Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

Hey everyone!!! Well first off a Cabelas in Farmington?!?! WHAT?!?!? Wow that's a big deal!!! This week was fantastic and we were able to have the very first ever baptisms in this area!!! It was fantastic. We found a great place on the beach for the baptism. It was nice and close to the beach so everyone could see. It was going to be perfect!!! Ha ha turns out we scheduled the baptism right at low tide!!!! Come on I am from Utah those types of things don't cross my mind! I only know how to worry about the runoff in the spring! So it turned into quite the little trek to find deep enough water for the baptism. So we walked for a while on the sharp rocks to find a good place. But everyone was a good sport and understands that we are only 19 year old kids trying to run this thing. So the baptism was successful and everyone made it back safe with minimal cuts on their feet....Ha you gotta be kidding me.
 So ya that was awesome the people baptized have really made so many changes and seen so many blessings. I was kinda nervous to tell them that we had to walk way far. But one of them answered it was totally fine they would swim all the way to the next island just to get baptized!!! After she said that all my stress went away! That's one thing i am trying to work on not getting so stressed! Cuz we still don't have much support from other leaders yet we are just too far away! But I get so nervous come Sunday morning its like right before game day hoping everything goes right! There are so many moving parts but every week it always turns into a success!
Yesterday we wanted to members to learn about the Pioneers. That is something I miss so much! A lot of members here don't know how cool the pioneers are! So all of the speakers and classes were about the pioneers of the church! It was awesome because the people here are real pioneers here in Caticlan! They are the first laying down a strong foundation for the church to grow! just like the pioneers before they sacrifice so much!!! So we have church on the main island but almost 80% of the members live on another island in Boracay! So for them to come to church they literally have to take a motorcycle then a boat and then walk to go to church.  Overall about an hour travel! Imagine that. Imagine the faith of these members. All of the baptisms last week were from Boracay! So cool!
I was reading this week in Alma and a verse hit me hard and showed me that what we are doing here in Caticlan is good!

Alma 1:26 "And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength." That is exactly how it is here. People come to church to try to learn together. We all take turns teaching and we all take our turns listening. No we don't have a branch president or a real leader but like the scripture said "they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength" Its really cool. So humble and so pure! I love it! I am so grateful to be trusted to be here!!!
Alright everyone I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week! I will see you in two weeks!!!! AHHH

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016

HEY!!!! Weeks are FLYING by right now this is so crazy!!! I wish I could just slow down time and focus on whats going on right now. We are just running everywhere like we are being timed! I love it! Almost every house here was watching Kobe Bryant's last basketball game. While I was eating I heard on the radio someone interviewing Kobe and asking him what it would feel like to take that jersey off for the last time. He responded saying that he would be at peace! That hit me hard cuz I am not ready yet! I still have 10% left and I will sprint to the finish so like Kobe I can be at peace when that name tag comes off!!!

My comp is amazing. He knows how he wants to end my mission and he is all in as well! We grew up in totally different situations tho. I will be the first one to admit that I have been so spoiled with my beautiful family! Elder Palzario didn't have that. His dad left him when he was 3 and his mom died when he was 11. So he separated from his brothers who are now on a totally different path.  So he grew up with an uncle who was a member of the church! And because of that he is now here with me opening Boracay!!! We have so much fun and I really just love him. So proud of him!!! He owes 100% of his success to the Church and is one of the many people who has experienced a complete turn around because of the Restored Gospel!

Alright so this week we planned a bunch of things to keep the excitement up about having a new group!!!! So we planned an AWESOME group activity. Since people here are so used to world class white sand beaches we took them to my area of specialty:).....A River. Yup Ryker you know I caught a few grass hoppers and threw them in to test if any fish would take them. So ya we found a really cool river to hold an activity! It was perfect! We had some games, the members swam, we had a boodle fight (where you throw rice and food on a 5 or 6 bananas leaves and everyone just digs in with their hands!!! I was so excited for it! Like the night before I couldn't stay asleep I kept waking up and checking the clock because I was just so excited! I love my little humble group:) So ya it was a lot of work but it was a 110% success!

The Gaytano family is a family you will for sure meet when you get here! Alex Gaytano is the dad and he is one of the most humblest man I have seen here. But at the same time he one of the firmest. That's a great combination. He is a brand new member but wow does he have a powerful testimony. He spoke for the first time this Sunday and wow it was so cool to hear! We have been trying to teach his oldest son who has 2 kids of his own for 2 months now!!!  He is just like his dad and has to be one of my favorite people I have met here. So humble but at the same time so firm. He would run away whenever we got there but after 2 months he finally let us teach him and his family and it was AWESOME! He pretty much just committed himself to get baptized and it was great! 

Ha ha I was able to overcome one of my weaknesses this Sunday. So our primary teacher didn't come to church this week...but she was super nice to send her 10 CRAZY kids!!!! We had a teacher for the adults class teach about the Word of Wisdom which every adult needs right now so we had to take care of the Primary/Nursery so the adult class would be successful. I will be honest....that's a rough class. Elder Palzario usually takes it because he is just a stud but this week I finally felt bad and took one for the team. But I am proud to say that I survived!!!! Ha ha I totally should have videoed it!!!! I taught a small lesson, played the piano for them (once again thanks mom for making me take piano lessons), translated I Am a Child of God in Tagalog, and colored pictures!!! It filled up all the time with minimal fights and kids cry!!! SUCCESS!!!! This group has put me in so many uncomfortable situation that it has to be good for me!

Things are going great here! Its a lot of work tho!! Wow is it a lot of work! But I wouldn't want anything different! I have a purpose here. I have a mission to complete here in Caticlan! I am thankful for my family. I miss my family. I love my family!!!!


Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016

HELLO EVERYONE!!!! Another crazy week just flew by and the clock is ticking louder and louder. AHHH I can't believe how few weeks I have left here.... I am excited but have so much more work to do here. I am not done yet. Well I big shout out this week to BENNY and Grandma Patsy both turning 17!!!:) I love you both so much!!!

So this week Caticlan group made a splash at the Stake Center for General Conference. Since we are so far and its pretty expensive to get to the Stake Center the Stake sent us a DVD to show in our meeting house so they didn't have to sacrifice so much to watch it at the Stake Center. But SACRIFICE BRINGS FORTH BLESSINGS!!!!! So we piled into some vans and made the 2hr trip to Kalibo. It was awesome! Everyone was so excited to see a real chapel and listen to the Prophets and Apostles. It was cool to see. The Stake Center was PACKED!!!! You seriously couldn't fit another person if you wanted to. So we weren't able to watch.... We spent most of the time outside. We will hopefully watch it on the DVD sometime this week! I heard it was good tho so I am so excited!!! This is an awesome Stake tho...probably the strongest one in the mission. I spent my first 6 months in this stake and I will spend my last 5 here. This is also where Talon ended is mission. Kalibo Stake!!! We will be splitting stakes next year and if I have anything to do with it Caticlan will be the center and strongest unit in the new stake!!!! HOOOOOO  Go CATICLAN!!!!

Good things are happening. There are 4 of us now here and we have been able to find so many cool people who are really wanting to learn. Never have I had someone take notes while teaching until this week! Its so exciting. We expect great things to happen here.

Its summer here and boy is it hot!!! I don't ever remember it being this hot last year. Its crazy! What we have found to work for us is we start working at 8am then come back and do our studies when its soooo hot!!!! Its been way nice!

I truly feel like I am in the "Land of Promise" like the Brother of Jared in Ether 2:8 "whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time and henceforth and forever, should serve Him, the true and only God" I love this place and I just want to serve the true and only God. Not only for the few weeks I have left but even after this name tag comes off. I am trying to become less dependent on the name tag that I wear because its about to come off. I don't want to be obedient just cuz I am a missionary or I don't want to act this way just because I have a name tag. I want to serve the Lord and His children because I love Him. I love Him and I know I am His son. So when the times comes....I won't be dreading the day that I take off this name tag but I will be at the point where the name tag means...nothing. I am still a son of God and will still serve Him and His children forever.

Thank you so much for always writing me! I love reading about all you are doing!!! I am so proud of all of you and LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne

Here is a little something he wrote to me that I thought I would share.  I noticed a comment on Facebook from Elder Dorman's mom that said something like "a cat had kittens on Elder Craythorne's clothes" so I asked Jackson and this was his reply.

HEY!!!! Alright here I got so much to say!!! Well its been an AWESOME WEEK!!!! Good things are happening. I was way excited for General Conference but we were only able to watch Sunday morning Session and Sunday afternoon session...except Elder Holland....We had to leave early. Another story I will tell you after. I will listen to it sometime this week. Haha you heard about the cat born in my closet. I could fill up a whole book with little stories like that. This place is so crazy. We only have running water for like 6 hrs a day, when we walk in our apartment like 20 cockroaches will scatter. Its that crazy. We climbed the coconut trees today and got fresh coconut. We bought fish the size of our pinkie didn't even cook them we just put it in vinegar. So many cool things we do here!!! We have the most beautiful spot on the beach in Boracay we do out Comp Study. I am seriously so happy. Everything is just so awesome!


Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016

Hey everyone!!!!!!! Well March 2016 is in the books it will go down as one of my favorite months ever!!!! So so busy! It taught me a lot and I loved it. Now its going to be a little different. There are now 4 missionaries here in the area which means the work is going to EXPLODE!!!!!! It also takes a lot of pressure off us! We are planning on renting a bus to take everyone to General Conference next week! We are all going to roll up for stake conference in style and show the stake that we are for REAL!!!! Ha ha we are so excited!!!! 

Last night was awesome we taught the Solis family which is one of the most influential families in our neighborhood! We tried to teach them when we first got here but they kept saying they were too busy. But we did a simple service project for the neighborhood and they saw. So they actually invited us over to teach them!!! So last night we came and taught the restoration. It was AWESOME!!!! Their nephew is a member and he did a great job helping out. After we were done they invited us to stay for dinner. It took about an hour to cook the food and they dad seriously wouldn't not let us stop the lesson. He wanted us to keep going and teach until the food was done....ya I know.  NEVER HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED!!! So ya they are way excited and we are even more excited for them!!!!

The Garcia family are awesome!!!!! They are such a happy family. Finding families that love each other is like my hobby here. I love nothing more than teaching happy families. The Garcia family is one of them. The husband and the wife both think they are the luckiest people in the world because of who they married. How cool is that?!?! LOVE IT. They are the family in the picture where we are eating dinner with them! 

So ya right now we are training leaders so that missionaries will just have to focus on finding and teaching. We are planning an activity to a river to help build the unity!!! THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO!!!!! Just taking things step by step! 

Alright guys have a great week!!!!!!

Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne