Monday, April 25, 2011


Hello Craft Family,

     Sorry that this might be a little short but there isn't a whole lot to report on form here in food old Kasson or to respond to.

     Thank you so much for the letters and package from everyone!  Elder Judkins didn't get his "Easter" package until this morning so we shared mine for Easter to make it kinda traditional for both of us.  All the candy in there was great!  I really like the pictures I got and your letter that Dad supposedly his Mom. :) haha You guys really are the best!  Easter really did seem to have a lot more meaning this year for me.  We gave lessons to a couple families this week and one to some members yesterday about Easter and the Atonement.  It's such a powerful, incomprehensible, infinite sacrifice that I am so eternally grateful for and only just beginning to try and understand and appreciate the true magnitude of it.  Mom had asked about Easter and Christmas being much more powerful and spiritual while I'm on my mission, and that is so true!  I tried to focus on the true meaning of Christ's birth and the Atonement at those times of year when I was home, but all of you that have served missions, and as Brady will soon find out, know and have seen that it's much different when you are set apart from the world and the other things that can distract from those true meanings.  Not only trying to teach people about the power of what Christ's Earthly ministry really means for all of us as God's Children and have them accept it, but trying to accept that and relying wholly on Him for myself at this time in my life is what really helps me try, as I had mentioned, to understand and appreciate the gravity of it all.  It's just amazing to me!

     It's sounds like you all had a pretty good time for Easter too I'm assuming.  That's good!  Our Easterlike I said was really good and we even got to eat at some members house and have a traditional Easter Dinner complete with ham.  She let us take a bunch of the stuff home too so we can complete the tradition with left over ham sandwiches for the next couple days.  Sadly however, we didn't color eggs this year so that will just have to wait a little while until I get home. :)  Even though i did mention that Easter and Christmas are more powerful and spiritual on a mission I still think that Christmas and Mother's Day are my favorite ones because I get to make long distance phone calls!  I'm pretty excited for this Skype call!  Who all is going to be able to get on it?  That way I know who I need to talk to separately.  I'm going to get my account set up hopefully this week or next.   I have to talk to the Josephson's, the people that let us stay in their basement, because they have  a web cam and had the missionaries do it at their house for Christmas.  They've just been kind of busy recently or else I'd have it done to give you the account.  Their son Steven, our Branch Mission leader, had been packing and getting ready to go back to college for the past couple weeks.  He left this morning to make the long drive back out to Colorado.  So some news to come might be who our new Branch Mission leader is if we get one haha.

     Man what's with you guys and car accidents all the sudden though?  That's pretty crazy to hear about and see the pictures of!  I'm so glad that everyone's doing fine and no one got hurt in either one of those.  I will say this though at least now all evidence of any piece a certain Rodeo took out of the Sentra bumper will now be erased.  The bad part is that we're just having to pay and replace it haha.

     As for the weather it sounds like you're not doing much better then we are here.  I'm not going to mention any more predictions about it getting warm though because the past 2 times I've done that it's snowed the next day.  And that's what happened here Tuesday and Wednesday!  So I'm just as sick and tired of the cold and wet as you guys probably are.  I'm hoping since it is almost MAY we might get a change and start to have some leaves or flowers growing here.  Hopefully. haha

     Well I don't have much else to report on here from the land of Perma Frost. haha I hope that besides the craziness I've already mentioned that everyone's doing great!  I'm going to respond to all your letters today and hopefully get some pictures sent if the stupid machine at Wal-Mart cooperates.  Thanks so much for all the continued love, support, and prayers fron you guys!  It means alot and i know that they help!  I love you all and can't wait to talk to you again!

Love, Alex

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crazy Spring Weather

Dear Family,

     I think Mom was right when she said that I got a taste of the crazy Utah weather from a couple of weeks ago.  Last Sunday it actually got up to 72 and blew my mind!  I didn't think that it was possible but it happened.  So right when I'm getting exicted to put away my big winter stuff and hammock I wore around my neck [JK Mom ;)] and start to believe in the sun produsing heat again we get hit with 30 degree temperatures and blowing rain and snow!  I was so ticked to wake up and see everything covered in snow again.  Luckily it started to warm up and is back in the 50's again today so most of the snow's gone but it sure wasn't fun to have to got out and tract in that crappy weather again on Saturday. haha

     It sounds like from what I get to read from everyone that you are all super busy too!  I hope everyone's doing well in all that they have going on.  I pray for you all to get the blessings and support from our Heavenly Father in all your different endevours that I know He's just waiting to give.

     I'm really excited to get this Easter Package from you guys!  Thank you so much for the package I already got from you Nick and Tati!  I know all the work and effort it takes on your part to send those to me.

     So like Mom said I haven't really mentioned much about Kasson but these are just some answers to the questions she had, so anything anyone else is wondering about feel free to ask next week or on Mother's Day.  The members here are really great.  Serving in 2 branches now especially after coming from Utah growing up in and around Wards my whole life it's made me realize just how diligent and faithful these members have to be.  There's not other kids at school for these kids or people at work really that the members can lean on for support.  They have to be strong in their faith with a great testimony to be the examples to those around them that I know the Lord expects them to be.  There's limited numbers of active members and even more limited on the amount of worthy Melchezedik Priesthood holders.  Which means they rely on us as missionaries too.  We have to prepare and bless the sacrament each week and yesterday we had the privelage of helping to set a woman apart for her new calling bacause we were some of teh only priesthood holders there.  That was a cool experience.  As a result  of their small numbers a lot of the members "wear several hats" as they call it. haha There's many of them that have 3-4 callings and serve in those diligently.  It's shown me a lot about how I want to be as a member when I have to serve in certain positions later on.  I think I've mentioned before that we average 30-40 members here in the building we meet in.  There's the one branch here where the building is in Kasson itself but the members come from all over Dodge and part of Olmstead Counties.  We are part of the Rochester Minnesota stake so that's where they have to travel for stake conference.  It's only about 20 mintues from us in Kasson but some of the members from the southern parts of our area travel about 45 minutes at least to get there.  That's where we had to go for General Conference too because our little rented building doesn't have a satelite to receive that.  We are very fortunate to have the good members that we do here.  Some have us over each week to eat with them and others a few times a month.  It's great because usually we have plenty of meals and only have to live off Ramen for 4/7 days. hahah :) jk it really is great so there's nothing to worry about (Mom). haha This area, just from what I've seen and other missionaries have talked about, is one of the hardest areas I'll have to serve in because of the amount of work it takes to find anyone to teach, but it's helping me, my testimony, and work ethic to grow so much!  All the trials we face are just to help build us up for something better that's to come!

     I don't really have much for everyone personally besides Dad who I figure will be the one to set up the Skype account thing haha.  I still have to figure it out for me here, but judging from what Mom wrote it sounds like you guys can do that.  So we'll just try to coordinate and set that up over the next couple of weeks.

     Well I hope everyone's doing great and that we all get to see some better weather for this Easter Weekend.  I won't get to talk to you again but I hope it's good for all of you and that we can really feel the great spirit and power of what we're celebrating.  I hope to hear from you all again soon!  I love you, miss you, and I'm praying for you each and every day!

Love, Alex

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oh the humidity!

To My Adoring Fans:

     HAHA jk  Well i decided to listen to Dad and email this back to Mom because he's kinda incapacitated.  This week hasn't had too much that's exciting happen.  We actually did get into the 70's yesterday!!  I couldn't believe it!  I didn't think the thermometer could even reach that high here.  I figured they all had a range of -60 to 40, but I guess I was wrong haha.  The problem now with it getting hot is the humidity.  I thought everyone that would say, "oh man the humidity is what kills you during the summer"  or different things like that were just being wusses and that I wouldn't even notice the "extreme humidity" because I hadn't yet.  Yesterday with those high temperatures showed me just how wrong I might be.  It showed me just how much of a desert Utah is. haha It was 90% humidity at 65-70 degrees and that made it feel like 80-85.  The only thing Elder Judkins kept saying was that, "it's so muggy".  That's basically the best way to describe it too for all you desert dwellers in the promised land of Utah.  So this summer is going to be an experience that's for sure.

     It sounds like everyone's been super busy yourselves though.  I don't even know if I'll be able to recognize the house with all these changes and updates it sounds like that are being added.  I'll bet it looks way good.  I hope that everyone got my letters last week preferably before Saturday haha.  If not oh well you'll see why once you read them.

     So Mother's Day is on the 8th this year just a couple weeks after Easter, and is my new favorite holiday for the next couple years.  Not that I didn' t like it before, but now I get to call home and talk to you guys that day!!  I know it's still a few weeks away, but in this mission we're allowed to use Skype to talk to our families on the days we can call home.  So I figured I'd let you know a few weeks early so that we can try to figure out if we could do that because that would be way sweet!!  I don't know if there's a web cam or computer we could do that on.  I don't know exactly how we'd set that up, but I guess if you guys could just look into it in the next week or so and see if that's possible to do and will be easy enough I can try to talk to some members here to arrange where we can use it at here.  I just thought that it was way cool when I heard that and would be something you'd want to do too.

     Well that's about it not too much exciting like I said, but it sounds like it's pretty exciting home.

Kat and Tom:  Thank you for the email.  I know you've been way busy.  Just whenever you have time or can write is fine with me.  Don't stress about it :).

Camie and Brock:  Man that's so exicitng!  A niece!  Maybe now you can name her Crew or Group or whatever name it was that you wanted!  HAHA JK!  I just had to give you some crap.  That really is way exciting.  I'll definitely pray for you guys to not have the placent prevaila (however you spell it) be a complication.

Brady:  Soccer sounds pretty intense and I'm glad that you had so much fun at Prom.  I'll let Elder JUdkinds know about N-Ridge for sure. haha Thaty's hillarious that you counted Corey's Um's inhis talk too.

    SOrry I'm otu of time everyone but I love you and miss you guys!! TAlk to you soon!

LOve ALex

Monday, April 4, 2011

Conference Weekend!

Hello Craft Family,

     I would have to agree with all of you that Conference was just incredible!!  We got to watch all 5 sessions!  We had to go to Rochester to do it at the Stake Center there because the Kasson Building doesn't have a satellite.  I think I'm with Mom on what she said, "not being able to pick one favorite because they were all so good".  I really liked The underlying theme of serving one another and healing that can come through the Savior's Atonement.  It's so true!  One thing we always try to share with people as missionaries and something my testimony's gotten even stronger of is the redemptive love and compassion that the Savior has for all of us.  His arms are always outstretched reaching for us, calling us to Him.  We just have to be the ones to see the path that leads up there.  I wish we could just convey that to everyone and let them see how true it is!  Elder Judkins and I were talking about how we just can't wait for the next session!  I was so disappointed when it was over and kept thinking about how many notes I took and how much more I learned from this session than any other in my life, and how much faster each 2 hour session seemed to go by.  I was thinking, "Man this General Conference is great!  The best one I've ever watched". Then I realized that this was probably to first Conference of my life that I'd been conscious and paying attention to all the talks in each session. haha
It's a good lesson learned that I should have paid closer attention to Conference at home.  The funny thing for us was not only that it started at 11, which was really weird to think about, but that for the Saturday Sessions we heard the speakers talk about the beautiful spring weather and the flowers.  We just sat here think about how the snow's just barely all leaving and how brown and dead everything here is.  It made Utah really seem like the promised land and Zion I tell everyone here that it is.  Then we got to see the shots of Temple Square and the Conference Center for yesterdays sessions with a couple inches of snow outside!!  I pointed that out to Elder Judkins and said, "now that's the Utah we know and love".  haha That's so crazy!  Even though that is a pretty bad deal for you I can't say that I'm really feeling too bad haha.

     You might have already guessed it just for what I've said about us both loving Utah but yep this is 4/4 on companions form Utah.  The craziest part though is that Elder Jake Judkins might be in a picture at our house!!  He grew up in South Weber and played defense on Northridge's soccer team for 3 years of high school!  Right when we picked him up for transfers Wednesday he asked me if I played any sports because I looked really familiar.  Once I told him he said, "Oh yeah!  I thought I recognized you.  You were the one who always wore that pink hair band around your head".  I kinda remembered him too and it's still crazy to me that a year ago we were playing against each other and now we're surving together not only in the same mission but in the same area as companions!  I think people underestimate the intensity of that when we tell the members here.  Do me a favor and look to see in my pictures from soccer that Mike Russell took and see if there's any with me and #25 on Northridge.  That's Elder Judkins.  If there are it'd be great if you could send me a copy too.  I'm so excited for this transfer.  We get along really really well and work well together.  He's really motivated too.  Since we've both been out almost the same amount of time too it makes it really cool to talk about things we've learned so far and trying to learn and grow together in the things we do everyday.  Plus, we can talk about soccer and other kids I played with that he also was on the same team as and knows.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.

     I hope that you guys don't think that I don't want you to make your emails long because I won't have time to read them.  I love long emails (and letters for anyone feeling diligent enough to write me haha).  Don't feel bad if your emails are long.  It just forces me to get better at my typing. If I don't have time to read it and respond I'll just print it off and write you back.  But here's some responses to you guys that had time this week:

Dad and Mom-  Sadly Eddy didn't watch conference, but hopefully I can update you on him next week.  Was that who I thought it was named to the First Quorum of the Seventy Saturday afternoon?  Carl B. Cook? Was that your guys old bishop from Riverdale that I met?  I thought that was his name and that it looked like him.  I feel bad about Ashley too like Sidne.  I write everyone back as soon as I can.  Writing only on P-days makes it hard, but I try to respond to everyone within a month at the latest.  I wrote her back back in January and didn't get anything back until couple weeks ago.  She said she'd written back to my one in Jan. but I guess I never got it.  I responded to her last week so tell her that I hope she gets it soon.  I guess this was kinda for Camie too haha.

Grandma Craft-  Thank you so much for the email!  Like I talked about I loved Confernce too!  I'm right with you and very thankful as well that we get to hear the words of the prophets.  I hope you get to find a temple group again too.  I'm hoping to make it to the temple for myself soon.  Especially after President Monson's talk.

Camie- I kinda wrote what I was going to say to you with Mom and Dad, but I have a random question too: when's Brock's birthday?  I think I know everyone's but his.  Haha I think it's in June maybe?  Sorry I was just curious to know.

     Well I hope all is well and everyone else I didn't get a chance to talk to is doing great!  I love you and miss you all!   I'm always praying and thinking about you.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Love,  Alex