What makes me happy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Stephen's Baptism


Sorry, this email may be a little short.. I'm emailing at our bishop's house and his wife offered to do an aroma therapy touch thing on us to help us get better and relax... so yeah, that might need to take priority.. sorry! ;) Also, I'm getting my hair cut in a bit so that should be fun.. we'll see how daring I am. 

So this week was literally a blur! So many things happened.. just like every week. I'm starting to get used to it though :)

First things first, Stephen got baptized last night!! It was amazingggggg. He is such a cool guy and we are so honored to have been able to teach him. His testimony is incredible and he is so excited to go out and start sharing the gospel with others! He actually came out with us on Tuesday afternoon contacting for an hour and half and loved it. We ran into 6 high school aged boys who were... doing something a little sketch with a certain plant.... and he called them out on the spot. He then proceeded to bear his testimony about the importance of coming unto Christ  and told them all that they need to listen to the Sister missionaries because they will change their lives. We just stood there beaming at our little (big) Stephen and nodded our heads enthusiastically. He talked about how much his life had changed in just the few short weeks of meeting with us and said that he had never felt more peace or been happier then he was right now. I don't know if the boys actually will do anything about it, but there is no way that they will forget how they felt or what they heard that day. It was awesome!

Anyways, so Stephen's baptism was super neat and the spirit was so strong! He had asked sister Crane and I to sing at it a couple weeks ago and we both were pretty sick and had no voices so we refused immediately. However, the other musical number fell through, so we decided last minute to do our little rendition of "Nearer My God to Thee" (beat box style- the beat box) and I strummed my fiddle like a ukulele. It was super short notice, and we were both quite nervous, but Stephen practically begged us to do it.. so we gave in. It went surprisingly well and our little Stephen even teared up. It was pretty cool. 
Stephen's friend Christian (who we have been teaching for a couple weeks) came to the baptism as well and afterwards said he also wanted to join the church! He is an incredible young man as well and actually read 200 pages of the Book of Mormon in just a couple weeks! He said when he starts reading, he doesn't want to eat, sleep, or think about girls (which is a big deal for him because he's quite the ladies man). Anyways, he told us "yeah I had a moment with that book, I tell ya what!' Another proud parent moment right there, just saying. 

And last thing real quick.. we've been teaching some awesome girls lately!! Ceairra, Daniella, and Kyra. They all want to be baptized and know the church is true, but all of their families are completely against it (Well Kyra's is in the Philippines so they don't really know much..). But regardless, each of these amazing ladies have prayed and decided that it is true and they are going to move forward with what they know and with what God wants them to do, even if their family completely rejects them. It got me thinking about what it means to really do what we know is right and to not be ashamed. In 1 Nephi 8:24-25, it talks about the group of people that clung to the iron rod but once they partook of the fruit (or the love of God) they were ashamed. There is also a scripture in Romans 1:16 that talks about not being ashamed of the gospel and of doing what we know is right. That is something we all may have struggled with at sometime in our life as members of the church...and I decided that I never want to be that person who is ashamed or embarrassed because of what I do and what I believe. (Currently I'm working on not being embarrassed when I have to get out of the car and back Sister Crane up...hah). But yeah, I'm out of time, but I just want you to know that I love this gospel and I love being a missionary and I will never be ashamed of it. 

Loads of other amazing things happened... but I'll have to save that until next time. time to go get my massage on...;) I love you all! Have an incredible week :)

Sister Kraus

Monday, April 21, 2014

Because of Him


Happy Easter yesterday!! :) Before I forget, if you haven't already seen it, go to youtube and type in "Because of Him" and watch it like 3 times. It's truly amazing and WILL make you cry.. at least if you're a baby like me. The church did such an incredible job and it has already reached almost 2 million people in 1 week! Sunday was AWESOME. I had the opportunity to play in another ward's sacrament meeting again and it was so fun to see the little kids get up and sing! Literally brought me to tears.. and really made me want to be a mom.. but I shall wait :) I also started thinking about the words to the song "Savior, Redeemer" before it was my turn to play (I accompanied a lady who sang it) and the feeling of gratitude and complete amazement for my Savior totally overwhelmed me and I was once again crying right before I started playing...which makes it really hard to sound good in case you were wondering. Yeah I was a little embarrassed... but I got it together and it ended up going ok :)

So this week was once again full of amazing experiences. I feel like I say that every week, but it really is true! Monday night we met a girl named Kyra who is from the Philippines. She is living here by herself and went to church last week by herself because she was looking for something better in her life. We taught her about the restoration of the church and Joseph Smith and invited her to be baptized and she said yes! She still needs to read more of the Book of Mormon and to pray to know it is true, but she said she felt the spirit really strong when we taught her and that she already knew everything we said was true. What incredible faith, and to have that desire to act on that little bit of faith so quickly.. she is awesome! She came to church yesterday and another meeting called Why I believe and loved it all! She makes me so happy :)

We also met another awesome girl named Ceiarra on Tuesday! She went to girls camp with some LDS girls when she was little and used to go to church quite a bit but stopped for some reason. She is now taking a Book of Mormon class at UNLV and loves it so decided she should probably talk with some missionaries or something. Ummm.. Miracle! She also came to church this week and loved it..especially the cute boys... I see some matchmaking in the future ;) She is awesome!

We've still been working with Stephen and he was supposed to be baptized yesterday but decided to have one last hurrah on Saturday before his baptism and now has to wait until next Sunday :/ He was so crushed..but took it like a champ, came to church and even commented in Sunday School about how he had made a little mistake and was seeing the consequences because of that choice. He has such incredible faith and didn't let Satan work on him too much even though he was pretty bummed he could no longer be baptized on Easter. He was able to invite a lot of people to his baptism at church though and even asked a girl who did a musical number to sing at it! I feel like a proud parent watching my kids grow up and what not.. haha it's pretty crazy how much joy it brings us seeing the good choices our investigators make! Stephen also wants to come out and teach with us this week.. how cool is that?!

We also met some Samoan guys who are pretty interested in learning more, especially the oldest named Ricky. We briefly talked with him last week and noticed he had a huge scar on his neck/face and he told us he had been stabbed and shot when he was living in L.A. We told him that Heavenly Father has kept him here for a reason and that he really does have a purpose here! He said that he really felt that that was true and even started getting a little emotional. It was really cool. We read some of the Book of Mormon with him last night and he was really excited and said he could feel something in his heart and all over him saying that what we were teaching him was good and true. The spirit does such good work! Ahh I love it :) 

Last couple of things...We met a guy named Andre just walking around and after we talked with him for a minute, he quickly pulls out his phone and explains to us that he had just driven by the Las Vegas temple and thought it was so beautiful so he stopped and took like 50 pictures. Like an hour before we ran in to him. How cool!?!? Another miracle :) Heavenly Father really is watching out for all of us and orchestrates little things like that to help us learn from as well as teach our brothers and sisters. There are no coincidences! 

Anddddd lastly, our new convert Rudy got asked to give the closing prayer in sacrament meeting yesterday. As the meeting came to a close, we knudged him and said, "Rudy it's time to go up and pray." He responded, "Uhh me? Right now? Go up there? Ok..." He walks up to the front slowly, looked out at the congregation, then says, "umm, hi my names Rudy. i've never spoken on a... microphone before.."then proceed to bear the sweetest testimony ever. Sister Crane and I in the mean time were doing our best to tell him to pray from the audience.. hand motions and all.. didn't work. He finished, then the bishop sweetly asked him to pray afterwards. He was possibly a little embarrassed, but he took it like a champ. I did my best to not laugh, at least until Sister Crane and I got to the car. It was awesome. :)

Oh I'm also 21 now so that's pretty cool.. and in Las Vegas.. serving the Lord :) Pretty ironic, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We got to watch the Testaments on my birthday with a bunch of our investigators and members, so that was the best bday present I could've asked for :) Also thanks to everyone who has been writing me, I really appreciate it! 

Have an amazing week and stay cool! Well.. that may only be needed over here.. it's already like 95! Cray Cray. 

ps. We also met a guy who has a son named Nephi and a son named Vegas. So. awesome. 
Have I ever told you how much I love Nephi?  So humble!
1 Nephi 19:6-9

pss. Sorry no pics for a while.. my camera is MIA :/

S'easter' Kraus

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy almost Easter!‏


Shoot dang, I feel like I barely sat in this same chair and wrote almost the same email. The weeks fly by so stinking fast! And every day is full of so many incredible experiences, it's really hard to fit it all into one email.. but i'll do my best!

So Tuesday we had exchanges and I was sent to Anthem for the day to be companions with Sister Cook. Apparently Anthem is the highest tithing paying stake in the world so that was pretty cool to see the massive houses and super classy people everywhere. It was completely opposite from my area though.. almost nobody wanted to talk with us. It was a huge testament to me about why it is so important we stay humble and don't let money and riches be the main focus of our life. Hardly anybody was interested in hearing even a 5 minute message about our Savior Jesus Christ. It was definitely a learning experience. We did have a really cool lesson with an athiest though whose wife is a member. Not really sure how they make that work, but hats off to them! He was a really cool guy, but he just believes that the feeling of the spirit, or good things that happen to us are all scientific, and endorphins being released. We had a good discussion and even prayed with him.. which he high fived us afterwards and said "good work!" It was interesting but we rolled with it :) He said he'll read the Book of Mormon (specifically Alma 32 which talks all about faith). Later that night I got to eat with a member who took us to the cheesecake factory! She was an incredible lady and told us about how her son had been a professional dirt biker but died a couple years earlier in an accident. She had one of the strongest testimonies I've ever heard about how much God is aware of us and how we can overcome trials and truly grow from everything that life throws at us. She was called as the Relief Society president soon afterwards and said she loved every minute of it. Such a testimony about how serving others and losing ourselves is what makes us the happiest and can help us to feel grateful and happy in life no matter what happens.
After dinner we got to go to the church to talk with the little 10-11 year old girls about what it's like to be a missionary. Ahh it was so fun! And every single one of the girls raised their hands and said they wanted to go on a mission. They asked us questions and we told them about how we knew we wanted to come on our missions. The spirit was super strong and I left knowing that the church is in good hands! The youth are incredible :)

Wednesday we had a couple more really intense lessons with people that just wanted to argue with us. We did our best to keep the spirit in the room and just testify of the things that we know are true. The first kid insisted that Adam and Eve were black, as well as Jesus, and that the curse placed on them is where white people came from.. it was pretty interesting. There were a lot of other points he wanted to argue, but my overall feeling and testimony was just that none of these things really matter. The only thing that matters is how we are living our lives right now and how we are trying to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ every day. If we aren't doing our best, we're going to fall short of our divine potential! He sort of settled down and ended up listening a little at the end. We also taught a big man from Africa who started the lesson off by bible bashing. We were both like whoa bro, we're just hear to tell you about how you can find peace and joy in this life and the life to come. He listened a little better after that, but still wasn't really grasping the eternal perspective concept. We'll work with him :)

Thursday was awesome! I felt a little like I'd been kicked in the shins after Tues and Wed, but we left the apartment with good attitudes and happy hearts! We talked with the sweetest 90 year old man in the world named Art. We ate super spicy red pickled cabbage at our Gypsy friend's house, and we got hit on by a red convertible car full of guys. They asked for our names/numbers and we gave them a pamphlet and Mormon.org card and they wanted us to come have a bible study back at their hotel... ha.ha. good joke.  We were safe. Don't worry ;) We got to teach a guy named Akeem who is so prepared and accepting of the gospel and agreed to be baptized, but he went back to California a few days ago for school :/ hopefully we'll see him when he comes back though! 

Friday was Sister Crane's b-day!! Shout out to the best companion evah! We taught Stephan (is getting baptized this sunday!) the law of chastity and it went great! He has really strict morals already and had no problems :) 

Saturday was a little rough at first and sister Crane and I both felt a little sick when we woke up, but we know that Heavenly Father blesses us most when we feel like we don't want to work and we work, and it definitely proved true! We met a bunch of awesome people, but the highlight of the week was definitely teaching Stephan the word of wisdom. He was like, "no beer?? ahh i'm good with that. no coffee?? Ahh I don't like it anyways...i'm good with everything, as long as i can still eat my fried chicken!" He's hilarious.  We also had an awesome lesson with Rachel who has been meeting up with another new convert in the ward to read scriptures (date style in my opinion). We're doing our best not to play a little matchmaker here and there, but with them, they're perfect for each other so we couldn't help it! 

Sunday was awesome as always and I played "Savior, Redeemer" in Sacrament with a girl from another ward. That song is pretty popular these days.. and I"m playing it next week as well with another lady. Good thing I love it :) We also talked with this guy named Lavelle who is the owner of the homeless house where Stephan and Christian are both from and turns out that he used to go to the LDS church back when he was 16 and really respects us! We had a super good discussion with him and he said he used to be a drug dealer/gang banger, but now he's married, has a family and if he ever settled down in a religion, it would definitely be ours. We we can def work with that :) He is awesome!

Ok sorry this email is so long. All in all it has been an amazing week, and a lot of good learning experiences. The church is true!! The book is blue, and Moroni is still on the ball ;)

Seester Kraus

Monday, April 7, 2014

2 Months already!!

Man this week was incredible! And probably the longest week since I've been out here because we were counting down the days until general conference. bad idea.. because it makes it go extra slow.. sort of like Christmas. 

Anyways.. GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS THE BOMB.COM. I loved every second of it! President Monson and the apostles and the other leaders are truly men called of God. I know everything they talked about was stuff that we all need in our lives today. Don't ask me what my favorite was because I have no idea.. though i really loved President Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude and also President Monson's talk about loving each other more. We are all brother and sisters after all and we can show love in our day to day interactions with er'ybody.  I also loved all of the talks on obedience...Oh and the talk about the Mormons who were in the Olympics..represent!! If you didn't get the chance to hear all of the conference talks, go to LDS.org and listen to them. It will change your life, I promise :)

So this week was full of miracles. We were able to find 9 new investigators to teach! What a blessing :) One of the guys we've been teaching told us he's been reading his Book of Mormon at 3 am because that's when he happens to wake up most nights.. he wants to be baptized within a couple weeks! His friend Stephan is still as awesome as ever and still prays for fried chicken all the time.. Oh and I got peed on by their dog.. that was sweet.

We started teaching two brothers named Akeen and Jarvis and they are so solid! They asked all about the Book of Mormon and were so excited when we gave them their own copy! It was really sweet to tell them about how much reading one little book could change their lives. They really want to live a good life with a clear conscience so they were so excited when we taught them about how they really become more like the Savior everyday. 

We've been meeting/teaching a lot of people from Africa and they are some of the most humble and sweet spirited people I have ever met. One guy named Patrick taught us all about Kenya and said that Sister Crane and I can go visit his family after our missions. Done deal. We also have some connections in Liberia, so I'm thinking about a month long safari in Africa when I get home.. who needs college right? ha. Just kidding.. stay in school kids. 

SOOOO Since the news is officially out.. CONGRATS to the newest almost member of the Kraus family... ELLEN!!! My brother Dustan and Ellen got engaged on Friday.. and said they would wait until I get home to get married...ohh wait.. no they didn't..:p it's ok, i'm not bitter...
But seriously, i'm so excited to have a new sister!! 
Also, shout out to my roomie Mybree and her new husband Caleb!! Crazy exciting stuff :)

Have an amazing week and always remember: Heavenly Father IS aware of You personally and LOVES you no matter what. No matter how hard life may seem to get..Try to develop an attitude of gratitude and life will seem infinitely better. 

Sistuh Kraus

ps. Please keep my cousin Jake Trotter in your prayers.. he had a nasty longboarding crash last weekend...:( Please be safe everyone! Love you all.

pss. Sister Crane and I made scripture cases on P-day last monday and they are probably the coolest things since sliced bread.just sayin..