Monday, December 27, 2010


Dear Family,
     First of all I'd just like to apologize for me not really being able to anwers everyone's question on the phone and talk to you all individually.  I felt bad!  I just want to make sure you all know that I love you and wish it could have been longer!  That was the shortest hour and fifteen minutes if my life!  It was the highlight and best part of my Christmas though!  I found out after that I was only suppose to call for 45 minutes, so it's a good thing that I was on the G.'s (the people we live with) house phone so the mission home won't see how long it was on the cell phone bill like they will for my companion.  How mad can they really get though honestly?  To start off also I wanna talk about some of the things I forgot to tell you about my area and mission so far:  First, is the way these Midwesterners talk.  If only I could type it to shoe you.  You'll just have to ask Nick because I did do it for him.   Some of the funniest things are when they say anything about a bag.  The way they pronounce it is just funny.  Then some of them, like the G.s and other people mostly from Northern Minnesota,  say' "oh for nice", or "oh for cool", when we talk about things we've done.  The best is the whole "don't ya know?" saying or "ya know?" following everything they say ya know? haha ;) jk  Next, I forget to mention to all of you what our plans for Christmas and what we did for Christmas Eve too.  My companion and I made A TON of chocolate chip cookies and delivered them on both those days.  We took them to all our investigators, some less active recent converts, and to some of the active members too.  We figured no one would really appreciate us tracting, which we can't really do since we're a little under the weather, so we made those and that was the best idea for getting in to teach lessons.  I mean who can reject fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies (besides Brady) and a Christmas message? Epsecially on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?  Not many that's all I know, so we did get to teach alot of lessons.  For Church yesterday they just had Sacrament meeting with a Christmas Progarm.  We were missing about 15 people.  In a branch that averages 55-70 people and the ones we were missing were most of the teachers for classes and active members it has an effect on the meetings, so the branch president decided to go with the program.  The part that was super cool was we had over 100 people show up!  All of our investigators we invited, 8 of them, and a part member family we've been visiting with the dad who's the only member came!  It was a crazy miracle that no one expected.  The only downfall to the whole thing was that Elder BLume and I had to sing in the program.  We had to sing "We Three Kings" along with another guy, Brother M., in front of everyone, so that was a little nerve racking.  It went over pretty good though.  Another testament that God does answer prayers. haha  I never got to tell all of you about one of the cool benefits here.  There's wildlife all over.  There's no mountians for them to go up in so we see deer almost everyday all over.  Yesterday after church we saw a couple Bald Eagles on our way to teach in Spring Valley, and Elder Blume told me that there's a ton of them all over.  He said that during the summer you can hear them calling all the time too.  So that's pretty cool to see and hopefully I'll be able to hear it too.  The one kinda weird thing about some more of the wildlife is the crows here.  There's thousands!! I've never seen so many in my life and it reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock everytime I see a whole flock of them somewhere.   Even though I've never seen that movie.  That's basically all I wished I would have told you on the phone, but some other interesting things to tell are have you guy read this months Ensign article on missionaries?  It's in the back on page 66 and it's super good!  We had a member share it with us the other night and I really really liked it.  Next thing is about transfers.  They're every 6 weeks and I've almost been here that long!  The call for it will come out next Monday and we'll transfer Wednesday the 5th if we are leaving.  I really kinda hope not though.  I've come to really like Menomonie and Elder Blume's great to work with.  Something else pretty funny is I got my first in-field haircut that I gave myself this morning using Elder Blume's clippers.  You'll get to see the picture of me on Christmas with my longer hair and more prominent part and one from today because lets just say I didn't know a 4 would be that much of a difference and I look like I just enlisted rather than was called to serve.  It is kinda funny though.  I don't think it really looks too bad. haha  I never thought my hair would be this short but I never thought I'd have a part either.  One plus is it's too short to part now so I'll just take it for what it is.  I'll put the pictures on the other email so you all can see and judge for yourselves. 

I'm sorry that I don't really have anything personal to write to everyone except Mom, but she's the only one I got an email from.
Mom:  Well in all reality I can't really get in that much trouble and they'll never know cause I planned it out well on the G.'s phone.  :)  I did feel bad being disobedient but I just really needed to call and tell you that regardless of consequences.  Poeple do decorate around here it's just not the same as being home with all of you.  It is tough but like you said look at everyone else that's been able to do it, so I know I can too.  I'll make it through it will just be tough.  That is funny nothing's really changed at home.  Regardless of how it might be there and all the whining and sometimes chaos I miss it.  I did love talking to you and can't wait to in May!

     Well that's all for this week.  This was surprisingly long for having talked to you all 2 days ago.  I love you and can't wait to hear how everyone's doing again next week.  Talk to you soon.

Love, Elder Alex Craft

p.s.  Shae flew out to France last Monday,  Scott's flying out today, and if Hayden has his visa he'll be leaving next week!  That's crazy that we are now all over the world.  I just thought you might want to know.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Dear Craft Family!!

    Sorry first of all that I send the emails to different ones each week I just respond to the last one from Dad usually.  That's too bad for Chase.  Dang it!! I really feel bad.  I need their address so I can write him.  I'm gonna miss his birthday though, so if you guys could tell him Happy Birthday and that I'm thinking of him that'd be awesome! 
     Thank you so much for the package! I was really excited to get it!  I hope I was suppose to open it and not wait until Christmas because I already opened it. haha Just a quick question though: Am I suppose to send the stocking back after Christmas?  Everything you guys sent was great!  I love it!  For next time though please don't send any more sunflower seeds.  I really like them but I can only eat them during my personal study at home sometimes, so i"m not even through the first bag that you sent when I first flew out.  Almost a month ago!  I never thought I'd make it.  The days still seem super long but I've survived so far.  Haha I'm sorry that all I could send were some cheesy cards but I don't know what else I could send.  I wish I could send you all something cool from here, but the back woods of Wisconsin don't really have much to offer.  Not even for the people that live here.  That's one thing me and my companion haven't figured out is why people choose to live here.  Apparently it's the summers because it's so beautiful around, but we think there's a disease called "The Forgetful Syndrome" that people suffer from.  It comes around in April or May and makes people forget that there ever was a winter so they stay here.  Then when September/October rolls around and it gets cold again they forget what it was like and are ornery and complain the whole time.  As missionaries knocking on there door at night in that freezing cold we get to suffer the side effects of this syndrome.  It's great!  But that's the best explanation we have for people living here.  
    I'm so excited to call you guys!!  I can't wait!  I think what I'll do is call you from the house phone of the people I live it since they'll be gone and said we can use it.  Then you'll just call me right back like at the airport.   From the information everyone's told me it sounds like between 1-2 pm around maybe 1:30 will be best for everyone when they're all there.  So plan on that and I can't wait to talk to you all!  I'm hoping maybe I can call Nick and Tati too since they can't be there, but we'll see.  Fingers crossed!
     As for my companion it sounds like everyone thinks I really don't like this guy.  Well that's not true.  I just wanna clear up that Elder Blume's a great missionary that I'm very happy to be serving with.  He's a great companion and example on how to be a missionary and an effective one at that.  The thing that's also true is that he can drive me a little nuts with some of the stuff he does, but that's just how it goes and I guess I should thank him for teaching me patience and how to deal with married life too.  To answers some other questions about him he's been out 16-17 months and goes home the first week in August.  It's been really funny to see our different perceptions of this transfer.  He's thought it's flown by and I'm wondering how I'll ever survive to the end.  If the end even gets here!  haha Jk but really it is kinda funny how true that is. 
     Oh yeah shoveling snow has been a great work out.  Which is good but sweating in a suit in -5 isn't the funnest thing.  Plus, it's something I never thought would be humanly possible.  I'll get some more practice with it though because we're having another storm right now that's suppose to give another 6-9 inches.  It's funny you said I can stay in shape with it Mom because the 30 minute morning workout's a joke.  I'm never motivated to get all into and workout like I did at home.  There's only so much that push ups and sit ups can do for you in 30 minutes. 
   I'm glad to hear that Dad, Brady, and of course Tom can still keep the Tar Heel pride alive.  I hope they get better.  It can't get much worse than last year.  Sorry I can't address everyone specifically again, but I  will to those who asked other questions.
Kat and Tom:  Thanks for sending a package! I'm excited to get it and try these infamous cupcakes.  Camie's just using the cupcake craving as an excuse.  We all know she's a recovered childhood Root Beeraholic.  It doesn't matter that there cupcakes it's the ingredient inside! ;) JK Camie haha I am looking forward to seeing Harry Potter and to do that marathon too!  Everyone here's been telling us how cool it is too, so I'm glad you can rub it in.  :)  What exactly is the definition of LemonFresh in the dictionary?  That's way funny!

Nick and Tati:  That's not even a snow storm what you guys had.  That is funny they canceled school for it.  Are you guys in the DC South MIssion at all?  I'm just curious because that's where the other half of my district's at.  Tell Tati not to worry and you too about writing.  I know you both are crazy busy!  Especially with those hours you look.  If it makes you feel better I don't get Christmas or New Years off.  They told us that's not a P-Day, so we get to call home and then go out and look like normal.  I don't think many people will be too willing to listen, so that should make tracting fun.  I hope the job search gets a little better for you.  Let me know of any news.

Brady:  All I really wanted to ask is what you, Katlin, and Chantel talked about at Carol's for so long?  I'm kinda worried about that. haha

     I hope everyone else is doing great!  Sorry I didn't have anything specific for everyone.  Tell Carol thanks for the journal.  That was way nice!  I remember that assembly too Mom.  That was crazy but was so fun!  It was one of the coolest memories of high school for sure.  You're very welcome for inviting you to them all.  I was just so happy to see all of you at all my games, assemblies, and everything else you supported me in!  You guys are the greatest!!  I can't wait to talk to you all!  I love you and miss you so much!  I look forward to when I can come home and tell you all the great stories I'm going to have.  Merry Christmas and I'll talk to you Saturday!! :)

Love, Elder Alex Craft

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Record Snow Storm

Dear Family,

    I'd just like to start this letter by apologizing to all those who I don't have time to write pesronal response to.  I really wish I could I just don't have time or type nearly fast enough.  You all have to remember I'm writing all these with the 32 WPM typing ability.  Pretty good I know!! ;)
     I'll address just things for everyone at the first of this and then answer most of the individual questions later.  For Christmas I actually resalize that I have no idea and really don't care what I get.haha I just love and miss you all so much anything from you would mean the world for me!  Food's usually good and socks I guess.  It sounds really lame but I don't know what else to ask for. It seems to change each time.  I just know that anything with the family is fine for me to get.  Sorry that's not much help.  Next I just wanna ask two major concerns of mine: 1- How's the garage look?  And is my 20+ hour labor of love still being used? 2- What's the situation look like with my car?  I don't know if I said this in the last email but if you have to please just sell it stereo and all.  I can get another one when I get back I just don't want it to be a burdon on the family because I know Brady's trying really hard to get a job but with no luck.  Sorry about that Brady I wish you could have one of my old jobs.  Just keep looking man.  Speaking of which have you gotten any new job offers or interviews Dad?  This is more for Kat and Tom I guess but I'm just curious doesn't Tom have a brother named Paul in St. Paul? And you two were just there?  Anyway moving on to the next question, has anyone gone to see the lights at Temple Square yet?  I miss that actually even though I didn'y go a ton.  We just see pictures of it here and tell people about it, and that made me realize how much I really took for granted living in Utah.  I've realized how much I love it there.  So my advice is to either go as a family or it's a great date idea (Brady ;)), but that's just my opinion.  I'm glad you all got to see the news coverage of that because I was living it!!  This area is usually the coldest part of the country when you look at the weather, but this storm was rare even for them.  My comp and I were inside Friday because we weren't feeling the greatest so we were just trying to make it better before anything serious developed, but then the whole mission was grounded on Saturday.  It started snowing early Saturday morning and didn't end until early Sunday morning around 6 a.m. I guess.  In that 24 hour time perios it dumped 20 inches alll over the whole area!!  It was a crazy blizzard white out and watching it from the window of our apartment was nuts!  It did collapse the roof of the Viking stadium along with shutting down the major highway between both states I-94 because there were huge 4 ft snow drifts all over that theyy couldn't get removed.  They canceled church in all the stakes of our mission yesterday but no we don't stay inside for that.  We only stay in once it hits -40.  So we went out with a plan to do some contacting  but had to help Bro. Greenwood who we live with move the 2 feet of snow of the driveway and our car for an hour.  Once we finished we had to go to the church to get some more snow shovels and ending up shoveling the snow off that sidewalk so people could actually get in.  Being the amazing missionaries we are we didn't stop there.  We went and dugg a member family's driveway and cars out because once the plows came yesterday morning for the first time they moved all of the packed snow to the side in 3-4 ft mounds.  When we drive down any street there's cars buried all over and the snow plowed to the side is as high as the window on the car doors, so it's kinda weird to drive anywhere.  It really looks like a barren frozen tundra now with everything covered in feet, not inches, feet of snow.  These are the experiences I was waiting for and expected though so I got them.  Especially yesterday because we still had to shovel another elderly couple out last night in the middle of nowhere where they hadn't had any plows but there were plenty of giant snow drifts.  Plus the temperature was about -10 and that helped to keep the whole experience pretty real.  It was pretty warm today actually at a whopping 5 degrees.  The best part about this huge snow storm is that now unlike Utah where it can all be melted the next day this will all be here plus some until at least April.  I'm looking forward to that. 

Now to kinda address each of you so it's a little more personal:

Dad- I'm glad that the pictures I emailed got to you but I can't remember what I sent to help you label them sorry.  You can upload anything I send to that blog that's fine and I don't care who's allowed to see it.  Whoever you guys want is fine by me.  Except tell Mitch that he can't log onto it until that kid writes me back for the letter I sent him haha jk.  You can send stuff to the mission home and they'er good about forwarding it to me but for anyone that wants to know my physical address is XXXXXX
Mom- Sorry I didn't answer this last week but yes I know hard to believe people will reject and not listen to us.  They must not know who I am ;).  Every time someone does though I don't get mad or anything I just think to myself "I hope I'm there when they're at judgment and I get to look at them and go I tried to tell you"  so that's what keeps me going.  I'm sorry to hear about the show you did.  That's a bummer for sure.  I hope the next one goes well for you.  I'm glad you got the pictures though like I told Dad and that you liked them.  I am a little homesick but it's getting better for sure through much prayer and trust in the Lord.

Nick and Tati-  How's everything going? Thanks for doing the blog too.  That's way cool! Specifically how's the job hunt going and how are you Tati? I haven't heard much about you so I'm just curious.

Kat and Tom-  These cupcakes I've been promised sound amazing and I can't wait to finally get them.  Thanks again for all the love and emails you both send that help me so much.

Camie, Brock, and Brandt-  That's so awesome to hear about Alicia and Heather!  They finally realized that all people can repent ;)! jk hah but that really is exciting and I'm glad to hear Brandt's doing great along with both of you. 

Brady-  You have a new girlfriend huh? Nice work! but I need a picture to approve of it fully haha jk man.  I'm glad you're happy but you've probaly already heard it and I'll just say it again: don't get too attached because dating alot of other girls can be really fun too!! Trust me I've been there done that haha  JK Basketball sounds like it's going good too.  I loved those games! Just keep the pride going!

Natalie-  Maybe certain people are more ornery because they're more stressed.  Just be supportive and offer to help anyway that you can and it should help.  I know you do already to keep up the good attitude and you'll be fine I promise.  Yes I've gotten plenty more doors slammed in my face and I still laugh everytime.  It's their problem and salvation not mine.  I haven't gotten any stocking yet but I look forward to it!

Grandma Craft-  Thanks for that story!! That was very cool and amazing that it was a true story.  How are you doing?  Are you feeling any better?  I miss not being able to visit you but look forward to the letters and emails.

     Well this was a little longer and more informative so I hope it helps, but the work here is amazing despite the biting cold the work of the Lord never stops.  I feel so privelaged to be apart of it and to see the change and joy that it can bring into peoples lives like it has to ours!  My favorite thing is to teach the Plan of Salvation because I have such a string testimony of that and I'm so thankful for it in my life! You all are the greatest and I love, appreciate, and miss all of you so much! I can't wait to hear from you again and you'll all be in my prayers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekly Hello

Hey Mom,

Thanks so much for the emails!! You all have no idea how much I love reading them!! Hearing missionaries complain about not having mail or getting overly excited about it makes so much more sense now!! I'm just going to apologixe that this is so short and tell Brady and Natalie I'm really sorry I can't respond to them today.  I love them and miss them both so much I just don't have enough time to get it all done and teh only time I'm allowed to write letters is on P-Day.  My companion's really good and big on obedience so we obey every rule to the letter,  Which isn't necessarilly a bad thing, but much to the satisfaction of all of you that means that I have to get a comb today at Wal-Mart for the dreaded PART!! Yep you read it right. . . a part! I have to wear a part in my hair because it's a rule and we'lll be blessed for our obedience even if I do look like a gomer.  Don't worry I think I can pull it off though! ;)

About my license. . . I'm sorry! I looked in that box and there wasn't anything in there so when I left I threw it away and I guess that's where it ended up.  None of the notes said anything about it in there, so that's my bad sorry.  I get to suffer the consequences now from it and even though I've been given clearance to drive I'm nopt allowed to until I get it.haha Oh well I'm fine being a passenger.  When I called I said to not worry about me out here.  Take care of everyone there for Christmas.  I don't really need anything.  I told you maybe an electric razor or photo album but I decided I don't need that razor.  I'm not shaving that much yet.  Maybe next Christmas though. haha I think other than another photo album if you can find it, or anything with the family's great.  Another good idea's just some snacks or food that I can have to go in my bookbag or car because we're not really home to eat.  Just like carmel corn or I guess junk food's the best way to describe it.  Not a ton though because I don't need it.  I'm gonna try to keep my "girlish figure" for when I get back, so too much of it's gonna make me round. haha  We just barely finished your fudge, which was amazing, and I feel bad because I don't know when we'll get to drink the hot chocolate. I'm trying I just feel bad not using what you sent me.
Oh I know how you feel because every day's seemed to take so long! It's like I'm in a time warp here.  I just miss you all so much and try not to think of that.  I just think abou taking it one day at a time and living in the moment because I"ll never get to live this experience again.  It's just one day at a time one foot in front of the other I guess.  It sounds like things are going good at home.  A little crazy with the plane incident but other than that I'm glad everyone's safe and doing good! Tell Grandma I love her and I miss being able to go visit her!  FYI if you get a chance to talk to Jacob telll him I met Elder Horgmo and actually flew out here with him.  He's the elder from Norway that's here in the MMM too!

Well I love and miss you all so much!!!! I can't wait to hear from you!

Love, Elder Alex Craft