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.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Almost 20

Dear Family,

Oh how I miss the hilarious comments of my favorite 8-year-old brother Joshua! But PLEASE, don't snap their wings off. I don't want to come home to a haunted house.

The upcoming mile-markers for me are causing a lot of strange emotions. I don't feel ready to enter into a whole new decade. I remember when I turned 10. The time has just flown by! I don't even want to think about what it'll be like when I'm 30! Also, it's crazy to think I'm about half-way done with my mission. Benson, Joshua, and Jacob still have 2 whole years to serve the Lord full-time. I only have 1. I'm kind of jealous. Oh well, "the future is as bright as your faith"!

Dear Mom,
So did you get the camera memory card too? I hope it didn't get lost in all the stuff. Also, I got a couple more ideas for birthday presents. You've probably already sent the package, but just in case you haven't, there's a couple of music CD's that are approved. Jon Schmidt's "A Day in the Sunset" and others with gospel themes. Also, "24 sacred hymns for missionaries" (piano arrangements). Also, Afterglow CD's are okay. Some I can only listen to on P-day, but my current supply is getting old :) Actually I did have one other idea: I watched a talk by Elder Holland in the MTC, entitled "The Miracle of a Mission." I think it was a MTC talk, and I'm not even sure if it's available to get, but it's amazing if you can! Thank you!!!

Dear Benson,
So you're 6 feet tall??!!! What are you eating? Miracle Grow? Whatever it is...STOP. As much as I USED to want a big brother, I don't want one anymore (besides John and Randy, you guys are okay). JK, keep up the good work :)

Dear Dad,
I hope you liking your new farm! :) It sounds like you're turning in to Bob the Builder, which is pretty cool. Good luck with everything. Remember to eat your green vegetables.

I love you all so very much! Have a super-duper week!

Elder Craft

MIRACLE Stories:

Gary and Susan Hill have been progressing wonderfully this past week. They've been reading a lot of the Book of Mormon, asking great questions, and understanding the lessons. They've actually faced some opposition from friends and such, but have kept pushing along the straight and narrow path. Last Monday when we went for the appointment we walked up and saw that they were talking to the Jehovah's Witnesses outside their apartment. We didn't want to make a scene, so we just went into a neighboring apartment building a waited (and prayed very fervently!). After a few minutes (which seemed like an hour) they came in, and we started the lesson. They told us that they didn't even want to listen to the other guys, and still wanted to learn the gospel. We were thrilled!

One night we had an appointment at 8:00, and were trying to get the rest of our 20 ITL's before the our day was up (ITL=Invite to Learn/Street Contact. We're supposed to get at least 20 a day). We were riding around and struggling to find people out. We were praying really hard that people would be placed in our path. Time was running out, and with less than 5 minutes left, we only needed 1 ITL! We desperately were riding up a hill looking for someone, and at the very last minute we found someone. It was a miracle!

Monday, April 12, 2010

13 short months left

Dear Family,

Hello everyone! How's everything going on the old farm? I'm having a great time out here is the Springs! We're helping 2 investigators right now prepare to be baptized on the 24th of April. Then their confirmation will be a nice little birthday present for me :)

Dear Mother,
As far as birthday ideas...I'm not really sure. I think I want some really classy shirts, a new ipod, a better cell phone, and some power tools :P JK. There's really not a whole you need as a missionary. All my clothing is holding up pretty well, except for maybe my shoes. It'd be nice to have a good pair for just church and meetings; then my other 2 pairs for tracting and regular stuff. I like ties too :) Missionary tools that you get at Deseret Book or something like that are pretty handy too. Also, I've seen some missionaries have really small PMG's. I think they have a copy center shrink it down or something. That'd be nice to have a scripture size PMG. Anyways, that's all I can think of right now. They're just ideas. But when it comes down to it, I really don't NEED anything. Also, I trust your judgment and will be TOTALLY grateful for anything you decide on. Thank you so much!!! I love you Mom!

In the package, did you find the tape and memory card? You asked for the audio recording of my adventures with Flat Joshua, right? I hope I didn't do that for nothing :) Anyways, so you want the written version too? Well I don't have a whole lot of time, so could you just give Benson the homework assignment of typing it up? It'll be good practice :) It can just be the abridged version too. Anyways, Joshua will probably never pick me again to do his homework, and so I apologize and hope that it works out all right.

Dear Dad,
Sometimes I see a car identical to your's and think that you're stalking me, but I'm grateful that you've resisted the temptation. :) Say "Hello" to Grandpa Craft for me. I sure love him, and grow increasingly grateful for his influence in bring our family into the church. Good luck with your travels. I love you Dad!

Well, I love you all and wish you the greatest week ever!!!

Elder Craft

MIRACLE Stories:
Gary and Susan Hill were a member-referral from Sister Ferrell. We taught Gary about a week ago, but last Friday we were able to teach both Gary and Susan. They accepted a baptismal date at the end, and the next day we presented a calendar plan to help them prepare. They made it to church Sunday, and we have an appointment today! Susan also made it to the recent convert fireside, and enjoyed it. They've definitely been prepared by the Lord.

Miracles you have seen from planning.:

We both felt inclined to tract Topaz Dr. one day, and when we made it out there, we were able to ITL a lady named Dawn. She has never talked to missionaries before, and is interested in learning more. We have to wait till May because of her schooling, but we were able to leave her with a pamphlet, get her address, and have a good conversation. The Lord does place His elect in our path as we follow the Spirit!

Monday, April 5, 2010

20 years old in 20 days

Dear Family,

It's been a great week, and I love you all very much!

Yes, Mom I did get the package. Thank you so much!!!!!! Tell Joshua that I scheduled a flight for Flat Joshua today, and he should be home and safe soon. Sorry he's a little late, but he was just having too much fun. (Honestly, it was kind of a pain training 2 missionaries at once :P ). Also, thank you for the pictures. I really enjoyed them. Benson, Joshua, and especially Jacob all look a lot taller! (Sorry Dad, you look about the same height). It's crazy how time passes and people change. It's crazy to me that I'll be hitting my 11 month mark in about a week, and in 20 days I'll be TWENTY years old! Aaahhh!! I really love being a (teenage) missionary. I'm not going to like being in my 20's, and I'm really not going to like the upcoming feeling of being on my mission longer than I have left!

By the way, I also really enjoyed Elder Holland's exciting talk. Also, I liked Elder Christofferson's talk about the scriptures. (Did you notice that he and Elder Holland sort of switched topics from last conference?) President Uchtdorf sure wants us to understand the importance of love (it's a common theme of his)! And Elder Bednar once again gives us 3 important things to focus on. I also like Sister Beck's talk and her statement that goes something like this: "The most valuable skill we could develop in this life is the ability to qualify for, receive, and follow personal revelation." The importance of having and following the Spirit seems to be an essential theme that our inspired leaders are trying to emphasize. It's going to be more and more critical as time goes on and things get harder. I sure love our General Authorities, especially President Monson. Isn't he just the most cheerful person ever? Especially for the load that he has to carry. He is a great example to all of us.

Dad, I missed you at the Priesthood Session too. Actually I have kind of a funny story about that. Before the Priesthood session one of our wards got together at Del Taco to eat dinner. They had some special where you got 6 tacos and 6 (1/2 pound) burritos for $9. So they got Elder Tauteoli and I one to share. Near the end of the big meal, I noticed how many beans were in those burritos and made the comment that I felt bad for whoever had to sit next to Elder Tauteoli and I at conference. Anyways, afterwards we headed over to the church, and got there a minute or two late. So we headed to the back, and guess who we saw and ended up sitting by? President Pfile! He shook our hands and patted the seat right next to his. So I got to sit shoulder to shoulder with my mission president for the entire session. Elder Tauteoli said later that he wanted to lean over and ask, "Do you still feel bad for who sits next to you?" but he feared being overheard :) It was actually a cool experience, because every so often President would lean over and make a comment to me throughout the session. When Elder Rasband said he was speaking on missionary work, President Pfile nudged me and smiled. After the talk he whispered, "I've had lunch with him. He's about as down-to-earth as you can get." Anyways, of course he can't replace you Dad, but it was pretty neat. I definitely made sure to take good notes :) (When they would say something profound I would race to see if I could write it down faster than President!)

I love you all tons and hope all is well in the beautiful city of Lehi! Have a wonderful, Spirit-filled week!

Elder Craft