Monday, February 21, 2011

The Toughest Week of my Mission

This was one of the hardest weeks of my mission. If not the hardest. There were many times when I would want to just throw in the towel, drive back to the apartment, and sleep. But my companion and I made sure to keep each other in line (it was one of his worst weeks too).

We had an amazing investigator decide that she didn't want to take lessons anymore. It was pretty abrupt and unexpected. We were heartbroken. Did her family "anti" her? Were we too pushy? Did something happen to upset her? Her father didn't want her to get baptized too quickly, so we have been teaching her slowly and every week she would love what we teach. She has felt the power of the Holy Ghost, so hopefully she will be able to remember the things we have taught her to keep her safe and happy. Whether the church is for her or not, I don't care. I know that our teachings bring people happiness and bring families closer together. And that's all I want, is for those I serve here in Findlay to be happy and filled with the joy that I have in my life.

This just in --- Looked outside and the snow is blowing SIDEWAYS! It's not snowing down, it's snowing to the right... The wind is crazy and the snow is falling! I think the world is falling sideways!...or something like that.

We have a baptism this weekend with Mandy and her daughter Catie. Their husband/father will be baptizing them. He fell away from the church many years ago and came to the missionaries to seek help quitting smoking. Now his family (Mandy and him have three little girls, one who is getting baptized) is praying every night together and have been coming to church for the past two months! They are excited to be baptized and we are even more excited! To make such beautiful covenents with our Heavenly Father and qualify for the gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the most amazing things we can do on this earth! The Holy Ghost is such an amazing blessing we have the opportunity to have with us and as missionaries we are nothing without him. In fact, Preach My Gospel tells us that we shouldn't be teaching people without him.

We've done a few hours of tracting (knocking on doors) this week. We did a lot in Toledo, but here in Findlay we have so much (teaching) going on that we don't have time to tract. The people here are much nicer than in Toldeo. A year or so ago there was a huge flood that happened in Findlay and LDS missionaries from all over came to Findlay in their yellow service shirts and started to clean up the town. Many people remember that and so treat us well when we show up at their door. They'll chat with us and then nicely tell us their not interested, that they have another faith. BE NICE TO MISSIONARIES, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT INTERESTED! OR ELSE I WILL COME AND BEAT YOU UP! a year and a half. :)

I've been attacking my huge bag of letters recently. I've been writing a letter or two at each lunch. So you'll all start writing me back soon...good grief! Don't hesitate to take a few weeks to write me back! Haha.

My life is the best it has ever been, and that is no doubt due to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obedience is the key to true and eternal happiness. Our Heavenly Father and created a perfect plan for us to be happy, to learn, and to be able to return to live with Him. And as we are obedient to His commandments, we WILL be happy. We WILL have peace in our lives. Our families WILL be stronger. We WILL be able to return to our Father's presence and live with our families for eternity. Families CAN be together forever! I love this church so much! It has changed my life forever and I can't wait to help others find this happiness! I love you all! This church is true. If you don't believe me, go and read the Book of Mormon and ask God Himself if it is true. I'd bet my life on it. Simple as that. I love you all! I love my family! I love the people of Ohio! I love the missionaries I serve with! I love our Savior, Jesus Christ! I love our Heavenly Father! Have a great week everyone!

Love, Elder David Dransfield
 The Kirkland Temple

The wind/snow today almost blew me away!

 Look at my pants... the wind was blowing so hard today!

Two of my favorite missionaries: Elder Tracy and Elder Talbot

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Alma 26:27

This week was pretty discouraging and frustrating. It seemed that all of our investigators disappeared off the face of the earth. Appointments kept getting canceled, people sick, people out of town, the truck's engine light went on, the battery died, etc. We worked and worked and worked yet didn't see the fruits of anything by the end of the week. Mandy and Catie are both still on the right path that is leading to baptism. Aaron has quit smoking so that he can baptize his family - it's not easy, but we know he can do it as long as he relies on the Lord! It almost feels as if we didn't do anything last week :(

This week is transfers week. Every 6 weeks "transfers" happen where our Mission President and his two assistants prayerfully rearrange the missionaries who they feel prompted to move. Us Zone Leaders get information about transfers from Saturday evening til Monday evening. Then as soon as we find out whose leaving their areas we tell them to pack there bags! We do not know where they are going. All the missionaries who are going to new areas then meet in Kirtland, Ohio where we have a meeting all together and announce the changes. I'll be going tomorrow while my companion stays in Findlay to work (with a temporary missionary whose new companion I'll be driving back to Findlay with). In Kirtland I will be announcing the changes happening to the Findlay Zone. It's kind of fun to get to be there for all the changes - you get to see old friends, past companions, and see what's happening mission-wide.

This past Wednesday we had a Zone Development Meeting. Basically what it is is a meeting where our whole zone (10 missionaries plus us 2 Zone Leaders) meet together at the church building here in Findlay and we give different workshops, practice our teaching as we role-play, and sing and teach each other. It's meant to strengthen us spiritually and doctrinally (is that a word?) and learn from one another. At this last one I taught about The Restoration and how important the message we share about it is! Bruce R. McConkie gave a wonderful talk about it's importance and the importance of the scripture in the Bible, The Epistle of James 1:5. The talk is called, Once or Twice in a Thousand Years (here's a link to it: We talked about ways we could improve our teaching and understanding of such an important message we share. I'll include a picture of my zone that I'm in charge of.

The weather in Findlay is beautiful! For the past few days we have had the sun out, in the 40's/low-50's, with a slight breeze. The snow is melting and the GREEN grass is showing again! (the grass here is ALWAYS green - and they don't use a sprinkler system! It's humid here enough to keep it green or something). We are supposed to have a little bit of rain and then next week snow again. I can't wait for the spring!

Well, I don't have much more to say. I leave with you my testimony that I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. That through is Atonement we may all be cleansed and purified. That as we rely on the gospel of Jesus Christ, all our problems may be solved and such light and joy may enter our lives! I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, that we are all sons and daughters of Him. I know that if one is to read The Book of Mormon and pray about it, they shall know by the power and manifestation of the Holy Ghost that it the word of God. It is truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ - nothing more, nothing less. I know that families can be together forever. I know that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven if we endure to the end of our short time in this life. Christ's church has been restored! And he invites all men everywhere to come unto him! I love my family so much, and am humbled and grateful as I look at the fan club I have all over the world (California, Utah, Texas, Nevada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and soon to be Spain...)! I love you all! Read the Book of Mormon! It's the best book on the earth! The Bible is good too ;)

Love, Elder David Dransfield
 The Findlay Zone Missionaries

Giant icycle

 Eating a pizookie after a zone meeting

Elder Dransfield and his roomate missionaries

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Adventures of.... Super (Elder) Dransfield!!!

Happy Monday everyone! I realized that my last letter was pretty boring and that what ya'll REALLY want to hear about are my stories. So I'll quit the sappy spiritual stuff and tell you what's going down.

1. My Ohio accent! I now call beverages with carbonation pop (not soda). We say sweep the carpet, you westerners say vacuum the carpet. You say creek, we pronounce it crick. Ain't, 'spossed, gonna, and other abbreviated words are found in Ohio dictionaries. When we try to say "wash" what comes out of our mouths is "warsh." Why? I'm not sure...must be something in the water that we warsh with. What back west is known as a driveway, sidewalk, patio, etc. is really a walk. We shovel people's walks here. So yes, be jealous, I now accent!

2. The Blizzard of Twenty-Eleven!!! Have any of you heard of the Blizzard of '74? Apparently there was the giant snow storm that trapped everyone in their homes. Someone told us that there was this only family that burned every piece of furniture in their house (including doors) to stay warm and not die. I guess it was a big deal... Well last week they were predicting a storm that, based on the people's reactions, was going to be the end of us all. It was supposed to start Tuesday and go until Wednesday or Thursday.
   Monday evening we went over to a members house where we taught one of our investigators. The members baked me a cake and and bought me some ties! (I was so surprised!). They live out in the country a ways and when we left there house around 8:45pm the wind was STRONG. If I had attached a sturdy piece of cardboard to my back, I would have flown away like a kite. Well... that next morning we had a meeting in Cleveland (2.5 hour drive east). Cleveland gets a LOT of snow, Findlay usually gets more ice.
   We drove up at 5am and were just fine. When we were heading back around 5pm, the storm had hit Ohio. Snow...everywhere...raining ice (mini-hail)...everywhere...freezing rain (yeah, I had no idea what freezing rain was until we were driving home and when the rain would hit the windshield it would instantly freeze. What the?)...everywhere... ice ( get it. The weather was pretty crappy). But it wasn't THAT bad. Just TONS of snow that buried HUGE layers of ice. Do you know what that means? We had lots of shoveling to do the next couple days. Yay. I guess on the bright side, I AM quite buff now :P

3. Now I'll give you the run down of the families and people we are teaching. I'll just copy part of what I wrote to our Mission President and expound on them a little...

Mandy (30's) and Catie (9), husband/father is a less-active member. The family of five have been coming to church for the past month now and are already a part of the ward family. Mandy and Catie have dates for February 26th and are progressing towards that date very nicely. They have been praying as a family every night for the past few weeks and are starting to read as a family every night. They are definitely seeing the fruits of their reading and praying and are growing as a family. Aaron (husband) is trying to quit smoking this week so that he will be worthy to baptized his wife and daughter. Correction - he will be quitting. He will be worthy. We are still working with him to quit smoking, this weekend he is going cold turkey. The family has three little girls (8, 4, and 2 years old) who absolutely love us. And we love the family! They're so great! We had a snowball fight with them yesterday after our lesson hehe :)

Amber (20's - I called her "Susan" in a prior email, I figure if I just don't use last names it'll be okay) and Lori (old-er), daughter and mother. Our only issue with them is illness that keeps us from teaching them (the flu bug is going around these days). We have started teaching them at Lori's sister's house. Her sister was a less-active who has decided to activate herself as we teach her sister. Lori and Amber both recognize the Spirit, are reading the Book of Mormon, and love us missionaries. We will be setting a baptismal date with them this week. Lori calls me her little bud. I try to text or call her everyday to make sure she's doing alright - she has health issues and a lot of drama/stress is being caused within her family. She needs all the support and tlc she can get.

Brad (40's), lives with members of the church temporarily. His work schedule is pretty sporadic but he is one of the most humble, kind, and considerate guys I have ever met. He really really wants to be baptized and so we're trying to teach him quickly but effectively.

Shelby (almost 18) first was introduced to the church when she came to services on Sunday with her boyfriend. We've taught her everything that we as missionaries are required to teach before baptism. She understands it all, has prayed about the Book of Mormon and has received her answer regarding it's truthfulness, she attends church every week, reads the Book of Mormon daily, is great friends with many of the members (not just her boyfriend), etc. Shelby is planning on being baptized as soon as her father is comfortable with her joining the church (he wants her to take a little bit more time investigating so she can decide if this is what she REALLY wants - which we totally respect and agree with). She is considering attending school at one of the BYU's. We love working with her as she is such a sweet, kind person. She gave me a tie for my birthday. Maybe that's why "we love working with her" ...ha!
This week we also taught a family of three who are neighbors to a less-active family. We tracted into them (were knocking on doors and the father was kind enough not to slam the door in our face) and scheduled a return appointment. They told us how they were looking for a church to join because they want their 10-year-old son to start going to a church. We taught them about the restoration and are going back on Tuesday to give them a copy of the Book of Mormon. The fact that we meet for three hours on Sundays amazed (and scared?) them, but we'll see what happens as we meet with them a few more times. It's hard to turn something away when the Spirit is burning in your bosom!

I freaking love all of these people!! With ALL of my heart! I constantly think to myself, I wish I could do more! I wish I could do more! But in reality, teaching them of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and giving them the means to live a life filled with pure and simple joy is probably the best thing I could do for everyone. I have the BEST job in the whole wide world! And I get to do it 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 2 years. How much better can it get?

That's pretty much my life in nutshell right now. We have a meeting with our zone on Wednesday (for those who don't know what a Zone is... There are 6 Zones in the Ohio Cleveland Mission. My companion and I are in charge of the Findlay Zone. In our Zone there are 3 Districts, in each District 2 areas, in each area one companionship. Do the math, that makes 12 missionaries in my zone (including myself). So this Wednesday us 12 missionaries are getting together for a 3 hour meeting where we teach, discuss, and role play on how we can be better teachers and overall missionaries.

We're supposed to be getting some more snow in the next couple days. Yikes! I've been dressing warmer these days because I'm tired of old ladies yelling at me about getting sick. Psh... I still weigh 135 pounds :( But do 100 sit ups and 50 push ups every morning! ..well, not EVERY morning... This morning I just did the push ups (but did 60!) Hahaaaa...

Alright. That's it for this week. I hope SOMEone is reading this... I enjoy writing them and it's probably the best way to keep tabs on me because I literally have no time for writing letters. So busy!!! Love you all! I know this church contains the fullness of the gospel that Jesus Christ established on the earth. I've prayed about it and have received an answer. I'm so grateful for our Savior and all that he has done for us. Study the Atonement, there is so much to it. The gospel is literally centered around it. Have a great week!

Love, Elder David Dransfield