Tuesday, December 27, 2011

P Day 8

 Hello tout le monde!   it is interesting to think that the next time I send you an email will be from Europe!  i am so incredibly excited!  I honestly do not know what to say.  i got to write you Sunday, and nothing has really happened since then.  This keyboard is a little retarted, so there will probably be a lot of spelling errors.  hey mother and father?  Could you please send me back my sd card, so I can send you my latest pictures?  there are not that many, but I made another quick video thing. 
    We have new teachers, because F. howarth and S. Carson left for home, and they won't return until we leave.  Now we have F. Luke, and F. Blosil.  They are both really cool, but I do kind of miss our teachers. 
    Elder Tulley says hi, he is about 5'9 weigh 190 and loves to work out.  I really can't think of anything else to say...  how are things going at home?  things here are really just the same old same old.
    OH, thak you so much for all the wonderful gifts Mom, Dad, JJ, and Bruce and Robin!  That was really nice, and you guys got me too much.  that boomerang thing is just about the coolest thing on the face fo the earth!  I continue to lose weight, but I think I am not going to tell you how much from now on, because i want you to be surprized when I come home looking like a babe, I have not been this slim since Football.  Everyone here says I look like a bigger Ryan Reynolds... I guess that is a pretty good compliment. 
    Today, is our last P-day here at the MTC, and the temple is closed, so We literally have nothing to do until 2:45 when we have laundry.  So we all cleaned our room really well, and organized our stuff... I went to the seamstress today, and they are taking in one of my shirts for 50 cents, but they said it is a pretty major alteration, and they said I should probably just get some new shirts.  So new shirts would be cool, or maybe a little bit of fundage for new european shirts would be even better.  also ( I hate asking for so much stuff)  i have been told that backpacks are not allowed in my mission.  They make you look too much like tourists, and they are easy to steal from.  So i am going to need a man-purse.  I can get one in Europe also, but just making you aware... if you wanted to do anything.

    Did you get my package?  Don't worry mother, I have more than enought stuff that I need, and yes i still have my Robe, it is really amazing.  I probably could send home more stuff, but whatever.  Also some words of wisdom i got from my teachers are that almost every apartment in the mission has about ten pairs of sheets, and beaucoup de hangers, and pleanty of towels, thought i think I would like to use my own towels.  i really am enjoying the mission, i am so excited to be in le champ de mission (mission field).  I love you guys so much,and I miss you!  JJ, how many dates have you been on since i left?  I want at least...50 by the time I get back.
    Oh, I had a really weird dream last night that I can tell you about.  Somehow I got permission from the msission prez to have dejurne... lunch with you, so you (mom, dad, and Jj) picked me up and we had a great lunch.  It was about time to go back, but mother said we needed a few things from the grocery store.  So we go and you guys take forever, I knew you were stalling.  Then when we were done, you said we had to go home and put the icecream in the freezer or it would melt.  By the time we got all the groceries in the house, Robin comes over and starts talking to us.  I am really getting upset now, I am about to blow up at you.  i felt so bad because I knew i was going to be in trouble, and I thought they might send me home from my mission.  Finally you decide to take me back, and on the way you give me my cell phone, and all of my friends start calling me.  i wanted to answer, but I knew I couldn't and... ug, just not a good feeling, but then I woke up and realized I was here, and actually really glad, because I really felt like I was going to get sent home ha ha. 
    OK, I love you all.  Je vous aime, J'aime la vie, J'aime l'evangile, et, vous me manque.  Aurevoir, a la prochaine!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

First Christmas

Hello Family and friends and others!  We got an opportunity to email for Christmas, so I can't call, but at least it is something.  Ther is a lot of cool things that just happened.  Well like three, but that's a lot right?  Ok, first:  I recieved my travel plans Friday.  So I go to Salt Lake international, and get on British Airways flight 5109 for Dallas Ft Worth, Tx at 8:10am.  I then have a 5 hour layover in Dallas.  I know I said I had that long wait in London, but I was mistaken, just Dallas.  Then I hop on BA 192 for London Heathrow at 4:45.  Lastly, I board BA 726 for Geneva Switzerland at 8:30 AM January the Third.  Yeah, I will be flying for an entire day... not 24 horurs, but my almost my entire Jan 2, 2012 will be sptent on an airplane.  So there you have it.  I will only get an hour in London unfortunatly, but that's still enough to tell everyone that I have been there.  So I should be at the Mission home in Geneva around noon on January 3or about 4AM our time.  By the way I'll be getting up at 4 on Jan 2 to leave for Europe, so I literally will be traveling for 24 hours straight. 
    Sorry, if this email, is worded weird, the computer keeps freezing on me, so I can only see what I am typing about half of the time.  So, Christmas Eve was fun.  It was just a normal day until after dinner.  After dinner, we had a fireside wheresome people did the nativity scene, and there were some really good musical numbers, and some valliant  attempts at musical numberrs.  I;m sorry that was kinfd of mean ha ha.  Today has been fun so far, here is a quick run-through of my schedule:  Breakfast, Zone/district leader thing on what we are going to do for the day, Motab program, Sacrament with everyone at the MTC (Elder Bednar spoke, I'll talk about that more later), then lunch (that made me sick), and now I am emailing.  After I'll go on a temple walk, district meeting (we talk about the sacrament meeting, and our goals and such), then another motab christmas thing, sack dinner (yummy!), then a christmas fireside, followed by a movie.  We also saw a movie last night, George C. Scott's Christmas Carol.  I don't know if it is just because the only movie I have seen in two months was the Joseph smith movie (which is way good, just not as much after the 8th time), but it was INCREDIBLY good..  Very moving.  Did you know that Prez Monson said that the Christmas Carol is inspired writing>  I did not either, but I can see how he would say that. 
    It is weird that this is my first Christmas away from home.  I'll make sure to think of you guys at 10 tonight.  Just think though, We only have one more Christmas to go!  I miss you guys, I am learning so much here and I am so so so so so so so extremely excited to serve the people in France and Switzerland. 
    Ok, now about Elder Bednar's talk.  Definitley the best talk I have heard here so far, and that is saying something.  He talked about coming to know of Christ, and about the Chracter of Christ.  I know whatever I say about it is not going to do it justice, but Just what he said was ... ah it was amazing!  Something he said that I thought was interesting, was that if you just have a testimony of Jesus Christ, and in his restored gospel, you do not have enough, and are in jepoardy of falling away from the flock.  We must be constantly deepening our conversion and opening up to others.  Meaning that we should forsake the natural man and look to the wellbeing of others.  Forget yourself, forget your problems, forget your worries, and give absolutely everything you have to serving others and you will never fall away.  He that  treasureth his life (or something like that) shall loose it, and he that looseth his life for my sake shall find it.  That kind of idea. 
    I really think that ties in with the spirit of Christmas.  I know a lot of times people say to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  That is usually reffering to the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  From what I have learned here... I would go so far as to say that is not the true meaning of Christmas either... well it is, but it is a very shallow one.  I think in addition to remembering the birth of our savior, we should aslo remember the actions and example of him.  This is a special time of giving and selflessness and being decent people.  I hope to be able to share my talents and my experiences with those I meet on my mission.  I love this Gospel.  I love the savior, and I can say now that my belief is rooted in him, I know that nobody is perfect, and that sometimes even members of the church can be very... unperfect, but that does not mean that the chruch is not true.  It Just means that those people are not being true to the church.  I don't have any time left.  I'm sorry that this letter is sort of all over the place.  I would just like to end by saying that I love you all, and that I miss you and hope you are all having a wonderful christmas day.  Talk to you again tuesday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

P Day 7b

Ok, I am back.  Doing my laundry right now... well waiting for a washer to open up because a quarter of the machines are broken down.  I picked you (dad, mom, and jj) up some Christmas presents.  The store here doesn't have much to offer, but I did my best.  I'll send those along with my other stuff I'm sending home.
    Peter:  I am doing wonderfully, this is really an amazing experience!  I am pretty done with the MTC, but definitley not with the Mission! I cannot wait to get out there and start preaching the good word.  (am I feeling ready to leave?)  YES!!! I am grateful for these next two weeks to really get as good as I can in the language, but I am excited for Jan 2nd.  That's great finals are over...doesn't it feel good?.  (what is the first day like?)  Well it is probably different for me, but I felt like I was in a dream state the whole time, I didn't really comprehend what was going on.  Just be ready to start teaching the day you get there, because you will.  Another thing that you'll love to hear is you will start teaching people in spanish only day 2 or 3...be ready for that, but it is definitley do-able.  I would say to you the same thing Braiden Winegar said to me:  Study chaper three of preach my gospel as much as you can, and just rely on the spirit.  I have come to find very quickly that what they ask you to do on a mission is quite impossible.  However, through relying on the spirit, somehow you manage to do it.  My favorite part of the MTC is meeting people from all over the world, but more than that I love that you have absolutley no worries except working on your relationship with Christ.  Now if I read that before I came here, I would have thought that htat was a really cheesey answer, but nevertheless, it is true!  I am excited for you Peter, and I know you'll do well.
    OK, Dad, congrats on your new call!  My address for where you write me in the field should be in that blue book I got with my call.  Then I'll tell you my specific address when I get there.  Also I'll have more around an hour, so you could email, and that would be fine.  I got a letter from Peter today...yesterday, but none from Kevin or Jeff yet, but I would really love to hear from them. Tell them that next time you see them ha ha.  Well I love you all very much.  I need to go now.  PEACE.  Aurevoir!

P Day 7a

Heellloooo Family, and others.  How is it going?  Me?  Oh, I am good.  Just got back from cleaning the temple.  It is closed until I leave, so it is kind of sad to think that I probably won't go to a temple again until I get back.  Cleaning wasn't bad.  we mostly wiped off the lockers from 8:00 to 11:30.  The place really started to stink of cleaner by the time we were done, but still a nice experience.  I got to see some of the back rooms of the temple I would not have seen otherwise. 
    Hey Bruce, and Robin, if you are reading this,  thank you so much for the package.  I put the ornaments on the tree.  The district loved the jerky.  Also thank you to Susie and Gene for the nice Christmas card. 
   Thank you Mom and Dad for all the letters and whatnot.  When I said real letters, I just meant one in an envelope.  It was nice of you to write me one by hand Dad, but honestly is was pretty difficult to read at times ha ha.  The dear elders are great, but it is just a folded piece of printer paper.  That's all.  Hey so you guys know, I will be sending home my boots, my black suit, and I'll probably throw in some other stuff and some things for you guys.  Don't worry, I have been told I will not need the boots, and the black suit is at the same time too small and too big for me now.  The coat is too short, and the pants dont really fit, plus it has got some stains on it, and I don't want to pay to get it dry cleaned ha ha.  My other suits fit great.  The pants and my belts are way loose.  I weighed myself yesterday, and I have lost a grand total of 19 pounds since I have been here!!!  I'm hoping to loose another 11 by the time I go to France.  Very possible, just need to stay diligent. 

    Peter!  It was cool to get a letter from you.  I don't have your letter on me right now, but I'll see if I can write a little more latter to specifically answer your questions...  So yeah, I'll talk about that latter when I have your letter in front of me.  By the Way, I met a guy here that is learning Spanish and says he is really good friends with you.  I am blanking on the name, but he said you grew up together before you moved to Peppah Hood.
    As far as what is going on here... It is pretty much the same old.  Like I said, I cleaned the temple today.  I have still been seeing Travis at lunch most days.  I see Elder Hawks every couple days too, and Elder Chase Reavely.  One of the guys who sold me my suit is here.  His name is Elder Wood.  I was surprized he recognized me, because it took me a while to remember who he was.  Anyway, he was nice and I've seen him a couple times as well.  I hate the word nice, there is no real meaning behind it... I am going to stop using it.  Frere Howarth left today to be in Luxembourg (however you spell that) with his family for Christmas.  It's sad because I really loved having him as a teacher.  I could honestly go on and on about how much he has motivated and inspired me to not just serve a mission, but be a missionary.  Unfortunatley that little clock keeps ticking up in the corner.
   Some cool stuff that is happening this week:  Elder Graham and I are hosting tomorrow.  That means we greet the new missionaries and take them where they need to be.  Remember back to when I was just a youngin' and all the missionaries waved and took my bags... I'll be doing that.  What else?... I get my Travel plans on Friday, that is pretty intense.  I don't know if I have told you this already... for some reason I think I have, but I want to say it again because I am way excited.  Apparently since I am one of 3 other missionaries that have a Swiss Visa, I have been told by the teachers here, that it is likely I'll spend my first year is Switzerland!!!  How cool is that?  I am excited.  Oh, something else less cool, but is still interesting is I not only get to host, but Elder Graham and I have been asked to teach an "investigator"  in front of all the l\l00l35!!! (newbies).  Lots of service opportunities this week.  I think it is going to fly by.  It has been already.
   OK, I'll answer the other questions you (mom and dad) asked when I'm doing my laundry and have my letters in front of me.  I am going to go run and get lunch, get my hair cut, and then start the laundry, so probably around 1:15 you'll get the other email... unless you check your email after all this.  Something real quick which I learned... you can actually go over 30 minutes on this, so Mom, and Dad, and JJ, If you get this email before 1:15, shoot me a quick response, and it will be like we are actually talking!!! Ha ha, and also I was wondering if you were going to send a pay-per-day cell phone to me to use in the airport.  Other missionaries have gotten them, and I promise I won't use it before or after I am acutally in the air port.
    Love you all soo much, the church is true.  This is a marvelous work, I wouldn't want to be anywere else... well, maybe in Europe, but that will come soon enough!  See you in a bit!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

P Day 6b

Ok, I am back.  The really cool thing that was supposed to happen wasn't as cool as I would have hoped, but it was still neat.  A couple Frenchmen (M. Roux [Head of the board of Education in France] and M. Doution [ambassador of education in Washington DC]) came to visit to see how we learned French so fast.  There was also a couple MTC head honchos and Elder Hinkley of the 70.  It felt a lot like that MASH episode when Gen. McArthur visits the 4077.  Everyone was a little tense, we prettied up the room, we thought it was weird that we had to take down all our pictures of our family and Christmas decorations, because then it  wouldn't be a real presentation right?  Then They just ran in saw us for less than 10 minutes and left.  I understood all of their French though, that made me feel good.  They didn't say a whole lot, but still.  They both said they were born in Lyon.
    I do not have a lot of time left.  What to say?  I have found that around week 5 everybody starts to go a little bit insane.  Elder Tulley is on the computer next to me in a onesie (we are in the laundry room).  Elder Jackson will take study breaks by listening to Hope of Israle on LDS.org and stare up at the ceiling.  I thought that it is a shame that the English language has done away with it's formal and informal 'you's', so I have taken it upon myself to bring it back.  Like in French you have Tu and Vous.  I refer to my district by thee and thou, when I remember.  It is all in good fun though, I don't think any of us have any real chemical imbalances in our heads.
   Well I hope thou art having a good day... no I would say you are because I am reffering to multiple people.  whatever, miss you guys, think about you a lot.  Bruce and Robin, you are in my prayers.  I am out of time, love ya bye!

P Day 6a

Hey y'all!  I just want to let you know that today will actually be a double header, meaning I am going to send a second email later today.  Something incredibly cool is going to happen in about 2 and a half hours from now, and I want to tell you about it.  However, I also have the time now to write, so I'll try to tell you everything I can...or whatever...you know.
    Yes Mother I did recieve my drivers licence the day before I went to San Fran.  Good thing too, because I don't know if I would have been able to return home without it.  The studies are coming well, and the French.  I had an interview with one of our zone presidents (kind of like the bishop's councellor) on Sunday.  I had to teach him a quick lesson en Francais about whatever I wanted.  He told me that I did very well, and my French is very strong.  Strong enough that if he could he would send me out to the field tommorrow...a very flattering comment.  I am glad that I still have three more weeks to prepare, because I don't know how much I agree with him ha ha.
    One of our "investigators"-Nathalie-is gettng "baptized" in a couple weeks.  Yes it isn't real, but I am still happy about that fact.  What else is new?... it is finally snowing for the first time. It has snowed over night before, but it all melted the following day.  It is a pretty big storm blowing through.  My knee was aching yesterday; I guess I know why now. 
    Elder Graham and I had our first fight.  It was a really special moment.  It really wasn't over anything, just we had a lot to do and fuses were short.  It's over now, and we are back on great terms.  Compared to the other districts, ours is getting along wonderfully.  Not that the other districts hate each other, but they have all had a yelling match.  I hope that doesn't mean our turn is coming up. 
    Oh something else.  I have been assigned as the new district leader.  Now that I am in a position of authority, I can really make some changes and get some things done!  Ha ha, not really, I mostly just hand out the mail, assign people to pick a hymn and pray for our lessons, and make sure everybody is playing nice.  I just hope all of this power doesn't go to my head.
    Anyway, Mother, or Papa, thank you so much for the package, it was really nice, and wonderful, and great, and appreciated.  In your next letter do you think you could give me the address of the mission home?  I wanted to give it to elder Graham.  It should be in the blue packet I recieved with my call. 
    Hmmm.... that's all I can think of for now, I'll write more in a few hours after that really really super cool thing happenes!  You'll find out in good time.  I love you all, and I am enjoying my time here.  I hope I can make the best of the next three weeks, so I am not completley lost when I get to France.  I miss you! Pet the Dogs for me.  Talk to you in a bit.  Oh, and I  am supposed to tell you that I won't be calling on Christmas, but i think you already knew that.  I will call in the airport.  Love you again! BYE!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

P Day 5

Hey Mom, Dad, and JJ!  So like the description says I am halfway through my lovely stay here at the empty sea.  (read it out loud and you'll get it ... I hope).  No I really have enjoyed, and I am enjoying my time here, and I have a lot still to learn here, but I am so excited to go to France.  I actually have 28 days left, but who is counting?  Ha ha.  Thank you for the dear elders and all that.  Yes, i do believe that I am getting all of them, but they st?ill have ? the r?andom question marks throughout them... I don't know, it is weird.  Speaking of how much I have to learn, I found out that both my teachers, Frere howarth and Soeur Carson are going to be leaving in two weeks for winter break.  It is really lame because for the last two weeks we get stuck with the "leftovers" who have recieved the stigma of not being very good.  Frere Howarth has promised us that it will be hard work, but he will teach us every thing that is essential to know in the next two weeks.  We are really hitting hard on studying French as well.  Now we only speak en Francais tout jour chaque jour (all day every day).  I have gotten so much better, it is really extraordinary to see the gift of tounges kicking in. In fact right now it feels strange writing in English because I am thinking in French... well no not in French, but I am thinking how I would say this in French.  There are a few occasions where we are allowed to speak English, like in the temple, and during meetings where speaking French would be rude, etc.
    O real quick, before I forget.  I was telling the elders about our family, and when Larry came up they were very interested to see his hair.  I don't know if we have a picture of him lying around that you could send... maybe you could take one of him when he comes to visit.  That is too bad his ex... something took the house.  OR did he give it to her? 
    Something else is cool, it that one of our "investigators"  (no it is not real)  is progressing way faster than I expected.  We taught her about the law of chastity the other day.  I was really worried about her not responding well because she lives with her boyfriend... well "lives with her boyfriend".  The lesson went well, and she said she would talk to him about it.  The next time when we showed up, she said she was moving to a friend's place until she could find her own apartment, that we could help her move on Friday, and that she felt confident and good about her decision.  AHH it was such a cool experience, and it wasn't even real!  That is another reason why I can't wait to get to France and teach real people and help the spirit and the gospel make that much of a difference in real people's lives. 
    Mother, I have thought more about what I want for Christmas ha ha.  Like I said before I really have everything I need, but It would be cool if you could send me acouple of the blank journals I have on the top shelf of the white desk in my older room.  Also I need a box to send stuff home, Oh! and beef Jerkey, because the jerky they have here isn't great (peppered is my faveorite by the way).  I'm thinking too worldy now ha ha, so I think that will do:  The blank journals I already have, a box, and beef jerky... oh and a picture of Larry.  My district says to send more duct tape as well because it is very rare here like gold, but you don't have to.  Also my district says thank you so much for the christmas decorations they really love them.
    That letter that I was writing you is finally back in my possession.  I'll send it right after I send this email, so you will get it hopefully the end of this week.  I put one of my camera's memory cards in there with all the pictures I have taken here.  There aren't a whole lot, but they might be fun to look at.  Another fun idea, is you could post a few on the blog!  I am not saying you have to do that because I know you are busy, but I thought it could be a fun idea.  When you get the pictures the dirty blond elder who has several akwardly close-up pictures is my companion Elder Graham.  Elder Kastendick and McMurrin are the two shorter elders with black and blonde hair respectively.  Elder Jackson is the tallish blond elder who is making weird faces in most of his pictures, and Elder Tulley is the native.  In one of the pictures there are two Sisters sitting at desks, they are Soeurs Cooper and Gutierez.  All the others are just other elders and sisters in my zone. 
    Je sais que mon sauver et redempture vivant.  Je ne'croie pas que je comprende sa commpletment, mais Je sais que par l'expiation de Jesus-Christ, nous pouvons ganier la vie etternalle.  Je vous aime.  Vous m'manque.  Je nepeux pa attendre a aller a la France.  Je voix comment l'evangile a benir les vie des autres.
   I love you guys, I am out of time. ttyl, pet monte and max for me.
Votre fils, frere, et ami
Elder Crossman

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

P Day 4

Bonjour tout la monde! Comment Cava?  Je Suis bein.  So here is the deal.  I wrote you guys a big ole long letter in my notebook, but I ended up leaving it in a supply closet (long story) and now it is locked in there, and I have to find someone to open it so I can get it and send it to you... sigh.  It honestly feels like I just emailed you a couple days ago.  Certanly not a whole week.  And everything that happened that was of any interest is in that letter, and i honestly do not want to write it all again. 
    Nothing much new has happened here... actually that is a lie, this will all be in the letter, but I want you to know now and not in a few days.  On Tuesday one week ago, our devotional speech was given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson!  How cool is that?  Then on Thanksgiving we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Nelson.  Two of the Lord's appostels in one week.  It makes it even cooler when you realize that these people really do hold the same power and have the same responisbilities as Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.  They were both great and inspiring talks. 
    Je pense que Je parle Francais cava mantinent.  I think I am speaking French pretty well now.  I am understanding all of what the teachers are saying, or at least what they are trying to say if i don't understand every word.  Je comprend tout de quoi les prof me enseigne, ou a moin quoi ils essayent montre si Je ne comprende pas tout mot. 
    Thank you so much for the package mom!  The summer sausage was divine, and the nerf guns were really fun... at least until the party poopers took them.  They didn't get mad at us, they just quoted some corinthians scripture (something about putting away childish things) and asked for them.  Though I ligitimatly forgot to tell them about one, but we only use that to shoot Elder Tulley at night when he snores.  Do I want anything for Christmas?  Well, it would be cool if you sent me a couple of my blank journals.  Don't worry about the weight, I am probably going... no i am going to send home the black suit, and I think I am going to send the boots back as well.  They are huge and heavy, and everyone I have talked to-including some RMs who went to Touluse or Geneva-said that i would not need them if my shoes are semi-waterproof which they are.  Plus they just look bad, and if worst comes to worst, i am sure that ther are boots in Europe somewhere... maybe none that will fit my feet, but we'll see. 
    I know that the MTC is somthing that is good for me, and the better i study here the better i will be out in the field, but i really really really just want to get out there and start talking to real people, not just these roleplays.  Now don't think i'm getting all depressed family, because i am enjoying my time here, and the spirit is sooo incredibly strong.  Just it gets incredibly repetitive here.  Same quazi gross food, at the same time, same everything.  I do hear that there is a tree that smells just like cream soda here, I should try to find that, thought it is probably just a story to make missionaries go around sniffing trees.  I swear this place is going to make me bi-polar, because you just have the highest highs, you feel on top of the world and you want to just shout haleluia!  Then other times you go in low...long... boring...down times.  But the down times aren't too bad, they will probably be worse when you get in the field and real people aren't following there commitments, and real people just had a brother die and are begging you to know why. 
    that last paragraph was all over the place and oddly specific.  that's because our latest "investigator", albert, (yes he is really just my teacher)  "lost" his brother last week.  it is weird to write like this about a personality, but it is weird when you are in these roleplays because when you genuinly have the spirit with you, you genuinly care about the person you are teaching and his trials.  Albert is someone that my teacher is pretending to be, but he is a real person that my teacher taught on his mission, so what we are doing is pretty similar to what he actually went through with him. 
    Well, my time is up, so let me finish by saying that i love being a missionary, and it feels so good to help others.  That is why i want to get out there now, even thought my french is only decent, even though there is a lot more that i have to learn.  I believe that there are people in France being prepared for me now, I hope that I will be doing the right thing so i can help them when opportunity arises.  A quick shout out to those about to go on their mission, Kevin, Peter, Chase, etc...  i love you guys and I am sure you will love you mission experience, here is something that my teacher F. Howarth told me that i think is important for all missionaries... well a couple things.
1.  A good missionary is a bloody happy missionary! (bloody apparantly isn't a swear word according to my european teacher) Try to find the joy in sharing the gospel, it is there.
2.  A missionary who baptizes people is a missionary who asks people to be baptized.  Granted I know that i have not actually been in the field yet, but our teacher gave us a challenge that in our very first discussion that we teach we will invite our investigator to be baptized.  it is a scary thought, but he says he knows from experience that a large reason people are not getting baptized is because they are not being asked.  Our teacher was getting at least one baptism a month in Germany, so there is probably truth behind those words.
    Any way, I realy got to wrap this up.  i love you all and miss you.  write me letters? yes? please? ha ha , you don't have to, ... but you should.
I love you momma llama, papa san, and JJ!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

P Day 3 at the MTC

I know my travel plans kind of ish, they were with my San Fran travel plans, but I don't have them now.  What I remember is I am leaving January 2nd at the beautiful hour of 4:00am.  the other frenchies and I will fly to San Antonio, have like an hour or two layover, then we fly to London where we have a six hour layover!  How cool is that?  LONDON!!!!  Then we fly to either Lyon and take a train to Geneva, or fly directly to Geneva, I can't remember.  So it will be a good solid, 28 hours of traveling.  Elder Graham is also leaving Jan 2nd, and I think he is coming with us to San Antonio, but then we part ways.
    By the way, this letter will be all over the place.  What did we do at the consolate?  They just took yet another picture of us, and took our fingerprints, and that was it.  Now about our investigators.  I thought I told you this, but maybe i didn't.  Our "investigators" are actually just our teachers playing a role of someone they taught on their mission.  However, we do go to this plalce called the TRC once or twice a week where we get to teach real people who just be themselves.  Sometimes they are not members, and sometimes they are.  I've only done it twice so far, and they are all BYU baptized members just looking to practice their french, but it is still fun, and cool to teach real people.
    You may have heard of this thing called "ThanksGiving" coming up this thursday.  Well at the MTC, it means basically a second P-day, only we are doing some service projects throughout the day.  We also end the day with a nice, sack-dinner... no joke... hovever we do get a good 2 hour lunch. 
    Here is some news that you will like mother.  I have lost about 12-15lbs since coming here.  My suitpants are loose on me now, and i ran 4 miles straight in the gym yesterday!  It feels so good to be healthy, and I know that that is just one of the blessings the Lord has and will give me for serving him full-time for the next two years.  yes my suits look good, and yes the ties look good.  My goal is to loose at least 20 lbs by the time I leave here, but i think i could safely up that to 35.  Depending on how much weight i loose, I'll just have to get new ones when I get to France, which leads me to some other awesome news.  My teacher Frere Howarth is from Luxiomburg ... [sp] originally, so all his suits are European, and they look so much nicer then the suits we get here.  Mainly because the pants are more form fitting, and not as baggy or "parachute like" (to use frere howarth's words) as American suit pants.  What is also cool, is he says you can buy a really really nice suit over there for about 80 euro, that's around $120.
    I have noticed something that seemes to be more true day by day... i think that the MTC is alot like the TV series MASH if MASH was all religeous.  Seriously, we are confined to a small area (only we chose to be here), the people who are in you class area are the people you go to gym and lunch with, so it feels like you know everyone.  Things get very repetetive here, and the only way to stay sane is to go slightly insane.  My district have taken up the hobby of trying to put bananas in other people's pockets without them knowing.  We all gather for lunch and complain about the food (though some days like today, it is really good), and we make random holidays such as candy day (everybody buys a peice of candy and gives it to someone else) mail day (which isn't exciting at all) and ice cream sunday (which i don't participate in for religeous reasons). 
    Now for the part where i ask you for stuff, it is great to get letters and all that so everyone who reads this on my blog, send me a letter if you want, i would appreaciate it.    Also send more pictures if you can, maybe some that are more recent?  i love getting pictures, and everyone is putting them up on the wall by our desks in our classroom.  we made our window a stain glass window of the statue Moroni out of post-it notes.  we have the coolest room in the MTC. 
   Je vous touts aime!  Et Je te manque aussi.  Je sais que l'eglise de Jesus-Christ est vrai.  J'aime cet eglise, et ce traviller!  AU REVOIR!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Second P Day


 might have already told you this, but my p-day is Tuesday here, they don't have everyone take the same day off.  Tuesday is actually the best day for it because P-day ends at 6:00pm, but all we do after then on Tuesday is go to a devotional.  Basically all we do on P-day is laundry, temple, and write letters.  there isn't much time for anything else.  In the temple, we can only do endowments or initiatories (I did those today, it was really cool)  or we can be a witness at a ceiling session.  We only go to the temple on P-dauy, but we go on a temple walk on sundays.  That is really nice, because you are inside here all day, and even the sidewalks are covered, so it feels like you're inside then too.  It is refreshing to see the sky...the tops of trees... clouds... and get a little sunlight. 
So the trip to San Francisco was AMAZING!!!  We had to get up at 4:30am which was pretty awful.  We got to the Salt Lake airport just before six, even though our flight departed at like 8:40.  it was 20 F ... so cold... that woke us up.  We landed in San Fran at 9:45an where we learned that we had to be at the consolate at 10:00.  Long story short, we got there around 10:30 and they still took us, and we were done before 11:00.  We had about 4.5 hours to kill afterward, so we went to Lumbard street, and took pictures.  We talked to this nice woman from Australia.  Legally we can only preach in our mission area, unless someone asks us about the church.  We didn't have a real spiritually based talk, but we told her a little about why we were there, and why we all had these funny nametags with Jesus Christ on them.  She seemed impressed that we would go on a mission.
After we went to Pier 39 and had lunch at this famous sour dough bread place, which name escapes me.  I had the clam chowder in a bread bowl.  It was really good.  yes mother, I did eat some of the bowl, I'm sorry.  Just a little though, and I have been eathing very well here.  I am actually down 7 pounds since I entered.  Anyway, while we were waiting for our food, some people recognized us as missionaries and offered to buy us lunch.  It was neat to talk to them as well.
Next we walked over to Ghiradelli square and got free peppermint half white, half milk chocolate...chocolates.  they were really good, and the sisters bought a huge peanutbutter...chocolate...icecream... ... thing.  The server sung "I left my heart in San Francisco" to them.  We left him a pass along card.
Then our driver, Edgar, took us to the Golden Gate Bridge.  We walked almost halfway down and back.  It was clear, sunny, warm, and amazing.  That bridge is really something.
However, the best part of the trip was someone we ran into and talked to while on our way to Ghiradelli square.  Guess who it was?  OK, I'll just tell you.  Casey Clyde!!! The guy who plays Elder Rogers on Best Two Years.  We talked to him and his girlfriend for quite a while.  Judging by his girlfriends apperance, they didn't look very active or Mormon, but a couple of the Elders said they saw him wearing his G's... who knows.  The are in San Francisco, they could have just been dressing for4 the weather.  we flew back and arrived back here at the good ole' MTC around 9:15 at night.  It was weird not having Elder Graham with me.  He didn't go since he is going to Africa and not France.
What else is new... we have a "new investigator"  it is really just our teachers playing a role as an investigator, but like I said before, when you are in there, the spirit makes it real.  his name is Albert, he is originally from Armenia, he loves to talk, and he is a devout orthodox Armenian Catholic.  We have only met him once, and he is really fun to talk to, but he is hard to teach, because he doesn't stop talking.

Thank you so much for the decorations!!! we are putting them up today.  you don't need to send more, what you did was pleanty.  Thank you.  Yes my turkey is special, I'll send pictures soon of my district and our room.  Travis is here, and I usually see him at lunch because we have it at the same time.  It is good to see him, and we have not done anything illegal yet... ha ha.  Dad, tell grandpa I say Hi.  Mother, thanks for picking that scripture, I really like it, and thank you for putting in the sport scores, the Elders and i like to hear them.  Finally thanks for the letters in general, it is really fun and good to hear what is going on over there.
Ok, I think I have answered all the questions.  I'll write you next Tuesday, and hopefully I'll have some time to send you pictures, and write a hand written letter.  Love you guys soo very much, and i know that I am in the right place and doing the Lord's work.  I really am happy here, and learning so much.  My French is actually pretty good.  Our teachers only speak French now and I understand what they are saying!  And I can usually say what I want to in some form or another.    Once again, Je vous aime! Bon chance avec la toutes choses, Je suis tres hereux a qui dans le MTC.  Je sais que cet eglise est vrais, et le livre de Mormon est la parole de Dieu.
Adieu, Je suis parle avec vous plus en ces semains.

The First P Day


This is honestly a little weird typing in english, I am so used to spelling things the french way, i might make a mistake or two.  We have no access to TV or anything really.  The closest we got was in class yesterday we watched some videos on lds.org.  Oh, and Sunday after the fireside, we got to watch the Joseph Smith Movie.  That was my night on the town! 
The first few days here felt like a couple months.  However, yesterday and today have been whizzing by pretty fast. 
On Daylight savings, we forgot to set our clocks back, so we ended up waking up at 5:30 in the morning, and didn't figure out what happened until we were all ready to go ha ha.  We got about an extra half hour of sleep in our suits.  Hopefully you have got my written letter by now, if not, it will come probably tomorrow. 
Answering Mom's questions:  Mon Colleague is Great!  In French you say Colleague because if you say companion, and you are living together...they might get the wrong idea.  His name is Elder Graham as in graham cracker.  He is from Layton, and he is going to the Congo.  We are getting along wonderfully.  Yes I have my robe still. Yes I am avoiding carbs, Elder Graham has actually been helping me a lot with eating the right things.  I cannot speak French fluently, but I have given three lessons to a girl in all french so far.  She really is feeling the spirit when we teach her, but she says that while she believes the book of mormon has true principe in it, she believes that Joseph Smith wrote it.  We are planning to do a first vision lesson and have her pray about the book of mormon.  She has already said she would read it and pray about it.
I went to the temple today.  It's my first P-day, and so far it has been pretty good, nothing much to do wich makes me feel uncomfortable, because you are usually doing something all day.  I have been getting 8 hours of sleep but I am sooooooo so tired, but I have never been happier!  I love being here, and while it is really quite difficult, you get so many blessings.  During our lessons with Nathalie (our "investigator") I sometimes really struggle with the language, and Elder Graham told me just recently when that happened once, he said a quick prayer to bless me with the gift of tongues and right after I was like, "Oh Est-ce que vous avez questions quel que choses?"  ...something like that. 
I Miss you guys a lot, and it really feels good to get letters from you guys, so keep them coming!  JJ, that's great that you are so close to graduation, I am proud of you!  When my district when on our temple walk on Sunday, I saw lots of couples holding hands and walking together etc, and it made me wish that I could still go out with girls, so take advantage of that freedom you have Brother!!! ha ha ha... but really.  Tell Monte and Max that they are special for me.  Oh right, one thing that I wanted to ask you guys, is could you send me a few pictures?  Of anything really, you guys, the dogs, hawaii, just a couple... and I need tape, and they don't sell it here.  
What else to say... How are you guys doing?  OH YEAH I guess you would like to know that I am going to San Francisco on Thursday to the French Consolate.  I am supposed to report at the travel office at like 5 in the morning, so that will be fun.  I don't know if I spend the night there or not.  From what the paper says, it sounds like we'll come back either late that night or early the next morning.  I'll be sure to tell you.  Travis gets here tomorrow, maybe I'll see him at lunch or something.  I have run into a bunch of other missionaries I know.  Well I only have a few seconds left, so I better send this Love you BYE!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ideas for Preparing Missionaries

    OK, so I have been getting ready for my mission about a month and a half now.  Here is what I think are the best ways to prepare for your mission.  Keep in mind that I have not actually gone on a mission, this is just what I think is helping.
  1. Lengthen your prayers.  This is all up to personal interpretation of how much you should pray, but I think that taking your time praying in the morning and night (as well as all throughout the day!) definitely makes you more aware of what you have, and forces you to be more creative with your prayers then the stock, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, thank you for all we have, please bless us, Amen".  Don't be afraid to ask him to help you or for guidance.  Heavenly Father is happy to bless us, and there is no shame in asking for blessings if it is in the right mind set.
  2. Read your scriptures and understand what is happening.  No new information here.  If you were born into the covenant, then you have been told your whole life the importance of scripture reading.  Well it is true, and what is just as important as opening the book is understanding what is going on.  I consciously have to keep asking myself questions like, "Who is that?", "What are they doing?", "How did they get to this point?" otherwise I'll read a page or two only to realize that I have no idea what I just read.  
  3. Go to the temple.  If your first temple experience is anything like mine, it would have probably been confusing because it is so much information, and a little different then what you might expect.  My first time honestly wasn't a huge spiritual epiphany like I thought it would be, but going repeatedly and often really improves your life and helps you feel a lot closer to the Lord.  I would also suggest going to the temple as soon as you can after getting your call, but that is up to you.
  4. Sleep, diet, and exercize.  I love sleeping in, enjoying a burger and fries, and being a couch potato as much as the next person, but getting decent sleep, eating well, and exercizing help me feel better during the day, and get more done.  I also am doing this because I would like to lose some weight before I get my suits fitted.  The word of wisdom is really words for the wise, and it is one of God's commandments so you should be doing it anyway.
  5. Prepare one day at a time.  There is a lot to do before you actually go to the MTC.  If you are going out of the country like me, you need to get a passport and you visa.  The power may be different where you are going, and you need to plan for that.  You need to get a whole bunch of clothes and other things.  You will probably need to get a few inoculations and visit the dentist.  The key thing to remember is to take it one day at a time.  It is easy for me to get overwhelmed with all the things you need to do.  You will have enough time to get it all done, again take it day by day, and DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.  Even if you have a few months like me, you don't want to leave everything for the last weeks.  Some of the shots you have to get have to be taken a month apart.  There is a lot to do, so don't panic, and don't blow it off.
    That's all I have got today, I'll keep you updated with thoughts and experiences as they happen.  Good luck.  The gospel is true, I just checked this morning.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mission Blog!

    Hello everyone, this is Elder Luke Crossman, and I have been called to serve the Lord in the France Lyon mission.  I report to the MTC November 2nd, and I will probably be in France just after Christmas.  I have found a couple other blogs by missionaries in my mission.  I have enjoyed reading them, but I keep wishing that they would add some specific details or advice.  So I have decided to create this blog for those who are called to Lyon or to a mission in general, as well as just a place to respond to letters and such instead of doing an e-mail tree.  Hopefully I can put something of use on here that will help someone, but at the very least, it will be an easy way to write to everyone who cares to keep up with me. 
     Anyway, I feel incredibly blessed to have been called to France, I love this gospel, and I can't wait to do nothing but serve the Lord for two years.  Je vous amie tout le monde!