What makes me happy!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Applied knowledge is power‏

Ohh Heyy!

What a week! It's been a hot minute since I last wrote! (Las Vegas lingo).  The 
internet was down this week so we are emailing at the O'briens house (best members ever!) so this will have to be semi short. Man I hardly even know where to begin..i'm serious about this mission amnesia thing. It is getting HOT out here.. 113 was the high temp yesterday.. it basically feels like a hot blow dryer blowing on your face. All. day. long. But good news is that we're getting pretty used to it! I haven't felt anything under like 80 degrees (except in the church where they crank the AC) for like a couple months now.. pretty sure I'm going to freeze to death when I get back to Provo/Colorado! But yeah, life is good!!

So several miracles happened this week, I'm starting to realize it's pretty much the usual for mission life. We are able to see God's hands literally everywhere. It's incredible. First cool experience: 

We felt prompted to go try to visit someone named Celia we had met the week before. As we parked, we walked towards a group of people standing on the sidewalk (homeless people's usual hangout place). One of them named Cortez we had met a few months ago. He is so tight! He always asks us for more things to read and loves talking with us.. he loves gaining knowledge and always says that applied knowledge=power. Anyways, he is pretty stubborn and won't ever agree to meet with us at a specific time or come to church, but always thanks us for our service and sends us on our way with a big smile. This time however, as we talked, a few other people came over and joined us. We ended up scheduling a time to meet with 2 of them in an hour and teach them more about the restoration of the gospel. We taught them (Alphonse and John) and they loved it and agreed to be baptized! The best part was when we taught them about the first vision, when Joseph Smith had Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appear to them. We left a little pause so the spirit could testify to their hearts...and John said shortly after, "Well what did they say to him?? What church is true??" It was awesome!! After we told them that none of the churches on the earth at that time had the full truth, he said, "Ohh so we don't need to go to church then because none of the churches are true??" haha well.. hold up just one minute. It was hilarious.  Alphonse was especially interested and we met with him a few days later to teach him about Heavenly Father's plan for him. Here comes the cool part so keep reading..
As we invited him to pray after the lesson to know for himself if these things were true, he simply said "Well I"ll pray but I already know they're true! I feel something good and warm in my heart. Also, you're going to think I'm crazy, but I see and feel angels floating above you guys in the air."  I immediately had a waterfall pouring out of my eyes as I bore testimony that that feeling he had was the Spirit of God telling him that the things we had taught him were absolutely true. I also testified that I knew their were angels in the room as well and felt a feeling so strong in my heart that what I had said was true. I knew right then and there that this work is God's work and He sends His angels with us everyday to keep us safe, to teach those we come in contact with in a way that we can't, and also to comfort us when we feel down. It solidified my testimony of this gospel even more and made me so happy that I am able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands for just this small amount of time. I will never forget that feeling. This church is sooo true!!!! I know that if we just had the self discipline to live everyday with this knowledge at the front of our minds and let it guide every choice we make, we would be happier then we can even imagine and be filled with the Spirit. Applied knowledge is power right? Testifying with the spirit and living each day with the spirit as our guide.. now that is powerful.

There were lots of other little miracles, but due to little time, I will only share those with those who choose to write me letters ;) haha love you all and have an incredible week!!

Sister Kraus

ps. Well we have been scorpion free for 14 days now.. but wait..something even better decided to enter our apartment last night..dun dun dun.

Monday, June 23, 2014

5 months already say what??‏

Ahh this week was a blur, but I'll do my best to get my thoughts out!

First thought: The Lord loves us soo much!! It still blows my mind when I really sit down and think about it and also how He intimately knows each and every one of us. I know as members of the church we hear that a lot and kind of take that knowledge for granted.. but if we really sit and ponder on that concept, it blows.your.mind. Also, we all have a very specific and important role in this work! With the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, that is a sign to all that He has started the gathering of the tribes of Israel just as He promised Abraham, and we get to be in the middle of it! This is HUGE. Like most important thing in the history of the world huge. And we can either jump aboard and do all we can to contribute, or we can "sleep through the restoration" as we heard in the Conference session in May. I for one, know that I do not want to be caught sleeping when the Savior comes again!

Alright, now that I got that off my chest...:)

Miracles of the week:

We met a guy named Don at the car wash last week..(and quite frankly I thought he was only interested in us because he thought we were good looking..at least that's what his eyes and body language was telling us..haha) but as we talked with him a little he said he had been wanting to find a church lately and would totally love to come to ours. We took down his number and gave him ours. Later in the week we felt impressed to call him, and believe it or not he answered and wanted us to come by for a lesson! We brought a ward member with us and went to his place. He was home waiting for us and invited us in. We taught him about the restoration of the gospel, about Jesus Christ and what He means to us and about the Book of Mormon. He was so excited and said he would read and pray about it tonight. Low and behold, he came to church and loved it and even shared his experience in Sunday School (we were teaching about member missionary work). He said he had prayed that morning for God to give him a sign or lead him to a church, and later that night is when he met us. He said he knew right away when he saw the name tags and, well, what I hope at the time was a happy smiling face, that we were his sign and that he needed to come to our church. It was amazing!! I felt quite guilty for thinking he just wanted to flirt and learned yet again: the Lord works in mysterious ways :)

So we taught Edward again and I stinking love that kid. Ahh he is so cool! We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and at the end he kept saying how much he wanted to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the Celestial kingdom and that he would do anything to get there. My heart wanted to explode.. seriously. Explode. He said he wants to feel like him and God are totally good and we talked with him about the importance of baptism and how it WILL make him perfect in the sight of the Lord. He was so shocked but so excited about this and expressed concern about not being able to forgive himself. It got me thinking that that is one of the hardest things for us here on earth. We know that Jesus Christ has suffered the ultimate sacrifice for us and that we can be made clean through Him if we repent, but when the time comes to forgive ourselves, we don't really remember this part and we tend to be hard on ourselves. This is ok as long as it keeps us from doing the sins again.. but it isn't good if we stop ourselves from progressing when we remember past things and guilt that we have. Just a thought. Forgive yourselves and forgive others!! Mosiah 26:29-31

Also, some other missionaries and I put on a musical fireside called "Because of Him" this Sunday that testified about Jesus Christ. Music is definitely one of the ways I am able to feel the spirit most strongly! It was so much fun and so cool to see the whole chapel be filled with people eager to feel the spirit and learn more about our Savior. It was awesome :) Also, after the mish me  and a couple other missionaries are planning on starting a band.. it's gonna happen, so feel free to send me some band name ideas.. that's always the toughest part. 

Last thought: The best mission president in the world, President Neider, and his sweet sweet wife are going home this week. Sister Neider's cancer has returned and she needs to go home for treatments. Please please pray for her!! She is one of the most Christlike women I have ever met. Her last day with us, she told us that if the Lord thought that she could do more missionary work for him on the other side of the veil, then she would go willingly to do His will. What an inspiration to us all. Remember, the Lord's way is the only way! 

Love you all and have an amazing week.

pics: the future band.
My obsession in food form. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Touch of the Master's hand‏


Shout out to all Fathers out there, especially my own! Love you pops :) Also, Happy 14th birthday to my little sis Erin!

Ahh yet another week has gone by, and I'm loving my mission more and more everyday! We had some crazy experiences this week so i'll just jump right in. 

I held a ferret. That was cool..but really stinky. 

Went on exchanges again and saw so many miracles! We walked up to talk to a guy and his mom on the side walk and they immediately said "no! no! no! We don't want to hear from you Mormons." Then the mom said, "what do you guys teach people anyways?" Yeah, that meant go time to us! We taught them about how everything we teach is centered on Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon was just another book that testified 101 times that He is the Christ and Savior of the world. Their expressions immediately changed and we taught them about the whole restoration of the gospel.. right there on the side walk. Heavenly Father truly is preparing people left and right, even if they don't know it..he he. 

Daniella got baptized!!! And it.was.amazing. I mean baptisms are always amazing and filled with the spirit, but this one was really just incredible. She bore the sweetest most sincere testimony ever and said how long her journey had been to this point but that she was so excited to finally take this step in her life. Her family is still  not on board, but hey, they'll come around! I love this girl so much! She is such a good example to me of what it means to stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places. Nothing could hold this girl back from doing what she knew was right. 

Andddd now for the more crazy experience of the week...

So Friday we got a call from some guys who had gotten our mormon.org card from one of their friends earlier in the week. They introduced all of themselves as Brother (insert first name here) and said they wanted some sisters to come over and teach them. We were a little skeptical because they sounded quite flirty on the phone.. but they insisted that they truly did want to learn more about Jesus Christ and wanted to have a lesson. ummm.. in case you were wondering this never happens. No one ever calls and asks US to come over and teach them...but I remembered that I had been praying to find new people to teach.. so this could be the answer! We agreed to meet with them at the church building and we brought our friend/member Kenny for backup. Sure enough they all 4 showed up right on time. As soon as I saw them, my heart started to pound harder and harder.. they were quite rough around the edges to say the least: loads of tattoos and piercings, and other gangster like accessories. (use your imagination). And the best part; one of them still had his probation lock thingy on his ankle like in movie Disturbia. awesome. Anyways, we started to ask them a few questions to see if they had real intent and what their story was..turns out they had all recently gotten out of jail (committed several felonies) and were looking for something different in their lives that would keep them on the straight and narrow (not exactly the word they used.. but same idea). Although my heart was pounding and I was still a little nervous, I remembered a poem that I had read just the week before called "The Touch of the Master's Hand."

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good friends?" he cried.
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
One dollar! Only one? And who'll make it two?
Two dollars, once. And three!

Three dollars, once; And three dollars, twice;
And going for three." But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.

Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer
With a  voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.

"One thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand dollars, and three!
Three thousand, once. And three thousand, twice.
And going, and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply.
"Twas the touch of the Master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like this old violin.

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine. 
A game-and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice.
And "going," and almost "gone."

But the Master comes, and the thoughtless crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought,
By the touch of the Master's hand.

-Myra Brooks Welch

My attitude changed and I thought about how we could bring these four sons of God closer to their Savior Jesus Christ. We taught them about His atonement and the things He taught while on this earth that would change people's lives forever. They were quite humble and willing to listen and even want to meet with us again! What a miracle it truly was.

I love this church and I love my calling as a missionary. There is nothing greater. 

Have an amazing week!

Sister Kraus


Us, Daniella and Erin (member in our ward) at the temple after Daniella's baptism!
The baptism! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Dude, why didn't you tell me?"‏


Ok I'll stop commenting about how fast the weeks go because they're getting faster every week.. so yeah. Just know that time on the mission is NOT. REAL it's nutso. 

This week has been awesome as usual!  We've seen little miracles seriously every day. I know that Heavenly Father is real and really does guide us to the people who are ready to learn. We found a bunch of new people this week and it has been quite the learning experience for me (as is everyday). We met a guy named Cody who is seriously the most interesting person I've every met. He's a monk (he used a certain name to describe what kind of monk but I don't remember). As we got to know him a little bit we learned that he can create weapons with his mind, that he can cast spells, and that Joseph Smith was his uncle in his past life (said that he's a really nice guy, but a terrible cook). He also knows how to astroproject.. and has been to Adam-ondi-Ahman in spirit..but he doesn't recommend it..he's been in person once and said it's much more enjoyable. Alright! Like I said, quite interesting.. but he is sincerely seeking out the true religion and wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He came to church and a "Why I Believe" fireside last night and loved them both! I have a feeling I won't be bored when teaching him! He's pretty awesome to say the least.

We've also started teaching a guy named Corey. Now this is a complete miracle :) We were walking in an apartment complex and we offered to help him carry his groceries in. 9 times out of 10 people say they're good and don't need help.. but he actually accepted! Whoop woop. We brought up the groceries then asked if we could come back in 20 mins to share a message about Christ and leave a prayer in his home (we had to go meet a member to come teach with us in that same complex). He was so grateful for our help and said we could! Turns out.. our member (Emmanuel) who wanted to come teach with us actually knew him from middle school! Miracle! They talked for a bit and we had a good lesson about how we are all children of God and He loves us more then we can comprehend. He's always thought that God was just a big ball of energy, but he is pretty open to learning different things. He is excited to read the Book of Mormon and receive that guidance in his life!

We've also had the opportunity to teach a Muslim family a couple times.. that was super cool! There was such a feeling of peace and love in the room as we talked about our beliefs and how they helped us become the best people we can. We focused on our similarities and how we were all trying to become better people and learn to love and serve others more. It helped me realize what the main point of religion was and how if we all did our best to learn with an open heart about others and how we can all help each other, the world would be a happier place. Obviously we have conflicting beliefs that could've caused a lot of contention should we choose to go into those differences, but we thought about what Christ would say and do, and that was to show love and kindness and understanding.. which may eventually cause them to want to learn more :) They asked for a Book of Mormon in Arabic so we are excited to have them read it and see what they think! They also prayed for us in Arabic and it was kkkrazy. Super cool! 

We had another miracle on Sunday with our investigator Randy. He had been having some doubts and felt like he wasn't really sure anymore if he wanted to be baptized (Satan was really working on him) but we just encouraged him to turn to the Book of Mormon and to continue to pray about it. I felt prompted to invite him right then and there to flip open to a random chapter in the Book of Mormon and start reading to see if it would help him. He agreed (though a little skeptically) and flipped open to Alma 32:21-22. "And now as I said concerning faith-faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen which are true. And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that e should believe, yea, even on his word." Ummmmm.. are you kidding me?? It was seriously the most perfect verse he could turn to. He had been having a hard time feeling like he didn't know everything and wasn't sure if God was really there for him at this time..yeah..He's there and He answers prayers!! The spirit was so strong as he read that verse with amazement I could've cried. 

And last miracle.. we have been trying to teach 3 Samoan boys for the past month but they are always in and out when we come and the dad ends up just sitting down and talking with us. However, we finally got to sit down and have a lesson with Edward and taught him about the restoration of the gospel and where the Book of Mormon came from. His brother Rick had been really excited about it a few weeks ago, but then seemed to get a little scared away for some reason.. anyways, Edward was soaking it up and felt the spirit so strong! He had to go back in his room to grab his Book of Mormon and I heard him say to his brother who was probably hiding from us.. "Dude, why didn't you tell me about this!?"  I about lost it...He came back in and said he wanted to be baptized and to come to church. He showed up to church and loved it! It got me thinking....is that what our friends and neighbors who don't know about the restored gospel are going to say to us when we get in heaven? Just a thought.. :)

Well I'm out of time! Have an amazing week! and favorite scripture for the week: D&C 50:40-44

Sister Kraus

The pic is of exchanges this week! This sister is the bom.com.

Monday, June 2, 2014

It's all about LOVE!‏

Woo! This week was infinitely better then last weeks.. Heavenly Father answers prayers, that's for sure! I think I am slowly getting amnesia out here though, because it is seriously a struggle to remember everything that happened this week..but I shall do my best!

I will start with the most hilarious/best experience of my week. One word. Randy. I stinking love this kid! He is so sincere, so in tune with the spirit, and seeking out the truth more then anyone I've ever met. He came to church again yesterday (had to ride the hot stinky bus 1 hour to get there) and was just thrilled to be there. He is really starting to get to know members of the ward and is starting to feel welcome. During testimony meeting the spirit was so strong I seriously thought my heart was going to explode. Every single person that got up, I could feel a little fraction of Heavenly Father's love for them and felt how special and how important each and every single person was in His eyes. My eyes were filled with tears during several of the testimonies and I just wanted to sit there in that room with those people for years! (well..maybe not years, but you know what I mean). Anyways, as the meeting was coming to a close, I finally decided to listen to the prompting to get up and bear my testimony, but just as I did, Randy stood up at the exact same time. I waved him to go before me and he proudly walked up to the microphone. He bore testimony of the love he felt in the room for everyone and from everyone. He said he knew without a doubt that this was Christ's church and that he was not yet a member of the church, he wanted to be as soon as possible! He then went on to say "what the He**, I want to be baptized!! Oops, sorry for saying he**...ahhh wooops!" 

Oh my gosh. I was dying. Like about to pee my pants status...Then the worst part was, I was in line to go after him..I quickly pulled myself together, then went up and said... Yup this is why I love being a missionary! Gotta love singles wards in Las Vegas :)

We also have been able to get quite a few new investigators as of lately! We met with a girl named Bonnie who is super cool! We taught her about the restoration of the gospel and she thought it all made sense and was excited to read the Book of Mormon. We invited her to be baptized and she said "well I've already been baptized 3 times.. but why not make it a fourth! I kind of like it anyways :)" We explained to her that by being baptized by someone with the proper priesthood authority, she would've ever have to be baptized again! She thought that was pretty cool and is really excited to learn more :)

We've met with a philosophy major named Adam a couple times (I introduce him as a philosophy major because it basically defines who he is...he is brilliantly curious about everything!) Everytime we go talk with him I think my mind might spontaneously combust mid conversation.. but we're working on teaching him the pure and simple truths of the gospel, because afterall, that's what we all need! It's really helped me understand the overall theme and main idea of the gospel: LOVE. Our Heavenly Father loves us so He sent His Son to come to earth and die for us so we may return to live with Him again. He has given us commandments because He loves us and knows how we will be the very happiest! Going along with that, Love is the reason I am on my mission. I love my Savior so much, and have felt His love for me more times then I can count! Because of this, I have been able to develop a love for the people of Las Vegas that is helping me share His love with them! It's all about LOVE! 

Well I could go on and on, but unfortunately I am out of time. Everyone have a LOVEly week! haha. Love you all :)
Sister Kraus 

ps. We got to go to the temple on Friday! Ahhh it is soo amazing.

pss. We saw another scorpion in our apartment. This time it was on the drapes right above sister Robbins head..good news though: We're practically professional scorpion killers now..nbd.