Monday, March 19, 2012

Sir Charles and the Week of Cabin Fever

This week Elder Prince caught a pretty bad virus/possible sinus infection. He was in a lot of pain and Sister Sorensen advised him to stay inside and rest. We got some Airborne and Melatonin (and NyQuil for bedtime) and kept him pretty subdued all day. While he would sleep, I cleaned the entire apartment (twice), organized all our area book and updated all of our records, called everyone I could possibly think of, and starred out the windows from time to time to imagine how the 75-80 degree weather must feel on ones face... This first came about on Thursday and he slept all-day. We tried to go out and work that night but he couldn't physically do it so we went back and slept some more. Friday we tried to go out and work and we were doing great, but Saturday morning woke up even worse! So it was back to cleaning and organizing for me! Did I go crazy? Maybe a little bit. But it's okay now. It's a new week, the sickness is practically gone, and the sun is still shining! :) But a missionary is definitely not meant to stay in-doors all day.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had a 2-day Leadership Training Meeting in Cleveland. It was a great meeting! I particularly enjoyed the first day - it felt like we were in a Sauna of the Spirit or something. The next day was good too. We had a senior couple come and do a presentation on mental health (they are in charge of the north-east missions) and I decided that I am crazy. I guess the following couple days proved that to be true... On the Tuesday meeting Elder Prince and I gave a workshop together about the Book of Mormon and everyone loved it. It was refreshing to be with so many leaders for two days and get to pump each other up. That night we had 7 Elders in our apartment! (They didn't want to send the Elders from the Toledo or Youngstown areas back on the 2 hour drive just to come back the next morning, so they filled the Cleveland and Kirtland Stake with all the extra missionaries). Luckily our apartment has 2 big couches and a futon so everyone was able to sleep well.

On Tuesday night, Larry dropped us :( It's sad because he was doing very well. He was reading on his own, studying the pamphlets we had left with him, was telling us how much happier he has been, and then we showed up at his door for our appointment and he turned us away. The next day we called to see what was up and he told us he was going to do "his own thing." We think him trying to quit smoking was stressing him out and breaking free from the chains of poverty or traditions of those in the ghetto proved to be too difficult. We are going to give him a week or two and call him back. It's too bad because the ward had provided him with church clothes that we were going to bring over. We're going to still give them to him whether or not he wants to be taught/join the church, but it's just sad because the things we were teaching him were helping him grow, change, and understand so much. He also claims to be schizophrenic (not sure if he really is or if it's a ploy to receive disability) but that could play a factor. This is the second time he's dropped us, so we are just going to pray for him and try again next week.

Mia is doing well! She is our 8-year-old investigator. We were at the Singles Branch yesterday (where I gave a talk on "Being Faithful") and so we didn't get to see her at church. So when we went over yesterday she saw us, her face just beamed with happiness and she ran over to us and gave us big hugs. She's a really cute little girl. We taught her and her cousins/brother (all under the age of 8) about Tithing and used cookies from the dinner we just came from. They liked the cookies.

We are also teaching Kenny right now. He is a 16-year-old who is severely autistic. His mother joined the church back in September and expressed the desire for him to be baptized so that he can participate in different church activities with her. After the Bishop and Stake President talked, they asked us to prepare him for baptism. I was a little worried at first because he definitely requires some special attention/teaching, but it has proved to be a really neat experience. We meet with them twice a week, once at different members homes for Family Home Evening, and then once with us and a member we bring. And we teach him once principle at a time (God is your loving Heavenly Father, Prayer, the Gospel blesses families, the 10 Commandments). We teach with a lot of body language, pictures, songs, and other visuals. His mom teaches him to the best of her abilities and then we come and reaffirm what she has taught him. Repetition is the law of learning for us as humans and for Kenny this is especially true. We really would just use three or four one-liners teaching about the principle and would repeat them and the action or picture affiliated with it. It is cool to see him actually learn and remember the things, and also get really excited when we teach him. There is always a very sweet, gentle Spirit and you know that he is a lot closer to Heavenly Father than we can grasp. It's been a really neat experience that I don't think too many people get to participate in.

A funny story for this week! There is a less-active, older, black, frail widow in our ward named Sister Oliver. She has a few teeth, can barely hear, and can't see very well. She lives in a house that is full of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She has to use one of those cool stair electric chairs to climb her stairs. She loves loves loves the missionaries and is a fireball. A few weeks ago I bought her a large-print Book of Mormon (the pages are the size of a sheet of computer paper) so that she can read. She was trilled! -but needs to get glasses before she can read. Anyways, she is now in the Sister missionaries area so we went over once to tell her about the Sisters and how they would come over and teach her from now on. You'd think she was going to die of excitement and said that we all had to come back for dinner next week. I told her we'd see (we're not supposed to eat at someones house with more than 2 of us) and went on our way. Well...the Sisters went over and told her that we'd LOVE to all come over and we would LOVE to have dinner! And I'm not about to offend this little Sister, so we went over for dinner. We got there and her and her daughter were fixing us some sandwiches and I asked if there was a male in the house (there almost always is, but be always make sure). They said of course! And then started screaming "CHARLES!!!! SIR CHARLES!!!! CHARLES!!!!" and this little tiny white dog that looks like it's 20 years old, blind, and deaf hobbles into the kitchen and they pick him up and say "This is the man of the house!" ....I can't remember if I laughed of slapped my forehead but we told them we'd have to come over another time to eat. But Sister Oliver would not have this! She had us and the Sisters take outside one of her glass end tables and put it on the sidewalk. So...we had a picnic outside. It was hilarious. Sister Oliver really enjoyed it and I'm glad she did, but I don't think we'll be doing that again. Haha... "SIR CHARLES!!!!!!!!!" -I wish you could have seen that little dog slither around the corner...haha

Today I was reading in 3 Nephi 13 and really liked verses 25-28. Verse 28 "Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin" and before that in verse 26 it talks about how the fowls of the air sow not, nor reap not "yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" This is of course Christ speaking and is compared to Matthew chapter 6 in the New Testament. But basically, what I take from this, is he is asking us to evaluate our faith and trust in Him. Why do we worry and fret over so many little things in our lives? Why don't we trust in God more? Consider the lilies of the field - or meditate over the attributes of nature. Nature is one of the most simple lifeforms on the earth yet are almost in a sense the most "obedient" to the rules of God. The lilies of the field always grow and reach for the sun (Son) and thrive off of the light which is given off. Our Heavenly Father is aware of our lives and will take care of us - we need not have fear or concern for what lies ahead. As we focus our lives on the Savior and his teachings, we will grow like the lilies of the field. I love the Book of Mormon!

This week I will hit my 18 month mark which will mean I am 3/4 of the way done with my mission. I am in denial. And it freaks me out to think about it - I feel like I just got dropped off in the MTC! But I am grateful for the many tender mercies and experience the Lord places in my life day in and day out. I know Christ lives and that he suffered for our literally all of our pains and our afflictions in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we look towards the Son of the living God, we can be relieved of the hardships of this life and be liberated from the chains of sadness, confusion, guilt and doubt. I have never felt so free and empowered than on my mission - these feelings which come through my obedience, daily scripture study, fervent and constant prayer, regular church attendance, and desire to share the truthfulness of the gospel with others. Life is amazing. "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (3 Nephi 12:48). We must strive to be like the Savior, if we are to ever understand what it truly means to have joy. The world may try to give you happiness, but it is only through the Atonement of our Lord and Savior that we can have joy. 

Love, Elder Dransfield 
 Picnic with Sister Oliver

 Recent Zone picture

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