Sunday, January 31, 2016

February 1, 2016

Alright this week has been the best!!! So so so much has happened and I will try my best to explain how cool this week has been over email!!!
We had a powerful powerful baptism on Saturday for Christia Barabona.  She has had the most picture perfect conversion. It was so cool! While her baptism  was getting close she had so many signs telling here how her decision was what God wanted for her. Last Friday night was the #1 most spiritual lesson i have ever been in where she just testified over and over that God is real and she knows that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is  His restored church. It was so powerful. She really has gotten the ward so excited so pretty much everyone showed up to her baptism and after she was baptized she just stood up and bored her testimony for like 20 min. to the whole ward who showed up! It was amazing!!! And all the members who have been apart of helped here were just amazed how much they were helped by Christia. She was changed but everyone involved, including me were helped as well by her testimony! So cool!
We had a new family come to church this week I left right after sacrament meeting to go pick up my new companion for a brand new crazy adventure. So Elder Palzario and I will be opening up Caticlan for missionary work!!!! The thing is we do not have an apartment or a meeting house yet.... We just grabbed  some sacrament trays and some gospel principle books and left to go start the church. AGAIN SO CRAZY!!! So last night we found a hotel to sleep in.....ya a hotel. My first time sleeping with air conditioning in 18 months!
After the most beautiful drive ever along the beach 6 hours we got to Caticlan and it was about  6pm. Somehow about 1 hour later we were able to find a nice apartment that we could move in on Wednesday! MIRACLE!!! So after this we will go finish the deal! Then look for a nice place to have church. We could have it in the apartment but we really want a nicer place because Caticlan is unlike any other place here. It is very very rich!  It is a huge tourist spot! Boracay island!!!!  It is so beautiful!!! I will be sending tons of pictures so you can see!
I am so excited but super nervous at the same time. This is going to be a lot of fun but I know super super challenging. But I am up for the challenge and ready just to go hard! This will be the best way to top off the best mission ever!!! If there is one thing I have l learned  the last few months is that this work is not ours at all. Before my mindset was that "The spirit was my greatest tool." but ever since realized that "I was the tool of the spirit" a lot has changed. I  now just try and get out of the way and let the spirit teach. It makes a huge difference. With the conversion of Christia. We did so so so little. We just tried to get out of the way of the Spirit and it was amazing!
We are going to work so hard but never get in the way of the spirit. We will focus on families families and families to give this place a strong foundation to grow! I love love love my mission and feel so so blessed to serve here!
I love you all so much!!!
Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016

First of all Happy Birthday to the best dad in the world!!! He is seriously the best! He works so hard for his family! It is awesome he seriously does nothing unless it is with his kids! I have the perfect model of a father and I love him so much! He is my best friend! I love you dad! Thanks for everything!

Sounds like you all had a successful Florida trip! I love the pictures! You all look so happy and its nice to see Ryker's wide variety in outfits.....:) Haha Lots of fun memories! I went to Dao, Antique this week for splits. That is one of the most famous places for beautiful sunsets. We tired to make it in time to see it. But we were about 5 min. late and missed it! Such a beautiful place we will for sure go through it when you come here! I sent some pictures!

This week we had a world wide training from Salt Lake which was amazing being taught from the apostles! The theme was "Teach repentance and baptize converts" It was really special for me because I have really been trying to follow the spirit in all that I do here. But sometimes I just don't notice it I guess. I pray every day for the guidance of the Holy Ghost but just feel like I was lacking a little bit in my ability to listen and follow the spirit. But during that training they taught a lot of things that we have just started doing in our companionship the last few months. I then realized that the few adjustments that we have made the last few months were not from us but from the spirit. I just kept thinking over and over. The same spirit that guides us, guides the apostles. It was comforting knowing that even when we don't realize it we are being guided by the Holy Ghost.

We have just been spoiled here with so many HUGE blessings that we totally have ignored the small blessings that we get everyday! 

Still having an awesome time with my two amazing companions. Elder Smith and Elder Dorman! It has been an absolute blast! Never do I have to worry about companion problems. We just are always pushing each other!

I got to run! I am still having so much fun! I love you all so much and hope that you all have a great week!


Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

Mayong hapon!!! Sounds like the family is all enjoying Disney World!!! I got some pictures of Lexi posting pictures on Instagram....How old is she again?!?  That is crazy how much she has grown up! And in the family picture Ben has to be on tippy toes!! He looks so tall!! Everyone just looks so old!!! Except for you mom.. you actually look a few years younger;)

Another way busy week!!! Really our job here is just to go around on splits. The highlight was probably going on splits in Guimaras with a fellow Elder from West Point, Utah. Elder Seeds!!! I am so proud of him. He is in one of if not the hardest area I have ever see. Literally no members!!!! But it is a beautiful place and I set pictures of us on bikes! Literally we were biking up and down mountain and it was as cool as it sounds!!! Just got to give a big shout out to Elder Seeds! He is in a cool place but a way hard situation but he has the best attitude and he is doing amazing!!! Way to represent WEST POINT!!! Seriously one of the funnest days of my mission...expect by the end of the day I totally destroyed his bike. So he has been walking FAR for the past few days....

This week was especially emotional for some reason. A lot of tears.... Happy and sad. The sad is that most family situations here are kinda rough. That is what causes a lot of problems. But it is so sweet to see how the Plan of Salvation changes that attitude and they are given hope that it can change. Through Jesus Christ and His atonement change is possible. People don't really believe us at first that it will get better. But it is awesome to see the investigators who really take this seriously see the results of a better family! I love it! It is the coolest thing to see!!! 

O ya remember how we went around to ever stake to train them about having a vision, setting goals, and making plans to make 2016 awesome??? Well our Ward is a boss and they all got together after sacrament meeting to talk about the 2016 Ward Mission Plan and it was so sweet and they came up with such a solid plan that everyone is excited about! And we are getting calls from all around the mission saying their units are all excited about their plans!!!! It is so good to hear!!! ITS WORKING!!!!!

On a little more serious note and this will be hard to explain over email. But here is what I have been thinking of lately! Work hard and follow the Spirit. One of those comes easier to me than the other. I think recently I have really just tried to just work work work with tons of enthusiasm to get baptisms. Elder Dorman and I really believed that together we could get 4 or 5 family baptisms....We worked so hard and saw so so so much success. We help so many families. We had so many super super close and they are so awesome and still will get baptized this year but just not now. So ya I have learned to work hard and it was so so much fun and so good. The whole following the spirit is now what I want. I just want to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do here. The problem is I don't really know what that is. I am just here to serve him and do nothing else. I just want to be guided by the spirit. I just want to do what He wants me to do. That is my next challenge to become more receptive to those promptings. I don't want you to think that I am disappointed! The quality of my mission has surpassed all my expectations! Very few people get to experience what I have the last 16 months. IT HAS BEEN THE BEST!!!! I love every single second and I can truly say I am having the best mission!!! I am the luckiest missionary to be assigned here. It has changed me. Working hard is good and I will never ever stop but I am here to serve the Lord and do what he wants. And I know that thought the spirit....I will be guided.

Well it has been a blast!!! I love this ward so much! It feels like home so much!!! The people here are so cool!!! I love them so much! I love talking to them. I love speaking their language! I just love my mission! I love you all so so so much!!! Have fun in Florida!!!!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

This has got to be the coolest week ever! I am sure you are all hearing that but seriously. It was one of the first times where I have noticed the change I have made since being here. So Elder Dorman and I are really trying to do something big for 2016 here in Iloilo Mission. This week we were invited to attend all of the Stake Council Meetings in the whole island. Which is an awesome opportunity. We made a prezi presentation and showed them the power having a vision, setting goals, and making plans to strengthen their units! I could go on for hours about how it all went down but I will just say that they all went 3 times better than we expected! We felt guided and a confirmation that it was what the Lord wanted! It just felt so good! So for the start of 2016 the leaders are all so excited to see their units grow branches will plan to become wards and wards will plan how to split. We are so excited!

So since we went around the whole island this week. I got to go back to New Washington and Roxas. And see their progression.....seriously one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The change from where their lives where a year ago and now was amazing!!! I had a unique experience to go back to my first area and we actually went to church this week in New Washington my first area! Everyone was so awesome! I think one factor was when I was there I couldn't understand a word they were saying and the people are way cooler when you can actually understand them! But I just was sitting in that small chapel again and thinking about who I was in that chapel 18 months ago and all the things that have happen since then! Then saying the most sincere prayer I think I have ever said. Thanking for each and every day! It was so cool and I still just get the chills thinking about it! Ya looking back..It was way rough being brand new in New Washington but I wouldn't change a single thing!

Cristia is still blowing our mind and worked with the missionaries on Sunday while we were gone! She is not even baptized yet but she is so converted it is crazy! And we haven't done anything!!! We have just watched the Spirit work with her and answered all here questions and been amazed! We asked her why she is doing this so fast. Cuz it is so crazy. She said she had a classmate in college who was a mormon and she said that she looked and acted so different and finally asked why! And thats where it all started! Never in my whole mission have I seen a conversion like this! People are watching you!!! The way you act can really make a difference! The power of an everyday missionary!!!

There are now three on us in our companionship! Elder Smith from California has came in to replace me as Assistant. I still have about 5 more weeks here but my time here is coming to an end! 

Remember how I ate dog in New Washington a few times? That is about the only place in the mission where you can eat dog. Well that same family found out I was coming and cooked another one. Her name is whity. Which happens to be the sister of Trixy.....the one they cooked last year. So ya I am in Asia!!! Dog is still the closest thing I have had to Costa Vida type meat!

Everyone I am having so much fun! This week President Aquino invited us to attend a training video over the internet! The Apostles were teaching. Like they weren't behind a pulpit. The were standing up teaching and asking questions. I have never seen anything like it in my life!!! It was so sweet! The power that they have in amazing! It was so cool to see apostles like that! They are amazing men! I know they are called of God and I Thank Thee O God for Prophets and Apostles!!!!

I love you all so much!!!!!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!! The change from 2015-2016 was a big deal for me! 2016 is going to be a crazy year for me! Lots of things in store and I am so so excited! New Year's Eve was awesome here! It is easy for you to forget you are in Asia but I got a big reminder on New Year's Eve. Fireworks are HUGE here. Seriously almost ever other house has a bunch of really big fireworks and they just all let them off at the same time for about 45min at midnight!!! It was so cool. Fireworks surrounded us and it by far the most fireworks I have ever seen in my life! All over the streets fireworks were lined up. 

Even though it was New Years week and transfers missionary work was awesome in Arevalo! For the first time in my mission all of our lessons where a member was present. Something has really got the ward excited here. I think its Cristia. The most perfect investigator ever! It is so fun to teach her. She is going through a picture perfect conversion that is really just blowing our mind. The ward is just working together to help her. And they want to find more people like her because missionary work is just that exciting! She is preparing herself to get baptized on the 30th of January. We also have a family with two kids trying to get themselves ready to be married in the morning of Jan. 30th then baptized in the afternoon. The Baullerte family!  So we are so excited!!!

We are trying to really make 2016 a big year for the Philippines Iloilo Mission. The last few months I have talked about all the changes that we have felt here in the mission. Its been so cool to see the improvement in all the missionaries. So we focused a lot on the missionaries before but now in January we have planned out how we are going to bring that same excitement to the members and leaders here. So that 2016 is going to be HUGE!!! We are trying to do something special here and this month we are going around to all the stakes leaders and Bishops to try and excite everyone about what is about to happen in 2016! We are so excited! I always told myself not to worry about things out of my control but since being here I have realized how much control we actually have on things. Again just a big thanks to my comp for showing me the power that comes from really magnifying a calling. 

Again I hope everyone is super excited for 2016. There is something special about a new year and what it will bring. I always say it and I will say it again. We can always get better! Like the conference talk "Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying" where he says "I'm no saint - that is unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying".  Hopefully in 2016 all of us can get a little bit closer to perfection! That is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The good news that we share everyday! I love it!

Have a good week. I love you all so so so so much!!!!


Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne