Monday, September 26, 2016

Cat City

Man, I cant believe its already Monday!! This past week has been
awesome, especially since the weather is finally cooling down. When
you go tracting at apartment complexes near a lake they call it "The
Refiners Fire" because it gets so hot in the stairwell.

We put one of our Investigators on date for baptism this week!! Her
name is Sue and she's at least 80 years old. It took us an entire
lesson just to invite her to be baptized because the talks so much.
You have to wait for just the right time to interrupt her. Part of me
doesn't know if she actually registered the invite though. I asked her
if she wanted to be baptized and she said yes and then continued on
with her story. Elder McDonald and I both looked at each other because
we weren't sure if she was even paying attention.

The hardest part with Sue and pretty much every investigator is
getting them to church, so far I've only had one Sunday where an
investigator came to church, and even then he was stepping out every 5
minutes to smoke. We have lots of people who know the Book of Mormon
is true and who have received that spiritual witness but they are too
busy to come to church, it's sad.

We were tracting the other day and we were getting NOWHERE. Literally
every door was being slammed into our face. We were pretty tired out
and it was at least 100 degrees outside. But I decided that we should
keep going because there had to be at least 1 person who would accept
our message. Eventually we found someone. His name is Avery and he
sounded super intrested, we are going to go visit him later today.

 We were headed home last night and accidentally made a wrong turn.
As we turned we saw a street literally covered in cats, it was
crazy!!! We found out its right by a retirement home so all the old
people put out food and water so now they have a ton of stray cats
living in the woods. We took a short video so I'll attach it.

This week I thought a lot about how whenever you're having a hard
time, you're probably doing something right. Each day where we have a
lot of angry people we find someone who is just super awesome. Satan
is going to do whatever he can to keep the work from progressing but
we just have to keep on going.

Also, special shoutout to the Shaeffer family, I hope you guys are
having a good dinner. And shoutout to whoever shipped me 2 bags of
Ultimate Cheeseburger Doritos from the UK!!!

Elder Critchfield

1. These streets on our map look like a person.
2. Another killer sunset from Virginia
3. All of the Trainers and their Trainees this transfer

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chobani Flips and Finding by the Spirit

Everyone needs to go buy some Chobani Flips, they are the best thing
ever and pretty much all we eat. This week has been pretty rough, we
had to drop a lot of investigators because none of them were
progressing. So we really only have one progressing investigator now,
his name is Collin. He is super cool and wants to be baptized, I have
a lot of faith in him.

  Since we don't have many investigators we do a lot of tracting. The

problem is that no matter how solid your door approach is (and mine is
pretty good) everyone thinks they are already saved. Pretty much
everyone in Virginia is Baptist, which means they think they are saved
because they believe in Christ and that's all they have to do, which
totally makes sense because that's how it happens in the bible right?
WRONG. Then there are the Jehova's Witnesses. Sometimes we go to a
neighborhood where they have already been and everyone who answers the
door gets way mad because we think we are the J Dubs (Jehova's
Witnesses) that just talked to them a few minutes ago. At that point
we just go somewhere else because no one is interested anymore. I did
talk to a Wicken yesterday. I guess they believe in Mother Nature and
all the Pagan Gods.

  We had dinner at a members apartment one night and we knew what

building they were in but not the actual floor or number, so we
decided we would do a little faith exercise and find them by
inspiration. So we said a little prayer and Elder McDonald asked me to
pick a floor, after a few moments I chose the 2nd floor. Then once we
were on the second floor we had 4 doors to choose from. We sat there
for a second and then he asked me to choose a door. I thought about it
and chose the back left one. Someone opened the door and you guessed
it, it was the member!! It was way cool, I think Heavenly Father was
showing us that if we just ask he really will lead us to the people he
has prepared.

The talk I have loved most on my mission is "come what may and love 
it". It has some really good advice that everyone could use.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tracting is Fun?

This week I was asked how far away a plane was by my companion, I
answered that I didn't know, to which he responded "I'd say about 23
months for you". We had a good laugh at that one

This week has been crazy, we finally got one of our investigators to
church only to have them step outside at least 3 times to smoke.
However, the important thing is that he came so we tried not to let it
get us down.

We tracted into a guy last Saturday who was really weird but pretty
cool. When we met him we introduced ourselves and the first thing he
said was "I'm disabled, they found something in my brain and now I
have to take pills to keep me from going crazy". We didn't really know
how to respond but somehow we got him to invite us in and we began
teaching the first lesson. It was going really well until he told us
that he had short term memory loss and that he would forget everything
we taught him and wouldn't even remember that we came over. So that
was interesting.

On Thursday Eder Kopische from the 70 came and talked to us and it was
awesome. We learned a ton about how to be better missionaries. He
challenged us to prepare some questions we wanted answered before the
meeting and to come prepared to receive personal revelation. I can
honestly say that all of my questions were answered, one after the
other. He then told us that when we invite others to come to church to
have them come with a question and promise them they will receive an
answer. I can promise all of you that it works. Think of a question
and really think it out in your mind and then go to church on Sunday
with the intent to get an answer and you'll get an answer. If you
don't get one right away it will at least put you on the right path to
receiving your answer.

My first week I hated tracting, but I can say now that it is honestly
so fun. I went on exchanges with another Elder and when he knocks on
doors he tries to do a cool beat so all we did while tracting was see
who could do the better beat. It's a good way to get people to answer
the door. Plus you meet some of the coolest people out tracting. One
day this week we knocked on this door and this bigger Hispanic guy
opened the door with his bible, after we told him who we were he
walked out onto the porch and said "alright boys, let's talk about
Jesus". I thought for sure that he was going to start bashing and
trying to tear us down. But he was actually super nice and interested
in what we had to say. He was a pastor from Florida and was just
visiting family for the day but he said he would get in contact with
the missionaries in Florida when he got back.

We had someone bang on our door and tear up the picture of Jesus we
had on our door at 4 in the morning one night. At first we didn't know
who it was but we later learned that it was one of our investigators
who had gotten kicked out of his girlfriends house and was super
drunk. We still don't know how he knew where we lived but boy are we
glad the door was locked. He apologized the next day and we've been
trying to help him find a job because as of now he lives in the woods
behind a grocery store.

So far this has been one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences
of my life, I love it!!! Instead of a scripture I think everyone
should read the definition of prayer in the bible dictionary, it's
really cool.

My companion, his trainer, and me!

Satan's Pool

Food Bank Temple

Monday, September 5, 2016

Virginia is for Lovers

Well, I made it through a week in Virginia, where the slogan you see
on every license plate is "Virginia is for lovers".  It feels like
I've only been here a few days though. I'll give you all a brief
description of Virginia before I go through the week.

Trees, trees, and oh look, more trees

The max distance you can see in Virginia is probably half a mile. You
are surrounded on all sides by massive trees and it can sometimes get
a little claustrophobic. The only colors in the summer are green
trees, blue sky, and black roads. I've been told that once fall starts
however that everything changes and it's super pretty so I'm looking
forward to that.

My companion is Elder McDonald. He has been our 9 months and is from
the small town of Milad Idaho. He plays the banjo and is a fun guy to
be around.

The first few days were really hard, but as the week progressed it got
better and better. I've found that whenever I'm feeling down and ready
to quit I'll talk to someone, wether it be an investigator, a member,
or some random person on the street, and they will say exactly what I
need to hear to keep me going. So far I've met a lot of cool people
and it's been a really humbling experience. It's weird going from a
sacrament meeting with a full chapel and overflow to a sacrament
meeting with maybe the chapel half full. All the active members have
super strong testimonies and I learn a lot from them. I say active
members because we have twice as many less actives than we do actives.
Elder McDonald and I try to visit 2-3 of them each day. Some want to
be at church but have busy schedules, but others are going to a
different church all together.

We are fed pretty much every night which is awesome. On Sunday night
we ate at the Rogers. They are a really nice older couple who have
grandkids out on missions. During dinner I set a hand towel down on
the stove, a minute or two later we all smelled something burning, and
yes, you guessed it, the towel was on fire. I quickly grabbed it, put
out the flames, and threw it in the sink, crisis averted. The stove
had been left on but just barely so you couldn't really see the
flames. Needless to say they'll always remember the name Elder

We don't have a ton of investigators progressing right now. We have a
few that have potential however. Like David Wagner, who believes that
he's cracked the binary code in the bible, revealing that Wormwood is
on its way and the Earth only has until 2055. While we don't agree
with him on that we love talking to him and he seems interested in the
Book of Mormon. Then there's Ethan Shively, he's read the Book of
Mormon cover to cover two times already but has some serious word of
wisdom problems and is going to be homeless in a week when his
girlfriend kicks him out unless we can help him find a job.

The best parts of the week have been service. After slowly decomposing
in the MTC for 3 weeks its nice to be outdoors and do stuff like
building fences, moving furniture, or pulling out tree stumps.

Our ward mission leader is Brother Condie. He's married with 4 kids
and he graduated from East High School from Utah and knows some of the
same people I do who live around there. We set a goal with him to have
2 baptisms by October 30th, which happens to be my birthday. He
challenged us to tell every member we meet about our goal and
challenge them to share the gospel. The one thing I never realized in
missionary work is that members are super important. Tracting is great
and all (not really its the worst) but referrals are always better.
Even without referrals though I know that we can reach the goal as
long as we are exactly obedient.

If you're trying to send a letter or a package this is the address of
my apartment. If you send it to the mission home it could be a while
before I get it.

6407 Wooded Glen Ct.
Chester, VA 23831

Heleman 12:23
Heleman 10:4

Snowbird in Virginia

Tracking with Elder MacDonald

A crazy awesome sunset we got due to the tropical storm. #nofilter