Thursday, June 28, 2012

Confirmation of Fran

June 25, 2012
Well, I´m doing well. Life is good. Grams... I´m a missionary. I´m suppose to testify of the Gospel. ha ha haha. I loved your letters! Skyler, you are my favorite oldest brother! If you need a new tire, feel free to take my tires off of the pink bike. And if you think your bike is bad... It´s amazing how these wonderful people take anything and make it work. I have seen up to three people riding on the same bike. The cars here are old. You definitely don´t want to play the slug bug game, because there are a bazillion! I know how you feel about being burned. We played volley the other day along with fut. My arms and legs and face were burnt! And as for alovera... I thought mom´s plant was huge, but no, it´s a baby compared to the alovera plants here!
Kaitlyn, I´d hate to break it to you, but I´m not so sure if pioneer girls wore cowboy hats. You want the full experience right? ha ha ha ha!
Mom, you asked the right answer. So many members think that they need to go out and teach a full out lesson or say "I would like to share my testimony," but no. Missionary work is SO simple for members. One, the people they share with they already know. If they don´t accept it isn´t the members fault. If they don´t get baptized it isn´t the members fault as well. We all have agency. Anyways, members can invite people over to do a family home evening with them, have dinner, share simple things, such as "The Family, a Proc...." Or just testify of how a certain thing has helped them, such as pray, priesthood blessing (actually last Sunday we went to the hospital and gave a non-member a blessing). And another thing is the Missionaries are always there to help. They have knowledge, and might be killing for the opportunity to teach ward members how they can help them, and how the ward members can share the gospel (only guessing because I want this to happen). Basically it doesn´t have to be a full out thing. Just a simple sharing of the Book of Mormon and how it has helped you in your life (I really like the Introduction to the BOM paragraphs 1, 8, &9). There is SO much a member can do!!! And the best part is, the investigator or friend, will listen because THEY ARE YOUR FRIENDS!! They aren´t going to slam the door in your face. They may decline, but at least they know you care. Also, there is a story of someone you saw that about 5 families in here neighborhood had something, but she didn´t know what. Right before one of her neighbors moved, this neighbor said to here, if you ever need anything, I just want to let you know that my church is there for you." Or something to that extent, and this woman, was converted. A simple sentence... Can you tell that members are important? ha ha ha
Dad, I bet New Fork looks barren after you and Donel were done with it. Sounds like everyone is doing great up there. Make sure if New Fork ever gets rid of a canoe that you claim it. I can fix it. That´ll be a lot easier than buying one.
Well, let’s see. It is pretty hot down here. We walk in it all day long. Also, it has been raining a lot as well. But when it rains it POURS! We get back soaking wet. Let´s see. This past week. Well, Sunday I confirmed Fran. That was good... My hands were shaking pretty bad, but now he has the Holy Ghost, which is one of the greatest gifts ever! 1!! It is amazing to see the change in his life! I love it!!! Here goes the missionary part for grams. Well, my day is spent walking, teaching the people and testifying. Sometimes you get really, really tired. Other times you are so happy. We have a bunch of investigators. We have a family of four, Andrés, Esther, Antonio, y Enrique. They are great. The dad is always working. It is a bit frustrating with them, because we challenged them to be baptized, but they said they wanted to wait and make sure. We have been trying to get them to pray for the answer from the beginning (we aren´t the first missionaries to have taught them). Finally, la lección pasada, I had us kneel down and pray. After the prayer she said she felt nervous. This is a clue, and we are working on what it means. We think she is nervous about what it means when she gets the answer. It means her life needs to change. I think her sons would get baptized, but she wouldn´t let them until she knew. I don´t know. But I gave them the task to pray as a family, and individually in the morning and at night, and also to read as a family. My companion said I was pretty direct with them. They are such great people. We actually stopped by to see if they were coming to Church and the mom and dad did. They said we were welcome at their house for anything. I guess they had some missionaries form the Jehovah Witnesses visit them, and they didn´t really have the same thing to say for them. That made me feel good. ha ha ha!
Also we have Belen, who has a date to be baptized, which now she can´t because she didn´t go to church. She is so amazing! But she hasn't been to church at all. This is a problem. Also, whenever we have a meeting planned, she always drops it. We talked with her mom yesterday. She might be a new investigator.
Then we have Moíses y Lupita. They are amazing! They are a young couple with two little kids. The other Elders had a baptism on Friday, and we invited them to come to it. We gave them a tour of the church and when we got to the chapel, the Spirit was SO strong! They really like the baptism and after the ward was having a meal for Father´s Day. The members were so amazing! It made me feel good to not have to worry. I also, played the prelude for the baptism and got chewed out a little because I didn´t tell anyone I could play. Well, the young women sang a number during the baptism and they asked if I could play for them. I had to say no, because I had no idea how the tune went or any time to even play it before. I felt a little bad, but I´m not Skyler... ha ha ha. Anyways, they loved it and it was pretty amazing! They said they felt really comfortable.
We have others, but you´ll have to wait to hear about them next week.
I love being a missionary! It is the best!
Love you!
Love, Elder Michael Blake Crouch
Ps. every member is a missionary

Four Baptisms

June 18, 2012
Wow! Sounds like you all had a very interesting week! Mom, you are crazy! KK, sounds like you had an amazing time at efy. The Gospel is SO true. Oh, and teaching lesson one is easy peazy! Ha ha ha! But it is SO important! Also, I know what you mean mom, other religions have some weird beliefs. They do do good, but I also see a lot of the bad, because a lot of the time, I am the one they are attacking... And also, the prophet isn´t just the prophet for our church, he is the prophet for the whole world! It is such an amazing thing! Sometimes it is hard to help people understand things like this and what it means for them. Dad, thanks for the tip. At times it is hard to look for the good. We went tracting one time, and door after door slammed in our faces. It was a big bummer. This is the first time it happened to me cruelly. Usually the people are polite about it. 
Hope you have fun at camp! Also, HAPPY FATHER´S DAY!!! The primary children came into Elder´s quorum and gave their fathers kisses and a candy bar. I got a little teary-eyed... On the bright side, I got a candy bar! That was a plus. Zach! Congrats on your amazing plays in Beisbol! That is awesome! Kait, what is your job for the summer? And WHAT IS GRANDPA THINKING ABOUT FALLING ASLEEP WILL DRIVING?!?!?!?! I COULD HAVE TOLD HIM THAT IT IS DANGEROUS!!!! I hope he heals quickly and let him know he is in my prayers. 
Yesterday we went to the hospital with a member to give one of his co-worker´s sons a blessing. He has cancer in the head. It was great being able to use the priesthood to bless others! We gave the mother a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. It was weird, because there was a lot of security at the hospital. They are strict about who gets in. After this, we went and ate with the hermano. It was a fun night. His wife gave me a good compliment. She said my Spanish is good for only having a month in the Republic. Also, their little daughter said that KK is beautiful (I showed them my picture of you guys).
Well, time for my week. It was really good I guess... we only had 4 BAPTISMS!!!!!!! =D We had a family that was scheduled to get baptized in July (so relatives could come) say they wanted to get baptized this Saturday. So, we hurried and planned the baptism. We had three get baptized on Saturday. Now they are a complete family. The mom is already a member, recent convert. So it was the father and their two sons. Well, I had the wonderful opportunity to baptize the father! It was my first time ever! I was super nervous! I almost forgot the prayer!!!! Then on Sunday, we had the baptism of Fran. He is SO cool. With his baptism, his whole family are now members. So we completed two families this week. We had 3 confirmations. I am confirming Fran next week. 
Basically, it was a great weekend! I'll send pictures next week. Also, I am SO white. My skins is tan, but my hair is A LOT more blonde. It is funny! Pues, esto es lo que paso esta semana. I am loving it here. Now I want to share a scripture. It is in 3 Nephi 11: 26 (I think that is the verse. It is between 26-34). Anyways, Jesus is talking to the apostles, and says, don´t take thought about where you will sleep, what you will wear, what food you will eat, or what you will drink. I'll look after you. And...So he has. This past week, we have had no food in the apartment... ha ha ha! We always get so busy on Monday's. Anyways, we have been looked after. Seriously. Members have given us food to eat. It was such a great blessing! Don´t worry, we have food now... I seriously have never been so poor in my life. All I had to my name was some milk, eggs, peanutbutter (which is really expensive), and hotcake (pancakes, but we had no water). One night I was so tired I debated about whether I should cook some eggs, or just go to bed. Then my companion shared a piece of pizza with me (we bought pizza like two days earlier so I had eaten my half). I just thought it was funny. You really get so humbled, but so blessed too! I love being a missionary! I love being here! Mexico is great. Also, you are all so blessed to live in America. Just want to let you know that. It is a great place! Oh, and come around Christmas time, I'll be able to talk to you, but I will probably use Skype, so you better get the computer set up to use that... Okay, 
The Gospel is SO true! Other people don't know what they are missing. If they really knew what it was and how amazing it is, there would be lines upon lines of people wanting to get baptized. Also, my companion and I were talking about the Atonement the other day. It is amazing! And just a point, if you think childbirth is horrible... we'll how many people are in the world now? Hard to comprehend huh? He suffered the pains of every mother to ever give birth. PLUS so much more! I am in awe at his sacrifice! He knows what it feels like to be addicted to drugs. He knows how it feels to have every bone in your body broken. He knows EXACTLY the pain grandpa is going through right now! He is Perfect. He is my Savior, my friend, and my brother. It is through HIM that I can live with you guys for ever! It is amazing! It is wonderful! It is the Atonement.
Well, I love  you all! I am well and fine. Oh, I made a goal today playing soccer, with my LEFT foot. That was pretty legit.
Give my love to all of the family! Let them know I love them, and let grandpa know I'm praying for him. He recieved a priesthood blessing right?
Love you all!
Love, Elder Michael Blake Crouch
ps. Every member is a missionary! It is SO important to have members helping!
pss. The son of (I think the stake president) is going to the Ogden, Utah mission. So if you meet a Mexican from Leon, you have someone to tell  you what it is like.
Love you!
The Gospel is true!!!

Week 3 in Leon, Mexico

     Well, my compañero, Elder Bray, va a bautisar Fran este Domingo. Estoy muy animado. Es muy bonito para ver los cambios el Evangelio hace en las personas. Y... La proxima semana, yo voy a confirmar Fran... Estoy MUY nervioso y tambien MUY animo! I´m going to study the vocab for giving a confirmation blessing. Sheesh, baptizing is easy. I have that prayer memorized. I know the Holy Ghost will tell me exactly what I need to say, when I need to say it. That´s the great thing. I just need to know some words, and He´ll work with what I have to make it beautiful.
     Mom, I really loved that little bit from L. Tom Perry you put in. Funny story. He spoke to us in the CCM (central de compatacion de misional or something like that), but he totally SKIPPED up the stairs. It was amazing! Anyways, the more I read and study the Gospel, the stronger my testimony grows. I actually read that scripture the other day. God knew people would reject it and therefore but that in there to explain. He is seriously my hero! The Gospel is SO true! We have a lot of different religions down here. The Catholics are the biggest, but there are Jehovah witnesses and other groups. At times it is frustration because some want to argue, but some do listen. The thing I love best is, we don´t have to prove ourselves. When we teach, we teach with the authority of God. We help people understand the Restoration and then, we tell them not to believe just our words, but to try God and see if we are lying. We challenge THEM to pray and find out if it is true. This is something we can do, that NO other religion can. Because it IS true. Those that say they already know the answers because they have prayed are lying, because they would either be baptized or taking the lessons... It´s that simple. I could keep going, but that isn´t the point. If any of you have a lack of wisdom, ask God, who knows all.
     This past week I did two splits. I went with Elder Torres and taught, and then the other day I went with Elder Zealley, who is our zone leader, to the offices to get our visas. I am no legal!!! YES!!! Ha ha ha! That was a great day because the rest of the Elders who were in my district in the ccm were there. It was great talking to them!!! I loved it. Also, this week I tore my first shirt in the mission. Oh, also, for Christmas time I might get to use SKYPE to call you, so you might want to get an account and figure out how to use it.
Anyways, we have some great people that we are teaching. We have a family of four, who is amazing. They came to church with us. We had 8 investigators at church, which was great. Our apartment is really clean now. It is amazing how quickly the Spirit comes in a clean house. I love it here. It is so amazing! There are amazing people in Mexico.
Oh, I also got a dear elder, from dad and from aunt Cindy and uncle Kie. Let them know that I love them. So, I guess I do get dear elders here. But they take a while, just like everything else, which reminds me. To make it faster for me to read the emails, please don´t put a lot of spaces between paragraphs, Mexico is improving, but it isn´t close to how quick it is at home. I´ve seen houses where they don´t flush the toilet paper still, so yeah, the computers aren´t always the fastest. Pues, I can´t think of a whole lot. My Spanish is getting a lot better. That is a plus. It hasn´t rained at all this week, and it gets REALLY hot!!! I´m looking more and more Mexican every day.
     Thanks for the emails. They are motivational. I would love to hear about how my brothers are doing from them. That would be great. Keep up the good work. Remember EVERY member IS a missionary. You have NO idea how much help the members can be! It is so hard doing this work without them. I know, because we are doing a lot of it without them. I think that is why Utah is such a great place for missionaries, because you have all of these RM´s who know how hard it is to teach without members and they vow to help the missionaries out. I know, because I have already made this vow. ha ha ha. Entonces, I should probably go. We need to get something to eat (haven´t really eaten a whole lot today) then go to our meeting.
I love you all so so so much!
Keep up the good work.
I´m doing great
Love you
Love, Elder Michael Blake Crouch
ps. if you see Sierra, tell her happy birthday for me.
Oh, ps. I had a pretty awesome dream last night. I got in a fight with a grizzly bear. You see, I had pepper spray, actually the can that is dad´s, but it didn´t work. So I had to fight it with my machete. Dad, you might want to get that can checked and make sure it hasn´t expired. ha ha ha
Oh! Tell all of New Fork that I am alive and well and say hi! I´m going to write a letter there one of these days. Let Fred and Ethan know I love them and they are amazing! Enjoy it up there. I am really jealous! I wish I could be in the mountains, but this is better. Well, time to go.
Love you all!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mission Home Address:
Calle Torre Vieja #128
Col. Arbide
Leon, Guanajuato 37360
Can I just say missionary work is HARD! I have never ever worked so hard or been so tired in my life. At times it gets depressing because nobody wants the Gospel and I can´t speak the language, and I´m sick and my feet have huge blisters. And then the blisters heal, your stomach gets more tough, you find someone who is prepared to hear the Gospel, and you are so happy. All of the good makes up SO much for the bad! Last p day we went to a cathedral and went to the catacombs under it. It was really creepy and there definitely wasn't the Spirit of God there. I was the first to walk into one room and before I walked in I had to tell my self that I had the power of God and we would be fine. It was just a dranky feeling in there.Today we had a zone activity and went paintballing. Legit huh.
 My Spanish is getting better, and dad, your lucky you are 1813 miles away or I would have to take you down for insulting my Spanish and the way these people talk. Okay, I am learning the proper way to speak it.ha ha ha. I keep learning. My companion talks to me all day in Spanish and then at night in English. It is hard to understand people at times. Also, I´m not shirking away from the food, which is good, but I also had a great experience. So for one meal there was this dish called chuletos. It was white and looked like skin. I had it, didn't know what it was, then they started talking about it, and I found out what it was. It was skin. Pig skin. It was chewy and ugh! Well, I couldn't stop and not prove I couldn't eat it. So I had seconds. Pig skin is really greasy and I my stomach didn't like it. I had stomach problems for the next four days or so. My stomach feels different, but that is part of living here. It really depends on the family we are eating with if we have American food or Mexican. 
Also, we have a guy getting baptized on the 17th of this month! Fran. I am so excited. I also got to be a witness for a baptism this week. The Gospel is so true! The people here are amazing. I´m in an area that hasn't been open that long, so we are trying to get the ward members excited about missionary work and what not. Some are excited, others not so much. I had a great experience this week as well. We found a family that had talked to the missionaries previously. We talked with them. The next time we went, they had both their sons there too. This family loves a lot of the things about the church. We ready Alma 7 with them. At the end of verses 11 and 12 I talked about the Savior´s Atonement. It was amazing!!!! I did not have to think about what to say. It just came. Also, my Spanish was SO much better and OH! It was amazing!!! Definitely by the Spirit. Also we found another person who is really excited to here about the Plan of Salvation, but then we haven´t been able to reach her. It was so sad! Well, we have district meeting in about 30 minutes. I am doing exchanges today, so tomorrow I will be with some one different. 
As for my address. Send it to the mission home. That is where it needs to be sent. I´ll get it from there. For the whole mission do that. Also felicidades Kaitlyn! You´ll do great! Also there is a small yellow book in my closet that is about games. Zach, I still haven´t heard from you... Have fun at New Fork! You´ll love it up there! Sunday´s are amazing! There is so much I want to say abut no time. I love you all! Tell Daniel good luck for me! It´ll be good for him. He´ll probably teach English and what not. I don´t know for sure though.
Well, I love you all dearly! Sorry it wasn't a long letter, but no time. I have my journal. You´ll have to ready it when I get home.
All is well!
 Every member is a missionary!
Love you
Love, Elder Michael Blake Crouch

Friday, June 1, 2012

Leon Mexico

 I copied this letter just like Michael wrote it.  I did some research and found there is only one church house in Leon City.  One stake but soon to be two stakes. (Roxie)  This is kind of a map of the area if you are interested.

Hola familia. you are going to have to forgive this letter. i am writing on a Spanish key board and it is really different. it will kill me not having proper punctuation, but in the interest of time, i will have to deal with it. so basically i arrived in Mexico. i had permission to send you an email to let you know i got here, but i never did. my bad. ha ha. i love it here so much! you cant even imagine. the people are so amazing. so humble. we have SO much stuff in America. for example water we can drink from the tap and good water pressure. awesome. it is really hot here. but not too hot. you get used to it.

 i am looking more and more Mexican. my Spanish is alright. i can understand mas o menos what is being said, but it is still hard to speak it. i just keep trying to throw myself out there. it is getting better. also, my feet kill. you should see the size of the blisters on them! but, i just keep on walking and they are turning into calises. dont worry about it being dangerous down here. im safe. my area is the azteca ward. i am in the city of Leon. at times i wonder how in the world can we reach all of these people. we walk everywhere we go and the church is about half an hour away. i love all of the colors of the buildings.

 the food is great. mom would be proud of me. i keep trying new stuff. my companion Elder Brady, doesnt like chile aka peppers. i keep trying them. two nights ago i had one and HOLY COW!!! i took a bigger bite than i should have. my face went bright red, there was fuego en my mouth, i started crying and hiccuping. it was intense!!! I didnt finish the whole pepper, but i ate most of it. We live above a member family. actually, the hermano lived in Utah and he went to snow college too.

The members here are so amazing. we eat with a member family everyday and they are so strong. We have some investigators too that are amazing. we have one that is going to get baptized in julio with his hijos. aslo another who is going to get baptized en junio. it is great to see the happiness this brings. we also have a another man who wants to be baptized. also, while tocando puertas aka tracking we came upon an addiction rehab place, and they let us in. well we started teaching them about 15. then the next time we came there were about 20. some really want the gospel, while others only listen because they are told to. it is hard teaching them all. also yesterday we were tracting and we came upon a guy. actually he was waiting outside for us. i guess he just wanted to argue. he let us in and we started talking. he was Catolico and said he didnt believe the Book of Mormon es verdadero. i could understand what he was saying, but i didnt know he was arguing. then i shared the scripture in 2 ne 33:10. I could feel the spirit there when i shared it. i also marked in the book of mormon we gave him the chapters when Christ comes. I felt like i did well.

 Church was amazing. I loved partaking of the Sacrament. it was awesome. we didnt get just a little water down here. while we were in church it POURED! there is a canal in our area and some members were saying that this was the first time in two and a half years there was water in it. so yep. basically i love it here, but it is also really long days. i am always sweaty and what not. the members are great. the people are great. they dont have much, but share what they can. my comp is from Provo and im his first son o missionary he is training. he is cool.

 that is pretty legit about the bear. ha ha ha. the worst thing we have here are dogs, which really dont like us. yes, i always get out of the hard work for the cabin, but this is definitely more hard. you cant take naps and what not. i still need to hear the story about Zach and sunny. i know my car is fun to drive kk. basically all is well.well,

 i better go. remember every member is a missionary. it really helps us out. we dont use the members as much, i hope we can change that and get them more invovled. well, i better go. love you all keep to the faith. it is so true. the world has nothing against us because we are the true church. the gospel is a way to live. i know it brings happiness. every-time an investigator holds the Book of Mormon i think, do they know what they are holding. do they know how precious it is. i have been reading in alma about the sons of Mosiah and the anti nephi lehi. have faith. know that everything is well and if you stay true to the covenants you have made, even unto death dont worry mom i wont die, you will convert and help your brothers and sisters. love you all Love, Elder Michael Blake Crouch