Monday, November 29, 2010

Hello Findlay Ohio, my name is Elder Dransfield, and I'm here to preach the gospel

I am now in Findlay, Ohio (which is so much nicer than Toledo! It's how I imagined Ohio to be, clean, very open, nice people, etc.). I am also now a Zone Leader, which is crazy. I got a call from President Sorensen Tuesday night at 10:28pm asking if I would accept the calling as a Zone Leader. I was shocked, but accepted. As far as anybody knows, no missionary in this mission has gone straight to Zone Leader after 6 weeks (without first being a trainer or district leader or senior companion, etc.). I continually ask myself "why me?" I feel so inadequate, so young (missionary-wise), and somewhat overwhelmed. I have found comfort in a number of things.

First is the wonderful missionaries around me, strengthening me with encouragement. My companion and zone leaders from my last area, President, the Assistants to the President, my companion now, etc. are all such great examples to me as they demonstrate charity - "the pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47). Verse 45 reads "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Verse 46 - "charity never faileth." I was pretty freaked out at the idea of being a Zone Leader, for I have little to no experience, but their kindness has helped me keep going.

Second would be the scriptures. In The Book of Ether, Moroni says in Ch. 12 verse 6 "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trail of your faith." This has helped me to stop asking "why me?" and kick my butt into gear. Stop thinking about myself, and think about the Lord's work. I will understand after the trail of my faith. Moroni continues in verse 27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Third would be the Atonement. In Alma 7:11 it reads "And [Christ] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." I am by no means saying that what I am going through, this fear and anxiety, is a huge ordeal that I need people to worry about me over. I am going to be okay. But in those times of discouragment and fear, I know that the Lord knows what I am feeling, He knows what I am going through. And what joy it brings to know that I can get through this as I rely on Him. We are not expected to be able to run faster than we run. Heavenly Father loves us and will help us with every step of our lives if we let him.

I have no more time on the computer at the library. Love you all. I know I've been slacking on letters - I will try to do better. Will let you know more about being a ZL in the next email. The church is true! Happy Holidays!

Elder Dransfield

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm being transferred!

So I found out Saturday night that Point Place (where I'm serving right now in Toledo) is being shut down! Which means Elder Perkins and I will be transferred tomorrow (Wednesday) and we'll find out where we are going tomorrow. So until I get my new address, you'll have to send letters to the mission home address.

Elder David Dransfield
Ohio Cleveland Mission
2070 W 117th St
Cleveland, OH 44111

It's been warm here lately which is awesome although today it's really windy! This Saturday is the Ohio State vs. Michigan game... Going to be a crazy Saturday, I'll tell you that.

Don't have much to say so I'll send some pictures.

Miss you. Love you all. God be with you till we meet again.

Elder Dransfield

P.S. I've got the coolest little nephew ever. He's more awesome than all of your nephews (whosever reading this), so accept it, and move on. :)
 Tony Packo's! A member took us to dinner there.  M*A*S*H anyone? I must say, the hot dogs were pretty darn good.

 This is how we eat pineapples that crazy old men give us


Our district (the one who is half in the picture isn't in our district).  It goes:  me, Elder Talbot (ZL), Elder Perkins, Elder Tracy (ZL), Elder Martinez, Elder Hinds (in the back), and Elder Bacerra who is cut in half.
A usual day of service...

I raked most of them...
okay, the truth: the city has this system where people can rake their leaves to the side of the street and big trucks come and suck them up.  Where we are is where they dump them.  But we rake so may leaves, it's probably mostly from us... ;)
Getting leaves out of the gutter for a member

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun/random pictures

 Goofing off while driving

 with Sean (preparing for a mission, comes out with us a lot)

Their stop lights are on strings!  They are slowly becoming advanced in their technology and putting poles up as you can see.

Week Five in the Ohio

Can you believe I've been in Ohio for a month now?? My 2 month mark is in 7 days or so... Crazy how time is flying! We're expecting snow this week - so it's getting cold. None of this 80F I hear in California... Not fair! I don't really have much to share that is any different from my previous emails, so instead I will share 10 facts concerning Ohio/my mission that none of you probably know...

1. In Ohio (or at least Toledo) the Christmas season starts in mid-November. Apparently they don't believe in Thanksgiving here.
2. In November, every night is a scary movie. Due to daylight savings, it's dark by 6pm. And due to Lake Erie, by 7pm the fog literally rolls in and covers Toledo. They say that once the snow starts falling the fog will go away. I don't know if I'm happy or sad about this. 
3. Ohio and London would get along great - everyone is constantly holding a cigarette.
4. The shower in our apartment... The saying "lefty loosey, righty tighty" doesn't apply for the hot and cold water fossetts. I forget this. Every. Morning.
5. Ohioans seem to think that Little Caesars is the best thing since sliced bread. Oh my heck.
6. There is no such thing as a four-way intersection here. Only five, six, and seven-way intersections.
7. If you live in Ohio, you either cheer for Ohio State or Michigan... They play in two weeks. If I am not careful in who I side with, I may not live to see December.
8. When we are teaching a lesson and the tv that is on behind us suddenly shows a commercial for Harry Potter 7, my neck suddenly gets a kink in it that forces me to watch it......I swear!
9. If you say you're from California, people start laughing and walk away, shaking their heads, mutterings to themselves "He's not gonna to make it [this winter]..."
10. The Book of Mormon changes lives.

I will close with an excerpt from Elder Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, found in Spencer W. Kimball's "Faith Precedes the Miracle":
No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God...and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.

I love and miss you all. I think about you all often and enjoy the many letters I have been receiving. I will try my best to write you back, but have patience - I'm busy! I love this gospel. I am so grateful for the Savior's infinite Atonement. The Book of Mormon is a wonderful book and we are so blessed to live in this last dispensation where so many truths and keys have been restored to the earth! God lives! Jesus is the Christ! "Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true..." (Alma 5:45-46).

Love, Elder David Dransfield

Monday, November 8, 2010

New pictures

After doing service at a greenhouse garden place


This one's for Mom!

Another week in Ohio

Hey Everyone!

I'll try to keep this short because I've been writing a ton in the past emails!

The mission is going well. We have been tracting a lot and have found a few interested people. We have been working with less-active members and two have been coming back to church and are really enjoying being back. It's amazing to see the change that you see in their lives and see how much happier and brighter they look.

My companion had some leadership training meetings in Cleveland from Tuesday to Wednesday so I was paired up with two other missionaries for the two days. They came to our area (Point Place) and so I had to step up and not be the junior missionary anymore. It was a good experience to have to take charge and make the "executive" decisions - if that makes sense.

I had my first Hawaiian Haystack last night! I finally feel like a real Mormon! (haha...that was a joke). It was good though! An easy dinner to feed a lot of people...

This past week we had one or two pretty cold days. I wore my biggest/warmest coat and was just fine, so hopefully I wont freeze to death this winter! They say that January and February are the coldest months... I've also had to start using my piano "skills" at church meetings because not many people out here play the piano. I guess those 7 years of lessons are paying off... Although I'm so rusty! I'm glad I can help out in that way though.

Well, that's pretty much it. We received a referral for a woman who wanted to receive a free Bible. We brought it over to her and she was also interested in the Book of Mormon so we talked to her about it and gave her one. She says she's really interested. Maybe something will come out of it.

I love this gospel. It has blessed my life so much as it gives so much direction and peace in ones life. As we help those less-actives regain that desire to come back to church and then see the light in their eyes become reignited, I feel like I am finally doing something out here. I have such a great testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have never loved this book so much and the more I study it the more I understand it and learn from it. I recently came across a cool verse in the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 33 verse 8: "Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness." - Section 33 is all about missionary work, and I find that as I follow this cousel and teach by the Spirit, what comes out of my mouth is exactly what investigators or less-actives need to here. I told a story to a less-active concerning tithing, and yesterday she said that the story pops into her head every night. At the time I didn't know why I felt like sharing that story with her, but now I understand.

I love and miss you all. I think about you all often. Thank you for your letters! I am trying my best to stay on top of those.

Elder Dransfield

Monday, November 1, 2010

First week in Ohio

                                             The Kirkland Temple
                                   President and Sister Sorensen (front left) and new missionaries
                                                      The fall colors are spectacular!
                                          Elder Dransfield and Elder Perkins

                                           Ottowa River

MTC Pictures

                                            Elder Dransfield and Elder Lipps- both from Roseville, CA
                                                David's Zone

                                           We're going to the Ohio!
                                            Elder Dransfield and Elder Coffin (going to Hawaii)
                                            The Provo Temple

Tornados, gunshots, and a 100-year old stripper

I hope whoever reads these weekly blog updates isn't getting tired of what I write - I try not to sound too repetitive! This week was pretty similar to the past 2... lots of knocking on doors, trying to find people who want to hear our message.

On Tuesday we had a tornado watch! We got a call from our "missionary mom" (a lady in our ward who has just always been like a mom to the missionaries in Point Place) telling us that a big storm was on it's way to Toledo with potential tornadoes, so she told us to stay in our apartment that morning. So my companion and I went into our car and listened to the radio to know what was going on. (Don't worry, we were not in our cars when the storm hit was a good 45 minutes away while we listened). When the winds and rain hit Toledo, is was just that - wind and rain. No tornadoes. I was so excited to be sucked into the Tornado and take wicked awesome pictures and then end up somewhere and say "I don't think we're in Ohio anymore Totto!" (that was a joke). Later that day we went and talked to a less active family and in it is a 10 year old boy who wants to be baptized, so we'll be teaching him this week. Later that day we visited with a man in our ward and his son walked in, getting ready for work, and chatted with us for a few minutes. He said that he would like to be taught the missionary lessons - sweet!

On Wednesday night our ward had it's Trunk or Treat! It was much smaller than what I'm used to from back home, but it was fun. They had a chili cookoff and asked us 4 missionaries to judge them. There were 11 entries and they gave each of us 11 little bowls (about the size of a 1/3rds measuring cup) of each chili. We had to taste them, then rate them in different categories (best used of beans, spicy, family friendly, best overall, etc.). After eating so much chili, my stomach was not happy. BUT it was fun! We then sat with a member and handed out candy outside.

Thursday we were asked to go to a hospital and give a blessing. That's my second since I've been out. Third if you count the MTC. We tracted a lot that day. Later that night as we were sitting in our apartment we heard a series of gun shots. (that's the end of that story..)

On Sunday we went to the 1st counselors house for the evening (so we weren't out and about while little kids were trick or treating) and hung out with them. We sat outside around a fire pit and would chat with people as they'd walk by. Somebody asked if we were supposed to be Latter-day Saints (haha...our costumes were pretty convincing I guess?). There was this lady who is probably in her 30s but looks 100 because she smokes who used to be a stripper who walked by a few times - she still dressed like a stripper, it was funny/disgusting.

So that's pretty much my week... Nothing too exciting to report.
The weather is getting colder and colder. This morning we woke up to find frost all over the car - the first frost of the fall/winter!
There are leaves EVERYWHERE! People rake their leaves and put them on the side of the road for the city to come pick up - the piles are HUGE! I wonder how they collect them all...

Thank you for all your letters! I think I have written everyone back so far... I have 5 or 6 of you who I will try to write today. Know that I DO read your letters and I will try my best to write you back eventually. But I love hearing about every one's lives!

Well that's it... Today for P-Day we're going bowling with a couple other missionaries. It's only about $10 for 2 games and shoes here! CRAZY!!! Love and miss you all. This gospel is perfect, this I know as I see the drastic differences in the lives of members and nonmembers. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of this last dispensation and that he translated those ancient scriptures that are now the Book of Mormon. What a marvelous book; "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). I know that President Monson receives revelation and guidance to help lead us, God's children, to the gates of eternal life. This week I'm was reading in The Book of Ether about the Brother of Jared and his people traveling to the promised land. Chapter 6:

8. And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
9. And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10. And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.

Our promised land is the Celestial Kingdom. Heavenly Father will and has already provided us with help in getting there. Like the winds blowing the Jaredite barges the entire journey, we can be guided our entire journey as we are obedient and righteous. We must remember to praise the Lord "all the day long" and "not cease to praise the Lord." I'm not going to lie, missionary work is hard. But even in the hardest of times, there is so much to be grateful for. We must never forget how much we are blessed. As we are obedient and have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, "no monster of the sea" can bring us down and we will "have light continually." Obedience is the key to happiness. If we are obedient, we will be blessed.