Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The heat is on in Ohio!

Hey everyone! I'm doing well!! Things are starting to pick up and I can feel myself growing every day! The heat index for this week is supposed to be something like 100 to 105 degrees.  And this humidity sure is something else! We went on a run this morning at 6:30am and it felt like we were in a sauna. But it's bearable.

Today, we had a HUGE thunderstorm though.  It was hot and cloudy, and then it started to pour and the thunder was probably the loudest I have ever heard.  It was so cool!

We're teaching a part-member family tomorrow and a girl whose friend is on a mission in Arizona.  She wants to learn more about what he's doing and the message we share! We're excited!

The Nevilles were baptized last Saturday! One of the missionaries told me it was a great service and that they're doing awesome.  I'm so happy for them! I wish I could have been there, but that's okay.

Sorry I don't have much to write, I'll have some crazy stories by next week, promise!  Hope everyone is doing well!!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 3 as a Trainer

Right now we're in a "severe thunderstorm watch" and outside of the library the thunder is cracking SO loud! Last night we were told that the heat index was going to be over 100 degrees. And now it's pouring outside - but it's still warm outside. Crazy Ohio weather!

I forgot my planner at the apartment so I'm not sure how well I'll do at talking about my week. My planner is like my brain - I write eeeverything in it, that way it gives me less to remember. Let's see...

Last Monday the Vermillions came up to Toledo and went out to Olive Garden with Elder Haines and me! It was SO awesome to see them!! One of the perks of being back in the Toledo Stake! ;)

Wednesday we had a Leadership Training Meeting in the Kirtland Stake.
I had to do another musical number :S and this time had to organize it long-distance! We put it together the morning of since Elder Bills and Sister McAllister live hours away from me. It went very well; the song is called The Olive Tree. All about missionary work. The meeting itself was very uplifting and instructive. It was fun to see all the Zone Leaders and District Leaders who I'm friends with and (since I'm not a Zone Leader anymore) don't get to see or talk to as often.

The Tuesday before our meeting, Elder Perkins and Elder Haines (companions in Perrysburg) and Elder McMillan and I exchanged since Elder Haines and I would be going to Kirtland together for the meeting. Before we headed to the apartment where we were going to be staying the night, we decided to get some homemade ice cream at this REALLY good ice cream place (Handles). While we were in line, a man was staring at us and asked if we were Mormons. We talked and found out that his daughter had dated an LDS guy a few years back. He invited us to sit down with him and his friend and we talked about our church a little bit. We asked if he would be interested in us coming to his home to teach him more and he agreed. We taught him the next Thursday. He is very familiar with the Bible and is an overall very smart man (former Lawyer). We taught him about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. He thought it was interesting but wouldn't commit to anything until he investigated further (like any good lawyer would).
We will be calling him this week to see if he had a chance to read any of the Book of Mormon.

Kathleen dropped us. We're not sure why. Says she's moving to California. Her roommate told us she's lying. Haha The grandmother and her grandchildren didn't come to church. "Next week!" they say... (Just come to church!) The Johnson Family had their baby! So we're giving them some time before we got back over.

Otherwise I don't have too many things to report on. We're being fed very well! Elder McMillan continues to learn quickly and is not afraid to step outside of his comfort level. The church is still true here in Ohio, and I still love my mission! Sorry I don’t have more to say!

I’ll end with a cool quote from C.S. Lewis I read in my studies today:
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you
proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (I think it's from his book, Mere Christianity or something... I got it from President Ezra Taft Benson's talk, Beware of Pride).

Pride is the universal sin. To have the Spirit with us, we have to get rid of it. To have love in our hearts, we have to get rid of it. To be truly happy, we have to get rid of it. …Get rid of it. :)

Love, Elder Dransfield

Dinner out with the Vermillion family

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What do the Ghetto, Musical Numbers, Fireflies, and the 4th of July have in common?

Since yesterday was a holiday, we didn't have a chance to email. So I have a little bit of time right now (lunch time) to email everyone.

This week we worked again with Remmel and his family. They live in a run-down part of Toledo and fit the downtown stereotype pretty well, but are actually quite receptive to the gospel and our lessons. They have been reading the Book of Mormon and have been looking for a ride to church. In our Ward Council meeting we asked for rides and two different families volunteered. The Johnson family believes that the Book of Mormon is true and have been praying about it. They really want to become a part of this church because they notice something different about us. We are going to have to work a lot with them to help them get to church, fix Word of Wisdom habits, and fix Law of Chastity problems, but we are so ready for the challenge! If you know that what we are teaching is true (which is found out through prayer) then nothing else matters!

We are also teaching an older lady named Kathleen. We weren't too sure on how receptive and accountable she was because she lives in assisted housing with another lady from our ward who is a little slower. But after our visit today, we found her to be very interested; She had reread the Restoration pamphlet and would like a copy of The Book of Mormon. We are going back on Thursday to teach her more and to recommit her to baptism.

We also worked with a less-active grandmother and her two grandchildren who my missionary great-grandpa baptized (my trainer's, trainer's trainer). Elder Perkins and I had worked with them a little bit my first 6 weeks, but after we left the missionaries stopped visiting. The ward asked us to stop by (and apparently had asked the last missionaries to stop-by) so we called and set-up an appointment.
We taught the grandchildren about Lehi's dream and explained that going to church is one way we get to the Tree of Life. The grandmother told us she had been wanting to come back to church and said that once she bought the kids some new church clothes this week they would come.
We will be going back this Saturday and will make sure they're still coming!

This last week was a tough one, but it feels like we can finally work hard and be missionaries - not having to worry about fixing this and that problem or adjusting to the area, etc. Elder McMillan and I are getting to know the area and are ready to work our butts off. (Can I say butt as a missionary?) (just kidding). We have been running every morning which has been a nice change - none of my previous companions would run with me! But running every morning has definitely helped us both to be more alert during the day and have more energy. Elder McMillan is adjusting very well and wants to be fully capable of training by the end of these 12 weeks (we're on a special 12-week training program that the church is going to be releasing in a month or two. The idea of it is to have the new missionaries be trained well enough so that they could train by the end of the 12 weeks if need be). He is very proactive in teaching and wanting to know how to improve and how to do certain things. Sometimes I wonder who the senior companion is! We're getting along very well though.

Last Thursday and Friday we had a 2-day training meeting in Cleveland.
(yes, I had to do another musical number... This song was called "My Shepherd will Supply my Need" - my companion and another missionary (Elder Parkinson) sang, I played the piano. People liked it, people cried, etc.) At the end of the first half of the meeting on Thursday, the 35 or so missionaries there all went contacting in Cleveland (walking the streets and talking to people). I had a pretty cool experience. I was paired up with a new missionary and wow, was he on fire. He was so excited to talk with people and wasn't afraid to do so. He would introduce himself, state our purpose, and ask for their name and address. And in 30 seconds we'd be on to the next person.
After two or three people I suggested that he ask some questions, try to get to know the person, teach them, etc. and he wasn't too impressed with the idea and saw that when I did that we got our first "No, I'm not interested." He was convinced that had I been quicker and just cut to the chase that we would have gotten another address. I saw a man sitting on a planter box and told the new missionary to come with me to talk to him. I introduced us and asked if we could sit with him and share a lesson. The man was very willing and kind and we started with a prayer. As we were teaching the Restoration, a man walked by us and did a double-take, turned around, and stood from a distance watching us. We invited him over and asked if he would like to join in on our discussion. We found out he has met with missionaries in the past (his girlfriend is a member of the church) and said he would like if missionaries came by and taught him again.
He said "they don't need to bring a Book of Mormon because I already have two of them." We exchanged information, finished our lesson, committed the first man to pray, and went on our way. The new missionary was in awe at what had happened and showed both of us how when we stop looking for the numbers and look for the teaching opportunities - trying to find those who are sincerely interested and ready to hear the message, that we find them. This was evident through Bruce (the first man) and Justin (the former investigator). I had a lot of fun contacting that day.

That night I was on exchanges with Elder Kitchen (my MTC companion) in Cleveland and as we rode our bikes from an appointment back to the apartment (which took us 2 hours! A LOT longer than we had
anticipated!) we cut through a MetroPark (basically a foresty type of place with roads and trails going through it). It was pitch black and we could barely see the street we were riding on, but as we looked left and right into the forest of trees, we saw THOUSANDS of fireflies twinkling in the dark. It was amazing! If that's not proof of a loving God, then I don't know what is!

Well, my time is up here at the library. We have an appointment in 20 minutes that we have to get running to. I hope everyone is having a fun summer and is beating the heat. The weather here has been pretty hot and some days are way too humid! If you haven't yet, I encourage you to read and pray about the Book of Mormon! That's something that we tell everyone to do - don't take our word for it, pray and ask our Heavenly Father if these things are true! Happy (late) 4th of July!
Funny side note - for the past 4 days or so we have been constantly seeing and especially hearing fireworks booming in the air. It's been pretty cool. And Happy (late) 29th anniversary to mom and dad! Love you all! Take care!

Elder David Dransfield

Friday, July 1, 2011

Toledo - Round 2

What a crazy week this has been! Elder McMillan is adjusting so well to the mission field and is a great companion. His desire to work and be diligent blows me away! We're learning a lot from one another and are having a blast! We've been SO blessed to have already had so many teaching opportunities. When I was trained, I didn't get to teach a non-member until I had been out for weeks! My trainee is pretty lucky to have me ;)

When we arrived we immediately started going through former investigators, headquarter referrals, and member referrals that had not yet been contacted. Through them, we've found 5 new investigators!
We first found Remmell and his family. Remmell's mother was a member in the Perrysburg Ward and had always told her son how good the church was to her. She has since passed but her example has left a lasting impression on him. Remmell says he and his wife have tried "all the churches in Toledo except the Mormons, so this has to be the right now." Their economic standing is a little shaky and they live in a pretty run-down area of Toledo. They do not have a car and finding a ride for a family of 5 is proving to be a difficult task. We will continue to teach them and see if we can't find a way for them to attend church and become a little bit more self-reliant. They do want to be baptized and learn more, so we will continue to teach them!

This week we also contacted a headquarter referral that was weeks old for someone requesting a Family Answers movie. We called and set up an appointment with Kathleen for the next day, and she allowed us to share with her the message of the restoration. She didn't really know what to think of the message and the idea of baptism scared her, but she says she is willing to read the Book of Mormon and learn more. We are going back on Wednesday. She lives in a senior living home and another member lives with her. Perfect fellowship!

We also have gotten back into contact with Sister Fink and Faith!
Elder Perkins and I taught them a lot last October/November and had a great time. It's awesome to be back and get to see them again!

Now a little bit about Elder McMillan...
- Hometown: Lindon, UT
- Age: 19
- Least Favorite Food: Green Beans
- Things he's good at: Drumming
- Fav. Book of Mormon Character: Samuel the Lamanite
- Family: 3 older brothers (all served missions), 1 younger brother

Our apartment was pretty dirty when we got there. We've spent hours cleaning it and just bought some ant poison to take care of some little pests. We've had to do an apartment make-over to make it not so gross to live in. We live in a two-story condo that is pretty nice.
It's crazy to live with only one other missionary again! And this will be my first time not sharing a ward with 2 other elders! There are so many changes that I am excited for, but will take some getting used to. Elder McMillan and I are excited about the work and are glad to be given the challenge of building this area back up. I feel like I'm going to be doing a lot of growing and learning during these next few transfers and am so grateful and excited to have Elder McMillan as my companion.

Life is good when you're being obedient and have the Spirit with you!
I'm loving every minute of my mission - both the ups and the downs. I know without a doubt that I am where the Lord wants me to be. My world has changed so much in these past 9 months in a way that will definitely help me throughout the rest of my life!

Love, Elder Dransfield

 Lineage Picutre: Talbot trained Perkins, who trained me, who's training McMillan
My new companion: Elder McMillan

Canton Ohio Pictures

 Elder Talbot - One of the best missionaries I've ever met.  His mission ended last week.

 In Canton, Ohio

Me and Sister Haas

Art work in downtown Canton, Ohio