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

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