Serving in the Cochabamba Bolivia Mission
November 3, 2010-November, 2012

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010

Hey everyone!(Everyone: Hey Elder Craig!!!!!)

Wow, has it already been another week???? I can´t believe how fast this past week has flown! Honestly, the first week felt slow, but now things are speeding up! AHHHHH!!!!!! Jajaja. Anyways, I´m sure that ya´ll would like to hear how my Christmas and Christmas Eve went......

So, on Christmas Eve, we had normal classes for the first part of the day, until about three in the afternoon. Then, we had a special Christmas Devotional. Then, after dinner, we had some free time to write handwritten letters to family (I don´t have any stamps, so I couldn´t write anything....sorry!). Then, after dinner, we had a special presentation about Christmas, which was basically just us hearing the Christmas Story from Luke( I could just imagine Dad reading it like he does every year....made me feel at home.) and hearing a bunch of Christmas carols. Then after that we followed a tradional Peruvian Christmas Eve hot chocolate and panteon( basically fruitcake, but a lot better quality than American fruitcake.). It was really good!!! Then we sang non-Christian Christmas carols to finish the night, as in Jingle Bells, 12 days of Christmas, You´re a mean one, Mr. Grinch, etc, etc. And we had a really good time with that one.

The next morning, we were able to sleep in til 7:30( That´s never going to happen again, until I have my own apartment after my mission, I already know. Jajaja!)  And we got up and had a light breakfast.
Next we had a Christmas Day Devotional, which lasted about two hours.
Next we had some personal study time. Then was our Christmas Dinner.....It included every kind of meat( chicken, pork, beef, and turkey), rice, skewers, mashed potatoes, salad, Jell-O( The Jell-O here rocks the socks off of the Jell-O in Utah, just saying.) and the best churros ever( filled with dulce de leche!!!!!!). And I practically ate everything on that list, so I was completely stuffed!!! Next we got to go change into P-Day clothes( Just regular clothing.). Then we got to break open piñatas that were filled with dulces and money(peanuts, not cash). I still have a cup full of it.
lol. Then we went and played waterballoon volley ball and kick ball for the rest of the afternoon. Then they said that we were going to have a light dinner. It was a 1/3 lb hamburger! Light my foot! After dinner, we finished off the night by watching The Other Side Of Heaven( The only Disney-made movie about missionary work.)! It was that movie. And that was my Christmas!!!!

Everything else is the same here. Taking lots of classes, speaking plenty of español, forgetting some English words. I am totally stoked to hit the field next week. I can´t believe that my time to hit el campo is finally here!!! Crazy! The next time I email you, I´ll be in another country(again!!!!)

Mom- well, you can read what I did for Christmas, lol. And it is very warm here. I would say at least low to mid nineties. It´s hot!

Dad- I am totally ready for culture shock. It´s pretty boring staying within the same 100 yards for the past 9 weeks. But it´ll be good for some change. I´ll send you pics from Bolivia.

Aly- I´m glad you had a good time with the fam!!! I can´t believe that you start your last semester soon. ¡Buena suerte!!!

Emi- Hope you´re doing well.....YOU NEED TO WRITE ME!!!!

Michael- Hope everything goes well. Bug the KPsi peeps to write me, and anyone else who needs to do so.

Last mensaje de Peru!!!!!


Elder Christian Craig

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 21, 2010

¡Hola from Lima, Peru!!!!!!!

I hope everyone is doing well. I am doing awesome!! Things are going well for me here. I´m staying super busy, and having lots of fun at the same time! This computer isn´t letting me jump down, so it´s going to be all in one paragraph. Let me tell you about my first week. I arrived at about seven in the morning after a red eye from L.A. I got about three hours of sleep. Luckily, it was P-day(Preparation Day) and so it was a chill day. I have my second companion, Elder Camacho. He´s from Pizco, Peru, and he´s really good at soccer, and he loves to dance. The next few days I´ve had nothing but class. I have two teachers, Hermano Meza and Hermana Flores. Both are RM´s and served in Peru. I´ve also done some translating, where I translate from Spanish into English for the missionaries who use translators during meetings and such. We have TRC, where we teach fake investigators, everyday.
That´s a ton compared to the once a week in Provo. We also have lots of vocab, and lots of speaking español. I would like to think that I am improving, but there are times when I can´t understand the natives...hahahaha!!!!! We play lots and lots of soccer everyday. It is so much fun! I love it. And, I´ve scored two goals so far.....which isn´t that good, but I´m proud anyways. haha! My daily diet includes, for breakfast(usually) bread and eggs, then lunch, chicken or beef, potatoe, yuca (a high fiber cactus...i think), and lots of rice. Then for dinner, it´s practically the same as lunch. Every Wednsday and Sunday at lunch we get ice cream, too!!!! Then after every meal we have time to go play foozball (yup, they have four tables), ping-pong, or zapa (a game where you try to throw a coin into a frog´s mouth.) Yeah. So, tonight we have Elder Nash, our Area authority coming in to speak to us. So, I´m doing alright. Food´s good, companion´s good, and I´m totally psyched to get to the field in TWO WEEKS! I can´t believe that it´s that close already.....but it also seems so far. I guess that´s how my entire mission will be, right?

Mom- I love you, and I hope you have an awesome Christmas!! I think about  you every day!!!!!

Dad- Hope the powder´s treating you well. I´m jealous. I love you, and hope you´re safe.

Alyssa- Nice job on your finals! That´s the way to be. I´m glad that Plague is safe too.

Emi- Study hard, and have fun peering. Peering has totally been my favorite job that I´ve had to date.

Grandma Allen- Glad to hear you´re doing well.  Say hi to the Blocks for me!!!! Love you!!!!!

Abuelita y Grandpa- Me alegre que Uds. estan bien. ¡Espero que tengan una Navidad fantástica!

Ok, that´s all from me for now on this hemisphere!!!!!

Love you!!!!!!!

Elder Christian Craig

P.S. dearelder is not the best idea to send me anymore. It takes an entire week for it to  get here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He's in Peru!

Hey!!!!!! I just wanted to let you know that I made it to Lima....about six hours ago....hahaha! The MTC here is awesome! We had our first meal, and everything´s going well. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Camacho, and he´s a native of Peru, so he speaks no english. So, it´s my responsibility to teach him english, while he teaches me spanish. It should be fun. So, my P-days are now Wednesdays, and I practically have no limit on time, as long as I don´t abuse it. I´ve already played a game of soccer! And it went pretty well, I thought. But yeah. So, yeah. I´m good!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Week 6 -- Leaving the MTC!

Wow! I can't believe another week has already flown by....It's crazy how time flies here at the MTC. But, it's been a good week as usual.

Ok, so  the news that ya'll have been waiting for.... I got my visa!!!! I'm flying out to Peru today! I leave from the Salt Lake airport at about 3 pm, and I arrive in Lima at 7 in the morning I'm looking forward to a looooonnnngggg day. I'm also in charge of the travel group. I'm in charge of making sure 11 Elders and Sisters make it to Peru...freaky.  jajaja!

So, last week, we had a member of the 70 come speak to us, Elder W. Craig Zwick. What was really cool about him is that he served in the Northern Argentina Mission, and he served in what's now my mission!!! I got to talk to him afterwards, and he gave me his email so that I can tell him about my mission in Bolivia! I think that's pretty awesome.

Ok,  the rest of the week was just the usual sit in a classroom for 15 hours a day, for the most part. We had an awesome Sunday Devotional the other night. We had the BYU men's chorus come and sing to us,  which I thought was pretty cool. They did an awesome job. The fact that they're from BYU was disappointing, but oh well. jajajaja!

I also had the awesome opportunity to work in the Referral Center this past week.  The Referral Center is the place where the missionaries contact people after the people order things like a Book of Mormon from a pass-along card. It was really cool, and I didn't get hung up on!!! :D

So, that was my last week in the US!!!!!!!!! My next letter is probably going to be sometime next week, but I don't know when it'll be. So stay on your toes. And it'll be from Peru! :)

Mom- Don't worry, I'll probably call you from LAX. I have about a four hour layover there. It'll probably be around 5 or 6, and I'll call your cell phone, so turn your ringer on.

Dad- Hope the snow's treating you well. There's no snow left here, which is a bummer. I love you, and hope all is well.

Aly- Thanks for the present and letter!!!! That letter is pretty sweet! :)  I'm glad you hand-wrote me....but you'll have to email now. Love you!

Emi- Hey, hope school is going well. Don't forget to study and have fun!!!(And beat up any boy who flirts with you! :) )

Well, see you all in the US in less than two years!!!!
Elder Christian Craig

Week 5

Holy cow!! I can't believe that it's already P-day again! Wow, this week just flew on by.

Well, I guess first things first; my visa. I still don't have it, but they did tell me today that I should have it by the end of this week, which means I should be headed to PERU next Tuesday, as in a week from today. So, we'll see what happens and where the Lord decides to take me.

So, what happened this week........ Well, we had, last Tuesday evening Sister Julie Beck, the General Relief Society President, come and speak to us for our weekly devotional here. She was ok, I guess, jajaja. Then we've been studying like crazy as usual. I was in a trio for the past week and a half, until last Friday when the Elder that made my companionship a trio received his visa and he took off to Peru yesterday at six in the morning(That means I was up at about 5:30ish...that was a lot of fun......), so I'm back in companionship mode with just me and Elder Gatica. The days here at the MTC are just flying past, it's crazy how fast it's been. I'm afraid that my mission will be happening this quickly, and it'll be like BAM! I'm done. So, I'm trying to get the most out of every moment here. Oh, and another thing, yesterday, we had a substitute teacher, and he's a recent RM from the Buenos Aires West mission, and he knows Allen!! One of his old companions is in the same apartment as him! I thought that was pretty cool. The temple today was really cool. We did initiatories today, and we set a world record for the most initiatories done in an hour- 622!! That's a ton of people. It's great to be doing the Lord's work in such great numbers. I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week. It's really cool to read Moroni's last words at the end of Moroni 10. They really inspire me. Today, I also went in and got trained for the Referral Center, which Elder Gatica and I are going to go do tomorrow during our MDT(Missionary Directive Time), and I'm totally looking forward to it.

Mom- 1st thing- Favorite Scripture is Moroni 10:32-34. Second, my workout schedule is: 60 pushups when I wake up, then during gym I play basketball and four-square(mainly foursquare because I got huge blisters on my feet from playing basketball in bad shoes), then in the evening I do about 275 crunches.

Dad- Hope you're doing well!!! Eat that powder up!!

Aly- Thanks for the short letter. Funny story, I met some sister that went to USU before their missions, and they tried to appeal for me to go "because of the beautiful girls that go there" hahaha!

Emi- Hope school is going well!! Have lots of fun, I expect a letter from you soon.

I will write next week with more of my exciting adventures here at the MTC!!!!


Elder Christian Craig

Week 3 ...not in order

Hello my wonderful family!!!!!!!!!

Well, tommorow marks week 3! Wow, that's absolutely crazy! I can't believe it's already been that long......

Ok, well, first thing. If you've been waiting for news about my visa, here it is- I don't have it yet, so I'm here officially until December 13th, when the Travel Office says that I'll recieve my visa. Actually they say that I should recieve my visa before that time. If all goes to plan, I'll be spending Christmas in Peru! That'll be exciting. So....all of you still have 3(THREE) weeks to send me more letters, and packages too. So that's that.

I can't believe that it's already been a week since my last letter....what can I tell you about? The food is the same(horrific eggs and killer OJ), my district is as awesome as ever, and I got to do sealings in the Temple!!!!! That was pretty sweet.

Mom- I'll answer your questions the best that I can.

I get up at six-fifteen every morning, and shower and all of that stuff. Then we have personal study time in our class room. Then we have breakfast, which for me is usually a bowl of cereal and an apple. Then, depending on the day, we usually have gym, but on Thursdays, we do service...which means the Church saves money on custodial staff and all of the Missionaries take care of the MTC. lol Then I have a morning class until twelve thirty. Then I have lunch. Then more class until five thirty. Then dinner. Then more class until nine o'clock, at which point we plan for the next day. After we take the time to plan, we head back to our rooms, where we get ready for bed, write in journals, relax, etc.Then  we have quiet time at 10:15, and lights out at10:30. Now, the classes are a mix of language and doctrinal classes, both of which are taught 99% of the time in Spanish. Also the class periods can be stretches of time that are called Missionary Directive Time(MDT). This sounds like free time, but it isn't. We have personal, companion, and language study that we have to fit into those times, which a lot of times is tough. So, my day is pretty full all day long, but I expect it to be like that in the field. Plus, the Lord blesses me with the energy to get through the day. We also have two firesides/devotionals a week. Last Tuesday was a member of the 70, Elder Kevin W. Pearson, who gave a very good talk. I wish you could have been there to hear it.

Thank you to everyone for your letters!!!!!!! I love getting them and reading them.

Alyssa- I'm so bummed that the Aggies lost, but there's always next year, right? And I love to hear anything you have to say about your life, just fyi.

Emi- I hope your first two days at Murray High were awesome! I want a letter stat telling me all about your new experiences!

Abuelita and Grandpa- Thank you for your letters! I enjoy reading them!

Tio Paul- Thank you for sending me Allen's letter, I hope this one finds him as well.

Dad- I hope you are LOVING the snow. I was sooooo happy to wake up on Thursday with that skiff of snow on the ground. I don't have much time to enjoy it, so I am. I hope to get a letter from you soon.

Mom- Thanks for your letters that you send!!! I love hearing from you!!!! Keep them coming. I'm glad the move went well.
I love you all, and write me as often as you can!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Christian Craig

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 4 at the MTC

Holy cow!!!!!!!!

I can't believe it's already been a week since my last letter to y'all! It's just flown by like crazy!!!!! I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!!!! I know I did. But first, my week started well. I am now in a "tripanionship" since my District Leader left for the Peru MTC, and so I have another companion named Elder McKinley. He's a total goof from Oregon, who's totally into Oregon football, and is just a huge dork(not like me, in a different way.) So, life is good. No visa yet, either. Still waiting for any word. I wouldn't be surprised if I am here in Provo until January.

So, my Thanksgiving was totally EPIC!!!! The absolute best I could have asked for outside from my Thanksgivings at home. We started the day off with a fireside(after breakfast of course.) and we had the best speaker possible besides the Prophet(rumor is that he'll be here for Christmas)- Elder Jeffery R. Holland!!!!! He's my favorite apostle to listen to! He taught us so many good things, powerful things too. The quote that he said to me that stuck the most is that thorough missionary work, we are walking ALONGSIDE Jesus Christ, so he doesn't have to work as hard to save the souls of the children of men. That quote just brought new meaning to my mission. It brought a whole new perspective to my work and time I'm spending serving the Lord. After having the MTC bawl our eyes out with Elder Holland's words, we got our Thanksgiving dinner! It was probably the least I've ever eaten at Thanksgiving, jaja! It was good, though. And yes, I did get my pumpkin pie, and plenty of it. :) Then we got the opportunity to have another meeting in which we found out what our service project was for the day. We got to make backpacks that would be filled with school supplies for children in impovershed areas of the world(including the US). I ended up drawing the outlines for the other Elders and Sisters to cut the squares out. We ended up making over 33,400 backpacks! Such a cool experience. Then we just really relaxed the rest of the day. To finish the day we had a thankful fireside in which about 50 Elders and Sisters got to tell everyone what they were thankful for. It was an awesome day.

The rest of the week has been the same ol' same ol'. I've been studying the language and the scriptures. I'm now well into 3rd Nephi in my reading of the Book of Mormon, and I hope to be into Ether by this time next week. I'm loving reading the scriptures because they show me how I can learn from others and become a better person in general. On Sunday evening, we got to watch "Legacy", the old pioneer movie that we used to watch in the Joseph Smith building. It's a lot cheesier than I remember, jajaja! It made me laugh. It's still a good movie, though.

I'm still healthy, I'm not fat(I work out everyday), I love getting your letters!!!!!!

Mom- I would send pics, but these computers don't allow you to attach cameras or anything to them. You're going to have to wait until I'm in the field for pics. Sorry!!!!!

Dad- Hope Brighton's treating you well. It was awesome to wake up the other morning with snow on the ground! I hope your job search is going well too! I pray for you every day.

Alyssa- Thanks for your letter!!!!! I'm glad to hear you had a good Thanksgiving. It's nice to hear that I'm missed(not in a prideful way, lol). Tell Angie she is more than welcome to write me.

EMI- Thanks for letting me know how your first week of school was. "Stupid, stupid counselor" was my favorite quote in that letter. Let me know how everything goes.

Thanks to all for writing me!!!!!!! Don't forget to write!

I love you all!!

Elder Christian Craig

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov 16, 2010

Helllooooo family(and hopefully friends!!!)!

Well, it's been another busy week here at the MTC! Last tuesday we had a fireside where we were able to hear an Apostle of the Lord speak! David A. Bednar!! Such a good talk! He talked for like 45 minutes at least! hahaha. Anyways, things have been good. I've been studying a lot, eating a lot( I weigh 246 lbs now.....JK!!! lol), exercising everyday, and trying to do my best to serve the Lord! Spanish is not as difficult anymore, but it's still a bit tough. On Saturday, we went to the Teaching Resource Center(TRC), were my companion and I were able to practice contacting a random stranger, in Spanish, and then we were able to teach the first discussion in English. It was fun, but tough. This Saturday we get to do the same thing, but it's going to be todo en español. We also had a devotional the other night, and it was a good talk by some guy who works in the Missionary Dept. for the church. Then I was able to watch the Testaments! It's kind of a cheesy church movie, but it's still good. Not as good as the Joseph Smith movie, though. Also, I received a Travel Itinerary for next week! So, if my visa comes in, I will be leaving the US on next Wednesday for Peru. That's if my visa comes in. And there's a more than good chance that I'll be here in the MTC until the beginning of next year, since they are having problems with visas going to Peru for missionaries going to countries other than Peru.

On a lighter note, I'm a part of the MTC choir! It's a lot of fun, and I'm learning how to sing parts! It's a good destresser for me. lol.

Alyssa-thank you for your letter!!!!!! I loved it! It's great to hear you're doing well, and I can't wait to read the letter that you sent to Bolivia! :)

Tia Jen & Tio Paul- Thank you for your letters and I hope Sophie is doing well, I'll pray for her!

Abuelita- Gracias para sus letras! Yo estoy bien y estoy aprendieno mucho!

Emi- I'm sorry leaving was so tough, but it's awesome what a positive outlook you have for your future in Utah! Keep it up and don't ever back down! There's a scripture in D&C that talks to Oliver Cowdery that says that our afflictions are but for a small moment, and that they are for our own good. Don't ever feel alone. I'm always here for you, and the Lord is as well!

Dad- Congrats on getting your commercial license!!!!! I'm so stoked for you!!!!!!  That is so awesome!!!!!!!!! I hope to hear from you soon. I would like to know how you are.

Mom- Thank you for all of your letters! I feel your love just flowing through them! I hope the transition to life in Utah goes smoothly!

I hope everyone feels the Lord's love for you this week!!!!!!!!!! I love you all!!!!!!!


P.S. If I do go the the Lima MTC, I can't receive packages, so send them soon! *hint hint* :)

P.S.S. Emi, I did see Xavier Blackhurst. He's like six and a half feet tall, and left for Canada last week!

P.S.S. Mom and Dad, Matthew Moa says "What's up?" (Literally) to his Auntie and Uncle. He left for Mexico today.