Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014
Mom….Dad….I am going to be a Father!!!!
Well there is a lot I would like to say so here goes nothing....
Elder Marroquin is now in his lovely country of Guatemala.  I learned a lot from him but I don’t know if I would say I was sad when he left.  I don’t know, he was a friend but I wasn’t heartbroken or anything at the end.  haha  At the start of the week, I was in a trio with our zone leaders until interchanges.  We bought food to last us for 3ish days. I just bought oatmeal because normally we just have to eat breakfast and the members make us lunch and I wanted to save money. Well one day our lunch appointment fell through so to make a long story short I went pretty crazy with the oatmeal and in the period of about 2-3 days I ate a kilo of oatmeal. Haha my stomach wasn’t the same for a day or two.
Elder Garcia was born into the mission exactly 5 days ago weighing in at 153.2 pounds. ITS A BOY! Well I expected to just receive a new companion for this change because I didn’t receive a call informing me that I would have a leadership position.  We show up to the change meeting and President Káhnlein was introducing the news to tell them where they would go. He said " Elder are going to Concon B and your trainer is going to be.....Elder Crofts!" My heart just dropped because I had no idea beforehand. ha-ha but sweet! He is from Peru and is a super nice guy. But I do feel like the term father and son is applicable to our relationship.  It doesn’t seem like he has ever really done much alone up until his mission. Well, I could make a pretty long list of why I feel this way but I will just mention a few. So he is not super organized and doesn’t clean up his messes and I really feel like I am babysitting sometimes.  One thing that bugs is that he just takes my food I bought without asking (those who know me know that this can be very dangerous and sometimes life-threatening).  The 1st day I gave him the keys for our apartment and the following day he told me he lost them.  I told him to look for them and if he couldn’t find them to say a prayer.  He came back in about 2 minutes and told me he couldn’t find them.  So I went to help him find them.  I reached in the pockets of one of his pants, pulled out his keys and just thought in my head this can’t be real life. ha-ha

Just 2 days ago after a lunch we had we were walking back to our apartment to drop off some things.  When we were about 5 minutes away he told me he had to use the bathroom.  We got to our apartments and the door man was asking us some questions and Elder Garcia was all antsy. We stepped into the elevator and he says to me " Elder....I am going to have to take a shower...." well....if you can’t understand what that means maybe the smell that was in the elevator reached you wherever you may be reading this because it was pretty strong. haha  Well apart from the fact that I am living with a child, I am doing great. haha he really is a great guy and has a good testimony he is just disorganized and childlike.  So maybe the Lord knew I needed to work on my patience.  But I am doing my best to set a good example and to be a good trainer.  I am trying to help him be a good missionary and also to be a straight up MAN. Too bad I can´t watch Mulan again... I could use some tips. Remember the song, “I’ll make a man out of you!”

Well yesterday, we set a baptismal date with Rita’s daughter, Katty, for the 14th of December. She is 12 yrs old.  I am a little afraid that it is only because she has a little crush on me.... When we invited her to be baptized she said "wait just a second" then came back and handed me a note to read. It said something like "Elder Crofts.  You have my trust and I would like you to be the person to baptize me".  So of course I accepted but we are going to try to find a friend for her at the church and really make sure that it is for a desire to follow Christ and not to have a little play date in the pool with Elder Crofts...haha We might try and change her date to the 6th of December because she already has the church attendances.  

Well the work is progressing here bit by bit.  We need to find some new people to teach and tonight we have an appointment with one of the most receptive contacts I have had! So hopefully we can baptize baptize and baptize. I think if we do our very best and have faith we can have 4 baptisms this change. I love you all and I am super grateful for the support! I know the church is true and I know that God answers our prayers.  You are in my prayers! Love you

Con amor,
Elder Crofts 

Mi hijo (My Son)
And he said to me "Elder Crofts...everything the light touches is our kingdom....
except the other side of the street.....
that is the other Elder's boundary

The view of the ocean from our balcony

Yo yo this view tho

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 17, 2014

First Baptism!!! Rita got baptized Saturday morning.  She chose to have me baptize her and it was awesome! She was so excited, giddy and nervous! She felt the spirit really strong and loves being a member of the church.  She already has a friend she wants to share the gospel with who is passing through similar problems as her! It was awesome to perform the ordinance and I am super grateful for the experiences I am having!

Well.... Elder Marroquin is on his way back to Guatemala. Right now, I am staying with the zone leaders until cambios on Wednesday.  So it is pretty set that I am staying here in Concon but we will see!!! I hope to baptize 5 this next month (Rita’s two daughters, her friend, and then some other investigators that we have).  The problem is that we never can find people at their house.  People are almost always working until late in the night.  So contacting people daily like we would like is not a possibility.  We have an investigator that almost had a baptismal date that we haven’t seen for two weeks and I think she has lost her interest.  This change is almost going to be like starting over.  We don’t have anyone who is really progressing and we will have to work hard!

So we only get packages at zone conferences every month.  The zone leaders go the 1st Friday of the month for a meeting in Viña and we have our zone conference the following Wednesday.  So I will know nothing of the package you sent until December.  The only one I have received up to now is the one that Liz sent. As far as Skype goes, we can plan it with the members so yeah we should be fine to do it Christmas day!!!

I am starting to get more of a stomach. We don’t have sufficient time to exercise and keep my metabolism like it used to be. This change, I am going to try to make my companion run with me. I weight 76 kilos (167 lbs.) but I have lost muscle and gained that is pretty cool or not.

So Kristy has had more success with the Chileans than I have had with the New Zealanders....haha. We are renting our apartment from a New Zealander and when we got there, all of the rooms were dirty, there were smudges on the wall, and the kitchen had yummy sticky stuff.  He said he was going to clean it before he left but nope! So this week was pretty crazy moving in, organizing things, getting stuff ready for Elder Marroquin to leave, cleaning and trying to focus all in on the work.  But things are starting to settle a little bit and I hope to really consecrate myself to the work!

I am learning that the spirit is everything in missionary work and the only way to have the spirit is to be exactly obedient, work harder than anyone else, and to be humble.  I am working hard to always have the spirit with me! I love the mission and baptizing Rita was definitely one of the best things I have done in my life! I love it here and I hope all is well back at home!
Elder Crofts
Rita got baptized on Saturday.

"Well if I can't hug you guys at least I can do this." Ha Ha

Elder Marroquin has returned to Guatemala

Rita's support group at the baptism
Life is good when food is good

Our old mamita! She is leaving for St. George next month.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 10, 2014

Alright so this week we are moving pensions so we have literally no time!!! A short little update....Rita’s baptism will not be until this Saturday because she had a little slip in the word of wisdom and she felt super bad about it.  She wasn’t going to be able to go to church yesterday because she was going to visit her mom. We were super bummed.  We were fasting for her that she could stay strong this week and still have the desire to be baptized.  She is normally a person who is really tired and sleeps a lot.  But come Monday morning she woke up at 630 and had no desires to sleep anymore.  She left with her 11 year old daughter and made it just in time to go to church.  The Lord blesses us for our sacrifices!!! We are going to try to start working with her two daughters but the problem is that they are always studying.

So there is a family here who are not members but have a son serving a mission in Brazil.  They miss him a ton and it is super hard for them.  We have been teaching them and I think they personally believe that the church is true because of the example of the son and how happy he is. The sister of the missionary started crying as we were teaching them and said how much I reminded her of her brother. How I look, act, smile everything. (at this point we were reading the story of the tree of life). I felt the spirit super strong and testified to her that the reason I am here is be the person like Lehi to invite them to the tree of life and partake of the fruit.  That although her brother might not be here to do it.  The Lord sent someone who he knew would remind them of her brother.  We would have invited them to be baptized but we had a member who is a recent convert who just started talking and talking about his conversion and about the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, name it he started to talk about it.  Although the invitation wasn’t extended, we know they felt the spirit and hopefully we can set a date this week.

Don’t send shoes! I am going to try to kill the ones that are wearing out and then just wear my Rockports once these ones die.  I also am going to have a problem with suitcases because one of the wheels is already starting to die because the sidewalks here are like the Rocky Mountains.  There is nothing now I  think that you can do.  I still haven’t gotten your package but I just got one from the Mitchies! Tell them thanks so much and I am going to write them soon.  Hopefully, I have more time next week to talk but sorrry I am out of time.  If we have more time later in the day I will send some pics but we are in the process of moving so sorry! I love you guys a lot and miss you more than I thought I would but I am loving being a missionary!!!

Sorry not much time but I love you!
Elder Crofts
Nothing like chili dogs in Chile!
Come on, we all knew it was coming at some point with how much I love to eat
Our new pension is basically 5 star compared to our old one where I couldn't even extend my arms

We have an electric oven!!  Too good to be true! Mom send recipes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November 3, 2014
Well hello,
This week was a good one! The work is progressing one step at a time.  We only have one investigator (Rita) with a baptismal date for this Sunday.  She is super excited and we just committed her last night to stop drinking tea.  It was super cool.  She knows that this church is true and is willing to leave behind things to be a part of it.  We still need to teach her tithing and the sabbath day.... I think these two will be the hardest for her so hopefully all goes as planned and she feels the need to do it!  She chose me to baptize her so the next Pday you should be expecting a pic of little old Elder Crofts here dressed in white! wahoo!
So we had two kind of crazy experiences this week.  One was we were walking and passing by to try and teach different people and were finding absolutely zero success.  We didn't know where to go but felt that maybe if we went to pass by for a person we havent seen for awhile that we could find it.  The person was not at their house but we saw a 60ish year old lady sitting on a bench in the park and decided to go talk to her.  She just broke down and talked about how her two 30 year old daughters were beating her and she doesn't feel love from anybody and doesn't know what to do.  We testified of a loving Heavenly Father and of his desire for her to feel his love and to be happy.  The spirit was there.  She thanked us for being "messengers from God".  We had an appointment with her at the church but she didn't show up....although we might not teach her again I know a seed was planted.
The other happened yesterday.  We were returning from a lunch in the campo (field or country) when we saw a car that was wrecked on the side of the road.  We went over and there were some police and a bunch of people freaking out.  There was a man laying about 10 feet from his car with people trying to help him and his wife that was stuck in the passenger seat.  We went and offered a blessing to the man laying on the ground and he accepted.  We gave the blessing and were going to go offer one to the wife but the ambulance arrived and we couldn't do anymore so we left.  We don't know the result of what looked pretty bad and bloody....but we did our part and gave a priesthood blessing.  It made me think of the Elder Holland video about how we should always be worthy to exercise the priesthood power that we have.
So Horacio, our 87 year old investigator....well I don't know how we can help him to progress. haha he is as physically healthy an 87 year old that i have seen and mentally....well I cant decide.  We teach him and as soon as one of us stops talking he says "oh you guys really are such examples.  The world needs more young people like you....I mean walking all day and preaching the word of god...." things like this every time one of us stops talking.  And every time we invite him to be baptized we say "so if you receive an answer and know that this is true...will you be baptized this day?" to which he responds "oh there is no doubt that it is guys are such examples...." and so on. haha We are going to work with him a little longer but hopefully he can progress.

Well...the work is better day by our last weekly planning session I could count about 8 people that I think with some effort might be baptized.... the only thing is helping them progress quickly! I love this message and the fact that I am a part of the final gathering (Joseph Smith Matthew) I have no doubt in my mind that this is where I am supposed to be.
Elder Crofts

Love being a missionary
Nothing like nice view of the beach

Its super pretty here
Not a bad view for the Elders

Completo Party

I'm already wearing out these shoes from all the walking

Car accident we saw in the campo

Elders relaxing on the way to the campo

A little guarana. I saw this at the store and thought of Dad so I had to buy it. It was super good.

The next hit movie the missionary marines.

Elders on the bus

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October 27, 2014

Mi querida familia y amigos,

We had a great week! We have been teaching a 55 year old named Rita for all of my time here.  She was never really progressing and never assisted at church but really was good.  Last week, we were teaching her the plan of salvation.  We talked about the spirit world and how we will go there before we were resurrected.  She shared a story with us and talked about how her father died and how much she loved him.  We talked about how he can still have the chance to accept the gospel.  We explained a little about temples and how those in the spirit world are teaching the gospel to those who never had the chance in this life.  She was blown away by this. We finally found her need!!!! We told her she could do his work for him if she first was baptized herself.  At this time, she still didn't want to be baptized because she knows she will have to attend church every Sunday.  We told her that if she wants these blessings for herself and her father, she needs to take this step of faith.  We invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon to know if this is what she should do.(something we have done before but she always prayed without reading)  We returned two days later to bring her to the adult session of stake conference.  She said to us after a few minutes at her house "Elders.... i got it, i got my answer!!!" she was honestly glowing. She read that night and prayed. She said when she got her answer the next day and she just started bawling and went and offered a prayer of thanks.  There was such a dramatic change in her countenance it was unreal.  She said "so we are still planned for the 9th for my baptism right?" ....ugh....YES!!!! she was inviting people to her baptism and is really so excited.  The difference: we gave her a reason to change.

So for some reason we keep finding people from Australia that are visiting.  We were talking with this woman and I kept switching back into Spanish trying to talk to her.  If This is how I am after 3 months I am in big trouble here in 21. haha the Burtons might have a legit Mexican working in their yard.  but really,,,, i thought of myself in college in my first English class and it wasn't a pretty sight... haha

So we have a zone leader from Argentina.  In an interchange I had with him he told me "oh elder crofts... when you are a zone leader you are NEVER going to have enough money because of all the traveling you do..."  He had ZERO money in his account at this time.  The next day we received about 40 bucks in our cards and the first thing he does is buy an alfajor and an empenada. haha he then went and bought a bag of chips and some Dr pepper. He didn't finish the bag of chips and gave it to some kids playing soccer in the street.  I think he had about 15 or 20 bucks left that were supposed to last him another ten days I am so grateful dad that you taught me how to take care of my money. haha We are trying to teach him the importance of SAVING. haha 

Well I am grateful to be a missionary.  I know the church is true now more than ever!  There is strength in living worthy of covenants and promised blessings.  I am trying to read a part of my patriarchal blessing each night and it is helping me a lot to stay focused in what Heavenly Father expects of me. I am doing great and sending love your way!  Love you guys and hope you had a great trip!!!
Elder Crofts
We had some lunches that fell through and every time they just bought us some pizzas...  alright if you insist