Monday, November 29, 2010

I Have Never Been More Thankful On a Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone!! This week was pretty good. Mondays have become my favorite day of the week because we spend the evening after p-day doing family home evenings with people. :) They are always way fun, and we play tons of fun games. This week was filled with more bike trouble, as Elder Knowlton's back axle broke in half!! haha It was really funny. When we took the tire off, the axle just fell out both sides. SO Tuesday consisted of a lot of walking. But it wasn't too bad. Wednesday was sweet!! The assistants payed us a surprise visit for district meeting and brought mail!! So I ended up getting my Thanksgiving package in time and was able to make pumpkin pie. :) it was so good!! The crust was really mashed up, and the pie tin was folded way bad, but we bent it back into shape and patched up the holes. Then poured the crumbled crust back into it haha.. It ended up being really good though :) We have still been meeting with Michael and Novia regularly, and this week was Novia's birthday, so we brought her some chocolate chip cookies, which she really enjoyed. Michael made us some potatoe pudding too!! Its like banana bread kinda... can't really explain it in words.. you just have to try it, but ya, it was way good. After our lesson with them one day, Michael brought us to some of his friends he wanted us to talk to and introduced us as his church brothers :) haha He likes us a lot, and they are making some really good progress. Novia (his baby mother) asked us what it takes to be baptized, so we taught her all the commandments, the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, tithing, .... everything.. in one night, and she was like, "cool, i'm ready to be baptized, i just gotta come to church first and make sure i like it" haha she's awesome. Thursday was pretty good. A really poor member fed us rice and beans for thanksgiving dinner, and even though it wasn't much, and i left still hungry, i have never been more thankful on a thanksgiving. It really meant a lot to me. My belly wasn't really full, but my heart definately was. Saturday and Sunday were district conference, (its like branch conference).. and it was great!! There were some amazing talks. The talk that stood out to me the most was President Hendricks talk on faith. He started it out by explaining that in the scriptures it talks about having the faith of a mustard seed. I always just thought that this meant that even if we just have a little faith, we'll be able to do miracles. But he explained that a mustard seeds grows into one of the tallest, greatest herbs. So even if we barely have any faith, it can grow into a giant herb! haha.. so i thought that was cool. He also told a story of a hiker that was walking along a trail that got narrower and narrower... eventually he was pressed up against a cliff wall with just enough room on the trail for his toes. He slipped and fell, but on the way down caught a branch. He yelled out, "Help!! Is anyone up there!?" A booming voice replied, "yes, let go of the branch" He thought about it for a minute, but it didn't seem rational, and responded, "Is anyone else up there?" ... I really liked how this applied to our lives. A lot of times, the inspiration we receive from God doesn't seem rational, or its not what we wanna hear, but if we heed it, miracles happen, and our faith really can grow into what its supposed to. It was a really good conference and i left inspired to do better. but time is short, it was a really good week. :) Love Elder Kraus ps.. keep writing. i love the mail :)

oh and i forgot

friday was sweet!! we played basketball again and me, Elder Knowlton, and Elder Paulsen swept the court!! 5 games to 0. The girl who plays every week (we call her shooter cuz she never misses lol) was like, "next week i'm bringing my crew, and its going down!!" It should be exciting. It was way fun.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jamaican meal/ laundry day!

Caterpillar graveyard!

Hey everyone! This week was good. Fairly uneventful, but good. :) We had a lot of good lessons with people, and time went pretty fast. Friday was probably the best day. For like the first or second time since my mission started, all of our plans worked out!! All of the people we had planned to meet with were home, and it was really nice. We went up to visit Michael and Novia (some really cool investigators we met a while ago) again, and helped michael de-caterpillar his tomatoe plants.. haha we had a massive caterpillar graveyard by the time we were done, and he gave us some cherry tomatoes. :) it was sweet!! Then we had a really good plan of salvation lesson. THey understand really well, and are pretty excited about it. After meeting with them, we went to Friday Night Activity. There was a basketball tournament, and me, Elder Paulson, and Elder Knowlton made a team, and we are now the court champions. :) It was a lot of fun.. We're gonna have to hold our title next week.. so that should be an adventure, because we barely scraped by with a victory this week. haha.. But ya, it was a really good week, and things are going really well here. I'm gonna send more pictures this week so i'm gonna wrap this up, cuz pictures take a while. :) enjoy! Elder Kraus ps keep writing me!! I love the letters :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Queenie's Baptism!

This week was great!!

Hey everyone!! This week was great!! Monday we had family home evening with a family here, and me and Elder Knowlton were in charge of the lesson and activity; for the activity we played the flour game. :) Its where you put a mound of flour on a plate (well packed) and set a coin or candy or something on top. Then everybody takes turn cutting away the sides, and whoever makes the coin or candy fall, has to get it out with their mouth!! It was a blast! and they loved it. :) If you've never played the flour game, definately do it.. it gets a lot of laughs.. just don't plan on staying clean. haha.. On Tuesday, we biked like a billion miles due to some bad directions and we ended up nowhere near where we were supposed to be.. we made it to the top of this huge hill though and it had a sweet view. haha Eventually though we found the guy who was very frustrated with us.. because we can't follow directions.. really it was his fault though cuz the directions were terrible!! But we apologized, and it was good from there. :) Wednesday, we had district meeting in the morning, and Elder Mackey did a trade off with Elder Jones, so he was here. It was awesome to get to see him again. Him and Elder Kartchner from my mtc district are both in my district right now.. Its sweet!! I get to see them every Wednesday. ... Thursday, we had a lesson with Queenie to go over the baptism interview questions and teach her the word of wisdom. She is so amazing!! We were reading from Doctrine and Covenants section 89 and the part where it says "neither meet in the sight of your Father" kinda confused her.. she said, "well, I really love meat, but if I'm not supposed to eat it, I'll stop." haha we cleared it up for her and explained that it was just saying those other things aren't ok in the sight of God.. but it was awesome to me that she would just stop eating meat, just like that. She has a really solid testimony of the gospel. Friday was basically flawless!!! Everything went perfectly, and Queenie got baptized. It was a really great service and the spirit was really strong. I gave the talk on baptism, and Elder Knowlton talked on the Holy Ghost. She was really nervous, and Satan started putting doubts into her head last second, but she prayed, and felt comforted and said it was a really great experience. I'm still in awe at the change that she went through. Her countenance is completely changed from when we first met her. The Book of Mormon has so much power!! Also, Friday was Elder Jones' two year mark. The tradition here is that at 6 months, you burn a tie, 1 year a shirt, 1 year and 6 months a pair of pants, and 2 years a whole outfit (shirt pants and tie).. So Friday night Elder Jones burned the whole outfit.. it was sweet!! :) I'm stoked for when I get to burn something. haha Saturday, I taught Johnathan piano, and then we did service for Mama-P.. we sanded, cleaned and started to paint the windows.. basically.. we're champion painters now :).. We didn't get to finish though so we had to put all the stuff away and clean it.. its gonna be a pain to get it all out again.. I now understand why once my mom would start painting, she'd work til it was finished.. even if it took all night!! Its much easier just to do it and then put it away.. ya.. but after that.. we fixed our bikes so we could ride to our appointments, and my bike looks awesome now!! Last P-day I sanded it down and cleaned it, then took it apart and sprayed the frame silver cuz it was super rusty and has to last two years.. then Saturday I put some new brakes on and basically its my pride and joy now haha.. I figure if I take good care of it, it'll last for two years. So, we'll see. :) Sunday Queenie received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and was confirmed a member of the church, and in Sacrament meeting, since it was Elder Jones' last Sunday, Me, Elder Knowlton, and him, sang pg. 334 "I need thee every hour" (we'd practiced throughout the week to get the harmonies right).. I sang the baritone part, Elder Knowlton sang the melody, and Elder Jones did the tenor.. it was really fun.. and I think it sounded pretty good. :) Transfer calls came today, and to my relief, I'm staying in May Pen.... Elder Jones is the only one leaving.. and Elder Walker is coming to take his place.. I haven't met him yet. This next transfer has thanksgiving and Christmas!! Its gonna be sweet, and I'm really happy that I get to spend it here. I'm really lovin it. :) But, my time is short.. so til next week. Elder Kraus

Monday, November 8, 2010

It was really a Faith building week!

Hey everyone!! Life in Jamaica is rockin along. :) haha we had quite the week. On Tuesday, we were riding our bikes out to a dinner appointment like a 20 min ride from our house, and I got a flat tire like 3/4 of the way there, so we walked to the appointment, and then afterwords made the walk back.. but since we were walking instead of biking, it took us an hour instead of 20 min.... so that was pretty exciting. haha, and a crazy rasta rode by us most of the way and talked to us about things that made absolutely no sense at all.. it was a riot!... When we got back to the house, i took the tire off, patched it up, and put it back on the bike, but when i started to pump it up, i found out that it was still going flat for some reason.. so i took it off, and found that the hole was a little bigger than i thought it was, so i took the old patch off, and redid the whole process with a bigger patch.. and stuck the tire back on the bike to pump it up again.. and.... it still went flat.. by now i was ticked!! lol so i took the tire off again (the back tire.. so its not a super easy process and i was getting really greasy) and took the tube out, and found that the whole was so big that the patch wasn't strong enough to hold back all the air rushing out... it blew a bubble in the patch which popped... so ya.. after all that, i just ended up having to get another tube.. haha it was an exciting night.. Wednesday wasn't too eventful, except we did a trade off with all the Elders in the house. I served a bit with Elder Jones, and a bit with Elder Poulsen.. they're both really cool guys.. it was nice to get to know them a little better. Nothing to report Thursday.. except the axle and two baskets (the stuff on the inside of the wheel) on my back tire broke so i took that in and had to get that fixed... Friday, we started to ride, and my back wheel was wobblin all over again, so i took it back to the bike man (we're pretty much regular's with him haha) and he looked at it and the axle and baskets were all messed up again so he fixed it up again.. i have a good rep with him though so he did it for free this time cuz he said it shouldn't have broken.. .. so once we got that fixed, we rode out to mineral heights (a place like a 20 min ride from our house) to see a new investigator, and when we got there he told us he had some work to do so we were gonna have to reschedule haha a phone call woulda been nice... but whatev... no worries.. so made the ride back .. and taught some other people in May Pen town.. Saturday, Elder Knowltons shoes finally broke, so we took them to the market to get some new bottoms put on, oh and i started teaching a kid named Johnathan piano, so thats exciting :) Its kinda tough with no books, but i'm becoming a master at drawing notes and staffs and stuff haha.. .. but after a tough week, everything came together Sunday. :) We talked with Queenie, and she decided to get baptized this Friday!! She's super excited! and I'm way stoked for her. Even though it was a pretty tough week, I am super happy.... Its amazing how just the tiniest bit of success brings so much joy. :)
It was really a faith building week. I feel like Heavenly Father was testing us to see if we would keep working hard when it seemed like everything was going wrong, and he blessed us because we did. :) Sometimes being a missionary blows, but when things come together it makes everything worth it :) but my time is short.. so keep writing me, and i'll talk to ya next week
Nuff Love
Elder Kraus

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Book of Mormon has so much power!

Hey everyone!!

So, this week was pretty sweet. Tuesday, we were walking along looking for a less active members house, and couldn't find it so we stopped to ask this guy working in his yard if he knew her, and he was a little hard of hearing, so i don't really think he understood what i was saying at first, but he invited us in, and called his wife in, and asked us what we are all about haha... so we taught them the restoration and ya, it was pretty cool, people don't usually just invite us in and call their families in without us saying anything haha.. if thats how it always was, missionarywork would be cake! Wednesday we had Zone Conference, and it was amazing!! President Hendricks is the coolest guy and everytime he teaches I leave convinced that I can be the best missionary ever... He is really inspiring and I'm committed to work just a little harder than i think i can every day. On the way to Kingston for the Zone conference i learned a very good lesson too. We caught a bus there, and there were so many people on there that we all were standing in the isles packed like sardines with everyone else haha.. it was pretty funny, cuz usually when you are standing on a normal bus, you have to like hold on to something so you don't fall over when the bus takes corners fast, but on this bus, there were so many people you didn't have to hold on to anything... nobody could move at all, so tipping over was out of the question haha.. but anyway... this bus had a very nice speaker system (i came out with very muffled hearing... kinda like coming out of a concert) and was blasting super loud dancehall.... at first when i was on the island, i couldn't understand what they were saying in the songs, but now i can understand just about every word... and what was being said made it impossible to keep good thoughts in my head.. It really wasn't possible to think of Christ with that music blasting... it taught me that music really is a very powerful influence in our lives.. and if we always listen to music in which it is still possible to think about Christ without being embarressed, we really will be blessed with the abilitly to receive more revelation more often.. just a thought I had.. Oh, and this week, I saw something that I hadn't seen before in my life. We have been teaching a lady named Queenie, and at first she just seemed really depressed all the time, and she wasn't really understanding what we were teaching.. (we taught the restoration like 3 times)... she was starting to get frustrated with herself, because she just wasn't grasping it.. especially what the Book of Mormon was. then we decided to take a different route and just have her start reading the Book of Mormon from the front instead of leaving her chapters out of the middle to read... so we left her 1 Nephi 1 to read, and when we came back two days later, she had a massive smile on her face, and was stoked out of her mind to see us.. we asked her if she had read 1 Nephi 1, and she exclaimed, "I read chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10!!.. This Book is Amazing!!!!!"... Her countenance was completely changed, and she really is like a different person now.. I wouldn't have even recognized her... she practically glows she's so happy.. The Book of Mormon has so much power! I have seen it in my life, and now in others. I know that when I consistently read out of it, I am always happier and more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know with all my heart that it is true, and if anyone reading this hasn't read or heard of the Book of Mormon, get a copy, and read it!! It really will change your life. I promise. :) ..................... On Sunday, since it was the fifth Sunday, the Branch President decided that he would give all of the missionaries a chance to speak in church. My topic was Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It amazes me that i can teach this every single day... and still get nervous to speak about it in church haha... some things never change. But I think I did an ok job... I only had ten minutes to speak.. and only got through about a third of my talk.. that is something that has changed.. I never thought i'd be able to give a 15 minute talk haha.. now, if i have any less, i struggle to figure out what not to say.. After church, we had lunch with the Sterlings and dinner with the Weirs.. they are both amazing families.. I love them so much!.. haha, last week i can't remember if i wrote this, but we had cowfoot at the sterlings for lunch.. it was quite the adventure.. it literally is cow foot, the hoof haha.. ... oh, and we celebrated haloween by making chocolate chip cookies at night.. really though, haloween here was lame! cuz it isn't a holiday.. but we celebrated kinda.. nothing like the States, but it wasn't too bad... SO.... HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! :) I guess they don't celebrate thanksgiving here either :(.. but maybe we can get some people to feed us haha.. but life is going good here... doin our thing.... til next week!


Elder Kraus...

ps... keep writing me!! I love the letters even though we only get mail like once a month . :)