Monday, June 25, 2012


Hey Everyone!!

Well, this is it.. my last email home from the mission field.. I really can't believe it. The first paragraph of my journal entry on Sunday (yesterday) pretty much summarizes how I'm feeling: "My last Sunday as a missionary in Jamaica was today.. I'm so excited to see my family on Thursday, but a big part of me feels like I'm leaving my family.. I've come to love the people here so much, an its gonna be hard leaving."  

I have LOVED my mission.. It has meant the world to me.. I'm so grateful for the change that I've gone through and helped others to go through.. I have a very personal testimony of the changing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It is real, and truly does transform you.  Words can't express the gratitude I have for these two years, it truly has been incredible.. It's by far been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I've never done anything that has been more worth it.. These have been the best 2 years for my life, and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.  

One of the things that I'm really excited for when I get home is first off to hug my mom!! :)  BUt I'm also super excited to be a member missionary.. It really is so important, and I'm excited to continue to share the gospel as a normal member of the church.. It's going to be incredible.. 

Well, I'm at a loss for words.. but I will continue to finish these last few days strong and when Thursday come, I'll be happy to say as Paul, "the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith"

For the Last time, 

One Love!

Elder Dustan Kraus

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hey Everyone!!

This week was pretty awesome.. Did some service (painting), worked on transfers with President, did a trade off with the Spanish Town zone leaders, and did some awesome teaching.. :)  Saturday and Sunday were especially awesome.. For Sunday, we held a fireside with all the members announcing an open forum that we're putting on this coming week Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.. It should be pretty awesome and we're excited for it.. We gave all the members fliers to spread throughout Kingston and to give their friends.. It should be really good and clear up a lot of confusion about who the "Mormons" are.. :)  

Saturday was a pretty cool day as well, and I think for the rest of this email, I'll just share my Saturday journal entry: 

"During studies this morning, I read "Mountains to Climb" by Henry B. Eyring.  It's an awesome talk, but a line in there really stood out to me: "It is serving God and other persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.."  I definitely have a testimony of that.. As I've served with all my heart for these 2 years, I feel like I truly have developed the "unbreakable spiritual strength" he's speaking about.. I also know that to keep that strength, I need to continue to serve after my mission as well.. :) Right now, I'm super excited to continue to be a member missionary when I get home and serve others.. 

Kai and Louis Bernard fed us dinner this evening and we arrived ten min. early.. So rather than waste the ten minutes, we went to the beach nearby to talk to some people and we ended up meeting Bob Marley's cousin, Alex Marley.. :)  Pretty cool.. :) 

We had a cool experience tonight as well... Our lesson with Jackie finished at 8:30 and we were back by our house at 8:40.. Well according to the white handbook we use, our proselyting day doesn't end til 9.. Our neighborhood was dark and it didn't look like anybody was awake, and it would have been really easy to rationalize going in a bit early.. But I made the decision at the start of my mission to be 100% obedient and serve with all my heart as did Elder Randle.. So we parked the truck and walked down the street to call at a gate and just as we got to the gate, the lady and her sister who lived there pulled up in a van to come home for the night.. We talked to them and they said they were interested to learn more.. Perfect timing! :)  I know the Lord blesses us for being obedient.. Especially to the "small and simple" things.. :)  "

Well... I'm excited to go into the last full week of my mission.. and I'm definitely going out working hard!! :)  Love everyone and talk to ya for the final time next week!

Have an incredible week!!

One Love 

Elder Kraus

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hey Eveyone!!

Short one this week, because I don't have much time.. BUt things are going great!! We're working really hard and have found some incedible new people that we started working with this week.. :)   I'm lovin the work, and can't believe that i only have 2 weeks left!! Dang!!  I'm super excited to see my family again.. but also am really gonna miss everyone here that I've come to love so much.. but as for now.. I'm just gonna be working my tail off for these last 2 weeks.. :)  

P-day today was pretty cool.. We went to ochi and played football on the beach.. and made some jerk chicken.. :)  so good!!  IT was an awesome day!  But.. like i said.. time is short.. everyone have an awesome week!!

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hey Everyone!!

This week was awesome!! I had two really cool experiences... But I'll get to those last.. First off.. I had some Jack Fruit again this week.. :)  It's definitely one of my favorite fruits.. I'm really gonna miss it when I'm gone.. .. Thats what the pictures are of.. (You eat the yellow fruit after you pick it off the alien pod and remove the seed haha.. SO GOOD!!)  

As for missionarywork... Things are going much better.. We had a really good weekly planning and goal setting session on Friday and realized that we were just spreading ourselves too thin.. We have so many things to do with leadership responsibilities and less actives to work with, tons of people to call.. the list could go on and on.. But long story short, there is so much to do, that it just isn't possible with the time we have to be able to complete it all.. So we prioritized the things we are doing, and set some good goals that could really allow us to focus our time on those who are prepared to make important steps in their lives.. It helped us get a really good direction, and this week should be incredible!!  :)  I definitely have a really strong testimony of the power of planning and goal setting... It's so important!!

Now for the cool experiences.. We've been working with a really nice lady named Jackie since January, and she's been at church every single Sunday since then but up til now hadn't accepted to fully work towards a baptism date.. Well, Friday, we had a really good lesson planned for her in which we were planning to extend her June 23rd as a baptism date.. As I was thinking about Jackie throughout the day.. and really pondering what could help her move foreward and take the next step.... a question to ask her popped into my mind.. I don't really recall what the question was.. but as we got the lesson, I asked the question, and she opened up to us and let us know the concerns she had, and things she needed to overcome before she could be baptized.. It was a really cool experience, and as we expressed our faith and confidence that with Christ's help she would be able to overcome those things.. she accepted the baptism date and committed to do everything she could do overcome her concerns by that day... It was a really neat experience.. We may not know all the thoughts and things that people are thinking and struggling with as we share the gospel with them.. but the Lord does.. and as we listen to the promptings that come from the Holy Ghost and act on them.. It opens hearts.. :)  I love it!!

Second cool experience was with a man named Peter..The story really starts a while back though... A companionship serving in Junction made a really cool song (guitar and vocals) that they recorded in a studio on P-day and sent the CD our way so we could put it on the office computer... Well..  A few Tuesday's ago, we were at Chilitos eating lunch, and had a sudden "urge" to go to the truck and get a copy of the CD to give to the resturaunt to play while we were there.. (they always play music here..).. So, me and Elder Luke went to the truck to get the CD, and as we reached, a young man was passing by who asked us where the church was at.. We told him and Elder Luke took down his number so him and Elder Conder could give him a call and start teaching him.... Well this Sunday, the same young man, Peter, at church bore a powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel and is working towards a baptism date for June 23rd.. He said that he is in Kingston for a while and usually takes the bus to his sport practice.. but on that Tuesday.. he had a strong feeling that he needed to walk instead.. So he decided to walk and miraculously we got the feeling to go get the CD at the same time that he was walking by where we were.. :)  And even cooler.. His father is a recent convert in Montego Bay, and it was Elder Conder who baptized his Father!!  and now is teaching him.. :)  So COOL!!!  Why did the junction elders really record that song?? why did we really go to the truck? :)  I love the promptings of the Holy Ghost.. Its so cool to see how Heavenly Father prepares the way for everything... :)  

I love this gospel, and I love doing missionary work... and I love following spiritual promptings and seeing the results.. :)  Well.. time is shot... but everyone have an awesome week!!  and share the gospel with your friends!! Its such a precious gift, and we have a duty to share it... We can't be selfish!! 

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hey Everyone!!

Sorry, Its been a while since we've had a full emailing session..and we don't really have one today either.. Super busy.. and enjoying Jamaica.. :)  Today, we went up to Holywell in the Blue Mountains to go hiking again.. and it was incredible!!  I love it up there so much.. 4000 ft. above sea level, fairly cool, little one track trails through the jungle.. I love it!! :)  Today after hiking around and taking pics, we ran for a while.. It felt incredible!! Brought back memories of cross country practice up in the mountains when I was living in Idaho... Except thing here are more green.. I'm really excited to go running with my family when I get home.. (I'm comin for ya Bryant.. .. haha.. We'll have to race a mile when I get home.. I did a 5:45 on the treadmill... but it nearly killed me.... Dang am i out of shape!!)..  

Other eventful things:  we finished another transfer successfully, with all the airport runs and picking up new missionaries and everything.. so that went great.. oh and one of the missionaries who got transferred to this branch, Elder Condor, had his birthday.. so to follow Jamaican tradition, we "floured him".. but.. funny thing bout that, is as we were chasin him down (he saw us coming.. I guess we weren't as sneaky as we thought)... Elder Randle stepped on a water pipe, and created a geyser... which was good and bad.. Good, because it successfully turned all the flour we dumped on him to dough.. but bad, because we had to fix it.. getting soaked in the process.. It was a pretty funny sight for all the Jamaicans who came to watch.. 4 guys dressed up in business clothes, soaking wet, one covered in flour, at 9 pm, fixing a broken pipe.. After a pretty good battle we got it Jimmy rigged to last the night... haha.. :) It was a good time.. 

As for missionary work.. Things are going great!!  We've been working with some new people, and Jackie is still coming along slowly but surely... She's been coming to church since December every week!! :)  She'll be baptized soon I'm sure.. We've been trying to help members invite their friends to hear more, and have been finding some cool people that way... and have been knocking apartment complexes too.... Pretty much just trying our hardest to build up a big teaching pool again.. So far its going really well.. :)  

One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately, especially as I get closer and closer to the end of my mission, is really what it means to serve with "no regrets"... Because as I've thought back on my mission from the start.. I have a longing to go back to each area and do things a little better.. because I have become a better missionary now.. As we improve each day, it makes it kinda hard to look back at yesterday without a sense of longing to have been doing things the better way all along.. but I think thats part of this mortal experience.. and the reason we are counselled to live in the present.. If we look too much into the future, it can fill us with anxiety... if dwell on the past too long, it can fill us with regret...  I've come to find that serving or living with no regrets just means to give it my all in the present.. do things with passion and enthusiasm.. with 100% obedience and diligence.. and focus on improving... As I've done that for these 23 months, and will continue to give it my all in this last month, I know I'll be able to look back at my mission without any real regrets.. I love this gospel, and I love how happy it makes me!!  I love being a missionary, and I'm determined to finish strong.. 

Life is good.. :)

Everyone have an incredible week.. and if you are gonna write any letters or anything... a good time to do it would be this week.. otherwise, I won't ever receive it.. haha but if not.. see ya in 4 weeks! woot woot!! 

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Love the Book of Mormon


Hey everyone!! Things here are going great!! It feels incredible to be all done with Zone conferences and doing normal missionarywork again.. :)  We're working with a few really cool people still.. and one of them, Jackie, has a baptism date for May 26 that she's working towards.. She a really sweet 47 year old lady.. We met her on the street looking for a less active member sometime at the end of December, and invited her to church.. and she came the 1st Sunday of the year, and hasn't really missed church since.. she's been like 19 Sundays in a row now :)  She had been visiting lots of different churches but feels something different as she's been visiting here, and we've been teaching her for about 4 and a half months now.. She's doing awesome.. :)  Other than her, we've got a few people who are feeling the church is true, but need to act on it and start living the commandments.. so we've been working with 
them, plus finding a lot of new people to teach.. :)  

One of my favorite ways to find new people to teach is to serve them.. We were going through some papers we found that had a list of people the missionaries used to teach in like 2006.. and found one guy, Brother Jones, that lived up in Red Hills.. that we both felt we should give a call.. So we called him and ended up going to see him.. Well he has 7 kids, and is a farmer.. So the first thing we did to develop some trust with him is set up a time to come do some farm work with him.. :)  it was fun!!  On Friday this week, we went up and cleared a bunch of land with machetes.. It was hard work, but felt great, and he deeply appreciated it, and is really eager for us to come back and teach him and his family.. :)  I definitely have a testimony of the power of serving people with love.. It softens hearts when nothing else will.. and speaks a lot louder than words.. :) So ya.. we've been doing little things like this to find new people to teach.. plus working with members.. Anita's been doing incredible at member missionarywork.. She brought a friend to church who we are starting to teach... .. I love when members fulfill their missionary responsibilities..That is one of the biggest things that helps the work go foreward... We have the most important message in the world.. Its the reason we're even here in this world and its how we prepare for a better life after this.... SHare it with your friends!! :)  They need to hear it!!

Oh and cool thing.. We did a trade off with Port Antonio this week..:)  It was incredible to be back!!  I saw Sanakay and Sister Davis!!  It was really cool to see both of them again... One of the things I longed for as we were there was to come back and serve there again.. because its hard to live with no regrets when you are constantly improving.. If we are always improving, looking at the past can tend to leave a bit of regret.... thoughts of better ways you wish you would have done things.. etc etc.. but I think that's part of this mortal experience... Do your best in the present, and continue to improve so you can do better in the future.. and don't look back with regret.. but rather, when you do look back.. look at the progress you've made.. 

Well.. Time is short.. I love this gospel, and I love being a missionary to share it!!  I've been reading in Alma about the sons of Mosiah lately, in the Book of Mormon, and as I've been serving as a missionary, those stories seem to apply so much more!! i love the Book of Mormon!! We should always read it daily.. :)  

Everyone have an incredible week!!

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I love this church!

Hey Everyone!

Well... I'm pretty much out of time.. so.. super short this week.. but like is good!! Right now, we working on getting some new people to teach in addition to helping the ones that we are already teaching continue to move foreward, and we decided to call a bunch of former investigators from like 2008.. I found an old area book in the office, with a bunch of people that missionaries used to teach, and we called them all up.. Many of them were really excited to hear from us again and set up appointments.. :) I'm excited to meet all of them... 

It should be a good week, and i'm excited to continue to do the Lord's work.. I love this church and the gospel of Jesus Christ.. I know its true, and I'm pumped to continue to share it.. Its all about joy!! :)  

Everyone have an incredible week!!

One Love!

Elder Kraus

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pure zone conferences!!

Hey Everyone!!

This week was pure zone conferences!!  We drove to Ochi on Tuesday and did their zone conference, did Kingston and Spanish Towns together in Kingston on Wednesday, and then the fun began.. Before we get to that though.. Wednesday after zone conference, the Smiths (the senior couple in the office) had us over for dinner to meet their landlady in a casual setting.. :) It was awesome!! (Sister Smith is a great cook!!) and before we left, they asked the landlady if she would like us to come and share more about the church with her and she agreed.. :)  It was really awesome... Moral of the story.. have your friends and the missionaries over for dinner so we can get to know them!!  THey need the gospel in their lives!  

Wednesday night, we stayed the night at the mission home (HOT WATER AND AC woot woot!!), and got up early Thursday morning to catch our flight to Grand Cayman to do zone conference there.. We stayed the night there and then flew to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos on Friday (passing through the motherland in Miami!)  did zone conference Saturday, went to church there Sunday, and flew to Nassau, Bahamas after church.. We did their zone conference Monday, and flew back to Jamaica Monday night.. .. It was quite a trip.. but zone conferences are done now!!  I'm really excited to see all our friends here in Kingston again... :)  My favorite island is Cayman I think.. Turks has the most beautiful water, but the island is just dead and brown... Nassau is really nice as well.. It was a pretty legit week though.. Flying is exhausting for some reason!!  I'm really happy to be home.. 

Somethin pretty cool though, at church on Sunday, a tourist couple was there in Turks and Caicos.. and I found out that the lady grew up in the ward my family moved to, and that her parents and family still live there.. :)  So we were able to talk about Iowa and she told me what its like.. Small world!!  I got a picture with them before we left.. THeir last name is Thrap I think.. She said she has a brother, Steven, who is serving a mission somewhere too.. So.. I'll be seeing them when I get back.. :)  Crazy!!  

Well.. Time is up.. but everyone have an incredible week!! 

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Laying up Treasures in Heaven

Hey Everyone!! 

Quick one this week because we're having a combined zone p-day.. Kingston zone vs. Spanish Town zone in basketball.. :)  I'm way excited!!  But it was a great week!!  Really really busy... We spent some time planning and preparing for zone conferences with President Hendricks... and had our first one in Savannah la mar on Saturday.. It went really well! :)  The spirit was strong and I feel like this zone conference is really gonna help the mission move foreward in the best way... The focus was on real growth instead of just growth... and how we achieve real growth... That was what me and Elder Randle taught on for about an hour and a half... and President Hendricks taught an amazing segment on repentance... How its really about becoming rather than doing.. Really puts things in perspective... but anyway.. it was an awesome experience..and I'm excited for the rest of them this week.. We have 5 more then we're done.. :) 

We didn't get as much teaching time this week as I would have liked because of planning and preparing for zone conference and some other things that happened.. but we still had some awesome lessons... One thing I've definitely learned on my mission is that when you have limited time, its really important to make every thing you do count... but... i wanna mention real quick 2 lessons in particular that i remember from the week....

The first was with a lady who's almost been baptized for a year.. She's been struggling with coming to church every Sunday, and when she does come, she's late... One of the things we talked with her about is really the "why" of going to church.... I think that's a question that all of us should ask ourselves fairly often.... because if we aren't careful, we forget the why of the gospel and get lost in the "what".. well.. the "why" in particular that we talked about with her, was because Jesus Christ went to Gethsemane and asked us to remember him by partaking of the sacrament every week.. One thing that was brought up is that... most of us when we have a job will sacrifice a lot of things to be on time for work... we get up early even if we're tired to make it to work on time so we can get our pay... yet when Sunday rolls around, we always find ourselves rolling into church late if we go... The logic of that is very flawed... We will sacrifice many things for our temporal job.. where the compensation is temporary.. .. but when it comes to a long term investment (living the gospel.. ie.. being to church on time) that has the greatest return.. (Eternal Life).. we aren't willing to put in the work.. Its a foolish mindset... We can not put anything before our Heavenly Father... and when we aren't willing to make any sacrifice for Him, that's exactly what we're doing.... It was really an eye opening lesson... In everything we do... we need to make sure that we are "laying up for ourselves treasures in Heaven"... The little things.. like being on time for church show how much we love our Heavenly Father.. and never forget.. "by small and simple means are great things brought to pass"..

The second lesson was kind of heart breaking.. We have been meeting with a really cool lady who is really smart.. but doesn't want to engage in a serious study of the gospel because she doesn't want to leave her church.. She's scared to study the Book of Mormon, because if she finds it to be true.. She knows she'll need to be baptized.. She would rather remain in ignorance than find the truth... 

Both these examples I think just really show how important it is to take a step back and remember why we were sent to this earth in the first place.... The only thing that matters is preparing to live with our Heavenly Father again, and we should be willing to make any sacrifice to do so.. I love this gospel and I love the hope and joy that come from knowing exactly "what" to do, but most importantly "why" i'm doing it... :)  

Have an incredible week and take some time to ponder the "why" of the gospel... or anything you do... It puts things back into perspective... 

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hey Everyone!!

Short one this week.. but everything is going great!! I found out some great news!! Kadine's (who i baptized in Old Harbour) mom got baptized!! :) So cool!! So now the whole family is in the gospel!! I love it.. :)

As for missionarywork for us this week.. things went pretty well.. We didn't get to teach as much as we would have liked to because we ended up having to schedule and change some flights and things for zone conference, so that took a while... Waiting on hold for orbitz customer service takes forever!!!!. but we did have some great teaching experiences... Anita and Sabrina came teaching with us this week and did great!! Their testimonies are so strong and immediately invite the spirit as they share them in lessons.. :) It is so cool to see that for me..

We did a trade off in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, so it was pretty cool to see some people I know again.. and work with the elders there..

Oh and Monday we had our P-day and the branch had a fun day... so it was perfect.. :) We spent the day at the church playing soccer and volleyball with the members.. :) So much fun!! I love sports!! There have to be sports in the celestial kingdom haha

Well... thats about it for this week.. super busy.. and lovin life!! :) I know that living the gospel is the happiest way of life because its the way that our Heavenly Father asks us to live... Live long and prosper!!

One love!

Elder Kraus

Monday, April 9, 2012

Goodbye ELder Hoffman!

Hey Everyone!!

This week was crazy!!! Monday we had P-day... We deep cleaned the house and Elder Hoffman wrapped up any loose ends he needed to before going home...

Tuesday we had Elder Hoffman's last teaching day, and had some great lessons.. :) It was a great way to finish off his mission.. I still can't believe he's home!! Holy cow!! At one point during the night.. We were coming down off Red Hills from a teaching appointment, and stopped for 5 minutes at the lookout (it overlooks all of Kingston and the harbour).... I can't imagine how Elder Hoffman was feeling during that time.. because as we were standing there and just reflecting... I had a lot of emotions go through me.. I can't believe that I only have 2 and a half months left... I felt excited.. but a little bit sick about it... There is so much work to be done.. and I felt for a minute like the 3 Nephites... I just want to stay and continue to build the church in Jamaica for much longer because of how much work there is to do... There are still so many people who haven't heard the gospel!! And it needs to be shared with them... but.. I'm also really excited to go home and start school again and do all the things that come with that... and see my family.. :) It was really weird... a LOT of mixed emotions.. and I still have time left!! I can't imagine how its gonna feel when its my last day... But as for now.. I'm just gonna keep workin my tail off til its finished...

Wednesday, we drove to transfers... got everyone switched and headed to their new areas... and came back to the mission home for the last night with Elder Hoffman and Roberts..for their interviews, dinner, and final devotional and everything.. . My new companions name is Elder Randle.. He's a really cool guy from California.. We're both going back to BYU in the fall.. So that should be fun.. :) haha... One funny thing at transfers.. thats kinda a tradition.. is before Elder Hoffman gave Elder Randle the phone.. he made him get down on one knee and "dubbsed" him with it.. Like when a knight is dubbed..haha it was way funny.. ... uh.. ya.. you prolly just had to be there..

Thusday we had a full teaching day (other than scheduling our flights for zone conferences coming up at the end of the month)... and after thursday is when the week got crazy!!

So, the new missionaries usually fly in on Tuesday night.. and we bring them to the mission home where President Hendricks interviews them and we help him assign them which trainer they're gonna go with.. and they'll just come to transfers with us on Wednesday... Well.. There was a tornado in Texas, so their flight wasn't allowed to leave the ground.. They got stuck in texas for 3 days.. and didn't end up getting here til Friday afternoon.... Well.. funny thing bout that, is that President Hendricks had to fly to the Dominican Republic early Friday morning for a mission presidents seminar, and didn't get back til Sunday... So he had us play the role of mission president for a few days.. We were way nervous!! So.. Friday, we went and picked up the new missionaries (there are 7), brought them back to the mission home, ate dinner together.. and me and elder Randle had "get to know you" interviews with all of them... We were way nervous.. but it went well... and after the interviews, we had the task of assigning them which trainer they would go with.. and honestly, it was a really cool experience.. After discussing it. and praying, we felt the quiet assurance of the Holy Ghost that we had each new missionary paired up with the trainer that the Lord wanted them to have... .. :) I definitely am grateful for the experience.. I have such a strong testimony that every missionary is called to the area that they're in by inspiration... ... Well.. after discovering which companion each missionary was gonna have, we brought out the map.. showed each of them where they were gonna be going.. and called it a night...

Saturday morning, we went back up to the mission home, and held an orientation meeting to let them know the expectations and everything.. ... and drove them off to their new areas... We had the office elders help us out.. but we still ended up driving to Spanish Town, then through Highgate to Port Antonio, to Montego Bay and back to Kingston... it was a LONG day driving the windy roads..... It took all day...and made road trips back home look easy!! I'm definitely excited to see long strait highways again.. though, it won't be nearly as exciting..

Church on Sunday was great!! :) Anita was confirmed a member of the church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost.. and is super excited to continue to learn and grow... Oh, and Sabrina gave a talk in church!! It was incredible!! :) It's really cool to see how much she's grown...

So... ya.. it was a really busy week.... and P-day today is gonna be great!! The branch is having an activity at the church.. so we're gonna go check that out.. It should be fun!!..

Well... Everyone have a great week!!

One Love!
Elder Kraus

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blessing Kylie Rose & Anita's baptism

Hey Everyone!!

This week was incredible!! Starting with last Sunday....:) We've been working with a member here who's been inactive for quite a while.. and she's been coming back for about a month and a half now.. :) and last Sunday she had her baby Kylie Rose blessed.. and asked me and Elder Hoffman to participate in the baby blessing... It was such a neat experience.. I'm pretty sure I wanna name my first daughter Kylie Rose haha.. such a pretty name!!

Second highlight: We did a trade off with the Kingston zone leaders this week, and I was with Elder Forde in their area...and honestly, the day started off pretty rocky... We had 2 appointments in a zinc ghetto (August Town) and both of them fell through, so there we were with 2 hours to go street contacting.. and it was raining haha.. well.. we went to work and started talking to people.. and the second guy we talked to ended up being awesome!! He was working on fixing a computer, so we went up and started talking to him about it, and eventualy tied it into religion and he asked a perfect question.. He said, "I have one question when it comes to religion that nobody has been able to answer yet..... " He read to us John 10:16 where Jesus says that he has other sheep which are not of this fold and that He'd bring them also and they'd hear His voice... and then asked.. "what is he talking about here?" We both got very excited and taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it was a another testament of Jesus Christ from the people who lived on this side of the world.. We taught him that Christ came and visited them after his resurrection and we read 3 Nephi 15:21 with him.. where Christ tells the Nephites that they are they of whom he said "other sheep I have which are not of this fold" .. :) It was an incredible experience.. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon fill the gaps that typical Christianity and the Bible leave.. Jesus Christ full gospel is here.. 100% truth... And I love testifying of that...

Highlight 3: Sister Segree gave me a jackfruit.. which is like an alien pod that is amazing!!! look up pics of it on google.. haha.. It looks weird but tastes incredible!!

Fourth Highlight: General Conference was incredible!! I know that those who spoke really are called of God to be leaders in His kingdom.... I felt the spirit testify so to me during the whole conference... :) There were so many incredible talks.. Many which applied directly to those we're teaching... One thing that I'm excited to try from now on... was in the April Liahona.. It said that the most recent conference ensign should be right next to our standard works and we should study it accordingly... I'm excited to get the most out of all the talks.. ::)

Last but certainly not least.. ANITA GOT BAPTIZED!! :) Originally, we had set a baptism date of March 31st with her... but she wanted a little more time, and moved it to April 30th... .. She's been coming to church every week for about a month and a half now.. and knows its true, but just wanted a bit more time to learn everything... well.. recently the branch started holding family home evening on Tuesday nights, and Anita came on Tuesday and played a big role in it... There was so much fun and love there from all the members, and it was really cool to see her being so involved and loved.. :) Wednesday we got a text from her saying that she wanted to do it this Sunday.. :) She passed her baptism interview and the baptism was incredible!! She asked me to baptize her and we had the service Sunday morning at 9.... (we told everyone 9 so that they'd be there by 9:30 haha.. they're running on JST (Jamaican Standard time.... about 30 min late ha)....)... Well, we showed up at 8:35 to prepare everything and saw the most wonderful sight... Anita was already standing at the gate in her dress eagerly waiting for us... :).. The service was great. and there was a lot of member support... Members came with us to almost every lesson we had with her as we were teaching her, and Honestly I think that made the biggest difference.... Feeling the love of the members..... This is Jesus Christ's church and as members we all need to show and feel the love He would feel for each of God's children... :) Never underestimate the power of simply loving someone. At the baptism, Anita bore her testimony, and i wish everyone could be there to see the joy.. She simply exclaimed, "I'm So HAPPY!!" It was an incredible weekend richly filled with the Spirit of the Lord... I love this gospel and I love playing a part in the Lord's work..

Everyone have an amazing weekend and don't forget to be reviewing and studying the conference talks over the next 6 months.. and don't forget.. this gospel is about LOVE!!

One Love!!

Elder Kraus
(ps.. the last picture is me with Nardia and Kylie Rose)..

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hiking up in Holywell & Searching in Wicky Wacky!

Hey Everyone!!

Dang.. so last P-day.. we went hiking up in Holywell again.. and it was incredible!! We hiked a ton!! It's so beautiful up there.. one track trails through the jungle and mountains.. :) I love it... and it was cold!!!! like low 60's!! :) it was great!! kinda chilly though... especially cuz we don't have much tempurature swing here... its always in the 80's or 90's... so i've adjusted to that... haha.. thankfully i'm coming home in the summer.. or i'd surely die.. :)

Honestly.. this week was just solid!! We've been working with lots of cool people.. :) Anita is doing incredible, as is Jackie.. and the recent converts here are doing great as well!! We've been taking members teaching with us almost every day.. and its been a lot of fun... We're really good friends with a lot of them now.. :) Especially Sister Segree who fed us dinner on Thursday... :) Some dang good chicken alfredo!! :) Members really are the secret to the misionarywork going forward quickly... as soon as someone learning about the gospel has a friend in church, they progress much quicker and when they do get baptized.. they stay active.. because they have friends in the gospel... So... make sure and be good friends with the recent
converts!! :)

Story of the week from my journal: " we had a cool experience looking for a less active member in "Wicky Wacky" today... Its a huge neighborhood with basically no house numbering and we were looking for a guy whom we knew nothing about except his name and that he lived somewhere in the neighborhood.... like looking for a needle in a haystack!!! except... the Lord knows exactly where the needle is... :) we happened to run into a couple walking and as we started talking to them, we found that they lived in the same house as the guy!! :) He wasn't home at the time, but now we know where he is.. The Lord knows each one of us personally and will do what it takes to help us return to Him... we just have to do our part... We are the Lord's hands here.."
I love being a missionary, and I love the people here.... I love the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and how much happiness it brings everyone... :)

Last but not least.. i'll leave ya with my favorite definition of faith: Trusting in the Lord enough to do things His way and trusting that everything will work out for your good if you do....

So.. continue to do things the Lords way, and be happy.. :) like McDonalds says.... I'm lovin it!! ;)

One Love

Elder Kraus

Monday, March 19, 2012

Trade offs in Ocho Rios & Old Harbor

Hey Everyone!!

Short one this week... Things are going great!!

Highlights of the week: we did a trade off with the Ocho Rios Elders on wednesday... So that was amazing... And on Friday we did a trade off with Old Harbour.... So cool!! We had lessons with 3 of the people who got baptized when I was there (Demetry-Ann, Jeromey, and Atanya).. and they're all doing incredible!! :) Jeromey still has his sights set on a mission... :) So cool... oh and they had a baptism w/ us there... :) Her name is Stacy, and me and Elder Gayle found and started teaching her when we were both serving there, and taught her for about 3 months.. Well.. they've been teaching her ever since, and she got baptized on Saturday.. :) I was able to be one of the witnesses.. So cool.. :) Oh and Elder Barker (one of the elders in old harbour) is from England... so after the trade off, I was stuck in a fake English accent for a couple days haha..

But ya... Life is good!! I'm lovin it.. Lots of people to teach, lots of good times, and lots of love.... Everyone have an incredible week!!

One Love!

Elder Kraus

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kadian and Emmy / Be an Example

Hey Everyone!!!

Well... I don't have too much time today at all.. But this week was incredible!! I honestly hate sending these emails because so much stuff happens every week, that I never can decide what stuff to write! haha.. especially when I have limited time.. ..

Well, as for people we're working with... things are going amazing!!! Anita has a baptism date for March 31st and is working really hard to be prepared by that day (She's a girl that we just invited as we passed her in a lane, and turns out she's good friends with a member and was super prepared for the gospel.. ) The power of just opening your mouth... :) It's awesome.. Like Elder Holland said.. Satan can succeed if he can simply bind the tongues of the faithful... So.. open your mouths and invite your friends!! :) Everyone else is coming along great as well!!.... It would be imossible to keep you updated on everyone.... so I shant try haha... but everyone's doing great!! We've got so many people to work with right now... We've been really focusing on helping members fulfill their missionary responsibilities and taking lots of them teaching with us... and lots of success has been following.. Like for example.. today's just Monday, and we're already booked til Saturday!! :) It's awesome!!

Two cool things that happened this week... .. First we went and worked with the Santa Cruz elders for a day, and while there, we went and saw Kadian.. a girl that me and elder Hoffman found when we were serving there... we were still teaching her when I got transferred.. and she's doing great!!! She has a baptism date for sometime in the coming 2 weeks.. :) so thats way exciting!! and Second.. Emmy (Demetry-Ann's sister) from Old Harbour called me yesterday.. (me and Elder Gayle taught her the whole 3 months I was there).. and told me that she had decided to be baptized finally and wanted to specailly inivite me to her baptism on Saturday.. :) I'm so excited!! It's soo cool seeing that even if we don't see immediate success at whatever we do, seeds are planted that can/will continue to grow.. :) I love it..

Funny Story for the week... So, we were at a members house eating dinner, and there was a lady there that we didn't know... so we started talking to her, and she told us that she wasn't a member but was interested in learning more about the church... So we had a great discussion with her.. and she kept asking these amazing questions and things... that showed she knew a ton about the church.... well... long story short.. the lady was actually a member that was visiting from America and she totally punked us haha... It was pretty funny.. :)

Words of exhortation for the week: This is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth again... It's his Kingdom!! People look at how members act and judge the whole kingdom on it... So act at all times like you should...A lot of times here people will make general statements about Americans because of their experience with one American... Their view of America is totally based on their contact with one American... Its the same thing with this gospel... This isn't just a church.... we are citizens of Jesus Christ's Kingdom... Don't ever say or do anything that would make people think anything bad about the Kingdom.. The world's view of this kingdom is determined by how they see the members of the kingdom acting.. Be an example at all times!! If you aren't, your actions could keep somebody from becoming a part of the only kingdom in the world that will be successful in the long run.. and you don't want that on you.. It's so sad to have people say... "oh that church can't be true, I've seen how the members act.." Represent Jesus Christ like you promised at baptism!! :)

Everyone have an amazing week... and live it up!!! I love my life!!

One Love!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Love Being a Missionary!!

Hey Everyone!!

This week was incredible!! Sabrina's baptism went great on Saturday!! There were over 50 people there and the service was great!! So much support from the branch! :) Her dad, President Singh, was able to baptize her, and both of them along with Sister Singh (her mom) were just glowing they were so happy.. :) It was a really sweet experience to be able to be a part of bringing so much happiness to a family.. Sunday was equally incredible as Sabrina was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting, and as if that wasn't enough to make the day amazing.. Venice came to church along with 3 of our other investigators... :) and still the day continued to get better... Right after church, Brother Brown was baptized... We had a recent convert, who pretty recently received the priesthood do the baptism, and it was awesome!! :) Sister Brown was also really excited to finally see her husband getting baptized... :) It was an incredible weekend...

The rest of the week has been great as well... Tons of cool experiences, and great lessons... We're finding a lot of really cool people to teach, and the ones that we have been teaching are coming along great!! :) Oh and Sabrina came teaching with us this week with another cool guy in the branch.. :) It was amazing to hear her bear her testimony in lessons...She's doing great! :) On Wednesday, we went to district meeting in Port Antonio, and took some sweet pictures overlooking the ocean... :) but.. I don't have too much time left to email... so... I'll just jump to one of the cool experiences this week..

Each week, President Singh, gives us 5 less active people who he's never met to go find... Sometimes they've moved, or the address is too vague, so we can't find them... One of our names this week was a girl named Kadian, and her address was super vague.. (Sterling Castle Heights).. which is pretty much a whole mountainside... super spread out and tons of people... Finding her would be like finding a needle in a haystack.. .... So.. we drove up there and started walking around and asking people if they knew her... (which is sketchy because sometimes.. even if they do know who we're looking for, they'll lie to us because they think we're CIA)... After about an hour of talking to people and finding that nobody knew her or where she lived, we decided to leave... As I was driving out of the area, I saw a lady in the rear view mirror and felt prompted to talk to her before we left... So I pulled over and we walked the distance back to talk to her.. Wehn we asked if she knew Kadian, she smiled and said that it was her daughter!! :) and told us where she lived.. We went and Kadian was home.. and so surprised to see us!! It'd been 5 or 6 years since she had any contact with the church and when we tried to set up a return appointment she said that she'd love for us to come back, but she lived with her uncle who didn't really like religious visitors... and she didn't know if he would welcome us coming... We asked her if we could meet her uncle right then.. and she hesitatnly took us around back to meet him... He was back there working on building a house, and instead of talking about the gospel at all with him, we just asked if we could come back and help him work on the house.. :) He eagerly accepted the help and we're seeing them again Monday morning.. :) It was pretty
cool how it all worked out... We may not be able to find a needle in a haystack... but Heavenly Father always knows right where we should go.. :)

I love being a missionary.. especially recognizing the times that the Spirit guides us through our thoughts and feelings.. and I love working with the Lord to prepare the world for the second coming...

Basically... I love my life! :)

Everyone have an incredible week!!

One Love!

Elder Kraus