Monday, July 19, 2010

Hey Everyone!!

I got into Jamaica just fine on Tuesday evening and was picked up by the mission president at the airport. He is a really cool guy. We chilled at his house, had interviews and then we got assigned to our mission areas and companions. I am serving in Port Antonio. It is a beautiful place!! But for the record, Jamaica is nothing like cool runnings haha. Driving to Porty (thats what the Jamaicans call it) was an adventure. I literally was scared we were going to die a couple times, but we got here safe. I would try to explain the driving, but it would be impossible to explain how crazy it really is. But the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and you drive on the left side of the road (there aren't really lanes or road signs anywhere). You just kinda have to know where to go. That is another interesting thing about here. Nobody has addresses. You just have to know where to go. Like if we ask someone where they live a typical answer would be: over the bridge, take a left after you hit the fifth pothole, and then take the trail up through "the bush" to my house. It's crazy!! But anyway, when we got here (me and Elder Ashton, my first companion), we went to the house, dropped off my bags, and then left and started teaching people. It was a busy day. I unpacked when we got back for the night. The apartment is...interesting. There isn't any AC, so its usually like 90 degrees haha (I haven't stopped sweating since I've gotten here) i'm kinda getting used to being damp all the time, and its a pretty normal place except it would be hard to find a place as run down in the states, but i am honestly thankful that we have it, especially when i see where other people here live. People here usually live in places they have made out of scrap metal and sometimes if they are lucky, they have plywood, and the occasional person has a house built out of cement. But I am very happy that we have a place as nice as we do. They literally have nothing here, and they get by. It is really humbling. I feel really bad when people ask me for money, because we barely have enough to get our food and stuff for each month, so we don't have any to spare.

I haven't had a problem waking up in the mornings because there is no hot water here. My usual morning routine is: i roll out of bed at 6:30, work out til 7, and then go to the shower and turn the water on and watch it run for like five min while I get the guts to get in. It takes my breath away every morning haha. Definately wakes me up. Then I cook my heart healthy daily bowl of oatmeal (cereal is a little too expensive for me) with a banana in it. Then we do personal study for 8 til 9 and companion study from 9 to 10. Then the proselyting day starts. Thats usually when the day gets interesting.

My first day I had a really hard time teaching well because I couldn't understand what most people were saying. They speak a mixture of patwa (kinda a weird dialect thingy), and broken English. I'm starting to get the hang of it now (at least understanding it). I can't really speak it. Some patwa words are whagwan (whats going on), Madea (i've just been chillin), oh and they say me instead of I, so like they would say me soon come instead of i'll come soon. Its interesting. OH and we have a car til this wed. After that, we are biking and walking everywhere. Oh one more random thing... here there is music everywhere!! i love it!! THey have these big speaker walls in the street and basically everywhere you go there is music playing. But here are some of the weeks interesting stories.

We were walking to a meeting with an investigator, and these three ladies stopped us, and we somehow got on the topic of girlfriends and sex and stuff. They asked us all sorts of...... interesting questions and they totally didn't believe us that we hadn't and didn't have sex til we were married. They are very up front about that kind of stuff here. The mindset here is that if you kiss someone, it is impossible to not do anything else. When we teach the law of chastity, it is always one of the most interesting discussions haha.... Another time, we were having a discussion with an investigator and committed her to be baptized. It was a great lesson!! but we started talking about going to church and she showed us that she had a dogbite on her ankle and couldn't walk. So we told her we would pray for her and she would get better by next Sunday. And she said, bless me now. So we were gonna start to explain to her about priesthood blessings and then she just stopped us and said no, you have to hold my foot and say a prayer. We tried to explain that it wouldn't make a difference if we just said a normal prayer or held her foot while we said a prayer, but she was so stubborn, so finally we were just caved. We held her foot and said a prayer. haha It was hilarious!! Oh and another person we were meeting with (Reid) showed us that he had been shot twice, cut open from his belly button to his chest, and then buried alive, and he lived!!!! Lots of interesting stories. On a little more of a sad note, we were teaching one member and her family about the temple because she asked, and I felt so bad, because if they want to go to the temple here they literally have to sacrifice everything. They want to go so bad, but to them, it seems more like a dream than anything. Most of them will never have the chance. So, I encourage everyone that can go to a temple to do so as often as possible, because we are so blessed to have a temple that we can make it to.

Church here was also quite the adventure. Me and Elder Ashton were the only speakers this Sunday for sacrament. We spoke on temples. We only had like an hour to prepare our talks and we had to take up the whole meeting!! But it went surprisingly well. After sacrament meeting, me and Elder Ashton are the gospel principle teachers too haha. But the most interesting was priesthood. Brother James was the teacher, and he spoke on the priesthood and keys of the priesthood, and it broke into a big argument. Its a good thing me and Elder Ashton were there to clarify the doctrine, or it would have broke into a fullscale riot!! haha I can see how all the different churches there are today might have formed.

Oh, we did service once this week too. We helped the Davis family tear down their old house and build a new one. It was awesome!! IT was raining the whole time, and the Davis's have some younger boys. There was a small muddy trail between the two houses through the jungle that is very steep at parts, and after carrying a load of stuff up to the new house, I was "racing" the ten year old boy back, and i totally wiped out and got all muddy. He couldn't stop laughing haha... They say i "dropped" and got all muddy. But they all really like the "new one". Sister Davis said, "I like the new one, he knows how to work" haha... It was a good day. I am loving it here. We have four people with baptism dates right now, so i'm super stoked for them. :)... But ya, the work is going great here. I was going to send some pictures this week, but i left my camera in the car, and we don't have long, so i'll just have to send them next week. Get excited Oh and i'm still a little unsure about the mail situation, but i know that i will only be getting it like once ever month to month and a half, but keep sending it. :) i'd love to have a big stack to read, so if you don't get a response from me for a while don't worry, thats why. I'll write as often as i can :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Less then a week and off to Jamaica!!!

This week has been great!! I am seriously loving it here. The food is still not the best... Its kinda hard not to get an upset stomach haha. I eat a lot of fruits. Cuz thats about all that doesn't give you gas haha..
The fourth of July was awesome!! We had a fireside about how the restoration came to be. The reformers like Martin LUther and JOhn Calvin along with the founding fathers of this nation truly were inspired men. Without them, the restoration wouldn't have been possible. They definately paved the way for the restoration. After the fireside, we got to watch the fireworks. IT was great!! We got to stay up til 11:30!! Except we still had to get up at six thirty the next day. haha.
The more time I spend here the more I love being a missionary. I feel so good!! Its awesome. :) I'm amazed to see how much I am growing and its only been a week. I guess doing church things 24/7 will work wonders for you. This week we have been teaching and learning the plan of salvation. It has been a really good experience. I have really gained a testimony of it. It is really great to know where we came from, why we're here, and where we're going. It's also so nice to know that this life is just a step on our way to living with our Father in Heaven again. It makes the small things we go through like worrying about money and small things like that seem very trivial. The only things that matters is coming to know our savior and having faith in him and striving to be the best we can be. I know if we do this that everything will work out for us. I have been having some great experiences with Elder Mackey learning and teaching the plan of salvation. We really teach well together, and have been able to teach some powerful lessons. I love all the guys in my district. :)
Another cool thing we had was the devotional last night. There is no way the Book of Mormon isn't true. They have 60-70 pages of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon in the Church archives. The ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT. Handwritten by Oliver Cowdry as dictated by Joseph SMith. The Gettysberg address was revised 5 times and it is only two paragraphs, and was written by an educated man (Lincoln). The Book of MOrmon is 531 pages long, and had no revisions made. THis can be seen in the original manuscript mentioned above. There is no way that an uneducated man could produce a book 531 pages long, strait through in 70-80 days, and not revise it at all with out the power of God. The Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God and is revelation from God. I know its true.
What else has been going on..... OH, we have an hour of gym every day. Thats always a blast :)... BUt not a whole lot is new. This will be my last email until I am in Jamaica. We leave Tuesday the 13th at 3 a.m. And then we'll be in Jamaica at like 4 p.m. I am so stoked!!!!! :) :) So as of like Friday... Write to the Jamaica address rather than the MTC one. I love everyone!! Thanks for the letters :) Write me lots! and sorry if i don't have time to write you. JUst check on here to follow how i am doing and keep writing me. I'll try and write, but I'm very busy. Love Everyone
Elder Kraus