Thursday, November 22, 2012

International Travels and Thanksgiving!

Hey family!

                I am sorry that this weekly update is coming to you late and a little bit shorter than you would like I'm sure but I just wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that all went well down in Sandy with that side of the family.  Tell Jacob congratulations for me and I look forward to meeting his fiancé.

                Today has been a definite Thanksgiving for the books and one I don't think I'll ever forget.  I am so thankful at this time of year to reflect on all the many things that I am so thankful for in my life.  I am most thankful for a loving Father in Heaven that sent His Son to be a Savior for the world.  I am also thankful for His love in putting me in a family with all of you!  I don't know what I could or would do without you and know that there is no other group of people that I was meant to be with and associate so closely with in my time here on Earth than all of you.  You do so much for me and help me in so many ways that I can't even begin to describe.  I love even more the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge that it gives me in knowing that I can be with all of you as a family for eternity.  Even if not all of you want me after my choice in schooling haha jk ;).  There are so many things that I could be so thankful for and that I am thankful for but are hard to find the words for.  More than anything at this moment I am thankful for the chance that I have had to be missionary and to serve here in the greatest mission the MMM!  I have learned and will learn so much from my time spent in service.  I am thankful for the good and not so good times.  I am thankful for the hard faith building and testing times and the miracles that I have witnessed in my life and the life of others.  I think that through this experience I have become most thankful for my testimony especially on the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice for all of us.  I am thankful for the knowledge of all the simple things that I can do in my life with eternal blessings that come and for the joy I feel in doing the simple things that we are asked.  There  are just so many things that I have and should not take for granted that all come from my Father in Heaven.

I wish I could tell you all the details from my Thanksgiving 2012 but this story will have to be a little briefer than my usual ones haha.  As you know we spent a day in Pine City, MN Sunday to Monday and in Grand Rapids, MN for Monday to Tuesday which were both awesome experiences!  It was great to work with those Elders and to see the work going on there and those parts of the state that I never got the chance to serve in.  The areas up North like Grand Rapids remind me a little bit of what it's like near Yellowstone just minus the mountains and crazy geysers haha.  It's all very beautiful.  My first time out of the country was a really cool and really close experience going to Thunder Bay.  (Relatively speaking for those others in my family that have traveled or served all the foreign missions that they have).  We got there at about 8:30 pm CST on Tuesday night and then started for home this morning at 4:30 am CST to travel the 7 hours that we had to back for the Thanksgiving dinner that we would be having this afternoon, which was a great experience in and of itself.  With all the turkey and stuffing in me now it's making concentrating and communicating a little more effectively difficult haha.  It has been crazy to think about the experience that we had of being out of the country earlier today and traveling about 400 miles back down to Bloomington.  It was just as much fun to see and work with the Elders up there to get spend some time seeing a part of the mission that only a handful ever see.  In our time there in Canada I got the chance to teach, find (tracting and street contacting mostly), and see the brotherhood that is formed in serving together for the common purpose of serving the Lord.  This 4 day exchange experience was a huge blessing for us in being allowed to do it.  I realize that I've used the work experience a lot in this email but that's what my mission has been to me and for me, especially in the last couple of days, a lot of experiences.  It seems like looking back I have had an unbroken chain of good experiences throughout my entire time as a missionary and treasure so much the great lessons learned and people I've met along the way.  Every experience has been a good one for me in one way or another and I wish I had the words to convey to you and help you understand what it has fully meant for me as I have reflected on it throughout today.  (14+ hours in a car over 4 days has given me a lot of time to think and reflect haha).  I have learned and seen myself appreciate even more the joy in living in the moment and having joy every step of the way not just when the journey's over.  I look forward to telling you all about them and sharing with you in the most heartfelt way I can what it has meant for me.  I know that there is still a lot to learn and look forward to and I'm excited to embrace all the experiences coming my way in the near future.

I'm sorry that this isn't as detailed or descriptive but I had very limited time to try and write this.  I hope that all is well and to hear from you again soon.  I love you all.

Love, Elder Alex Craft

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