Monday, June 25, 2012

Lake No'chaos

Dear Family,

     Sorry that this will be so short.  I love getting all your emails and hearing all the exciting news that is going on and this week seemed to have a lot of it haha.  That's so exciting/crazy about the big move from DC to AZ this next week.  That's a huge blessing that is great to hear about!  I'm not so sure about ASU though N. because I think those rumors you have heard are correct haha.  I still am not sure where I'm going to go.  I'm trying to not worry about it, but secretly know that I need to start figuring things out haha.

     This week has been crazy for us!  Crazy blessings and adversity in all ways missionaries, members, and investigators.  With the miracles we've seen also comes opposition.  I was talking about it this week and said I'd really like to be able to just punch Satan square in the mouth for some of the things that happen, but that's where the amazing converting power of the spirit can come right in and slap him and that idea right out of me as it changes the people's hearts that are struggling.  This past week I nicknamed the ward "Lake No'chaos'" because of all the craziest going on haha but luckily things are still going well with the people we're working with in our area, in the ward, and here in the zone.  The work of the Lord can't be stopped.  This was the last reporting week for our missionary month so we ended the month with 8 baptisms in the zone and met our goal that we had set for June.  It's been phenomenal to see the increase in faith and miracles to reach that.  In the first half of this year Minneapolis has only seen 11 baptisms total, so the Lord is definitely blessing us because of the great missionaries here and their hard work and faith.  I got to go out this last week and do an exchange out in Eden Prairie and teach and investigator couple I taught out there that are making steps and committed to come to church.  It was a lot of fun to get to travel back to an area and a little different to sleep at an apartment I used to live in, but the whole experience was a lot of fun haha.

     Sorry that I don't have any time or pictures.  I'll try to attach some next week and will try to send my flash drive home sometime soon as well full of all my pictures so far.  I've almost filled up my card.  I'm glad to hear about the many blessings you are all having and I hope that all the Crafts are safe whether is California, Utah, Idaho, Virginia, Arizona, or Germany! :) I love and appreciate you all!  Thanks for your continued support and that of the members of the good old Park Ward and my friends.  You guys are the greatest!

Love, Elder Alex Craft

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Dear Family,

     I'm just glad to hear that you are getting my emails because those error messages got me worried last week.  I figured if you didn't hear from me all week though the mission office would hear about it and I in turn would know it wasn't working haha.

     Happy Father's day to all of you too!  Sorry that it's a day late.  We got a couple "Happy Future Father's day greetings from people yesterday haha.  Speaking of which that's exciting how close Tom is to being a new Dad!  And that Whitney and Anna are going to have another addition to their families.  I can't believe it's already been 9 months since I had heard about that basically.  Time really is flying by still! 

     This week has been really great for us.  We got a couple new investigators last week, Brother and Sister Coleman, that are doing amazing!  They have a baptismal date set for July 7th and should be preparing for that day.  The Bishop here is going to marry them before too so it will be a wedding baptism!  We're excited for it and are so blessed to have met them and get to teach them.  They came from Ohio and got all of their stuff stolen form their friends house they were staying at. So long story short amid the desperation they were in of having no money, no food, and no gas living out of their car and moving up here for work without finding any Brother Coleman remembered a Mormon he had talked to on the bus for a couple hours leaving Seattle years ago.  This member answered questions and talked to him for a few hours and introduced The Book of Mormon to him.  He proceeded to check out church in Ohio and decided if he and his girlfriend were to get married anywhere it's be in the Mormon church.  So he reached out to get a hold of Bishop Barden here in the ward who then gave us their number.  We met with them in the park that day about a week and a half ago and loved everything that we taught.  They accepted a baptismal and wedding invitation and have been excitedly looking forward to that ever since.  Since the first meeting we've met with them 3 other times teaching the law of chastity first then the word of wisdom.  Our last appointment was before the baptism in the ward we had Saturday for the North Elders and the Sisters which they attended as well.  They loved that baptism and Brother Coleman said that he's next haha.  The night before they had come to a Missionary Movie Night that we missionaries put together and set up.  We had some active and less-active members of the ward come with all our investigators to the church to watch "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration".  It was amazing and the spirit was so strong in there.  We had root beer floats after and everyone seemed to love it.  We answered question from the movie they had before the baptism and got to see Brother Coleman at church yesterday again (Sister Coleman was sick).  He's coming today to play basketball with a bunch of us missionaries and some other random black guys that we invited on the street when we contacted them this week.  It should be pretty fun!  I wish I had time to write down all the amazing experiences I have each week, but I guess that's what my journal's for haha.

     Things here not only in the ward I'm in but in the Minneapolis Zone are exploding!  We are being so blessed by the Lord and it's all your prayers and support that are making it possible for us to accomplish all the is in store for us.  I love you and look forward to hearing from you next week.

Love, Elder Craft

Monday, June 11, 2012

Adjusting to the New Area

Dear Crafts,

     Man that is so cool to hear what has been happening the the Craft family all around the world this past week!  I can't believe that Brady is already in Germany and that he saw Scott too!!  It's good to know Scott's still alive and actually on a mission seeing as I never heard back from the letter I wrote him January 2011 haha.  That's crazy his trainer is from Roy.  What are the chances?  Looking at the pictures I think I know his trainer too.  Elder Hilton sounded familiar and If I remember right I want to say his name's N. Hilton.  I think he was a SBO or SR. Class officer at R. and I got to meet him at some of the assemblies that we went to of theirs.  He may have been in my group for Sadies my senior year too.  Either that or I'm just wanting to make connections haha.  If he was though that's kind of intense.  It looks and sounds like Brady is having the time of his life over there in the "ghetto".  When I read that I thought #1 that's not going to make mom happy and then #2 I'll have to take some pictures to show him of South Minne haha. jk  I can't wait to hear all about his fun contacting stories or what he accidentally says in German to someone haha.

     Sorry that I don't have too much time to be on today.  Tell Tyler Cole thanks for being so kind in trying to talk me up to the whole congregation I appreciate it haha.  That's so great that he is almost ready to leave.  I'm glad to hear that he did so well.  He's going to do great as a missionary.  Was Cayden there for it?  I got a letter from him around November time but haven't heard much since.  How's he doing?

     To answer you about the rain it hasn't been dumping as much recently but we did have some crazy storms last week for sure!  There was suppose to be one last night that turned out to be a pretty big lightening storm.  The Midwest storms don't mess around that's for sure.  We had a really cool experience in Sacrament meeting yesterday.  We, the missionaries of the Lake Nokomis ward, got to do a special musical number.  Luckily there are 7 of us in the ward (Elder Holmes and me, the North Elders: Elder Parkinson and Elder Neeley, and the Edina Sisters: Sister Harding, Briggs, and Yazzie) so it didn't have to be just me and my companion like my first musical number I did on my mission.  We sang the Armies of Helaman Song and it was a really powerful experience for us to all be up there singing and to look out and see members crying or singing along with us.  It's great being a missionary!!

     Unfortunately that's about it for today before the computer kicks me off.  I'll try to attach some pictures next week of all our adventures.  I love you all and look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for the package I got  from you Brady and I'll talk about it more next week.

Love, Elder Craft MN

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spiritual Growing Pains

Sorry I had to log on to get an email for the sisters in our zone and saw this didn't send.  Hopefully the error didn't happen this time too.

Dear Family,

     Sounds like another fun filled week had and one planned for the Crafts this week. haha  It is crazy to think that Brady will be in the air flying for like 24 hours and then that once he's done doing that he'll be in Germany!  He's going to do great and love is I'm sure.  By the way Brady the reason my email to you said " Elder BRD" isn't because I just didn't want to spell your name.  BRD is "Beundes Republik Deutschland" haha.  I was a little confused on why you said "Elder ALE" on mine.

     Another trip to Idaho?  Why not right? haha It sounds like that's going to be a lot of fun.  I have a feeling that between all the other chaos of summer that there are going to be a few trips between Utah and Idaho keeping everyone busy.  So when is Kathleen due again?  Is that sometime this month towards the end of it?  That's what I thought but I can't remember for sure.  That whole things is super exciting too! 

     We had a good week here in good old South Minneapolis.  We didn't have as many of our appointments go through as we would have like, but that's just life in the service of the Lord.  Hopefully this week will be a little better.  Our ward is having some great success though.  The Elders in the North area just a baptism this past Saturday with one planned for the 16th too.  The Sisters in Edina have some people they are working really close with right now that's pretty exciting for us too.  Elder Holmes and I also did a couple baptismal interviews for a couple kids in Plymouth this past week that are so amazing.  It was so cool to get to see how much knowledge that they have and hear their great testimonies and desire to follow Jesus Christ.  Even though they're only 9 and 14 they are doing so great and are set on a new path that their mom is very excited about.  That's the greatest thing to see as a missionary.  Families that the Gospel helps to unite through the ordinances that Our Father and Heaven has provided for us here on Earth now.  The power of the Priesthood is such an amazing blessing to allow and make possible that salvation for all of God's children.  Elder Holmes and I got to participate in a blessing for 3 kids in a family that the Sisters are working with that are really nervous about being baptized.  They have a true desire but the change from Hindu to Christianity for them is a big one in and of itself.  After the blessings we gave they felt a spirit of peace come over them and said to the Sisters that the counsel Heavenly Father gave to them in those blessings was an answer to many of their prayers.  It was an amazing miracle to be apart of because we just happened to need to go by the church at that time when they were there teaching and were able to be an instrument for the Lord in blessing 3 of His children at this pinnacle point of their lives.  That and many other similar experiences have helped to solidify my testimony of why we do the simple things: go to church, read our scriptures, pray, and live the standards God has given to us because you never know when you might be called upon.  President Monson recently said in a video on about his new biography that, "the most satisfying feeling [he's} ever had is to receive a prompting and act on it"  and I have the same feeling about that.  There's nothing better than being a missionary!  Being able to teach others about prayer and be an answer to many  others.  As far as my testimony goes Mom there would be a lot more time that'd I'd need on this computer to tell it all to you.  Feel free to use any of the other stories that I've sent in your talk, but there has been one thing I've been thinking a lot about recently.  I have a testimony of the growth that can come when we trust in the Lord.  There are a number of times on my mission and my life I have felt overwhelmed and unsure of where to go next.  I've had times that I've gotten pretty comfortable in a place or situation and been forced or compelled to change. Something that I have not liked or wanted at all, but with the help of Christ and my Father in Heaven I've been able to stretch through those times and reach a small portion of what I know I need to or what He wants me to become.  God's plan is perfect and given to us each individually to help us develop as much as we can in life.  There's been times I've wanted to go back to the comfortable places and take that easy route back but in doing so I would have never seen or learned what I need to from God.  I know that He's aware of us and each of our situations and know what is best for us.  This knowledge is what has helped me the most in my mission during difficult times or times of change.  I may not look forward to these spiritual growing pains as much as a did the physical ones but I know the end result will be a whole lot more rewarding than an extra inch or two on my height.  I hope that that gives you something to share on Sunday.  Tell Tyler good luck for me and to have him give Chapel Hill a nice hello from me when he gets there. 

     Thanks so much for all your love and support!  I really do appreciate all that you guys do for me.  Good luck to you Brady and I know that through these next few weeks of probably the most intense and humbling "growing pains"  you will see the greatest development and growth within yourself.  That's why we're so lucky as missionaries to receive even more within ourselves than we ever give!  I look forward to hearing about all the adventures next week!

Love, Elder MN Craft