These past couple weeks have been extremely busy. Mainly because of something we called "Zoned Out." Basically it's a mission p-day where half of the mission (3 of our 6 zones) come together and we play games and such all day. It was held at the John Johnson Farm (church history site). We met at 9 in the morning -which meant us getting there at 8am, which meant leave at 6:45am, which meant waking up at 5:45am when only 5 hours ago I had gotten back to the apartment and fallen asleep! The past 2 weeks I've averaged probably 5 to 6 hours of sleep each night. I am catching up now but it was tough!
Anyways, all of the missionaries met at a church building right by the farm, for the first 30 minutes we had some mission announcements, went over some new material we are starting to implement throughout the mission (based on what Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Seventy taught us a month or so ago) and then the games began! There were 4 groups and 4 different activities. One was a tour of the John Johnson Farm (this is where the revelation was received concerning the Plan of Salvation (D&C 76) as long as many other revelations and D&C's. Another activity was a PMG game, one was Jeopardy, and ours was the game of Mafia - but we called in Prophets and Gadianton Robbers. It's a game you play with a big group and people are chosen secretly to be a prophet (or detective) and a robber (or a mafia member) and people keep being "murdered" throughout the game and the group (or townspeople - or nephites) have to council and accuse each other and execute a member every round... I don't think I explained that very well, but it was so much fun. After the groups we had a big lunch and a fun relay where all the zones competed against each other and then the remainder of the time there (which was about 2 hours) was left to play games (soccer, football, volleyball, dodge ball) outside or inside. It was a lot of fun. Now that it's over my P-days should be a bit more regular - I'll have time to email, do laundry, go shopping, clean the car/apartment...
Lately we've been doing a LOT of tracting. We're looking for people who we can teach the gospel to. Our area is pretty wealthy (some of the houses are mansions) so the people are generally nice but "not interested." One guy yesterday cracked open his door and yelled at us "I don't have any money!" and slammed it. I've never heard that one before...
We're currently teaching a 14-year-old girl named Brandy who is a foster-child who will be adopted in the coming months. She is progressing very rapidly. She had no understanding of who God or Jesus Christ were when we first met her, but now she is literally glowing as we talk about these things and ask her questions. We are also teaching a woman named Shirley who is practically already a member. She is engaged to a man from Mexico who has been a Bishop in the church a couple times. They will be getting married sometime this Fall/Winter and she plan is to be baptized in December. She is doing great though. We'll be watching conference with both of these families (Brandy and Shirley).
The really cool family we found when following Elder Nash's instruction, we are having to step back from for now. We think they got in a fight about church (he wants to go, she doesn't) or something and they asked us to give them some time. But they're in our thoughts and prayers and soon we'll get back into teaching them.
Sorry to those who I haven't written letters back to. I get so many of them but seriously can't find/make the time to write back without never sleeping! I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter... But if you're patient, maybe you'll get one back ;) Orrrr I'll be home in a year and you can talk to me then.
Hitting my year-mark has been pretty weird. Kind of depressing that it's half-over already! Time has gone by SO fast and I'm sure it will continue to fly (and fly faster and faster and faster and faster...). The gospel makes life fun and exciting, and when things are fun they tend to fly by. I feel bad for missionaries who have to "endure to the end" when really it should be "[enjoying] to the end."
Well, not much more to report on. We have many meetings coming up (and that have past) that I have to prepare workshops for (and conduct). I'm learning so much in regards to leadership and ministering to people. As we apply D&C 84:106 and "take" people with us, we strengthen them and they in-turn can strengthen those around them. That's what we're doing in our mission and the results are remarkable. In just the past year, the culture of the mission has changed dramatically. Missionaries are so much more dedicated, full of the Spirit, committed to obedience, and are better understanding and applying their purpose. It is so great to see.
I am so excited for Conference coming up this weekend. To hear the messages from the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. We are SO lucky to be able to have his words broadcasted all around the world! I'm not sure if I've ever been so excited to watch conference... I know that we DO have a living prophet on the earth today, a prophet like Moses or Noah... I know that they are lead by our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the church of Jesus Christ, His one, true church. I know that the Book of Mormon is true as well. This past issue of the Ensign is so awesome! All about the Book of Mormon and it's importance. I know that as we read it, ponder the message it contains, and pray sincerely to know if it's true that we can receive an answer and through the personal revelation from God know that the church is true. I am so grateful for my family - I have been truly blessed throughout my life and cannot imagine what it would be like to live in this world without knowing that I will live with my family forever. The blessings of the temple are real. I am so grateful for this gospel. Hope you all have a great week!
Love, Elder Dransfield