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