Monday, January 31, 2011

I have a lot to say this week

Wow, I can't believe I'm finally 20! The "teen" is out of my age and the "2" is added to the front - weird! It's been a great day so far! My favorite part is probably the sun being outside! It's cold out, but with the sun beaming down without any clouds to get in the way, I'm in a great mood!

This week we had a Zone Development Meeting (like a District Meeting but with the whole zone). Elder Haines and I organized it all and invited the President's Assistants to join us. It ended up being a great meeting! We gave everyone in the zone a responsibility (whether it was giving a workshop or saying a prayer) and had a wonderful experience. Elder Haines and I gave a workshop about family prayer! We started with Elder Haines talking about how important the family is. Then I talked about prayer.

I had everyone turn to page 73 in Preach My Gospel "Pray Often." I asked someone to read the first paragraph, warning them that I would jump in periodically. It starts, "God commands us to pray to Him" -stop! I reread the first sentence and then posed the question, Why? D&C 19:28 "I command thee that thou shalt pray.." Why are we commanded to pray? We came up with answers such as, He wants us to talk to him, so we can get help, so we can thank him, and simply because He wants us to. We continued, "You can pray at any time and in any setting. The Lord has taught us to kneel and pray in the morning and in the evening, as individuals and with our families" -stop! Turn to Alma 34:21 "Cry unto [God] in your houses, yeah, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening" - we've been told to pray not only individually, but as a family for thousands of years! Why is it that family prayer in society is almost nonexistent? We kept reading, "Our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Through daily prayer we receive divine guidance and blessings. We should always pray sincerely" - stop. What does it mean to pray "sincerely?" Gordon B. Hinckely said, "The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we are picking up the telephone and ordering groceries - we place our order and hang up. We need to mediate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another. 'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord' (Isaiah 1:18). That is the invitation. Believe in the power of prayer - it is real, it is wonderful, it is tremendous." I made a few comments and then asked how we could help our investigators learn to do this. I had everyone turn to the Bible Dictionary to look up 'prayer.' The seventh paragraph states, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other" -stop! The will of the Father and the will of the child... What does the word correspondence mean? Elder David A. Bednar talked about this in his April 2008 General Conference talk "Ask in Faith." He talks of the greatest example of all when it comes to this - our Savior, Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, "saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. ... And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:42, 44). Elder Bednar tells another story: "Several years ago there was a young father who had been active in the Church as a boy but had chosen a different path during his teenage years. After serving in the military, he married a lovely girl, and soon children blessed their home. One day without warning their little four-year-old daughter became critically ill and was hospitalized. In desperation and for the first time in many years, the father was found on his knees in prayer, asking that the life of his daughter be spared. Yet her condition worsened. Gradually, this father sensed that his little girl would not live, and slowly his prayers changed; he no longer prayed for healing but rather for understanding. 'Let Thy will be done' was now the manner of his pleadings. Soon his daughter was in a coma, and the father knew her hours on earth were few. Fortified with understanding, trust, and power beyond their own, the young parents prayed again, asking for the opportunity to hold her close once more while she was awake. The daughter's eyes opened, and her frail arms reached out to her parents for one final embrace. And then she was gone. This father knew their prayers had been answered - a kind, compassionate Father in Heaven had comforted their hearts. God's will had been done, and they had gained understanding." We discussed then went back the Bible Dictionary. It continues, "The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." Prayer is a form of work... Prayer requires faith, faith requires action, thus prayer requires action. Elder Russel M. Nelson often heard President Gordon B. Hinckley say, "I don't know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work." Elder Bednar gave an example in his talk. He said, "Joseph [Smith]'s questions focused not just on what he needed to know but also on what was to be done! His prayer was not simply, "Which church is right?" His question was, "Which church should I join?" Joseph went to the grove to ask in faith, and he was determined to act." Throughout my workshop was a discussion (In my workshops I always start off by telling everyone that I will NOT be doing the talking, they will... in other words, a discussion is going to happen. I learned a lot about prayer as I prepared and taught it. Elder Haines and I then read 3 Nephi 18:16, 19-21 and talked about it with our zone. I then talked about how the Gospel blesses families and I shared a story about a family we are teaching. We taught their family about the concept of family prayer and now the family has a prayer said every night together. The kids wont the the parents go to bed without saying their prayers at night! Their family is definitely growing closer together and their relationship with Heavenly Father is undoubtedly becoming stronger.

I know that the power of prayer is real. I know that our Heavenly Father hears AND answers our prayers. I have an undeniable testimony of this! I have seen instant answers to my prayers, I have seen long-term answers to my prayers. Prayer is real. Like our prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said, "[Prayer] is real, it is wonderful, it is tremendous." Hymn 140 - Did You Think to Pray has such a great message to it: "Ere you left your room this morning, Did you think to pray? In the name of Christ, our Savior, Did you sue for loving favor As a shield today? When your heart was filled with anger, Did you think to pray? Did you plead for grace, my brother, That you might forgive another Who had crossed your way? When sore trials came upon you, Did you think to pray? When your soul was full of sorrow, Balm of Gilead did you borrow At the gates of day. Oh, how praying rests the weary! Prayer will change the night to day. So, when life gets dark and dreary, Don’t forget to pray." Whenever life gets tough, we need to fall at our knees. And pray to Him who knows all things.

Recently I came across a quote by Elder Richard G. Scott that has changed my morning studies. He said, "Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in times of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light" ("Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge, Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86). I now take notes in all the scriptures I read! Before my studies I pray that I may have the Spirit to be with me, to teach me and edify me as I try to learn more. As I read and feel the promptings and whisperings of the Spirit, I write them down. Every morning I study one chapter from the Book of Mormon, one from the Doctrine and Covenants, and as much of Preach My Gosepl as I can in the hour of personal study I have. This morning I only studied one chapter in the book of 1 Nephi! There are my notes:
1 Nephi Chapter 16
Verse 2 - We must not fear teaching the truth. We must be bold. We must be blunt. Why don't we drink tea? Because the prophets have told us the will of the Lord, which is that. "The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them down to the very center."
Verse 11 - Before Lehi and his family travel into the wilderness, they gathered all the provisions that the Lord had provided for them as well as "seed of every kind." What is the wilderness of our day? The world - once we step outside our homes, our churches, our temples, we enter the wilderness. What provisions has the Lord provided us with? The Book of Mormon, the Bible, latter-day prophets, the Word of Wisdom, the Proclamation to the World, the Holy Ghost! Are we taking these things with us each and every time we enter into the wilderness? Are we keeping these truths close to our hearts? Now what of these seeds they brought? Notice they don't say "and we did take [food] of every kind." In church, we often talk of planting seeds (see Alma 32:28 to the end). In this story, Lehi brought literal seeds with him. But we must bring those seeds of faith with us. We must plant those good seeds and care for them, water them, feed them, let them take root so that they will be strong enough to withstand the storms of life or when the sun seems to be hidden behind the clouds. Lehi brought his seeds - he continued to nurture and tend to his faith, and he did this through obedience, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, etc. Alma 32 = such a great chapter!! (I read it but didn't take notes, just read what Alma says about seeds of faith).
I was going to write more of my notes, but this email is SO SO SO long! Ahhhh! haha I'm sorry for whoever just read all that! You're probably just bored out of your mind!

Wow... I guess this is my birthday present - all of you have to read my thoughts! ha! Thank you for the wonderful bday packages I have received! I have yet to open them, but can't wait! Life is so good here in Ohio (minus the cold! hehe). A BIG storm is supposed to be here for the next two or three days - people are freaking out thinking the snow will be above our houses! If so, I'll be the last one that people will want to eat since I have the least meat on my body, so no worries there ;)

I hope all is well with all of my friends and family. I feel so blessed and so loved by my fan club and my Heavenly Father. I love our Savior, Jesus Christ. I will forever be indebted to him, as he has saved my life through his Atonement. I owe him all that I have, these two years are nothing compared to what he has done. Christ has made it possible to repent, to change, to become the potential that our Heavenly Father knows we have. "We become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to become" - Elder Richard G. Scott. I'm slowly becoming what I want to be. I pray that I can do better and be a better missionary. I love you all. And I know that our Heavenly Father loves you all even more. Thanks for listening!

Elder David Dransfield

 After our Zone Conference

Al Capone robbed this bank (Forest, Ohio) so it's famous-ish

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weather = Below Zero = Colder than Cold

Life is going good. It's just cold.

Teaching lots. Soon will be baptizing lots.

I love the people of Ohio so much, I never want to leave Findlay!

My Birthday is coming up! Usually I'm not about asking for presents, but what I would like from EVERYONE is their favorite picture of the two of us. That way I'll remember what you look like when you send me a letter ;)

Today in my personal study I was reading in Preach My Gospel (our missionary handbook) about how the gospel blesses families. "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities" (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 201). One of the greatest things I think us missionaries can do is help families to "be united eternally" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

I love my family so much. It is with them that I have learned and grown into who I have become today. It is with them that I want to be with forever - beyond the grave. They are the only reason I wouldn't stay on my mission forever. I love my family, every single one of them. Not only have I seen how much the gospel has blessed my family, but as we teach and reactivate families, you can see the peace and hapiness in their lives fill their entire being. Families are SO important. The most sacred unit we have here on earth. There's a reason the our Heavenly Father sent us down here in families. Our families are so important. My family is so important. I love my family!!!  
Today = snow. It was below zero a couple days last week (with the wind chill factor) Brrr!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

See that you serve Him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength...

Recently I feel like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!" My life these days is so busy! We wake up at 6:30am and don't stop till 10:30pm! It's a good kind of busy though, I love what I'm doing so the time flies by. I wish we had more time in the day!!!

Two Tuesday's ago (Jan 11th) I attended Mission Council in Hiram, Ohio. In Hiram is the John Johnson Farm, where Joseph Smith received many revelations and where a nice chunk of the Doctrine and Covenants comes from. It was a meeting where the 12 Zone Leaders, 2 Assistant to the Presidents, and Mission President and his Wife get together and discuss different needs and changes for the mission. The first half of our meeting took place in the very room where Joseph Smith received revelations concerning things like the Plan of Salvation. We read many different sections that were received in the room and discussed them and then read all of Section 76 (Plan of Salvation). It was another experience that I don't think I can fully describe or express in words. What a powerful, amazing Spirit that could be felt in that room at that hour. As we read these sacred truths in the very room where they were shown to Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, looking at the three windows and wondering which one the two had been standing was awesome. I don't know what else to say. Another very special, sacred experience. The spirit was so strong and I left that room feeling so edified. Afterwards we went and ate lunch in a nearby church building and later discussed mission matters. It was a great meeting. We stayed the night in Cleveland (so we wouldn't be doing so much driving) because the next day we had a Leadership Training Meeting in Cleveland at the Mission Office. It was a great meeting, learned a lot, etc. It was good. If you want to know more, write me.

Speaking of letters. Holy cow! I have a stack of probably...say...35 letters? So I went through them today and sorted them and some people have written me two or three letters before I have even written back once! :( Sorry! I'll start sacrificing my lunches to write you letters....(not). But I will write you! I know I say this every week, but it's trueeee!

This past Monday (Jan 17th) Elder Haines and I, five members from the ward, and a Part-Member family we're teaching took a trip to Kirtland, Ohio. It's about a 2.5-3 hour drive, so it was quite the road trip! We got to go on an awesome tour guided by two sister missionaries and got to watch a couple of great videos about the history that happened there. One was a short 15 minute clip about Kirtland (similar to the movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration) and another was that movie that I just mentioned in the parenthesis and don't feel like rewriting... It was very cool for our investigators (and us) to get to see where all of the amazing happenings took place. To be able to walk where Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Emma Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, etc. all walked. And also be where so many heavenly appearances took place! It was a great trip and I can't wait to go back and take some other families we're teaching!

We currently have 4 baptismal dates set and 2 more we'll be setting in the next week. We're so excited for the families and individuals who have plans to make this great covenant with God! Something that many people don't understand is that Baptism is not the "end," it's the beginning. Many people think you're baptized into a church and then that's it. You're a member, you're baptized, you go to church, and die. There is SO MUCH MORE!!! How discouraging to think that one's progression would end so soon! Baptism is merely the first step or requirement to enter into the kingdom of God! And I can't wait to see our friends/investigators make this first (but so important!) step.

I only have 8 minutes left on the dumb library computer. We are allowed to email today because MLK jr. Day on Monday meant that libraries weren't open.

It sure is cold here! Everything is frozen and it's snowing right now I think. And we're getting fed very well, but I still haven't gained ANY weight :(

Well... I guess this is it until next time. Have a lot of places to go, people to see, etc. today. Hope everyone has an excellent day and I will see what I can do about this letter fiasco I have on my hands! Love you all.

Elder David Dransfield

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Week Full of "New"

Happy Monday everyone whose reading this!

This past Wednesday was Transfers (every 6 weeks is transfers. Missionaries get shifted and moved to different areas. I didn't get transferred, but my companion Elder Robison did. He was released as a Zone Leader and is now serving in New Philadelphia in the Akron Zone). My new companion is Elder Haines from Orem, Utah. He's been out for about 18 months and was serving as a Zone Leader over the Akron Zone before here. He's awesome and I'm so excited to be serving with him!

This week has been tough with all the changes. Tuesday was spent packing and saying goodbye to friends and families (for Elder Robison), Wednesday we drove to Cleveland for our Transfers Meeting (Cleveland is about 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive). In Cleveland there's this part on the highway called Dead Man's Curve. The highway turns at a 90 degree angle and lots of accidents have happened there. Don't worry, I didn't drive that fast ;) So Thursday on was spent introducing Elder Haines to the area, the families we're teaching, the ward, etc. I've only been here for 6 weeks, so I feel like I don't even know the area that well! But we're managing just fine.

These past few days, I have come to understand relying on the Lord a little bit more. In my studies this morning I read in 1 Nephi Chapter 7. Nephi and his brothers have to go back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael and his family. On the way back to their father, rebellion takes place amix Lamen, Lemuel, and some of the sons and daughters of Ishmael. Oh Lamen and Lemuel... In verse 11, Nephi says to them " is it that ye have forgotten what great things the Lord hath done for us..." Even after seeing an Angel of the Lord they are quick to do iniquity. We think this is so strange, but as we look at our own lives, how often do we get caught up in worldly things, in the drama at school, with the bills that wont stop coming in, and complain rather than look at all the many blessings that have enriched our lives? Food for thought I guess (more for me than whoever's reading this probably). Later in verse 15 Nephi says to his brethren "ye have choice." For some reason this really stood out to me. The choices we make are so very important. Not necessarily what color shirt we wear today, but choices that are going to have an eternal impact on our lives. Who we're going to marry, if we're going to pick up that cigarette, if we're going to turn the other cheek when offended... Our Father in Heaven has blessed us with our agency and it is up to us to exercise it righteously. Finally, I loved verse 17. Nephi, after rebuking his brethren with the Spirit, is bound with strong cords and is going to be left to die in the wilderness. Verse 17 reads, "But it came to pass that [Nephi] prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound." Nephi's faith was not in himself, in his own strength, but was in the Lord's strength. We then read, in verse 18, "And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again." This week, or at least the transition of companions, was tough. My companion is great! But doesn't know the area at all, leaving me with the temporary responsibility of making all the calls and shots. Don't get me wrong, my companion is more than helpful and is doing all that he possibly can, but it feels like I've having to do everything. I'm realizing that Elder Robison (last comp) did a lot! By Sunday I was very stressed out. My brain was thinking at a million times per hour, I felt like I was losing track of who we were teaching, I was trying to figure out where everyone lives... it just felt like there was too much for me to handle. My problem? I was trying to do it all on my own! I was getting so caught up in the business of life that I failed to get on my knees and simply ask our Heavenly Father for help. After I did this simple act of faith and humility, everything got better. I stopped stressing out (you all know how much I can stress!) and everything is working out beautifully now. How lucky are we to have such a loving, Father in Heaven who is more than willing to bless up, uplift us, guide us? And to know that Jesus Christ, our Savior, has endured every pain, sorrow, and affliction (Alma 7:11-12) that we will ever experience is such a great comfort - He KNOWS what we're feeling. When Christ took upon himself our sins and sorrows and bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane, he didn't simply take upon himself an overload of extreme pain, He saw every one of our faces that night, He felt every one of our personal tribulations, He KNOWS us. How great is that?! One of my all-time favorite scriptures (I think I already shared this) is in the Book of St. John. John 16:33 says "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

I am so, so grateful to be spending these next 20 or so months in Ohio. I am so grateful to be trusted by our Heavenly Father to serve as a representative of His son, Jesus Christ. The message we have to share blesses families and uplifts souls. A women we have just began teaching told us that she feels "so good, so full, so energized" every time we come over and teach her. 3 Nephi 27:16 "And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled" - the Holy Ghost is that feeling of fullness, that feeling of happiness and pure joy that feels like your chest is going to burst! I know, without a shout of a doubt that this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is Jesus Christ's church, fully restored to the earth. I know that this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is the only complete, true church. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is true. There is no doubt in my mind! I have read it! I have studied it! I have questioned it! I have prayed about it! I have received my answer - it is the true word of God. If one reads it, with real intent and asks God if it is true, sincerely wanting to know, He will tell them. God will not lead his people astray. I've seen and felt the difference when one does and does not live the standards of church, and the only time I have been truly, honestly happy are when I have embraced this gospel with both arms and clung to it with all my might. I love our Savior, Jesus Christ. I strive everyday to become closer to Him. I know our Father in Heaven loves us. He hears and always will answer our prayers. We just need to be patient and listen. This church is true... I don't know how else to say it. We can try to find happiness else where, but the fullness of joy I feel right now can only be found in Christ's true church. I wish everyone I know could feel this fullness of joy that I feel right now. That everyone I know could have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. That everyone I know could feel the love and warmth that I feel right now inside.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true.

Ohio in the winter time - sure is cold! And it's usually pretty gloomy. When the sun isn't hidden behind clouds, it's a beautiful day! Ohio is very flat. No mountians or hills like in California/Utah. You can also see little bunches of forests. I like the little patches of trees. In other parts of Ohio there are HUGE forests of trees - here where we were it was more barren.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tender Mercies of the Lord

Tuesday morning I woke up with a massive headache, was congested, coughing up big chunks of...yeah, and felt like my body hurt everywhere. I called Sister Sorensen who told me to take the day off and call the mission doctor so he could order me some medicine to pick up. That was not a fun day. When you're working at full speed and suddenly have to stop and stay in bed all day, it sucks! There is a flu bug going around all of Findlay, Ohio and it seems like everyone is catching it. I think I got it from one of the families we visit and teach. Some people have it a lot worse and are throwing up, so I'm very blessed to just have a head cold version of the flu. Luckily I woke up January 1st and the felt 90% better and am now fully functional. TIME TO WORK!!!

This week I have seen so many miracles; seen how the Lord's hand plays a part in our everyday lives. A few little stories:

- We were at the library a week or two ago and a lady started talking with us, asked us to stop by her house so we could share with her the message we have. We got the the street that her house was supposed to be on and drove up and down the street looking for house number 941. There was no such number. The last house on the street (as far as we knew) was 931, so we thought that maybe we had written down the wrong number. We went and knocked on the door and nobody answered. As we headed back to the car, we got in and saw a lady walking her dog so I got out to say hello and introduce myself (maybe SHE was the reason we were supposed to visit "941"). I walked over to her and her dog FREAKED out and made it very clear to not come any closer. The lady (and her dog) didn't want to talk so I headed back to the truck. My companion was on the phone with some other missionaries as I got back into the truck and I looked at the 931 house and RIGHT as I did the door opened and a man poked his head out, wondering how had knocked a minute or so ago. My companion ended his phone call and we decided to try the house one more time. We had a movie called Finding Faith in Christ (good for any religion, about Jesus Christ and his earthly ministry - His birth, the miracles he performed, His Atonement, His resurrection, etc.) so we walked back across the street to the house (we were parked down the road a little bit) and knocked again. A young couple answered and we explained who we were and who we were looking for. They said that they get her mail sometimes so maybe she used to live there, but not anymore. We asked if they would like the free movie and told them what our purpose as missionaries is. We asked if we could come back in the next week and share with them the message we have and they excitedly accepted. We will be going back this Saturday. There are no such things as coincidences.

- A young man who is a recent convert to the church has been struggling with going to church because work does not allow him to. We have been teaching him since I arrived in Findlay that if he was faith that Heavenly Father will help him get Sundays off and he exercises this faith by doing all that he can to get Sunday's off that he will find a way. As he was relatively new he didn't want to ask for time off. It's a commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy - God will not punish us for trying to keep His commandments. We kept trying to help our friend understand this concept. We stopped by his house and he popped his head out saying that he couldn't talk because he had to go to work, then his face lit up and he said "Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you guys! I got all Sundays off of work!!" We were all SO excited! He told his boss that he needed all Sundays off or that he would have to look for another job. The boss said 'Okay' and gave him Sundays off. Faith is beliving in that which cannot be seen. Faith is Jesus Christ is trusting in Jesus Christ. Through Him, anything is possible.

- We stopped by a former investigator's house, only to find out that he was sleeping. We were bummed out and started to drive away when we saw a lady walking down a side alley/street. My companion handed me a dvd we had sitting between us (I think it was called Families are Forever or something) and said, Give this to that girl. He turned into the alley, I rolled down my window and said "Excuse me..." She looked over and walked over and looked very familiar. We started talking and turns out she had been to church last Sunday, as her aunt/cousins are members of our church. We asked what she was doing right now and she said nothing, just heading home from her walk. She invited us over to her house so we headed there and waited for her to finish her walk. We'll call her Susan. Susan is 24. We were visiting with her as she explained to us how she was looking for a church to join, as her and her boyfriend are talking about settling down and getting married. Before they tie the knot, Susan wants to have a church and be baptized. She said, "It seems like everyone around me is getting baptized, I feel left out, I want to be baptized!" We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End) and extended an invitation to the baptized which she joyfully accepted. There was such a sweet Spirit that entered the home as we spoke with her, and she even noted how good she felt about everything we were teaching her. And that's what the Spirit does, bear witness of truth. Susan's mother was on the computer while we taught her and we invited her to come to church. She didn't have church clothes was her excuse. So we fixed that and went out and bought her some church clothes! (I have never shopped for a woman before, people gave us weird looks, although I guess people always give us weird oh well)

- Susan and her mother both came to church last Sunday. (In fact, we had 9 investigators to church, plus 5 or 6 little kids - it was awesome). Susan and her mom both only stayed for Sacrament meeting, but both said they enjoyed it. We stopped by there house yesterday to teach another lesson and this time the mother sat in on the discussion. We asked how they liked church and the mother LOVED it. She said how it was so different from other churches, that the people are all so friendly and down-to-earth, that the people made her feel like she was a part of their church family even though she had never been before. I think that's how Jesus Christ would want his church to be. As we were teaching Susan and her mom (remember, this Susan was the one who we originally went over to teach) Susan felt sick and excused herself - she needed to lay down. We continued to teach the mother about the Restoration who loved it. In and out of our lesson was another daughter, a little older than Susan and who has a few little kids. We started to talk to her and told her she was always welcome to church. She told us that she used to go to a Catholic church but stopped because she would ask questions that the Priest couldn't answer and once was told (by a Priest) to "shut up and stop doubting your faith." She hasn't been to a church since, but has read the Bible front to cover. She started asking us some of the questions and we explained them simply and clearly. She said, "See, if they could have just told me that, I would have been happy!" We talked with her about the Book of Mormon, and it's importance. That it's not meant to replace the Bible, but to expound upon it and help answer those questions. We all know that the Bible has been translated and changed many many times. Around 400 AD they had things taken out and changed in the Bible, so we don't know how much is the original writings (this isn't what Mormons believe, this is a fact). We believe the Bible to be true as long as it is translated correctly and we read from the King James Version. We had a great discussion with the second daughter (we'll call her Pam) and Pam said that she would try to come to church and really wants to read the Book of Mormon. As we were leaving, the mother thanked us for coming over. She told us that she always feels so good and uplifted whenever we come over and asked if we would please come back and teach her more. Mind you, this mother used to fear us missionaries. Whenever she would see the missionaries she would close her blinds, lock her door, and hide. (I guess she had a bad experience with Johovah's Witness' once). It was so neat of her to recognize that sweet, filling Spirit that enters into the home as we teach them these principles of truth.

Well, I have a lot to do today. I love you all and miss you. I suck at writing letters, so sorry. Transfers are tomorrow - I'm staying in Findlay my companion is leaving. Happy new year! God Speed!

Love, David