Monday, October 25, 2010

The Power of Prayer, /Gotta Love wrestling!

Hey everyone! This week went pretty well. :) First off, we cooked and are still cooking Jamaican style this week. :) It is so much cheaper and better than how i have been eating up to this point.. I skinned 5 pounds of chicken at the start of the week, and we made Brown Stew Cicken and Curry chicken, and had it with dumpling and some other stuff throughout the week.. It was amazing!! We're doing it again for sure this week. I'm gonna be able to live super cheap easily when i go to college haha.. This week it rained a lot and we had some pretty intense lighting and thunder storms... at one point a canal flooded the streets and me and Elder Knowlton found ourselves biking through basically a river down the street. The water covered our shoes as we were pedaling... definately an adventure. :)

On Friday, Elder Knowlton needed to go to the doctor for something, so we had to travel to Mandeville. We got on a bus (big van), and it took 45 minutes to get enough passengers to leave!! but we finally got going around like 3.... The doctor closed at 4:30 and we thought that it was only gonna be a 45 min drive, but... halfway there, the bus's front tire popped, so they unloaded us all off the bus so that they could change the tire. But when they went to get the spare... it was also flat haha great planning on their part. So we ended up stranded in the middle of nowhere for like 30 min. while the driver hitched a ride back to the nearest gas station to fill the spare up with air. This big rasta man with some huge dreds entertained us by conducting traffic and smoking a spliff haha By the time he got back it was 4:15, and we ended up missing the doctor. So we had to taxi strait back to May Pen.. what a waste of time!! But it happens So the next day we had to go again... and everything went smoothly. :) But it was quite the adventure.

Oh also, the Friday night activity this week was amazing!!.. So, last week, one of guys in the branch about my age asked me if he could borrow 500 Jamaican so i made him a bet that if he could take me down in wrestling, (I'd give him 3 two minute tries), then i'd give him 500 Jamaican.. but if he couldn't he had to make me a CD of his favorite music... so, all his friends heard about it, and wanted in too.. so i agreed. This week it went down. :).. I wrestled 7 of them.. one at a time in my church clothes haha... by the end, i was so exhausted that I couldn't lift my arms.. but they all owe me a CD (which i can't listen to until i get home :(... but thats life)... so ya, that was a blast!!! My clothes got so dirty!.. but i figure that i can just keep that shirt as my wrestling shirt if i can't get the stains out.. .. They were all pretty impressed with me by the end because they couldn't take me down, and hopefully we can start teaching some of them (only some of them were members) because we are all pretty tight now, and they don't think we're stuck up white boys any more lol... This computer's usb ports are all broken, so i'll send a picture of me after all the wrestling along with our sweet map next week when i use a computer with good usb ports.

We have been praying pretty hard this week for some of our investigators, and the other day, we saw the results of our prayer. We have been teaching a lady named Novia (she's about 20 years old)... and really her hang ups were that she didn't want to take out her piercings (she had a lip one, and multiple in her ears).. and she didn't want to get married (her and her boyfriend are living together for 4 years now and have a really cute baby girl).. but she had prayed and knew that what we shared was true, she just didnt' really feel ready to make the change... So we prayed really hard that she would be strengthened and inspired by God to do whats right, and this week, we went to have a lesson with her, and her piercings were gone and she told us she wants to get married so she can be baptized!! It was awesome! :) I know with all my heart that God answered our prayer. I am starting to recognize his hand in everything we do more and more often, as I slowly learn to be a better missionary. I'm so happy that i am here serving a mission, because I really can recognize the change that it's making in my life. I know the power and change that this gospel can bring in peoples lives and i'm so grateful that I have had the opportunity to serve a mission. It really is shaping the rest of my life. But, the time soon finish.. so til next week, :)


Elder Kraus

ps.. keep writing!! I love the letters :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cooking Jamaican style

Hey everyone!

It is raining super hard right now.. I'm drenched emailing this. Today we had a zone P-day. We all met up in Portmore and played basketball for a few hours. It was sweet, and i got some new sun burn lines :) my arms now look like neopolitan ice cream. :) from my elbows down are brown, between my elbows and where my t-shirt ends is red, and the rest of me never see the sun so ... very white :).. I have the same effect on the back of my neck too. :) Its pretty goofy lookin. But basketball was a lot of fun, there were two zones there (Kingston zone and Spanish Town zone (thats us))..... We played zone on zone quite a few times, and we lost. But it was still fun. Some of the other Elders I met are pretty cool. Oh, and then we ate at burger king afterwords... that was a treat. :) I love Jamaican food, but getting an american hamburger rarely happens so i was lovin it. :).. I have fallen in love with the new steakhouse burger... I had my first one, and now I think i can't ever turn back. You gotta try it if you haven't. haha. After that we went to a store called Mega Mart because Elder Knowlton said I had to see it. When i walked in, I almost went into shock.. it had AC and it was basically a Cosco or Sams club.. I thought i was back in the US.. so we walked around and looked at all the cool things we couldn't buy... and then left haha Oh and on the bus ride home, I got stuck between this fat guy who was chugging a bottle of alcohol the whole way back, and the window... it was an interesting ride... i had a really weird conversation with the drunk guy.. he seemed to think that i was there to hear his whole life story and started to like confess crazy things to me.. so i just kinda pretended i was asleep when there was a break in the conversation and he slowly stopped talking to me. haha

But other than that, this week hasn't been too eventful. Me and Elder Knowlton have kinda been having a hard time finding places from peoples directions, so we made a giant map!! It covers the whole wall in our study room.. I don't have my camera, this week, but next week I'll send a picture. It was so satisfying to finish it. :) I think we'll have an easier way finding our way around now. Our area is huge! and is a really intricate complicated maze. But we're getting there.. We have still been doing a lot of tracting to find people who are willing to act on our message. At times its really frustrating, because what we can share really changes peoples lives, and makes it possible to make it to heaven, yet its so hard to find people who are willing to sacrifice to find out if its true and follow it... But we do have a lot of fun meeting people, and its even fun (more funny i guess) the ways we get rejected sometimes.. But the work progresses, slowly, but surely.

This week is going to be a cooking adventure.. Me, Elder Knowlton, and Elder Jones are pooling our money together to buy Jamaican foods, and we are going to be cooking Jamaican style for the week. :) I'm really excited. I love the food here. Especially rice and peas (rice and kidney beans cooked in a very special way) with curry chicken. Or chicken with cornmeal dumpling. :).. Basically, we should be eating well this week.. Its cheaper too.. We'll see how it goes

This week in my scripture reading, I read the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. I really love it, the story and the way that everything connects amazes me! Oh, also, here one of the major beliefs in a lot of the churches is what is called getting in the spirit. Basically its where someone stands up and starts to yell things in a "language" that nobody can understand and their eyes roll back and they start twitching and things, and sometimes they evey take off their clothes (no worries though, the priests and pastors always have a sheet ready to throw on people when this happens).. Its really creepy and looks like posession.. we were really curious where the belief that this is what the spirit does comes from, so we asked one of the ladies we are teaching that goes to one of these churches. She says that thats what happened on the day of Pentacost in the Bible, so we went home that night and studied it, and basically, they read like the first few verses of the chapter and stop there.. and if you read further it explains everything and what really happened.. It just amazes me though how people really can twist the scriptures and use it in whatever way they want... and nobody ever says anything... even if it doesn't go along with anything else in the scriptures. I am really grateful we have a living prophet to lead and guide us. I know with all my heart that the things we are teaching every day are true. My testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ grows every day as I study and teach. The blessings it brings to my life and the life of others is so apparent and amazing. I love it.

But my time soon finish so I have to go...
Likkle more

Elder Kraus

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mud..... Rugby!!

Hey everyone!! Life this week was quite the adventure. Right now, we are struggling to find people that are really interested in the gospel, so we have been doing a lot of tracting to find new people to teach, but tracting here is a little different than in most places. haha.. here we don't knock doors... everyone here has gates that they keep locked around there house.. so what we do is stand at the gates and yell... if someone is home.. they'll either come out and talk to us.. or think we're CIA and tell us that nobody is home haha.. It's quite the experience.. Or.. we ride around and look for people that need help doing things and stop and see if we can help them. We found one lady pushing a shopping cart up a big hill, so we stopped, and i pushed the cart up the hill for her, and talked to her.. and now we are teaching her... so little things like that.. little acts of service have been a great way to find people that are interested in the gospel.. Here, they are usually just interested to see why two white men are in Jamaica helping them do things haha.. The reason its been tough lately though, is because its been raining a lot since i've been here (every day), and when its raining, people will not come out and talk to you...So that makes talking to people pretty much non existant... but, the rain did lead to one good thing.

On Saturday, it started raining really hard when we got in for dinner, and i wasn't really hungry, so i was looking out the window and saw 4 kids about our age playing rugby in this mud field haha... so i decided to go and play with them.. It was so fun!! They were pretty excited for me to come play, because they think that white boys are pretty worthless at everything.. so they put me on a team with three people and we played the other two kids... ... after one goal they switched up the teams and it was me and one of them verse the other three.. :) we dominated!! THey couldn't tackle me haha.. and at the end, it turned into like a wrestling match kinda... it was still rugby but it was like throw the ball.. then a huge free for all.. then whoever was left standing would run and get it and score.. my wrestling experience came in handy.. and we had a blast!.. Right before i left, one of the kids was like "well next time you have to come when i'm not worn out already haha"... But it was a lot of fun... none of them were really interested in the gospel.. but now we have some respect built up, so they won't chat us anymore..

One of my favorite things about May Pen though so far is the members. They're awesome!! I am already starting to love some of them. :) We have dinner with members on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.. and we have a lunch appointment on Sunday too. :) Its great!! Jamaican food is so good.. rice and peas is amazing!! I love it :).. On Sunday, we went to lunch at the Sterlings, and then right when we were about to leave, it started rainging so hard!! So we were trapped there.. but we passed the hour by singing all our favorite songs. haha.. we had a lot of fun together. then we rode to the Weirs and had dinner with them.. It was nice.. Usually what people here do is make us plates of food and then give it to us and leave us to eat alone.. But at the Weir's they made a bunch of food, put it all in the middle and sat down and ate with us.. It was great! :) I loved sitting down and talking with them. They are amazing people. Oh and our Monday (pday) tradition here is to go to Juicy patties, and get lunch, then to play a game of pool.. Its been fun :) but time is short.. so til next week.. :)... keep writing me as usual, I appreciate it!!
With love Elder KRaus

A Juicy Patty

This is Jamaican fast food haha.. i can't really describe it in words.. you just have to try it.. Its nice though :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goodbye Port Antonio, Hello May Pen

Rain & Candlelight

Hey everyone! Dang, well this week has been all over the place. We started out the week really well, and met with some awesome people! :) Then it started raining on Tuesday morning, and rained all day (by the time we came in at night we were soaked to the bone (but still not cold haha)) and the power and water shut off at about 10 oclock. So, we just went to bed. We woke up the next morning, and it was still raining!! and still no power or water. (so we took bucket showers again haha :)) gotta love those, and then at ten in the morning we got a call from the assistants saying that there were flash flood warnings everywhere, so they told us to stay in for the day. I never realized how little we have to do if we don't go teaching until that day. haha.. I read all of 2nd Nephi and some of Jacob from the book of mormon and then got pretty tired, so i took a nap, when i woke up it was only like 3!! So me and Elder Ashton were trying to think of something to do, when we found an old chess set lying around:). so we played like 6 games of chess, but we soon discovered that chess wasn't really one of his many skills, so he got bored of that pretty fast, and we were stuck with nothing to do i took another nap, and when i woke up it was dark out (only like 7 oclock though) so i got a candle and studied from the book of mormon until like 10 by candle light (it was fun, no matter how old i get, i think using a candle will always make things more exciting)... and then crashed.. keep in mind, its still raining and still no power or water.

The next day, it was still raining, and we heard that a flash flood had wiped out a bridge and like 7 houses in the mountains by Porty, and the assistants called us and told us to stay in again. So we had another day very similar to Wednesday... and then in the evening, the power finally turned back on!!! Still no water, but we had stored a lot in these five gallon barrels, so we were doing fine... but long story short, it finally stopped raining sometime during the night, and the water came back on, and we got to go teaching again on Friday, which is also the day we got transfer calls. We both thought that Elder Ashton would be getting transferred and that i would be staying, but the opposite ended up being true. I was being transferred to May Pen, and Elder Ashton was training again. I had really mixed feelings about it, because the past few weeks, we had really been struggling with investigators and finding good people, and then last week, everything finally started to come together and we had like 6 really solid people we were teaching, so i was really sad to find out that right when everything was finally coming together, i was getting moved, but i know the people there are in good hands. Elder Ashton's a champion. OH and i was also sad to leave, because i really just started to love everyone in Porty. It was feeling like home.... but i'm also very excited to be serving here in May Pen and meet new people :)... I love and hate change :)..

Saturday and Sunday, we watched conference all day, which was amazing!!! If you didn't see or hear all of it, i would highly recommend doing so. And then after conference, The Highgate missionaries, who watched conference with us in Porty, drove us to highgate where we spent the night.... to describe that night, i'm just gonna write my journal entry from Monday morning haha....
"Well right now, its 1:16 in the morning. I can't sleep. its freezing here!! (it was actually only like 65 degrees.. but i was freezing!!). Me and Elder Ashton are sleeping on the hard cold tile floor (actually he laid down the ironing board and is sleeping on that haha i wish i would have though of it first, cuz it looked much more comfortable)... But i think there is a huge party going on right outside the apartment because there is music blaring!! Ya, its gonna be a long night. Oh, and i woke up with a cockroach on my leg! Gross!! but no worries, he didn't live to see tomorrow. It took me 10 minutes, but i finally found and destroyed him.
Wooo!! ITs finally 6:30. :).... glad that night is over."

haha yup.. it was quite the adventure... but monday was transfer days, and now i'm in May Pen. I'm serving with Elder Knowlton. He seems like he's going to be really fun to serve with. We are in a 4 man house.. so thats also really fun :)... but my time is short... so i have to go... oh, one cool thing about here.. is that juicy patties has a pool table!! P-day just got better haha... But all is well in Jamaica... Keep the faith... and keep writing me :)
Elder Kraus