The Perks of Being a Zone Leader
1. You get a car. Oh wait- just kidding. You get a truck!
2. Missionaries are obligated to fear you.
3. You get to witness the progress that occurs in your zone, as well as across the entire mission.
4. You get to pass the sacrament in the Kirtland Temple this December 14th for Mission Conference (how many people can say they've passed the sacrament in the Kirtland Temple??)
5. You get to go on exchanges with all of the missionaries in your zone (work with other missionaries for a day), teaching them and learning from them. You also get to be an example to them.
6. You get to attend Zone Council and make decisions that will change the culture of the mission. Forever. "I got the powa!"
7. You can call whoever you want, whenever you want, for whatever reason you want! (Although that may be a little bit false...don't quote me on this one...)
8. Doctrine and Covenants 95:5 - BOOYA!
9. You become a legend in the mission for being the youngest Zone Leader ever called. How does that Sandlot quote go? Just kidding, I'm no legend. People just know me as "the zone leader whose only been out six weeks" ...great.
10. Number 8 was a joke. Being a Zone Leader (at least for me) is extremely humbling. I feel honored to know that the Lord has such trust in me - an ordinary, simple missionary. I hope I can magnify my calling and make Him proud.
Now some random facts about my missionary life:
- It's snowing now. Last night it finally stuck and there is a thin layer covering Finlay. I guess it's pretty, but it's WAY TOO COLD!!! Thermals = love.
- I saw Andy and Rachel Kirkham (and their kids) on Saturday! Our stake has an annual Christmas celebration where they set up lots of different kinds of nativities and have choirs sing, games for kids, etc. for the whole community and all faiths. We were asked to sing in the choir with our ward and I saw them! It was so exciting to see a familiar face and get to talk to them! They offered to take things to or from California for me since they'll be going back to Roseville for Christmas. Such a nice offer - I'll have to see if I can think of anything! But talking to them (as well as the story below) definitely made my day!
- There is a missionary from my ward in the Roseville mission! She's a sister missionary - Sister Carlson. Funny!
- We are getting a Christmas tree today! We're borrowing a stand from the Kreegers and probably some decorations from a nonmember family that enjoys having us over (and we enjoy coming over!)
- My mission president, President Sorensen, is a spiritual giant. I have no doubt that he is one of the, if not the, best mission presidents in the world.
- I occasionally have to take a cold shower in the mornings (there are 4 of us and only enough hot water for 2...it builds character, right?)
- Findlay has the coolest "downtown" ever! It's clean, old-ish looking, and has normal stores. It's awesome.
- I was fed pizza 8 of my first 10 days out here. It's a mystery why. Members kept having things come up so they'd send us a pizza or drop off a pizza for us to eat. Alas, I did not gain a pound :(
- We have trains behind our apartment. When they blare their horn, they're loud. But it's also pretty cool. We also have a big pond in our backyard. I have pictures and videos that I'll send home.
My Christmas Wish-List:
1. A cheap-ish Garman GPS :)
3. Sweater Vests
4. Scripture markers that don't need to be sharpened (and have more than 1 color)
5. My Priesthood Lineage chart
6. Hand Warmers
7. Candy - any kind!
8. Pictures! I love pictures from back home: family, friends, dog, I don't care!
9. A warm blanket!
10. A beenie that doesn't say "REI" on it
11. A nice, warm, sweatshirt
12. A mini-Preach My Gospel
13. MUSIC! Oh my goodness music. Has to be either a hymn, something sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a song that they have sung in years past (not all are hymns) aaand yeah. Preferably not Mo-Tab. Christmas music would be nice too.
14. A Gospel Art booklet
15. Gift card to Olive Garden? - I could share with my comp/roommates ;)
17. World Peace!
18. Hot chocolate mix!
19. MOM'S HOMEMADE ENGLISH TOFFY
20. For everyone to have an awesome Christmas :)
I think that's that... of course I don't expect any/all of those things. People have asked, so here is my answer. I don't expect anything though.
A cool story:
Elder Robison, a member (Brother Fagan), and I went to go visit a former investigator on a bitter-cold Saturday afternoon. We walked up the long driveway to the house and knocked on the door - which in the cold is very painful. The door opens. A head of a young, high school-aged girl pops out. We ask for the couple Elder Robison once knew and she explains that they no longer live here. We ask if we can come back at another time (when her mom is home) and she says that's probably fine. We exchange goodbyes, and walk back towards the car. As we are slowly walking down the long driveway, a car pulls up and drives by. The women in the car gives us a half-smile as she passes. We continue to walk to the car when my companion says "No, we need to go back." We agree and walk back towards the house where the women is getting out of her car. We say hello and ask how she is. She replies with a "Not so good." We say, "Not so good? Well we were just talking with your daughter-" she says "Just come inside." Without another word she turns around and walks inside. We follow. (Is this dramatic for ya'all? Because I'm having fun with it!). The daughter is excited to see us again and her and her mom sit down on the couch. We sit on the adjacent couch and listen as they explain to us that their 4-year-old Niece was killed yesterday in a car accident. We start talking about how they can see their niece again. "I know I'll see her again. And I know everything happens a reason" the mother noted. We talk a little about the Plan of Salvation and ask if we can have a prayer. We offer a prayer and by the end the family is in tears. We asked about their religious background and they just stared firing off such amazing topics. They talked about how society is desecrating religion and God. How there can't be so many churches - there can only be one that's true. How the Bible has been changed so many times, how can we trust it completely? To everything they said, we agreed. Now it was their turn to agree on what we talked about - the Restortion. To almost everything we discussed with them they would say, "That makes so much sense." or "I was wondering about that...yeah that has to be right!" The Spirit in that home was so sweet and strong. By the end of our lesson, their entire persona had changed. You could SEE a literal glow in their eyes, a light, that light that is found amongst so many Latter-Day Saints, the Light of Christ. At the beginning of our lesson, there was so much pain, so much sorrow, so much confusion. Near the end of our lesson we asked them how they felt. They stopped and thought about it and said they felt good, at peace, they felt happy once again. The mother said that she knows that we did not come over by coincidence. That this must be a sign. - I know that we did not stop by that house that day at that hour at that very second by coincidence. As missionaries, nothing is coincidence. They invited us to come back and we invited them to come to church which they openly accepted. The mother has two young kids, the teenage girl as an "adopted" daughter, and an finance. The family is so sweet and kind, and I'm excited to teach them more and watch that light in their eyes become permanent.
My Testimony - what I Know to be true:
What a glorious thing this gospel is. How amazing the changes that take place in peoples lives as they come to accept it and know for themselves that the church is true. That the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That Joseph Smith did restore this Gospel to the earth. I know these things to be true! I also know that families can be together forever! I know that our Heavenly Father loves us! God is a loving, just God. He would never leave any of his children in the dark. He is the same yesterday,today, and tomorrow. I know that we have a prophet here on the earth, who leads and guides us to the pathway that will lead us back to God's presence. The plan is simple. The commandments are simple. The Doctrine of Christ is simple: have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end (or in other words, repeat). The Atonement of Jesus Christ - it is everything. Everything, literally EVERYTHING in this gospel directly relates back to that Infinite Atonement. How beautiful. I challenge everyone to study and come to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, especially during this Christmas season. It's funny that we call it Christmas, when it really should be said CHRIST-mas.
I love you all. Thank you for all of the support. Letters are (very) slowly being written back, so have patience with me. Now that I'm a Zone Leader I have even less time for myself. Although I guess that's what truly constitutes a good mission: when one can finally lose himself in the work.
Love, Elder David Dransfield