Monday, November 24, 2014

My Personal Testimony

Well family… I really don’t have a whole lot of time today to write but that’s ok, I’ll tell you a few of the things that happened real fast.

First things first, we put a date with Vitalino this week which was totally awesome. My comp and I literally just ran into this guy one day walking back to Ciudad Real from La Reina. We walked by him and were like, “What the heck, we will just talk to him a bit as we are going in the same direction.” Three lessons later, he has a date, is living all the commandments and is totally ready to be baptized. It’s legit. I have no doubt whatsoever that God is preparing people for us to teach everyday. I am definitely so grateful for the blessings we receive as missionaries!!

Also this week we visited my convert Christian and we watched a movie clip about missionary work and such and he’s pretty much set in stone on serving. Just as long as his girlfriend doesn’t get in the way, haha. But really, before the mission that was one of the things I really wanted, to baptize a young man that could go on to serve a mission. It’s just so, so cool to think of the chain of events that happen when you baptize somebody. They baptize a bunch of people. Those people go on to baptize people and so forth. It’s so sweet.

There are a few guys in the ward that use wheelchairs and for some reason it’s our job as missionaries to take care of Sundays and make sure they get to the church, which is awesome. It’s really nice to get the feeling of serving people and stuff. But anyway yesterday we ran into one of the guys that lives in La Reina, which is a pretty poor area. We run into this guy and ask him if he needs help. He says yes and we start pushing him around town to get the things he needs. About 45 minute later we finish and started talking to this guy more about his life. He literally eats the same thing every day and what we did in 45 mins usually takes him like 4 hours to do because he can barely push himself. His house is puny and is super, super dirty. But above all that, he is literally one of the most happy people I have ever seen. Like every other sentence he says, “But it’s ok Elders, the Lord has blessed me with more than you guys know and my life is so amazing” and things like that. It’s super humbling seeing people like that.

Last thing I wanted to share this week was about my personal testimony. I have thought a lot about how strong my individual testimony is and I came to the conclusion that really growing up, I used the testimony of my parents and leaders a whole lot more than I actually realized. When I left I thought I had a decent testimony of the gospel and a majority of the doctrine. But in reality my testimony was practically nothing. Out here on the mission you have to testify of things a bunch and it’s helped my testimony grow a bunch. And I can’t even imagine where my testimony would be without coming out here on the mission. I had heard that it would help me a lot but until now I hadn’t realized what a blessing it is to be able to serve as a missionary and be able to build your own personal testimony. Our testimony is something we strive to strengthen our entire life but these two years out here on the mission are like 20 years of growth all packed into two years. It’s awesome. I wish I could expound more but I have like no time. Hope you guys all have a marvelous week. You all are the best!

Love ya
Elder Crump

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another week in well...Paradise I suppose.

         Howdy Family, how are things crackin’ back up in USA where you guys will all be stuffing your faces with turkey this week!? Can’t say I’m at least a little jealous! But don’t you worry, I will be thoroughly enjoying my beans, rice and tortillas, as always down here! Things went pretty well this week. My companion and I have started working together a lot more and we have taught some really great lessons this week as well. Here is some of the stuff that happened this week....

- This week I was reading in Preach My Gospel about spiritual experiences that we have in life and the importance of them. In the beginning of the mission I kind of expected to have a plethora of super sweet spiritual experiences for some reason. But this past week I read in Preach My Gospel that we aren’t going to have a ton of strong spiritual experiences in our life, thus we have to cherish the ones we have a press forward in faith. I really liked that. I feel like almost everyone has had a decent amount of awesome spiritual experiences in their life, but obviously everyone always wants more. In reality though, we need to be content with what the Lord has given to us and keep going!

-My companion and I have started to get a long sooo much better now and it’s really helped me be a lot happier. We still have disagreements and stuff but the majority of the time things are cool. It’s insane when I look back a month ago at how sad I was. Because I really felt terrible. But in the short time of 4 weeks things are so much better and I have learned a whole bunch. God definitely knows what we are capable of going through.

- We had interchanges this week with Elder Ortiz so I was in charge of the day. Usually this isn’t too much of a problem but this time was a little rough. The last lesson of the day we went and taught this member named Karen. She was baptized a little over a year ago and is married to a guy that is a member as well. At the current moment she is just dying to go to the temple and get sealed to her husband but her husband right now is less active. So we went to see how she was and she just instantly starts bawling her eyes out when we got there and is just mumbling a whole bunch of random stuff. She explained that she’s on the verge of separation from her husband. He won’t forgive her of her past mistakes and a whole bunch of other nice things. So there I am, in charge of our lesson, still can’t speak amazing Spanish and need to give this lady the advice she needs. Like literally I’m a marriage counselor, counseling on something that is for eternity, in a language I can’t even speak. Boy was it a fun experience. Overall it ended up ok and I was able to help her sort out her feelings and make a plan on what to do. It was cool stuff but definitely really hard. I’m now 100 percent sure that marriage counseling is not my future profession!

-This past Sunday we arrived at the Sunday school class we usually attend and the teacher wasn’t there. So, who’s automatically in charge of the class? The missionaries of course! My companion and I proceeded to teach an hour-long lesson for like 35 people in Spanish without preparation…and I thought teaching my buddies back at home for 15 minutes in Sunday school class hard!

-Yesterday I had the pleasure of eating chicken feet for the first time. It was, to be honest, terrible. The guy scooped up 6 nice chicken feet onto my plate and I about puked. But of course I ate every last one of them. I am practically positive that the next time I have to eat them, I will be on the next flight for the USA. Yuck!!

That’s about all for the week. Times are just a flying by down here. Every night I arrive at the house more tired than I ever thought imaginable but it’s all good! Such is the mission life! Hope you guys have a great week! Love ya

Elder Crump
One of Matthew's areas.

An attempt at the Angel Moroni.  I believe the trumpet is a plant leaf.

Monday, November 10, 2014

For the Love of the People...

         Well folks back in the good ole USA. Another week has passed by down here in the misión. Times a flyin’ by! I had an up and down week but of course I learned a lot as well.

         First off, I had a nice experience this week teaching a…well family I suppose. We are teaching a guy who is seriously like 70 and this girl that’s like 30 and I asked the lady how her grandpa was doing that was seated right next to her. And she’s like, “Well....we are married.”  It was terrible. Luckily they thought my Spanish just sucked and brushed it off, but still. It was so embarrassing. People here seriously marry at whatever age they want. We see teenage boys with ladies that have to be at least 40... Welcome to El Salvador.

         The rainy season is finally over here and the weather is seriously like perfect right now. But occasionally I do miss the days when my comp and I could run through rivers in the streets, singing random hymns in a Spanish-English mix, while everybody else is just looking at us like we are insane.

         Thursday I woke up in the morning super, super sick and couldn’t sleep at all. I had a fever, tons of body pains was throwing up and had diarrhea. It was great. So for the morning I just sat around and groaned. We tried to teach lessons in the afternoon but I pretty much died after teaching two lessons so we went back to the house. That night I realized that for some reason I had yet to ask for a blessing. I’m not really sure why it took me an entire day to realize that. Probably because I’m like, literally, never sick - who knows. But the next morning I got a blessing from Elder Galicia, the Elder that works in Ciudad Real as well. It was really sweet and the Spirit was definitely there. I pretty much felt totally better after that and worked normal the rest of the day. It was HQ stuff, as my brother would say. I really look up to Elder Galicia a lot too. He’s such a hard worker and always has the Spirit.

         My dearest Sister wrote me a letter this week and I really liked a ton of the stuff she said in it, but one thing I especially liked was that sometimes she struggled to get out of bed to work each morning, but if we really have a perfect love for the people it shouldn’t be that hard. She said if it was me that she was going to wake up to teach, she would be up, ready and out the door in as little time as possible. But out on the mission it isn’t so easy because we don’t naturally love the people we are serving. It really made me think, yet again, about the love I have for the people of El Salvador and what I need to do to continue to get more love.

         Tying into loving the people is a story of yesterday and going to church. We were going around right before sacrament meeting gathering up all of the less actives around the área we were in. We passed by an older guy in a wheelchair that usually goes to church but hasn’t been going in a while. We asked why and he’s just like, “Well nobody comes to get me.” Soooo we told him we will change that next week but this week we will take you. The only thing is that usually he goes in the back of a pickup. But we didn’t have a pickup. So we pushed him. And boy was that fun. His house is like two miles from the church and the roads are anything but normal. You bet we arrived 30 minutes late to church, sweating like nobody’s business!! It was a really interesting experience and the whole time I was just thinking that if this was my Grandma or Grandpa I would do it in a heartbeat. I feel like it will be the same throughout my entire mission. Everything hard I do would be a lot easier if I was doing it for someone really close to me like my family or friends. So I just need to develop the love that I have for my family, for the people here. Who knows if all that made sense but it did in my head.

         For all you all back at home, if there are people you have a hard time serving, just remember that we are all sons and daughters of God, and so you should serve others with the same attitude and effort as if it was your parents your brothers or your grandparents. It’s hard, but we have to at least try.

         That’s all for the week. We didn’t bring a single person to sacrament meeting, which was beyond depressing, but we will try super hard to bring more next week. My Spanish is at a stand still and I’m actually still struggling a lot with it, but it will get better eventually. Hopefully haha. Hope you guys all have a nice fun spiritual week! Love you!!

Elder Crump

El Salvador countryside

Preaching King Benjamin-like

Elder Cardenal

A 1958 One Colon bill that Matthew bought
for $5 that is worth about $30.
His Grandpa Crump would be proud of his
numismatic skills :0)

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Never Ending Quest for Happiness...

Well another week down! This week was pretty great. 

We didn’t have the best numbers but we still taught some real quality lessons, so that’s good. We seriously walk so much now because we are visiting like four different cities. I imagined that I would be walking a bunch before my mission but I seriously didn’t think it would be this much, to be honest haha. It’s all good though! At least every night when I go to bed I fall asleep within literally two minutes. So that’s good. We had a baptismal date fall so that was sad, but we are pretty sure it will happen next week instead. Here’s a list of random things from the week.

- The testimony meetings here are sooo different than those in the states. The bishop starts to say "the time is now yours till five after the hour" and it’s literally like a massive wave of people flocking to the pulpit to bear their testimony. The meeting then lasts like almost two hours, no joke. Cool stuff.

- I got a little mad at my companion this week for using my towel and eating a box of my cereal and it was crazy the effect it had on us the rest of the day. My companion just said it wasn’t him that used the stuff and such but I was still kinda frustrated when we left for the day. Our first lesson was total trash and after that we gave a sister in the ward a blessing and you could just feel the power not in the room. After that we talked it out and it was unreal to see the difference in the spirit when we didn’t have any more contention. It really made me realize the importance of loving my comp.

- In 2 Nephi 2:1-5 it talks about how Lehi tells his son, Jacob, sorry for all the tribulation he has had in the wilderness but how he knows it’s all for his benefit and that he will appreciate it later. The scripture really helped me a lot.

- So this week as I have been going about normal missionary life and I thought a lot about something one of my sister’s friends wrote about in his email home. He is serving in Brazil. He called it “The eternal search for happiness”, and it really hit me this week exactly what he meant when he sent it. This week has gone a lot better with my comp and our lessons and stuff but I still have had the attitude of more enduring the mission instead of enjoying it. Every day I just say, ‘Oh the next change will be a lot better than this one and so I just need to endure this one and the next will be a lot better.’ This is exactly what my sister’s friend wrote in his email. Throughout life we always have this hope that the next step in our lives will be better and that the part we are living right now will end shortly. On the mission we just endure, because life will be better at college. In college we just endure, because it will be better when we are married. When we are married we just endure because it will be better when we have kids. When we have little kids we just endure it because it will get better when we have grown up kids and so on and so forth. In life we always think the next step will be better when, really, we need to learn to live in the moment and enjoy the things we have been blessed with right now. So this is my goal for the week and my challenge for you guys. Live in the moment and be happy. Sure you might think there are better things on the horizon, but for now enjoy the things you have.

That’s about it for the week. Hopefully everything goes well for you guys. I’m always praying for you all. Have a great week!!

Elder Crump
Overlooking one of his areas.
Yep, that's a volcano in the background.

Along the jungle path.

A beautiful soccer field.

Preaching the Gospel - Samuel the Lamanite style.