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 :)