Monday, December 27, 2010

A "White Christmas" in Georgia!!!

Hello family!!!

Oh my goodness, it was sooooo great getting to talk to y'all on Christmas Day!!! I loved hearing your voices! Chris, you sound so mature!! Goodness, I've only been gone four months, what are you going to sound like in May?! haha! How was Harry Potter?!?! Thank y'all sooooo much for the gifts!!! I love everything!!! I'm wearing the pink sweater today--it is sooo cozy! And I got so excited when I saw the Summer Hill lotion! Now I get to smell like my Mama! :) Chris, I love my Snoopy and Woodstock!!! I opened Grandma's gift, as well--she sent me a really pretty jacket! I love it! I'm going to write her a thank you note hopefully today, and I'll try to get some pictures for her, too! Oh, and Sister Fine loves the slipper socks! She asked me to thank y'all for her!

Annnd...can y'all believe it snowed on Christmas Day?!?! I never ever thought I'd get a "White Christmas" in Georgia (my first one, too!)! And how cool that it started coming down when we were on the phone! They ended up cancelling church yesterday for the whole stake (we're in the Cartersville Stake)! We were also grounded from our car on Saturday night and Sunday morning because of the snow and ice, so we ended up tracting in the snow yesterday was freezing!! The roads were still pretty slick, too--I was so nervous, baha! There is still snow on the ground today, too! Our district got together at a park in Dallas for p-day, and we got to play in the snow for a bit--it was sooo fun! Two elders had brought some makeshift snowboards, and I ended up trying them a couple of times, haha! So fun!! I didn't get very far down before I fell, but it was still super fun! And no broken bones, yay! haha! :) My fingers are still pretty numb, though, haha! It's making it fun to type!

Sister Collier is home!!! Her plane was scheduled to land today at 12:28! Eek!!! We are still hoping to keep it a surprise that I'm still here, but it sounds like she's probably figured it out...she was asking her dad a ton of questions when she called home, haha! We'll see what happens! I can't wait to see her again!!! The Collier's are definitely some of my favorite people ever!! We went over to see them last night and to give them their Christmas gifts from us, and we got to see their Christmas tree--they're waiting to do Christmas with Sister Collier! So fun!

Can y'all believe this is the last week of 2010?! Holy gravy, time is flying by! And I'm going to be a missionary for all of 2011!!! How cool is that?! I don't want to waste a minute of it!!

Sorry, I don't really have much to say this week, since we just talked like two days ago...but I sure do love and miss y'all tonnns!!! How was the rest of your Christmas? I forgot to ask what y'all were doing for Christmas dinner! Do you have any plans for New Year's Eve? I know I already asked this, was Harry Potter?! haha! Well, hope everything is going great for y'all!! I miss you bunches, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now! I'm so thankful to be here serving Heavenly Father and His children!!!

Love y'all!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow in Georgia!!!

Hello family!

Guess what?! It's snowing here in Georgia!!! Well, not at this very second, but still, haha! Yesterday morning, Sister Fine and I were walking out of the house on our way to church, and we both thought it was raining at first, but then we realized there were little snow flurries! It was so pretty! Sister Fine was laughing at how excited I was, haha! It snowed a little bit this morning, too--there was snow on our car when we came out this morning! And it is cooold!!! Brrr!!! I definitely did not think "cold" when I read my mission call, baha!

So Natalie's parents said "no" to her getting baptized, but Sister Fine and I still have a good feeling that things will work out! Natalie's dad came to church with her yesterday! He's a really nice guy, and we ended up talking with him in between Sacrament Meeting and Relief Society. He wants to know what Natalie sees in the Church, and he's really open-minded. He's already read all of 1 Nephi! He and Natalie are taking us out to lunch on Thursday--Sister Fine and I get to pick where we're going to eat...we're so indecisive, haha!

I think I've told y'all about Dave before...he's been taking the lessons since before I got here, and he's coming along slowly. We usually see him Wednesday nights, and last Wednesday, we went with a member, Brother Plauche. We started teaching Dave about prophets, but then we started talking about the priesthood. Brother Plauche was really helpful--he ended up doing most of the talking that night! At the end of the lesson, Dave asked Brother Plauche for a blessing on his home! The Spirit was so strong during the blessing. Dave said he could feel it, too--he said it was "peaceful." It's been really neat to watch Dave progressing!

Sister Fine and I got to go to a Christmas program at a Baptist church last week. JoAnn, one of our investigators, had invited us to go with her. It was a lot of fun! They had a live nativity, and I got to pet a donkey, a calf, and some goats! Inside the church building, they had a bunch of booths set up to make it seem as though you were in Bethlehem around the time that Christ was born. They also had a music program with a choir and an orchestra, and the preacher got up and did an altar call--it was interesting, but it was really fun!

How are y'all doing?! Thank you so much for the packages! Mama, did you make the cookies? They were so yummy! I love everything! Don't worry, I'm saving the wrapped stuff for Christmas Day! :) I'll be talking to y'all on the phone in 12 days!!!!! I'm sooooo excited!!! Are you doing anything special for Christmas? I miss you sooo much, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now! I love being a missionary!!! The Church is true, yay!!!

Love y'all!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hey y'all!

Oh my goodness, I don't know where to start! I guess I will start with Natalie! Remember her? She's been coming to church every Sunday pretty much since General Conference, and a few weeks ago, we started meeting with her for about 30 minutes each Sunday after church to teach her the lessons. She pretty much knows everything we've been teaching her--she could teach us the lessons! We ran into her right after Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and she was so excited...her dad wants to come to church with her next Sunday!!! Then, after church, we went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ with her. It was so funny--when I was going over the ABC's of repentance, I got to the letter "C" and Natalie said, "Confess." Sister Fine and I were like, "Have you heard this before?!" She pretty much taught us the rest of the letters, baha! Well...she's getting baptized!!!!! We've set the date for February 12, so that her parents have some time to warm up to it. She is sooooo excited! She truly is someone special--I remember when I first met her that day she came to watch Conference, and she kept saying, "I want it to be true." She just glows! Sister Fine and I are pretty sure this is our last transfer together, and Transfers are on January 12, so we're hoping that whoever is transferred will be able to get permission from President Satterfield to come back for her baptism. We'll see what happens!!! Thank y'all for keeping Natalie and her family in your prayers!!!

So two elders from our district (one was our district leader) and one of our zone leaders went home last Thursday. Sister Fine and I were sad allll day...half of our district is gone! We felt like our family was being split up! Our last District Meeting together was really special. We had a testimony meeting at the end of the meeting, and it was so amazing to hear all these missionaries bear their testimonies, especially the one's who were going home that week. Oh, and my training went pretty good! I was nervous, haha, and I felt like it was kinda jumbled together since I didn't have as much time to prepare for it as I would have liked, but it went well. I taught about how important it is that we pray and ask for the Spirit to be with us, and we talked about how we need to pray with faith.

Oh, I got a letter from Hermana Taets this week...she said that I'm sounding more and more like a country hick every time she hears from me. :) Well, shoot! What do y'all think?? haha, I don't think I have an accent, though...I guess we'll find out on Christmas Day. Speaking of which, do y'all realize there are 19 days till Christmas? :) :) :) I'm sooo excited for us to talk on the phone!!! Did you get to watch the Christmas Devotional last night? I loved it!!! I love Christmas!!! This is such a special time of year to think about the gift of our Savior!

How are y'all doing?! I sure love and miss you bunches!!! I'm doing good--trying to stay warm! :) We went out earlier this morning, and the thermometer in the car read 29 degrees outside...and Dad! The other day, I could see my breath in the car! Didn't that happen with you in Chicago?? haha, anywho...I love it here and I love being a missionary!!! I definitely miss y'all tons, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now!

Love y'all!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chitlins and Pig's Feet

Hello family!!

Guess what?! Sister Fine and I are staying in Mars Hill together for another transfer!!!!! I'm sooooo excited!!! We'll get to be together for Christmas, and we'll be here for when Sister Collier comes home at the end of December!!! Yayayayay!!!!!

How was your Thanksgiving?! Our's was pretty good! I actually woke up that morning with a bad cold, but other than that, it was a good day! We got to go play football that morning (well, Sister Fine played and I watched), and then we came home for a little bit before going over to the Mills' for our first Thanksgiving dinner. We ended up eating three different at the Mills', one at Dee Dee's, and one with a Hispanic family who invited us over at the last minute. I felt like I was going to throw up by the end of the day. Now I know how the sister missionary in "The Errand of Angels" felt when she said, "I never want to eat again," because I said the exact same thing that night, haha! The food was all really good, though, haha! And now I can say I've had chitlins *and* pig's feet! They actually weren't as bad as I thought they'd be, haha!

Last week was a good week, other than being sick for the last half of it! We didn't do a whole lot on Saturday, since I wasn't feeling good; we came home early that afternoon since we didn't have any appointments and I ended up sleeping for four hours! But I started feeling a little better yesterday, and I'm feeling a lot better today. I think it's just with the weather change. Georgia's weather is so crazy! It changes sooo fast!

We didn't teach a ton of people last week, since everyone was doing stuff for Thanksgiving. But we did have a really good district meeting! Every Tuesday morning, our whole district gets together for a meeting, and we go over some principles in Preach My Gospel and role play. Last week, we talked about how we can help people find out the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon by sharing personal experiences. When we were role playing, I shared how I came to know that the Book of Mormon is true. I don't usually cry when I share my testimony, but I did then. And right when I started to cry, I realized that the whole room was quiet...the other elders who were role playing had stopped to listen. Of course, that made me cry even more, haha! But it was a really good meeting; the Spirit was so strong! I've also been asked to give a training at District Meeting tomorrow; I'll be teaching on praying with faith and how we need to pray for the Spirit if we want to teach in the Lord's way. I'm pretty nervous, haha!

How was your week? I sure love y'all to pieces!!! And I miss you tons!!! I think of y'all allll the time, but I'm happy to be here! And we'll get to talk on the phone real soon!!! I can't wait!!!

Love y'all!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!!

Hey y'all!

Turkey Day is three days away!!! Are y'all excited?! I'm super excited!!! We still have to wake up at 6:30 and do our normal routine (exercise, get ready, and studies), and then our ward is having a Turkey Bowl that morning, so we're going to head over to that. We'll be going over to the Mills' (a family in our ward) for dinner that afternoon, and then Dee Dee's invited us over for some dinner, as well, and...she's making chitlins!!! Sister Fine and I are really hoping we get to try some...we both just want to be able to say that we've had it, and then I'll always be able to remember my first Thanksgiving in Georgia, haha! I also found out that we'll get to take a nap, yayyy!!! Is it sad how excited I am for that?! haha! Oh, thank you so much for the Thanksgiving card!!! It made my day!

Sister Fine and I had a really good week! We were busy!! I know it's not about the numbers, but I'm so excited, I have to tell y'all...we taught 10 lessons last week!!! That's not including less-actives! I haven't taught that much since...ever, haha! We're tearing it up here in the Hills of Mars, haha! Of course, we couldn't do it without Heavenly Father!

One investigator we're both excited about is Dave. I can't remember if I've told y'all about him yet or not, but Sister Fine has been teaching him since before I came out here, and even since I've been here, I can see a difference in him when we teach him. Before, he didn't seem to take what we were teaching seriously, but now, we think he's starting to understand the importance of the Book of Mormon and how he really has to do his part if he wants to know if it's true. He's a really great guy, and we're hoping he keeps progressing!

Natalie has been coming to church pretty much every Sunday since General Conference! We've worked it out to where we can teach her right after church each Sunday for about half an hour; yesterday, we taught her the Plan of Salvation. She has such a sweet spirit, I love her!!

We also got to go to Zone Conference in Dallas! We got to hear from President Satterfield, one of the senior couples, the assistants to the president, and the zone leaders. It was a really great day, and I learned a ton! I also got to see Sister Barton again! She's doing great in Douglasville! We also got new phones! They're so fancy!! I think it's the LG Remarq? But I'm not has so many ringtones, though, haha! I love our new alarm...I wish I could sing it over the computer for y'all, it's way peppy, haha! Anywho, we also heard that they'll be making some changes in the missions around April or May. We don't know what kind of changes they'll be yet, but I guess we'll find out soon!

We had dinner with the Collier's on Saturday night! I love that family to pieces!! Brother Collier is the most humble person I know! Can you believe Sister Collier comes home next month?! I'm really hoping and praying I get to stay here for at least one more transfer...transfers are on December 1, and we find out on Saturday if we need to get a ride, so we'll see what happens! I'll go wherever the Lord needs me, though!

How are y'all doing?! Thanks so much for the letter! And Adam's getting married!!!!! Yayayay, I'm so excited for him and Danae!!! Yayyy!!! I'm glad you're getting to see Sheila and Joss, you'll have to give them both a hug for me!! Give everyone my love when you see them on Thursday!!! Hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving!!! I'll be thinking of y'all all day, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now! And just think, a month from Thursday, I'll be talking to y'all on the phone!!!!! Yay!!!

I sure love and miss y'all tons!!! We truly have so much to be thankful for, and I'm so blessed to have you all as my family!!!

Love y'all!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's My Birthday!!

Hello family!

I'm two years old today!!! I can't believe it's already been two years since I was baptized! It was pretty neat, too...yesterday's lesson in Relief Society was on baptism, and the closing hymn was "Lead Me into Life Eternal!" We sang that at my baptism!! I'm sooo grateful for my missionaries and for the decision I made to follow Jesus Christ!!!

The blitz last week went good! Some of the elders in our district were able to find some people for us. And we have a new investigator thanks to two of our elders!! Her name is Mimi; she's a single mom of five kids, and she has a lot of faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She used to meet with missionaries about two or three years ago, and she said that she wants to find the truth so that she can teach it to her children. The way the world is nowadays, she wants her kids to have something to hold onto. We've already had two lessons with her, and she is awesome! I'm super excited to see how she progresses!

Sister Fine and I had kind of a sad experience during the blitz, though. We'd finished knocking our street, and we were getting ready to head back to our car. There was another car parked across from our's, with two young men (maybe in their 20s) standing next to it, smoking and talking. We walked up and started talking with them, but when Sister Fine gave them a pass-along card, the one guy ripped it up. Sister Fine asked him if he believes in Christ, and he said, "No, I think he's disgusting." He was cussing a lot, too. He started telling us that he's in a band, and when they perform, they wear animal fur and rip Bibles up on stage. He also said that he's had a dark spirit appear to him, and when he asked it for something, it gave it to him. And he said that he'd rather burn in hell than go to heaven. We tried to bear our testimonies to them, but they just wanted to argue with us. I've still been thinking about them, even though it's been almost a week since we saw them; it makes me really sad, not only to see how they're living their lives, but to think of how much Christ suffered for their actions.

On a brighter note,'s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Sister Cruse's home!!! We've been helping her put up all her decorations, including the Christmas tree! It's been a lot of fun, but it also made me a little homesick. I started thinking, though, Heavenly Father must feel like this all the time. He wants all His children to come home to Him!

Ooh, it was warmer this week!!! I was sooo happy, haha! It's been raining all day here today...I'll try to wish some of it to Arizona! :)

Anywho, how was your week? I sure miss y'all oodles, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be! Love you bunches!!!!!

Sister Crowe

P.S. Sarah, I don't know if you'll get to read this or not, but...good luck on your mission!!!!! You will be an amazing missionary!!! Let's keep in touch!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The times, they are changin'...literally!

Mama, Daddy, and Chris...hey y'all!!!

First...Sarah, I hope you're reading this!!!!! California Oakland/San Francisco Mission, woohoo!!! When I read your note, I felt that same feeling when I opened my own mission call--you'll be serving in the perfect place for you! I've also learned that, not only are you called to serve in the right place, but your mission president and his wife are perfect for you, as well. I'm sooooo excited for you!!!!! San Francisco is such a cool city, and the Oakland Temple is one of my favorites! And you'll be speaking Spanish!!! How cool is that?! Oh my goodness, you are going to have to send me your addresses so that we can share all our missionary adventures! I can't believe you enter the MTC next week!! I absolutely loved the MTC! Yayyy, sooooo exciting!!!

Anywho, everything is still good here in Mars Hill! Apparently, this is a harder area than some of the others in our mission, since it's a little more well-to-do. (I guess you could call it Atlanta's Scottsdale? Only much more Baptist.) We've been going through all of the former and potential investigators in our area, to see if they're still interested in talking with missionaries. We'll also be doing a "blitz" with our whole district tomorrow--Sister Fine and I have picked out some streets, and each companionship in our district (there are four total companionships) will tract on about two streets each. Hopefully we'll find someone who is prepared to receive the gospel--we just need to have faith! Not only faith in Christ, but faith in ourselves, as well!

Guess what?! We're only two hours apart now! It feels sooo weird...we got up this morning to exercise, and the sun was coming up and the birds were singing, when only two days ago, it was completely dark out. Crazy!

Last p-day, we went grocery shopping right after e-mailing, and the first thing we saw when we walked into the Walmart was a giant Christmas made me happy! And Sister Fine and I have broken out Josh Groban's Christmas CD to listen to in the car, yay! (We make sure to skip over "I'll Be Home for Christmas," though...) I love Christmas!!! I'm getting excited for Thanksgiving, too! Sister Fine and I will be eating with a family in our ward, the Mills'. They're a really fun family, and we're also going to try to stop by Dee Dee's (one of my favorite people!) for some sweet potato pie. :)

The weather here is crazy! It was freezing all last was in the 40s and 50s most of the week, and I think it got into the 30s a couple of days. I've pulled out my winter coat and my long skirts, haha! It's supposed to be warmer this week, though (keep your fingers crossed for me!). Sister Fine laughs at how I am with the cold...she was talking about how it gets into the teens in January and February, and I must've had a really weird look on my face, because she just started cracking up at me, haha!

This past Saturday was the ward's Relief Society "Super Saturday." It was a Christmas craft day, and Sister Satterfield came to speak! She talked about finding peace in the holidays--how to simplify things so that we can focus on the real message of Christmas. She's so amazing, I love her to pieces!

How is everyone doing?! How are the kitties? I miss y'all sooooo much!!! Thank you for the package!!! It really brightened my day! I loved everything! Mom, you read my mind--I was going to ask if you could send me the seminary study guide! And that paper with all the quotes about faith was so neat!!! Thank you, thank you!!! Sorry, I feel like this e-mail is everywhere today, haha! But I'm doing really good--trying to stay warm! I'm so happy, though--I know this is where I'm supposed to be! There are hard days, but I remember what Dad always says: "Accentuate the positive!" :)

Love y'all!!!!!

Sister Crowe

P.S. Chris! I've been meaning to tell you! We drive a silver 2010 Chevy Malibu named Shillings, and we have a GPS named Maggie. :) Just thought you'd like to know!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Already November!!!

Hello family!

Sorry I didn't get to write y'all my usual update last was a little crazy! So transfers were on the 20th! I'm still in Mars Hill, and my new companion was Sister Barton from New York City! This is her last transfer on the mission, so I would be killing her, but...Sister Fine and I are back together again! Some stuff happened to where President Satterfield had to switch some sisters around, so Sister Fine just went on a little vacation to Buchanan, and now she's back! Sister Barton and I had a good week together, though--we definitely made some interesting memories! Last Tuesday, we walked 4.5 the rain! We took some pictures, we both look sooo stressed! I'll have to send them to y'all! Oh, and I also got to go to a baptism in Cedartown! Sister Barton had been teaching two women before transfers, and President Satterfield gave us permission to go so that she could be there for them! It was really special, and Ashley and Jewell were both so happy!

Can y'all believe it's already November?! Holy gravy, time is flying by! And my Mormon birthday is in two weeks!!! I'm gonna be two years old, woohoo!!!

Happy Halloween one day late!!! Did y'all get to go to the neighborhood get-together this year? That was so fun last year! We got to go to the ward's trunk-or-treat on Saturday night; it was a lot of fun, and it was so fun to see all the kids in their costumes! They had hot dogs and chili, some blow-up bouncy slides, and lots of games (including a pumpkin catapult launch!). Sister Fine and I had to be in early that night, so after the party, we made some hot cocoa and just hung out at the house. It was a fun night! Yesterday night, we had dinner with Mike and Sister Cruse (Sister Fine made her chicken enchilidas--I need to get the recipe!), and then we taught Mike his first new member lesson on service! We got to hand out candy, and we even got to dress up! We wore some of Sister Cruse's aprons, and she had some 50s-style glasses, woo! We also got to watch a movie that Sister Cruse had gotten at Time Out for Women about an African woman's conversion story and how she served a mission at Temple Square. It was sooo amazing!!! Even with everything she went through, she has the strongest testimony of Heavenly Father's love for her. I think you'd really enjoy it, Mom! I think it's called "Delivered by Hope." But yeah, it was sooo good, and it made me realize how much I have to be grateful for.

We have had a couple of lessons with Melanie and Ronny since my last e-mail! Melanie is super sweet. She's really open to hearing more about what we believe in, but last time we saw her, she said that she's a really independent person, and she doesn't like to be pressured into anything. She's not really religious right now, because she was pressured to be confirmed into the Catholic Church by her family. So we're going to let her set the pace for the lessons, and we're not going to be pushing for a baptism date anytime soon. So far, we've introduced her to the Book of Mormon and we've taught her about the Restoration. Both lessons went really well, and I'm really excited for her!

Ronny is doing well, also, but our last lesson with him was...interesting? He said that he'd been reading the first few pages in the Book of Mormon, and he was reading Joseph Smith's testimony, and he said the same thing had happened to him in the 60s. He'd been in his bedroom with his siblings, and they saw a light outside the window, almost like a flashlight. It got bigger and bigger until it filled up the whole window, and there was a personage standing in the light who was mumbling something really fast to where Ronny couldn't understand what he was saying. Then, he said when he woke up the next morning, there were burn marks under his eyes. Sister Fine and I have been thinking about his experience and how to respond to it; we think it's possible that he could've seen something, but we're wondering if it was from God. We don't really know how to respond other than, "Oh, that's interesting." Ronny's really nice, though, and he said he would read from the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true. He seems like he really wants to know the truth, yay!

Heavenly Father knows us so well! The last couple of weeks have been pretty tough--I've been feeling really inadequate, but every day there has always been one person who says something that's exactly what I need to hear. I've also been learning to rely on my Savior. I can't do this alone, but the good news is that I don't have to! I'm sooo grateful for the Atonement! I'm so happy to be here, even though sometimes it's easy to get discouraged. I'm not giving up, though, because I know what the gospel has done for me and I want to share that with all of my heart!

Love y'all and miss y'all oodles!!!!!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trust in the Lord with all "thine" heart!

Hola mi familia!

So I don't know what to start out with...the amazingly spiritual goodness or the surprise news (for me, at least). Let's go ahead and end on the good stuff! :)

So...remember last week, I told y'all that transfers we're coming up? And remember how I was pretty sure that Sister Fine and I would both be staying in Mars Hill? Well...on Saturday night, we got the call saying that we need to find a ride to Peachtree City. One of us is being transferred. We don't find out who's staying and who's going until tonight at about 9:30. The suspense is exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time! Although, Sister Collier said we could also be getting a third sister...I'm praying for that one!! haha! I was sooo sure we'd both be staying in Mars Hill, but Sister Fine had a feeling one of us would be least she was listening to the Spirit, I guess I'm just stubborn, haha! :) It's so sad!! Saying goodbye to my MTC district was hard, but I've been with Sister Fine 24/7 for the last six weeks! She's really become like a sister to me. I love her to pieces!! We've started saying goodbye to some of the ward members and investigators, as well, in case we don't get to see them again before Wednesday...sooo sad! And if Sister Fine leaves, that means I'll be the senior companion. I don't feel ready for that at all, but I guess Heavenly Father knows what I'm capable of??? Proverbs 3:5-6, that's what I keep telling myself! Oh, and here's another missionary term I've learned: Whoever my new companion is will be "greenie busting" me. So we'll see who my greenie buster is on Wednesday!

Okay, now for the spiritual goodness! Mike was baptized on Saturday!!! Oh my goodness! It was sooooo amazing! He was also confirmed that night. The Spirit was sooo strong! Sister Fine and I both said we could already see the difference in him that night. It's as though he was standing a little taller, and he had a glow about him! And the sister missionaries sang a really pretty song, "In Quiet Grove." I was sooo nervous, because we only got to practice it like three times right before the service started. I was feeling pretty shaky about it, but once we got up there and started to sing, it all came together! I know we couldn't have done it if the Holy Ghost hadn't been there! Oh, and guess what the closing hymn was, Mom? "There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today!" :) :)

Yesterday was the Primary Program in our ward! All the Primary kids in the ward did a Sacrament Meeting presentation with scriptures and testimonies and songs. It was sooo precious!!

We have a few new investigators! We found Melanie in our records of former investigators; she has a friend who just got back from his mission, and she's been attending the Acworth Ward with a family. She seems like a really sweet person, and we'll be meeting with her on Wednesday night! We also met Ronny after visiting with some recent converts. We were walking back to our car and saw him sitting on his porch. We went up to him and gave him a pass-along card for the Book of Mormon, and he invited us to come back the next day. When we went back, he was there, and one of his neighbors was also there, Kirk. We found out that Ronny had just moved into the area about two months ago and has been looking for a new church. We introduced both of them to the Book of Mormon. Ronny is Baptist, and Kirk is Methodist. They're both really open to learning more about what we believe in, and they said they would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. They're both really nice guys, and we're going to try to see them this week to teach them about the Plan of Salvation.

Have y'all seen the new Ensign about temples? Jamie was so sweet and mailed me a copy! Can y'all please thank her for me? I'm writing her a thank you note, too! I loooved looking at all the pictures of the temples, and I really loved the article, "Preparing for the Blessings of the Temple." Sister Fine was looking at it, too, and she started to cry--she hasn't been to the temple since she was in the MTC back in December! I miss the temple and I was there at the end of August--we're both so excited for the Atlanta Temple to reopen!

How are you all doing?! Thank you, thank you for the package!!! Oh my goodness, it felt just like Christmas! And Dad!!! You made seven-layer bars! I almost started crying when I saw them, thank you so much!! I've been sharing with Sister Fine--she loves them! She wants the recipe! Could you please e-mail it to me? Thank you, thank you!!!

I think that's about it for this week...of course, I always think of something else when we're walking out of the library, haha! I love y'all and miss y'all sooooo much!!!!! You're always in my thoughts and prayers!!!

Much love,
Sister Crowe

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Love Being a Missionary!!!

Hey y'all!!

First, Brianna and Sarah!!! If you're reading this...Brianna, congrats congrats congrats congrats!!!!!! I am soooooo happy for you!!! Oh my goodness, you have to fill me in on the details, girlie!! And Sarah! Thank you sooo much for the note, and I am sooooo excited for you to get your mission call!!! I can't wait to hear where you'll be going! Hmm, I'm gonna guess...Georgia!!! Yeah, we could be companions!!! haha! Seriously, though, I think you'll go to Germany or...Pennsylvania. Wherever you go, you'll be awesome!! You have to write when you find out, I'll be sitting on pins and needles until then!

Mike's baptism is on Saturday!!!!! Sooo exciting!!! He's so ready! He'd made a promise with Heavenly Father that he was going to finish reading through the entire Book of Mormon before his baptism, and he finished reading it early Sunday morning--on 10/10/10! He's so amazing!!!

We're in a major finding mode right now...lots and lots of tracting. Someone in our ward said, "Everytime you knock on a door, someone's getting baptized in South America." So now I'm super excited when we knock on someone's door, even when they slam the door in our face, woohoo! haha! We did have a neat experience the other day, though. We'd gone to visit a less-active lady in our ward, but she wasn't home, so we started driving home to work on getting some of our records more organized. We were almost home, when we both felt like we needed to go back and tract on the less-active's street. We ended up tracting on that one street for two hours, and Sister Fine and I think it was to talk to one lady, who didn't even live on that street but was cleaning someone's house with her husband. She asked us a few questions about our missions (how long they are; how long we've been out; where we're from; what we do), and we told her about She was really sweet and said she'd look at the website. Then, we'd crossed the street to knock on another house, and as we were walking back down to the street, we saw that the lady and her husband had left a vacuum right behind their car, and they were getting ready to back out. We were able to wave at them to stop so that they didn't lose a vacuum! I'm really grateful that Sister Fine and I were humble enough to act on those promptings we received, so we could be there for that couple!

Oh, remember Natalie?! Her parents are giving her permission to come to church!!! She stayed for all three hours yesterday, and she loved it!! We're not teaching her right now, as we don't want to push anything with her parents, but we are so excited for her!

Each week, we write a letter to President Satterfield to fill him in on how our week went and what we're doing with our investigators, less-actives, and recent converts. Here's his response from last week:

Sister Crowe,
What a great letter. I so appreciate all you had to say and loved to hear about the people you are working with. I am so grateful you joined the Church and have come on a mission here to be with us. Sister Satterfield and I love you and are excited to have you here for many months to come. You are doing a wonderful work and I see you growing and changing already.
We love you,
Pres. Satterfield

I love my mission parents!!!

Transfers are next week, on the 20th...I'm hoping and praying I get to stay in Mars Hill! I'd be super happy if I get to stay here until January...Sister Collier comes home December 27!! (Her brother, Brian, comes home next week!) But..."I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord!" :) So we shall see what happens!

How are y'all doing?! Chris, how was England?!?!?! Ahhh, I can't wait to hear all about it! Mom, I'm so glad Sister's Collier's mom called you!!! I love their family!!! How is everyone at church? Give them my love for me!!! Dad, I heard about Grandpa's foot! I hope everything goes okay! It sounds like the kitties are doing good! Oh, I miss them so much! Emma sounds super cute! I can't wait to see Abby's new 'do! I'm sure she looks fabulous! :)

I love being a missionary!!! I think I probably say that every week, but I'm serious! This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but without missionary work, I wouldn't be who I am today. I know how precious the gospel is, and I want to share that with as many people as I can!

I love y'all sooooo much!!!!!!! I miss you a ton, and you're always in my thoughts and prayers!!!

Love y'all!!!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude!!! :)

Hello family!

Can you believe it's already October?!?! I've been in Georgia for almost a whole month!!! Crazy!!!

Oh my goodness, General Conference!!!!! Was it amazing or what?! What were your favorite talks? We got to watch all of the sessions, but there were some technical difficulties on Saturday, so we missed most of the second session. I can't wait for the Ensign to come out so I can read all the talks! I loooved President Monson's talk on gratitude, and a few people talked about trusting in Heavenly Father, which was something I needed to hear.

Yesterday, we met Natalie. She's 16 years old, and she has been learning about the Church on her own for about a year, but her family is really big into their church and they don't want her coming to the LDS services. Her dad said she could watch Conference at the church building, and she got to stay for both sessions! She loved it! We talked to her in between sessions a bit, and we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel. She is so amazing and so prepared!!! Please keep her in your prayers, and her family, as well, that their hearts might be softened and they'll allow her to come to church!

So right after I e-mailed y'all last week, we heard that there were tornado warnings for parts of Georgia. And then, a few nights later, I dreamed that we were tracting in a storm with tornadoes...the weather's been pretty weird the last week! And it has gotten cold fast!!! I am learning how to layer, haha!

On Friday, we got to go down to Peachtree City for a sister's meeting. It was sooo fun!!! I got to meet all the other sisters in the mission, and I know how to change a tire now! haha! We also got to see pictures of the new dress guidelines for sisters--we get to look cute!!!

We did a ton of tracting last week. We had a couple of people say we could come back later and teach them more, yay! Hopefully they'll still have that desire when we come back!

Ooh, guess what?! My mission is going to be in movie theatres everywhere!!! haha, not really, just my area! They're filming the new Footloose movie in Acworth!!! That's like 20 minutes from where I am!!! How cool is that?!

How are y'all doing?! Chris is in England!!!!! I'm thinking of him all the time, I'm sure he's having a blast!!! Have y'all heard from him at all? I can't wait to hear all about it! I told him to eat lots of Flakes and Crunchies for me, haha! Mom, thank you for the letter! It sounds like you're all doing great! And I'm sooo happy your first Relief Society meeting went great! I looove the name you chose for the holiday night! Oh my goodness, it sounds like that's going to be so fun! And Amber had her baby!!! Yayyy!!! Aubrey's such a cute name! I will need to write her soon! Oh, and I looove Carly's wedding picture!!! I have it up on my bulletin board over my bed. Dad, I was craving some of your seven-layer bars the other day, haha!

Well, I love you all oodles!!!!! I think of you alllll the time and miss you bunches, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now. I have the best job in the world! Every day, I get to share something that has brought me so much joy and happiness. I love my job!!

Love you!!!

Sister Crowe

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Slow Week

Mama, Daddy, and Chris,

Hello!!! I can now say I've experienced Georgia rained allll day yesterday!!! And it didn't just sprinkle, it poured!!! It was so great, especially since this past week was super warm! I was trying to send some of the rain your way...let me know if it gets to you! :)

This past week was kinda slow...the schools around here were on fall break, so a lot of people were out of town. Sister Fine was sick--she had a stomach bug, but she is feeling a lot better now, yay! This week was also the first time I found myself asking, "Why am I here?" Not that I don't want to be here or anything, but I guess it's hard for me to see what kind of difference I'll be able to make here. I also feel like I need to know so much more than I do, since it feels like I've been here for forever! Sister Fine says I'm really improving, fast, but it's hard for me to see that, I guess.

I had my first real tracting experience! We knocked on doors for three hours this week! We had lots of slammed doors, but we tried to make it fun. Sister Fine says that she likes to sing "Joy to the World" while she's tracting, so we started singing that and some other hymns.

We've been teaching a lady, Darsheda. She has four kids, and she is so sweet! We've taught her about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ since I've been here, and she already pretty much believes in what we've taught her. We asked her if she'd prayed about the Book of Mormon to know if it is true, and she said that she had and her answer was that she needs to read more. Perfect answer!

Some awkward missionary moments from this past week...
- Walking on people yelling in their driveway.
- Knocking on the door and having a lady answer in just her underwear.
- Telling someone about the Book of Mormon while their dog's doing its business.

Anywho...haha! Mom, did you get to watch the Relief Society broadcast? Sister Fine and I got permission to watch it at the stake center in Cartersville!! It was sooo good! I guess they're working on a book that goes into the history of Relief Society--that'll be really interesting! I loved Sister Thompson's and President Monson's talks! They'll probably be online soon, and they'll be in the Ensign with the Conference talks.

Are you so excited for General Conference?!?! We get to hear the prophet, yayyy!!! I'm sooooo excited!!! Ooh, guess what?! Sister Fine and I had dinner with a Seventy!!! Elder Giddens!!! He and his wife live in our ward boundaries; you can probably find his picture in the last Conference issue.

Mom, I was wondering, is "goll" a Southern word? I've always thought it was just something you said, but everyone here says it, too, haha!

Thank you so much for the letter and the picture of my baby, Emma!! I miss her sooo much, and Mushu and Abby, too!!! Mom, I'm so happy that you got to see Sister Collier! And Sister Rodriguez! Brother Collier shared his testimony yesterday, and he talked about how much Sister Collier loved you from the start, and how I got called to the Atlanta Mission and now I'm being trained in their ward. I saw him right before Relief Society, and he said their whole family just loves us! I can't wait for y'all to meet them! Which sisters are in our ward now?

Chris, I am sooooo excited for you!!!!! Are you freaking out?! I would be! Please give everyone my love and take lots of pictures!!!

Well, I love y'all oodles and bunches!!! I pray for you and think of you all the time! The mission is hard work, but I am trying to do my very best and I am loving it!

Love y'all!!! Miss y'all!!!

Sister Crowe

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fireflies and Cockroaches in Georgia!

Hi family!!

Life is still wonderful here in the Hills of Mars! :) But I have to go back to some things that happened in the MTC that I forgot to tell y'all about last week...

First, Birgitta! Our scary investigator! The MTC has something called the Teaching Resouce Center (TRC), where volunteers come to act as investigators so that we can practice the lessons on real people instead of just role playing with other missionaries all the time. The first time Sister Jones and I went to teach Birgitta, she was sooo intimidating! She had all these super hard questions and she was really intellectual. Sister Jones and I were sooo nervous for the second time we had to teach her, but it turned out to be an amazing lesson! We went in with a prepared lesson, but we barely kept to it--instead it turned into more of a discussion. In the middle of the lesson, Sister Jones shared a personal experience from when her family went through a really hard time when she was younger. Birgitta started to cry and wasn't saying much. At the end of the lesson, she broke character to say that her family is going through the exact same thing that Sister Jones went through. We were all crying. Even in the MTC, where it may seem like "just pretend" or "just practice," we were able to help strengthen someone's testimony and bring them closer to Christ.

Then, some fun stuff! I got to have a makeover! They had this class for the sisters that you could sign up for, where they showed you how to do your makeup for the mission. It was super fun and a nice break from the regular routine in the MTC! And we got $200 worth of Nuskin makeup for free!!! Crazy!

This past week in Mars Hill was great! We had two days of training meetings in Marietta. They're changing the mission programs around the world, and one of those changes is these eight lessons that aren't for the missionaries to teach, but they're supposed to help us become better teachers. They want us relying less on lesson plans and more on the Spirit when we teach people. President Satterfield spoke to us, and we role played some. It sounds like they're having some obedience problems with some of the missionaries in this mission, especially around Atlanta (not so much in my area), so they're really pushing obedience so that we can have the Spirit with us. Oh, and I had fried okra for the first time here in Georgia!!! Sister Mills, a ward member, picked us up after one of the training meetings, and she took us out to this restaurant/bakery on the way home, called Gabriel' was sooo good!!! I had chicken pot pie, fried okra, and mac 'n' cheese. So good!!!

We had dinner with the Collier's last night. They are the sweetest family ever!! I love them!! Brother Collier showed me all their family photos, and I got to see the one from your baptism, Mom!! During dinner, Sister Collier asked me where I was born, and when I told her Jacksonville, Florida, she said, "She's a Southerner!" That made me so happy!! :)

Mike is still super strong! Everyone is so excited for his baptism--the Satterfield's are even planning to be there! We're also teaching a 21-year-old, Joe--we taught him the Plan of Salvation last week, and he's preparing to be baptized on October 30!!! We're so excited, but we may have to push the date back...we really want to make sure he's ready to be baptized, instead of just jumping into it and not knowing what he's getting himself into.

I ran into my first Bible basher...we'd knocked on his door to tell him about the Book of Mormon, but he ended up telling us what we believe in. He wasn't too bad--he was actually pretty nice about it, but he encouraged us to read the Bible and really study it, and he said that he hopes we come to the truth. Oh well.

There are fireflies here!!! The first few nights, we'd be driving and I'd see these little flashes of light...I couldn't figure them out, but then it hit me! Also, I almost killed my first cockroach...I was getting my breakfast, and as I was pouring the cereal into my bowl, I saw something moving along the counter out of the corner of my was ginormous!!! I didn't scream, though, baha! I ran into the bathroom to grab some tissue to get it with, but by the time I came back, it was gone...I got out of the kitchen pretty quick after that, haha!

Dad and Chris, y'all would be so proud of me...Sister Fine and I had a lesson in Halo. We went to visit a less active family to share a spiritual thought with them, and the son ended up talking about Halo for nearly 45 minutes, baha! So now we know all about the Covenant and all of the different weapons and the main characters. And now I know what Halo actually is, haha!

Every Friday, we get to do service at a nursing home--we do manicures for the women who live there! It is so fun and they absolutely love it!

How are y'all doing? Chris, your birthday's in like two weeks!!! You're going to be 20! You're making me feel old, baha! :) Mom, how is church going? Do you like your callings? I'm sure you're doing great! I think of you every Sunday! Yesterday was my first time going to Sacrament Meeting in the Mars Hill Ward, since last weekend was Stake Conference, and they asked me to get up and bear my testimony...I was so nervous! But I guess I should get used to it! I got a card from Grandma the other day! I'm writing her a note today, so hopefully she'll get it this week! How are the cats doing? I miss them! One family we visited last week has five cats...I loved getting to love on them a little bit!

I love y'all sooooo much!!! I can't believe I've been on the mission for a whole month! The days are going by so fast!!! I hope they're going fast for you, too--stay busy, that's what helps! :) I miss you tons, but I'm doing really good and haven't been real homesick since that first night, yay! Hope you have a wonderful week!!! I think of y'all all the time! I'm so happy to be here, and I love being a missionary!!!

Love you!!!!!

Sister Crowe

P.S. Apparently, I mumble in my sleep...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rebecca's in Georgia!!!

Hello Everyone!

We received this e-mail from Rebecca today. She is doing great!!

Hey y'all!!!

I'm in Georgia!!! And I looove it!!! :) :) :)

My last week in the MTC was wonderful! It went sooo fast! On the last day, we were all saying how it felt like we'd been there for forever, but at the same time, it felt like we'd just gotten there yesterday...crazy! Oh, and I got to see the mail truck that delivers and picks up the mail for the was a little smaller than a UPS truck. :)

I'm glad I got to talk to y'all on the phone at the airport! It was so great hearing your voices! I'm glad you're all doing good! The flight was good, and President Satterfield met us at the airport and took us to the mission home in Peachtree City. The Satterfield's are sooooo sweet!!! No one can replace you, Mom and Dad, but they are the perfect mission "Mom and Dad" away from home! I was a little homesick that first night in the mission home--I think it really hit me that this is the real thing. But they were both so sweet to me, and President Satterfield gave me a blessing. Since then, I've been fine! I'm eating good, and I haven't cried or anything, yay!

The next day, Wednesday, we all got to meet our trainers. My trainer is Sister Fine from Oakridge, Oregon. She is a sweetheart!!! So loving! And our moms share a birthday!!! How cool is that! She just hit her "hump day" on the mission. Oh, and I have to share some mission lingo with y'all. A new missionary is called a greenie, and my trainer is called my mom. At the transfer meeting last week, I got to meet my grandma--my trainer's mom! Three generations! Pretty cool!

I am in the Mars Hill area--it covers the Mars Hill Ward boundaries (I'm still learning, but I think it falls in Mars Hill, Acworth, and Kennesaw). Guess who is in this area??? The Collier's!!!!! And I got to meet them this weekend!!! They are the sweetest people!!! I think we have dinner with them one night this week. I heard that Sister Collier was transferred! Mom, I know you're going to miss her!! Are Sister Rodriguez and Sister Cottrell still there? I'm sure they'll take care of you, they're super sweet, too! Sister Fine and I live in Kennesaw with a member of the ward, Sister Cruse--she is so sweet, I love her!

I looove Georgia!!! It's sooo green and there are so many trees!!! I was kinda feeling a little claustrophobic the first few days...baha! The people are the sweetest...seriously! Everyone waves and smiles, and the women kiss me on the cheek--they're so loving! And y'all are gonna think I'm crazy, but...I love the humidity!!! I've had dry skin for more than half my life and didn't even know it, baha! I'm having to learn how to love the mosquitos (sp?) as much as they love me, though...haha!

Right now, we are teaching Mike. The sisters have been teaching him since last September (I think), and he just set a baptism day for October 16!!! Yay!!! We're all super excited for him! He is rock solid! He hasn't missed a day of church since General Conference in April; he reads his scriptures every day; he prays...he's just amazing!

Oh, one thing I heard while I was in the MTC was that it might be a better idea for y'all to pick me up from the airport in Phoenix instead of flying to Atlanta to pick me up. I would still be a missionary here in Georgia, so I'd still be having to follow the rules and stuff, and I wouldn't be able to do the things that I'm sure you'd like us to do in Atlanta. So I've been thinking maybe it would be good for me to fly to Phoenix, and then a month or two later, we could all fly to Atlanta? What do y'all think?

I haven't gotten any letters yet, so sorry if you've asked questions and I'm not answering them here! I think I'll be getting mail either tomorrow or Wednesday...we'll see what happens! :) But how are y'all doing? I miss you tons!!! Chris, are you getting excited for England? Less than a month away now! Have you talked to Joan at all? I wrote her a note in the MTC, I hope she got it! Were you able to upload the pictures to the blog? Sorry, so many questions! How are Grandma and Grandpa doing? I'm going to try to write each of them a note today. Tell them I love and miss them! And Carly's married!!!! I was thinking of her allll day on Saturday!!!

Y'all are in my thoughts and prayers all the time!!! I love and miss you soooo much!!! I love being a missionary, and I'm so happy to be here!!! 18 months seems like a long time, but I hope I don't waste a single minute of it!

Love y'all!!!

Sister Crowe

Rebecca's last e-mail from the MTC

Hello Everyone:

Rebecca just sent us this e-mail today from her last p-day in the MTC; apparently, she had some computer troubles that day...

(Hey y'all! Here's my last e-mail from the MTC; sorry it didn't get sent! The computer froze up on me...bummer! But now you get double the joy this week! :) Love you!!!)

Hi Mom, Dad, and Chris!!

Sooo we got our travel plans last week!!! I fly out on Tuesday, Sept. 7. I have to be at the Travel Office here at the MTC at 5am!!! My plane leaves from Salt Lake City at 8:25am and we get to Atlanta at 2:10pm; I'll be on Delta, 2391. I'm sooooo excited!!!

There's sooo much I want to tell you guys, I don't even know where to start! The MTC is still amazing--I love it here! I'm excited to get to Atlanta, but I'm definitely going to miss the MTC. There's such a special spirit here that you can't find anywhere else, and I looove my district. We're like a family, and we're all split up between three different missions. We're already talking about a district reunion when we finish our missions! I've actually had a cold this past week; it started coming on last Tuesday night, but I'm almost completely 100% better now, yay! The food is still great, too--maybe a little too good, though...I'm noticing a bit of a pooch in my tummy, and we heard last night that the average weight gain at the MTC over three weeks is 5 lbs. Woohoo! Oh, and they had shepherd's pie one day last week for lunch!!! It made me happy! It wasn't as good as yours, Dad, but it was still pretty tasty. Oh, and guess what? I played volleyball with my district on Saturday...haha!!! I totally wish I could see y'all's faces right now! :) It was actually a lot of fun, and I only got hit in the face with the ball one time, woohoo!! :) It was fine, though, and I was laughing a ton!

Oh, and I've gotten to venture out into the real world a couple of times!!! Sister Jones had an ingrown toenail she had to have taken care of, so we got to go on a couple of field trips yesterday and Saturday. We went to the BYU health clinic and the Rite Aid on Saturday, and we went to a podiatrist yesterday. The Rite Aid was crazy!!! It was so weird seeing a ton of people without name tags and talking on cell phones and stuff, and of course they were playing music in weird!!! It was also pretty funny, because I had to sit in the room with Sister Jones while the podiatrist worked on her toenail...I saw one drop of blood and that was enough for me, I stared out the window the rest of the time, haha! And I saw a Georgia license plate yesterday!!! I got sooo excited!!!

We have two new sisters in our room, Sister Anderson and Sister Bartholomew, both going to the Czech Republic. They are so fun and cute, and Sister Anderson (she's from Kaysville, UT) knows Sister Cottrell!!!

Oh my goodness, so every Tuesday night, we have a devotional. Guess who spoke last week??? Elder Holland!!!!! It was amazing!!! He talked about what a great experience the mission is, and he said it's not going to be easy, but we shouldn't expect it to be. Salvation wasn't cheap; the Savior went through so much for each of us, and as His disciples, we should be willing to go through our own personal Gethsemane. It really put things into perspective for me. And at the start of the devotional, we sang some prelude music. There were 2200 missionaries packed into the gym singing "Army of Helaman." Soooo amazing!!! I hope I never forget it! Oh, and there was a cello solo, "O Divine Redeemer." It was sooo beautiful! I don't know if it would be on YouTube, but y'all should try to look it up!

Sister Jones leaves for Colorado Springs on Monday...I'm sure going to miss her! I'll be in a tripanionship with Sister Marshall and Sister Vanderhooft for our last full day in the MTC, and then I'll be a "solo sister" until I meet my trainer in Atlanta.

Let's see, what else...oh, thank you so much for the letters! I love hearing about what y'all have been up to! Dad, I'm so glad you're feeling better!! And Mom!!! You have two callings!!! Greeter and Relief Society Committee!!! Yayyy, I'm so happy for you!!! Don't be nervous, you will do great!!! I remember I was so nervous when I was on the student council at the institute, and there were some days I felt like I couldn't do it, but...1 Nephi 3:7! Heavenly Father will provide a way! Don't get discouraged!

Please tell everyone back home that I love them and miss them, and thank you for the thoughts and prayers!!! It really means a lot! Give my love to Sweet Ponda and Lynn and Cindy Jane! I feel bad, there are so many people I want to write but I only have so much time on P-day...but I will try to send each of them a note real soon! Oh, and I've been taking pictures, too--I will start e-mailing some home when I get to Georgia!

I think that's about it for this week...I love y'all and miss you soooo much!!! I love it here at the MTC, and I'm excited to get to Georgia and apply everything that I've been learning! The gospel is true and Heavenly Father's love for us is real! Yay!

Love you!!!!!

Sister Crowe

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First E-mail From Your Sister Missionary!!!

Hello Everyone:

We received this e-mail from Rebecca this morning. I am sure many of you have been anxiously waiting to hear how things have been going for her at the MTC. She is doing great, as you will read. Enjoy!!

Hello family!!!

Okay, so I have 28 minutes...sorry for any mistakes and this e-mail might be pretty chaotic...just saying! And it's my first p-day in the MTC!!! I've survived my first full week here, woohoo!!!

It's been really great so far! I love it here!! The spirit is sooooo strong...seriously!!! Everyone here is just so excited about missionary work! And I haven't been too homesick, yayyy!!! I haven't cried at all! My appetite is better than it was; it was kinda hard the first few days, but I'm eating better. The food is so yummy!! Way better than school lunch food! :) Oh, and it's pretty cool, too, because you hear so many different languages here. I think those who are learning new languages have to go to speaking their new language completely after their first week here. I'm pretty thankful I'll be speaking English in Georgia!!

I looove my companion, Sister Jones! She is from Pleasant Grove, Utah, and she'll be serving in the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission (she'll probably see Elder Schmidt!!). She's super fun, and I am learning sooo much from her. She's like a scripture master, and she's helping me memorize more scriptures that I'll be able to use in my teaching. So far, I've memorized my purpose as a missionary, the First Vision, Moses 1:39, James 1:5, and I'm working on D&C 4. I'm going to try to memorize at least one new scripture every day on my mission, so we'll see how it goes! We share a room with two other sisters in our district, Sister Marshall from Glendale, AZ and Sister Vanderhooft from Salt Lake City; they're both going to Indiana. I love them both, we have so much fun together!

Our disctrict is amazing!!! There's 12 of us total, all staying stateside, going to either Colorado Springs, Indiana, or Atlanta. Elder James and Elder Fisher are going to Atlanta with me. Our district is already like a family, we have a lot of fun together and they all have really amazing insights. It's so great! I'm trying hard not to compare myself to them, though; they all know so much about the scriptures, and I feel like all I really have is my testimony. But I'm learning a lot here, and I'm really trying to learn as much as I can and make the most of these three weeks!

We're in class like eight hours a day, and we have about four more hours of studying each day. So my bum is not too happy with me right now...I wake up in the morning, and I'm sooo sore! But it's okay, I'm sure it's worth it! :) Time is sooo weird here, too...the days just kinda start to run together. Oh, and the weather! I've been thinking of y'all in's in the low 90s here, maybe high 80s, I don't know for sure...but whatever it is, it feels sooo nice! I almost need a sweater in the morning and at night, and this morning, I needed to wear a jacket on the way to the temple! It was pretty chilly!

Oooh, thank you sooo much for the letters!!! My district has labeled me the mail queen...I'm trying to stay humble. :) haha, but really, thank you so much!! I love hearing all about what you have been up to! Dad, did you have a nice birthday? I was thinking of you allll day on Sunday! I heard you were sick, though! Hope you're feeling better! Do you know what it was? I'm glad y'all got to go up to Prescott for the day and spend the day with Grandma! Hope you had a great day, I was thinking of her, too!!

I have a couple of requests...first, Mom, when you write on Dear Elder, would you mind putting the date when you start typing in the box? And would you be able to find some luggage tags to mail me before I leave the MTC? I think they would help in Atlanta, I had a bit of a time making sure I had the right suitcases when I got to Salt Lake. Thank you!! Also, please don't respond to this e-mail, I only have 30 mintues to read and write e-mails, and I'd rather use the time to write y'all! So you can use Dear Elder until I get to Atlanta, I might have more time to e-mail when I get there...we'll see! :)

Eek, only 5 minutes left!!! Well, I love y'all sooooo much, and I miss you lots, but I am doing good and I love being here!! I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now, and I couldn't be happier! I get so excited every time I look at my little black's amazing!!! I love being a missionary, and I'm so excited to share what I know to be true with the people in Atlanta!!!

Love y'all!!! Please give my love to everyone back home!!!

Sister Crowe

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Farewell Talk

This morning, I gave my farewell talk at my ward. My mom also got to speak and shared some of her feelings about her conversion and her testimony. We were both sooo super nervous! Mom hadn't spoken in front of a large group of people since she was in college, and I'd never given a talk in church before. But it went really well! Of course, I cried during Mom's talk and when some of the Primary girls and their teachers sang "A Child's Prayer" (it's my favorite Primary hymn)...

Thank you to everyone who came to support me today!!! It really means so much, whether you were there in person or in spirit! Thank you, thank you!!

I've posted my talk here if anyone would like to read it; I added a few things this morning as I was speaking, but it's mostly the same.

10 DAYS!!!!!

Good morning! For those of you who may not know me, my name is Rebecca Crowe, and I recently received my mission call to serve in the Georgia Atlanta Mission! I report to the MTC on the 18th, so in 10 days, and I'm so excited!

My mom's family is actually from Atlanta—her parents were born and raised there, her grandparents, great-great-great-great-grandparents...pretty much all the way back to the Civil War. I've been hearing stories my whole life about the South, especially Atlanta, and I thought I would share one of those stories with you today.

My grandma was 9 years old when the movie, "Gone with the Wind," came out. The premier was held in Atlanta, at the Leow's Grand Theatre. When the movie was released, it was a huge deal!! The governor declared a three-day state holiday; people were flying Confederate flags in front of their houses; there were costume balls and receptions; and a big parade was held on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, with all the stars from the movie. My great-grandfather, my grandma's dad, took her to see this parade, just the two of them. Her family was very, very poor, so I can imagine how special and exciting this must have been for my grandma. Well, as she's watching the parade, Clark Gable, who of course played the infamous Rhett Butler, is going by. He looks right at my grandma, and he gives her the biggest wink! I've always loved hearing this story, and I'm definitely going to be looking for Peachtree Street when I get to Atlanta.

President Spencer W. Kimball spoke of the South when he said, “Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir the man’s soul. This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people in the church than all other English-speaking missions in the world together….we will see the time when we will baptize hundreds and thousands, even tens of thousands. In your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be Temples plural in the Southern States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people.” I was already really excited about my mission call to serve in Georgia, and when I found this quote, that pretty much did it! I'm so excited and grateful that I get to be a part of the work that is taking place in the South.

My topic today is on the changing power of the gospel—so how living gospel principles can bring about change in all people.

In the scriptures, we find many stories of conversion, and some of these stories include miraculous events which led the person to be converted to the gospel. In the New Testament, we read of Saul, who persecuted the early Christians but then was baptized after he heard the voice of the Lord. And Enos, from the Book of Mormon, prayed all day and into the night, when he heard the voice of the Lord telling him that he was forgiven of his sins.

While we can certainly learn from these accounts, I think most of us may find it a little hard to relate to Paul or Enos or some of the others who had similar conversion experiences. In True to the Faith, we find that "angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion. Even Alma, who saw an angel, became converted only after he 'fasted and prayed many days' for a witness of the truth (Alma 5:46). And Paul...taught that 'no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost' (1 Corinthians 12:3)." In the Book of Mormon, we read about Nephi’s older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, who experienced heavenly visitations, and they were witnesses to the power of God working in their lives. But these miracles were not enough for their hearts to be converted, “because they knew not the dealings of that God who created them” (1 Nephi 2:12).

President Ezra Taft Benson reminded us, "For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment...."

He continues: “We must not lose hope. Hope is an anchor to the souls of men. Satan would have us cast away that anchor. In this way he can bring discouragement and surrender. But we must not lose hope. The Lord is pleased with every effort, even the tiny, daily ones in which we strive to be more like Him. Though we may see that we have far to go on the road to perfection, we must not give up hope.”

Another "anchor" that we have available to us is the first principle of the gospel: faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is more than just passive belief; it is striving to live righteously, in a way that matches with the principles we believe in. I've heard that faith is like a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it gets. But it grows weak if we don't do anything with it. We exercise faith every single day. When we turn the key in the ignition, we have faith that the car will start. When we sit on a chair, we have faith that it will hold us up. When we flick the light switch, we have faith that the lights will turn on. I have faith this morning that you can all hear me thanks to this microphone! But how do we exercise our faith in Christ? Nephi said, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7). If we have faith, we trust in Christ to help us find ways to keep His commandments, so that we, too, can say, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded."

In Section 8 of the Doctrine and Covenants, it says, "Remember that without faith you can do nothing" (D&C 8:10). But I’d like to change that to the positive and say, "With faith you can do anything." In the scriptures, we find examples of several people who exercised their faith in the Lord. A few weeks ago, my family and I went up to Prescott Valley to visit my grandparents. On the way home, it was raining with big, grey clouds on one side of us, and on the other side, the sun was still shining. As we were driving, we all noticed a double rainbow in the sky. It was definitely a beautiful sight. Every time I see a rainbow, I'm reminded of the faith of Noah. If he hadn’t exercised his faith and followed the Lord’s direction by building the arc, we would not have rainbows today. Also, let’s not forget the simple faith of a 14-year-old boy, which ushered in the Restoration of the gospel. If it wasn’t for him, we would not be sitting in this chapel today.

I have a personal example that I think illustrates how exercising our faith in Christ daily can change anyone's life. I'd like to share this with you today.

When my uncle was in high school, he got involved with a group of friends who introduced him to drugs and alcohol. At first, it was something he did just for the fun of it and because his friends were doing it. But eventually, he came to rely on these substances in order to get through each day. My uncle went through rehab a few times, but he would just go back to his old ways. It wasn't until he started attending a church and found his faith in Christ that he realized he didn't have to stay in this cycle. He isn't LDS, but he exercises his faith in Christ daily, and his faith is the most important part of his life. My mom has said that, if he hadn't found a church, he wouldn't be alive today. My uncle's faith in Christ helped him to see the better path, and it gave him the courage to change. He's doing really well now; in fact, he's working at a Christian rehab facility, where he is helping other people who are struggling with the same things he dealt with before.

One way we exercise our faith in Christ is through the second principle of the gospel: repentance. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that we are all in need of a Savior, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ is our Savior. And because of His Atonement, we have been given the opportunity to repent. "Though [our] sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

Repentance is more than recognizing when we have done something wrong; it is “to change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with [the] will [of Christ]” (Preach My Gospel 62). As our love for Christ and His gospel grows, we will want to be more like him and follow his teachings and commandments; and we will realize that, as children of God, we don’t need to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Repentance is not an easy process; it can be painful and it can be a long process. But it can lead us to feel forgiveness and lasting peace in our lives.

In a talk he wrote a few months before his passing, President James E. Faust recalled a story that was shared by Elder Marion D. Hanks. The story is of a man who repented and changed his life overnight.

"He had taken his son to the home of a family who was providing a place for him to stay while he participated in a baseball tournament. The young man seemed reluctant to go with his father to the home of his benefactor, and the father began to wonder if the people had mistreated his son. The boy half cowered behind his father as they knocked on the door. Once they were inside, however, his son was warmly greeted by the host family, and it was obvious he loved them very much.

"Later after picking up his son, the puzzled father asked him to explain his strange behavior. His son’s answer [was]:

"'I was afraid you might forget and swear in their house, Dad. They don’t swear at their house; they are really nice people. They talk nice to each other and laugh a lot, and they pray every time they eat and every morning and night, and they let me pray with them.'

"Said the father, 'It wasn’t so much that the boy was ashamed of his dad; he loved me so much that he didn’t want me to look bad.'

"This father, having resisted a generation of earnest people who had tried to help him find a better way of life, had been touched by the sweet spirit of his own young son."

President Faust added, "The power to change became so strong that this father not only returned to Church activity but became a stake leader."

Another way we can exercise our faith is through prayer. President Boyd K. Packer has said, "Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil." And our prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson, has testified that "He who notes the fall of a sparrow surely hears the pleadings of our hearts."

When I was a little girl, praying seemed to come naturally. I would lie in bed at night and just start a conversation with Heavenly Father. I would tell Him everything—about what had happened at school that day; about my hopes and dreams; and I would always finish by asking Him to give my grandma in heaven a hug and a kiss for me. But as I got older, I began to wonder if Anyone really was listening, or if I was just talking to the ceiling. And if Someone was up there listening, was He really interested in what I had to say? I thought that my prayers must not be good enough for Him, and I had trouble thinking of what to say.

I love the Bible Dictionary’s entry on prayer. It says, “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.” Around the time that I started meeting with the missionaries, I began to pray with faith again that my prayers were being heard. I believe that it is because of my prayers that I have felt closer to Heavenly Father than ever before. I have found myself once again having those long conversations with Him, just like I used to when I was a little girl. I know that He hears every single word, and He cares about what’s on my heart.

During the Priesthood Session of the April 2009 General Conference, President Monson shared a story of a woman and two missionaries who exercised their faith through prayer. I don't think it could be said in more perfect words, so I would like to share that story with you today.

"Sister Daisy Ogando lives in New York City, home to more than eight million people. Some years ago Sister Ogando met with the missionaries and was taught the gospel. Gradually, she and the missionaries lost contact. Time passed. Then, in 2007, the principles of the gospel she had been taught by the missionaries stirred within her heart.

"One day while getting into a taxi, Daisy saw the missionaries at a distance, but she was unable to make contact with them before they disappeared from view. She prayed fervently to our Heavenly Father and promised Him that if He would somehow direct the missionaries to her once again, she would open her door to them. She returned home that day with faith in her heart that God would hear and answer her prayer.

"In the meantime, two young missionaries who had been sincerely praying and working to find people to teach were one day examining the tracting records of missionaries who had previously served in their area. As they did so, they came across the name of Daisy Ogando. When they approached her apartment the very afternoon that Sister Ogando offered that simple but fervent prayer, she opened the door and said those words that are music to every missionary who has ever heard them: 'Elders, come in. I’ve been waiting for you!'

"Two fervent prayers were answered, contact was reestablished, missionary lessons were taught, and arrangements were made for Daisy and her son Eddy to be baptized." Daisy and the missionaries prayed in faith, and their prayers brought the blessings of the gospel to both Daisy and her son. I can only hope and pray that I will be able to have a situation as beautiful as that while serving in Georgia.

As I was preparing for this talk, I found myself thinking a lot about my own conversion experience. It is definitely something I treasure—even though my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel did not develop overnight, nor did I experience shining lights and voices from heaven. Alma taught that it is "by small and simple things [that] great things [are] brought to pass" (Alma 37:6). When I was learning about the Church, it was the seemingly "small and simple things" that I was striving to do each day, as well as the promptings of the still, small voice of the Spirit, which led me to find the truth (Alma 37:6).

As I was attending my Sunday meetings at the singles ward, and as I began to participate at the institute, I was making lots of wonderful friends. I saw how happy they were as they were living the gospel principles that I was learning about, and I found out that I could know that same happiness for myself. After my baptism, I have continued to do those “small and simple things” which were the building blocks for my testimony. And those “building blocks” have only grown stronger as I continue to live the gospel each day.

This past week, I've been trying to think of specific examples of how the gospel has changed my own life since I was baptized. To be honest, it was a little hard for me to see how I've changed personally over the last year and a half, just about, so I asked my family if they have seen any changes. These are some things they shared with me: "You don’t drink tea anymore. You run around the house singing hymns all the time. You don’t get cranky as often. You are less shy, and you reach out to people more instead of waiting for someone else to take the initiative. You are very devoted to your faith and the Church. You are happier.”

Last Sunday, I attended a special fast and testimony meeting at my old singles ward that I was in while I was going to ASU. I was actually baptized into that ward, so it definitely holds a very special place in my heart. Before the congregation was invited to share their testimonies, each member of the bishopric and their wives had the opportunity to speak and share their own testimonies. Sister Randall, the wife of the first counselor, shared a quote that her husband often says: "If you live the gospel, you will always have a bright future." I just love that so much, and it's true! When we choose to live the gospel, it doesn't mean that life will be easier. We will still have trials, but we know that those trials won’t last forever, and we don’t have to carry our burdens alone.

I know that if we live the gospel, we will have a bright future, and as Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, "[We will] come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:13-15).

Before I close, I'd just like to say how grateful I am to be a part of this ward. I haven't been here for too long—I was actually in the singles ward of this stake when my mom and I started coming here in December, and my records were transferred here in February. But since I've been in this ward, I've met so many wonderful people. I have to be honest, though, I was a little nervous about being in a family ward, since all I'd really known were singles wards. We call it a family ward because it's for families, but I feel like I really do have a family here. I love you all so much, and I’m really going to miss seeing you all, but I hope we can keep in touch and I’m sure Mom will keep you updated, as well.

I am also so grateful for missionary work. I know that without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I definitely wouldn’t be getting ready to serve a mission myself. Something kind of special…one of the missionaries who taught me up to my baptism is going home this week, so his mission is ending right when mine is beginning. And he’s actually beating me to Atlanta (he has a layover there)!

I’m also so grateful for my family. They’ve been so supportive with everything, first my baptism and now as I’ve been preparing for my mission. We’re really super close, and this will actually be my first time living away from home. I know it’s going to be hard, but I know that we’ll be watched over. I just love them so much!!

And I’d like to share my testimony that I know that Heavenly Father loves us, and He knows us even better than we know ourselves. Over the last few weeks, as I’ve been getting ready to leave on my mission, I have been feeling kind of inadequate, and I’ve been wondering if I have what it takes to be a good missionary. But I know that Heavenly Father knows what I’m capable of, and I know that “in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.” I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior; I’m grateful for His Atonement, and for his example, and I know that He has made it possible for us to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I know that President Monson is our living prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and if you read it and pray about it with an open heart, it can change your life, as it did mine. I just love this gospel so much, and I’m so grateful to have it in my life. I can’t wait to share what I know to be true with the people in the Peach State, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Strength Beyond My Own

At 1:30 this afternoon, I walked through the doors I've been aiming for ever since my baptism. It was such a sweet, tender experience, and I hold the feelings I've felt today very close to my heart.

I love to see the temple.
I'm going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I'll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Very Important Dates

This is more for me than for y'all...

March 7: I have my first meeting/interview with Bishop Soelberg and start working on my mission papers!!!
March 23 to May 21: Doctors appointments...
May 22: Finally able to click the "submit" button and my papers are on their way to Bishop, woohoo!!
June 2 (my 21st birthday!!): A great interview with Bishop.
June 14: A great interview with President Wright.
June 15: The papers are sent off to Salt Lake City!!!

July 9, approx. 1:30pm: The mission call has arrived!!!!!
July 9, approx. 5:15pm: "You are assigned to labor in the Georgia Atlanta Mission." I thought I was seeing things, and Mom thought she was hearing things...

21 DAYS!!!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I hoped...

...and they called!!!

On July 9, 2010, I received my mission call to serve as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!!! I will be serving and sharing the joy of the gospel with the wonderful people in the Georgia Atlanta Mission!!!!! I am super excited!!! I report to the Provo MTC on August 18...exactly one month from today!!! Holy gravy, the day is going to be here before we know it!

My family will be keeping up this blog while I'm serving in the Peach State. They'll be posting my weekly e-mails and any pictures I send them. Feel free to follow along with my missionary adventures Down South!