Monday, January 30, 2012

A week on the east-side

I'm finally feeling settled into my new area. This side of Cleveland is very different from all of the other places I've served thus far and it challenging me to stretch and grow in ways I haven't had to before. Here are a few experiences we've had the past week...

Pam - Pam is an elderly woman from the older part of town who was being taught by the East Cleveland Elders (the ones we live with) about 5 or 6 months ago. She went into a coma for some reason and the Elders somehow found her in a rehab center. They would go over a few times a week and though she couldn't talk or  move, would sit with her and read the Book of Mormon. The only evidence of her appreciation were the tears that would stream from her eyes as they would read. Months later now, she can move, talk, read, etc. although her relearning these things prove stressful. She misses her family immensely and her trips home on the weekend just aren't enough. When I arrived here they were teaching her and she was doing well. But very quickly she became more and more discouraged with her situation. What we thought was at first just a struggle to understand the Book of Mormon quickly uncovered to be a much deeper concern. In our last lesson with her, we decided that we needed to discover what was the deeper concern (we could see the tip of the iceberg but needed to find out the bottom, real concerns like PMG teaches). We went in and were just going to ask questions and listen. As we did, we found that she had been feeling abandoned by  her Heavenly Father. She felt that her prayers weren't be answered. She felt hopeless, powerless, and overwhelmed by everything. She cried and cried and used all of my tissues ;) We read scripture, bore testimony, and at the end of our lesson invited her to pray. Her prayer started with tears of sorrow and misery, and as she closed in the name of Jesus Christ, she laughed and opened her eyes and with tears still pouring exclaimed, "I can feel it. These are happy tears now. I can feel it!" 

Debbie and Travon - Debbie and her 12-year-old son had been found and taught by missionaries about a year ago. She was making great progress (quit drinking coffee, was reading very diligently in the Book of Mormon) but due to work conflicts could not commit to church. The rule of the mission is investigators must come to church at least 3 times before they are baptized. With this putting strain on her commitment, the missionaries felt it best to stop teaching her. Elder Hansen had set up an appointment with her before I had even arrived in Shaker Heights and sent me on splits to go teach her for the first time (I and a member from the ward went to teach her). I didn't know the things I explained above and went into the lesson thinking that we would have to reteach her everything and that her understanding would be very minimum. But she practically mocked me for being so elementary with her and laughed when I asked if we could read from the Introduction to the Book of Mormon - "I've read this like 10 times but sure we can read it again." When we asked how she had felt a year ago when she was reading the Book of Mormon and learning from the missionaries, she described the Spirit pretty clearly, though admitted she had never received an answer that it was all true. We helped her see that she had received answers and the different ways that Heavenly Father will answer our prayers and direct our lives. She was a little worried about knowing what was the Spirit and what was the devil trying to trick her, so we left with her Moroni 7 to read and set-up a return appointment for a few days later. Our next meeting was at the home of a young couple from our church who she had become good friends with when the missionaries introduced her to members of the ward. The lesson was great and at the end when we committed her to baptism she turned to the husband and said, "Do you  have the Priesthood?" he told her yes, and she asked "Will you baptize me?" It was great! We are going to be meeting with her again tomorrow and will be talking more about baptism and setting a date with her and her son.

Nick - Nick plays football at Notre Dame and has been less-active for some time. Since we work with the University Branch for the Kirtland and Cleveland Stake, we have been working with him and helping him get his life back on track. He called us this week and told us he needed us to bring over as much church material (Books, pamphlets, cards, movies, whatever) as we could because a teacher at school was interested. He later told us how his Theology teacher had found out that he was a member of the LDS church (from a questioner she had the class fill out) she go really excited and asked the whole class one day "So...I read something interesting in your papers - one of you is a Mormon? Who is the Mormon in here?" Nick raised his hand (imagine this big, black, football player with tattoos all down his arms) and she asked him to see her after class. She decided to put "Mormonism" as one of the 6 world-religions that the class would be studying and decided that Nick would be her go-to guy for information and facts on the religion. Nick is stoked and is studying all that he can so he can help teach his teacher and show her what we believe. He wrote his testimony in a Book of Mormon and gave it to her last Wednesday and on Friday we gave him tons of material that she can give to those in the class who will be assigned the religion to study. We're working on Nick getting her or the class members to meet with us, but it's a slow process. Still very cool though.

Julia - pronounced "Hu-lia" (Spanish speaker). Elder Hansen is a Spanish missionary and when I got here they were teaching Julia. We try to go on splits whenever we have an appointment with her but this week I went with him (and a member who speaks Spanish). I sat there and tried to be productive or engaged, but it was difficult. Je parles Francais! Mais tres mal... :)  ...that was probably wrong. HA!

Larry - A week or two ago, the East Cleveland Elders were riding the transit and talked to Larry about meeting with missionaries. He agreed and they taught him once when they realized when he was in our area. They gave us his number and we tried and tried to call him but with no luck. Then on Friday we get a call and he says "Hi umm...dis is Larry umm... I wanted ta come to you all's church this Sunday. Can ya'll fine me a ride?" And we said "Sure! Can we come over tonight and meet you?" So we did! We were running a little late because our dinner appointment beforehand was a little further away that we had thought, so I called him to tell him we'd be there in about 5 minutes and he said "Oh it's all good we's all waiting here and are ready. I gots my whole family here and we's jus be waiting." I got off the phone and told Elder Hansen and he said "MY WHOLE FAMILY?!?! I've never taught a family before!!!" haha And so we went and had an amazing lesson with Larry, his wife (sounds like they've been separated for a while and are trying to work things out), and two of Larry's kids (18 year-old son, 19 year-old daughter). The children live in Olmsted Falls (my old area!) and have traveled a lot with their mom as they've grown up. So they were pretty intelligent (Larry lives in the poor side of town and him and his wife has that kind of mind-set. Great people! But just different than I've had to deal with my whole mission. It's been an interesting transition). The kids were really interested in the University Singles Branch and plan on going next week. The couple really wanted to come to our Ward so we found them some rides and they came yesterday! They both seemed to enjoy it and after church we had a lesson with just Larry (his wife was at his sisters or something?) about the Book of Mormon and his prayer at the end was great. You have to be a little cautious with people in the more run-down areas or town and make sure that their intent is real - salvation, not welfare. On the other hand, we (or what I especially have been working on) have to make sure we're not too skeptical and are filled with that charity that we as representatives of Jesus Christ need to have! We have to love these people for who they really are, sons and daughters of God, and not be too distracted by their different way of life or ghetto frame-of-mind. We have high hopes for Larry and he told us how he really wants to pick his life back up - get a job, get a car, come to church, etc. and so we will continue to teach him and pray for him in hopes that he can be worthy to enter the waters of baptism!

Last Sunday we had a meeting with the ward missionaries and our ward mission leader in the School of Prophets at the Kirtland Historical Sites. It was great! Since that was really the first MTC, it seemed fitting to have a meeting for our ward missionaries and train them on their duties and responsibilities. We have been working a lot with our Ward Mission Leader (Brother Baker) and have lots of plans to help this ward explode with missionary enthusiasm and faith! We are instigating a lot of things that we started in my last Ward and can't wait to see the results of our efforts!

Toccara - 30 years old. Part-member. Her father was baptized about 5 or so months ago. She is supposed to be baptized this Saturday but it wont be happening quit yet because of her father who convinced her that she needs to investigate more and not let the missionaries force her to be baptized. (I'm rolling my eyes right now). She is another pretty ghetto investigator but she is really sincere in her desire to be baptized and works hard at reading and understanding the Book of Mormon. We will meet with her (and probably her dad - separately) to go over any concerns and help them understand the purpose of the gospel more in depth.

It's been a challenging week this past week with appointments falling though, Toccara's baptism being canceled, Pam struggling, but Elder Hansen and I have done great at keeping positive and not letting these things get us down. We just have to keep smiling and working hard and let God be God. We can't control everything, and have to remember that nobody can frustrated God's plan for us! He knows us personally and individually and will help us gain the peace and happiness in our lives if we will rely on Him! We also found that talking in an Indian-accent (we have a man named Gupta in our ward whose from India. He's a ward missionary. He likes to talk a lot. He's kind of crazy and hilarious) can help overcome the really hard, discouraging times. No we're not being childish!! But I am loving serving with Elder Hansen. President was at our ward building when we got to church (he and Sister Sorensen attended the ward who meets before us - although I told them that that was a poor excuse for just missing me so much!) and President started bragging about us to some of the leaders he was with. He said that we were two of the missions finest missionaries and afterwards Elder Hansen was like "woh..." haha he IS one of the finest (just hard on himself, like me) and we're just having a blast serving together.

Shaker Heights is definitely helping me grow a lot and I can see reasons why I was sent here already. Although my speech is starting to get bad when we're in the ghetto for too long! Just kidding (...but seriously). The snow has been coming down more this week than it has all winter, but it's still very mild. We've been very blessed! (missionary work seems to slow-down as the snow comes down; people like to hide in their homes and not open the door). The 90-day Book of Mormon reading challenge is going great and I am learning so much! A part of the challenge is to highlight every reference to Jesus Christ and write at the bottom of each page how many times he is referenced. It was really opened my eyes to just how much the Book of Mormon really DOES testify of Christ and bring men closer to God! I sometimes think "man...I wish I could just stay home today and read all day" and then another thought says "that's not why you're out here! learn your purpose!" haha, but I am coming to love the Book of Mormon more and more as I "drink deeply from it's pages" as President Eyring has instructed us to do.

Tomorrow is my Birthday! 21! Wow! Really it will be just another day to me, but (tender mercy!) tomorrow we're having a mission council meeting at the John Johnson Farm. We did this last year and it was incredible! We read the Doctrine and Covenants that were received there concerning the Plan of Salvation and the whole experience was just so revelatory! So I guess for my Birthday I get a round-two of it! For the rest of the Zone Leaders, it will be their first time. But I get to be spoiled again. It should be great!

Well, I am so happy and wake up in the morning full of excitement and joy to be alive. I bet mom wouldn't believe that I can wake up at 6:30am sometimes literally jumping out of bed and pumped and ready to go out and work! It's be best feeling ever. And I know it comes due to my obedience to the commandments (or at least striving to follow them as best as I can) and my understanding (as little as it may be) of my purpose. This understanding that I wish to bring to those here in Cleveland and allow them to taste of the goodness of the gospel. It is so true! And right! The only way is through Jesus Christ's church! Who woulda thought? :) I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the blessing of being a part of His church and for the little testimony that He has allowed me to develop over time. I thank you for all the prayers and letters of support I receive! I wish you all the best and apologize for writing so much this week!!! Love you!

Elder Dransfield
"Kirtland Relief Society President"
 We knocked but nobody was home

Elder Michelsen (with the scaf) went home last Wedneday. He worked with Elder Hansen and I for the week after transfers until he went home). Our apartment was saying goodbye to him.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Elder Parkinson and I with the training sisters, Sister Morrell and Sister Bills.  Sister Morrell and I came out to Ohio at the same time. The Training Sisters are kind of like Sister AP's - their job is to manage Kirtland Historic Sites

 Elder Hicks and I trying on hats at the Newel K. Whitney store. 

 Michael, who we did a mini-mission with.  He should be going on a mission soon.  I told him to get a haircut!

 Michael, Erica's little boy.  Crazy little guy!

 The Wrights- Another one of my favorite, super missionary-minded families.  Their girls are the funniest, most well-behaved girls I've ever met.

 Mrs. Lopez in her younger years.  She and her husband were very good dancers.  Isn't this picture cool!!  I feel like it should be in a history book somewhere.

Mrs Lopez today, at age 85.  She was really sad that I was leaving.  Sweet old lady.

More Pictures!

 Elders Hokanson (left), Smith (right), and I are sweater buddies! I was mid-changing to go do some service...

 Left to right: Erica's sister Amanda, Erica, me, Elder Hicks (my replacement) and Michael. Erica threw me a going-away party.

 Me with the Hokansons.  She is the secretary and he is the referrals/supplies manager.  They're from Star Valley, Wyoming.

 Me with the Smiths.  She is in charge of our apartments and our money, and he is in charge of vehicles.  I told them that I'll be coming over for many Sunday dinners while at BYU!  They're from Lehi, Utah.

 Sister Gircsis.  We did service in and around her barn for her.  She was less-active, but ever since we went over and started doing service for her, she has been coming to church for the past couple of months!

 The Palmers- one of my favorite families, super missionary-minded and we worked with them a lot with Erica.  They remind me a lot of Christine and Bryce.

The Westons (Bro. Westons was in Texas at the time). 
When Sister Weston was telling Tyler (the little boy to my right) that they were going to a party to say goodbye to a missionary, he said "oh no mom, it's not the one who I had a juice race with is it??" And she was really confused and then remembered how my first week in North Olmsted we had dinner at their house and I challeneged him to a juice race (who could drink their juice first). He won. and apparently still remembers it. Sister Weston laughed when she remembred and told him that it was that missionary and he said "He's a fine misisonary. You and dad should try to be more like him" Hahahahaa! The Westons are another one of my favorite families. They're moving to Alaska for his work. They said I can visit and we can go ice fishing :)

My First Week as a Relief Society President (Kirtland Zone Leader)

Hello from Cleveland!!! I am serving in the Shaker Heights ward in the Kirtland Stake with Elder Hansen from South Jordan, Utah. To say the least, we are tearing it up.

I serve basically on the east side of Cleveland, and like every "east-side" of cities, it's pretty sketchy and ghetto. Our ward is full of young families - it feels like I'm in a BYU married student ward or something. We have 1 young man and he just turned 12. And I think there are like 3 young women. Crazy! We also serve in the University Branch. We work on Case Western University once a week and switch off with the Cleveland Zone Leaders and a set of Sisters from sites. We have a lot of fun with the student ward.

My last half-week in North Olmsted was sad but exciting. My last night, we went over to the Palmers for one last lesson with Erica but instead of a lesson, a surprise party happened! It was awesome. It was weird saying goodbye but I know I'll see all those people again someday. Just like Brother Lay in Findlay once told me, "Don't be sad you're leaving, be happy we've met! If I don't see you again in this life, I'll see you in the next."

Let's see...what else is there to report. We live in big apartment right by a little shopping area called Shaker Square. It's pretty cool and we live with two other missionaries. One is Elder McMillan who I trained! This is the 3rd time we've lived together! We love it! haha! Him and Elder Stevens cover East Cleveland (probably one of the most dangerous areas in our mission) and are biking, so they use the public transit system a lot. They're great Elders and we all really enjoy one anothers company. This week we've had Elder Michelsen serving with us. He and Elder Perkins (my trainer! or "dad" as they call it in the mission) are going home 5 weeks early for work. They will both be going home tomorrow :(

We're teaching quite a few people right now (a lot of ghetto) but it's cool to see these people who don't have much or anything at all recognize the Spirit when we come over and when they keep such commitments as reading their scriptures and see them want to change. It's just hard for them to break themselves out of their lifestyle they're been born into. We have 3 or 4 baptismal dates set for February, so next month should be fruitful. We also keep finding people through our investigators friends. They keep inviting people to our appointments so they can hear the message and we've really enjoyed it.

Elder Hansen is a Spanish missionary and is one of the hardest workers out here! He could very easily be an Assistant someday but doesn't want to because he wants to work in the field, not the office :) But we are seriously taring it up. It's the best feeling in the world to be so exhausted at the end of each day you can barely make it to your bed and when you wake up you are so excited and pumped to be alive!!!! EVERY morning I wake up so excited to go out and work and invite everyone to repent! This is the best job ever.

I have been so blessed (or maybe spoiled is the right word) these past 16 months. I have had so many life-changing experiences and feel like it is all "pass[ing] away like as it were unto us a dream" as Jacob says in the Book of Mormon. It's terrible how fast the days are going by now! But I will continue to life each day to its fullest and invite ALL to come unto Christ to partake of this amazing gospel. I love this so much!!! I am so happy and grateful to be serving here with Elder Hansen.

Okay, the other Elders really want to leave the library so I've got to go now. But I hope all is well back home! It's been snowing here but today the high is supposedly in the 50's!!! CRAZY! SO WARM!! :D  I love you all, you're in my prayers, the church is true, go tell a friend, and be happy!

Love, Elder Dransfield

 Elder Hansen and I with President Sorensen.  I'm going to miss serving around him so often.

 View of Cleveland from a hill.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but there she is... good ol' Cleveland!

 Our transfer board

 My new assignment.  Elder Michelsen goes home tomorrow so he's been tagging along with us for a week.

 Breakfast Club Meeting - last Tuesday of every transfer.  All the missionaries and office staff in our apt complex get together for breakfast.

Breakfast Club Meeting- I picked to make crepes this time and was showing them how to flip them in the pan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Last Week in North Olmsted

I really don't have much to say this week. We had a trainers meeting at the mission home on Tuesday. I left after the meeting to go on exchanges and came back Wednesday night to teach a few of our investigators. One is Stephanie who is working on quitting smoking so she can be baptized. We gave her a church tour a week or two ago and ever since then, she has had a great desire to learn and progress. She said that she felt the Spirit strongly in the chapel and wants to continue to feel that peaceful, filling feeling. Thursday we were at the mission office at 10am to start our Transfer Meeting. It took about 6-7 hours and afterwards President and Sister Sorensen took us to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Elder Parkinson's 20th birthday! I ate way too much and almost threw up when we left - but I've still gained NO weight! It's absurd. Also, we had a big snow storm and there is finally snow on the ground. It's been really warm weather - getting snow this late is also absurd.

On Wednesday I will be transferred to Shaker Heights to serve as one of the Kirtland Zone Leaders. Elder Bills is there now and I will be replacing him to serve with Elder Hansen. Being a Kirtland Zone Leader is also called being the mission Relief Society President... Because the Kirtland Zone is mostly made up of Sister Missionaries. As one in my ward put it yesterday, this will be a completely new form of leadership that is nothing like being an Assistant or a normal Zone Leader. I will be in charge of 16 (soon to be 26) sister missionaries and will have to uplift, support, and love them but in a professional kind-of-way. I think? Luckily there are two Training Sisters (they're like Kirtland Historical Sites ZL's - are in charge or coordinating all the efforts on sites) and the Sites Director, Elder Edman. They do a lot with the Sisters - we're mostly just in charge of their proselyting missionary work. I'm way excited though. Being released will give me so much more time to work in the field and teach more people!! And Elder Hansen, my new companion, is awesome. We're going to have a blast.

Next week I'm sure I'll have more to say. Tonight we have a few appointments with investigators who I will teach for the last time, but then I have to pack and get ready. Tomorrow the new missionary arrivals get there and the following day is transfer meeting. I love you all and hope everyone is happy. If you're not, come on a mission :)

Love, Elder D

My new address:

Elder David Dransfield
2635 N. Moreland Blvd #103
Cleveland, OH 44120

Monday, January 9, 2012

1 Colorado, 2 Missionaries, 3 Zone Meetings, 4 Days, 750 Miles, a Lot of Bathroom Breaks!

Hello from the snow-free city of Cleveland! It's a beautiful, brisk morning, the sun is shining, the car horns are blaring, and the office is busy at work!

This week I went on 3 exchanges in 4 days. This week was full of meetings hosted by the Zone Leaders (based on our Mission Council the week prior) and Elder Parkinson and I tried to attend as many as we could ask President traveled the mission conducting interviews with missionaries. Tuesday morning we woke up nice and early to drive down to Tallmadge, Ohio (suburb of Akron) where I was asked to give my famous "Beware of Pride" talk. My 3rd transfer (last January or February) when I was in Findlay, Ohio, I was asked to give an interactive workshop about President Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride" talk. Missionaries still comment on it, so that either means it was super powerful or I was amusing (a lot of body jumping jacks?). So I gave it again due to some major pride issues between companionships and leaders. I felt really good about it and President said a lot of the missionaries commented on how much they liked it. I talked to every companionship two days later and followed-up on the commitments I left with them and had great discussions with them all. I love the missionaries here! It's really amazed me at how much I have come to love every single missionary and really know them personally from getting to serve here as President's Assistant. I've learned so much and am humbled by the many strong examples of Christlike missionaries that serve here in the Ohio.

Following the 3 1/2 hour meeting we drove back up to Cleveland and while on the turnpike (fast highway you pay money to use) a huge blizzard hit! We were in a complete white-out and you could hardly see the car ahead of you. We all had our hazards flashing and it was no longer a fast highway. We tried to take pictures but our cameras couldn't really capture what it was really like. Once we got up to Cleveland, we met the zone for lunch (they had their meeting that day too) and I got together with Elder Metcalf and we drove over to Sandusky, Ohio. Had a great time there, and the next morning my companion drove the truck over and we headed down to Findlay, Ohio for the Findlay Zone's meeting. Our GPS said we were going to be there about 30minutes early, so I called up the Lays' (a couple from Findlay who live pretty close to the church building where the meeting was being held) and asked if they'd cook up a quick breakfast! It was great to see them! The meeting went really well. It was Elder Perkins' last meeting before he goes home so I asked the Zone Leaders if he could bare his testimony at the end about what his mission has done for him. He bore a powerful, emotional testimony and it was a perfect end to the meeting; I'm proud to call him my trainer! I'm going to miss him, but I think he's planing on going to UVU, so he'll be close by when I get home.

Following the meeting I drove down to St. Mary's which is the most southwest area in our mission (borders Indiana). It's a slower area and missionaries can sometimes get discouraged - you do a lot of tracting (knocking on doors). The two missionaries there now (Elder Anderson and Elder Pratt) came out the same time as me and are awesome Elders, so I just showed up and we went out and hit the pavement. Because my truck gets unlimited miles, we used it to our advantage and traveled to a small town called Fort Recovery which is the as southwest as you can go in the mission. To get there I think we were accidentally driving in Indiana for a couple minutes. But we parked the truck, said a prayer, and started knocking on doors. We talked to a lot of people and got 3 people who were interested in learning more who we exchanged phone numbers with. It was good to find success and break the stereotype of it being a "dead" area. Those two Elders have been working really hard and are having a couple baptisms this month which will be helpful to the Branch out there.

The next morning we drove back up to Findlay, studied with the four missionaries who serve in that ward, and then drove up to Holland (Toledo area) where we went on splits with two sets of missionaries. On our way up, Brother Kreger heard I was in town and called and asked if he could take us to lunch. Figured we had to take a lunch break at some point... When we got up to Holland, I worked with Elders Kitchen and Hicks and we had a blast (they also came out with me - Elder Kitchen and I were MTC companions). We had dinner with M.J. from the Toledo 2nd ward (where I was trained and where I whitewashed trained Elder McMillan); she took us out to Olive Garden and we had a nice time. The next morning we realized we had left our supplies in a missionaries car while exchanging in Findlay so we had to drive back down to Lima, Ohio (a little less than a three hour round-trip). We got back in Toledo just in time to attend our last zone meeting with the Toledo zone and after having a bite to eat headed back to North Olmsted to work our own area! It was a busy week but good to be out with all the missionaries and get to work with them. I enjoy exchanges - applying D&C 84:106, 108 and getting to see the impact these missionaries are having, influencing others to come unto Christ.

Other highlights of the week: We gave a church tour to our investigator Stephanie. She and her less-active soon-to-be fiance came with their son (who I think is a little over 1 year). She seemed to really enjoy it and got really excited for church the next day (which she had never been to). The next morning she came alone and in the last hour (Relief Society) she stood up to introduce herself and told everyone that she is really excited to be baptized and is looking forward to being a member! For the past month we've struggled to get Stephanie, her fiance, and his mother to keep any of their commitments (to read, come to church, etc.) and have been praying a lot about how we could help them (or if we should drop them - which is missionary lingo meaning stop teaching them). We both felt that a church tour would be beneficial and it has since proven so! She is going to have to get married and quit smoking, so we have some trials we're going to have to teach her how to overcome, but through faith in Jesus Christ, anyone can change and miracles do happen. 

Erica was confirmed yesterday! I had the privilege of bestowing upon her the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirming her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! She had Elder Parkinson, the Bishop, Brother Lassen, Brother Hook, and Brother Palmer all stand in the circle - Brother Pattee and Quist would have but they weren't able to come to church yesterday. Erica's mother and younger sister both attended Sacrament Meeting to support her and it was great to have them! It was Fast and Testimony Meeting that day due to New Years being last Sunday and the meeting was great. Michael Fulkroad got up and bore his testimony with Elder Parkinson (last Fast and Testimony Meeting I kept elbowing Michael telling him that if he went up that I would go up and he didn't want to. After the meeting he told me that next week he would if I would. I let him and Elder Parkinson go instead). After a few more speakers I got up and immediately following me ERICA got up! I don't know if I've ever seen a recent-convert (at least not that recent!) get up and bear their testimony - but she did! And it was so sincere and powerful. I'm so excited for her and for the future that lies ahead of her and her three-year-old son!! She will now forever, as she remains faithful and obedient, have the Holy Ghost with her to guide her, comfort her, sanctify her, and teach her. She will forever be able to feel of God's love for His children as described in Moroni 8:26.

This week we will be having our transfer meeting where we decide where everyone goes. A new Assistant has been called (one of my favorite Elders out here - he's going to be amazing!) so he will be arriving tonight and will be in a triple-up with us until transfers on the 18th. I wont know where I'm going until the meeting on Thursday. Tomorrow we have a Trainers Meeting with all those Elders and Sisters who will be training this next transfer. But other than that, it will be a pretty normal week - as normal as transfer week can be!

I love this work; I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I know that personal revelation is real and that our Heavenly Father will lead and guide us to eternal happiness. I know that Jesus Christ is the head of this church, that it is His church re-established in these latter-days. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God - we can come closer to Him as we study their teachings. I love my mission and everyone who I have ever met out here - whether they be someone who slammed their door in my face or a missionary who is struggling to find his purpose. My calling as an Assistant has changed who I am and has helped me create a great vision for who I can become. I love President and Sister Sorensen and am eternally grateful for the honor it's been to work along side them for the last 6 months. I will be sad to leave, but more so excited beyond belief to get to go and work in the field! I know that wherever I am called there are people whose lives I'm supposed to go be a part of. I know that nothing can frustrate God's great plan and design for us. The Plan of Salvation is beautiful and perfect. In it lies our purpose and calling and what makes it all possible is the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Man... Life is so good. I hope we all can see the infinite love that our Heavenly Father has for each and everyone of us in our everyday lives. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Pictures

 Christmas Conference

 Gift made for the Sorensens by the missionaries

 Group photo in Karl Anderson's home after caroling

 Elder D. and Karl Anderson holding oil lamps dating back to the time of Christ.  Karl Anderson is a well known church historian

 A widow's mite dating from the time of Christ

 Replicas of keys that were used in such places as the Kirkland Temple

 The (Karl) Andersons, the Sorensens, and the APs

 Elders Parkinson and Dransfield

 Ward Christmas Party
Sister Sponseller (left) was baptized a year ago

 Gifts from our ward!

Gifts from home!

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Group photo taken in the Kirtland Stake Center cha...

Ohio Cleveland Happenings: Group photo taken in the Kirtland Stake Center cha...: Group photo taken in the Kirtland Stake Center chapel on December 20, 2011.


Today we got our first BIG snow storm. Everything outside is white and we probably wont see the sun for a while. Looks like my plans to work on my tan are shot! :)

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. Erica was baptized and her whole family was attended to take part in her special day. Elder Parkinson baptized her and I will be confirming her in church this next Sunday (when she receives the Gift of the Holy Ghost).  The baptism was well attended by the ward and friends and family of Erica. Elder Rial (he's been on his mission for about 2 months) and I taught the Restoration while Erica and Elder Parkinson were changing. It went very well (we did a good job teaching with one another) and following us was a musical number by one of our Spanish speaking missionaries. The talks were great, Erica's testimony at the end was great, the room was packed, missionaries from our Stake brought investigators, the Stake President and Mission President were there, the baptism only had to be done once... Everything just went so well! And the Spirit was incredible strong. Erica's mother and sister were brought to tears and everyone a bit edified I think. Like I mentioned, Erica bore her testimony at the end and it was great. You could see how much this all meant to her. We taught Erica's mother and sister once and are hoping we have some more teaching opportunities with her family. How great would it be to see that family sealed in the temple someday!!! I can't describe in words very well how amazing the baptism was, it just was. It was one of the happiest moments of my mission to watch the true power of the Atonement cleans one of Heavenly Father's children. I know Erica will do well and that her and Michael will be eternally blessed for this all. At the end of the baptism (while everyone was mingling and eating the tons of refreshments people brought) Erica's mother and sister thanked me and gave me a hug. I probably looked really awkward because I was taken back by the hug and wasn't sure what to do... haha I probably looked like a mixture of ghost and a plank of wood. Anyways... It was just really cool to see because they weren't too fond of us teaching Erica a month or two ago and now they can see the great blessings and changes that have entered Erica's life.

This week we also did some service for Bobbi (who I think I've talked about before... she's the one we had the really cool Book of Mormon experience with - linking her divorce with the Lamanites and Nephites splitting. Someone tell me if I didn't and I'll write about it later). She is probably in her 30's and hurt her back pretty bad, so we had 2 sets of Elders there and a couple of members all over painting her house. It was a blast! Bobbi is way cool and she is reading the Book of Mormon (when she prays about it she hears a voice tell her "you're on the right path" and "wait" so she's not sure what to do but to keep reading). I think she will be baptized some day as seeing she's already been receiving comfort, strength, and answers through the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true then the church is true which means in it lies the Priesthood of God. But anyways, I think I've washed off all of the orange and yellow paint that was all over me... The worst was going into an appointment with orange paint on my face (I noticed after the appointment).

We are currently doing a 90-day Book of Mormon challenge as a mission. We have assignments to read each day (about 2-3 chapters per day) and will be focusing on different questions each week (for example, this week is "How can an investigator read the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony and become converted" - the Zone Leaders, Training Sisters (like Sister AP's), us, and President all created the mission study/questions and District Meeting topics for each week for the next 3 months. This was one of them and it was incredible and humbling to see the revelation pour from the heavens and see the Lord's hand in the work.). --Wow! what a tangent! The Book of Mormon challenge - the Sorensen's gave every missionary a small Book of Mormon and the instructions and on every page we are to circle references to Jesus by whatever name He is called. I'm excited for the challenge!

But it's been a great week. There are a lot of good things happening here and we are finding more and more people (not all through tracting) to teach. I know that the Atonement is real and that it's power is infinite; infinite in who it covers, where it covers, when it's available to us, etc. Through the Atonement we can be clean from our sins, we can overcome our weaknesses, we can come to forgive those that have wronged us, we can find strength to help us with anything. This Atonement is all made possible by Jesus Christ who I try to become more like everyday. I know that the scriptures, the Book of Mormon and the Bible, are here to help us with this purpose. They, alongside prayer and going to church, provide me with more peace and true joy than anything I know. I love the scriptures. I love my mission!

Love, Elder Dransfield
Erica's baptism

 Erica and her family

 After Erica's baptism

Painting Bobbis' house