Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015

Another week just livin' the dream! It was really different this week doing zone conferences we were able to talk to every missionary here in 3 days which was awesome. We have about 170 missionaries here! I will tell you what, the spirit in the mission is so cool right now. The goal was just to have the hope come back in the missionaries that they can become the missionaries they always wanted to be! It was cool to see the hope come back in some of the missionaries here!!!

It sounded like a successful Thanksgiving at home got some good food and even better family. Awesome pictures at the cabin. The snow!!!! I love showing people here pictures of the snow at home. They want to experience it so bad. They have all sorts of funny ideas of what they think snow would be like!!!

It was so busy and a lot of hard work. But whenever I think I am working hard I think of what my mom is probably doing at home and that she is working twice as hard as I am at home. I can just picture her sledding with her kids trying to blaze a trail and go down over and over again to make it faster for everyone! Haha that's my mom! I will never be able to work as hard as my mom she just goes goes and goes never stopping trying to help her family and seriously everyone she knows. She is my motivation to work harder because I know she is giving everything she has in her family and everyone around her and it is so special. I love her so much!!!!  

We had a great week in our area. The Aliparo family who was doing so good are having a hard time keeping their commitments. Its really breaking my heart. They are the coolest people ever just trying to work hard to get themselves their own house and land. Which is actually really nice to see people trying to improve their situation. They want it so bad and really like everything they just keep telling us that they know they aren't giving the Book of Mormon enough time. They really do work hard but its just hard to get them to rest on Sunday because they are just hard workers. I have faith that the time will come and that God has a plan for them! They are just super special to me and I love them!

It was a fun thanksgiving here. President and Sister Aquino prepared us a wonderful feast no turkey no mashed potatoes but a feast! I cannot believe that my time is ticking here. I looked at my planner today and saw that tomorrow would be December and it was a weird feeling that I did not expect my heart kinda dropped and realized how fast this once in a lifetime experience is going by. Its a little sad I am going to have a rough time leaving this place. Ya its still far away which I am thankful for! I am just so thankful to be a missionary and to wear this name tag! I love you all so much and ITS NOW CHRISTMAS SEASON!!!!! I am excited to really focus on the Savior now that I understand a little more about who he really is. Its a special time of year if we let it...Lets Let Him In (Ya we are doing the Forgotten Carols this year for the Christmas Conference:))

Enjoy the snow and cold and make some awesome sledding hills for me!!! LOVE YOU ALL


Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EASTON!!!! 11 years old! Easton is hilarious and so athletic. Man I am so proud of Easton he is doing great and I miss you buddy have a great birthday!!!! Have I ever said i have the best brothers and sisters in the world??? Seriously they are the best. And I get to live with them forever!!! I love my family!!!

This might be a shorter one but we have not slowed down a bit its been crazy busy! We are getting ready to tour the mission and do zone conferences in all the zones! We are mostly talk about how our missions have changed so drastically the last few months and how amazing it has been! Just spread the fire around the mission to try and fire them up! We are pumped and way excited! So wish us luck!!!

Thanksgiving! This is my last thanksgiving on the mission and I have so much to be grateful for its crazy! First of all my family more than anything. But really I am so grateful to be a servant of the Lord right now. Right now the holidays are coming around and some people start thinking about the birth of the Savior and what a miracle it really was! I am thankful that Heavenly Father has trusted me to play such a role in His work! I am so grateful for the challenges...Ya it was another challenging week. But looking back those challenges has made me evaluate my work and myself. Those challenging times have brought the most change in me and I am so grateful for them! I came here to serve the Lord and help people. Now more than ever I feel like I am fulfilling that purpose!

I have learned that conversion relies so much on divine help! The spirit is key to everything. There are a lot of churches here. Missionaries don't debate or try to prove anything. The thing that separates us is the Spirit and what people feel! Its so beautiful.

Alright sorry time is up! Well the work is good here in Iloilo! We are expecting miracles this week and we are going to work hard for them! I love you all so much and I love my mission!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

Very humbling week! But awesome! We went back up to Roxas this week which was awesome. There is something special about going back to your previous areas! Some families are doing amazing like the Lago family. Some were some sad visits and going through some hard times. But it was a great splits and I still cant get over driving here in Philippines. Beautiful controlled chaos!

So in our area. It was on of those week were we tried super hard and didn't get to see real immediate success. But never the less we just kept going. It was one of the most mentally tough weeks of my mission. We are trying to hard to reach those really high expectations and have complete faith we can. 

The Aliparo family are for sure my favorite!!! Wow its such a breath of fresh air to see a couple so in love with each other. Ya I know that sounds weird. But it might be a culture thing but it was really nice to see a family whole loves each other so much and trying to run a business together working as a team and just happy no matter what happens to them. Their progression is going great. But this week they had a little problem with their house and business. Something they had no control of. I will share this with you so you can kind of feel what I feel every day. So they are living in a house at the same time running a business out of it. They are doing a rent to own system where they will rent it and at the same time give the owner 5,000 pesos every month for 2 years until they will own it. Which is awesome that would improve their way of life so much. So they have it on contract and everything but the owner saw how good their business was doing there and decided that he doesn't want them to own it. So is now forcing them to move out. Which would cause them to go all the way to Cebu. So ya technically you can fight it but they are just too nice and humble that they don't want to cause any problems. Its hard because they were like we are coming closer to Christ and going to church reading the Book of Mormon. Why is this happening right now? Ya its a good question. But showed them a video about the pioneers and how they probably felt the same way! Its was cool and they are standing firm with their faith and just so positive about this. To put this in perspective a little bit to buy everything for them to increase their quality of life it would cost about $150.....I spent more than that for prom. So ya I felt guilty. That has been one of my challenges here. Its been a humbling experience and has brought me to my knees many times. I pray everything works out and know that when they continue on this path. Blessings will come!!!

Well hopefully that didn't make you feel sad. But there are many situations like that and it will help you understand a little of what I am going through here. I have been so blessed!!!!

Another interesting thing that happened was. We tracted and taught a pastor of a different church. Ya that was another new experience. He opened his door and told us he already had Christ and he was a pastor and didn't need us. (But he still said it really kind). We decided just to keep going a be a little persistent and testify of the Restoration. I don't know what happened or why he decided to continue talking with us but he did! He told us he was a pastor and we told him we have a message from God that we would like to share with his family....he said yes. Shocker!!! So we came back Saturday and had a very healthy lesson and taught him the Restoration! He is super smart and said he really is impressed with Mormons. He said he doesn't understand how he s a 40 year old pastor has a hard time getting people to stop drinking but then two 19 year olds come and some how they change. It was really cool!

Its crazy about what happened in Paris! Its also crazy I had no idea until I got and read my emails. I guess I really am in a bubble here in Iloilo. I really do not know what is going on around the world!!!

Ya it was a tough week but felt great! My testimony grew of the Savior and his role in our lives! I am so grateful that through Him and His atonement we can overcome our sins and weaknesses and progress to become like him. Through Jesus Christ and His Gospel we can progress. We can always improve our situation and become more like Him!

I love you all so much and so grateful to be a missionary!


Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

Busy busy week. It was transfer week again. So we send home the old missionaries and pick up the new missionaries including the sister from Michele's ward! We also had another big meeting with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders which was AWESOME. I will talk about that later. So it was way busy at the same time trying to keep finding and teaching families. There is so much joy in that!

BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Everyone please please spoil her! Mom you are the best! I love you so so so much. I just want to brag about my mom. She is the hardest working person on the planet! She just goes goes goes and never stops trying to make her kids the happiest they possibly can be at the same time wakes up super early to work hard in the GYM! She is the best and really just everyone knows I have the best mom in the world!!! I love you so much mom and have a great birthday!!! Because of the way you raised me I have the ability to help people here in the Philippines. All because of you!!!!

The Alifaro family is still doing great! Such a beautiful family where the parents seriously just love each other its so cool. They work so hard to run their store where they sell all sorts of food at a shop by their house. They seriously work all day long its crazy! It really is like a 8am-11pm job. But its working for them. They have giant speakers that blast these amazing Christmas remixes that have been going on for 3 months now! It is so fun! Their kids now have a part in the primary program and came to the practice on Saturday. ITS AWESOME. We just tracted them about 4 weeks ago and they are progressing so fast!!! I love it!

The Maravilla family was for sure the highlight of my week! Chris who  I always talk about is awesome and the funniest man in the world! His personality is one of a kind for sure and is not shy at all. His story is awesome so we wanted to try something different for our training. So every month the leaders of the mission get together to get trained by us but this time we invited a real investigator!!! So we just taught him a regular lesson in front of about 40 missionaries. Ya I know what your thinking kinda weird but his story is just too good we wanted to show them the power that our message has to really change people....even Chris. He really is just as cool as they come so after we taught him in front of everyone. He told us what really goes on in the mind of an investigator. Like what its like to hear the first vision. Or to hear about prophet and Joseph Smith for the first time. It was amazing!!! He did so good. We were nervous to bring him but he really just nailed it! At the end he just stood up and bore his testimony about how this message has changed his family's life and that us as missionaries really have something special and have the ability to really help people here. It was awesome and I have it recorded and will be able to listen to that over and over for the rest of my life......I love it!!!!

Ha ha this something happened for the first time. So our apartment really doesn't have anything but mattress to sleep on. We don't have a refrigerator or anything to cook with. We just do everything in the office at the church. We only sleep in our apartment. We were closing our day and planning for the next day at the church Friday night so tired it was crazy. I don't know what happened but we were planning then the next thing we knew we fell asleep and didn't wake up til that next morning. We thought it was pretty crazy totally slept the night in our proselyting clothes at the church. That was a first! 

This work is amazing. We are having so much fun its crazy! I really just want to help more people like Chris! Its so cool I just want it to happen over and over again!!!

I love you all so much!!!!!!!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYKER!!! Big shout out to Ryker turning a big 15 years old and I am sure will be on the road quick with his momma in the passenger seat!:) That is too hard to imagine Ryker driving!!! What in the world happened??? Have a great birthday!!!

Wow yesterday was amazing! We had a beautiful family come to church for the first time this week. The Alifaro family! We have only taught them a few times but their desire is so amazing. The ward was so excited to see them show up all dressed up! Their family really loves each other and I just love them so much! They have progressed really fast. And we are just so excited for them! Their kids already have a part in the Primary program in two weeks:) So ya we are so pumped and so happy for them. We have nothing but PMG (Preach My Gospel) to thank for their progression. The PMG conversion is beautiful!

This has been our big push. Doing everything exactly how the PMG says to do it! Wow is it beautiful! It really brings true conversion! This is something we have found in our area and are trying to spread to the whole mission. So twice a week we go wherever we want on the Island and go on splits with them and show them how beautiful this is. Last Tuesday we went to Guimaras for my first time which is a small island south of Iloilo. I will send pictures. What a beautiful place! 

O ya Chris Maravilla the guy I told you last time that has kind of a "bad guy" look to him is doing awesome!!! He has a great family with 5 kids. Since the first lesson he hasn't smoked or drank. Not because we told him not to but he felt something that told him he needs to change. And his desire is pure. At the same time I have never met a more funny guy in my life. He still has a ways to go in his conversion process but he has made some real progress in the last 2 weeks! So good that we are inviting him to our meeting on Thursday where we give training's to the Zone Leaders. So he is going to be our investigator where we practice teach but it won't be practice because he is still an investigator! We are so excited! He is going to be great and he will share with the missionaries what he felt when he heard the Restoration and the change that it has brought to his life! That is the coolest thing in missionary work!!! Seeing the change!!!!! I love it!

Alright 1 more cool experience this week. So we had a family the Centino family where the dad is a retired military guy, that told us after we extended a date that they were never going to leave their religion. We said that was alright but said just read the Book of Mormon and see what happens. So we came back and didn't teach them anything just took turns reading 3 Nephi 11 and wow there was a shift mood that was in that house and they changed. They were so excited to read after we left and asked us when we were coming back. We didn't give up on them because they love to read. The whole PMG conversion is centered around a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That is what we are focusing on and it has proved to be so beautiful! I don't know what will happen to the Centino family but I have a firm testimony that if they truly read the Book of Mormon there will be a change!!!

So ya we are working hard but at the same time having some great fun. This morning we had some elders buy a live pig......We killed, roasted, and ate it on the beach for lunch today!:) Only in the Philippines!!! Livin' the dream!!! 

I cannot express how awesome this is! PMG is so beautiful it has helped me feel so much joy in missionary work. We are having so much success and so much fun doing it! I love you all!!!!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne