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

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