Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Zone Conference in Kingston

Hey Everyone!!
This week has been insane!!

I don't have much time.. so I'll have to be short and spicy today.. :) Our investigators are doing awesome!! Venice and Sabrina are still doing great...as welll as everyone else we've been working with.... but we only got to see them all like maybe once for the week... because we've been so busy with zone conferences.... and other things..... A lot of the investigators that we have right now though, can't really read... so its been tough for them to learn, but step by step, they are getting it.... and working really hard at it... So... consider it a blessing if you have the education to read... and take advantage of it!! Don't let a day pass by without reading and studying the scriptures.. :)

Now for the things that kept us super busy most of the week:

Wednesday, we did Kingston and Spanish Town's zone conference combined in Kingston... and it went great!!! It gets easier and easier each time and I love helping teach it... :)

Thursday, TJ Weir from May Pen started his mission... He's gonna be serving in the Tallahassee Florida mission... but his visa isn't in yet.. so he's starting here.... So In the morning, we drove him to Santa Cruz and dropped him with the zone leaders there who drove him the rest of the way to sav....It was cool to see him again.. especially starting his mission.. :)

Friday we flew to Nassau Bahamas and met President and Sister Hendricks (who had flown in earlier to meet with some government people)... along with the elders from Turks, and Freeport at the church to start the last zone conference.. :) We did half Friday night, and half Saturday morning.... It went amazing, and afterwords we all ate at this sweet burger joint called Johnny Rockets... :) it was pretty legit..... We made sure everyone was to the airport on time to catch their flights, and then me and elder Hoffman did splits with the Nassau elders... :) It was sweet!! Bohemians have a really interesting accent.. like a mix between Georgia, Texas, and New York... Its pretty cool... :) It was a fun time.... So... we spent the night again, and went to church in Nassau (SO LEGIT!!!).. and then flew back to Kingston... It's pretty sweet to see that even though cultures are different all over the world.. the church runs the exact same.. :) So now on my mission I've been to Jamaica, Cayman, and Nassau Bahamas.... SO COOL!! :) Oh and our flights had layovers in Miami!!! So... I got to see the motherland again!! Pretty sweet... :) There were a lot of people in the airport speaking spanish... I tried to talk to one lady with an adorable baby daughter.. but all I managed to do was tell her that we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints going to Jamaica.... and I found out she was going to Guatemala.. haha.. that was about the extent of my attempt to speak spanish.. haha..

So ya... This week has been insane... but awesome!! Oh and today, we had a combo zone p-day... today... played American Football and Jamaican Futbol (soccer).... We did Spanish Town zone vs. Kingston zone... We won in football... but they owned us in futbol... haha It was a fun day though.... :)

Well.. time is about up... Everyone have an amazing week!!
One Love
Elder Kraus

Monday, January 23, 2012

Radiate Sunshine!

Hey Everyone!!

Quote of the week: "Go about radiating sunshine, developing happiness, lifting up those who get discouraged, and bring joy and comfort to those who are in distress." - George Albert Smith And with that.. I'm just gonna jump right into it... because a lot of things happened this week.. :)

Highlights of the week
There is this lady named Jackie that's been coming to church for a while and that we've been working with along with her grand daughter Tatiana... .. Jackie's eyes aren't too good, and she can't see the print in the Book of Mormon because its too fine ... We told her that we were gonna get her a ginormous Book of Mormon the next time we came... but left her and Tatiana to read the testimony of Joseph Smith together... ... When we went back to see them again... they both said they had read... and showed us that Tatiana (who is 10)... had written out most of the testimony of Joseph Smith on a piece of paper so that her grandma could read it as well!! It was amazing!! :) We gave her the ginormous Book of Mormon so she would have to do that anymore.. but it was really cool to me that it meant enough to them to read that Tatiana wrote it out... :)

Ah man... and started teaching a lady named Venice who is GOLDEN!!! On January 1st... we were invited to have dinner with a family in the branch who lives a 35 minute drive away... and we weren't sure if we were gonna be able to make it, because our schedule was pretty tight... but we both felt that we should go, so we made it work... While we were there... we met the fathers sister, Venice, who was being super fresh (feisty) with us, but we talked to her for a while, and after pleading (she didn't want to have anything to do with us, because she was convinced that she'd already looked into religion enough and wasn't finding what she was looking for...but we pled with her to just let us share our message).. with her (and promising that she would learn something that could change her life) for 30 minutes... she finally reluctantly gave us her number, and accepted a book of mormon and all the pamplets... ... Well... on the 20th... we finally were able to get out there to see her again.. (she lives way up in the mountains).. and she was excited out of her mind!! :) She had read 20 chapters into Alma, and was just firing questions... Where are these prophets from.. what is this book? It was aweosme!! She was so excited that we believed in a God that still calls prophets and apostles and that he answers prayers... :) She shared something really cool with us as well... She said that for the past 13 years, she has met with people from different churches, but there was always something that didn't seem right in each of them.... and at the end of 2011.. she was praying that in 2012 she would find the true church, and be able to join it.... We met her on January 1, 2012.... Coincidence??? I think not!! :) It was just amazing!! We are seeing her again this week, and hopefully everything will continue to do awesome... THere are so many people out there looking for the truth... but just don't know where to find it... We all need to be very bold and persistent in sharing our message with people... We have the most important message anyone could ever hear in this life...Even if we need to plead with someone to listen... We should... :) Its worth it!! On the way back down the hill there was a semi in the middle of the road sideways that had broken down... and there was no way to pass... So we pulled over, and got out.... and with 4 other Jamaicans.... We pushed the semi up the hill enough to clear the road and let him pull alongside the road so evryone could pass... :) I'm sure it was quite the sight... 6 guys pushin a semi up a hill haha...

We've been working with another guy, Bro Brown, who is a members husband... and have been working with him on preparing to be baptized and sealed to his wife for time and all eternity in the temple...not just "until death do you part"... He's been struggling to overcome smoking.... and we had a miracle lesson with him Sunday night... :) We taught the word of wisdom, and he gave us his last cigarette and committed never to touch another one... :) We gave him a priesthood blessing and some amazing promises from our Heavenly Father... :) It was awesome!!!!
Last highlight of the week... Elder Vinas of the quorum of the seventy, was here for district conference (its like stake conference), gave some amazing talks!! He taught some amazing doctrine about keeping covenants with our Heavenly Father... and at one point, put up his hands and said...and remember, I'm just the messenger.... don't kill the messenger... look what they did to Abinidi!! haha it was pretty funny... I love how plain and straitforeward he was in his teaching.. :) One cool thing though... is that President Hendricks and Elder Vinas had to be there a little early on Saturday... so we were able to give Sister Hendricks and Sister Vinas a ride.. :) It was cool!! Elder and Sister Vinas are amazing! :)

All in all... it was a pretty stellar week... On top of all the amazing people we're working with, we did two zone conferences (one in Sav and one in Ochi) and made an airport run to do some switches with some off island elders... :)

Oh and as for the pictures... we were walking down a zinc ghetto back to the truck after a lesson, and this guy named "bamboo bill" came up to us, and had these bamboo piggy banks he had just made for us... :) He carved our names in them too.. So we bought them from him (for super cheap... like $5 american.... )... and took a picture... :) haha it was pretty awesome...
Oh and the person we rent from has a dog... who tipped over the garbage can in the driveway while we were gone.... It was a not so pleasant surprise to come home to at 9:00.. haha... So.... ya.... thats the pictures....

Pretty much I'm lovin life!!! We're working with tons of amazing people, travelling all over doing zone conferences, and staying super busy.... Workin our tails off!!! I love my life!!

Til next week!

One Love!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Goodbye ELder Dale! / Flight to Cayman!

Hey Everyone!! This week was insane!!

We had some awesome lessons, and a lot of our investigators are doing really well.... Many of them came to church Sunday, and are doing the things that will help them receive answers from our Heavenly Father..... I'm really excited for that.. :) Pretty much, our job as missionaries, is to coach people to receive revelation.. I think a big misconception is that when we pray, an answer is always life changing, and like turning on a lightbulb... but usually, the answers to our prayers come as we consistently do the things that draw us closer to our Heavenly Father... James says that Faith without works is dead... So praying, without works is praying without faith.... To get answers to prayers, we need to pray with faith... aka.. pray.. and go to work, expecting an answer... :) So we have really been focusing on that with a lot of people... Helping them receive and recognize answers from Heavenly Father. Some of the coolest experiences of the week were with new investigators though.... We were looking for some less active members up in Stony Hill, and ran into a lady name Trisha... We talked with her for a little bit and found that she was having back problems from her job and was looking for a new job... We talked a little more, shared a bit bout Jesus Christ, and then said a prayer for her before we left... In the prayer I remember specifically asking for her to find a new job... When we went back to see her a few days later, She was really excited... She said that 45 min. after we had left the first time, somebody called her for a job interview, and she got a new job... :) She was really excited that prayers are answered, and read the restoration tract... We had an amazing lesson with her, and at the end she asked us for a Book of Mormon so she could know if its true.. :) It was a pretty cool experience... Oh, and in Church last Sunday, I felt prompted to ask the branch presidents daughter (she's about 24) if we could come have a lesson with her... So I did, and Thusday, we had an amazing lesson with her... She already read the whole Book of Mormon by herself with nobody telling her to, and knows with all her heart that its true, and she said she says baptism in the near future after she works on some things.... So..... she was definitely prepared by the Lord haha.... She's a really awesome girl...

Wednesday was transfer day.... In the morming, we drove up to the mission home to meet the new missionary (Elder Christensen), and welcome him to Jamaica and kinda do this missionary orientation thing with President Hendricks... It was pretty cool.. and its crazy to think that its been almost 19 months since I was at that point.... After we finished with that, we drove to the lookout point and took a picture overlooking Kingston... and then.. off totransfers with him... moved missionaries around to go with their new companions... and drove back to the mission home with Elder Dale and Johnson... (they are both done with their missions now...)... It was really weird to see Elder Dale go home... We had a little meeting with them and President and stayed the night at the mission home... Elder Dale got up at 4:00 am. to catch his flight, and we started our day... I really want to finish my mission like he did... When we picked him up transfer day, he just got out of his last lesson... teaching til the last second of his mission.. I wanna do that for sure... :) I got a pretty sweet picture of him walking to the truck with his companion.... 2 years of hard work with the Lord finished!!

Friday was awesome!! We got up before dawn and made it to the airport by 6:30 to catch our flight to Cayman to do a zone conference there... It was awesome flying!! The Caribbean is so beautiful!! The missionaries in Cayman are pretty isolated... Its just them out there... So they were pretty happy to see us.. and it was a great zone conference!! :) I thought I would be pretty nervous to teach, but I was actually really excited and I felt the Spirit really help me and Elder Hoffman... Everything flowed smoothly, and I knew what I needed to say... I think that the more passionate you are about something, the easier it is to talk about it... :) Everything flowed really well, and I feel that we were all really enlightened and learned a lot.. I always fell like I learn the most when I help teach something.. haha We focused on planning, studies, obtaining your errand from the Lord, and helping people get answers to their prayers... It feel it went really well... :) One down... 4 to go... (there are 5 zones in the mission)..

So.. ya, it was a pretty awesome week.. :) Pretty crazy.. but pretty awesome... :)

oh and customs finally let go of my family's Christmas package, after they rummaged through it! haha.. :) My sister Erin made some clay missionaries.. haha SO LEGIT!! Thanks Erin!

Well.. til next week..

One love!!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's All a Matter of Priorities! Put God First!

Hey Everyone!!

Life here is bumpin!! Happy New Year!!! New years eve was pretty...... lame? for us... haha.. we were supposed to be home by 6 unless at the church for the branch party... So, we decided to check out the branch party.... and see if our investigators were having a good time.. but when we got there, we found that it was just a dance.. haha...so we stood outside, and said hi to people before finally just deciding to go home haha.... gotta love it.. and for the 2nd and final time in my life I slept into the new year!! haha... this is my last new year as a missionary, so I'm pretty pumped for next new years eve!! :) Other than that....Its been a great new year!!

Monday, we had our last transfers meeting with President Hendricks, and finalized the transfer by praying for confirmation that it was what the Lord wanted... Definitely a cool experience... :) Oh, and we made plans for zone conferences... I'm pretty nervous to teach, but it should be pretty sweet... :) I always learn the most when I teach something, ... I'm just hopin and prayin that the rest of the mission will get something out of it haha...We're starting zone conferences this coming Friday with Cayman... I'm pretty pumped.. We're flying over there to do it... so I'm gonna get to visit a new country!!!! :) COOL!!

As for teaching, this week was amazing!! We had a little adventure up in Red Hills looking for a less active member (way up in the hills)... we drove everywhere!!!! but when we finally found the house... we discovered that they didn't even live there anymore... so, we made the best of the situation, and started talking to the lady who lives there now.. She asked us what we do and things, and when she found out that we were doing a church thing... she seemed to lose interest pretty fast, until I showed here a Book of Mormon... That drew a lot of attention.. She was pretty concerned that we used another book along with the King James Version of the Bible... and quickly accused us of being a cult... and all this stuff.. but we invited her to read it and gave her a copy... and she reluctantly agreed to not judge it til she read it for herself and prayed about it... .. :) Never giving up is definitely worth it!! We saw her yesterday again, and it was awesome!!! She had read the little restoration tract we gave her, and the introduction page to the Book of Mormon.. She understood them both well enough to refer back to and find things she had questions about, and she is doing really well.. She still seems pretty skeptical.. (which is to be expected... its not every day in Jamaica that 2 white guys come up to you telling you that God and Jesus Christ have called a man to be a prophet again and restored Jesus Christs church.)... but she committed to find out for herself by reading the Book of Mormon and asking God if it is really true.... Essentially.. that is all anybody needs to do! :) If anyone hasn't read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it... They can not say they have investigated this church... Anyway... i'm really excited to keep working with her.. :) So.. ya... besides her.. we are working with a lot of really cool people... who should be baptized pretty soon.. A couple have dates for Feb. 4th.. and the other hopefully Jan. 21..... The biggest problem we're having though is helping people realize that this isn't something that should be second priority in their life.. This is the whole reason we were sent to earth!! to prepare to live with God again, by making covenants (2 way promises to which He sets the terms) with him... .... A lot of them have been struggling with coming to church every week to partake of the sacrament... They had many varying reasons... like, "Oh, sorry I couldn't come to church because I went to visit some family", or "I needed to get some sleep cuz I was out late, so I couldn't come to church..." The problem lies in how you look at it... If you really put things in perspective.. what should be said is... "Oh sorry, I can't visit til later, because i made a promise with God that I'll be at church..".. or "I need to get some sleep because I promised God I'd be in church tomorrow..".. Its all a matter of priorities... and Heavenly Father should always be number 1!! So we're working with a lot of people on getting to that point... The point where they are living the baptism covenant before baptism so that afterwords.. living it won't even be a question... :) I'd give anything to have everyone see things in the proper perspective!!

Oh, we did transfer calls this week for everyone, and me and Elder Hoffman are staying together for at least one more.. :) I'm pretty happy bout that... Cuz I still have a lot to learn!! Oh, and to explain the video... There is this guy here named Alfred... that we pass prolly like 4-5 times a week, and for some reason he loves missionaries!! haha.. We always yell his name when we pass and he always yells, "My lads!!! Honor!!!" haha.. Its pretty funny.... :)

Well... thats about it for now... umm.... everyone have an amazing week!!! and CHOOSE to be happy!! Its a choice.. :)

Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 13:19-21.... (This is the account of Jesus Christ teaching this to the Nephites in the Americas.... and He taught the same thing to the people in Jerusalem in Matthew 6)... Never forget who you should really be trying to please.. :)

One Love!!

Elder Kraus

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Hello 2012!

Hey Everyone!!
This last couple weeks has been amazing!! We didn't really have time to take a p-day... so thats why its been a couple weeks... but... life has been bumpin!! One responsibility we have that I learned this week is booking flights!! We've booked a ton of flights in the last little bit... Its so crazy!! I thought working on transfers was a jigsaw puzzle... haha.. Coordinating all the flights so that people get where they're supposed to be is crazy!! Especially with Zone conference coming up... Cuz this mission isn't just Jamaica... it also has the Turks and Caicos, Cayman, Freeport (Bahamas), and Nassau (Bahamas)... So for their zone conferences, we're gonna be doing some island hopping... but the silly thing is.. most of the time.. there isn't a direct flight, so we have to fly through Florida... meaning, I get to say hi to the motherland again!! :) I'm pretty excited for that... haha... Booking flights definately isn't a skill I thought I'd develop on my mission.... but so it go.. :) One of the craziest things to me, is that President completely trusts us to get it done... Like the other day, we booked a missionaries flight, picked him up a few days later, and brought him to the airport on time... without President even reminding us or asking how its going at all... haha... Hopefully we don't ever mess up, cuz its a bigger responsibility than I thought I'd have... especially on my mission... Its pretty cool though... Oh, and we've been working on transfers a lot lately too.. Its a pretty big jigsaw puzzle.. but, surprisingly everything is coming together, and it really seems like a miracle how its all working out... :) I've really enjoyed working on that with President Hendricks and Elder Hoffman...

We got to do service a couple times too.. :) The first one we went and shoveled out a members chicken coop (it was the nastiest smell in the world!!!) It smelled like a mixture of ammonia and poo haha... and helped her slaughter and package some chickens to sell.. :) It was pretty sweet... The second one was kinda a surprise haha.. One of our investigators, Trisha, mentioned that she was trying to get some work done before Christmas, and she didn't know if she would have time to see us.. and she mentioned some of the things she was trying to get done... (one of them being getting her yard chopped).. when we asked her if we could help, she said no...... so we showed up the next morning (Christmas eve) and chopped her yard... haha :) It was pretty sweet, and she was able to meet with us that evening... Even though she told us not too... she seemed pretty happy that we came and did it haha.. :) Way legit...

Christmas was awesome!! We had the mission Christmas party on Friday (the 23rd)... It was crazy!! President Hendricks asked me to teach a pretty big portion of the spiritual program, and conduct the meeting and I was shakin in my boots!! haha... I was so nervous!! The whole mission was there, plus BYU TV was filmin it as well... But it turned out well.. after like the first 10 min... I was able to stop stumblin over my words, and say what I wanted to and it flowed really well... :) It's crazy how we go out and teach people every day, yet I can still get nervous teaching in front of a crowd... haha... maybe that'll never go away... ...

Christmas eve was pretty cool... we went and sang carols with some people, and did service... Pretty much went about doing good... :) It was a good day.. At one point during the day.. we went to see a family who lives a 45 min. drive from the church.. way up in the jungle bush.. and had a little message about Christ and sang Christmas carols with them... (since they live so far. no one ever really gets to go see them.... so it was really cool).. It was prolly the best moment of my Christmas eve.. because even though everything here is so different.. ... standing there singing carols with them in the jungle, with sweat dripping down my face, and a rooster crowing in the background, I felt the true Spirit of Christmas.... A spirit of service and love.. :) and it was AWESOME!!

And last but not least on Christmas eve, we went to the Devon House to get ice cream and look at the Christmas lights.. :) It was superb...

Christmas day was awesome.. Lots of food, and visiting people... :) But the best part of the day was definitely skyping with my family!! It was once again the fastest 40 min. of my life haha.. Mothers day can't come soon enough... But I'm definitely way thankful for technology!! How cool is it that I'm in Jamaica and I can talk to my family face to face in Iowa!! CRAZY!

This week has been pretty crazy as well... Sadly, we haven't got to teach too much this week, because we've been back and forth from the airport, moving missionaries to Turks and Freeport and moving some back... Tuesday we did a trade off with the Ocho Rios zone leaders (driving from here to there is beautiful!!) We drive through a place called fern gully that is just gorgeous!! :) I wish a photo could do it justice!! THursday all of the missionaries here had to stay in because it was elections... and people here are crazy about politics... i'm not gonna go into details.. but long story short... lots of people get killed over it haha.. so for missionaries safety... we all stayed in... It was a good day though.. I wrote a sweet guitar tab for there is a green hill far away... :) (a missionary who served here before left a guitar in the house.. so its been fun to mess around on on p-days..:))..

So ya... Things are going great here!! We are still teaching quite a few awesome people.. One of them, Alexis (Lexi)... should be getting baptized on Jan. 14th.. :) So i'm pretty pumped for that.. She's an awesome lady, and has been making a lot of sacrifices to live the gospel... :)

Well... I'm pretty sure that pretty much catches me up.... :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! HELLO 2012!!!! :) Let the good times roll!!

One Love!!
"Oh and shout out to St. Louis!! Thanks for the banner.. :) I love it.. ... oh and if you haven't seen the movie "17 miracles" definitely watch it asap!! SO good!! :) you will love it!! (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Kraus!)... But be sure and watch it with tissues at hand.. It tugs at your heartstrings... :) "

Thanks, Elder Dustan Kraus