Had a great/crazy week! Taught about 22 lessons (we aim for 20), got to see the usual people I talk about (the Nevilles, Sister Haas, Sister Hughes, the Bosnakovic's, etc.). Have some sad/exciting news.
First, the sad news:
I'm being transferred. I am so sad to leave the people I mentioned above (plus some others, i.e. Dorothy & Judy, the Griffiths, Brother Peck, etc.) and my companion. I will not be here for the baptism of Brother and Sister Neville, but am so excited for them and amazed at how Spiritually prepared they are! They are such great people, what a blessing it has been to work with them.
The exciting news is, I'M SHOT-GUN TRAINING IN MY GREENIE AREA!!!
[translation of missionary slang] Shot-gunning an area is when two missionaries are transferred, paired together, and sent somewhere where neither was originally serving. It can be stressful if the missionaries before you didn't fill out good information about the people they're teaching. Greenie is what you call a missionary who is fresh in the missionary field (like grass?). The cool part is that the Sylvania area is two areas merged together (one was a former Zone Leader area and the other was my Greenie area). So I know the ward already, I know half of the area, and the area has a lot of potential having been a Zone Leader area 4 1/2 months ago or so.
I got the news Friday night and was a little taken back when President Sorensen released me as a Zone Leader and called me to be a Trainer.
(What this means, is I'll be the companion to a missionary who is fresh out of the MTC - I will be his first companion). It's a great experience to train and shows what trust our Mission President and the Lord have in us; our example and influence on the new missionaries will affect the rest of their mission, so it is up to us to teach them the importance of obedience, love, ministering, working-hard, etc. I'm so excited! Oh- and President Sorensen JUST called - I've been called to be the District Leader for a 6-man district (average size). In my district will be the Toledo Zone Leaders (who I'm good friends with), me and my "boy" (we refer to the missionaries we train as our sons, my "grandpa" will be going home tomorrow - I'm so sad!), and another missionary who is training and his greenie. President called it a "power-house district" ...it'll be a lot of fun!!
16 new missionaries (10 Elders, 6 Sisters) will be coming to the mission tomorrow. And us trainers will be starting a new program that the Brethren have created for trainers. It's not supposed to start until August, but President Soresen has permission to start early. I'm not too familiar with the program, so I'll have to explain it in a later email.
Yesterday we had a meeting in Cleveland from 10am till 5pm where President Sorensen, Sister Sorensen, and the three assistants (one is getting replaced this transfer) talked to us about eeeeverything that had to do with training. It was very uplifting and exciting! President then told me and another missionary where we'd be shot-gun training and I literally shouted for joy! He said "Sylvania" and I nearly stood up and said "Seriously?! Serious- oh my gosh! YES!!! That's AWESOME!!!
YES!!!!" haha I'm SO pumped! I've been telling people for a few months now how much I'd enjoy to shot-gun my greenie area and that's exactly what I'm getting to do! Talk about a tender mercy of the Lord! I'm so grateful for this opportunity! I'm sad to leave the people here, but I know that this is where I'm needed. Sylvania is where the Lord needs me to be! I'll be driving up to Kirtland tomorrow morning, will meet my "son" at 11:30am, Elder Bills and I will play one more musical number together (which I'll have someone record and will hopefully send home), and then I'll be off to Sylvania! I'm going to call the Bishop, Ward Mission Leader, and a few members I know to get the ball rolling and help get my new missionary accustomed to his new home for
3 months (oh yeah, the new program is made for trainers and their greenies to be together for at least 12 weeks - two transfer cycles).
Now, on a completely different note... Last Friday we had a ZDM (Zone Development Meeting) in Akron. The focus of our meeting was contacting
- talking to people on the streets. It was a very fun ZDM! I gave a workshop on how we talk with people. And to get some points across, we played reverse cherades! (Sister Sorensen encouraged us to be more creative with our workshops and meetings). I wrote down some points in Preach My Gospel called "how to begin teaching points" and had two teams of 5. They had to draw a slip of paper that said something like "our message cannot all be learned at once" and then as a group, silently act it out together to one team member. It forced much creativity, team-work, helped people to get out of their shell, pay attention to body language, communicating, etc. It was so much fun!
Following that we did a role-play of talking to people at a park. Half of the 25 missionaries went to the side of the cultural hall we weren't using and walked around, and the other half had to go contact them. Again, a very fun experience! Then, Elder Bills gave a workshop about Purpose and why we contact/talk to people. Then we all got aboard a few vans and trucks and headed into the heart of Akron where we contacted for a good 45 minutes to an hour. We found many people who are willing to have a missionary visit or phone call. Overall, it was probably my favorite ZDM that I've put together these past 7 1/2 months of being a Zone Leader. Crazy to think that tomorrow I will have been out for 9 months!
Last Sunday we also went to a Fireside at the Kirtland sites where Mark Lusvardi spoke. Brother Lusvardi is from Salt Lake City, UT and is in charge of all the Church Visitors Centers all over the world. He designed some of the Kirtland sights. It was a very uplifting, inspirational meeting. We went up with a few members and our investigator Sister Hughes. We all had a great time. He talked about President Monson's talk "To the Rescue" and about the painting he refers to. He talked about how we need to be rescuing our brothers and sisters, be those men on the row boat who are not giving up to go save those in the storm. Great fireside!
Wow... I wrote SO much! Hopefully it all makes sense and isn't me just rambling on and on. I'm very excited for the times ahead and sense a lot of growth and challenges coming my way. But I am ready to take them on and become the missionary and son that my Heavenly Father wants me to become. I better go now; I have a lot of packing and cleaning to do! I know this work is so important and that the message we share is true. I bear testimony of the happiness that has entered my entire being as I've devoted these measly 9 months to the Lord. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and have enjoyed watching the lives that have been touched and changed. "It's a great day to be a saint!" - Elder Smith, former Assistant to the President.
Love, Elder Dransfield
My new address:
4615 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd. #13
Toledo, OH 43623