A few random facts:
1. Roadkill is a synonym for Ohio
2. Everyone says that Warshington (yes, 'waRshington') gets a lot of rain and no sunshine. Why doesn't anybody every talk about Ohio??
3. Elder Hinds (one of the missionaries I live with; he's from So. Cal) and I planted a garden. Our tomatoes have sprouted!
4. It's hard to teach people when you don't have a voice. I got sick this week and lost my voice. Don't worry, the antibiotics are helping. Side effects of the medication include (and I quote) "sometimes it makes people not think." I'm glad my voice is back so I can be an effective missionary, but what of my brain??
5. My hair is not very red anymore... People tell me I have brown hair. Maybe it's the water?
6. Ohio's water is pretty nasty.
7. I weiged myself last night. I've lost 4 pounds. I thought missionaries are supposed to gain 30 pounds! Grr!
8. Ohio is a lot prettier in the Spring than it is in the Winter.
Elder Bills and I have recently found many people to teach. We are so excited to be teaching such elect individuals and are excited to help them feel the Holy Ghost and come unto Christ. Here are a few we are teaching:
The Nevilles - About a month ago we received a text from the church headquarters in Salt Lake City for someone who ordered a Book of Mormon from mormon.org (that's how we're notified, text messaging). They lived a good 30 minutes south, so we planned a trip down there for the next day. We drove, and we drove, and we drove, and finally found their house on a big hill in some country town. We pulled up their long drive way, said a prayer (we always pray before we teach someone) and got out of the truck to find Brother Neville standing by his garage. "Can I help you boys?" he asked us. We told him who we were and asked if his wife was home. He said that she was, but that she was busy on the phone with some computer tech people and was preoccupied. He was so excited to see us though! He kept thanking us for coming all the way to see them and about 45 minutes later we left. In that 45 minutes we talked about steam engines, the surgery he'd be getting on his hand the next day, but more interestingly his past experiences with the church. Brother Neville fought in the Vietnam War alongside a mormon (we'll call him Mike, for I can't remember his name). Mike and Brother Neville came to be very close, and Mike's calm, happy persona really impressed him. After the war they lost contact with each other (this was before the time of facebook I'm assuming. <-- That was a joke). Years went by, and Brother Neville never forgot about this heroic figure, Mike. Well not too long ago, Brother Neville somehow found his friend Mike in a Utah phonebook. And since then the two have kept in very close contact. Mike is still a member of the church in Utah, has a large family, and shared a lot of information with Brother Neville about the church. So basically, Brother Neville really respects the church. We told Brother Neville we'd call later that week after his surgery and would try to set up an appointment. Well... we had a wrong number. And they lived too far to just stop by (we have to be careful with how many miles we use each day). So about 3 or 4 weeks later, Elder Bills and I decided to try them again. We found the long driveway, pulled up, bowed our heads, and looked up to see Brother Neville again! He told us to come on in so we every excitedly followed him. We finally met Sister Neville, sat at their table, they gave us some drinks, and we started chatting. After we had gotten to know each other a little and established our purpose as missionaries, we asked if we could share with them our message of the Restoration. It was wonderful! Such a sweet Spirit lingered in the home as we spoke, and after we recited Joseph Smith's encounter in the Sacred Grove "I saw a pillar of light..." Sister Neville asked us, "Do you think that Joseph Smith was the 'chosen one' because of his child-like humility and innocence and his sincere desire to know the truth?" My eyes were probably the size of quarters by her inspired question. We told her yes, and talked about how we have to have that same attitude if we are to find out if the Book of Mormon is true. The Neville's are so excited to find out if what we are teaching is true, to receive an answer from God by the power of the Holy Ghost. We're already such great friends and have only met twice! We will be seeing them again tonight and will be teaching about the Plan of Salvation.
The Williams - Next we're working with the Williams. Sister Williams’s brother is a member in another ward in the Stake. He talked to Elder Bills while on exchanges and decided that his sister needed to meet with us. He asked her and her husband, they accepted the invitation, and we went over with the brother last Saturday. The brother (whose name slips my mind) informed us that the Williams were going through some hard things right now and that the Gospel could really benefit them. We really emphasized on the "how to begin teaching" points in Preach My Gospel (explains our purpose and what we share as missionaries) and as a result had a very, very good first lesson. They understand our purpose, they understand the Book of Mormon and its importance, and they understand how our messages will help them. They too want the Book of Mormon to be true. We talked to them on the phone yesterday and they had a few questions for us about 1 Nephi. We'll be seeing them again Saturday.
Dorothy - I think I've shared a little bit about Dorothy. She's older, her brother is a member in our ward, and we're having a blast teaching her. I taught my most powerful lesson yet with her a couple weeks ago which I talked about already. She is so fun to teach, she tells us how she has to "punch Satan in the face" when he tries to make her too tired to come to our appointments! I tell her that I'm glad we're friends, because I sure wouldn't want her punching my face! She's the sweetest old lady and will be Baptized on the 21st.
Those are a few stories that I hope you all like. A lot of good things are happening. Thank you for all your prayers and words of encouragement. Tomorrow is Transfer Day - I will be staying in Canton for at least another 6 weeks (which is good because of all the people I just wrote about!).
I got to Skype home on Sunday for Mother's Day! It was the best thing ever! We talked for about an hour and I got to see little Luke - who's not so little anymore! His pointy chin is brilliant haha!
I love what I've been doing for the past 7 1/2 months and don't want to be anywhere else! I know that the scriptures and words of our latter-day prophets are inspired by God and that if we follow their teachings we will have true and complete joy in our lives. I know that our Father in Heaven loves us all very, very much. I know that the Book of Mormon changes lives as people read, ponder, and pray about it. It has changed my life and for that I am grateful. I hope everyone takes care! I love you all!
Love, Elder David Dransfield