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, January 27, 2014

Mitchell, week 24, Marabá

Bem-Viendo - Missão Brasil Belém ou Marabá

Translated = (Welcome to the Brasil Belém Mission or Marabá)

This letter is gonna be a short. But this week I have experenced the mission life here in Brasil!

1. Elder Montarroyos and I had to walk down this muddy road with no other way to walk around or to another nearby road. But my shoes, socks, and pants got all muddy! Its was GREAT!!!!! :D

2, So Friday Night we visited a member that is also living with her sister that has visited the church the past 2 weeks. We havent taught her yet but that night we asked her to be baptised..... *wait just wait* The next day! :D she accepted!! She was baptised that following day with another family! It was a great day for the branch!! :D 

3, Our washing machine broke at the beginning of the week.... SO for a couple of days we were washing our clothes by hand. Which was great!! :D But then Sunday morning something told me to plug back the washer machine and it started working again! WHOOPIE!!!!!

4, Thursday night when we were headed home in the 90 minute or so bus trip, the bus that we were taking was heading to the garage so we had to get on another bus and then we found out after we paid this other bus,  will take about 2 hours to get to our apt. So then we finally waited and got into another bus but soon after that bus broke down. It was a splendid night that night, -_-

5, These past weeks.... its been raining a lot!! :D Haven't gotten that soaked yet! :P

6. Yesterday after lunch, there was this pretty big lizard that was just chilling in the road and I decided to pick it up! I think he likes taking pictures because he didn't move at all..... :P

This past couple of weeks has been great!!! I am grateful for this chance I have to serve and represent Jesus Christ. And help the people here in Marabá!! I sure do love me family and this opportunity! I am sorry for the grammatical errors and especially the shortness of the email. But I know this church is The Church of Jesus Christ and is true! I am grateful for my many blessings!! I hope y'all have a splendid and wonderful week!!!

Até Mais!! Abraço

Elder McCrea 

Mariah, week 30, Zaporozhye

"I-I'm s-s-s-so c-co-cold, I-I could use m-my nose drippings as c-c-hopsticks..." "I-I'm so c-c-cold... I-I'm-I'm s-sh-shivering!"

Five points to anyone who can name what TV show that quote is from!

But anyway... that quote and every other quote referencing being cold and/or ice has been replaying in my head all this week. It has been FUH-REEZINGCOLD in Zaporozhye this past week. Like, at least -14 C every day. It's been so awesome to walk around, contacting at night, with the ice-biting wind blowing right in our faces. The streets and sidewalks have all been iced over since at least Wednesday. (And a funny difference between the U.S. and Ukraine is that they're smart in the way that they don't use salt on the roads and sidewalks. They use sand instead, which doesn't end up rusting cars and stuff.) I feel like we should PREPARE FOR THE ICE AGE! 

For those of you who may have been slightly worried for my safety after finding out about all the political protests that are going on in Kiev and Ukraine -- don't worry. Everything is fine where I am in this part of Ukraine. Zaporozhye hasn't gotten very crazy with the protests or anything. Our mission president has just advised us all to stay away from areas where there are large groups congregating... and when someone starts to talk about politics, we ask them to be baptized instead! :D

Back to my life in the Dnepropetrovsk Ukraine mission. It's week 7 of my fourth transfer. (Normally transfers are 6 weeks long, but the transfer before this was cut two weeks short since it ended right before the holidays.) Anyway, this week, like every week has been for a while, has been full of miracles, sprinkled here and there. Tuesday, we found a miracle contact. We had to go to church to have our interviews that we have with President van Bruggen every two months. After we got off the marshootka at the stop we needed, we were still a little early, so we decided to contact for a little bit. As it often is, the first person we talk with isn't interested. And so we moved on to another lady that was waiting nearby. We struck up a conversation and asked if she read the Bible. She said yes, but that she received revelation from God that it was changed and she keeps that in mind when she reads. (No joke.) So Sister Nielsen, my companion, and I showed her a Book of Mormon and talked a little about it, what it is, etc. She seemed a little interested. Then she asked where we met for our church service and Sister Nielsen pulled out a church invite card and stuck it in the book. The lady opened the book back to where Sister Nielsen had stuck the invite card and stared at it for a while. "... I had a vision," she said. "There are so many churches -- Baptist, Provaslovni, Jehovah's Witnesses, your church -- and I asked God which one is true. And in my dream, I saw in big gold letters: ЦЕРКОВЬ ИИСУСА ХРИСТА (Church of Jesus Christ) ... just like how it is on your card." Sister Nielsen then did a good job of testifying to this lady that our church is the true church that she's been searching for. Her work schedule is really crazy from what she's told us (4 days on, one day off) so fingers crossed that we'll get to meet with her!

Saturday was also another crazy day. Little Dima, a 8 year-old boy in the branch here, GOT BAPTIZED! At first though, he almost didn't. Since it's late January, and the water that they pumped into the baptismal font was ice cold -- Dima was so scared to be dunked and get baptized. (And I can totally relate. All I can remember from my baptism is that the water was freezing cold.) Anyway, poor little Dima was crying and after 10 minutes of trying to persuade convince him, he didn't want to do it and they gave up and pulled him out of the blow-up pool and let him go change. Everyone that had attended the baptismal service was all basically standing around, staring at the baptismal pool. Sister Nielsen had the great idea to say a prayer, to give little Dima a little bit of peace and and maybe an ounce of courage. The whole time though, I was just thinking in my head, 'if only the water was warmer...'  Long story short: after an hour or so, of trying to dump water out and replace it with hot water, we warmed the water up enough for Dima to feel comfortable and receive the saving ordinance of baptism. I know that I didn't really have anything to do with teaching him or anything, but that is why I now consider him to be one of my precious baptisms! :D 

Saturday, Zaporozhye also had the chance to get a little Latvian~ !!

There are two Latvian elders who serve in Zaporozhye. And believe it or not, they are actually companions. Elder Vanags and Elder Tsoonski -- both awesome elders. And on Saturday, Elder Vanags and Tsoonski gave a little presentation about Latvia, which included a slideshow, video clips, music and food. Sister Nielsen and I actually got a chance to help prepare the food. I can't wait to come home and introduce all these different eastern European food and dishes to my family and friends!

Other noteworthy things that happened this week:
  • Apparently I read in Russian "very well". Those are words from a semi-less active who lives in our area. Her kind words boosted my confidence in my reading abilities.
  • I have "творческая личность" (personal creativity). Zina, a very close friend and wise member of the branch here told me that. I've always thought of myself as being creative and cleaver. But just the way that she explained it... it really clicked in my head. I know which color to use next. 
THAT'S ALL FOLKS. Tune in next week for more Ukrainian adventures. And now for some inspiring words from the scriptures:

"O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will you not now return unto me and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" -- 3 Nephi 9:13

Сестра Макрей

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Zhoozha, the mohawked naked mole dog and my hand :D

(P.S. the subject line quote was from Spongebob Squarepants!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mariah, week 29, Zaphorozhye

Short e-mail 2* to short time:

This week's e-mail is going to be short because... 1.) I don't have very much time left, and 2.) nothing super-duper spectacular happened this week.

But anyway. Onto the show... 

The most revelatory thing that happened to me this week was during District Meeting (or the weekly meeting that I attend to with other missionaries in my area to sort of coordinate our work efforts and work together). Elder Fuller, one of our zone leaders, basically flat out told us that it is useless trying to hold on to the investigators that we have that are progressing very, very, very slowly; that there's no use planning for them; that it would just be better for us to let them go, completely erase our ICU board at home and start anew... which is what we did. As soon as District Meeting was over, we got doners to-go and headed home to erase our ICU board.

And with that new start, the very next day, we found two brand new investigators who we've met with twice already, and who Sister Nielsen and I both think are golden! The Lord really does work in miracles.

This week also featured exchanges with the Sister Training Leader of our area. I was the lucky duck who got to spend a day with the lovely Sister Burgoyne. I learned a lot from the time that I spent with her, and Sister Nielsen learned a lot from the time that she spent with Sister Peterson, Sister Burgoyne's companion. I love going out on exchanges with other sisters. It gives me a chance to learn how other sister missionaries work and I learn all sorts of new contacting tactics and techniques.

And without further ado, may I introduce:

Sister Peterson's Six Steps to Success (According to Sister Burgoyne)
  1. Always be out the door on time
  2. Make 30 calls daily
  3. Make notes of all those calls
  4. Call every member that you possibly can until you find one to come with you on lessons
  5. Update the Area Book completely every night
  6. Speak in unity with your companion
Current missionaries, future missionaries, member missionaries -- feel free to use these steps. No, I strongly advise you to use these. From what I know about Sister Burgoyne and Sister Peterson's area, I can guarantee that if you follow these steps to the T, you will see success in all aspects of your missionary work -- be it contacting, finding, teaching... I can foresee in the future that once other people start to know about these steps, it will become standard for every missionary companionship. Maybe it'll even make it into a future edition of Preach My Gospel.

Sister Nielsen and I have been doing our best to follow these steps for 2 days now, and we know that time will only tell until we see the fruits of our labors.

And that's pretty much it, folks. It snowed again last night. Not too bad, but everything was white when we woke up this morning. (Sister Nielsen was especially excited -- she loves snow.) 

Tune in next week for another installment of "The Missionary Adventures of Sister McCrea". Hope that this e-mail makes sense because my thoughts don't always make sense...

Сестра Макрей

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mitchell, week 23, Marabá


Nossa!! (Wow) I love it!!! So I knew last week (Sunday) I was gonna be serving in Marabá. I found out Wednesday I will be leaving on Friday Morning at4:30am by Airplane. Will be getting to Belém around 6 and from there not sure how but to Marabá. But when I got to Belém I found out that I was gonna get there by bus. About a 12 hour drive. -_- But I made it safely!!! I have been told that Marabá is the hottest area in my mission boundaries. But lucky I get here in the start of their rainy season. It doesn't get hot hot till June-July and I should be transferred by then. But I love it here!! The city is about the size of my last city (Santarém) BUTTT Only 4 missionaries. CRAZY!! Plus the city is spread out like butter. It takes us like 1,5 hours every night to come home by the cites autobus. But i'ts CRAZY!! Plus no more wards... HELLO BRANCHES! Not many... we just got one here! Heck yea!!!! I AM PUMPED!!!! It's like there in Laredo. I am so excited. The church here is new.... about 5 years old. The chapel is a house, lucky, near our apt and we live with the ZL (Zone Leaders or our bosses) :P But ahh its great!! i know I will learn so much and also use what I know from back at home to help the members here! I am grateful for this chance. The language is coming. I am still walking tons and just having the time of my life. I am running out of time to write and sorry I don´t have much photos this week also. But I am grateful to serve here in Marabá with Elder Montarroys! We are both excited to work together. BTW, He is from Recife and speaks very little English :P I love this gospel and the chance I have to represent our Savior and serve these awesome people here in Marabá! This church is true and I love my family!!

Elder Mitchell McCrea

 Rio (river) Tocantens
Elder Montarroyos (New Companion :D)

 Elder Teixiera

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mitchell, Week 22, Santarém


Well, this week is transfers. I got some good news and bad news. Good news is I saved 10% by switching to Geico. WHATT???  We don't even have cars here in Brasil.... -__-   Bad news is I got transferred and I am heading to Marapá this next week. My new companion is Elder Montarroyos. Plus, I don't know when and how I will get there. I PRAY it will be by boat to Belém and from there autobus! BUT IT SUCKS, LEAVING MY AREA TAPAJÒS. HERE IN THE CITY OF SANTARÉM!! I love the members, my investigators, I know where everything is now, my companion Elder Teixeira is great, and just having the time of my life. So yesterday we received a call from our zone leaders about the information of our transfers. So I am heading to the southeast of our mission and Elder Teixeira is going to the area of Diamante here in Santarém. So, he is just gonna move houses. But aww..... this sucks!! Luckily I have visited, taken a photo, and talked with the members and most of our investigators. This is the mission life to love your area and them get transferred!! I am gonna miss the ward and people here so much!!!!!!!

I am having some fun with contacts. We had 2 ladies that we contacted this past week that I invited them to church and they wanted to visit and see how it was. So that was fun seeing them come to church having no lessons taught before hand. But it was awesome!! I think they liked it! :D André and his family are super sick!! Sadly they couldn't make it to church yesterday. But his wife looked really sick last night, when we visited them. But they are doing great!! I am excited what's in it for me in Marapá! :D I hope y'all had a great new year! Here in Brasil it was a war!! TONS OF FIREWORKS!!!!! (just like Christmas) But that's about it. Also tons of drinking and all.... but luckily we made it home safely that night. Kinda scary.... The night of Christmas eve. A man died right in front of our apartment, by a motorcycle accident. But I've heard a lot of stories about how he died, but it's just crazy!! We didn't hear anything.... No sirens, crash, nothing!! -_-

I am excited to be heading to Marapá!!! I am grateful of my wonderful blessings and my family! I love this gospel and I am grateful for this awesome job as a missionary!!! Remember to always have a smile and until next week.

Elder McCrea
Egluadio (member) He is awesome!

What happened when I knew I was getting transferred... :`(

Wesley (member) and Elder Teixeiria

Mariah, week 27, Zaporozhye

This week in photos:

Because I don't have a lot of internet time left... this week's e-mail will be presented to you in picture form! In living color! Hooray!

P-day... and I MADE BORSH!

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And it was so delicious! I can't wait to make it for my family when I get home. I will convert them to borsh-ism, and they will never want to eat any kind of other soup ever again!

"Delicious goodness! I would eat it over and over again!" -- quoted from Sister Nielsen, my super awesome companion.

Tuesday and Wednesday. HAPPY NEW YEARS! In the past, missionaries in my mission would stay inside during this time. But my mission president thought that it would be okay if we worked these two days -- just as long as we were safe and avoided any drunks and troublesome situations. I was a little doubtful, but I'm glad that we worked these two days. We were blessed with a few miracles!

And for our "New Years dinner" ... we treated ourselves to DONERS!

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Doners -- the street food of Zaporozhye, with soul... It is chickeny-cabbagey-pickled oniony-tomatoey-and all kinds of different saucey- GOODNESS! Piled high in a sesame-seed pita bread bun that has been toasted to perfection. DELICIOUS!

Running low on time, so I'll be brief. 

Friday. Another day of miracles. I basically called one of our investigators to repentance and committed her to coming to church on Sunday (which she ended up dogging out of... grr!!) And I also ate холадец. "Xaladyetz" is, for those of you who know a little bit about Ukrainian cuisine, is... meat jello! 

And it was... interesting... Not my favorite dish. I wouldn't eat it by choice, but I'd eat it again if it was put in front of me. But I probably won't touch anything jello-like for a while.

Saturday and Sunday. Same ol', same o'. Street contacting, a lesson with our recent convert and her family (who we're working on getting baptized), and a lot of calls to contacts to try and set up lessons.

I also saw Chimichanga! MY STREET DOG THAT LIVES IN MY AREA! I love her. She and I had a wonderful reuniting moment last night. I am 100% sure that she actually recognized me because you know, street dogs are smart like that.

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Well, that's it for now folks. Time's run short. Sister Nielsen and I will be celebrating Christmas for the second time this week. (Mark your calendars! Ukrainian Christmas is on January 8th!)

And to close -- here is a picture of our Christmas tree. That we will probably leave up all year-round!

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Sister Mariah McCrea