Monday, November 23, 2015

We Didn't Lose Faith

Wow! These past several weeks have been awesome, especially this last week and a half!! It's so good to hear from each of you!

So this last week the "new missionaries" got in at the beginning of the week, so we did orientation with them and took them out street contacting to show them what that's all about. We had three sisters and an elder from Belgium. We also had a missionary who went home early from his mission about a year ago(he was in the Vancouver mission), but was re-assigned to our mission. It's cool that he's back out! They are all unique. It's cool to see the new missionaries commitment.

Well, anytime there's new missionaries we have TRANSFERS! Those took on a whole new meaning this time. Elder Funa and I get the opportunity to arrange the travel plans for each missionary who are effected by transfers! We have 51 companionships in our mission and this transfer 39 of the 51 were affected by the transfer!! Whoop whoop. It was fun and took a lot of thought, but elder Funa and I got her done! 

We also had to shuffle some beds and stuff, so we got to do a lot of driving. Although not considered traditional missionary work, it's so cool to see the beauty of the maritimes! 

We had a great lesson with a man from China and he's been meeting with the missionaries for the past several months, but he hasn't really progressed much. We were planning on dropping him, but we didn't lose faith. We brought Ryan (one of the members here from China) with us. Ryan almost word for word said what we've said in our past three lesson, but finally the spirit spoke to this man we are teaching from China and he said, (think of a little Chinese accent) "So elders... I think that in order to know if these things are true and if the scripts(he means scriptures) are true I need to pray every day and read them". We pause and were like... Wow!  That's a really good idea! Can we commit you to do that?  He said, "Yes! I will do this."  It's was sweet!! The Spirit spoke to him, he heard it, acted on it, and doesn't realize it yet! And we have been following up with him and he is still going strong!!!

So the past 2 days it's been super warm(44+) and rainy, I like it a lot!! Except we were in a parade (the light parade in Halifax) the other night and it poured the whole time. Cool to say I've done it, but don't think I would do it again..;) Well, The temperature will be rapidly declining pretty quick!  Also, we got a little bit of snow last week!!:) 

Love, Elder Nathan Craig


Monday, November 9, 2015

Crazy Busy Week

I literally have a few minutes to be on, so I want to make sure my favorite people know that I love 'em!

This past week was crazy... I mean crazy! There a couple missionaries that are just losing it! Haha it's kind of funny, but I shouldn't laugh! Like one got in a fight with an old lady... This elder verbally fought an old lady and has been tearing members in his area down!! It ain't good! We are working with a couple other additional situations as well.

We are also preparing for zone conference and doing a lot of traveling! I mentioned last week that I was going back to Woodstock... I made it there and it was awesome! Just to break it down:

First, I went from Halifax Nova Scotia to Fredericton New Brunswick ( get a map;) Second, I went from Fredericton to Woodstock. Third, I went from Woodstock to Caribou ME. Fourth, I went back to Woodstock worked with a few people from the past, then booked it to Fredericton where I met back up with my companion( I was with one of the Zoneleaders) then by this time it was about 8:00 at night then we drove from Fredericton to Prince Edward Island (which is magnificent by far best place I've been). We got there late! Then we did some work with the senior couples, then we drove back to Halifax... It was long! Then when we got back to Halifax we had lesson after lesson(it was awesome!!) then we had the crazy missionaries do their craziness while the mission president and his wife were traveling.... And this next week is going to be a tad bit similar! I love it keeps me on my toes!!

Those photos are all from Prince Edward Island! If you don't mind sharing them with g-ma and pops that would be awesome!!!

Love, Elder Nathan Craig

Monday, October 26, 2015

My favorite thing to do

This week was a good one! It slowed down a bit. We do a lot of street contacting which has to be one of my favorite things to do! We did some service for the blood drive where we street contacted people to sign them up to donate. Me and Elder Funa had a little competition. I got a few more, but it had me realize that a could be a lot more effective when contacting for the church.
We started off pretty slow, but towards the end of the week we taught a good group of lessons and some less actives; It was fun! I love working with the Mission President. It enjoyable to be at the top in a way and see how he and we can work/ the mission!  
 
Funny story: On our way into the library this morning this guy stops us and says..."Have you read the Book of Mormon?" We said,  "Yes." He starts telling us about how he studies the stuff to try and figure out why the world is messed up. He wasn't making sense, so i say... " It was nice to talk to you (trying to wrap things up)." He looks at me and says... "It was nice talking to you, even though you don't know anything!"  Then walks away.  I laughed ...

Well that was a quick update, but I gotta run!

Love,
Elder Nathan Craig

Monday, July 13, 2015

No Regrets

It's my last p-day in Amherst, Canada.  After being here 4.5 months, I'm getting transferred.  Am I upset about leaving Amherst? Yes and No!  Yes, because we are working with a lot of GREAT people right now; members and investigators. It's just been fun serving the people in this area and in the branch. I've really enjoyed it! As I reflect on my time here it's humbling.  I'm going to miss the people. It's pretty interesting.  You just give, give, give, give and then all of the sudden everything is put into perspective as you realize it's time to move on.

I have absolutely no regrets about my time here.  I gave everything I had. Prior to us coming here, there hadn't been missionaries here for a year.  We pretty much opened up this place.  It was a good experience.  It was quite an experience serving in the Branch Presidency (second counselor). When I get home I'll share some cool experiences about that.

I'm going to take Dad's advice and take video of some of the members and investigators.  I've built solid relationships with some of these people and I want to always remember them and stay in contact with them throughout my life.

Dawson and Wesley, The key to a happy mission is to do EVERYTHING you can to serve everyone around you.  Yeah... Well... I'm fighting the gates (tears) don't want to let the flood out, so I'll stop there, but I'm really gonna miss the people of Amherst. I feel very blessed to be an instrument in our Heavenly Father's hands.

There is so much that I wanted to do and see before leaving Amherst. I never got to it, so I'll be cramming about 90% of all that I wanted to see and do in ONE p-day.  If you look at a map of Amherst and look to the furthest southern point there is a place called Advocate Harbour.  One of the things that I really wanted to do was go there and stand on the top of the point which I did (picture below). That was a neat experience. We attempted to visit a member while going on this little trip, but unfortunately they weren't home. We (Elder Woodbury, myself, and Brother Henley) also visited five islands.  These five islands are in the Bay of Fundy. Also, we visited this place known for their cheese.  It was really good!

I'm excited for what lies ahead. I'm headed to Kentville Nova Scotia.  It's one of the bigger areas in the mission. It's a ward!  That's exciting! My companion's name will be Elder McNabb from Calgary.  I've heard that he's a good missionary and that we came out at the same time. I will have the opportunity to serve as a Zone Leader in this new area. I will continue to do as my Dad has always taught me and that is to CREATE POWERFULLY in all that I do and say.

I'll keep you in the loop on the new area.  Talk to you next Monday.  Signing off!

Love,
Elder Craig







Monday, June 29, 2015

One to be Looked up to.

I have mixed emotions about Wesley leaving on his mission. It's awesome, but...I won't see him for three years.  I didn't think I would feel the way I do about Wes going.  I haven't seen him for months and it feels like part of me just disappeared...like...poof! I'm so pumped for him though! He is going to destroy it! He is such a stud and one to be looked up to! ;)

Family, I've said a special prayer for each one of you as I know this is a tender time. Dad and Mom...just think of the life you have and the way you are affecting others through your righteous examples.  Let me know Wesley's "Dear Elder" info asap.  You guys are amazing! Oh and mom, get some sleep! 

I was excited to get a visit this week from Tyler.  He was a missionary that served in my mission and recently returned home from his mission in March.  This past week he made a drive through the mission, making a special stop in Amherst to see me.  It was great to catch up!  He is an amazing person who has done so much for me.  He will be an eternal friend! 




Have a great week everyone!

Love,
Elder Craig (the other one) ;)


My mission president and his wife will be leaving the mission.  This is what president Leavitt sent to us this morning thought I would share:)

President Leavitt's final weekly letter...June 29, 2015

Dear Elders and Sisters, 

After the Saviors resurrection he appeared to 8 of his apostles on the shores of the sea of Tiberius. The apostles were out casting their nets and fishing. When they saw him and came ashore he fed them fish and bread. After they had eaten the Savior has that well know interchange with Peter where he asked Peter if he loved him. The actual question he asked was whether Peter loved him < "more than these". 

The "these" that he was referring to was the fish. I think that the fish represented the world, or represented what Peter used to do and used to be. I think the savior was asking Peter if he was just going to go back and do what he had always done. Was he, after all that he had seen and experienced, just going to go back and be a fisherman. 

Peter after being asked and answering three times that he really did love the Savior, "more than these" was counseled to feed the sheep. 

I think the significance of this interchange was that the Saviour was telling Peter he could not go back to what he was. He had been called and was now the chief apostle, the kingdom of God now rested upon his shoulders. He could not just go back and be what he was before he met the savior. Before he saw the miracles, before the mount of transfiguration, before the garden and before the cross. From that moment on Peter became the great apostle. 

As I look at the facebook pages of our return missionaries I see so many of them moving forward in a positive direction. They serve in the temple, they are getting married, getting an education and starting families. I am thrilled for them. 

There are some who it would appear are much like Peter, in that they have figuratively gone fishing. They have sort of gone back to where they were before their missions. The Elders grow beards, buy a motorcycle and hang out with friends. 

Alma ask the question. "if you have sung the song of redeeming love can you do so now?. He, in the same way is asking if you have felt of God's love and it has changed your heart, is it still changed?....or have you gone fishing. 

As Sister Leavitt and I leave our mission, I make this commitment to you that we will not go fishing. We will still be missionaries, we will still be constantly reaching out to those who need help, and we will still and always be interested in each of you. 

We are family now and always will be. 

We express our deepest gratitude to each of you for you kindness and love. We admire your goodness and faithfulness. We pray for your every success, now on your missions and in the future as well. 

Love 

President and Sister Leavitt

Monday, June 8, 2015

Unification Between Members and Missionaries

Let me start off by saying my Mission President was right! Well, kind of anyway. So several months ago I was visiting with President Leavitt (Mission President) and I said something to the effect of... "Well there's no rest for the righteous" and he looked at me and said, "Elder Craig, WRONG!  There ain't no rest for the wicked and the righteous don't need any!haha Wise words from a wise man!

Well, a lot has happened this week and there is no doubt something is keeping us alive and kickin' (you know the church might be true after all... ;)! We made it to bed on time only twice last week! Each day seems to present itself with many new and exciting variables that we get to maneuver through! 

There is a new sister in Amherst who created a way to do weekly planning.  We sit down every Friday and plan for our upcoming week. We make **individual plans** for the people we are working with (this is called the 10 day planner). Basically its a chart with 10 days on it and you mark in how you will be spending your time. Guess what? It's even color coordinated, so you can see if you are balanced in your efforts. 

Well... this little plan gave me and Elder Woodbury an idea! We jumped on google sheets and I explained to my companion an idea as to how we could expand on this idea and what we could make it look like! that's all it took and away my companion went.  I know I've mentioned this in the past, but this guy is a genius on the computer. Needless to say he created a program for us and gave us exactly what we wanted! Let me just take a second and say...IT's SUPER AWESOME! Because it's on Google sheets we can share it with our WARD or BRANCH MISSION LEADER and they/he can see exactly where we stand with our key indicators and much much more! This is what I call unification between the members and the missionaries! It's awesome! 

A few days ago a man went to the church (that was his second time). The first time he showed up to an empty building. The sisters called us and said, "There's a man here who knows that he should get baptized and believes this is God's only true church( I'm telling you it just makes sense;). So, like good little excited missionaries we went over to the church and gave him a tour of the building. We have begun teaching him! His name is Ken and he is great! Have I told you lately just how great missionary work is?  

Love, Elder Nathan Craig

Monday, May 18, 2015

...just phenomenal!

This weeks update is going to be very short! 

It's been a great two weeks! The Amherst Branch made it to the temple! What a neat opportunity for each one of them. For many of them it was there first time.  Of course satan tried in every way possible to keep us from going! One of the vehicles we were going to take fell through, but Pam Strong (a member here) saved the day and we took both her vehicles! 

The sister missionaries found a guy who is around 25 years old. He has a desire to be super involved in the church.  We went to the second lesson that the sisters taught about a week ago. It was a great lesson.  He was reading and praying.  He knows the Book of Mormon is true.  He knows the Joseph Smith's experience to be true.  Sounds like a dream investigator right?! Well, we have had very little contact with him lately due to work (he just started a new job; such a blessing in his life). This is fairly common. You find someone who appears to be super solid and then you lose contact with them or you just can't seem to connect with them.  Anyway, the sisters were able set up a lesson with him and while on exchanges, I ended up going over to teach it. We taught the plan of salvation and the law of chastity.  Currently this guy is living with his fiancĂ©.  They have been engaged for quite some time. We taught him that he can't be living with his finance. He embraced the things that were taught to him and is committed to making the changes in his life in order to be baptized.  He said, "In the end it will all be worth it!" You could feel the spirit so strong! He began to testify that he knew the things that he heard were right and that he wants the blessings of the Lord in his life.  

I want you guys to know the church is true! It's experiences like this that...well....it's just phenomenal! 

Remember the challenge that our Mission President gave us HERE? Well this Book of Mormon challenge is awesome!  I'm loving this right now! I'm in Alma and it's so cool to see how merciful the Lord has been! Such a great book! Hope you all have a great week!!!:)

Love,
Elder Nathan Craig

















Monday, May 4, 2015

Committed to Read

I can't believe that it's going this fast!!! Time is whizzing by! I'm loving Amherst and we are seeing all sorts of success! This was our Branch Presidents last week here, so we spent a lot of time setting up interviews, having meeting and great stuff like that

As a mission we have all committed to read the Book of Mormon in one transfer! This has been exciting and powerful! The Book of Mormon is inspiring. I have seen so much joy come into my life and the lives of others through that book!

My Dad always says we are here ( in this world) to be H-A-P-P-Y!  Gods plan for us is the called... low and behold... THE PLAN OF HAPPINESS! Without an understanding of the Book of Mormon, the things we need to do to experience JOY in this life WOULD NOT be possible! As I read, re-read, and read some more of that book, my capacity to serve the Lord increases. This book, coupled with the gift of the Holy Ghost, has and will continue to teach me the things I need to do and know to be joyful!

Yesterday, we along with our branch mission leader went to a lesson with this guy. The guy kicked us out of his house about two weeks ago, but invited us back and was really nice over the phone...hmmm. Well, we went back and this man was drunk...Hence the giggly happy attitude on the phone! He believes he is Jesus Christ. I can testify, he is NOT!  We were only there five minutes and I stood up and politely stated that us being there was not part of our purpose and that I would be leaving. He wasn't happy! He shook Elder Woodbury's hand and as I extended mine, he latched on and was squeezing harder than most would like. I released my grip, but he did not. I grabbed his wrist, separated our hands, and walked out of his house. Again, He wasn't happy! That's one fun little tidbit for ya! 

Well, I have got to give Wes a shout out!!! JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA!!! So sweet Wes! You are going to have so much fun! Mom and Dad, this is awesome THANK YOU for your commitment to me and my siblings! You two have left a powerful impact on not only our lives, but many people's lives. You will be forever blessed for your diligence and obedience! Love you guys!!!

Also, shout out to my cousin Reilly for emailing me!!! 

Love, Elder Nathan Craig

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Spiritually Uplifting Challenge"

To the parents of Elder Nathan Craig...

Dear Brother and Sister Craig,

As you are probably aware Sister Leavitt and I will be released from our mission at the end of June this year. The three years have literally flown by and we will be sad to be saying goodbye to our beloved missionaries, members and non members in Atlantic Canada. The new Mission President will be President Pratt from Orlando Florida. We have had some communication with him and Sister Pratt and we are confident that the area and the missionaries are in good hands.

As you are aware we have had a pretty serious winter. High winds,, lots of snow, cold temperatures and the odd day of sunshine. I have personally declared my independence from the weather but it does affect the work. In many of our units church as been canceled about half the time.. The missionaries ability to travel around, talk to people and knock on doors is greatly hampered when there is a blizzard going on.

In spite of it all the faithful missionareis just press on. They shovel driveways, they shovel sidewalks, they shovel decks and on occcasion they even shovel off roofs. Our motto is that we cannot be stopped.

In this last six weeks we have had a series of 3 one day leadership meetings helping the leaders be prepared for the arrival of the new Mission President. The session have been wonderful opportunities for the mission leaders to improve their leadership, finding, teaching and organizational skills.

In order to help strengthen their testimonies and ability to teach from the Book of Mormon, our missionaries will be reading the whole Book of Mormon in the upcoming transfer. I find that many of the missionaries have studied parts of the Book of Mormon. They have read the whole book but often it has been over an extended period of time and it is hard for them to get the whole story.

In January of 2014 we invited the missionaries to read the Book of Mormon during that month. and it proved to be a wonderful experience for them. At that time we invited the parents of the missionareis to join us in this activity.

Many parents did so and I often got  reports from them of what a neat experience it was to read the Book of Mormon at the same time as their missionary sons and daughters. Some of the parents got into it so much they felt they needed to send me emails reporting on their progress.

We invite each of you to join us in the spiritually uplifting challenge. The transfer starts this coming Monday and ends on June  7. It is 42 days and will require us to read 12 pages per day.

Sister Leavitt and I are going to have our first mission reunion prior to this years general conference. We will have one in Salt Lake City the Friday before conference and one in Calgary Canada on the Saturday before general conference.

I would invite any of you who might want to attend to do so. We will have some food and show some slides and video's of the mission. As well we will probably have a fun program with some of our talented musical missionaries performing.

We  have felt so blessed to have had this opportunity to serve.. More than anything else it has been fun. We love the missionaries and we love the Lord. It is a joy to be in his service. Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do to support your young missionary son or daughter. They are precious souls.

Of course we will bump into each other over the coming years.....the church really is very small and we look forward to those opportunities.



With Warmest personal regards,

President Brian D. Leavitt

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Hour of Power"

Boy has this week blown by!  Actually, come to think of it, this transfer has blown by.  It's unbelievable to me that I've already been in Amherst for s-i-x weeks! I just learned that Elder Woodbury and I will remain here in Amherst for another transfer. This is great news!  We have been having tons of fun and doing a lot of work.

This area has a small branch, so we get to help keep things organized and take care of the members.  I have to give my cousin Elder Spencer Wilkins (serving in the Birmingham, Alabama Mission) a SHOUT OUT!!! My companion and I, as well as the sister missionaries here did the "Hour of Power".  Here is part of my cousins weekly update from last week:

 "This week we headed off what we call the "hour of power". Basically its an hour where the entire mission is finding and being bold. We chose the hours of 5-6pm and during the hour of power this week over 1500 baptismal invites were extended. It was powerful to be a part of this because its something we were doing as a mission." 

As we have implemented this, we've seen great success and have found some great people to teach. It's A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Thanks again SPENCER!  I can't believe your mission is almost complete and you are heading home next month! Time flies out here!!!

I am grateful for all that you guys do!  A handful of you out there must be praying on our behalf; I can feel it!  I appreciate this as it truly makes a difference!

Love,
Elder Craig

Monday, April 13, 2015

Baptisms and B-day Wishes



Hey everybody! I hope each of you are doing well!  I don't have much time, but know that things are going great!  Amherst is running smoothly.  We had three baptisms on Easter Sunday!  All three people that were baptized also got confirmed and it was spectacular.  

A big THANK YOU to everyone who sent birthday wishes my way!  I really appreciated hearing from the Dennis Brady family, Aunt Marca, G-ma and Pops!!! 

Mom, Dad, Wesley, Dawson, Breeley, and Britley thank you for the bomb package and cards.  I loved it!  Breeley, you wrote me the most incredible letter I have EVER read.  Thank you and I'll treasure it!

Thanks for the picture on my birthday! I felt loved!

I got the package! THANK YOU!


Monday, March 30, 2015

5th Rung Companionship

Well, this week whizzed by incredibly fast! We tore it up and it was so much fun.  I’m certain there are bags under my eyes; I’m pretty tired!  Over all we got 31 key indicators this week.  Did I already mention how fun it’s been?

We are still on track for a few baptisms and we are consistently finding people to teach! Things are going great! Currently we have five investigators. Each is working through their various challenges, making specific goals, and working to stay committed.

Here’s what’s going on April 5th  … We have baptisms, the sister missionaries have a baptism, it’s Easter Sunday, it’s General Conference, and it’s my Birthday.  Sounds like a good day to me! :)

Here in Amherst the sisters have been doing a game or movie night every Friday night.  They usually alternate activities each week.  Last Friday night we left the activity, leaving the sisters in charge, after getting a call from one of the members asking if we could “help him shovel a hole in the snow”. We didn’t hesitate and headed right over. His sewage tank had backed up so we ended up bailing sewage water that had filled up in the bathtub and trekking it through the snow into a hole (the hole we were asked to dig) away from their home. It didn’t smell to good, but it’s always nice to serve!

Oh man, we have shoveled soooo much snow this week.  Luckily for the last few days it’s been pretty warm.  When I say warm I mean in the 30’s. This is great because it’s usually in the teens. We ended up shoveling snow off one guys roof on our p-day for four hours.  That’s the most snow I’ve shoveled at one time.  It was a lot of snow! I’m starting to get ripped.  Ok, not really, but this service work is keeping me slim. :)

Due to the snowstorms recently, Sunday was our first official sacrament meeting in our new area.  My companion and I blessed the sacrament and the Elders Quorum President passed the sacrament.  I was sitting on the stand.  There were five missionaries and 21 people were in attendance.  The sister missionaries taught gospel doctrine and we were asked to come up with a lesson for the combined third hour.  It’s pretty cool when you are put in a situation where you trust in the Lord and let the Spirit teach.

It’s nice having a companion that values work and know how to get things done. This transfer has been a blessing. There is no question that the Lords hand is completely involved! One thing my companion and I had decided at the beginning of our companionship was that we would be a 5th Rung companionship. There was a General Authority that came through the mission several months ago. He taught something he referred to as "The Ladder of Faith". Picture a ladder with 5 rungs on it. Each rung represents a LEVEL of faith that one could exercise.
    
Level 1: I can't do this; goes home.

Level 2: I can do this(going through the motions=surviving)somewhat disobedient. 

Level 3: I can do this by myself; Lack of prayer. Leaning to thy own understanding (needs numbers) pride.

Level 4: I can do this with the Lords help; trust that the Lord will help you.

Level 5: Asks… Lord what do you want done? How can I help the Lord?

This has been our focus. It is practically impossible to stay at the 5th rung, but as our intention is to be "perfect" we can be entrusted with adding in accomplishing HIS work and IT IS THE LORD’S WORK! I love this Gospel! It’s so cool!

I get to go to the temple this week, which is beyond exciting.  We will leave at 5am to make the drive. SWEEEET!

Wes, get pumped for the temple; you will be going through soon! It’s awesome! I’ve gained an even greater respect for it while being on my mission.  You have the opportunity to think about specific things as you are teaching people.  You learn so much! You should be getting close to sending your papers off! That is dope! It will be fun to see where you are going.  I can’t wait! If you have any questions, I’m here for you!

Bree I got the video of you singing.  You did good job!  I’ve listened to it a few times and I appreciate getting that!

Well my companion and I have some awesome plans for this week, which will have some great results!  Good things are happening! I get to go to the temple (already said that I know, but it's exciting) and I get to continue to be a missionary! Life can’t get any better! 

Remember… ALL things are possible with the Lord!

Love,

Elder Craig 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blanket of Snow


It has been another good week!  Last Sunday and Monday we got a ton of snow!  We spent most of the day helping people clear a path from their front door to the street. Let me help try and paint a visual for you...People have a blanket of about 5-9 ft. of snow laying across their front lawns!

Funny story:  We thought it would be nice to go to one of the members homes who were out of town and surprise them by shoveling and clearing a pathway for them.  As we approached their home, to our surprise we  noticed that they had come back from their trip early; they were out digging/shoveling a pathway to their back door.  I ran up and politely asked the homeowner to stand to the side, assuring her that my companion and I would complete the task.  Well, as my companion started walking toward us, he kept falling into the snow.  The home owner said, while pointing in the near distance, "Walk to the right and you will find the snow MUCH more packed!"  My companion anxiously followed the recommendation! The homeowner then said, "Well now you are standing on my car." ha ha!!!  Her car had about 2.5 - 3 feet of snow on the top of it and we had no idea there was even a car there! Crazy! We both had a good laugh about that one.

We have been having a blast just getting to know the area, the people of the branch, and the non members.  We have a few awesome people that we are teaching and three baptisms coming up.  Things are looking good and the fuse has been lit! :)

My Mission President has recently created a "Leadership Meeting".  He has created it for all the leaders of the mission. The first one was held on Tuesday and it was awesome!  I learned so much about leadership (Mom, I'll send you my notes)!  On our way back home from the meeting one of the other Elders had put in the wrong GPS coordinates and we ended up in Dartmouth Nova Scotia which is the opposite way of Amherst! Needless to say... we got home reeeaaallly late! We won't mention the Elder who was responsible for that one.  hahahha

Love you all and you can contact my folks for my new address. I'm now serving in Amherst Nova Scotia

Love,
Elder Craig

Thursday, March 19, 2015

To Elder Craig's parents...


Dear Brother and Sister Craig,


Just a short note to inform you that your son was recently called to serve as the second counsellor, in the Amherst Branch,  in the New Brunswick East 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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CHANGE... Life in Amherst.

Change! That's what's been going on.

I've been transferred to Amherst Nova Scotia. It's interesting here! My companion and I were whitewashed meaning we both came here from different areas. Typically when you go into a new area you usually have a member book and an area book. These books give you an idea about the area, members, the work being done, etc.  

NO BOOKS = STARTING FROM GROUND ZERO. 

Amherst is just a little bit bigger than Woodstock. The membership here is very, very, very small! There is lot's to be done and it should be fun. My companions name is Elder Woodbury, he's a cool guy and something that sets him apart form the average guy is he is very, very good on the computer!

Yesterday we had a pretty big storm hit us and it's still going! SO MUCH SNOW! 

Our living quarters are a dream! It was the senior couples apartment until we got here, so it's clean! BONUS!!! I'm kind of big on the whole clean thing. IT'S FULLY FURNISHED! It has a washer and dryer! Oh and they work a 100% of the time;) Oh and a DISHWASHER too! Told ya it was dreamy!  We feel blessed.

My companion and I got here last Thursday and we had NO FOOD, so we went to the store and got some basics.  I don't think our shopping trip was thought out to well because we were out of food by Friday night. My companion and I somehow ran short on money for this month for what ever reason.  No worries though we got creative after raiding the cabnets.  We found a couple left over eggs and some basic baking supplies, so I rolled up my sleeves and went to town. I realized that my Mom can bake 7,000 times better then me. I made tortillas...from...scratch.  They were really thick no matter how many times I used the rolling pin, those suckers just wouldn't get flat enough. They did however taste pretty good! The pancakes I made the following morning weren't much different either and the list goes on.  Needless to say it was a carb overload, but hey our bellies were full:) 

I love each of you and hope you are well.

Love, 
Elder Craig
My eye lashes are frozen solid after snowplowing.




Thursday, March 5, 2015

Warm Up

There are many ways to share the gospel and today we decided to combine preaching the good word of God with hot chocolate. We set up a stand and invited everyone to warm up! 
Sometimes we can be in a spiritual winter, strong winds are blowing and the snow never seems to end. But Jesus Christ is the Light of the World and he invites all to come unto Him. The Gospel can thaw out our troubled hearts.

*posted from Houlton Mormon Missionaries's Facebook page.

Monday, March 2, 2015

SURVIVE or THRIVE

Hope everyone is doing well! 

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting. A woman in the branch got up to bare her testimony and said something that stood out to me. She said, "The church is perfect, the people are not". She went on to bare a powerful testimony of coming back to church after being offended for what someone had said to here at church.

Now I have heard this saying before "The church is perfect the people are not" many times, but I got thinking about it!  Do you remember a couple weeks ago when I shared the conference talk entitled "Stay on the boat and hold on!"? I Hope you do! The ol' ship Zion is the church. It is an unsinkable ship with your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ at the helm! We are all welcome to be on the ship (a member of the church). I guess even if your not a member you're welcome to! 

I would like to point out a principle, there are many ways in which we can live life. As I am writing this, two ways come to  mind. We can...SURVIVE or THRIVE.

Surviving would be just sitting on the ship. Thriving would be experiencing J-O-Y!  Why do you suppose we are on the earth?

Lets read 2 Nephi 2:25, Shall We? 

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." 

Gods has given us commandments and he promised us JOY when we OBEY him (if he didn't give us joy when we obey him he would cease to be God). My thoughts after his lady bore her testimony were that of gratitude. That (even though it took her a while) she understands in some way the importance thriving! 

Thus far on my mission I've learned whole heartedly that this life is about JOY! And I testify to each one of you that I have experienced Joy from keeping God's commandments! The scriptures say you can too! 

I love you all and have a great week!
Love, Elder Craig


Monday, February 16, 2015

Storm = Opportunities to Serve

I don't have much to write this week, but it was a good week! I got to go down to Caribou, Maine and work with one of the Elders there.  We had a great time together and got a lot done.  Elder Thompson got the opportunity to stay in this area and work with a brand new missionary.  What a cool experience for him!  He learned a lot and got to see how much he truly knows!

We had a good little storm pass through.  Here is an email my Mission President sent the family...


Dear Brother and Sister Craig,


As you have probably heard there is a snow storm currently affecting most areas of our mission. It has been going on all day in various forms, with high winds, snow, rain and cold weather. All of our missionaries are accounted for and taken care of.

We are not aware of any that are without power or otherwise affected by the weather. We will keep you informed as conditons improve. 

 The safety and security of the missionaries is our highest priority.

Best regards,
President Brian D. Leavitt

Mom and Dad, All is well!  This storm has left many opportunities to do service work!

Thank you Dennis Brady family for the Valentine package!  I looovvvveee the peanut butter cups! You guys are awesome!

I Love you all!
Elder Craig

p.s. The scripture that has had the biggest impact on me this week is 2 Nephi 2: 6-8 The Atonement is incredible!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Go Make it Happen!


Well, this week was great! It went very well! Tuesday we had a Zone Conference. The Elders from Caribou drove up on Monday night and stayed at our apartment. We had a dinner appointment and because of the way the timing worked out, we didn't get to do any type of "finding" that night. We left early the next morning and drove to Zone Conference. 

Elder Thompson and I got the opportunity to have exchanges with our Zone Leaders. We stayed in Fredericton until about 11 on Wednesday then we went to Maine for a big service project at the Catholic Food Bank. We had a dinner appointment again scheduled in Maine, so we had a lot of drive time.

We have something called **key indicators** and there is a standard we strive to meet here in CHM.  Last week I had mentioned that we hit that. Elder Thompson and I were discussing late Wednesday night that we had been out of our area for three days and meeting the standard wasn't likely.

Well friends, if you read last weeks post what does that sound like?! That's right,  A DRIFTER(thumbs down)! That ain't good! Can you believe that we actually went to bed with that mind set?!

So Lame!

Like, its so untrusting that we would do that to ourselves! This is the work of salvation! And do you know who "runs" the work of salvation? The Lord!

Who are we to say we aren't going to hit a standard? We are His servants, not our own! So despite our short comings that night we committed to make it happen! It took us till Friday to actually be COMMITTED and by yesterday we were lacking two key indicators. Well Sunday morning we set up two lessons and thought we had it in the bag, but then one guy we were teaching straight up says, " No, I'm not ready to be taught and I'm not doing it." Well, not much you can do there! This isn't the work of forcing. It's the work of salvation and if you don't want salvation, we're not here to force it.

Well, by this time we had an hour until we needed to get to the apartment and all the odds were against us, but have no fear! Remember when I told you this is the Lords work? Well by golly He's got a plan and sometimes He let's us in on it just at the the last second because we tend to mess it up. We found a 15 year old who was interested and taught him and we were invited back! So **boom** new investigator! 

Oh...I  almost forgot the other lesson we had set up was awesome and it worked out! By 9:00pm last night we hit our goal which means  we were able to hit the standard! I've learned an important lesson here... Life isn't all about going from step to step and having the mind set of... "Oh, I've just got to make it to next week..." It's about grabbing hold of the opportunity that is always in front of us! 

Our Heavenly Father, because his so loving, has designed our life on earth for success and is there to bless us at every opportunity! Every day for me can be like yesterday, it's up to me (as the one in control), just how much I put into it! You reap what you sew! You get what you put into it!

A big shout out to my family for the awesome package! Thank you! 

And...G-MA YOU ROCK! Such a cool tie. I love it! Every tie that you send seems to get the most compliments. 

I love you all! 

Go make it happen! 
Elder Craig✌️

Monday, February 2, 2015

Are you Drifting?

What a week let me tell ya! This week was awesome!!! It was transfer week, so it usually tends to be the slowest week.  Most missionaries don't perform to the level that they could.  It's interesting how (I've found myself falling into this trap) even though we have our purpose in doing "work" we look for opportunities to lay back.

This week I made it a point to work and boy did we ever work! Guess what? Low and behold we saw lots of success! Crazy huh?!;) 

I would also like to draw a parallel with this to a talk I read from October 2014 General Conference called "Stay in the Boat and Hold On!" In this talk Elder M. Russell Ballard (Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) related the church to the ol' ship Zion. We as members of the church are on this great indestructible ship and despite the storms we find our selves in, if we stay on the ship, we are promised we will BE SAFE! 

Now back to missionary work... We are promised if we do X Y Z and work hard we will see success. Now who in this world doesn't want to see success? NOBODY! So why is it that we find ourselves wavering, being laxed, and wondering why we aren't seeing success? Why do we jump ship when we know and are promised that we will be safe if we stay on the ship. There is no silver bullet answers for this one, but I can share what I know to be true for me. For me it is because I haven't truly identified or become committed to a "destination". When I don't have a destination, so to speak, I become what we can call a DRIFTER, going through the motions and simply drifting like a piece of drift wood with no set direction, or in some cases I have a destination that I would like, but I'm not committed to the point that I'm willing to work towards it. 

I have found that I must take a self examination often. In this I mean continually identifying what I would like my destination to be (also when it's the Lords destination for you, things tend to work out better;).  So lets recap... First, Be COMMITTED to it. Next, take constant self evaluation and weigh the choices you make to the destination you would like to arrive at.

This week I wanted to hit what we call "gold standard" in the mission, mind you I've wanted this for the last 6 months. I had a destination in mind, but I wasn't truly committed to it. This week I changed that and I got committed and created results (now there is not question that the Lords hand was involved). When we keep Gods commandments and show Him we are committed then we become blessed opportunities to serve! I am loving life! 

This week we got a ton of snow! Elder Thompson and I shoveled a lot of it! We are actually  working with this lady who hasn't been to church in a l-o-n-g time and we committed her to come to church Sunday. Well, Saturday we were talking to her on the phone and she was like "yeah my sons out of town and my drive way (which her son uses a tractor to clear it, it's kind of a big driveway) is full of snow. I can't get out, so I won't be able to come to church."  We dropped what we were doing and darted over to her house and had a blast... Guess what?! She came to church. ;)

ps... Scott (Dallin's friend), thanks for the email. I'm glad you got  to spend time in Arizona. I look forward to meeting  you some day!

Lots of Love,
Elder Craig


Weather forecast for the day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pondering.

Hola everybody!

Well, I've been on my mission for about six months.  I have served in one area (Woodstock New Brunswick). I've worked with three companions now and I have loved every bit of it.

Transfers are this week and I just found out that I will have the opportunity to continue my service right here in Woodstock! I took some time to just pondered my experience thus far in Woodstock. There has been lots of growth in all areas. The Houlton branch is increasing in size on a regular basis. It seems there is aways a chance of snow in these parts this time of year.  One thing that you can count on is any sort of weather and the people here stay home. It seems as though people are growing spiritually! It's really neat! Umm... well, that's all that comes to mind this morning:) 

Remember...Don't let the world create you, go create your world:)
Love,
Elder Craig

Yes, we are experiencing cold weather. No worries, I'm staying warm!

A letter email sent to my folks from the Mission President...

Dear Brother and Sister Craig,

As you have probably heard there is a snow storm currently affecting most areas of our mission. It has just started but weather forecasters are predicting it will be a bad one with quite a bit of snow and high winds. At this point very little snow has fallen but in anticipation of the storm, schools have been cancelled, doctors offices closes and non essential travel restricted.

Our missionaries live in nice apartments, most have 4 wheel vehicles of some sort and are prepared for such weather conditions.

Of course as the storm develops we will ask them to stay at home and use the telephone to do their missionary work. We have a well developed means of communication through the Internet and telephones to keep in touch with them all.

It is important to note that the worst of the storm will be in the New York and Boston areas where snow falls are predicted to be in the 1-3 foot level with winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour. It is not anticipated that weather in Atlantic Canada will be as severe.

As the situation unfolds we will keep you posted of any developments. The safety and security of the missionaries is our highest priority.

It is of interest that this storm coincides with our transfer week and will undoubtedly affect the arrival of our new missionaries today. As these storms usually only last a day or two we are hopeful it will not impact those missionaries who will be travelling home this Friday.

Best regards,

President Brian D. Leavitt

Monday, January 12, 2015

Self-Reflection and Guidance.

Hello...

This weeks was great! We got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. Exchanges are the best! It's so much fun to see how other missionaries perform. You learn some things you should improve on as well as things that you shouldn't do;)


Leadership inside of the mission is very interesting.  It keeps things rolling on and helps missionaries BE MOTIVATED! As a District Leader right now, I get to, in some way, deliver guidance from the Mission President to other missionaries. I do this weekly in a meeting with seven other missionaries. It's quite humbling to be apart of the teaching/learning process. It got me thinking about revelation. It's such a neat concept and I'm so grateful for the role that revelation plays in my life, especially in district meetings!

Each person in this world has different needs and concerns. Everyone wants those concerns or needs to be met or resolved. The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ can and will do that if you  allow it. Let me expound a bit... It doesn't matter what you are feeling or what you have experienced or done in your past, every person in this world is searching.  Some of us have stumbled upon the gospel, seen parts of its power, and lost touch with what it can do for us personally. I repeat...The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ can and will do that if you allow it. There are others of us that have not yet experienced in any way the power that comes from the Atonement (when understood properly). I would invite you to exercise a particle of faith and watch the growth that comes from it!

The last thing that comes to my mind is those of us who simply go through the motions; we see it as a good thing, so we do it.  Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time before it gets old than we desensitize ourselves to what we need and we start to slip. We must be quick to restrengthen our testimony, share it often, and look for ways to serve in the gospel.

This week I've done a bit of studying on visions, not the kind like when you see something, but the kind that is created. Most of the time we go day to day creating visions unconsciously. The kind of vision I'm referring to can be a single statement that lends  powerfully or non-powerfully to the way we create and/or experience life. When you are on a mission you live, eat, and sleep visions! I've come to understand that if I want something then I have to go create it. Life doesn't always hand it to you on a silver platter;). It's been neat to see the powerful and sometimes non-powerful results that are created because of my vision. Now I don't wake up in the morning and say, "Today is going to be slow and worthless." (example of a non powerful vision), but if I'm not present to what I would like the day to be like I could fall into the trap of opposition or idleness and this is the adversaries play ground! I have to take time to self-reflect and seek guidance from the Spirit as I create my vision of life. We can see how the Savior did this on occasion when he went into the wilderness. This was a time of self-reflection and guidance. I believe we all need this!  Seek to understand what you want in life, make a VISION, stay true to it, and allow the Savior to build you up. 

Love,
Elder Craig


Monday, January 5, 2015

Seeing Tender Mercies.

Hello everybody! I hope all is well.

I have had a pretty good week.   We have seen quite a few tender mercies this week.  One occurred while communicating to a lady via Facebook.  She was having a tough time in her life! After testifying to her how the gospel can pull anyone out of anything (It truly can!  I've seen some pretty wild things occur over the past few months and it's amazing), she declined and said, "Not right now, I need a  lot more help than you can give me!" Well after receiving this news we had to jet over to a lesson. The person we were going to teach happens to be this lady's landlord.  He lives in the downstairs apartment and she lives upstairs.  Well anyway, we teach him and as we are walking out, guess who needs help carrying in loads of groceries?! Our lovely friend who I've been referring to as "the lady". We had a great chat and Alma 32'd her! Now all we have to do is water that seed everyday and we will see opportunity!

That's just one thing that's occurred. There's a few more, but I'll just share one more.  The landlord has a care taker.  It's a long story...basically he can't live by himself, but he owns an apartment complex (#peopleofwoodstock). His caretaker is awesome!  We have taught her most of the lessons and she has accepted them.  Her common law spouse is someone we have been trying to teach. We brought Keith along with us to a lesson we set up and low and behold the caretaker's spouse wants to learn more!  He's pretty into it.  THANKS KEITH! YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!

There is great power in having a member come to lessons!  So, members...If you want to be member missionaries...Here is what you can do: Ask the missionaries if you can go to lessons with them. It's easy!  They do all the work and you bring a well needed spirit to the meeting! :)

Elder Thompson (My new companion) is doing great! We are both working hard and having tons of fun!

Love you all!

ps: Matt, thanks for the message!  It means a lot!

pss: Kelli, thank you so much for your message too!

It's good to hear from you all!!!

Love,
Elder Craig


Well, look at what we have here... a new addition to the family!  Looks like I've been replaced by a four-legged, floppy-eared, fur ball of fun.