Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014
Howdy.  Well... I have just over a month in Chile.  Time really does fly! Some days are really good and others you just gotta love that guy named bill the bed.
Everything is great! We are working hard and have found some really good people. We are just having problems with people going to church.  We commit them to be baptized but they can never progress because they never go.  We are just having a hard time finding people at their houses and it also doesn’t help that church is at 10 ("SUPER EARLY" according to many people here... haha)
The other day, we were walking and something as simple as a golf ball gave me the desire to be at home at the golf course with you Dad!  I miss things like this a lot sometimes.  But normally, I am too busy to think about it.  I just tell myself not to think about it and that in two years I will be able to go with you as much as I want. I never really am homesick but there are times where I am like man I miss that... haha

So we had a ward activity on Saturday!  It was really good and we found a new couple that we are going to teach! At the party, they had tons of choripan and empenadas..... Oh yeah.  I was going so hard with that.  At the end, they had some left overs so wouldn’t you know it they came to me to dispose of it (nothing’s changed).  I packed up the food they gave me, put it in my bag and carried it around contacting for the rest of the night.  I am going to have a nice snack in about 30 minutes.  I am also trying to be good with exercise.  Elder Dunn doesn’t want to run.  He is athletic and likes to play soccer.  But his workouts are stretching on his bed for twenty minutes with 5 or ten minutes of pushups....haha so I try to make the best of my time to work out with jump rope and other stuff that I have invented.  I do enough to get a good sweat in.

The perfect day we had is 20 street contacts, 2 lessons with member present, 2 lessons with recent converts or less actives, and 2 other lessons, 7 invitations to church, giving out 2 Books of Mormon, contacting 5 less active families and I think some other stuff

The spirit is strong when you look for it.  I had a prayer this week where I really just poured my soul and I just felt lifted up.  It felt GREAT!  My desire to preach, teach, walk and do everything was tons better.  I love prayer.  We also had a lesson where the spirit just filled the room.  It was with a less active.  We just were teaching by the spirit and saying the things that they needed.  I know that as we look for the spirit in lessons that we are guided.

Really not much happened this week.  We worked hard, found some new people, had to leave some others but everything is going good! I am stoked for I cannot wait!!! 

I know the church is true! I know that as we are obedient and try harder each day to be a little better that we are happier and the Lord will bless us immensely! I think that is the hardest part of the mission.... trying to give my whole heart to the Lord.  I can do all my effort and everything else, but that is what I am really trying to work on is giving my whole heart.  I love you all and really appreciate the letters! If I don’t write you back I print them and will write back later. 

Love you!
Elder Crofts

P.S. Just wanted to let you know I thought of you and Grandpa during my studies this week in Helaman 5:6.  You two are great examples and I am beyond blessed to have the same name as you two.  I am working hard to live up to the expectations.  Love you! 

We had games at the ward activity
I was in charge of musical chairs with the kids

Last P-Day we played soccer with some members & investigators

Our Zone Leader Elder Herrera is from Argentina & made me wear this Lionel Messi jersey. Sorry Dad. Ha ha

My daily breakfast. 2 eggs with sausage, toast, cereal with yogurt and fruit

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 22, 2014

Chilean Independence Day

So with it being Chili’s Independence Day, we ate A LOT, a lot of meat and a lot of bread. YUMMY. I am trying to work out hard in the 30 minutes we are given so I don’t gain weight.  Our zone leader said he had a body type like me before the mission.... he is now 30-40 pounds heavier.... hahaha not gonna happen sorry Chile! 
I had an interchange with Elder Herrera, our zone leader from Argentina.  It was super good!  He is a great missionary and I really learned a lot.  We accomplished the mission standard of a perfect day! It was my first. There are a lot of missionaries who have not had one that have been out for a while.  We had a huge lunch with a family and I was stuffed after.  When we walked out of the house, Elder Herrera turned to me and said "Now we have another one".....I have eaten a lot of food in my life... as you all know.... but I honestly hurt after I was done with this day.... I was convinced I was going to wake up 402 pounds, bed broken because of the weight, and my clothes torn.  I just recovered yesterday from this fear.  During this interchange, we had a miracle.  We had a first lesson with a 16 year old named Diego.  He was so good throughout the whole lesson and loved learning.  At the end, I was extending the invitation to be baptized and I didn’t even have time to finish the sentence.  He cut me off and said “I want to be baptized".  Basically in two days, he has decided he wants to serve a mission like us and he wants to help people.  He has a baptismal date for the 5th of October.  I may not get to help teach the rest of the lessons or baptize him, but it was a privilege to have a little part in his conversion.
As part of the September 18th celebration, we couldn’t teach anyone... they were all busy.  As of now, we have 7 investigators.  We have an average of 2 lessons a week taught to investigators with members.  6-8 other lessons (just with investigators) and about 8 with recent converts and less actives.  It is hard because on our side of Concon, we only have like 5 active homes of members.  So we don’t have a ton of people to work with.  Our side of Concon also is a passerby town.  We get a lot of references for the zone leaders on the other side and while we do get some people to teach, most of our contacts result in us giving them a card, trying to bare testimony and then finding that card in the street some time later that day.... haha People always say..."oh I believe in Christ, why don’t you go find the sinners and all the bad people?"  I hear "soy un buena persona" more than I would like. haha It is really beautiful here though.  Our pension is about 5 or 6 blocks away from the beach.  So we have some great views almost all of the time.  There are some really great people here.  We are just trying to teach any person that is willing to let us in!  Concon is safe no worries.  I have heard that on the other side near some apartments there is some sort of territorial gang problem but I haven’t seen anything.
Elder Dunn is hard working and is really sincere and has the desires to do his best.  He is outgoing and is athletic.  He is a big soccer fan. We get along just fine!  Today we are playing soccer for p day with some members, less actives, and investigators.  It should be good!  I really like Chile! It is a bummer to have the success not be going to be what I would hope.  We are trying to soften the hearts and do all we can to bring people to Christ.
I love being a missionary. The Spanish is coming.  I can understand and communicate! I wish all my fam and homies success in whatever you are doing.  Remember to look for opportunities to share the gospel.  God is preparing, and has prepared, people for you to share your testimony with.  Because after all is said and done, the gospel and this message is all that really matters.

Elder Crofts
a big thanks to Alicia for the package.  It definitely lifted my spirits and I loved it!

Also, a quick message to my Grandparents.  I love all four of you.  You will never know how big of an impact that you have had in my life.  I will always remember looking up in the stands and seeing my grandparents there to support me, just as you are supporting me now.  I pray for you often and truly feel beyond blessed to have such amazing grandparents in each and every one of you.  I wish you good health and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all of you.
Elder Crofts

Celebrating Chilean Independence Day, September 18th
Thanks Alicia for the package
Don't let your zone leader convince you he can cut your hair....

La Cueca, a Chilean dance

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Que pasa from CONCON,

Everything is sunny and 75 in these parts.  Last week was a little chilly but it is starting to heat up and today was absolute paradise.  I am enjoying it now because I heard the summers here are killer hot sometimes....yellow shirts here I come. yippee.  We live in the basement of a member named Hermana Merium! She is awesome and Saturday night brought us down a nice big piece of chocolate cake... Heather would have been happy.  Wouldn’t you know it, we started a fast a couple hours before so we had to wait until later to eat it.  But I really like our pension.  It is a little small so it is hard to work out super effectively.  Today I just bought a huge water jug so I have more options to work out.  There is not room to jump rope so I just jump up and down in the pension... haha.

So 18th of September!!! Basically this is like their 4th of July.  They go CRAZY for a whole week with whatever type of meat and empanadas you can think of.  All the people talk about with the holiday that I have heard is food.  If there is one thing I now know... it is that the Lord truly knows me.  I have never doubted it more in my entire life. (The church is true) Just last night a member with the cutest family in all of Chile called us to come over to grab something around 8.  We didn’t have much time so while we were there he gave us two sausage hot dog things that were good then a container with some grilled chicken and steak. May I say, Chile does it right.  The steak was straight up Rodizio Grill.  I don’t think I am going to have any problems with enjoying myself this week, although it is going to be difficult to find people to teach.  Everyone we contact who is somewhat interested always says "oh...well pass by after the 18th" so we will see how this week goes... haha

It is tough having investigators who know our message is true... but they are unwilling to change.  We had to drop 3 this week but also found some good ones. We also have problems with lessons falling through because people aren’t there. The work is not progressing how I want it to so we are just going to have to work harder and harder.  We are definitely seeing miracles in the work though.  Trying to stay positive and trusting in the Lord.  That is the way to do it!

The Spanish is coming little by little.  We had a crazy week where I didn’t get my hour of language study every day, which I really need.  We need to be better at talking all Spanish.  I told Elder Dunn that this week not one word of English is coming out of my mouth.  And I am going to stop him if he starts to talk in English.  Elder Dunn is super cool. We have quite a bit in common and get along well.  I am still not completely used to the whole companion thing and at times I just wish I could be in my room at home to have time to study whatever I want.  We read the Book of Mormon 4 times a year as a mission so all my personal study time is taken by that but I really like it! Elder Dunn has been sick the past week so thank goodness I am still doing alright.  I still have to use his cable for my camera because they don’t sell them in Concon... at least not for my camera.  I will have to go to Viña.
I ‘m jealous of your trip to St George! I am happy that all is going well and that it sounds like papa is doing better.  Sending my love your way!

Love, Elder Crofts

P.S.... HUGE thank you to Gord and Claudia! I am going to write them a letter when I get a chance. Thanks!!!

Just a spoonful of service makes the world go round.  We helped make a path for a school in Quintero.
Completos complete me
Even if they are a little messy
I saw these Brasil feijoada chips & I decided to try them for you Dad.
I don't know if I would put them on the weekly shopping list
There is no time of the day like lunch time

Chile is a really cool place

Elder Dunn going out to the campo for lunch in the back of a truck

The view from the back of the truck. Not too shabby.

The zone leaders Elders Wadman & Herrera

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 8, 2014

Family and Friends!!!! 

So this week has been great! There are times where it is easy to get down when people don’t accept. Especially when they have told you they know that your message is true. But they just don’t want to change.

We had a really funny experience.  So we have two investigators that are brothers: Sebastian and Diego.  Diego has a mental issue where his mind is about 16 years behind. He is 24. We went to teach them but Sebastian was not there so we tried to teach Diego how to pray.  He was lifting up his shirt the whole time and kept talking about how much the people love him. ha-ha we invited him to pray and he just went straight up evangelico.  When they pray, they get super passionate and say "señor" a thousand times.  All he said in his prayer was (and I translate) "Lord, I love my mom.  Thank you Lord for my mom.  MOM I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE YOU MOM (as loud as he can....I’ll admit... I opened my eyes to see what was happening..don’t worry I repented)....LORD I LOVE MY MOMMA" then you here a "DIEGO!" come from his dad in the other room and Diego said "disculpe papa" then continued with the same for 20 seconds then finished with amen. So...maybe we aren’t as good at teaching as we thought...haha we just left in awe.

I had an interchange with our DL Elder Lunksgog in Nueva Aurora.  We were contacting and got this lady who kept saying how perfect she was and how she didn’t need any help and we should go look for the sinners.  She didn’t believe in any religion because they are all full of sinners.  She just kept talking and talking so finally I got a second and really just testified with as much power as I have felt teaching of Gods plan for us and of Christ.  And how through Christ all those "sinners" can become like God if they follow his plan.  She still didn’t accept.  But it definitely quieted her down and I know the spirit was there.

We have an investigator who knows everything she needs to do.  She wants to follow Christ but she has told us that she won’t be baptized because she doesn’t want to give up smoking and drinking.  Another had a baptismal date for this Saturday but she has a boyfriend that is a less active that is really preventing her from progressing because he doesn’t want to leave his life of sinning with her.  We are trying to help her and her mom realize that they are ready to be baptized and that they really need to do this for themselves and to show they love Christ.  I think they will get baptized; it is just a matter of time.

The language is coming.  Elder Dunn and I talk in Spanish as much as possible.  I am really feeling the help of God in understanding.  It is just so hard with the Chilean slang.  The members are shocked at how well I understand since this is my 2nd week.  They all say "I remember when so and so came.... he couldn’t understand at all!!" So it helps to hear that but it sucks needing to really exert all effort to simply understand.  So President Kahnlein did talk to me in basically all Spanish in our first interview.  But the interview went well.  He complemented my Spanish and he is just a great guy.  I talked to him about student government and how it helped me to be patient and to be a leader and how I am ready to serve however he needs me. He asked me why I was serving a mission and we had a testimony meeting with all the new missionaries.  I think he was impressed but I don’t know!

I love it here. The food is good. Although occasionally I think of mom’s cooking or a nice “big n´nasty” burger from Gridelis and I just break down and cry for a little bit. (Joking)  But I do look forward to that glorious day when I reunite with a big n’ nasty. September 18th is like their Fourth of July and I guess it is like a full week of heavenly food.  So I should be okay.  I am really trying to progress the work.  I know with the Lords help all is possible.  Thanks for the prayers and the support.  

Love you all!

Elder Crofts.  
Our area in Concon Chile.  We are the closest to the ocean.  Gotta love it!

Last MTC picture with my Bonneville boys

Elder Dunn has learned that food puts me in a good mood
What a nice welcome to Chile.  They are speaking my language with that right there.

Nueva Aurora on comp exchange