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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

'Twas the week of Christmas (the last in Bolivia!)

Well, Happy Christmas to everyone back home!....well
belated-Christmas, but I couldn't write you guys yesterday, so it'll
have to do.

So, this week wasn't really exciting...except Christmas day, when I
got to talk with the family that I have!!!! It was really cool to see
their faces after almost 14 months...which is crazy that it's been
that long.

We also this week had a ward Christmas talent show. We as the
missionaries prepared a skit called "The Toilet Paper Skit", which is
basically a skit where a king is looking for paper to go to the
bathroom, and ends up`searching(and executing) a bunch of people
before he finally finds it and runs to the bathroom. It was pretty
hilarious! We also were able to get 5 new investigators from that
event. It really brings results if you take your non-member friends to
ward activities, because we as missionaries can take advantage and
teach them right there in the chapel, and/or get references for
another day.

We also had a Christmas party with our Mission President on Thursday,
which was fun. As a zone we performed a couple of skits and sang a
Christmas carol(popular this time of year). But the coolest part of
the evening for me was when we watched a movie called "17 miracles".
It is a super cool movie about 17 miracles(obviously) that happened to
the early Saints as they made their way to Utah in the 1800's. Sadly,
I didn't see all of it, because I had to travel. But from what I did
see, I totally recommend that you all look it up.

It's really sad that this was my last Christmas here on the mission,
but it was good to really remember the reason for the season. I hope
that you all kept that in your hearts yesterday. And also, as this
year spins to a close, I hope you all make New Year's resolutions that
really stick and help you make the necessary changes in your lives.

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas!

For the last time in 2011, this is Elder Craig signing out.

--
AEA


Elder Craig

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!!!

Hello family and friends on this last week before Christmas!!!

I hope that everyone has had a fantastic week! Mine was better than last week, and that's always good, right? I would like to think so.

So this week, for the first time since the end of June, I was able to go to the Temple in Cochabamba. What an experience! I had missed going to the temple, and boy was it awesome! It is such a spiritual place, and I LOVE it everytime that I get the chance to go. For those of you who can go, and haven't gone in a while, I strongly suggest that you GO. I say that because I love you all.! :)

This week, my companion and I really focused in on knocking doors to try and find new people...and boy, is it tough out here. We literally spent  days knocking doors, and only three news to show for it. But, they are great investigators(one came to church on Sunday), so I'm liking quality over quantity right now. Two of the news are relatives of some less-active members that we decided to contact, and they are progressing pretty well so far, but we will see where it goes from here.

You know, this is a special time of year, one that these days people mix up the reasons. Most think in the commercial Christmas, with Santa Claus, reindeer, mistletoe, and such, but that, unfortuanately, is not the "reason for the season". It really is a time for family, friends, and all types of people to get together and remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and also show how much they love one another. Sadly, this is my first and last Christmas here in Bolivia. I love sharing the Gospel with these people, and so this is good for me to remember my Master and Lord, whom I have the privilege to serve. I hope everyone of you has an amazing Christmas, and that you remember Christ, your family, and your favorite missionary in Bolivia.

I love you! Merry Christmas!
-- 
AEA


Elder Craig



Monday, December 12, 2011

Hello from the new area!

Hey, everyone!

I hope that you all had a great week! To be honest mine was pretty stressful... but don't worry, I'm still happy!

So, I left Tarija on Wednesday, which was one of the saddest days of my mission to date. I left and things were sad...many of us were crying when we left. I will miss that place.

But...I have a new adventure here in Cochabamba! Well, not really Cochabamba, but close enough. I am in a small town called Punata (my area officially is called Punata 1) and it's about an hour away from the city, so it means a very long drive for P-day (if we aren't slowed down like today) and for zone meetings. Imagine Saint George or Brenham in Bolivia, and you'll kinda get the idea. It's a cool little town, but it has a big problem. About every 3 houses there is a place called a chicheria( a place where all they sell is chicha, a fermented corn drink...nasty, huh?), so that makes it almost impossible to knock doors. This is totally different than my last area in Tarija, where I could go knock doors like crazy and not have to worry about that. So, we have to work mainly off of references, which also is something that I'm not used to. But, the ward is good, but it's not very big.

I live in probably one of the nicest houses in the mission. I live in the 4th story of a pad complex (it's way cooler than an apartment). It's pretty awesome because I finally have a kitchen again! And a private place to wash laundry. And a place for all the other elders in the house(including my companion) to play a prank on me to welcome me. Don't worry, it was harmless...they just convinced me that the house was haunted(a true mission rumor), then did stuff to really convince me. It was hilarious, and they asked for forgiveness afterwards. And exercizing my Christlike attributes, I forgave them. It was pretty funny. The other elders I live with are Elder Huber (from my group) and Elder Nieve (the district leader from Argentina).

My companion is Elder Leon from Guayaqui, Ecuador (which according to Elder Huber doesn't exist). He's pretty cool. He's a ex-metal head(he says only for the mission), and loves rock and metal. But, he's had a rough time with his first two companions. His trainer didn't train him at all(he was going home in one transfer), and his second companion didn't want to work. So....the President gave him me and said "Good Luck!"...just kidding. But, we're really excited to work together, because we get along really well. It's gonna be a fun time together.

Dad- Well, It's actually cold here, so it feels like Christmas. But, I'll do another snow dance just for you!

Mom- Well, sounds like you're really busy. Thanks for the pic, you guys look good!

Aly- Well, the interview process sounds like it's not fun. Just put on a good song, and it'll all go well. Luv ya!

Emi- Well, with that solo, looks like you have a lot to live up to. YOU CAN DO IT! ;)

Well, until next week!

Elder Craig

Friday, December 2, 2011

Waaaaasssssssup????? (received 11-28-11)


Hey everyone back home!
Man, what a week! I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I had a great week here! We finally had baptisms too! And pictures (finally I didn’t get a horrible computer…very common here.) so all y’all can see!
So, some disappointing news. We have to amazing investigators, a brother and sister, Juan Pablo and Jimena, who really really want to get baptized in the Church. The problem is that their parents belong to two different churches, and they’ve been fighting for years to try to get their kids to go to church with them, but they haven’t been able to do it because they (the kids) don’t like their churches. But, now, they have found the truth, and the parents don’t really like it. So, please keep your fingers crossed so we can get the permission from the parents to baptize their children, this is something that we really want for these kids.
But, good news! Yeni Mendoza and Luz Maria Chipana are now members of the Church! They were baptized on Saturday, and all went well! Well, for the most part. Almost all of the members that we invited didn’t show up at all, which was really disappointing. It also meant that we didn’t really have anybody there to see the baptism. Not even their families came. But, there was a Primary activity in the church, so we had a bunch of little kids and their teachers in the room for the baptism. Then, when we went to perform the ordinance, the water was too hot!(First time that that’s happened on my mission) So, I went out side and drained a bunch of the water while my companion added a bunch of cold water, so the water was bearable. But all in all, it was a successful baptism. Then on Sunday(ayer), they were on time in the chapel for their confirmations. So, we are super content with the work we did. They will be good members.
My Thanksgiving was an ok day. Yes, I had pie, but later I was sick at home and we only left for our most important appointments.
Dad- Hope the snow is treating you well! Have an amazing week!
Mom- Congrats on your office! Have an amazing week!
Aly-Glad you have a “cute” apartment? *cough, cough* Hope all goes well with work this week!
Emi(Meemerz!)- Sounds like you had a busy week! Keep it up! It’ll be Christmas vacation before you know it!
That’s it for now. This is Elder Craig, live from Bolivia.

-- 
AEA


Elder Craig



Monday, November 21, 2011

A dog bit me!

Hello familia and friends!

How was your week? Mine was great! It was an action packed week with exploding cars, kidnapped girls, biting dogs....ok, most of that was a joke, but the dog thing wasn’t....I’ll explain that a little later.
So, this week was a little rough for us at the beginning, because we didn’t have any lessons on Tuesday or Wednesday(ok, just like one or two, but that’s nothing for two days). So, we were really a little worried that we wouldn’t reach the goals that we set for the week. So, we buckled down and decided that we were going to reach our goals and finish the week strong. And man, did we do that! We worked our butts off everyday to try and reach our goals.

So, there’s this less-active girl that we’ve been visiting two or three times a week that we recently stopped visiting. It’s always tough to decide to stop visiting people, especially when they are non-actives or less-actives because they really know about these things, they know that these things are true, but when they don’t want to go back, it really sucks.... But, we’ve done all that we can for our part, and if she doesn’t want to, well, she has her agency. But it makes me sad still...

This week we finally have baptisms again! We are so excited to be baptizing people. Early on, my companion and I decided that we wouldn’t baptize anyone who wasn’t 100% ready, and we finally have some ready! They are two “jovenes”(as we say down here). I have been mentioning them in my past letters, one had the boyfriend living with her(they now live apart), and the other one really hadn’t received her answer yet, but has now recognized that God has responded her prayers. So, they have a set baptism for this Saturday! Expect pictures next week!

Ok, so the dog bit thing. My companion and I were entering into a house to teach new investigators, and their dog bit my leg as I entered. Luckily, the teeth didn’t pass though my pant leg, but still left a nasty scratch. But, I am totally fine, so don’t worry!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving!!!

Dad- Well, pray in the mountains for me! And summer here isn’t going fast enough!
Mom- I hope the move goes quickly...I want to see the new HQ for CommGap!
Aly- Don’t stress, it’ll all be over quickly! I know you’ll have fun too! ;)
Emi- Sounds like you had a good time. Yes, we as missionaries plan EVERYTHING out before we do it....I hope this skill sticks. ;P¨

Have an amazing Thanksgiving, and EAT LOTS OF PIE ¡!!!!!

-- 
AEA

Elder Craig

Monday, November 14, 2011

Muy-bien-hecho-Elderes!

Hey everyone back home!!! I hope that everyone had a fantastic week! This week was good on our part here in Bolivia!

Ok, so first thing , we are finally making progress with one of our investigators here with a baptismal date. Her name is Luz Maria, adn we've been teaching her for a while, and she has a date for this next weekend, but we've felt that she hadn't really been open to us, and so this past week we've been kinda rough on her. She's the kind of person that gives answers just because that she thinks that 's what we want to hear, which really is the worst thing that she couls do, becase that stops us from  able to help her. So, we started being real direct with her to try and get the real answers out of her- and it worked! She really opened up to us about all the things that she really feels and understands, and now we are going to be able to help her reach her goal for the 26th of this month to be baptized. It's really good to finally be able to help her, because we could tell that she wasn't being completely open with us.

We also have an investigator, Yeni, who is now progessing well. She received her answer about the church and everything and feels really strongly that she needs to be baptized, but she had something hindering her from being baptized- the law of chastity. She has been living with her boyfriend for 3 years now and she felt that it would be really tough for her to keep the commandment. So, we decided to talk to her AND her boyfriend. Well, we did it, and they later decided that they would seperate until they could get married, which means that she can also reach her goal of baptizing on the 26th! We are super excited because she needs the Gospel desperately in her life(she has a ton of problems with her family).

That's really all that's going on right now with me right now...this week we have a special conference with one of the Presidents of the Seventy, so that'll be interesting.

Dad- I'm super jealous that you're skiing...I miss the snow. It's super hot here right now. Hope you have an amazing week!

Mom- I amhappy that you are having success in your business, it really makes me happy. Have an amazing week!

Aly- Don't stress out this week! Just put on some awesome music and enjoy the ride! Have fun in Idaho(no, you da ho! ;) )

Emi- Have fun this weekend! DOn't do anything too dumb... ;)

That's all for now!

-- 
AEA


Elder Craig

Monday, November 7, 2011

There ain't no rest for the wicked...or missionaries!

Hey everyone back home!

Hope that everyone had great week!  Well, this week was awesome for me here in Tarija! Much better than the past two weeks….
Ok, so this week we’ve been super chuck full of appointments- like literally an appointment every hour of the day for four days. Which means that we’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Our area is really big, and we as missionaries don’t have a car or even bikes, so that means that we do a TON of walking. It’s normal for us to have to walk 15 or twenty minutes in between our appointments. This means that if we aren’t really careful, we can be late to ALL of our appointments.
Also this has been the week of finding problems with our investigators…literally. We’ve had a ton of our investigators come out with problems with the Law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom, keeping the Sabbath Day holy, etc. We’ve also had two of our investigators tell us that they had dreams with dead girls in them after they prayed to the Lord asking about the things that we’ve taught them. That has been creepily coincidental. But, all in all, it’s a really good thing, because now we know how to help our investigators (except for the dream….don’t have anything for that.).
We also found a new investigator who asked us in the first lesson what he had to do to be baptized. That was really cool for us, because that means that he’s going to progress well and reach baptism easily.

Dad- That was an awesome picture….I guess. Kinda creepy, but good to see you still have a good sense of humor. Pretty cool about that skiing movie. Have an amazing week and enjoy the snow!
Mom- Glad work is going well for you… and don’t worry about that Death Road…it’s not in my mission.
Aly- Just keep pushing forward, show ‘em whose boss. YOU DA BOSS! ;) Have a great week.
Emi-Well, well, well, have fun at that dance! Just be safe, ¿yeah? 

That’s all for now folks!

-- 
AEA

Elder Craig


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!!! And one year down....one to go!

Hello family and friends!!!  

                Well, I hope everyone at home had a fantastic week! This past week was well, good.  In reality it started off pretty rough for us. We literally went three days straight with our appointments falling through. That’s never fun, and really a bit disheartening, but my companion and I are a bit tougher than that. It takes more than a bunch of appointments falling through to get us down and to stop us from working.
                But, we have found some good new investigators this week, including a single mom and one of her kids. Her name’s Rosa and she’s super cool. We found her by knocking doors, and she’s one of those types that accepts all religious proselytes and so she accepted our visit. Well, we started to teach her and her daughter, and she was surprised because we taught so differently than the rest that had previously passed by, so she wanted to hear more. So we went back a different day and committed them to go to church on Sunday. Well, they both did(and seven more investigators!)! They are progressing really well, so we’re super excited for them.
                Remember about our investigator Herlan, whom I mentioned last week? Well, he’s come to church twice now, and is going to all the Single Young Adults activities. And we’ve only taught him once! So, things are looking good with him, and we have a bunch of stuff planned for him this week in our appointment.
                And that’s just some of the stuff going on here in Tarija!
                Well, I can’t believe it, but this week I complete a year on the mission….time goes by too fast. And they say that the second year goes even faster, but I hope they’re wrong.  It’s been such a privilege for me to be a missionary here in Bolivia, and I plan to work hard and enjoy every minute until the end.

Dad- Well, I will do a snow dance here in Bolivia just for you! Have an amazing week!
Mom- That is so exciting about the office! I know that things are going to get even better for you with your work.
Aly- Way to go on the job. You are an inspiration! I hope your first week of work goes amazing!
Emi- Sounds like things are going very well for you. Have tons of fun with that music…I’m jealous!  ;)

Have an amazing week everyone!

-- 
AEA


Elder Craig

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hey! I'm Still Here

HI everyone!
I hope that everyone had an amazing week! Things here were pretty good this past week here in Tarija.  It’s been really windy here, to be honest, and if these studpid computers would read my memory card, i would send you all some ridiculous photos of the crazy wind that my companion and I go through.

This week was a loong week for me and my companion. We literally had times where we would have an appointment on one side of our area, and literally have to go to the other side of our area, which means about 30 minutes of walking for us, because there really aren’t buses that go exactly where we needed to go.  But, we found some great people this week knocking doors. One is named Herlan. He’s a college student who really is intersted in the Restored Gospel. He showed up to church on Sunday, and we set him right with other Young Single Adults, and he found friends right away. It’s really cool to see how the influence of a member can really help out investigators feel at home in the Church. It really helps with this investigator, because he is a timid person, and doesn’t socialize really well. But we have really high hopes for him, because he really is taking what we teach to heart.

We’ve also been working with a family of inactives, whom we found knocking doors one day. There are two daughters in particular whom we’ve been focusing on. Both of them felt embarrased to go back to church because they’ve been inactive since they were little, and now have children, when the rest of their church friends are still kind of dating people. So, for the older one, we’ve put a goal for her to return to church in three weeks, and to help her out, we are stopping by three times a week for five minutes just to see how she’s doing personally with the goal. With the younger sister, we just had to invite her, and on Sunday she was in church. It was super cool to see her in church, because she seemed so happy that she had decided to go back.  I know that the church is truly for everyone, and that all can make it back and feel that same joy that they felt before.

Alright, now about the cambios, I am staying here in Tarija one more exchange. The President wants every companionship to stay together for two exchanges, unless they are dealing with major problems. But, my companion and I are going great, so we get six more weeks here to help more people out!

Dad- I had the wierdest feeling about that…i was talking to my companion and was like “You know, when I get home, I don’t know where I’m going to sleep!” Funny, huh?

Mom- That sucks that you got rained out again. But, what sucks more is that you didn’t get the best Dr. Pepper….oh well…hope you have an amazing week!

Aly- About the job, what happenes is what is supposed to happen, so don’t worry! And your hair cut looks fine, don’t worry! (I say that a lot, huh?)

Emi- Hope you have an amazing week! Hope to hear from you soon!

That’s all for now!

-- 
AEA


Elder Craig


Another conference....and another week!

Hello family and friends north of the equator!
Well, this was another super exciting week here in the land of Quechua! This week of full of suspense, terror, and….just kidding! It was a calm week (tranquillo, like we say down here.)
To be completely honest here, this week was full of lots of walking and rejections. It was actually strange for my companion and me, because usually our week is full of appointments. But, this week we spent most of our time knocking on doors in our area, which kinda sucked, because the weather this week was wacky. Literally we had rain, hail, super hot temps, and cold temps. And then a ton of people this week were rejecting us, to the point that my companion was saying “This is unusual for us…no one is letting us in this week. They usually do.” But, you know, I took it as a lesson from the Lord to make sure we didn’t get cocky, because that can happen with missionaries who have tons of success, no?
We also had Zone Conference this past Friday with our mission president. It was a good conference for us. We all reported the need for more lessons with members, which is really important for us. Experience shows that lessons with members helps that the investigators actually baptize. So, my companion and I are going to focus on that this week, because we have a ton of good investigators who just need the support of a member to help them into the font. So, a suggestion, if you can, accompany the missionaries to a lesson or two….they’ll really appreciate it, and you could help someone get baptized!

Dad- That flight sounds amazing….Hope you took some awesome pics. Hope you enjoyed the Warren Miller Movie. And way to go getting Marcos out of bed for that hike. Have an amazing week!
Mom-Sounds like you are having a great time learning about Bolivia…some things do appear pagan, no? But really, it’s a really cool culture.
Aly- Get that job, woman! I know you can do it! Best of luck!
Emi-That sucks that you’re having that many problems…I’ll pray for you. Have tons of fun this week!

That’s all for now!


-- 
AEA


Elder Craig

Monday, October 10, 2011

What an AWESOME week!

Hello everyone at home!

What an amazing week that this past week has been! It's included many surprises that even I wasn't expecting.
 
So, first thing's first. No, the earthquake didn't affect anyone here in Tarija....I didn't even feel a thing. Apparently other missionaries did, but my companion and I didn't feel any type of quake. All things are nice and quiet here in Bolivia...for now. I'll explain later.
 
So this week has been awesome for me and my companion for the work of the Lord. This entire week we've been focusing on the baptisms that we had, a massive activity for the ward mission work, and finding news. And you know what? With lots of hard work we were able to complete all of our goals. Our ward activity was pretty cool. Maybe y'all have participated or seen this before. It's a simulation of ward members and investigators that are on a plane that crashes...and everybody dies. Then according to a label on your boarding pass you get conducted by angels into one of the three kingdoms of glory, or outer darkness. I had the privilege of being an angel in the Celestial Kingdom. It was super cool, and a really spiritual experience for me. We had almost one hundred people show up, which is almost half of the actives in our ward. It was all in all a very good experience....you should all try it out.
 
Ok, so....I had 4 baptisms this weekend! The familia Sanchez got baptized...along with five others from the other missionaries in our ward. That was a cool experience that I won't forget. 9 baptisms doesn't happen every day. It was an amazing experience that almost made me cry. It's been so humbling to see a family that we've worked so hard to teach decide to make a covenant with the Lord and join His church. They are going to do so many great things in the Church, I just know it! Then yesterday the confirmations took FOREVER during sacrament, literally like forty minutes. Then came the surprise...I was asked to bless and give names to two children in the ward from a family of converts where the dad doesn't have the Melquesidec Priesthood yet. That was really cool. But, I had always felt that the children that I would first bless and present before the Lord would be my own,,,but apparently the Lord had different plans for me.
 
And, no pics this week cuz the computer is being dumb and won't read my memory...so you'll all have to wait for next week for a new computer to see the pics. Sorry!
 
Dad- Have an amazing week! Glad you've had so much fun hiking!
 
Mom- I tell you, your business is going places. Get ready for the ride of your life!
 
Aly- Well, tell Deborah "Hi, and welcome home" for me, will ya? Don't you worry, I'll pray about the job thing for you!
 
Emi- Have an amazing week! Hope all is well!
 
Until next time!
 
 
AEA


Elder Craig

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Day After Conference/ Eleven Months!

Hello, hello, hello everyone!

Well, I hope everyone had an amazing General Conference weekend! Those were some pretty sweet talks this weekend, weren't they?

This week was a good week for me and my companion. We this past week had so many appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday that we didn't have time to schedule time to go knock doors or to even go to dinner! We were super busy, but we still found time to go find news. We decided to trek into an area that I've never been into before in my area, and there we found three, later seven, new investigators in one family! They are super cool, and most of them went to General Conference with us yesterday, so they are progressing really well towards a baptismal date of the first week of November. We are also teaching this teacher and her daughter, and they came to Conference too. They are doing really well in their progression. They have a baptismal date for the end of this month! They have an interesting case because this hermana has a "husband", but they don't live together, which is really unusual down here in Bolivia. She lives here in Tarija and her "husband" lives in La Paz, so really there is nothing really stopping us from baptizing her when she recieves her answer about the Book of Mormon and the Church.

So, my companion and I had a scare this past week when we went to go teach Palmyra Sanchez this past week. We went to her house with the intentions of teaching the Word of Wisdom, but we felt really, REALLY strongly that we needed to teach the Law of Chastity, and it turns out that she wasn't keeping it with her boyfriend. It would have turned into a BIG problem if they were living together, but thankfully we know that they don't, so we can still baptize her this Saturday.This weekend we have 4 baptisms planned, plus a massive ward mission activity, so this week will be a stressful one for me, because there is so much riding on our work for both activities.

So, General Conference was really good for me this year. For me the talks of the 70's were actually my favorites this time around. I especially enjoyed Elders Ian Ardern, Carl B. Cook, and Kazuhiko Yamashita's talks. They really spoke to me.


Dad-I'm keeping you in my prayers. Just trust in the Lord, and all things will turn out how they should.

Mom- Hope you had a great time in Boston! Have an amazing week!

Aly- Hope it's been good for you. Heard USU  barely lost...there's always next year!

Emi-Don't do anything stupid to worsen your ankle! ;) Have an amazing week!

Remember- always look up! 

-- 
AEA

Elder Craig

New companion, new changes (9/26)

So, hello everyone.
 
First of all, I really want to apologize for that picture last week. I didn't see the hand in the back, and I feel really bad that you all saw that....and I am really embarassed to tell you that I know who it is. But that's enough on that.
 
Ok, so this week has been a CRAAAAZY(with all caps again) week. My companion and I just got out there and started to knock all the doors we could, and our agendas started filling up with so many citas that we had to start telling people "Sorry, we can't Sunday, we're booked all day...can we come by another time?". It's been a good crazy, and I haven't had this much work in a while, so it feels really good, although I'm exhausted. But, don't worry, I like it, cause we're really working hard to try and help the people here all that we can.
 
Soo, we've got some really awesome things going for us here, We have, in our ward, 9 baptisms for the 8th of October, 4 which are mine and my companion's, and 5 of the other pair of missionaries in our ward. We also have a massive activity that we're doing with the ward missionaries on the 7th. And on top of that we have to get investigators to Conference this week and get them not to drop their baptismal dates.
 
We have many awesome investigators right now, one of which is the little brother of a recent convert whose mom doesm't  want him to have anything to do with the Church....that will be a huge hurdle to leap over, but we've got faith we can do it.
 
 
That's all the time we have for this week....
 
Dad- I hope the job search is going well....I like the new helmet and goggles you got. Looks like to me you're ready for ski season....me too. ;)
 
Mom- That's a total bummer that you're going to miss Conference....but I know good things will come from this conference you're going to.
 
Aly- You are still super cool to me! You're a dork, and that's what makes you awesome!
 
Emi- Have an amazing week! Don't do anything too dumb! :)
 
 
Until next week(My eleven month anniversary!!!!)
--
AEA


Elder Craig

Still here! (9/19)

Hey everyone!

I hope you all had a great week! Mine was good  and things are looking
up ofr the work of the Lord!

Ok, so you're all wondering if I got moved... well, the answer is no.
I am still here in Tarija "La Chura", and I have a new companion. His
name is Elder Diaz. He's from Ecuador. But, the funny thing is, I've
already lived with him. He was my friend Elder North's companion in
Cochabamba when I lived there with him, so I know what he's like
already. No praying and hoping that I have an awesome companion, I
already know what he's like. He is super cool and he works really
hard, which is really the type of companion that I've been wanting for
a while, so I'm really happy.

We went out immediately and started to work and in just three and a
half days, we found the same number of new investigators that my last
companion and I found in an entire week(sometimes two). It's been
super fun to work with him because he works hard and also plays hard,
so we really enjoy each other's company as we work.

Also, something really, really cool happened this week. That family
that I've told you about these past couple of weeks, well, they've
recieved answers to their prayers concerning the Gospel.....and they
know it's true!!! They have a baptismal date in two weeks on the 8th
of October....please keep your fingers crossed.

That's really all for this week.

Dad- Well, I'm glad you're at least have success with selling the
gear....I'm still praying that you'll find a job you want and like. I
love you-have an amazing week!

Mom- Glad that you found that office space! It'll keep you in the
habit of going into the same building. Have a great week!

Aly- Yes!The Utes won! Woop! Thanks for the news Have an amazing week!

Emi- That sucks that you're sick....hope you get better by Homecoming!
Have fun! I want to see pics!

That's all for now!
AEA


Elder Craig


Monday, September 12, 2011

Livin' la vida.....misional!

Why, hello beloved familia and friends!

I hope everyone had a fantastic week. Me, well...I've had better weeks on my mission, but that doesn't mean that it was a bad week! 

Ok, so up until Saturday, all of our appointmensts fell through, nobody was answering doors( or we got rejected), so it seemed like a very very bad week for us. I, being honestly honest, was getting a little disheartened because we hadn't taught anything all week. I guess this is the Lord's was of teaching us humility, no? Well, Saturday, we went to an appointment that we had in the morning, and our investigator was actually there! But not just that, his cousin from the army was home for the weekend! So, we read Moroni 10 together and explained all of Moroni's invitations in that chapter to them. Our investigator's cousin was really interested in the Book of Mormon, so we taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it could help him in his life to keep his standards high, especially in the military world. So, we gave him a copy, and he said that he would read it. He is a good kid. Military service, up until a few years ago, was mandatory, and he's in the army because of that. 

Well, this past week, our ward had a talent show, and my companion and I got permission to perform a song written by some missionaries in Colombia.The song was called "Querido Juan" or "Dear John". You can probably figure out what it's about by the title. :)  I sang, and my companion sang backup and played guitar. It was awesome. I had lots of fun doing it, and people were still talking about it at church on Sunday, saying things like  "Poor John!" or "Was that song about you?". And we also had an activity with thi ward missionaries, teaching them how to teach lessons and stuff. That went really well. We finished the night by eating a Chilean dish called completos....which is basically a hotdog with tomatoes, guacamole, ketchup and mayo. It's really good, actually( or my tastebuds have changed here, one of the two.).

Then, last night we had a really spiritual moment. A hermana from the ward asked us to come over and give her son a blessing. So, we went over and we talked to the kid, and well, he's been having problems with his head, so he's headed out to La Paz to go get CAT-scans done, then probably surgery. We talked and we found out what was going on and how scared he was to travel and have this all go down. but, he accepted the blessing from us. Afterwards, he told us that when he comes back from La Paz, that he wants to be baptized! I really don't understand why people get so Gospel happy when they have huge things going down in their lives, but maybe this is the time the Lord has prepared for them to accept the Gospel, and they're taking it.

I should be telling you about cambios today, but.....The presdent is giving them tonight, so ya'll have to wait until next week. Sorry!

Dad- I'll talk to my mission pres about that.....Have an amazing week!

Mom-Well, I think it's time for a new office....just my suggestion.

Aly- I love that pic! Freak....makes me a little trunkee, but that's ok.

Emi- Sorry about the bad meet....just esforzarse and keep working hard to get better.

Scriptures of the week:
Ether 12:36

I hope you all have an amazing week!
-- 
AEA


Elder Craig







Chunka(diez, ten) meshes!!!!! (9-5-2011)

Why, hello everyone!

I hope you all had an amazing week! Mine, as usual, was fantastic!  This week was super cool for a few reasons.

This week we were finally able to contact a family that we've been trying to contact for weeks. They were a reference given to us by a member. Well, they are one awesome family. It's a single mom and four of her kids(We're still trying to contact the oldest son....teenagers are always difficult.Yes, parents, I finally sort of understand...probably not XP), and they are loving the Gospel! The mom and three of her kids accepted a baptismal date for the 1st of October.We're super excited for them, and we're going to do all that we can to help them reach that goal. Really, giving references really helps our work out. According to Preach My Gospel, the ideal situation for us as missionaries is that we work off of pure references given to us by members. We also have those two brothers that I told y'all about last week that are still super excited about the gospel, and we started to teach their mom this week, so that family is being awesome as well.

We have one frustrating thing right now. We have an investigator who is like this close(imagine for a moment that I'm squeezing my fingers together really closely) to baptism. Well, we taught her the last commandment that she needed, which is the law of chastity. Well, she's been good with everything.....but she has a belly button ring( which is against the law of chastity if you didn't know, only piercings allowed are only on women, and one pair on the ears.) and she refuses to take it out. Right now it's literally a piece of metal separating her from starting her path to eternal salvation. That is super, super frustration, because she loves the Church, and goes as often as she can. She even went the weekend that we were gone to Cochabamba, which means that she loves the Church for the Spirit that she feels there, and not for us. So, please pray for her. We challenged her to pray to the Father and ask Him whether she should have the piercing or not, and really that will be her response for whether the Church is true or not.

Dad- Don't worry, I don't have the same plans coming home from the mission as most missionaries. I know what really should be a priority. Have an AMAZING week!

Mom- I'm glad you get to see everyone so much- tell them hi for me sometime!

Aly- Thanks for the Times Square pic!  I hope you have tons of fun today. And I don't know that band...you'll have to burn me a CD for when I get home.

Emi- Thanks for the letter(finally ;) ). Have an amazing week!

Scriptures of the week:

D&C 97:8, 88:123-126

That's all for now! I love you all!
-- 
AEA


Elder Craig



Monday, August 22, 2011

I Shook the Hand of an Apostle!



Hello my dearly beloved family and friends!

I hope everyone had a fan-diddily-tastic week! This week was one of the best of my mission. 

So, this week started off pretty good. That hermana that I told you all about last week, well we were passing her house to go knock doors and she came out and asked us to come in and talk. So we went in, and she apologized to us for how she had been acting and asked for our forgiveness for how she had been acting. I thought that was pretty cool of her, she seems to really be repenting of starting to inactivate in the church. What I really want now is for her to get a calling in the church to really help her and keep her active.

So, the best part of the week started when on Tuesday night we found out that we, as a zone, were being flown out to Cochabamba to hear Elder Neal L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak! And, man, what a weekend that was! They flew us out on Friday, and we were there until last night, so we spent the weekend in Cochabamba! One of the cooler parts was seeing the ENTIRE mission together. I was able to take a pic with my padre and my abuelo(my trainer and his trainer), whick was really cool. Then we were able to hear him speak, plus ask him questions for about whatever we wanted. The first Elder to ask a question went straight for the big guns and asked him if he's seen Christ. Well, needless to say, Elder Anderson didn't say yes or no. Just said that the testimony of an Apostle is enough, and he testified that He lives! I think the answer is pretty clear there. But the best part for me was when he was explaining on how we can keep the Spirit as strong as it is now after the mission. He said that in the mission that we are preparing to recieve a greater blessing afterwards, and if we aren't faithful during and after the mission, that we won't receive those blessings. Pretty deep stuff. He said a bunch of other awesome things, and finished the meeting reading MY mission scripture( Moroni 10:31-34), so I was pretty much sobbing at the end, I was feeling the Spirit so strong. The only disappointing thing is is that we weren't allowed to take pícs with him, but I still took one of him as evidence that I was there :). 

Well, that was my amazing week- I hope everyone has an amazing one!

Dad- Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it. have an amazing week!

mom- Sounds like things are going great! You'll have to wait for next week for the pics of everything.

Aly-Wow, NY sounds amazing. Maybe we can go and rock it there someday together. ;)

Emi- Well, I only send as much as happens, and every week'll be different. Glad you had fun with Jana. I met Aubrey with Cherene once, she's her best friend.

Scriptures of the week:
2 Nephi 2:8
2 Nephi 31:20

Luv ya all!
-- 
AEA

Elder Craig

An Awesome Week!

Hey everyone!

I hope you all had a great week! This was, for me, my best week so far in Tarija. Well, mostly.

Alright, so all in all, my companion and I went an knocked a ton of doors this week, and we found some GREAT potential investigators, and we've begun to teach them.But the coolest thing that happened this week happened during my exchanges. We do exchanges with our District Leader and I was working in my area with his companion. Well, we were knocking doors when a girl of about 18 years answered her door. Well, we did the door approach and she said that she didn't have time, but that she would come and visit the church. 99% of the time when people say that down here, we never even see them again, much less see them in church. But, she actually showed up! We were able to teach her in the church, and she seems really excited to recieve the Restored Gospel. 

Then, some really sad news. The sister that we baptized a few weeks ago has already lost her testimony, and has become inactive. It's been really rough on my companion, who fought super hard to help her recieve a testimony and baptize her. It's super true when they say that many are called, but few are chosen. That doesn't mean we've given up on her yet. We're working with the ward missionaries to help her regain all that she has lost. We still have hope.

Oh, and some drugie tried to fight me yesterday just for being gringo....on in the mission, right?

I hope everyone has a great week!


Dad- Hope you have an amazing week! Don't give up hope!

Mom- Thanks for the Jeffery R. Holland Quotes! They're really cool. Hope you have the best week ever!

Aly- Sounds like New York is freakin' sweet! Can't wait to see pics next week! Have fun, and be safe!

Emi- Well, enjoy your last week. And go kick trash at your meet!

'Til next week!
-- 
AEA


Elder Craig



Monday, August 8, 2011

Celebration


Hey everyone!

I hope everyone had a great week! My week was super cool!


The first thing awesome that happened this week was our baptism on
Tuesday!(Sorry, no pic.) It was the hermana I've told all of you about
alot who was totally into her church and everything. She didn't want
anything to do with baptism or the Book of Mormon, and now she's been
baptized and reads the Book of Mormon! Crazy how the Spirit can change
peoples' lives, huh? Well, she told us she didn't want ANYBODY at the
baptism because she said that she isn't sociable. Well, the ward
mission leader announced it in church, and so a bunch of people showed
up. So....she said she didn't want to be baptized, because all the
people showed up, and now she was angry with us. So I talked to her
for about 20 minutes, and shared scriptures with her that showed her
that the time of her baptism was then and there, and no other time.
She finally agreed, and the baptism went great. Then on Sunday we went
to her house and picked her up and took her  to church to get her
confirmed. It is absolutely amazing to me how her countenance has
changed. She seems to be radiating with the Spirit now. If you could
have seen her before, you would be amazed too.

The next cool thing was on Saturday, which was Bolivian Independence
Day. The Stake had a stake-wide activity where each ward presented
traditional food and a  dance from a department in Bolivia. My ward
had the department of Oruro, so we ate lamb with corn and potatoes. It
was really good. Then they danced "La Morenada", which is a pretty
cool dance, but my favorites are the Tinku and Los Caporales. YouTube
them, they are pretty cool.



Dad- Looks like you had a great time fishing...Tell Uncle Biz I like
his Metallica goatee. XP

Mom- About Quechua, I am trying to learn so I can teach a new
investigator. Tarija is a medium-sized city, so it's an entire stake.
About my daily life...it's about the same. We have a pension where we
eat, and it's por una hermana. And I work all day. :D

Aly- Have TONS of fun in New York. I can't wait to hear about it and
see all the pics. Eat a hot dog for me!

Emi- Well, I think you're doing well for your 5k time...Just run and
push yourself more, you'll get faster. Promise ;)

That's all for now!

Scriptures of the week:

Alma 26:12
2 Chron. 15:7

Luv you all!
--
AEA


Elder Craig


Happy Bolivian Independence week!


Why hello friends and family! ¿Imanayakashanki? (That's Quechua for "How are you?" And the correct response is "Jualejia")
 
Alright, so this week wasn't really that exciting, but some cool things did happen this week. On Wednesday we had intercambios with our district leader, so I was with Elder Bond. Since his appendix was removed, he hasn't really been able to go out and work because any time that he did go out and work, he would open his stiches a bit and start oozing nastiness all over the place, so his surgeon said that he didn't want him walking out and about so that he could heal and what not. So, I was in his apartment all day, just chilling with him. And we had a really interesting conversation about how he really got to go on the mission, but he's feeling really down because he can't work. It reminded me how true it is that as missionaries that we serve two missions- Among the people and among the missionaries. It was a super spiritual afternoon, and I learned tons about him. He's the member version of my friend Tyler, so I feel like we're good friends now.  Also on Friday, we had a District activity where we went and worked in the zone leaders' area. And I learned how much people care when things can apply to their families, because so many families are really disfunctional down here. Makes me really appreciate the family I have, and it also makes me want to work harder to help these people have the blessings that I enjoy in my life. For me that's the best part of missionary work(besides seeing people accept the Gospel in their livesa), seeing families become more unified in the Gospel. It's undescribable the joy I feel when that happens.
 
Dad- Hey, you are totally right. I am where the Lord needs me to be. Have a great week!
 
Mom-That's crazy about what that missionary did. That truly takes guts. Glad you spent lots of time with Alyssa.
 
Aly- Hey, thanks for cheering me on....it really does help!
 
Emi- Way to go on your college course! That's way cool. And summer is never long enough. And you'll get fast enough for XC!
 
Scriptures of the week:D&C 88:133, 128:22
 
Hope y'all have an amazing week!
--
AEA

Elder Craig

Week of miracles!

Hey hey hey everyone!

I hope you had an amazing week! This has been an amazing week for me here!

First thing awesome that happened this week is that we had a ward mission night to try and get the ward excited for missionary work. We had sixty people show up, which is really cool because it really shows that the ward is going to support our work. We even had one of our really really tough investigators come(And there's a awesome miracle about her! I'll say more in a bit.). It just turned into a really awesome night. The next night we went with this same hermana and her sister to the stake pioneer day at the stake center. It was really cool to see how they celebrate the pioneers down here. They really have a special place in their hearts for them, especially because many of them are really pioneers in their own families.

Alright, so the best part of the week was Saturday night....no there wasn't any crazy parties or anything, just a super super spiritual experiance. We went to go visit our investigator Giovana, and we were talking with her and asked if(for like the billionth time) she had received an answer. Well, this was her answer- "Well, I'm not going to share my answer-that's for me. But I will tell you this- I know you two bring the truth, and nothing but." This made me cry. She was really an investigator that I was really losing hope in, but it just goes to show that the Spirit can really bring miracles in peoples' lives. That was probably one of the most spiritual experiences that I've had on my mission.

I'm super grateful to be here and see these things happen in peoples' lives. I feel a llittle piece of heaven everytime that happens. It truly is special.

Dad- I hope you have an amazing week! Luv ya!

Mom- Sounds like things in the office are doing great! 

Aly- Hope things go great this week!

Emi- Work hard this week! Hope to hear form you soon!

Have a fantastic week all!

-- 
AEA


Elder Craig