Monday, December 27, 2010

Elder Craft's Goal Setting Seminar

Dear Family,

I really enjoyed talking to all of you on Christmas!!! I'm not really used to long phone calls and was kind of tired, so I probably didn't sound as spunky as I usually am, but I really did enjoy listening to all of you and feeling of your spirits. Thank you again for all the presents, letters, and everything!! I really had a great Christmas and am looking forward to this exciting new year! I think it's going to be a crazy one, but I like roller coasters and have faith that if we stay close to the Lord and work hard, it's going to be an awesome year!
Kim de Ridder got confirmed yesterday and is super excited about the gospel! She's already an on fire missionary. She's been telling all of her friends about it and inviting them to come to church. It's pretty awesome to see.

I actually saw a little miracle yesterday. I didn't eat a very healthy lunch before Church, so I was feeling pretty sick right before we were supposed to do the Confirmation. I was a little concerned but decided to push through it. It was amazing how as soon we began to perform the ordinance I immediately felt better and was able to speak just fine. Even after the blessing I felt a lot better as if I had been healed. It was pretty awesome! God is merciful to His Priesthood holders, even when they're not the smartest.

You'd be so proud of me. Last Friday for District Meeting I had everyone do the "Gift to Jesus" tradition, which went pretty good. I was trying to spread a little Craft family Christmas cheer in Colorado. I think it worked :)

This Friday for District Meeting, I'm planning on attempting "Elder Craft's Goal-Setting Seminar"! It may not be Tony Robbins quality, but I'll do my best :) I figured it would be appropriate with the new year. I already have the outline:

1. Vision/Desire

2. Goals/Planning

3. Faith/Attitude

4. Work/Commitment

5. Accountability/Consistency

I figure if one could master these principles then he/she could accomplish anything!

I revise these kinds of formulas about 3x a day, so we'll see what it is by Friday.

I love you all so much! Have an outstanding New Year!!!


Elder Craft

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dear Family,

Thank you sooooo very very much for all that you've sent me (letters, pictures, packages, prayers, etc....)! I really appreciate every bit of it!

I'd love to talk to you sooner, but Elder Bennett's family needs to talk to him at like 7:00pm Colorado time, and it would just be easiest to call at the same time, so hopefully that works and I don't interrupt too much fun :)
Okay, game plan: I'll call you, say "What's up?", give you our phone #, and then you'll call me right back, so you have to pay for it, not us. Sound good? :) I love you all so much and very much look forward to talking to you on Christmas!

Dear Joshua,
Hey buddy, eat more of those nasty green vegetables! They'll make you super strong!

MIRACLE Stories:

The baptism yesterday went very well!! I was blessed to actually do the baptizing, and then at the end of the service, Kim got up and bore her testimony. Her nonmember friend who is on military leave was there and talked to another missionary for quite a while. He took a Book of Mormon and seemed to have a good time.

Yesterday was actually a crazy day! Right after Sacrament Meeting, Kim needed a blessing, because she got sick the night before. The adversary has been slamming her with trials, but she's pushing through very well. She went home, got rest, and miraculously felt a lot better! Then during Priesthood Meeting we got called in to participate in the ordaining of a young man to the office of Teacher. His father isn't a member (yet), and so he asked me to do the ordination. It was a pleasant surprise. Then of course, we had the baptism that evening, so it was just a day filled with ordinances!

Today we had our Christmas Conference with Pres. and Sis. Pfile! As always, it was an incredible meeting!!!

This past week I've been able to really appreciate a miracle that we experienced about 2 months ago. During a Sacrament Meeting I felt strongly impressed to introduce our investigators, who were in our ward for the first time, to a certain family for fellowship. At the end of the meeting, however, they had to run off real quickly, and we weren't able to do so. But the very next day, our investigators needed a ride, and we were able to get this family to help out. Since then, they really took the investigators under their wing and have helped them out through the whole process. They sat in on some of the lessons. They were there to offer support during some trials. The wife gave a birthday present haircut to the investigator. The husband spoke at the baptism of one of those investigators yesterday. All in all, they have really gone the extra mile in helping out; most of which, they've completely done on their own. It was really cool to see how just following the impression to get the right fellowshippers has been miraculous for our investigator!

I'm so grateful for the birth, life, example, teachings, Church, gospel, sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!!! Thank you again for all that you have done for me, for others, and for the Lord. I hope you all have a wonderful, Christ-centered, service-driven, and Spirit-filled Christmas!

Elder Craft

Monday, December 13, 2010

We are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for that story! On a mission I actually prefer the typed version instead of the book, so that was perfect. Thanks!

Can I make another request? On a road trip you read us a quote that is something like this "Service isn't the temporary payment we make to earn our way into the Celestial Kingdom. Rather, it is the very fiber by which such a place is created." (How'd I do?) Can you send the more accurate quote with the speaker? Thank you so much!

My size: slightly fatter than last year, but same height, large shirt would be great!

Our investigator, Kim De Ridder, is getting baptized this Sunday @ 6:00! We've finished teaching everything, and she's already accepted it all. She's very excited!

I don't have a lot of time, but I want you all to know that I love you all very much! I know without a doubt that this church is true! I love my mission! And I hope you all have a meaningful and Spirit-filled Christmas! I encourage all of you to take a step back and ponder: What would Christ want me to do to celebrate His birth, life, and atonement? How can I truly honor Him during this Christmas season? What would He do with the opportunities to serve that He has given me? May we all try a little harder to remember and emulate the One who has given the greatest gift of all. That we may do so is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Craft

Monday, December 6, 2010

My New Companion Elder Bennett

Dear Family,

My new companion is Elder Bennett, from Winchester, Virginia! He actually came out with Elder Neff (they've both been out for 6 months). He's got 1 younger brother. He wants to go into animation. He's got Toy Story bedding, and he loves corn dogs. In case you haven't guessed, he's kind of goofy, but I think I'm going to love serving with him :)

I don't know if they told you, but the Johnson's in your ward sent me a very nice package with some goodies in it :) I'm going to send them a thank you note, but feel free to tell them thank you for me in person. That was very thoughtful of them.

The work is going pretty good. We have one investigator, Kim De Ridder, who is preparing to get baptized on her birthday (Dec 19th)! She is really excited about it all. Also, we got someone new this week: Kevin Haines. He and his wife just moved from Tooele, Ut. I thought they were both members because they've been coming to church pretty regularly, but this past week we found out that he wasn't a member yet. So we hurried over there right away to talk to him, and he pretty much said that he wants to be baptized. So we invited him to take the lessons, and we are starting them tomorrow!

Hey do you remember the children's book where there's a roudy class, a teacher who has them set up rules and penalties, then a poor little kid gets in trouble and another kid takes the punishment for him? Kim has 2 sons that are 4 and 6. We gave them some of the church DVD's, which they really like, but they have some questions about why the Atonement was necessary. She asked us for help, and that story came to mind. Is there any way that you could type it up and email it to me? Or if you have another idea of how to explain it to a little kid, that'd be great! Thanks!!!

Dear Benson,
Hey buddy, what's up? How are things going lately? It's not fair because you get to hear how I'm doing via Mom and Dad, but I don't hear much about what's happening in your life. So you gotta fill me in. How's school? How's Savior of the World? How's driving? Are you doing any sports? How's the violin going? (You better still be practicing!) Have you gone on any dates yet? How do you like the farm? How many pushups can you do? How do you like the horse? How much do you miss me? Are you eating your green vegetables? Do you still listen to audio books non-stop? Are you being a good boy? etc... Anyways, I love you tons! See ya!

Elder Craft

Monday, November 29, 2010

A grateful Son

Dear Mom,
Thank you very much for the package!! All those things were very thoughtful of you. I hope everything is going well for you during this busy holiday season :) As for Christmas, I really don't feel like I need anything, but I know that whether I give you ideas or not, you're going to send stuff, so I guess I could offer a few suggestions. Recently Pres. Pfile changed the music policy from an approved list to just going by the Spirit. Music should invite the Spirit, be uplifting, and help us stay focused. So now we can make the decision on what's appropriate. Having said that, here's a couple of CD's that were actually approved before that I've heard a little bit and really enjoy: Reflections on Christ (2): Another Testament, CD's by "4 Ordained", David Archuletta's Christmas CD, recent EFY CD's (after Steady and Sure), etc... Or if you find something else that is really good, that works too :) I don't really get to shop around too much. It should just have some type of gospel theme and not be too crazy. I like healthy, easy, non-decaying snacks as well! (those Cliff bars are great!) And of course, I like ties :) If you find a cheap "dog-silencer," that would be sweet too! Other than that, that's all that I can think of. Of course, don't feel like you have to give me a lot. I'm better "forgetting myself and going to work," but I do appreciate all that you have done and will continue to do.

Oh by the way, transfers are tomorrow, and Elder Neff is going up to northern Springs. I will be getting Elder Bennett!!! Apparently he's a 2nd transfer missionary and is a little interesting, so I'm excited! :)

I love you so very much and wish you the best week ever!!

Dear Joshua,
Thank you so much for your tape that you made me!!! You are so good at those songs! I can't wait until I can hear you even more. Remember to always choose the right. Keeping an awesome boy. Be nice to Benson. I love you!

Dear Jacob,
Thank you for your card! I really liked it. You are very good at writing. I love you so much! Have a great day!

Dear Benson,
Do your homework. Don't get in debt. I love you!

MIRACLE Stories:
Yesterday at church we were surprised to see Kim Davis (an investigator who we had lost contact with). We've heard that she's been coming to church (and then leaving right after Sacrament Mtg), but she never returned our calls. Well, we found out that she started working nights, so she was never awake when we called. Also, her phone was messed up so she didn't get our voice messages. But apparently she's been reading the Book of Mormon and she's successfullly quit smoking for a whole month now! So we figured out a time when we can finish the lessons, because she said that she wants to make it for the next "baptismal ceremony"! We teach her tomorrow and will set a date for her baptism :)

Yesterday we also went to a "child of record" baptism, and the Spirit was so incredibly strong. People just don't know what they're missing. It gave me a stronger desire to do all that I can to share the gospel with others, so they can feel the peace and joy that I have.

Dear Dad,
I don't have a lot of time left, but I guess it would be unfair to not write my faithful pen pal dad. :) Thank you for the line of authority thing. Thank for all your hard work back home. Thank you for sharing the funny stories about Joshua. I love and look up to you so very much. I look forward to talking to all of you at Christmas. Have an awesome week!!!

Elder Craft

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Mom,
It's really not that cold here, (not as bad as Utah) and I kept all my cold weather gear from last year, so I'm good to go! I appreciate your concern for me though :) As far as the home baked goods thing: I do miss your cooking (speaking of which, can I make a request for my first breakfast home to be your delicious crepes?), however, the people here are taking very good care of us. We've been blessed with more food than we can handle (I'm now 200 lbs!..... jk, I wish), so it's really okay if you send the package without that kind of stuff. Thank you anyways :) I really do appreciate all that you do in my behalf! I love you so very much! I can't wait be able to show that love more when I get home. Until then, just know that you are truly a choice daughter of our Heavenly Father who has made such a profound impact on my life, that I will be forever grateful for you. I wish you the best in your Savior of the World performances and hope you have a fabulous, stress-free, Spirit-filled Thanksgiving and week!

Dear Dad,

Give Grandpa Craft a huge ginormous hug for me! I hope and pray that you travel safely and have a good experience. Thank you so much for your outstanding example! I know without a doubt that I wouldn't be where I am without your great example, counsel, love, and support. I'm glad to hear that the past year has been eventful and exciting. I must say that the same is true for me. It's been an awesome year! By the way, I really like your "high-adventure rafting" analogy. I think that's a great perspective! Hey, I was wondering if you could send or email me our "line of authority". I don't think I have it yet, and I think that it'd be sweet to have. Thanks! Again, I want to say that I love you and at this Thanksgiving time, one of the greatest things that I have to be grateful for is the family that I've been given (especially my Mom and Dad). Also, I can't go without saying how grateful I am for the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It truly is the greatest thing on earth. Thank you for sharing it with me. Have an exciting ride this week!

MIRACLE Stories:

Elder Lyman (from Lindon) and I went on exchanges this past week and saw a couple of amazing miracles! We went down to La Junta a few hours before a baptismal interview to do some work in their area. We stopped at a town along the way to see some less active's and talked to a lady who just pulled up to her apartment. She agreed to hear our message and was very engaged in the lesson. She said that going to church will help her family come closer together, and she accepted a baptismal date for December 11th! After that unplanned miracle, we went to La Junta to do some service, but it fell through, so Elder Lyman took us to go see some potentials in the area. One lady that has been a potential for a very long time was home and let us in. We answered some questions and then she asked, "If I'm interested, what is my next step?" So we began teaching the Restoration. Everything made a lot of sense to her and she was very excited about it all! Not only that, but the Spirit was so strong! She said that she got the "chills" and felt really good about our message. She also accepted a date for December 11th! Within just a couple of hours, we were blessed to have the Lord place two different people in our path at just the right time. It was an awesome day!


Elder Craft

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Joshua

Dear Joshua,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. 9 YEAR OLD!!!!!!! How's my little buddy doing?! You're getting to be such a big guy! Pretty soon, you might even be able to beat me up!!! Well anyways, I hope you have the best birthday in whole wide world!!! I wish I could be there to give you great big hug! I sure miss you Joshua, and I am so proud of the great young man that you are becoming. You're always so good at making people laugh, AND you're so smart, and obedient, and cool (not to mention your huge muscles!). Keep being a great boy and listening to Mom and Dad. They know what they're talking about.

I love you so much more than you know. I think about you often. I love hearing about the funny things that you say, and even more, I look forward to being able to come home and spend time with you again. Until that time, I hope you have a great birthday and continue to smile and let your light shine! Heavenly Father loves you so much and is very proud of you. He is preparing you to become an outstanding husband and father. Keep reading the scriptures, praying a lot, and being righteous. Be a good example to Jacob and Caleb and everyone else around you. Again, I want you know Joshua that I love you very, very much!

Also, I want you to know that I have a testimony that this Church is true. Jesus Christ really did die for our sins. This is His Church. I know that we will be happy if we keep the commandments. Thank you for all of your faith and for choosing the right. I know that you made the right decision to be baptized. The whole reason why I am out here is because I am trying to other people to know that and do likewise.

You're such an awesome guy Joshua, and I'm so excited that you've turned 9 years old. You've got 10 more years to prepare and then you can be a missionary just like me. I know that you're going to be a really good missionary! I love you buddy, and I hope you have an amazing birthday!!!


Dear Family,

Life on the mission is great. It's getting colder here, but hasn't snowed yet. We have 2 solid investigators right now: Samantha and Zeek Garcia. They came to church yesterday with their 2 kids (4 yr. old girl and baby boy), and later that evening they texted us saying thank you and that they had enjoyed church. We're really excited for them, and we have many other potentials who we're trying to contact right now. I hope all is going well back home.

No one commented on my t-shirt quote choice. Is that because you don't like it, but no one wants to tell me? It's okay-- I understand your predicament.
I'm sort of kidding, but in case that's true, I won't be offended if you want something different :)

Okay, I've got some time, so here are some of the things that I learned from my recent meetings:

Elder Jay E. Jensen:
"What would Sacrament Meeting be like without hymns?" Followed up with: "What would you're teaching be like without hymns?"
Reverence invites revelation.
Questions invite revelation.
"I'm never content with learning something until I can effectively teach it.
6 Principles to magnify your scipture study:
1. Pray- to the degree we pray, there will come a greater heighth, breadth, and depth to our understanding. This includes pondering. D&C 138. Pondering is a form of prayer. We should have "aha" moments regularly.
2. Pay the right price. What verbs in the scriptures are used to describe how we should study? (feast, search, liken, hearken, treasure up, etc...)
3. Link/Connect Ideas. Look for themes, patterns, processes, etc...
4. Create Outlines
5. Mark, annotate, cross-reference. "If there's white space, fill it up!"
6. Share- until you can articulate it, you need to work with it more.

Elder Russell M. Nelson:
In the last 2 months, 8 countries have been dedicated for missionary work.
"The Lord uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible." (said over and over again)
When you love the Lord more, your capacity to love others increases. Love must first be verticle, then horizontal.

Leadership Meeting:
Pres. Pfile:
You've got to BELIEVE! What's it going to hurt?
When teaching the gospel, we need to teach them how to really study and ponder the scriptures.
We must have URGENCY. There's no time to waste! We all need a little idle time, but I get sick of it very quickly. I'm happiest when I'm working.
The Spirit knows all things. Rely on Him to know what to say and do (all throughout life).
There are not enough brethren in the church with the desire to serve.

Sis. Pfile:
Desire- willing to pay the price. It's not easy.
When the Saints went west, Brigham Young wasn't concerned about them. What concerned him most, was his vision of our day. He was worried that we'd have it too easy.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Craft

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

18 months

Dear Dad,

I'm truly sorry to hear about Grandpa. I'm sure that it is a hard thing for you. It definitely is sad for me too, because I love and admire him very much and will miss him greatly; but I know that it would be a whole lot harder if he were my own father. So I want you to know that you have my love, comfort, and prayers. Thank you for telling me about his condition. I definitlely do want to hear about those kinds of things, so I can know to make an extra effort to write him some letters. And I promise to keep working hard and not get distracted. Honestly, I do feel the peace that the gospel brings at times like these. I'm so grateful for our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation! This is actually the first time that I've got to really experience the comfort that can come when you're about to lose someone close to you. So thank you for teaching me the gospel, because it definitely is true and blesses lives! I love you so much and will work hard to return with honor!

Dear Family,

Our meeting got done in 2 days this time, but was still amazing! I don't have time now but will share more of what I've learned from Elder Nelson and Pres. Pfile maybe on Monday.
I don't know if you realized this, but I hit my 18th month mark on Saturday! Aaahh! If I was a girl, I'd be coming home for the Holidays! But I'm not, and I'm a little slow at learning and accomplishing all that I need to on my mission. So you still get a 6 month break from me before I come back to eat all of your food.
Anyways, life serving the Lord is great! The church is still true! And I've always been one to kick it the harderst on the last lap. So, watch out Pueblo West, here I come!
Elder Craft

Monday, November 1, 2010

"You are My Hands"

Dear Family,

Guess what I get to do this Sunday? For the first time in the history of this mission, we are going to have a meeting with ALL the missionaries in one building. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be coming to teach us, and of course I'm very excited! I never met any Apostles in Utah, but now that I'm in Colorado, I get to meet them every once in a while :)

We had zone conference this past week, and the theme was connecting everything we teach to baptism. We need to talk about baptism more, teach about baptism more, and make a very clear mental bridge between baptism and all the other commitments we leave our investigators. It was a very inspiring meeting! I sure am going to miss zone conferences when my mission is over. Also, next week we have another leadership conference, so I won't email till Thursday.

At zone conference they passed out an incredible talk for us to read on our own time. It's called "In the strength of the Lord"--by Elder Bednar. It was a talk given at BYU about the Atonement, and I highly recommend that all of you study it!

Okay, I decided on the t-shirt quote for this year! During one of my personal study sessions last week, I realized that I needed to decide quickly, and I actually had kind of a cool experience doing so. When I read the talk "In the strength of the Lord" I thought that it would be a cool t-shirt quote, but it didn't seem quite right. But when I sat there and decided to finally choose a quote, in the less than a minute I felt impressed to look at the recent General Conference talks for ideas. So I pulled out the table of contents for the May 2010 Ensign, and it just jumped out at me! The very first title I saw was "You Are My Hands," by President Uchtdorf, and I knew right away that it was the quote I should choose. If you don't remember the significance of it, I suggest you read to talk, because it's a really good one. So that's what I decided. I hope it's just as exciting and inspiring for all of you. As for a picture, I thought either a pair of hands or the face of the Savior--or just whatever you can find that looks good.

On Saturday we tracted into someone who was kind of excited to see us. He said that he's recently met a friend who is mormon, and he's interested in coming to church some time. He was too busy to be taught at that time, but we got his info and will set up an appointment some time. Guess what his name is? Ed Craft! Yep, that's right. C-r-a-f-t. :) It kind of took me back at first, because he's the first person that I've ever met in my whole life who has the exact same last name as me (except my family of course). Surprisingly, he did come the very next day! We went up and talked to him and his friend, and she asked us if we were teaching him. We said "not yet." :) She then offered to sit in on the lessons. He calls me his "country cousin." See, Grandma Craft, I'm doing family history work too! :)

Dad, you asked me what I thought was the most important principle for being a successful missionary, which is kind of funny, because I just recently have received some very strong impressions regarding that subject. Throughout my whole mission I've been trying to create a formula or list of critical principles for missionary work. I've had many different drafts, with mostly the same ideas, but recently I've changed it to something that is really making more sense than anything else ever did. As of right now these are the things that I would counsel a prospective missionary about:

9 Principles for Successful Missionary Work

1. Faith/Focus
2. Preach My Gospel/8 MTC Lessons/Book of Mormon
3. Prayer/Revelation
4. Goals/Planning
5. Obedience/Work
6. Charity/Selflessness
7. Effective Teaching
8. Commitment-Driven
9. Self-Improvement

I'm out of time, so I can't really comment on these principles, but I'll let you ponder them as they are. Then maybe next week I'll explain a little more.

I love you all so very much! Thank you for being amazing!

Elder Craft

Monday, October 25, 2010

"No speak English"

Dear Family,

Ashley O'Hara was baptized yesterday after coming to church barely 3 times and being taught everything in a week and a half. When her previously LA husband talked about coming to church again, she at first was hesitant. She said that the hardest part was just stepping into the church for the first time, but she did it! After that she loved church, she was excited to learn more, and she was more than ready to accept the baptismal commitment when we offered it. Not only that, but what made her want to do it so soon, was because she wanted to go on the stake temple trip this weekend. She is extremely interested in and excited for the temple! I think that church attendance is an oustanding tool for finding, sifting, and converting the elect. Also, temple attendance is one of the greatest tools for helping new members endure to the end. How blessed we are to have these holy places!

Okay, I have a quick story to share. It's one that I didn't find too amusing, but as my companion has been devotedly telling it to everyone we meet, it seems to stir up quite a laugh. So, I guess I'll share it with you. It's another tracting one. After a long hot day of tracting, one becomes a little delirious and it's easy to not be the brightest star in the sky. Such was the case for me one day. By the way, I was called on my mission to speak English, but I've learned that in this mission it's also quite helpful to know a little Spanish, and so I've learned how to introduce ourselves as missionaries from The Church of Jesus of Latter-Day Saints, and I've been blessed with opportunities to use it. One day after talking with a bunch of white people, we ran into a lady of a little darker complexion, and so I was anxious to use the little Spanish that I know. The only problem is that this time the lady didn't seem to understand what I was saying. She just kept repeating, "No speak English". So I tried to enunciate my Spanish words more clearly, but that didn't seem to work. She was kind of laughing, but I was getting a little frustrated, so we just left her a pass-along card. As we walked away, my brilliant companion finally spoke up and, amidst bursts of laughter, said, "That lady was Chinese." :)

Ha ha ha, everyone laugh at Elder Craft. He's not very good at determining nationalities anyways, let alone after a long day.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gospel is true! I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the oppotunity that I have to represent Him and His church. I love the Book of Mormon and have a strong testimony that it is one of the greatest sources of spiritual power. If ever you are experiencing temptations, trials, or difficult decisions that you don't feel like you can deal with on your own, open up the Book of Mormon! Immerse yourself in it's spirit and teachings. Read about and ponder Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Study the righteous examples of the prophets of old and liken them to your own life. Even if you are doing that already, take it up a notch, and I promise you that strength, peace, and answers will come.

I thank you all for your continual love and support, but even more importantly, for your faithfulness in keeping the commandments. I'm overwhelmed when I ponder what my life could've been like, if I hadn't been blessed with such a righteous family. I thank each of you for your testimony and example. I love you all so very much, and I will continue to pray for your physical and spiritual safety and happiness. Continue to work hard, be obedient, be loving, be grateful, pray often, and look for miralces. Have an outstanding week!

Elder Craft

P.S. Dear Mom, I hereby covenant that I'll have the shirt quote by next week. I want it to be a good one :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Scripture Marking System

Dear Family,
Well, nothing is happening to me or my companion for transfers, which is fine with me. But Elder Hone in my district will be training and maybe he'll get Elder Scoville (Brittney's neighbor's brother). That would be kind of funny. As for me, if you could pray for me to be blessed with patience in our companionship, that would be much appreciated. Lately, it's been kind of tougher than with other companions. Thanks!

So I just found out about a scripture marking method that was brought to our mission by Elder Robbins of the Seventy, a little before I came into the mission. I really like it! (I'll put my personal ideas in parenthesis).

Purple- References to the Savior (names and things that He did/does, but not necessarily that we should do)
Orange- People, Places, Historical Info, Background/Context, etc.... (I'll also include neutral examples of people doing things that are interesting-not necessarily good or bad. There will probably be a lot of this)
Yellow-Points of interest, Eternal principles (teachings that aren't commandments OR warnings, just statements of fact. There will probably be a lot of this. I decided to switch yellow and blue)
Green-Commandments, Things to do (I will include good examples of righteous people doing things in the scriptures, even though it's not directly telling us to do them)
Blue-Blessings promised for keeping commandments (I decided to switch the colors yellow and blue, but it works either way).
Red-Warnings (things NOT to do. Also--bad examples. The actions of evil people.)
Brown-Punishments attached to the warnings

Also, an important principle is to only mark key words or phrases. Try not to mark whole verses or sections; if needed, use a bracket. There might be several ideas in single verse. Mark in such a way to be able to easily pick out and distiguish different ideas.

This is also how I'm going to mark my PMG. It's a great method!

Dear Jacob,
Thank you so much for your letter and pictures! You're getting so tall and you are a very good writer! I love you buddy! See ya later!

Dear Mom,
You can tell Joshua that I was kind of just kidding about not liking dogs. I still really like the nice ones.
As for clothing, everything is still holding up pretty good for now. Thank you though :)
I do have a request though: Could you please send a blank hard-back Book of Mormon? I recently found out about a new way of marking scriptures, that's different from the way I've been doing it, so I wanted to go through a mark up a sturdy Book of Mormon with the new way. As soon as you could send it, that'd be great. Thanks! Other than that I can't think of anything else I need. Sorry for not just telling you that sooner. I love you!
Hey could you tell me all the previous t-shirt quotes that we've used so far? That'll help me make an inspired decision :)
Thanks again for everything. I love you tons!

Dear Dad,
Sorry, I'm out of time, but I did want to say real quick that I love you, I'm proud of you (and your newly found handyman skills), and I hope you have a awesome week! Take care!

Miracle Stories
We had our lesson with Ashley O'Hara this past week, which was awesome! Right when we came in, her husband was asking how many lessons she needs to take to get baptized and everything. She also had a lot of questions, and seemed excited to get baptized. She was already talking about going to the temple, having her son serve a mission, and all sorts of things in that very first lesson! It was quite miraculous!

Elder Craft

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I hate Dogs!

Dear Family,

No, I didn't get attacked by a dog this past week; I was just running out of ideas for a subject title. And it's just that Colorado has more dogs than the rest of the world combined, and no matter where we go, every dog within a 2 block radius knows we're there and won't stop telling everybody about it. Actually I could tell you a dog story if you want one. This happened a couple of weeks ago. We were tracting in a beautiful, quiet, and fairly rich neighborhood one Sunday afternoon. No dogs were barking, no old men cussing, and so we didn't have a care in the world. Little did we know that in just a matter of seconds our heart rate would double and we would be blessed with a delightful near-death experience. So it happened like this: We walked to a certain house and went through the gate of a small chain link fence to get to the door (which we do quite often). As we got closer, we saw that the main door was open and just the clear screen door was closed (or so we thought!). At nearly the exact time we got to the door, 2 big dogs (maybe pitbulls?) from inside noticed us and charged towards the door barking ferociously. This didn't really bother us because they were inside and this happens quite frequently, until we realized that the screen door wasn't clicked shut. In a matter of seconds, which seemed like eternity, the dogs knocked the door open, took their stance, and got ready to eat us. Luckily they hesitated slightly so that the door swung back a little bit and momentarily stopped them from coming out all the way. In that time, something deep within me that wanted to live inspired me to push the door back at them and snap it shut completely, saving the lives of 2 humble missionaries. Shortly thereafter the owner came out and apologized, while I tried (through gasping breaths) to share our message. If only he got baptized, then it would truly qualify as a legendary mission story, but unfortunetly he wasn't interested.

Anyways, my mission is going great and I love the work! Thank you all for your love and support. Have an awesome week!

Miracle Stories:
Today we have an appointment that we're really excited about. A couple of weeks ago the Kelley's had some salesman guy over at their house doing business one day, and he noticed some religious pictures on their wall and started asking questions. They got into a great gospel conversation and he was very excited about it all. They gave him a Book of Mormon, which he committed to reading. He said that he has a lot of questions and has agreed to meet with us missionaries. So today we're going over to have lunch with him and teach him the Restoration of the Gospel! Our appointment is immediately after our email session.

Last week when we were emailing a guy came up and identified himself as a member of the church who has recently moved into the area. He said that he hasn't been active for a few years, but wants to get into it again. We told when and where church was at, and he said that he'd bring his non-member wife along, which he did! They came to church for all 3 hours, and afterwards, he came up to us and set up an appointment to have us for dinner and also for us to teach his wife! The appointment is this Thursday!


Elder Craft

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life is Good on a Mission

Dear Family,

Life has been good on a mission. Today was P-day, and this morning our district went and played frisbee golf. It was my first time, and it was pretty fun. Also, I absolutely loved General Conference and hope you did too! There were so many great things I learned about how to contribute to a happier family, that I'm disappointed that I have to wait so long before I can fully apply it :) I love you all very much and I pray for your happiness and well-being, physically and spiritually. Continue to do all that you can to follow the counsel of our prophet. Remember: "A living prophet is more important than a dead prophet." May we all be more conscience of our choices, and strive to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Right now we're teaching an 18 yr. old young man, named Jesse. We've had 3 lessons with him, he's been reading the Book of Mormon, has some great fellowshippers, really has liked what we've taught him so far, and will be coming to church this weekend! Anyways, I love you all and hope you have a super-duper week!

Dear Dad,
It's kind of funny, because I had guessed that you would go hiking on the Saturday of General Conference. I guess bringing the goats will be a new tradition. :)
Anyways, of course I don't think too much about it, but I also very much look forward to spending time with you and the family again: going hiking, camping, 4-wheeling, etc... I love you so much Dad, and cannot fully express my gratitude for the outstanding support that you give me.
Oh, and I feel like I should comment on Elder Holland's talk. First of all, I want to echo the same heartfelt thank you for all that you do for me. Second of all, looking back on my life before my mission, I believe I could have saved up enough money to pay for my entire mission, had some extra money put away for school, and still have gotten the same grades. I wish I would have tried harder to do that. Since I only got about half of it saved up, it is my wish that all of it be used towards my mission. Where I'm at right now, I kind of WANT to come back with no money, just everything I learned on my mission, and see how I can do swimming in the deep end all by myself. I'm sure it'll be hard, but I think it'll be good for me. So please don't feel like you need to do the same as Elder Holland's Father did, but just accept my sincere appreciation for all that you have done for me, which is more than I ever could've asked for. I love you tons, and hope you have a superb week!

Dear Mom,
Guess what I was thinking about last Sunday morning? How much I miss you amazing General Conference breakfasts! Was it waffles, crepes, or something else wonderful? Never mind, actually don't tell me; it'll just make me trunky. But I hope that the rest of you were able to enjoy Conference weekend.
Hey, when's my deadline for coming up with my clever shirt quote? You know me, I don't ever do things any sooner than needed. That's probably something that I should overcome, but it seems like the best inspiration comes when the demand is the greatest. :P Do I get to choose a picture as well?
Oh, and you'll be happy to know that I've been eating healthy. I got a small blender (about $16), and nearly every morning I have a "Super Smoothie" (banana, oats, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, etc...). So hopefully I'm living like a good Craft-boy should. Thank you for all that you have taught and for your great example.
Anyways, I love you so much and wish you the best in the coming week!

Elder Craft

Monday, September 27, 2010

What I love about my Mission

Dear Mom,
Man, those missionaries don't know a good meal when it slaps them in the face. I've been craving waffles and gravy for 16 MONTHS!! I want to assure you that I've been trying and finishing everything that's put before me. What can I say, I've been taught well :) But I guess since I'm not in Venezuela, it's not too hard. We're usually fed very well.

So I talked to the Wards, and they said that they absolutely love Chantelle and Becky! Sis. Ward said that at one time she wanted Chantelle to marry Jacob :) But apparently Chantelle is preparing for a mission?! Is this true? If so that's awesome! Tell her for me that I think she'll be an outstanding missionary and that I wish her the best.

Anyways, we had a pretty crazy day at church yesterday that I thought I'd tell you about. First off, we went to the bishopric meeting, I said the opening prayer, and we reoported on the week. Then we reported in the Ward Welfare Meeting. After that I gave the opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting and Elder Neff gave the closing prayer. It was Fast Sunday, so we also both bore our testimonies. For the 2nd hour, we had prepared to teach the gospel principles class about Obedience, but a young woman in the ward brought her friend to church, who wanted to be taught the lessons, so during the second hour we taught her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which went very well. Then for the 3rd hour we taught Elder's Quorum about the importance of focusing on commitments when we teach in our priesthood responsibilities. That lesson went pretty well. We have a pretty big group of Elders, but the end of this crazy day, I wasn't even nervous about public speaking. What a miracle! After church we had a couple of errands to run and people to talk to, then right after that, we hurried off to an appointment that we had with a potential investigator. The lesson went great! She received service from missionaries in the past, but never learned about the church. She recently moved in and has been looking for a church, and so she was interested in what we had to say! And that about wraps up our crazy day! :) Oh the wonderful experiences of a mission!

One of the members we had dinner with asked us what we love about our mission, and as Elder Neff was answering I had so many things going through my mind, I couldn't decide on just one. So I decided that I would try to write them all down. So here's a list in no particular order:

People- I've learned to greatly love peope. I've met thousands and am absolutely certain that EVERYONE has something that you can love about them and something that you can learn from them.
Teaching- I love teaching the gospel. Having been blessed by these wonderful truths all my life, it's a thrilling thing to find and teach people that have been thirsting for them for a long time.
Schedule- I love the simple, consistent schedule that we use as missionaries. Our 2 hours in the morning to study and feel the Spirit is very special. Also, at the end of every day, we're exhausted, but we're blessed to get 8 hours of sleep, so the next day, we're ready to go again.
Focus- I love only having one thing to focus on: building the kingdom. I don't have to worry about school, work, bills, kids, or anything else, and that's pretty awesome.
Meetings- I love the incredible Spirit of the missionary meetings that we go to: zone conference, leadership conference, district meetings, etc... It's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Service- I love being able to be completely selfless and just give all my time in the service of others. There's nothing like it!
Revelation- I love the right to revelation that comes with being a missionary. I love being an instrument in the hands of God to accomplish His purposes.
Members- I love being able to get to know so many members of the church, more so than I ever did before my mission. I've learned a lot from them, both what I like and what I would do differently. I've watched them closely in family relations, leadership responsibilities, gospel teaching, etc...
Dress- Every once in a while, I will wear jeans on P-day, and let me tell you, slacks are a lot more comfortable than jeans!
But most importantly, I love my mission, because it's God's work that I'm doing. This is the greatest work in all the world, and I get to do it 24/7. That's an enormous blessing!

I love you Mom and hope you have a great week! The Church is true!

Dear Dad,
So you're working another job? How's that going? Do you mind me asking why you decided to do that? How's the appraising going?
Anyways, I love you tons and hope everything is going well. Have a great week!

P.S. Of course you can also read my letter to Mom. It's for you too. I'm not playing favorites :)

Elder Craft

Thursday, September 23, 2010

11 companions

Dear Mom,
Yes, I do know the Ward family!! And yes, it was Jacob's farewell. That's kind of funny. I'll have to talk to them about it.

Here's my companion and area list:

1-Elder Kyle Staheli Payson, UT) in MTC -- just left this area in PW
(he trained Elder Neff); now serving in my old area in Springs :)
2-Elder Octavio Godinez (Chicago) 1 transfer in Castle Rock -- home and supposedly married
3-Elder Aaron Petters (Stafford, Virginia) 1 transfer in Monument -- at BYU now
4-Elder Cody Oakes (Burley, ID) 1 transfer in Pueblo -- he's my current zone leader!
5-Elder Daniel Baker (Michigan) 1 transfer in La Junta -- serving in San Luis Valley
6-Elder Jase Langston (Hurricane, UT) 1/2 transfer in Colorado Springs -- went home for shoulder surgery
7-Elder Eric Greenfield (Wisconsin) 1/2 transfer in " " -- serving with Elder Gemmill right now :)
8-Elder Christopher Allen (Victorville, CA) 2 transfers in " " -- went home a couple of transfers after serving with me (emotional struggles)
9-Elder Rusten Tauteoli (West Valley, UT) 1 transfer in " " -- just went senior companion in Parker (that's my boy!)
10-Elder Darren Gemmill (Alberta, Canada) 3 transfers in Colby, KS -- in Fountain with Elder Greenfield
11-Elder Mackinley Neff (Buckeye, AR) in Pueblo West -- now suffering the wrath of Elder Craft!

Phew!! That's a lot.

I love you so much Mom, and am so grateful for all that you do to support me! Have a great weekend!

Dear Dad,
We had another 3 day leadership conference this week, which is why P-day is today. The conference was awesome! The Spirit was so strong, the training so profound, and the experience so uplifting! I'm truly grateful for the opportunity that I had to attend.

The lessons that we went over are:

The Doctrine of Christ--The Missionary Purpose
The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion
Revelation through Prayer
Revelation through the Book of Mormon
Revelation through Church Attendance
Teach People, Not Lessons
We Invite, They Commit, We Follow Up
How to Begin Teaching

As you can see, they're all pretty important topics in missionary work. I know that the Brethren are inspired of God, and that missionary work throughout the world will continue to accelerate in miraculous ways. I'm so grateful to be a part of this great work! I bear you my testimony that everything that we sacrifice for the Lord and His work will be well worth it. Thank you for your outstanding example and loving support.

I'm glad to hear that Benson is making sure that you keep in shape, because as soon as I get home we're going to have to make up for 2 years of basketball, football, racquetball, ping pong, etc... By the way, have you gotten a ping pong table for the new house? I actually got to play a little bit at a member's house recently, after not playing for a long time. It was still pretty fun.

I love you so much Dad! Have an awesome weekend! (PS- stuff Benson for me :P )

Elder Craft
MIRACLE Stories:

Yesterday while tracting Elder Neff and I saw two teenagers talking on a driveway, and so we went up and started talking with them. We immediately felt the Spirit as we began to talk about the gospel with them. They agreed to be taught right then and there, and we had a short powerful lesson on the driveway. Things just flowed. They seemed to be excited about the message, and they agreed to prepare themselves for a baptismal date of Oct 16th! After that lesson, we continued tracting and really felt spiritually uplifted. We know that that was where God wanted us to be.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Let's Change it Up

(since I so rarely email him on time . . . my last email was actually late, but worked out this time so he had something to read, so I decided to share the info with all of you instead of keeping it to myself :) Hope you enjoy his latest!)

Dear Angela,

Thank you so much for your letter! I always enjoy hearing how you're doing. I miss you too!

You're probably wondering why I'm emailing on Saturday, and that's because on Monday the libraries will be closed for Labor Day and Tuesday is transfers, so they told us to email today. And of course we got to find out about transfers, so you get to hear about them!

Since Mom and Dad usually email on Sunday, your's was the only email I got to read, so THANK YOU! And for that, you get to be the first person to hear about what's happening.

As transfers came around, Elder Gemmill and I were trying to figure what was happening, and for some reason we both felt like we were about done with this area, and that's exactly what happened! We got flushed out and 2 other missionaries will be coming in. It's something that actually happens fairly often, but this is the first time that I've gotten flushed out. We actually got to call President Pfile yesterday about what was happening, and he said it's not because he's not happy with what we've done, it's just that there's only so much that one can take of Colby, KS, which he knows is a hard area. Now you're probably wondering where I'm going, so drum-roll please.... ..... ..... I'm going to the Pueblo West 2nd Ward! Back to Colorado :) I'll be serving with Elder Neff, and I have no idea who he is or where he's from. But I did figure out that this will be his 3rd transfer. He's been in PW2 his first two transfers with Elder Staheli, who was my MTC companion. :) I'll be serving as the district leader there, with Elder Oakes as one of my Zone Leaders. Elder Oakes was my 3rd companion in Pueblo right before I got transferred to Pueblo West 1st Ward for a day and a half. Then I got emergency transferred to La Junta to fill in for a missionary who went home with kidney stones. It's funny because La Junta and Pueblo West 1st ward will be in my district! That happened back at the end of last September. And now it's almost been a year. Wow, time goes by fast!!!

Elder Spencer :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mission Conference

Dear Mom and Dad,

I'm so excited that you've made it to yet another mile-marker on your path through eternity! Once again, it's the last one that I'll have to miss :) It truly is a day for celebration for me as well. Because of that wonderful event, this family was able to be created, and I will be forever grateful for that. Thank you so much for being the incredible parents that you are! I couldn't have asked for better people to raise me. I hope you had a great anniversary.

The leadership conference was amazing! I really enjoyed it and learned a ton. I'm excited to go out and apply those things now and see miracles because of it.
During the leadership conference I got to serve in one of my old areas--University Ward in Pueblo, and I was able to visit some recent converts, which was really neat. Here are some of the exciting things that are happening in their lives: Robert TaFoya just received the Melchizedek Priesthood, teaches a class at church 2 Sundays out of the month, and is taking temple prep classes with his wife Jenny. Jenny TaFoya has just received a calling to teach a primary class, has been blessed with a good paying job, got new furniture, and for the first time in a while has got all the bills completely caught up! All these blessings, she says are the result of paying tithing, which they've been doing faithfully, even at times when it was really a leap of faith. Also, her 18 yr. old son, Kurtus, has read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, is working on Seminary packets so he can catch up and graduate seminary, is reading the "teachings of the prophets" books, has been going on splits with the missionaries A LOT, is going to BYU, and is excitedly preparing for a mission! The blessings of the gospel are truly miraculous!

Well, I need to get going, but I want to say that I love you tons and wish you a great week!

--Elder Craft

Monday, August 16, 2010

8 new lessons in PMG

Dear Mother,

I hope you didn't think I forgot about you! How could I forget the birthday of the most amazing mom in the world?!!! And I even thought about it ahead of time this year. But I just didn't think about it AND ACT far enough "ahead of time." So, I WAS thinking about you and your birthday throughout last week, I just didn't get my letter written until Friday and it obviously didn't get there in time, so I sincerely apologize. It is on it's way in the mail though, but you'll probably get this email before the letter.

I'm glad to hear that you had a good birthday. My goal is to beat Jill Dickey next year when it comes to amazing birthday presents. Because on my mission I just don't have much money or even time to spend, so I hope you'll understand. I do want to say that yesterday I thought about you a lot, and I offered up a special prayer of gratitude for the incredible mother that I've been blessed with. I don't know where I'd be without you. You've taught me so much, been such a great example, and have always been ready to selflessly offer the love and support that I've needed. So, from the bottom of my heart I wish to say thank you. I love you so very much, and I wish you the best year ever!


P.S.- No rush on the sheet music. :) Thanks!

Dear Dad,
That's an awesome story about Joshua! Thanks for sharing :)

We're getting fed fairly well, for how small branch they have. Thank you for your concern. It's probably not as good as your chilli and corn chips dinners though :)

Things are very busy! The 3-day leadership conference is a week from today, and I'm trying to get through studying all the 8 lessons in preparation. From what I've done so far, they're pretty cool. It fills me with greater excitement and a clearer vision of what we're supposed to do as missionaries. I love the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, they truly are inspired. Thank you for your great example of feasting upon the scriptures. I love you so much and hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Craft Jr.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I want to extend

Dear Mom and Dad,

You've always been great parents, but it sounds like your "grand-ness" is growing by the day. Congratulations! You're soon going to have more grandchildren than kids of your own :) Unless Mom has any surprises for me as well (totally kidding!).

I want you to know that I love my mission! I learn a ton each and every day. Sometimes I wish that I would learn faster and not have to re-learn stuff a lot, but I guess that's part of life. We just had zone conference yesterday and the Spirit was so strong! We got the new 8 lessons to supplement PMG. We went through the first one (about the doctrine of Christ and the purpose of missionary work), which took a couple of hours. It's pretty intense study. Also, we got to watch some of the new PMG DVD's. They're really good. In 2 weeks I go to the 3-day leadership training where we'll go through all 8 lessons. Then a month or so later we'll go through the exact same thing again. Then in November, the same thing AGAIN. I'm pretty excited. Also, I thought I'd let you know that lately (and especially during zone conference) I've been seriously considering extending my mission. I know it's soon, but just to prepare you for it. I think we're only allowed to extend a month or so anyways, but I figure since this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I should do the most I possibly can. So I figured it out that the transfer around my release date is on May 18th, so I might extend until June 18, which is a Saturday. I'll spend all day Saturday and Sunday answering all of Mom's questions, then I'll beat Benson at basketball Monday morning on the 20th. So tell him to get ready, because that's his deadline! :) Actually I haven't asked President Pfile about it yet, but I will at the next interviews.

Thank you for all that you do for me. I will be eternally grateful for it! I love you much more than I could ever express.
Have a fabulous week!

Love your son,
Elder Craft

Dear Benson,

Thank you so much for your letter! Sorry about my needless rebuke last week. I got your letter like right after emailing. Oopps. I really appreciate everything that you shared. Keep it up! :)
By the way, don't get a big head over it, but you're really quite hilarious! I was laughing a lot as I read your letter, so thank you for that. I love you so much bro, and I hope you continue to live close to the Lord, being as obedient and pure as possible. See you on the court!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Preparation for Life

Dear Family,

It's great to hear that all is going well back home. Thank you so much for your love, support, and faithfulness. I love you all so much! As for me, things are going well out here in Colby. I love the work and am so grateful for each and every day that I have to serve.

Dear Mom,
Thank you for your nice long email; I really enjoyed it. If it's not too much of a problem, try to make mistakes every once in a while, so that you DON'T get translated--at least not until I get home and can see you again before you go :) To answer your question about advice I have for parents raising teenagers, I would say to find something that you both enjoy doing that you can do regularly. Make sure they really enjoy it, but also you, so you don't have to fake having fun. It could be playing a sport, reading a book, going for a smoothie run, etc... Just find something to do together and try to do it at least once a week. That would be my advice. Strive to develop a relationship as a friend, outside of the parent/child relationship, where you can talk openly with each other. A little bit of that can go a long way. But anyways, it sounds like things are going good, so just keep doing what you're doing. And if things ever do get hard, feel free to tell me about it. I like to hear about it. You don't have to pretend everything is hunky dory. I'll try to do the same when reporting my mission. So to be honest, sometimes it is hard to work, temptations are distracting, and I don't always feel like this spiritual giant that missionaries should be, BUT that's part of life and I keeping going, repenting, and trying to do my best. I'm learning a lot and am being prepared for my life after the mission. I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and I honestly think that it's going too quickly.

As for the package--I can't think of anything else, sorry. Thank you so much for all that you do! I love you tons!

Dear Dad,
Thanks for your long email; I enjoyed it. Those are some pretty cool things that you learned at that meeting. Thanks for sharing! Also, it sounds like you're going to be quite the scriptorian by the time I get back. Thank you so much for sharing your insights; they're very inspiring. You're such a great example to me, and I am very often reminded of the great blessing it is to be your son. Thank you for all your love and support! I'm excited to come home and be able to give back more so than I can on my mission. Oh, and I did have one quick thought to share, coming from a son to a dad. If any of the boys ever do struggle giving respect to Mom, please know that you can be bold with them, put them in their place, and they'll still love you for it. I know it's not my place to tell you how to be a Dad, but I just thought it'd be helpful for you to hear my thoughts on the topic of respecting parents, coming from the bottom of the food chain :) Sometimes it is a lot easier to be the nice guy (in family relationships, in missionary work, and more), but at times it's our duty to rebuke by the Spirit. There's a lot of stories that I've been reading in Alma, where they showed this principle. They were extremely bold, when it was needed, even when it would've been so much easier to just stay out of it. So when parenting, feel free to say what needs to be said and be as bold as you need to be, and I promise you that they'll live to thank you for it. There were times where I probably needed to be rebuked more, and I wouldn't have like it at the time, but it's what I needed. So when it's done by the Spirit and with love, you won't need to worry about severing an important relationship; it probably strengthen it. Anyways, I can imagine that raising teenagers can be pretty tricky at times, but if anybody can do it, you can. Your the best Dad that I could ever hope for! Thanks again. Have a great week! I love you!

Dear Benson,
Dude, I'm serious--you need to write me. Not because I need something to read, but because I don't want to go home to a stranger as a brother. A lot has been going on for you and I really want to hear about it, from YOU! I love you man, much more than you know. Have an incredible day!
Love, Spencer

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Exciting Changes in the Mission

Dear Family,

Transfers are tomorrow (they moved it to Tuesday), but Elder Gemmill and I are both staying here. Actually, the whole district is staying the same, which I am glad about because we all have unfinished business here :)

Little miracles story: Our investigator, Steve Altepeter, went from having to leave church in order to smoke, to quitting smoking cold turkey! It's so great to see how one's faith can be planted, grow, and then move mountains! Right now we're just working to get him more independent with a job, car, etc... Missionary work can sure be interesting sometimes :)
Other than that, we got 2 new investigators this past week, Jacob and Jackie. They haven't grown up in real religious families, but they are very open and receptive. They accepted baptism, and we're excited to continue teaching them.
Also, yesterday we went out tracting and street contacting on our bikes and we got 5 new potentials. To answer your question, Mom, most people are very nice and respectful when they tell us they're not interested, and that doesn't bother me at all. Every once in a while we'll run into someone who is rude, which is a little disheartening, but not a big deal. It's all part of the work.

By the way, there are a lot of changes happening in the mission, which you might be interested in hearing about. I don't if I mentioned the mission conference in which Elder Grow (of the Seventy) came and taught us a couple of months ago. He made some changes which include focusing more on following the Spirit to do the work in whatever way is effective vs. focusing on getting stats like tracting and street contacting. Also he had us focus on setting baptismal goals and planning week by week, instead of month by month. He wants us all to baptize every week! He also changed it so that district leaders don't go on companion exchanges with their district anymore, just with the ZL's, so that everyone can spend more time in their own area. He also changed other things, like what key indicators we use, etc... but I can't think of them all.

But now there are a lot of new changes that are happening. District Leaders now will go on companion exchanges with their district. I'm not sure why they changed it, but I am excited about it. Also, zone conferences and interviews now only will happen every other transfer instead of every transfer. I guess they used to have a day long leadership conference every few months, where all leadership (DL's, ZL's, and AP's) get together and are trained. Now they'll be having a 3 day long leadership conference! We will be taught during the day, then go out and apply it at night. I'm really excited about that! Also, apparently the church is coming out with 8 missionary lessons as a supplement to Preach My Gospel that they'll use to train missionaries and help them become better teachers. They'll start using it in the MTC next year, but we're starting to use it in the field really soon, so that all missionaries in the field will be caught up with it when it comes out next year. This sounds pretty exciting. Also, we now have PMG DVD's that show missionaries talk about and apply principles from PMG in real situations. They use it in the MTC and we also use it in District Meetings each week. Apparently they're coming out with a whole new set!

Changes to me, mean improvements, so I'm really excited about all this. There's probably more changes happening, but this is all that I can think of right now. My excitement for missionary work has really been increasing recently. I've been receiving a lot of impressions on how I can improve, but I'm desperately running out of time to do it all! (I'm coming up on 15 months, which means 9 months left!) There's SO much good to do in this life! Especially living at this time in the history of the world, the opportunities are incredible!! It is so crucial that we stay focused on what's MOST important, what REALLY lasts, and what the Lord would have us do. There's work to be done and there's no time to waste! The Lord needs COMMITTED, DILIGENT, OBEDIENT, SUBMISSIVE, and DETERMINED servants to work in His vineyard near the end of the harvest. My prayer is that we may all rise to fulfill the callings that the Lord has foreordained each and everyone of us to do. I love you all and hope you have an outstanding week!

Elder Craft

Monday, July 19, 2010

Faith to quit Smoking

Hi Family,

Life has been great out on the mission! We've had a great week and have been blessed with many teaching opportunities. Yesterday, our investigator Steve Altepeter came to church and we taught him the Stop Smoking Program, which he accepted! It's so exciting to see people progress in the gospel. Missionary work is awesome and the church is definitely true! I love you all and hope you have an outstanding week!

Dear Mom,
Thanks for last week's letter! I got it right after I got done emailing. It's so good to hear from you. As good as it is to hear from Dad, it's just not the same without you :) I love you so much and hope all is well for you back home.
How are the family goals and plans going? Goals and planning is such an important principle for success. I've definitely learned that on my mission.
Hey in the next package, could you send my "Go the distance" sheet music? I got an idea that I need it for. Thanks!
I love you, and I look forward to giving you a big hug next summer :)

Dear Dad,
I hear your having some interesting operations done on you. How's that working out? I'm sure you'll endure it well. You'll be in my prayers.
We've been eating corn on the cob at members' houses lately, and I couldn't help but think of you :) You always had so much fun when eating corn on the cob, and you didn't care what you looked like. I miss your wonderful sense of humor.
Lately I've been working how to better organize my goals and plans. Any ideas? Oh and by the way, if you run into any mission presidents, pick their brains for me, because they've got to be amazing. Thanks!
I love you, and I look forward to beating you at racquetball next summer :)

Elder Craft

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Playing Basketball Miracle

Dear Family,
This past week has been busy! We've been helping this old lady move out of her house, and she has a TON of stuff! She doesn't have very much help other than us, so we've been kind of obligated to spend a lot of time with that, but that's okay. We're trying to do what the Savior would do, and hopefully we'll be blessed for it. We do have 1 solid investigator that we're working with--Steve Altepeter, who has been to church twice and has been taught the first 3 lessons. We're excited for his progress and are praying that he'll be able to be baptized in the next couple of weeks. I love you all and pray that you will continue to receive and recognize the blessings of the Lord! Have a fantastic week!

Dear Dad,
Thank you for your letters as always! Your testimony and insight is always inspiring. I testify that you are doing a great job at being a Father! Just keep up the great work. I hope you have fun with the pony, and are careful when driving the 4-wheelers :) Hey, I had a favor to ask: I was wondering if I could get some general conference talks on CD, so I could listen to them while exercising in the morning? It's no hurry; just maybe next time you guys send a package, if it's not too much trouble. Thank you! I love you tons and wish you an incredible week!

Dear Mom,
Hello my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, incredible Mother! Sorry it's been a little bit since I've been able to write a personalized note. And I can't remember if I ever thanked you for that recent package. So I do want to express how much I REALLY appreciate it! I know that even though I'm on a mission, you continue to make great sacrifices in my behalf, so thank you so much! How is everything going for you? Staying busy with your many responsibilities? How have you been feeling health-wise? I hope and pray that you feel strengthened by the Lord on a daily basis to help you accomplish the many things that you've been called and prepared to do. I love you much more than you know, and have such a profound respect for the phenomenal person that you are! Keep up the great work and have a wonderful week!

MIRACLE Stories:
Last P-day we saw a cool miracle. We were playing basketball at a public gym (all by ourselves), and this guy was peeking through the door watching us. We invited him come play and we became friends. We played for a while, then near the end, we started talking about who we are and what we do. That led us into a nice discussion about religion. At the end we invited him to learn more and he accepted! His name is Steven Richards and we're excited to teach him.

Elder Craft

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Benson!!!!

Dear Family,

MIRACLE Stories:

We saw a cool miracle this past week. We home teach a less-active family, and the mother has expressed a desire to come back to church, but she doesn't want to come until she has quit smoking. She said that she can't find the right kind of cinnamon mouthwash that really helps with quitting. Anyways, we were planning on going to see them Wednesday, so Tuesday we ran to the store to look for the mouthwash, and we found some! It had been a while since we had talked about it last, so when we went over on Wednesday, we weren't sure how to bring it up. But we didn't have to, because randomly she said that she had a favor to ask, and she again asked us to look for some cinnamon mouthwash. We both smiled, then ran out to the car and grabbed it. We brought it in and placed it in front of her and she started to cry. It clearly was an answer to her prayers. It was such a joy to be able to serve like that in the hands of the Lord.

Dear Benson,

Hey dude! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry I didn't get a letter to you in time for your birthday. I feel kind of "out of the loop" with the real world right now. I hope you'll forgive me. But I am sending a letter today, so you've got something coming. I remember my 16th birthday, and it's crazy that it was 4 years ago and now it's your turn. Something they talk a lot about on the mission is the principle of URGENCY. And the longer I live the more I realize how important it is. Although sometimes it seems like time goes by slowly, in the long run, it really does go by FAST, and when it's gone, it's gone forever. So learn at a young age to live for no regrets. There's so much for you to do in the next 3 years, but make sure that you focus on doing the most important things-the things that will really matter for you throughout this life and in the next. This is the time for you to define who you are. The decisions you make now will affect you throughout the eternities, for good or for bad. I'm not trying to creep you out, but I just want to impress upon you the importance of what you do at this time in your life. Beware of the influences that promote "instant gratification." Be disciplined. Deny yourself of ALL ungodliness, and do the things that bring LASTING happiness. But also remember to have a sense of humor and learn to love life. If you live it right, this can be the best time of your life thus far. Remember that if you want something bad enough, there is nothing you can't accomplish. I love you and know that you'll do awesome and be a great success in life. Remember to drive on the right side of the road. Eat green vegetables. Treat Mom like you plan on treating your wife. Write in your journal everyday. Read a lot (of the best books, especially the Book of Mormon). "Do a good turn daily." Don't procrastinate homework or Duty to God. Don't get too tall. Admire the right kind of girls. Practice your violin real hard. Write me once a month at least. Make your prayers meaningful. Watch Dad closely, and follow his example. Have one of your top goals to be the best big brother in the world. Be super humble. And be perfectly obedient! I love you man! Have a champion week!

Dear Jacob,

I miss you too buddy! I love you so much Jacob and I'm so excited to come home and play with you again! Keep being a good boy. Remember to share your toys, read books a lot, and take good care of the animals. You're such a cool guy! See you later. Love, Spencer

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Howdy Ya'll

Dear Mamma, Pappa, and the rest of ya,

How're ya'll doin' today? Hopefully things are just dandy for all ya'll back on the farm! As fer me out in the plains, the fields are yellow already to harvest, so folks here are pretty busy! But moor spiritually speakin', we had zone conference yestaday, which was just swell. We had to worsh the car Saturday night to prepare fer it, but then Sunday we hit a dumb pigeon while drivin' on the highway (sorry Pres. Monson!). It was kinda funny, but didn't mess up the car too terribly. When we went past the same there spot on the road, the poor thing wudn't there, so someone must go around to poosh that kind of thing off into the crick. It's kind-hearted souls like that that make here Kansas a livin' beauty! Keep bein' the great folks that you are, and I look forward to seein' you next harvest!

With love,

Elder Craft

MIRACLE Stories:
Yesterday after zone conference, we did a short blitz in Scott City (a small town that's been tracted a lot). We picked an area that hasn't been worked in a couple of weeks, and the very first door we knocked on, a lady was interested but busy, so we set up an appointment for the next day! It was pretty cool, but that wasn't all. A little while later we tracted into a lady who let us in, and we got to teach her the Restoration right there on the spot! She's going on a 2 week trip, but is interested in learning more when she gets back. It's amazing how miracles come and people are a whole lot nicer and more receptive when we have the Spirit. That's why it's so important that we have the same kind of spiritual experiences like we have in zone conference each and every morning with personal and companion study. When we have the Spirit, see miracles, and teach the gospel, that's when missionary work is the most rewarding work on the earth!

I love you and promise that I'm not turning into a red-neck hillbillie! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Don't miss the movies

Dear Family,

I've done a ton of driving this past week (transfers and trips to towns around our area), but it's been a good week anyway. I'm glad to hear that Dad and Benson survived the escaping 4-wheelers! I'm sure you're all plenty busy with all the work that needs to be done on the farm.

The more I'm away from all the wordly entertainment that I was exposed to before before, the more I realize how I really don't need all that stuff. It will be nice to sit down to a good movie every once in a while, but not as much as most people do. There's so much more to do that is of such greater importance, and is much more fulfilling. There's so much to learn, so much service to do, and so many good causes to pursue. I bet you all enjoy the added peace and quiet that comes from living on a farm. Well, I guess peace from the world, but I can't imagine with all those animals, it being too quiet!

Anyways, I love you all more than I can express. I pray for your happiness and well-being. Keep being the wonderful, faithful people that you are and I know that the Lord will coninue to bless you. Have a week worth remembering!

Elder Craft

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jehovah Witness Encounter

Dear Family,

The farther I get on my mission, the more I realize: there's so much work to do, and so little time to do it! However, I really love being a missionary, and I'm enjoying my current area and companion. Recently there's been a change in the mission, so that there's less of an emphasis on stats and more of a emphasis of results and following the Spirit, which is pretty cool. I'm so grateful for the chance to experience revelation in behalf of others because of my calling a missionary.

By the way, transfers are tomorrow, and guess what? .......... I'm staying here!!! I'm staying with Elder Gemmill too, which is totally fine with me.

Dear Mom,
Thank you a head of time for the upcoming letter and package! I really appreciate those sacrifices you make in my behalf. As for other package items, an extra bike tube would be nice. It's kind of hard to find the kind I need out here in Kansas. I use a 29" tube. It's no rush, but if you happen to be around a bike shop, it be nice to have an extra one. Also, if you could get a thick one with slime, that'd be awesome! Other than that, I can't think of anything. I'm doing great and really appreciate all that you do for me!

Interesting story: yesterday evening we tracted into a couple who were really friendly and invited us in. They said they really admired what we were doing and had talked to missionaries before. They were from South Africa and had cool accents. The guy jumped right into a discussion of the Bible. He had me pull out mine and made all his points right out of my Bible, which was cool. He knew A TON of scriptures, which was also very impressive. Elder Gemmill asked them near the beginning what church they went to and the guy said he'd answer that later and just kept going with his discussion. After a little bit, he showed us some scriptures talking about a chosen 144,000, which made me guess they were Jehovah's Witnesses. Later that was confirmed. But anyways, we talked for about an hour and a half, and I enjoyed it very much. It was the first deep discussion I've had with Jehovah's Witnesses, so it was very interesting. I gained more respect and admiration for them and their beliefs, and we were able to find many things that we agreed on, but there were some things that I had trouble with. They were all about using the Bible, and the scriptures they used were good, but some of their conclusions seemed to go against other Bible teachings. Some of the issues were: God's image, how many can make it to heaven, pre-existence, the Holy Ghost, military, the eternal nature of the soul, and others. It did inspire me to want to know the Bible better, which is very important, but also, I definitely gained a greater appreciation for my testimony of the restored gospel and the other scriptures we have! It's so wonderful to have the truth, and to have it in it's fullness. Joseph Smith did the searching for the truth, so we don't have to. Now it's up to us to learn it and live it! It's such a blessing to have prophets on the earth today, who represent the Lord. I absolutely know, without a doubt in my mind, that this church is true! Thank you for all of your testimonies and examples! Each of you has made a great impact in my life, for which, I'll be forever grateful. I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Craft

Monday, June 7, 2010

I went to the Temple this week

Dear Family,

How's it going back in Utah? I hope all of you are doing okay. As for me, I had a great week! Since I hit my year mark, my group got to go to the temple this past week. It took about 2 days out of the week, but was totally worth it! It was a long drive down to Garden City then up through Pueblo, Springs, and then on to Denver. I got to do a couple new things at the temple. I got to perform baptisms and confirmations and witness both of them--somethings I haven't done before. Then we concluded with a session. It was a remarkable experience! We stayed at President's house Thursday night after the temple (after a nice steak dinner in the cafeteria), and we got to talk to President and Sister Pfile a lot. It was very laid back, but also very spiritual. I just loved being in their company. They're truly wonderful people. Going to the temple is one thing that I really miss being out here on a mission. But I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do. Then when I get back, I can go as much as I want. Anyways, I guess I'd just like to encourage all of you to make the most of the opportunity you have to attend the temple. There is no place on earth that compares to it!

I love you all and testify that the church is true!
Have an amazing week!

--Elder Craft

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A really important message

Dear Family,

I love you all tons!!!!

Dear Mom,
Sorry about the PMG thing. I'm really glad you didn't pay $300 for it! You're right, I'd rather not do it illegally :)
So Benson uses the pullup bar? Because I could just buy one here for $20. I got that other one for about $40. And it'll probably save on shipping. So if you haven't sent it already, don't worry about it; but if you have, then thank you anyways! I'm sorry to hear about your health challenges :( I definitely will be praying for you! Just yesterday though we were teaching a young man, Jaylyn, about the Resurrection and it just hit me how awesome it is that no matter what we suffer in this life, we'll all be blessed with a perfect glorified body in the next life. The gospel is truly wonderful! I will be forever in your debt for what you have done for me by teaching me the gospel and showing me how to live to be worthy of all the blessings that are available to us. I love you much, much more that you know! Have a great week!

The work here in Colby is going well. Here's a miracle that I told President about:

We had an incredible miracle this past week! After 6 hours of tracting on Saturday, we tracted into a guy named Jaylyn. We was very friendly and invited us in. We had a very short (15-20 min) and powerful visit, and when it came time to invite him to be baptized, he enthusiastically said that he would! We were so excited. Then yesterday we went back for a return appointment and had another great lesson. We taught the plan of salvation, and talked about the Book of Mormon, and he was saying things like, "This is a really important message. More people need to know about this." Also, we talked briefly about the temple and he really wants to go and do baptisms for his ancestors. At the end of the plan of salvation, we asked him what his purpose in life was and he said, "To get to the Celestial Kingdom!" He believes the church is true. He read and prayed for us. He wants to come to church, even though it's 30 minutes away. And he's excited to be baptized; the only problem is that he is having trouble getting work off on Sundays. So that's the roadblock that will test our faith, but we're going to pray fervently and do everything we can to see a miracle take place. Jaylyn is an awesome guy and has truly been prepared by the Lord. I'm so grateful for the chance I have to be a part of this living miracle.

Dear Dad,
Thank you so much for your faithful example and support. You probably noticed I had to use the debit card a few times recently. I hope that was okay. My regular MSF card was having a little bit of trouble, but should be good now.
I'm glad to hear that you're having fun on the farm :)
Congratulations on the new calling. How's it going? And how's work going? I'm guessing it can't be too bad if you bought a pony and also have a little driver to take you around :)
Even though I'm young I still have had the feelings of time going too fast. It's crazy to think that I'm coming up on my 13 month mark!
Also, just a random thought: I hope that even though I'm away from home on a mission, you still feel comfortable correcting me in any way that you feel is needed. No matter how far away I get or how independent I become, I will always look to you as my father, and I will honor your authority and counsel as such. So please, feel free to be completely open with me if you ever think there's anything that I could improve on, in any way. I'm always in need of and grateful for advice. One of the greatest turning points for Pres. Hinckley was because of a correction by his father while he was on his mission. I surely do not see myself as serving a perfect mission, which is to be expected, so I am anxious for any critiques you are impressed to give me. I believe that you are still entitled to revelation on how to guide me. That's not at all to say that you haven't been doing that, because you have given me an abundance of incredible counsel, so thank you! But just it sometimes seems that you're too nice and too complimentary, moreso than I deserve. I thank you anyways. I wish you well in everything that you're engaged in. I love you so much more than I can express! Have a champion week!

See you in a short, wonderful year!

Elder Craft

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Star Thrower

Dear Family,

It sounds like the Craft family is going to be about 10 times as big when I get back. My childhood Christmas list is finally be answered--just not exactly at the time I had hoped. Good luck training the pony. :)

Elder Gemmill highly recommended a movie that we watch: Encino Man. Apparently it's the movie he would choose if he was stranded on an island and could only watch one movie. You should look it up. It's a comedy with "Rudy" in it.

I have a question: How easy would it be to send my pullup bar in a package? It's not a big deal; I was just curious if it would be easy.

Here's a little story that I found in our apartment. It's a good spiritual thought for the week:

The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented,"But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

It is my testimony that every small act of service is significant in God's eyes, and we will be blessed for all of it. I love you all so very much, and pray for your happiness, success, and well-being. Have an awesome week!

Elder Craft

Monday, May 17, 2010

My year mark

Dear Family,

It's been a very odd feeling having come to my year mark. The previous year has gone so fast and now I'm feeling a great sense of urgency to accomplish all that I want to get done while I'm on my mission. I'm glad to hear that all of you are doing well.

I had a couple of things written down of random things to tell you about, so here you go:

My companion has recently introduced me to a certain kind of chap stick that works really well. Before it was hard to keep my lips from getting chapped, but now it's much easier. It's a little more expensive, but totally worth it if any of you are getting dry lips. It's called Burt's Bees.

I was talking to a family who owns chickens, and I told them that you guys recently got some. Their advice is to handle them a lot, so they don't get mean when they're older. Also, make sure that one doesn't start to eat the eggs or else it'll teach them all to do it. If that happens, you might have to research how to make it stop or seperate it. Also, there are lots of animals that like to eat chickens (hawks, foxes, coyotes, dogs, scouts, etc...), so be careful.

Did Mom say that the ward or stake got split? If so then I'm supposed to report any home ward or stake changes. Is it still the Lehi 2,523rd ward? :) No, just kidding--the 23rd ward?

You should look up Brian L. Pfile on facebook. I heard his picture is funny.

I thought of a good FHE game/activity. You could play that matching game where a bunch of cards are turned over and you try to find all the matches, except do it with scripture passages or key words and their references. It'd be cool if you used the scriptures that were used in the lesson, which encourages the kids to pay attention in the lesson, so they can do well in the game.

You should start a "Family Quote Book". It's something that my companion and other missionaries do, which is really cool. They just write down things that people say and it's hilarious to go back and read through them. It could be said by friends, family, yourself, leaders, random people on the street, etc... I'm trying to write down in my journal each night funny things that happened that day, but this is a simple and great way of recording humorous experiences. I highly recommend it! Especially with kids, we've got to record all those precious and funny things, so we can look back on them later. But it's even good to write down funny things us older people say, because it really is fun to go back and read them. It's a easy way to get a good laugh :)

Anyways, I love you all so very much! Thanks for all your faithfulness and support.

Elder Craft

P.S. Congratulations Benson on your race. That's an awesome time! Keep working hard, and I know you'll be really successful. Just remember who gives us all our success and give credit to where it's due. Make sure you pray before every race, and offer a prayer of gratitude at the end of each race. I love you buddy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A click of the heels, I'm in Kansas now

Dear Family,

Well, I guess I just talked to you yesterday (which was absolutely wonderful, by the way), so you already know about transfers and everything. Colby, KS is pretty neat. The branch put us right to work, as soon as we got here. On Saturday we helped a family move out; yesterday we both spoke in Sacrament meeting; we were also supposed to teach the gospel principles class, but no one else showed up; AND we're in charge of cleaning the building this month! I'm already tired :) Just kidding, I think I'm going to have a lot of great experiences here in Colby.

Here's our address:

446 S Court Ave
Colby KS 67701

Mom, keep being the amazing, wise, and beautiful mother you always are. I love you tons!

Dad, thank you so much for your love, support, and example. Have a great week!

Benson, remember the scriptures warn against stiffneckedness. (JK, the same thing happened to me, if you remember. It should go away sooner or later. Just try not to aggravate it.)

Joshua, keep saving your money and being a good boy. You're going to be a super missionary!

Jacob, take good care of the goats and keep reading a lot buddy!

Thank you all for everything! I love you more than I could ever express. If I wanted I could easily get really homesick, but I'm deciding not to. I do, however, look forward to next year when we can meet again. Keep being worthy of the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for you. Have a champion week!

Elder Craft

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Don't Bash!!!

Dear Family,
I think I did hear some gorgeous singing coming from the west on about 3 occasions yesterday.
Now I know what it was! Thank you all very much. (Hopefully the neighbors don't think you're TOO crazy!)

But the greatest birthday present I've ever received was to be able to see Gary and Susan Hill baptized on Saturday and then confirmed on Sunday. It was very special. Gary was baptized by Elder Tauteoli (his first time ever!) and confirmed by Bro. Bayron (our great ward mission leader). Susan was baptized by Bro. Bayron and confirmed by our great Bishop Smith. I got to just stand there and enjoy it all.

Dear Mother,
Thank you for all your loving effort in making my birthday special. I really am filled with gratitude to the Lord for the wonderful mother I've been given. I truly find strength from your testimony and example.
We actually moved to a different place, and we'll only be there for a week or so, till our new place is ready. So I'll have to pick up the stuff from our old house. Honestly though, I've been too busy to even think much about it. We'll live at 4696 Montebello Dr. for a week, but you could also just send stuff to the mission office, then I'll let you know our new address next week.
So is the PMG thing somewhat easy and cheap? If it's not, then it's really not a big deal. The size that would be good is close to the standard size of scriptures. I'm not sure exactly, but that's just about what it looks like to me.

Dear Dad,
So you did get a goat?! Well, I'm actually glad I wasn't there for that little incident. I think I might have died of laughter. Remember to tell him whose boss. :)

Dear Benson,
Stop writing me such lengthy letters. You know I only have an hour to read them. JK, thank you very much for remembering me. I sure love you buddy!

Thank you for all your prayers, love, and support. Please keep praying for missionary opportunities for both me and you.
I love you all!!!

--Elder Craft

Miracle Story:
Gary and Susan Hill were both baptized and confirmed this past week, which was a huge miracle. The whole process only took about 2 weeks, which really surprised a lot of the members, but we know that it was a blessing of the Lord. After they accepted a date on the 1st lesson, we came back the next day and presented a calendar plan for everything that would need to happen for them to be baptized. They accepted the plan and followed our sense of urgency all the way through until they were baptized. We didn't exactly follow the plan perfectly, but it helped them realize that the goal was attainable. They've both made incredible progress the past two weeks, especially Gary. He went from not really listening intently or talking a whole lot, to being excited about and wanting to prepare to get the Priesthood! They've been diligently reading the Book of Mormon, and are committed to keeping all the commandments. The Lord truly is preparing people to receive of His restored gospel.

P.S. I did hear my new favorite quote this past week. Elder Tauteoli and I have been running into an unusual amount of Bible Bashers lately. (I didn't realize there are so many people who will flat out say our church is wrong). I mentioned the "bashing" to a Zone Leader, and he shared this quote by Mark McConkie (Stake Pres. in a nearby stake; son of Bruce R. McConkie/both are master scriptorians):

"We don't bash. But when we do bash, we win."

Hey, funny story: One of the nice bible bashers we ran into reminded me so much of someone. He looked and talked very much like him. Guess who? Tony Robbins! I'm not kidding. I think he was his little brother. He was really nice and friendly, but we were discussing his concerns about our church. It almost made me laugh, because I felt like I was debating religion with one of my role models.