Monday, December 26, 2011

Phone Call Wrap Up

Hey Everyone!

     I know that you all just talked to me not even 24 hours ago, but I just wanted to send an email to keep my streak up every week. haha  The libraries are actually all closed today, so we are emailing from none other than the Murray's.  I'm pretty sure they're going to just get sick of seeing Elder Pope and me being around haha.

     I hope that everyone had some of their questions for me answered yesterday.  I had some things I thought of in the shower this morning that I wish I would have asked or talked about but now of course I can't remember any of them. haha   Elder Pope and I got to go to the mission home last night like I told you and have a little Christmas Family Home Evening with President and Sister Clements and their 5 daughters that are in town.  It was a lot of fun listening to a couple different stories and experiences of people's favorite Christmas.  It really is true that the Christmas holidays that you have on a mission become some of the most memorable.  It's great to really try to focus on others and just go out to serve and bring joy to all the people we're surrounded by.  I thought I tried to do that when I was at home, but it's much easier when you don't have to worry about the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Things like who are you going to buy what for and things like that that I would worry about.  I can say honestly that we truly tried to follow the example of the one whose birth we celebrated and received the greatest gift we all can receive with the Spirit and love that comes from our Savior as we emulate what He taught.  Elder Pope and I were just talking about how much fun this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was for us.  We got to go out and deliver cookies to people we're teaching and others that just needed a little cheer.  It brought so much joy and really was one of my favorite Christmas experiences.  Like I said yesterday we didn't even get booed off of any porches we sang our duet carols on so that's always a good thing too.;) haha  I also got like 5-6 cards at the mission home yesterday that they received Saturday and were waiting to forward.  Kat and Tom's card was there along with your letter Mom.  Sorry Nick and Tati I still didn't see that "big package" you sent yet ;) haha.  Speaking of your letter though Mom.  I will try to write Elder Musaka sometime but I can't email him.  I'm only allowed to email immediate family and President Clements.  So I'll try to write sometime, but sorry I won't be able to email him.  I just figured I'd give you a little FYI about that.

     Other than that I don't think there's anything else to really report or say.  I love all of you and it was great seeing and talking to you yesterday!  Thanks again for all the love and support you give to me!  I can't wait to talk to you again.

Love,  Elder Craft

Monday, December 19, 2011

What a Difference a Week Makes!

Hey Crafts!

     It sounds like I don't even need to talk to you this week or send any sort of updates.  You've already heard from two families from two different wards out here and gotten all the exciting news from them. haha jk  So as you may have heard or guessed it was kind of a crazy week for me here.  Unfortunately, Elder Parry did end up going home on Wednesday morning.  He had some medical issues he had been battling since he came out on his mission.  Last Monday after our appointment with his Dr. he and President Clements talked about Elder Parry's situation and decided he would be best to be medically released and try to fix what it was at home.  There's little likely hood of him coming back, so it is kind of sad but he has something else he can accomplish and do back home.  It was tough to see him go, but it's what was best and will help him the most.  That is the reason I was with the Assistants from Wednesday through Saturday and thought I might possibly be there the next 5 weeks of the transfer.  President wasn't sure where I would go and because our area borders the Assistants we were going to see how managing both of them together would go.  We had a Christmas miracle come through for us in the Eden Prairie ward though.  I'm not sure if I told you originally that I came to Eden Prairie to replace a missionary who had gone home due to medical complications and was having surgery to try and fix it.  Through his communication the past couple months to President Clements and what he had told some members he kept in contact with here he wasn't going to come back.  Even if he did get medical clearance it was just going to be way to hard to say good-bye again.  Everyone loved him here in the ward and most of the missionaries did too.  We actually came out together.  He was in a different district but it was still hard to see him come home and not come back.  That is until Elder Pope called President on Tuesday and said he knows he needs to come back.  HE had the ok from the Dr. and wanted to be out here.  So on Saturday that's why the Neilsons saw me at the airport with the Assistants picking up my new companion Elder Pope who would be coming back to the ward I'm currently in and that he left almost 4 months ago.  It was nothing short of a Christmas miracle to have things work out like the way that they did!  Everyone at church was pretty confused not to see Elder Parry, but once they saw Elder Pope he was welcomed like some sort of conquering hero.  Everyone was way excited to see him and he's way excited to be here again.  We get along really well and now with both of us having the same sort of drive and desire there are going to be even more miracles this transfer!  I'm way excited to see what's going to happen.  The whole ward is too.  As far as the Cardons go that was pretty crazy!  While I was in Bloomington we decided to stop by some members and teach them Friday night.  The Cardons were one we decide to try and see.  Right when we walked in Sister Cardon didn't really think anything of it with the two normal missionaries Elder Crepeau and Elder Lo walking in front of me.  Then she told me later she saw this tall blonde missionary bringing up the rear.  She was told by Tara Manning that she was to look for a tall blonde missionary from Hooper with the name Elder Craft.  "You can't miss him" is what she was told.  Right when I got through the door and started to take off my shoes she looked right at my name tag and said, "Elder Craft I've been looking for you!"  That's the one and only time I think that's going to happen on my mission haha.  Any investigator or person I would talk to tracting have tell me that would be phenomenal. haha She then told me she was originally from Hooper and talked about how she grew up on 5500 in the 2nd Ward.  We connected a few ties like that I went to High School and have hung out with her younger brother Bo, before finding out the reason she knew I was there and to "look for me".  Her husband in the other room told me< "wait a minute you're from Hooper?  I'm from West Warren.  Craft?  Do you have any siblings?" So the conversation turned to him knowing Nick and saying they had a lot of classes together and he remembered Nick was on the soccer team and he even brought up the story of the fight he got into in one of the games when "Sugar went sour" haha.  It was pretty awesome!  And all of this took place in the first 5-10 minutes of being there leaving the Assistants stunned and kind of left in the dust haha.  It was very unexpected but really funny.  I still can't believe all the connections that have all the sudden come out of the wood work since I've been here in Eden Prairie.  All the emails, pictures, and videos you guys get sent it feels like I'm not even really on a mission haha JK.  That's my abbreviated story to answer a few questions people had.  The best part is that what ever doesn't make sense we can talk about on Sunday and clear it all up. haha

     Now for the Skype on Sunday like I told you before we'll be doing it at Brother Murray's but I think it will be sometime after dinner.  Sorry to totally throw a wrench in your operation of doing it and scheduling it for 2, but Elder Pope's parents have late church and won't be able to do it until like 3:30 or 4 Idaho time.  So I think what would work best for us is doing it after dinner at about 6 p.m. here so 5 p.m. for you guys.  Sorry again to mess it all up.  I hope that that can work for you guys.  If not you could contact Brother Murray and he'll relate the message I'm sure.  His Skype account it: ------------- and his email is  I hope it all works out and his computer's good enough to where you all can see me and not the still images like last time haha.

     Thanks also for the packages!  I got them from the Neilson's after dinner last nigh.  I had no idea and neither did they that the little one was for them until I opened it haha.  I'll give it to them the next time I see them.  I really liked the Christmas card that you guys sent too.  We all look so good! haha JK I was surprised that was the picture you picked for me, but it was a good one.  I do have Christmas cards I was going to send last week but Target was having some problems to where I could only get them this week.  Sorry you'll be getting them like right before Christmas.  Just kind of as a disclaimer as well they were to best Target had to offer so don't be too critical haha.

     Well I hope that helps to answer all your questions and clear up some confusion.  Just know I'm doing great back in Eden Prairie!  We got our Christmas Presents for the ward yesterday at church.  All I have to say is that I was amazed by the amount of stuff the ward gave to us.  I'll attach some pictures so you can see.  I love you all and can't wait to talk to you Sunday!!

Love,  Elder Craft

Monday, December 12, 2011

Things Seem to be Going Well

Dear Family,

     Thanks for the emails and updates this week.  Things here in the great land of lakes in "the garden of Eden (Prairie)" have been going so well!  This past week we were able to pick up 3 more investigators!  That is such an answer to prayer to be able to keep adding to the teaching pool that we've been working so hard to build.  One is a 16 year old kid whose dad is a recent convert to the church.  He's never really had any religious back round at all.  The first time he's ever been to a church he said was when he came to his dad's baptism in July.  It's going to be really fun be able to start with the basics and teach him all from the beginning.  He's really open and receptive and asks great questions.  He really listens to what we're saying and thinks about it.  He knows and goes to school with a few of the member kids in the ward and is really good friends with one in particular.  We're teaching him at that friends house.  He came to the turkey bowl and really loves to talk anything sports.  Mostly basketball and football so if we can steer clear of getting him distracted on those topics things are going to continue to go great haha.  The other 2 investigators that we picked up are a really great couple we tracted into about a month ago that we finally got to meet with and teach.  It was a great lesson!  They really want to increase their knowledge, faith, and relationship with Jesus Christ.  All things that the Book of Mormon promises to do for all of us.  Unfortunately, the husband works in retail so this time of year is total craziness for him, and we can't meet with him again until the week after Christmas.  We'll still call and keep in contact to help them get to church before then.  The Lord is blessing us tremendously and we're working hard to keep these people growing in their faith and on their path coming unto Christ.  Good things are only going to continue to come and grow in these letters.

     As far as the snow here we are expected to get rain the next couple of days!  What is this?!  I feel like such a wimp.  I did not come to Minnesota to write home and report on rain in the middle of December.  It's so amazing to me that a year ago yesterday was the day that we got 22 inches of snow in 24 hrs!  I just can't believe the difference.  I keep waring Elder Parry that this is not normal and the members here back me up.  I just figure we'll pay for this nice weather come about January when the bottom of the thermometer actually just falls right out and we don't get positive numbers until March haha.  That's just my guess though.

     That's so exciting about Brady's papers.  I talked to Elder Mead the other day at transfers and he said that Jesse Wilson got his call to Bolivia?  I told Brady in other letters and emails that I'm guessing he's going somewhere in Central or South America.  I'm not sure on a specific country yet.  Don't worry that it won't be here by Christmas.  I'm used to finding out all information over email anyway haha.  Speaking of Christmas though I'm not sure if you guys want to try and Skype again or just a phone call.  We'll be over at Brother Murray's for Christmas and he has enough computers we could both Skype there.  You just might want to email him and found out if he has a Skype account to get that all coordinated.  Just let me know what time everyone will be available next week so I can try to plan that.

     I think that that's really cool about that adopt a missionary program you're doing Mom.  Sister Simpson emailed me the emails she's sent and received from Cody and his companion and I think that that's a great idea.  I wish that I could say that I'll have time to try and write every week too but that's probably not going to be the case.  I can for sure try though.  I was thinking since I've been so blessed and really don't need stuff for Christmas like I talked about last week you could go in on a Christmas package with Sister Simpson for a couple of those missionaries instead.  I realize that it will probably be late getting there now but I think it'd be awesome to just save the money from sending me one and sending it to those African missionaries there.  You might have already thought of that but if not it's just a cool idea I had.

     It's so crazy to think that Jacob will be home this week!  Time flies when you're speaking Norweigen haha.  He's written me a couple emails the past couple weeks so it was cool to talk to him.

     I hope that everything else is going great with all of you.  Sorry this is kind of short but we have a lot of stuff planned to try and get done today.  I can't wait to hear from you guys and talk to you again!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, December 5, 2011

Where's My Raise?

Hello Crafts,

     This week as you know is transfers and just like I did not expect to happen we got a call from President Clements this morning to inform us that we would both be staying in Eden Prairie.  It was kind of strange because you usually do not get a call unless you are transferring.  After he informed us we were staying he cleared up some confusion on the purpose behind his call.  He told me that I will now be responsible of one of the largest districts in the mission as the new District Leader here.  It was a surprise to me to find out that we had one of the largest districts and to be called as the District Leader again.  Elder Caldwell the old district leader is going down to Rochester to be a Zone Leader down there.  I'm excited about the new responsibility again.  What makes it even better is that Elder Bennett and Sister Daniel were in the last district I was District Leader over, so they get a little bit of Elder Craft round 2. haha  I'm really excited to still be here in Eden Prairie and to continue to serve with Elder Parry.  We have some good things going on and are excited for the next few weeks the following transfer will bring.

     This past week we found 2 new investigators from tracting.  The woman we talked to told us we could come back in a couple days only because her daughter met and had this best friend when she went out to college who was a member from Wyoming that is now on his mission in Russia.  When we went for the lesson though her son who's a sophomore at Chaska High wanted to sit in and listen because he knew a couple of the youth from the ward here.  The lesson went really well and the spirit was really strong as we taught and testified about Christ's church anciently and the restoration of it now.  The power of the Book of Mormon was evident as we read through the introduction and testified to them about the truthfulness of it and how it would bless their lives.  They both committed to read before we come back later this next week, and she even said hopefully her husband will be sitting in joining us this next week.  We're pretty excited to be working with them and know that these are who we are here in Eden Prairie to find.  Thanks for all you prayers because the blessings have really been pouring out upon us!  We are also going to start teaching the son of a recent convert in the ward and are really excited to be working with him.  The work as you all know has been a little slow going but because of the hard work of the spirit within people and the Lord because of the prayers in our behalf we are starting to reap the benefits of it.  The other investigator that I had mentioned a couple weeks ago working toward being baptized on the 17th might not make it on that day because there are a couple other changes and commitments that need to be made and met so that it is all according to the standards and qualifications that the Lord has commanded of His children.  We're still working hard and the ward is a great support to him.  He's encountered a couple bumps along the way already with the short road he's traveled in a couple weeks, but the spirit is helping to strengthen his testimony and help him to see the truth of what he's learning and feeling.  It's always an incredible and humbling experience to watch and be a part of.

     I'm glad that you got the pictures from Sister Neilson.  She was such a great blessing to us to not only drive 4 of us missionaries to the temple but then want to go through with us and take us back home.  It made coordinating rides much easier.  When she was taking pictures on all our cameras too she told us to wait there as she took a couple on her iPhone.  She said she was going to send them to my mom because she would love that.  I agreed and told here she also got a sweet new wallpaper for her phone from that one picture.  It was a win win for everyone even though I'm not too sure she wanted a picture of us as her back round haha. ;)  They are a great family who we have dinner with again this next Sunday.  This ward is just great though and like I said earlier I'm just glad to still be working here for the next 6 weeks.  Especially since Elder Parry told me that when he talked with President this morning he said that he was initially going to move me, but was strongly corrected by the Lord saying that I needed to be in Eden Prairie.  That in and of itself puts enough pressure on knowing that there's something the Lord knows I specifically need to to be here for and accomplish this next 6 weeks.  We'll be working hard to find out what that is in the short time that we have to do it in.

     Well I'm glad to hear that Brady seems to be surviving and recovering from his ordeal with the oral surgeon fairly well.  Thanks for sending the fairly gruesome pictures along with your email haha.  I can't wait to hear how it goes these next few weeks as you finalize everything to send in so you can find out where in South America you'll be headed.  I'm going to just go ahead and call that right now. haha

     I'm also glad to hear that everyone else seems to be doing fairly well or at least recovering towards that.  Thanks for all the support and prayers again!  I know the Lord listens to prayers and grants us those worthy desires of our hearts!  I love you and can't wait to hear from you again.

Love, Elder Craft

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Isn't There Suppossed to be Snow Here?

Hey Everyone,

     Thanks for the emails and letters this past week.  Sorry to leave you hanging for a few days.  We went to the temple as a district today.  I forgot to mention in the email on Thanksgiving that my next P-Day wouldn't be until today.  Thanksgiving was a lot of fun.   To answer some of your questions yes it was a little nerve racking having dinner with Elder Payne and President Clements.  With so many people being there it was kind of a more casual thing though.  Sitting with President and Sister Clements at our table was pretty cool though because we got to just sit and talk with them outside of an interview setting and get to know each other a little better.  There really wasn't anything too different for dinner at all or anything too amazing I guess.  
     This past week didn't have anything too crazy here in the Garden of Eden.  There still hasn't been any snow yet, but from what I hear that will be coming tomorrow.  I'm not complaining by any means.  We went until December without snow.  That has to be some sort of miracle for Minnesota.  Everybody's surprised by it.  There must be some very faith filled bike missionaries here that have been praying for the snow to hold off.  We have been able to set  up a few more appointments for the next couple days with potentials and people we've tracted into, so hopefully the work continues to pick up.  Thanks for all the prayers.  I know that's what's helping and providing the miracles for us here.

     It's crazy to think that next Monday (which should be my normal P-Day again by the way) is transfer call day!  6 weeks has gone by already.  I think in a sense now that it has been a year everyone's right that it is picking up and I'm not really sure what it is that causes it.  Even President Clements talked about that in an interview that Elder Parry and I had with him this last week.  He gave me an analogy that I've heard as I'm sure many of you have that missions are like a roller coaster, for more reasons than one haha.  It seems to just drag as it's chugging up the first part of the hill until it gets to the top.  Then it kind of pauses for a second.  After that it just flies by with nothing you've really changed or that you can do about it, and the closer you get to the bottom the faster it's going.  I've seen that in sense I guess now looking back, but I'm just looking forward to what's going to happen here in Eden Prairie the next couple weeks and to experience the great things that I know are coming.

     It sounds like Natalie had a good birthday.  Surprise surprise that there was honey sesame chicken to eat haha.  It sounds like everyone there seemed to make it a party too haha.   I hope that she was able to get the package that I sent.  Crazy to think that in 6 months now she can get here learners permit!  What it that all about?  Lucky for her the cavalier might just be available without any one to even drive it.  That's probably exactly what Mom and Dad did not want to hear haha, but we have to face the facts sometime.

      To answer a question that I figure is going to be coming from some of you here soon I have no idea what I need or want for Christmas.  I definitely do not need food like I got last year haha.  I have plenty of t-shirts along with warm winter clothes too.  I asked for music before but getting it approved is kind of a hassle if it's not within the qualifications and standards already.  I've gotten books and stuff before but I never have time to read them or space to really pack them around.  I know I had mentioned to Mom and Dad about a GPS too but as of now I can navigate my way around the area just fine and with the maps we have it's easy enough that I never really get lost, so I don't think that will be a necessity like I thought before.  Sorry to not really help out at all and I kind of made it a little more difficult, but I figured I'd try to tell you somewhat early haha.  You guys are so great I just can't think of anything I need.  You take care of me too well ;). haha  

     Sorry this is kind of short too and there's not too much exciting in it.  I hope that you are all doing well.  Thanks for your prayers and support.  I'm always praying for you guys!  I can't wait to talk to you again hopefully with news of me staying in Eden Prairie haha.

Love,  Elder Craft

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving Craft Family!

    Sorry that you had to wait until today to get my weekly update.  The Murrays' house ,our Ward Mission Leader and his family, to email and sending this from his office.  It's weird to think that this is now my second Thanksgiving away from all you guys.  Much like the weather you are all having the blessing of we are having 60 degree weather today too.   It's a little different than the about 10 degrees I had last year spending it in Colfax, Wisconsin.

    I can't remember if I mentioned it last week that our ward was having a big "Turkey Bowl" this year, but somehow Kat knew about it haha.  It is true though we had a huge gathering of our Priesthood members in the ward at Cloverfield Elementary to play.  They had 4 games of about 7-8 players per team going.  That's how many showed up.  I don't know what the guys in charge were thinking but they decided to put a few priests, a couple members of the Elders Quorum, and us on a team, and stacked a couple of the other teams with almost all High Priests.  Needless to say my team went undefeated in our quest to 2 Hand Touch Football glory haha.  We didn't have anyone to really play quarterback, so I ended up playing because the priest who originally was decided it would be a good idea to try and run it almost every time.  That doesn't exactly work in 2 Hand Touch.  I was also designated kicker after the first touch back I kicked.  Some of the members came up afterwards and asked if I'd played football in High School.  When I said soccer that explained the kicking for them.  A couple of the Boise State fans in the ward said I need to go play for the Broncos and I'd do better than the kicker they have now haha.  I think that just goes to show the caliber of players we had out here I think haha.  Regardless it was a lot of fun and the weather like I talked about earlier was perfect for it.

    We had "dinner" at 1 this afternoon for a couple hours haha.  I think that's just how Thanksgiving Dinner also goes.  We ate at the Payne's, or I guess the clubhouse of their townhome complex.  There were a lot of people there including President and Sister Clements because Elder Payne is the area authority for the Seventy here.  Our ward has a few people like him that are a pretty big deal.  What can I say?  It was a pretty fun be able to eat and really just talk with President and Sister Clements at our table.  They got to know us a little better and the food was great!  I probably gained a few good pounds today haha.

    From what I hear from everyone else it seems relatively quiet for Thanksgiving this year.  Except for the no internet dilemma in Idaho it sounds like it was pretty good too.  I'm assuming that everyone else in Idaho (minus Camie and Brock) went to Grandma's too?  I just figured with our family heading up they might be over there.  It's too bad that you and Tom have to work Kat, but I agree with what you said next Thanksgiving will be even better to have work off.  Thanks for the happy Turkey and Football wishes haha.

    As for the other 10 days since the last time that I wrote you it's been pretty good for us here in E. P..  We had what's known as Mission Tour last week on Friday.  A General Authority will come and have an all day conference with us and give some training and stuff.  We had Elder Zwick from the First Quorum of the Seventy come with his wife and speak to us.  It was just amazing the training and advice that we were given to help apply to our missionary efforts.  I wish I could put all the events and feelings from that day into writing but there's just not enough time with only an hour of P-Day left haha.  There were 4 zones that were at our meeting with him down in Lakeville, Minnesota.  As I was standing in the chapel talking to a couple of other missionaries waiting for the meeting to start in a few minutes I heard someone walk up behind me and say in a strangely familiar somewhat monotone voice, "Elder Craft".  That when I turned around to look at the name badge entitled Elder Mead!  It was so crazy and so cool to see him!  We sat and talked for the rest of the time before the meeting, and then we even got to sit at the same table during lunch.  It was great to see and hear from him about how he's doing.  We talked a little bit about Brady and going to lunch with him.  He told me the story of the desperate attempt to make it to his farewell on time and being late to work after.  He just said, "Brady's a good friend".  I told him the Brady was just working on his medical stuff for his papers now and that he would be sending those in soon.  He was really excited and I'm really looking forward to an update on that or maybe someone's wisdom teeth here soon.  I heard there's a story behind that and that it needs to come from you Brady, so if you could get on that that would be great. haha

    Other than that there isn't much else exciting that is happening here at this moment.  We are teaching a man that we're trying to work with towards baptism.  He came to church last week and loved it.  He told us he's looking forward to coming again.  He's committed to be baptized on December 17th, so we're working hard for that.  There's still alot we need to teach and that he needs to do so that we can  be ready when the 17th comes.  I can't believe that now since it's basically after Thanksgiving I can say it's almost Christmas!  Crazy stuff.  In the Spirit of Thanksgiving I just want to end by saying how thankful I am for a loving Heavenly Father who gives us trials and allows us to learn and grow on our own to become His children with the potential that he knows we can be.  I'm thankful for His amazing plan of happiness that He has blessed us with a knowledge of, and for His son Jesus Christ who came and suffered the greatest and infinite sacrifice that He did to be our Lord and Savior, the Redeemer of all mankind and the way that we can return home once again.  I'm thankful for the scriptures and the wealth of knowledge that is given to us within them.  I'm thankful for the power of prayer and the true communication and effect that it can be in our lives.  I'm thankful for a loving family that I have here to spend this life and the next with.  I'm truly thankful for all of you who help inspire and uplift me to be the person that I am today.  I'm thankful for your love, support, and prayers on my behalf that I get to feel everyday.  I'm thankful for my mission and the opportunity that I have to serve at this time and be a representative of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I better end there so we can get a few other things that we have planned done tonight and get onto tracting to find more people to teach.  I love and miss all of you.  I'm grateful for all that you do for me and look forward to hearing from you again next week.  I hope for everyone traveling that you do so safely!

Love,  Elder Craft

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where is the Snow?

Dear Family,

     Thanks to everyone for the emails and prayers.  To start off and help clear up some worries of Mom's: yes I am staying warm haha.  I'm a seasoned Minnesotan winter veteran remember? haha JK.  The weather here has actually been incredibly nice!  Saturday it was up near 60!  There isn't even any snow here, and from what I hear that's not the case in either Utah or Idaho.  What about DC?  Are you guys starting to see white yet?  Don't get too jealous of my no snow just yet because once it does come here it's not going to stop for the next 5 months!  And we won't even talk about the temperatures that come along with it haha.  So far I haven't even pulled out my coat.  I've only had to use my gloves tracting one night when it got to about 28, but even that wasn't too bad.  The rest of the time we've been out at night it's been in the upper 30's so I haven't even need my gloves or earmuffs.  Like I said before I'm going to come home and be able to shovel snow in a t-shirt in Utah! haha  Once it does get colder though I will pull out my coat and hammock,Mom,  and will be just fine.  It lasted all last year and from what the natives have told us here that was one of the worst on record.  Our apartment is really nice too so a heater won't be necessary. Thanks so much for the thought and concern!  I really do appreciate it, but we haven't even had to turn on the heat yet and when we do there's a heating system in our apartment.  Speaking of my apartment I'm hoping to attach some pictures of it so you can see what it looks like.  I realized the other day I haven't even shown you where I've been living the past 10 weeks haha.

     That's so funny about Landon.  I knew it!!!  Tavan and I talked about this since high school.  I just can't believe he's getting married to Jesse this week.  I guess that's about 6 months since he's been home so it's nothing too crazy.  You'll have to tell them and Cherice that I said hi.

     To answer your question Dad I am not the District Leader anymore here in this area.  Elder Caldwell is and he's serving over in Plymouth.  It's kind of funny because he actually trained Elder White and did half of Elder Parry's training.  There aren't as many district leaders as there were before because there's not as many districts.  They recently realigned all the districts to be alot bigger with more areas included in each district.  We're the smallest zone here in the Minneapolis Zone, so we only have 7 teams total and our district is made up of 4 of them.  We have Waconia (where or actual meeting house is), us in Eden Prairie, Minetonka, and Plymouth.  The old district that I was District Leader over got 2 more companionships added to it when they made this whole realignment so there's 10 missionaries in that one now.  We have Zone Leaders as well but they are apart of the other district in the zone and work in South Minneapolis.  I hope that gives some more fun information and answers your question haha.

     This week there's not too much crazy or exciting to report from last week.  We did have some lady last night tell us when we knocked on the door, "sorry I'm watching Harry Potter, so I don't have time" and just shut the door.  I just turned to Elder Parry and said, "I cannot believe someone just used that as a legitimate excuse" haha.  It was pretty funny that she was actually serious about it too.  We have our "Mission Tour" this Friday and one of the members of the Presidency of the Seventy I think will be here to speak to us.  I'm really excited about that, but at the same time after meeting Elder Quentin L. Cook it's kind of hard to try and top that haha.  We should be getting new phones at the meeting too so that's kind of a fun random fact for you.

     Like I said sorry that there's not much too new or exciting to report.  We have some good potentials that we'll be working with this next week and doing a lot more tracting  to find even more people.  Your email really helped to confirm my testimony of it, Dad, and what I've said before.  I know the Lord has prepared people here for the Gospel.  We just have to be worthy enough and work hard enough to find them.  So hopefully this week we will have done enough to report the fruits of that labor to you.  I love you and pray for you all always.  I'm looking forward to the Christmas Music and talking to you again.  For some reason Mannheim Steamroller is not approved for Christmas music just so you know in case you were going to send some.  I don't know why it just is so I follow the rule haha.  I hope all is well.

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, November 7, 2011


Dear Family,

     Thanks for all the emails and letters from all of you!  I apologize if sometimes I'm not able respond to everyone right away, but I try really hard to make time with the couple hours I have free on P-Day to do things.  Any letter I get from you guys though is the one I try to respond to and write to first.  It just seems like P-Day is extremely short and Fridays for Weekly Planning are extremely long.  I've been considering just changing P-Day to Friday just to see what would happen haha. ;)

     Last Monday I did get to dress up as one of those missionaries we hear so much about .  Funny thing is that my "costume" is one that I get to wear around 24/7 for 2 years haha.  People told us that Elder Parry and I should have just switched name tags to switch it up.  We were debating on whether or not to got trick or treating.  It would have been the same thing we do basically everyday just with a reward if they're not interested haha.  They gave us a curfew of 8 p.m. so we were allowed to come in early.  Brother Murray had us go over to their house though and spend the night serving scones.  That's what they do for Halloween.  They open up the garage and set up a table to serve the homemade scones,and honey butter; along with powdered sugar, apple cider, and apple juice on and put up chairs for people to just sit in and relax.  It's their tradition and people drive from all over to come to their house.  It was nice to help and just talk to people that came too so they could see us as real people haha.  It was funny to see some of their neighbors we tracted into the week before who were not interested or really too friendly at all show up and talk to us there.  People are very interesting that way.  How they'll act with a crowd and other people around as opposed to not.  I think it was good to help open up some people's minds though and will make it better now when we tract around there and see those people again haha  The rest of this week in the Garden of Eden was filled with a lot of tracting. haha Elder Parry was asking if this is all that we do.  haha I had to inform him about my days down in Kasson of becoming a tracting professional and that what we have to do here for the few hours we do each day is pretty nice.  We had a lot of miracles from all the finding efforts we put forth.  One of the greatest blessings has been the lack of snow so far, but from what I hear that will soon be coming this week.  Unlike the couple inches that you got in Utah this past week, that will hopefully melt for you this weekend, once the snow hits here get used to seeing it for the next 5 months!  I remember right after I got out here last year there was that storm of 22 inches in 24 hrs, and Elder Blume telling me while we shoveled the Greenwood's driveway to be sure to throw it far because we'd still be seeing that snow by March.  He was a little off though.  I remember seeing that snow hang around until May!! haha  Not only were we blessed with the nicer, milder weather we also were able to talk to some really great potential investigators and have some appointments set up with them for the end of the week.  We're really excited and hopeful to be able to start to teach them and build up our teaching pool here.  Thanks so much to all of you for all of your prayers on my behalf.  The Lord has really been helping us along to do what He wants us to do here and we'll be working to continue the miracles and have more things to talk about in future emails haha.

     We had Stake Conference yesterday that we went to and it was really good.  We had to travel to Crystal to the Minneapolis Stake Center for it.  President Clements was one of the speakers and along with the Stake President, President Schneiber, they both talked about missionary work and challenged the members to get more involved.  It was cool because the Stake President is very missionary minded and helped to encourage, support,a nd challenge the members here to share the Gospel more.   Kind of like how Elder Perry counseled us all to open our mouths more and share the Gospel with all those people around us and look for opportunities to do so frequently.

     Sorry there isn't much more to write about.  Thanks for sending all those pictures Kat.  It looks like your wedding /sealing pictures turned out really nice.  By the way I did get your email Natalie.  Thanks for the update on everything.  Sorry I haven't been able to respond to it yet.  I'll try to do it as fast as I can.  Just know that I wasn't ignoring or forgetting about you :).  I hope that everything is still going well for everyone else.  I miss you guys and pray for you always.  I hope to hear from you soon!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekly Update

Dear Family,

     Thanks so much for the package you sent with the Drapers!  I feel so spoiled now getting all this stuff from home.  I got Kat and Tom's package last week and for those of you who know about it all I'm going to say is I just started laughing when I opened it up!  haha  It was definitely creative and unexpected.  I could see Tom's personality all throughout too that's for sure.  I'll write you guys a letter today for that.  I really appreciate all you guys do for me as a family.  Like I've said before. . .You're the best!  Thanks for the letters Dad and Brady too.  I know it must have been painful to make it hand written Brady but you survived and it means alot so thanks. ;)  That's way cool that you guys got to meet and spend time with the Drapers and that the Meads did too.  Kind of an unfortunate way to meet them at a funeral and all, but it's all part of this thing we like to call "life".  They are very nice very helpful members to us here.  Brother Draper is the Stake Patriarch too.  I don't know if I mentioned that last week or not.

  The work here in Eden Prairie is . . .growing. haha  Slowly but surely it's picking up in little increments at a time. Patience in trails I think is one thing I definitely needed to learn before my mission (right along with just patience in general I guess) and right now is what the Lord needs us to do.  Missionary work comes in these cycles of finding, which moves to teaching, and after that to baptisms, and eventually on to the temple.  There's a saying for the mission that says "Find to Teach, Teach to Baptize, Baptize to Seal" because that's what we do in the MMM.  Right now at this point I feel like we're in the definite first part of that: Finding.  Typically I've tried to keep that cycle of continuous finding going along with teaching so that you don't have to worry and focus so much on finding because you didn't keep replenishing the teaching pool to have individuals to teach throughout.  Always striving for that balance of both aspects of missionary work I think is what we should do, but when you come into an area you can't really control what the missionaries did there before.  Especially, if they weren't there for a few weeks like what happened here.  It is a trial on patience and diligence in work but something I know is going to help me to grow.   We were reading in Alma 32 the other day as part of companionship study to prepare for a lesson we'd be having with some active members after dinner that night and read verses 41-43,
" 41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with apatience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree bspringing up unto everlasting life. 42 And because of your adiligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the bfruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. 43 Then, my brethren, ye shall areap the brewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth cfruit unto you".
It really made me think about diligence and patience in what we're experiencing right now with limited people to teach.  Not only that but also continuing to act in faith and use that as the principle of power that it really is.  The other cool correlation that came from these verses is that after we labor with faith, diligence, and patience is when the fruit comes.  Not just any fruit though.  Fruit that is white and pure above anything else that when we feast upon it fills us all.  Just like the fruit from the tree of life that Lehi had seen and described about 450 years earlier.  Something we need to desire to share with all those around us.  That's my purpose here as a missionary is to share that.  Sometimes there's not fruit enough to harvest yet but it will come from our faith and in the Lord's time after we labor sufficiently here in part of His vineyard in Eden Prairie.  I love this work and the scriptures!  We're optimistic with things picking up here soon and will just keep working and serving until then :).

     As for Elder Mead.  I was not able to find an excuse to head down to the mission home to welcome him in on Wednesday like I would have like, but after a couple days I made a few calls, cause I've got connections haha jk, and talked to one of the Assistants to get permission to call over to Eagen Minnesota where Elder Mead is currently serving with Elder Black.  That was way sweet to find out because I've served around Elder Black a few times now being in the same zone with him and just talking to him a few different times.  I knew his trainer who served as my Zone Leader when I first came out and he served with my MTC companion a few months ago.  He's been out 3 months longer than me I think.  He's actually one of the few missionaries taller than me.  He's probably 6'5" or 6'6" an pretty goofy, but he's one of the nicest most sincere Elders ever.  Elder Mead is very lucky and really going to like him.  So on this last Saturday evening after planning at about 9:45 pm I called over and got dismissed with a text saying they were busy and would call back a few minutes later.  When Elder Black called back very formal I asked, "is this was Elder Black" with which he replied kind of shocked, "yes and who is this".  All I told him was I'd seen these commercials and I wanted to be baptized as soon as possible.  He didn't say much after that and after a brief pause I told him my name was Elder Craft and the sooner thy got the font filled the better. haha He just started to laugh and was like, "I knew it was too good to be true! What's up Elder Craft?'  So I talked to him for a couple minutes before talking to Elder Mead for about the next 12 minutes.  It was so cool to hear his voice and think he's out here with me now.  We got to talk about training and how lucky he is to be with Elder Black.  He seems to like him which is good, but it was just good to be able to call over and motivate and encourage a good friend who's probably going through a rough transition like I had to not too long ago.  I really hope that I was able to motivate and help him as a new missionary because I know if I would have had a call like that from someone I knew going through the same thing I was in the same place it would have helped me at the beginning of my mission.  I'm not sure when I'll get to see him.  Eagen is in between Minneapolis and St.Paul kind of.  I'm not sure the exact location or Zone, but hopefully we both get to go to the President's Fireside this next month and I can give him a nice face to face personal welcome.  So from what I got to hear and talk to him Elder Mead is doing well and now hopefully excited to go out and baptized the whole state of Minnesota his next few months of training! haha 

     I hope that answers most of the questions you guys had and gives a nice update from here.  I'm doing great and can't wait to hear from all of you again!  I love and miss you.  Thanks for all the prayers.

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Computer Ate My Email . . . I Promise!

Hey Crafts,

     I am so sorry that you guys thought that I forgot to email or didn't have time last week.  In reality I did send a really good long email that I was upset to find out at the library today didn't send because I attached too many pictures and it was too big.  So the email I have copied down here is the one from last week.  I'll write another one for this week too.  Sorry to leave you all hanging.  I was just trying to keep you on your toes and anxious haha ;).

                                                                                  (Monday Oct. 10, 2011)

Dear Craft Family,

     Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes!!  It was a good one.  I got to do on my birthday what I've done on every other holiday so far. . .tract. haha It was good all in all.  It didn't really feel like anything special yo now be 20.  I feel the same in case you were wondering haha.  I'm glad that you got the video and pictures from Sister Neilson.  I should have asked her to send them to me too so I could see it.  If it's not too much trouble maybe you could send them to me. I didn't mean to look nervous.  It was just kind of different.  It was cool to know that you guys could have a part in my birthday and all, but I almost didn't tell them it was my birthday.   I felt kind of sheepish and didn't want them to make it a big deal or put the attention on me.  They are the nicest family though!  I don't think there's another one in this ward I would have rather had my birthday with haha.  For you information Mom no my head is not shaved.  It's short but not shaved.  You're not allowed to shave your head in our mission unless your black or Polynesian basically.  For those of you that asked I got the package from Nick, Tati, Mom, and Brady on Thursday.  Thank you so much for that too!  It was really nice and the fudge was a nice treat too ;).  As for any others I have gotten anything and with the post office closed today I won't until maybe tomorrow.  You guys are the greatest though!!  Thank you for all the love and support that you give to me.

     This week was a good week but nothing too outstanding.  We're still working to find more people to teach but in the land of "great and spacious buildings" it's a little harder to accomplish through tracting.  Most people have a church or religion they're apart of and even though we may present to them a way to have even more happiness the underlying attitude seems to be, "why should I change?  I'm comfortable and obviously successful".  It's just one of those unique challenges we're working to overcome in this area, but I know the Lord will provide away for us to find those that are seeking the truth here among the kingdom builders haha  We went out tracting yesterday like I said before and didn't find one person that was interested or gave us their information to come back in the couple hours we were doing it.  The greatest part is that we still found a couple really solid potentials.  One was a guy washing his car in our garage that we just talked to as we were heading out, and the other lady was walking by with her husband as we walked down a driveway of a house that we had just knocked on.  It's amazing how even though there was no direct success from the actual knocking on doors itself the blessings of tracting were still presented to us in people placed in our path to talk to.  Like I said the Lord will always find a way to bring about His purpose for those of His children here in this area.

     In October there's what's called a mission tour here where we get the chance to meet and listen to a General Authority.  It's something I'm sure most if not all missions get the chance to have.  I'm not positive but I'm guessing that's when Nick got to meet Elder Eyring when he was in Korea.  Well ours is suppose to be at the end of the month sometime, unfortunately right before Kevin gets into Minnesota I think.  This week we found out we get a special privilege on Friday.  Elder Quentin L. Cook is going to be in Rochester for some reason, and he and President Clements are good friends.  They worked at the same law firm in San Fransisco and were partners of that firm together I think.  So President Clements talked to him and convinced him to come and do a "Mini Mission Tour" here in the cities at the Bloomington Building on Friday.  We get to go from about 12:30-4:30 to meet and listen to an apostle of the Lord speak to us!!  It's pretty exciting and something we're really looking forward to!  We only found out about it on Saturday, but I'll tell you all about it next week.

     I hope all is well and that you guys are enjoying the snow some of you are getting.  We've had record breaking Fall heat here.  It's been in the 80's for over a week now and last Thursday was the hottest it's been on that day since Minnesota became a state.  We're loving it and hoping that maybe winter just forgets to stop here this year haha.  Everyone talks about how awful and miserable last winter was.  It was the worst most people say they've ever seen.  That's what gives me comfort to know that I can survive another.  Except now the weather predictions for the winter are that's it's suppose to be even worse than the last one!  No body's really excited about that, but there's nothing we can do to stop it.  Thanks again for the support, love, and gifts for my birthday!  You guys are the best!  I love and miss you but look forward to talking to you again soon!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 Months 28 Days and 15 Minutes Until the Next General Conference!

Hello Everybody,

     This week sure had a great ending to it!  Conference is the best!  I was fortunate enough to be able to go out to the church building we go to in Waconia and watch all of the sessions.  It's hard for me to try and pick something I liked best because it was all just so amazing!  It was great to see Elder Carl B. Cook speaking up there.  When I looked up from my notes to see the next speaker and saw that it was him I told the other missionaries that I've met him and he used to be my parents bishop in Riverdale.  He did a great job I thought.  His talk was really relevant about it being "easier to look up".  I really enjoyed that.  I noticed kind of the same thing that Mom had pointed out to me as well.  There was a lot of emphasis on The Book of Mormon and reading it for ourselves.  I know that it is the most correct book on Earth and just as the apostles and general authorities spoke of it's a tool our Heavenly Father has provided for us to draw closer to Him and to learn about our Savior Jesus Christ.  I noticed too, being a missionary, that there were a lot of prayers specifically and a couple subjects directed towards missionaries and missionary work.  Elder Holland's in the Priesthood Session and Elder Yamashita's in the Sunday session were a couple talks in particular.  This is off topic kind of but out of curiosity is Elder Yamashita related to the Yamishitas we know at all?  There was a lot of talk about we as members being more open and bold in sharing our values and beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with others.  Something I wish that I would have been more aware of and done more frequently when I  was at home.  There are definitely people prepared all around each of us by Heavenly Father to hear our individual and specific testimony.  The real challenge is just being aware of those people and situations in our day to day lives.  Elder M. Russell Ballard had talked about and I don't think I've ever talked about it with you guys yet.  There's been a campaign here in the Twin Cities area that's been going since last August and started in 13 pilot cities to see what results it would yield.  It's a bunch of ads and commercials just about different members and situations that all end with them saying, " and I'm a Mormon".  Have you seen or heard much about it at all?  If not then I can expalin a little.  if so I guess you'll just have to bear with me haha.  Most of those campaigns in other cities ended in January of this year.  There has been so much success here in this area though that it is the only area that has continued the campaign and ads even now.  It's been a fantastic way for missionary work to move forward with the help of the members.  All you have to do is go online to and use your login to enter.  Once you've done that you can create a profile.  It's not anything like Facebook, but is more like a series of question asking different things like "Why I am a Mormon', "How I live my faith" and things like that.  Once you create it, you submit it for approval, and leave it after that.  You only update it if you want to later.  That is what all the members in this area have been doing and is a fantastic way to just put your testimony in writing.  I heard someone refer to is as Faithbook which I thought was pretty funny.  I have one that I made when I first came out you guys can check out.  You just have to search by first name.  It would be great I think for you guys to be able to make one as well, so that when missionary opportunities do come up you can direct people there to really see what we believe as a church and what each of us individually believes with our own unique testimony.  So will you guys go on and make a profile? haha There my missionary commitment invitation for you haha.  One of the other cool things from conference is seeing Grandma's friend Rick Steadman in the choir again.  It was cool this time because during the first session on Saturday we were watching the choir and when it showed him I said to Elder White, "There's my Grandma's friend Rick up there", and he said, " there's my Jr. high choir teacher Mr. Steadman".  That's when I put two and two together to know that we were talking and looking at the same guy.  Apparently Brother Steadman teaches choir at Crescent View Jr. High in Sandy and Elder White had his class in 7th grade.  I thought that was a pretty cool connection that you might enjoy as well haha.

     Sorry there's not much else to report on as far as missionary work.  We're still working with a couple people. Mostly we're trying to find and increase the people within our teaching pool still.  It's kind of a process we're going through.  Just another phase of the work haha.  It is kind of weird that I'll be entering my second decade of life this Sunday too.  I still remember at my 10th birthday when Tom said, "oh look at you entering double digits now" haha.  That doesn't seem like it was that long ago.  It will just be nice to be out of the teenager category haha.

     It was good to hear from all of you about the sealing and adventures of the family out in DC.  I love and miss all of you!  I hope that all is well and can't wait to hear from you again!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, September 26, 2011

Succesfully Rebuilding

Dear Family,

     Thanks for all the love and support from you guys!  I hope that you got the pictures on the email last week and were able to put some faces to the names I've been talking about. haha

     This week in good old Eden Prairie was pretty good for us.  We're still kind of in a rebuilding stage our teaching pool and trying hard to do that.  Things are going well and the Lord's definitely providing for us.  We have a few part member families that we've been working with here in the ward.  One of the members is Brother Dave Barnes.  He's a severely less active brother that Elder White and his other companion stopped by and started working with a little while before I got here.  No one in the ward except his home teacher, who's in the bishopric, knows who he is.  We've been over about 4 times since I've been here and have gotten him to read his Book of Mormon again.  This last week his 25 year old non-member daughter wanted to meet with us.  She was interested in learning because she said that she's seen a change in her dad since we've been coming over and has seen him reading and was curious.  She's now a new investigator of ours and has a lot of potential.  The best part is that both she and her dad came to church yesterday.  Despite the fact that she got off work at 6:30 a.m. they still came and sat next to us.  We were so happy to see them there and for Brother Barnes it was his first time back in a church since his baptism almost 40 years ago!   It was incredible that all we had to do was be there to extend an invitation to him and the Lord took care of the rest.  It all started with an invitation to let us teach him, to an invitation to read The Book of Mormon, and to come back to church.  He told us after sacrament meeting that he needs to get his suit tailored now and that we'd see them next week.  The spirit works on people and all we have to be is be the instrument and mouth piece.  It's amazing!

     Like I said we're still trying to build up our teaching pool here and will be continuing that effort this next week.  We're working with a couple other part member families and will keep trying to help them.  There's a couple potential that we have found over the past few weeks just from knocking on doors after our dinner appointments.  They both seem really solid and would be great to actually be able to teach.  One was a former body builder who has won MR. MN 2005.  This guys huge but one of the nicest guys I've ever met.  We've gone over and talked with him while he's been in his garage a couple of times for like 30 minutes each time.  The last time we talked about what we do as missionaries and that whole deal.  He couldn't believe first of all that we were not actually from any town even close to here Chaska.  Once we explained where we were from, how long we're here for, and what we do as missionary work goes he was just amazed.  It was even funnier when Elder White told him that we'd only known each other for 2 weeks too.  He didn't see how it was possible that we could just live with a complete stranger we never knew before for any extended amount of time. haha  He's really interested now in learning more about what we believe and we're hoping we can do that sometime this week.  He's really busy.  When he's not working he's at the gym, and when he's not doing either of those he's working on his '67 Chevelle that he's built all by hand.  The best part is that his neighbors right across the street are some way solid members that they're kind of friends with already.  Hopefully I'll have more to update with Adrian for next week.

     So the end of this week is "The Missionary Super Bowl" more commonly known as General Conference and we're pretty excited!  Really being able to hear modern scripture and counsel coming from inspired men that commune with God is such a blessing.  It's our unique message to the world that just like in times of old there are apostles and a prophet called  just as Moses, Noah, Nephi, and Moroni to help all of us as His children in our individual lives.  No other church has that and I feel like I should have appreciated that more when I was at home.  One of the people that was not so excited to have us knock on his door this week said something to try and bash with us that really made my testimony grow and for me to appreciate the fact of modern revelation.  He told us that all we need was Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and that we really shouldn't read anything else.  In his attempt to try and argue about The Book of Mormon he also discredited the entire Old Testament and a majority of the books in the New Testament as unimportant and irrelevant.  Even though this guys was an idiot I refrained from saying that too him because we as a society don't generally enjoy that, and just felt bad that he really thinks that God, our Eternal Father and Almighty Creator, would limit His power and knowledge that He wanted us to know as His children to the 4 Gospels and that's it.  It made me think of the scripture in 2 Nephi 29 not only the verses that say "And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools" But also the verses where it says that "there are more nations than one. . . and [the Lord] speaks the same words unto one nation like unto another".  That's something I know that's true.  I know that God loves all His children equally and that The Book of Mormon is true and is evidence of that.  That Joseph Smith was a true and living prophet to restore Christ's church and authority to the Earth and that President Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet for us in this dispensation.  It made me even more excited for conference after talking with that guy!

     I'm glad that the sealing went well.  That's so cool!  Hopefully everyone going to DC has fun too.  Speaking of which thanks for the email and pictures updating me on the crazy things going on there Nick.  I did end up getting that email 3 times I just for got to comment on it I guess.  I'm just glad it wasn't worse and you guys are doing alright out there.  I'm excited to here that little Raylee's actually being blessed on what should be considered a national holiday on October 9th! ;) haha It's a very momentous day. haha

     Well I look forward to being able to talk to you all again and here more about the adventures that everyone's having haha.  I love and miss all of you!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, September 19, 2011

Settling In

Dear Crafts,

     I almost feel like after that story Dad sent me and what I heard about the game from members at church yesterday that we all need to take a moment of silence for all those grieving cougar fans out there. . . . HAHA!!! That's so funny!  I was glad to hear about that.  Especially since Elder White's a BYU fan haha.

     Back on the subject of missionary work. Things in Eden Prairie are going well.  Elder White and I get along great and are working really hard to try and build up the teaching pool here.  It's taking a little time but there's amazing potential and people here.  We just have to get and work to find them.  This ward is great and really missionary minded.  We're blessed to be serving in a ward like this.  Hopefully we will have more exciting things to report on for next week.

     The Bishop gave us the opportunity to bare our testimonies and for me to stand
and introduce myself yesterday.  It was good to kind of make an appearance and share our testimonies with the whole ward and show them we're here to work.  There an uncanny amount of people that came up to me after with question about people I know that live in Hooper.  One member, Sister Ward, is the great aunt of Braxton Willie and then as Mom got to find out Sister Neilson, who we had dinner with last Sunday, grew up right across the street from Blakeley Charlesworth's mom.  So that was weird when they asked where I was from and said they knew someone out near Hooper.  The world within the church really is very small.  Especially here where everyone seems to be from Utah or knows someone from there haha.

     That's great Kevin did so well yesterday.  That is kind of early to have his farewell but with Stacie coming home now too it makes sense.  Lots of crazy things going on back in Hooper.  It's too bad that Brady make it and then that you missed Elder Dillon Pilcher speak on the amazing MMM.  Hopefully you'll get to talk to him soon about it.  Maybe they'll have him speak again haha.  The Assistants  were asking me about "this Elder coming out from Hooper next transfer".  It's so cool to think about where he'll be trained and who will train him.  I'm excited to find out!  He's going to love it.  Especially since the temperature just dropped like 20 degrees this last week.  Winter's just around the corner.  Time to build some character haha.

     That's so exciting for you Kat and Tom!  I wish I could be there to support you, but I'm just glad to know that it's still going through.  I know we weren't sure if all the documentation would be ready for awhile so I've just been praying for you, and those prayers were answered.  Just know that I'll be thinking about you guys tomorrow!  I can't wait to see the pictures.  I'm sure it's going to be great with what I've heard about it!

     So I'm hoping today to attach some pictures from Shingle Creek for you and I'll probably print some to send as well. There's only a couple from here that I could put on and one is of the Temple of Ekenkar!  The people at this church are completely insane!!  The one and only "Temple of Ek"  is here in Chanhassen and it's their world headquarters.  These people in the simplest terms I can describe it are just nuts!  They believe in basically everything which means they believe in nothing.  They're not Christian and they read from a book that their leaders wrote in 1965 as their scripture known as the Seriyat.  They're know for their spiritual exercises that they do.  They chant to word "HU"  over and over and over.  They call it a spiritual exercise that each member does everyday for up to 20 minutes.  They do it to soothe and they chant to word "HU" because "it's the sacred, ancient name for God and the vibrations you feel on your throat as you do it are because it's sacred".  I want you guys to try it just take a nice deep breathe. . and chant "HU" in a nice soothing voice for 20 seconds while touching your index and middle finger to the side of your throat and repeat as need for up to 20 minutes.  Their claim is that it's a "love song to God that will soothe both of you and bring you closer to Him".  When they meet to "worship"  they all do this chant as a group and it's called a "HU Song" .  They're led by their "Temple Masters"  and their "prophet" as they referred to him is "The Ek Master".  The best part is that I'm not even having to make up any of these names or titles and I was told all of this by one of the followers when we tracted into him.  You could probably Google it to find out more.  I can't even tell it all that well over an email.  There were plenty of things we came up with after talking to him about the Grinch hating the "HU"s and their "HU song" that's why he stole Christmas.  We're just waiting for a rapper to now come out with the name "Master EK".  I can totally see it haha.  They're really nice people just a little on the blasphemous, apostasy side of things haha.  I'll just have to remember to tell that story in person. haha

     Well I hope that everyone is doing well and I can't wait to hear from you all again.  I love and appreciate all that you do for me and I hope to have more stories about investigators and the true Gospel of our Heavenly Father and maybe not so much about the Ekites next week haha.

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, September 12, 2011


Dear Everyone,

     Haha I'm running out of fun clever ways to start off these emails each week.  This week was definitely busy and chaotic in a sense.  I spent all my time trying to pack up not only my stuff but Elder Haupt was having to pack up his stuff to move the few miles down to the Southern end of the ward.  We had to try to divide up supplies and the Area Book into North and South again. Amid all this we were trying to figure out the final details so that Elder Haupt would have a place to live and trying to see these investigators that I've grown to love.  We didn't get to see all of them but we did see a few people.  I don't know what it is but the last couple moves of mine haven't been as easy as they could be. Most of the time transfers are just you packing up and getting your stuff out and on to your new place.  Oh well we got it all done so that's what's important haha.  We do transfers here a couple different ways depending on where you serve.  Almost everyone in the mission that's being transferred will meet at the mission home on transfer days to meet their new companion.  You can either get there in your own car if you're close or what I've done every time is get a ride with a member there.  Once you're ready to leave the mission home and get to your new area you will ride with the member that brought the missionary that you're replacing typically or with a member that is taking missionaries to your area.  The only time it is different usually is of you're heading South to the Rochester Zone or North to Duluth.  South isn't that different.  You just ride with the other group of missionaries going down in a members van that they have and your luggage goes on a trailer.  The ones going North are the only ones that have to ride a bus.  They catch a Greyhound from the mission home, so they have to weigh their bags and make sure they're not over 50 lbs and all that fun stuff.  For that reason I'm not particularly excited to ever be moved up there.  Transfers are usually pretty smooth and easy though so I'd tell a certain worried friend of ours not to worry about it because the Zone Leaders coordinate everything out here really smoothly.  :)  It's funny what Lance said about being with your companion more than your wife because that's something we've talked about a few times out here.  Realistically you are with your companion about 23 hrs of the day.  You definitely learn to cooperative and survive together haha.  Either that or it can be the longest 6 weeks of your life.  We get our money each month or MSF ( Missionary Support Fund) automatically from Salt Lake at the beginning of each month.  They give you a debit card when you come out that is directly connected to that account so it's nothing complicated either.  These are good questions but I would tell them not to worry about it again.  Kevin should have his own personal account to use for things that MSF doesn't cover like I do but not to worry.  Everything will be taken care of haha.   I actually got my boots for free from some members in my first area.  They had some used ones that fit that they just gave to me so it saved me some money.  Mine are some Thinsulate boots.  I don't know the specific name but Thinsulate is the brand and typically the best brand to get.  I wouldn't worry about getting any specific ones before coming out unless he finds some really good ones he wants to use.  Most missionaries I know have gotten theirs out here when they get to their first area.  His trainer and the members will know the best place and kind to get some.  Hopefully he can just luck out like I did.  I hope that answers a couple of the major questions.

    Sorry I don't have much time today but as for me here in the Eden Prairie ward it's going really well.  The ward is huge and really nice and loves the missionaries.  I actually live in the city of Chaska and we cover Chaska, Chanhassen, and a little part of Eden Prairie.  Elder White just refers to it as the Garden of Eden. haha He's so funny and we get along really well.  He's from Sandy and went to Alta High.  I actually found out that Elder Bennett from my last district is in my district again, so that should be fun.  To answer Mom's question no I am not District Leader again.  I guess I didn't cut it the last time haha jk.  They switch them up usually at transfers.

     I wish I had more details to talk about with you to make this a little longer, but that's about it for this week.  I'm trying to learn this new area where I swear there's not one straight road and all of them have the most random names haha.  Like we live on Walnut St. right next to Yellowbrick Rd.  I'm not even kidding.  haha Thanks for all the letters and support this week.  I love you all and look forward to talking to you again! Hopefully I can send some pictures next week.

Love, Elder Craft

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You can take the missionary out of the hood, but . . .

Hey Craft Family,

     I'm glad to hear that everyone had a good somewhat boring Labor Day, or as it's more importantly known Hooper Tomato Days!  haha  Yesterday for me was good.  I got all the other P-Day stuff done except for the emailing of course.  We were allowed to email at a member's home, so even though we live with the Paynters we ran out of time before we could come write to you.

     Not only was yesterday Labor Day but it was also Transfer Calls.  We got a call at about 7:45.  It was a little earlier than expected.  Elder Haupt had to come knock on the bathroom door and tell me we were getting a call.  Luckily I had just gotten out of the shower so I could hear and talk to President.  They ended up splitting the ward into Shingle Creek North and Shingle Creek South again just like it was before I got here.  Elder Haupt and I thought that we were going to stay together and go to the South part of the ward or that one would stay North and the other go South.  We were both wrong kind of.  Elder Haupt is going to the South part with another Elder being transferred in and they're going to bring 2 new missionaries in here to the North.  One of the missionaries coming here is the one whose dad works with President Christensen and who I played soccer against in high school and then played on the same team with down in Las Vegas that last time I went, Elder Tate Baxter.  He's coming here and going to be District Leader too.  As for me I am leaving "The Hood" and headed south to a suburb of Minneapolis called Eden Prairie.  Apparently it's the biggest and one of the strongest wards in the mission, so I'm excited.  It's going to be a little difficult trying to learn who everyone is, but I usually do pretty good with names so we'll see.  I'm sad to leave the Paynters and this area.  I wish Elder Haupt and I could have stayed together to finish helping all the investigators we're working with, but I know the ward and investigators here are in good hands.  The work only going to increase and I can't wait to hear about all these people I know now getting baptized in the near future.  It's been great to serve here for the time that I have.  Shingle Creek is amazing and it's own kind of unique.  There's never going to be another area like it that's for sure haha.

     Along with transfer calls yesterday we also had the chance to go to "the great Minnesota get together" (a.k.a. the state fair).  The fair here is huge!  I've never seen people go so crazy or get so excited over a fair before.  People started talking about it back on the Fourth of July and how they couldn't wait for the fair.  It's 10 days long and yesterday was the last day.  Elm Creek Elders got 3 free tickets from someone in their ward.  We got permission to go because it was over in St. Paul and decided we'd all just split the cost of the fourth ticket.  There's an express bus station they set up for it in our area, so we all just met up, rode our bikes to the station, and hopped on the bus to go.  It was insane how many people were there!  I was talking to a lady on the bus who said that on average all the other days the fair had 120,000+ people and because of the no school no work holiday yesterday there was even more than that.  It wasn't really surprising with the amount of people that were there that we ran into about a dozen or so members that were from wards all over the metro and up metro area.  A couple came running over to us and gave us $20 to split because they said we needed to have fun and buy some of the food there.  It was cool to see all the members go crazy to see us.  We were all trying to imagine what it would have been like to have the same scenario in Utah and decided that we probably wouldn't have been able to even walk around having to stop and talk to members the whole time.  On the other hand we probably wouldn't have paid for anything either haha.  We did get a lot of funny looks from people because we were in proselyting clothes at the state fair.  We heard a few nicknames amid the stares.  "Geek Squad", "Jesus People", and "Israelites" were some of the best ones that I heard haha.  The thing that the fair is know for is the crazy food that is all either on a stick or deep fried.  We had some deep fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds,  some terriyaki ostrich,  a deep fried twinkie, and this small container of warm, fresh-baked, chocolate chip cookies that we each ate with the never ending milk bar that they had.  It was so cool and definitely an experience.  I think in my container I had 15 cookies and probably a third gallon of milk haha.  So between all of that we sure got our fat and sugars for the week.  Just in case any of you are wondering the ostrich was very very lean but really good, the twinkie was amazing and filled with cholesterol, and the cookies were very fresh and very rich haha.  There were a couple other things we thought about trying but knew that if we did diabetes would be setting in shortly after.  They had chocolate covered bacon, deep fried snickers, and deep fried alligator that were all on the list to try but didn't quite make it.  It was really fun to just kind of get out and experience that all together since our district's being disbanded with transfers.  I took some pictures that hopefully I can attach to this so you can see what it was like and who these other Elders I've been serving with are.

     As far as the missionary work here goes JV came to church again Sunday and to the best of our knowledge has been smoke free for 7 days now!  He's getting baptized hopefully sometime at the end of this month so that I can maybe come back to see that since I won't be too extremely far away.  We talked to Joe, one of the other investigators that I may have mentioned before, the other day about going to seminary.  We were in our coordination meeting on Sunday and trying to think about who would be a good fellowshipper for him.  Then the thought came to me, "seminary".  He's a senior this year and they had the kickoff meeting for seminary Sunday night and the seminary teacher was our joint teacher for the evening.  We called and talked to him about going to the meeting bu the was baby sitting his cousins, so we went over with the joint teacher and talked to him about seminary ad how great it is.  He wasn't sure at first but he said us coming over really convinced him.  He's going to try it for the first day tomorrow.  I hope he enjoys it and continues to go.  The tough part is that it is early morning and starts at 6 a.m. at the church, but he has the faith that the blessings of it are true and willingness to go.  I think he could end up being baptized this month too.  Unfortunately I won't be around to know for sure, but we'll see what happens.
     Sorry there's not too much more to add.  It sounds like Mom and Dad ran into a lot of people at Tomato Days.  Tell Cassie I said hi and congratulations.  You can also mention a nice thanks for not sending her wedding announcement haha JK.  As for Kevin and advice for him I'd say tell him to get that coat that I did from Mr. Mac.  It works amazingly well.  That's what I used all winter and just layered underneath it.  I also had a nice home spun hammock to use around my entire neck and torso, but I think the coat works great by itself too ;) haha.  Then he won't have to worry about having to buy one out here.  This is also just some side advice that I'd give to both him and Brady or anyone else preparing and buying things for a mission.  Buy black Nike tube socks and use those as your dress socks.  They're a lot more comfortable and durable than the gold toe or any other thin dress socks.  Plus with those you can use them for P-Day stuff too.  I'm glad to hear that my pictures could help you with your talk on missionary work in primary mom.  We went into primary in Sunday so the kids could all give us little cards saying thanks for being our missionaries.  I'm happy to hear that you had enough to say that you went over time too.  Instead of just something like, "missionaries are great.  This is one that I think used to live in our house" haha ;).

     I hope that all is going well and everyone's doing just fantastic!  I can't wait to hear about Brady's trip and Kat and Tom's sealing in a few weeks.  I love and miss you guys and can't wait to hear from you again!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sorry, Mom. I forgot your birthday.

Hello Everyone,

     Are you surprised to get an email that's actually a Monday? haha  Now you won't have to wonder in suspense over the next 48 hours waiting for something to come.  Since I know that's what all of you do.  Once Monday hit at 12:01 everyone turns their computers on and anxiously awaits to email to come. haha  JK

     Thank you for the emails and pictures from all of you!  I know it must have taken some time to do that.  Especially from Brady.  From what I hear it seems like everyone is doing well.  I'm glad to hear Mom's back from Idaho to fix whatever may have happened to the house haha.  Only bad part about Mom not being in Idaho is not only that Camie's on her own with those kids now, but I sent your birthday present up there that Camie and Brock will probably get today or tomorrow haha.  Sorry I thought you'd be there for at least this week.  Just know that I didn't forget about you Mom. :)

     This week in the Shingle Creek has been good.  We haven't had too many things to report on, but all in all it was good.  President Clements came to our District Meeting along with the Zone Leaders so it added a little bit more to our little band of missionaries.  It was a great experience to be able to have him counsel with us and give good insight on what we should do to work with our investigators, and to also hear what he had to say on the training I gave on "The Role of the Book of Mormon"  and how to use it more effectively in our teaching.  President Clements is so great!  He's always so loving, encouraging, and willing to help with anything.  We also had an amazing answer to prayer come at church yesterday.  I can't remember if I've mentioned to you before that we have two deaf investigators that we're working with.  Russ, who I've talked about before, has just been so frustrated trying to understand, comprehend, and communicate about all he's been learning recently.  Then  JV is this awesome guy who's been meeting with missionaries for awhile.  His sister, brother, and one of his "baby mommas" are all members of our church.  He's been watching the Book of Mormon and knows a lot about what's in there.  We haven't been able to meet with him as much recently because he's been gone and his phone has been off so we couldn't text him.  This past couple of weeks we've been able to go over and see him.  We reviewed the Restoration with him because he already knew all of it and has a testimony of it.  We didn't have to teach him hardly anything about it.  The Word of Wisdom has been his struggle for awhile that he's been working on (just like Russ.  Anyone guess where I'm going with this?. . ) .  So at church yesterday both JV and Russ came.  We introduced them afterwards and it was like a train took off from there. They stood and talked (signed) for 15-20 minutes after sacrament meeting in the chapel.  Once we were able to get them into Gospel Principles they just continued from there.  They had their own conversation while Elder Haupt and I taught the class and the interpreter that was in there for them just watched them talk.  After class they didn't even go into priesthood but rather just stood outside in the hall and talked the whole time.  There's another less-active woman in our ward that has recently been coming back really strong who is also deaf that showed up yesterday and talked with them in the hall during priesthood too.  After church we walked around before our coordination meeting to see where they went and they were still talking down at another part of the church.  Sister Fish told us that Russ is really excited now to see the struggles that both she and JV have are just like his; that they're both deaf; and they've been able to overcome these challenges through prayer, scripture study, and coming to church just like we talked to him about .  We have the Book of Mormon on ASL that we've been telling Russ about and after talking to JV and seeing how much it helped him he really wants to get it to start watching.  He told us that he understands alot more now and the interpreter told us she'll have to talk to us later about the conversation that Russ and JV had in Gospel Principles.  From what I could catch in between teaching and based on what few signs I do know I caught a general idea of Russ asking JV about the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity and without even knowing it JV was testifying of what it was, how it will help him, and how he can find strength to overcome.  Sister Kirkham, who was the interpreter, said that JV was basically converting Russ right there at church!  It was so amazing and like I said a miracle and answer to prayer that the Lord provided for us.

     I hope to hear again from you all soon.  Once again thanks for all the emails, pictures, love, and support you guys show to me.  Keep praying for me because as that story goes to show the Lord provides miracles in all sorts of ways to accomplish his purposes.  I love and miss you guys and am always praying for you.

Love, Elder Craft

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Temple Trip

Hey Family!

     I will just apologize now for this email being not on a Monday like usual, and for possibly being a little shorter too.  We went to the temple as a zone this morning, so that's why P-Day has been moved to today.  It was amazing to be able to go with a group of about 18 Elders and Sisters and spend that time together in the House of the Lord.  It felt like the MTC all over again because our session was full of missionaries.  I think that's due in part to the fact that the St. Paul temple here is about 1/3 the size of the Ogden temple, so it can fill up with people really fast haha.  I love it though!  A temple is a temple and I'm so thankful to be as close as I am and to have one in my mission for that matter.  I know some of my friends in other missions aren't that lucky and I really feel blessed to have one I can go to.  Every time I have gone it makes me feel so blessed and lucky to have all of you as the family that I do!  I love and appreciate all of you and the knowledge we have of restored priesthood power and a plan that our Heavenly Father has for us to all be together for eternity!  That's the greatest peace, joy, and knowledge that I have in this life!

     As for this week here in the big "S Creezy" it hasn't been anything to insane.  We're still working with Russ and trying to help him progress.  He's doing well and taking baby steps.  He just gets so frustrated because he can't communicate with anyone at church or even at his house.  He told the interpreter in our last lesson that they are way to slow for him and he can't even understand most of what happens at church.  I'm just glad that we do have as many people in our ward that know ASL as we do because the lessons would go a lot more slowly if we had to write everything out .   We've only had to do that once when we stopped by to see just how things were going and he wanted to talk more.  It's crazy though how real the gifts of the spirit are. There's times that he doesn't even sign to us and just talks and we can understand him.  No one else can even the interpreters sometimes but Elder Haupt and I can.  We're just hoping that he doesn't get so frustrated that he just gives up completely.  Not much to report on Micheal this week.  Slowly but surely we'll get him to the font haha.  One of our other investigators that I might have talked about John Mays up and moved without any warning in typical North Minneapolis fashion.  We had a lesson Saturday and when we went to stop by a few days later his sister told us he'd moved out after our appointment Saturday back to his dad's but they don't know what that address is and he has no phone number now.  We've had a few investigators move on us like this and it's tough to try and track them down again.  We at least have a one block area that it's narrowed down to, so we're confident that with the spirit we can find him.

     That sounds like a crazy week for everyone back home!  Little Raylee's officially  here!  That's so exciting and less than one year after Brandt too.  That's crazy!  Good luck Camie and Brock haha.  No i'm jk.  I'm excited to hear that she's doing well and to see the pictures of her that I did.  She sure looks cute.  It looks like Brandt had a good birthday party Monday too.  That picture that Mom sent of him eating his panda bear cake was hilarious!  He looks just zoned out totally in love with the chocolate he's eating.  I liked the Boston hat on the bear too haha. 

     Well sorry that I have to cut this so short today.  Because we went to the temple we don't have much time to finish all the other P-Day stuff that we have to.  From what I've heard everyone seems happy and healthy and I'm happy to hear it.  I love and miss you all and look forward to talking to you again on the first normal P-Day in a while on Monday.  I'll keep you in my prayers and talk to you in 4 days haha.

Love, Elder Craft