Monday, January 25, 2016

Look at her last name!

Maddie with Elder Obando and his wife in Spain

Bishop Obando with his wife in the 90's making breakfast
Look at her last name"

Well this week was a crazy week so prepare for a long email. Sorry everyone.
The week began with Juanita , our cute little investigator turning 24! So we surprised her with a birthday treat and decorated her door. I had bought candles ready to sing when I realized that I didn't have any matches! But then I remembered that I live in Spain and everyone smokes so we knocked on the door of her neighbor and asked for a lighter, which they had, lit the cake cake and sang snd surprised her. We got invited to her birthday that night which we attended, and that night Juanita got ENGAGED!!! So happy for her. It was cool because the next day as we talked about her wedding and now it would be and she invited us out to her sealing one year in advance :)) 
Juanita will be baptized this week! 
Sunday we taught Jordan who is aaaamazing. He hasn't been able to meet as much because as work but he is still doing so well. As we taught him about  temples and showed him pictures he stopped us and said "wait, this reminds me of a dream" he then explained a dream he had two nights before, where he walked into a beautiful big room with stairs curving as they went upwards. The stairs were white, everything was nice he said. At the bottom stood a man who said "preperarte" and then the dream ended and he woke up. "What does it mean?" He asked us. We smiled "it means that baptism is not the end Jordi. Just like you are preparing for baptism right now, you must prepare yourself to enter the temple as well." He promised us he would.

Saturday marked a historic day for Valencia. All the wards and missionaries gathered together on Saturday afternoon as Valencia held a dedicatory for the new church that is going to be built here, making 2 different buildings and 3 soon to be 4 (hopefully) new wards. Members who have lived here since the beginning of the building of the first church in Valencia were able to get up and talk and share their testimonies. It was so cool to be able to hear their experiences and testimonies as they have seen the church grow here.
The service ended with a member of the seventy- elder Obando- sharing his thoughts and testimony.

As the service ended my companion and I made our rounds saying goodbye to missionaries and members before heading out when all of a sudden I found myself in the path of the member of the seventy. I went to shake his hand and thank him for his words when he stopped me. "Hermana Cragun" he smiled. I nodded my head, his pronunciation of my name was surprisingly good, which doesn't happen too often here. "I have a question for you." "Yes?" I asked. "Where did your father serve?" His question took me back. "Costa Rica" his smile grew wide. "In the 90?s" he asked. "Yes!" I said my excitement growing. "Do you know my father?!" He smiled, "I do." "How?!" I asked. "I was his bishop in Costa Rica for a while." He then called to a woman who was taking to a group of members from the churn and said to her smiling gesturing at me, "look at her last name." The woman looked at him, then at me, then at my chapa and then back at him "no puede ser." (It can't be) "ask her where her father served" he said laughing at her astonishment. She immediately rushed over and I confirmed to her that I was indeed the daughter of Jason Cragun, she had many questions about where dad was these days how many people were in my family. Everything. Then she shared something that really changed things for me. "We have seen many many missionaries pass through our ward, but it's has been over 20 years and we have never forgotten about your father. You don't see a lot of missionaries like him. We have been trying so hard to find him but we never could. This week especially he has been on our mind so much, but we could still never find him." As her gaze dropped to me, I heard the words in my head "and now you have found his daughter." 20 years later, more than 5000 miles from Costa Rica the lord had led a former bishop and as his wife to the small dedicatory service in Valencia, where a former missionaries daughter stay working as the full time missionary now. I left that day with his words ringing in my ears "look at her last name" 

Something clicked in that moment. I realized, I represent something out here on my mission. Both my parents chose to serve missions, and they left a name for me. They left an impression, and it was my choice what I would do with my name. 20 years later his bishop- now member of the 70- still remembered my father for all he did. What would others remember about me 20 years later? The Cragun name to me means missionary work. My parents served missions, i am serving, my siblings will all serve, and someday my children will serve. But I realized there's another name I hold on my chapa. Christs name. I don't need to be a full time missionary to hold his name, that's some thing I've taken, we have all taken, upon us since baptism. What does it mean to hold his name upon us? What are doing with his name? 
Hermana Cragun

Monday, January 18, 2016

Who would have ever known?

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” - Paul. The coolest person in the bible 
"Though it is often difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct." - Todd d. Christofferson 

2 days ago marks the year mark of the first time I ever stepped into Spain. Who would have ever known that two weeks after being in Spain, I would receive my mission call to come and serve here? Who would have known all those Spanish classes, trips to Mexico, friends and feelings encouraging me to study in Spain, were all part of Gods amazing plan to prepare me for where I am today? Sometimes it still bewilders  me how much God loves us to be so enthralled in the details of our lives.

This email will me short and simple. These past two weeks have been a reminder of "whom the lord loves he chastenth". But don't think I have let that get me down. I'm learning that when we rely on the Savior any trial can be overcome, that we are often refined over and over in the furnace of affliction so we can become who God wants us to become.  

Despite the hardships, this week has been full of miracles. 
Erika, our investigator who had been studying the church for a year has agreed to be baptized. We taught repentance and I bore my testimony of the spirit, I knew, she knew what she had felt. It was one of he most powerful moments of my mission because as I closed my mouth I realized how strongly the spirit had worked through me. Erika looked at us and said after that "I'm ready." Later that week President came to visit and as he talked, he took me by the hand and said something that reminded me of  a line from my blessing. "Share your testimony, for you will help many know the Lord." 
Jordi is still progressing amazingly. He prayed over the Book of Mormon and said that he felt a warmth and peace. He knows it's true.
The spirit led us to a family of five who is now investigating the church, as well as a woman from Africa who has been "searching for the truth because none of the other churches fill her." 

From the small daily miracles on the street, to the moments where God refines you or intervenes in your life to prepare you for what is ahead, I am constantly reminded that he is in the detail of lives, and he is in charge. And when we let him, and when we put our trust in him, he will make more of us than when we could ever make of ourselves. 
Hermana Cragun

Wednesday, January 6, 2016



On every Africans door you shall find a slogan plastered on the front, at the very top that says:,"_____(insert the year they were baptized) my year of salvation!" me and hermana storer always crack up at that because we had no idea that salvation had an expiration date.
But the year we just entered, 2016, does have an expiration date and there will come a time when it shall end. in less than precisely 365 days I will have to do anything I possibly can so that I can get a sticker slogan similar to the Africans that says "2016, my year of concentration!" 

As the new year has come the mission had had a HUGE push for more obedience. El faro has a huge history of 100% obedience and exactness. And this year they want even more. Better teachers, finders, more focused and obedient missionaries. I've come to realize that I didn't come here to just serve a mission, I want to be an effective missionary. And so with this new year I have realized I will do anything I can to be the "fourth kind of missionary" and make lasting changes that will not only affect the people I serve, but also myself.

We spent New Years Eve in the house of members eating food and talking about our favorite moments of 2015, and when we got home we waited in our beds for the last 12 seconds of 2015 until hermana storer and I crammed 12 grapes into our mouths as fast as we could. Well tried to at least. I got all the grapes in my mouth at one time but didn't swallow a single one so yea know, welcome 2016 haha

We went and visited Mollie, as we made goals for the  new year she sat and paused for a moment and said this year I want to be a real active member, I want to go to the temple. 

It's hard to explain the happiness and joy I felt at that moment. It's not like anything else. I've come to realize how amazing  it is to be a missionary and get to feel how our Heavenly Father and savior feel for us. If you ever doubt God loves you, let me promise you he does. It's something he has let me know over and over again throughout my mission. He is so proud of every little step we take in the right direction.

Our amazing Nigerian investigator moved this week, it was sad to say goodbye but I know he will continue to progress and eventually be baptized. We're all a team here in missionary work and all play different parts in others progressions. 

Well let me end by quoting a poet whose name I can't remember
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

The future is as bright as your faith. Trust God and believe that he can truly give you something far better than anything you're leaving behind. 
Enjoy this new year xoxo Hermana cragun