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