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 mormon.org 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