Sister Mariah McCrea's Contact Information:

Email -

Ukraine Physical Address (For Postal Mail and Packages):

Sister Mariah Sargent McCrea
Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission
Karla Marksa 27A 5th Floor

Note: If you are planning on sending a package to Sis. McCrea, please contact her mom and dad for suggestions on which carrier to use and what to do to avoid package tampering.

Elder Mitchell McCrea's Contact Information:


Brazil Physical Address (For Postal Mail and Packages):

Elder Mitchell McCrea
Brazil Belem Mission
Av. Navare, 532 Sala 412 4 Andar
Navare Royal Trade Center
66040-143 Belem-PA

Note: If you are planning on sending a package to Elder McCrea, please contact his mom and dad for suggestions on which carrier to use and what to do to avoid package tampering.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mariah, Week 6, Provo MTC

Howdy everyone!
Week six is finally coming to a close. Which means that we'll get our travel plans in less than two weeks!!! And I'll get to leave to Ukraine in three!!! dfhaerhjkefearhioewrhjwe I can't really contain my excitement! I've gotten so tired of the MTC and it's refreshing to know that I won't be here for forever and there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
This last week has been really hard. Russian has really been kicking my butt and I feel like I've hit a plateau as far as my learning goes. I'm just not progressing as fast as I feel like I can. But my teachers and companions have been nothing but encouraging. Sister Jackson has been talking a lot this week about the Lord's tender mercies. (Not to mention the fact that earlier this week, Dad sent me a General Conference talk from Elder Bednar that talked about the Lord's tender mercies. So, it's safe to say that my week has been bombarded with the Lord's tender mercies... I just need to learn to look out for them.
But there have been a few that I've noticed. One of them being that I was able to find my brother in the MTC. I think that it's a bit of a miracle to be able to find a elder out of the 46541321212 missionaries in the MTC (there aren't really that many missionaries, but it feels like that sometimes). In fact, I've been able to see Elder McCrea a couple times. And I think that it's a tender mercy that our classrooms are in the same building!
Another tender mercy that I noticed -- or rather, was pointed out to me by Sister Jackson -- was the fact that I'm now somewhat able to go through lessons with our progressing investigators without notes. Sure, it takes me a while to think and pick out all that I want to say... but I honestly didn't even dream of doing that when I first stepped into the MTC six weeks ago. So... about my statement earlier on how Russian is kicking my butt and I'm not progressing as fast as I like... I'm progressing. I know I am. I guess you can just say that I'm really impatient right now. Guess that just means that I need to learn patience.
This last week, my district celebrated Christmas in July on the 25th. It was really fun. Elder Dillard, Myers and Harmmer even got to the classroom early (something that has pretty much NEVER happened) to set up a little Christmas tree (that they found in the drop ceiling tiles in their dorm room) in our classroom. And the holiday celebration -- or as much as a celebration you can have with 10 missionaries in the MTC -- wasn't complete with a Secret Santa gift exchange. I drew Elder McBride's name and raided the free box for a present. I came out with a bottle of shampoo and a Chinese-English dictionary, wrapped it in "wrapping paper" (a.k.a. lined writing paper) and taped it up.
Well, I'm out of time. Whoever decided to only give MTC missionaries an hour of e-mail time was insane... because I cannot get a quality blog entry done in just an hour.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Mitchell, Day 3, Week 1, Provo MTC

July 26, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

I sure do love you and miss you so much!  I apologize for not writing you my first night in the MTC.

The reason this is so late is because I have no time.  I have no idea how Mariah did it her first week.

Guess what?  I have seen Mariah twice.  It stinks I can't hug her.  But we have the same P-Day.  I have also seen Elder Weinmuller.  He is in the advanced class and leaves on July 31st.  But Sister McCrea is doing awesome.  Guess what also?  I was called to be the District Leader for my MTC District yesterday.  It will change in 3 weeks when they will rotate it.  My companion is awesome.  He has his corny jokes and just an overall solid Elder.  He definitely is learning Portuguese faster than me but I am adjusting my learning ways daily and setting many goals.  I am also using my planner a lot.  My companion's name is Elder Carson Gale and he is from Liberty, Missouri.  He just graduated from High School and loves music.  He is going to the Brazil Belem Mission also.  In my MTC district there are 10 Elders and 4 Sisters.  The 4 sisters are going to the Brazil Cordia Chiba Mission.  3 of the Elders are going to somewhere in Brazil and the other 7 Elders are going to the Brazil Belem Mission.  The visa situation is really bad.  In one Brazil district 3 sisters got their visas before their 6th week.  But usually if you get it after the 3rd week you wait in Provo till you're ready to go to Brazil.  I am praying hard for it and will be fasting tomorrow for it.

I am loving Portuguese.  I am just upset .  I keep saying/reading/thinking words in Spanish.  It sometimes helps but sometimes it doesn't.  Example: "de" in Spanish is "g" in a heavy "g".  But I am loving my teacher, Brother Cannon.  Also today Elder Gale and I taught a lesson to this "investigator" named Antonio.  It was quite amazing but funny for Antonio to hear us talk.  But we will teach him tomorrow as well.  By the way, we used like 98% Portuguese in 2 1/2 day.  Amazing!

I really am grateful fo this and am working hard.  I pray and I hope I can get my visa in a week or two so I can go to the Sao Paulo MTC.  I am so grateful for and dad!  I sure do love you and hope you're doing great!

Your loving and only son,

Elder McCrea

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mitchell, Pre-MIssion, Laredo

Elder McCrea departing the Laredo International Airport the day before he is to report to the Provo MTC.  Earlier in the day he was set apart as a missionary by the Texas McAllen Mission President.  He is no longer Mitchell but has the title of Elder and most if not all will address him as Elder McCrea.  His Brazilian visa unfortunately has still not arrived.

Mariah, Week 5, Provo MTC

July 23, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

As of July 17, 2013, my name has been Cryllified: Cectpa Makpen (Sister McCrea).

I'm sorry for all the mistakes. My brain is starting to think more in Russian now.  I can't even remember how to speak Spanish very well anymore.  So when I get home, I'm going to be an English mess.  I probably won't even remember how to speak English anymore.

Being a missionary is hard.  A lot harder that I thought it would have been.  But that's okay.  I'm starting to realize that all the bad things that happen to us is for a reason.  It's Heavenly Father allowing trials to happen to me.  To help me learn patience.  Patience is something I need to learn. And I know that by the time I end my mission, I'm going to be a much better person.  During one of the Tuesday devotionals someone said that the mission isn't the best two years of your life.  Its the best two years for your life.

I love being a missionary!  It's the most fun that I have had in a long time and I know that it will be hard...but just being in Ukraine will be worth it. I know that this mission is for me.  I don't know if I've share this yet but I haven't ever been or seen or spoken to any of the Ukrainian people (other than Bro. Kulokowski, one of the Russian teachers here)...and I already love them.  Sister Jackson showed us a video of the festival for the Kiev, Ukraine temple (kind of like the jubilee we had for the San Antonio Temple...and I almost started crying.  I choked up at least.  I just can't believe how awesome my mission is going to be.  I know that I've said this a bajillion times...but the Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine Mission was made for me.  I was destined to go there.  I've thought about all the places that I could have gone to before I go to bed sometimes.  Like Hawaii or Australia would have been cool.  Or some where in the UK.  Or Germany.  Iceland even.  But they're all just cool places.  And that's it. It's just cool.  But it's not Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.  I can't think of anywhere else that I would like to serve a mission.  There was a reason why I was so interested in learning Russian in 9th Grade.  There was a reason why we lived in Laredo for as long as we did and I grew up in a branch and where I was one of the only kids at school who was LDS.  I know that there is a reason that I'm so sensitive with others and know what it's like to live in a poorer society.  It's because Ukraine is one of the poorer European countries.  It's because there are branches there and they are all really tight knit and close with each other...just like back home.  I'm being sent to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine so I can tell kids in middle school and high school that I know what they're going through being the only kid in school who is a member.  I'm going to Ukraine because I've been around and have friends who live on the poorer side of town and I don't think any less of them.  I know what it's like to live in the trenches...where the Church isn't very strong and we have to drive 2 1/2 hours to go to a temple.  I'm going to Ukraine because Laredo is just like it.  I came to the MTC pre-trained...culturally speaking.  I just came to the MTC to be trained spiritually.  And languagely, of course.  Sure there are times when I am scared and I wonder what I got myself into, accepting the call to go to a Russian speaking country...because I'm not kidding when I say that learning Russian is one of the hardest things I have ever done.  But then I remember what I'm doing here and the fact that I get to live in a foreign country for a year and a half...and then it's all worth it.  I think about how awesome it will be to live there, all the different kinds of people that I'll get to meet.  All the different kinds of food that I'll get to try...and the fact that I'll be able to speak Russian.  something that I've been wanting to do since 9th grade.

I know that this mission will be a blessing.  I just have to put my faith in the Lord.

With Love,

Sister McCrea

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mariah, Week 5, Provo MTC

July 20, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well, yesterday was my district's "month-aversary", a.k.a. we've been  in the MTC for a month.  Which is mind boggling when you think about it. It doesn't even feel like it's been a month.  But then when I look back at what has all happened to me in the past supposedly 30 does feel like it's been a month.

This week has been a real trip.  Yesterday (JUly 19th) was a really good  day for me.  I feel.  Nevermind the fact that I had to go to the health clinic - something that I will explain later - but yesterday was just a good day.  I was in a really good mood, my companions were in a really good mood.  We taught one of our investigators, Letra (Lena), and it was probably one of the best lessons that we had ever had with her before.  I don't know what happened thanks to the language barrier but I was able to connect with her better - something that I wasn't really good at doing during our previous lessons.


Sis. McCrea

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mariah, Week 4, Provo MTC

July 16, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
Okay, so first. It's really hard for me to send pictures because I honestly have no time to take them in the first place. Here in the MTC, I don't have very much free time. And when I do, I usually spend it reading the BoM in Russian, studing Russian or my scriptures or something. I'm always doing something. I barely have enough time to even write in my journal at the end of the day because when we get home to our "дом" (dorm room), all I really want to do is get ready for bed and fall asleep because I'm sooooo tired. So I'm sorry to report that I don't have any pictures to send. But I'll try my best to take more this next week to send to you next P-Day.
Anyway, I love receiving your Dear Elder letters. They really do make my day feel better. The one that you sent this last Friday, it almost made me cry. (In a good way, don't worry.) It really touched me and made me think... I really do love the investigators that my companions and I are teaching. This Saturday in fact, the day after I received your first Dear Elder letter, we met with another one of our investigators (who are really just our teachers role playing). But anyway -- we were supposed to meet with Nikita, but instead we met with Igor instead. But let me back-track a little bit first. Earlier that week, we were given the new investigator profile from Brat (Brother) Rutter named Nikita. He was described to us as being late 20s, arm-sleeve tattoos and looked rough around the edges. He was a street contact and we agreed to meet with him the next week. Well, when we knocked on "his door" this past Thursday, his friend Igor answered. Igor was drunk and said that Nikita had left to go to the store and said for us to come back later. Well, we came back later that week (Saturday) and Igor answered. He wasn't drunk this time, and Nikita was at work... but Igor agreed to let us in and teach him the first lesson. And can I just say... WOW. The lesson that we had with him... it was one of the best lessons we have had with our investigators. It was better than all the lessons that we had with Katiya and Lena combined. The lesson started out like any other lesson; we got to know him, what his hobbies were, etc. We learned that he had lost his job the day before we first came to his house to see Nikita which explained why he was drunk. He seemed really sad and bummed about that. And well, anyway. We asked if we could start the lesson off with a prayer and he kind of looked hesitant, but he agreed. We said a prayer, and afterwards, he commented on the fact that we didn't read our prayer from a paper or anything. (Those of the Russian Orthadox church read their prayers from a paper... I don't know very much about it, but I've noticed that it's kind of like the Hispanic/Latin/Mexican Catholic church; Russian Orthadox members pray to saints, etc.) Anyway, we said that we didn't... and I can't remember how the rest of the conversation went, but we somehow got to the subject of him not really knowing or wanting how to pray because he wasn't worthy to pray to God or anything. His babushka (grandma) was the saint of the family and she did all the praying. So, it was then where just this surge of love started to grow inside me. It was the Holy Ghost and I just looked at him and said in my broken Russian -- and with help from my companions -- that it's okay that he's sinned. God still loves him and thanks to Jesus Christ and His Atonement, you can be forgiven of all your sins. And of course, I started to cry a little bit because I've noticed that that's something that I do when I feel overwhelmed by the Holy Ghost. I forgot to bear my testimony about that to him and stuff, probably because I get too wrapped up in trying to think and translate simple sentences of what I know how to say in my head... but I think what I said to Igor really changed the mood of the lesson. I had never really felt that way before and I really am glad that I listened to the Spirit. He actually agreed to pray at the end of our lesson after we showed him how and everything. We don't have a baptismal date set yet or anything... but I'm sure it'll come in due time. But back to why this story relates to the Dear Elder letter you sent me... if you hadn't of sent that to me... I don't know why, but I hadn't really been connecting very well to Katiya and Lena. (I'm convinced that it's probably because Igor seemed to be more open and talkative and give us more to work on than Katiya and Lena has... but that's probably just because that's just Brat Rutter's personalitiy. Sestra Jackson doesn't seem to be as talkative and open and it's hard for me to relate well to her investigators because she doesn't give us much to work on. Maybe it's our teaching style; we're not sure. We're trying to fix that though.) ANYWAY -- the point is... thank you for sending me that letter on Friday. It's probably the best letter that you've sent me yet.
So... onto different topics...
In other news, I think that you would be proud of me to hear that I am running at least a mile when I have gym or exercise time. Though, if I may be honest, it's a bit of a struggle for me to run here in Utah since I'm up at such a high elevation compared to Texas. But I'm working at it. I'm so glad that I've got patient companions who are willing to walk with me when I need to catch my breath. I even call Sister Garff (the one who is from West Jordan, Utah) my little iPod because she likes to sing to me, haha. I've noticed that I've lost some weight because my jeans are starting to feel looser. And besides, I was told that I would loose a lot of weight in Ukraine because they eat so healthy and I'll be walking everywhere. But... I don't know what I did, but I sprained my ankle this past Thursday. I don't know what exactly I did... but I got it looked at by the trainer on Friday, and they said that I had stretched some scar tissue... so remember when I sprained my ankle really really REALLY bad when I was up in Idaho? Well, that's the ankle that I've sprained again. I've been icing it every day and I was given a compression wrap... and the swelling is just barely starting to go down. I'm going to probably buy an ankle brace at the bookstore to wear when I exercise and stuff. Especially before I leave to Ukraine. I don't want this injury to flare up anymore and give me any problems in the future.
Ugh... there's so much more that I want to say... but I only have about 10 more minutes left for e-mail time. I guess that I'll try and fit it into a handwritten letter or something.
And I didn't really write a blog entry this week... so I guess that you could use some stuff from this e-mail??? I dunno... some of it feels too personal to put on my blog. But I'll let you decide.
Anyway -- I love you guys. I'm almost halfway done with my stay here at the MTC. This next Sunday will be the halfway mark. The Russian is coming along and I've basically made a pact with myself to S.Y.L. (Speak Your Language) 24/7 -- or as much as I can anyway. I started yesterday and it's been going okay. I'm still learning.
I'll try and take more pictures and actually write a blog entry for you next week.
Oh, and do you mind forwarding me the e-mails that Ian, Eric, Chantelle, Laura Tedford -- and any other missionary (Ramsey, Jared) -- I know, to me? I'd love to read their e-mails home. :)
Sister McCrea

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mariah, Week 3, Provo MTC

July 9, 2013

Привет! It's almost the start of Week 4! And I still don't know Russian!
Well, okay. I know a little bit... I can bear my testimony, say a prayer, and hold a very basic conversation with someone. But when I say basic, I mean to the extent of "Hi, how are you?" "What is your name?" ... And that's about it. My district has decided to impliment a rule of S.Y.L. -- Speaking (Y)our Language -- at lunch and break time during class. So far, the jist of our lunchtime conversations sound a little like this: "I know that this hot dog is true." "I am thankful for this BYU Creamery milk."
A lot feels like it has happened this week. The Fourth of July was probably the biggest thing. They didn't have any Fourth of July-colored pancakes or anything like that (unfortunately). But after dinner, we attended a devotional, watched 17 Miracles (which is probably the saddest movie I have ever seen in mY ENTIRE LIFE OH MY GOSH!!!). But the icing on the cake was probably when we got to stay up late (YUP WE GOT TO STAY UP PAST 10:30) and watch the fireworks! We weren't able to leave the MTC campus or anything, but my companions and I managed to find an okay-spot to watch the fireworks from. It really felt like a music festival -- all these bodies swarming around in what felt like such an small enclosed space -- but it was fun. And I got to see a number of different fireworks that I had never really seen before. Watching the fireworks was a nice change of tempo from the normal schedule I seemed to have fallen into. I can only wonder what Pioneer Day will be like... I heard that Pioneer Day is a huge holiday up here in Utah.
Anyway. So, I know that I haven't really ever mentioned this, but we got finished teaching our first "investigator", Katiya (Катя), a little over a week ago. After teaching her for a week and a half, we had her commited to baptism, but we didn't have an exact date set... and then -- SURPRISE! It turns out that Katiya was one of our teachers. Well, okay... technically, my district/class already knew that Katiya was going to be one of our teachers... but it was still pretty shocking to hear Sister Jackson speaking perfect English. And well, to be honest, it is STILL pretty shocking to hear her speaking English. And I have to try really hard to call her Sister Jackson, and not "Katiya".
So, like I said, the Russian is coming along... I'm struggling. But my dad taught me how to work hard, so I'm sticking in there. I'm not at the head of the class, but I'm not at the end either. I'm really starting to get close to my district. In fact, we all had a chips and salsa party at lunch today. A chips and salsa party may sound like something really random to do -- but there is a reason for it, I promise. Sister Garff (one of my companions) made up this nice little rhyme that goes like this (and please forgive me but it's said in Russian, but I don't exactly know how to spell the words, so I'm trying to spell them out phonetically)
Spaseba, polzhalsta. We need some more salsa~ (Which basically means "Thank you, you're welcome..." etc.)
Anyway, so one of the elders in our district was nice enough to buy us a bottle of salsa and so we decided to buy some chips (some of the lime ones, yuummm!) and make a party of it. It was fun.
And welp. I've only got a little bit of time left. I need to actually write a roughdraft of what I want to say next time, rather than trying to write something off the top of my head.
Until next week!