Monday, January 31, 2011

Great time Serving!

This week, we also chopped yard a couple times and helped some old ladies in their gardens.. haha... So that was enjoyable. I love service. Its a lot of fun. :)

A Hot Date with My Bicycle

Hey everyone!!
Things here are going pretty well...
First things. A Senior couple came and took us out to lunch the other day and brought mail. :) It was awesome!! I got a couple Christmas packages.. and our investigators loved the cookies and candy that were in them. :) I still love getting mail just as much as ever.
This week started on Tuesday, because of the memorial last week... so our P-day was moved to Tuesday. But it was a pretty eventful P-day. I spent the whole time on a hot date with my bicycle. I completely desembled it, and cleaned everything... replaced broken parts, greased up all the ball bearings and everything that needs grease.. sprayed the frame so it wouldn't rust, and put it all back together... It was a lot of fun, and now it runs like clockwork!! So smooth!! If everything after my mission falls apart, I can always just open a bicycle shop, because I can fix everything on it now haha... but ya, it was a lot of fun. In the evening after P-day we saw Tamara, and she was super solid for her baptism on Saturday..She is like 5 chapters away from finishing the whole Book of Mormon... so awesome! Other than that it was a pretty crappy evening.. haha everyone fell through.. so we roamed the streets looking for people to talk to.. but its pretty hard in the evening hours.. cuz everyone sane in May Pen goes in by like 7 o'clock, because all the bad stuff happens after that.. so it was a great night filled with lots of converstations with crazy people haha.
Wednesday was pretty sweet. I'm really starting to love teaching district meeting.. It was really hard at first, but I'm starting to get better at it, and I don't really feel nervous anymore.. so thats good. After district meeting we went teaching and one of our investigators was picking some ackee... (look it up) to cook ackee and saltfish and needed some help.. so we helped her out by climbing the tree and picking a bunch of the ackee for her.. The best part was she gave us a bunch to take home which we cooked later in the week with saltfish, dumpling and boiled green banana.. it was way nice!! :) So that was pretty fun.. It was way up in the bush that we found her... so going up to teach her is always pretty fun.. even though we always leave with nuff burrs in our pants haha.. Oh and we saw Kerry-Ann again. She is doing awesome!! She is super smart and asks tons of good questions.. She has been praying to find out it was true, but hadn't gotten her answer yet, she said she would keep praying about it though.
On Thursday, when I was outside jump roping in the morning, a teenage guy came up and told me that he wanted to be baptized.. so that was pretty sweet.. we have been trying to meet up with him so we can teach him and see if he was serious.. so hopefully that goes well. :) That was about the only good part of Thursday. The zone leaders came down to do Tamara's interview, but when they got here, she was nowhere to be found... when we went to their house, we found Greg (her husband) pretty upset. He said that she just decided last second not to do it... (her mom and sister keep putting doubts in her).. and ran off and hid from us... so we've been trying to get ahold of her since then so that we can talk to her and find out what her concerns are. ... Greg is really upset though, because he wants them to be able to be sealed in the temple really bad... But I think that she'll come around.. we just need to keep working with her and building her testimony..
The rest of the week was pretty rough.. nearly every appointment fell through, and a lot of the people that we had been working with stopped keeping their commitments. So we have been working really hard to find people that are interested.. Its definately discouraging at times, because it seems like we talk to so many people! But its really hard to find people who are sincerely interested. But, we're continuing to work really hard, and I know that we're gonna find people eventually... :) Even if we go through thousands of people before we find someone interested.. it will be worth it.
Sunday was a missionary Sunday and we all talked in church. Its amazing to me how I still get nervous to speak.. but it went well. We don't really have much time to prepare talks... so i wrote down a few scriptures on the topic I was assigned and talked about it for 15 minutes.... So hopefully it was good...
But ya, things here are going alright... we're definately working on building our number of investigators.. because that seems to be our biggest struggle right now... finding people to teach... but as long as we're working hard, I feel good no matter what happens. :)

So ya,
til next week...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Elder Walker Will Be Missed

Hey everyone!!

Unfortunately, this week i'm at a different internet cafe.. so no pictures this week.. but things should be back to normal by next week...

But as i'm sure a lot of you know.. this week was terribly sad and crazy. :(

Like i mentioned last week, we had a zone p-day in spanish town on monday. After we were done playing football, we got in the missionary bus with the kingston elders and got off at the bus stop. After they dropped us off, they started heading back to Kingston, and just on the outskirts of Spanish town, they were caught in some pretty slow traffic, and they heard some gunshots go off nearby... The missionary driving started to swerve the van to try and get out of traffic and get moving cuz the gunshots sounded pretty close, but they were pretty boxed in i guess.. Then a couple guys ran past the missionary van holding an uzi and next thing they knew, they were in the middle of a big war between some heavily armed gunman, and the police. Gunshots were going off like mad, and bullets flying everywhere. One went through the rear windshield of the missionary van and hit Elder Walker in the head. Two Elders checked his pulse and found that he was dead on the spot. They rushed to the hospital anyway and he was declared dead. :( One next elder had to have bits of glass and bullet shards extracted from his eye, but other than that, everyone else was unhurt.

It was a really tough week. As you know, he served in May Pen in the same house as me before he was transferred to Kingston, and we were pretty close. We talked a lot, and he had some really great things lined up in his future...I feel the worst for his Sister though..She is 14, and just had to go to her moms funeral a couple weeks ago.. and now her only brother gone too... Everyone please keep her in your prayers.

We spent a lot of the week talking with people and comforting them (he was really close to a lot of people here).. It was really hard to talk to people and comfort them, when I was having a hard time not breaking down myself. We all went to his memorial today in Spanish Town, and it was really neat. Elder Coleman of the seventy was there, and there were some really good talks that really brought peace and comfort to everyone there. We all (all the missionaries), sang a really really cool version of called to serve, and there was a really good spirit in the chapel. It is really hard to lose a close friend, but its very comforting to know the plan of salvation and be able to know exactly where he is and what he is doing. I am so grateful for that.

I know that Elder Walker wouldn't want any of us to slow down our missionary efforts at all in his behalf, especially as he is working so hard on the other side, so we are trying really hard right now to get things back to normal and keep our minds focused on the work. The feelings of sadness and depression that we've all been going through are slowly going away, and we will continue with the work here as valiantly as ever..

I know this church is true, and I am so grateful for it, and the comfort that it brings at times like this... One thing that really helped me a lot, is something that President Hendricks said. He said that the reason we mourn death is because of our loss... and it truly is only our loss.. Elder Walker has gone to a better place, and is finishing up his last 3 weeks and more of his mission in the Spirit World. He is with his mom, and is happy.

Everyone please keep all the missionaries here in your prayers, and especially Elder Walkers sister.


Elder Kraus

Monday, January 17, 2011

Novia's baptism went perfectly!

Hey everyone!! This week was pretty nice. :) There are two really exciting things that happened, but I'll save them for last. :) Tuesday was a pretty normal day, did some teaching and some finding... and all the other aspects missionarywork haha... nothing too eventful... Wednesday was... pretty normal except for this rasta man we talked to.. we were riding our bikes all over up in the mountains in the bush, looking for this house, but we couldn't seem to find it, so we were stopping at like every house we saw to ask if they knew the people and try and teach them... so anyway, we stopped at this rasta man's house to do that, and he had this massive speaker tower!! the music could be heard all over the valley... (one of the songs he was playing was one of my favorite dancehall songs... "nah sell out" by khago...) but anyway, we talked about music for a bit, asked him if he knew the people (he didn't), and then tried to talk to him about the gospel... He instantly took the position of "I've heard all about the Christianity stuff before"... and he clearly wasn't interested, but we asked him what his beliefs were and he taught us for about half an hour... it was kinda a waste of time, but every time we tried to leave, he would say... "nah mon, just a likkle more"... so yes we were stuck there for about 30 min, but some of the things he taught us were pretty..;... interesting? haha it was fun.. He taught us how the world began in Africa, and that the Garden of Eden was in Africa also... and that Adam and Eve were black. THey both got kicked out of the garden because Satan broke the law of chastity with eve, and thats where Cain comes from... (by this point there was no point in trying to reason with him, so we just kinda listened)... Oh, and he told us that he had a painting of Christ and the 12 disciples at the Last Super, but his is the real one.. Christ, and the twelve apostles were all black and all had locks (dreds).. except for Judas... he was a baldie haha... but it was a lot of fun talking with him, and he played us some more music to send us on the way... We never did end up finding the house, until Sunday when we went and looked again, then we found it, but no one was home haha... Thursday was pretty sweet. :) We had zone conference in Kingston, and then President drove us back to May Pen for Novia's baptism, which was supposed to be at 5. .. We waited and waited, and she finally showed up at 6, but said that she had a headache and didn't feel good, and we didn't want her baptism to be a negative experience, so we decided to do it on Friday morning. Friday was nice! :) Novia's baptism went perfectly (thats the fist really exciting thing), and it was a really good service. :) She's awesome! She's gonna be in Florida for a couple months now, so we let her know where the church and things are there, and we're gonna contact the missionaries to keep strengthening her, but she's doing great... She's read up to Helaman now in the Book of Mormon and loves it!! Saturday was ok.. we rode like 45 min. to do service for this guy by helping him tear down his buned house, but when we got there, he wasn't there and wasn't answering his phone... so it was kinda a waste of time.. but i did get to do something I'd always wanted to do... smash a toilet. :) he had a junk pile and there was half a toilet in it, so I used my hammer and hit it and it just shattered... it was awesome!! I've always wondered why destroying things was so much fun.. .haha.. still don't know though . :) Sunday was pretty uneventful.. church was nice. it was a satellite broadcast of a caribbean conference... It was way good. :) After church we had our usual Sunday schedule... lunch with the Sterlings, and dinner with TJ Weir (so good)... with teaching all the rest of the time. We are still working with Novia in racetrack... and her and Damion should be getting married soon. :) She has a baptism date for the 4th of Feb. so hopefully, it can happen before then. :) oh and we are still working with Tamara... She should be getting baptized this coming Saturday if everything works out... she is so cool!! Her husband Greg is such a cool guy. He's a recent convert, and we hardly have to teach when we go over there.. Tamara is also doing really well on her Book of Mormon reading.. She has been reading every day and is up to the middle of 3rd Nephi now!! Everyone who will earnestly read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it, WILL be able to find out that this is the true church on the earth again. I have seen it change so many people's lives, and my testimony grows stronger of it every day. I love it!! :) Oh, and to answer some questions.. yes, I am still in May Pen.. still in the 4 man house... there are 4 missionaries here, and we all go everywhere... we don't really have areas.. just people we are working with.. we work with our people, and they work with theirs.. being in a 4 man house is way sweet though. :) even though its way cramped, its nice to have a lot more people... makes for a lot more fun. :) Oh, ya, and today, we had a zone p-day in Spanish town.. we played football (of the American type). Our zone vs. the Kingston zone... we played to 20 by 1's and we lost 17 to 20 :( but it was still way fun... oh and i got to wrestle Elder Montgomery... he's a kid in my district that also wrestled in high school.. he's way tight... it was a lot of fun. :) We were both super dirty and grassy afterwords, but it was fun.. cuz everyone was watching.. it was pretty close, but i squeeked out a win :) Ok.. and now for the most exciting news.... I saw a kid with 12 fingers this week!! No joke!! he had 6 on each hand!! How sweet is that!?!? :) but yes, now you are updated on my life... everyone have a great week!!! nuff love Elder Kraus oh and the picture... My S-crank broke in half this week.. pretty epic, so i took a picture of me about to fix it.... :) gotta love it

Monday, January 10, 2011

6 Mo. out, Now serving with Elder Lee

Hey everyone! K, so this is gonna be an update from like Christmas eve on... So, i'm gonna try and get it all down... we'll see how it goes haha.. So, Christmas eve, we got up early to go to Kingston for the Christmas party with all the missionaries (I made pancakes and eggs in the morning :) )... The party was sweet!!.. One of the things that I thought was gonna be a little lame was that they had all the missionaries do skits... But it actually turned out hilarious!!! We did the nativity for ours.. the story of "what really happened".. and it turned out pretty funny... Elder Lee (my new comp).. was Mary and I was Joseph haha... Elder Lee had a wig, dress and everything..... Basically we brought a whole new light on the nativity scene... :) Following the skits, President Hendricks gave an amazing talk on the birth of Christ, and brought the spirit back. It was way good.. Then we all ate dinner, transfers were announced and They handed out packages.. I got more mail than any other missionary that I saw haha So thanks to everyone who sent stuff.. :).. ... Oh and thanks to the ward for the Merry christmas banner.. It was way nice.. :).. But ya, after the party was over is when the adventure started... President Hendricks was nice enough to drive us to the bus park (a 30 min walk) so that we didn't have to walk carrying our packages... So ya, we caught a bus from Kingston to Spanish Town pretty easy, and thats where things started going downhill haha. Spanish Town was so crowded!! The whole town was a party!! Christmas is a little different here... but it was awesome.. until we started to try and catch a bus to May Pen. We found the May Pen area in the bus park, and waited for a bus to come, but nothing came for about an hour. Finally we saw one coming around the corner, so we picked up all our packages and went to gt on, but apparently everyone else was going to May Pen too, because there were instantly hundreds of people pushing shoving, and fighting to get on the bus.. We were so blown away by how many people showed up out of nowhere that we didn't stand a chance!! The bus was come and gone before we knew what happened, and we were left there in a daze.. This happened 3 or 4 times in the next few hours and each time we were out fought (Jamaicans can be vicious!!) and didn't make it on. Jamacan bus parks have no order at all.. Finaly after 4 hours fo this, Eolder Knowlton and Lee made it on a bus cuz neither of them had any packages, so they were able to use their hands to cut people off, but me and Elder Poulsen didn't stand a chance cuz we had no free hands... So both our companions left, and we were stuck there trying to get back.. We finally got a callf rom the zone leaders though who told us that like no one was able to catch a bus home and said that if we could make it to this place 2 or 3 miles away they could give us a ride home... so we walked the 2 or 3 miles carrying our packages (it was exhausting!) and when we finally got there, we saw that the truck was already full, so we hopped in the back and got a ride to May Pen from there.. It was like 60-65 degrees out and we were freezing!!!! haha.. sorry for you guys in the cold weather in the states!! But ya, Christmas eve was insane!!! Such a blast!! haha.. Christmas day was nice!! I made pancakes and eggs again in the morning, and opened my packages.. :) It was way nice!! Thanks again everyone!! After that, we went to the Sterlings and did a gift exchange with them.. and called our families.. It was so nice to talk to my family!! We got to use skype.. and it was definately the best part of Christmas. After that, the Sterlings fed us Christmas dinner, and then we went and Mama-P (our land lord) fed us dinner, and then we went and the Thompsons fed us dinner too... Three christmas dinners within the course of like 3-4 hours doesn't make for a happy stomach haha, but the food was great!! By the end i felt like i had to keep my mouth closed or the food would jump right back out.. I musta been filled up clear to my throat :).. basically Christmas was nice.... Oh, and I reached my 6 month mark on the 23rd, but forgot until christmas, so i buned my tie then.. It was nice :) K, now for this week.. Now the missionaries in the house are me, Elder Lee, Elder Talbert, and Elder Ostrin (he's brand new to the island).. Its a way fun house... Elder Talber is a master on a rubix cube, and taught me on Wednesday night.. I can solve it in 3 min now :).. but its nothing compared to his 30 seconds lol.. We have a lot of fun.. We still sing the America songs in the hymn book before companionship study every Monday, and we played pool last monday too... and I am still the house pool champion :) College is paying off. haha.. New Years eve was ok... it was a normal teaching day.. and my goal was to stay awake in bed until midnight (cuz we still had to be in bed by 10:30.. .. but i failed miserably and was asleep by like 10:35.. I'm always so tired.. definately didn't stand a chance... Since I started serving with Elder Lee, the area has been doing great!! Novia and Michael are getting married this coming Wednesday and she's supposed to be getting baptised on Thursday! :) She passed her baptism interview with flying colors.. She is already almost done with Alma in her Book of Mormon reading... such a star! :) I'm way excited for her.. The other Novia (the one who took all her piercings out) is doing amazing too!! She was really putting off getting married, and wanted to make sure he was the right guy and everything, and in personal study, I was studying and searching for anything in the scriptures that I could share with her, to help her progress towards baptism, so I decided to pray about it, and the first thing that came to my head was The Family: A Proclamation to the world...,4945,161-1-11-1,FF.html, we read through it with her, and she is getting married and baptised now as soon as they get the money... It should be really soon... prolly within a month, cuz with marriage here there are a lot of loops to jump through to make it happen.. but ya.. it was a really cool experience for me :) We are also working with a couple named Greg and Tamara. Greg is a recent convert and has already read the Book of Mormon...and Tamara is still trying to get the courage to move foreward with baptism.. She has prayed lots of times and knows that its true, but her family keeps giving her problems... she is super solid though.. and is in Helaman now in her book of mormon reading... I know that she's gonna get the courage to do it... Right now we are working for the 31st of this month... So, we'll see how it goes. :) Basically things are looking really good right now... We've been finding a lot of really cool people too.. I'm starting to notice that the best way of finding people is just looking for people who need help doing things, and helping them out...and then sharing a message with them. Some other cool ways we've been using is playing sports with people and then talking to them or racing them on our bicycles and then talking to them.. Basically.. This transfer is gonna be a lot of fun. :) I really like serving with Elder Lee a lot. Its his last transfer, so we're gonna have him go out with a bang for sure. :) Sunday was Shanae Sterlings birthday, and the Jamaican tradition on birthdays is that you just get a ton of flour and when they aren't expecting it... poof!!! you rock them with it haha.. So we floured Shanae on Sunday after lunch.. and it was hilarious!!! Well, I'm almost out of time, but everyone have a great week.. and if you want to know that this church is true.. read the Book of Mormon.. it never fails. :) Nuff love Elder Kraus

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

Hey everyone!! Its been a couple weeks, and its gonna be impossible to truly update you on the past couple weeks, but i'll do what i can haha. First things first... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! and a late MERRY CHRISTMAS :) :) :) hope everyone had a good time and ate nuff food. Teaching has been good for the past couple weeks. Both Novia's are doing amazing, prolly will soon be baptized!! and ya, i'll email more about that next week... i only have a likkle time on email this week, but we're on normal schedule next time, so yes, my blogs will get amazing again next week. :) Transfers happened: Elder Knowlton got moved to Kingston, Elder Poulsen got moved to Spanish Town, and now i'm serving with Elder Lee (he's a way tight Jamaican), and Elder Talbert is here now (he's a pretty cool guy) training a brand new missionary named Elder Ostrin. (its really funny to see how shocked he is at some things that seem pretty normal now... reminded me of when i just got here... i can't believe its already been more that 6 months!!) :) The holidays were sweet!!!! Completely different than normal, but i'm out of time for email this week, so its gonna have to wait til next week.. but definately be here to read next weeks blog.. its gonna be stellar!! nuff love Elder Kraus