Sunday, February 26, 2012

화이팅! 나는 바로크라우더 장로다! 와!

Hey all, how we all doing at home!?

(Mom can you please forward this email to: .........; I recently decided to work on obedience a little more so if you could forward this email their way since I'm not technically supposed to I would be appreciative!)

It sounds like things are winding down in the Crowther home a little bit and that is pretty wild I have got to say. It is always a sad time of life when basketball season comes to an end! :'( But it sounds like the girls are doing way good! Alissa, it makes me laugh that you were kicking some big time booty in the basketball game. Work hard and keep it up!

Jenna and dating.... weird.... I don't like it at all....

I hear from Kellie often so ya. Kellie, your letters make me laugh almost every time. I sent you a response, did you get it!?

Katie BUG - HEY I haven't heard from you, missy, in quite a while! But thank you for the card that you sent me a while ago it made me laugh :)

Mom/Dad - Ya'll sound like things are going well with this here marathon (Outside of trying to picture Dad running more than about 100 yards at a fast pace, it's pretty cool; no offense Pop ;) hahaha!)

SO ya! I have had a wild week up here in 평택 and it has been a great experience! We have been working way hard and have seen some great success. SO ya.

Let me first start off by telling you about the awesome time I have had this week 전도'ing..... We have found 5 investigators this week.... 4 of them we found through 전도.... 4 of them (3 of the 전도 ones) we commited to a baptismal date on our first visit..... SO. Plus we met a really cool kid last night on our way home who was WAY legit. I talked to him and he said that he would like to hear more about our church! SO I have really come to like 전도'ing. I really have a lot of faith in it. It only takes persistence and diligence. It was WAY cool last week and I don't really know what exactly we did. We just did it and somehow it worked :)

So anywho in terms of a Korean mission that was the miracle for the week. It was nuts! We are doing really well and just had an amazing week (4 dates in a week is unheard of but we now gotta get them coming to church and this week, pulling a similar capacity of week is almost impossible (we are goin to 대전 today for Zone conference early so I can fix Sister Furniss's computer and then zone conference and a big mission training by our stake and then on Wednesday we are on splits, so I won't get back to my area to work until Thursday and that'll be late. But ya! So we will be in heavy need of your prayers so ya! It has been just great. I love it here. I love being able to serve in 2 wards (well... a ward and a branch...) but it feels like 2 wards and it is just awesome!

Lately, the thing that I am working on out here is following the Spirit. I feel like we can have the Spirit with us a TON but if we don't recognize it it's kinda hard... SO I have been kinda working on following the Spirit and I just had a thought. I remember that thing that Mom gave me that says: "When you have the Spirit:" and has that list of all the things that happen when you have the Spirit. One of the things is "you are confident and happy to be alive."  I have really noticed that a lot this transfer. I have gained a lot of confidence since coming to 평택. I am not scared to speak to people, in fact at all (although reading scriptures in 한글 in sacrament meeting is a different story. That I am absolutely terrified of although I did... it was just slow....) I love speaking Korean. I love talking about the gospel. I love just being this outgoing person. It's FUN! And it's great. I will meet people on the street who will tell me all the time "You are so optimistic... it's kinda cool." SO YA. I definitely know that that little bit is a change being wrought in me by my Heavenly Father. Because that is not the Josh that left on his mission 7 months ago (today in fact. I am wearing the tie too! It is very 멋있다 :)) So yes. I am a happy guy these days.

I was reading in the scriptures the other day and I read Alma 22:18. It is a great scripture. I thought about that in my life and in the lives of my investigators and how key that scripture is. "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day." I especially love the "I will give away all my sins to know thee." I thought about how if I am expecting to see miracles in my missionary work HOW ON EARTH am I supposed to get them if I am not willing to be EXACTLY obedient. And I guess it gets harder and harder (because of the natural man and all) but ya! King Lamoni was willing to give away all of his sins just to know that God Exists. Much less have the power and courage to change the heart of a person or any of those hard things! So ya in light of that Mom I made the request I did at the beginning of the email. I will be writing a lot of letters today! Namely to those who's emails I have yet to respond to. SO ya!

I love ya'll so much remember this: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." -Isaiah 41:10 (aka My Favorite scripture). God is right there waiting to help. We need only ask and he will be there for us. Develop that relationship with him. Seek his guidance. He will give it :)

예수 그리스도의 이름으로 말씀합니다. 아멘.

사랑해! LOVE YA!
Elder JOSH Crowther (I have to capitalize the JOSH because I haven't been called that in such a long time it's weird)

Monday, February 20, 2012

평택..... 역시.....

Well, howdy there! It has been an unusually crazy week for Elder Josher Crowther (mister) here in 대한민국. I have had a busy week filled with up's and downs (as usual guess it happens?) So ya! I will tell you about my area and new companion and then about the area and the ward and branch I'm serving in. And then to wrap it all up I will tell ya'll about an investigator that we met yesterday!

So I am currently serving in an area called 평택 [Pyongtaek]. It is one of the coolest areas in our mission and I actually have lived in 2 of the 3, 4 man houses in my mission (not a lot of missionaries get that luxury). So I am expecting a crazy move in the upcoming future, probably something really weird. But yes. My area is the only area in the mission with 4 missionaries working it so it is kinda crazy. We don't see each other a lot but we always 식사 [eat] together and it is nice.

My companion's name is Elder Scoville, he has been out on the mission for a little over a year now and actually just went senior this transfer (which is good news for me because that means that I am going senior soon... which I guess is also bad news at the same time.... hum.... interesting) But yes. He is from Washington (state) and is a cool guy. Really good Elder and all I'm excited to serve with him. We have had a really productive first couple of days together and the work is going well. We have had some CRAZY experiences and have a TON of potential in getting people to progress and accept baptism.

The ward that I am in is really REALLY cool. Because 사실... I am serving in 2 wards... Or I guess you could say a ward and a branch (but the branch is bigger than the ward). I have the 평택 Korean Ward and then the 오산 American Military Branch. It was ridiculous! So I go to church twice on Sundays and get to listen to a church meeting that I understand 100% of and then one that I understand about 50% of. SO that was cool at least. I actually got to bless the sacrament in English on Sunday so that was definitely a different experience. Also
the change in culture is SO WEIRD. I go from the classic Korean culture for 3 hours to 갑자기 [suddenly] having to talk to people in English and it is hard! Total culture shock! Wah!

So yes, it is weird but I guess technically if you were bored you might be able to get in touch with some people who know me (through Dad of course, mister stake clerker). And yayayaya!

Anywho, I will tell you about two of my investigators: one who we found yesterday, and one who has been meeting missionaries a while! But not in that order.

The first one is a girl in the American Branch named Alex. She is way cool and she actually had a baptismal date right when I got here (but that is now dropped.... I'll explain). She has been meeting missionaries a while and has prayed about the BoM and knows it's true and commited to be baptized and comes to church and everything! She is so COOL! Only thing is.... her parents aren't so sure of it yet. So we are going to have to find some way to get her parents to give her the okay and then she wants to be baptized. I ask for prayers on her
behalf and on our behalf as well as we try and figure out how to get that permission and help her make that step. She is way cool I just hope we can find a way to help her out.

The next investigator we have is this lady named (     ), we aren't sure which yet. She is this way cool lady and is the definition of humble. We were 가가호호'ing in her apt complex on Saturday and found her and she said that we could come in. But there was no adult male there so we had to come back yesterday. She has been through so much in her life. Her family was killed. She is SO HUMBLE though. As we met her and she told us her story I really could not think of how to respond. She is just amazing, totally prepared in my eyes. I feel so bad that she has been through so much and I cannot even begin to understand what she feels. That is the cool part. I may not, but Jesus Christ can. He understands perfectly what she is going through. He has been there and knows
exactly what she feels every day. We shared with her Alma 7:11-13 and it was a really cool lesson. The spirit was strong and it was an eye opening moment for me. Our member that we brought along told her about how as she studies if she asks other people about our church how they are going to say we are a cult and that she shouldn't meet with us type of things. She seemed really worried all of a sudden and I piped up and these are the words that came out of my mouth: "I would not leave my family, my friends, my life, for something that I didn't know was true. I would not give 2 years of my life to do this, for something I didn't know was true." I really just had the coolest feeling as the spirit confirmed my words in my own heart. I am really doing God's work. It is so cool! I love it!

I want ya'll to remember that I know this is true. Every day I learn just a little bit more about what it is like to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost in my life. I look at the people that I am teaching and I look at the blessing that this gospel can be in their lives and it is just like. "Why would anyone want anything but this?"

I know I am weak. Believe me I find out every day just how much I have to learn. I found out more and more every day that I am far from the person that God wants me to be. But I was reading this morning in a talk by Elder Todd D. Christopherson, called Consecrated Missionary. It says at the end this: "God does not expect us to be perfect right now; but he does expect us to make progress now." I am here to tell you that I am experiencing that in my life. I hope that I can keep progressing, I like what Dad said to me a couple weeks back: "These are growing pains!" I gotta say I really haven't liked the pain too much, but I wanna be better and I guess it's not gonna be easy now is it?

Alright I thought of one more really good thing that I may of shared a couple weeks ago BUT I'm sharing it again.... Get over it if I did.

There is a movie about Martin Luther and there is a scene in this movie were there is this monk that trained Martin Luther and he is cutting his hair. Anywho the monk is like getting after him for turning the world upside down, Protestants fighting against Catholics and just craziness in terms of religion. There is a really tense moment and Martin Luther grabs the monk's arm and says "You wanted me to change the world, did you think there would be no cost?"

I like to apply that to myself 이렇게: I wanted to change myself, did I really think that there was going to be no cost? For me that cost is my Pride, my Passions, my Weaknesses..... everything. If I wanna be better, It is gonna cost every fiber of my being. It is hard I know. But I hope that it is worth it :)

I love you all and am so grateful for the gospel in my life! I promise you that it can be a blessing in yours too if you are willing to fight for it :). Love you all so so so so so much and take care of yourselves.

Elder Josh Crowther 크라우더 장로....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The end of the transfer... Well, it is time to write another letter home!

Well, hello there everyone! It has been a crazy week here in 대한민국 I have been busy and it has just been an all around better week than last! I have had a really good week this week that was capped by an awesome Sunday full of surprises and an awesome miracle. 

So yes, I wanted to talk about an experience that I had this week and the realization that I am continually having every time I actually take some time to think/say/write what has happened to me in the past....

So on Thursday, me and Elder Carter were out doing some 전도 and we were going and going and going and I met this guy.... We got to talking and everything and it was probably the best street lesson that I have ever taught. I loved it so much, the guy was asking questions and I got to just teach and it was a great experience. I ended up talking to him about the 몰몬경 and how it has been a blessing in my life. We talked and I offered him one and he accepted it. As we were kinda saying our goodbyes however I had been noticing that as we had been talking that he was just absolutely FREEZING! Oh my goodness this man was COLD. So I handed him the book of mormon and then since I was wearing a pair of just warm little gloves (not the ones that you bought me at Mr. Mac, Mom, I already lost one of those) but the thought crossed my mind that I could not give a man who looked as cold as he was a Book of Mormon when he can't even put his hands in his pockets to keep him warm if I do. SO the only thing I could think of was to give him my gloves as well. So I did. It was one of the warmest feelings of my mission to watch this cold man go take a Book of Mormon and  put on my gloves and walk away with it in hand. I don't know why, I probably won't even seen him again, but that brought up something that I really decided I need to work on. Love.

As I went home that night I just could not get my mind off of that man. I wanted him to call so BAD, I wanted him to read the Book of Mormon and be Baptized SO BAD. I just couldn't stand it! And that's when it hit me: I need to love EVERYONE like that. I love the scripture in Moroni 7 where it talks about "Charity never faileth" If I loved every single person that I met on the street (the ones that I talk to and the ones who say they are "Busy") if I loved every single person who I 가가호호'ed like that.... how great would be my joy if I did find that one. That one person out of the 55000000 people who are here that is willing to listen to this message. 

This not only applies in my life here out on the mission but afterwards. We are all Brothers and Sisters. God has put us here on the earth to learn and grow and how on earth am I supposed to grow if I can't show that love that I so desperately crave to others. How am I supposed to say to someone on the street here "I know this message will make you happier" and have them feel that sincerity if I don't ACTUALLY love them. It is a hard thing love. It is something that we have to try and get EVERY DAY. It says in Moroni (and PMG) "Pray unto the Father with all energy of heart that ye might be filled with his love"... 

I know that I'm not perfect at all (in fact I am not even approaching that) but the fact of the matter is that If I am willing to give all that I am in the service of someone I care about (be it family, friends, coworkers, investigators, whoever) then how much better my life will be. How much better the relationships we have with those around us. It just all hit me.

Then also on Sunday, Sister Bush (one of the sisters who is finishing her mission this week) gave a talk on Charity and Love in sacrament meeting that just reinforced that point. I need to love more. I have to let that become who I am now as a missionary and that is something that will serve me for the rest of my life. I need it!

SO ya, that is my random rant on the things that I learned during the week thing... :) It was a crazy day today. We played some Soccer in the morning (I have some awesome injuries from soccer, you should see my knee these days). Then we got transfer calls! And I'm on the move again! WAHHH!H!!!!HH!!!! I know right? I will be in the same zone but I am moving down to 편택 [Pyeongtaek]. I will be with Elder Scoville who is going senior this transfer so that'll be nuts! I am going to be serving in a ward and in a branch. The ward is a Korean ward but down in 편택 there is an American military branch that I will be serving in. So, long story short, my weight gain (which of late has stabilized at 84-85 kg) will explode and I will be a fatty in about 6 weeks. But ya. It has been crazy to server here in 신풍 with Elder Carter we have had a lot of fun and have worked hard. I am excited for the future but am grateful for the success that I have seen so far.

So I said that there was an awesome cap to last week and I will tell you that to wrap things up. We have this investigator named Tiako (최봉림/최용봉) who is a Chinese guy (hence the 3 names) and ya, he is way cool. He came to church on Sunday (he comes when he can get off work) and we got to meet with him during priesthood meeting. We had an awesome discussion and in the course of the lesson he accepted the commitment to be baptized! Not only that but we set a date with him too! So on 3/11 he will be baptized (providing he doesn't have work and Elder Carter and his new greenie can meet enough between now and then to get all the lessons in and get him prepared). It was an awesome cap to the week and ya!

I want ya'll to remember something. God lives, and he loves us. He is our Father and like any Father he will guide us as we seek his guidance. Believe me if anyone doesn't deserve it (his guidance) it's me. But he is even willing to guide me and help me overcome the things that I am going through. How much more will he guide all of you :). I love you all, from the bottom of my heart. I frequently think about the person I would be without you and I am scared to even think where I would be. I am so grateful. I love you :)

Take care of yourselves and know that this is true!
Elder Josh Crowther

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bet you weren't expecting this!

Well, here we are, another week here in Korea. It has been a crazy week and all, but I will tell you just about some of the stuff that has been going on here.

I have really been working on personal development these days. I can't tell you how much I worry about my ability to testify and things like that. It has really been a great experience here on the mission but I have to admit... The crazy spiritual train ride that I have been on here is just huge, I go on the CRAZIEST rides. I go from the highest of high's to the lowest of low's, all in the space of about 24 hours. For example this week...

It was on Tuesday that I woke up and I just knew something was wrong..... I could just feel it, something in my heart was wrong.... So I thought "ya know, I'll just go to the gym and work out and it'll all be better......" SO I went to the gym and worked out and long story short it was not better... I just didn't feel the drive that I had had the day before. I wanted to be a missionary but something inside me just... didn't.... So during personal study I just got down on my knees and prayed. I can't tell you how hard that was for me. To try and sit there and fight off this feeling that was in my heart. It hurt, however, I opened up my scriptures and decided to read about faith. So I opened up to Alma 32:26... I read that and all of a sudden I realized something in my life. I have lived my life pretty similar to the direction that it gives in Alma 32:26-End... I especially like verse 41 where it says we have to "Nourish the tree... by your faith with great diligence"..... I think about the process of growing a tree. Sometimes there are hard times in the growing of a tree. But even during those hard times we have to continue to nourish the tree. Even when it may seem hard, even when the conditions may not be ideal, in the nourishing of the tree we come to love it more and more. Not only that but if we are faithful and help the tree till it produces fruit,  how much better it will be because we watched the tree and knew the whole process that it went through to get where it is.

I kinda tried to apply that to myself.  These days are bound to be amongst the hardest times of my life. But it is through the hard times that we have to have our roots planted deep, so that even when things are hard on the surface, when it comes down to it, we know the truth. I know this is true and although some days may have me thinking otherwise, I always have to think about the blessings that I have received because of it. My life would be so much different if I wasn't living the gospel, if I didn't live this gospel to be perfectly honest I have no idea where I would be right now. But I do know this much..... "by their fruits ye shall know them..." this gospel has blessed my life and protected me from so many things. All I have to do is realize that to see that God is watching over me. That he does care. That although things may be hard at times, if we hold on we will be made strong. Joseph Smith once said "God will take hold of you and will wrench your very heart strings. And if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance of the celestial kingdom of God." This life is a refining process. There will be heat. There will be pressure. It will be uncomfortable, but we if we can make it through and not crumble, we will become so much better than we could ever be without it.

So Dad asked me to throw in something in my email home: What would I say to people who are preparing to serve a mission? 

I would have to say that the one thing I worked the hardest to figure out was that God really does love me. That despite everything if we can lean on that one thing as a fact, life gets just that much easier.
So one of the things that I would say to those preparing for a mission is get a knowledge that God loves you.

The second is: Know where to go in the scriptures to find comfort.
In times of trial on your mission you aren't going to have the ability to just bail from everything. You aren't going to be able to just mope for a couple days and have some miraculous experience that gets you over it (Believe me I've been there). You are going to have to know where to go in the scriptures to find help and comfort. STUDY THEM, KNOW THEM. God can teach us and comfort us through the scriptures. This is one thing that I work on every day. I want to get to know them so much better. I can promise anyone who reads this that if they know the scriptures and know how to apply them to your situation in life, God can and will comfort you and teach you through them. He has and does continue to do that for me, EVERY DAY.

Kind of a sobering letter this week but I guess you know it happens. If ya'll would be willing to pray on behalf of my investigators that would be helpful. We just need to meet with some of them and others need that answer that it is true really bad. If you could pray for that for me I'd be much appreciated

I love you all. So glad that all is going well at home, remember that God lives. Remember that He LOVES you. Lean on that through everything and I can promise you'll make it through anything that comes your way.


Elder Josh Crowther