Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Canada

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had an exceptional Christmas!  THANKS AGAIN everyone for your packages!
This week has been very interesting.  It started out amazing and then slowed way down.  On Monday and Tuesday we found three new investigators.  They all seemed really solid and then... *poof*... they all disappeared.  I suppose that's the name of the game though.

It was so much fun on Christmas Day!  Keith got me an awesome present and his family made us a huge...like... HUGE dinner.  It was really good!  The Seaboyer family took such good care of us as well.  They fed us an amazing meal and let me Skype my family from their home.  It was SO NICE talking to my family!!! I miss you guys so much!

Hey funny story... So we went to the native reserve yesterday to contact a former investigator.  I learned something new...I didn't think it was possible to "hot box" an entire neighborhood.  Those people like marajuana... like... A LOT! It was stinky everywhere so we left!

As some of you know, I have been given the opportunity to be district leader.  Since I have been called it feels as if the days have become shorter. I thought just being a plain ol' missionary kept you busy, but NOPE there is so much to do!  Man I feel like there are two things that are the biggest waste of time as a missionary; EATING and SLEEPING!  I could do so much more if I didn't have to spend the time doing those two things.  Well, that's all I got for this week!

Loves,
Elder Craig

video
Merry Christmas!

Talking to my family on Christmas Day.


Monday, December 22, 2014

headlight...taillight...

Hello Everybody!

I'm so glad to still be here in Woodstock!  I love this area! Can you believe Christmas is this week?! Like...uh... where has the time gone? I got a new companion.  His name is Elder Thompson and he's from Idaho.  He is awesome! He loves to hunt, loves dirt bikes, and loves to work hard. We have so much in common and get along so well that it's as if we've known each other since birth. He is brand new in the mission field, but you would never know it. You would think he's been doing this for a while.

A quick story that happened on transfer day... The roads were really slippery while traveling to Munchkin.  We spent the night in Fredericton which is about an hour from here. That drive turned into an hour and a half with the roads. On our way from Fredericton to Munchkin there was an Elder named  Elder McQuire who was driving one of the other mission cars. By the way he is awesome! He's such a solid missionary. Anyway, He thought I didn't have a GPS so he decided to lead the pack. For whatever reason his GPS took him to every back road possible THAT WASN'T PLOWED! So here we are trucking through 5 or 6 inches of snow and he's just doing everything he can to keep his momentum going (he was driving a Subaru).  It was important that we be on time and make the transfer van because both Elder Wilson(my current companion) and Elder McQuire (driver of the Subaru) were to be on this van that was leaving at 11:00am. We were instructed to be there by 10:00am.  We're going down this road and the elders in the Subaru left their phone back at the apartment, so we had no way of getting a hold of them. I tried every way possible (waving them down, honking my horn, flashing my brights,  etc.) trying to get them to pull over so I could persuade them to turn around and go a different direction, but I couldn't get their attention.  Finally I just sped up and passed them.  By this time we were so far into this route (better known to locals as the old highway) that it didn't make since to turn around, so we pressed on. It might be worth mentioning that  I'm in an Equinox which handles the weather conditions so much better than the Subaru. We finally get on the main highway. There are NO cars on the freeway.  No one around here drives when it starts to snow.  People are so afraid of the weather. Like... uh...snowflakes?! better cancel church kind of paranoia.  ha ha

We were traveling as fast as we could to make it to transfers on time. By the way,  it's always the right side of the highway that is cleared because that's what everyone drives on.  Elder McGuire thought it would be fun to pass me in the left lane.  Uh... in a Subaru.  As I watch this Elder makes his move I turn to my companion and say, "He's gonna spin out!" As soon as I finish that sentence, all you see is headlight...taillight...headlight...taillight. He spun around four times and right off a bank.  Like a super steep bank! I was cracking up and thinking "Oh my gosh, we're gonna be late!" I should have taken a picture! By the time I made it over to them they were trying to back the car out...in the ice... and snow.  ha ha First I took a shovel and cleaned around the front tires to make a little trail so I could get a little momentum. I rocked the car a bit and then gunned it knocking down little bushes and trees.  There was a good 300 yard stretch of just bush wackin' it before I worked (slipped) my way up, all over, and finally out. Miracle!  The elders were all cheering! ha,ha

I got back in my vehicle and we took off again only to end up in the same position.  YES! it happened again.  I passed a s-l-o-w vehicle and then here comes Elder McGuire thinking he can pass the slow driver too.  Well, he got into the left lane to make his attempt and after spinning round and around he headed off into a little bank barely missing a fence. I got back into his car and worked it up the hill with the tires barely catching traction on the iced over freeway.  Thank goodness we had some helpers stop and help us push the car from time to time. Elder McGuire's companion *took the drivers seat* this time ;) as we made our way back to Munchkin. We made it there around 10:45am.

I picked up my new companion and headed back to Woodstock where we were greeted with snow up to our knees.  We planned out the rest of our day and since it snowed a ton, we grabbed our shovels and just started working! While helping several people shovel their drives we ended up having a few GREAT conversations.  It was awesome! Oh and we ended up running into a guy that claims to have the ability to trade spirits with people. He's an interesting little guy. Good stuff!

Good news! We finally got wifi in the Woodstock church building. That's what happens when you follow up with President Leavitt e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y! ;)  Keith graciously donated two computers.  Currently we aren't teaching any progressing investigators, but this week that will change!  Elder Thompson and I have created a very specific goal which is to hit the standard for "key indicators" in this mission.  That can be difficult in an area like Woodstock, but that won't be the case this time, because simply put, Elder Thompson and I can't be stopped;)

Thanks for your prayers!  As a district leader now, I'm finding that there is so much to do.  It feels like there is so much to do and so little time!  I'm grateful for the Spirit to help me through this learning experience.

I have received a couple packages and man you guys are AWESOME! Thank you to the Brady family, my family, g-ma, pops, and the Stratland young women. I enjoyed reading each of your notes! The "big Brady package" was opened at the border.  Apparently the border doesn't like wrapped gifts, so they searched each one.  I'm gonna blame the sisters on this one.  They decided to personally bring the package across the border and hand deliver it! G-ma, thanks for the banana bread, you guys are awesome!

I love you all! Oh and hey...only a couple of you email me on Mondays.  Take a minute and fill me in on how life is for you.  I really would love to hear from you...Uh...YES... YOU! :)
My email is nathan.craig@myldsmail.net

Love you and Merry Christmas!
-Elder Craig

When I left Woodstock on Wednesday evening it was barely snowing.  This is what I came home to just twelve hours later. 


My new companion's first day in Woodstock. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just a short note...


18 December 2014



Dear Brother and Sister Craig,


Just a short note to inform you that your son was recently called to serve as a District Leader  in the New Brunswick West Zone of the Canada Halifax Mission. We are pleased that he has prepared himself and is willing to accept this call. Leadership in the mission is very significant and can make such a difference in the life of the leader and those whom he leads.


We are grateful for his dedication and service. We are also thankful for the sacrifices you have made and are making so that it is possible for Elder Craig to serve the Lord in this part of His vineyard. Elder Craig has a strong testimony and is a devoted missionary who loves the Lord and this great work. We pray for the Lord's continued blessings on your family.


Sincerely,President Brian D. Leavitt

Monday, December 15, 2014

Prayer is Essential.

HI EVERYONE!

It's been a good week. Elder Wilson and I went to a Pentecostal church (This is the second time). Saturday we decided to attend a Catholic Church service. It has been an interesting experience.  The Catholic service was very different than the Pentecostal service.  The Catholic service is much quieter.  We approached the Priest (called the father) and began to engage in a conversation. He’s a cool guy. He invited us to a turkey dinner. We expressed our desire to attend, but told him we had an appointment we needed to be at. He suggested that we come after our appointment and said that He would save us a plate to which we agreed.  By the time we got there everyone had pretty much gone. Me, my companion, and John (the Priest) talked for a good 45 minutes. We asked each other various questions and were able to learn more about how the Catholic Church is run. I asked if we could discuss our beliefs and share with him the missionary discussions.  He agreed, so we exchanged contact information and planned a meeting for Sunday evening. It was a cool day! We plan on visiting various churches in the area.  There are 19 churches in Woodstock. The logic for me in visiting these other churches is that in my experience people are not JUST WILLING to listen to a message about Jesus Christ, but when you attend their service and they see you in their congregation they feel more comfortable talking to you.  For example, there was a couple in the congregation that I had knocked on their door a few months prior that I didn’t remember. They came up to me and started talking to me rather than me having to approach them.  People seem to feel more comfortable when you are on their turf. It proves to break down little barriers that people might have. It's AWESOME!

I just found out that I WILL NOT BE TRANSFERRED!  I’m staying in Woodstock!!! My prayers have been answered.  I’m excited because great things are happening here. I feel like things are just starting to roll and I’m happy to be able to stay and build up as much momentum as I can. My companion will be getting transferred.  I will be getting a new companion and once again I will have the opportunity to train a missionary straight out of the MTC. 

Keith has a sister who is interested in learning more about the gospel as well as her daughter. It’s just so cool! Prayers are being answered.  Prayer is essential!  Everything stems from prayer…and faith. I guess everything stems from a lot of stuff, but these are two fundamental principles one must have. I love it! I’m having so much fun!!!

Ok, everyone… hear me on this one…Click this LINK to access a video of one of my most favorite talks. It's called "His Grace Is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. You could also click HERE if you want a copy to read.  Seriously, it’s the best talk I HAVE EVER HEARD! It puts things into major perspective.  Mom, Dad, Wesley, Dawson, Breeley, and Britley, I know you’ll like it!

Let’s see… We got a new mission vehicle.  It’s a truck with less than 500 miles on it. Also, we had our apartment inspected and passed with flying colors.  They were extremely impressed. They wanted to know what cleaning supplies we were in need of and ran to the store to pick those things up for us. They were even nice enough to pick up some food for us and stock our fridge with sandwich stuff! So NICE!

WESLEY and DAWSON I’m pointing to you right now when I say this…"Have a clean apartment when you serve a mission!” It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get it clean, just get it done!  It makes a difference! It’s also a good indication of what kind of missionary you are. When you go to various missionaries’ apartments and their living space is dirty, it really shows as to what kind of missionary they are when you work with them. Start being clean in ALL aspects.  Everything affects everything in the mission.  It’s such a micro world and the variables are so close together.  You can put yourself in a tale spin real quick.

Dad and Mom...You have left a tremendous impact on me.  Your examples have lead me to be who I am today. What a powerful example of two committed people who have worked together to create a successful family.  I have often pondered on the kind of father I want to be (you see some jacked situations out here).  I've really studied the kind of parents you ARE and I'm amazed and forever grateful for the path you have cleared for not only me, but my future wife, and my children. Well I know that is kind of deep and I can keep going, but for now that should suffice. 

I feel so loved and appreciate the packages each of you have sent. THANK YOU!!!


I love you guys!  Talk to you later.
-Elder Craig

Monday, December 1, 2014

Committed to the Result.

Howdy, Howdy, Howdy!  What's happenin'?

Dad and Mom, THANK YOU for the iPad and my coat... It's awesome! I LOVE IT! It came at the perfect time. We had a snow storm which put a good fourteen inches on the ground. It's cool to watch the snow rise so quickly.  After the storm, my companion and I shoveled driveways.  We did one ladies driveway which took about an hour and a half (it was a BIG driveway!). My poor companion was slipping all over the place.  He fell a few times and got ticked! Lot's of snow, but it was fun.

I mentioned last week how Keith (our newest baptized member) is working so hard to figure out how  to share the gospel with others. Keith has a friend named Jeff who, at first, tried to unload anti on Keith. We spent some time working through that but Keith has since invited Jeff over to look up, teach, and mark scriptures. My companion, Elder Wilson, has a great knowledge of the Bible and has done a great job tying things back to the Bible for both Keith and Jeff.

Yesterday we spent a long day at Keith's house. We agreed to help him paint one of the rooms in his house if he would invite Jeff over.  While painting, we had a great conversation with Jeff!  Next we headed over to Jeff's grandfather's shop to help Keith change the rear brakes on his car. We thought this would be a good opportunity to meet and talk to Jeff's grandparents. We ran into a few challenges with the car in the process, but all in all it was good and guess what?! I learned how to change calipers (without you tube haha).  Keith helped me change one side and then I was able to do the other side. My hands are a bit sore and I got REALLY dirty but over all, it was fun!

My Mission President spoke in our ward Sunday, so he ended up staying the night at our apartment.  It was awesome and lot's of fun!  It was great to have him here and hang out with him all day and work with him.

We've been able to use Facebook to do missionary work. It has proved to be an amazing tool. It's AWESOME!

Let's see what else...Oh, last week in a district (a district is comprised of missionaries that are in close proximity) meeting, we, as a district, decided to create a goal together that we would RECEIVE FOUR REFERRALS from members and make contacts.  For example, a member would approach a missionary(us) and say, "I have a friend who would like to learn more about the gospel." The missionaries (us) would mark in their (our) planner that they had a referral.  Then once the missionaries have met with this contact, had a conversation, and shared the gospel, they would be considered contacted. The goal is to have four of those from each companionship. The challenge for us as missionaries is to actually get referrals in general. On a normal week, when we ask the members, we get about one, maybe two referrals, but this week we had a goal to get four and in turn we ended up making seven contacts! It was great as this is the most we've had in a while.  This has been a great learning lesson because when we REALLY are committed to the result of getting something... it just happens... E-V-E-R-Y time!

The key to missionary work, for me, is to stay on top of (and there is a lot of things), be focused on, and stay 100% committed to.  Once you find that even balance it just flows very smoothly.

Well that wraps up my week.  Again thank you for the iPad and the coat! Ah... THE COAT... I love it! I love you all and hope you had a great week in Missouri. I'm assuming you are on your way back to AZ right now.

Love,
Elder Craig

The Coat

Car Service