Monday, July 30, 2012

Thanks, Family!

Dear Craft Family,

     Thanks for the emails and pictures!  It's always fun to see some of the old ones like of Saja and Koda and the newer ones of Brandt and Raylee.  They look like they're getting pretty big pretty fast haha.  I'm surprised he knows my name too.  That's pretty cool.  Speaking of pictures though I can't believe you thought I sent you a picture message Mom haha.  Brother Parsons had that wise idea after dinner when I told him about the picture of Camie with the Root Beer.  I thought that would give you something to laugh at too.  Brother Parsons is a pretty funny guy.  We love going over there to eat.  They help out with missionary work a lot and is one of the lead member fellowshippers for the guy we have scheduled to be baptized on August 11th. 

     Things really picked up this week and we had the best numbers reporting week as far as teaching and finding goes in our own area since I've been here.  We're staying really busy and loving every minute of it.  Elder Neeley is great helping things to go even better here and we're really hoping that come 2 weeks from now when we have transfer calls that neither one of us is going anywhere.  The guy we have working towards the 11th and lady for baptism on the 18th are still doing well!  They came to church again yesterday and loved it.  I think that the one brother likes Primary more than anything when he gets to go in and sit with his 5 year old son.  He said he's learning on their basic same level so it's great for him haha.  He's such a good guy!  We've been finding a lot even with all the teaching and people getting ready for baptism so that we can continue to have people to teach and progress throughout August and September so that things don't just drop like I talked about last week after these people are baptized.  We've found a couple new families to start teaching hopefully.  One single mother and her 3 sons seem very interested.  She works a lot but loves the idea of her boys having good male influences around them because they don't have their Dad.  So even though she had to work the 3 kids ages 12, 11, and 10 all came with their downstairs neighbor, who's a member, and loved primary too.  They're some great kids that we are really wanting to help along with their Mom because the environment where they live is definitely less than ideal and my heart just goes out to them.  We're hoping to get them to the church to play some basketball or something and do what we can to help them avoid the street influence that is all right in front of them.

     I have been so blessed to have grown up with the family I have and with the Gospel as my foundation.  I've really gained a testimony of that by serving around people like this is this area.  Thank you for all that you all do.  I love and appreciate your support and care.  You're the ones helping to make this amazing experience all possible.  Sorry there's not much to write.  I look forward to hearing from you next week.

Love, Elder Alex Craft

Monday, July 23, 2012

Moving Forward

Dear Craft Family,

     This week was good in the hood!  We had an exciting triple baptism in the ward here for the north Elders and the Spanish Sisters had a baptism yesterday so there were 4 in the zone for the weekend.  We were pretty excited an appreciative for all that the Lord seems to continue to bless us with.  Thank you for all the prayers and support that you give on my behalf.  The Minneapolis Zone looks like it will reach the goal we had of 10 baptisms for July.  We have a total of 9 already with a solid one scheduled for the end of this week.  It's amazing to see how many miracles come through following through on all we're asked to do as missionaries. 

    This week was great more specifically for us here in the South too.  We have the one guy I talked about last week that is still preparing and excited to be baptized on the 11th of August and another lady we've been teaching for a little while just committed this week to be baptized the week after on the 18th too.  We found a couple new investigators and have been keeping up the finding efforts so we can keep a continued balance and increase with teaching on through August and even September.  Our mission has been trying to focus recently on the standards of excellence President Clements has set and more specifically the numbers of "2-3-7".  Finding 2 Futures investigators each day, getting 3 investigators to come worship and attend sacrament meeting, and have 7 lessons taught to investigators with members present.  As we've been focusing on that we have seen so much success and things to be on a continual increase here instead of just teaching one or two people up until baptism and then crashing and staring all over from the beginning with trying to find all new people because we baptized everyone we were teaching.  It's a better cycle to keep of always finding new people along with having people close to baptism so that people are always progressing and baptisms start to be more on a consistent basis.  Teaching those lessons with members have been so helpful in people becoming truly converted.  It's an amazing process to see that occurs within individuals and is often times something they don't really notice too much within themselves until it's done.  That's the cool thing we are seeing with the guy who's getting baptized on the 11th.   Missionary work is just awesome!  I love it!

     We had a meeting with the Minneapolis Stake Presidency and President Clements yesterday to review the progress and success in the Stake with regards to missionary work, and President pointed out a couple interesting points to Elder Neeley and me afterwards.  He said he was just looking at the fact that "we have a missionary from Providence, Utah and one from Hooper, Utah both serving in South Minneapolis.  This is something unlike anything you ever have or will see" haha. And he's right.  We laugh about that all the time.  I tell almost everyone we contact about being from a small farming city in Utah of about 4,000 people with one four way stop and they can't believe that I'm standing there in the projects or off streets like East Lake St. and Chicago Ave. talking to them. It's so awesome haha.  The even funnier part is when I tell them about my years of hauling hay or moving pipe and harvesting watermelon, pumpkins, corn, or whatever else for Evan.  Then my description of what I did before my mission working at Dallas Green Farm and Home Supply store seems so foreign to them haha.  It's such a great experience to have a chance to be in Minneapolis where I am and gaining the experiences I am.  I love it!  At the baptisms on Saturday we were noticing and talked with some other people about our ward having the most tattoos per capita out of anywhere. haha  If I get any pictures you'll see what I'm talking about.  One cool thing we've been experiencing recently is that people on the streets are always out and around so you run into the same people every now and again.  So we've gotten to know some of the road side beggars and other people that just roam around and can stop and talk to them or call out their names and wave as we go by and they know who we are.  Usually they just yell back, "my Jesus brothers", our last names, "or the Mormons!" and wave haha.

     Like I said before though things are going great!  I really am loving it here and loving the area I'm in and people I'm serving.  Missions are the best and it's through all your love, prayers, and support that I get to be out here and have the time of my life that I am!  I love and appreciate all you do.  Keep up all the great work and I hope to talk to you again soon!

Love, Elder Alex Craft

Monday, July 16, 2012

All Signs Indicate Romney Should be Stopped

Dear Craft Family,

     I'm so glad to hear all about the great things going on with all of you!  In about a week from what it sounds like we're going to have a new little family addition too!  That's way exciting!  I wish I had more time to write today so I'm sorry if this is a little shorter.

     This week has been a great week for us here!  Things are going well in our part of the vineyard in Lake Nokomis South with an investigator we have setting a baptismal date for the 11th of August.  He is a great guy that we have grown to love so much.  He was introduced to the missionaries at church about 3 months ago with his girlfriend who is a member of the ward here that brought him to church.  Things have been going well and I've been meeting with him ever since I got to the area.  Things have now progressed not only spiritually, but with him and his girlfriend to where they are planning on getting married here soon but he wants to be baptized before then so they can work on being sealed.  We were so excited for him and are working very hard to help him make it for the 11th, so then in about a year we can see them at their sealing.  Family completing, or in the case a family starting baptism, are among some of the greatest moments and miracles that the Lord allows us to be apart of as missionaries.  This investigator told us how he respects and reveres us so much and every Elder he's ever met and looks forward to the day that his now 5 year old son can serve a mission and become like us.  It's great to see the impact just an example can be to all the people around us.

     Things have also been going well here in the District and our Zone too.  We're on track to try and meet our goal.  There are so many great miracles and blessings that Our Father in Heaven is giving to us.  I appreciate the love and faith that you all show in all your prayers that help to aid us with all the miracles we've seen.  It sounds like there have been some great things going for you guys too.  Not only with the baby coming but the move for Nick and Brady getting to see what a big city mailbox and yard looks like haha.  It sounds like he's having a great time over there which is great. 

     The libraries been packed today so I only have a couple minutes left to say some last things.  First, President Clements told all us missionaries that we need to get an absentee ballot if we want to vote this year and because the election is the day before I come home I need you to see if I've been registered somehow or what I can do to get that absentee ballot.  It will be kind of interesting to see what happens leading up to that.  We found another stop sign with Romney painted under it the other day.  I should have registered to vote my Senior year I'm pretty sure, but I remember having to turn in my registration for some assignment in my U.S. Government class and the teacher said she'd send them in for us.  I'm just never sure if she did.  So if you know how to check that out or look it up just let me know what I need to do for that haha.  Also, time is flying by!  I can't believe Tommy Scoleri comes home from Florida in about a week and a half!  That's so crazy!  That's probably why you didn't see many of our friends up at the Weber State fireworks, Mom.  Most of mine are either married or on missions haha.  You could be right that you weren't in the right spot either this year to see the rest of them running around everywhere haha. 

     Well I love you guys and I hope all is well with you.  I look forward to any new exciting pictures and updates next week.  Tell Whitney and Phil good luck and I'll be praying for them too.  I'll talk to you soon!

Love, Elder Alex Craft

Monday, July 9, 2012

4th of July Fun

Hello Everyone!

     The 4th of July was a lot of fun with us with transfers and having some good bbq at the Johnson's house.  We had all the missionaries in the ward there and some of their family so that made things pretty eventful and fun.  We still had to be home before the fireworks started to do our planning but after planning to end the night the Barretts invited us upstairs to watch the fireworks from their backyard that they were shooting off a few blocks away on the other side of the freeway at Veteran's Park.  I don't know if I mentioned before that we live in the Barretts basement or not.  If not you know now haha.  Elder Neeley and I call it "the Man Cave".  Hopefully I get some pictures taken soon that we can show you exactly what I'm talking about haha.

     The heat and humidity has been pretty crazy this last week.  We had a couple days of the heat index of 110+.  Today there's a nice breeze and the temperature's dropped a little so it feels more like a Utah hot and not a tropical summer day.  Things here with Elder Neeley are going great there.  I told you a little last week but he's from Logan and went to Mountain Crest High School.  He's the youngest of 4 boys and the last one to serve a mission.  He graduated last year and has been out since December so he loves to tell me how "ancient" I am on the mission haha.  He's a way cool guy and great missionary.  It was an interesting transfer for him moving 30 blocks for transfers from the Lake Nokomis North area to Lake Nokomis South.  We are really working hard together and trying hard to motivate and inspire the zone.  We also need to try and build up the work here in our area.  We have some good people we're teaching but not enough to balance out our time between finding (tracting, contacting, etc.) and teaching.  We did a lot more finding this week and really hit the ground sweating with some of those warm days, but we did find 17 Future Investigators or people who gave us their info. and told us to come by again.  So hopefully with that things should start to pick up.

     I love hearing all the updates from home.   It gives me a lot of things to remember to pray for haha jk.  I hope that things are going better out West with the fires and East with the storms.  Nick's probably enjoying the Arizona heat by now but I'll keep praying things continue to go well there too.  That's good you're keeping an eye on my friends at these farewells for me.  Have you found out if any of those guys still at home are planning on serving a mission or school or anything like that.  Speaking of school I still haven't decided at all where I'm going to go or what I'm even going to study.  President Clements told me I need to start looking into it a little bit but there's no time on p-day to spend looking at that haha.  There are some members in the ward from Hawaii, the Fuluvakas, that were trying to convince me to go out to BYU-Hawaii and almost had me sold haha.  So if we throw that into the mix with N's offer of ASU too there's s few different places I could think about going along with the U of M back here in Minneapolis haha.  But who knows I may just end up at good old "Harrison High" (Weber State).  I'll let you know if I need any help application wise. 

     Thanks for all the letters and support you guys give to me!  I really appreciate the time that you spend writing or in prayer.  It means a lot.  You guys are the greatest and I look forward to talking to you again!

Love, Elder Minnesoooota Craft :)

P.S.  I think that happened a couple times with my radio Dad but to be honest I can't remember what I did to fix it.  It may be something with the wiring.  I know when my subs would cut out it was a loose wire I had to tighten or adjust on the amp, so maybe that is it.  I'm not sure.  Sorry I can't be of more help.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Why Does Everyone Leave Me?

Dear Family,

     Well today was transfer calls and I found out that I get to stay in the Hood a little while longer!  Woot Woot haha.  It's been a lot of fun being with Elder Holmes but sticking true to my tradition of one transfer companions that happened again.  He's headed down to Rochester and my new companion is Elder Neeley from Logan, Ut.  The same Elder Neeley that has been serving on the North side of the ward here so he's not coming very far at all haha.  They are moving him to be a Zone Leader now but keeping him here in the same ward.  I'm excited to continue to work with him and for the great things that are and will happen here.  With Elder Neeley that makes my 14th companion and my 9th from Utah.  I think I'm going for some sort of record here haha.  The other 6 had three that were from Idaho and one from both California and Oregon.  It's going to be a fun transfer this next 6 weeks that we are really looking forward to.

     As far as the 4th of July goes no we aren't expected to go out and knock on doors all night.  We actually just get to email today and then P-Day has been moved to Wednesday from 2-9 after transfers to do all the rest of the stuff that we need to.  It's kind of interesting, but it should be pretty fun.  There's a family in the ward, the Johnsons, who are going to have all of us missionaries over to eat and stuff that night.  There are fireworks that they shoot off right by the lake near their house but now it doesn't get dark until around 9:30, so we won't be outside to see them but will probably get to hear them all night long haha.

     The fun of missionary work still continues.  Unfortunately that couple I talked about getting baptized had some crazy stuff come up and won't be getting baptized in this ward at least.  Eventually they will because they love and have a testimony of this Gospel and the church, but some events made it so we aren't teaching them anymore.  I would love to fill you in and be a little less vague about it all but I don't have the time or typing ability to do that.haha That's just a story you'll have to remind me to tell you later haha.  Other than that things are going well.  We've started off the month with 1 baptism in the zone so far on our way to 10 for our goal in July.

     Thank you again for all your love and support! Your prayers are really helping us to see the many blessings and miracles that we are!  Thanks for all you do.  I look forward to hearing from you this next week.

Love, Elder Alex Craft