Monday, December 19, 2016

Merry Christmas Ya'll

Well this week has been chalk full of crazy miracles. On Sunday we
went to pick up a ton of investigators who all live in this apartment
complex. We had a couple super solid people that were going to for
sure come and one investigator who we didn't really think was going to
come but we invited him anyway. When we got there none of our
investigators could come, but there was Chris, standing outside with a
blue button up, a black suit coat, and super ripped up jeans. He came
and LOVED church, even though he dropped the sacrament cup and spilled
it all over haha.

I've realized on my mission that as long as you put in the work,
Heavenly Father is going to make things happen, but it usually won't
come in the way you expect it. I know that He loves each one of us and
knows exactly what we need to keep on keepin' on.

Elder Payne and I decided we would bless everyone this Christmas with
probably the best video ever created, so enjoy!



Monday, December 5, 2016

Goin' Ghetto

This week flew by!! I don't know what it was but this was probably the fastest week on my mission, and I can't believe it's already December!! It's probably because Elder Payne and I get along super well and we have tons of fun.

We have spent most of our time this week in the Chester Maissonettes which is the most ghetto part of our area. It's these super run down one bedroom townhouses off the freeway and we have at least 4 investigators there and a couple of less actives.

So first off is Chris, his mom was a member a long time ago but he isn't. We taught him yesterday and as we walked up to him he said "what's up fellas, I'm just out here workin' on my bars". Apparently he is an up and coming rapper. He loves the Book of Mormon but his only problem is smoking. I asked him if he enjoyed smoking and he said "yeah man I love it, it just has a super sweet aroma and doesn't make me sick at all" .....definitely not the answer I was looking for. He also had a huge pistol stuffed down the front of his pants. Which makes sense because the Maissonettes is the only place in Chesterfield that accepts convicted felons.

Our most solid investigator is probably Joeanna, she also lives in the Maisonnettes. She has two daughters and is cruising though the Book of Mormon 🙏🏻. The biggest problem is getting all of these people to church because none of them have cars. Thankfully we have super solid members who are usually willing to pick people up.

I've been learning a ton about the Book of Mormon recently. The Book of Mormon is perfectly crafted for conversion and there isn't a single word in it that won't help convert someone. We had someone from the mission department come talk to us and he shared a lot of cool stuff about the Book of Mormon. So, Moroni visited Joseph Smith on September 21st which at first doesn't seem significant. But, September 21st is the fall equinox which signifies the start of the harvest. Which again isn't that significant until you include scriptures like D&C 4:4  "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;"

There are literally no coincidences when it comes to the gospel, Moroni visited the prophet on that same day every year, to signify how the Book of Mormon would help "harvest" or convert people to the church. All we have to do as missionaries and as members is share the Book of Mormon, and if they actually read it, the Holy Ghost will do the rest!
I hope everyone has an awesome week!

Pics 
1. Elder Payne and me with the Chevy Cruze 🚙👌🏼
2. P-Day with the zone
3. Setting up for Christmas (thanks mom)
4. Belmont Ward Christmas party




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Monday, November 28, 2016

Shalom Y'all

So my new companion is Elder Payne and he has only been out 6 weeks
longer than I have. He was the VP at Corner Canyon. He's pretty cool
and we get along really well so this should be a good transfer.

If anyone has ever wondered what it's like to knock on doors during
thanksgiving I'll save you some time and tell you it sucks. But we got
to eat thanksgiving dinner with two families so that was fun. These
last couple of days Elder Payne and I have had a ton of success
tracting. We've had people who invite us in right off the bat which
never happens.

Yesterday we met this guy who looked like a Kevin Hart but a lot
meaner, but he was actually super cool and we taught him and he said
he would be baptized! It was crazy because this guy is swearing left
and right but the spirit was definitely still there. We are going back
next Saturday to teach him and he said he would come to church next
week.

Elder McDonald got transferred to Louisa which is way out in the
boonies, they barley have enough people for a branch, but he's from a
pretty small town so he's probably used to it.

I've started reading the sacrament hymn after we sing it while they
pass the sacrament and it makes the sacrament a lot more spiritual.
The sacrament hymns actually have a ton of good stuff in them that you
never think about when you read them.

We helped this investigator rake her backyard and we ended up with a
huge pile of leaves, I'll attach some pictures of it. I hope everyone
had a super awesome thanksgiving!!!


Pics:
1. Say no to thanksgiving leftovers 💪🏼
2. Leaf shenanigans
3. Leaf shenanigans pt. 2
4. Mormon Mafia


video

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving y'all

Well, transfer calls came in and Elder McDonald was voted off the
island, but I get to stay in Belmont another transfer!! I'm super
pumped, I'll be here until 2017 🙏🏻

Since transfers are tomorrow this has been a crazy day so I'm not
gonna write much, we find out where Elder McDonald is going tomorrow
and I'll get my new companion. I'm gonna miss him, he's been pretty
cool.

We taught a lesson to this family and after we were done their
daughter wanted to play this game called bean boozled, I don't
recommend it. I'll attach a video or two of us trying them out, it was
the worst.

I honestly can't believe I'm done training, it does not feel like I've
been out that long, but I'm excited for a new companion and to start
off a new transfer!! I hope everyone has an awesome thanksgiving, we
have at least 5 members that have invited us over so I should probably
start fasting now until thanksgiving haha

Peace, Love, Be Still

Photos:
1. Elder Critchfield plays bean boozled
2. Elder McDonald plays bean boozled
3. Matching Peru ties
4. Matching safari ties from Goodwill
5. Da Boyz
6. Da Boyz pt. 2

video


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Monday, November 14, 2016

Make Virginia Great Again

Apparently things are going pretty crazy now that Trump was elected president. As a missionary its always funny to hear the stuff people will tell you cause you never know if its true. 

We had a 2 hour lesson with this lady named Jamele this week, it was crazy!! She is a non-practicing Confirmed Episcopalian, a pseudo-practicing Buddhist, and a full practice spiritualist/mystic, which is pretty much magic haha. The problem we run into with teaching her is that she is SUPER smart, and she analyzes every word you say, so you can get into hot water real quick. She is pretty funny and really nice though. She also explained to us why Trump is the anti-christ, who knew?

Okay so for the crazy story of the week I'm just going to type it up in a little dialogue but first I need to give some background info. So we have this list of all the members, but there are a lot of less active/ in-active people. So we go around and visit them and we see if they want home teachers or would be interested in coming back to the church. Most of the time the people we visit have either moved or they don't want any contact from the church. However, very few people actually want their records removed because it is a BIG DEAL. It's pretty much getting excommunicated, the bishop has to talk to them and make sure they know what it means to have your records removed and then he has to get their signature and send it to Salt Lake. So, late last night we saw this guy on our map so we went to go visit him. The following events are based on a true story, profanity that was heavily present has been filtered out for the convenience of the reader. 

*missionaries knock on door

*old grumpy looking dude answers the door

Old dude: "What do you guys want, are you cops?"

*missionaries laugh

Missionaries: "No sir, we are missionaries, we saw that you were a member of our church"

Old dude: "Get out of here, I don't believe in God and I don't go to church, I just got out of jail for killing a man, quit coming over here!!"

Missionaries: "Sir would you like your records removed then?"

*old dude grunts and nods his head, obviously upset

Missionaries: "okay well our bishop will need to come here to get your signature and talk to you about it"

Old dude: "DON'T YOU SEND NOBODY OVER HERE, NEXT PERSON THAT COMES HERE IS LEAVING IN A BODY BAG!!"

*Old dude slams the door

After he slammed the door all I could think about was, "yes!! A funny story for my email!"

Transfer calls are this Saturday so if you are planning on sending any letters or packages hold off until next week, because I don't know if I will be staying in Chester or moving to a new area.

I'll close out with a scripture that literally describes everyone in Virginia in one verse #Baptists

"And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible" -2 Nephi 29:3


Pictures
1. The heritage tie that has been passed down from trainer to trainee
2. Classic Virginia




Monday, November 7, 2016

Family History Hype

This week I have been super interested in family history. Its crazy how much you can find, I was looking at some of my great great great grandparents and I found people like Jean Baptiste the "Great Salt Lake City Grave Robber" he wasn't really the best guy and got exiled to Fremont Island but it was super cool to read about him. I also found Peregrine Sessions, he was a body guard for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, He was also one of the early 70. Once I started going really far back I found Maxcey Ewell, who was apparently super good friends with Thomas Jefferson, I read a couple of letters they wrote back and forth to each other. 

Needless to say, family history is awesome!! I thought a lot yesterday on why its important and church leaders keep telling us to do it. One reason I came up with is that we have to be bound on earth before we can be bound in heaven. The scriptures say "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" So it makes sense that if we want to be with all of our family for eternity we should probably figure out who they are first, right? I'm super grateful that so much of my work is done but I know I'll still have a ton to do when I get home.

This week has been pretty solid because we got a Book of Mormon referral!! These are super rare and they almost always turn out to be someone who is really interested. Her name is Ashley and her husband is a member but he went inactive shortly after high school. We taught them the restoration and when we had her read Moroni's challenge she told us she got chills. They are super cool so hopefully we can get them coming to church.

Last night we pulled up to this house and as soon as Elder McDonald opened the door and got out of the car this pitbull jumped in the car and onto my lap!! At first I thought he was for sure just gonna rip my face off but he turned out to be pretty nice. We left that house cause no one was there and drove down the road a little bit and once we pulled in to the next house and got out guess who was there, the same dog! He had followed us in our car from the previous house haha. We decided to name him Brutus and he came and knocked on a couple of doors with us. I'll attach a video or two so you guys can see him.

I think one of the hardest things for me as a missionary is not relying on the bible. Because I always end up trying to prove everything with the bible but it never works, logic doesn't have the same power as the spirit. So I will leave you guys with an awesome quote from Brigham Young.

"I had only traveled a short time to testify to the people, before I learned this one fact, that you might prove doctrine from the Bible till doomsday, and it would merely convince a people, but would not convert them. You might read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and prove every iota that you advance, and that alone would have no converting influence upon the people. Nothing short of a testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost would bring light and knowledge to them--bring them in their hearts to repentance. Nothing short of that would ever do. You have frequently heard me say that I would rather hear an Elder, either here or in the world, speak only five words accompanied by the power of God, and they would do more good than to hear long sermons without the Spirit. That is true, and we know it" -Brigham Young


Pictures
1. Brutus
2. More Brutus
3. Elder McDonald getting a little shut eye before sacrament
4. Fall is finally here
5. Former NBA players house, we totally knocked on it, no one answered though
video

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!! I hope everyone stays safe from killer clowns and all the other crazy stuff that is apparently happening. Our mission president has said that everyone needs to be in their apartments by 5 pm tonight so this will probably be a pretty boring Halloween.

This week has been pretty solid, after a long time with no real progress going on things are finally picking up. We have been working with this less active guy named Sherod, he's pretty cool. He even found us a new investigator named Jayson, he is Sherod's next door neighbor. They both have word of wisdom problems but hopefully they will be able to overcome them.

I have been super interested in family history recently, its crazy!!! I found out that my great great great great grandpa, Perrigrine Sessions, was a body guard for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young! He was also one of the early 70. It blows my mind how much information I've found on people who lived so long ago.

Yesterday we were out tracting and this guy opened his door in his underwear!!! It was way awkward and I couldn't think but then I realized they were just REALLY short, white biker shorts, he wasn't interested though. There was another time this week where I was on exchanges with one of the zone leaders and we were out tracting. As we were walking up to a house he told me I had to use the word "Daffodil" when I was talking to the guy. So we knock on the door and this guy answers who already looks like he's in a bad mood, but I'm not going to chicken out in front of a zone leader! So I put on my best smile and ask "Does Daffodil live here?" The guy totally called me out though, he told us he wasn't gonna fall for that trick and that he wasn't interested, then he slammed the door. As we were leaving we were about to burst out laughing but then he came back out and said "My neighbor is a gun owner and works nights, so unless you want to get shot I wouldn't knock on his door," I'd like to think he told us that out of genuine concern for our well being haha.

We also tracted into some crazy big houses, I'll attach a picture that show two of them. We also found this abandoned trailer park or something. I saw some streets on our map that didn't have any investigators or anything in them so I thought we would try them out, except we couldn't find the streets!! So we parked in a nearby parking lot and after 2 or 3 minutes of bush whacking we found ourselves on these creepy overgrown streets. I'll show some of that too.

Well, I guess I'll close with a handy tip, it's "Copies of The Book of
Mormon" not "Books of Mormon" or "Book of Mormons." Just trust me on this one. 


Pictures

1. MTV cribs?

2. Birthday dinner at the bishop's house

3. The lost city












Monday, October 24, 2016

Be careful what you pray for

Okay so this week I have been praying for help developing more charity towards my companion, investigators, and members of the ward. Let's just say Heavenly Father definitely delivered. 

This week I had the opportunity to practice charity a ton. We ran into plenty of people who were way lame and it was so hard to feel a genuine love for them, but I somehow managed to find something good about each of them. Then on Sunday Elder McDonald was super annoying. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy,  but for some reason every little thing he did bugged the crap out of me. I had to keep reminding myself that I'm sure he gets tired of the things I do but he's always super nice so I managed to let it go and we actually had a really good day. 

We talked to this guy and he said something that I thought was super awesome and I've been trying to apply it. He said that we should be grateful even in our trials, and that when we have hard times we should look for the lesson that we are supposed to learn. So instead of freaking out at Elder McDonald I realized that Heavenly Father was helping my practice my charity so I made sure to thank him for the experience when I said my prayers at night. 

The way I look at it, everyone goes through trials no matter what, so you might as well learn something from them and grow stronger, otherwise you're just suffering for no reason!!

On another note, I had my first double dinner on Saturday. We went and visited an inactive and they invited us over for dinner but we also had dinner with this old lady who would be salty if we cancelled. So we had KFC at 4 with the inactive member and spaghetti at 5:30 with the old lady. #StatesideMissions

"Faith means that we trust not only in God’s wisdom but that we trust also in His love. It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does--every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds--is for our eternal happiness." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Elder Critchfield 🙏🏻
6407 Wooded Glen Ct. 
#202
Chester, VA 23831

Pictures
1. Tracting Shenanigans 
2. Fall is finally coming 🙏🏻

video




Monday, October 17, 2016

The Great Drought

Well, as usual, this week has consisted of a lot of tracting, many
member visits, and a whole lot of praying. Our area has been pretty
dry these last couple of weeks and we can't seem to find any
investigators. We have come up with a couple of ideas though on how to
find them so hopefully by next week we will have someone.

I don't know if I've talked about him but we had this golden
investigator name Collin, he invited himself to be baptized on the 2nd
or 3rd lesson. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to contact him for
a few weeks. He either died or he's avoiding us, because we've
probably called him at least 20 times in the past month and stopped by
his house maybe 10 times.

While we aren't having much success the area next to us, MeadowBrook,
is having a ton of success. They have most of the ghetto in
Chesterfield, there's this place called Hillside Court in their area
where missionaries aren't allowed to go because a missionary got shot
there a couple of years ago, and people get shot down there all the
time. That being said, MeadowBrook is rolling in the investigators.
They found this lady that had a dream where she went through the
temple and saw the doors of the D.C temple in detail. She contacted
the missionaries and asked them to teach her! She was baptized this
last Saturday and it was super cool experience to be there. The spirit
was very strong.

On Friday and Saturday Elder McDonald and I helped a family in our
ward lay 20,000 square feet of sod!!! We worked 6 1/2 hours just on
Saturday. I took a time lapse of Saturday that I will include in the
letter. The baller in the grey shirt putting all the sod in its place
is me, since I had "experience" laying sod. (Not really, only did it
once)

I've decided that there is no possible way that anyone can be
converted through logic. My biggest problem so far has been trying to
convince people of the truth through logic. It makes sense that if we
had prophets in the Bible that we would have prophets now, but people
don't seem to get it.

I've noticed that every mission has its perks and challenges. We have
pretty nice living conditions compared to some missions, and we get to
eat regular food (besides grits). But there is a ton of anti here and
people are pretty mean. Granted, there are some AWESOME people that
will invite you in and talk with you, but most people are straight up
savages.

I hope everyone is doing well, I know that missionary work is one of
the best things anyone can do, even if it's just talking to your
friends. Because the gospel is the best!!! So why keep it to yourself?


PICTURES
1. What the members house looked like before
2. What the yard looked like after we tore it up
3. The yard after we finished
4. We stopped by a members house and sent us home with half her pantry
5. Your typical road in Virginia
6. We found a high school game while tracting
7. The new whip








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