Thursday, November 25, 2010

Welcome to Minnesota

Dear Family,

     I was really glad to be able to talk to you too! It was good to hear everyone's voice! Sorry i couldn't talk to everyone.  I am kinda tired still cause i can't really catch up on sleep and i feel a little overwhelmed but oh well. . .the Lord's work never ends.

It's so weird and surreal to think I'm actually here now! In the land of my people! :) haha jk The whole way over on the plane ride I sat by Sister Daniel from my district and we talked about how weird it was to actually be headed out! The flight was only about 2 hours and I got to see all the water and lakes as we came in! President Howell was telling us on the way to the mission home that they have over 10,000 lakes 5 acres or bigger and over 20,000 lakes 3 acres or bigger!  Our mission is one of the largest in the world.  Land size and number of missionaries.  We have 200 missionaries and that's the cut off for all missions.  None of them have over that many.  We have Elders and Sisters speaking first of all English, Mong, Spanish, and a few like D. P. from the first ward that speak Karan I think that's how you spell it.  It's a crazy Asian language and they're the only Elders in the world learning it cause there's such a large population of those people here.  I got my first experience in the airport with the weird accent they all have here!  Most of the people we've talked to do it too haha I really hope I don't pick that up.

The work started as soon as we left the mission home with planning for the next day.  We went to look for some winter stuff a little during the afternoon when we had some free time but couldn't really find much that's good for a good price so we'll try to get it before that storm hits us. I'm assigned in my new area of Monomonie, Wisconsin, so for at least this first transfer  I'm not even in Minnesota.   Kinda ironic.  It's a smaller town about 2 hours East of Minneapolis and we have one branch here with about 85 members in a pretty huge area.

We tracted for 2 hrs yesterday and had some really good conversations with a bunch of cool people.  Most of them are willing to listen to you and see what you have to say, but they're almost all Lutheran too and just say that they aren't interested and love their religion.  My actual first door approach was a fluke no one even answered and I was so nervous! So I just knocked the next door cause it was a duplex and right as the guy answered the door he said, "Oh. . you guys are the. . .yeah I'm not interested at all!" and he just shut the door. It was pretty funny to me actually.  I just laughed and was like wow that actually happened.  I still felt love for him and everyone that wouldn't listen because even though they say they're happy with their religion and life right now I know that we have the truth that will bring them complete happiness and a fullness of life that they've never known!

We talk to everyone we see or pass and are always bearing testimony! It's way cool but i definitely need the Lord's spirit to get me through this next chapter of my life.  So I'm trying to do the same as you Dad and realize that none of these people that won't listen will ever see me again and at least I know I tried to offer them the gospel and they'll be accountable for not listening.  Oh well i guess.  Their loss.

My companion- trainer is Elder Blume from American Fork, Utah ironically enough because everyone always assumes the missionaries are from Utah and for us it's true haha  He's way cool and upbeat, really funny, and pretty random too.  I guess he had a companion that called him Captain Tangent because that's what he was best at. He got transfered new into the area with me.

In case you were wondering about the weather it's not too bad now.  No Brady not everything that's made of liquids frozen and the plane didn't have spiked tires to land.  Not many of the lakes are frozen over yet but everyone says it will be in a few weeks.  I guess they had an ice storm last weekend that was the worst it's been in 5 years! I'm sure Dad and Tom know all about those.  Luckily for me it's staying right around 32 degrees but it snowed on us the whole hour we tracted last night which got me pretty wet but not too cold, and the hour we did earlier it was a lot colder because of the wind.  Windchill dropped it down to probably in the teens during that hour so just like i expected.  I have my coat and ear warmers from the MTC but not too much yet. We'll be getting that soon because the next couple weeks is suppose to get pretty nasty.

We had an appointment that we taught at yesterday and it was so cool that these were actual investigators thinking about joining the church! Not just the mock investigators from the TRC I told you about! So it was kinda nerve racking to make sure to say it all right because what we say is what they believe.  That's why the spirit is so important! Their names are M. and A. and they have 2 little kids named J. -4 and S. -2.  It really was so awesome to be in their home and teach them and answer their questions.  I felt strong love and concern for them and that they understood what all we were saying.  M. has a problem with smoking and occasionally they'll drink but that's the only thing they struggle with.  They've read through 1,2 Nephi almost twice now and part of Alma, and they had us stop by again for hot chocolate after they saw us tracting their neighbor hood for that hour in the morning and he'd read the reading we left him in Mosiah and 3 Nephi already.  They're really solid investigators and I can't wait to see their progress!

We've had dinner with members each night so far.  The first night we ate at the member's house that picked us up from the mission home and the house we have our basement apartment in The G.'s.  They live right in Monomonie and it's a nice little place they've got for us.  Last night we ate at a Less Active family the W.s and today we have 2 Thanksgiving Dinner appointments.  The first one here at the May's home where they're letting us use their computer to email.  The best part is there's no stupid 30 minute timer in the corner flashing at me to give me an anxiety attack.  We ironically enough have our next appointment at the house right next door The C.'s.  We're kinda nervous to go there because no lie the son actually moved here with his wife and child to get off the grid and live off the land.  They have no bathroom in there house and he loves to hunt and eat Squirrel!! I'm not even kidding! Luckily it's his mother's house we're eating at so we might get out of that.

Well Brady just keep your head up cause I know how stressed you are now but I made it through it so can you.  Yes I have my bike but I haven't used it yet.  We will though for tracting when we're out of miles.  My first thoughts when I stepped off the plane were: "Holy crap I'm here! And for 2 years!", "It's not that cold", and "I wonder what President Howell's like?"  He's very nice by the way and greeted us all with a big hug! He and his wife love and care about us very much!  I can't wait to serve under them.

Thanks for the package Mom and family! I love all the food but I didn't open it till we got home, so if the fudge is still good by next Tuesday when we go back to the mission home for training then I'll give it to them.

Good luck with these new positions Dad! I'll be praying for you still.  Let me know what I can do for you at home.

Natalie did you get my card I sent you?  If not Happy early birthday because I won't write again until my actual P-day on monday.

We got a P-day today because of the holiday but we're still going tracting later don't you worry.  For anyone hand-writing letters just send them to the mission home for now until i figure out my address I'm at.  They're pretty good about forwarding it quick.  Just be sure to put Elder Alex Craft or Alexander even A. Craft makes it easier on the lady doing that.  I'm not exactly sure for Christmas just maybe like some granola bars or packaged stuff like you sent that i can carry with me along with some of the Gold Toe black socks if you find any.  Also, what I told you on the phone's good.  Sorry I sound so needy.

Grandma, thanks so much for the letter. That was really cool! Thanks for thinking to write me.  How are you doing?

Anyone just let me know if there's anything I can do and any questions I might have missed.  I love and miss everyone so so so much!!! It's gonna be tough but i know it'll bless my life and yours! I get to call in a month too!! :) I can't wait to hear from you and email Monday!! I'll keep praying and thinking about all of you!

Elder Alex Craft

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