Crafts! What's up with y'all?!
haha JK I figured that I'd give you a little bit of a taste of what new foreign language I get to learn now. From now on until I get transferred I'll be learning and speaking Ebonics here in the Shingle Creek area of Brooklyn Center/Brooklyn Park/ North Minneapolis. haha
That was a crazy last week of having to pack all of our belongings along with everything else in the apartment that I just moved into 2 months ago! Not to mention we had to coordinate how to get everything from our place in Kasson to the new area in Preston, and get our stuff to Bloomington for tranfers. It makes for some crazy days that's for sure.
This area really is sweet though! I love it here! We live in the basement of the Stake President's house. His name's President Paynter of the Anoka Stake that we're in. His wife lives there too but I haven't gotten to meet her yet. Even though I hit my head on the low ceiling down there twice this morning it's a great place. Elder Hatch is a really good missionary too. He's from "the hood of Idaho" is what he called it. I guess it's a suburb of Boise named Caldwell. So he's my first companion since Elder Lewis in the MTC that's not from Utah. He's really funny and pretty corky but I'm looking forward to serving with him. The ward here is awesome too!! I don't know if I mentioned before but I'd met some of the members here when I was serving with Elder Katoa. Because this used to be his old area, and he actually lived in the Paynter's house too, we went back for a baptism of one of the people he was teaching before he left. It's kind of cool to now be in the area where 2 of my companions, Elder Blume and Katoa, have served.
The ward that I am now in is the Shingle Creek Ward and there's 2 other wards that meet in the Anoka stake center with us too. There's 4 wards in the stake I guess, but luckily we meet at that building just a mile or 2 up the street from us. It's weird for me to be back in a ward and see "oh yeah that's how things are suppose to be done" haha. No, I'm kidding, but it really is weird to be serving in a larger ward. It's going to take a little longer to get to know everyone's names than it did in Kasson that's for sure haha.
This whole intercity is a lot different than the little old college town of Menomonie and the rural farming communities of Kasson, but it is sweet. Riding my bike everywhere has been a definite adjustment. I thought my legs were going to fall off Thursday morning going to see a potential investigator a few miles away, and the downpour of rain wasn't making things any easier that's for sure haha. It is getting easier biking each day and I'm excited to help strengthen my legs back up and get in shape cause all my pushups I do each morning don't really help my legs much ;). haha The investigators we have are so awesome too! We have 2 with a baptismal date set for June named Joe and Tony. Joe's a 17 year old kid who loves soccer from Liberia who I haven't gotten to teach yet, and Tony's around 26 I think. His parents immigrated from Vietnam during the war and he grew up Buddhist, but he told us he never really believed it anyway. When he was younger his Mom got really sick and when she was in the hospital he tried all the fasting and Buddhist prayers but nothing worked. Then he said he just had the idea come to his head to pray so he did without even really knowing what he was doing. Once he prayed she started to get better and was eventually released from the hospital. That's when he told us that he started to turn towards Christianity. That story was pretty amazing to me and now after meeting with the missionaries he's super solid and wants to get dunked. One of the other investigators I got to teach already is Micheal. He's 21 and is a way sweet guy with dreads. He'd make Jex pretty jealous cause he's been doing his for about 5 years and he has the whole Bob Marley look going for sure. He lives in North Minne and has had some struggles before, but he's been coming to church for awhile and had a date set for baptism this past Saturday, but he pushed it back because he didn't feel ready. He asks great questions and really wants to understand, so hopefully we get to teach him a couple more times this week and we can set another baptismal date for him to work towards. He got to go with us last night along with a kid from our ward named Hector Murillo to a President's Fireside at the mission home. We had a member give us a ride, but I was excited that I actually had the opportunity to go to one. I used to hear all about them but only missionaries in the cities are permitted to go and you have to bring an investigator, less active, or recently converted member with you. They had 3 recent converts give their conversion stories and testimonies with President Howell speaking at the end. Two of the speakers were a couple, John and Kathy Menion (?), who we all heard there conversion story from President Christensen the night I was set apart. I'm not sure if you remember but they're the ones who stopped at Temple Square on a whim during a trip to California. They met the sister missionaries there and eventually met with Elder Baxter, who I played soccer with and President Christensen works with his dad. They were introduced The Book of Mormon and later baptized because of how they felt seeing the statue of Christ in the visitors center and reading from The Book of Mormon. Their testimonies were amazing. So you'll have to tell President Christensen that I met those people he told us the story about being prepared in Minnesota for me. I told them about it after and they were amazed that I'd heard about it in Utah and that it was inspiring to hear how the Lord really does prepare people like them. It was really cool for Micheal to hear as an investigator and Hector because he just moved back after going to BYU-Idaho for a year and is preparing for his mission. He's a way cool kid that's convert himself and he and his younger sister who was baptized in December are the only members in his family. He even went out Joint Teaching with us 2 days last week, and because he doesn't have a car or license he biked everywhere with us. Like I said this area's so sweet and a lot more diverse than anywhere I've ever lived haha. We have a bunch of Africans in our ward and some recent converts and a couple people we're teaching too. I'm looking forward to getting to continue to help these people and work with the ward. Along with getting Lance Armstrong Quads too! haha
So I guess in other news I got a nice surprise when I got to the mission home for transfers on Wednesday. President Howell neglected to tell me about a minor detail of my new area. I'm now the District Leader here. That caught me totally off guard. I found out from the Assistants when one told me he was excited to see the great leadership he knows I'm going to bring to the area. I'm kinda nervous to have to do the District Meetings now and report on all the other things too. I'm excited for the opportunity that I have to serve the Elders around me now, but I just hope I can fulfill all the responsibility.
Now this week I do actually have something for some other people to write on here. haha
Dad: I hope that you were able to get my package I sent last week. Sorry it was kind of early, but transfers made things a little crazy! Especially having to pack up my whole apartment I just moved into and all my own stuff too. That would be cool if you guys did do a newsletter article. That'd let everyone know so you wouldn't have to tell the same things over and over again. I haven't gotten a newsletter if that's what you were asking, but just ask and questions you might need and hopefully I can answer them for you. I hope that I've given you enough information to write something haha.
Mom: I'm going to try and answer your questions and concerns from that Ensign article in my letter today because I'm running out of time here haha. Sorry you'll have to wait a few days for an answer.
Kat and Tom: CONGRATS KAT!!!! Nice job on your classes! That must feel good to be all done now, and now you two are headed to Hawaii?! That's so cool! I hope you guys enjoy it.
Well I think that's all or now. Good luck with graduation Brady and the end of school Natalie. I hope all is well with everyone else and I look forward to any sweet new news for next week. I love you guys and pray for you always! Thanks for the love and support! I can't wait to talk to you again.
Love, Alex (Elder Craft)