Monday, March 27, 2017

Farewell Midlo 🙌🏼

This Friday we had interviews with President Smith and they were amazing as always, I love that guy. In interviews he told me I was heading out of Midlothian, well actually his exact words were "I think two transfers in Midlothian is enough, I don't want you to blow your brains out". I kinda have mixed feelings about leaving though. On one hand I'm starting to get pretty close with some members and things with Cecile are going fantastic. However, tracting for 7 hours a day just isn't really my style, so I'm excited for a change. 

This transfer has definitely been one of stretching and growing for me. Elder Wolverton was honestly light years ahead of me at the beginning of the transfer when it came to work ethic, testimony, and dedication. So it pretty much forced me to step up my game, and now that I'm at the end it's crazy to look back and see how much progress I've made. 

Thursday night we were out tracting, no surprise there, and it was 8 o'clock so we decided to knock one more door. We knocked on this door with a bunch of cars outside and an older gentlemen answered the door. We introduced ourselves as missionaries and when we explained we were sharing a message about Jesus Christ he replied "Well that's what we are doing right now! Come on in boys". So we come inside and there are 14 other people in his living room having bible study! We sat in for an hour since we didn't have anything else to do and it was awesome. They were in 1 John and Elder Wolverton and I made some solid comments. I thought about sharing some stuff from the Book of Mormon but nothing came to mind. Near the end this guy made a comment that we didn't believe in the same Jesus, which technically we don't since they believe in the Trinity, but Elder Wolverton was not having it. So at the end of the meeting he bore an amazing testimony on Jesus Christ and his divinity as the Son of God, I followed up with an invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon to see for themselves. You could tell everyone in the room felt the spirit, it was so sick 🙏🏻. 

This week I've been thinking a lot about how much God is involved in each of our lives. As I look back on the months leading up to my mission I can see how Heavenly Father prepared me and helped me make the right decisions. I can also see the people he put in my life like amazing priesthood leaders, a bishop as a next door neighbor, a loving family, a killer group of friends in high school, a violin prodigy, and so many more. I can't help but be grateful when I think of all the influential people Heavenly Father put in my life! I've decided that words like "luck" and "chance" are just synonyms for divine intervention. Once we look close enough we realize that God truly is a part of every detail in our lives. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and that they have a very real love for us!

I'll close out with a poem that's been a lot of help here in Midlothian, where every day is a grind.

O, one might reach heroic heights by one strong burst of power. He might endure the brightest lights of Heaven for an hour. But harder is the daily drag, to smile at trials which fret and frag and not to murmur-nor to lag. The test of greatness is the the way one meets the eternal everyday

Love you guys!! I'll let y'all know next week where they send me. 

1. I'm gonna miss all the Porsches in the church parking lot
2. Saying bye to the Staffords 
3. Manna from Heaven 
4. Finally got to put my name on the Midlo Stop Sign
5. The Zone Leaders spilled all the leftover sauce from dinner on exchanges

Elder Critchfield 🙏🏻
??????? Apt. ???
?????, VA ??????

Monday, March 20, 2017

March Tractness

So this week I was laying on my back looking at our phone and I dropped it right on my face and it cut my forehead and I started bleeding everywhere, so that was fun. Watch out for those LG Xpressions, they'll get ya. Also, Elder Wolverton had a doctors appointment and he paid his $10 copay in quarters #savage, it was pretty funny to watch. 

Anyways this has been a pretty uneventful week. Most mornings our planning goes something like this 

Elder Wolverton: So after Comp Study what do you want to do?

Elder Critchfield: Hmmm, should we tract Old Buckingham until lunch?

Elder Wolverton: Yeah that's a good idea

Elder Critchfield: Okay cool, what about after lunch? We have dinner at 5 so that gives us 3-4 hours

Elder Wolverton: Tracting?

Elder Critchfield: Sounds good to me

Elder Wolverton: And after dinner?

Elder Critchfield: We actually have a lesson with Cecile after dinner

Elder Wolverton: Really!?!?

Elder Critchfield: Nope

Elder Wolverton: Oh bummer, looks like more tracting then

Okay so maybe I'm exaggerating but let's just say when I get home I'm gonna be AMAZING at selling Vivint. All jokes aside though we are working our butts off and we are finally starting to see things happen here in Midlo!

Cecile is doing super well!! She is the phillipino lady we are teaching, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned her before. We meet with her as much as we can since she's so busy with work and if she works late we'll just call her when she gets home and check on her reading, she's awesome!! Being a missionary is probably my favorite thing in the entire world right now because you meet the coolest people. 

Hmmmm what else, oh yeah!! So I don't know if anyone remembers but we were working with this Albanian lady named Eli, she's super cool as well. We found out this Sunday that she got her Patriarchal Blessing! There isn't a Patriarch in Albania and she goes back there in May so I'm happy she was able to receive hers before she left. 

Some members fed us some flank steak this week, and while it definitely wasn't the best I've had it was pretty good. The only thing that was missing was some Yoshidas and the Sorensens. 

My scripture this week is Alma 36:21

"Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."

This is definitely how I feel on my mission. Some weeks are unbelievably hard, and I can easily say that some of the hardest days of my entire life were experienced in my first few months, and they still come every once in a while. However, I can also say with equal confidence that the most unbelievable joy I've ever experienced has been felt while on my mission. Being out here truly is a privilege and I thank Heavenly Father every day for trusting me enough to gather his lost sheep!!

Alrighty well last weeks email was really short so I made this one a bit longer, props if you made it all the way through. I'll close with a quote from one of my favorite members in the ward. Love you guys!!

"If you're going to find a girl in the singles ward, she might as well play an instrument" -Brother Burch

P.S. Transfers are next week so don't send anything until I let y'all know next Monday if I'm staying here in Midlo!

1. The District (find the hidden Elder)
2. The District 2 (find the hidden Elder)
2. Elder Wolverton: Cat Whisperer 😻

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shortest Weekly Ever

Hey!! Well this week hasn't been the most eventful so not much to talk about, just a lot of tracting and visiting with members. 

One quick story though. So you guys remember Regina from last week? The super solid lady that disappeared? Well I decided that while she may be able to say no to the restored gospel, NO ONE can say no to fresh baked chocolate chip cookies 🍪.  So on Saturday we made some cookies and dropped them off with a note haha (yes, we are that desperate). She never said anything though after we dropped them off so they were probably baked in vain ☹️. Maybe we should have made snickerdoodles or something who knows. 

Anyways, that's about it for this week! Also, here is my new motto for my entire life, I love it so much. 

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day" -Richard G. Scott

It amazes me how much progress I've been able to make physically, mentally, and spiritually on my mission. I know God has played a huge part in that and I'm very grateful for his help!! Love you all!!

Oh also, we were out tracting and all of the sudden we heard a bagpipe off in the distance. So we jumped in the car and drove around with the windows rolled down until we found this old dude like 5 blocks away, sitting on his porch just blasting the bagpipes!!! He played us a couple songs and we had a good discussion about the gospel, he wasn't interested though. I included a little snippet of him playing so you guys can appreciate it haha. 

1. Funny sign 
2. Exchanges with Elder Grimaud
3. Cookies and note
4. Bagpipes

Monday, March 6, 2017

Miracle 🙏🏻🙏🏻

Alrighty so here is our miracle this week. So we set a goal to find
one new investigator on Wednesday night and we had an AMAZING
miracle!! So in the afternoon we went and tracted in this apartment
complex for at least 3 hours and we didn't really have any luck, we
accidentally tracted into a member though so that was fun. After
dinner we decided to go back to the same complex and try some more.
Right as we got there (it's on the far west side of our area) Elder
Wolverton said "actually I think we should go see Cecile". Except
Cecile is on the complete other side of our area!! But I agreed
because I decided I would trust Elder Wolverton. Once we were almost
to Cecile's Elder Wolverton says "actually I think we should go back".
I was feeling the same thing so we headed on back. When we got there
Elder Wolverton asked if we should start in the 200s or 500s (building
numbers). I said 500s and he agreed, so we start tracting. It's about
7 o'clock  at this point and we are having zero luck, pretty much
everyone who answered was not happy to see us, and someone even
threatened to call the cops. 8 o'clock rolls around and we still
haven't found a new investigator. Since we aren't supposed to tract
past 8 we head  to the car, hoping someone will send us a referral or
something so we could get a new investigator. Just after we back out
of our spot Elder Wolverton said he felt like we should stay and I
agreed, but we decided to say a prayer just to be sure. Before the
prayer though a building had caught my eye and I thought about going
to it. Elder Wolverton said the prayer and while he said it I saw the
second floor of the building that had caught my eye and the back left
door, it's hard to explain but I just knew we needed to knock that
door. So after the prayer I said "alright let's choose one door to
knock" and Elder Wolverton agreed. I pointed to the building I wanted
to go to and Elder Wolverton said he was thinking the same thing, then
as we pulled up to it I said "alright second floor", he agreed again.
Then I said the back left door, but he replied that he was thinking
the front right door, so we decided to knock both (you have to know
the layout of the buildings to understand). We knocked the front right
door and a Muslim guy answered, who wasn't interested. So then we went
and knocked the back left door. A lady with a green sweatshirt and
black hair that was half dyed red came out and she was super bubbly
and happy to see us. She knew who we were Mormon and was from Arizona.
She went on to tell us how she loved the Mormon people and thought
they were amazing. She expressed how she wasn't really liking the
Catholic Church in Virginia. She also talked about stuff like how she
doesn't think a man has power to absolve your sins and how important
the family is, she started tearing up a couple of times, especially
when we told her how we had found her. Then she told us how she hadn't
seen a Mormon in like 6 years and she was super happy to see us. She
was so prepared!!

Now, this sounds amazing and you probably think she's getting baptized
in a few weeks right? WRONG. Unfortunaltet we have lost all contact
with her. We were able to have a second lesson which was equally as
amazing as finding her but now she doesn't answer the door or return
our calls.

It's been a big struggle for me to figure out why we were led to her
if she was just going to bail on us. However, everyone has their
agency, and our jobs as missionaries is just to give them the best
opportunity we can!!

I love everyone and miss all of you!! But things in Virginia always
make things worth it. Have a good week y'all!!

(Sorry no pics this week ☹️)

Love Elder Critchfield