Monday, January 30, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy . . .

Dear Mom, Dad, and Family,

     Sorry that this is a little later than normal.  We aren't really having a P-Day today because we have to get ready for ZLC (Zone Leader Council) tomorrow and the Zone Conference in Rochester this week.  Things here have been pretty busy, but nothing too overwhelming.  We have a few different people that we're working with in our area, but it's just been a lot of scheduling conflicts that haven't allowed us to set any real appointments.  We did have a really great week though with some really good lessons and experiences.  We had a referral for a lady to go see in the Richfield part of our area and hadn't been able to see her the day after we got it, so last night we had all our appointments and back up plans kind of fall through on us and decided it would be best to go try her out.  When we got there it turns out that she lives there with her boyfriend and 3 kids along with her friend and her friend's son.  Her friend is the one that we talked to when we showed up and she was inside too.  They invited us in out of the cold and talked to us for a minute.  Come to find out that her friend is Hmong and she is Hispanic.  We couldn't believe the chances of that that the missionaries that come to teach them would be one Hmong speaker, one Spanish speaker, and me the white English guy haha.  Luckily for me they both speak Hmong and Spanish but were raised here in Minnesota and speak great English.  It was pretty cool to here Elder Lo talking to her friend and Elder Crepeau talking  to her and having there own little conversations in two different languages haha.  We taught them in English however last night and this morning we went back to teach them again.  They're so cool to be able to teach and want to believe that it's true is what they told us today.  It's amazing to see the people that are placed in our path at the time that they are!

     So far I haven't gotten to meet all the missionaries and travel all over the mission.  We did a couple trainings in St. Paul and one back up in the Shingle Creek area with President Clements.  With Zone Conferences this week and next I'll get the chance too see a lot more of the mission and the missionaries though.

     I'm sure that Brady has heard enough about mission prep from everyone, but seeing as I am the one on the mission right now I think it's my place to give it to him haha.  I just wanted to tell you be sure to ask any questions you have about what to buy or do in preparing.  My advice of reading PMG, as backed up by Mom and Dad still stands. haha I also wanted to just tell you about a sweet scripture that I thought you would like and to read and if you want to be unique put on your plaque.  It's in Omni 1:26.  Maybe you already know it, but it's one that I really like and hadn't really read much before.

     It sounds like everyone back at home is busy as usual but doing well.  I'm so glad to hear it.  Sorry that there isn't much more to say.  I hope that you all are doing great and that I'll get to talk to you again soon. 

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, January 23, 2012

Letter to Brady

Dear Craft Family,

     Es freut mich dass Brady zu Deutshland im April gehen!!  Ich hoffe er kannt Elder Chambers sehen order habt ihm   fuer seiner mitarbeiter!!!  (Don't try and put that in Google Translator or something because it will probably come out with something way different that what I meant to say in my broken 5 year old German haha).  Man Brady that is so awesome!!  I am so super pumped for you!  From what I hear, because you're right everyone and their mother knows someone that served a mission somewhere in Germany, it's going to be legit!  The ward mission leader in the Eden Prairie ward served there along with 4-5 other members of the ward.  I've known at least one person in every area that has served there.  President Clements was in Switzerland but it's basically the same sort of area haha.  I'll bet the Chambers were way pumped.  I told Elder Mead at transfers Wednesday that you should have gotten your call that day, so he'll be excited to hear it too.  I'm way excited for you to learn how to speak and then help tutor me while I try to continue to learn it.  My guess was way off though for somewhere in South America.  haha When you talk  to Herr Jackson tell him I said Hi.  Wouldn't it be crazy if Elder Chambers got to train you or was your Zone Leader?  That'd be so cool.  April 4th's going to come up quick!  You can get your passport picture at the Post Office in Ogden just by the Newgate Mall.  That's where I got mine.  I'm telling you right now read the scriptures, study your Preach My Gospel, and learn the Doctrines of the Gospel while you can because you are not going to have the time or means to be able to do that in the MTC trying to learn a foreign language in 9 weeks.  You might want to start drinking carbonated water too cause that's all the people give you for water over there.  haha That's one of the first things Elder Chambers told me in the MTC when I saw him drinking it is that he had to try and get used to it.  It really isn't that bad though.  I'm just pumped for all the experiences and joy that you're going to get.  Not only out of just going to Germany, but going to teach the Gospel to all our brothers and sisters there.  It's going to be one of the most joyful experiences of your life, and the most difficult.  Just remember that because it's not going to be easy but it's going to be worth it.  I can promise you that.

     I guess I should have just started that off Dear Brady and Craft Family haha.  This week for me was awesome!  It flew by!  We were really busy getting all the things taken care of for transfers and then actually doing the transfers themselves.  Picking up the new missionaries was a lot of fun.  Elder Lo, President and Sister Clements, and me all went to the airport to get them and then to the U of M campus (known as Dinkytown) near downtown Minneapolis to do some street contacting.  Elder Frasure went with me from Pocatello, ID and loved it.  We had a great time together.  We got some food, took some pictures to send to their families, and did the training meetings we had to before the day was over.  There were only 3 missionaries that came this transfer so nothing too crazy at all.  Two of them, Elder Frasure and Elder Ouimette, had to spend the night with us at our apartment so we could take them to the Greyhound station in the morning because they got transferred up to Thunder Bay Canada to be trained.  We haven't gone up there yet Mom.  The closest we'll get is to Duluth for their Zone Conference in a couple of weeks.  Unless President asks us to we don't really have a reason to head up there.  Next transfer might not be as quiet.  We're expected to get 17 new missionaries, so that should be a lot of fun.  I'm working hard trying to learn all the ins and outs of who's where serving with who and everything else I need to know about the mission.  It's a ton of fun and we're working hard to meet with our investigators as well.  Many of them weren't able to meet with us this week, but we get to spend a lot of time proselyting this week and are confident we should be able to teach many of them.

     This last Saturday was J.'s baptism out in Eden Prairie.  He's the 16 year old I was working with out there and he is so awesome!  I didn't get to go because it was too far away, but I called him and talked to him Saturday before it all went down and he was super excited.  President Clements went out for the baptism and said it was a great service with a lot of people there to support him.  When I talked to J. I told him I might not be able to be there for the baptism, but I look forward to hearing about when he gets the priesthood, when he goes through the temple and is sealed to his Dad and Sister, when he gets his mission call, and all the other things throughout his life.  I'm so excited for that guy and the great things he's going to continue to do throughout his life.  It's so amazing to me the people I am blessed with being able to work with and grow to love while I'm here in Minnesota.  Having the opportunity to watch people change their lives and see the spirit work within them like it did with J. is something I couldn't or wouldn't experience anywhere else.  Like I had mentioned to Brady it's one of the hardest things I have ever done but also the most rewarding.  The Lord knows and expects our sacrifice, but in return he gives us more than we could ever work for.

     Well sorry there's not much more to report on from here.  I'm glad my package and my brick made it safe and sound haha.  I did get my new card thanks Mom.  It sounds like I pretty good exciting week for you.  I'm glad to hear all is well and hope to talk to you all again soon.  I love you and appreciate all that you do for me!  Auf Wiedersehen!

Love,  Elder Craft

Monday, January 16, 2012

All the Way to the Top

Dear Crafts!

     Sorry that this will probably be shorter than some of the previous ones.  There are a lot of things that have happened here in the last week.  We had an exchange that I did in the Plymouth area on Tuesday.  If you can believe it it was 55 degrees!  We stopped by a potential that they talked to a couple weeks ago who ended up not being interested but we asked if there was anything that we could do to help him out.  He had the families van and suburban pulled out on the lawn with a couple buckets, and told us he was just about to wash the cars and we could help with that.  We helped to hand wash those cars with the hose on January 10th in Minnesota!  I never thought that I would ever be able to say that in Utah let alone out here in the land of cold!  haha  Just a fun little crazy story for the past week from here.  I'll try to send you a picture of that whole event at the end of this. haha

     So you may have already known that today is transfer calls.  To answer Nick's question the average missionary has I have no idea how many areas.  I've heard anywhere from 3 or 4 areas to 16.  So it's pretty hard to tell.  14 months is definitely the longest I've ever heard of in an area haha. For me I guess I get to add another one.  I know that Mom really wanted to keep the Neilson connection going in Eden Prairie, but unfortunately the Lord and President Clements had another idea.  I found out that I'm not going to be staying here for the next transfer.  I have really loved this area and serving with Elder Pope and I'm sure that you guys have loved all the fun little calls, emails, and rare visits from members here in Eden Prairie.  I got a call on Saturday afternoon  from President Clements about where I'll now be serving, so I've known for a couple days and just haven't been able to tell you.  President Clements has now asked me to serve as one of his Assistants here in the W. Bloomington Area.  It was definitely a shock to me and still kind of is.  I'm very humbled and excited to serve in this new assignment.  Like I said before I might not have as long of emails for the next few weeks due to a lack of time haha.  Just as kind of a warning too I might not be able to email every Monday, but I will be able to email each week.  I'll make an attempt to keep you updated and informed haha.  There's going to be 3 Assistants for this transfer, so I will be with Elder Lo and Elder Crepeau who I was with for a couple days at the beginning of this transfer.  It's going to be a lot of fun and pretty busy too.  We have all the Zone Conferences this transfer so I'll get to tour the whole mission and see all the missionaries.  It's going to be intense trying to learn all the missionaries names and areas and stuff like that.  We're pretty busy doing transfer stuff today making all the calls and in the next few days we'll be picking up the new missionaries and taking the going home ones to the airport.  It shouldn't be too bad since there's only 4 going home and 3 coming in.  I'm pretty excited and thought you'd be pretty surprised to see how this transfer went.

     I'm way excited to hear about Brady's call coming hopefully this week!  That's so exciting!  Remember my guesses too haha.  Thanks for the pictures and emails this week from all of you.  I'm glad to hear that everything's going well.  I love and appreciate all that you guys do for me.  Good luck for everyone this week with school, work, and everything in between (including running the mile ;) haha JK).  Talk to you soon!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, January 9, 2012


Dear Family,

     Thanks again for another week with all your love and support.  I know I basically say that every week, but I really do appreciate it!

     This week was pretty good for us here in Eden Prairie.  Nothing really too exciting to report as far as new people we're teaching or anything.  We're still working with Jordan and he's still planning on being baptized but it got pushed back a week so they could make sure to invite all the family and people they wanted to come.  So not this weekend but the next.  We're really excited and so is he!  He's a great guy we've been very blessed to work with as missionaries and a great friend for me to know for after my mission as well.  It's so awesome to me to see in every area I go to the relationships that I get to build with members of the ward and investigators.  President Neilson was telling us about people he still keeps in contact with from his mission and how they're eternal friendships.  I've definitely seen that with his family and many others throughout my mission not to mention the families and people I've been able to teach and help.  Leonard came to church yesterday and he's still doing really well.  He really enjoys church and our "Bible Studies" as he calls them".  After he came to church the first time he had told us in our next appointment that he thought he wouldn't be able to handle 3 hrs of it.  He had us get him a ride that first time "so [he] wouldn't be tempted to leave early" haha.  Ever since his first time he's felt like he's "being fed in [his] spirit the entire time" and doesn't even notice the time.  It's amazing to me how the Spirit works in so different ways with so many different people to help them overcome any number of concerns.  Unfortunately, this week we weren't able to have all our investigators to church but we'll keep working on them haha.

     Sounds like Winter decided to come over in Utah but didn't want to make the trip to the Midwest haha.  We still don't have any snow and the weather has been clear skies and sunshine with temps in the upper 30's!!  I can't even begin to tell you hoe insane that is to me right now especially reading in my old journals what it was like the first week of January last year.  Nobody here knows what's going on either.  They're not complaining yet but they will if the snow doesn't come soon.  No snow= angry Minnesotans that can't use their sleds and drive their houses out on the lakes to fish in.  And that all means angry Minnesotans that take it out on Utah and Idaho missionaries haha.  I'm just waiting for Winter to bite back at the end of this month or during the entire month of February by not going into the positive numbers the entire time.  Something's gotta happen because as much as I'd like to think that Minnesota's just the righteous that Winter's going to avoid it all together we can only tempt fate for so long haha.

     I'm pumped to hear where Brady's going to go!!  As of now I' sticking with either Argentina or Chile somewhere down on S. America around that area.  It would probably be easiest to just have Brady email me after he opens it in a week and a half whenever it comes.  I just know how painful handwriting anything is for him.  So if I want to hear any time before he ends up leaving and email would just be the easiest route for everyone haha.  I'm sure you could tell the Neilsons and they'd love to tell me.  It's not technically cheating it's just a sweet connection for you guys that you have with them to make it feel like I'm not actually gone haha.  However, I would prefer to hear from Brady himself and not a third party haha.  Sorry I'm kind of needy that way I guess.

     One cool story this week is about Libby.  She's a dog that started to follow us around tracting the other day.  We thought it was a sign from God for us to call the number on the tag and find some new investigators.  When we called however the people just called her from a distance and she ran home.  So much for our Ensign story about a miracle dog leading the missionaries in the MMM to baptisms we thought was going to happen haha.  I'll attach the picture of her for you, but it may not look like I was petting her.  She rolled over and made it look like I killed her right before we took it haha.
   Well I think that's about it from me here in Minnesota!  haha Hopefully I'll be able to update you on some new people we've found to teach next week.  I love and appreciate you guys so much!  Take care and I'll talk to you all next week.

Elder Craft

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012 Craft Family!!

     Luckily for all of us even though the libraries are closed we have awesome members here in the Garden of Eden and are emailing from the Neilson's right now.  So you know who to thank for your timely email this week Mom haha ;).

     Well just like Mom, and I'm sure a few others, guessed it ushering in the New Year was not anything too eventful for me.  Elder Pope and I got home and to bed by the normal time of 10:30 and were pretty tired.  I still asked him if he wanted to get up at 12 and we could celebrate the New Year by singing a rendition of "Happy Birthday"  with just the phrase "Happy New Year to you" instead, but we both decided it really wasn't worth it haha.  It is kind of weird to think that it is already 2012 now.  This next year is going to fly.  We've been talking a little bit about some New Year's resolutions for us and what we want to try and do better in for the next 365 days.  Basically just trying to memorize scriptures and be more consecrated are about the craziest new goals I have haha.  Do any of you have any fun resolutions?  

     This year for the MMM we have alot of goals that we're hoping to accomplish.  President Clements writes a letter to the mission each week and sends it to all of us.  With the new year comes new goals, new desires, and new accomplishments for all of us.  President talked a lot about this year being the year of "MMMMMMM"!  haha Nothing like the year of Campbell's slogan though.  I'm sure you're all used to me saying and referring the my mission as the MMM.  With President it's going to be a little more this year haha.  It's going to be the year of "The Mormon Moment of Miracles for Members in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission".  We're really trying to work with members on becoming missionaries themselves this year and bringing about all the miracles that are in store in this area from the Lord for members and missionaries as part of all of our missionary efforts.  We've seen a lot of that here in Eden Prairie as we've been trying to work with the members through different lessons to inspire and motivate them to fulfill whatever commitments and invitations we leave them.  We've also been trying to work on teaching more lessons with members present and just this week alone we were able to see the fruits of that labor.  We had 4 investigators to sacrament meeting yesterday!  Even though that may not sound all that exciting or amazing and it was such a blessing and was the most that either one of us have seen to church in our 3 transfers here.  The teaching pool is really strong and growing.  The investigator we have scheduled to be baptized is on the 14th and he's still super pumped and excited for that just like we are!  We're going to continue to work hard because we know the blessings that can come from it.  Especially those blessings that come in the cold weather like we're having now.  It snowed a couple inches here on New Year's Eve that was long overdue.  Now it's starting to look and seem more like I remember my last Minnesotan winter being haha.  Today as we were doing our shopping and stuff the windchill dropped the temperature to 3 degrees and last night it was a familiar feeling tracting down at 0. haha  We're just out building the Kingdom and some great character is how we like to look at it.

     I'm glad to hear that everyone's talks went so well out in Hooper and that my letter helped add some material to speak on.  I wish I could have been there to hear because they all sounded like they were so great.  Is the Park Ward meeting at 9 a.m. now?  We switched from 11 to 9 here and it's the first time in my entire mission that I haven't been at 11.    All my other areas have been at 10 or 11 to start.  I've been pretty lucky I guess.  That's exciting news from Kat and Tom too!  I'm anxious now to hear if I'll have 2 nephews and a niece that don't know me or 2 nieces and a nephew like Kat said haha.  Congratulations to Brady on becoming an Elder too.  Now if we could only get your papers in to find out where you'll be serving as Elder Craft 2.0 at we'll be good. :)  As far as Elder Musaka's emails go Mom it would probably be best to print them and send them to me with your letters.  That way I can have a little more time to read them.

     Sorry that there's not much to report on today.  I'm so glad to hear that you are all doing so well and loving life.  2012 seems to have started off right for all of us.  I love and miss you all.  I can't wait to talk to you again.

Love,  Elder Craft

P.S. President Clements also sent us all an article the the Wall Street Journal did on Mormon missionaries this last week because of David Archuleta announcing that he'll be going on a mission.  I would just attach it to this but I'm not exactly sure how to do that.  haha It's titled "From American Idol to Mormon Missionary" and that link should get you right to it.