I would just like to start by responding to a comment Mom made in her email about Natalie accomplishing a dream of mine that I had in driving on the bike path. Although the picture looks sweet to see you in the car on there the joke is that Brady and I drove down that one night on our way home a couple weeks before I left and I guess we never told you. haha So now Natalie is officially apart of our club that we started fall 2010. Welcome Natalie! :) haha
This week as I'm sure you are all fully aware of has been crazy and unexpected! I would have never thought I was going to get a chance to call and talk to any of you if you would have asked me at the beginning of the week. I am excited for the chance I have to extend my mission and to continue to help out anyway I can in my service to the Lord. That's so cool to hear that Shae is extending too! Man that's going to be crazy! Too bad for Tommy haha. I apologize that it did throw a major curve ball and wrench into the plans with Nick and Tati and the family all coming from Idaho. Not only did it ruin the whole 11/11 @ 11 thing Mom's been talking about but everyone's vacation and holiday plans. I'm excited to see what I can continue to learn and what the Lord will have in store. It is different going back now to a ward that I just served in and to one that is neighboring too. I've had 3 of these transfers now into bordering areas and these next few months will make my time in the Minneapolis stake officially up to somewhere over 15 months. That's nothing compared to Nick's 15 months in one area but it sure will make Stake Conference cool in November when I get a chance to see everyone from the Eden Prairie and now Lake Nokomis wards too. Even though I am excited to be be back in Bloomington I am sad to leave this area. We have a lot of things going here now and it's hard when you grow so close to people and work so hard to see it build and then to leave and put it in another missionary's care. Elder Neeley is great though and I only expect to hear about great things and many baptisms to come. The Elder coming to replace me here is Elder Bast. He's a very good, very happy missionary from Germany. He's from a little city called Glueckstadt up near the North Sea in Germany and will be a great help in leading this zone. I got to do exchanges with Elder Bast when I was in Bloomington the last time and see all the great qualities he will help the zone with. The good news is that even though I am leaving I'm only going a little ways away and will be able to see how all these things continue to progress and come back for some of the baptisms coming up. This past week we had the interviews for both Brother and Sister Mentoe and they're both good to go for this Saturday. we still haven't figured out the best way I can tell them I'm leaving because even if it is pretty close they still won't be happy haha. And that's the last thing we want is some angry Liberians haha jk. They should be ok because I should be able to come to the baptism Saturday. We are really excited and have grown to love them so much! They talked to me on Saturday about how they are wanting to come to Utah next summer to visit me and see the Salt Lake Temple. I was pumped to hear that I they are excited to do it. It's not for sure by any means but at the least it's a great idea and desire and something to look forward to hopefully.
Besides the crazy news on Thursday for Mom this week has been great. We found a couple new investigators that show some real promise and potential with a few more people that we found and Elder Bast and Elder Neeley will go back to teach this week. The Lord has been directing us so much and it's amazing to see the preparation of people that truly goes on before our face. We run into at least a few people a week that have some association with The Church. Whether it's they like or hate Mitt Romney, they have family members or friends that are members, or they have met with missionaries before years ago. That last one happened to us a couple of times this last week; contacting and tracting into people who have been to our church or at least read from The Book of Mormon and met with missionaries some time in the past. It's always a great feeling to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and feel the direction that was given to you to find these people. Just as cool as the finding is when that guidance comes in teaching. For example this past week when we taught the Ms about tithing we got to a point in the lesson where we were explain how you actually donate with an envelope there after we'd already covered the doctrine and asked Brother M some question about what we had taught. He told us his experience of being in the kitchen a few hours earlier in the day and thinking, "I need to be doing more for the Lord, but how can I do that?". He hadn't related that to Sister M because she'd been running errands all morning and we actually beat her to the house for the appointment. He told us also in regards to the envelope we shared that they would ask themselves at church every week where to offering plate was or if we even did tithes and offerings because they never saw it. Every week though they would forget to ask us about it and so Brother M said it was no coincidence that we taught that today with the thought that he had and now the answer that we gave to his question. They were both excited and look forward to the blessings of tithing in their lives! It was such a good lesson and all of us were just to happy afterwards. Those guys are a true example to me of faith and really just putting your trust in the Lord and knowing that things will always work out "through God's grace" as the Ms always say haha. It's sweet whenever you ask how they're doing too Sister M says, oh praise God we are blessed in Jesus name". African people are so legit!
Sorry that I don't have much more time. We have to go down and start to help with the crazy transfer coming up today once all the calls are done and then I have to be in Bloomington by tomorrow morning again with all my stuff for my official early transfer because even though Elder Dalrymple doesn't fly home until Wednesday tomorrow all the departing missionaries go to the mission home and have all their departure interviews, training, and a trip to the temple. Plus, we have a couple new missionaries from this last transfer to do exchanges with tomorrow before the craziness with 22 new ones coming out on Wednesday! Thank you so much for the love and support that you guys give to me! I can truly feel that and more fully appreciate it after this new change in plans! You guys are so great and love having such a great foundation around me. I love you and I'll talk to you soon!
Love, Elder Alex Craft