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