Monday, January 18, 2016

1/18/2016 Photo

Yeah, everything's going really well for me.  We're keeping ourselves super busy. 

A picture of our zone. 

[Elder Crye is third from right.]

Saturday, January 16, 2016

1/11/2016 Transfers?


So... transfers... 

We didn't get a call last night. We were pretty confused, considering we were expecting to drive Elder Meise down to Brampton. He's going home in like two weeks, but it seems we're both staying here for now. We got an email today with our travel plans that just said "No movement." I guess they'll send me up a new companion mid-transfer when Elder Meise goes home. Weird.

[Caralee Crye wrote] Last night was a wonderful World Wide Devotional for young adults (Institute age). I'm not sure if the missionaries are allowed to attend/watch. Basically, the take-away message I got from Elder Russell M. Nelson is that when we are asked to do "impossible" tasks, with a lot of prayer, wrestling of spirit, and effort, miracles happen.  He shared several experiences from his life about this. One of these was the mandate to open more European countries (this was before the Berlin Wall came down) to the mission work. There were several times when his efforts seem to fail, meetings (with European officials) didn't seem to succeed, among other things. With time, patience, and a lot of prayers to seek revelation and guidance from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the European countries, one by one, were able to be dedicated and opened for mission work.  

He also remembers when he and his wife and several others [it was a university setting] were asked by the prophet [then McKay I think] to learn Mandarin as the students will need to develop relationships and businesses with China and this, will in turn, will help with future missionary work.  Years later, as a surgeon, Brother Nelson was asked to go to China to help train some Chinese doctors with heart surgical procedures/methods. He was happy to use his basic Mandarin skill.  That wasn't all.  Some more years later after he was called as an apostle, China asked him to return to perform a surgery on a well known star Opera singer. He declined, since he is called as an apostle and no longer working as an apostle.  China kept asking him, again and again, to please come do the surgery. He then asked the quorum and the first presidency, and after prayer, was directed to go ahead to do as requested. he flew over there and was welcomed warmly as a fellow surgeon; thankfully, the Opera singer survived the surgery [it also was his last surgery he performed].  This act of service led to continuing friendly relationships between the Chinese people and the LDS Church.

Basically, what Elder Nelson was saying is that we may be asked to do things that may appear, or at present be, impossible to do, but with faith, prayer, and a willingness to do everything and all that we can, miracles will happen and the impossible will be accomplished.  This is similar to the quote I gave you some time ago and paraphrased, "Seek not only for missionary opportunities, also seek for the courage to do them."

Yeah, missionaries in our mission couldn't attend unless they were accompanying somebody that they were teaching. Nobody that we're teaching in that age range wanted to go. We downloaded the audio and plan to listen to it sometime in the next few days.

1/4/2016 third email

It's been pretty good! For New Years Eve, we went home early and did some weekly planning. We had plenty of leftover goodies from Christmas, so we pigged out on those. The last few days have been pretty normal. Nothing really crazy comes to mind. We're visiting lots of good families that genuinely want to develop their relationship with God.

This upcoming Sunday night we find out transfer news. Right now, I'm still with Elder Meise from Prince George, British Columbia. This is his last transfer - he'll be going home very soon. Missionary work's going really well right now! The Lord is definitely blessing us. The Vincent family (that we spent Christmas morning with) is more-or-less reactivated now, and they're getting ready to have their daughter, Shyann (she has the pants that say "Work Out" on them), baptized.

Lots of people are keeping their commitments to do things like read their scriptures, pray, and attend church. As such, you can see temptations and addictions slowly losing their grasp. It's amazing! Most of the families are doing really well.

Love you too!
-Elder Crye 

1/4/2016 some more pictures from Christmas

​Christmas breakfast with the Vincents

1/4/2016 Pictures of recent snow storm and some from Christmas Eve!

 The day [12/27/2015] the temperature dropped like 30 degrees overnight and we got like a foot of snow.​

Christmas Eve breakfast with the Ludlows

 Christmas Eve lunch with the Gunnells

Christmas Eve dinner with the Allans

12/28/2015 Weather changes

We had a nice, green Christmas here. 

Weather's been super weird. People kept telling us winter would come. We kept laughing at them. The weather kept getting warmer. (About a month and a half ago, it dropped down to about -10/-15 degrees Celsius, then it just kept rising.) On Christmas, it hit 14 degrees Celsius. Then, two days ago, the temperature finally dropped. Pretty drastically. We had a high of like -10 and a low of about -18. Last night, we got dumped on with like a foot and a half of snow.

Love you too!

-Elder Crye

12/21/2015 Week of Christmas coming up

Hey, there! I'm doing well!
Christmas is coming soon!

Got a letter from the Mission President this week:

Dear missionaries,

As you know, the MTC is keeping missionaries another week so our transfer dates as of April are pushed back a week. Timing of arrival home is generally the Wednesday of the week after your original release date. You can let your parents know that. Exact information about arrival times, etc., will be made when flights arrangements are made.

We love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Pres Clayton

He sent us another letter, maybe a week ago, explaining that release dates April and beyond are being pushed back a week to line up with the transfer cycle. He said to contact him with any questions - he has jurisdiction to adjust release dates within about 4 weeks.

From what I remember, my release date was like a week and a half before school starts up again. I'm not quite sure though. We have plenty of time to make arrangements, but my new release date may require a bit of altering. Could you find out what day the 2016 BYU Fall Semester starts for me?

This week's been good. I'll see you guys on Friday, so we'll catch up some more then. :) As a heads up, we're limited to 40 minutes.
Love you all, and Merry Christmas!
-Elder Crye


I'm hoping that these changes and updates from back home does not distract you too much and that you're still putting in your full heart and focus with the mission work. Remember to stay focused doing the Lord's work. The Lord will make sure that everything for you with education will all come into place.  

Sounds good. I'm pretty focused out here. :)

So far so good. My companion right now is on his last transfer. The Missionary Department just recently put out a new program called MyPlan designed to help missionaries transition into post-mission life. From what I understand, they haven't quite rolled out everything, but they have the part for a missionary's last 6 weeks up. I hear they're intending to have a little training module to be completed each 6 months throughout your mission, concluding with 6 modules that you do the last 6 weeks. I'm really enjoying ribbing Elder Meise about how he's almost "dead." [going home when mission ends]

Yeah, I'm not too worried about education at this point. Not really sure how I'm going to transition back into Linear Algebra or whatever, but that's a bridge to be crossed another day.

Pray to him always for guidance and express your concerns to Him. He is very, very aware of all your thoughts, your joys, your concerns, frustrations, and willingness to do things. I remember being told: "Do not just pray for missionary opportunities, also pray for the courage to do those missionary opportunities." I've seen many of these happen while on my mission that miracles can and do happen. That quote, I'm not sure if it is by Elder Cook or Elder Bednar. Brother Crowther made that same quote recently on Sunday when we were discussing in Branch Council about missionary work and the Elders assigned with our branch.

You're in Branch Council? That's pretty cool. Are you there on behalf of Primary, or Institute, or both?

That's a really good quote about not just praying for missionary opportunities, but for the courage to take advantage of them.
That need for courage is especially true for members. When on a mission, the mantle of missionary is on the shoulders and the promptings are generally stronger. As members not serving full time missions, we do not have the same mantle, but we still have a similar mandate to help seek for those who are looking for His truth. The ability to know when to "open our mouths" (or hands in the case of the deaf) to share with others can be daunting at times and require courage to follow through. 

Missionary work in language units (eg ASL branches) is pretty different, considering the missionaries can't really just go tracting (not that they could tract effectively in Utah, anyway). Pretty much the only effective way to find people to teach is through the members. 
This missionaries will be coming to dinner this Tuesday.  My mind has been thinking about possible menu choices. It has been snowing last night and this morning, but it seems the snow has slowed down a bit. It is supposed to snow all day and tomorrow. Hopefully the missionaries should be able to make it to our home tomorrow night. We have about two inches so far.
If those missionaries are worth their salt, which I'm sure they are, they'll invite the Spirit into our home by sharing a message and ask if the Spirit's indicated anyone to you guys that could benefit from some kind of invitation. Perhaps a good way to prepare would be to pray for the Spirit's guidance in preparation of the missionaries' visit. I wish that's something members did in preparation for our visits out here. If anyone comes to mind when they visit (or perhaps in the days following), I hope you or the rest of the family do something about it. :) 

Somehow, up here in the frozen north, it's been unusually warm. It dipped down to -15 deg Celsius a few weeks back and we got a foot or so of snow, but the weather's warmed up since then and has hardly dipped below freezing. It sounds like you have more snow down south in the desert of Utah than we have up here now.

hope you got your two packages. I'm not sure if you got the birthday one already, or if your mission is holding that to give to you along with the Christmas package. There was an email that said packages would be distributed at the two zone/mission conferences.  Perhaps you had the conferences already. How were these conferences and did you learn something that is really inspiring and motivating?  

Yes. This last week I got the birthday package from the family, the Christmas package from the family, the Christmas package from the branch, and a Christmas package from the Jarvis family. Looks like everything arrived safely. :)

It was the special Christmas Zone Conference, so we sang a bajillion Christmas songs, including a rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas that probably ended up on the Canada Toronto Mission Facebook page. Not sure how it'll be labeled, but I'm in the Sudbury Zone right now, so that'll probably help you find me.

Something pretty interesting happened this Conference. The Abitibi Branch that was just across the mission boundaries in Quebec merged with the Temiskaming Branch (that Elder Meise and I were coverning) something like 2 weeks ago. I think I mentioned that, but I'm not quite sure. Anyway, with the branches merging, the Canada Toronto Mission inherited 4 French-assigned missionaries that were serving in the Abitibi Branch. Since the Montreal Quebec Temple has been closed for renovations until just barely, those missionaries haven't attended the temple since coming out to the mission field. So, our Mission President authorized the Sudbury Zone to attend the temple while we were there in Brampton.

Did we learn much at Conference? Honestly, not really. Apart from a good message on light being a symbol of Christ (similar to Bednar's Christmas Devotional talk), there wasn't much instruction given. It was a pretty strange Conference. Normally we practice teaching people and role-play. This Conference, we didn't role-play at all. Most of our time was spent reading about prophecies of Christ's birth and singing. I think we sang all 15 Christmas songs in the hymn book, and then some.

Love you!

-Elder Crye


I always struggle to know what to say in these emails. We're teaching about 20-25 lessons/week. People are coming unto Christ. They're receiving the gospel. It's such a blessing to be able to invite the Spirit in so directly to people's homes. We got some people to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for their first time this week.

The First Presidency Christmas Devotional had some spectacular music this year. I wish you guys could more fully appreciate it. The talks were pretty good too. Totally worth sharing. :)

If you haven't checked it out yet, the Church put out a 2 minute video titled "A Savior is Born". It's pretty good.

Love you all too!

-Elder Crye

11/23/2015 Great baptism and photos

This week's been good.

Really busy, as usual. :) We had a great baptismal service and Elder Perkins, a General Authority, came to tour the mission.

Elder Meise and I with a giant buffalo!

Love you!

-Elder Crye

11/9/2015 Amazing week - photo

We were ridiculously, incredibly blessed this week. Of the 20 or so families/individuals we're working with, 8 or 9 of them came out to church, adding about 20 people to our sacrament meeting attendance, most of them for their first time (or in the case of members, their first time in a while). That was crazy! There's no way we could've done that on our own! Teaching people true doctrine and following the Spirit has been leading to some awesome results over here.
We've had a really good week. Again, running around like headless chickens, but it's very fulfilling. One of these days, I'll have to get a picture of my companion, Elder Meise. :)
In the meantime, here's a picture of a guy Elder Anderson and I were working with in Orangeville (before I got transferred out 3 weeks ago). He just got baptized. :)

11/2/2015 animal sightings

This week's been pretty good.

Missionary work is moving forward really well.

We cover the Temiskaming Branch as well as the North Bay Ward, so on Saturdays we drive about 2 hours north and spend the day in that area. We attend church there once a month. This last Saturday, in Haileybury, probably a town of about 10,000 people, we saw three bears up in a tree. There was a police officer parked nearby keeping an eye on them. Apparently, they wandered into town, got spooked, and climbed up the tree for safety. The police officer said the mama bear and her two cubs had been there for the last two days.

Over the last two weeks, I've sighted two moose.

-Elder Crye

10/26/2015 From Elder Gary Crye

Things are going well up here in North Bay.

Elder Meise and I have been keeping ourselves really busy. We've just been hopping around from teaching appointment to teaching appointment. It feels really good to be working hard.

There's a saying that goes around here in the Canada Toronto Mission: "Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles." That's definitely something I know to be true. The last several companions I've had were great Elders, but I don't know if you could say they were exactly obedient to the mission rules, or in some cases, even striving to be. That's something that's very difficult to accomplish, and requires you to know the rules pretty well, so I don't really blame them. However, the companion I have now, is one of those "exactly obedient" types. And so, we've been going around just seeing blatant miracles everywhere we go. It's great!

It seems that wherever we've gone, people are super receptive and practically begging us to teach them the Gospel. We were able to teach over 20 lessons this week, which is something I haven't been able to do in quite a while.

Life's pretty good.

-Elder Crye

10/19/2015 New Transfer! My birthday yesterday


I found out I'm being transferred to North Bay tomorrow.

Birthday was great! Elder Anderson managed to get most of the ward to sing to me throughout the day. 

We got some snow flurries here on the 17th. Cars are nice and frosty in the morning. Snow hasn't stuck yet.

We should have a few baptisms coming up here in Orangeville in the next week or two.

Super short email due to a few things - packing and trying to figure out how to help a 9-year-old learn 5 lessons worth of stuff in a 1-hour visit, and figuring out who to bring with us on short notice on a Monday evening (when several families are doing FHE) after the first guy fell through.

Somewhat regular day in the life of a missionary?

In other news, Orangeville's awesome and the Gospel is true!

-Elder Crye

10/13/2015 Second post

Hello. Greetings from up North.

This last week's been pretty good. Filled with small miracles.

Monday, this nice fellow walked into the chapel asking some questions about our church. For whatever reason, a seminary teacher was still hanging around the chapel, so he gave the guy our contact info and got some of his. Later that day, we got in touch with him and set up a time to meet. It's awesome when people find us instead of us finding them. :)

Wednesday, we went on exchanges with some of the Elders in Newmarket. Elder Anderson stayed in Orangeville while I joined Elder Christensen in Newmarket and his companion worked with mine. We spent the day teaching a lot of people about family history and helping them use FamilySearch and Ancestry. It was nice - I've used FamilySearch quite a bit, but haven't used Ancestry nearly as much as Elder Christensen evidently has. It was a good learning opportunity. Over in Newmarket, they have several people that are preparing to attend the temple with their own family names.

Thursday, we met up with an investigator (person learning about the church) that originally didn't think she'd ever be able to give up smoking. She's been smoking for 42 years. Heavily. Nowadays, she's down to a couple cigarettes a day and quit entirely for a day until she relapsed back up to a couple/day. No big deal. We just get back up and try again. The Book of Mormon is powerful. I love that we're able to promise people that if they make a consistent effort to read from the Book of Mormon and do things like pray to invite the Spirit into their life, everything else will fall into place. You'll find the strength to overcome addictions. She's having a great time at church too.

Yesterday, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving - much like Thanksgiving in the US, but on a Monday in October. A family in the ward invited us over, along with inviting over two other families. It felt a lot like home with all the extended family getting together. We had all sorts of stuff: turkey, potatoes, candied yams (This time, with pecans/brown sugar instead of marshmallows. 10/10. Would recommend), and pie. Aww yeah.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect, and it works!

-Elder Crye


  [Caralee Crye wrote:]
  Dear Elder Gary Crye,
  I hadn't realized that today [10/12/2015] is Thanksgiving in Canada!  Hope you're enjoying that day too!  Is it a       big day there in Canada as it is for USA in November? How different is celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving when   compared with Thanksgiving in USA?

It's a pretty big day. Here, the snow comes and the harvest season ends a little earlier than in the US, so they have Thanksgiving a little earlier. They celebrate it on Monday. Schools are out for the day. People sort of celebrate it all through the weekend, and tend to have a large dinner with family/friends at some point over the weekend. It's a little different in that Thanksgiving isn't the kickoff to Christmas season in Canada. Instead, it's a little strange since some people have Thanksgiving/fall decorations and others have Halloween stuff up. Also, it doesn't coincide with any large fall/winter break - back home we tend to get several days off for Thanksgiving. They just get a slightly longer weekend here.

The meal's pretty much the same - turkey, sometimes ham, with lots of potatoes, stuffing, yams, rolls, salads, etc.

Several of the families in the area where I'm at have cabins further up north that they take off to on weekends like Thanksgiving.

Many people up here also celebrate US Thanksgiving, though they don't get time off for it. Black Friday's pretty big too (after US Thanksgiving, not Canadian Thanksgiving).

10/5/2015 From Elder Gary Crye - General Conference Weekend miracle

I just want to share a brief experience that happened this week during General Conference.  Sunday morning, a member showed us an excerpt from her journal that went something like this:

Oct. 3rd
Conference miracle. Heavenly Father answers prayers.
This week we talked as a family about preparing questions for General Conference. J [her son] is having all these great spiritual experiences in Seminary, and now he has some great questions, but there's one that's really been bothering him: Why am I not happy?
[My husband] and I promised him that he would be able to get an answer from an Apostle if he paid attention to Conference.
It's normally a really big struggle to get the kids to pay attention to General Conference, so today [my husband] and I thought we'd do something a little bit different. We attended Conference at the chapel.
As we all filed in, most of the kids looked like they were about to fall asleep. We pulled out some candy to help them pay attention. J was awake, but not really alert. He was on his phone.
I said a silent prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help J pay attention to Conference.
At that moment, the awesome missionaries got up from across the room and sat next to J. They pulled out their notebooks, ready to learn. J followed their example and sat up straight. He got his notebook out.
The very first talk: President Uchtdorf, an Apostle of the Lord answering his exact question. 

Elder Anderson and I did something very simple, but it made a difference.

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Love you too!
-Elder Crye 

9/21/2015 Some stuff...

Some stuff that happened this week:

We had family home evening with a family and taught about the 10 Commandments using hand signals - not sign language - that were often humorous. Alright, everyone! Guess what commandment number 9 is? *holds up eight fingers* (That's only eight fingers!) No, this is commandment number 9. We're holding up 9 fingers! *some small children start freaking out and try to tackle us* Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Our Tiwi Device, the little computer that monitors our driving and yells at us if we go too fast or "drive aggressively" (read: hit a pothole or have to slam on our brakes because the driver in front of us cut you off), wouldn't let us log in this week. We probably heard the phrase "no driver!" like a hundred times.

Gave something like 4 blessings.

Helped host an SPCA dog walk at our chapel in Orangeville.

9/7/2015 From Elder Gary Crye with photos

This week's been pretty good.

First off, transfer news. I'm staying in Orangeville for another six weeks.

Last Monday, we taught several of the natives, deep in the Canadian bush.

 t was pretty sweet. Bishop Morton arranged a birthday party for a member then invited all the young men to come and bring their friends.​ We ended up teaching the Restoration to a group of about 2/3 members of the church and 1/3 non-members. Two of them accepted copies of the Book of Mormon.

We got these two pretty sweet photos afterwards. The other is a glamour shot that we took before the lesson. That's Bishop on the right.

Tuesday, we helped a member move some massive cabinets into his mostly-finished house. That was an adventure.

The rest of the week, we had some pretty sweet lessons, but I don't have any photos of those. We're helping a few people overcome smoking addictions. That's going generally pretty well.

We met a lot of people this week that were content with their current knowledge of Jesus Christ. In Sunday School yesterday, Brother Jones shared an interesting story that I think applies well:

When he was a student, Elder Talmage was once approached by a man offering to sell him an excellent oil lamp. Elder Talmage already had a lamp he felt was satisfactory, but he allowed the lamp seller to come up to his room to demonstrate.

“We entered my room, and I put a match to my well-trimmed lamp. My visitor was high in his praise. It was the best lamp of its kind, he said, and he had never seen a lamp in better trim. He turned the wick up and down, and pronounced the judgment perfect.

“‘Now,’ he said, ‘with your permission I’ll light my lamp,’ taking it from his satchel. … Its light made bright the remotest corner of my room. Its brilliant blaze made the flame in my lamp weak and pale. Until that moment of convincing demonstration I had never known the dim obscurity in which I had lived and labored, studied and struggled.”

Elder Talmage bought the new lamp, and he later suggested what we can learn from the lamp seller as we teach the gospel: “The man who would sell a lamp did not disparage mine. He placed his greater light alongside my feebler flame, and I hasted to obtain it.

“The missionary servants of the Church of Jesus Christ today are sent forth, not to assail nor ridicule the beliefs of men, but to set before the world a superior light, by which the smoky dimness of the flickering flames of man-made creeds shall be apparent. The work of the Church is constructive, not destructive” (in Albert L. Zobell Jr., Story Gems [1953], 45–48; see also The Parables of James E. Talmage, comp. Albert L. Zobell Jr. [1973], 1–6).

The message of the Restoration is that brighter lamp. I know that is true.

In other news, we've now assembled the furniture in our new place and put everything in it's new home.

We got to go to the Temple on Saturday! Yay!

-Elder Crye

8/31/2015 From Elder Gary Crye and photos

Today's one of those days where I'm just writing and my mind's going blank. Excuse the sign word-vomit. This week's been pretty sweet!

Got an email from Sis. Crowther this week. Seems she's enjoying Anaheim.

I found Sis. Bonham on an article at

Shannon and Joseph, the native American couple back in Windsor, got married and baptized!

We moved apartments!

More apartment photos

We had some sweet member visits!

(no pictures for the rest of the email, sorry :P )

Quite a bit's changing here in the mission. As a result, we've been visiting with many more members, to help everyone -- not just investigators -- make it to the temple.

It's been a pretty busy week.

We have another investigator, Debbie, that's moving forward pretty quickly.

I love you all,

Elder Crye

8/24/2015 From Elder Gary Crye

We're emailing from the Orangeville chapel this week, instead of from the library. They have a laptop here that was being repaired. Now we're in the clerk's office, using their desktop and that laptop.

On Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 11:34 AM, Caralee Crye <> wrote:

Dear Elder Gary Crye!

I hope all is going good in the mission field. Brother Almond is thrilled with the news that you found one of his former investigators. Keep us updated with what is going on with you and your companion.
 The work has been going well. We found this guy named Connor on the street and talked to him for a bit. After our discussion, he said he would be cool with us coming by and talking with him some more. When we came to his house a couple days later for the appointment, it seemed no one was there. As we were leaving, he walked up. We met with him on his side porch. It turns out that he had done some research on Awesome! He asked us about the Book of Mormon and we quickly gave him one. It was a great lesson. 

   Our Tuesday this week was quite busy. We started it off by helping some members do some moving. The beginning wasn't too bad, but when steep stairs came into play, it got a little tougher. By the end of it all we were quite sweaty and tired. After having a good lunch with them, we went to another member's house and helped her paint some of the ceilings in her new home. We did a couple of rooms and we had to depart fairly quickly because we had an appointment shortly thereafter. We ran home, quickly showered, and made it just in time. And it was a great visit. It was busy but good.

The rest of the week was also pretty good. We had an interesting meeting with the Mission President and the rest of the zone this week, where we're changing quite a few things we do in the mission to have a more member-oriented proselyting program.

We had stake conference over the weekend. The theme on Saturday centered on Ward and Family Councils. This seems to be a continuation from the last stake conference a few months ago.  Sunday's conference had a technical glitch. The two satellite buildings (ours and another ward building to the North) were unable to access the intranet to contact the Stake center. We had so much trouble as apparently the church server was down (according to the high councilman).  We (and the North building as well), sang songs and shared testimonies while we waited patiently. After one hour, we finally made connection through, I believe Skype, or something similar, to the Stake center. The sound quality was horrible as we dropped frequently, even though we could somewhat see (there was also visual static). Nevertheless, we were able to get most of what is going on for the final hour.  Basically, there were nine speakers (we missed half of them in the first hour). Funny, but when we finally made connection, it was at the time when our own Sister Bullock was speaking.

We have Stake Conference here on Sept. 12th. I'll let you know how it goes. :)
One of the high council suggested we (from both buildings) could move over to the Stake center, but another from the high council said "there is no room at the Inn".  Some left early for home before the first hour was over. The rest of us who waited and stayed had an enjoyable time singing and listening to testimonies.  Wonderful impromptu meeting the first hour.

8/17/2015 From Elder Gary Crye and photos

Hello Elder Gary Crye!

We're hoping you're enjoying your new area now that you've transferred recently.  How is the missionary work going?  How is your companionship? Any interesting stories? 
Well, I'll take this moment to tell you a little about Orangeville. It's a little city, maybe 30,000 people surrounded by rural roads, farms, and little hamlets. However, it's maybe just 45 minutes or so outside of Brampton, so a decent amount of people commute.

The ward here's really young. Super young. They have a primary of about 60 kids. Holy cow!

You know how missionaries support the wards they serve in with their missionary activities? That's pretty interesting when about half the ward's under 20. We've been playing a lot of basketball and getting to know the youth.

We tend to do service projects for people outside of the city - several families have houses under construction that they could use help with. Other people just need weeding done. :)

Missionary work's building up. When we got here, the investigator pool was fairly small. We're building that up slowly but surely. We really enjoy tracting (knocking doors) in the new developments.

The companionship's great! Elder Anderson has a really nice singing voice.

Interesting things: I think we ran into a member that Ryan Almond helped to teach, back in 1991. His name's Alex Alexander, and he was taught by an Elder Almond and Elder Andrew Gagon in Pickering, ON.

Were you able to get any letters and/or packages from the deaf branch recently?  We'll be sending another one to you soon for your birthday.  Is there anything you wish, need, or desire to replace? Candy, food, certain clothing, or funds for clothing?

Yeah, I got some letters from the Young Women this last week. Some of them were very funny. My companion and I particularly enjoyed a letter from a deaf girl that just joined the ward. Taitem? She began by introducing herself and how she was deaf, then wrote, "Blah. Blah. Blah. I'm sure you've heard it all before." HAHAHAHA! Hilarious!

Speaking of packages, I'm not sure if I wrote back about the package I received from the family. I sucessfully got the Easter package. All the candy arrived safe and sound. Unfortunately, it seems they confiscated the flash drive at the border. The declaration clearly had it listed, but when I got the package, it contained a little flattened box, roughly the size of a flash drive. I got the letters as well.

Needs? Nothing really comes to mind. Wants? Perhaps some more socks. Ideally socks that match those that I already have. I accidentally got a bit of bleach on a pair or so of my socks. See attached photo for what those look like. They're black. GoldToe brand. I wear a size 9.

I hit my year mark this week. Weird. I'm starting to wonder what kind of arrangements need to be made for when I return. What clothes I'll wear, where I'll live, that kind of thing. I got an email from Garret Carroll asking about living arrangements a week or so back. He returns in June, I believe. To summarize what he wrote, we have no clue which apartments we're looking for when we get back. Perhaps some money for clothing when I return?

Swedish fish are the bomb. I think I have enough chocolate syrup for at least a little while, still.

We've had more families moving into the branch.  I'm not sure if it is indirectly related to the missionary-minded work we're doing.  It is nice to see our branch grow. We did lose a couple of families that moved out because of jobs elsewhere.  I suppose it all sort of evened out.

The Orangeville Ward here has a lot of families moving in too.
We love you. We pray for you.  The branch speaks of and prays for you constantly. 

Aww, shucks. :P

Love you too!

-Elder Crye

8/10/2015 Chalkboard at Smoke's Poutine (pictures)

 Elder Scott, one of my former companions, drawing on a large chalkboard as we enjoyed some poutine.

8/4/2015 New area and photo

Orangeville's been good. The people here are super friendly. Even if they're not interested, most people are willing to chat with us for a while.

We whitewashed in (both of us are new to the area, no missionaries from Orangeville stayed). That's been pretty chaotic. Elder Anderson and I have had a good time figuring out what to do and where to go. We started with just an address to our new apartment, then we followed the bread crumbs from there. We're more-or-less situated now, but it took time just figuring out who was investigating the church in this area, how to contact them, etc.

It also turns out we're moving to a new apartment. That's been an adventure.

Life is good though. The ward here is great. I love Bishop Morton. He isn't just present in Ward Council, he really leads it.

Elder Anderson and I get along really well. Almost too well. We've been having trouble finishing nightly planning in half an hour since we like to joke around a little and we easily get on tangents. We're working on reining that in.

Here's a selfie Elder Anderson just took of us.

This week, we joined some recent converts from Orangeville to the temple. That was a great experience. You can definitely feel the Spirit very powerfully as baptisms and confirmations take place in proxy for those beyond the veil. As the scriptures would put it, the power of godliness is made manifest in the ordinances thereof. I love knowing that we can provide the opportunity for all to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had another missionary join us for a day. Elder Bowler's companion had a medical situation that required a brief visit to Rochester, NY, so Elder Bowler stayed with us. His companion is doing well now.

The ward picnic was great.

Finally, we had a wonderful service opportunity pulling some weeds that had overgrown a ward member's backyard.

-Elder Crye

7/27/2015 Abao's baptism and transfer

Getting transferred to Orangeville, which is over by Brampton. Kind of a crazy day packing up everything and tying up some loose ends.

Got the package. Customs confiscated the flash drive with Mormon Tabernacle music, but all the candy and letters made it through.

Will write some handwritten letters home this week. :)

-Elder Crye

7/20/2015 From Elder Gary Crye - Photos

Something that I've learned to appreciate that I never really saw or used before serving as a missionary is the Gospel Principles manual. There's a quote in there about agency that goes as follows: 

When we follow the temptations of Satan, we limit our choices. The following example suggests how this works. Imagine seeing a sign on the seashore that reads: “Danger—whirlpool. No swimming allowed here.” We might think that is a restriction. But is it? We still have many choices. We are free to swim somewhere else. We are free to walk along the beach and pick up seashells. We are free to watch the sunset. We are free to go home. We are also free to ignore the sign and swim in the dangerous place. But once the whirlpool has us in its grasp and we are pulled under, we have very few choices. We can try to escape, or we can call for help, but we may drown.
It's a very simple principle that I know to be true. Commandments aren't there to limit our agency. They're there to help us protect

I  hope you got our package by now.  If not, it may be another week perhaps.... I hope everything is in there.  I know there has been situations where customs may open a package to make sure everything in there is "allowable".  

Umm, the package has arrived safely, but I don't have it yet. Next week, I'll know if I'm being transferred. If I am, I'll get the package next week Tuesday when we're in Brampton for transfers. I'll keep you updated.

Stuff that's happening with me? Still working diligently to advance missionary work however possible. We're working hard to change the culture here in Ontario. For the past several years, missionaries have been primarily tracting to find investigators. We're trying to change that, but of course, still doing a lot of tracting. As President Hinckley put it, "So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church."

We're helping Windsor put together a Ward Mission Plan that the ward is on-board with. It outlines simple ways that the ward will commit to integrating missionary opportunities into things that they already do. Then, it helps the ward be accountable for those actions.

There's this Vietnamese guy that requested a Bible online a few months ago that's probably going to be baptized this upcoming Sunday.

A Native American couple is doing great with everything. Last week, we invited them to get married. That was intense. That's a work in progress.

All the recent converts are doing well.

I will end with a verse I like from 3 Nephi 16:20 that says:  

         20 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.

I like how it says, "salvation of God".  There is a lot of meaning in those three words.  The salvation of God is really the salvation of all of us... it is central to His plan.  I know He lives!  I know He loves us and His gospel is true.  The things He teaches resonates with what I feel--the spirit confirms to me and my life and my experiences show to me--the truth of why we are here on this Earth.

I like that phrase too. There's a line from the Zion's Camp movie where a huge storm comes through and protects the camp from attack. As the storm comes in, the Prophet Joseph says, "Stand still and see the salvation of God." very dramatically. That's a line that we can definitely apply to our lives. If we just slow down a bit, we'll see it.

Some carrots I'm growing. Who would've guessed that carrots have seeds?

 Elder Nugent and me eating ribs.