corn tortillas....our bad since we did use 'masa: corn flour'. Mistakes were made, but we still got thank-you texts from members throughout the day, probably because they texted us before trying them. 

On a more unfortunate note, I got my first speeding ticket. Heart-breaking moment for me, and the worst part was I was going 29 in a school zone - it was 4:29 when he 'gunned my speed' and the school zone ended at 4:30. I was rather shook up, but the officer explained that I could take a 'Defensive Drivers' course for a couple hours within the next two weeks and the ticket would be gone. ...who wants to waste time doing that though? .... lessons were learned. 

Thoughts from conference, I loved the theme of receiving direct answers from the Holy Ghost. We have the best resource, a perfect companion/compass, and we often neglect to use him. We can ask direct questions and receive direct answers. Often times we just ask for the general things, big principles/characteristics the 'cookie-cutter' but we have the opportunity to fix the acute problems. Finding the small fragments of ourselves that need fixing and working on those first, but we've got to ask what those are. Currently ponderizing: Moroni 7:19

I love progress and the island. xoxoxoxoxoxxox
H mckenna Crawford

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shocker of all shocks. I got transferred, I had failed to mention in my last update that transfers were this last week, but I was convinced that they wouldn't effect me too much. 

I am now on North Padre Island with S. Hortal, my MISSION HIJA otra vez. We were pretty stoked about it, and I couldn't be loving the island more. It is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen, we live right across the street from the beach, and we go running there in the morning on 'the sea wall'. 

The members here in Corpus Christi are the sweetest people, and they spoil their missionaries. Our coordination meeting follows a weekly dinner appointment with all the ward missionaries and us, (the ward missionaries rotate providing the dinner). 
Everyone here lives on the canals of the gulf of mexico - everywhere we go there is an ocean breeze and sand particles blowing in the wind, I will try to send pictures but they don't do it justice. Knocking doors again is slow going, and most people here don't have a very warm reception to missionaries on their doorstep. 
Reputations are a silly thing though, I am excited to be here and being rejected doesn't scare me - I love getting to know new people, even the ones who don't want to listen. 

Reviewing the week though, it should've been a rough one. Our first day together we had to take the car for a repair, though we both thought that we would just sit for an hour or two and do our studies then drive our car home but we were wrong. We left the car there for the rest of the week and had to call and organize rides back from Corpus Christi to the Island (20-30 min drive). Then the remainder of the week was on bikes. 
Slight problem, my back tire is popped and the front has a leak. As a result we saw miracles throughout the day during the four or so times we had to refill the air. Three times, I just opened my mouth and asked some random person if they happened to have a bike pump - we were at the beach, at a gas station and in the middle of a street near 'town' and all three times there were people who were able to help us. Miracles. 

Another bump in the road.. our air conditioner busted in the middle of my second night in the apartment. Our apartment complex has a green house and pool in the middle of it and 'boy-oh-boy' it gets hot. At about 2:45pm in the middle of the night there was a loud sound (I thought someone was weed-wacking the plants) and then a crash. I jumped out of bed, as did S. Hortal and said, "someone's breaking into our house with a weedwacker." Well no. Actually it was our air conditioning unit exploding. 

The next two days, we planned and studied outside of our apartment each morning and night and cried/laughed ourselves to sleep in the 100+ degree room temperature. 

I love it here. Also I love the Holy Ghost - yesterday I was able to give a talk about the Holy Ghost in the baptism of a man named 'James'. I read part of the song, "Let the Holy Spirit Guide." All the lyrics in that song are true, often we don't rely enough on Heavenly Father and simply trust Him and the impressions that we receive. It was a good talk, and a good lesson for me. I love you all, hope its a great week. 

xoxoxo H. mckenna Crawford

Monday, September 21, 2015

I am currently working on living in the moment, which my missionary brain sometimes works ahead in our schedules - always trying to stay 'one step ahead' of our day. I always told myself that it was a matter of preparation, since no one likes going into a situation unprepared but this week taught me that there is moderation in all things and if being 'prepared' is pulling you away from enjoying the moment around you then you've got to change something. 

Tuesday (Sep. 15th) was S. Eggett's birthday and it was full of surprises for her, we visited members who had prepared full birthday meals and parties. We had our own birthday party with the missionaries on Monday, the Presidente and Sister Maluenda came and brought a cake. It was pretty special. Anyway, we ended the night with a piñata and a blow-up house - I had no idea what was happening. Now this was one of those "once in your mission" type of events but guess what I was doing... during the piñata, I was alone at a table, fingering through my Book of Mormon for something to share as a 'spiritual thought' for the birthday party. Now as good as my intentions were - I was missing the opportunity to make a memory with everyone at that party - and there was basically the whole branch. 

Later in the week, we learned some new things and had some 'extra-ordinary' moments. I feel like this area is full of opportunities to learn new things but I get worried that I am losing my "missionary purpose" when I get sucked into enjoying the moment; wrong. 

We learned from a member, who hasn't been able to get to church for the last while, how to paint. She loves loves loves to paint so we decided to have her help us learn. (When people are able to help you do or learn something, they love you more - another learning from the mission.) Painting takes a while, I started to stress and then calmly reminded myself to just enjoy the moment. 
We weren't doing the usual 'missionary lesson' but as we continued painting we eventually started talking about her many past 'art teachers' and why some are better than others, she said the best art teachers are "the ones that let you express yourself". So true. 
We then started talking about how Heavenly Father must be the best art teacher of all cause we are pretty 'free to express ourselves' down here on earth. We have to learn who we are and make good decisions, that's when we'll look back and enjoy our class here on earth. 

Sat (Sep. 19th) we learned how to make crepes in the wee-hours of the morning for a missionary breakfast from S. Wells. Again, not conventional and it took up a good part of the morning but we learned something new and it was so much fun. I just had to enjoy the moment. 

Interspersed through all the fun activities we also had some drop lessons and found some new people. Good and bad, we just keep going. A quote from church yesterday, "Stumbling blocks and stepping stones are made of the same material." We have to enjoy the rubble and move forward.

Long email, sorry about that. Lots of love. 
H. mckenna Crawford

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

There was not a lot of change within the last week but life is going great. 
The current focus is just getting all of these YSA members to work, and they're exceeding our expectations, I am so proud of them. 
We put in a lot of effort this week but didn't get to see much of it's fruits.  Gratefully, multiple members helped us out a ton over the last week.

We were eating dinner with one family and three of their kids are in the YSA branch, we finished eating and were on bikes. We got out to the bikes and had about 30 min before we needed to be home. We were 5 min from our house and had a potential investigator who lived about 15 min away on bikes - so we had time to get there but not enough time to teach him anything. We turned around and knocked on the Espinosa's door again, then we ended up taking the family and two other friends who were at their house over to visit the potential - knocked a door in the dark with a crowd of 7 people. Joseph didn't answer but I know Heavenly Father saw our efforts. 
Another effort to get people to take action, was with a kid named Andres. He is one of my favorite people down here, hilarious and loud as can be. We walked with him from his house to the nearest chapel with 'LDS Employment Services' to try to help him get out there and get a job. Well we walked about 30 min to the church (longer than expected) in the middle of the heat of the day (literally it was noon) and we come to a sign that says they were closed for the day. Then we walked home. Once again, the effort was made and though our plan failed, I know that Heavenly Father saw our efforts. 
And again, we walked around 'South Texas College' campus with another member from the branch for an hour as we visited different offices, in search of proselyting permission on campus grounds (the YSA is so awkward). But after multiple stops and about an hour wandering in the sun we finally arrived at the right building and office center - and the person in charge of 'religious public relations' or whatever was gone for the day so we'll be back later. Again, our plans failed but when we put in our effort and I know that Heavenly Father sees it. 

There was a huge push by our mission leaders to 'hit the number goals' and we'd see the blessings. A lot of our efforts were not rewarded with numbers this week but I feel okay. 
Our stake conference was this last week and a big focus topic was the temple. Due to the illegal traffic from Mexico - the Rio Grande Valley, contains a lot of people who aren't able to make it up to the temple in San Antonio or down to the temples in Mexico but everyone who is worthy can have their own temple recommend. 

Having a temple recommend while knowing that you cannot attend any temple, brings the same feelings as when you put in all your effort in a day and don't get any numbers. The spirit brings peace of mind, and confidence that you are doing what Heavenly Father wants you to do. In fact that is one of the greatest blessings of the temple is a more abundant presence of the spirit, we need the spirit. 

Life is good. Peace, love and the spirit headed your way.
H. mckenna Crawford

Monday, August 31, 2015

I just had a wave crash over me of my appreciation for families this week. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can be sealed with our families forever. I love my family so much, like who doesn't want to spend time and all eternity with the only people that made this life bearable. 

Now working with the 'young single adult' congregation is a blast and one bonus is that I have felt a lot healthier due to the decrease in dinner apt but this week and especially the last couple days, we were invited into the homes of the families of our members and it was so much fun! We got to play with little kids and share spiritual thoughts with families about eternal families. I remembered how much I missed eating while laughing and trying to round kids up to eat, there is just a special spirit there.

Then this weekend we went over to Elder and S. Well's home (they are a pair of senior missionaries from the office) and we learned how to make apple pie, two different types of quiche, and the crust all by ourselves! 

She is absolutely a mission grandma for me, I am going to seriously miss this cute woman.

 But even that experience, deepened my love for my real grandmas and the principle of 'eternal families', because our grandparents - great grandparents - great great grandparents...they can all be there if we all choose to live the gospel. 
I left multiple homes feeling extremely sick due to the over-sized quantity of food in by belly but then I paused and realized, "I was just full of love." I haven't been that 'full of love' since coming down to work with the ysa and that's because that "fullness of love" is only found within the family unit. 

This also turned my mind to remember the real reason that I am on a mission, to help people be with their families forever. None of this 'eternal family happiness' would be possible without the restoration of the gospel. People have got to know this is the way to being 'full of happiness' in heaven; cause heaven will not be heaven without my family. 
Also since, I knew I was going to be writing all about how much I love and kinda miss my eternal family - when logging onto emails I opened up to pictures of uncle glenn in a hospital bed and then another of a reconstructed/stitched up forearm - grateful your okay glenn! We'll have heaven since we're family, and that is awesome!

lots of love, 
S. mckenna Crawford

Monday, August 24, 2015

One of the longer weeks of my mission is coming to a close with this email. So much happened within the last week, and yet not much was accomplished throughout the week. The only consistent bright spot was our lessons with Camila, who was baptized on sunday!

The start of the week was a little rough, as we had visitors for the first three nights. 'Sister Trainer Leaders' from the whole mission came down, along with all the other mission leaders for a special conference  - since our apartment is the closest to the mission office we got 4 extra sisters, a destroyed house and depleted food and shampoo/conditioner rations for the week. Basically I cocooned myself in our room, really I just planted on my bed since our carpet was covered in clothes and hair and all the other semi-disgusting things that girls bring into a home. 
The stress of the home, was magnified with all of our apointments, besides those with Camila, fell through from monday to thursday of this week. All of which accumulated into me being a slightly frustrated version of myself. 

Recently S Eggett also has been struggling with homesickness, and it doesn't help that I am getting closer to the end of my mission. But we sat down and decided to make a new goal to 'focus' which required that our 'hearts be in the right place'. 
I sat down and worked out my reasons for doing each thing in the day, and then studied, "heart" in the Bible Dictionary and Topical Guide.
Turns out that H. Father judges us based on our desires, hopes and wishes - the "treasures of our hearts" and even though we hadn't seen much success in talking to people or accomplishing those things that we had hoped to accomplish throughout the week - it was all going to be okay if we were doing everything for the right reason. 

Cute Story from Sunday: Camila was fasting for her baptism, and she had been planning this fast for the last two weeks - she was so excited and nervous. Well in the middle of sunday school, I feel this 'tap tap' on my shoulder and turn over to a panicked Camila - she says, "Sister, I was really trying and I have been praying all day to stay focused on it but I just forgot...But now it's all good for nothing, what do I do?" ...turns out when she went to the bathroom in the middle of sunday school someone gave her a little pretzel and she ate it. She was devastated. I laughed and told her just to say a prayer and tell Heavenly Father what she had done, and that everything was okay. 
I knew that H. Father wasn't mad at her.
He is proud of our efforts, no matter how weak we are, we can then continue to improve. 

thanks for the love and support, 
H mckenna Crawford

Monday, August 17, 2015

Being P-day (personal prep day for the upcoming week) we shop for the things we need.  I don't know about you but I look at the dates of the things I purchase to see if they will expire soon.  In a sense our lives are marked by "use by" dates.  It got me thinking that none of us know the day which our heart will stop beating or we'll take our last breath on this earth.  Made me realize that I want to live my life to it's fullest and make the moments count.   In order to make each moment count I need to love unconditionally, forgive quickly, listen carefully, speak truthfully, live honestly, and appreciate everything.  Ephesians chapter 5 got me thinking about these things.  
I hope you are all doing well.  God Loves Us.
thank heavens

Hermana Crawford

Monday, August 10, 2015

This week was all about service, and loving other people. I feel like I learned a lot over the course of the last seven days. But service/love it's all just acting out of faith and when we put Heavenly Father first everything else works out. Whatever preoccupation or internal struggle we are facing with priorities turns out alright when we put Heavenly Father first. 

The most minor experience of the week was a huge moment for my mental stability, naturally we were on bikes. Bikes just always bring miracles when you are in over 100 degree heat. 
So we had been biking and visiting some less actives and referrals that we had to visit in McAllen, and we had about 5 minutes until we were going to grab dinner and I had a huge headache - probably because I don't drink nearly enough water (...working on it...), but we knocked one more door and ended up teaching a young mom and her sleeping 2 year old the Plan of Salvation. An hour later we got out to our bikes and S. Eggett was beaming, she was so happy to be able to knock door and teach, she did not want to stop. 
How could I look at her and be the one that was going to whimp-out and bike home just to waste time and eat? So I just said a prayer and asked that the next house we knock would give us water and I would be able to smile and feel as excited as S. Eggett looked...and we walked away from our bikes back to knock some more doors. 
Just as I let go of the whiner inside of me and finished my prayer, the cute young mom calls out to us and gives us each a giant 32 oz 'mountain blast powerade' - nothing has ever tasted so good. 

She served us, as I was trying to serve S. Eggett and we are both just out here trying to serve Heavenly Father. It was a good moment. 

Then at church we had a whole lesson all about service. When the question was asked, "Why would God need us to do something for another person that He can already do Himself?" And our recent convert Joe said, "Because those experiences when we do what He would do, make us more like Him and He can't force us to do it so service opportunities are chances to choose to do it." SO TRUE. 
Everything is about love and when the cute lady let us into her house and we were able to fold some of her baby clothes with her and then teach her about the Plan of Salvation, we served her and she served us before she had even given us the powerades but that is how Heavenly Father's plan works. When we serve one person, they intern are serving us and vice versa when we let someone serve us; both become better.

Other exciting news from this week, Karla got baptized and got the holy ghost this weekend and Joe got the priesthood, so much happiness. Love these people. 

con mucho amor
H mckenna Crawford

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 20th

Life is good, and getting better. We are learning so many new things in the office - I know how to take apart the outer interior of a car and put it back together again - as we learned how to install 'Tiwi Unit's' into the mission cars. They are little computer systems that track our driving. 
We are having a blast in the office and out when we are working. Our area got divided this last week but we only lost one city, Alton. The rest of the valley is still ours to roam.

This week we found our new favorite street vendor of watermelons - we got 3 for $2 and then gave the guy a Book of Mormon. It was awesome. We also found a place with cheap 64 oz glasses of Horchata....they may not have nearly as good Raspas here but we're finding our own happiness. 

I've learned the beauty of the reward system on my mission, and I will definitely be applying it to my future children. 
The difficult part is sometimes you have no control over the 'success' of the day. For example, one day this week we walked, biked and drove all around the city of mission - all day. Not a single one of the people we planned to visit were home or texted us back, and a couple of them we had planned the visits but they 'no-showed' us. We walked around aimlessly all day but then rewarded ourselves with watermelons. Also because we were aimlessly walking, Heavenly Father put some entertainment in our path. Including a stray horse, and then a german shepherd that almost killed us. 

Always be happy, is the biggest thing that I learned this week. Basically I learn this every week. But not every week is the same so I have to learn it over and over in every new situation, it's kinda a rough one to learn but I'll just keep learning it until we're all in heaven together...not perfect yet. But sadness kills all the faith and it is really just not fun. All we can do is be the best we can be. 

con mucho amor, 
la hermana m. crawford

July 27 th 

News of the week. 
A good portion of the week was preparing Joe for his baptism this Sunday; which went off without a hitch. We heart attacked his door with all of the commandments and laws (this included a life size chastity belt and portable key), one new law/lesson for each day of the week. 

Officially I am the worst trainer/mission mom ever. Alright, now the mission teaches alot about obedience and doing what your suppose to do. Well, one of the things that we are asked to do is take two bike days each week. Now this week I got S. Eggett all pumped up and ready to go and I made us take them even though it was like 104 degrees for both days that we chose to ride and our appointments weren't anywhere near each other. After about 2 hours of riding and one appointment, she says, "I don't know but I think that my tire may be flat." I look over and her back wheel is completely flat, she had been riding on it all day - after stopping by two members who weren't home we biked the 45 min back to our apartment for the pump...now she has a bruise on her bum. I felt horrible, also we are getting mini-missionaries for this whole next week so the cute girl will have to ride like 4 days next week with a bruised tail-bone and then sit on ice everyday for studies. 

On a spiritual note, I learned a lot about charity and what is means to have pure love for another person this last week. Now S. Eggett is easy enough to get along with but it's about more than that. We are expected to love everyone. Now the LOVE that Heavenly Father is talking about is perfect, we have to put them before we put ourselves - that is stinking hard. 
Christ was the perfect example of service so as I am working on making service plans for everyone down here in South Texas - all of you should make plans to serve at least one person out of the usual this week. 
Happiness is just a good deed away, so go do the good deed. 

con mucho amor; 
H. mckenna Crawford

Monday, July 13, 2015

We are so busy; and I am so grateful. The work down here is so much different than it was in the valley. We have appointments and lessons and we get to bike when we want and then are also hanging out with the cutest senior missionary couples ever for a couple hours a day - senior missionary couples know how to party, ease-dropping is a natural consequence in a little 20 ft. open office room and they are hilarious. 

Monday, we got to knock some doors and we basically don't know anyone in our area or how to go anywhere in our area so our lives revolve around a 1990s GPS. It often reboots itself and changes routes on us but we're surviving - getting lost can be fun. 
We have a couple of progressing investigators that are super fun, I've learned that I love teaching and I think I am getting better at it; definitely still don't want to be a teacher though. 
Tuesday we had interviews with President Maluenda, I feel like half of the mission is spent in meetings but its good. Lots of oportunities to hear new ways to improve and it will make the three hours of church when I get home for the rest of my life seem like nothing. 
President always gives us chapters to read/study and my chapters were: 
matthew 26, mark 14, luke 22
I got a lot out of them so I thought it would be good reading homework for all of you too; everything is about the atonement and how much we are willing to trust Heavenly Father with our lives.
Wednesday - Saturday, we just did missionary work. Knocked some doors, visited some people and had some good lessons.
Sunday, we got to teach Joe, and it was the best part of the whole week. Joe is working with Vivint down here for the summer, and is living with a bunch of returned missionaries who are also working with vivint for the summer. He is listening to the Book of Mormon on the hour long drive down to Rio Grande City everyday and is just overrall super cool. We taught the background of the Book of Mormon and all of the vivint workers and some of their wives just started telling different experiences that they had reading it. Such a cool experience. And just a great way to end the week.

my love for you, 
is as big as the state of texas,
and that is BIG.

H mckenna Crawford