Monday, December 28, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Can we talk about how this was the best Christmas EVER?!
This week was full of Christmas onesies and caroling, gifting fish to elders, reciting the first Christmas by heart, talking to the Cragun crew and best of all, spending the holidays remembering the Savior's birth. 

My favorite part of the week was probably Christmas Eve. We had received different offers on where to spend Christmas Eve at, but in the end we decided to stay at the house of Sonia, our recent convert. As we showed up to her house, her table usually folded up, was out, decorated with a thin table cloth and different little light up snowman. Her hair usually up was down and brushed. Her three year old son came out in a little Santa outfit excited to see us. As we sat down to eat, she served us various meats and corns and fake champagnes. For dessert we had sweet potatoes. I remember looking at the tree, where three small presents lie and looking at the table of smiling faces and my thoughts lightened up. 
The food was good, but very simple, the decorations very simple, we played cards and a game of spoons for fun. I was surrounded by people I had only met over the course of the past month. Nothing about this night should have been that memorable  and yet I realized this was my sweetest Christmas Ever. My most memorable evening. This was the true meaning of Christmas. Hermana Sonia was not the richest, she didn't have anything to give us, she did not have a spacious dining room or fancy China to serve us with, there was no Christmas ham or soft rolls to divulge. And yet she had given me more than I could have ever wanted. Filled me with a happiness and a night to remember I couldn't have gotten at any fancy party or bought at any store. 

...the sweetest joy I have come to find is  felt, seeing one of Heavenly Fathers children just get it. Teaching Jordan in the park the plan of salvation, as we drew the steps in the sand and he paused to say I understand. Watching Mollie choke up and realize she needs to change. To see her at church and be touched by the spirit and welcomed by the members and see her truly happy, her tears changed to a beaming smile. To hear Erick bear his testimony to hear the words "I know the church is true. I know Joseph smith was a real prophet". Nothing is sweeter or more fulfilling than that. 

The power of Christs atonement is something we all need, something that truly fills us and changes us. I love being a missionary. I don't think I could say that enough. I've realized that by following the savior, and by choosing to make the best of your situation, you will always be happy. 
Xoxox hermana cragun 

"The future is as bright as your faith" 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What aaaaaa week.
First off a very merry kind of almost Christmas to everyone at home. You wouldn't know it but 
we just got back from attempting to ice skate and drinking warm chocolaty drinks in the center of Valencia while listening to Jackie evancho Christmas songs through my iPad (it rocks having Americans who give you Christmas music in your ward). It's finally beginning to feel like the month of Christmas here, well kind of. 

This week was a blur but then again, isn't every week? 
 While street contacting we stopped a woman who pointed to me and said "I've seen you before" and I  said "are you sure?" She said of course! You are missionaries, you use to come to my house. I couldn't help but laugh on the inside because I personally had never visited her before. Sometimes people get us confused with Jehovah's witnesses. So to be sure we pulled out the Book of Mormon and I said did the missionaries give you this book? And she said yes it's at my house! I want you to come by this week and being me one in French! Well we set up a return visit and sure in enough a couple days later we showed up to a SHOCK. Naomi, the woman we met on the street, pulled out her own Book of Mormon and opened up to the end of Mosiah. She explained that she had met the missionaries almost a year ago and she had been given this book, but for whatever reason they lost contact. she had kept the book all this time and kept reading it. She doesn't read spanish well because her first language is French so she has to go slow, line by line translating it. She held the book in her frail hands and said smiling at us, "I know this book is true! It's a book of miracles, and I asked God if it was true and he said it was. I know your church is true" 
Utter shock. 

I know God is a God of miracles, that he hears and answers prayers. I know that it is through the refiners fire he forms us into the person we need to become, and if we fear God more than man, He can do any work through us. 
Xoxo hermana cragun 

"Get on your knees and ask for the blessings of the Lord;Then stand on your feet and do what you are asked to do". - Gordon B. Hinckely

Friday, December 11, 2015

What is the perfect day?

What would your perfect day be like? A day at the beach with no where to be or anyone to worry about? Or maybe your perfect day is action filled with climbing the Swiss alps and eating all the chocolate you can get your hands on. I thought I knew what my perfect day was, but I didn't, not until it actually happened. 

The day began normal, filled with places to be and people to teach. We started with our newest investigaor: a Muslim man from Mali. We brought mama Africa to help us teach as well. Mama Africa is a large African woman from Cameroon. She can't have children so therefore she spiritually adopts everyone as her child giving her the name as "mama Africa". She is amazing. There are no words to describe her, seriously. She walked five years across the plains of Africa to get here to Spain. She met the missionaries here and  was converted. Now she is over la obra misional here in the ward. She was a spritualt powerhouse during the lesson, and our Muslim friend wants to keep learning because he believes everything we have said so far. 
Well We (me and hermana storer) had been fasting for a miracle because our investigators Elle  is on the verge of getting baptized but she's still really nervous about it. We prayed before planning our lesson for her, and as we  got up, we turned to the same scripture in third nephi about faith in Christ. So we decided that we needed to focus on a faith in Christ lesson as well as a priesthood lesson. 
Well as we were preparing I couldn't get the story of Jesus healing the blind man out of my mind: I studied it for a while and decided that like this man, Our Investigator needed a blessing. I asked Hermana storer what she thought of the idea and decided we should go for it.
That night our American friend Garry and his wife Brooklyn came to help us with the lesson. Garry speaks Spanish Brooklyn doesn't. At the end of our lesson we asked Elle how her faith in Christ was and we showed a video about blessings. Elle told us that weirdly enough she hadn't been feeling good lately not sick but just...unsettled. And began to cry. Well we told her about blessings and how they are from Heavenly Father and Garry asked if she wanted a blessing and  she said yes. Garry was about to give the blessing when Brooklyn said "wait, I feel like I need to say something". Everyone froze cause Brooklyn haha didn't know what had been going on and she asked Garry to translate for her and she said "I have no idea what's been said tonight but I feel like I need to share a story about receiving a blessing" the spirit was SO strong it was so cool how even though Brooklyn hadn't known what we were saying she had understood the spirit to say just what she needed to in the right moment. Well after Garry gave the blessing 

It was such a detailed amazing blessing. Everyone was crying at the end. I can't write what was said but I will never forget it. We left with testimonies and prayer and asked Elle  to pray that she might to know if it was all true 
 Walking out of that lesson Garry told us he couldn't remember giving a blessing like that ever or feeling the spirit that strong even throughout all his mission. He said that as he was giving the blessing to her one thing was clear: God had something special in store for her. She is needed of the lord right now.

That night ended with a surprise phone call from a lost convert who called to say she was ready to come back. Something clicked in her that day and she realized her emptiness inside and  lack of purpose. She had been thinking of what we had last said to her and it had all come together. She was ready to start over again. 

This day was my most perfect day. There is nothing comparable to the spirit on the mission. You always hear missionaries say ohhh I love the mission, ohh I never want to leave but I think  I am just beginning to really understand it. These are the moments I will never forget. The moments that little by little shape and teach and change me. And I am so thankful for this time to be so close to the spirit to the savior and to my Heavenly Father and to feel the love they have for each child of God. I Couldn't  think of a better way to celebrate this Christmas season than by doing this work of the lord's. 
Love you all and know I am so happy to be doing what I am right now Two hearts hermana cragun

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A real Thanksgiving

No time to write this week!
This week was amazing we spent thanksgiving in the church with
missionaries and investigators. There are three American families here
so we had a real thanksgiving meal turkey and all it was soooo fun! My
comp is an stl(sister training leader) so she's been gone a TON this week 
so I've been leading the area a lot in her place. We had two cool experiences happen this
week; we met two people who have been super prepared for the gospel!
One from Nigeria who use to meet with missionaries, she moved here and
lost contact with them but we ran into her and she invited us over and
we invited her to be baptized amd she said said YES! The other was a
man who walked up to us during a lesson asking to meet with us. He
came to a baptism that day that the elders had, we taught him the Book
of Mormon and (take note this all happened between 6 hours) invited
him to be baptized as well anddddd he said yes as well:)
Valencia currently sounds like it's being bombed because the fallas
(famous city holiday) is starting up right now amd there are little
mini Princess Leias running around right now so ya know that's cool
LOVE YOU ALL! Xoxox hermana cragun