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 lds.org 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