Well, this has been quite the interesting week, man, it's gone by incredibly quickly! However, we've been able to see a few incredible miracles! Probably one of the most incredible things was being able to fast with one of our investigators. Phil, who has been struggling with smoking, decided to fast for the first time in his life on Thursday, and it was incredible. A miracle really did occur and he hasn't smoked since then! It was the fulfillment of the promise in Isaiah 58 that says that bonds will be broken by a true fast. It was just humbling to see his faith, and then the miracle that followed! He's ready for baptism on this Sunday! We also had some other incredible experiences where the Lord guided us in our limited time to be able to see miracles in the area. We received a random call on Saturday in the mission office about a man who had just been hit by a car and was asking for a priesthood blessing in the hospital. We headed to the hospital and were able to give him a blessing. He was fine, in pain, but no life threatening injuries. However, what happened after was honestly just an incredible experience. We were giving him the blessing in a little room divided into two, and while we were giving it both of us were wondering what the person on the other side of the curtain must have been thinking. As we finished the blessing an EMT from the other side of the curtain came in and said that the lady on the other side wanted us to come and pray for her as well. It was incredible to see the reverence in both of these two people as we were able to explain about the priesthood and offer a priesthood blessing. It was just incredible to see how the Lord can use us, and how the spirit of the Lord is so manifest in his ordinances. It was an incredible spiritual experience and strengthened my testimony of this work, of the direction of the Lord, and of the priesthood! We've also had zone conference, which has been fun, slightly stressful, and enjoyable! Still, it's been sobering to realize the opportunity we have to train the mission, and how sacred the responsibility really is. We're training the army of the Lord, and it's forced us to depend more and more on the Lord to ensure that we're doing what He would do. Still, the trainings have been received well, we just hope that they choose to apply what we've been teaching them! That seems to be our problem, as well as everyone else's. We just seem to fail to apply what we learn! Today we also had the opportunity to go to the temple, which was a sobering experience. As of the end of this transfer every single leader that I've ever had in the mission will be gone... It's been very sobering, very humbling, and overwhelming as well... It's going to be an interesting next transfer, but luckily there's still a lot more time in this one!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Well, it was good to hear from all of you about Great Grandma's Funeral. It was interesting when President Matsumori spoke to me over the phone. He told me I came from a very rich heritage, and it's very true. Our family is so unique. We have a family that stems from pioneer heritage, from convert heritage, from General Authorities, and we're also second generation members, not to mention the fact that right now two of us are serving as missionaries. It's been humbling to see how much we have to live up to. I hope the funeral was a good experience, and a spiritual one. I imagine it definitely was. For us our week has been fairly interesting! It's been an exciting and busy week because we've been able to go on 3 exchanges! I will definitely say that exchanges are probably the most enjoyable part of being an Assistant. Haha It's kind of sad, I just love missionary work so much, and when we're out on exchanges I'm super pumped and excited, and when we head on back to the office I just automatically get kind of down, without even thinking about it. It's something I've noticed recently, and I'm trying to learn how to love office work as much as I love work in the field, haha but it's definitely tough. Elder Pierucci pointed out that it's a good pointer for a career choice for me. Apparently I'm a people person, never would have thought that one, but I love working and serving people face to face. Granted, office work is service, but it's definitely not the same. Still it was an exciting week, we were down in the city for a little bit, and then I was speaking Spanish, it was awesome! We also had the opportunity to see Alex Boye perform here at the Visitor's Center twice, we went with a member of the ward who was excommunicated but who is now working through the repentance process in order to return, and no worries, we received permission to be working with him. It's sad to see that someone could fall so far, but it is a testament of the power of the atonement. That even a man who has fallen so far from where he was can still receive complete forgiveness. The Atonement has become more and more of a miracle for me as I see it work in the lives of all these people. We also went with Phil. Man, that guy is so incredible. He lost his job this week, and it happened as he was on his way to the Visitor's Center for an appointment with us. He said normally if that had happened to him he would have gone out drinking, or looking for something to do, but instead he came to the Visitor's Center looking for help from God. Then just yesterday he texted us in the morning saying that he'd woken up with something of a spiritual thirst and that he was going to head down there by himself to just think, meditate, and walk around the temple. It's so incredible to see how God is working with him. It's another testament to me that in all reality we really do nothing as missionaries, we just get blessed enough to see the Lord work through these people, and sometimes through us as well!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Man, time flies by so quickly I'm not even sure what happened this week...Honestly, haha I have no idea what happened! Alrighty, I'll try my best to remember some things that we've done, I know we've done a lot, I'm just not sure what it is. This last Friday we had Leadership training meeting which was definitely an interesting experience. It's really weird sitting on the other side of the room, conducting, and then giving the "Assistants workshop". However, our workshop turned out well and hopefully the mission leaders were able to get what they needed from it and can now pass it on to the rest of the mission. That's also a really weird thing, with every workshop we give to the Leaders we're effectively training the mission because they will now be passing on that workshop to the rest of the mission... Man, it's a heavy responsibility, and super weird to see the way missionaries listen and look at us, they even quote us sometimes, it's actually pretty awkward! It's interesting seeing things at this level, you can notice trends and kind of the feel of the mission. Recently we've noticed that the mission seems to be struggling to find a little bit of fire, so that has been the focus of a few of the trainings, trying to build the mission's fire. Being in this position has really helped me realize how much thought goes into directing the mission, and how much work really is done behind the scenes to make things happen, it's honestly crazy how much stuff is done that most people don't even get to see. We also had a cool lesson with our investigator Phil. Man, he is incredibly prepared! We made him a calendar with all the events leading to baptism and he loved it! He's ready to be baptized on the 1st of July and is steadily working towards that goal. He came to church this Sunday dressed in a white shirt and said that after church he was just going to go home, eat, and read in the Book of Mormon for a few hours! Man, it's always so incredible to meet such prepared people! Other interesting experiences have been planning with President and Sister Matsumori. It's been really cool to have the opportunity to work with the Matsumoris on a much more personal level. We've been able to have essentially business dinners and planning sessions with them where they honestly treat us as if our opinion matters, and I believe that it honestly does. They are incredible people, and we've already learned a ton from them, and I'm extremely grateful that now I have the opportunity to learn from them at a more intense level. It's been an interesting week with a lot of random experiences, going on a brief exchange in the city, talking to some interesting people, and learning more about how the spirit guides us. We've been able to better see the Lord guiding our efforts, as well as granting us some inspiration on leadership, councils, and life in general. It feels like my learning experience has been accelerated once again! Still, it's incredible, and still overwhelming, but the Lord has definitely sustained me, I only hope I'll be able to fill this role once Elder Pierucci goes home...
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Wow, this week has flown by, it's Thursday and it still feels like it's like Monday or something like that... Man, so being an Assistant is a lot different, very humbling, stressful, fun, rewarding, and super crazy... Haha man I honestly can't even explain it. I'm not sure what all we did, but man did we do a lot! We even got to do some teaching! So here in this mission the call of an Assistant is a lot different from any other missionary calling. When I was called to be a Zone Leader I thought it was different, but this is on a different level. Man, it is honestly nothing at all like being a normal missionary, in fact President described it as a job, just a really hard job with lots of long hours! Haha man, it's already been one crazy week. There's a ton of stuff I have to learn, because after this transfer I will be the only person in the mission that has any idea what being an assistant is like. It's honestly kind of stressing me out, but I'm learning to trust more and more in the promise that he whom the Lord calls He qualifies. Still, it's been crazy, I've pretty much just felt like an Assistant to the Assistants, just kind of following them around. It's super weird. Anyways to give you a run down of what kinds of things we do, I honestly don't know what to say. This week was especially crazy with Transfers. I did get to participate in the Transfers process, and it turns out that it's actually the Assistants that do a lot of the transfers and then we get together with President to work out some of the details and see if the transfers are in accordance with the will of the Lord. It's been interesting to learn a little bit more about receiving revelation and inspiration for things that are as detailed as this. Who their companions should be, the areas, etc. It's been crazy and a huge learning experience. Needless to say I'm pretty sure God decided that Elder Croft needed to be humbled even more, because man has it been one humbling experience... The Lord definitely sustains us in our calling, the mission also sustains us, and it's been humbling to see and feel it all. Other incredible and random things happened. For example we picked up the new missionaries and we were able to be with them for an entire day, seeking revelation as to who their trainers should be. It was an interesting experience... It's weird to see them beginning, and not going to lie, it made me extremely nostalgic (Lethargic ;)) for the beginning of my mission. We then also had the opportunity to drop off the missionaries who have finished their missions at the airport. Now that was an intense experience. The mission is flying by far too quickly, and it's hard to believe that so many of these missionaries that I've served with for so long are really going home... Other things we did, we moved in a bunch of people, slept very little, and had the opportunity to serve and get to know a lot more missionaries! It's been probably one of the most intense experiences of my life, but it's been fun, and I'm sure it'll only continue to be more fun as well as challenging! We also had the opportunity to do a little bit of "normal" missionary work. We have one investigator named Phil. He's a super cool guy in his mid-30's, a friend of one of the members here in the ward. He's incredibly ready and we had a VC appointment with him where he accepted a baptismal date for the 1st of July! Man, he's super cool and just willing to make changes in his life. It's weird though because he's a white guy... Yeah, it's super sad... The Assistant's area is an english area... I no longer get to speak Spanish all the time... It's actually been a pretty hard transition, I've been going through culture shock being around white/rich people... Man, we eat with utensils, there are multiple utensils in a meal, there are no tortillas, they're super sarcastic and cold, haha they're responsible in terms of appointments. Man, it's been super super weird. Not to mention the fact that I'm now in an English ward again, in one of the highest tithing paying wards in the entire world! I'm in the Kentlands ward by the way. Yeah, the Marriott's live right around here, a lot of the people in the ward are multi-millionaires. Man, it's been crazy, definitely a completely different mission! By the way sorry if this letter makes no sense, haha I'm slightly tired and my mind is still just running at a million miles per hour! Still it's been awesome, we've had some cool missionary experiences in the form of random Street Contacts which were some tender mercies, because I definitely miss sharing the gospel the same amount as we did before! Still, I really do love this assignment, it's an opportunity to grow in so many ways, and we've already had the opportunity to get to know President and Sister Matsumori a little more, and it's been cool to see that while they are incredible, they are also still human and have their doubts, fears, stresses, etc. As for other info, we don't live in the mission home, though we visit it frequently, we just have a normal apartment, and we may not get to write home every Wednesday just because we don't always have p-days now, so it'll come a little sporadically, but I'll definitely still try and write every week, even if it's a little short!
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Ok, so I'm not entirely sure what I did this week because I left my planner in the car, but I'll do my best to remember. If I remember right we did a lot of transfer recommendations and Stake correlation, or in other words planning! Haha but it's ok, I've become much more accustomed to it, and I've been able to see the value of what we do in helping the missionaries, so it's not so bad, though at times it would still be nice to have a little more time in our area. However, we've had some interesting experiences. First of all we taught Doris and Anastacio and reviewed the baptismal questions with them because they wanted to know what the requirements were for baptism. Haha well that was interesting, luckily we've got out all their doubts right now, and there were a lot of them! Pretty much a doubt on every question, but it's all good, they're very willing to learn and just have honest questions, so hopefully it won't be too difficult to help them recognize the answers, as well as help them recognize that it's really the spirit they felt that matters and not any of the questions that they have. We also had some interesting experiences, one where we were teaching a guy and he told us about a fairly grievous sin. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that it's a pretty grievous one. However, it's definitely once again helped me see how much my love has grown, even for, and perhaps especially for those who have wandered very far down those paths of sin. He's extremely repentant, and it's been incredible to see how the atonement has begun to work in his life. It's also been fun because we've been able to serve the members of our zone in other ways, a little different than normal. We have some areas that have really been struggling to find, so we decided to go into one of their areas and just kind of do the grunt work for them while they went and worked with members and less-actives. It was pretty cool because number one we met a guy from Kenya, and I got to use my limited amount of Swahili. "Jambo Bwana! Habari Gani? Nzuri Sana!, Ninajua Yesu Kristo Anaishi!" haha and he was super cool and later that evening became their first new investigator for the entire transfer! It was a pretty cool miracle and it was fun to be able to serve the members of the zone. Other than that I'm really struggling to remember specific things. I know we had a lesson with one recent convert who wants to split from his wife, and whose life just is not in the best shape. Man, it's been weird to just realize that many of these adults just tell us there many challenges and believe that we have the answers for them. It's been extremely humbling and it's helped me realize even more how it is not us at all that does this work. Those lessons are always just filled with prayer as we try and figure out what in the world we can possibly say to these people that will maybe be of some comfort or help. Other than that, transfers are coming up this next week, so we'll see what happens, I have a pretty good feeling that I'll be staying, haha especially since I just got here.