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 :)

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