Monday, October 25, 2010

They call me Greenie

Hey Everyone,

Nothing really new to report in Ohio. I'll answer some of the questions you guys have asked me...

My apartment is nowhere as nice as the one I had in Provo... Someone could easily break in if they wanted, the furniture has to be covered with a blanket so we don't catch the diseases that are infested in the cushions, our bathroom sink has hardly any water pressure and only gets cold water (the shower is good though) (good-ish), the lighting isn't very great... BUT we have a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a nice big(ish) refrigerator, the heater works very well, and the beds are comfy enough. So it's a good apartment. It's just me and my companion in our apartment. Every companionship has their own apartment.

We rarely have to cook because the members are pretty good at feeding us. What do they feed us? Hmm... Pretty much everything. I haven't had any pulled-pork sandwiches yet. Yesterday for lunch we had turkey, stuffing, baked potato and for dinner spaghetti and chicken. My first meal was nasty meatloaf, I've had lasagna, breakfast for dinner, pizza, get taken to eat out 3 or 4 times... So pretty much what you'd find back home.

Our ward is having a trunk-or-treat on Wednesday and they've asked us missionaries (There are 4 of us) to be the chili cook off judges. Ha.

What did I do this past week.... Visited a lot of non-members, knocked on a lot of doors - found a couple future potentials (but not interested at the moment), gave a talk in church yesterday, aaand yeah. Our talks went very well yesterday. They asked us 4 missionaries in the ward to speak about member referrals, teaching with the Spirit, how to find people, and how to improve your teaching. I talked about how to improve your teaching. I think I talked a little bit too fast, but otherwise it went awesome. We got tons of compliments afterwards. Hopefully now the ward will be better about member referrals (finding people we can teaching)!

I can't believe I forgot my camera AGAIN! I know you all probably hate me right now! Maybe I can get back to the library later today and send some. But don't count on it... 

I was told yesterday that if I don't tell people I've only been out a week and a half that nobody would be able to tell. So that's cool. I'm already a pro missionary ;) 

This week we'll be riding bikes a lot because the weather  supposed to be nice. We have a car and have been using it pretty much all the time since I've been here - our area is pretty big and some places are unsafe to ride in. But we're cutting it close with our miles (we get 950 miles per month or something) so we're going to bike it up. My companion drives; my job is to answer calls while in the car and back him up out of parking spots (I guess a lot of accidents come from backing up). Before new missionaries can be allowed to drive, we have to successfully teach all 5 lessons to our companion, do a few reading assignments, fill out some paperwork, etc. And I think you can't drive your first 6 weeks (first transfer) - that is unless your companion has his driving privileges taken away. They have these things called Tiwi's in the cars. They're little boxes that monitor your driving. If you're speeding, a voice says "Speeding Violation" and you have 10 seconds to slow down. You can also get in trouble for reckless driving (so we have to be careful of potholes), vertical violation (all 4 wheels are off the ground), not buckling your seat belt... So we're pretty monitored when driving. And if you get too many violations your driving privilege is taken away. Oh! And if we get a ticket for any reason, my companion and I have to split the cost.

Everything is pretty much the same. Yesterday we got a pretty cool thunder/lightening storm. The thunder was loud and it looked like it was raining leaves! (when the rain pounded on the trees...). Leaves are EVERYWHERE here. In some yards you can't see any grass, just leaves. Sacramento is not the city of trees...

Thank you everyone for the letters and packages. Everyone who has written me, I've written you back. So if you didn't get mail back, then you gave me a wrong address. Hope everyone is doing well. Know that I am doing great and am in the Lord's hands. 

The hardships that come with this mission strengthens my testimony everyday. There is opposition in all things, and missionary work isn't supposed to be easy. It's amazing the difference I can see in the lives of members/inactives/nonmembers. There's almost a physical difference, like a light that is present or missing. I guess that's the "glow" you hear people talk about. As I read and study the Book of Mormon more, my knowledge and understanding of Christ grows so much. The only way we can know if the Book of Mormon is true is if we read, ponder, and pray about it. If you do this, you will receive an answer. And if the Book of Mormon is true, that means that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and everything else in this gospel falls into place. The concept of prayer is amazing and I find myself relying on it more and more as the days go on. I know that when we pray, our Heavenly Father listens. Although it's a hard mission, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I can't wait to find those elect persons who are ready to hear our message and can put themselves on the path towards eternal life.

Love and miss you all,
Elder David Dransfield

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pictures of David going to the MTC 9-22-10

It hailed the morning David went to the MTC

In front of the LDS Provo Temple

Ready to go to the MTC

Arriving at the MTC

My new friends at the MTC

It hailed the morning David was reporting at the MTC... a preview of Ohio weather!

Arriving in SLC 9-21-10

I'm in Ohio!

Hey everyone,

I'm in Ohio! Finally! It's awesome! I have lots to write about, but first here's my new address:

Elder David R. Dransfield
1779 Tremainsville Apt. 109
Toledo, Ohio 43613

On Tuesday we got to the airport at around 5:30-6ish and our flight to Detroit was supposed to leave at 7-something. When we were walking towards the Delta check-in, an elder and sister missionary also going to the Cleveland mission told us that Elder Dransfield needed to come with them - the three of us didn't have plane tickets. For some reason our information never processed and us three (plus two other sisters, and two other elders) didn't have a way of getting to Ohio. So Delta sent us to American Airlines who sent us back to Delta who sent us to Continental (meanwhile we're on the phone with Salt Lake the whole time trying to figure everything out). Slowly but surely we all get flights (on different airlines) and me, an elder, and a sister are left to catch a flight that leaves in 20 minutes. So we asked everyone in security if we could cut and litterally ran across the airport just barely making our flight to Denver. From Denver we flew to Cleveland where President and Sister Sorensen were waiting to pick us up. Of us 12 elders and 3 sisters, we were on 4 different flights to Cleveland, so we were all coming in at different times - it was a nightmare. But we made it.

We were taken to the mission home and were given the rundown of what to expect, the rules, who to talk to for different things.. We were interviewed, talked about our medical info, did some roleplaying, testimony meeting, went to bed. Oh, and an awesome dinner. After 3 weeks in the MTC, the dinner and beds and shower and such were heavenly. The next morning we got our info about our trainer and area and then headed to Kirtland. Kirtland was very cool (I was going to bombbard you with pictures......but....I forgot the cord for my camera :/ sorry. Next week!). We were taken through the N.K. Whitney store/School of prophets and watched a film about Kirtland - very cool. After that we were paired up with our new companions! My companion is Elder Perkins, he's been out for 7 1/2 months, from Kanab, Utah. We are serving in Point Place - it's a big area, in the very top, very left part of the mission. Downtown Toledo is pretty ghetto/sketchy/scary/be-careful-or-you'll-get-jumped. It's awesome!

This next paragraph is going to be all about Elder Perkins because he's butt-hurt that all I wrote is where he's from. Elder Perkins... where do I start? He's been an awesome trainer/companion. The mission is pretty hard ( sucks) and so he makes it fun. He's teaching me pretty much everything I need to know and we get along great. So I'm lucky to have a normal/cool companion. Ha. He's also the best looking elder out here - or so he says.... <-- we have a good time/laugh all the time. BUT we work hard too! It's pretty easy to get discouraged out here so Perkins has been really good to me as I transition into this new setting.

We haven't taught anyone yet. We go to a lot of non-active members because more than half the ward is inactive. We tract a lot (knocking on doors) but always get the same response. It's nice when people will be nice to us and not slam the door in our face or yell at us (those of you who are not LDS and reading this, be nice to the missionaries. Please and thank you). We talked to a man yesterday who was interested in hearing about Jesus, so we're going back tonight to teach him. Hopefully it will go well! The ward here is awesome! Everyone is so nice and fun and church is very different - the same structure, but a lot less....professional I guess you could say? It's awesome. And small! Their chapel HARDLY gets filled. We do get fed almost every day, so they're good about that. Everyone laughs when I say I'm from California because I'm going to die this winter.

Ohio is nothing like I expected. The weather has been good though is quickly cooling off. The trees have pretty much all already undergone that change, but as we drove away from Kirtland there were a few areas off the highway that looked like an ocean of trees and colors - it was way cool. Now all the trees are dumping their leaves so there are piles of leaves on literally every street. This part of the US is like a different world than California. I've only really lived/been in Ca and Utah so it's definitely very different from what I'm used to. The people here don't seem as happy as back west... Everyone just looks depressed (by the time I'm through here, they'll all be filled with joy!). The sky here always has awesome clouds in it, that's cool. I don't really know what else to talk about. Like I wrote about above, there are some parts of Toledo that we don't go through (especially at night) because it's dangerous. There are gangs here and some areas just aren't safe. But we've been good so far, I'm not scared that anything is going to happen.

Life is good though. Hard, but good. I'll probably be in Point Place for a while, so I'll get to know the members/the area pretty well. My companion and I are both dreading the winter here; pray for us. I wrote down and put on my wall this scripture: Alma 26:27 "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst they brethren, the [Ohians], and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." Obviously I added "Ohians," and I wouldn't say I'm depressed, but it definitely isn't as easy out here as the MTC made it out to be. It's tough. And after so many doors slammed in your face, all you want to do is go back to your apartment and sit there. But I know I'm out here for a reason, and I wont let the hardships bring me down.

In our mission, only 0.2 or 2 (can't remember) precent of people are LDS. It amazes me to see the difference between those with and without the gospel. The brightness about the countenance. The happiness and true joy they express and have in their lives. We went and talked to a less-active woman yesterday (the less-actives love when we visit by the way) and she admitted that she's been trying to forget about the church, about us missionaries, because it's not easy to be Mormon, but she can't get the church or the Book of Mormon or us out of her head. She can't deny or put away the truths she has learned. I thought it was interesting. I know that the gospel has brought much joy and enlightment into my life. I am so happy to be here in Ohio, to be teaching of Jesus Christ's restored gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith and was written for our dispensation. Reading it really does bring one closer to Jesus Christ (The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ). I love this mission, I love my companion, and I am slowly coming to love the people here. We have done a lot of service, and I am slowly learning that service is the most effective way to learn to love others. I love and miss you all. In 4 days I will have been out for a month! Which means in just 23 months you'll all get to see my beautiful face again ;)

I hope all is well for everyone. OH! I might come back with an Ohio "accent" - that being that I don't speak proper english. Ha! I hope I come back sounding like a hick... It's my new goal. Good luck with "cold" weather in California/Utah/Wherever you are.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Officially in Ohio

David finally arrived in Cleveland today after 3 weeks in the MTC.

Hello Ohio!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Last letter from the MTC - sent 10/8/10

In 4 days I'll be on my way to Ohio! Crazy how fast it's gone by. I'll try my hardest to remember what has happened this week - it's gone by SO fast.

Saturday/Sunday - Conference. Conference was AWESOME!! And it was cool to watch it with a gym full of missionaries. Conference was possibly my favorite. Elder Scott also gave a really good talk (I know he's dads favorite!)
Monday/Tuesday - the district above us (they got here the Wednesday before us) left. It was sad. One of the missionaries was Elder Clark - he went to high school with Sean Horrocks, played tennis with him or something (sorry if I spelled that wrong, I'm too tired to care), and left for Mississippi.
Wednesday - the new batch of Elders came in. One of them was Matthew Kirkham's roommates at BYU! (Speaking of Matthew, congrats on your mission call! He's headed to Spain, very cool) The new district are going to Florida and New Jersey. I'm still jealous of the Hawaii Elders
Thursday - my companion and I went to a hospital to get his foot looked at. 8 years or so ago he had foot surgery and has been having some pretty bad pains there recently. They took xrays, found out that his surgery was not done correctly, he needs to get it fixed. Recovery would take 6-8 weeks.
Today - he called home, him and his parents decided they would fix it after his mission.

I'm very very very very tired. Not so much physically and spiritually. Went to the temple today - awesome, as always. I've seen a LOT of friends from BYU - on Wednesday Rufus came in. It's nice to see familiar faces. What else could I write about... Our zone is really awesome. My district and the district below us (going to long beach and hawaii) are way close and have a ton of fun together. I'm gonna miss these guys. Half of our district leaves for Denver, Colorado on Monday, so we'll have a whole day without them. It will be wayyy weird. Even though we've only been here for 2 1/2 weeks, it feels like it's been months. So we're all like brothers. BUT we're all SOOO excited to get to Ohio. The MTC is great and I've learned and grown SO much, but I'm ready for the real world. Ready to meet and talk to real investigators.

Mom - I did forget to mention the cookies you guys sent me. Thank you, they were/are (there are still a few more) delicious. And thank you Sister Scott/the Scotts for those amazing cinnamon rolls. They. Are. The. Best. Thing. We've (yes, I share). Eaten. In. Two. Weeks. Thank you. As for the food here, it's still pretty awful, but bearable. I've learned what to trust and not trust. HA! Funny story - the orange juice. We've heard rumors how it's dangerous. Three of us decided to test this out. We drank 5 glasses of orange juice. Turns out they put laxatives in the orange juice. I'll stick with water/raspberry lemonade.

I don't think I'm going to write letters today. I'm just too beat. But know that I read and enjoy every letter. A lot. They make my day, so keep on writing them! IF YOU WRITE ME ON DEAR ELDER (Bailey) MAKE SURE YOU WRITE YOUR ENTIRE ADDRESS OR I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WRITE YOU BACK! I would not write me from DearElder after Sunday/Monday morning because they usually take half a day/a day until I get them, and I leave EARLY Tuesday morning. So I will not receive the dearelders.

Alright. I wont email again for 2 mondays (monday will be my p-day in Ohio). But I'm sure my next email will be awesome as I will be in Ohio! :)

I end this with my testimony. There is nowhere I'd rather be right now than here, serving the Lord. The experiences I have had here have been amazing, and just strengthen my testimony and knowledge of the truthfullness of this gospel. Our Heavenly Father loves all of us, more than we can imagine. Pray to him often. He'll always listen. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and is a prophet of this last dispensation. And the Book of Mormon - the keystone to this relgion - is the most true book on this earth. Moroni promises at the end that all those who read it, and pray to know if it's true with pure intent, will receive an answer. I challenge all of you who haven't prayed to know of this truthfulless to do so. I have. I have received my answer. I know this church is true. I love and miss you all. God bless.

Elder David Dransfield

Friday, October 1, 2010

Letter # 2 - October 1, 2010


It's finally P-day, although this week has gone by a LOT faster than the first few days! I'm drowning in letters - which is awesome.  Again, I can only write letters/emails on my P-days so know that I read all your letters (Steven and Mom - I read ALL your letters, I WILL write you back today). All your letters make me smile and laugh, so keep on sending them! If you write me on dearelder and youre not my family, can you write your address at the bottom of the letter? dearelder formats things weird and some  of you I've wrote back but your address was wrong. It'd be very helpful! And also, include the date at the top of your dearelders. These days are all just meshing together.

This week as been awesome.  I've learned SO much and am finally used to the schedule here. We're kept very busy but that's probably the best part about being here. I find that the busier I am, the happier I am. Down time is just...weird.

One of my 3 roommates was sick the first few days at the MTC. Elder Kitchen, Elder Trammell and I thought we were avoiding it well...but we were wrong. On Tuesday we  woke up and said "Does your guys' throats hurt?" while the roommate who was sick felt fine. So we went to the health center and were told to rest for the day. Laying in bed for 3/4 of the day sucked!!! I felt like we were missing out on so much! But we were able to get over the worst of the cold after that day and since then I've been fine. A stuffy nose but that's all. Everyone at the MTC is getting the cold, so I'm glad I got it at the begginning, and not right before leaving of Ohio.

Last Sunday my companion and I were called to be the Zone Leaders! After only being here for 3 or 4 days and being called to that, we thought it was a joke. It definitley was not a joke. As Z.L.'s we look after the three districts in our zone and are more of a slave than leader (kind of). Basically we just help everyone as much as we can. This include the new missionaries who came in this Wednesday. We've had to explain all the rules/layout of the MTC and are their go-to guys for questions. They're group of 12 elders are going to Hawaii and Long Beach, CA for their missions. So while I'm freezing in Ohio, they'll be in short sleves, tanning. They're a great group of kids though. They're excited to be here - which is awesome. Not only are we "older" missionaries serving as examples to them, but their drive and enthusiasm is a good reminder to us of when we first got here (after a week of the food, your excitement to be here kind of dies.)

I've been seeing a lot of old friends from BYU here which is so cool. I also saw Kristen K. passing by in the halls and Spencer Mason quite a few times. I leave before a lot of my friends (even though they've been here WEEKS longer than me) and they're all jealous. The MTC is amazing, but after 3 weeks I can see why people are ready to leave. You get such a hang of (or so you think) missionary work that you just want to get to the field and do the real work! I have 10 or 11 days left here.

I got my flight info! We leave SLC at 7am, land in Detriot at 12:32pm. Leave Detriot at 1:45pm and land in Cleveland at 2:40pm. I will probably call between SLC and Detriot - SO BE HOME!!!

I tried to upload my pictures/attach them to this email, but the computers dont allow us to access much. So I wont be able to send pictures till I get to Ohio.

Well, I think that's that for this week. The MTC has been a great experience thus far and I can't wait to get to Ohio. I've had to iron my shirts and pants a lot, so when I'm home I'll be a master iron-er. Again, keep sending the letters. There's some kind of point system here for letters and packages (apparently) and so far I'm winning by a lot. Although we're not really keeping score because I'm winning by A LOT.

The Spirit at the MTC is like nothing you can imagine. (unless you've been here). I wake up every morning feeling so blessed and have been showered with God's love. The church is true. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is the most true book on earth. There's nothing more to it. Moroni's promise in the last chapter is true. If you read it with prue intent, and pray to know if it's true, you will receive an answer.  This gospel is so perfect, it makes me excited everytime I think about it. We are so blessed to have the gospel restored and to have so many truths and keys back on the earth. I know our Heavenly Father loves us. He watches us; He knows us. When we're happy, He's happy. When we're crying, He's crying. I know this. I have had experiences in just this past week and a half that have already changed me so much. And this is why I can't wait to get to Ohio. So I can start to live my purpose: to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentence, baptism, recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. You're all in my prayers. I love you all. Read the Book of Mormon - it'll make your day better.

Elder David Dransfield