Monday, April 30, 2012

My two-cents for the week

This week we had the biggest baptism I have ever seen in my life. Mya (our investigator) and Richard (the Shaker Heights East Sisters (in our ward)) were baptized. In attendance were probably had at least 120 people there. It was crazy!! But it went so well - the talks, musical numbers, etc. were excellent, the Spirit was there, and their families all really enjoyed the service. I will have pictures next week.

Also this week we did a big service project for the Community of Christ (break-off of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back in the early history of the church) that was a lot of fun. We helped them build some grow boxes and prepare some space for planting. Most of our zone was in attendance and we had a great time serving them.

Dang...this may be the shortest letter I write yet (which maybe some of you would appreciate! ha!). The family we found and had an amazing first lesson with keeps canceling our appointments :( But whenever we go over there we have really pleasant conversations with the children (and once the father) but for some reason they are starting to be resistant to meet with us. Probably some form of "anti" -we're not Christians, we worship Joseph Smith, have 12 wives...the usual false information. It's sad that people will allow the things they hear scare them from finding out from themselves, from our Heavenly Father. But we haven't given up on them yet! We might go by tonight and try to address any concerns they have.

Tonight we should be having dinner with Angel at our Relief Society President's house - we're excited for that! Angel is doing awesome and we enjoy teaching her (and a few of her neighbors that we've founded as we've tracted her neighborhood).

But nothing else is really too new or exciting. Just doing the "same old" missionary work. I read a talk this morning as I was studying charity and I liked this story, so I guess I'll close with that...

On the first day of school, Jean Thompson told her students, “Boys and girls, I love you all the same.” Teachers lie. Little Teddy Stollard was a boy Jean Thompson did not like. He slouched in his chair, didn’t pay attention, his mouth hung open in a stupor, his eyes were always unfocused, his clothes were mussed, his hair unkempt, and he smelled. He was an unattractive boy and Jean Thompson didn’t like him.

Teachers have records. And Jean Thompson had Teddy’s. First grade: “Teddy’s a good boy. He shows promise in his work and attitude. But he has a poor home situation.” Second grade:“Teddy is a good boy. He does what he is told. But he is too serious. His mother is terminally ill.” Third grade: “Teddy is falling behind in his work; he needs help. His mother died this year. His father shows no interest.” Fourth grade: “Teddy is in deep waters; he is in need of psychiatric help. He is totally withdrawn.”

Christmas came, and the boys and girls brought their presents and piled them on her desk. They were all in brightly colored paper except for Teddy’s. His was wrapped in brown paper and held together with scotch tape. And on it, scribbled in crayon, were the words, “For Miss Thompson from Teddy.” She tore open the brown paper and out fell a rhinestone bracelet with most of the stones missing and a bottle of cheap perfume that was almost empty. When the other boys and girls began to giggle she had enough sense to put some of the perfume on her wrist, put on the bracelet, hold her wrist up to the children and say, “Doesn’t it smell lovely? Isn’t the bracelet pretty?” And taking their cue from the teacher, they all agreed.

At the end of the day, when all the children had left, Teddy lingered, came over to her desk and said, “Miss Thompson, all day long, you smelled just like my mother. And her bracelet, that’s her bracelet, it looks real nice on you, too. I’m really glad you like my presents.” And when he left, she got down on her knees and buried her head in her chair and she begged God to forgive her.

The next day when the children came, she was a different teacher. She was a teacher with a heart. And she cared for all the children, but especially those who needed help. Especially Teddy. She tutored him and put herself out for him. By the end of the year, Teddy had caught up with a lot of the children and was even ahead of some. Several years later, Jean Thompson got this note:

Dear Miss Thompson: I’m graduating and I’m second in my high school class. I wanted you to be the first to know. Love, Teddy.

Four years later she got another note: Dear Miss Thompson: I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I like it. Love, Teddy Stollard.

Four years later, there was another note: Dear Miss Thompson: As of today, I am Theodore J. Stollard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I’m going to be married in July. I want you to come and sit where my mother would have sat, because you’re the only family I have. Dad died last year.

And she went and she sat where his mother should have sat because she deserved to be there.

I like this because it illustrates the importance of losing ourselves in service to others. Not judging others for things that we do not understand nor have no right to evaluate. We must love and forgive all those around us and continue to life those in our life. This is what missionary work is all about, and that's why missionaries always say these were the "best two years." You find yourself submitting your will to do that of the Father's - bring eternal life into the picture. You get to forget about everything the world tries to offer you in order to show people how much more they can really have. I have loved my mission, and have found that as I have set aside my wants and my needs to fulfil that of which others need, I have grown more than ever before in my life and have been happier than ever before in my life. I feel spoiled for how fulfilling this work truly is. I stole that story from a devotional given at BYU in 1995 called "A Man After God's Own Heart" by Vaughn J. Featherstone who was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Here's another quote that I really liked:

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king’s horses And all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again. But the king could, and the king can, and the king will if we will but come unto him."

May we all come unto him as we are invited in 2 Nephi 31:10, "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?" Christ will help us, if we let him.

Love, Elder Dransfield

Dig, and dig, and dig, and diggity dig!

Sister Bills was demonstrating that talk from Conference a few sessions back about the cow who gets stuck in the fencepost. Moooo! And Sister V (from Russia - I can't say her name correctly) is doing a little dance it looks like

Aerial view

Showin' off the guns!

Can you find President Sorensen?

Group Picture

The service was done across the street of the Kirkland Temple

My companion doing official Zone Leader work.

Today was Elder Green's 21st birthday, so we kidnapped him and brought him to our Zone Pday!

Good thing my companion is on the BYU football team...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

And then there were 5... (sent Monday, April 23, 2012)

We had an incredible church tour this past Tuesday with our investigator Angel. A church tour is basically where we take people around the building to show them what the rooms look like, how they function, and what purpose they serve. Most importantly, we bring people to feel the special spirit in these buildings that have been dedicated to the Lord. We've been teaching Angel for about 7 or 8 weeks now and from day one she has been reluctant to come to church. With her experiences with churches, she has seen hypocrisy and judgemental opinions and has been turned off by most religion. On Tuesday we called her to confirm our appointment for that evening and had the thought to bring her on a church tour (we had wanted to do this a few weeks prior, but for some reason it didn't work out). She accepted the invitation and we began to work the phone like madmen trying to find the right people to go on the tour with us. We met at the church building and our group consisted of our Ward Mission Leader, our Relief Society President, one of our Ward Missionaries, and another member who lives nearby Angel who we thought would really click well with her. Another member joined in who had come to the building to drop off her daughter for mutual - so we had a nice little tour group and off we went! We began in the foyer by the Bishop's office and would go from room to room, stopping and talking about why each part was so important. We spent quite a bit of time in the Young Women's room, the Primary room, the Relief Society room, and the Chapel. We also showed her rooms like the cultural hall (the gym), the kitchen, the nursery, the custodial closet (just kidding), etc. If we had a Family History Center, we would usually take quite a bit of time there as well. In the rooms, we would allow the members to explain how the different functions of the church has affected them or their families lives and would add in our two cents after them. Angel seemed to enjoy it. We got to the baptismal font and we had her get down inside of it and do a dry-run. I asked her how she felt in it (imagine she and our Ward Mission Leader's heads are at our feet's level and we're looking down into the font at them over the glass wall) and she said "awkward" hahaha, not exactly the answer I was looking for but it works. We went into the Relief Society room after that and as Sister Call bore testimony of the power of Relief Society and put her arm around Angel and told her how much she already loved her, the Spirit just overcame us all! I think all 8 of us were like, "Wow..." Then Angel expressed how she felt very peaceful and warm, and we all just sat there, enjoying the wonderful presence of the Spirit. In the chapel, we had the same experience. Very powerful and sweet. I think Angel enjoyed it because she said afterwards that she would be willing to start coming to church! I think what was helpful for her was that she could see WHY we wanted her to come to church so badly - to partake of the Sacrament and feel the wonderful, renewing Spirit that is there. We were able to really show her that her coming to church or her joining the church would not benefit anyone's paycheck or status, as it would only really affect her own Salvation (and also other people at church who would benefit from her testimony). I love church tours! We have not been able to see that family I mentioned last week yet :( Our first appointment we had set with them they called and rescheduled for the following day and then as we were driving to their house that next day, they called and said that the dad's mother was very sick and they would be unable to meet. Gaahhh!! We will probably swing by today to say hello and see if we can help in anyway. It gets scary when you have a great, spiritual experience with someone and then you cannot really contact them for so long. That time allows possible doubt or "anti" to come into the picture. What's important is that they continue to read and pray, but if we can't meet with them we cannot see if they've been doing that (or have any questions!). They've been in our prayers and hopefully we can see them soon. Yesterday was Stake Conference for the Kirtland Stake. The Stake President asked the missionaries in the stake and the Priests and Laurels in the Kirtland Missionary Academy to do a musical number for it. So we sang a prelude song, our mission song (Armies of Helaman with different lyrics for the 2nd and 3rd verses) and yours truly played the piano for it - which was a little bit terrifying but I'm glad I could help. We also sang a song after some of the speakers, hymn #251 Behold! A Royal Army. It all turned out really nice. The first prelude song (the Stake President announced it right before he was to begin conducting the meeting) was a special tribute to the Sorensens who were attending their last Stake Conference in Kirtland, and on their mission. It was really special and they both were very touched. They're both such dear friends to me and I'm going to hate saying goodbye to them in a few months! But I know that the new mission president will be equally as great and will be able to continue to help build up the mission. Well, that's all folks! Yesterday was my 19 month mark (weird) and as a present to me (not really) we taught one of the members neighbors who we did service for a few weeks back - I think I mentioned it in my letter 2 weeks ago. It went well, but the lesson had more of a "I'm listening to learn more and because you helped in my garden" than a "I'm looking for some Spiritual guidance and help" kind of feel. But it was still a very positive experience and she seems to understand everything we were talking about. Hopefully we can meet with her again soon. I'm grateful for all the experiences my Heavenly Father has given my on my mission and how He has used me to be a way of helping others. I love the people out here and love talking to everyone about our special message. The heavens are open, Christ lives, and the gospel in it's entirety is on the earth once again being led by a prophet. I know these things are true through my studies but more so through my prayers. Prayer is real and it works! If we listen, Heavenly Father will talk to us too. The Spirit is a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12) and is as audible as can be. Thank you for all the prayers! Have a great week! Love, Elder Dransfield

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"The messages heard at conference are guide posts on our path back to Heaven" -Elder Neil L. Anderson (April 2, 2012)

Wasn't General Conference great this weekend?? I can't tell if they are getting better and better or if I'm just listening more and more! All week my companion and I were looking forward to Conference like a little kid to Christmas and were not let down! We watched the first two sessions on Saturday with our Singles Branch at the Institute Building and went to our Ward for the Priesthood Session. Sunday we were at our Ward Mission Leaders house with a few of our investigators (Mya and Angel). I don't think I could chose a favorite and am not really wanting to start sharing my thoughts on some because then I will be at the library for hours and this blog post will be way too long. But I now have a lot of goals and things that I want to improve on now and it's exciting! I loved President Monson's invitation to "be better than we were" in his concluding talk. What a great invitation to repent; to access the enabling power of the Atonement and become even greater! Last week I mentioned the April 2012 Ensign article called "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality" by Elder David A. Bednar which talks about becoming better than we are. We just need to apply the teachings we heard from the Prophet and Apostles, and for those which are hard for us to do: pray for the strength to do them! Because we can do them! (1 Nephi 3:7) The talk is here:

But the work continues to roll forth! Our Stake had a great baptism this Sunday which we were able to bring Mya (our 8-year-old investigator) to and the Elders and Sisters did an excellent job in the organization and presentations. We went on exchanges this week and I served in Euclid for 2 nights with Elder Plitt. I performed the baptismal interview for the investigator who was baptized Sunday and the rest of the exchange was very pleasant and uplifting. We have such great Elders and Sisters in this Stake and I love getting to serve and interact with them all. Personally, I think our zone is staked with the best missionaries ;) SPEAKING OF SISTER MISSIONARIES --- I have to give a shout-out to my cousin Elise and her mission call to the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission!!! That is SO cool and exciting!! :) She's going to be an amazing missionary!

Today for Zone Pday we are going to Little Italy (google it! careful. bahahaha...conference joke...) to an authentic Italian (remember, here in Ohio we pronounce it I-talian, or Eye-talian, (say it with me) Eye...Tallian...) restaurant for some cheap, delicious pizza and then will all be heading over to Case Western Reserve University (where we do our proselyting every Friday--which by the way, last Friday we gave out 20 copies of the Book of Mormon in 2 hours!) where there is an art museum that is pretty well-known (I think the exhibit right now is called Rememberant? or something) and then there is a natural history museum or something rather and the exhibit right now is called Mythical Creatures: Dragons, Mermaids, and Unicorns. Hahaha, pretty random. Not sure if we're going to check out the latter museum. But it will be fun to have some Zone-bonding time.

Sorry I don't have anything profound or interesting to write about this week! Transfers are next week and there is a good chance I could be transferred! And wherever the Lord takes me, I will serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength! It's so exciting to be alive! I'm grateful for the perspective the gospel gives me which I am able to share with so many of my brothers and sisters. I am grateful for my family and the example they(you) all set for me and feel so blessed to be sealed for eternity. I'm grateful for the abiliy to change and the countless opportunities our Father in Heaven provides us with to do so. "Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them" (3 Nephi 28:39). May we all be as bulletproof to the deceptions of the world and be similar disciples of Christ. This is my hope and prayer! I truly do love you all. Have a wonderful week and a great Easter!

Love, Elder Dransfield

At Mamma Santas- an authentic Italian restaurant in Little Italy in Cleveland. Good pizza!

Transfer #14

I swear I was just here yesterday trying to think of what to write; the days just go by faster and faster. Another transfer has gone by, another month already half-over. Come the 22nd I will have been on my mission for 19 out of the 24 months, which absolutely bewilders me. I have been incredibly blessed over these past 19 months and hope that in the next 5 to come that I can work even harder and pray that I can find those who the Lord in preparing. We've heard that the New York Times published an article about Mormon Missionaries in response to the play in Broadway (which is coming to Cleveland by the way). I read on that the article states, "Through it all, their own lives are changing. Their personal values sharpen, and they begin to understand whom they want to be when they return to college." Replace "when they return to college" with "for the rest of their lives" and you've got yourself a winner.

Last Tuesday, after e-mailing, our district and part of the Solon District went to the Cleveland Museum of Art together. They had some incredible pieces and had different exhibits (African, Egyptian, Medieval...). It was pretty neat, but after an hour or so, everyone seemed to be done with the art. It was free, so that was nice. Before we left for the art museum, I made everyone deep clean the apartment for an hour-and-a-half. What can I say? I'm fulfilling my role as a mission Relief Society President. Our apartment looked nice for my new companion and the Spirit is definitely more prevalent in a clean, orderly atmosphere.

Transfer day came and I received my new companion: Elder Ingersoll! I was an Assistant when we picked up his transfer group from the airport and the whole time we had our eye on him for leadership. I went on one or two exchanges with him as he was being trained and 3 months later was training. It's a privilege to Zone Leader "train" him and serve with him! He is from Boise, Idaho, oldest of 5 kids, was drafted to play football for BYU (but left from high school to his mission), and plays the violin. He's awesome. And we've been tearing it up here in Cleveland.

About two or so weeks ago, Elder Prince and I were tracting after one of our investigators told us he wasn't able to talk to us. As we walked down the street, we saw a woman and two teenage boys sitting on the porch. We went over and offered them a card to the Redeemer Exhibit going on at the Kirtland Visitor's Center and began to explain what we did as missionaries. The mother expressed interest in her son and nephew learning more about the gospel and her son asked us to teach him how to pray. We shared a little 20 minute lesson on how to pray and had Chris (her son) pray at the end. It was a great experience and as we were saying goodbye, the mother pulled us aside and said that she would like us to come back and continue to teach her son. We exchanged numbers and off we went.

We tried calling a couple times later in the week and weren't able to get a hold of the mother. I'll admit, we unintentionally let them fall between the cracks for a week or so. On Saturday, we were driving back to the apartment and I asked Elder Ingersoll to try giving her a call - and she answered! She said the only time they would be available is Sunday morning or else next Saturday. We had many meetings the next morning, but weren't going to neglect this little family any longer. Sunday morning we found that the little family was actually a family of EIGHT!

We arrived not really knowing what to expect. First the mother and two of her teenage sons (18 and 17 years old) were sitting with us, then she told her 14 year old daughter to come in the room, and then the father made his way into the room. We weren't sure what to share (the mother seemed to want us to teach basic Christianity principles), and I didn't want them to think we were only here to shove our knowledge in their face, but that we actually cared about their needs and concerns. We were about to teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, repentance, baptism, etc.) when I had the thought, "If you REALLY love and care for these people, you'll share with them the message of the Restoration - a message that will truly change their lives and will take care of anybody's needs or concerns." So we did. And the Spirit bore manifest that what we were sharing was true, and all 5 of them wanted to read the Book of Mormon together. The Father was like a child on the edge of his seat, captivated by the message of the gospel being restored through a prophet, and the children all were genuinely interested. They all accepted an invitation to be baptized, especially if it is by someone who is holding the restored Priesthood authority. The father offered the closing prayer, and in it he mentioned how before our meeting he was feeling ill and dizzy and how thankful he was for our meeting because he was now feeling better. He concluded his prayer and we taught the family that what they were feeling was the Spirit. That the Spirit fills us with peace, with clarity, can heal our spiritual, mental, AND physical aliments, such as their father's dizziness. It was a wonderful teaching opportunity and the family seemed more unified and happier than ever. We are so excited for them to learn more and understand how they can become sealed together for eternity. It was a great way to start off a Sunday.

Sunday evening we were in Kirtland helping at KMA - the Kirtland Missionary Academy. It's the Stake's mission prep class and all the Priests and Laurels attend this monthly class. We have to arrange 2 to 6 sets of missionaries to attend each month and President Sorensen recently told us that we should try to go to as many of them as we can. So we went and had a great time! The youth, next month, will be teaching real nonmembers, so yesterday they were role playing the Restoration lesson to us. It was fun and interesting to look at the Priests and realize that where they are, I once was. And comparing that to where I am now. I wonder if they all realize who they can become or how much they are needed. I wonder if they can understand their divine potential and the influence they can have on generations to come. I wonder if they can see how much the gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed their lives and how Jesus Christ is central to their happiness and eternal progression. I wonder if they know that the most important thing in the entire world they can be doing right now at this very second is to prepare to serve an honorable, full-time mission. It is so important. I cannot express in words what my mission has meant to me.

Life is short and it can be hard and complicated. But it doesn't have to be. It's now that we must prepare to meet our Maker and we've been given all the tools to prepare ourselves as best as possible. I have seen more clearly now than ever before in my life the power of daily prayer, regular scripture study, church attendance, etc. We can always change and constantly become what our Heavenly Father has always intended for us to become. Elder Jeffery R. Holland stated it so clearly this last April 2012 General Conference: "So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late."

Love, Elder Dransfield

This is what missionaries do in a room full of medieval weapons, armor, and guns... (at the Cleveland Museum of Art)

At the Cleveland Museum of Art

Visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art

Elder Burch, my week-long companion. Is he blushing?

Dibella's Old Fashion Subs- a really really really good sandwich place. Elder Ingersoll is the one to the left of me wearing The suit jacket, kind of hunched over. He's actually really tall, 6'3" I think. Elder Green, my pal, is below me.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Needless to say, I had another crazy week in Ohio... (April 10, 2012)

Highlights of the week:
- Monday: Zone Pday in Italy with Mermaids, Dragons, and Unicorns
- Tuesday: Mission Council and a mini-mission
- Wednesday: An Indian dinner and a phone call from President
- Thursday: A new companion
- Friday: The fall of London, not the bridge, but the student
- Saturday: A service miracle and a baptism
- Sunday: Easter
- Monday: Kirtland Zone District Meeting in the Kirtland Temple

A quick expoud-ation upon these...

Two Mondays ago we went to the Cleveland Natural History Museum by Case Western Reserve University. It was so cool! They had huge exhibits full of animals, dinasaour fossils, planetarium-type things, live animals, American Indian artifacts... I'm probably forgetting some. But we all had so much fun! There was an exhibit called "Mermaids, Dragons, and Unicorns" which was a bit strange... Basically they had a bunch of replica's of these things and explained how they all came to be (the myths, stories, etc.). It was fun. It's $10 dollars per person to go, and I went in with another missionary, while our group of 20 were standing around outside, to ask if we could have some discount. They said only if we all pay on the same card. But if some of us were students, we could get a discount that way too. Well... I don't think they realized that when I said 20, I meant 20. Because after I convinced everyone to pay the 10 dollars, I walked back into the museum with 19 missionaries trailing behind me and they got a little overwhelmed and just gave us all the student fee! Tender mercies of the Lord! But we had a lot of fun. Before the museum we all went to Little Italy (a street in Cleveland full of Italian restaurants, stores, and such) and ate some delicious pizza. They also were a little surprised when my group of 20 actually showed up. Everyone was 30 minutes late, so I can understand their skepticism.

Tuesday we had mission council in Cleveland. It was a great meeting and I thought it was going to be my last since I've been in leadership for so long. But we talked about the new mission study for the next few months and how we can help the mission to achieve our goal of 50 baptisms per month. This month it might actually happen and we are so excited. Our Stake alone has 15 set for the month, 3 of which have already happened. That night we picked up LaShaun (or Elder Haley as I like to call him) for a mini-mission which President Sorensen approved. We had a great week! He got to see every phase of the work - meetings, finding, teaching, people progressing, people not, little children, people yelling anti at us on the streets, people yelling derogatory terms at us, an amazing baptism, etc. He learned a lot and we all had a blast. Missionary work is so much fun!

Wednesday we had a late dinner at Gupta's house. He's from India and apparently his father is very wealthy over there. He said that after our missions, if we fly ourselves into India, his family will pay for everything and we can stay in their mansion. Cool :) I actually am coming to love Indian food which is strange to me. But he is very kind and always wants to feed us. So we let him! After our dinner at his house, We received a phone call from President. It was about 9:45pm. I knew what it was about, Elder Prince had no idea. New Assistant to the President! Ahh! I'm so excited for him. Taught him everything I know ;) *tear* But in all seriousness, he is going to do amazing things and will grow more than he has any idea he can. And plus, he's serving with Elder Hicks who is one of the best out here, so he's got his work cut out for him. Wednesday night became a little crazy as Elder Prince began to pack up everything and LaShaun and I planned for the next day.

Thursday we drove to Cleveland and dropped off Elder Prince and picked up Elder Burch. I don't have any pictures of him excepted for those ones at the Kirtland Temple. We'll take some today (I think we're going to an art museum) and will send some home next week. But we've been companions for the week (he is not a Zone Leader, just my companion) and we've been having a blast together. I was the AP when we picked him up from the airport and was very impressed by him in the mission home with his testimony and teaching. It's been an honor to serve with him and learn from him. I was hoping they'd leave him here and make him a ZL with me, but I guess the Lord has other plans!

Friday we taught our investigator London (we found him from the tables that we do every Friday at Case Western Reserve college) for the last time. He is heavily involved in his own church, and though we explained everything as clearly as we possibly could, he was not interested. He said he'll read the Book of Mormon, but feels that he is already "saved." He does realize that if the Book of Mormon is true, that he has to be rebaptized. But I don't think he's wanting to even consider that, so hopefully we've planted a good seed. He's a GREAT guy and is a wonderful Christian. I just wish we could help him see the more truth and light he could have in his life

Saturday - Some members in our ward were making plans to do some gardening in their front yard and upon talking to their neighbor found that she too needed some assistance with tilling her garden. The members recognized this as a great missionary opportunity and invited us to come help with the service with hopes of meeting the neighbor and sharing a lesson. We showed up and found that the neighbor had taken a rain-check last minute because she forgot she had a prior engagement of some sort. Regardless, we helped the couple with their garden and about an hour later, Lauren (the neighbor) walked outside to her car. We said hello and she came over to talk for a good 5 or so minutes. She showed us what she was going to do (not too big of a job) and told us that we didn't need to do it for her. She left and we went right over to her yard and began to till the ground. It was a bigger job than any of us had anticipated, but we got the job done and it looked very nice. That evening we received a phone call from the members. Lauren had come home that evening and saw the job we had done. She called the members and was expressing her gratitude when Sister Wagner said "Oh no...That wasn't us! That was all the missionaries. They insisted they help you and they did it. And it actually wasn't as easy as ours was - the tilling machine wasn't working so they had to pull out the shovels and ended up digging up rocks and everything, so they're the ones to thank." Lauren was so impressed and touched and asked what she could do to repay us. Then, the light bulb came on in Sister Wagners head. "Actually," she said, "What would mean more than anything to the missionaries is just your time. What they do is share messages about Jesus Christ and His Gospel to people, and just 20 or 30 minutes of your time to listen to the message they share would mean the world to them." Lauren didn't believe her ("That's it? You're kidding...") but accepted an invitation to meet with the missionaries and actually said she would love to do it. The members had already planned on her coming over to Family Home Evening that coming Monday and last night we received a text from the members saying "We gave her a Book of Mormon. She's ready for the Restoration and Joseph Smith." We are very excited as are the members. It just goes to show that member missionary work is easy and doesn't have to be anything extravagant.
Sunday - we had a great Easter. We had to jet after the Sacrament to attend a Stake Coordination meeting with President Sorensen and the Stake President, but we had a great dinner and many lessons with members. I am grateful for the Easter holiday and being able to remember the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Monday - This week is kind of a weird transfer week. The missionaries going home went home 2 days earlier than usual (I think due to a meeting that President has to attend) and so they didn't get the usual Transfer Meeting at Kirtland with all the other missionaries. To make up for this, the Training Sisters and I decided to put together one last Zone meeting in replacement of our District Meetings. Every last Monday of the transfer, all of the districts in our zone meet together from 8am to 10am in the same building, different rooms. I thought, Why not same building same room? So we very carefully planned out a huge surprise, group meeting. We had all the District Leaders make out assignments to the missionaries going home (there was 3 sisters and 1 elder) and they were to give 10-15 minute workshops on What their mission means to them, how they have changed, how they fulfilled purpose, their testimonies, etc. They also assigned a few musical numbers, prayers, etc. A few of our DL's were in on the surprise, but nobody else knew. So yesterday morning I sent out a text telling everyone that the Stake Center was closed so we would have to meet in the Historic Kirtland Visitors Center in different rooms. I told every District that their room would be the theater. Everyone arrived and was confused at first but then realized they had been tricked! Some of the Sisters performing musical numbers were mad at me because they were nervous. But they all did a great job so it's okay. But the meeting went SO well! I have never conducting a meeting that was so timely and powerful. The workshops were incredible and everything was just saturated in the Spirit. At 9:30, we told everyone to leave everything behind except a hymn book and to follow the Training Sisters and I. (This was the biggest surprise of it all and nobody but the Training Sisters and I knew about this). We had called the Community of Christ and made special arrangements for us to come into the Temple for 15 minutes to conclude our meeting. So we asked the Zone to follow us in silence to cultivate a spirit of reverence, and we walked up the hill to the Temple. We went inside and the Training Sisters gave us closing remarks about how the temple is our purpose now and forever. We then sang The Spirit of God, the Ohio Cleveland Mission song (Armies of Helaman modified so that it's all about Ohio and Kirtland), and a capella God Be With You Till We Meet Again. We ended exactly on time, the Community of Christ were so honored to be a part of our little meeting, and ahhh! It was just SO awesome!! Everyone enjoyed it and the Elders and Sisters going home were very appreciative. I am grateful for my Heavenly Father because it was all orchestrated by the Spirit and worked out so well because of so.
I had a crazy week. But I survived. I have lots of stories about investigators I will have to tell next week because we're out of time and we need to leave the library. But amidst the crazy week, I learned to rely more and more upon my Heavenly Father and to apply Christ's Atonement in my life. Through them I was able to juggle the many tasks that were presented before me and in the end it all worked out. I know that this gospel is true and brings us such great happiness. I love my mission. I love the missionaries I work with. I love the people of Ohio! Christ lives and God is real. I love all of you too and thank you for your prayers which sustain me each and every day. Have a great week.
Love, Elder Dransfield

Our Zone walking to the Kirkland Temple

Our District

LaShaun who we took on a mini-mission

Our pal, La Shaun

Saying goodbye to Elder Prince in front of our apartment

My companion, assistant, and friend: Elder Prince

The APs: past, present, and future