Monday, October 24, 2011

My Weekly Report from the Ohio Cleveland Mission

This year has been the wettest year ever in the state of Ohio - and it's only October! It's been raining so much you would think we were in Seattle or something. I am very blessed to have a car to endure all of storms (and soon snow)! And not just a car, but a brand new, white, 2012 Chevy Colorado ;)

Story time:
Last week we received a phone call from a lady in Salt Lake City. She explained to us that there was a man living in our ward boundaries who wanted to be, the things some people ask us to do...sheesh! We called him and set up an appointment to see him last Thursday at the church building. He is originally from Florida and met with missionaries down there a little over a year ago. Due to health and personal reasons, he put off the lessons and traveled to Ohio to receive treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. Unfortunately he is currently jobless and we think homeless (living in his car for now). But we set a baptismal date with him and he is reading the Book of Mormon diligently. He came the very next day to our Ward Halloween Party and yesterday came to church. He says that he feels that joining the church will bring him the most balance in his life. I know that is true, for the Book of Mormon "tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come" (Introduction page) and has brought me the greatest sense of balance and happiness in my life. We set him up with the Stake Employment Specialist and he actually attended an employment meeting yesterday, so hopefully he can get back on his feet quickly. He used to install in-home theaters and is very knowledgeable when it comes to wiring and electrician problems. Smart guy, just an unfortunate turn of events.

For the past few weeks all of the missionaries in our mission (and everyone in Ohio for that matter) have been coming down with a nasty virus. I got it and was told to stay inside and sleep all day Friday. I hated it! That night we had our Trunk-or-Treat Halloween Party and a few of our investigators were supposed to attend. So my new companion met up with the companionship we live with and they went to the party in my place while I stayed with the Hokansons for the evening to rest. They are one of our office senior couples and are from Star Valley, Wyoming. I love them to death, they are some of my favorite people I've met in Ohio. Someday I'll introduce all of you who are reading this to them ;) (The Smiths too...they're the other office senior couple). The Hokansons and I went out to Olive Garden for dinner and then I rested at their apartment until my companion got back. We have so much fun working in the office together. They make me excited to go on a senior mission someday! I am feeling better health-wise, although the rest of the mission keeps getting suck. I've been telling myself all week "I should have gotten a flu shot...I should have gotten a flu shot..." The problem is that we can't really have sick missionaries during transfer week!!!

Transfer week...Tomorrow we'll have 9 new missionaries flying in from the MTC (3 of them sisters) and it will be the regular routine: pick them up at the airport, bring them to the mission home, have a meeting, dinner, meeting, roleplay, send them to bed, we prayerfully pick their trainers, wake up, go to the Kirtland Historical Sites and Kirtland Temple, go to Transfer Meeting, match everyone up, send the missionaries to their new proselyting areas, gather the missionaries going home, go out to lunch, back to mission home, more meetings, more food, etc. It's a very exciting (busy) time and I LOVE seeing the brand new missionaries walking out of the airport. They're like deer in the headlights :)  --Speaking of deer! I'm not sure if I have ever written about this: There are SO many deer in Ohio. They walk around EVERYWHERE and eat everyones flowers and gardens. And talk about roadkill... yikes! Apparently if you hit one you're supposed to call the police and dispose of the body or else it's considered a hit-and-run. But if you call, you get fined. So...nobody calls. And nobody takes care of the dead bodies. But yesterday we were tracting and a deer was just sitting in this persons yard having the time of it's life eating their plants. It didn't even care that we were there.

We've been seeing many miracles with some less-active families we've been working with recently. Sister Gircsis (who we've been doing service for) came to church yesterday. We worked for her on Saturday in her barn and had a very nice, spiritual lesson. We talked about the importance of the Sacrament and she committed to come - and she did! We've also been working with a 20-year-old boy and trying to help him embrace the gospel more fully in his life (and let go of the video games). In our Ward Council Meeting a few weeks back an assignment was made for two members to go and invite him to prepare for the temple (via taking the discussions from us). They went over and very lovingly told him he needs to grow up and start aspiring in life. We have seen a total change of heart and he is suddenly on fire - HE is setting up OUR appointments to see him! It just goes to show how important members are in missionary work! Our ward is very excited about missionary work and we have probably the best bishop in the whole mission (although I might be biased). We continue to see much success because of our Bishop. It's great.

Well, my time is up. I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that God lives and answers our prayers! I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. This is Christ's church - the same he established during his earthly ministry. It's been restored to the earth, along with the authority to act in God's name, to baptize, to seal families for eternity... I'm so grateful for the blessings of the temple. I would hope that all who have access to the temple go as frequently as possible. I'm grateful for all the blessings in my life. I have been so blessed and I hope that in these next 11 months I can continue to help others receive the same blessings. Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! I love you all!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello from Cleveland!

This last week was pretty busy, although we didn't work in our area as much as we would have liked. I did however hit my year-mark of when I flew into Ohio. This week I also went to Pennsylvania for the first time. That was pretty cool...

Monday we taught a really cool couple. They have a daughter who is going to school in Utah and they go out to visit her frequently. They visited Temple Square and filled out one of the cards that the Sisters give to people. We got a text on our phone with their info, and a few months later (we had trouble getting in contact with them) we taught them! They were SO nice and their understanding of everything we were saying was so clear. The Spirit was very powerful as we taught them and asked them questions. They are eager to read the Book of Mormon and find out if it's true. The wife (Sister Peacock) has been searching for the true church her whole life. She admits she settled with the Catholic church because of its consistency (in what they teach and believe) and structure. They travel a lot (they were both in the military at some point and I think he still might be. That or he just travels a lot). But we will be seeing them again in November (they're out of town) and have been praying and fasting that they can receive their answer! They remind me a lot of the Nevilles (who I miss so much!) so I'm excited to get to teach them some more.

From Tuesday to Friday I was jumping around the mission going on exchanges with different companionships. Went to Tallmadge/Cuyahoga Falls Tuesday-Wednesday, New Castle, Pennsylvania Wednesday-Thursday, and Shaker Heights Thursday-Friday. Elder Bills (my companion from Canton) serves there now and we had a blast working together for couple days. I had to come back to North Olmsted, OH on Friday because we got our new AP that will be taking over Elder McClellan's position. His name is Elder Parkinson. He's been on him mission for about 8 months! As President says, "We've got ourselves a couple of young bucks." Elder Parkinson is incredible and hopefully we can help build the mission!

Saturday was our Transfer Meeting. We met with President at the Mission Office from 9:30am till about 4:30pm, and with much prayer and fasting decided what transfer changes should be made (who will go where, who will be called to what leadership positions, etc.). It's an amazing experience to be a part of. You get to see how the Lord's hand is truly in this work and see how inspired transfers really are. After our meeting the Sorensen's took us out to the Cheesecake Factory and let us get whatever we wanted! I got some chicken mushroom dish. Very good! (I kept thinking to myself - I bet mom would really like this dish!).

I think that's pretty much my week. The weather has been getting much colder lately. Time to break out the sweaters and coats! Before you know it, it'll be snowing... AHHH! We got a new truck today. A white 2012 Chevy Colorado. We are so spoiled...

Today we had a Trainers Meeting where all the missionaries who will be training new missionaries next transfer came to the mission home. We met from 9:30 till 4pm and talked about all kinds of things. A new 12-week training program that we've actually been doing in our mission for about 4 1/2 months now. Talked about leadership, charity, planning by the Spirit, and a bunch of other missionary topics. I gave 4 workshops! It was a blast! Just did a lot of studying and praying beforehand, wrote down some impressions and notes, and relied on the Spirit to guide me in the workshops. They went well...I think... @_@

What are some random facts about my mission.....
1. Yes, I am fed very well. Today we were fed enchiladas and brownies and ice cream!
2. No, I have not gained weight yet. Although I don't know what all this chunky stuff on my stomach is... Insulation for the winter? Just kidding, I'm sill a twig :)
3. They say that the religion out here that has the most devout members is the Cleveland Browns fan club
4. When we go tracting, everyone thinks we're Jehovah's Witnesses or that we practice polygamy. People will ask us some pretty strange questions...... At the beginning of my mission I hated knocking on doors, but now I have a blast doing it. It's so fun to talk to people about the gospel. Lately we've been singing to people as we go door-to-door. We sing "I am a Child of God." People love it.
5. People out here go all-out when it comes to decorating for Halloween.
6. Met a less-active church member in Shake Heights who is from India. He was teaching me Gandhi philosophy - "they eye of the eye of the eye, and the leg of the leg of the leg, etc. of the etc. of the etc." He fed us Indian food. I don't think I'd do well living in India...

I'll close with my testimony: I know this church is true and that it is Christ's church re-established on the earth through modern-day prophets! I know that the Book of Mormon is true - it's the proof of this church being the one, true church. I know that anyone who diligently reads the Book of Mormon, ponders the messages and teachings contained in the book, and earnestly prays to know if it's true (and being willing to submit your will to God's will - if you find out it's true, you'll follow and embrace it full-heartedly), will receive an answer that it's all true. And that answer will come through the Holy Ghost. Not through "research" on the Internet, not through the opinions of the world, but by the promptings of the Holy Ghost, whose purpose is to testify of truth. This has blessed my life so much and my only desire is to bring that same light, that same truth, that same happiness into the lives of others.

Thank you for all the prayers. Have a great week! 
Love, Elder Dransfield

P.S. I'll try to get some pictures next week... :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Taken on transfer day in Kirtland on September 14,...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Taken on transfer day in Kirtland on September 14,...: Taken on transfer day in Kirtland on September 14, 2011.

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elders Ercanbrack, McClellan, Richardson, Dransfie...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elders Ercanbrack, McClellan, Richardson, Dransfie...: Elders Ercanbrack, McClellan, Richardson, Dransfield, and Decker at departure dinner on September 14, 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Findlay Zone at Zone Out

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Findlay Zone at Zone Out

"when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" -Mosiah 2:17

This week has been a humbling experience as we seem to be going through "the trail of your faith" that Moroni writes of in Ether chapter 12. We've been struggling to find new investigators and those who we do have cannot progress for one reason or another. It's been hard, but we've been learning a lot from it all. I have come to love knocking on doors and talking to people (even if they are angry to see us!).

We went and did service again at Sister Gircsis' barn. This time, instead of tending to the horses, we dug some poles out of the ground, cleaned up some of the brush on the side of the barn, dug some trenches... Just some yard work. I had two missionaries with me who are not normally my companion (one from Toledo and one from Parma) while Elder McClellan was on exchanges on the western part of the mission. This less-active sister proudly told me that she had watched a session or two of conference the past weekend. We were excited and talked a little bit about it. I told her that the ones she missed were still on and that she should go back and watch them. After the service we shared a lesson with her. We read in Mosiah 5:1-4 which talks about the effects that King Benjamin's "General Conference" had on the people. We were talking about the importance of listening to the Prophet when Sister Gircsis tearfully said, "Ever since you boys came over and after watching Conference, I can feel that happy tingly feeling in my life again; I can feel the Holy Ghost again. Thank you." She committed to watch the rest of Conference online. It was so amazing to see how just a little bit of service can move someone to do such good! 

A few days later we did some service for an 85-year-old woman - Ms. Lopez. We were tracting when we saw her hosing off her roof and we offered her a hand. She agreed to have us come over the following morning and help with her yard. We pretty much re-landscaped her front yard... And it looks great! She was very touched by our service and wanted to give us some money to go see a movie, we politely decline ;) Her husband of 50-something years died last May and since then she has been struggling with the up keeping of her house. Though she is 85 she looks 65 - she says it's because her and her husband here dancers (and apparently pretty good ones. She showed us some trophies and pictures). The cool part of it all is her daughter lives in Lodi, California and Ms. Lopez is going there next week to visit. She was very excited when I told her I was from that area of California too. We will be going back over this week to do some more yard work for her. She's a very sweet lady.

In other news, we taught Brandy (14 years old) about tithing and she thought the blessings that come from it were so awesome that she turned to her foster parents and started inquiring why they weren't paying their tithing. She told them she'd help them remember to do so. We taught a part-member family (the Wysocki's) and the husband told me he would "try" to read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon. I told him I would call him everyday until he read and he told me he wouldn't answer the phone! Hahaha! But his wife said she would. I've called a few times and they haven't read yet! It's ONE page! They're retired! Priorities people! Priorities!

Once next week hits, things will start picking up in the mission. We have transfers coming up, a new Assistant to train (my new companion since Elder McClellan's two years are almost up), Zone Conferences, Mission Councils, Leadership Training Meetings, Trainers Meetings, Training Meetings, etc. Lots of meetings coming up! It'll definitely stretch my capacity, but I am excited for what's to come! Yesterday we had Stake Conference and it was very missionary-oriented. President Sorensen spoke about Senior Missions (which everyone should go on!) and mentioned to the stake that my grandparents have served 12 senior missions! Everyone has come up to me and said "Wow!"

I can't believe it's October already! Life is just flying by! I am grateful for all I have learned on my mission, who I've become so far and the experiences that lie ahead. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! Through his Atonement, our burdens may be made light!

"And it came to pass that so great were their afflictions that they began to cry mightily to God. And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death. And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage." -Mosiah 24:10-16

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Tracy and Elder Dransfield in the mission of...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Tracy and Elder Dransfield in the mission of...: Elder Tracy and Elder Dransfield in the mission office.

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Dransfield and Sister McAlister performing a...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Elder Dransfield and Sister McAlister performing a...: Elder Dransfield and Sister McAlister performing at Zone Leaders' Council, September 6, 2011.

We must always remember Him

We have recently been finding many potential investigators and receiving many referrals from ward members and less-actives. Our most progressing investigator is Brandy (a foster child). We printed off a Conference Notes packet from and gave one to her (has pictures of the Prophet, his counselors, the Apostles and lines to take notes on). After Conference we talked about some of the things we learned and she read from her notes. Her notes showed great understanding and as she read there was such a sweet Spirit in the room. She knew nothing of our Heavenly Father, of Jesus Christ, or the Spirit when we started teaching her, but now knows and can feel who they are and can't wait to be baptized.
This last week we were on exchanges and Elder Toth was in our area with me. We called a less-active to try and schedule an appointment for the next day and she was hesitant; she had many chores around the barn to do. As we offered service she suddenly had plenty of time for us to come over. Elder Toth and I drove over the next morning. It was very wet outside and we had no idea we were about to be pushing wheelbarrows full of horse manure up  big hills of more horse manure. We arrived and the member told us that she had a really good friend coming over to help and that we could probably share a lesson with them at the end of the service. She arrived, we all worked and chatted - had a good time. The woman turns out to be in Elder Toth's area (another suburb of Cleveland) which was not a coincidence! We taught about our purpose here on earth (it pertained to what the woman was talking about during our service...many deaths lately) and pointed out how the Lord's hand is everywhere in our lives, preparing us to return to live with him and be happy on earth. By the end of our lesson, the friend invited Elder Toth and his companion over for dinner next week and agreed to take lessons from them. It was a wonderful experience.

Conference sure was great. It's on already - which is so cool how quick the church was able to upload all of that. I learned so much and know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. What a great man. I wish I could watch all the sessions over and over again, but alas I have work to do! We went over to 3 members/investigators houses for 3 of the 5 sessions of General Conference. They all fed us :) There are so many talks that I could write pages and pages instead you should all just go watch Conference again (or write me and tell me what your favorites were!).

Not much more to report... A lot of people we have found through tracting, but the hardest part is getting them to answer their phones/be home for our return appointments! Things are looking up and I'm excited for what's to come. I loved what Elder Carl B. Cook of the Quorum of the Seventy said in the Saturday Afternoon session: "We must look up and step up. As we do so, we will cheer up." This is following the advice President Monson once gave him: "Remember, it's better to look up." In the Sacrament prayers we promise to "always remember [Christ]" and as we do so (looking towards the "son") and press forward, we will be happy. This has been evident on my mission. I love my mission so much! Thank you for all the love and support!
Love, Elder Dransfield