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