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)..