Monday, September 28, 2009

I sure love the Work!

Dearest Family,
A mission is an adventure! It's crazy that this once in a lifetime opportunity goes by so quickly. We've been really busy, and I sure love the work. I get to learn and grow everyday. I don't have a whole lot of time, but I wanted to send my love and appreciation.

it tells me three times in my Patriarchal blessing to be grateful. Thank you for being such a wonderful example of that. It reminds me of the story that I heard of a man that bore his testimony twice in a row only saying, "If you want to be happy, be grateful." May the Lord continue to bless you.

I've been working hard to memorize "The Living Christ". I love the intellectual stimulation of memorization :) Thank you for sharing those spiritual experiences you have. They are so inspiring! I can't wait to see Joshua's progress when I get home. Yeah I did run into Sister Sumsion! It was kind of cool :) Thanks for sending the package! All your work is much appreciated. I love you all! (By the way, transfers are next week)
***Remember how important General Conference is! Prepare well to be instructed by the prophets and the Spirit!
Love, Elder Craft

MIRACLE Stories:One of our most wonderful experiences this past week was at the FHE activity we have every Wednesday night. There are a couple of families in the ward that attend and take turns opening up their home and providing dinner for all of our investigators who want to come. We just spend time getting to know each other, then we have a lesson afterwards. After a big day full of phone calls, arrangements were made for all of our investigators (except one family) to come. We had to set up a bunch of rides with members to get everyone there. Then it was so cool being able to show up (a little late) and see everyone there enjoying food and each others' company!Also, we got free dinner at Chipotle this week! We attempted to use a coupon because we're low on money, but then we each got fed completely free! It was quite miraculous :) I love being a missionary!

What miracles have you seen from effective planning?:Something that has happened more than once is when we are trying to prayerfully set our goals, and we both come up with the same number. It's not an obvious choice either, we just both have the same thing come to mind.Testimony: It's doing quite well! I especially felt the Spirit this past fast and testimony meeting when we got up to share our testimonies.

Service: We didn't get to do as much service as we'd like this week. I did make Elder Oakes some McPfiles though!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The miracle of Fasting & Tithing

Dear Family,
Life is wonderful as a missionary! I really love this work! Yesterday I hit my 4 month mark, which is really weird. We're staying very busy, and I sure hope that I'm making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Your prayers and messages are much appreciated!Yesterday I had the wonderful privilege of confirming Al Carter (my first time confirming someone). He is the first investigator that I've been able to work with from the very beginning until baptism, so that was really neat!

Dear Dad,
It sounds like you had a great birthday, which makes me really happy! I sure love you. I'm so glad to hear you're feeling the blessings of the Lord poured out upon your life and family. Remember "there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven...upon which all blessings are predicated," so you definitely do deserve them! I've often thought about how blessed I've been in my life, and why it is so easy for me. I honestly don't have ANYTHING to really complain about. The thought comes to my mind, that for people like that, the Lord has high expectations for service. Since we don't have to worry about ourselves, we can give more to others. We should "do many things of [our] own free will" and "bring to pass much righteousness." I want you to know that I look up to you a lot and know the Lord is very pleased with what you are doing in your life. Thank you for doing all that you did to get me on this mission. My life will be forever changed!

Dear Mom,
Thank you so much for everything! Thanks for calling about the insurance/immunizations thing. I love you beyond expression! I'm not "trunky" or "homesick" but I do miss you very much! At our last zone conference they told us to "be the missionary your mother thinks you are." That really hit home for me. I desperately hope to give the quality of service that is expected from a son of yours. I can honestly say that I am working hard and making a ton of progress, but I also have a long way to go in the next 20 months. Sister Pfile said we need about $60-100 for the flu shots this fall so we can prevent potential worse medical bills. I'm not sure about winter gear yet, but I don't think I'll use the trench coat thing :)I could use some stamps and letters please :)Thanks again for everything! I love you all so much!

P.S. Say "hi" to Grandpa Craft for me. Tell him I love him!

Copied Stories:We had Al Carter's baptismal service last Saturday, and he was confirmed yesterday. Along with finding and teaching other investigators, right now we're really working with the Foster family: Robert, Rachel, and their four kids, one of whom is old enough to be baptized. We've been very blessed with these people who are very prepared to be baptized, and we're excited to continue to find and teach more!

MIRACLE Stories:We witnessed a very definite miracle this past week with the Fosters' van. Last Fast Sunday as we were visiting with them, Elder Oakes felt prompted to teach them about fasting. We decided to fast with Robert so that they could find and afford a certain piece to fix their broken-down van. Just a couple of days later they told us that someone agreed to trade a good one for their broken one. It didn't cost them a thing, and they were able to fix their van! Because of that, they have been able to get their 6-person family to a church tour the next day and to church on Sunday.
Another miracle we witnessed this past week was in teaching Al the law of tithing. At first it was really hard for him to commit to. With business being slow and hours being cut, he just didn't see how he could afford it. After much prayer and testimony, he agreed to test the Lord and pay the whole 10% first thing. The very next day, his boss talked to him about taking on new responsibilities and probably getting more hours. Also, due to some blessing disguised as trials, something happened so that he won't have to pay one of his bills, and it is quite clear that he'll be able to pay his tithing. The Lord really does provide a way!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Since yesterday was Labor Day, it was a good missionary working day, so today is P-day instead. Dad, I love you so much and hope you have a WONDERFUL birthday on Saturday! I actually have a birthday present for you: We'll be having a baptismal service Saturday evening! Yep that's right; and I'm way excited :)Anyways, it's so good to hear from both of you Mom and Dad. I love to hear about the awesome work that is going on back home. I'm quite surprised about Jacob's flips! I guess he'll be a whole new "little man" when I get back :)I'm sorry to hear about Randy's father. I'll definitely pray for him. I love you all so much and very much appreciate your prayers! Good luck with school Jacob, Joshua, and Benson!

Love,Elder Craft

Here's some excerpts from my letter to President Pfile:

We've been working a lot with Al Carter who is preparing to be baptized this Saturday. He's really progressing and excited! We've also been very blessed with two other families who are taking the lessons and investigating the church. One family, the Fosters, already have a date for their baptisms! Both of these families have come by an ITL ("Invite to learn" or street contact). We've been really trying hard to have diligent and quality ITL's at all times, and we're really seeing the fruits of that effort.

MIRACLE Stories:We've heard some really neat stories from investigators this past week. We talked to Robert in his front yard, and he said we could come back. We didn't necessarily think he'd be super solid, but we came back anyways and got to meet his girlfriend Jenny. She told us when we could come back and teach them both, and we later learned that she had been praying for direction from God right before we showed up! She recognized us as an answer to her prayer.

Also, we taught a man named Tyler Fuqua yesterday. He said that he used to go to a church with a friend, but then his friend had to work on Sundays and couldn't go anymore. Right after he had the need to find another church, we talked to him on the street! He also recognized it as a sign from God.

Area: It's got so much potential, and I love it!
Companion: He's is such a great example to me, and we're really getting along quite well.
Testimony: I've really felt an increase in my testimony of the scriptures. There is such power in the word of God!
Service: The best service that I think we offered was when we stopped to talk to two homeless guys last night. We gave them a bag of cookies and Elder Oakes gave them the socks right off his feet! We talked and laughed with them and tried to cheer them up and give them hope.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pictures from the Mission!

We finally got some pictures of Spencer's mission sent to us! There was only a grand total of 30 pictures, and here are a handful of the best ones. I emailed him, inquiring about the stories behind some of these pictures. The text in quotes and italicized is Spencer's response.

MTC missionaries!

At the airport with his MTC companion, Elder Kyle Staheli.

"The big family baptism picture was for Shawn Ruston's baptism. I got to help teach all but the first two lessons. The family in the picture are the Goodwin's. They're a great family! There daughter worked with Shawn and gave us the referral."

"The frog we almost hit while driving home one night, then we caught it in a box and brought it home! The spider was caught by some oher missionaries. We let the frog go, but I think Sister Pfile took the spider! She thought it was cool, which kind of suprised me :)"
Ew! Gross! Yes, I think he took this picture to scare his sisters! :)

"The other picture of the guy between Elder Godinez and I is of John Souther. He's the private investigator/ex-Raiders player and police chief. He's the one that I got to baptize, which was really cool!"

Oh it's so good to see Spencer's face again, even in pictures! Hope you all enjoyed some pictures from his mission!