Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow = Awful

Hey! How's it going everyone? I'm really excited 
to tell you about my week here in Russellville.

Russellville Missionary Apartment

Tuesday: So we got to see a guy named Dick who has the most interesting life ever! Think of anything and he or his family has done it. He was an interpreter for the White House for many years from at least Carter to Clinton, he went to Harvard and went to school in Egypt, he went to bull wrestling school at one point, he is a descendant to the guy that lost in the duel with Andrew Jackson, he owns a home that was very historical in the Civil War, he owns Brazilian chickens, and oh my gosh there is just so much more that I can't even remember it all! It's so cool! We went and visited the lady who watched the Silent Hill movie while we were teaching her (this time it was King Kong with Jack Black) and taught her about baptism and she didn't understand the importance of it after we explained it to her twice. Then we visited Humpy again and taught about the Word of Wisdom, he didn't understand the coffee and tea part, but everything else it made sense to him. Then we got bed bug supplies and started to prepare to use the, for the next day.

Wednesday: So apparently the bed bugs knew we were gonna bomb em, 
because I got devoured by them and I was in agony. They only got my arms, hands and feet, but so awful! I looked like the ferocious beast in Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. So anyway we setup two but bombs and put mattress covers on. So we saw a broadcast that only went out to missionaries and it basically talked about how to be a better missionary and whatnot. Very good talks though. So I forgot to mention last week I think that we got a new investigator named Nikea (Nye key uh). When we talked to her she accepted a Book of Mormon and wanted to know more. So we went back to the house on Wednesday and we didn't get Nikea, we got her sister Rachea (raw Shea) and we taught her about the restoration and she wanted to know more too. She said that Nikea and their Dad were both reading the Book of Mormon so we gave them two more copies! It was awesome! Then we teach a Book of Mormon class and shoveled up snow for four parking spaces and the sidewalk so that people can walk in easily. Only one person came and didn't even use one of the spaces we so kindly shoveled for two hours. Haha it was pretty funny actually. I don't like the snow. Lots of back breaking work. #RIPinpepperoni #wifepoints

Party Pizza!

Thursday: Our entire got cancelled on Thursday. So we got cat litter, dog food, and cat food for Sister Wiebe and helped clean up her spoon room a bit. She has one dog named Lucy and she reminds me of a mix between Kona and Jingle. Aw she is so cute. She also has literally 20 cats. About 12 of them being wild cats and then I think four inside. So like 16 cats. They are so adorable though. I wouldn't be surprised if I got both a dog and a cat when I'm married or something. Then we saw Miss Lynda and she replaced the cat pee stained pillow with a clean one, so I was really thankful for that.

Friday: Friday we did nothing. There was too much snow and the mission 
president told us to stay inside. It was a really long and boring day. The only exciting thing that happened was we went outside in our pjs and de iced the car and made snow angels.

Angel Elder Craig
Angel Elder Ross   

Saturday: We went up to Sister Wiebe's again and got her 10 gallons of 
water since her pipes froze on Wednesday and we have been helping her out, but we got stuck in the snow and that's no good. It took us about an hour to get unstuck. Then after we got unstuck we helped Sister Wiebe get her car out and boy did she almost kill us multiple times. Our entire day was filled with shoveling snow or de icing someone's car. We did it like three times. So today we found out church was cancelled because of the snow. The church parking lot was filled to with snow so much that you couldn't tell where the sidewalk and the parking lot was. So we planned to go to a different church the next day.

Our Car Getting Snowed In

Sunday: Every church cancelled today. We did not go to church. So we ended up watching general conference talks to replace church. We ended up being able to see one person today, Humpy. We taught him about eternal marriage and service. He understood everything except what happens when you remarry and whatnot. So we have to do some research about that. And the only exciting thing that happened was as I wrote in my journal that night, we saw a live smashed cockroach. When I first saw it it looked like a Hercules Beatle and I freaked out because it looked huge! I eventually was able to register what it was and we smashed it a couple of times and took it outside. I also found out my companion's favorite tv show was pretty little liars and I couldn't help but laugh at that! It was too funny!

Other than that there isn't much else to tell. I've had a lot of fun 
going out and doing The Lord's work. There's a lot more service to individuals than I thought there would be, but I love doing it. It makes me feel good being able to help someone. I love everyone out here! I know it's hard to believe that, but I truly do and I can't explain why I love them. I know that this an important work to be doing and I'm really looking forward to the next two years of my life here in Kentucky/Tennessee. I hope you all have a good week! 

Stay classy Sacramento!

Finished Snow Angels -
Angel Elder Craig and Angel Elder Ross


Our car buried in snow.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tennessee? No. Kentucky.

TN Nashville Mission Home
So it has been a little long since my last email, so I'm sorry about that, but I'm here now aren't I?

So I went to Nashville with some of my district. I got to talk to my 
Mom and it was nice to talk to her. And we met the mission president and his wife. They are very nice people. We came with about 14ish people in all and we spent the night at the mission home. The next day the mission president put together a kind of orientation and set us up with our companions. It's sad to see the rest of my district leave but all is well!

Elder Ross with Jeff Foxworthy's
Complete Redneck Dictionary

Anyway, he set me up with my new companion, Elder Ross. He is an 18 year old and he is pretty cool. He can get on my nerves a lot like he lost our phone and he wasn't freaking out about it and just being super sarcastic the entire time. I am in Russellville, Kentucky which is about an hour away from Nashville. Russellville is really small!

Like there are some restaurants and stuff here but after that it's like the sticks. It's so small I think our branch covers four towns. Russellville, Adairville, Lewisberg, and Auburn. I also found out that culture shock is more than a gasp at cultural differences. It makes you stressed out. So I became super stressed at southern accents haha. I got over it eventually.

So I came to the apartment and my roommate failed to mention that we had cockroaches. So that was fun the first couple of days. You surprisingly get used to them pretty quickly. Anyway they mostly stay
out in the kitchen because there is food in there. I have never seen one in the bedroom or the bathroom so we are good there. Also we found bed bugs yesterday. So we spent about 2 hours cleaning the beds and spraying alcohol on them while we killed them. And we spent the night out in the living room last night because we wanted to be sure they were dead.

So some investigators/member stories. We helped Sister Wiebe clean her 
house because she has an oxygen tank and can barely walk and she has one of those antique spoon collections. They are everywhere. It's kinda cool. We went knocking on doors and met a preacher and we half argued with him about the gospel, but we all appreciated the conversation, including him. 
Humpy's car

Oh my gosh my favorite investigator is definitely Humpy though. That's his nickname for Hump Daddy I guess. He is an older man who invested all of his money into his car that he has worked on for at least 20 years, like literally all his money and you'll see why when I send a picture. He is a really funny man who understand the gospel and he made my entire week he is so cool! I met Sister Lynda and she is a huge hoarder, but she is very sweet. I sat on what looked like a stained with cat pee pillow. It smelled so much in that house. Mix cat pee with smoke and that's what it smelled like. I got to meet the Coots and they are such a cute family. They made me a green enchilada because I'm a greenie. 

Elder Ross, the Bear, and ME!
We met the Owens and dang I walked in that house and I just see a bear. Like a literal taxidermy bear that he killed in Alaska. He has also killed moose, deer and so many other things. I took a horrible picture with the bear though. We also went to see this one lady and we were teaching her but she kept the tv on muted and it was hard to stay focused because she was watching the original Silent Hill movie. So I got to see Pyramid Head a little bit haha.

Other than a couple of weird stories I can't remember like how we made 
cinnamon rolls with a waffle iron and how I showed my new district the infamous names of the Judd family, that is pretty much it. I'll see you all later! I'm not sure how I'm gonna get the pictures to send to you guys off my camera because I can't go to the library but I'll try to figure it out! Until next week everyone!

TN District at Provo Temple
TN Zone at MTC with amazing teachers -
Sister Robinson and Sister Runyon
Provo Temple
Letters from the cousins at MTC
Elder Hamblin/Batman and Elder Watters
My Game Grumps drawing
Elder Craig's Testimony Book
My sweet, sweet Naoto with a turtle on her head

More from Pday January 18th

Some additional updates from our email conversation today....

Colton's acid reflux is out in full force this week. He sent me a list of symptoms and I sent him back a list of foods that he should avoid. After getting the food list he said that must be it because he was eating stuff like Top Ramen.  

Colton's camera was late arriving in time for him to take to the MTC, so we ended up buying a disposable to use there and I sent the camera to him a week into his MTC stay. Last week I sent a postage paid envelope for him to return the disposable camera to me so I can develop it. He sent it back today, so hopefully we'll have more pictures in the next week.

Colton can read his email every day, so keep the emails coming!!

On the weather...."Kentucky is cold...15-20 degrees, but I'm managing fine."

Asked Colton if he told Humpy about Grandpa's bear and he said...."And I told him about the bear already and we had a nice long chat."

On his food situation....."We usually eat at home unless the investigators or members invite us to dinner. We grocery shopped today but Elder Ross has planned for the hibernation season so we already had lots of food. I just bought like some chips or something today at Walmart." 

What does he eat for dinner at home? "Top ramen and cereal and whatever Elder Ross offers to cook for me. We haven't been at the apartment to eat that often so I haven't attempted to cook yet.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Big Surprise from Colton's Trip to Tennessee

This is a reply to a "thank you" I sent to the woman who forwarded Colton's picture from the airport last week. It's too good not to add here!



Sorry it took me a few days to get back with you, I had the privilege of traveling with Elder Craig and his MTC group last week. I sat down at the gate near their group and over heard your son say he couldn't get to the pay phone. not surprising, as they are always very busy with missionaries. So I offered him my phone. Your son was very kind and thanked me. I walked with them to the next gate in Atlanta and I took his picture and sent it on to you. He was so cute. I asked him if he would like me to send it and he just grinned and said yes. When we got to Nashville, he found me and said good bye at the luggage pick up and again politely thanked me and left with his mission president and his wife. He was happy and fit in well with his group. I was very impressed, you should be proud of him. 

I have two missionaries, one leaving and one returning next month, I travel a lot for my job and I am always looking out for the missionaries. It is so fun to see them coming and going, they really stand out in a crowd. We live in a wonderful time of missionary work. 

Lisa Rogers 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Colton Update - From Sister Andersen

Dear Sister Craig,

We are delighted to have Elder Craig in our mission! Thank you for sending him, I know it is hard. Elder Craig seemed to be doing well. We fed them all dinner and then President Andersen had an interview with each one and I was also able to sit and visit with them as well. He seems like such an incredible young man. He has a wonderful trainer Elder Ross who is a very sensitive and caring elder. I think he will be the perfect match for him. I know that Heavenly Father is very aware of each of His missionaries and will tutor, comfort and strengthen him in just the ways that he needs.  

All our love,
President and Sister Andersen

Tennessee Nashville Mission Home in Brentwood

Monday, January 11, 2016

Missionary Arrival in Tennessee

Email from the Tennessee Nashville Mission Office

They have arrived safe and sound. They are on their way to the mission home for a few hours of rest. Tomorrow is orientation in the morning and then to their areas and an exciting and wonderful time in the Tennessee Nashville Mission.

Inside the Nashville, Tennessee Airport
From Far Left - Sister and President Anderson, Elder Cox, Elder?, Elder?, 

Elder McFarland, Sister ?, Elder ?, Sister ?, Elder Hamblin/Batman
Sister ?, Elder Watters, Sister ?, ELDER CRAIG, Sister ?, Elder ?, Sister ?, Sister ?.
Outside the Nashville, Tennessee Airport
From Far Left - Sister?, Elder?, Sister?, Elder?, Elder ?, Sister ? Sister?
Elder Hamblin/Batman, Elder ?, Sister ?, Elder Watters, Sister ?, Sister ?,
Elder McFarland, Elder Cox, ELDER CRAIG,
Sister and President Anderson

Hi Mom - I Am Almost There!

Colton had a woman in line with him send me this picture from her cell phone from the Atlanta airport!! Imagine my surprise. :) Gotta love this guy!!

Friday, January 8, 2016

First Week at the MTC

So today is my first P-day and I am doing laundry without the consult of my Mom so that will be lots of fun when everything goes wrong.

This first week has been a roller coaster. When I left the car and started to grab the first things they give you I was excited and enjoyed my day. We have two 3 hour long classes during the day and they are the most interesting classes I have ever taken. They are pretty chill.

So my companion is Elder McFarland and at first we were both pretty quiet, but after a couple of days we have gotten to know each other. He is from Ogden Utah and he grew up on a dairy farm. He loves to talk about how awful the cows were and he always wears a cow pin on his ties to separate himself from the others. My district is sweet! It is all Elders and they are awesome let me tell you about them. First off we have a saying in our district, "Oh Elder..." it is 90% of the time referring to Elder Hamblin. He is a fun guy, but always ends up doing stupid things like jumping from one bed to another and bruising his knee or spilling orange soda all over himself or when he talks about anything inapropro. Also we have a nickname for him, Elder Batman because all he does is wear Batman socks and ties. He got scolded at in our classroom for wearing them. He is from Nevada near Reno. His companion is Elder Watters and was born in Canada, but moved to Arizona later. I don't know him very well except I know him as Elder Hamblin's conscience. Telling him not to do anything and to study etc. Those are my roommates. Next door is Elder Font, he is Canadian and makes a lot of silly noises. he is super built and is super energetic. His companion is also Canadian and his name is Elder Maxwell. He plays hockey and is always the voice of the room when the room starts to stink. Trying to figure out who it is (more on that later). Elder Cox is a teddy bear and the biggest romantic I have ever seen, telling us awesome mushy gushy stories of him and his girlfriend. He is from Washington. His companion is Elder Lewellen and is from Oceanside California. He is kind of quiet and loves to take notes even though we are just talking about how our day was haha.

From Left down - Elder Cox, Me, Elder Watters, Elder Font
From Right down - Elder Lewellen, Elder McFarland (my companion), 
Elder Hamblin, Elder Maxwell

Elder Hamblin's Batman Socks
So on about Friday, we were having personal study in the classroom when the room was cleared out by a fart. And for the next two hours of studying that same person kept farting and no one would confess who it was, so we ended up talking about the farts and how we were impressed of how many times they cleared the room, but they still wouldn't confess. They cleared the room at least 5 times.

So we had 2-3 teachers the first couple of days, but since it is a "new semester" here at the MTC the schedule switched up and we got new teachers so I will explain as best as I can about each one of them. Brother Pemberton was a cool shorty who loves to "keep it real." He taught very well and loved to make everything relatable. He played as an investigator named Jamie and it went so awful that I am glad we switched teachers. Sister Miller was my nighttime teacher and she was awesome. She is super energetic and I enjoyed her classes. My new teachers are Sister Robinson and Sister Mitchell along with Sister Baer. Sister Mitchell really helped me out in a tough spot through the week and she went to the Roseville California mission and she was telling me how she was in the ghetto part of the mission. Rio Linda area. Sister Robinson is a great teacher as well and we teach her because she plays a fake investigator to help us practice. Her name is Christine and she feels bad for hurting her loved ones and we taught her the Atonement and it was so awesome and spiritual.

Provo Temple
  We teach two other investigators as well. I   
  am not sure if they are real or fake, but   
  regardless they are awesome. We taught 
  Lawanna over skype and she is super 
  interested in the church. She asks so many 
  questions and really tries to understand the 
  gospel. She is truly amazing. The other   
  investigator we teach is named Olivia. I  
  really embarrassed myself by opening the  
  door of our first meeting instead of her 
  coming to get it, but the next couple of days 
  were okay. Olivia is a very strong 
  independent woman. She is pretty hard to 
  teach because she is very opinionated, but 
  she tries to understand our points of view 
  too because she wants figure out what the                                                                         
  true church is.

So now I will go through my journal and tell quick stories about the week. So on the first day everyone who had just arrived got to teach an investigator together, so they did a mock trial of someone knocking on the door and the investigator answering it and during that part, someone farted really loud to the point where everyone started laughing.

We have gym times sometimes, but in order to go to breakfast right before, you had to be in your suit, so it was kind of annoying to change in and out every morning. The food is good here, but like cafeteria good. I wonder if they say its the best food you will have on your mission. I hope not. Another time, Elder Font found out that a Sister had similar interests as Elder Cox, so Elder Font gave her his email and the companion found out and threw it because there is no flirting haha. 

Nothing else happened, but I have never felt the Spirit more in my life than I have now. And my testimony before my mission was like a grain of sand compared to what it is now. I am really having fun on my mission. I was kind of stressed over the weekend because things weren't going well, but finally I am in a great mood. Studying is fun. I never thought I would hear myself say that. Anyway have a good week everyone! I am not sure if I will be able to email my next P-day which is Monday because I will be arriving in Nashville on that day, so stay cool. I have some pictures on my disposable camera, but my district gave me some pictures to send so i shall send them now. Talk to you all later! The Gospel is true!

We had a sweet party for New Years but celebrated it 2 days after
and thats when we ate (the fudge from home).

Clockwise from Selfie - Elder Hamblin, Elder Watters, Elder Maxwell, Elder Font, 
Elder Cox, Elder Lewellen, Elder McFarland, Me

I forgot to mention who is going where. 5 out of 8 people are going to Nashville with me and the other 3 are going to Denver Colorado South

Nashville: Elder Cox, Me, Elder Watters, Elder McFarland, Elder Hamblin
(These are the five in closest to the front of the pic above.)

Denver: Elder Luwellen, Elder Font, and Elder Maxwell

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bike Update - From Tennessee Nashville Mission Office

The Bicycle for Elder Craig Has arrived at the mission office in Tennessee.

Elder Paul Walbom
Mission Secretary
Tennessee Nashville Mission

Friday, January 1, 2016

MTC - First Week

Hey I am alive. I am at the MTC and it is pretty fun over here. There was no stress yesterday, but now I feel a little bit overwhelmed of the "homework" I have to do. I have to prepare a 30 minute lesson for Sunday and teach an "investigator" on Saturday and I feel hecka low on time. My companion is Elder McFarland. We get along pretty well, we are both quiet, but kind of manage to be able to talk somehow. They told us we had five minutes to tell you we are safe and sound, but I hope you were safe getting home. You were in my prayers. I read some of the letters you put in my bag. Very niceu shizachan! Jojo :P Anyway I am really feeling the spirit here and I hope to send an email soon. I still have to take pictures, but nothing has come up yet. Anyway gotta go! Bye! Love ya guys!

Elder Craig