Monday, December 19, 2011

Less Me and much more You

Hey everyone!!

not much time this week...but so much went on!!!

Chavelle's baptism on Saturday was amazing!! Tons of member support... When everyone was singing the hymns, it sounded like a choir of angels... :) She brought a lot of her roomates and things to church Sunday as well for her confirmation, and we are teaching them now as well... :) Oh and Asheesh, Kadine's son from Old Harbour, got baptized this Friday!! Woot woot!! :) Everyone is doing amazing!!! Pretty much life here is bumpin!! We're working with tons of way cool people, and doing work!! My mission is moving way too fast!! ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, we drove out to Negril to do a trade off with the elders there, and on the way back, we stopped in Santa Cruz, and got to say hi to Felicia and her family, (Rose Renaldo Wiggi and Ackeeliah... :) It was awesome to see them, and they were way pumped to see me...

Ahh... I wish I had more time this week because a lot of amazing things happened.. but time is short... So just a short spiritual thought will have to do... There is a song called "More" by Kenneth Cope... (if you haven't listened to it... you should!!)... and a line that I love from it is.."less me, and much more you" (referring to Christ)... So that is my challenge.... This Christmas... find a way to make it less about me... (or you) haha... and much more about Christ!! One thing I've discovered is that you will have the greatest Christmas ever by making somebody elses amazing.. :) Serve!!!!! haha Everyone have an amazing Christmas and do your very best to make it about Christ!!

One Love!!! Feliz Navidad!!!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Serve this Christmas!

Hey Everyone!!

This week was sweet!! It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas (you can sing that line if you like... hah) :) Christmas lights are up some places, we only listen to christmas music in the truck, and... the shower's so cold its like a winter wonderland!! :)... it takes my breath away everytime i take a shower... kinda like looking at a beautiful snow covered scenery.... so... kinda the same?? haha :) So i've pretty much got it all! :) I put up a tiny 1 foot tall Christmas tree in the apartment and decorated it ... Three cheers for christmas!!!!!!!! :) We have a lot of sweet things going right now... :)

First off... Chavelle is getting baptized tonight at 6... ! :) I'm pretty excited for that... It should be awesome!! She is a superstar!! She texted us Sunday morning and said that she didn't have a way to get to church wasn't feeling that great because she was up late studying.... so she didn't think she was gonna come.... I called her and we talked a bit, and she decided that she needed to be there (this is her 6th week in a row).... because when she's baptized she's covenanting to be there every week... Sacrament meeting started, and.... no Chavelle.... 5 min. into it though, the doors opened and in she walked!! :) It was awesome! It was fast and testimony Sunday, and she even got up and bore her testimony.... It was so powerful, and the spirit was so strong!! It definately reconfirmed to her and everyone there how true this gospel is... She made the sacrifice to be there and was richly, spiritually rewarded... :) Such a cool girl... Haha.. She said something pretty funny the other night when we were talking about how the baptism was gonna go... She asked what she would wear; we told her a jumpsuit type thing... and she asked if it was like a prisoner one haha... We told her kinda... but its white.... Then came her funny line, "Wow... Perfect... I'm a prisoner for God" haha.. it was pretty funny.... uh... uh.. maybe you just had to be there.

Sunday at church I saw Sister Dakins and Grandpa Dakins again... :) It was awesome... they were pretty happy to see me... especially Sister Dakins.. they are still doing awesome in living the gospel.. :) woot woot! Oh, and the first presidency Christmas Devotional was sweet!! Definatley watch it if you didn't get the chance... :) Everyone find somebody to serve this Christmas!!!!!!!! :) You're Christmas will be the best ever if you make somebody elses... :)

We are teaching a lot of really cool people right now... One is named Alehandro.. He is a musician (cello)... and in July is gonna be going to none other than Springfield Missiouri to go to Mizzou on a full scholarship for music performance... It was sweet... He was pretty excited to hear that I was from St. louis.... :) He played for us and it was way sweet!! I'd love to hear him and Taylor play together.... I burned her video of her playing at BYU's got talent to show him... :) Hope ya don't mind Tay.. haha.. We had a really good lesson with him though... His wife is a member, and he has a strong desire to be sealed together forever as a family... He loves that idea... He just isn't sure if Joseph Smith was really a prophet or not.. We helped him understand that the reason its important to find out if Joseph Smith is a prophet.. is because... if he is... the power to seal families together forever is again on earth... If he isn't.... then it isn't here.. because no other church teaches that... :) He commited to pray about it... It was a really good lesson and just watching them talk and sit together during the lesson, I could see how much they love each other... :) What a blessing it is to know that families can be together forever!!! :) Speaking of that... we were talking with a recent convert this week, and she has the coolest conversion story that I think we can learn a lot of lessons from... She is into fashion and checking out fashion blogs and things, and was reading a ladies blog about her wedding dress and in there was a small line about how the lady was grateful that she was gonna be married for time and all eternity... be together forever with her family.... That really caught Christina's (the recent convert) attention.... She clicked on the link which brought her to, chatted with a "mormon" who sent her a Book of Mormon via the missionaries, and the rest is history.... :) It just shows the power of being an example of the believers at all times, in all thing, in all places... :) Everything we took and talk about is noticed by someone... whether for good ... or for evil.... so its important to make sure that we are always being who we are supposed to be, and finding ways to share the gospel.... The power of technology and member missionary work is amazing! :) So find a way to share the gospel with someone this week! :)

Oh, and one more cool experience... we had a lesson at emancipation park last night, and had the thought that it would be a cool place to go running (it has a 500 meter course marked out so that we can measure how far we run)... So this morning we got up a lil early and went to run there.... 2 miles and a lung operation later (just joking bout the lung operation.. but boy was i suckin wind haha)... found us stretching when a lady came up and started talking to us... we found out she was a member from yallahs who hadn't been to church in a long time and had moved to kingston.. she gave us her number and her friend who was also there with her wants a book of mormon... :) It was just awesome the way it all worked out... :) Definitely not a coincidence.... But... time is kinda shortish....

Everyone have an epic week... and do something to make someone else smile!!! :) (even if its just to ask them to give you a smile... ;) usually gets a pretty good laugh hah)

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Transfers & Serving with Elder Hoffman

Hey Everyone!!!

This week has been crazy!!! Transfers were Wednesday, and I am serving with Elder Hoffman again!! Its been awesome!! :) Though I do miss everyone in Old Harbour, I love Kingston!! Its so sweet to be back again.... I'm in the same branch as when I served here the first time (constant spring) and its been sweet seeing some familiar faces again... :) We're teaching some really cool people too!! One girl, Chavelle, is a college student at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and its been so sweet teaching her!! We go and teach her on campus, and it totally makes me miss being at college... :) No matter where in the world you are... College campus still kinda feels the same... :) I'm definitely excited to be at college again haha.... But she is just awesome!! She has such a strong witness that that this is Jesus Christ's church led by a living prophet... Everytime we go, she has learned something new, because she studies scriptures and church history and stuff for like an hour each day even though finals are coming up!! :) It's awesome!! She has been sacrificing a lot to live the gospel, and is so excited for her baptism coming up on the 10th of this month... :) It's definitely been a blessing teaching her..:) She was a referall from a member, and has just been taking in the gospel as fast as she can.... It just really shows the power of member missionarywork... So... even if you think you're friends may not really be interested... try talking to them about the gospel, or inviting them to meet with the missionaries.... You'll never know unless you try!! :) and EVERYONE needs the gospel in their life!! :) So... TELL A FRIEND!!

but.... I don't really have too much time this week.... so...til next week!! oh and my p-days are on Saturday now... btw....

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, November 28, 2011

So Thankful for Pumpkin Pie & Baptisms!

Hey Everyone!! This week was AMAZING/CRAZY!! Monday, I cooked 4 pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving... :) Surprisingly, only one of them lasted til then haha... I guess I got a little excited to show people I can cook.. :) haha They turned out really awesome though... despite our oven not having any tempurature controls... (its just this ghetto flame thing...)... which is prolly why the pies had so many knife marks in them (me checking if they are done... ).. But it was awesome.. :) Thanks for the ingredients mom!! :)

After that, this week was filled with trade off's and awesome lessons with Jeromey, Atanya, and Kadine.. :) They passed their baptism interviews on Thursday with flying colors and were just so excited for Saturday!! Thursday was just an amazing day... One of the best thanksgivings ever for sure.. :) A member (Sister Dennis) invited us over for dinner along with a lot of members of the branch, and it was awesome!! We ate on her roof with the cool breeze blowing and a sweet view of Old Harbour..and food.... SO MUCH!! :) It was pretty sweet... Tons of fun, and we really got to know some of the members a little better... :) Oh and I brought the last pumpkin pie and it was a hit!! :) Everyone loved it!! Thursday was definitely an awesome day..

Friday was kinda crazy... Elder Nelson got sent here for a few days to wait til his visa clears (he's getting transferred to the Turks and Caicos)... so there's been 3 of us for a few days... but its been really fun!! :) He has a guitar, so we've been playing around on that after planning at night... Its been pretty sweet.. :)
And finally... SATURDAY WAS THE BEST DAY EVER!!! We did service in the morning for a lady who lives by Kadine (we forked up a bunch of soil and cleared about 30 feet of jungle (literally jungle.. like it was taller than me.. :)) with our machetes.... and they fed us lunch afterwords... (i was messin around pretending to eat with the pitch fork... so thats that pic haha) and then we all met up at the church and went to May Pen for the baptism.. :) It was flawless!! Everyone was on time, there was a lot of member support, and even some members from May Pen were there (Sister Sterling!! :))... It was such a cool baptism!! They were all so excited, especially Jeromey and Atanya's mom... She said it was the best day of her life! :) It was such a good expererience and the Spirit was so strong... Kadine was beaming... She's been through so much to reach this point in her life, and it was AMAZING to be able to be here and see her overcome all the obstacles and follow the example of Jesus Christ.... Honestly... It just couldn't have been a better day....

Sunday, all 3 were confirmed in church, and Jeromey was ordained to the Aaronic priesthood... He's already preparing to serve a mission in a little over a year when he turns 19... :) It was such a golden day.. :) Just a golden week!!
Oh and transfer calls came... Elder Luke is coming here to be with Elder Gayle.... and I'm getting transferred to Kingston to serve as an assistant to President Hendricks with Elder Hoffman..... I'm excited, but way nervous! I'm sure I'm gonna grow and learn a ton though, so I'm pumped for that... but I'm just hoping I do a good job.. I'll give it my best.. :) It's gonna be cool to be back in the constant spring branch again.... But I'm pretty sad to be leaving Old Harbour.... I am really starting to love it here.. I feel really close with some of the members, and especially Demetry-ann (she was at the baptism on Saturday, gave the talk on baptism, and has just been being an awesome member missionary... ), Jeromey, Atanya, and Kadine... I'm definitely gonna keep in touch with them for the rest of my life.. :)

So ya.... That's this week in a nutshell... :) haha.. pretty crazy, but pretty amazing.. :) I love my life.. :)
But Everyone have an awesome week, and work off all the weight you gained at thanksgiving haha... :) just playin...... but seriously...

One Love!! Elder Kraus

Monday, November 21, 2011

Climbing the Coconut tree, so worth it!!

Hey Everyone!!

This week was sweet!!! I don't have too much time... but.. I'll just share a couple things about it... First one... We were brushing yard for Demetry-ann, and I asked her if I could get a coconut (they drink them like water here haha)... and she said.. "ya.. .if you can get one...." They have a coconut tree that is about 30 ft. tall and she didn't think I could climb it.. ... Her dad even said... anytime I see you climb that tree... you'll see me do it too haha (he's like 50 and kinda overweight.. so no way he could climb it...)... Well... the challenge was on... so i took off my shoes, and climbed right up... (same way the guy does it in the other side of heaven.. but a little slower)... and picked a couple coconuts... haha... I wish i could show you.. but the video is too long to send.. but they were alll pretty surprised... :) It was way hard though.... like back home there was always this rock climbing wall at scout camp.... and i remember how tired the arms get when I climbed that.. and this was like way worse haha... I was exhausted!! But it was way worth it.. :) the coconuts were super sweet and they got to see their first white man climb a coconut tree haha...

Prolly the coolest experience this week was with Kadine.... She was kinda struggling with her testimony of this as the only true church, and we felt prompted to read Joseph Smith History with her.... the part about him struggling to find truth, praying and the first vision... and it was such a cool experience.. she read the whole thing out loud and then we all just kinda sat there for a minute silently, and I've never felt the Spirit testify to someone so strongly before... :) It was definately a "light switch moment"... Her face lit up with a smile, and she excitedly exclaimed, "I've been looking for this my whole life!! It's true.... This is it, I've found it!!" She was so excited and was pouring out thanks to us for bringing it to her, to God for answering her prayer, and wanted to go tell everyone all around her that its true!!! :) She is so excited about the gospel and her baptism coming up on Saturday.. :) She shared with us how she had been from church to church to church, and was so excited that she finally found the true gospel of Jesus Christ... She said she didn't even know if it could be found in one place... She truly was looking for the truth but knew not where to find it... :) and one cool thing about that we got to her house at about 7:30 at night, and right when we got there she called us on the phone (not knowing we were outside)...I answered, and told her we were outside...:) When she came out, she told us that she was calling to cancel, because she felt really tired all of a sudden...If we had been there 1 min. later, we wouldn't have been able to have the appointment.. coincidence?? haha I don't think so.:) The Devil will do anything to keep people from having spiritual experiences.. but thankfully, the Lord is way smarter and knows exactly what to do to counteract his attacks... It's our job to be in tune to the Spirit to know what the Lord wants us to do..:)

Saturday should be awesome!! Kadine, Jeromey, and Atanya are all really excited for their baptisms... :) and it should just be an awesome week!! I know that this is Jesus Christ's true church and the gospel blesses everyone's life who will honestly seek for it! :)

till next week!!

One love!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, November 14, 2011

Demetry Ann & Kadine

Hey Everyone!!

This week was sweet!! Not really anything crazy happened, but we had an amazing week!! Jeromey and Atanya are doing amazing; both are super excited for their baptism coming up on the 26th.... :) And both were at church on Sunday... and are lovin it!!

Sunday was pretty much amazing!! Me and Elder Gayle both spoke in church as well as DEMETRY-ANN!! :) It was awesome! She was super nervous but gave a great talk!! All three of us spoke on love, and how important it is in this gospel... Like it says in Moroni 7... WIthout charity.. We are nothing!! As I was studying and preparing for the talk, I really felt my testimony grow of it, and definately felt my love increase for everyone and missionarywork.. :) It was awesome!! I love speaking in

After church I had a pretty cool experience... Our usual routine is to have a lesson with someone right after church and then go home for lunch... We did that, and were sitting at home.... I had just finished eating lunch (mac n cheese.. :) ... and was studying for a lesson that we had planned later that day... (we have an hour for lunch and dinner)... and all the sudden I got really excited to just go out and start teaching.... I'm always excited to get out and talk to people, but this was different... I really felt like we needed to leave right then... I couldn't even finish the page I was on... So I told Elder Gayle, and we left... not really sure why we were leaving out early... We went to the first lesson that we had scheduled and..... She wasn't home... and neither was her backup....but then Demetry-ann called and said she was at Kadine's house cooling out and talking with her, and wanted us to come over... so we decided to go see Kadine... (a muslim girl that we've been teaching... we didn't have another lesson planned with her until later in the week).. We had asked Demetry-ann earlier to really try hard to reach out and be good friends with Kadine, and fellowship her, and when we got there, it was pretty apparent that she had been... It seemed like they had known each other forever and were best friends.... :) We had an amazing lesson with Kadine, and found out a lot of concerns that she had... The Spirit was so strong and she is so determined to overcome everything she's struggling with and be ready to be baptized on the 26th (which we had extended to her at the start of this month) as well... :) It was a really cool experience... because if we hadn't left early, we wouldn't have had time to go and see Kadine (we have a packed schedule every day)... and if Demetry wasn't there, the lesson would have gone very differently, because Kadine knows that missionaries get moved around, but having Demetry-ann who can always be there for her was a huge comfort... The power of member's fulfilling their missionary responsibilities is limitless!!!! :) I'm super excited for Kadine and have a lot of confidence that she can be ready by the 26th... even though it will take a lot of hard work.. :)

I know that if we do everything we're supposed to, the Lord blesses us with his children to teach... and I'ave defintely seen the blessings of obedience and hard work... We have a blessed problem right now... trying to find time to see everyone! ... :) We have so many people to teach that we have like 3-4 days booked in advance haha We're so busy!! Work work work!! . I'm so excited and happy to be here serving a mission, and I smile so much that I'm pretty sure its gonna be permanently stuck on my face if I don't stop soon haha... I'm so happy doing the Lord's work and these 2 years are really flyin!!

Everyone have a sweet week, and talk to a friend about the gospel.. or be a good friend to someone learning about it... :) They need you!!!!

One Love,

Elder Kraus

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

After Great Tribulations Come the Blessings

Hey Everyone!!!!

THis week was sweet!! We've been working our tails off, talking to everyone, and teaching at all times, and its been awesome!! :) We've really been focusing on talking with everyone and inviting them to hear our message... whether it be at the supermarket talking to the cashier as we're cashing out, or just walking down the street and talking to people... and the results have been amazing!! We always have like 2-3 days in advance completely booked with people to see!! Its awesome! :) And I really have a testimony of the Lord putting people in our path.. When we plan properly, and seek guidance from our Heavenly Father on what we should do each day, the Lord always blesses us by putting people who are prepared in our paths... A lot of times when an appointment falls through, we kind of have the tendency to just say, ok... on to the next one... but, when something falls through lately, we've really been focusing on trying to figure out what the Lord wants us to do in that area... and its been awesome!!! We're being blessed with so many people to teach!! This week on Wednesday, an appointment fell through, and we decided to go see a member (Sis. Grant) who had asked us for a blessing if we had time... We went there expecting to give a blessing, but she was feeling better and said she didn't need it anymore... and another member (Sister Phillips) was over at her house, so we decided to have a quick lesson with her because we didn't know her that well yet... After an awesome lesson and really getting to know her, we asked for referalls, and BLESSINGS!! she got really excited and asked us to start teaching her kids.. (Jeromey (18) and Atanya(13))... We set an appointment for the next day and went to see them... in the morning.. .and surprise!! more BLESSINGS :) Her 19 year old niece (Jelene) was there as well getting ready to go to work and joined us in the lesson.... We had an amazing lesson on the restoration with them, and committed them to read from the Book of Mormon and pray to know its true.... Sunday, they came to church with their mom... and more BLESSINGS!! During Priesthood, the teacher felt inspired to split the class in 2 and one half went to see a priesthood brother who hadn't been to church in a good while, while we went to see another guy who hadn't been in a while as well!! Jeromey was in our group and we walked down the street and visited the member... It was awesome and the member was really feeling the love and commited to come next week... but the blessings of the visit extended far beyond that..... We had a lesson with Jeromey and Atanya after church at their house on the gospel of Jesus Christ.... and when we got there... they had both kept their reading commitments plus Jeromey read up to 1 Nephi 14 already!! We invited them to be baptized on November 26th, and they both eagerly accepted... They are soaking up the gospel like a sponge and are so excited about it!! After they accepted the baptism date, Jeromey told us that while we were walking to see the less active that he really felt the spirit and wanted to serve a mission and tell everyone about it... So he also commited to start preparing to serve a mission... :) It was such an awesome day!!!

I really have such a strong testimony of the scripture that says that after great tribulations come the blessings... because Saturday was like the worst day ever... Every lesson fell through.. along with most of the backups.. but we kept busy and working hard despite the frustrations.. and at the end of the day just felt destroyed and discouraged... but we woke up Sunday feeling revived, went to work, and the blessings flowed in!! The Lord blesses us when we are diligent in doing his work.. :)

Members are so vital in the work as well... because when they refer someone to the missionaries to learn about the gospel... it goes so much better!! How missionarywork should ideally go is the members inviting all their friends to be taught and the missionaries teaching everyone with the members' help.. :) The Lord's work moves the fastest when members have the courage to share the gospel with their friends... So please.. this week.. identify one friend who is not a member of the church and invite them to meet with the missionaries or invite them to church.... Just get inviting!! :)

I love this gospel and am super excited to continue to do work here!! Everyone have an awesome week! :)

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Demetry Ann

Hey Everyone!!

This week was sweet!! :)

I don't have too much time, so I'll hit the high points.. Tuesday was pretty much cursed for us haha..All our appointments fell through except one... We are teaching a really cool Muslim girl named Kadeen.. and her lesson worked out.. but it also was cursed haha.. A rasta man showed up who is friends with Kadeen (the same one who owns the gym we work out at sometimes in the morning...)... and noticed that we were talking about Jesus Christ.... and bam!! Turns out.. he's not a rasta at all, but really is a Christian.... POSER!! haha.. So ya.. he pretty much took over and started preaching Jesus Christ to her... and no matter how hard we tried.. we couldn't take control of the lesson again.. so we ended up leaving after a bit and left him preaching to her haha...but it was quite a sight... a huge rasta man (locks and all) preaching Jesus to a Muslim... Definitely not something we see every day... But it was all good.. We had a trade off later in the week with the zone leaders.. (I was with Elder Mcloud in Old Harbour)... and we had a SWEET day!! We finished our trade off with an amazing lesson with Kadeen.. The spirit was so strong, and she is becoming more and more converted to the gospel and Jesus Christ.... (at one point durning the lesson, I heard her mutter "I need this"... )... It was awesome!! It was pretty sweet, because we testify to everybody that if they find out the Book of Mormon is true, they will know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, Joseph Smith was a prophet called by Jesus Christ, and this is Jesus Christ's true church on the earth again...).. and most people already believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior... so its been an awesome experience for me use the Book of Mormon to testify and teach about Jesus Christ... It really is a testament of Jesus Christ... Kadeen is already up to Helaman in the Book of Mormon, and though she still has questions and things, she can feel her testimony growing of the Savior.... So cool!! :) Truly anyone who will honestly read and pray about the Book of Mormon, will find that it is true and have a desire to follow it.. :)

Friday was sweet!! Demetry-Ann got baptized!! :) It was such a great service and the spirit was really strong... Oh, and we did it at a beautiful river!! :) It was awesome!! She is doing great and eagerly learning the gospel more and more each day.. Its been so fun to work with her and see the progress she's making...

Sunday was also amazing... Demetry-Ann was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting, and came teaching with us after church along with a few other members.. Probably my favorite lesson of the day though was with a girl named Tiffra... We had planned to go and teach the restoration to her... but she started out by telling us how she knows there is a creator by just looking around at the earth... the trees, the way the wind blows.. She said she was just sitting there earlier that day and thinking about that... and how she knows that there is a creator.... and I felt promped to ask her the question....,"What are we doing here?"... She thought about it for a minute and then responded that she had never really thought about it that way...and it was an amazing lesson!! We helped her understand her purpose in life.. That she had lived with God before this and he had created this earth for us to come get bodies, learn and grow, and prepare to live with him.... and it tied in great to really the reason to find truth... find what God wants us to do to live with him again.... That is what we are doing every day... helping people find the path back to Heavenly Father again... It was such a powerful lesson and she gave probably the most heartfelt prayer I have ever heard at the end of the lesson.... so sincere... talking to Him like a father rather than some unknown being... It was awesome!! :)
So ya... the week was good.... I defintaley feel my testimony of the gospel growing daily as I teach about it...:) I love this gospel and am so grateful for the plan of salvation.... Its beautiful!! and brings so much purpose to life... :)

Everyone have an awesome week!!

One Love

Elder Kraus

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Book of Mormon is true!

Hey Everyone!!!

This was a pretty hectic week... I'll start with the crazy stuff, and that go on to the awesome stuff :) haha

We showed up for my doctor appointment on time on Thursday in Kingston, only to find out that the doctor had forgotten to check his schedule, so he was nowhere near Kingston, and said it would have to be on Friday instead... It was pretty frustrating, because we had missed a half day of teaching to go in and get it done... (get my ingrown toe taken out)... I was pretty frustrated... and was for the most part able to stay cool about it and hold my tongue.... (though I'll admit... I did let a sarcastic, "well that was responsible of him.." slip out.. haha)... So ya, we had to go back in to Kingston on Friday night and get it fixed... and everything went good... no worries... I had 4 of these done in America before my mission ( I guess I'm a slow learner haha).. and the only difference in the procedure here is that the toe only stays numb for about 5 min. after the operation.... That was definitely a surprise...

Oh and this guy from BYU-TV was in Old Harbour for like an hour and filmed me and Elder Gayle riding our bicycle... :) He said that they were making a missionary movie that is coming out in spring or something.... and that we'd be on it... :) pretty sweet!!

So ya, on to the teaching things.. :)... It seems like the theme of our teaching this week, was answering the question, "so what you're saying is that this is the only true church... no other church is true?..." I don't know if all our investigators finally realized that that was what we are saying at the same time or what, but we answered that question a lot this week... and I thought about it a lot... It's not a very politically correct thing to say... But if our message is true.... then yes, this is the only church in the world that is led by Jesus Christ and has his power and authority to baptise.... and I know that it is true.... Its a pretty bold thing to say, but anything less wouldn't be entirely truthful.... My favorite thing about that though, is that, nobody has to take our word for it... The Lord has provided a book, the Book of Mormon, that anyone can read, and pray about to find out for themselves.... Anyone who won't do that is not an honest seeker of truth... because when a person reads the Book of Mormon, they will either find that its true... and all that we have shared is true... or its false.. and all that we have shared is a lie... There really is no middle ground.... It reminds me of Jesus Christ... Either he was the Savior of the world, or he wasn't... and many didn't ever take the time to consider the evidence that he was, jumped to rash conclusions and crucified their Savior... ... We see the same thing happening today... Either the Book of Mormon is true... and this is Jesus Christ's church, or it isn't... and as missionaries... we plead with people each day to just consider the evidence.... READ THE BOOK!! If nothing else... read the book, come to a conclusion about it, and take your conclusion to God.... Its so simple! :).. and our Salvation depends on it.... I love the part in 2 Nephi 33 where Nephi is writing his final things down, and he makes a similar challenge... believe in Christ.. and find out if these are his words!! :) I have such a strong testimony, that anybody who will honest read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it... will find out that it is true... :) and really that is our job as missionaries... Get people to read and seek answers from God.. :)

We went to a lesson on Saturday and when we got there, the lady and her mom, said that they hadn't gotten any time to read because they were so busy... (they were hard at work carrying a big pile of concrete blocks one by one from up the hill down to their house... )... and said that they wouldn't be able to meet with us... Instead of saying ok.. and leaving, I asked her to go get her Book of Mormon and we'd clear up some time for them... We set our scriptures down and spent about an hour running up and down the hill moving the pile of blocks.... :) and what she said to me when we were done really stood out... She said, "dang... you guys really want us to read this book!"... haha... I'm so happy she got the message.... The Book of Mormon is true, and we need to do everything we can to help people read it and find out for themselves... :)

I love this work... and I love being a missionary!! Its way hard, but I've never been happier or felt my testimony grow more than on my mission... If you ever want to know if something is good or not... sacrifice to live it, and you'll find out if its worth it..... :)

Everyone have a sweet week!

ONe love,

Elder Kraus

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trade offs in May Pen

Hey Everyone!!
Life here is bumpin as usual... Things are going great! This week was pretty crazy.. Tuesday we had planned to do a trade off with May Pen, and everything was going good... We caught a coaster to May Pen in the evening (which was so packed that everyone was standing up packed in like sardines.... literally haha.. no matter how hard the driver took a corner or hit the brakes, we were kept standing strait up without even having to hold on to anything haha... movement was nigh impossible :).. and by the time we reached May Pen, it was raining so hard that all transportation back to Old Harbour had ceased.... After meeting the May Pen Elders at the church, we found that we were all just gonna have to spend the night in May Pen... so Elder Gayle and Nelson taxied back to the house, while me and Elder Romney rode our bicycles back and got drenched!!! Like I'm pretty sure my bones are still soggy from how wet we were haha.. It was fun though, because it was just like when I was serving in May Pen and we used to race home from Friday night activity... We were flyin!! :) It was a pretty solid night... They have guitars, so we were able to play guitar and sing a hymn to start out the night, and we all did our 2nd companionship study together... It was sweet! :) Wednesday we started the trade off (me with Elder Nelson in May Pen and Elder Romney and Gayle went back to Old Harbour)... and it was a pretty solid day..... We had some good lessons and got some way good jelly's (green coconuts) from a recent convert (Rushane)...... But my great bicycle luck prevailed as Elder Romney's back axle broke (I didn't think I was that fat haha)...and we had to walk a bit... but I was able to jimmy rig it so we could make it back to the church and catch a coaster back to Old Harbour to end the trade off... It was a pretty fun day. :)

Thursday was amazing!! We went to Kingston for zone conference and it was sweet!!! I always learn so much at zone conference.... One of my favorite things that was said this time was how necesarry personal revelation is in this work.. One of the 12 apostles receives revelation for what mission we should serve in, the mission president and the assistants receive revelation on what area we serve in, and its up to us to receive personal revelation on who is prepared to receive the gospel, and what to share with them... :) it was pretty sweet... everything is done so that we can meet those that we are supposed to, and it is so critical that we are always seeking guidance from Heavenly Father on who that is... ... It was just an awesome zone conference... After the conference... me and Elder Gayle went to the doctor to get my ingrown toenail fixed... (i've had it for a while but can usally handle them by myself... but this one got pretty nasty and was bleeding and oozing stuff and just gettting pretty painful.... so we went to the doctor)... but he told me that it was too infected for him to operate, so he gave me some antibiotics to get rid of the infection that i'm gonna be takin for a week til I go back on Thursday this week.... but the good news is that I was reading in Preach my Gospel about the importance of talking with everyone at all times.. , and I was able to talk with the nurse who was cleaning my toe and she seemed pretty interested so the missionaries in Portmore (where she's from) are gonna be able to start teaching her.. :) so... mayble i was meant to get an ingrown toenail?? haha
Oh, and another good thing that came out of the toe, was that President Hendricks gave us a truck to use til its better.... . :) and Saturday we had an intense adventure with the truck... It had been raining hard for about a day.. and we were driving out to an appointment, and suddenly the water on the road started getting deeper and deeper and before I realized how deep it had gotten, it was too late to turn back... so I just kept the accellorator floored (luckily we were in 1st gear).. and we were able to make it through... but at the deepest part...the water came over the hood and was about up to the window!!! It was so deep!! .. It was pretty awesome haha... I was tempted to go back for round 2 so I could get a picture, but I figured that I would have a hard time explaining that one... if it broke down haha... so I just kept going..

. So ya, it was a pretty sweet week.... I definately am so happy to be out here doing the Lord's work... I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that anybody who will honestly read it and ask Heavenly Father if its true will receive an answer.. I've seen that happen over and over.... and I also know that the secret to happiness is losing yourself in the Lords work.. . The more that we think of ourselves, the less happy we are, but the more we focus on doing what the Lord wants, the more happiness and joy enters our lives.... I love this work!!! :) Til next week!!
One Love
Elder Kraus
(pics are that I'm not supposed to wear shoes til the infection goes down... so i get to proselyte in sandals!! and also the tie is one that Lindsey Sell sent me... shout out to ya lindsey!! :) ... and the other one is just a pic by old harbour bay... :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

What can I do to best please the Lord?

(pics: me on the way up to get some coconuts, yes, i can climb like an islander... :) and a pretty sweet sunset..)
Hey everyone!!
This week has been pretty good!!... Definately some pretty crazy stuff haha...

So I'll start out with the crazy stuff first: #1. Tuesday, we had an interesting start to the morning.... We were riding to an appointment, and on the side of the road we saw a completely naked crazy woman dancing and some other stuff... haha... what an awesome way to start off the morning right? haha it was pretty funny though... #2... There is an awesome member in the branch here who does fitness stuff, and I was taking to him a little bit, and he told us we can come work out with him in the morning... so we met him and rode to what we thought was gonna be a normal gym, and .... turns out, its this outdoor gym in the dirt that this rasta man put together.... and it was SWEET!! Even though it was pretty ghetto, we got a way good workout.... I was a little out of place, because I am white... and they were all huge... like steroids huge haha... but it was sweet!! I got to bench again, and that was the funniest part... They are all these massive guys, and they were only benching 140... like 20 times... and seemed to be struggling... like grunting and everything.. haha... so when it was my turn to go... they were like..., "you wanna take some off... sure you can manage..." i'm pretty sure i put them to shame, cuz I'm this skinny little white boy, in comparison and I put it up like 15 times haha.... They are huge, but i guess they aren't that strong because they were struggling!! haha... cuz 140 isn't that much weight.... It was way fun though, and we are gonna be going there more regularly... :) So ya, that was pretty much all the crazy stuff..... oh, one more thing... i woke up the other morning with bumps all over that itched like crazy! not sure if they were bug bites or hives... but they are pretty much gone now... but that was kinda nuts....

Other than that though, it was a great week! We have been having lessons with tons of awesome people and seem to be finding more amazing people every day!! :) We are definately being blessed here in Old Harbour... I love sharing the gospel with people... It really is such an awesome experience, and my testimony grows every day.... One thing that I have definitely learned on my mission is the power of simple acts of service... THe other day, we went to have a lesson with a 19 year old girl who we had talked with on the road on the way to a lesson, and she warned us that her mom wasn't too fond of us... but Heavenly Father was watching out for us.. because when we showed up, her mom was sitting on the ground shelling peanuts to sell, and I walked in, cracked a joke and got here laughing and sat down in the dirt and started shelling peanuts with her... she was pretty surprised, but it really softened her heart, and we were able to have a great lesson with the whole family and help them overcome some misconceptions that they had about the church... :) It really was a great week... This week my testimony also really grew of having the attitude of, what can I do to best please the Lord, rather than what is allowed.... :) It has really helped me throughout my whole mission, and definitely helped me this week....
So, everyone have an awesome week, and always keep reading the book of mormon!!! :) It brings so much peace and purpose to life.. :)
One love
Elder Kraus

Monday, October 3, 2011

Come Listen to a Prophets voice

Hey everyone!

Time is way short due to a zone p-day today... so.... I would encourage everyone to watch conference and really study what the prophets and apostles have to say.... It is such a blessing to have modern revelation today, and we must take advantage of it.... Listening and acting on their words will strengthen your testimony if you already have one (mine grows each time of the beautiful simplicity of the plan of salvation and that there is a modern day prophet).... and if you don't have one, you will be able to gain one by hearing and acting on the words of the prophets.... ... so ya.. have an amazing week... and til next week!!

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, September 26, 2011

Becoming A Chef for sure!

Hey Everyone!!!
So, this week was actually fairly uneventful.... We've been talking to so many people (thank heavens for the area book or we'd never be able to keep all of them strait)..... and this week we' had lessons with a lot of them....Many of them seem really cool and ready to receive the gospel.... and others not so much... but its our calling to talk to everyone, so we've been reppin it good.. :) One of the hardest things as a missionary is to see people who need the gospel so bad in their life, yet they won't take the time out of their busy lives to let it help.... but, we have been working our butts off, doing everything we can to help everyone accept it, and it feels so good to stumble in the door at night just physically drained haha.. ... Sunday was a little disappointing... as we had 8 people firmly commited to come to church and none of them showed up, but we're keeping the chins up and going to work same way... :) So ya, it was just a solid teaching week... We had some awesome lessons and are just having a blast talking to everyone and getting to know them.... .... We've been doing a lot of finding this week as well, and for me, the biggest secret to success is not being a robot... haha... As we're always ourselves, we find a lot more people who are interested because they see that we are down to earth and usually get them to laugh within the first little bit... :) so its been pretty fun...

Oh dang!! Best part of the week was Wednesday for sure!! I taught district meeting in May Pen, and afterwords we went to lunch at Juicy Patties, and as we were going to sit down, we heard someone on the other side of the resturaunt excitedly yell "KRAUS!!" haha... I turned and saw Queenie running over... :) It was awesome to see her and talk with her again... she's doing great!! and on the way out i saw another one of my converts, Novia! She's also doing great.... she told me that se finished the Book of Mormon!! :) haha... so it was pretty sweet to see both of them! :)

Oh and me and Elder Gayle have been cooking for almost all our meals too... :) its great!! I'm becoming a chef for sure... we made some super good fish this week, and also, I made some amazing plantain porridge!! :) Its my new favorite breakfast.. i'm gonna be pretty disappointed when I get back to America and can't find green plantain to make it haha...

but ya.... the week was pretty good.... and I'm pumped out of my mind for conference!!! :) woot woot!! talk to everyone next week.... and.... One love!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, September 19, 2011

Faith-simply trusting God enough to keep his commandmants!

Hey everyone!!
Short time this week... but it was a way good week!! :) We're getting to know the area better, and have been literally talking to everyone!! We have so many people to teach that our whole week is filling up fast and its only Monday!! :) So ya.... One pretty cool thing this week was that I was trying to think of a good way to help Elder Gayle understand about teaching really simply, and as I was thinking about it during personal study, the idea came to my mind to practice teaching my little brother Bryant!! So during companionship study.. we set up a picture of him and practiced teaching him so that he could understand.... and it worked really well... :) Its really important to teach simply so the people we teach can understand and the spirit can testify... So thanks for being such a good investigator Bryant! haha...
So ya, life is good... and fun definition of faith.... Its simply trusting God enough to keep his commandments even if we don't understand...... :)
Love everyone!!!
ONe Love
Elder Kraus

Monday, September 12, 2011

Burgers with Jermain & new companion Elder Gayle

Dang!!... oh i mean uh.... Hey everyone!
Dang!!!! This week has been so intense!!! I had a great last couple days in Santa Cruz. We are teaching a ton of way cool people, and Jermain had never had a burger in his life!! So on P-day last week, me and Elder Ostberg went up to his house with a little mini barbecuer, and made our own burgers with him and his family... It was so much fun and they were amazing!! :) We did the whole shabang, seasoned up some raw hamburger, made our own patties and everything.... the hardest part of the day was getting the fire going in the right way haha.... But it was such a blast! :) Wednesday we went to Spanish Town for Transfers, and I found out who I'm going to be training... His name is Elder Gayle, and.... me and Elder Dale are the ones who brought him his mission call a few months ago!! :) How cool is that!! He's from Junction (like 20 min. from Santa cruz)...

The Spanish Town Zone Leaders Elders Mackey and Montgomery brought us to Old Harbour and dropped us off at the house... and.... It was a tough week!! We were met by a ... less than clean house.... I don't think tubs and toilets are supposed to be black.... and... .I'm not really gonna go into details, but... bless all you mothers who teach your kids to clean.... and thank you mom, for making me do chores!! Its such a blessing knowing how to clean... haha... So instead of getting to go out proselyting for the rest of the day Wednesday, the zone leaders said we should stay in and get the house livable... which...... is gonna take a lot more than just one day... but we piled up a whole garbage truck load of garbage, (we're hoping the truck comes sometime soon, cuz its starting to smell)... and did our best to get the bathroom a slight shade of grey instead of black haha... and we're gonna be doing the rest today... with some powerful cleaning supplies... :) ... and as if that isn't a good enough welcome for Elder Gayle to missionary work.... Thursday came.... haha... The morning went great!! We walked and talked to everyone we could (there weren't any records at the house we literally were starting from scratch... even the phone didn't have any numbers in it... lol..)... in the morning, and then in the afternoon a member called us, and asked us to come link him..... We weren't quite sure how close his house was, so we decided to bust out our bicycles.... and.... I thought my bicycle was still in great shape!! I've taken good care of it... but I didn't think to check all the parts... But it was riding great still...and we were riding down a hill, going pretty quick, and all the sudden my handlebars were no longer attached to the bicycle and I was left holding them in my hand, with the bicycle still moving really fast down the hill... It was pretty terrifying, because i was no longer left with a way to steer haha... and after about 3 seconds the wheel turned sideways (thanks to the assistance of a beautifully placed pot hole), and I went right over the front... after I stood up, and looked at the damage, I noticed that my left wrist wouldn't go strait, and when I looked at the top, there was a bone pushing awkwardly against the skin that had never been there before and my neck had a pretty good crick in it cuz my head bounced pretty good.... Thank goodness for helmets. :)...... so I called Sister Hendricks to tell her I think I broke my wrist, and she had the Zone Leaders come and pick us up and take us to the Spanish Town Hospital to do some X-rays.... Sister Hendricks said she was praying so hard that I wouldn't have any broken bones... and her prayers definately worked... by the time I got to the X-ray (about 6 hours after being at the hospital... ... I guess there's a reason Jamaican health care is free haha), my wrist still wouldn't straiten, but the bone seemed to have gone back to normal.... and great news... by the time I got the X-ray, it wasn't broken!!!!!!!! Definately a modern day miracle... but the doctor told me that I had a bunch of tendons in my hand that I did some damage to, and that is why I couldn't touch my thumb to any of my fingers... so she gave me some cream to massage into it and some little exercises to do everyday...and.... now a few days later, I still can't touch my thumb to my pinkey, but I can all my other fingers.. :) ... My palm is pretty blue... but the doctor said that I should have full movement back in couple weeks and then I'll just have to get my grip strength back... So... a great second day for Elder Gayle.. haha

The rest of the days this week were pretty good... :) We are starting to get to know the area... and we only got lost a few times... oh, and we're building a pretty good teaching pool.. just walking and talking to everyone... :) We printed off a membership directory on Sunday at church (church here is a rented part of a building beside a hardware shop) and met a lot of the members, so that helped a lot as well... :) So things are definately looking up.... Oh and the branch president's wife, Sister Gardner, surprised us and brought us dinner on Sunday to our house. :) We were very grateful.... :) So ya... I think I'm really gonna love Old Harbour... and serving with Elder Gayle... I'm pumped to get to know the place better and continue to help people come unto Christ!! Everyone have an awesome week, and send me some letters yo!!! Its been getting kinda letter dry out here lately for me haha
One Love!!
Elder Kraus

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Transfer to Old Harbor

Hey Everyone!!

So this week has been crazy!!! but I'm just gonna hit the highlights...... Transfer calls were this week, and I am getting transferred to Old Harbor to whitewash and train a new missionary. I've been in Santa Cruz for 6 months now, and leaving is definitely gonna be hard. I feel like part of the branch family now, so its gonna be tough to move, but I'm also excited about it, because I look at change as a new adventure... Something exciting to give a go and to learn and grow from.... My last Sunday in Santa Cruz was yesterday, and it was amazing!! The rented house was overflowing, and me and some other people had to sit outside again... :) it was great!! I think the best part though for me, was that I was able to prepare and administer the sacrament with Jermain (a recent convert who received the Priesthood last week. :))... It was amazing!!! One thing that I am happy about is that I can leave with no regrets..... I am sad to be leaving because I will miss a lot of people, but I served here with no regrets.... I feel like that really is the secret to being happy as a missionary, and in life... Anything we do, we should always give it everything that we have, so that at the end, whether we succeeded or failed, we can be proud and happy because we worked our very hardest and didn't hold anything back... so because of that, I can leave Santa Cruz with a smile on my face, and eagerly go to my next calling...

I am a little nervous about the whitewashing though... "Whitewashing" an area means that neither you nor the missionary you're serving with knows the area... which is how its gonna be this transfer... because I'm training a brand new missionary, and neither one of us knows the area at all.. So on transfer day, they're gonna drop us in Old Harbor... and we're gonna start walking around and talking to people, trying to get to know the area.... and find the investigators the previous missionaries were working with.... oh, and its prolly pretty important to figure out where the church is at haha... I'm really excited for it though.. It should be a challenge for sure, haha... but hey, the computer kept freezing today, so I'll talk to ya later.... cuz i'm out of time now.... .. Live life and love it!!!

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tiana got baptized

Hey everyone!!
No email time this week... but it was a sweet week!!! Tiana got baptized and confirmed, and Jermain was ordained to the office of a priest in the Aaronic priesthood.. it was a way sweet week... :) everyone have a good week and live it up!!
Sorry for the short one this week.. haha
Elder Kraus

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

District conf. in Maypen

Hey everyone!!! This week was pretty sweet!!! Jermain has been teaching with us almost everyday, and is going to be a way strong priesthood holder.. :) He's doing awesome, and its been a blast teaching with him!! We had a ton of good lessons, and have been working super hard... Thursday, we did a trade off with Sav and Negril, and I was in Negril with Elders Mcloud and Gray.. and it was awesome!! They are way cool, and it was a way fun day.. I learned a lot! and DANG!! on the way back from the trade off, we went to Sister Williams (a member) for lunch, and it was epic!! She feeds us every once in a while, and its always so much food!! It was so much fun, and I left feeling like i was pregnant or something haha..... so much food!!! oh, and she has a scale at her house.... but it was an English scale.... so i have no clue how much i weigh lol.... except for i know i'm like 13 and a half stones.....haha whatever that means..... it was a lot of fun though... a lot of the branch members were there, and it was pretty sweet.... oh, ya, and another fun thing that happened Frieday, was at Friday night activity, one of Jermain's friends was convinced he was super strong and would kick my butt at wrestling... (he was definately stronger than me.... lol)... so on Friday, we wrestled.... and after I beat him in 10 seconds... he wanted to go again and again... i think we wrestled 3 or 4 times... and every time it lasted about 10 seconds haha... It was good though, because I won his respect, and we're teaching him and his friends now haha... :) It felt way good to wrestle again....

One crazy thing about Jamaica that I can't remember if i emailed or not.. is that cops here walk around with fully loaded automatics... just holding them... ready to shoot at any time haha... its pretty interesting..sorry kinda random... but i can't remember if i had mentioned that before or not...

Definately highlight of the week though was Sunday.... We had district conference (its like stake conference)... in MAY PEN!!! :) :) WOot woot!! It was way good... and it was so sweet to see everyone... especially the Sterlings.... Sister Sterling is like my Jamaican mom... :) It was so nice to see them again and catch up... OH, and I saw Queenie and her family as well....It was awesome!! She told me she hasn't hardly missed a day of church since her baptism... :) I really felt like Alma when he meets up with his bros again (the sons of Mosiah) and he's super stoked... and what adds to his joy is that they are still his bredren in the Lord!! :) I definately felt that way. :) Oh, and Nigel Lee (Elder Lee) was there too.. so it was way sweet to be able to catch up with him as well. :) Pretty much, sunday was the bomb!!

Monday... we had a special zone conference with Elder Vieniez (not sure if i spelled that right...) form the seventy.... :) it was awesome!! the Spirit was so strong!!! So ya... it was definately a solid week.. :) but... time is short... til next week!! One love!! Elder Kraus oh, and don't forget to keep writing me!! :)