Monday, April 25, 2016

S'mores, Campfires and Testimonies

Hey Family,

I’m happy to be able to write again this week. I can’t seem to get a grasp on the fact that I’m heading in to my last two changes here. It’s definitely really hard to think about! The good thing is that I have been able to enjoy everything this week.

So for starters, miracle man Francisco is still doing amazing! He went to church again and went to a bunch of church activities we had. We were finally able to get him one of the super big BofMs so that has helped his progress to become a lot quicker. He was so incredibly happy to hold the book in his hands and I’m like, ‘So you are going to read tomorrow right?’ He’s like ‘No, I’m going to read right now!’ Well great, haha! So things are still good to go for the 7th and his baptism.

On Saturday we had a cool ward activity. Somehow it just got shoved on us to plan everything but it was ok with me because we had some things we wanted to teach. So Mom sent me a CTR game that is like Chutes and Ladders, which we used, but we used it to teach from the Intro of the BofM. We had a contest to answer questions I had chosen about the BofM and it was an HQ time. The best part was that all the members realized how much of a need they have to actually find out what the BofM really is and what it means for their lives. Afterward we had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. For a majority of the people there, it was a first for marshmallow roasting, so almost all of them turned out to be 11 year old scout quality. Burnt to the core. It was a fun activity to do with the ward though and helped them get to know the investigators we are teaching.

As I said before, we have problems with the water a lot here so this week we finally started using our pila. Which is where you store water to use when it goes out. Everyone in El Salvador uses one. So anyways, ours is really nice and inside the house but the night after filling it up, I go to get water out and practically grab this lizard thing just chillin’ there! It scared the heck out of me but my comp got a good laugh. It was just swimming around in there so I had to bash its head against the wall to kill it. Worst part was that all the water we stored up got mixed with a bunch of blood, haha!

Ran out of time... Ugh. Well until next week folks. Love you all so so much. Have a nice spiritual week! SALUUUU

Elder Crump 

The extra large Book of Mormon.

First time marshmallow roasters :0)

Not sure what/where this is...

The lizard from the pila :0(

Monday, April 18, 2016

Miracle Man

Que tal Familia Crump!

Writing yet another week’s worth of experiences...where to start...

This week was the last week of the change and I will be staying here with my comp to finish out his training! The bad news is that they took out the other elders here because the area is so small. It’s just a lot more fun having two other missionaries you can talk too and stuff. But you just have to accept Gods will! This week I learned a couple of really sweet lessons and so I hope to be able to type it all out before my time goes by.

First thing that really impacted me is a member here that is the boyfriend of a girl we are teaching. They both are going to church but not living together so you would think it would be an easy baptism right? Well, the problem is that the guy that’s a member, even though he got baptized over 9 years ago and never been inactive, doesn’t have a testimony at all...We ask simple questions like, ‘Can you explain to your girlfriend what the law of chastity is or about the BofM?’ and he literally has no idea. Now I don’t want to write just to talk badly about him, he’s a very nice guy, but it hit me what it means to be an active member. For us, an active member is someone who is always going to church on Sunday. Just that. But in reality, just going to heat up the benches each week isn’t enough. We need to actually go with a desire to learn and change. This guy had gone 9 years without even owning his own copy of the BofM! We can’t expect a testimony to come by just sitting and listening. We need to take the initiative and seek it out. As usual, the key is the BofM. Why did this guy not have any knowledge about the church, because he hadn’t realized that the keystone of our religion is the BofM. We have to live the law of eternal progression. That is the purpose of our lives!

Miracle Man. Francisco Paneagua. Well, Sunday afternoon I was really frustrated because we hadn’t had a very good week and we were leaving the house of a member. I was trying to think of where to go and it came to my mind to visit a less active we contacted a while ago, but I’m like no, she doesn’t want anything, that’s a stupid idea. So we just sat there thinking and finally I gave in, and we went. All we did was go around the corner and I saw a guy waiting in the door of a house and I looked right into his eyes. It was like ‘Ding, Ding, Ding. Talk to me!!’ So we contacted him and put a cita to visit him Tuesday. Tuesday we went and he is 62, lives alone and years ago had drinking problems but hasn’t drank in 3 years. So we teach him normally, invite with a date as always and he just accepted it the first time! I was stunned. I’m just thinking this is too good to be true. We go back two days later and he’s just all smiles because we are there and we teach him the Plan of Salvation. When he offers the final prayer he says 3 lines, ‘God I am happy. These 2 señores have really touched my heart. Help me to listen.’ When he finished the prayer I was just so happy and asked him how he felt. He says, ‘I’m so happy. And have been happy ever since you left that blue book here. I cant even read it but just having it there makes me really happy.’ Obviously he was talking about a BofM we had left even though he can’t read. Talk about an incredible experience! Saturday he went with us to a baptism and then went yesterday to church and ‘está con todo’ as we say here to be baptized the 7th of May. How it is that all that happened in a week’s time, I have no idea. God prepares people. I have no doubt about it.

Last life lesson from this week that I have learned is about taking decisions in our life. As with my Cam (my sister), it’s very hard for me to take big decisions and I’m always thinking twice about whether or not I should or should not do things. A lot of times there are 2 good choices but we just aren’t sure what to choose. The problem is that when we finally make the choice, we still have that feeling inside that we may have chosen the wrong thing. What I learned from a talk and some scriptures is that when we finally do make the choice, we need to give it our all. Every ounce of effort we have. We can’t let the feelings of regret or doubt stop us. If I don’t know who to visit, I make the choice and give it my all. If I’m in a lesson and don’t know what to teach, I listen to the spirit, make the choice, and then do it. Not thinking, ‘Oh what did I do, I should have taught the other lesson.’ Because you can’t go back. So when you guys make a choice, give it your all, without doubt or fear of being wrong! If you made the wrong choice, you’ll learn from it and keep going!

That’s all I have time for this week... Hope everything’s goes well for you guys throughout the week. Love you all a lot. Don’t ever stop fighting for the right!

Elder Crump

Doing a little service with his district.

Last pic before the other elders left the area.

Monday, April 11, 2016

2.5 Gallons...

Elder Crump here, checking in from the best mission in the world.

Life is the greatest and the work just keeps moving forward. This week we did a whole bunch of contacting because we are in desperate need of new investigators and it’s been getting a little out of hand the excuses we have started to hear. At least it makes it semi entertaining so we don’t get down on ourselves while doing it.

I think the worst part was when we tried to contact one of the neighbors of a member here in the ward. We got the info and the member doesn’t tell us anything about them. Just says ‘Ya go visit them, I’m sure they would like the gospel!!’ So the next day we are headed to go see them and when they come outside of the house I just wanted to book it! Haha! Needless to say, they were 2 prostitutes so our conversation didn’t last too long. We go back to the member and asked why in the world she sent us there and she just says, totally serious, ‘I thought they would benefit from your message as well!’ -.-

So besides that, the week was a real spiritual one. I have been reading a lot about the Restoration of the Gospel and how to teach it to someone who already goes to a church. It’s hard to say, you don’t have the priesthood, or you don’t make covenants in your church when we contact people. But we also do need to be direct. I realized that it all comes down to being sincere and finding that perfect truth that the people need to hear. It’s not about telling the people what they don’t have, it’s about testifying to them what they are missing out on. How is it that the Restoration of the Gospel is going to affect their lives right now...? What would change if they came to our church? As a result of all this studying I have just felt so much power while sharing the message of the Restored Gospel to people and know that I’m doing my job as a missionary. It’s just so important for us to know and have a personal testimony about how it is that the First Vision affects our lives today. The message of it all hit me when I remembered the picture that we have on the wall at home of the Sacred Grove. I’ll attach it in the email. I now have a totally different outlook on what that picture means to me and hope you guys can understand it as well. 

An investigator we have named Walter works in Don Pollo, a little KFC type place that is by our house. We have been trying to get him to go to church but it’s been difficult for his work schedule. So we went over to see how he was doing while he was working and while we were talking, the guard of the restaurant comes over and he’s like ‘Hey Elder! Do you remember me??’ I literally had no idea who he was, but ends up I had taught him a year ago when I was in Chalchuapa. (Even though he didn’t want anything then.) The guy is all super happy and starts telling Walter about what amazing people we are and that he needs to listen to the message we have. It was a good testimony for Walter to see. It’s just crazy because while I was teaching this dude in Chalchuapa, I thought I was just wasting my time, but maybe I just had to teach him so that he could help Walter out now with his testimony of us as missionaries! It’s super sweet how the Lord works in mysterious ways to help his children accept this gospel!

2.5 Gallons.  Well, that is the current amount of water necessary so that I can take a shower. In Atiquizaya the water goes out pretty frequently and so we have to take showers with the water we have stored up in water jugs. Last Friday we helped a member haul a bunch of dirt and we were filthy afterwards, and when we got home there wasn’t any water. The problem was that we had forgotten to fill up the jugs. 5 gallons of water between two missionaries means 2.5 gallons a piece! It was the only option we had! Haha!

I love you all so so much and pray for you guys every day. I know that this is the only true church upon the face of the Earth and that I have been called of God to share this message with the world. I know that the gospel literally changes peoples’ lives if they let it. I have seen it time and time again here. I hope you all have a fabulous week and strive to share the precious truths you have in your lives with all those around you!

Elder Crump

Getting ready to watch General Conference.

Don Pollo where Walter works.

All three elders, who now work in Manantiales, also had
served in Pushtan so they made themselves t-shirts.

In front of a Catholic church in Ahuachapan.
Elder Rivera, Elder Laing and Elder Vasquez.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Just the update

Matthew didn't send a general letter this week but here are a few things that he said in his other letters home:

  • He had the chance to watch Conference and loved the talk by Elder Owen in the Priesthood session.  Sometimes we are leaders and sometimes we are followers and sometimes we are both at once.
  • He also liked the talk by Elder Anderson when he referred to "the tens of thousands of young men and young women from all around the world who embrace the gospel without a mother or father to come into the Church with them."  His companion is a convert of just over a year whose parents aren't members.  He is reading the Book of Mormon for the first time with Matthew and loves it.  He just has such a desire to share his testimony.
  • He and his companion try to be super obedient and diligent but haven't seen the blessings yet as far as finding new people to teach.  One of the missionaries in the mission hasn't been a good example or obedient at all and so the work has suffered.  
Here are some pictures of Barrio Salinas in Atiquizaya where Matthew works.

The little red cars are mototaxis that are everywhere.

Matthew lives three streets over from where this picture was taken.

This is the little bridge he crosses every day.