Monday, January 24, 2011

Driving a truck on my mission

Dear Family,
Thank you Mom and Dad for working out the BYU thing; now I can get some sleep at night. (JK)
Remember you can always send stuff to the mission office and they'll forward it to me, but here's our address:

208 Ross Ave. Apt A
Alamosa, CO 81101

Hey can I ask a favor? If you're going to send something, could you send me a copy of the lastest conference ensign. We don't have one in this new place. It's not a huge deal, but if it's convenient, that'd be great!
One other note on this new area: guess what we're driving? A truck! It's just a Colorado, but I thought it was pretty sweet. The cars I drive on my mission will probably be the nicest I drive for a while :)

Hey funny story: yesterday we had 2 investigators come to church, which was exciting. We were proud to walk in and show the ward we had someone with us this week. However, right as the Sacrament was starting, they said they had to go to the bathroom. We waited for them, but they never came back. We tried to track them down but to no avail. We walked back into Sacrament meeting, a little embarassed, and sat by ourselves. It turns out one felt sick and they want to come back, so it was just funny.

I love you!

Elder Craft

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Zone Leader in Alamosa

Dear Family,

This past week has been a crazy one! Last week on Monday I had to pack faster than I ever have in my whole life, quickly say goodbye to some people, and then rush off to transfers. I had a really neat experience going to say goodbye to Kim de Ridder (our most recent convert in Pueblo West) and her two boys: Zander (6) and Leland (4). We took a couple of pictures, and they gave me a tie as a goodbye present. After that Kim told us that Zander and Leland had been practicing all day so that they could each say a prayer for me before I left. We had tried to get them to pray a few times before, but they always picked on us or their mom instead. We didn't even make a big deal about it, but I guess it was something they wanted to do, and they surprised me with it before I left. They practiced so they could say it all by themselves, but when the time came they wanted their mom to help them. They sounded as if they have been members their whole life! It was a truly precious moment!

Anyways, after that I got to take the 2 members of my old district who were now becoming district leaders up to Colorado Springs for the new DL/ZL meeting with the AP's. It was kind of cool spending time with that night and sitting next to them in the meeting. Afterwards we went to Subway and while we were eating a girl asked us to help her jump start her car. Then we went to a missionary apartment to spend the night. The next day was transfer meeting as usual. We got to meet all the new missionaries and see them get teamed up with their trainers. Afterwards I got to go to Zone Leader Council for the first time. It was held at President's home and lasted all day. It was really relaxed and spiritual. After the official meeting of the night, we got dressed and just hung out with President as he told stories about the navy, meeting Sister Pfile, etc... It was so much fun! We spent the night, then had breakfast and a testimony meeting in the morning. Then Elder Barzee and I headed for Alamosa!

It actually has been pretty warm here in the Valley. Everyone keeps saying that it this isn't normal, but I'm not going to complain :) Anyways, it's been a busy week, and I've been learning a TON from Elder Barzee. We've already done companion exchanges, gone to Elder Butcher's district meeting (he was one of them in my last district), met with a stake president, set up the zone interviews for President, trained with the AP's, and best of all: had a baptism!!! It was Ariel Magana: a 9 yr. old girl whose mother and sister are members. The baptism was yesterday, and it went great! I was pretty lucky to come in at this time when she was pretty much all ready to go. We're also expecting another one this weekend for an investigator, Len Millard, who just needs to quit smoking.

I gotta go, but I love you all so much! Thank you everything!

Elder Craft

Monday, January 10, 2011

Transferred to the coldest place in the U.S.

Dear Family,

Well, it's that time again and guess what?

I'm getting transferred once more!!!

I'm going to Antarctica! Well not quite, but I here it's one of the coldest places in the U.S. during the winter. I'm going to Alamosa, which is near the San Luis Valley. You can look up it's infamy for yourself if you want, but I just wanted to let you know how excited I am. You don't need to send more cold weather gear though, unless I tell you. I think I'll survive. It's the only zone that I've never even seen. I will now have been in 5 of the 7 zones. The other 2 (Springs and Fountain) I've traveled through quite a bit. So it's kind of exciting to go somewhere completely new. My companion will be Elder Barzee who is also from Virginia! I'm going to be junior companion, and I'm really excited to serve with him because he's an outstanding missionary. Elder Hone (from Ogden) who is in PW1st ward will now be the district leader here. Elder Butcher who was in our district is going from La Junta to La Jara (the Valley Zone as well!) and will be the district leader down there. So we've got a big 2 days ahead of us. I love packing :)

Joshua and Jacob, that dog whistle thing you gave me works pretty good! I first tried it on a member's little wiener dog. I just pushed it for a second when he was running around (not looking at me), and he immediately yelped and jumped back! Then I tried in on this stray pit bull that wasn't aggressive at all--it was just barking at us. I kept it in my pocket and pushed it. The dog looked startled at first and then it's barks got really high pitched as if it was scared. I kind of felt bad. But hey, it's kind of a useful tool to have with you.

By the way, did you find out about the BYU thing? PMG teaches us to follow up on commitments, so that's what I'm doing. But if you want me hanging around the house for a whole year after my mission, that's okay too :)

Thank you for everything! I love you all so much!

Elder Craft

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Dear Family,

I am so grateful for a new year! We were talking about it at church a lot, and it's really just another day, but it affords a great opportunity for a fresh start. It's a wonderful chance to take past goals or wishes and make them commitments. That's one thing that I've really tried to apply this new year: to raise my standard for certain things from goals to commitments. Of course it can only be done with something that you have full control over, but if you can help it, why not make it a commitment? For the things that really matter, is there ever a good excuse not to do them? That something I used to apply pretty good, but for some reason haven't kept with it as much as I should have. In my short 20 years of existence I've just found it to be so much easier to give 100% rather than 80 or 90. Anytime we give room for excuse, the devil gets in there and pulls you down one tired or busy day at a time. But if we make a steadfast decision ahead of time to be committed no matter what, we don't have to worry about making the decision in the trying moment, but we can focus all efforts on just making it happen--transforming the decision into action. Only then can we really have control of our lives. Only then can we guarantee success with the pass of time. Anyways, I don't know if any of that made sense, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I don't have a whole lot of new things to report on, but I just want to say that I love you. I know without a doubt that gospel living is the path of happiness. There is no challenge or concern that can't be solved with the gospel. We are so blessed to live at this wonderful time in the history of the world--the opportunities to learn, grow, and serve at so incredibly great. I know that we are here at this time for a reason. God lives and loves us. He needs righteous leaders like never before. As members of His true church, we are the most blessed people on this earth. We are few in number, but we have an enormous responsibility to "stand as witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in all places." That we may all go forth with courage, determination, obedience, humility, charity, and faith during this new year is my hope and prayer. I know that God is ever-mindful of us in ways that we can't even comprehend. He knows what's best for us and is always eager to help us if we turn to Him. I love the Lord, and I love all of you. Make this year legendary!

Elder Craft