Monday, April 30, 2012


Hey Everyone,

     It's good to hear that you all made it through the challenges of the week.  I hope that Brady can get this email or if I could just get his email address from you I could just send it to him.  I'm guessing it's just  ------------------ so if you could confirm or deny that for me so I could write him that'd be great.  I don't think we're allowed to get on otherwise I would just write him that way.  I'll bet it is pretty quiet around the house now.  That's so exciting to think that Brady's out at the MTC now.  I'm excited to hear all about his experiences and the great things that the Lord has in store for him, for me, and for our family. 

     It sounds everything has been busy still back at home and it has been the same for us here.  We had a really busy week and a lot of great things that happened for us.  The Lord has blessed us here with a lot is great people and we found some more new investigators that we are really excited to start working with.  We got to do exchanges with the elders out in Eden Prairie and that helped contribute to some of the miracles that we've seen.  It was great because they are great Elders serving out there and what makes it unique to some of the other exchanges we've had is that Elder Looye is from the Netherlands and Elder Leppanen, who's only been here a couple of weeks, is from Finland.  It was really cool to talk to them about their experiences growing up and see the great excitement they have to be here serving in Minnesota.  That's been one of the most fun things for me recent.  Getting to go on exchanges at least every week with all these new missionaries and their trainers getting to see all the great, hard working Elders here.  I'm sure all the sisters are phenomenal too we just don't do the exchanges with them so I don't have any cool experiences to share with them like the Elders haha.

      So with Mother's Day in a couple weeks next week will be the last time we get to finalize times and stuff.  I can't believe it's come to that time again already!  The last 5 months went by quick!  We meet at 11 am here for sacrament meeting and  could try to call or Skype almost any time that day that works best for you.  Just let me know and if I could get your account name for Skype if you want to do that that's be great too. 

     Like I said before things here have been going really well.  It's exciting to hear that the family is all doing well and got to spend some time down here for Brady's farewell.  That's so cool to hear about Tyler Cole and his mission over to North Carolina.  I'll bet he's going to love it there!  He might have to hook me up with some sweet UNC stuff ;).  If you get a chance tell him I'm really excited and happy for him to go out and serve the people there.  He's going to love it!  It's cool to hear about all these guys going all over the world.  I got a letter from Alic Taylor telling me about his call to the Dominican Republic, and when I got to see Elder Mead at the interview training meeting that we had last week we talked about some of these guys and their calls.  It's cool to see the literal spreading of the gospel through all these guys around the globe. 

     We did get to go to the T-Wolves game like I had talked about last week and it was a lot of fun!  It was also kind of weird to go and be in our p-day clothes around all those people at the same time.  The game wasn't that great the wolves got destroyed by like 30 but it was great to see our investigator there and talk to him.  He's such a great man that wasn't able to make it to church yesterday unfortunately because his PCA that went with him last week was in California.  He's planning on coming next week and from our lesson we had with him this week things seemed to be going really well.  We are very blessed here and are looking forward to another great week that we have planned ahead.  It's going to be pretty busy with the 3 meetings we have scheduled this week but their shouldn't be too much for us as far as traveling goes.  We have a Zone Leader Council Meeting tomorrow, New Missionary Training Meeting Wednesday, and then we'll be going up to the Anoka Stake Center for their interviews and training Thursday.  It should be another great week and one that will most likely fly by as well.  It's crazy to me how often it seems like I get a chance to talk to you because the weeks just go so quick!

     I hope that everything goes great for all of you the rest of the week.  I look forward to hearing from you again.  Thanks for all the love and support!

Love, Elder Minnesota Craft

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome, Brady!

Dear Craft Family,

     It is so great to hear that things went so well with Brady!  I knew he would do great. I hope that the scriptures and advice that he asked for really helped in giving him a little more material to speak on.  It sounds like he really didn't need it though. haha  I can not believe it's actually time for him to go into the MTC!  Time is flying by and I am just so excited for him!  I wish I could have heard from him this morning to see how everything's going but I remember how chaotic those last few days can be haha.  Brady is going to love it!  The people, the language, and even more the Gospel and Our Father in Heaven and Savior who presented it to us.  It is amazing to me thinking about what I thought I knew and appreciated before my mission about Jesus Christ and that His Gospel and Church meant to me.  I know now that I really hadn't even begun to understand and feel the true magnitude of what I've been apart of my entire life.  Now even though I try to immerse myself in it each and every day I still don't quite comprehend all there is about God's infinite love for us and the eternal sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, outlined and made manifest by the Plan of Salvation to all of mankind.  I'm not entirely sure that I will ever understand and comprehend it all, but what I do know is that I don't have to know it all.  As long as I continue to strengthen myself spiritually through the cleansing and enabling power of Christ's Atonement that comes from renewing and fulfilling my covenants that I can do better.  That there is hope in a world that doesn't offer much of it.  There are going to be times and there have been times that I have felt overwhelmed like there isn't much help for me or much more that I think I can do, but it's when we continue to press forward with faith through those times when we aren't certain how things will turn out that we can look back and see the Lord strengthen us and ease our burdens just like Alma and his people or with Lehi and Nephi when they were thrown into prison.  That's why I have loved being able to learn from The Book of Mormon just how applicable those teachings are and the real perception check that the experiences of other people can give to me about my own problems and challenges.  You will come to love the Book of Mormon, Brady, and the teachings of enabling power that Christ will give to us.  You are going to need that throughout your whole mission in every phase of the work.  Learn to love what you're going to do and realize that you have been anxiously waiting for the past few months to go to Germany but you have talked about and anticipated going on a mission to serve the Lord for the last probably 11 or so years.  I say that because I know for me I didn't keep that vision and understanding when I first came out.  I wasn't look forward to what I could learn and experience and what the Lord was trying to teach me.  Once I realized that I had talked about and waited for 19 years to be out here and that I'd only have 2 years to be on this mission with rest of eternity to think about it I knew that I needed to live up every moment because it would never come again.  The things that you learn Brady will be such an amazing blessing for you that I can't even begin to describe!  I'm sure you've gotten a lot of advice along the same lines as this, but I know that if you go into this looking forward to every chance and take every opportunity placed before you you will be happy and return home with honor.  It's hard work serving a mission and is unlike anything you have ever or will ever do and that's by design.  If there wasn't and stretching and testing there ultimately could be no growth.  Work hard but look for chance to laugh and have fun.  That's one thing Elder Dalrymple and I do a lot of and it's the only way to survive.  There is a positive to it all but sometimes it takes a little work and searching to find it.  Obedience will be the key to you receiving these blessings and being happy, and just know that the Lord is going to bless you, just as he does all of us, for our best most earnest efforts.  You success comes from your own inward effort and commitment and sometimes not so much of the outward results that are a consequence of it!  I want you all to know how much and I love and appreciate all of you.  I know that the family is ordained of God and that His marvelous plan enables us to return to live in His presence forever and to do it together.  I know that The Book of Mormon is true.  That the teachings in their will and do draw us closer to the Savior as we read from and apply it's teachings.  I know that Joseph Smith was the Prophet to translate that and restore Christ's original church and kingdom to the Earth again.  I know that this Church is headed by and lead by Jesus Christ through chosen prophets and apostles today and that their counsel will lead us to Christ even more.  I love sharing this with other people each and everyday and know you will too Brady.  Be excited about what's ahead for you.  It's a big step but one that you will be forever grateful that you took.  I love you Brady and I'm going to miss not seeing you for a little while but I know that there's not better place for us to be and no better time for us to be there than now!  Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you as you enter the MTC this week.  You are going to love it there!  Once you get to good old Deutschland find Elder Chambers and give him a nice hello for me and my address so that guy can write me back haha.  Let me know anything that I can do for you!

     Even though a large majority of that if not almost all of it was directed to Brady I just want everyone else to know how much I love being out here!  It's so good to hear that everyone had such a great time last week and that Dad took it easy on everyone Saturday ;) haha.  I'm glad you made it through Minneapolis safely Nick.  I was think of that Friday as we were over by the airport maybe 10 minutes away going to see some people.  I don't know what you were talking about with cold though we've been in short sleeves all week haha.  I'm hoping that means I'm somewhat acclimating to the colder weather.  We'll see I guess. 

     We had a great week here with a couple investigators coming to church yesterday and the one we sat by really enjoyed it.  He's an amazing man that is such a blessing to be able to know and work with.  We are really excited about the progress he's making, along with most of our other investigators, and the amazing work going on here.  That same guy we sat by is also taking us to a Timberwolves game this week.  Their last one of the season, so we're pretty excited about that.  We never thought it would get approved so we didn't even try asking President Clements if we could go.  We were just talking to him about this guy a couple weeks ago and said he'd mentioned taking us to a game possibly and before we even finished the sentence President said, "well that'd be fine", so we were nonetheless shocked but super excited to go.  Hopefully we get some good pictures that I can send to you. 

     With those people we did have come to church we are working really hard  with them and like I said they are growing a lot in their testimonies.  It's not going to be quick by any means but we are hoping to have some baptisms coming in the next month or so we're hopeful for what is happening here!  The Lord is really blessing us and the ward is getting more and more excited so good things are happening and will be increasing here in Bloomington.

     I can't believe that it's almost Mother's Day too!  Man time really is just screaming by.  I'm trying to figure out if Elder Dalrymple and I can just Skype at the mission office with the webcams that we have or if we'd need to do a member's house.  I'm guessing a member's house but either way I'll need to get your username for sure.  I think it was --------- but I can't remember for sure.  That is if everyone wants to Skype.  Just let me know next week.

     Well I hope all goes well this next few days.  Just know I love and appreciate all that you do for me.  I pray for you always and feel your love and prayers with me.  i can't wait to talk to you again!

Love, Elder (Minnesota) Craft-- I figure that's going to have to be me new signature with there being two Elder Crafts now haha :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm So Popular!

Hello Crafts!

     Sorry that I wasn't able to write to you yesterday and that I don't have much time to respond today.  I appreciate so much all the emails, love, and support from all of you!  Yesterday was I think the first or second time of my whole mission that I got an email from every single one of you.  Seven emails makes it a pretty good day and one that's busy with responses. haha Hopefully I can answer all your questions too.

     This week was pretty crazy with the transfer and different training meetings all going on.  We unfortunately didn't have as much success in the proselyting effort but the meetings all ran fairly smoothly, so that was a blessing.  We have a lot of good appointments set this week and are looking forward to a big improvement from last week.  We have some new people we were able to find from our Area Book that used to investigate a few years ago but were dropped for no apparent reason.  It's s family of 4 that seem really promising and one we're excited to teach again.  We also are having a lesson tonight with a woman who came to church Sunday because she works at a group home and the guys she had to come help was blessing the sacrament.  I'm not really sure what disability he has but it was great to see him do that.  It reminded me of Colton Smith and how willing, able, and excited he is to do anything that he can to use the priesthood he's been given.  It was a really cool experience.  We talked to this lady after and she told us she's not a member and was wondering what was different about out church.  So with President Clements standing there we set up the appointment to teach her at the mission home tonight.  We're pretty excited and hoping it all goes well.

     Things here are going so great and the Lord is really blessing us!  The weather has been a little different more recently.  We were sweating Sunday night with 75 degrees and 70-80% humidity and then yesterday morning we woke up with it snowing!  It was a real shock but hopefully the weather keeps improving like it has been today haha.

     I'm so excited for Brady and looking forward to hearing how it goes this weekend!  It's crazy it's already time but such an exciting change too.  I hope everyone is able to make it and have a great time.  You'll have to tell all the family hello for me.

     Like I said sorry that this is so short, but I hope that all is well and I can talk to you soon.  Thanks for all you guys do!  You're the best!

Love, Elder Alex Craft

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Was Fantastic!

Dear Family,

     How's everything out in good old Utah?  Easter for us here in Bloomington was fantastic!  It sounds like you all had an amazingly beautifully Spring Day just like us.  We had an amazing Sacrament Meeting with a lot of musical numbers and great talks on the Atonement.  We have recently been studying over the last month with a bunch of different talks and scriptures about the Atonement as a mission like I said last week, and it is so amazing to me how infinite that is!  It is the greatest blessing I know in my life to have the Atonement and the hope that that brings to all our lives.  We had a chance to discuss this in our Gospel Principles class yesterday and when we all started to share our definition of the Atonement and what that means to us I talked about that same principle of hope that is universal to all because of the love of Christ.  In one of the talks I recently read by Elder Holland he talked about the hope that we all have because the tomb was empty for Christ that it will one day be empty for us as well.  That is a concept I had heard all growing up and believe in but one that I never really thought about in that context.  We have an investigator now working to get baptized who is disabled with a disease called LS or something like that. It's similar to Lou Gehrig's Disease and is a very frustrating thing for him to have to deal with on a day to day basis, but the love and hope that the doctrine of the Atonement and resurrection will bring into his life will literally change his whole outlook on his situation and essentially change his life.  It's so amazing to me hos central that doctrine is to all the other things we teach in the church and what we do as missionaries.  It's no wonder that that one event is the meridian of all time for all of human history.  I am so thankful for that hope that it brings into my life!

     This week has been so great for us by way of investigators too.  We have been in the building process combining our two areas still, but we have recently found a lot of great potential investigators and are working with some great people who we are excited to see progress.  We had a few of them show up to church yesterday and they really enjoyed the meetings.  It's crazy to think it's another transfer gone, but we are looking forward to what can happen here in the next few weeks and are also hoping that this transfer doesn't fly by like this last one.

     I'm glad that some of you got to meet the Youngs and that my package made it home.  Sorry it took so long to get to you, Brady and Camie, but when the chance to save some money by hand delivering it came up I waited a couple days to send it that way.  I'm glad that you liked it so much.  It was almost as great as what Nick sent to me.  Once I get a chance I'll have to take a picture to send so you can see it. haha

     Sorry there's not much else to write about, but it was so great to hear from all of you!  I love you and pray for you always.  Thanks for all your love and support!  I look forward to hearing from you again.

Love, Elder Craft