Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

This week we had our second (last) Mission Christmas Conference. It was the same procedure as the week prior but this time I gave a 10 minute talk in the Kirtland Temple (instead of conducting the meeting). It was a great meeting, a little better than the first if I had to pick. The speakers were great and the Spirit was so strong - especially as we all concluded with hymn #2 - The Spirit of God. I gave my talk on the "doctrine" of Christmas, as found in 1 Nephi 11 - the Condescension of God. This was taken from a 1969 BYU Devotional by Elder Bruce R. McConkie called "Behold the Condescension of God." The meeting went great and after our lunch we presented to President and Sister Sorensen their Christmas Present from the mission. We've been working on it for a couple months and when they unwrapped it they couldn't speak. We had collected a picture of every companionship and with the help of the Kirtland Historical Sites made a collage and framed it. They hung it the entryway of the mission home and said they absolutely love it! I'm glad we could do something special for them.

After the conference we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders from the Akron Zone - Elder Green and I stayed here in North Olmsted. Thursday morning we showed up at 8:30 at a less-actives home where 440 bushels of shavings were being delivered. They charge 40 bucks every hour it takes to unload, and since she's sick and couldn't unload, we and her home teacher showed up to stack them in her barn. It was a great workout! We got it done in 30minutes so they only charged 20 dollars. Woo hoo! We got to share a message with her non-member sister after the job was done, and though she wasn't too interested, it was a good meeting. 

In other news, Erica is being baptized this Sunday (Jan 1st)!!! Elder Parkinson will be baptizing her and I will confirm her the following week. We will also be meeting with some of her family and friends before the baptism to teach them a little of what she's doing and why it's relevant to them. Last week she took our her nose and tongue ring! When we taught her how our bodies are temples and how the prophets have counseled us to have only one piercing in our ears (speaking of which, have you checked out the new For Strength of Youth pamphlet?? https://lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/ForTheStrengthOfYouth-eng.pdf?lang=eng) she originally figured what's happened has happened and she will make the right choice from now on. But as she dwelled on it and allowed the Spirit to work on her, she decided to take them out for good! She will be interviewed tonight to make sure she's ready to be baptized.

On Christmas Eve we drove to Mayfield, Ohio (near Kirtland) and met up with 6 Elders, 8 Sisters, the Smith's, and the Sorensen's to go caroling to some of Karl Anderson's neighbors. It was great! Afterwards Karl and Joyce Anderson invited us back to their house for some hot chocolate and we visited for a bit. Karl showed us some old artifacts he has - replica's of the original keys to the Kirtland Temple, Carthrage Jail, Liberty Jail, etc., a mite from Jerusalem (widow's mite from Old Testament), some oil lamps that were excavated in Israel, sand from Egypt, etc. It was pretty cool! Karl Anderson is known as Mr. Kirtland and knows all there is to know about the church history that passed through there. The Church Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve call upon him for information quite often. He's awesome - older, has the most contagious laugh in the world, and is the kindest man you'll ever meet. It was a honor to spend Christmas Eve with him!

Christmas was great. Got to skype home :) :) :) We went to a handful of members houses for dinners/desserts/games and got TONS of presents from the Ward!!! We got a box that was probably 40+ pounds full of candy, missionary supplies, gift cards, personal hygiene stuff, etc.! It was crazy! The little kids at the house (we were with 3 families from the ward who had a combined Christmas dinner) helped us open all the presents and were in Heaven. They were amazed at all our presents and kept asking if they could have some of them! One kept saying "You're going to get sick from all this candy!" and then would look at us with a look that was saying "so share with me!" - he's 5 years old. I'm grateful for all the gits, cards, and love that was sent my way. Weird that I wont have another Christmas out here as a missionary...

This week is full of meetings, exchanges, looking at transfers that will be coming up in a couple weeks, and a baptism! Another busy week ahead :) And the best part of it all is there is STILL no snow on the ground! The sun in shining and the clouds are white and puffy as can be! I feel like I'm back in California! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a great new years!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Delightsome People

We had our first big snow this last Saturday! That means winter/Christmas are finally here! That first snow is always so tranquil and beautiful as it slowly falls, coating everything in sight with a thick blanket of pure, white snow. And once the snow stops falling, the evening is illuminating with some unknown light, painting the perfect illustration of "Silent Night." ...and then it starts to melt, the traffic gives it a brown hue, your socks become soaking wet as you accidentally slip in piles of slushy mud, and when you least expect it a huge blizzard comes and cuts away at your face until you turn either into a snowman or ice cube!!!!! ....Needless to say, I'm excited for this winter :)

Last Tuesday was our first Christmas Conferences. It was held in the Kirtland Temple and I conducted the meeting. It was a great event; we had Stake Presidents speak, the Sorensens, Karl Anderson, had a few musical numbers, and at the end of our time in the Temple we separated into the four corners (where the choir boxes are) and everyone had a chance to bear their testimony in the Kirtland Temple with their zone. At the end we all sang The Spirit of God (which was written for the Kirtland Temple dedication) and concluded the morning portion of our meeting. For the remainder of the day we were in the Kirtland Stake Center (which is just down the road) where we ate lunch, were instructed by President and Sister Sorensen, given Christmas Presents from them and the office staff, and then we watched 17 Miracles - a new movie about the Saints' journey to Zion. It came out this last summer and President thought it would be a nice treat to let all the missionaries watch the film together. It was a great movie, really brought to life what the pioneers went through and how their faith pulled them through the roughest of times. There were definitely more than 17 miracles in the movie, and I'm pretty sure it's based on true accounts/journals from those traveling.

On Wednesday we went over to Mrs. Lopez's house and helped her steam wash the tile in her finished basement that was damaged from floods earlier in the year. Since her husband passed away last March she hasn't had the time or strength to clean it herself. She just turned 85 and we were glad to help out. We brought our High Priest Group Leader with us and afterwards she fed us a great big Italian lunch (she is very Italian). We had shared with her a little bit about the Book of Mormon about a month or so ago and this time talked about the Priesthood and families being together forever. She told us she would love to read the Book of Mormon but probably couldn't become a Mormon because she doesn't want to betray her husband. She said her and her husband thought that we were the ones who had multiple wives and because of that her and her husband were never interested, but had they known maybe they would have joined. On the flip side, she said she knows her husband sent us to her to help her and be here for her. The holidays have been especially difficult for her (as she and her husband were married for over 60 years) and this week was also her husband's Birthday. She called me last night to say thank you again and began to weep a little as she confided in me how much she's been struggling. We might stop by tonight with a plate of cookies and will be going over after the holidays to paint some of her walls. She got us some Christmas Presents; mine is addressed to "Elder David" (she can never remember Dransfield! haha) and my companion opened his because he couldn't stand to wait - she bought us some nice t-shirts from JC Pennys (size small, but there are gift receipts so we'll be okay - that or I need to lose a few pounds....which in my case would probably be a bad idea...I might turn invisible!).

Friday we had a trainers meeting and afterwards we went contacting in Tower City (Downtown Cleveland). I was with 2 missionaries - one who has been out for about 3 months, the other 1 week, and we had a blast! They were so excited and would open their mouths to everyone! At first I was talking and teaching right along side of them, but as we went along I began to stand back a little and let them take the lead more and more. At one point, the younger missionary was talking and got stumped and looked at me, I just smiled at him, and he turn back to the person and began talking some more (and did a great job I might add!). I love contacting with the new missionaries and get to see the many tender mercies the Lord provides us with. I had a copy of the Joy to the World and Mr. Kruger's Christmas DVD's in my backpack so we handed them out to a couple people - one lady was so grateful and went off about how amazing she thinks our church is and our missionaries are and said that if she wasn't Catholic she would definitely join our church. The other I gave to a man waiting for the bus who at first didn't feel right taking it but was also very grateful (I guess he was a big Jimmy Stuart fan). It was great to see what a simple act of kindness would do for someone walking or standing in the cold, busy streets of Cleveland!

Our investigator Erica is also doing very well. She decided to be baptized on December 31st (and confirmed on January 1st) and has been taught all of the lessons. She came to the ward Christmas party on Friday night and her mother came with her! It was great to see the two of them together and her mother seemed to have a nice time; the ward loved meeting her and hopes she comes again! Her mother wasn't too supportive of us at first and was worried that her daughter was getting involved with some polygamist cult who doesn't believe in Jesus (a lot of people think that in Ohio. I can understand the misconception of polygamy, the "cult" rumor is just ridiculous and mostly stems from pastors of other churches (or so we're told by investigators), but not believing in Christ? "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" ...anyways. Nothing against Erica's mother, it's a common thing here in Ohio). But with Erica we have gone over all of the principles and doctrines of the gospel and are excited for her to be baptized. She has grown SO much in the past month-and-a-half and just illuminates with light!

Sunday we got back into contact with that family who Elder McClellanand I found after Elder Marcus B. Nash was here (the story of us running in the thunderstorm and finding shelter on the porch of which we weren't sure was even the house we were looking for... Part-member family... Her mother is a Relief Society President in the Kirtland Stake...if this doesn't ring a bell, go read my blog entry from August-September time). But we stopped by to give them a Chistmas movie (Joy to the World) and they let us right in and we asked if we could start teaching them again. They had no problem with it - this time I think we need to be careful not to "push them" too much though. I think last time we got really excited and the sudden change was putting strain on their relationship so they backed off. But this time we wont lose them! The gospel can be such a blessing to families, aside from sealing them together forever, and we want this for them so bad! We'll be calling them tomorrow to see if they had a chance to read from the Book of Mormon. We hope to see them at church Sunday.

Tomorrow we'll be having our second Christmas Conference in the Kirtland Temple. I think last time I wrote I talked about possibly speaking of the account in Luke 2 - breaking down the nativity scene (who was really who) but as I prayerfully studied and looked into it, I decided to teach about the doctrine behind Christmas or celebrating Christ's birth - taken from a talk by Bruce R. McConkie titled "Behold the Condescension of God." Today I will finish putting it all together, I hope it goes well. Conducting a meeting in the Kirtland Temple is nerve-wracking enough, but now I have to speak! Nevertheless, I'm excited! :)

We have also been teaching a girl named Stephanie. She is the finance of a less-active member and they both have decided they want to have religion in their small family's life. We've taught her only 3 times and she will have to make some big life-style changes to be baptized a member of the church (Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, etc.) but she can do it if she's willing to pay the price. Pay the price...It's interesting, many will look at something like the gospel or a mission and see them as something they have to sacrifice for. "I have to give up my cigarettes and coffee?" or "I have to give up my video-games for two years!" when really these things are not a sacrifice at all. The blessings that we receive from keeping the commandments are far greater than anything we can earn or inherit from the world. One of my favorite parts of being a missionary is getting to take part (or more so just watch, I don't do too much) in the transformation that takes place as they apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their life and align their behavior and desires with that of the Savior's. Like Erica, you see a light come into their eyes, a change of countenance. It doesn't mean life becomes perfect and happy all the time, but a new pool of hope and direction become added to your understanding and comprehension. One receives that eternal perspective, that edification of the Spirit, and we see Mormon's desires come to pass: "And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people" (Words of Mormon 1:8). Mormon is the one who abridged the Book of Mormon in about 385 A.D.

I know that through the gospel we can become a delightsome people. I am grateful for all that I've learned on my mission - the patience that has grown on me, the faith that has consumed me... I know that the Book of Mormon is truly the Word of God; I have read it, pondered the message it contains, and have most importantly prayed to a loving Heavenly Father about it. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! I get to skype home this Sunday and am very excited to get to talk to and see my family!!! :) Although I don't know what I'm going to say...I tell about everything in these emails!! :) I love you all, stay safe!

Love Elder Dransfield

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good Tidings of Great Joy!

Every week when I sit down at the computer and stare at this blank email and think back to what happened in a week, it baffles me by how quickly time goes by! And I cannot believe Christmas is already here! What a great time to be a missionary and get to share with people more about Jesus Christ! I think I have the best job/calling in the whole world!

On Monday we had a great lesson with Erica where we talked about who Jesus Christ is and the importance of having faith in Him. We watched Finding Faith in Christ (29min video)
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By the end, the Spirit was strong and Erica in tears. She received much personal revelation that night as many questions were answered.

Tuesday was P-day/new missionaries arrived. We had 6 Elders and 3 Sisters come out. They are great! We picked them up and went back to the Mission Home (where President and Sister Sorensen live, which is about 10 minutes from where we live) to eat and have a testimony meeting. As President interviewed them one-on-one, Elder Parkinson and I role-played (the usual routine) and were impressed by how much they learned in the MTC - their teaching skills.

Wednesday we drove them to Kirtland where we went on a tour with the Community of Christ in the Kirtland Temple, then over to the Kirtland Historical Sites (owned by the LDS church) where the missionaries consecrate their missions in the School of Prophets. At transfer meeting, there was a request for Elder Bills and I to play/sing our Redeemer of Israel song (I'll get a copy and send it home soon) and we did. It went well, President says our best yet. All the Sisters were crying. etc. etc. It was fun needless to say :) After the transfer meeting we went back to the Mission Home, this time with the Elders and Sisters going home (4 Elders, 10 Sisters!). Had a testimony meeting and while President interviewed the missionaries one-on-one missionaries packed, played the piano and sang, filled out some papers, and basically just hung out. It's important during this time that Elder Parkinson and I don't get distracted/trunky! ;)

Thursday 8 of the 10 Sisters and 1 Elder's parents came to pick them up at the mission home (usually they just fly home). So we had to be there as all these families reunited for the first time in 1 1/2 to 2 years and take their pictures. It was torture for us, but we're alive. haha. The rest of the week was a normal missionary week. Taught some investigators, taught a few people who haven't been to church in along time, eat dinner with some members, did some service in a Barn and in a recently-reactivated members home (we're helping him install wood flooring). We also attended a Baptism yesterday so that Erica could see what it's like. I interviewed the mother and daughter being baptized and passed them, so it was nice to be able to be there for the ordinance. It was a powerful baptism, one that many have been praying about for a long, long time.

Last night the Cleveland Stake (which covers from Sandusky, Ohio to Garfield Heights/Parma area) had a Christmas Musical Fireside. They've been practicing for months and did an amazing job! There was one cello/piano duet that was just phenomenal - I wish I had filmed it! Erica came with her son and her younger sister. It was fun to see her with her family. Today we'll be eating dinner with some members (the Hooks) and Erica and tomorrow we have our Christmas Mission Conference. We will be going to the Kirtland Temple like last year for the morning piece and will eat and finish our meeting in the Kirtland Stake Center (which is just down the road). I will be conducting tomorrow's meeting and will be speaking in next week's meeting. I don't quite have my talk written yet, I'll tell more about it when I figure it out! It'll be on Christ, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, and possibly the Wise Men - who the characters in the Nativity really are. But I have yet to collect my thoughts, have just been doing a lot of reading and studying.

Sorry I don't have more to report on! It was just one of those busy, not-too-much-proselyting-time weeks :( But this next week should be good, and I'll write more then. Have a great week! And here's a great talk that Ashley Holt emailed me last year that I read the other day: http://lds.org/ensign/1977/12/maybe-christmas-doesnt-come-from-a-store?lang=eng&query=maybe+christmas+doesn't+come+store I like it a lot. Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Dransfield
We all came out together and we're all Zone Leaders/AP.



Monday, December 5, 2011

A short note

I don't have much to report on this week. Tomorrow we have the new missionaries coming in and Wednesday our transfers meeting in Kirtland. We have 8 or 9 Kirtland Sisters going home this transfer which has caused us to do a lot of consolidating and rearranging proselyting areas. Our Transfer Meeting (where we fast and pray about where to transfer missionaries) took us from 10am to 5pm!!! We were done by like 3pm or so but then we have the office staff come in and look at cars, apartments, new districts, new assignments, etc. It's pretty exciting. Afterwards the Sorensen's took us out to Olive Garden, my favorite! :)

The Christmas Devotinal last night was awesome! And I cannot wait for all of these "The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Vidoes" to come out!!! Anyone whose reading this should watch this short introduction video http://lds.org/bible-videos/videos/introduction?lang=eng. And the videos of his birth are perfect for the Christmas Season.

We're still teaching Erica and she's doing well. We're going over to a members house for Family Home Evening tonight with her, it should be lots of fun! But I really don't have much to report on. Lots of meetings, only taught about 12 lessons this week (which is pretty low seeing we didn't have anytime for tracting). Feels like we spend all day in the office sometimes - good thing I love the office staff so much! Everytime we get together we're laughing! Haha we have a good time together. But I do know that God is real and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I love my mission and the people here in Ohio. Hard to believe I've been here for almost 15 months. Yuck, I can't think about it. A few of you have asked me about Christmas Presents - I really don't want/need anything. If you want to send me some stuff I can give to less-active families or investigators that'd be cool (i.e. Scripture markers, or... I don't know.) But instead how about everyone can save their money and put it in savings for when YOU serve a mission :) Love you all, have a great week!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, November 28, 2011

14 Months Later...

Had a great Thanksgiving, hard to believe November is already over. The weather here has been really weird - cold and rainy one day, in the upper 60's the next with the sun shining. Once it starts snowing, we wont see the sun again untill April so we're enjoying it while it lasts! I had a very relaxing and stuffing Thanksgiving. We went and did some service (raking leaves) in the morning for an elderly neighbor or a member in our ward. We only had two rakes so we went rake tracting and borrowed a couple more from another neighbor. So we decided to rake his lawn too. And then thought it would be nice to rake the members house. And then we figured we might as well do their other neighbor whose going through a really hard time with child custody issues. We've taught her once or twice, nice lady. By noon or so we went back and showered and got ready for the day, deep-cleaned our apartment (it was our Preparation day) and then went to our Thanksgiving dinner at 3pm. We ate at one of our investigator's house with her family and her fiance's family who are from Mexico. They're members and seemed very excited to see us - probably because our dress/tags were something familiar to them. The father kept trying to talk to me but the only Spanish I could say back is "Si! Commo? Loco Taco Bell!" ...yup. Dinner was great and we ate till we thought we were going to barf. And then they brought out all the pies and breads and cheesecake. So logically we ate some more. And then REALLY thought we were going to barf. That night we were exchanging with some elders from Fremont (so we could work with them Friday). It's about an hour and 15 minute drive one-way and in the two and a half hours we weren't at the apartment, our apartment FLOODED! By our garage was some huge pluming truck and I was wondering why they were working so late, little did I know they were taking apart our kitchen sink. Our complex has 4 stories and the pipes are connected vertically - we are on the first floor. Apparently, someone in the floors above dumped their turkey caucus and grease down their sink. It traveled down, down, down, and then got stuck where the pipes meet the main sewer line. The turkey came down and the floods came up, the turkey came down and the floods came up, the turkey came down and the floods came up, and Elder Dransfield's Thanksgiving smile washed away! :D  We walked in and the sink and dishwasher had overflowed with sewer water/turkey shreds, pouring onto the counter tops, down onto the kitchen floor, and into our living room. They ripped up some of the carpet and told us they're going to either replace it or try to wash it. The Hokansons and Smiths (the senior couples we work in the office with) were a huge blessing and bought us some cleaning supplies and then cleaned our kitchen for us while we were proselyting. I'm so grateful for them! Aside from the carpet and turkey smell, our apartment looks back to normal. 

We had some more lessons with Erica this week talking about Prophets and the Word of Wisdom. We then had the chance to go to Kirtland with her and a handful of members. We left yesterday right after church and after the tour looked at the Nativity Exhibit they have going on. It's one of the "Top 100 Events in North America" by the American Bus Association. They have hundreds of nativities from all over the world and lights all over the trees and sites. It was awesome. Erica is doing great and continues to slowly gain a stronger testimony. Her baptismal date is now for December 17th and should definitely be ready by that date. 

This week we have more meetings; Mission Council tomorrow, Trainers Meeting on Wednesday, and on Thursday we'll be deciding transfers with President Sorensen. We can already tell it's going to be complicated and tough - we have to close down 4 sisters areas because we are losing so many Kirtland Sisters this transfer, are closing down an area, white-washing a couple, changing Zone Leader areas, etc. Thank goodness we'll be fasting and frequently praying - it amazes me every time to watch Heavenly Father guide those meetings as everything comes together and starts to fit perfectly. But to those meetings - I wish I had more time to be out working getting to actually do missionary work! I'm guessing I have one more transfer left here, but who knows what the Lord has in-store for me! 

Prayer works, the Book of Mormon can answer all of life's questions, and the Atonement is evidence of the love our Heavenly Father has for us. I know this is true! 

Love, Elder Dransfield 

Kirtland with Erica, the Pattees, Michael, and William (Will was baptized my first weekend in North Olmsted)


Older picture of me and Elder Parkinson (when he first got here). This is in Ashtabula, as north east as you can get in our mission.

 Kirtland Temple - where the keys for the Gathering of Israel were restored to the prophet Joseph Smith

 Giving service on Thanksgiving day

 The branch didn't stand a chance!


Elder Hicks with Elder Parkinson and I. He and I tracted 8 straight hours with a 45minute dinner break at a members house one day.


Michael who we did the mini-mission with

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Mighty Change

This week has been incredible. We had a young man of 20 years old come on a mini-mission with us for the week. The story goes as follows:

For the past 4 or 5 years, Michael has been a less-active member or the church. Recently, his family has been put on President Monson's "the rescue" plan where missionaries will teach less-actives as if they are investigators. The idea is that in the process of teaching and understanding doctrine further, they will have a greater desire to become active and temple worthy and will be pulled out of their inactivity. Michael and his family were put on this list many months ago, his grandfather being the only evidence of success. When I got here, I came to know Michael as one who stays home all day, plays video games all night, and I supposed you could say is merely existing. No matter what we did as missionaries, it seemed impossible to spark that desire in him. About a month ago, after a discussion in our Ward Council meeting, two former young-men's leaders were assigned to talk with him, encouraging him to better engage himself. He accepted the challenge and began to read the scriptures and pray every day, and began to come to church each Sunday. What the members didn't know was that Michael had previously been praying for guidance and help. Michael began to see the blessings of the gospel come back into his life; a void was being filled. Our lessons began to actually matter to him and a friendship between the three of us started to grow. A few weeks later in a Stake Coordination Meeting, the Stake President (who is in our ward) asked who this new investigator was. We told the above story and President Sorensen had an impression to allow Michael to come on a week-long mini-mission - something he usually isn't to keen on. We passed on the idea to the Bishopric and Ward Missionaries and there was some doubt, but an overall agreement that this could be life-changing for Michael. The Bishop went over to his home a few days later and posed the idea to him. Michael was thrilled with the idea, though he didn't know why - it was almost as if something was encouraging him to do it.  Now a quick description of Michael - he's skinnier than I am, a little shorter, glasses, hair long and shaggy, a little bit of chin scruff (looks kind of like Shaggy from Scooby Doo I guess)... The Bishop encouraged him to cut his hair a bit and ensured him that the ward would help him get the necessary supplies and clothes for the mission. He got a haircut, but it wasn't very noticeable - his hair was still on the long-side. Monday evening came, and we picked him up.

What happened next has been a very humbling and special experience to my life. As missionaries, we teach and leave commitments with investigators and then have to rely on their agency for growth to take place. With Michael, we had the privilege of being right along-side of him the entire process. Michael started out Monday evening very timid, shy, unsure of himself and nervous, yet enough excitement was present to distill the fears and doubts he may have had. We had another Elder (who was in a 3-elder companionship) from a neighboring ward come with the three of us and we worked our area in twos - Michael switching off between me and Elder Parkinson. He would wake up with us, exercise with us, study with us, role play with us, teach with us, perform service with us, plan with us, he even went to our last Zone Conference in Youngstown with us. After a couple days, he asked if we could take him to a Great Clips. His hair is now missionary-short. At the beginning of the mission, as we would eat or interact with members they would ask if he is preparing for a mission. His responses went from "I don't know" to "If this goes well" to "Possibly" to "I think so" to "Definitely" to "there is nothing that will get in my way." I get emotional even writing this now.. Gosh. I wish you all could see the change! By the end of the week he was teaching lessons! He was asking inspired questions! Talking to people at their doors, bearing powerful testimony to our investigators, and inviting our less-actives to come back to church! A night and days difference! When we showed up at church, members didn't even recognize him. He was beaming with light and the Spirit and looked like a missionary. When the end of the week came, he expressed to us his gratitude telling us that we have changed his life. He said he is serving a mission no matter what it takes. Again it's been humbling to watch. Every night as we went to bed, there was a different person climbing into bed than that morning. I'm remembered of King Benjamin's people who said "because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2). As the Spirit touches the peoples hearts, a mighty change takes place - they become more like the Savior.

We also had more great appointments this week with Erica and a former investigator Bobbi. Erica has been progressing so well and is seeing the blessings fill her life! Her family is giving her a hard time but she isn't letting them get to her. She is keeping her commitments and is thus having her life be filled with the Spirit. She is seeing herself change and become happier. She has a baptismal date for December 3rd and we are so excited for her! Bobbi we got a hold of again this week - we met her tracting a few months ago. She was/is undergoing a difficult divorce and when praying about the Book of Mormon would hear "you're on the right path." When she'd pray about her baptismal date, she'd hear "wait." We lost contact as she was moving a few cities over (now lives in the ward that attends our building at a different time) but finally taught her again. In tears she expressed to us how torn she was with the divorce, not knowing if she should break the marriage which she swore to God would be through better or through worse. As we bore testimony of the love of God and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, she asked if we could find her an answer in the Book of Mormon about breaking this promise with God. Elder Hicks and I sat in silence for probably a good 2 or 3 minutes, silently praying and searching for that answer. Our fellowshipper, a 20-something year old who was recently reactivated and is working on getting on a mission (similar to Michael), spoke up and talked about his parents' divorce and how much happier they were once they were separated. He told her that God wants her to be happy. She then asked, Does the Book of Mormon teach that? That God wants us to be happy? --I knew the answer to that one!! 2 Nephi 2:25! We shared a few verses from there and she talked about forgiving herself, wanting her guilt to be swept away. Enos!! And this is the most interesting part - we shared about Enos and how he came to receive a remission of his sins, and after a few tears she kept reading on, asking about who the Nephites and Lamanites were. We gave a brief history and showed her where they split in the Book of Mormon. She silently read to herself and tears streamed down her face. "There's my answer" she said, "Nephi and Sam had to leave their family in order to be safe, to live the gospel, to be happy. Had they stayed, they too could have turned into this savage, blood-thirsty people in Enos." It was incredible to see her find her answer - and an answer that I would have NEVER thought of! The connection of her and her family and Nephi and his family - evidence of the Book of Mormon's ability to answer all of life's questions. She told us later that as Elder Hicks and I sat in silence, frantically skimming through the Book of Mormon for an answer, she was praying for us that we'd find it. The whole experience helped strengthen her small testimony of the Book of Mormon. She came to church the next day and met with the Bishop to receive further counseling on the matter. She is awesome and I'm sad that we'll have to pass her on to the other Elders. I'll just have to go on lots of exchanges with them ;)

At church yesterday, Erica came, Bobbi came, a couple Part-member families came, and a couple less-active families came. It was so exciting! We have another family who we've been working with who moved into the ward last summer. They have been so close to coming to church the past two weeks but legitimate problems keep arising. This Sunday they weren't there and I texted the husband to ask where they were. He told me that one of the kids had his tonsils removed on Friday and still wasn't feeling good. I invited them to a ward social that night (a pie night - I ate way too much) and asked how his work has been going (which has been the main issue for coming to church. He owns/manages 3 or 4 Chipotles and they just suck the time out of his life whether he likes it or not). He replied with, "That sounds great! Well, I let go of my other three [Chipotles] so that I could get that quality of life with my family back. I was still struggling to get to church and be with the family so I have taken leave until Dec. 2nd, and will leave chipotle. I have sacrificed my family time and spiritual needs for the company and I realize now what is important in this existence. I want to be sealed to my family in the temple and there was no way I could while at chipolte. We will be at church next week, we are out of the routine and struggle with time lol! Thank you for hanging on to us!! We will make it through this challenge." Again we see a mighty change take place. A father humble and loving enough to change careers for his relationship with his family and Heavenly Father.

I'm so thankful for the many experiences I've had on my mission that have helped me change. I'm thankful for the opportunities that I've had to grow and "become." I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and can see the many blessings that you have in your life. I know that our Father in Heaven is real. He loves and knows us.

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another week in the Ohio!

Last week was one of my busiest yet! We were traveling all across the mission going from Zone Conference to Zone Conference. Every meeting went very well and hopefully everyone was able to take something back to apply in their proselyting areas. Elder Parkinson, myself, and the Zone Leaders gave workshops on "Teach People, Not Lessons" and President and Sister Sorensen taught "Revelation Through Church Attendance." I am grateful for the help of my Heavenly Father, aiding me through the long hours and many workshops I gave. I spoke on the importance of planning our lessons according to investigators needs, by the Spirit. I compared us to Mormon in the Book of Mormon - him having to abridge all of the records and rely on the Spirit to know what to put in and what to leave out; he was able to meet our needs in our day through this process. Likewise, we must meet the needs of our investigators, not just teach them information. Thus the phrase, Teach People, Not Lessons. I also showed a PMG video and would pause and discuss frequently, asking questions to generate a discussion to prep us for our roleplays. I'm please with how it went.

In other news, I got a haircut and my hair was cut shorter than I probably have ever had it!!! Ahhh! The lady only made me pay 8 dollars instead of 15, so that was nice.
We found 3 new people to teach this week which is so exciting! I'll talk more about that...
This week we're having a 20-year-old young man in our ward come on a mini-mission with us. Hopefully this will change his life, inspiring him and allowing him to see his potential.

Last Saturday we were asked to participate in a City of Westlake Family History Search at a local library. A Sister from our ward works along-side the mayor has been heavily involved this year in Westlake's Bicentennial event. We stood at the doors of the library and informed people of the Genealogy search that was taking place and were directing people to the room. They had done this event before at Borders Bookstore but were lacking in the number of computers they had - many people turned out. So this year at the library, they had 12 computers in a conference room and 12+ family history representatives (many of which came from our local LDS Family History Center). We were able to inform many who had no idea the event was going on and everyone who came out the room had a huge smile on their face. When we would run out of flyer's or packets to handout (the packets had information for people who couldn't stay), we would go into the room to gather more supplies. I was overwhelmed by the amazing Spirit that was in the room, as I could see the great promise made in Malachi come to pass, "And [Elijah] shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." The room was bustling with people and new discoveries were taking place left and right. Tonight, I and another Elder, will be attending a City of Westlake dinner where they will have a special performance and thank you ceremony for those who participated. We will be representing the church more or less.  

As I mentioned we found three new people to teach this week. One's name is Stephanie and she is a fiance to a less-active family. We have taught the mother quite a few times but were not able to help her regain that desire to come to church and partake of the Sacrament. But Stephanie and her soon-to-be-husband want the gospel to be a bigger part of their lives, so we will be teaching them every Thursday. The story of our other two go like this:

Two Sunday's ago we were tracting a street before dinner - something we had felt prompted to do the night before. As we were tracting we ran across some keys sitting in someones front door. We knocked, no answer. We were wondering what to do with the keys (someone could easily walk in) so we went to the next house to have them call and warn the neighbors. We did so and Erica answered the door. We talked a bit and she agreed to have us come back. We called later in the week (during which she searched online about the church and us and actually looked at this blog! If you're reading this, sorry I'm talking about you!) and set up an appointment for this past Monday evening. Monday came and we were stuck in the office from about 7:30am to 4:30pm preparing for our Zone Conferences. We had failed to coordinate a member to come to the lesson with us and no matter what we tried, we just couldn't seem to find anyone available last-minute. We called Erica and rescheduled the appointment for Wednesday evening. Wednesday came around and we took the Hooks (a younger couple in our ward) with us to the appointment. We get there and Erica had a friend over - Brittany. There had been some confusion and Brittany had come over for some Mary-Kay business, not a missionary discussion. Thankfully she agreed to sit in on the lesson. Our plans were to go over the Restoration (like any first meeting) but the Spirit had other plans. We talked the whole hour about God being our loving, Heavenly Father and also about prayer. It was a wonderful meeting! The Spirit was so strong, bearing witness of the truthfulness of our message! Both Erica and Brittany felt the Spirit - one described it almost as a pressure or pain in her heart - but a good pressure or pain. Later one described it as being euphoric, inspiring... At the end of our lesson, Erica offered a great closing prayer and we left them with copies of the Book of Mormon. Brittany during our meeting told us that she had been asking herself some of the exact questions we had answered the night - amazing how the Spirit will aid us in meeting their needs! It was no coincidence that Brittany had come over that night and that we had to reschedule our appointment - Heavenly Father wanted us to cross paths so we could share with them the love He has for all His children. We haven't seen Brittany since, but Erica we met with again and taught her the rest of the Restoration, and she came to church this Sunday! She has a 3-year-old son who fits right in with the rest of the Nursery-aged kids and many members of the ward were really excited to meet them. Tonight Elder Parkinson and Michael (the 20-year-old on the mini-mission with us for the week) will be going over to a members house for dinner (the Palmers) with Erica and her son. They'll be teaching the Plan of Salvation which we know will bless Erica's life even further. We're excited to get to teach her and help her come even closer to her Heavenly Father! I love to be able to see how Heavenly Father orchestrates everything in our lives just right so that we have opportunities for progression and happiness.

I know that this church is true. It is the re-established, Christian church that Jesus Christ set-up during his earthly ministry. In it, the Priesthood, or authority to act in God's name, is held. Only with this Priesthood can we make the proper covenants to enrich our lives with the Spirit, open the gates of eternal life, seal our families so that we will be together forever, and receive the purest and most joy in this life. I know that! People always ask what we're doing in Ohio or why we would "choose" to come here, and that is why. So I can open the eyes of so many out here who do not have the truth because they know not where to find it. My purpose is one with my Heavenly Father's: "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). To help people see the divine potential they have and see the blessings they are in a sense entitled to. President Harold B. Lee said, “If you could look into the heavens and see who you really are, you would be overwhelmed with your capabilities, your talents, your spiritual qualities, and the vision of what you are able to become.  If we knew now who we really are, we would feel different about ourselves.  We would be excited and enthusiastic about this life even with its burdens and frustrations.” My prayer is that we may all grasp a clearer vision of what we are able to become. This comes through earnest prayer, diligent study of the scriptures, and a commitment to church each Sunday to partake of the wonderful Sacrament. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Dransfield

 My current companion: Elder Parkinson

 Saying goodbye to Elder Toth - my favorite Canadian

Me coveting Elder O'neils yogurt? 

 Why my mission is the best!

Deer are everywhere in Ohio!

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Missionaries at a Trainers and Trainees meeting in...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Missionaries at a Trainers and Trainees meeting in...: Missionaries at a Trainers and Trainees meeting in the mission office building on November 4, 2011.

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: The three Assistants (L-R) Elder Dransfield, Elder...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: The three Assistants (L-R) Elder Dransfield, Elder...: The three Assistants (L-R) Elder Dransfield, Elder McClellan, and Elder Parkinson just before Elder McClellan went home, taken October 24, 2...

October 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November

Hello all,

Life is great. Super busy, which I like. Have meetings from Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. Trying my best not to be stressed out - just doing my best and leaving the rest up to the Lord! Last week we had the privilege of going to the Isaac Morely Farm with Karl Anderson - us, President and Sister Sorensen, the Zone Leaders, and Training Sisters. It was a wonderful experience. We read from D&C Section 50 (the Morely Farm is where this Revelation took place) and discussed it. A total of 13 sections came from the Morely Farm: Section 45-50, 52-56, and 63-64. Karl Anderson taught us so much and helped us gain greater insight to who Joseph Smith was. (He's pretty knowledgeable. When the church presidency has a question, they call him. In fact, he met with President Eyring yesterday...). Joseph and Emma were residences of the Morely Farm for 6 months (from March 1832 to September). It was an incredible experience that I'll never forget.

We've been doing a lot of service lately is seems. We helped an old lady who lives by a member family do some yard work and afterwards taught her about the Book of Mormon. We continue to do service at that barn for the less-active member I've mentioned before. Service is such a great way to fill everyone with gratitude, love, and the spirit.

About once a quarter, the office puts together a mission newsletter and we, as the Assistants to the President, have a little column we write a message in. Elder Parkinson and I came up with the topic together and then I just wrote it. This is it:

Elders and Sisters,
Can you believe that November is already upon us? What an exciting time of the year this is! With the change of weather, the change of leaves on the trees, and the change of hibernation patterns of Ohio residents, we hope we can continue to change, or grow, as a mission to reach our goal to baptize monthly. A profusion of purpose is rapidly overtaking this mission as our “faith, hope, charity, and love” (D&C 4:5) illuminate the Ohio – these very grounds where our beloved prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., once walked. We hope that we, as a mission, may continue to lose ourselves in this great and marvelous work. We hope that we may all qualify for that constant companionship of the Holy Ghost – for without this aid, we are nothing. We hope for great success in each proselyting area as we watch the Atonement transform mankind. This hope drives us; it consumes us.
In a 1984 BYU fireside address, Elder John H. Groberg posed the question “What is hope?” His response: “As near as I can tell, hope is light. It is a light within us that pierces the darkness of doubt and discouragement and taps into the light (hope) of all creation –even the Savior. …Hope, in a word, is the Savior. Hope is a part of the deity in us that attaches us to the Savior. Don’t let that thread be cut. No matter how tenuous or thin it might be, there is always hope.”
To qualify for the work, to fulfill our purpose and callings as representatives of Jesus Christ, we must have hope. We must become hope. Thus our responsibility is to “lift hands which hang hopelessly down” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell). If hope is light, then in D&C 88:67 we learn that the fundamental process to become hope is to align our will to the will of the Father – our eye single to His glory; to, again, lose ourselves in the work. May our threads of hope which bind us to the Savior become cords of hope. As this process takes place, we will see our goal of monthly baptisms come to pass. We know that Christ lives and is the Savior of the world. He is our light, He is our hope, He is our friend; May we look to the light this holiday season and qualify for the work.
Love, Elders Dransfield & Parkinson

I had fun writing it. We continue to search for people to teach. Yesterday we found a handful of potentials through tracting (they accepted a Book of Mormon and gave us their phone number for a possible lesson). We're being hopeful ;) We unintentionally did a lot of less-active work this last week; got a hold of many families who have been hard to contact and set up appointments with. A few are making huge progress, others don't have any desire to change. Dallin H. Oaks said in his April 2011 General Conference talk, "Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our change, our achieving, and our becoming." We've been trying to help these people gain a desire or create vision for themselves, which really all comes down to understanding the Atonement.

The weather is getting colder and the thick snow jackets are being pulled out of the suitcases. Soon it will be snowing (no!!!) and I will be permanently cold for the next 4 months... (just kidding...but seriously). In other news, President took us out to lunch today to a Mexican Restaurant and by the end I had to loosen a belt buckle because I couldn't FIT!!!! hahaha... But don't worry, by tonight I will have shrunk down to normal size.

WELL, I have an appointment we have to get to in an hour and 15 minutes. Before that we're supposed to wash the truck, get our hair cuts, and go grocery shopping. Guess I'll be fasting all this week! Have a great day!

Love, Elder Dransfield


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Quick Hello (Received 10/31/11)

Sorry I didn't make time to email today. that was my bad. CRAZY week ahead... We left the office around 12:30 last night (bed by 1am) and woke up at 6:30 and headed straight back to the office. This is the 3rd or 4th day in a row we've gotten less than 7 hours of sleep. I have big, black bags under my eyes. Halloween costume? We were swamped in the office preparing for our big meetings this week - one tomorrow, one Wednesday, one Friday. Then the following week we have a meeting every day Monday through Friday. Tomorrow is our Mission Council, and we'll be taking the Zone Leaders and Training Sisters to the Morely Farm. Many revelations from the Doctrine and Covenants came from there - check them out to find out what we'll be talking about tomorrow! Karl Anderson will be giving us the tour. Following the tour we'll have lunch and will have our Mission Council meeting. The next day we have another meeting in Kirtland with all the District Leaders and Zone Leaders (and another set of Sisters. Boyd K. Packer said that the intuition of a righteous woman availeth much, so President likes to always have a set of sisters at our meetings. Which is why we have "mission council" instead of "zone leader council." Friday we will have a meeting with all the new missionaries who came to Ohio last Wednesday and their trainers. All the meetings are from 9:30am to 4pm. Elder Parkinson and I will be conducting the meetings and giving many workshops. Keep me in your prayers that I'll be able to inspire these missionaries! ;)

I know that our Heavenly Father watches over us and knows us personally. There is no way I could get through these meetings and the everyday work without Him. I am grateful for the Spirit in my life. I have learned and grown so much as I have qualified for that constant companionship and have listened to the subtle promptings. I know that as we align our lives and our will to the will of the Savior, we will experience true, pure joy. We will not be enduring to the end as much as we will be enjoying to the end. Hope everyone has a happy Halloween. We were told that the most popular costume this year is an LDS Missionary (I think because of that play in New York). Maybe I'll go grab some candy tonight :) Love you all!

Elder Dransfield

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Weekly Report from the Ohio Cleveland Mission

This year has been the wettest year ever in the state of Ohio - and it's only October! It's been raining so much you would think we were in Seattle or something. I am very blessed to have a car to endure all of storms (and soon snow)! And not just a car, but a brand new, white, 2012 Chevy Colorado ;)

Story time:
Last week we received a phone call from a lady in Salt Lake City. She explained to us that there was a man living in our ward boundaries who wanted to be baptized...man, the things some people ask us to do...sheesh! We called him and set up an appointment to see him last Thursday at the church building. He is originally from Florida and met with missionaries down there a little over a year ago. Due to health and personal reasons, he put off the lessons and traveled to Ohio to receive treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. Unfortunately he is currently jobless and we think homeless (living in his car for now). But we set a baptismal date with him and he is reading the Book of Mormon diligently. He came the very next day to our Ward Halloween Party and yesterday came to church. He says that he feels that joining the church will bring him the most balance in his life. I know that is true, for the Book of Mormon "tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come" (Introduction page) and has brought me the greatest sense of balance and happiness in my life. We set him up with the Stake Employment Specialist and he actually attended an employment meeting yesterday, so hopefully he can get back on his feet quickly. He used to install in-home theaters and is very knowledgeable when it comes to wiring and electrician problems. Smart guy, just an unfortunate turn of events.

For the past few weeks all of the missionaries in our mission (and everyone in Ohio for that matter) have been coming down with a nasty virus. I got it and was told to stay inside and sleep all day Friday. I hated it! That night we had our Trunk-or-Treat Halloween Party and a few of our investigators were supposed to attend. So my new companion met up with the companionship we live with and they went to the party in my place while I stayed with the Hokansons for the evening to rest. They are one of our office senior couples and are from Star Valley, Wyoming. I love them to death, they are some of my favorite people I've met in Ohio. Someday I'll introduce all of you who are reading this to them ;) (The Smiths too...they're the other office senior couple). The Hokansons and I went out to Olive Garden for dinner and then I rested at their apartment until my companion got back. We have so much fun working in the office together. They make me excited to go on a senior mission someday! I am feeling better health-wise, although the rest of the mission keeps getting suck. I've been telling myself all week "I should have gotten a flu shot...I should have gotten a flu shot..." The problem is that we can't really have sick missionaries during transfer week!!!

Transfer week...Tomorrow we'll have 9 new missionaries flying in from the MTC (3 of them sisters) and it will be the regular routine: pick them up at the airport, bring them to the mission home, have a meeting, dinner, meeting, roleplay, send them to bed, we prayerfully pick their trainers, wake up, go to the Kirtland Historical Sites and Kirtland Temple, go to Transfer Meeting, match everyone up, send the missionaries to their new proselyting areas, gather the missionaries going home, go out to lunch, back to mission home, more meetings, more food, etc. It's a very exciting (busy) time and I LOVE seeing the brand new missionaries walking out of the airport. They're like deer in the headlights :)  --Speaking of deer! I'm not sure if I have ever written about this: There are SO many deer in Ohio. They walk around EVERYWHERE and eat everyones flowers and gardens. And talk about roadkill... yikes! Apparently if you hit one you're supposed to call the police and dispose of the body or else it's considered a hit-and-run. But if you call, you get fined. So...nobody calls. And nobody takes care of the dead bodies. But yesterday we were tracting and a deer was just sitting in this persons yard having the time of it's life eating their plants. It didn't even care that we were there.

We've been seeing many miracles with some less-active families we've been working with recently. Sister Gircsis (who we've been doing service for) came to church yesterday. We worked for her on Saturday in her barn and had a very nice, spiritual lesson. We talked about the importance of the Sacrament and she committed to come - and she did! We've also been working with a 20-year-old boy and trying to help him embrace the gospel more fully in his life (and let go of the video games). In our Ward Council Meeting a few weeks back an assignment was made for two members to go and invite him to prepare for the temple (via taking the discussions from us). They went over and very lovingly told him he needs to grow up and start aspiring in life. We have seen a total change of heart and he is suddenly on fire - HE is setting up OUR appointments to see him! It just goes to show how important members are in missionary work! Our ward is very excited about missionary work and we have probably the best bishop in the whole mission (although I might be biased). We continue to see much success because of our Bishop. It's great.

Well, my time is up. I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that God lives and answers our prayers! I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. This is Christ's church - the same he established during his earthly ministry. It's been restored to the earth, along with the authority to act in God's name, to baptize, to seal families for eternity... I'm so grateful for the blessings of the temple. I would hope that all who have access to the temple go as frequently as possible. I'm grateful for all the blessings in my life. I have been so blessed and I hope that in these next 11 months I can continue to help others receive the same blessings. Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! I love you all!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello from Cleveland!

This last week was pretty busy, although we didn't work in our area as much as we would have liked. I did however hit my year-mark of when I flew into Ohio. This week I also went to Pennsylvania for the first time. That was pretty cool...

Monday we taught a really cool couple. They have a daughter who is going to school in Utah and they go out to visit her frequently. They visited Temple Square and filled out one of the cards that the Sisters give to people. We got a text on our phone with their info, and a few months later (we had trouble getting in contact with them) we taught them! They were SO nice and their understanding of everything we were saying was so clear. The Spirit was very powerful as we taught them and asked them questions. They are eager to read the Book of Mormon and find out if it's true. The wife (Sister Peacock) has been searching for the true church her whole life. She admits she settled with the Catholic church because of its consistency (in what they teach and believe) and structure. They travel a lot (they were both in the military at some point and I think he still might be. That or he just travels a lot). But we will be seeing them again in November (they're out of town) and have been praying and fasting that they can receive their answer! They remind me a lot of the Nevilles (who I miss so much!) so I'm excited to get to teach them some more.

From Tuesday to Friday I was jumping around the mission going on exchanges with different companionships. Went to Tallmadge/Cuyahoga Falls Tuesday-Wednesday, New Castle, Pennsylvania Wednesday-Thursday, and Shaker Heights Thursday-Friday. Elder Bills (my companion from Canton) serves there now and we had a blast working together for couple days. I had to come back to North Olmsted, OH on Friday because we got our new AP that will be taking over Elder McClellan's position. His name is Elder Parkinson. He's been on him mission for about 8 months! As President says, "We've got ourselves a couple of young bucks." Elder Parkinson is incredible and hopefully we can help build the mission!

Saturday was our Transfer Meeting. We met with President at the Mission Office from 9:30am till about 4:30pm, and with much prayer and fasting decided what transfer changes should be made (who will go where, who will be called to what leadership positions, etc.). It's an amazing experience to be a part of. You get to see how the Lord's hand is truly in this work and see how inspired transfers really are. After our meeting the Sorensen's took us out to the Cheesecake Factory and let us get whatever we wanted! I got some chicken mushroom dish. Very good! (I kept thinking to myself - I bet mom would really like this dish!).

I think that's pretty much my week. The weather has been getting much colder lately. Time to break out the sweaters and coats! Before you know it, it'll be snowing... AHHH! We got a new truck today. A white 2012 Chevy Colorado. We are so spoiled...

Today we had a Trainers Meeting where all the missionaries who will be training new missionaries next transfer came to the mission home. We met from 9:30 till 4pm and talked about all kinds of things. A new 12-week training program that we've actually been doing in our mission for about 4 1/2 months now. Talked about leadership, charity, planning by the Spirit, and a bunch of other missionary topics. I gave 4 workshops! It was a blast! Just did a lot of studying and praying beforehand, wrote down some impressions and notes, and relied on the Spirit to guide me in the workshops. They went well...I think... @_@

What are some random facts about my mission.....
1. Yes, I am fed very well. Today we were fed enchiladas and brownies and ice cream!
2. No, I have not gained weight yet. Although I don't know what all this chunky stuff on my stomach is... Insulation for the winter? Just kidding, I'm sill a twig :)
3. They say that the religion out here that has the most devout members is the Cleveland Browns fan club
4. When we go tracting, everyone thinks we're Jehovah's Witnesses or that we practice polygamy. People will ask us some pretty strange questions...... At the beginning of my mission I hated knocking on doors, but now I have a blast doing it. It's so fun to talk to people about the gospel. Lately we've been singing to people as we go door-to-door. We sing "I am a Child of God." People love it.
5. People out here go all-out when it comes to decorating for Halloween.
6. Met a less-active church member in Shake Heights who is from India. He was teaching me Gandhi philosophy - "they eye of the eye of the eye, and the leg of the leg of the leg, etc. of the etc. of the etc." He fed us Indian food. I don't think I'd do well living in India...

I'll close with my testimony: I know this church is true and that it is Christ's church re-established on the earth through modern-day prophets! I know that the Book of Mormon is true - it's the proof of this church being the one, true church. I know that anyone who diligently reads the Book of Mormon, ponders the messages and teachings contained in the book, and earnestly prays to know if it's true (and being willing to submit your will to God's will - if you find out it's true, you'll follow and embrace it full-heartedly), will receive an answer that it's all true. And that answer will come through the Holy Ghost. Not through "research" on the Internet, not through the opinions of the world, but by the promptings of the Holy Ghost, whose purpose is to testify of truth. This has blessed my life so much and my only desire is to bring that same light, that same truth, that same happiness into the lives of others.

Thank you for all the prayers. Have a great week! 
Love, Elder Dransfield

P.S. I'll try to get some pictures next week... :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Taken on transfer day in Kirtland on September 14,...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Taken on transfer day in Kirtland on September 14,...: Taken on transfer day in Kirtland on September 14, 2011.

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elders Ercanbrack, McClellan, Richardson, Dransfie...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elders Ercanbrack, McClellan, Richardson, Dransfie...: Elders Ercanbrack, McClellan, Richardson, Dransfield, and Decker at departure dinner on September 14, 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Findlay Zone at Zone Out

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Findlay Zone at Zone Out

"when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" -Mosiah 2:17

This week has been a humbling experience as we seem to be going through "the trail of your faith" that Moroni writes of in Ether chapter 12. We've been struggling to find new investigators and those who we do have cannot progress for one reason or another. It's been hard, but we've been learning a lot from it all. I have come to love knocking on doors and talking to people (even if they are angry to see us!).

We went and did service again at Sister Gircsis' barn. This time, instead of tending to the horses, we dug some poles out of the ground, cleaned up some of the brush on the side of the barn, dug some trenches... Just some yard work. I had two missionaries with me who are not normally my companion (one from Toledo and one from Parma) while Elder McClellan was on exchanges on the western part of the mission. This less-active sister proudly told me that she had watched a session or two of conference the past weekend. We were excited and talked a little bit about it. I told her that the ones she missed were still on lds.org and that she should go back and watch them. After the service we shared a lesson with her. We read in Mosiah 5:1-4 which talks about the effects that King Benjamin's "General Conference" had on the people. We were talking about the importance of listening to the Prophet when Sister Gircsis tearfully said, "Ever since you boys came over and after watching Conference, I can feel that happy tingly feeling in my life again; I can feel the Holy Ghost again. Thank you." She committed to watch the rest of Conference online. It was so amazing to see how just a little bit of service can move someone to do such good! 

A few days later we did some service for an 85-year-old woman - Ms. Lopez. We were tracting when we saw her hosing off her roof and we offered her a hand. She agreed to have us come over the following morning and help with her yard. We pretty much re-landscaped her front yard... And it looks great! She was very touched by our service and wanted to give us some money to go see a movie, we politely decline ;) Her husband of 50-something years died last May and since then she has been struggling with the up keeping of her house. Though she is 85 she looks 65 - she says it's because her and her husband here dancers (and apparently pretty good ones. She showed us some trophies and pictures). The cool part of it all is her daughter lives in Lodi, California and Ms. Lopez is going there next week to visit. She was very excited when I told her I was from that area of California too. We will be going back over this week to do some more yard work for her. She's a very sweet lady.

In other news, we taught Brandy (14 years old) about tithing and she thought the blessings that come from it were so awesome that she turned to her foster parents and started inquiring why they weren't paying their tithing. She told them she'd help them remember to do so. We taught a part-member family (the Wysocki's) and the husband told me he would "try" to read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon. I told him I would call him everyday until he read and he told me he wouldn't answer the phone! Hahaha! But his wife said she would. I've called a few times and they haven't read yet! It's ONE page! They're retired! Priorities people! Priorities!

Once next week hits, things will start picking up in the mission. We have transfers coming up, a new Assistant to train (my new companion since Elder McClellan's two years are almost up), Zone Conferences, Mission Councils, Leadership Training Meetings, Trainers Meetings, Training Meetings, etc. Lots of meetings coming up! It'll definitely stretch my capacity, but I am excited for what's to come! Yesterday we had Stake Conference and it was very missionary-oriented. President Sorensen spoke about Senior Missions (which everyone should go on!) and mentioned to the stake that my grandparents have served 12 senior missions! Everyone has come up to me and said "Wow!"

I can't believe it's October already! Life is just flying by! I am grateful for all I have learned on my mission, who I've become so far and the experiences that lie ahead. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! Through his Atonement, our burdens may be made light!

"And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God. And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death. And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage." -Mosiah 24:10-16

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Tracy and Elder Dransfield in the mission of...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Tracy and Elder Dransfield in the mission of...: Elder Tracy and Elder Dransfield in the mission office.

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Dransfield and Sister McAlister performing a...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Dransfield and Sister McAlister performing a...: Elder Dransfield and Sister McAlister performing at Zone Leaders' Council, September 6, 2011.

We must always remember Him

We have recently been finding many potential investigators and receiving many referrals from ward members and less-actives. Our most progressing investigator is Brandy (a foster child). We printed off a Conference Notes packet from lds.org and gave one to her (has pictures of the Prophet, his counselors, the Apostles and lines to take notes on). After Conference we talked about some of the things we learned and she read from her notes. Her notes showed great understanding and as she read there was such a sweet Spirit in the room. She knew nothing of our Heavenly Father, of Jesus Christ, or the Spirit when we started teaching her, but now knows and can feel who they are and can't wait to be baptized.
This last week we were on exchanges and Elder Toth was in our area with me. We called a less-active to try and schedule an appointment for the next day and she was hesitant; she had many chores around the barn to do. As we offered service she suddenly had plenty of time for us to come over. Elder Toth and I drove over the next morning. It was very wet outside and we had no idea we were about to be pushing wheelbarrows full of horse manure up  big hills of more horse manure. We arrived and the member told us that she had a really good friend coming over to help and that we could probably share a lesson with them at the end of the service. She arrived, we all worked and chatted - had a good time. The woman turns out to be in Elder Toth's area (another suburb of Cleveland) which was not a coincidence! We taught about our purpose here on earth (it pertained to what the woman was talking about during our service...many deaths lately) and pointed out how the Lord's hand is everywhere in our lives, preparing us to return to live with him and be happy on earth. By the end of our lesson, the friend invited Elder Toth and his companion over for dinner next week and agreed to take lessons from them. It was a wonderful experience.

Conference sure was great. It's on lds.org already - which is so cool how quick the church was able to upload all of that. I learned so much and know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. What a great man. I wish I could watch all the sessions over and over again, but alas I have work to do! We went over to 3 members/investigators houses for 3 of the 5 sessions of General Conference. They all fed us :) There are so many talks that I could write pages and pages about...so instead you should all just go watch Conference again (or write me and tell me what your favorites were!).

Not much more to report... A lot of people we have found through tracting, but the hardest part is getting them to answer their phones/be home for our return appointments! Things are looking up and I'm excited for what's to come. I loved what Elder Carl B. Cook of the Quorum of the Seventy said in the Saturday Afternoon session: "We must look up and step up. As we do so, we will cheer up." This is following the advice President Monson once gave him: "Remember, it's better to look up." In the Sacrament prayers we promise to "always remember [Christ]" and as we do so (looking towards the "son") and press forward, we will be happy. This has been evident on my mission. I love my mission so much! Thank you for all the love and support!
Love, Elder Dransfield