Monday, April 25, 2011

Now Behold, A Marvelous Work is About to Come Forth!

This week we taught Dorothy twice. We set a baptismal date with her Tuesday and Thursday had an amazing lesson. Probably the strongest (Spirit-wise) lesson I've taught on my mission. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation at Dorothy's younger brothers house (the Griffith's) and not too far into the lesson her other brother and sister-in-law (who are visiting from Utah) pulled up. Dorothy hadn't had the chance to see her 'baby' brother yet so we paused the lesson and stepped aside as the family said their hellos and gave their hugs. We quickly got right back into the lesson and continued to teach the first half of the Plan of Salvation (ie where did I come from, why am I here). At some point, the sister-in-law from Utah bore her tear-filled testimony of the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit flooded the home. It was one of those moments as a missionary when you know that everyone else in the room was feeling the confirmation and influence of the Holy Ghost. It was just... Wow. We recognized the feeling that was present and I proceeded to bear testimony of the Holy Ghost and another wave of Spirit seemed to hit us all! And it was there, strong and true the rest of the meeting! Even the prayer at the end, offered by her 'baby' brother was powerful! I don't really know how to describe the experience with words... That burning bosoms, full feeling of love. It really helped me to understand the scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 50:

"Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question -- unto what were ye ordained?
To Preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth" (v. 13-14).
"Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together" (v. 22).

What a truly, edifying experience as I come to understand our relationship with the Spirit more clearly.

Easter was fun! We had a very good lunch (at the Griffiths!) and a very good dinner! We got lots of Easter treats from ward members and, like every holiday as a missionary, it was great to just focus on the actual meaning of Easter - Christ's death and resurrection. Yet nobody has answered my question: Where the heck did the Easter Bunny come from??

Well... that's pretty much it. Our dryer got fixed this week! But our dishwarsher still doesn't work (yes, warsher). I'll be doing a lot of traveling around my zone this week - will be in Wooster, OH tomorrow morning, Akron OH Wednesday and Thursday morning, Massillon, OH Friday, New Philadelphia, OH Saturday. Good thing I don't have to bike to all these places! (they're all 20 min to an hour away from us). The reason being we're attending all the District Meetings in our Zone so that we can try to resolve a few problmes we've been noticing as a mission. It's always nice to get to see the zone, but driving 45 minutes, sitting in a 2 hour meeting, and then driving 45 minutes back doesn't always sound nice... Haha but it's all good. I'm excited!

Have a great week whoever is reading this! Remember my favorite scripture found in the New Testament:

"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." John 16:33

Be of good cheer! The Lord commands it! We have nothing to worry about as we realize that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! Through Him we can have peace! I know this is true! I feel it every day! Be happy! Be obedient and love your life!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy (almost) Easter!

Wow... Hard to believe it's a new week! I've just been up to the same old missionary stuff! Let's see...what should I talk about today...

This last Sunday, Sister Patterson was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost! She was so excited and is now officially a member of the church! (She was baptized before I got here). The Saturday before we went on a Kirtland trip with her and a few other members. We thought the weather would be perfect (in the 70's) but it ended up pouring on us! Luckily the Kirtland sights have lots of big umbrellas! It was such a great trip and the whole time Sister Patterson would make comments like "You can feel the energy here, it's a good feeling" or "I can feel that they had good times in this room" - it put a huge smile on my face every time she would make such a comment. At the end we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration - such a great movie!
Nothing too eventful has happened... We met with the Stake President with President Sorensen to discuss the missionary work in our zone/stake. President keeps bragging to everyone about our musical number from last week. We've been visiting with a lot of less-actives and have found a few new people to teach. Ooo! I'll tell a little bit about Dorothy.

We've been talking to the ward a lot about helping us find people to teach the gospel to. One of the older couples in our ward accepted our invitation to find people to teach and referred us to the husband's older sister (whose in her 80's or so). Her husband and children all joined the church many years ago and she always said she would join the church as soon as she could quit smoking. I'm not sure how many years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and she told God that if he helped her get through the cancer, she would quit smoking. Well, she survived! And now has decided that she needs to be baptized before her time on earth is up! So we met them for lunch and had a great time. She said that she'd need some assistance getting in and out of the Baptismal Font, but I assured her that a simple cannon ball would suffice. She laughed. I was serious! (not). I'll be fun to work with her and get to teach her the comforting message of the Restoration and Plan of Salvation. I love teaching people!

Well... Hopefully next week I'll have something more exciting to talk about. These past (almost) 7 months have been some of the best of my life! I feel my faith growing every day and know that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can all find that peaceful filling sensation. So many people will tell us they feel like something in their life is missing, and when they're hear the message we share and feel the Spirit bare testimony of truth, they know they've found the missing piece. I love my calling as a missionary. I love my family. I hope everyone has a Happy Easter! What a wonderful time to reflect on our Savior and rejoice in his resurrection! May we all take some time this week and study His Atonement and apply it in our lives. Here are a few verses from one of my favorite hymns in the LDS Hymnbook, #136 I Know That My Redeemer Lives.

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.

He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives! All Glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Love, Elder Dransfield
 A member in the Findlay ward had a granddaughter who had some sickness (I can't remember what) so they made a "purple day" on facebook and people would wear purple and post a picture of themselves. Purple is her favorite color.  So us missionaries all put on our purple ties to brighten up the little girl's day.  Apparently, we were quite a hit on facebook.

 Sister Stuber - the most amazing painist I have ever met!

 The Elliots - she makes the BEST sweets!!! I'm glad I was there for Christmas!

 The Lays - I love these two to death!

Elder and Sister Birkeland - Two senior missionaries who are going back home in a week or so.  They say they'll visit me in California next time they're there.  I told them they can stay at our house :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Dryer Eats Buttons for Breakfast!

It's hard to believe that I have been in Canton for only a week and-a-half. Luckily I feel like the "transition" period is over and now we can get down to business. This week we have had investigators dropped and exchanges take place, but we are slowly finding promising part-member families and less-actives who we can start to work with. This week we will also be focusing largely on the members and role-playing, as our ward has just ended their 40-day fast for missionary work. We started last night with a member from the Bishopric.

Here are the highlights of my week:

Monday - Elder Bills and I were asked a week ago to play a musical number for Zone Leader Council (he sings very well and I once-upon-a-time played the piano). We spent a lot of our lunch hours and such trying to find the right song that would invite the Spirit. We'd pick a song, play it a few times, and then decide it was either too hard or just didn't feel right. We were getting desperate come Monday at 8:30pm. (ZL Council was the next morning in Cleveland). As we're driving to the church building to practice/figure out what to play, a song comes on a CD. It's Redeemer of Israel on the Hymns of Faith cd (has a picture of the Salt Lake Temple on the cd) - a different arrangement than I've ever heard. Anyways, we're driving, it comes on, and I get the thought: "We could do this.... We could DO this!!!" I told Elder Bills, he liked the idea, and we started to create the music. It's a piano and violin (I think?) duet on the CD, so we wrote the piano part out by ear and Elder Bills sang the violin's part. We added some zest and excitement into the song so it wasn't so melancholy (the arrangement is just like that) and when we finished we both felt so edified. It was the coolest thing ever. We TOTALLY had heaven-sent help for putting the arrangement together. Everything just fell together perfectly and we felt so good about our musical number.

Tuesday - We ran through it a couple times the next morning and were in Cleveland by 10am. We were originally going to play a rendition of The Spirit of God, so everyone was expecting that when we got up to play. We played, the Spirit was SO strong, everyone was in awe (even ourselves), and President Sorensen got up to speak. He said he wishes we could end the meeting right then and there. But we still had 3 hours to go! While I played, but hands and feet have never shaken so bad, but somehow I was able to hit every note and play it without too many errors. And Elder Bills is just flat out an amazing singer... We got many compliments about it and we were so so so happy that it went over well. BUT! Now they're expecting more musical numbers and they all have to be good. Great.

Tuesday I went on exchanges with one of the Assistants and worked in their area (North Olmstead).

Wednesday - we exchanged back but immediately following I went on a second exchange to Ashland with the District Leader there. In Ashland I saw my first, real-life, Amish family! And their carriages everywhere! And horses everywhere! Pretty exciting, yeah?

The rest of the week was just a normal missionary week. Teaching lessons, calling the Zone, putting together Zone P-day and a Zone meeting we'll be having this Wednesday... Church was fun! I finally got to meet a lot of the ward. Turns out there are a BUNCH of people from Roseville, CA and an elder in the Roseville mission from the Canton ward. Isn't that funny? We've switched places! One of the families - the Vermillion family (funny how I always end up with Vermillions...) - moved from Granite Bay 2nd Ward five or so years ago... Someone in the ward was baptized in Roseville... Someone this and that Roseville. It was pretty cool to talk to everyone about it!

So that's my summary of my week. The Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to bless lives and this work continues to go forward. I love the Savior and am eternally grateful for his Atoning Sacrifice. I know we have a living prophet, even Thomas S. Monson, who leads this church under the sole direction of our Father in Heaven. These past 6 1/2 months have been some of the best and hardest months of my life, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just a little bit of news...

David, aka Elder Dransfield, did not have a chance to write a letter for the blog this week.  Just as he was about to do so, he received a phone call sending him on an assignment.  However, here is what he wrote home.  His new address is posted on the blog.

- There are lots of trees and hills in Canton.  I love it!  Findlay and western Ohio were so flat.  It's a nice change.
- My new companion is Elder Bills - he's awesome! Yes, we still live with 2 other missionaries, but I really like these two.  They're older and more mature/work hard.  And they make me laugh till my stomach hurts.
- I watched General Conference.  We watched all of the session at the church building except Sunday morning, we went to a member's house.  Conference was SO good!!!
- Football Hall of Fame: we used to be allowed to go ther (for free!) , but a missionary over-used his priviledge and we cannot go there anymore.
- Life is sooo good right now.  Last week was terrible though, having to say goodbye to the Lays, the Kregers, and the Vermillions.