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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mitchell, Week 10, Santarém

A lesson for my mission and for my life:  "If we apply ourselves 99%, we will be blessed; If we apply ourselves 100%, we will see miracles." 
Howdy! This week was pretty amazing!! It was so hot this week! I sweated so much!! But we had our 1st baptism this past week! :D His name is Pablo. His brother was baptized about a month ago and his sister works a lot but she should be baptized in about a week or so. But he has such a loving spirit. They live with his grandma that is 98 years old and have such a basic house. 2 hammocks, old old couch, outdoor sink, 2 burner stove, and a fan. They have so little... But he wanted me to baptism him, which I was grateful! 

My first baptism in Brazil:  Pablo

Elder Neres and I are slowly getting to know each other more. The members here in Santarem are wonderful! The food is ``so o file`` slang for fricken good! But EVERY meal we have had rice, beans, and chicken or some type of meat. But it is sooo good! They have this soda called Tuchaua which is amazing. plus this past week I had like 4 meals with suco (juice) SOOOOO good!! But after the meal the members 95% of the time choose me (tall white american) to say the spiritual thought/message. So I have gotten pretty good at that. hahaha :) But I am loving it! Like I said I am sweating tons this week. Its getting into summer now down here. But we are teaching a inactive member and his girlfriend and their kids. I have been told it is really where to find a investigator that is married. So we are working with them. But the mom of the family is learning fast and all is going well in their family. The language is going. Elder Neres helps me out during lessons with words. But I am slowly understanding more and more. But being here has definitely opened my eyes and allowed me to appreciate what we have in the states.

My Missionary district.  Notice 8 of the 12 (2/3's) of the missionaries are from Brazil or South America.  Way cool!

But dad you got a blessing in your mission.... you shaved like 1/2 way through.... I am like shaving like every day! Which sucks! But hey I think I am more manly then you.... just kidding. Please be safe dad and mom! like I said last week,  the thought of not seeing you again keeps coming to my mind and it bugs me CRAZY! But please be safe!! I am sweating a lot down here! Which means chow chow (bye bye) weight!! Hahaha We are walking tons also. But I also gained some weight at the MTC, which didn't help! But I am loving it here. Like I asked mom, I know she printed some pictures to send in a box. But is it possible to send like 10 pics or so by email because I have been asked many times and I have none. Because this next Monday we will be going by bus to the central of Santarem and I can print pictures there. 

I sure do love you three!! I cant wait that I can talk fluent. because I know I can be much more effective and act like myself. Plus I think Elder Neres gets upset because he has to repeat himself a lot and he hates that..... 

But if you can do that favor with the pictures and email me some. (family, trike, pets....) Also if you can put money in my account. I will be going to the central this next money and ill see what stuff they have.... (jerseys, shirts, Brasil, etc.)  

I will send some pictures after this email and I sure do love you so much!!! 

Com amor (with love),

Elder McCrea

Santarem Chapel

Amazon lizard

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mariah, Week 12, Nikolaev

Question:  How many people can fit into a Marshooka bus?

Answer: 41

But to be honest, I think that a few more people could have squeezed inside...

Anyway... This week sure has been fun. It's been filled with babushka blessings, dogs and drunk men. Yup. I've offically had blessings from a babushka bestowed upon me. I seriously don't know how I was surviving in the world without it. And all it took was offering to help a little, old babushka ("grandma") with some of her heavy-looking bags and offering up my seat in a marshootka. Who knew it was that easy?!

This week has also been a great week for our progressing investigator who I'll call "Света Чудо" or "Sveta Chooda" (Чудо means miracle). And she really is our little miracle. I haven't really mentioned her before in any of my other e-mails home, and after three weeks now, I feel slightly sheepish for waiting this long to mention her. Well, anyway. Sister Dickison and her previous companion found her... I can't really remember the specifics... but, we've been teaching her for a few weeks now -- since I first got here to Nikolayiv. And this week... guess who's getting baptized?! 

That's right! Sveta! Sister Dickison and I are so proud of her! Sveta is so loving and humble and desirious to learn. Before we start our lessons with her, she always pulls out her Book of Mormon and tells us her thoughts and any questions that she had with what she read. I have no idea what her comments and thoughts are most of the time, but it's so cool to watch her eyes light up and the eagerness in her facial expressions when she reads the verses. Ugh. Sveta is just awesome. Seriously. She is a golden investigator. And I am so lucky to be able to have the opportunity to help teach an investigator like her, in my first transfer on a mission, no less! I love her. She is so patient and loving with me. When I try to spew out a few words or my testimony in horrible Russian and she just sits there with a small smile on her face, patiently waiting for me to finish stumbling over my words and nods. The Spirit really does speak a whole other language, and I know that Sveta is in-tune with it. Oh. and Sveta even has a nickname for me. She calls me "Макрей-чик" (Makrey-che'k) which is like, a cute-sey, loving way to say my last name. Or something. I dunno. But I love it.

Nikolayiv is growing. We are going to have 3 baptisims in the next two or three weeks. It's insane. The Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine mission is really starting to grow. Apparently, the baptisim stats for last year, 2012, were a total of 48 baptisms. Now, at this moment, there's been, if I remember right, 66 baptisims in 2013. By the end of the month, there should be 74 or so. And that means we will only have 3 months to reach our mission goal of 100 baptisims this year. And I know that we can hit it! I know without a doubt.

Yesterday was also our zone conference (hence why I'm sending this e-mail on a Tuesday). I learned an incredible amount of information that I still can't totally comprehend right now. Like seriously. I was just sitting on the bus on the way home to Nikolayiv from Xherson (where the zone conference was) and I was just reviewing what all happened and the things that I learned during the roleplays that we did. I can't wait to apply some of those things that I learned to my teaching.

Ahh I hope this e-mail makes sense.

Not much time left. Dagnabbit.

Anyway. I know that Ukraine is the best place for me to be right now. I know that my purpose of a missionary is true and I am so glad that I could be out here right, preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ to the great people of Ukraine. Even though there may be people that don't like or agree that we, Americans, are here in their country right now, I know that we are doing helping the Lord with sharing the gospel with His children.

Sister Mariah McCrea

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mitchell, Week 9, Santarém

Love from the Amazon.

This week was pretty hard but good for me. I am sorry there are misspellings in this letter. But I am writing fast and this keyboard isn't the best. 

I am slowly getting the language. I wish it could go faster!! I don´t know what i am doing wrong but i want to talk to my investigators and members like myself. I fell I am not acting and talking normally, talking rarely, not playing with the kids, and just looking like a stupid white american. But something I am thinking a lot this week is trade my fear with faith!! I know the language will come with time! I fasted for this and my investigators this week twice. holy cow!! It was hard to fast with no water. It's easy about the food but no water is pretty hard. But this week we should have my 1st baptism. his name is Pablo. He has such a loving character. He has one brother which recently got baptized and his sister which will be baptized next week. but all 3 live with there grandma which is 97 years old! She is so funny! She always gives me a hug and just talks and talks. 90% of the time I have no clue what she is saying. But she walks and is very mobile. There house is all wood. Very simple and basic. Alloys me to appreciate what I and we have back in the states.

But Elder Neres and I are doing well. This past Saturday he asked me to share my testimony in English to him and I started crying and so did he. It always gets me..... I always get emotional when I think of you guys and what you did for Mariah and me. I am crying right now! I sure do love you!!! SO much!! 

I would say this week I am a little home sick. Not that I miss home. But that I worry about you two. You dad working 100+ hours plus studying and you mom by yourself with diabetes and just by yourself. I worry so much!!!!!!!!!!!!! A thought keep coming to my mind is I wont see one of y'all again. I sure do love you 2!! I am so grateful for what you did for me in my life! Just please be careful and don´t do anything stupid or whatever!! I am not worried about myself at all. Just promise me that I will see you in 2 years both in one whole! 

 This mission life is good! I cant wait till I am speaking fluently! Btw.... you were right! HAHAHA I should have learned how to play the piano! I could shot myself in the head right now. My ward has no one to play and I wish I could! I am sorry I was stupid and didn't listen to y'all. But my ward is cool. The chapel is close to our apt about a less then 10 min walk. Tons of people here cant say my name right. worse then Laredo. They always wanna say Mc Creu. There is a funky rapper/dj famous here in Brasil that has that name (Mc Creu) That always annoys me but what can i do. haha

I think that is about it for this week. I still gotta send you guys some pictures of this week. But here is my list of things to send. Btw I would need it asap PLEASE!!!! I am tearing up my pants. But my shoes are fine. I am just doing a lot of walking and just sweating a lot. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mitchell, Week 8, Santarém

I sure do love ya'll so much!!!!!!!!!! I am not sure how much time I have left but This is the weekly update. 

SANTO VACA!!! (holy cow) Its totally a different world down here. I got here safely in Santarem on Monday. My area is Trapajos. The city is right on the Amazon. My companion Elder Neres is a native from Sao Paulo. A convert for 6 years. Has such an amazing spirit and testimony!! Funny thing is he doesn´t speak any English. But we are getting a long. 

I am getting better at Portuguese and slowly getting the hang of things down here. Something I keep in mind was what my professor said at the MTC. Bro. Cannon said.... SURVIVE the 1st 2 weeks. that is so true! I have seen some weird things here.... for example Elder Neres and I taught a lesson this past Saturday with a investigator breastfeeding her child right in sight with no cover at all. Seen kids naked, going to the restroom where ever. Also there is no ac. This area I would say is kinda like your mission dad. But  my apartment is just with Elder Neres and I, we got no ac, kitchen, washer, and all the basics. But the people here say its hot. I personally think is beautiful in Santarem just a little sweaty. I would say its kinda like Laredo.

But in Belem. Brasil I was sweating the Amazon because its so humid there. plus I was in Belem for like 6 days for the police stuff and fingerprinting. But when I was there it rained everyday. President Scisci is AMAZING!! Both he and his wife are from Sao Paulo area. He is such an awesome president. Sister Scisci always tell everyone in the mission and this past Sunday we had stake conference she said a quote I told her my 1st night here.... 99% obedience brings blessings and 100% obedience brings miracles. I am glad she liked the quote, but she has told everyone in the mission. 

So there are a lot of eyes watching me now.  But I love it.  The missionaries here are awesome as well. There are more natives then Americans in this mission. The members here feed us every day for lunch but have so little. Most members have a small house.  A recent member we are teaching his girl friend; His name is Roque,  His house is probably the size of my MTC room.  He has such a amazing testimony and has a great love for God and Jesus Christ.  The best thing I love here are the people!  The people here have such a loving kindness for the missionaries and our messages we have, member or not! I am trying my best in showing my love for them but I wish i could talk to them more.  But I know it will come with time. I am so grateful I got to receive my visa. I wish I could write more to ya`ll but I hope this helps. I am glad you are are sending me a letter with your email dad. I didn`t have much time to read it all. But I got some good news, Chelsey emailed me and she reports to the MTC in 9 days. But if you 2 could email her and congrat her and give her encouragement I know she would enjoy it! But I am making a list. I think next week I will email what I need. But I hope you received my box from the MTC and the small envelope from the airport in SLC. I sure do love yall so much! I am grateful for what I have and sure do love the people here so much!!! I wish I could express my love for the people but I need to learn the language 1st. Here are some pictures. I am still getting used to everything. I had so many emails from friends and all. I probably won`t finish responding to them all right now. but next week and the weeks to come I hope my email time goes more smoothly. I sure do love you and please be safe you dad in the field and you mom by yourself. I always worry about you two. I sure do love you sis!! Please enjoy that cold for me and send some over here. I hope your doing swell in Ukraine. I love you 3 so much and i hope you know that I do. 

Com muto Amor,
Elder McCrea

Mariah, Week 11, Nikolaev

Lesson learned this week:
  • Never let two one-week old greenie missionaries go out on splits with each other and expect them NOT to get lost.
Hello from Ukraine, everyone!
I am currently sitting next to a man at a computer who is sipping a beer and reeks of sweat. Yup, they really do not use deodorant in Ukraine... so it's been a really fun internet time.


This week has been crazy. And this is gonna be a short e-mail, only because I really don't know how to effectively spend my e-mail time yet.

Okay, so. A lot of things have happened during my second week here. It rained for two days and I found out that I am so unprepared and out of my element here... Seriously, I go from living in a place where it's 100+ degrees 8 out of the 12 months for more than half of my life... to here. What. am. I. doing. Bleh. But meh it's cool.

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, the missionaries in Nikolayiv traveled down to Xherson, a smaller city an hour south-east of Nikolayiv, to attend a zone training. It was cool to see and talk with Sister Meyers again... even though I saw them just a week prior. But anyway, the zone training was awesome. Someone mentioned it being like a MTC devotional. And they were right. Afterwards, we all felt super energized and ready to hit the goals that we set during the training. Wednesday was also the day that Sister Dickison, who is the Sister Training Leader for the southern cities in our mission, decided to do exchanges with the sisters in Xherson. So... that meant that Sister Meyers and I were on exchanges with each other for the whole day... which was really fun! If you count out the times where we got lost in Xherson. Which wasn't fun. But I ended up learning a lot.

Snap. Time's running out.

But other random things worth mentioning:
  • Ukraine has probably beat Canada on the things that are bagged. There is bagged milk, bagged yogurt, bagged sauce, bagged ketchup, bagged laundry detergent, bagged everything.
  • There are SO many stray cats and dogs here. It's insane. The dogs basically rule the streets. They are everywhere!
  • Squatting toilets. Yup. I won't abbreviate on that one.
All in all -- Ukraine is awesome. It's still awesome, and I love it's crappy bumpy streets with it's crappy sewer-drainage system and all the stray cats and dogs. And most importantly, I freaking love the people here. Even though I don't really know what they're saying most of the time, I know that it's the place where I'm supposed to be right now. I love it here, and I feel so honored that I get to be part of the Lord's special forces and teach the people of Ukraine the gospel. Even though I don't speak Russian very well, I know that I don't need to speak Russian to be able to help people feel the Spirit.

Сестра Макрей 
(Sister McCea)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mitchell, Week 7, Santarém


I love you guys so much!! I am sorry I didn`t write this past Monday. But I am fine. :D I just got to my first area in Santarém, Brazil this past Monday. It is right on the Amazon River and it is mostly all dirt roads. But I love it!! I am  taking many pictures and I am writing things down what you need to send me. I love my companion, Elder Neres. He doesn`t speak a lick of English, which is fun. I am getting the language.  I'm understanding a lot more...just not speaking well yet.  I say I am speaking like a caveman would speak Portuguese. But I will write you on Monday. I am sorry. I sure do love you!!

Your son + brother,
 Elder McCrea

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mariah, Week 10, Nikolaev


(And so just a little FYI~ it''ll be sort of hard to concentrate on this e-mail because there's this fellow beside me in the internet cafe is listening to this Britt Spears trance-dance mix... that sounds really good...)

Okies... Let's start from the top. Tuesday and Wednesday of last week was full of plane rides. (But the plane ride from DC to Vienna was claaasssaayyyyyy mmhm~ Austrian Air is super fab. I recommend that airline to anyone thinking about flying to Germany or Austria or whatever. :)

Anyway. Got to Ukraine Wednesday afternoon -- and let me just say THAT WE DIDN'T LOSE ANYONE! There were 13 people in my travel group and not one sheep from our little flock was lost. We made it to the Dnepropetrovsk airport, which was about the same size of the airport in Laredo, haha. And as soon as we made it through customs, our mission president, his wife and the two Area Leader missionaries were waiting for us. It was nice to finally be able to meet them. And one long van ride later, we arrived at the meeting house in Dnepropetrovsk... and one-by-one, we were taken upstairs to meet our trainers. faekjjewakjrwakjawthawrwa 

So a week earlier, I had received an e-mail from my dad and without tagging his message as spoiler alert or something, told me that my companion was going to be Sister Dickinson... so as soon as the elevator opened, after they called me upstairs... and lo and behold THERE WAS MY TRAINER! :D It was so weird. I think it was in that moment when I realized like... dang. I'm actually a missionary. This isn't the MTC. I'm in Ukraine. Sister Garff and Sister Patterson aren't going to be my companions anymore. Nothing will ever be the same ever again... okay, so maybe not that deep of thoughts. But it was weird, having a different companion. And pretty much right after I met and talked with Sister Dickinson for a little bit, we had a short, brief introduction meeting with President van Bruggen and they kicked us out into the streets of Dnepropetrovks -- the "New York City" of the mission -- and with a few Book of Mormons (in Russian) in our hands, told us to go contact people. I wasn't surprised when this happened. I heard of a rumor of this happening to missionaries as soon as they got to their missions... so I felt ready. Moderately speaking. The only problem was that I didn't know a lick of what anyone was saying to me. I'm just gonna say this once -- but Russian was NOT the language that I learned in the MTC. It was craazzyyyy... 

So after working the street (not in that way) for a few hours, we ended up placing not one, not two... but FOUR Books of Mormon! Which is a SCORE in my book. 

(Ahhhh I'm getting into too much detail, so I might skip over some parts just for the sake of time!)

We ended up staying in Dnepropetrovsk for another day and a half, until we could be taken down to our area -- Mykolayiv. (Which is like in the southern-ish part of Ukraine, for those of you who are curious.)

So -- it's Friday afternoon and after a looonnnngggggggg BUMPY(!!!) car ride later, we FINALLY get to our area. FINALLY. The apartment where we stay is pretty nice... it looks totally retro 80s or something -- there's wood decor everywhere and everything's a 80s-shade of brown. But it's totally legit and cool. I ain't complainin'~

Ukraine is crazy though. Seriously. It reminds me of Mexico... so I almost feel right at home. The only difference is that instead of Spanish, everyone talks in Japanese or something... or maybe Russian? I literally have no idea what anyone is saying. I maybe catch one or two words or a phrase here and there... but for the most part, I'm totally clueless. But I try and pay attention when people are talking, so I can understand them. Sister Dickinson is a SAINT for being so patient towards me. I feel so bad for not really being able to contribute very much to the lessons and street conversations that we have. Sure, I can walk up to someone and just start asking questions and talking to them... but when they start talking full sentences, I have no idea what to do. But the language will take time. I know... I just have to learn to be patient... bleh.

And now... to my food adventures. (I think that I might have a weekly section about the food adventures I get into...) There are these cookies here called... Супир something -- I can't remember what it said on the wrapper. BUT THOSE THINGS ARE SUPER LEGIT! OH MY GOSH. Apparently they're this super awesome Ukrainian cookie and Sister Dickinson made sure to introduce them to me on my first night in Mykolayiv. They're this cookie that's like, dipped in chocolate and there's this little hole on one of the sides. And what you do is on the other side of the cookie, you bite a hole and put the cookie in milk... and DRINK MILK FROM THE HOLES LIKE A STRAW which makes the insides all nice and wet and moist and then you eat it. Ugh it's so freaking good. I'm def gonna have to send some home to share with peeps.

Okay. Five minutes of internet time left. Short run-down of shout-outs:
  • We met three drunk ladies on the street, which Sister Dickinson said is a record. Apparently there aren't very many drunk women. There are just drunk men.
  • Crazy street parties, with creepy-looking clowns. Our branch meets in this building, and above them is a daycare. When we were walking up to the meetinghouse, it turns out that the daycare was throwing a party. Right in front of the church's doors. We literally had to make our way through the crowd of parents and kids to get to the doors to get to church. That's Ukraine for you.
And okay. That's it for right now, friends. Ukraine is crazy. But I know that it's the place for me. I'm going to do some good here and change some people's lives by sharing the gospel with them.

Mucho amor,

Sister Mariah McCrea

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mitchell, Week 6, Belém

I'm in Belém, Brazil.  Here is a picture of all the missionaries that arrived to my mission this past week with me, with our mission president and his wife.  I'm in the 2nd row, far right.  Also attached is the Brazil Belém Mission seal.  

Here is the Brazil Belém Mission seal.  

A member of the mission office staff wrote my parents, informing them of my safe arrival.  

Mariah, Week 10, Dnepropetrovsk

I am in Ukraine!

Me, with the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission President and his wife: J. Robert van Bruggen and Sister Fran van Bruggen

Now who will be my first companion in the Ukraine?