Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 1, 2013

Hola familia!
Thanks for your emails! Dad thanks for sharing that with me, it really motivated me to be better and to give it all. And Mom I still haven't gotten the packages because our zone conference got moved but I'm banking on this wednesday to get them finally haha. In regards to the heat in Arizona, its the same here. I heard that in some parts of our mission its been like 120 degrees sooo I'm kinda anxious to see what happens with the transfers this next week to see if I'm going to be roasted alive or not.

This week we officially became missionaries of both wards (altos y palmeras). Before we were just missionaries of altos and were helping out in palmeras so our leaders got after us when we were only baptizing in palmeras because I guess they thought we weren't focusing in our assigned ward. But now we are missionaries for both so I'm excited to be able to work where we have work and to not get grief about it haha. Also we have started to work with the members more and have them a little bit more excited to share the gospel so we are excited to get some more references from them.

This last week we got a phone call from some other elders and they said that they were with somebody who lives in our area who wanted to be baptized. I talked with him and we put an appointment. So we went to visit him and he (Jose) is seriously super awesome. Like the first lesson he kept saying how he wanted to be baptized and the spirit was super strong. When he said the closing pray he said how he just wants to be used in the church to help everyone and when the temple is here that he wants to work in it and it was just super awesome. But the thing about him that really has me thinking is that he has known the church for a long time and like all of his family are members of the church but he is just now accepting the invitation. It's really made me realize that not every investigator that doesn't end in a baptism is not a failure, that also maybe the Lord only needs a seed to be planted. 

This last week for p-day we went to a place here in Tijuana called Cecut, which is alike a musuem/aquarium place. So the musuem was pretty sweet cause it was like a bunch of history about here in Baja so it was cool to learn about all of it. And it was all in english and spanish so it was pretty easy to understand ;) But we also watched an IMAX about Arabia and it was really funny cause it showed video of all of the muslims circling the rock dealeo, and afterwards Elder Alfaro (one of our zone leaders) was like "okay guys I need you all to go home and pray about if our church is true again cause that was just really cool and I just want to be sure". It was really funny :)

This next week I'm really excited for all the things that we have. We are going to have a zone conference and a baptism so I'm pumped for those. Also I think we are going to do exchanges with our zone leaders so I'm excited to see how they work and to see all the things that I can learn from them. I'm running out of time so sorry that this letter isn't super good but thanks for all that you do and for who you are! Share the gospel and don't be afraid to invite people to meet the missionaries! 

con amor,
Elder Crockett
Elder Crockett

June 25, 2013

Hola familia!
In response to your questions mom, our zone conference was going to be this next Friday but it got changed so its Wednesday of next week. So I still haven't gotten the boots of the package, but I'm hoping I will get them this next week. Yeah if you could forward me ben's letters and kylie's that would be great. What did you send me in the last package? I need stamps but other than that not anything I can think of right now, thanks!
I had been excited to get the boots cause my shoes were starting to wear out (as you can see by the picture attached). We went to go contact people in the "sobres" (pretty much a whole suburb full of garage sale type dealeos in the street" and I was just looking at shoes for the heck of it, not really planning on buying anything but the first little shop that we looked at, I found a pair of Ecco's that fit me perfectly so that was really cool and was really cool to see that God is looking out for me. So I left with a $120 pair of shoes that are slightly used and just super bomb for only $12 bucks. Pretty sweet deal :)
On Sunday we went to watch the missionary broadcast and like you guys said, wow it was really really good. My favorite part was during the first hymn with the video of the whole family working together to share the gospel and really just to serve others as Christ would. It really made me think of all of you at home and the ways that I know you are sharing the gospel little by little, serving others and helping them feel the love of Christ everyday. It was really powerful to see a family united in helping others, and I know that its the way that God wants us to do the work: together as families.  It really made me happy to read your letter mom as you are just constantly thinking of ways to share the gospel and are excited to have opportunities to do so. Thanks for your example :)
In regards to the announcement about starting to use technology, we got an email today that said this: “We know that every missionary, and almost every mission president, will want to be part of this as soon as possible. However, it will begin in phases and only in designated missions for the rest of this year. We anticipate that where safe to do so, these tools will be available to missionaries throughout the world sometime next year. Further details, guidelines, and information about missionary use of the Internet and digital devices will be forthcoming.” So maybe I will get to see a part of it but really I don't want to cause its just more things to worry about and more opportunities to get unfocused.
Things this last week were good. We have a baptism this Thursday for Patricio, and we have made sure that he hasn't killed anyone hahaha. This family that he lives with kept telling us that he had told them a while back that he killed like 8 people when he was younger and doing bad stuff but yesterday we taught the 10 commandments and asked him and he said "no he matado nunca" soo I'm believing him and we are excited for him to be interviewed tomorrow to be ready for Thursday.
This week has been good and I've realized some of the things that I need to work on personally. I was reading the talks from conference and one said something like "the mission is to prepare yourself for the great things that the Lord has in store in the rest of your life." So I decided I would study and pray to figure out the attributes and character that I need to develop here in the mission to be able to be the person God needs me to be. So I was studying and got the answer that I shouldn't worry about stuff like that right now and that I should just work harder and forget myself in the work. So it was kinda cool to get an answer like that and I know that I can always put more into the work and that I really need to forget myself and just go to work.
I'm out of time though so I hope you all have a good week! Pray for opportunities to share the gospel and act on every little positive thought that comes to mind!
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 10, 2013

Buenas tardes!
In response to all of your questions... My companion hasn't said anything about his legs this week so better. We haven't been able to find the man who is an alcoholic and the last time we went to his house his niece came out and was all checkin us out and trying to flirt so that was interesting haha. My legs and back are fine, with the excercising in the morning I do push ups and abs and streches so that my back doesn't hurt. My favorite color of tie hmmmm blue. And the weirdest thing I've eaten: one time we ate tacos from a stand and then like a month later we heard from a member that this stand makes their tacos with dog meat so I've eaten dog and it was really good hahahah :) I haven't gotten the package with shoes or from home and I have to wait to the next zone conference at the end of this month to get them. What did you all send in the package from home? Cause I need stamps and such but I'm not sure what you have sent so I don't know what to tell you that I need. But one question for dad - can you ask John Moore where they bought all those mission coins? Like what company? My bishop here saw mine the other day and wants to know where he bought them to check it out.
Well this last week was better but still not super super good. I just need to focus on working harder and being more bold and confident. This next sunday both of us are going to speak in church and I'm excited to prepare my talk through out this week to hopefully be able to say the things that I need to say to help the members.
Yesterday we had stake conference here and it was really good. We had the session of priesthood in the morning and then the general session. Our mission president and his wife came to speak and also the temple president of San Diego came with his wife to speak. The temple president could speak spanish so he gave his talk himself. His wife doesn't speak spanish but it was fun cause she had written her talk in english and then I'm guessing her husband translated it so she read off her talk in spanish. Both of them spoke about the temple of course and it was really good. I'm realizing that while I was at BYU I really took having the temple so close for granted cause now I really miss not being able to go to the temple. We ate lunch with the family of the second counselor in the stake presidency on friday and he is an architect and has been doing some work with the building plans of the temple. He showed us this little video he has on his laptop of all the layers of the temple coming together and it was really cool. He said that it should be done in 2 years from now soo maybe I'm thinking family trip summer 2015? ;) I have also heard that the famous "Hotel California" that the song is from is somewhere in Baja California so there is another fun fact haha.
With the discourso that I'm preparing the give next sunday in church, the bishop didn't give us a topic so I've been thinking about the things that I can talk about. I was planning on talking about covenants and our dutys to God as members of the church. And yesterday in stake conference a the stake president gave a really good talk about covenants. It was really good as he talked about how our covenants aren't between us and the ward, or us and the stake, but only between us and the Lord, and how its not like we need to prove ourselves to the ward but rather we need to be doing the things personally between us and the Lord to complete with the promises we have made. He mentioned a quote from Elder Ballard about how often we think that covenants should be convenient, and it really made me think of how sometimes I justify things simply cause they are convenient. And then I remember how dad one time when we were talking said that whenever we make a justification we are in the wrong and need to change and yeah I'm just grateful for my parents everyday. :)
One thing that Presidente Carreon talked about yesterday in stake conference was the need to invite out friends and family to listen to the gospel. Its great to share it and we should do that but also there needs to be action and progress and that's what the missionaries are for. He said "And what's going to happen if you ask your friend to come over and talk with the missionaries and they say no? Nothing, absolutely nothing, everything will be normal and simply you are trying to share the happiness that you have from the gospel, your friendship won't change." Okay he didn't say that exactly cause it was in spanish but it was really good cause I know I thought that if I invited a friend to listen to the missionaries that it would be a disaster if they said no and all that. So I'm super happy to hear about all these missionary experiences but also don't be afraid to invite a friend over when the missionaries are there. Have courage and follow the spirit. Benjamin and Jacqueline, first pray alot, and then act on every single thought you have. One thing that has really helped me be able to follow the spirit is something that Elder Bednar said - "that if we are being good boys and good girls, we don't need to recognize the promptings of the spirit to follow them. If we are being obedient and doing the things we should be doing, our thoughts will be guided by the spirit and we can know that we can follow them." There is a really cool story he tells about when he was a missionary in germany giving an apostle a ride to the train station, but I don't want to tell it bad and I'm out of time so search for it. :)
Happy birthday Jacqueline, I'm startled everytime I realize how old you are cause then I realize how old I'm getting haha. Thanks for your example :)
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

June 3, 2013

Hola familia! 
In response to your questions, Mom no I don't have a copy right now of the conference talks. If you could send me one in english that would be awesome. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get one in spanish but if you could send me one in english that would be great. Dad I'm sure the boots have arrived but they go to the office so I only get packages when I have a zone conference, which isn't until the 28th of this month sooo I'll let you know in 3 some weeks. And Mom about the journal, I've written every day since I started the mission so I'm hoping to continue to do that :)
To be honest, this past week wasn't the very best that I've had so far. Elder Rodriguez has had this problem with his legs through his mission where they hurt really bad for a couple days and then nothing for a couple months. So early last week he was complaining a lot about his leg so we got a ride to the doctor that the mission uses and went with him and all. (I was convinced that they are just shin splints or something) So this doctor gives him some injections and other medications to take without really looking at him very well and is just like yeah come back in a week. Elder Rodriguez has never really taken medicine before and was acting like I was offering drugs when I offered him ibeprofin haha. But so I learned how to do injections to give him them but then the next day he started trippin out cause he could sleep and his heart was going all fast and then he had the hiccups for 2 days straight. In the end, we ended up going with every member in our wards who are doctors and turns out he has just been eating too much chilli with everything and his stomach was over irritated by the medications and his legs hurt because we walk all day everyday. But all of it is resolved now and I'm hoping that we are going to have a really good week ahead of us this week. :)
But also this week I learned some things/realized some things that I need to work on so that's good too. One day we were going to eat with a family and they called us to tell us that they were going to be late so we went to visit a near by family in the ward. Hermano Jones (he's from Utah) always is really blunt with us and its awesome cause we get to learn more about what we can do better in the ward from somebody who tells us how it is. So we were talking about stuff and he asked us if we thought that everyone is going to be judged equally in the day of judgement and then followed up with if we thought that all missionaries are going to be judged in the same way. I answered without really thinking that no we are going to be judged according with the blessings that we have recieved, because with greater light comes greater condemnation and all that jazz. We didn't really talk much more about it with him but afterwards I was really thinking about it and realized that I not only need to work my hardest everyday with everything because I should be a good missionary, but because I have been blessed so much and have the responsibility to be the best missionary I can be. I'm not sure if the explanation I've written conveys the thinking that I did about this, but all in all I realized that I need to step it up and I shouldn't ever be content with the missionary I am. One thing that one of the teachers in the MTC told me once that I really liked is that we should be happy about how much we have grown, but we shouldn't settle and be content with where we are. Something like that.
Even though that this last week wasn't all that good and was kind of hard cause all of our investigators that were really progressing are having problems and more problems, it is still so awesome to me that at the end of the day I can always look back and see where the Lord worked a miracle in our lives that day. For example, yesterday we were walking to visit a family cause our appointment with an investigator fell through, and this clean cut looking man that was walking the other direction in the street stopped us and was like "hey I have a big problem, I'm an alcoholic big time and when you guys walked past me something in my head said to ask you for help so I don't really know why I'm talking to you but I am just desperate for help." It was really cool to be able to see how the Lord has a plan for us in everything and that when appointments fall through, we still are in the right place at the right time to help somebody. We are going to teach this man tonight so I'm excited to see how we can help him and to see the Lord work in his life.
I'm out of time but thanks for the updates and the emails! Everyday I realize time and time again how blessed I am to have the family I have.
Elder Crockett

May 27, 2013

Buenos dias familia!
In response to mom's questions - With the spanish, of course there are still a TON of words that I don't understand, but I can understand what people are saying the majority of the time and I feel comfortable listening to people speak in spanish and I can understand what is being said without effort.. not sure if that answers your question or not. :) And Sara got engaged?? What the heck?? With who?? The baptism on saturday went great! Attached is a picture of everyone who was involved in the baptism on Saturday. If you could make sure to include like 30 or 40 US stamps in that package that would be great.
Its so fun to here about all of the stuff going on at home, but its crazy at the same time because I don't feel like I have been gone long enough for all of you to be finishing up school and moving on to the summer stuff. Maybe because here it always feels like summer outside :)
Well today starts a new transfer so I'm officially no longer training. I have a new district leader and a new zone leader that are both americans but I don't know either of them yet but I'm excited to met them tomorrow in our junta de distrito. Elder Rodriguez and I are here together for most likely 6 weeks more and then I'm probably going to be transfered. Things here in our area are going really well, we are working really hard and have some really good investigators that are progressing. With Elder Rodriguez we are working really hard and walking really fast so I'm alot more tired at the end of the days and I think I'm losing a little weight too haha.
This baptism that we had last Saturday was really really cool for a couple reasons. The other man that was getting baptized was an investigator of our zone leaders and the Hermano baptized him was baptized at the same time that we had a baptism like 2 months ago so its really cool to see him progressing and growing in the gospel. Also, our investigadora Milka, was just so happy. She has epilepsy and the missionaries had taught her on and off for several years and she never wanted to get baptized because she was afraid that she was going to have a seizure when she was baptized. So we taught her and gave her a blessing a few weeks ago with one of the counselors of the bishopric and she has just been improving healthwise since. Its been so cool to go over to their house to teach and to see her so much better and to see her excited to learn more. I was asked to conduct the music during the baptismal service and it was such a cool experience to see her and her husband so happy after she was baptized as we were singing some hymns waiting for the other people to finish changing. Super cool experience.
Last week our lesson dealeo in our district meeting was about listening to people and listening to the Spirit to know their needs and how/what we need to teach them. So this past week I had been really focusing as we are talking with people to really look for the ways that the gospel can bless their lives and what things they need to hear. It was really cool to be able to see the difference and to be able to listen to the Spirit to know what questions to ask them to get them to really open up. We were contacting this man, David, and it was just super cool as we were talking with him to be able to get him to go from a gruff guy who didn't seem like he wanted anything from us to crying as he shared experiences with us. (He really speaks in spanglish, and its just really confusing for my companion but I really don't notice that he changes back and forth between english and spanish but its pretty funny).
I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be out here in Tijuana sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with these people. Before I never really understood how everyone was like "oh the mission is the best two years" because sometimes the 2 years part seeming super long makes one focus in the time being spent, but it really is such an awesome experience and I'm so happy to be out here.
Thanks for all that you do and the examples that you are for me.
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 20, 2013

Hola familia!
In response to Mom - um you can send the homemade treats if you want to, but they will probably be stale. So its up to you - I'll eat them either way :) Thanks for all of the updates on home and family, and I want to you to know that you are all in my prayers each and every day.
This week has been really crazy busy but fun at the same time. So we had special transfers last Monday, and now my companion is Elder Rodriguez. He has 18 months in the mission and is really fun. Talking with him, its clear that with some other companions that he hasn't been exactly the most obedient, but we are doing really good and are really trying to be obedient with exactness so that we can see milagros in our lives. Since he didn't know any of the members or investigators when he got here, I really had to step up and do most of the talking and such so it was fun to be able to push myself to really put myself out there with the Spanish and to see that I am able to do it. Also, Elder Rodriguez is a lot more bold with the members and the investigators and I love it. Lots of the members have been surprised when we don't take "oh well no all my friends are catholic and aren't really interested to know more" as an answer for if they know anybody that we can teach. So its fun as we are working with the members to teach people and its really cool to see the members get excited when they help us teach instead of simply sitting in on a lesson with an investigator.
This next Saturday we have the baptism of a women named Milka. She has epilepsy and is married to a man who was baptized like 4 years ago. So before she didn't get baptized cause she has the fear that when she is in the water to be baptized that she will have an epileptic attack. But we had a really good lesson and she accepted a baptismal date for this Saturday so we are really excited for her to be baptized. In their house like the only picture they have is of the San Diego temple so we have been really focusing in families and how they can be forever if we follow the commandments that God has given us. Also yesterday we starting teaching their daughter who is 14 so we are really excited to teach them.
In our wards we are finally starting to see some members excited about sharing the gospel. In Saturday we had an appointment fall through so we went to talk to a member who sells sports jerseys in the sobre's (the whole flee market type dealeo in the streets) and he was all like oh come with me right now, and we went to one of his friend's house that lived like a block away and presented us with his friend. So we are going to start teaching him this week, and also this same Hermano brought a different friend to church yesterday so we were super excited for that.
This morning I finished reading Jesus the Christ and it was so so awesome. I strongly encourage Benjamin and Jacqueline to read it cause its super awesome and it really changed my perspective on who our Savior is and all of the things that He has done for us.
I'm out of time to write more, but I'm so grateful for each and every one of you and hope you are all doing awesome!!
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

May 6, 2013

Hola Familia!
Primero, I am planning on calling you at 6 pm here so 9 pm your time via skype. But, the family that we are going to use their computer, I'm not sure how fast their internet is soooo it might not work super well. But they have a cell phone that has minutes in the US so if it doesn't work I can just call. I have 40 minutes to talk so be thinking of questions you want to ask :) Also, if you could email me info for a skype account that I can log on a use, cause I don't remember my info, that would be awesome. Or if you want to set up a googletalk thing that would work too. Just send me a brief email that I can read quick and figure out what the plan is before I try to call you via skype or something. I'm super pumped to talk with you all, but please don't make fun of me if I talk english really slow cause I have to think hard to say everything right. Hahaha there are lots of times that the things that run through my head in english/spanish combined make me smile as we are walking around during the day. :)
And with the money, the mission has asked us to have a stash of cash for emergencies and such so I've pulled out some to have a stash of pesos. And my companion has wayy more money then me, He is the youngest by like 20 years and it is well pretty obvious in lots of things, money and packages being one of them. :)
Thanks for those notes and such from Stake Conference, I'm going to be thinking about that for a good while now. Its sure something that we all need to work on, if we are going to be really converted to Jesus Christ. Thats so awesome about Prom and all, I hope you had fun Benjamin. Prom at Brownsburg was like Zion compared to the Sodom that Prom at Osseo and PC was hahahaha.
This week was really good, and as we have really good weeks they are also alot harder at the same time. This week, as you can see by the pictures, we had two baptisms, Maura and Jasmine. On thursday they were baptized and it was really cool because alot of the ward showed up so we were super grateful for the support. Elder Vargas and I sang a musical number and now our baptism that we have this next Saturday with Byanca, also we are going to sing because she came to the baptism this thursday and now wants us to sing also at hers so we are excited to practice a primary song to sing. One thing we were focusing on with our goals this last week was our number of lessons with member present, and we almost got our goal of 15. We had 14, and we had the number of lessons con investigators to achieve the "Standard of Excellence" so we were really pumped.
As we have more lessons and are teaching more people, its a lot more fun because as we are talking with so many people and as we are helping people learn how they can come unto Christ I can really feel His love for me and for them personally, because the more I serve, the more I grow to love them. One thing that I've been able to see this week is that as we are working harder and harder for Christ, Satan is going to work harder and harder against us. With the smallest things I was getting so annoyed with my companion and was just almost mad for really no reason. I finally realized that it wasn't well normal and that I needed to pray to get over it. It was really cool because I know that Heavenly Father isn't going to give us the things we need without effort on our part, so I prayed to be able to change my attitude about it all and to overcome the temptation to be annoyed, and even though it took time, I was able to do it. Also, when we are able to recognize the temptations and stumbling blocks that Satan puts in our way, we can rely on Christ to be able to avoid them or overcome them.
Every time that I meet new people and talk with them about their lives, I am humbled more and more and realize the need I have to work as I hard as I possibly can because I have been blessed so much. As we were teaching Maura and Jasmine about families and that they can be together forever, I felt the Spirit so strongly and really realized how blessed I am to have been born in a family that is sealed together for ever and ever. Its something that I never really had thought about before but it is such a great blessing. The family is such an awesome blessing that Heavenly Father has given us and we really need to treasure all the time we have with them. So sorry for always wanting to hang out with friends when I could've stayed home and hung out with family. The whole mission thing is making me have a different perspective on things and for that I am so grateful.
Sorry that my letters are getting shorter every week, we run out of time to email when we have to scan papers and send them to the offices.
I'm excited to be able to talk with you all this next weekend!! Thanks for your examples and all that you do.
Elder Crockett

May 13, 2013

Hola Familia!
First off, this letter isn't going to be as long as the others have been because we talked yesterday and also we found out earlier today that we have special transfers so my companion has to get back and pack all his stuff cause he is going to Ensenada and I'm getting a new companion tonight. So thats should be really fun. :)
Benjamin, with that music, please put all the stuff that madrigals has sang last year and this year, that Stone Rose cd, and if there is extra space like the LOTRs stuff or something cool. Also, please email me seperate cause I don't know your email but I want to talk to you about some stuff not in the main stream letter that gets forwarded to the whole family. Don't worry Mom, I don't want to talk about anything sketchy :)
Also Mom, if you get a friend request or message from somebody named Gabby Jones or Gabriella Jones or something like that on FB, accept it. I sang a special musical number with the primary for mothers day and she filmed one of the practices so that you can see it too. Its in spanish so you might not understand the words, but you can read them in the english primary songs book :)
This last week we had the baptism of Byanca, and it was really really cool. The spirit was so strong and then on Sunday, she had such a different light about her after she was confirmed and she was just shining with happiness. It was really cool to be a part of bringing that kind of happiness into someone else's life.
It was so good to talk to you all yesterday, and 40 minutes seemed so short, but as I was talking with other missionaries who didn't follow the 40 minutes rule, I was glad that I did follow it. Because they were all super homesick and I really wasn't. Not that I don't miss all of you a ton, but I am so busy with the work and the people that I rarely have time to worry about stuff back at home. Thanks so much for all of your support and I hope you all know that I love you all so much.
I'm out of time cause my companion needs to pack, but thanks for all that you do!
Elder Crockett

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April 29, 2013

Hola Familia!
First off Dad it was fun to get some spanish from you but Daniel la verdad es que no pude entender casi todo de su espanol porque no creo que googletranslate sabe como hablar espanol bien. ;) I finally got mail this last week and I also got your package so thanks! The backpack straps were not those caribeeners, but I´m sure I will find a use for them haha. The straps are the grey waist strap that is removable from my backpack. I´m sure they are in my closet somewhere but maybe they are in a box or something. In the next thing that you send, if you could send like 30 US stamps that would be awesome. I´m not planning on writing a bunch of letters, but it is easier to just write them with an US stamp and give them to somebody who works in the US to put in a post box. Mom I can print them off but I have to pay to do it.
That´s really fun to hear about choir and everything! Take advantage of every opportunity that you have at brownsburg in choir because after it is all over you are going to have random relapses of depression because you will miss singing songs that madrigals sing. Even at BYU the choirs were different, so treasure it all you can at brownsburg. In response to your question Benjamin about exact obedience, it depends. I think that before a mission there aren´t a whole ton of rules so its harder to measure your obedience. In the MTC it was really easy to be exactly obedient and I could see immediately the blessings of being exactly obedient. Here in the mission field, it is harder. Because you have a companion and very rarely will anybody know if you break a rule or if you don´t follow something exactly the way you should. And also its harder to recognize the blessings of it immediately like in the MTC where there really wasn´t much to distract but here in the mission field there is always a lot going on so if I don´t look for the blessings of being exactly obedient and if I´m not striving to be exactly obedient then it is hard to see it. But I know that when we are exactly obedient we can not only recieve a TON of blessings but also somehow we can understand all of the things that we need to do better and the temptations of the adversary are easier to recognize and avoid.
This week here in Tijuana has been good but really busy. We have a baptism with Maura and Jasmine this thursday so we are really excited for that. We have been contacting alot in the street and have been meeting a lot of people that we are excited to start to teach. On saturday, we had a goal to get a certain number of new investigators and we needed two more before lunch to reach our goal. So we prayed specifically for it and right down the street we talked with a guy who we have passed like 5 times everyday who details and restores cars for a living. Gilberto is super awesome and reads the bible and prays with his wife and son everyday but never has liked the idea of churches because he feels like the majority of people at church just listen and agree and he doesn´t think that its right that the people teaching just take their take on the bible and preach it. It was really cool to talk about his beliefs and he told us how much he admired us because we did this everyday all day for 2 years. He said that out of all the churches, the testigos de Jehova and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints had always been different in his eyes because both of them have people walking around sharing the word, and he figures that if we are spending are time trying to share the gospel its because we really have a love for people. I had never really thought of it like that but now I´m really praying and trying to have more love for people.
We got a new zone leader, Elder Holm, and he is awesome. He´s a farm boy from the middle of nowhere Utah and is just a hard worker and has really been pushing our zone to be better and its working. We had a zone conference last week and he showed us a video that his older brother had made and sent him and my goodness it was sweet. It had some clips of general conference talks and such and then had pictures and words talking about all the missionaries in the scriptures, like how Paul baptized 8,000 in one day and others, and how asked questions like what is the difference between them and us? It was really cool to think of the potential that we have as missionaries to be able to work as hard as we can to bring the gospel to everyone. There is a quote in Preach my gospel that talks about how as missionaries and members of the church, we need to share the gospel not to bring up the numbers in our church or not to have more baptisms on record, but to open the doors of the Kingdom of God to His children, and that there is no one else in the world that can do that except us. So we are super excited to work harder and try to get our wards to start helping us out to be able to help allow more people to get back to our Heavenly Father.
Today we had to go to the mission office to go to the border to sign some stuff for visas. All of the elders from my MTC district were there and we got to talk and be together for a good couple hours so it was really really fun to catch up and trade stories about the mission so far.
On Saturday there was a young womens program in the stake that was called Obra de Amor and it was to start up a dealeo where all the leaders and youth are going to contact all the less actives girls and at the same time try to get references for the missionaries. So all the missionaries in our zone were there and President Carreon spoke and it was really fun to hear his side of the missionary work and his view of all the stuff we do. We also sang a special musical number called Te Hallaré mi querido Amigo. It is super sweet and I´m pretty sure there is a version in english. It talks about how before we came to this earth that we were blessed with the opportunity to recieve the gospel, and that we had friends before that we need to be looking for now to help them find the gospel. The spirit was super super strong and I know that each and every one of us have people in our lives that are just waiting to be invited to hear the gospel and that we have the responsibility and obligation to do so.
I´m so grateful for every one of you! Also I´m excited to skype in less than 2 weeks. :)
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 22, 2013

Hola Familia!
I was pleasently surprised to open my email and have emails from other friends and family, it was fun to see some pictures from Sage and Hannah and just really fun to hear from Grandpa and Mom and Dad and Daniel. So thanks for all of you letters everyweek :) About my email, if you want to put it out on fb or the blog, go for it. I'm not guarenteeing that I can reply to everyones emails because I only have an hour online and I have to write a letter to President in spanish so my time is precious. Dad about the boots, yes if you send them to the address in San Ysdrio I will recieve them. It takes a while for me to get letters and packages because I only get them when we have zone conferences, but if you send them to that address I'm pretty much guarenteed to get them without anything being stolen. So I haven't gotten the other package yet but we have another conference this friday so I'm expecting to get it then. I haven't gotten any letters yet, but from what people have said to me in emails this week I'm guessing I should be getting several at the same time this week. I am constantly thinking of little things that I would like from home, so I'm going to tell you them but don't feel like you need to send a package with stuff just to do it. I can survive with things I can buy here, I just like some things from home better enough to ask for them :) (Deoterant - the same kind that dad uses and that I used at home, they don't sell it here. Razor blades - Gillete fusion, I just don't want to have to go through the trouble of finding them here haha).
This past week was really hard at first but then really really good. So we just haven't been having very much success with investigators or members or anybody so I was getting frustrated cause I felt like we have been doing something wrong. During weekly planning on Thursday, me and Elder Vargas had a really open talk and both expressed what we had been feeling the whole past transfer and he expressed some things that I hadn't realized and we are just on really good terms now and our lessons since then have been super good and we have been able to have the spirit more in our companionship. He expressed that he had been feeling bad because he knew that I have a big desire to do missionary work but we aren't allowed to knock doors so we are stuck if the members don't help us because other than catching people outside of their houses we don't have any way of getting new investigators other then through the miembros. We set a bunch of personal goals and companionship goals so we are excited to work on those during this translado.
I forgot to mention this like a month ago but I FINALLY CAN ROLL MY Rs!!! Like 3 weeks ago during language study I was trying yet again and I did it out of nowhere. I freaked out. :) Its really cool to me that even though its not a big deal at all, our Father in Heaven knows us and helps us out with little things like that just so we can feel His love for us, no reason more. Its been really fun to learn this language. I feel comfortable sitting and listening to someone speak spanish and I feel comfortable speaking in spanish, but my language abilities in both english and spanish are such that if I'm not paying attention at all then I don't understand anything. When before I could be thinking about something else when somebody is speaking in english and I could still understand. So its probably a good thing that I need to be more focused. But I'm learning more and more words everyday and am a little bit frustrated that nobody can explain to me certain aspects of the grammer, but I know that I just need to be patient and that with time and with the help of the Lord I will be able to understand them. ALSO, this week I started dreaming in spanish kind of. I have dreams where I'm with you guys and I'll go to say something and it will come out in spanish and I can't remember how to say what I want to say in english. So when we talk on mothers day don't make fun of me if my english is awkward. :)
Jacqueline the other day we were walking to the chapel to meet an investigadora there to teach and lesson and this tortillaria (a store that simply makes and sells tortillas) was blasting 22 by Taylor Swift. It made me smile and think of you :) Its been really fun to be here in Tijuana, where somedays I feel like I am in a completely different world and other days I feel like I am in the US. For example, the other day we were walking in the street and somebody in their house was blasting A Day To Remember and I was like hey I listened to that music! Also there will be times when we are walking through the streets and random people will yell stuff at me in english. Like a couple days ago some older gentleman was sure that we knew each other and was saying that he knew me and all and I was just really confused. But its fun to have people be like I can speak english and just want to practice their english with me, even though I can usually understand them better in spanish. :)
This week we met with our new mission leader in los altos and I'm super pumped to get things rolling with this ward. He is super excited to motivate all the different organizations and we are equally excited. We are meeting with our consejo del barrio this tuesday to put together our ward mission plan so things should get working here soon and we are super excited to see the results and the changes in the members of the ward as well as having more investigators. With our investigators right now - Byanca is still awesome and has a date to be baptized 11 Mayo and is continuing to already know everything we are teaching and asks crazy questions that we can't answer about dinosaurs and homosexuality and just stuff that I can't really wrap my mind around in english or spanish. Samuel has a baptismal date for 11 Mayo and needs to get married first. He didn't show up to church yesterday and didn't answer our calls or texts so we are going to stop by his house soon to see whats up. Maura y Jasmine - they came to church yesterday and loved it, they have dates to be baptized 2 Mayo so we are excited to teach them more. Armando is super awesome still, his girlfriend/spouse is hopefully going to get a good start on getting divorced this miercoles so we are hoping that they will be able to sort all of that stuff out that they need to so that he can be baptized.
Its starting to get hot here and I'm just constantly grateful that I am here in Tijuana and not in Mexicali. But with that being said, I'm probably going to be sent there in a couple transfers just to humble me or give me more patience or something. And a fun fact I learned about Mexicali this week - the desert right next to Mexicali is where the 2nd hottest temp in the world has been recorded. In mexicali during the summer it is regularily like 115 and gets up to 125. Ahh so hot. I don't know how hot it is here during the day but I'm always grateful for the nice breeze that we always coming off of the coast.
I am constantly so grateful for all of you as I go throughout my days here in Tijuana. I think of all of you often and am so very grateful for the family that Heavenly Father has blessed me to have and am constantly finding myself looking to your examples of how to act with others and how to be Christ-like. So thank you all. :)
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 15, 2013

Hola familia!

Its been raining all day today and it a little chilly but I am loving it because this is only the 3rd time it has rained here and the constant sunny and 75 is getting a little boring. I'm not complaining about the weather but I do like a little variety. :) Thanks for all of your emails again, it was great to hear about the soccer games and choir competitions and ACT and work and church and all. As I'm sitting here now my companion just asked me if I know an "Elder Summers", cause Elder Vargas's parents live in Logan Utah and I guess my friend Jacob Summers from BYU is waiting to get his visa to argentina but in the meantime was reassigned to Logan and when Elder Vargas's parents were showing the missionaries in their wards pictures of their son (Elder Vargas) in mexico, Elder Summers was like hey I know him!! Haha its such a small world. :)
Yesterday we finally got a lider misional in Los Altos and we are super excited because he is on fire to get some work done.
One thing that I really had been thinking about alot this week is how I can be the person and missionary that Heavenly Father wants me to be. I've been thinking about that fad with all the christian churches around 5 years back when everyone had a "WWJD" bracelet. As we walk in the street to different appointments and as we just go about our daily stuff I've often wondered if I'm doing what Christ would do if He was in my shoes, because really as "Representatives of Jesus Christ" all missionaries should be doing exactly what He would do. I only have about 200 pages left in Jesus The Christ and I have really enjoyed learning more about the life of Christ and all of the things that He did during His ministry. I've often wondered how Christ would act walking from house to house or how He would teach His message or how He would show love for every one that He interacts with. Its definetly something that I need to think and pray more about to figure out how I can become more Christ-like, and I think its a good question to ask ourselves frequently throughout the day as we are faced with choices of how to act, or whether or not to smile at someone in the store, or whether or not to follow a prompting of the Holy Ghost : "What would Jesus do if He were faced with the same choice?"
Often times I think as missionaries, we either forget or get used to the fact that we are set apart as "representatives of Jesus Christ" and I think that we often don't realize the responsibility that we have because of that.
We had a few more great lessons with Byanca this week so she is progressing really well and its over half way done with reading the Book of Mormon so we are really excited about that. But, nothing comes that easy. Her mom is super super against the idea of her being baptized, to the point of sending texts messages to Byanca's member friend Alejandra that say really mean stuff. I'm not sure what they have said, but they say stuff mean enough to make her cry, as we found out in the middle of one of our lessons this week. But Byanca has a baptismal date of 11 Mayo so we are working towards that and are praying hard that her mom will have a change of heart and that she can be baptized with out her mom getting super mad. But she said she is going to be baptized despite what her mom says cause she is 19 so she doesn't need her permission but we are going to try to get some members from the ward that her mom knows to go try and calm her down a little bit about it all.
Also, last friday night we went over to Armando's and Miriam's house to meet their friend Maura. We taught lesson one and both Maura and her daughter Jasmine (15) accepted baptismal dates so we are super pumped about them also. It was kind of difficult to teach that lesson though because everytime I would start talking, Jasmine would bust out laughing and blushing and she said it wasn't my bad spanish sooo she is a 15 year old girl and my companion said that she is going to get baptized because of my blue eyes. So maybe I should buy some brown contacts so I can blend in better and actually teach lessons. :)
On Saturday we went to Miramar ( the area to our west) to do a service project as a zone and it was fun but really hard work. This family in the ward over there lives pretty much right along the side of a dry river bed that floods everytime it rains and they needed us to make a ramp out of dirt so that they could drive their car up into their yard. It took about 3 hours of 12 of us using picks and shovels and hoes but there was a ramp there that worked great when we left on saturday night. I'm not sure about now cause I'm guessing that river bed is full of water and half the ramp is gone, but it sure looked good on saturday night. :) All the pictures that are attached are from that night. One picture is with me and Elder Vargas and the two sisters is our zone, one of them was getting transfered so she wanted a picture with us. There is a picture of our whole zone and the family that we did the service for and then there is a picture of the sister giving all 10 of us elders a ride home in her van so we were pretty packed. It was a long service project and I was really dirty at the end of it but it was really good and fun.
Estoy muy agradecido por cada uno de ustedes y por sus ejemplos en mi vida.
Con amor,
Elder Crockett
ps - Hey Dad I know before I came out here I decided not to get any boots cause I didn't think I would use them, but we can wear them as everyday shoes if they are conservative and having seen some of the other areas around here I think I'm going to want some. If you have time and wouldn't mind, can you look for some conservative blackish hiking boots? Size 9.5W. Let me know if you see any online that look good or if I should just keep my eyes out here to buy some. Thanks! :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Hola familia!
First off I want to apologize for how awfully this letter is going to be typed wise because I got the unlucky computer with the spanish keyboard and it doesn't have the same punctuation.
Thanks so much for the package!! I got it at our zone conference that we had and it was really fun to get music and special k bars and all. So thanks. I can't figure out how to put a smiley face on this computer so know that I am smiling as I am typing this and that everything isn't super super serious haha. But Elder Vargus is obsessed with the special k bars so if you could send the recipe next week that would be fantastic! And I love all the music that you sent me also!! Its been really fun to have it on shuffle and have a song come up that I didn't realize was on there. The only complaint that there has been is after we had it playing for a while Elder Vargas said "no tiene musica de navidad?" hahaha. I'm not sure why he wanted christmas music in abril but we are both enjoying it lots so thanks!
This last week was both really good and really tiring for several reasons. I felt like I hardly had time to study or anything because constantly had meetings or appointments in the morning and it was just kinda crazy. We had last minute exchanges last thursday so I ended up in Libertad, and became so so grateful for our area. Everyone had always said that our area was super flat and had zero hills for Tijuana but I figured everyone was just talking to talk but I was proved wrong on Thursday. Lets just say I got in a really good work out all day thursday walking up and down hills. I was with Elder Barretts companion, who is also a trainee and has less time than I do in the mission cause he was only in the MTC for 2 weeks down here in Mex. Elder Tellez is awesome though and it was really fun to know that even though both of us were really inexperienced, we were still able to teach some really good lessons and be able to teach with the spirit. So that was a fun experience. Then on Friday we had a zone conference and it was really really good. President Carreon and Hermana Carreon both gave really good lesson dealeos and I learned alot. The mission has a tradition that at the first zone conference that new missionaries are at with the president, they stand up in front of everyone to bear their testimony. Elder George and Elder Johnson from my district in the MTC were there also and it was really fun to listen to them bear there testimonies in spanish. I'm constantly amazed that as I turn to the Lord for help through prayer, that almost instantly I can notice a difference. With the whole mini testimony meeting, I was kinda nervous to get up and speak in spanish because Elder George and Elder Johnson had gone before and hadn't done too hot with their spanish. So I said a little prayer and it was really cool to feel the spirit and have that help with the language that I asked. Also later me and Elder Vargas were called up to do some demonstrations and I guess my spanish is coming along cause later in the conference when we had a kind of break out work in groups President Carreon came over and said that my spanish was really good so everybody was giving me a hard time that I'm going to "subir" cause President complimented me.
Also General Conference was really really good. It was kinda hard to understand the stories that the speakers would start with but I was able to understand pretty much all of the doctrine stuff. It was really weird in the Saturday afternoon session that the choir was from BYU and that it was mens chorus and womens chorus combined, so I recognized like all of the guys. But it was fun to be able to lean over to Elder Vargas and be like hey I was in that choir haha. We were really excited that some of the speakers were really straightforward about the need for members to start putting in more effort in regards to missionary work so hopefully we can see some results from that. The sunday before, a youth about my age in Palmeras brought her friend and we taught the first lesson to her, se llama Byanca. She had a bunch of really good questions but said that wasn't sure that she really believed in God. We gave her a Book of Mormon and challenged her to pray about it and figured it out that we would meet again thursday morning. We really didn't know what we should teach her for the second time but we prayed about it and prepared a lesson about the atonement and went to go teach. We started talking with her and it turned out that she had read up to 2 Nep. 31 in 3 days and had prayed and recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is true so we were super excited about that and it was perfect because chp 31 talks about baptism and we just read that chapter together and talked about it. She accepted a baptismal date a week out, but she was really hesitant because her mom told her that she didn't like that she was going to come to our church, but that if she really wanted to join and be baptized she needed to wait 6 months. So we told her to pray about it and talk to us when she came with her friend to conference. She came to all 4 sessions of general conference and loved it. She also told us that because of some of the things that speakers said, she knows she needs to get baptized on May 4th so that she has a little bit more time to learn and prepare. So Byanca is awesome and has a lot of potential so we are excited to teach her more this week.
We don't have a lot of other investigators that are progressing and sometimes its frustrating because we will have a really good lesson with someone only to have them bail on our next appointment and then not answer the door since. So we are really praying and trying to work more with the members that we will be able to find some more investigators that will progress and that we can teach more than just the first lesson. Also we have lots of investigators that have been taught all of the lessons and really like the church but they aren't married so they can't get baptized and they don't have the desire to do something about it to fix their problems so that is always a little frustrating that sometimes we can't do anything more to help them progress other than keep loving them and give them more opportunities to feel the spirit and to know they need to change.
I really enjoyed all of conference but there were a couple of talks that stuck out to me. I really really really loved President Monson's talk about obedience, and how that as we are obedient we can recieve all of the blessings that we could ever want simply from being obedient. I also really enjoyed how there were several talks about the Priesthood, and how important it is in everything we do. In our zone conference last friday Hermana Carreon asked us that if we needed to paint a door frame blue, but wanted all of the walls to stay white, would we leave a bucket of paint and a brush to a 5 year old to do the job? Of course we all answered no, and then she told us well this is what God has done. We have so much divine potential that we don't recognize and because of it we are going to mess things us in this life, but God trusts us with His great work nonetheless. He not only trusts us with ourselves, but also as missionaries He trusts us with the salvacion of all of those around us are we are responsible to teach and share the gospel. This analogy coupled with the analogy used in conference by Elder Uchdorf about how when a child falls down while learning to walk, the parent doesn't yell at the child for falling down, but instead applaudes and is extremely happy when they get back up. I love both of these example in regards to how our Heavenly Father sees us and sees our divine potential to really grow and become perfect and we are admonished to do. Even though I couldn't understand everything said in conference, the spirit was so strong and I was able to learn so much. It was really neat to hear the translators choking up during talks because it was touching them so much. Super super cool stuff.
Its so much fun to read your emails and to hear about the things that are going on in your lives. If I have any word of advice for Benjamin, Jacqueline and Daniel preparing for missions, don't wait to start really really studying the gospel. The quicker you learn to really love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, you will be able to grow so much. It wasn't really until I left for BYU that I started really loving the read the Book of Mormon, and no matter what language it is in, it is a truly powerful book that can teach us so much about the life of Christ and can bring the spirit into our lives more powerfully than any other book. Also, don't hesitate to share the gospel with anyone. The most they can do is say no, and really everytime somebody says no is one step closer to them saying yes. Our investigator Byanca, had been invited to church by her friend for some 5 years and finally she said yes and now is just eating up everything we teach her. So don't ever hesitate to invite someone to church or to invite a friend to listen to the missionaries.
I love all of you and are so grateful for the examples that you are to me. I am so blessed to have the family that I have and thank our Father in Heaven everyday for each one of you.
Elder Crockett

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 1, 2013

Hola familia!
Fue muy divertido para leer todos sus correos. Ahh my head is going crazy right now for several reasons. I had to read your emails a lot slower than normal because as my spanish is getting better and better my english is slowly getting worse and worse and I can't read quite as fast anymore. Half of my thoughts are in english and the other half are in spanish and its just a tad confusing when I can't find a word in either language to express my thoughts. For example, in lessons or just talking with my companion in spanish I will have been talking for a little bit and then out of nowhere a random english word will fly out and I don't realize it cause I'm just saying what I'm thinking. Oh well, all of the elders here who are american say that for the first 4 months or so you grow to be able to speak spanish fluently but you lose your english and then after a couple more months it comes back. So if my grammer and english continue to get worse and worse in my emails, don't judge until you have learnt another language. :)
It was really fun to read an email from each and everyone of you! I don't have time to respond about every little detail about the trip to MI but it sure sounded like a bunch of fun! Thats really really cool about Steven's mission call too, tell him congrats from me! Mom thanks for letting me know about the package! I have a zone conference this next friday so hopefully it gets here sometime during the week so that I can recieve it friday but if not, I get it whenever our zone leaders go to the mission offices again. Which actually should be in a week from the following monday because its transfers and one of our zone leaders is done with his mission so maybe I will get it then. So the amount of time it takes for me to get a package will vary greatly, especially if I am in an area outside of Tijuana, but I will take any treats you want to send, especially chocolate stuff, cause they have american chocolate here but I don't want to buy it and all the other candy here is covered in chili and is kinda nasty haha.
I have a couple of things that I left at home thinking that I wouldn't want that I do want now if you could send them eventually when you send another package. There are some backpack clips that I took off my backpack that are in my closet I believe that I want, and also there is that watch that Erik gave me that is in my closet that I wouldn't mind having. I don't think it will get stolen - the whole hype about Tijuana has actually turned out to be rather disappointing. I'm guessing more missionaries get mugged in Chicago or New York because the only missionary I've heard of thats gotten mugged ended up losing like 5 pesos and they didn't want anything else. So I don't think I'm going to come home with a bunch of crazy stories like I thought I was going to, which is good and bad. Can't decide which. :)
The work here is going well but at times is a little frustrating. So we have two wards and really before had only been working in Altos but this last week started to work more in Palmeras. The bishop in Altos was called the week I got here so he is on fire and is super awesome and helps us out a lot and the bishop of Palmeras avoids us and it took 3 fallen through appointments to catch him at his house to teach his family a lesson so he is a little bit harder to work with. Up until last week neither of the wards had ward mission leaders so it was hard to know who to work with in the wards but yesterday both wards got them so we are super excited for that. When I first got here, the members were really kinda hesitant about talking to us and giving us referals, and I think its because the missionary before me here that was with my current companion, this was his last area so he was super dead and would boss all the primary kids around so I don't think he was very trusted or liked haha. But slowly I think the members are starting to trust us more because for the last two weeks teenagers have brought there friends to church and pretty much walked up and said "here teach my friend!" and also we have had members invite us over for food with a less active part member family or such.
Our mission president has really wanted us to focus on getting the members involved in the "obra salvacional" so we have been teaching the active families of our wards the missionary lessons and have been asking them to invite friends to attend the next time we are going to come over and teach. We have had a couple of families actually do it and we have one really solid investigator named Samuel right now from one of the lessons. He is the boyfriend of a less active member who are living together and so hopefully we can get them married and get them both strong in the church. Mom asked about my days and how they are so here it goes: Wake up at 6:30, walk down to the back side of our apartment to start our boiler so we can have hot water, do exercises (which consist of push ups and actually doing the streches/exercises for my back), eat breakfast (which I bought cereal last week so for breakfast this past week I ate the mexican version of frosted flakes), personal study, companionship study, study designated parts in preach my gospel and sections from the "district" series about how to be a better missionary in lots of different aspects, and language study. That all finishes up at 12, then we usually have an appoitment or go and look for old investigators or less actives til 2, at 2 we eat with a member, and then the rest of the day is teaching lessons and walking around looking for less active members or active members to set up appointments right now. We don't do alot of tracting or knocking on doors, its just mostly walking from appointment to appointment. I figured in my head this morning we usually walk from 5-8 miles a day but I'm not exactly sure how much. My shoes are holding out well, I absolutely love one pair and hate the other so I'm just going to wear this pair out first.
I am really excited for conference this next weekend. And even though I'm sure I won't understand 100% of it, I'm really excited to learn and hear the living prophets and apostles speak about the things that we need to hear. If eventually when the conference addition of the ensign comes out, if you could send me a copy in english that would be awesome. :) Hopefully we are able to get some of our investigators to come with us to the stake center a little bit away to watch with us.
Earlier this week I had to go to the mission offices to sign some paper for my visa and Elder Solorzano, Elder George and Elder Johnson were all there also from my district in the MTC and it was really fun to catch up for a couple minutes. Afterwards I was talking with my companion about all of them and talking about learning spanish and he said because I have a pretty good grasp on spanish right now and that I'm good at teaching clearly, there is a chance that I could be training a new missionary after the next transfer. So if I didn't have motivation to study spanish efficiently everyday I sure do now that I know there is a chance that I will be a senior companion is 8 weeks. I am constantly reminded of the need to rely in the Lord everyday in everything, and the days that I do that always go so much better than the days that I don't. I know that as we humble ourselves to rely on Christ and His atonement, that we can not only be happier but also be able to accomplish the things He has in store for us that we can't do without His help.
I'm really grateful for the opportunity that I have to be out here sharing the restored gospel of Christ. It's not the easiest thing to do by far, especially learning a different lanuage but its totally worth it. Just when I feel a little comfortable about understand everything that is going on, somebody will ask a question to me and I will not understand a single word of it. So its definitely a work in progress :)
I hope that all of you are doing well! Les amo y les extraño!
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

25 March Letter from Tijuana

Also to respond to some of Mom's questions... On a everyday basis we just walk. There are a couple of areas in the mission that have bikes because they are way out in the middle of nowhere but there aren't any areas within the cities that use bikes. We use buses or taxis that follow the same bus routes to go to district meetings once a week and other random stuff that we have like zone activities. For example, once I finish writing this email we are going to get on a bus to go to Miramar to watch "Valiente" better known as "Brave" in english for a zone activity. I guess if our mission president authorizes movies we can watch them for zone activities. So I'm not sure how much I will understand of it. I'm guessing not much unless they start using churchy vocab cause thats about all that I have mastered right now haha.

This past saturday we had exchanges and our district leader Elder Barrett came over to my area for the day. It was really really fun to be able to actually have a conversation with someone. Elder Barrett is from SLC and went to BYU before his mission too so we had a lot in common to talk about. It was really good to be able to talk about some of the things that I had questions about, such as things that I thought were rules but didn't really know how to ask in spanish to clarify, so it was really good to be able to ask about things in english and be able to be 100% sure that I was understanding what was going on. I had been frustrated with a few things regarding obedience and just following all the rules so it was really good to be able to ask some questions and get feedback from someone who was also really trying to follow all the rules. Here within the mission and I guess within all of mexico at least, if you try to follow all of the rules and such, you are labeled a "fari" - short for pharisee or something. So it was just good to be able to talk with another missionary who is doesn't really care about all the stupid titles and is trying to be obedient. 

This week has been a little bit harder because alot of our appointments have been falling through and some of our investigators haven't been keeping their commitments but its also easier because I feel like I can understand alot more of what people are saying around me and I feel I can speak alot more than I could before. The people that I couldn't even tell that they were speaking spanish before because they speak so fast are now seeming like they are actually speaking spanish and I can understand the words even if I don't know what they mean. So thats always a good thing. :) Also in church yesterday I surprised myself when in one of the elders quorum lessons, the teacher called on me with a question and I just answered it without hesitating and was able to talk for a good 2 minutes of what my thoughts were on a passage of scripture. Its always fun to be able to see my progress and recognize the difference. 

Because of mom's email last week, I also starting reading Jesus the Christ as part of my personal study and holy smokes, why hadn't I started reading it before?? I'm a couple hundred pages in already because during all the little free times I have had I have just been reading it and I can't put it down. Its really cool to see the insights on different events and little details of the scriptures surrounding the life of Jesus Christ and in regards to who He is. Its really amazing to me how much I can learn about the atonement and about how much Christ loves us by serving others and teaching others about Him. There are days when I am super tired and just can't wait to be done walking around in the broken roads dodging dog poop every step, but as soon as we are in a lesson and teaching with the Spirit, I regain that energy, excitement, and appreciation about the atonement and don't worry so much about myself and my little issues anymore but instead focus on how we can better share the message and hope of Christ. 

The biggest issue we have here with investigators in that people aren't married. Some simply out of a lack of desire to go spend the around $80 to get it done and others just can't without huge amounts of money because they don't have paperwork that they need or other reasons. It makes me so grateful that I have a family that is sealed in the temple and that I have been raised by parents who are trying their best to follow Jesus Christ. I am constantly reminded of how blessed that I am and how grateful I need to be as I meet lots of different people in really tough family situations. 

As we teach different people all of the different lessons, I am often surprised at how often I find myself saying that a certain principle of something is simply because God loves us more than we can even begin to understand. Its really neat to me that sometimes we struggle to see the reason behind a commandment or struggle to understand why something has happened, that it all boils down to the fact that our Heavenly Father loves us and thats that. I love the scripture in 1st Nephi when he is speaking with the Angel about the vision of his father and the Angel asks him a question that he doesn't know, and Nephi simply responds, I don't know but I know God loves all of His children. I love this example because if everyday we remember that we are literal children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us, than all of the little issues of understanding seem to fade in importance and we are able to trust in the fact that because He loves us, everything that happens is for our good in the long run.

I'm so grateful for all of you and am so grateful for the example you are to me!

Con amor,

Elder Crockett

Thursday, March 21, 2013


First off, the address!
Elder Jacob Ford Crockett
Mision Mexico Tijuana
PO BOX 439056
PMB 157
SAN YSIDRO, CA 92143-9056
Hola Familia!
First off I am going to explain what the pictures attached are. This past Saturday we had the baptism for Valeria (9 years old) and it went well thankfully. She is super full of energy and it was just a really challenging experience full of seemingly pointless lessons. We would spend 30 minutes trying to teach her about a certain concept, like prophets, and at the same time her two younger brothers are running around throwing stuff and one of them, Frankie (2), is constantly pointing at everything on my person that he can see saying "Que es eso"? ("what is that?"), and after all the lesson we would ask her a question to see what she learned and she didn't learn anything. So it was a fun experience teaching her, especially because in the middle of some of our lessons, it would come to light that her mom (convert of 2 years), wasn't exactly living some of the commandments, so Valeria didn't see any reason why she couldn't drink coffee when she is cold and on and on and on. But, she was baptized on Saturday and I performed the baptism so that was really cool. Also our chapel ran out of gas for the water heater, and we ended up last minute driving over with the families that came to join her baptism with another at a close chapel. So, the picture with another older man in white getting baptized is Hermano Carlos and he was baptized Saturday night also. Hermano Carlos was a professional soccer player for El Salvador and last monday we had a zone activity where he taught us a bunch of soccer stuff and it was really fun.
Then yesterday we were talking with the Bishop of the ward before Sacrament Meeting about Valeria's confirmation and if we were all set to go, and he said that he wanted me to do it, which really took me off guard because my companion said that the Bishop always did it and we didn't need to worry about it. So I quickly memorized what I needed to say in spanish and prayed that it would go well and it did. It was a good experience of really having to rely on the Lord, not only to say in the blessing what He wants said, but better yet in a language that I'm not fluent in. Overall, a good experience :)
Mom asked about food, so here is a little bit about the food. We get fed everyday at 2pm-ish and the food is good but it is always SOO much. I guess this is an area where the missionaries get the most food and its awesome but I just look super whimpy when I can barely finish the food that they give me on one plate and my companion goes on to finish 3rds. Everyone jokes about you can tell how "green" a missionary is by how much they eat, but I don't think my stomach will grow very much because other than a light breakfast in the morning and a snack at night and the meal with a member, we don't eat that much. But the food here is good, I haven't been served anything super super spicy yet but we will see. Our very first meal we ate when I got here was some Chili relano (sp?) and I guess was pretty spicy so my companion kept looking over at me to see if I was struggling to eat it or not so I think he was pretty surprised when I ate it all. The hardest thing about eating the food here is that EVERY person that we stop at their house has something they want us to eat or drink. I'm grateful for it, but it is so so much food and I don't really like it. The second or third day here, we had just eaten a huge meal at a members and then had an appointment with an investigator, afterwhich she insisted on serving us "manitas de puerco". Now I really had no idea what it was other than something to do with pork because of puerco, but in the end I ended up barely being able to choke down a huge bowl of some rice soup dealeo with pig legs or hooves or I don't even know what. Whenever members or other missionaries hear that I got served it one of my first days here they always laugh so I'm guessing its not a super common thing. :)
So before I went out on my mission everyone would always say "oh its the greatest thing ever but its going to be the hardest thing you've ever done". I guess I didn't really think about it very much just because I honestly had no idea what to expect. But now I think I have a better idea what what everyone was talking about. Its really hard. Not so much that I feel discouraged or isolated because of the language barrier, but more that sometimes I really feel like there is a lot of good that I could do and really could be helping lots of people come to Christ, but I just don't know how to do so spanish. So at times I feel somewhat frustrated that I can't be doing the things I know I could do if I was able to communicate in spanish with the same ease that I can in english. Its been a real comfort to think back on the blessing I recieved from Pres. Cowley when I was set apart, about how I can share the light of Christ through my countenance and smile before I will be able to with my words. Also, its just frustrating because half of my thoughts are in english and a third are in spanish and the rest I just don't know how to form thoughts anymore. So really my whole problem is just all in my head :) Its frustrating at times, but I know that as I rely on the Lord and am patient, that eventually I will get it and that I will be able to do the things that the Lord has in store for me here.
We had a zone conference last week and we get the Liahona, in spanish of course, and there was a quote on the back that I just absolutely love that I want to share. There is a painting of a lighthouse and next to it says "No obedecemos porque somos ciegos, obedecemos porque podemos ver." - Boyd K. Packer. You can use google translate or Dad to figure out what it means in english :) We had to go buy some paint to fix up some stuff around our apartment and as we were at Comex buying paint the lady helping us was asking us why we were doing what we were doing, and pretty much was asking why are we wasting our time in Tijuana when we really gain nothing from it. It really made me rethink why I am here doing what I am doing and this quote has really made me realize that I'm not here because somebody standing in front at church told me to and I'm just sucking it up and pushing through things for no reason, but that I really know that this is what Jesus Christ wants me to be doing right now and that through pushing through the current strugglings I am having that I can help to bring others to the same happiness that I feel from the restored Gospel.
I hope all of you are doing well!
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The first week here has been a crazy but really fun experience. My companion is Elder Vargas and is from somewhere in central mexico and doesn't speak any english other than the english swear words he has heard. He took 12 years of english throughout school, but I guess he didn't really want to learn any of it so he hardly can remember anything. Its a very common occurance during our planning sessions for neither of us to know a word and we both have to turn to a dictionary to be able to understand each other.
When I first got here, I could only understand people who were speaking slowly and with good pronunciation. It was difficult to participate in lessons or simply in conversations because I had NO idea what anyone was saying about 80% of the time. I quickly realized that when church members first talked to me, even if I couldn't understand what they were saying, it was safe to assume that they were asking where I was from. When I respond Indiana, 90% of the people here say "Indiana Jones"! Also, I guess there are some cookies, or galletas, here that sound like Crockett, so I've gotten everything from that I have a galletas for a last name to its a good thing that I am not "crooked". But my language skills have gotten so much better even just in less than a week. I've taught my parts of the lessons and I've been able to carry on simple conversations with people. Its surprising how many people here speak english. There are lots of members who can speak english either because they lived in the US for a while or because they took classes and can now speak english. So its always fun to be able to just speak spanish and throw in english words that I don't know and have somebody understand me. 

Me and my companion currently are serving in two different wards, "los altos" and "palmeras". We are RIGHT next to the border. Like the border is a huge brown fence, and we can see it whenever we are up on a hill. Its really funny to learn how the culture of the US has made its way into Tijuana because it is so close. For example, a pick up truck or a carwash here is simply just the english words said like a mexican. We have eaten lunch at a members house that is probably 70 yards from the border, so its weird to be able to look over and see San Diego.

The wards that we have are really good but I'm not sure if they should be wards. Palmeras had about 20 people yesterday attending and Los Altos had about 60. Mom can use me as proof that everyone should be practicing piano, because I have already played piano for several meetings here. My companion can play piano, but he can only play about half of them. Plus he wanted me to play so he didn't have to so I did and it was really fun. 

Currently we have 4 investigators with baptismal dates and several other less active/part member families that we are working with but I am only going to talk about a few because I don't have all the time in the world. One investigator, Armando, is seriously super super awesome. He has tattoos alll over but inspires me everytime we go over and teach. His situation is really confusing. He is currently living with a women who is a member and was less active but I guess now is considered active cause she has been coming to church with Armando for the last while. She was married to some other guy, had 3 kids, but then they were seperated but not divorced. So Armando lives with her and her 3 kids, who are all members. The most common problem here that stops people from being baptized is that people either don't want to get married simply because they don't want that big of a commitment and the relationship they are in is unhealthy, or because they don't have the money to do so. So Armando's novia needs to get divorced and they need to get married before his baptismal date the first week of April. And neither the parents have jobs so its going to be really hard for them to be able to get it done, let alone afford it but we are praying and fasting for them so I have faith that it can happen. But so the second day I was here we went and taught Armando about the word of wisdom and he agreed that he would not smoke or drink coffee for the next 3 days. He had been smoking ever since he was a teenager and he is 40 now, and he said that coffee was less of a problem but that he had a really hard time feeling awake on days he didn't drink any. So we called him everyday to check up and such and went back three days later, and when we challenged him to refrain from those both for three more days, he said that he never wanted to do either again because he could already feel the difference in his breathing and his focus from just those three days. He said he didn't even have a desire to smoke or anything during those three days. Miracles do happen.

There is another family that is what we call an eternal investigator. I'm pretty sure the missionaries have been going over there for 2 some years. The son who is 12 was baptized and reminds me so much of Daniel. His name is Tircio and is just a stud. We didn't know where the family lived but we knew what street they lived on so we walked there and as we were walking there a boy on the other side of the street came over and started talking to us and it turns on that Tircio was on his way home from school and we just walked in his house with him. His parents also need to get married and stop drinking and such but we have a baptismal date for his mom Esperanza the first week of April. Last time we taught them we taught the story of Alma the younger in Alma 36 in regards to the atonement and the power that we can access to repent and be relieved of our burdens. The lesson went so well and the spirit so strong that Esperanza started crying as she said the closing prayer and prayed for help to be able to turn her life around so that she can be a better parent and help out here kids. Yesterday she couldn't come to church with us but Tircio and his younger brother Gregorio (7) did.

 I just love talking with the kids here, frankly because sometimes I feel frustrated that I can't impact adults in a Christ-like way other than sitting there and smiling due to the language barrier that is slowly but surely decreasing. But as we teach and have visited other families in such it is really energizing to me to be able to show that Christ-like love to kids just by playing with them or by speaking simple spanish. 

Tijuana is really really really different than anywhere I have ever been in the US, but I really love it. Some families here live in a one room little hut with wood boards for floors and others live in trailers and others have super "rico" or rich looking houses. Our apartment is about in the middle. Its definitely nice, but lets just say it wouldn't pass building code or anything. 

I can't think of anything else to say other than I'm loving being out here more and more everyday. Its hard work and sometimes frustrating to not be able to express the ideas and things that I want to right now, but I often find myself smiling as I walk through these streets and am just truly happy. 

I'm so very grateful for all of you and the examples that you are to me! 

Con Amor,

Elder Crockett

I have to address that you can send stuff to me at:

Elder Jacob Ford Crockett
Misión México TIjuana
PO BOX 439056
PMB 157
SAN YSIDRO, CA 92143-9056

If you could post that address also that would be great! Thanks Jacqueline :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Note from the Little Sister:

There are two things that I think we can do to help Jacob the most right now:
1. PRAY FOR HIM! always!  It's incredible how the Lord answers each and every one of our prayers.  He knows us, and Jacob, and will do what He knows is right.
2. WRITE LETTERS!  I don't think any of us can know how much they mean to him.  Even if they are really short, they mean the world.  Can't think of anything to write?  I've found a couple of great ideas:
your testimony
a scripture or quote that you've read recently and fallen in love with


The Last Letter From the MTC:

Thanks everyone for all of the letters that I got yesterday, it really made me smile to be able to read something from all of you! Since I don't have a ton of time on the computer to respond to everyone individually, I am going to write letters back to everyone and just send them in one envelope later today so you should get the responses in a couple of days.
Well today starts what is our last week here at the MTC. We don't have our visas yet for mexico, but I'm convinced that we will get them before we would get our reassignment this thursday if we don't receive them. We fasted for them last week and I've really been praying that they will come in time so I'm sure if they don't, that God has a really good reason for me to go somewhere else for 6 weeks.
I think I'm starting to see a pattern throughout my time here at the MTC. We learn something in class, I reflect and think over it, and come to the realization that my parents had been teaching me that principle all along and I just never realized why/what for. Last friday one of our teachers, Hermana Coleman, was telling us about the importance of needing to work really hard and having the ability to actually work hard. I then realized how grateful I was not only to have been taught how to work by doing yard work at home so that I could "build character", but also was grateful that I have been taught how to work so that I can work hard out here on my mission. The more that we teach lessons or have discussions in class, the more grateful I am to my family for how they have raised me in a home that not simply just attends church, but also really loves the gospel and understands why we would what we do. So thanks. :)
So we have devotionals both sunday and tuesday nights and at first I thought there were going to be just another lesson to sit through but they have easily become one of my favorite parts of the week. On sundays we have a speaker from the missionary department speak and it is always really cool to hear about the process by which missionaries are assigned to their missions. It really is a testament to me that there is a special reason why I am going to Tijuana. Then on tuesdays there is usually a general authority that speaks. Elder Holland spoke the week before we got here to the MTC, so I was super bummed by the fact that if I hadn't been pushed back 2 weeks that I would've seen him. But they say that most missionaries get to see an apostle speak so I'm hoping for tonight. The crowd of missionaries waiting for the doors to the auditorium to open is always huge. A few other elders in our district and I always have a fun time but talking about how we heard it was Pres Monson coming to speak and then seeing the crowd turn and whisper to everyone else about it. Its sure funny but is a good display of why we shouldn't gossip.
Spanish is coming along better and better everyday. The other day I ran into Ben (Elder Ehlert) by the mail room and I started talking to him but I guess his district had made a goal to only speak Tagalog that day so he said I was making him break his goal. So in trying to go along with the spirit of the goal, I just responded to his last comment in spanish without having to think to much and he didn't understand what I had said. I guess I hadn't realized how much progress I have been making and how much I have been learning. Its really quite amazing how much the Lord can help us expand our ability to learn when we are learning with the Spirit and when we are trying to learn something to assist in His work. As we have been learning different grammar concepts and such in our classes, I am amazed at how I just remember it all. Of course, as soon as I think that I'm getting all good at spanish, one of our teachers will say something and I don't understand a single word. Its been almost fun to see the difference in my ability to speak spanish when I am relying on the Lord vs when I am thinking I can do it all myself. We started learning our last concept in spanish yesterday, and its crazy to think that we are able to cover all the material from Spanish 1 through AP spanish in just 5 weeks. It truly is a testament that the Lord blesses and expands our talents and abilities to accomplish the things that He needs us to do.
I'm running out of time but I love you all and hope that you are doing well! One thing that has really helped this week has been focusing on the enabling power of the atonement. Look up the talk "Atonement and Journey of Mortality" by Elder Bednar if you get a chance.
Con amor,
Elder Crockett