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