This week we had some amazing lessons with less-actives and part-member families. From those less-actives we are already seeing potential referrals. It is very exciting to see this area start to come alive and see blessings pop out of nowhere!
On Monday we stopped by a less active in her early 20's named Rachel. Elder McMillan felt prompted his first week to stop-by this less-active who missionaries had noted "do not contact." I was a little skeptical but very interested to see what would happen. We stopped by and Rachel's father answered the door, telling us she wasn't home. Monday we had made plans to try again and after we prayed in the car, I told Elder McMillan that he would be doing the door approach since this was "his" prompting. He seemed fairly confident. We knocked, a girl answered, and Elder McMillan froze; all he could push out of his mouth was something along the lines of "I...felt like...we needed to see you." Her response was "Well thaaaat's weird… Let me get some shoes on." We were both pretty shocked I think, and when she came back out she explained that she needed to run her mother to the hospital but that it wasn't a coincidence that we showed up that very day. We set up an appointment for the following day and finished our day by tracting her street.
Tuesday we met and turns out that everything in her life for the past 7 months or so hasn't been going very well. And the very day we knocked on her door, she had had a long talk with an elderly woman about getting a hold of her "church people" for some spiritual guidance. In fact, as she was getting her mother ready for the hospital and was getting very frustrated, she looked up towards the sky and said something like "Lord, help me!" and then a knock at the door. Walking to the door she said to her dad, "Watch, it's probably the Mormons" - boy was she right! We had a great discussion with her and after hearing about her conversion and her falling away, invited her to take the missionary discussions - to start over fresh and to gain the testimony she thinks she never had. The funny thing is, she used to go out with the sister missionaries ALL the time and knows everything there is to know about the gospel. I think she just doesn't know the "why" to the gospel... She gets the "what" and "how" but doesn't understand the doctrine. I think much good will transpire from this and at the very least, it taught Elder McMillan a great lesson about listening to Spiritual promptings.
This week we also taught a wonderful lesson to a less-active, part-member family, the Finks. Sister Fink has been getting a lot of anti by one of her older daughters (who is a member of the church but now attends a Baptist church). The daughter has been telling her mom about all the ways our religion contradicts itself. In one lesson we addressed some simple, very basic concerns, helping Sister Fink to realize what a great testimony she already had and showing her how to strengthen it even further. In the next lesson she asked to us to specifically teach her (and her non-member 16-year-old daughter) about the Spirit World (where we go when we die). We found lots of information in our personal studies (most in the Bible which blew me away; why don't more religions talk about it?!) and put together a lesson during companion study. That night we had such a great lesson! The Spirit was so strong and Sister Finks’ testimony seemed to grow immensely!
With another less-active, part-member family (Mary) we have been trying so hard to help her see the importance of church and baptism for her 3 teenage children. We were so close to teaching the entire family on Tuesday when her son broke her car window and Mary fell apart - we rescheduled our appointment. Our next appointment, Mary said that she doesn't think her kids will want to take the discussions, even though we've asked 2 of the 3 if they want to be baptized and they both said yes. We had another powerful lesson about the importance of motherhood, being an example, baptism, and faith. I closed our lesson with a prayer and by the end she was in tears. She thanked me for "being so awesome" and told me to tell my mom that she raised an incredible son and has so much to be proud of. I really didn't do anything... The prayer was less of me and more of the Spirit.
This week we had the privilege of also teaching a missionary from the ward (serving in Mesa, Arizona)'s very good friend. He asked her if she’d take the discussions and she agreed. She has been Catholic her whole life, but doesn't believe in everything the Catholic Church stands for. She was very receptive and comfortable with the fact that this religion could (is) the correct one. We invited her to be baptized and to find out for herself if the Book of Mormon is true which she was more than happy to do. She's a great girl and could benefit so much from these gospel truths (as could the rest of her family)!
Through our tracting efforts we also have found a couple of new less-actives and potential investigators to be working with. One Less-active member we did service for the very next day (a very active, elderly woman whose husband is a non-member who is mentally dying due to Parkinson’s disease). She struggles with her husband’s condition and really needed us the night we “tracted” into her; she thrived off our ability to listen and the Spirit that was with us. We noticed she needed some yard work done and asked if we could come over the next day to work on it. She didn’t say no, so we got there in the morning while she was a work. Not soon after we started, her daughter came over, to take care of her dad, and was so happy to see us. We talked for a good while and found out that her husband was trying to find a new church. She was more than happy to talk to him about meeting with us and was very impressed as we told her about our missions and the church. All of the family is Catholic but have issues here and there with the church. We will be meeting with the less-active woman tonight and will hopefully be able to get more information about her family. Again, so much potential!
Elder McMillan is great; he's already showing signs of becoming an amazing missionary. It's been a blast getting to serve with him. It was a great experience for me to come back to the Toledo 2nd Ward. Last night at dinner, the High Priest Group Leader told us that the ward has been talking very highly of us and is glad that they have "real missionaries" back in the ward. The trust and the faith is back, and multiple members have referrals that are so close to being ready to meet with us. I hope I've done all that I was supposed to do here with Elder McMillan and that the Lord is proud of the results. It's funny that both times I have served in this area, I've been unexpectedly transferred out and unexpectedly called to some leadership position that I feel TOTALLY unqualified for!
At 12:18pm, President Sorensen called. After chatting for a few minutes, he told me that he felt impressed to call me to be his new Assistant. I was shocked! I'm pretty sure I said to him "Are you serious?" I obviously accepted the call and told him I'd have to pray about it, but that if he was inspired to do this that I'm sure I'll get the same answer. This is insane. I never thought I would become an Assistant to the President, and definitely not after being out for only 10 months! But I know that as I put my strength in the Lord, that I can do whatever He calls me to do. I'm excited, I'm shocked, I'm nervous, I'm touched, but most of all I'm ready to do whatever the Lord has in store for me. I'm ready to become purpose.
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commandeth them." - 1 Nephi 3:5
Love, Elder Dransfield
Another Ohio storm...