Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015

First off.... HAPPY 51ST BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!

So my whole email is going to based on well..... yesterday.  Sebastian’s baptism was planned to be at 7 pm.  We had everything planned and  it was going to being a perfect day and a smooth baptism.  We arrived at church and I was up front playing the piano like always.  We were expecting that Cristian and Sebastian would be our 2 investigators that came to church.  We were already ten minutes into the meeting and still neither one of them had showed up.  5 minutes before the priesthood passed the sacrament.  Sebastian’s grandma walked in....ALONE.  Sebastian ALWAYS came with her and my heart sunk instantly when I saw that she was alone.  She went and sat behind Elder Brown and started to talk with him and I just saw his face go blank.  I was praying so hard during the sacrament that everything would work out.  As soon as they finished passing, Elder Brown motioned to me to grab my stuff and follow him.  We went out into to the hall and he told me that Sebastian’s mom and grandma had a fight the night before and that she had suddenly changed her mind about the baptism.  Sebastian wasn’t able to come to church because she wouldn’t let him or because he was just too sad.... I am not quite sure.  But the point is that we went running to his house to try and figure out what was up.  He didn’t answer the door.  We knocked, and knocked and KNOCKED but nothing.  We tried saying a prayer and even singing a hymn but no one answered the door.  
   To make things even more crazy, just as we were leaving the church to find Sebastian, Cristian entered the church with his two kids.  We also had an inactive member that came and she was sitting in the chapel alone. We seriously needed like 8 companionships of missionaries to do it all.  After going for Sebastian, we came back and sat with Cristian and they stayed for all 3 hours.  As soon as church ended, we went running to Sebastian’s house again. This time he answered the door.  He explained to us that he still wanted to be baptized super bad and that he didn’t think it was fair that his mom was taking it out on him.  He told us that his mom would come back from work at 4:30 so we told him to keep praying and to be bold with his mom in his desire to be baptized.  We told him that we were going to stop by at 4:30 to work things out.  We called our ward mission leader, Hermano Jorquera, and made plans to go to Sebastian’s house with him at 5.  We got there and at first she said she was busy but after a minute or two of waiting she let us in.  She told us that Sebastian could be baptized but she wasn’t going to go if the grandma was there. (Clearly that is not what Sebastian wanted.)  We continued talking with her trying to help her feel the need to come to support him. Sebastian suddenly stood up and left the apartment.  We kept talking with her for about 5 minutes or so when suddenly Sebastian showed up with his grandma.  He came and sat next to me and said "I hope it was a good idea, I felt like I should do it."  About 10 minutes later, they hugged and made amends and said that the baptism was on!!!! Elder Brown and I had to sprint to the church to fill up the tank.  It was so crazy! We had to fill it up with water from the bathroom and everything we could find to fill the font.

Well to summarize.... I got really down for a little bit yesterday, I didn’t understand why after so much time without baptizing and after so many efforts, it wasn’t going to work out.  I felt like maybe it was something I did or that I didn’t do but should have done.  But Elder Brown and I talked about it and decided that we needed to show our faith and make a miracle happen.  We really did everything we could yesterday and in the end it worked out.  I would also like to point out how Sebastian followed the spirit and went to get his grandma.   Yesterday really was the craziest day of my mission and the whole time I just felt amazed as I watched the Lord carry out His work.  I wish I had more time to tell more details but it looks like it will have to wait for after the mission.  I really don’t feel I deserved the miracle yesterday but it really strengthened my testimony of the work of salvation.  The baptismal service went great and I am super happy that everything worked out.  I have realized that I might not baptize as many people as I might have hoped before the mission, but I can try to do and be my best and learn the lessons that the Lord has for me in the mission.  I love this church, I love the mission and I love my family! Thanks for all you do

Elder Crofts
Sebastian's baptism

Sebastian's family
Hermano Jorquera baptized him. Such a great guy.

Sebastian followed the Spirit to make it happen

We had a great turnout for the baptism!

Elder Brown made me some nice peanut butter banana pancakes for my b-day. Whatta pal.

I love you Mom. Happy birthday.

Trying to get the water in the font warm.

I made a heart filled breakfast for Elder Brown the other day. 


Sunsets here sure are nice

The Alvarez family

A volcano in south Chile erupted and they evacuated for 20 miles. According to Elder Crofts "We have a bunch of "super Christians" who come up asking us what we think of the signs that are happening. Chile is passing through floods, fires, droughts and now volcanoes."

Happy birthday wishes on the Vina del Mar Mission blog

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 2015
Well this week went fast.  This week was a super good one.  We have found a few new people to teach and we are working hard to help them progress.  People aren´t really committed and it is tough to work with them sometimes.  Saturday night, we had 3 investigators with baptismal dates and I felt 70- 80% certain that every one of them was going to come to church.  Sunday in the morning, we got a text from one saying that he couldn’t come, Cristian didn’t come because his parents and brother decided to go camping during the day, and Sebastian came.  So now we only have one but it was a true miracle.
Sebastian has been coming to church and as of last week still did not have permission from his mom to be baptized.  This week, we stopped by their house with our mission leader and she said that they were "busy" and that we couldn’t come in to their house.  I was not about to let this opportunity go because this was only the 2nd time that we had found her at the house so I asked her straight up why she wouldn’t let Sebastian be baptized.  She started to talk about "commitment" and a bunch of other stuff.  I was a little bugged but tried to keep my cool.  I bore my testimony of President Monson and that he has said that 3 weeks is enough to be baptized and that he would know better than anyone else how much time is needed.  We told her how lucky she is to have a son who simply wants to follow Christ.  There are so many teens here lost in drugs.  I know that she felt the spirit.  She said that she was going to have to discuss it with his dad.  We stopped by two days later and Sebastian told us that she gave him permission!!!! That same night, she came up to him and told him that he could be baptized!  But the best of all.... She told him that she was going to start to come to church again!!!!! Oh I was so happy!
Last week, we had a zone activity and it was a really good time.  We played some football(not futbol) for a little bit and oh can I just say how good that felt.  The gardens were pretty but we spent most of the time messing around in the camping ground.  It was nice to have a little break.  The theme of the activity was setting spiritual, physical, and intellectual goals.  Elder Allred, the other DL of our zone and I, had to make an activity for the intellectual.  We made a riddle and it was super good and nobody could figure it out.  It was a blast.  We had some choripans (sausage in some bread.... basically a hot dog)  and Elder Rios from Santiago was cooking them when we hear "¡agua!......¡Agua! ¡¡¡¡AGUA!!!!!"  A big old fire had started on the grill and none of us had realized. haha we went and threw a bucket of water on top of it all to put it out. haha but in the end they were still tasty so no problem.
So this week we were teaching a Catholic and they started to talk about the importance of the Virgin Mary.  Elder Brown gave an example that you all might just want to write down.  He compared Jesus to a peanut and Mary to the peanut shell.  He said "Let´s not waste time talking about the shell when we all know that it is the peanut that we want.....Yeah the shell brought life to the peanut, but the peanut is the thing that we want to focus on." Haha, how wise.
This week, I realized how important it is to really follow the spirit.  People can choose to accept our message or not.  So it is a little difficult to measure success with numbers.  But we can feel like we are successful if we feel like we are following the spirit and delivering the message of the restoration to people in a way that touches their hearts.  True success and growth is found in the change, growth and dedication of the missionary.  I love this work and I am loving being a missionary.
Elder Crofts

Thanks for the package family

General Conference! So Good!

I made Philly Cheese steaks


Got to get the greens

Interchange with Elder Pinillos from Peru

Inka Kola....super good

Super sanitary.....

and there comes that guy to add his couch to the pile. Haha

Zone activity

Elder Rios from Santiago Chile

Elder Nielson from Idaho

Elder Curtis & Veloso

Elder Allred & I, our riddle had to do with alfajores

Elder Pinillos


On the way back from the zone activity

Futbol Jerseys

FC Barcelona and Chile soccer jerseys

Some killer sunsets

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

Well to be honest, I can’t believe that this week went by so quickly.  I honestly feel like every transfer goes faster and faster.  So, Cristian has been stubborn.  We have had appointments and he has not been there.  We had one lesson in the middle of the week but we only had about ten minutes to be able to teach him.  FINALLY last night we found him in his house and taught him.  We shared with him Elder Holland’s talk from conference.  It applied SO well to him.  He really feels like he has no hope of a better life and we have promised him SO many blessings and explained baptism SO well and he knows that he needs to be baptized but he is fighting against it.  We think it might be something to do with his friends and him being "embarrassed".  We invited him to really humble himself and ask God and he said that finally he is going to do it.  So today we are going to commit him to be baptized for the 26th of April (A pretty nice pre-birthday gift).  Hopefully all goes well.

I had an intercambio with Elder Pinillos (Peru).  We entered a house and this 60 ish year old lady was SUPER drunk.  She kept pointing her finger at us and told us to be quiet.... haha as we were trying to leave Elder Pinillos stuck out his hand to shake hers.  She just through her arms up and tried to rap them around his neck to plant one on him.  We tried to explain to her that we don’t do things like that as missionaries.  She backed up, thought for a second, than turned and came straight for me to do the same. hahaha so keep an eye out for those snakes.

So this week I learned a ton.  I have been thinking a lot about conference and there really are too many good talks to be able to focus on just one.  Some of my favorite points were "twas I, tis not I", that we should fear and trust in God, and our complete dependence on the Savior. (and I liked all of the sweet talks about family and marriage.... there are A LOT of people here who aren’t married)  I feel like sometimes I try to work everything out in my head and I just have too many things going on at once to be productive.  We need to just turn everything over to the Lord.  We had a zone conference as well that the zone leaders gave us.  One of the Sister Trainers, Hermana Andrade, (she is the Brazilian who knows the lady you baptized 30 years ago Dad).  She is in my district! Cool huh?)  quoted "work like it all depends on you, and pray like it all depends on the Lord".  

We also had an interview with President and it went well.  I feel like Satan has been working really hard to make me feel comfortable.  He tries to make me feel like it is okay that I am not baptizing and makes me lower my expectations.  I know that numbers don’t mean a successful missionary.  But I also know that my purpose is to invite others to Christ by helping them enter the waters.  I am trying hard to not compare myself to others and to not judge or criticize.  I am going to focus on myself and what I can do to be a better disciple of Christ.  Yeah it sucks to not baptize, but it sure is awesome to be a missionary.  I love what I am doing and there is nothing better! I have learned that I may not know everything and I may not speak Spanish perfectly or teach like a pro, but I know this Church is true and I know that I represent Jesus Christ.  Like it says in 2 Nephi 3, prophesying about Joseph Smith "his weakness shall be strong in his faith". I know if I try to be more like the Savior that the success and the personal progress will come.

Today we have a zone activity (AT LAST!!!!) This is the first time that my zone or district has achieved its goals therefore our first activity.  We are going to go to the gardín botanico (botanic gardin?) I don’t know it should be a good time! Before the activity I am going to go buy an adaptor so I can send some pics.  So pictures will have to wait until next week.... sorry! 

Elder Crofts

Raul & Jean Diaz Navarro, New Chile Vina del Mar Mission President starting July 2015