Monday, March 28, 2011

New Companion. Again.

Hey Crafts,

     Well like I said before it was transfer calls today and all I've heard about the past little while is Elder Russell's idea and feeling that he's leaving.  He even got up in testimony meeting yesterday and told everyone it was transfers and he had a feeling he was going to leave and wanted to say thank you and good bye to everyone.  Luckily to save his embarrassment he was right.   We got the call about 9 this morning that Elder Russell's headed to Shore View.  It's kind of North St. Paul area I guess and he'll be with a really good missionary Elder Ronstrom.  He's one of the few missionaries that I know and he came out here from Sweden.  As fro me well obviously I'm staying here in Kasson and my new companion is coming down from Buffalo.  Where ever that is.  President Howell told me that he came out 2 transfers ago, so he just finished his 12 weeks of being trained.  I'm suppose to "make sure he's doing everything right like he should be" in the words of President Howell.  I'm suppose to reiterate the training.  It's going to be interesting to see how it goes because we are both young in the mission, but I'm really excited!  I'm sticking with my pattern so far though of only having companions 1 transfer which is kinda weird.

     Sorry about the confusion with Eddy our investigator coming to church.  He did have his schedule change 3 weeks ago so that he could amazingly enough make it to church.  However, his cousin went into labor that morning and he had to watch her other kids.  He told us when he said he was coming to church that he wanted to make sure and take advantage of that weekend he had off because his boss said it was going to be 7 days/week for awhile on their schedules.  That's why I said I was going to have to pray and fast for a miracle for him.  Then this last week when we saw him he started talking about coming to church yesterday because they were having the weekend off to get some new things installed at work.  So he committed and was excited to come, but wouldn't you know it he had to drive up to Lake City to get his step-daughter from her grandparents and wasn't able to make it.  We'll just have to keep trying and praying so that hopefully he can make it with us to conference this weekend.  I'm pretty excited about conference.  We're working hard to get a few investigators to come.  I know we got to the priesthood session for sure here at the Rochester Stake Center, and I think we get to go there for all the other sessions too.  Basically everyone calls Conference the "Super Bowl for Missionaries".  So it should be pretty cool.  Disappointing that we won't be going for ice cream or Artic Circle after, but still pretty good. ;)

     I got your letter Dad about President Howell finishing his mission.  I was actually going to mention to you and Mom that when he does go home you guys should go to his homecoming. haha That'd be pretty cool.  I forgot to tell you guys when I talked about Zone Conference that President Howell had actually talked to us all about the new President.  His name's president Clemens and he lives in Utah somewhere with his family.  I guess he and his wife are from San Fransisco, so maybe you can look him up and see what else  there is interesting to know about him.  It's is weird to think about changing mission presidents and all, but it's like President Howell and I had talked about in one of my interviews.  He said that President Clemens could be way better than he ever was and do things that I like way more, I told him i highly doubt that, but we just won't know until he gets here.  I do agree that it can be a good chance to try and get to know him and "help me grow" like I think this whole last transfer helped me to do. haha

     This last weekend they had the Dodge County Expo at the high school in Dodge Center, and because this area covers basically all of Dodge County we had a booth in it.  We'd been preparing and getting supplies this last week for it.  We had to set up on Friday night and the event was from 8-2 on Saturday.  It went really well and was a really good way for us to get our name out there and talk to people.  We talked to and handed pass-along cards to something like 120+ people.  We didn't see any immediate success from it like Elder Russell had somehow expected, but I thought it was a great opportunity and thing to be apart of.  It was funny to talk to the people that were like, "I talked to you guys on my porch last week" or "were you the same guys knocking on my door?"  haha The branch members that were there helping to man it thought those conversations and people were kinda funny too. haha  It made me think about how much fun the fair has to be for you each year Mom when you'd have the booths you'd have to sit at.  It made me appreciate how hard I know you had to work at that and to do it for a few days because we were pretty tired after the 7 hours wer spent there.

     Well that's about it for the updates here from the good old Kasson kingdom. haha  Basically I don't have much for everyone individually except Camie and Brock.  I 'm glad that you got my package and that you like it.  I'm assuming that they fit pretty good(?).  That's funny about Brandt that everyone's comparing him to me I guess.  Not so much funny the names or titles he's been given because I know what that's like, but if he really is like me you can assure him it's all worth it in the end.  After he put up with all the crap for a few years he can be able to say he's part of an elite group in our family that not many are apart of.  It's called the "6 foot and Up Club".  So everyone might make fun of him or ridicule him for not liking shots now, but we'll just wait and see what they have to say when he's taller than them! ;)

    I hope everyone else is doing good with their jobs, school, and whatever else there might be.  I'm always praying for you guys and all your needs.  I love and miss you very much and look forward to talking to you again soon!

Love, Alex

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Thaw

Hey Crafts!

     I do have a home now, so everything's going much better! haha We live back in Kasson right on Main St. in an apartment that Missionaries used to live in before they were taken out of this area.  It's a pretty nice apartment.  I' hoping the computer won't be stupid and I'll have enough time to send the pictures that I keep promising.  One of the greatest blessings about  having our new apartment is that I got my mail sent to me!  I think it must have been a missionary record for mail because I got 11 letters and 1 package!!  I was so happy!!  Elder Russell not so much. haha I knew after that day that unlike Moroni "my kinsfolk had not forsaken me".   Thank you so much for everyone that sent me stuff!  I know I've said it before but it really does mean a lot to know that you guys are taking to time out of your busy schedules to remember me.

     It sounds like we might have close to the same weather as Utah now.  At least maybe we did for a few days.  Most of this past week it was 40+ degrees!  It was so nice!  It was almost like everyone came out of hibernating too.  Everyone and their dog (literally) were outside working or running, so as a result we were able to talk to a lot more people because we knew they were home.  They were already outside so they couldn't hide behind the door.  Sometimes I really can swear that we see people moving inside the houses we knock on, and as soon as we get there the people crouch down and hide behind the couch or something because then the house is silent and no one's moving around. haha  I find it really funny.

     So I don't know if I told you guys before, if I did that's too bad, but  funny fact here about the Kasson Branch is that there are an average of 30-40 members.  Which means that apparently we don't have enough people for all 3 hours of church.  I only go to church here from 10-12.  I just thought that was kinda different and funny.  One of those random facts of Kasson I get to tell you guys all about.

     I'm really happy to hear that Fremont's doing so good again!  That's awesome!  I really hope that they take it one step further than we did last year.  BYU sounds like they're doing pretty well too.  If there's one thing that we can relate to people with around here about the church it's BYU basketball.  Especially when we're tracting and the only thing that people have heard about the LDS Church is that recent controversy of that player who's not on the team anymore.  People seem to really respect that around here which is something that I find really good.

     It's crazy to think that transfer calls are a week away from today!  Elder Russell says he's pretty sure he's leaving, so we'll see who's prayers will be answered. ;) hahahaha jk It is going to be interesting though that's for sure.

Dad and Mom:  Thanks for the letters.  I'm hoping to write you back today.  Thanks for getting that delivered to Keaton too.  I had an interesting card delivered to our mailbox on Saturday.  It was from Todd and Brent Zaugg addressed to an Elder N. Craft. hahah I just started laughing.  I don't think he's had that title for awhile now.

Nick and Tati:  I hope that you interview went well Nick and that you guys are doing great out there.  One of the Sisters from my MTC district wrote me and told me that she went on exchanges in your guys' area and saw your names on the records, so that was kinda cool.  She said she'll probably serve there because it is a Sisters area,  I guess we'll find out.

Kat and Tommy Boy:  Thank you so much for the package and all the "Tommy Tricep Treats" or whatever you called them. haha I was laughing pretty hard with that email and your stories from your mission.  Speaking of which who was your mission president you were an assistant to when you were out there and the name of that island you served on?  Was it President  Miller?  Because there's a member in the branch here that said he and his wife served in the Canada Halifax Mission and served on the island of Newfoundland I think (?).  But he later went back and served as a counselor in the mission presidency, so when I told him about you he said that he would have been there with President Miller as President Baker the same time as you.  So I was just curious if you could know him.  I don't know how he'd forget someone like Tom "Lemon Fresh" Benincosa though. ;) haha

Camie and Brock:  I hope you had a really good birthday and that you got the package that I sent you.  If you really don't like it just send it back and I'll get something else for you.

Brady:  Congrats on the goal man!! That's so sweet!!  I had no idea that Clearfield could be THAT bad! ;) haha Really though that's way cool!  Keep it up.  I would tell you to keep up with Jex's favorite 3 letter acronym but it's not exactly missionary appropriate. haha

Natalie:  I hope you're still doing good.  I haven't heard from you in a little while little girl, so maybe if it's convenient for you and you're not too busy on my phone ;) you can write me a couple lines on here.  I won't even make it have to be hand-written. haha

     It sounds like everyone's doing great!!  I'm so happy!  I pray for you all each night and thank you so much for all your prayers.  Your support helps me out tremendously.  I love you all and miss you so much!

Your not so frozen Minnesota Missionary Popsicle Alex.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Dear Family,

    So there were alot of you that asked about the whole new apartment situation and I figured it would be best to start with that.  Good news is that yes we moved out of Larry's.  Bad news is that we don't actually have an apartment.  Larry kinda kicked us out last Tuesday, so technically I have been "homeless" the past week. haha The story is that just as I told all of you we'd been advised by the mission president to look for possible apartments in the area fro a couple weeks.  Elder Russell would always say that he wanted to tell Larry because he felt like we were going behind his back.  So Tuesday morning 5 minutes into our Personal study Larry came in our room and said that we needed to get ahold of President Howell because there was a "situation".  His step son, Greg, who lives in the house too was going to be having his 2 kids, a girl that's 14 and a boy who's 17, move in because there have been several problems at their Mom's.  So Larry said we need to ask President Howell to be out by the end of the month.  Well Elder Russell saw this chance and before thinking about how to present it or filtering responses in his head he tells him, "actually that's already in the process for the last couple weeks because the situation just doesn't work here".  Right as the words came out I was just thinking,"No!  Bring it back'  and since it had already been said and couldn't I tried desperately to think of a way to recover anything I could with the conversation.  By that point it was already too late.  The switch within Larry had been flipped and it was something I saw happen right before me on his face.  At that point he started yelling, "Oh well that's funny that the situation just doesn't work for you two!  Everyone else has seemed to love it here!  Nobody else ever had any problems here.  You're the only ones there's been any problems or conflicts with, and you know what you've never really meshed or fit in here anyway!  We try to make accommodations because you live away from home, but apparently neither one of you has had that situation before! (I'm not even entirely sure what he meant by that statement either) So maybe the problem is with you two and you need to ask yourselves what's wrong with you!"  and he just stormed out.  I was in shock.  Just left in a daze like what the heck just happened.  I tried to follow him into the front room and explain, "Brother Smith it's not that we haven't appreciated all you've done or anything like that.  We've enjoyed living here.  They just move missionaries.  There not meant to be in one place for a long time".  But as I'm trying to explain he just screams, "I don't need to hear any of this from you!  I've got things to do today" and he left.  Pretty crazy I know but that's what went down Tuesday.  So after that we called the Zone Leaders who told us to call President and once we explained it to him he just told us, "Elders pack your stuff".  And that's exactly what we did.  We packed everything and smashed all we could in the Toyota Corolla before having to call Steven, our Branch Mission Leader, to come help fit some boxes of supplies and our bikes in his car.  We had to then drive to Rochester to meet with President Howell because lucky enough for us he was there that day doing a training for the district leaders.  We both had to be interviewed and he was going to have us live with a couple other Elders in Rochester but Steven volunteered their basement.   It's kinda funny and crazy at the same time, but don't worry we've been staying in the basement of our Branch Mission Leaders parents home in Byron.  The city right next to the Kasson and it's been just fine.  The Josephsons have been great to stay with and have been really hospitable to us to let us come in at the last minute.  It's kinda funny that for 2 years I'm somewhat living out of suitcases and this week I literally have been.  I haven't gotten to unpack much because they don't have room and we didn't know how long we'd be there for sure.  The Hida bed (or however you spell it) that Elder Russell's been sleeping on and my air mattress I sleep on take up most of the room.  I'm sending some pictures hopefully if there's time at the end of this so you can see it.  If not I'll send them next week.  So I thought I should share this nice growing experience I've had this week with you all and let you hopefully get a laugh out of it like I have.  Along with this though is a disclaimer that I might not be writing people back for awhile because they've been holding all our mail at the mission home since Tuesday.  I was able to go by the house and get the letter from Dad talking about his new job and iPhone, but that's it.  I look forward to getting your letters sometime hopefully this week when we move in.  It's going to be the best mail day of the mission so far when they have to send it all and I get a boat full of it.  I'm pretty excited about that!  haha  
     Well that's about it and all I have to talk about this week  We have heard everyone talking about that earthquake and tsunami so we have been praying alot for those people.  It looks like I don't have time to attach the pictures this week, so hopefully I can next week with even more pictures of our 3rd apartment that we might have by then. haha I love you all and miss you so much!! Thank you for the support and prayers!  Sorry I can't write each of you individually again.  I guess you'll all just have to deal with hand written letters from me this week! :)

Love, Alex

Monday, March 7, 2011

"In the Rock We're a Little Boulder"

Hi Everybody! haha

     I hope everyone's doing great!   As for the missionary in South Eastern Minnesota, I'm doing great.  It's still a struggle but I think that that's just part of the territory.  Zone Conference that I talked about last week was so good.  Our Zone Leaders told us that this zone (The Rochester Zone) is known as "The Rock".  So they tried to institute that for us and get us all motivated about being in the Rock.  There were plenty of puns in their training and they even gave each companionship a rock that they painted "In the Rock we're a Little Boulder" on it.  It was kinda funny and a little over the top, but it was a good training that really got the message across to us to be a little more bold in our contacting and teaching.  As a result Elder Russell and I decided to try and be "A Little Boulder" this last week.  We have one investigator named Eddy that we've only really been teaching since I've been here.  He's a really cool guy and we decided we were going to be more bold with him, so we decided that we should invite him to be baptized last Tuesday when we met with him.  We did just that and invited him, and the best part is that he said, "yeah that'd be good".  It's was a great miracle that he said yes and is working toward that!  We were so pumped!  The only problem is that he can't really come to church because he works in shipping and receiving at a warehouse from 5 a.m.- 2 p.m. every day but Saturday.  We were praying hard to try and figure out how we could help to get him to church this past week, and man did the Lord pull through.  Yesterday when we went to see him we got to see an answer to that prayer first hand. He told us that he got a call Friday not to come into work and that they weren't going to need to schedule him to work anymore weekends.  I was so thankful and really had my testimony strengthened about the power and answers of prayer.  The Lord is so aware of all that we need and blesses us accordingly.  It was great for him too because he was telling us about how exhausted he's been working these long hours and not having time to do anything else around his house.  That was just a couple of the miracles that we saw this week.  We're just really hoping to continue to help Eddy progress and work at being baptized.

    Sorry I can't write anything to each of you like I usually do, but there's not much to say either. haha Like I said I hope that everyone's doing great and I hope to hear from you soon.  Sorry this ones so short, but that's what happens when the library only has 4 computers.  You don't get much time to spend on one. haha  I miss you and love you all!

Love, Alex

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working in Kasson

Craft Family!

     Hey everyone!  So first of all I'd just like to apologize for not getting to write you yesterday.  We actually had Zone Conference in Rochester and so our P-Day got moved to today.  I warned President Howell that the mission home might be getting a call because my family didn't hear from me and he just laughed and said, " I hope so because then at least we know they still care about you".  It kinda made me laugh too. haha

    So my first question I guess is did Brady get his present form me?  Nick wrote me and said that he did,but I haven't heard yet so I'm not sure with Brady.haha  The birthday party sounds like a normal Craft family gathering.  Full of laughing, sarcasm, and some comments from Brady. haha Jk I'm gald that you're at least trying to fill in for me there.  The funny part is that as I read the part that Kathleen wrote me with all the quotes and story about Natalie's phone I could totally picture that whole scenario in my head and it just made me laugh.  I'm surprised that Natalie let her phone out of site at all.  I thought that that thing would be completely attached to her by now haha.

    As far as this the area of Kasson is concerned.  I'm still trying to motivate and keep looking at the positive each and everyday.  We've been trying to point out miracles everyday that we see.  Even if they may be small.  Things like the fact that that last house we knocked on didn't slam the door in our face even though they weren't interested.  I've talked to the mission president about the attitudes and situations there and we talked about the people of Ammon when they were enslaved with heavy burdens on their back the Lord didn't remove those burdens.  Instead he strengthened their backs to be able to carry them.  That's what President Howell said he's seen with me and has full confidence and faith in me.  That really helped me to feel good knowing that he called me to this area because he trusted in me to be able to be the catalyst to change the way things are.  That's something I talked with Elder Russell my first couple days out about.  I told him that this is a land of miracles just waiting to happen and we could be the ones to make it happen.  He told me that tracting was ineffective and that this area has never had a baptism from tracting.  My reply was, "then how amazing will it be when we are the first ones to do that?".  That's what my attitude about it here has been all along and I know it's from the strength that the Lord is giving me to carry my burdens.  Your prayers are such a blessing and they help so much each and every day. The great thing also is that we had a good exchange with our Zone Leader last week and Zone Conference yesterday so Elder Russell was able to talk to both of them about his concerns and I was able to talk to them too.  Ever since those his attitude has been improving incredibly.  We working on a couple that have some potential now that we're teaching and so I'm really hoping with his new attitude we  can see the success and changes I've been praying so hard for and that I know can happen here!  The only negative thing about this area so far isn't so much about the area as it is this climate.  I  am just getting so sick and tired of cold and snow now!   Over the couple weeks I've been here we've gotten a total of 8-10 new inches of snow. We've had a couple more days of below 0 tracting too.  Even though I tell myself these experience will help me and it builds character I'm pretty sure that I've built up enough of that character in the last 4 months. haha I'm looking forward to the experiences that come with the myth of warm weather I hear everyone talk about. haha

     I hope that everyone else is doing great!  It really is so good to get all your emails and letters.  Even if the letters might take almost a week to get here I appreciate them so much!  They really help me out.

Brady:  I hope you did get my present cause it was sweet!  haha I hope eveything's going great with school.  Good luck with tryouts.  Let me know how they go and how Fremont's doing in State.  I have one piece of advice that I want you to do sometime this week.  If you guys have the Ensign for March already I would HIGHLY suggest to you that you read the talk on page 22 about missionaries and preparing for a mission.  It has so much good information that could really help you.  So just read it and let me know what you think unless you already have.

Nick and Tati:  Happy Anniversary this week!  I know it's early but I can't remember if it's the 2nd or 3rd.  I'm glad you know all about XMI.  That makes me feel better like it's not just some junk tie from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. haha  Thank you so much for the long email and the advice.  It really did help and I'm trying to improve this area and Elder Russell as much as I can.

Kat and Tom:  I'm praying for you in school and it sounds like you need it with all the tests back to back to back!  That's crazy!  I'm glad you seem to be doing well though.  The way you described the party was awesome. It really made me look forward to when we can all be home again and have them together!  I agree with you Tom is pretty awesome!  I hope everything's going good with him and your guys' temple prep.  That's exciting!  I'm so happy for you guys!

Grandma Craft:  Thank you so much for the email and the write up.  I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and letters.  I look forward to getting you letter this week!

Mom:  Thanks for the advice that you gave me!  It really helped me too.  I know that I can do all things with the Lord and like I said I feel the blessings I'm receiving from your prayers!  How long did my letter take to get to you?  It seems like mail takes a really long time to get here or that maybe I'm just not as loved as I think haha.  I'm hoping to get your letters soon.

Dad:  I'm praying for you with this new job, but I know that you can handle it with no problem.  I'm glad to hear the Tyler decided he didn't want to be gay and play for Davis.  He'll be a good addition for them along with Parker, Jordan's little brother.  They're both really good, so I'm interested to see how tryouts go.

Camie and Brock:  I liked to little faces on the email. It really helped to describe your emotions. haha That really is too bad about all those shots for 26 weeks!  But the only thing I have to say is. . . . .Karma. haha I'm just kidding.  That really is no fun,but then again neither is early labor and bed rest.  I guess you'll just have to take your pick. I'm glad to hear that Brandt's doing well and staying healthy, and that you're whole little family's just doing great! :)  God luck with school.  I'll be praying for you.

     Well I think that that's about it until next week.  Thanks again so much for all the love, prayer, and support you guys give me!  I miss you all a lot!  I love you and can't wait to hear about the new exciting adventures next week.

Love, Alex