Monday, May 30, 2011

Hey everyone,
This week has been such a roller coaster!!
We've been working our butts off, and teaching everyone that we come in contact with, and it's definately been paying off. We are working with some really cool people, and finding more every day. Sister Rhodin, and Monique (her daughter) weren't able to make it to church this week, because she got really sick, but we are still teaching them, and their baptism date is the 11th. They have both prayed and recieved their answers that this is Jesus Christ's true church, and are keeping their commitments, and just doing awesome!! They have definately been a blessing to work with... I love going over there too, because they are always so excited to see us!! No matter how the day is going, they always make it brighter. :) Also, Jermaine (Felicia's older brother), is doing awesome, he came to church on Sunday, and is really working hard to find out if the things we teach are true.... So there have definately been many good things happening this week....
The end of this week was really hard for me though. We have been teaching Felicia and the rest of her family all week, having amazing lessons with them, and they were firmly committed for church... I've never been more sure that someone was going to be there. But then, Saturday night, we had a lesson with Jermaine (sitting up in a tree w/ him.. haha :) I love Jamaica), and afterwords, went inside to have a lesson with Felicia, and the family... and just so you have a little more background on them... the family is Rose (the mom.... prolly 50 ish years old), and all her kids: Felicia (22), Ackeliah (16), Renaldo (15), and Jermaine (28). .... Felicia and Ackeliah were baptized in another church pretty recently, and as we've been teaching them, that has been a concern that they've had, but as of now, they understand the Priesthood authority, and how if this is true, then this is the only church in the world with it.... ... They get it... and have been praying very sincerely and studying the Book of Mormon to find out if the things we teach are true..... So anyway.... we went inside to have a lesson with them, and a church sister (Sister Bev. she said her name was) from there other church had just popped in for a second to say hi. So we said hi to her, introduced ourselves, and I held out my hand to shake her hand, and she looked me in the face and said, "I'm not shaking your hand." We were a little taken back by that but whatev.... to each his own I guess... so we let it slide, and tried to talk with her for a minute.. just making small talk... (nobody else was in the room... just us... ) so we said we'd be right back, and went down the hallway to get everyone for the lesson we had planned... and they told us that Sister Bev. is the lady who had been there a few weeks earlier and told them that we worship Joseph Smith and were demons and things.... So ya... that explained why she wouldn't shake our hands.... So... we decided that we were going to bear our testimonies to her and ask her not to say false things about us anymore... So we went back to the room with Sister Bev... (the family came with us)..And I told her that I heard that she had been saying some things about us, and as I was about to tell her what we teach, she freaked out!!! She stood up, and started shouting... saying don't you dare accuse me!!! and it just got crazier from there... we tried to calm her down and tell her we just wanted to talk, but she just got more riled up... and was just going off on us... yelling things like, "the blood of Jesus is upon you!!!"" and "I'm not scared of you demons!!!" "I'm not scared of you whites!! You come over here deceiving everyone with your book and riding your bicycles around!!"" reh reh reh... she was just going off... The family was just sitting there in shock watching the whole thing... and we didn't want it to go any farther, and we had a lesson planned with the family, so I just told her... "Sister Bev. I don't know where you heard all these crazy things, and why you are being so rude, but if you would like to learn what we actually teach, feel free to stay around... but we ARE starting a lesson now, and if you don't want to join us, you can leave... " and she stormed off..... We had a really good lesson with the family about persecution that night, and they told us that she was gonna go to their pastor and he was prolly gonna come over to their house soon and "crucify we" as Ackeliah said...In our lesson, we let them know, that we had taught them almost everything that we had to teach, and that they were at a crossroads... they either needed to choose whether to follow man, or to follow what Heavenly Father and their hearts were telling them... We told them that we will never condemn another church, but that this is the only place that the full truth could be found, and we would be really sad if they chose to stop investigating... and that if they wanted us to continue to teach them, they needed to be coming to church so that they can really finish their search to find if these things were true... despite any persecution they would receive.... it would be worth it.... They all commited to be at church on Sunday, and seemed so firmly commited that I didn't have a doubt that they would be there.... They were so sincere... but then Sunday rolled around, and we sat in Sacrament meeting waiting for them... Our hearts would jump each time someone walked in, and fall again when we'd see it wasn't them... And, they never showed up... again... So we went up there last night, and told them that we loved them so much, but we couldn't continue to teach them unless they keep their promises.... We told them, that when they come to church, and decided to follow their hearts rather than the fear put in by man, we could continue to teach them... They understood, and we told them we loved them again before we left... and they told us they loved us too... By the way they were looking at us when we left, we could tell that.... Honestly, it was the toughest thing that I've done on my mission... I love that family so much, and hope and pray that they will have the courage to follow their hearts and the answers that they have received from Heavenly Father.
This gospel has brought me so much happiness, and it breaks my heart to see somebody that I love so much not trying to find the joy it can bring. I hope and pray that they'll come around....
We're continuing to work really hard, and I'm loving the work... and putting my whole heart into it... ...
One Love
Elder Kraus

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hey everyone!!

Wow, to be honest, I wasn't really prepared to email today because it's Labor Day here, and we didn't think the email shop would be open... but to our surprise.... It is!! haha so ya, I don't have my journal or anything, or camera... and for my, all the weeks kind of blend I can't really remember what happened this week.... lol....

We are working with some way cool people right now.... Sadly Felicia and Ackeliah didn't come to church again this week.. they are having some serious persecution from their other church (which is pretty riddiculous), but we had a very good lesson with them about dealing with trials and adversity... And we have high hopes for this week... Oh, and this lady who was invited to church a long time ago, decided to come to church last week with her daughter, and loved it!! We started teaching her, and she came again this week, and now her (Sister Rhodin) and her daughter (Monique), are preparing to be baptized on June 4th. :) It was a big testimony booster to me that whenever you talk about the gospel to someone, it makes a difference, even if you aren't around to see the results. Missionarywork here is going really well. I love the people here so much!! Its crazy, I never thought that I could have fallen in love with people so much, but the more we meet and teach people, the more I love them... I'm loving the work, and loving life. I know that this is Jesus Christ's work, his gospel has been restored to the earth again, and I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon as evidence of that, and another book of scripture. My challenge for everyone reading this this week, is to invite one of your friends to church. Even if they don't come.. make sure that the invitation is always there... :)

um.... ya....

ONE love!! Keep writing me!!

Elder KRaus

Monday, May 16, 2011


Things here are going way good.... We just got back from Negril for a zone p-day, so I dont' have my journal, or camera cable with me... so this email may be devoid of both pictures and details haha... but I'll do my best....

This week was pretty sweet... We did a lot of teaching, and a lot of finding, and a ton of service!!! It was pretty sweet. But before I get into all of that, me and Elder Dale were talking earlier today, and we both agreed that on a mission, the saying, "the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days" is definately true... the days can be way long!! and seem to be super tough... especially when things aren't going super well.. but the weeks are passing by like nobody's business!! I can't believe that I've already been out for almost 11 months crazy!!! The harder we work, the faster time goes, and the more enjoyable it is. :) Losing yourself in service, is definately key to getting excited about anything... If you want to learn to love someone.. serve them!!

One of the zone goals that we set for this month was to try to find some form of service to do every day, whether big or small.. and this week has been full of service opportunities... We chopped a yard, helped someone move, and then.. the worst one.. cleaned out a chicken coop for Felicia and her family.... I'm definately thankful that I've done stuff like that before when I was growing up, because the smell was terrible!! There was so much crap built up, and massive spiders all over, (oh and rats... I killed a rat with a shovel.. and then went and scared Felicia with it, because she's scared of rats haha) and it was basically way hard.. we were using water to scrub the floor clean, and we had to draw the water from this big container that they have to catch rain water..because they don't have any running water... so that was pretty sweet.. but we did a really good job on the coop, and I think that it really built Felicia, and all her family's trust in us... If they ever questioned our intentions, there is no way they can now haha... They are doing pretty well.. I love them so much!! I really hope they continue to seek their answers from our Heavenly Father to find out that the things we are sharing with them are true...

Um... the rest of the week was pretty normal.. We're really focusing on finding more investigators that are willing to make the sacrifice that it takes to find out that these things are true.... I'm working way hard, and loving it!!

Um.... what else.... Oh ya, we had a sweet zone p-day in Negril today... We went to a basketball court right on seven mile beach, and played for like 2 hours, and then played futbol for a couple hours... and then had lunch on the beach... it was way fun!! I'm feeling the effects of it now though haha.. I'm nice and toasted, and exhausted!! But going teaching in a couple hours should wake me up I hope haha....

So ya, things are going well... everyone keep reading your scriptures every day (especially the Book of Mormon), and keep having an awesome time.. if you aren't having fun in life, and loving it, you aren't doing it right. :)

One love!!

Elder Kraus

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hey everyone!!

First off... Osama's dead!! woot woot haha :) God Bless America... :) Finally lol

Things here are going really well, This week was pretty hectic.. Since Elder Ashton was getting transfered to Negril, he was going to be riding a bicycle again, and unfortunately didn't have one anymore. So, I got to work on my bicycle again, and get it in riding shape for him, so that was really fun... and once again, it rides as smooth as butter.. :) Oh, and I got my first good Jamaican haircut... I went to the barber, and for once, he cut it right!! Most barbers here only know how to cut Jamaican's hair, so when a white guy walks in to get a haircut they do it the same way (line up the front and everything....) but this guy actually did a good job... so he's definately my permanent barber as long as I'm here in Santa Cruz haha....

Transfers on Wednesday were pretty intense. We drove out to Negril Tuesday night, and stayed the night with the missionaries there to travel to Spanish Town on Wednesday morning for the transfer. It was a long night, because Negril has two mattresses, and there were four of us there... haha so, ya, long night to say the least, and Wednesday was tons of driving!! We all drove to Spanish town, and met up with all the other missionaries. While we were waiting for everyone to show up, we played a pretty intense game of ninja... it was way fun!! haha just so you get a feel for the intensity level.... my pocket on my shirt got ripped off lol... um.... what else... oh, once Elder Dale, (my new companion) and Elder Weldon (a brand new missionary Elder Ashton is training in Negril) showed up, we had lunch at Pizza hut (a transfer day tradition, because its like the only Anerican pizza place on the island), and touched the road!! We didn't make it out to Negril until like 9:30, so we just stayed the night there again (another awesome night).. haha and then, me and Elder Dale drove back to Santa Cruz in the morning, and went to work!!

And to be honest, it was a really good week. We talked to so many people!! And Things are starting to pick up here again. :) We did a lot of tracting, and had some pretty good success.... One of the best things thats going on lately though, is that Mongo (mangoes... they're pronounced mongo here) season just started, so like everyone we talked to was giving us mongos.. It was awesome!! That's pretty much what we've been living off lately, because we have like 40 mongoes in the house right now haha.... there are so many different types!! my favorite kind is definately bellyfulls, because they are like bigger than a softball, and I can eat like 2 and I'm full lol....

This week, we did some service for a recent converts husband (Shane).. We chopped down this really thick grass/bush all around the perimeter of a big field that he is going to burn so he can plant crops...It was tough!! But it was really fun too... oh, and Elder Dale chopped through an anthill, and the ants didn't like that too much, so they went into attack mode, and he got bites all over his arms and legs haha... but he's all recovered now... so no worries..

One of the sweet things about Santa Cruz is that we have 3 members who come teaching with us pretty regularly (Khani, Lisa, and Chevaugn), and its super fun. One of the days, we were teaching, and this massive spider crawled onto Omar's porch, Khani didn't even hesitate.. haha he grabbed Lisa's Book of Mormon, and before she could say no, he smashed the spider with it haha... Lisa was pretty upset, and had to clean off her Book of Mormon, but it was hilarious!! We couldn't stop laughing, because he just put down his book, and smashed it with hers.... lol... It was a pretty funny lesson....

Sunday, was pretty much the best day ever... ... Felicia, and Akeileah (her sister), came to church!! At first they seemed to have some pretty crappy attitudes about it, and didn't really want to talk to anyone.... and just didn't look happy.... but by the time they left, they were beaming and loved it!! :) It was awesome!!! They are doing really great, and we are gonna extend them baptism dates this week for sure. They walked to church, and its really far, oh, and they came down for Friday night activity too... :) Its really a sacrifice, but their testimonies grow every time they make the trek.. :) The next most awesome thing about Sunday, was.... I got to Skype with my family!!! WOOT WOOT!! HAppy mothers day again mom!! I love you!! :) It was amazing, we found a member, who had a computer, so ya..... it was like the shortest 45 min. of my life... but.... ya.... Sunday was awesome!!

Monday we had Zone Leader Council in Kingston with President Hendricks, all the other zone leaders, and Elder Anderson of the seventy... so we had another road trip, but it was amazing!! I learned so much!! Elder Anderson is awesome!! And President Hendricks always unloads some deep stuff, so it was way cool... But we were able to make it back to Santa Cruz by 8, so we went strait to Felicia's family to have a quick lesson with them. It was really awesome, and right when Felicia was bearing her testimony about church, and the spirit was really strong... this massive spider (like as big as my hand)... crawls out of the ceiling and of course, everyone freaks out.. haha...but ya, there house was like infested with them!! There were like 5 or 6 more in the hall way.... Me and Elder Dale were the most scared I think, because they were used them, and thought it was pretty funny to try and knock them on us... but then a lizard crawled in a hole in the ceiling, and I smacked it onto the floor, and they freaked out... (they're terrified of lizards, but not spiders... weird huh?)... so definately got even with them.. :) But lessons over at there house are getting to be amazing... At first, we had a hard time getting them to settle down, and have a focused lesson, but now, the spirit is really strong, and we are starting to have really good lessons, and their faith is really starting to grow. Its awesome!!

But ya, this week has been sweet, and I'm really excited for this coming week too. :) Its gonna be amazing I'm sure. :)

Life is good... Keep reading the Book of Mormon, and ... Keep writing me!! :)

One love!!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, May 2, 2011

Long Hard Week!!! WHEW!!

Hey everyone!!
This week has been pretty slow compared to last week....good and bad I guess....
Actually, to be honest... this has been like the longest week ever!! haha so, I'll just hit the highlights so I don't bore you all to death haha....
We did some pretty sweet service clearing land for a lady in the branch, and another time this week weeding a garden for another lady in the branch. (thats the pic... we picked so many weeds!!!) ...
Other than that, our week was pretty much pure going to town doing hard work!!! We are working so hard right now, but the week was pretty long because, we're not really seeing the fruits of our labors at this point.... to make a long story short and not bore you with all the stats and details.. I'll just say that this week was full of a lot of rejection and disappointment.. ... lol... but thats just part of the work I guess.... Cant always have success.... I feel like Heavenly Father is testing our diligence, because at any point this week it would have been so easy to just say, "well, its raining really hard (it rained like all week) and we're not having any success... lets just go in..." but we just kept working really hard, and hopefully we'll be able to see some more success soon... :) I'm not too worried about it.. We aren't getting discouraged, and are staying happy, and as long as we never stop working hard, I feel really good about what I'm doing here... :).... I've figured out that when we choose not to get discouraged, and just have fun with it.... the time goes really fast, and we are having a good time... :)
So ya, oh, and reading the Book of Mormon is super inspiring too... I read what Alma and Amulek went through in Ammonihah, and it just makes me laugh at the tiny trials we have haha... So to be honest... even though this week was pretty tough... I'm still smiling and laughing... :) Life is good....
Um.... what else..... Oh ya!! Transfer calls came, and Elder Ashton is getting transferred to Negril to train a new missionary for the last transfer (6 weeks) of his mission.. and I'm staying in Santa Cruz to be a zone leader with Elder Dale. I've only met him once.. but I hear he's awesome!! So, I'm pretty excited... It should be good... :)
Well, um... everyone have a sweet week.... .... Smile, it'll keep you happy haha
one love!!
Elder Kraus