Monday, February 27, 2012

Mmmm, Chocolate!

Dear Everyone,

    This week has been amazing!  Sorry there won't be much time to report today in the midst of transfers.  We've been doing calls this morning, so I'm finding some time to write in our shifts of calling the teams haha.  We had some meetings with President Clements this week just about transfers and other things that we needed to get done.  So this last week and the next few days are going to be a little hectic.  No matter what happens though I know that my hand won't be cold because of the package of hand warmers you all sent me. Thank you so much for that package!  It means a lot that you guys were thinking of me and my hands.  I really appreciate all your love and support you constantly give to me!  Beside the transfer stuff we had a really good proselyting week.  We were able to pick up 5 new investigator.  There's a couple new people that have family members that are members of the church we are working with now and are really excited about.  We found an amazing new family of 3 tracting this last week that we were able to go back and teach.  The night that we tracted into them the father was super nice to us and the son was actually watching a cartoon of the miracles of Christ's life on TV.  They are basically members of the church already haha.  They have Greg Olsen's painting of the Savior with the child on his lap and that one of Christ you told me about, Mom, and sent me those stamps of from when you were in primary framed and hanging on their walls.  They were some of the nicest people I've met and been able to teach.  They called us the 3 wise men when we showed up and had bought us each a package of Lindor chocolates!  Something all you chocolate fans can appreciate and understand how awesome they are just for that fact alone. haha ;) We're really excited to teach them and expect some great things to happen here in our ward.

     Transfers are today for the whole mission, but Elder Crepeau and Elder Lo got their transfer calls on Friday.  Elder Crepeau is going back to central Minneapolis Spanish and Elder Lo is going to the Minneapolis Hmong area for the last 2 transfers of my mission.  It's sad that they are leaving.  We had such a great transfer together and were constantly laughing.  It's hard to believe that it's already been a whole transfer almost here with them.  We weren't sure who my new companion would be, but President called him on Friday and we picked him up last night. His name is Elder Dalrymple from Orem, Ut.  He's been serving in Lakeville as a Zone Leader for the past few transfers.  He played basketball for Snow College back in Utah so he's probably my only other companion that I've had that can dunk or touch the rim even.  He's a great missionary that I'm really excited to work with!  Even though we don't have Zone Conferences this transfer we have a bunch of specialized trainings we'll need to do.  Normally in this ward we are the West missionaries that cover the West half of the ward, and there's a set of missionaries that cover the East part.  Pretty self explanatory I know, but the reason I say that is because this transfer President has decided to close East Bloomington so Elder Dalrymple and I will cover the whole ward now.  It's going to be a lot more to cover and a lot more work but that will bring a lot more success and a lot more of the miracles that we've seen.  There's going to be a lot of exciting things happening here and I'm excited to be apart of it all.  We have 10 missionaries going home and 17 coming in all on Wednesday that we get to pick up and drop off.  In the group of 17 there's 8 new Sisters coming out.   It should be a lot of fun haha.

     Sorry there's not much more to say.  I hope all is well. Just know that I love and pray for you always.  Thanks for all that you do for me!

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hello, My Name is Muaj Hmoo

Dear Family,

     Sorry this might not be very long today.  It's fun to see that most of us got a P-Day today haha.  Luckily for me we email in the office so it wasn't closed.  The challenge is just doing it in between the other things that we have to get done. 

     This last week was the last of the Zone Conferences, and they all went really well.  I got to see Elder Mead finally and he's doing well.  He has a great companion that is really going to help him and they're both working hard.  I didn't get to tell him about Brady because like I figured his parents had told him already.  He was pretty excited though.

     Elder Lo, Elder Crepeau and I have been working really hard trying to teach people and find new ones to teach.  We had the chance to go teach a less active Hmong family that Elder Lo knows from when they lived in his first area in St. Paul going to the Hmong Branch over there.  It was great.  The wife, T., but she just goes by her American name T., made us some great food, and  she along with her husband, T. X., aka B. haha, gave me a Hmong name.  All the missionaries here that are American but speak Hmong get a Hmong name.  It's tradition for their culture I guess, so they gave me the name Muaj Hmoo.  I would type how to pronounce it but I don't really know how haha it means Lucky or to have luck I guess and is a really great name that people really.  B. and T. said that if they have a son that's what they're going to name him.  So that was a really cool experience, but the spirit of the lesson in there was amazing!  These two were super strong in the branch while they were going, but gave into the family pressure and conformed to go to their Dad's church now even though they still know the Church is true.  Elder Crepeau and I basically did the most talking because Elder Lo has been over and taught them so much he wasn't sure what the next step was for them.  Elder Crepeau and I got to talk about the pioneers in our families that were converts like them and how we are here now because of them.  Elder Crepeau talked about his dad who joined the church when he was 22 and I talked about Grandma and Grandpa Craft specifically with them.  There was such a powerful experience with an amazing spirit as we testified about the blessings of their faith and diligence and that even though it's not easy for them it wasn't easy for our relatives either, but that the blessings of it have effected us even until now.  It was so cool and something that I think really blessed them.  They committed to come to church next week and Elder Lo said that's the most progress they've made in a long time.  It was so amazing and I really grew to love them just from the spirit that we felt there.

     Tonight for the last two hours of P-Day we have a cool dinner scheduled with the Clements where Elder Lo is going to teach all of us to make egg rolls.  We're pretty excited and so are the Clements.  It should be pretty good haha. 

     I'm excited to hear how the temple prep class is going to go for Brady tonight.  He's lucky to have Brother C. so close by and such a great friend that he's willing to do that.  It's going to be great for him, but even with my time in a temple prep type class with Brother J. it still didn't really prepare me fully for what it would be like because I don't think anything really can haha.  He's going to love it and I'm sure he'll learn all he needs to tonight.

     Well I hope that all is well for everyone else!  Thanks for all the pictures Dad.  I really appreciate it.  Thanks for all your love and support.  I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again!  Sorry no pictures this week.

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wild Minnesota

Hallo Familie,

     Well this week was pretty intense for us.  We stayed pretty busy traveling around and trying to find people to teach here in Bloomington.  We had the first Zone Conference on Tuesday and I messed up on my info with that last week.  Elder Mead's zone wasn't one of those ones.  He's in the Oakdale Zone and so I'll get to see him on Wednesday this week.  I'll be sure to tell him about Brady's exciting news but I'm sure that he's already heard.  We had a good time getting to see all the missionaries down here in the Minneapolis parts of the Twin Cities and go up to Duluth and see those Elders in Canada and the rest of them in the frozen north.  The drive up with all the trees and forestry was so pretty.  I saw a bunch of deer and stuff just right there in Duluth and when we were driving up we saw a wolf on the side of the road too.  Too bad it was dead, but that's road kill that I've never seen in Utah.  The Elders up in Thunder Bay said that they've seen like 4-5 wolves now and bear all over the place.  Minnesota is very unique because of the wildlife that is all around us.  Even here in the cities we see our fair share of coyotes, fox, deer, and bald eagles.  Duluth was a lot colder than down here though.  It was beautiful being able to come in on the freeway over the hill and just look out to see all across the city and Lake Superior.  It's a very beautiful city and the Elders are all doing great work in that zone.  We had to go up Thursday morning for some New Missionary Training we did with President Clements before Zone Conference on Friday and we headed home Saturday afternoon.  The training all went very well and we even got to do two exchanges with the Thunder Bay new missionaries while we were there.  A very busy time but very spiritually uplifting.  We got to teach a lesson Thursday while we were at lunch too.  After we got all the meetings set up with the logistics of it we went to eat at a really good Chinese restaurant downtown near the college campus and while we were there one of the students came up to sit with us and just started to ask a bunch of questions because he's trying to "find the truth for [himself]".  It was a great experience to explain how he was like Joseph Smith and teach him a brief restoration lesson all while sitting next to the wantons and soy sauce of the Beijing restaurant.  It's so cool how people are prepared in every place and situation that we go!  The morning we left we decided to go up to a look out tower and take some pictures.  It had been pretty cold with some snow storms the nights previous while we were out tracting and teach at about -15, but Saturday was freezing! haha It as about 9 am but as we were taking pictures the wind chill was about -40 degrees and made the Kodak moment very short lived. haha  You can see in the pictures that a smile was not going to happen from me haha.  It was a good Minnesota experience!

     I'm glad that everyone else seems to be doing well.  Sorry that there's not much more to report on from here.  I talked a lot about Duluth but things here in Bloomington are still going great!  haha  We are working on finding more people to teach an helping build the kingdom slowly but surely.  I hope all goes well with school and work for everyone this week.  Happy Birthday too Nick!  I can't wait to hear from you all again.

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Lot of Travelling

Dear Craft Family,

     I'm sorry to hear about some of the health issues and stress you guys are battling.  You're a bunch of champs the way you handle it though.  I'll keep praying for you all.

     This week was a very good week for us here.  We traveled down to Roshester and had the Zone Conference down there on Thursday.  It went really well and the training was great.  It's a smaller Zone down there with only 8 companionships.  It was fun for me to e down right near where I served in Kasson.  Even though I never was assigned to serve in the city of Rochester that's where my companions and I would have to go each P-Day to do our emailing and shopping because there wasn't much 20 minutes West out in Kasson haha.  So I got to be the one to give directions and navigate us around there.  Tomorrow we have the Minneapolis, Anoka, and Lakeville combined Zone Conference meeting right here in Bloomington at our church building next to the mission home and mission office.  I'm pretty excited to see everyone there including Elder Mead.  Because it's 3 zones there's going to be about 65 missionaries which should be a lot of fun.  We have to spend most of the morning and afternoon preparing and setting up over at the church.  Then later this week we head up to Duluth 3 hours north for their Zone Conference on Thursday.  My MTC companion Elder Lewis is one of the Zone Leaders up there  with his companion Elder Watkins (hopefully that answers your question Kat ;)).  It's always fun for me to talk to and see missionaries I've served around.  Now with this new assignment it's making it fun getting to know all the missionaries here in the MMM.  Hopefully I'll have some cool pictures from up North to send to you next week.

     Speaking of pictures those ones I asked for, Dad, should be in a top drawer of my dresser on the right hand side of my closet.  Hopefully you can find them, but if not don't worry about it.  I know you're studying a lot so don't take a lot of time looking for them. I did get that joke you sent me from Grandma too.  You can tell her that it was funny and definitely missionary appropriate haha. 

     I'm sorry for Brady to hear that Adam Vinitari wasn't there to beat the Giants this year.  That's what happens when the one player that's won all their Superbowls for them isn't there to do it again. haha Jk Brady. . . but not really.  Last night we were in lessons and stuff with a couple members who weren't watching the Superbowl so it wasn't nearly as excited as what I'm sure it was for some of you.  That sad the circumstances for why you're in Idaho, Mom, but fun that you get to see all the family. Since you're still up there and will be when you read this give them all my love and tell them I'm praying for them often.  It's good to hear they're all doing relatively well.

     That's cool to hear that you get to start a new pilot program at the MTC.  6 weeks in the MTC though?!  That's going to be the most intense German speaking, German learning time for you!  That's why I'm saying study the doctrine now cause there's no way you can in there haha.

     I heard that a certain sister of mine is supposedly all decked out in Super man gear today.  I hope the belt worked out for her, and now if I get a chance to play basketball in between setting up at the church today I can wear my Superman shirt I got sent and we'll be twinners.  LIke the Minnesota Twins! haha  Kinda lame I know but it's what I have to work with haha.

     Sorry there's not much more to report on from here.  We're working hard staying busy and loving every minute of it!  I hope that everyone does great with their academic and health skills and diagnosis tests this week.  I love and will continue to pray for all of you!  Thanks for all your love and support.

Love,  Elder Craft