Monday, February 27, 2012

Baptisms of Sabrina and Bro. Brown / Old Ruins

Hey everyone!!!

This week has been lightning fast, and things are going great!!...We had a few air port runs (to drop an elder who was going to Bahamas, and to pick up the elder coming back, and the other one to pick up new missionaries.. )... We had about an hour wait for one of the flights, and decided to go out to Port Royal and see what/who was out there... and on the way back, we found this old abandoned settlement that looked like it'd been bombed out or something... It was pretty creepy and looked like something in a scary movie... so.... we decided to quickly explore it... :) haha it was so cool!! So that was a good time... ... And picking up new missionaries was awesome too!! 4 of them flew in (Elders Eynon, Barker, Adamson, and Daniels)... and we picked them all up from the airport around 9:30 pm... on Tuesday, and drove them up to the mission home... It brought back memories of my first day... But it was all a blur for me.. :) Wednesday morning, we did the orientation with them, assigned them to their trainers and where they would be serving, and headed off for transfers in Spanish Town! Transfers is always sweet getting to see everyone.. :) and afterwords we headed back to the mission home for Elder Tuai's last night... It's always really weird to me to see missionaries go home... especially now that Elder Hoffman goes home in 6 weeks!!!! Holy Cow!!!! I can't believe it!! It's going really fast....

So ya, we didn't have as much time proselyting this week as we would have liked, but it still ended up being an incredible week.... Jermain (a guy I baptized in Santa Cruz) came down to Kingston for the day Thursday to come teaching with us, and it was pretty awesome!! It was good to see him again, and he brought us on quite an adventure to teach one of his friends.... We were like 45 min. up into the Blue mountains... way way up in the mountains... on this windy gravel/dirt country roads that were super steep.... :) It was beautiful when we got to the top.. We could see for miles!!! I tried to take a picture to capture it.. but it just didn't do it justice... we could see the ocean fade into the horizon, but so gradually that we couldn't even tell where the ocean ended and the sky started... :) and we could see so many mountains!! Jamaica is full of mountains... its awesome!!! I love Jamaica..

All our investigators are doing great right now!! :) Sabrina and Brother Brown both passed their baptism interviews this week, and Sabrina will be getting baptized tonight at 6:30.. Brother Brown will be getting baptized Sunday right after church... :) The coolest thing about those two is that Sabrina is the Branch President's daughter, so that whole family will be in the gospel now and can work towards being sealed in the temple, and Brother Brown's wife is a member, so they can also work towards being sealed in the temple... :) The whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to make it possible for families to be together forever, and baptism is just a step of that... :) Families can be together forever if they are sealed in the temple.. COOL! Both Sabrina and Brother Brown have overcome a lot of things to make this step in their lives.. and I'm way pumped for them...

One of the things that we've really been working on, is working more effectively with the members.... Because it really is the members who make missionarywork go foreward... We are the full time teachers.. and members are the full time finders.. :) So we've been having a lot of fun getting to know the members better and even taking some teaching with us.. :) It's awesome!! The testimony of a member in a lesson is one of the most powerful things to invite the Spirit... I'm lovin it.. So special shout out to Sister Segree, Kerry-Ann, Egbert, and George for teaching with us this week.. :)

Oh, and one more highlight of the week.... Cuba was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel!!! so that's pretty cool... :)

Um.... so... ya.. that's pretty much the week in a nutshell.. :) I'm so pumped for this weekend!!

Everyone keep being awesome.. and show your friends that you truly love them by inviting them to meet with the missionaries or to come to church or read the Book of Mormon or something!!! It will make their life!!

One Love!
Elder Kraus

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy 21st B-day floured!!, Put away the pride & think of the bigger picrture!

Hey everyone!!

This week was pretty incredible.. and full of adventure and spiritual experiences!! :)

Last Friday, we were praying about a baptism date to extend to Sabrina (a lady we've been working with for a while now... who is incredible!!) and we both felt that the 25th of February was the day that we should extend to her... Well, we had the lesson with her on Saturday, and it went amazing!! :) Great lesson, and at the end, we extended the baptism date to her... Her response was, "It's funny you should say that, because thats the same weekend I was feeling.. somewhere from the 23rd to the 25th ... " :) It was awesome!! When we seek the Lord's guidance, he will let us know the best way that we can help Him bless His children... It was really cool that He revealed the same day to us and Sabrina... :)

Brother Brown is still doing awesome, and his baptism should be coming up this weekend as well.. :) He's such a good man... Everytime we go over and have a lesson with him, he gives us something... whether it be dinner (his wife is an incredible cook!), or coconuts... or natural chocolate.. he's just a very generous, good hearted man... and I'm really excited for he and his wife (who is already a member).

Venice is doing great, and feeling more and more each day that this really is Jesus Christ's church again on the earth... Each lesson is so exciting with her!! :) She's been searching so long, and is just soaking it up still.. She should be coming to church this week (its a long long ways away for her... )... so that sacrifice should really help her feel it in her heart.. :)

I wish I had time to write about everyone that we're working with.. but long story short... we're definitely being blessed with many people to teach right now who are prepared to receive the gospel.... The only problem that we're having is just not enough time to get everything done that we need to.... :) What a blessed problem to have haha.. I love my life!!

We made transfer calls this morning, and me and Elder Hoffman are going to be staying the same.. .. :) This is his last transfer, (he goes home in the start of April).. so we're gonna continue to work like dogs so he can go out with a bang!! :) Leave it all on the line and get carried home in a stretcher haha... (Not really)... It should be an awesome transfer.. :)

oh and story of the week ..a member invited us for dinner yesterday.. so we got there.. and as soon as we got inside her gate, her son (about 28 prolly)... immediently told us to get out of his yard.... (he hates us for some reason)... i told him no, that his mother had invited us for dinner, so we were staying.. and i asked him what was wrong? and why was he being so rude and didn't like us when we've never even met? .. well.. he didn't like that very much.. and picked up a brick..... i held me ground.. stood there looking him in the eyes waiting for a response... he eventually put down the brick, and stormed off... and.. we walked the rest of the way to her house.. when she saw that we were there said she'd go up and prepare the dinner.. .. when we walked over to the stairs with her.. the son came back, and amidst a bunch of Jamerican cuss words told us that he wasn't letting us turn his mom into a slave.. she slaved away all day in the garden... and now he wasn't gonna let her slave away some more to fix us dinner... .. she tried to explain to him that she invited us and stuff.. but... he just would not let us pass... so i asked him once again what his problem was with us... and next thing i knew my head snapped back as he open palm punched me in the mouth.. ... the next minute that followed was intense!!! i was shaking i was so mad...... but resisted my first instinct to hit him back.... .. Elder Hoffman said my fist was clenched and my whole arm was shaking though..... i stared him in the eyes for a solid minute with my jaw clenched and my whole body tense.... but... remembered that I wasn't representing me... I was representing Christ.. and He went through a lot more intesne things than that.. and He never retaliated... ... so I politely turned to the member and asked her not too worry about it... we could just come a next day... and asked her if there was anything we could help her with... We walked around to her garden with her and she told us how sorry she was and that she was so embarressed and furious at her son... but we comforted her and just told her to continue to pray for him.... and shared the example of Alma the Elder praying for Alma the younger in the Book of Mormon and the difference that made .. the prayers of parents are powerful!! :) We said good bye and parted ways.... My pride definitely took a shot.. but it turned out for the best... first off.. everyone in the yard who saw that definitely respects us a lot more than her son now.. and if i'd hit him back.. it wouldn't have been that way... So who knows.. maybe it'll make somebody curious about the message we have...I was able to maintain my identity as a representative of Jesus Christ.. :) and second off... he was a lot bigger than i am... and a very bad man.... so if I'd hit him back... he prolly woulda literally killed me.. haha. So... it turned out for the best... Lots of life lessons learned for sure... Sometimes its best just to put the pride away and think of the bigger picture... I'm thankful that I was able to do so in this situation... :)

Oh and I almost forgot.... Thursday was my birthday... I'm 21 now!! woot woot!! :) It was pretty awesome.... Christina (a recent convert) has the same birthday as me... and we had a lesson scheduled with her at the church.... :) she was a little late getting there... and the zone leaders showed up and brought up a bag that said "chocolate dreams" on it... so i was thinking like... cool... how nice haha... ya.. well.. the bag was full of flour... and the chocolate really was left to my dreams for a minute as the flour hit me in the face haha... It was pretty funny though... and they did give me some chocolate afterwords... :) Well... Christina showed up for the lesson and thought it was pretty funny that they floured me.... But... she got it next!! :) haha it was pretty funny.... We blew out candles on a birthday brownie together... and ya.. definitely a good birthday... we had some amazing lessons later on as well (despite me not having time to shower and teaching covered in flour all day haha but thats like a tradition here ... so everyone just laughed and asked how old i was..)..

But... I'm kinda out of time.... and sadly i don't think i did this week much justice.... it was amazing!! :) I'm really excited for this coming week, and everyone be sure and make yours amazing as well!! :) In a di lata!!

One Love!

Elder Kraus

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thank-you Brother Stone! / Get that mouse!!!

Hey Everyone!!

First off... shout out to my brother Garrett.

Second off this week was pretty incredible... So on Monday... Brother Stone, a guy from Muscatine, Iowa, where my family recently moved came down to Kingston on a business trip.... and my mom sent some of her famous homemade wheat bread with him!! :) It was legit!! Such a good surprise... and so GOOD!!!! Definitely a nice taste of home haha.. :) I've been eating it for breakfast this whole week... It was cool to meet Brother Stone too.. as he is in the ward I'm gonna go home to... All around, just a legit day...

We chopped bush for Tammy (an investigator we've been working with) on Tuesday, and it was good until I got into some mysterious plant.. that made my whole body itch and burn... It drove me nuts!! Every inch of me itched for like 2 hours!! but It did go away after that... so no worries haha.. :) it was pretty hard to focus for those 2 hours though... As a whole.. the week was really legit... we had many amazing miraculous lessons with people we're working with, and things are going great!! Venice, a lady we've been working with, has been getting a lot of persecution for meeting with us... but she's been diligent in reading a lot of the Book of Mormon, and even though they tell her that we're a cult and devil worshipers and things... she continues to meet with us... We asked her why, and she said something along the lines of... "cuz logically, it doesn't make sense what they are saying... why would you guys spend 2 years of your lives, tons of money, and walk up and down in the sun trying to talk to people if you were just trying to deceive people.... and secondly... if you were a cult or devil worshippers, why would you invite me to read this Book (referring to the Book of Mormon)... if I do the things that are in this book, I'll become like Jesus Christ... If you are working for the devil... you certainly are not doing a good job, cuz you're inviting me to come to Chirst.... so those people that are saying things are foolish... " :) It was amazing!! She is reading, feels its right, and said she really wants her search to be over... She just needs to make the sacrifice to come to church now... (its about 45 minutes away..).. I wish I had time to talk about all the people we're working with.. So many of them are having such good experiences with prayer and fasting, and reading.. its just aweseom!! :) One thing I've noticed over and over on my mission is that every single person who actually reads the Book of Mormon consistently experiences conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth.. ITS TRUE!!.... :) So the best thing you can do as members is get your friends to read from the Book of Mormon... and follow up with them... don't let them take it casually because eternity hangs in the balance!!

We also got to do a trade off with Spanish Town this week, and it was legit!!! Me and Elder Mcleod met a lady... Saunya-kay.... who seemed awesome.. we had a great 1st lesson with her..left w/ a really good feeling ... and invited her to read little restoration tract... .. She texted us an hour later and said that she'd read it, and had a lot of questions.... and was really excited... Well they went back the next day and gave her a Book of Mormon, and that night she texted them... already done with Jacob!! and she'd been reading from the front!! So cool.. :) The Lord definitely prepares people and puts them in our paths or us in their paths when the time is right... :) I have a big testimony of that... When we got back to their apartment at night... to go to sleep... we saw a mouse in the bedroom behind the curtains... so we got the knife from the kitchen..and Elder McCreaty crouched ready on the right side of them while I was on the left and scared the mouse towards him.. .. When it got close, he swung, and definitely hit it.. but the mouse ran off.. .. We were looking for it, and found a blood trail leading under one of the beds... so we followed the trail, and sure enough.. there he was.. so we scared him out again, and Elder Mcleod (who's kinda scared of mice) screamed like a girl....(i prolly shoulda left that detail out.. but no worries) and stomped it to death It was hilarious!!! Definitely quite a way to end the day.... :) We slept better knowing he was dead....

So... lots more to say.... but not any time... It was a stellar week though... and I'm excited for today... We are going up to this hiking place called Holywell with a recent convert and one of her guy friends.. It should be pretty fun...

So... Everyone have an awesome week!! and don't forget... we're here to have JOY!!

One Love
Elder Kraus

Monday, February 6, 2012

Things Here Are Amazing!!

Hey Everyone!!

This week was legit!!... definitely deserves a day by day recap ... highlight film style.. :)

Monday: (taken from my journal.. ) "Teaching tonight was way legit!! We had a way spiritual experience with an investigator, Jaclyn, who we've been teaching for a while... We met her on the street and invited her to church... To our joy and surprise, she came , and we've been teaching her ever since.. She's been coming to church every Sunday for about a month and a half now, but has a bit of a struggle with reading.. so we've been taking it very slow with her and helping her understand the restoration... Well, tonight, we watched the 20 min. restoration DVD with her... when we saw that she understood, we asked her to pray about it right then... and ask if it was true... We all knelt down, and she offered a prayer, very simply asking if it was true, and if it was the church she should join.... We all sat there on our knees for about 3 or 4 minutes in silence after she asked the question to our Heavenly Father, and without even closing her prayer, she looked up, and broke the silence by saying, "I know its true... this is the church I should join..." It was awesome!! We extended her a baptism date of March 3rd and she accepted... and though we still have a lot to teach her.. she experienced 2 mini miracles that night... the Holy Ghost answered her prayer... and she is now able to read the Book of Mormon well, and understand!! :)" It was an awesome day!!

Tuesday: We cleared a ton of bush with our machetes with the zone leaders for a lady who moved into the branch... it rained the whole time and we were soaked!! One of the elders had very soft hands and left with about 10 blisters haha It was pretty fun though... the rain cooled it down a bit and we were all steaming.. :)

Wednesday: We went to district meeting in Junction with the Sisters and Santa cruz zone leaders, and did a trade off with them afterwords (the zone leaders...)... It was so sweet to be back in Santa Cruz!! Definitely highlight of the trade off for me was seeing Rose and Felicia.... I love that family!! The zone leaders told them we were coming on Tuesday, and they quickly went out and got some sorrel to surprise me... :) So before we left, Rose brought out the sorrel, and we mixed the juice together... :) It pulled at my heartstrings to see the effort they went though to surprise me, and how happy they were to see me.. :) It made my week... It was so good to see them!! They still haven't accepted the gospel.. but hopefully someday.. One thing I know though, is that we'll be lifelong friends.. :)

Thursday: We had a legit zone leader council today.. and got a good vision for the mission... :)
Friday: We had some amazing lessons.. and after an amazing lesson with Sabrina, her dad, President Singh.. the branch president, made us some jerk chicken and milk shakes!! :) so good!!

Saturday: Had some great lessons and drove 2 new Jamaican missionaries to the airport for their flight to the MTC..... It brought back some pretty good memories haha...

Sunday: Great day at church... We had 4 of our investigators there, and it was just a really cool day!! We had a good lesson with Brother Brown afterwords and he showed us his chocolate tree... I had no clue that chocolate grew on trees... Its in these pod things... You cut them open with a machete and pull out these seeds covered in slime... Its pretty awesome.. i guess they used the seeds to make chocolate.. but he said that he can make homeade hot chocolate from them.. :) ... I'm pretty excited..

For the whole week: we're teaching a lot of amazing people, and the Lord is richly blessing us with so many people to teach.... I LOVE MY LIFE!! :) only down note for the week.. is that my scriptures got stolen the ones i proselyte with..... .. so luckily i had some new study ones.. (I gave my original ones to Kadine in Old Harbour).. that i had gotten while i was in Old Harbour... but i still feel a little lost in them.. cuz they aren't marked up like my other ones were... no worries though.. I'm studying and marking them with vigor and I'll soon be able to get around in them how I want to... :)

So.. Ya... pretty much.. amazing week.. and everything is going amazing... Everyone have a good week, and live it up!!

One love!!

Elder Kraus
Pretty much... Things here are amazing!! :)