Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

Well Hello!!!!!!

This week, I have been trying to get to know our area.  It is pretty big and at one time we had 2 different wards.  There are A TON of inactives.  Like really.... I can’t believe it.  There are a lot of people here that were baptized 20 years ago and then never came again.  So they are basically investigators that have already been baptized.  All they remember about the church is that Joseph Smith wrote some book. haha 

Well we are in the promised land of dogs and hills.  It has made me reflect back to when I was a kid and always asked and BEGGED Dad for a dog.  I have made a personal promise to NEVER have a dog through my whole life.  Chile has made my perspective of dogs change into: flees, no sleep, and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.  So that is always fun..... 

So we have one investigator named Sebastian.  He is 13 years old and his Grandma is a member and supports him a lot.  The only problem is that his mom wants him to go to church for 4 months before he can be baptized.  His mom is inactive and wants NOTHING to do with the church.  He is really the only one we have.  We had a family of five that was SUPER good but they are going to be moving out of our area in the next week or so.... so that is a bummer.

Elder CONTRERAS. We get along super well and we haven’t had any problems.  He has not had ANY support from his family his whole mission. Not ONE card or letter or email.  I can’t imagine.  His family is made up of inactive Jehovah’s Witnesses and they weren’t fans of his decision to be baptized.  He has lost a little bit of hope for this area and feels like the Lord won’t bless us with baptisms because the ward can’t even retain the awesome people we bring in.  The mission is going to start closing some areas and he has suspicions that ours might be one of them.  So, I am doing my best to work hard and keep that from happening.  We are struggling finding people that are really interested.  I feel like my list of things to do is a lot bigger than my time but I am doing my best to juggle all of the responsibilities and make things happen in my area and district.

So two weeks ago, I had to come with Elder Garcia to Viña to get my visa only to find that there were some errors and I would have to come back another day.  So, I lost most of my P day there.  They gave me the stuff and told me I was good to go today but I got there and found out after waiting an hour that they didn’t give me one of the papers that I needed.  So we have to wait until after lunch our so that we can go and get it.  So I have lost two P days in the last month.... so that aint very cool. To top it off, I was looking for something in one of the local stores on the streets. Come to find out, the owner isn’t too fond of "Gringos".  He gave me a piece of his mind and I decided to take my business elsewhere.   

Friday we had a meeting for the district leaders in the mission and it was SWEET! I got to see Elder Dunn and a few other people that came in my group.  We watched the video "missionary work and the atonement".  I love the message.   It doesn’t matter if we are rejected in our attempts to share the gospel.  When we are rejected, we are just standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest man that has ever stepped foot on the face of the earth.  I know that this church is true and I am doing my best to live up to the expectations that our Heavenly Father has for me.  I love you all and appreciate the prayers and support.


Elder Crofts

District Leader Meeting

Pictures from the mission blog at the District Leaders meeting

Elder Lundskog, my first DL
Elder Dunn, my first comp at the DL meeting
We numba 1

Elder Contreras walking up into the clouds

At the top of our biggest hill, you can see all of Vina, Valparaiso & Concon

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

Lots of Changes

Well like the caption says.... this was a week jam packed of changes.  I am now in a ward named Chamiza (it is in Achupallas or Miraflores if you want to look it up).  I have lost the view of the beach and now am up in the hills and mountains of Viña with the dogs (cerros and perros..... hills and dogs) and I am with Elder Contreras from Argentina.  He is almost 1 year into the mission and is a super awesome guy.  I feel a little strange being the senior companion when I am with someone who actually knows the area and has more time in the mission. But, it looks like another change to be able to improve my Spanish!  I am really trying to be the most fluent in Spanish that I can be.  Wednesday morning when I was packing up my things, I got a call from the assistants saying that I was going to be a new District Leader.  I was freeeaking out.  I have PLENTY of things to learn and improve.  Hopefully I can make things happen.  

To get to Viña, we didn’t have anyone to take us in their car so we had to take the bus. MISERABLE.  I had my 3 suitcases and the bus was packed.  We were standing in the back of the bus where people always step off.  It was a nice warm day and let’s just say I did my exercises for the day.  The bus to Viña from Concon is not always the smoothest ride and I didn’t have hands to hold on to bars because I had to hold my bags. I just love buses.....there were a bunch of grumpy people on their way to work and it was just swell. haha Well, it is possible that I will be dry cleaning my suit VERY soon. haha

Well, I said goodbye to Rita.  She was pretty bummed.  I really hope that the ward can help her out because she is passing through some rough times.  Retaining the people we baptize is a fight here in Chile.  In the ward that I am in now, they baptized 7 people last year and only one remains somewhat active.  I have a lot of things on my plate now: Learn a new area, be a DL, and try and unite the ward so that we can actually get things done.  We have some awesome members, there is just not a lot of unity.  There is literally NO time as a district leader.  I am trying to help out my district and make things happen.  Hopefully, I can fulfill my calling.  

Any advice about being a DL?  I am trying to be the most obedient that I can and I want to be a good example.  If you have any advice I would love to hear it!  Also, with the ward it really is going to be a fight here.  Elder Contreras is in his 4th change here and has baptized 2 but they are already inactive or moved to a different ward.  He baptized 8 in Ovalle in the north of our mission because he had a lot of support.  I have realized how hard the work is without the consecration of the members to the church.  Even though we have great members, the work just isn’t progressing yet. Yeah, I guess I just need to follow the spirit and everything will work out. 

Love you all!!!

Elder Crofts

Elder Contreras is from Argentina and is my new comp
Getting to know the Chamiza Ward

We had a FHE with Cris & Sonia, the Mom of a missionary who is in the ward

They aren't members & don't really commit to anything but are super awesome
Said goodbye to Adolfo

He is a less active member that we are in the process of reactivating

"And if you shall bring save it be one soul unto me...."

"How great shall be your joy with them in the kingdom of my father."

Saying goodbye to Rita

She is such a sweetheart!

Final view from the pension

Elder Garcia taught me to draw... can you guess which is mine? LOL

Jorge Rosas was baptized a year ago.  He has a lot of problems

We pass by once a week to play dominoes & share a message

Angelica will probably be getting baptized next Sunday.

Too bad I won't be there to see it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015


Well..... Meri and Segundo didn’t get baptized yesterday.  We had a baptismal interview scheduled for them but they didn’t show up because Segundo was a little sick.  We tried to do it Saturday but Segundo didn’t want to do it.  We set a time to pass by that day to see what was up. When we got their there niece who is a Jehovah’s Witness was there visiting.  After a few minutes of talking, she started to tell us that we can’t force someone to be baptized and started to talk about a whole bunch of things that on an importance scale might reach a 2.2.  She had a folder of scriptures to try and show us that we were wrong.  Elder Garcia passed me a little note as she started to do all of this saying to be calm and not contentious with the lady.  She kept talking about why we are wrong and then Elder Garcia got super defensive with the lady... way to put your money where your mouth is.... haha.   But I think we both recognized that we couldn’t really do much.  I bore my testimony of the restoration and of the priesthood authority and we left.  The result? Segundo doesn’t want to come to church or be baptized and unfortunately Meri won’t do the things without Him.  I was pretty discouraged.  I feel like I am really working hard but sometimes things just don’t happen how I would like.  As I thought about it, I realized that part of the reason I was bummed is knowing that coming home and hearing the question "how many people did you baptize?" wouldn’t have the answer that I probably would have hoped before the mission.  As I thought about this a little more, I thought of Elder Robbins talk from conference "Which way do you face?" I realized that I might have been fearing the things that people will say after the mission and not worrying as much about what God thinks.  I was looking to build my kingdom, not God´s.  I know that I did what I could do help them progress.  There is a lot I could have done better in my 4 changes here in Concon.  But I know that the Lord is pleased with my efforts.

Well, one baptism fell through but another is in process.  A reference from back in September that we never got to teach because her boyfriend didn’t want any part of the church has now come to church 2 times in 3 weeks.  She split up from her partner and ready to enter into the waters! We got a lot of help from some good members this Sunday and have 3 family nights planned with her in the next week and a half.  She also is going to go to the temple this month with the ward.  She has had a lot of problems in her life and really just wants to feel a part of something that has meaning.... well she found it.  I will probably be leaving Concon this Wednesday,  so I won’t be able to see the fruits but I did what the Lord expected of me.  While I was organizing FHE´s and everything Elder Garcia was just talking with other members and taking it easy so I was a little bugged by that  .But I am confident that she will be baptized in the next 2 weeks! so sweet! 

I can’t believe that I have already finished 4 changes in Concon! I am thinking I will be transferred this change but we will see! I am hoping to learn a lot this next change!  It has been a learning process up to this point and I am hoping to make some things happen! 

Love You!!!!
Elder Crofts

Heading to lunch in the country
Until next time folks!

Our district!  I have been here longer than everyone else

I think I will be heading out this change

We were acting out Adam & Eve for a Gospel Principles class

Elder Garcia was Satan. Haha.

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

Well, I had a very good week.  Meri and Segundo came to church yesterday.  We prepared them breakfast so that they would stay for more time because last week they left because they were hungry.  They are on track for their baptism this Sunday and things are looking great! We taught them about eternal marriage in our family night Tuesday and we committed them to get sealed in the temple here in one year! They don’t understand or retain everything we teach but they feel the spirit and have desires to enter the waters. So, pull out the white pants Elder García because we are going to get a little wet.

Well, we are teaching another grandpa named Guillermo (William).... and well.... to explain shortly.... every time we pass by we ask him how he is with his reading of the Book of Mormon.  He always says "Oh very good" then opens up to some random page in the Book of Mormon, reads a few lines, then shares his lovely words of wisdom about the verse.  This week when we asked him how it went, He opened it up and he read the line "and they traveled in the borders of the red sea."  Then after thinking for a few seconds he said " was a river? or a lake?" well we will see how much time we give him to progress.... haha His grandson is twenty and inactive so we will still be passing by but maybe not for him.. haha 

So the Bravo family (Elder Dunn’s favorite converts during his time here) told us last week that they are basically going inactive.  I got here when they were there strongest and were doing so great, despite their financial problems and now I have watched them slowly drift away from the church.  Elder Dunn is going to be heartbroken when I see him this change (IF I see him).  But a huge bummer.

Rita update: She is doing well.  She only comes to church every other Sunday because she has to visit her Mom.  She found a job and we are trying to help her to pay her tithing and be obedient! She is awesome! 

Elder García update: He is doing well also.  He is super awesome and I have learned a lot from him.  He has a lot of charity and that is something I am working on.  I love him but he can be a little child sometimes..... haha.  The other night, I gave him a piece of gum and after a few minutes I looked and saw that he was lying on his bed.  I asked him what was wrong and he said he bit his tongue and it gave him a headache.  I have had the privilege of listening to him complain about his tongue the last few days. Oh my child.  Despite the childish things he does, I have learned a lot from him.  This will probably be my last full week with him and my last week in Concon.  I am hoping everything works out for the best! 

Just a little spiritual thought.... In Mosiah 16:1 it says that "all will confess that the judgments of God are just."  It made me think of what it will be like when we all are resurrected according to our desires and actions.  We won’t have a doubt in that day if we are worthy or not to enter in to His kingdom.  We will KNOW what we deserve.  I love the talk by President Uchtdorf  "Lord, is it I?"  I am so grateful for the atonement and the knowledge that no matter the mistakes we might have made, we can always start over and we can get to the point that, like Enos, we know that our experience at the judgment bar will be "pleasing."  I know that we are strong when we recognize our weaknesses and turn them over to the Lord. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! 

Elder Crofts
Not the best pic but a pretty darn good view!
The breakfast we prepared for Meri & Segundo

Elder Garcia struggles to cook an egg so when he offered to make ceviche (that has raw fish) I wasn't feeling too confident
The view from our apartment
The view we had walking to the church

Well that tan line is coming in nice

Chorillana.. essentially a heart attack on a plate

with a side of gas for dessert.... but tasty

Elder Marchant & Fernandez baptized Sandra. What an angel!

Our awesome ward mission leader (Cristian Perez)