Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Canton, Ohio: Round Two

Well... As if my mission hasn't been crazy enough, I get another curve ball thrown at me and am sent back to Canton, Ohio. I served here last year around this same time and I'm back for another game of missionary work! I was shocked when they announced that I was coming here. Again. It's pretty rare for a missionary to return to an area/ward for a second time, and this is the second time I've done this (first Toledo, now here)! I must not be doing my job right! This time is a little bit different, because I am not serving as the Akron Zone Leader; I am a "regular" missionary for the first time since I was being trained in Toledo for those first six weeks. My only responsibility is my area, my companion, and myself. Kind of a weird, almost empty feeling, but I am quickly learning to adapt. But so far I am loving it back here!

Last Wednesday is when I found out. We were at the transfer meeting and I was sitting by Elder Bills (who flew home Thursday!) and they announced that I was going to be serving in Canton, Ohio. I was speechless (thought I had heard wrong) and Elder Bills turned to me and said "You are SO lucky!" --this is where we served together last year. Since that moment it's just been a whirlwind of crazies... It's finally settling in that I am here and here to stay. My companion's name is Elder Harris and he's from Idaho. He's been out for about 18 months and I served as his Zone Leader when I was in Findlay. He's a great Elder and we're getting along great.

The response I have received from the ward has been humbling. Many have expressed such joy and excitement and over and over at church last Sunday I was told "Welcome back!", "We're so excited you're back!", and even a "Welcome home!" In the past, when asked if I could go back to one area I served and serve there again, I always said Canton. And here I am! I am so excited to get to work with some of the part-member families, less-actives, and recent-converts (like the Nevilles!) again. I know I've been sent back here for a reason, and I am ready to give it all I've got!

It's always great to see the Lord's hand work in your life. This past week, Elder Harris and I had several experiences where it was obvious that we were lead to certain places or prompted to do certain things. For example, on Friday we went to a street we had planned to tract, and the first door we knock on is the mother of one of the members in our ward! She is not a member but invited us in for some water and we chatted for a bit. We were able to offer some service and help her with some mild yard work. It was simple, yet so incoincidental. The next day all four of us missionaries were driving to our service (we help out at Habitat for Humanity each week) only to find out that they were closed for some reason. We called a few more people to see if anyone needed help for an hour or so and had no luck, so we began to drive back to the apartment. All morning the Elders we live with had been calling different members of the church to see if they would be able to give one of their investigators a ride to a baptism down in New Philly (where Elder Hansen is serving - my old companion from Shaker Heights!). They were having no luck, and since I know all of the members already, I was trying to help them think of different people they could ask. As we were driving back to the apartment, I had the idea to ask a mother in our ward who recently had gone through a divorce. The Elders called her and she was unable to help drive, and they were about to hang up when the Elder said, "Oh! And by the way, we have four missionaries in service clothes looking for some work - is there anything we could do for you?" The Sister couldn't believe her ears and graciously accepted the offer. She told us we were an answer to a prayer - that she needed so much help with the yard and moving some things since the divorce and they were weighing very heavily upon her. It's a wonderful feeling to be a tool in our Heavenly Father's hands by which we can aid His children by. The Spirit is very soft and subtle in the way he communicates to us, and I'm grateful for all of us Elders listening and acting upon the thoughts and impressions we had.

I'm also grateful for this curve ball in my mission - being back in Canton. I know that I have been sent back here for a reason. There are many names that already flood into my memory. I know that our Heavenly Father has a perfect plan for all of us. I know he puts us in different circumstances and places for specific reasons to help us grow, learn, and prepare to return to His presence. I love my mission and even more my life. I have been so blessed and these past 20 months have been one of the most enriching experiences in my life. We have a woman who requested a missionary visit earlier this month and we were able to meet her for the first time this last Thursday. Bonnie said that for the past few months, she has felt a weird feeling of warmth and almost a pulling sensation in regards to the Book of Mormon. She hasn't been able to stop thinking about it so she finally decided to act on the promptings and request us via mormon.org. Our meeting was wonderful and as we explained that what she was feeling was the Spirit and were able to teach her why she was feeling that way, it was like the light switch turned on for her. We gave her the Book of Mormon and the next day called us telling us she couldn't get enough of it. She continues to do well and we will be seeing her this week. Our Heavenly Father will guide us and teach us, if we let Him. This I know and am grateful for.

Hope you have a wonderful week and can see the Lord's hand in your life. Pray for me - I never learned to swim in humidity! (this morning at 7:30am, the thermometer read 80 degrees!). I love you all!

Elder Dransfield

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A week of Hawaii in Ohio

It's been a great week. Today marks my 20th month of being on a mission. Isn't it wild how fast time goes by? This week was long, but it flew by and I can't believe it's Tuesday already. I'll try my best to explain it all...

On Monday we held a Zone P-day in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. There is a somewhat famous lighthouse there and many beaches. We had been told by members that there are volleyball nets set up on the beaches there and for weeks we have been planning this trip. It was a blast! The beach was about 15 minutes away from the Kirtland Historical Sites and because it is so early in the season, they have not started charging for parking and we had the whole beach almost to ourselves. The volleyball nets were not hung up, but we had brought our own and somehow got it to stay up. The Assistants came down from Cleveland to play too and we all had a fantastic time! It was really cool to have the Zone get to know each other more and bond as we played volleyball, football, soccer, etc. together on the beach. The temperature was also perfect - I think it was around 70 or 75 degrees. A couple of the missionaries even handed our a few copies of the Book of Mormon to some people on the beach and the Sisters have some potential investigators.

After the beach volleyball, we all headed back to the stake center (Sisters went back to their homes) and we changed and met back at the Community of Christ's church building. They hosted a dinner for us in recognition of our service a couple weeks back. It was delicious and was a lot of fun to fellowship and being with them. We didn't get back to Shaker Heights until 8pm and Elder Ingersoll and I had two lessons with members (in preparation for our Luau) and so we had the East Cleveland Elders (who we drove to Kirtland) drop us off at the first members house, the plan being for them to come pick us back up at the next members house (who lived maybe half a mile away). On our walk over to the next appointment (which, by the way, it was so nice to walk. We drive so much to makes me feel like my legs are going to whither away. Random side note...) we were pulled over by a police officer and gently interrogated. Because two white kids in Cleveland wearing suits and ties looks pretty sketchy. The next day we were sitting in the car on the phone before going into an appointment and a different police officer crept up beside us and also asked what we were doing. I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing something to draw police to me? Maybe I'm "losing myself" in the wrong connotation. Or maybe they just want a better look at our ties. Yes, that must be it!

Tuesday was exchanges, and when we met back up in Kirtland on Wednesday, Elder Ingersoll and I stopped by the Sites to pick up a future missionary. The Steele's, a senior couple at Kirtland (who I could write pages and pages about how amazing they are and how much everyone in the mission loves them to death, so for sake of time I will just leave it at this), left this last Friday (home), and in preparation for their move and to help with the long drive home to Utah, their grandson Cole flew out from Colorado. President Sorensen had been made aware of this and arranged for us to take him out teaching with us Wednesday evening. He had graduated high school the Monday prior and is preparing to turn in his mission papers at the end of the summer. We had an incredible night and a great time with him. We had dinner at our Ward Mission Leaders house where we shared with the kids a lesson about us opening our mouths as missionaries and letting the Spirit to help us know what to say (which Cole was then able to witness first-hand the rest of the night). We taught Kenny and Mornetta, finished our appointment early and tracted around their house. The first door let us right in and we taught a very brief lesson about what the Book of Mormon is. We would ask Cole questions and allow him to teach, bear testimony, explain what the scriptures were saying, etc. And numerous times he would say something and the man would light up and expound upon what Cole said. We have a return appointment with the man (his name is A.C.). Afterwards we went and taught Richard (who was baptized a few weeks ago) and Cole helped us teach the Restoration. Cole was amazing! The night was just so energizing and inspiring to see someone like Cole, who has had little to know "training" on how to be a missionary, be so successful and influential in these peoples lives! When we dropped him back off in Kirtland with his grandparents, we visited for a bit and recounted the evening to the Steele's. They were all so grateful and Elder Ingersoll and I were equally so. It was a great evening for us all.

Saturday was the big event we've been putting countless hours into preparing - the Luau! It...was...AWESOME! We didn't have as many nonmembers as we were hoping (I think our count was 15) but we had about 200 people there - which is (or was) unheard of for a ward activity. The decorations were perfect, the music and skit turned out great, there was plenty of tasty food, and the church tour was successful. I should be able to get some pictures hopefully later today or maybe in the near future from members and missionaries. But I can try to describe it now... When you walked up to the front doors, two Elders were there greeting you and placing a lei around you and welcoming you "Aloha!" You walk in and in the foyer was a photo booth set up for you and your family to dress up and pose for the camera. As you then proceeded to the cultural hall, we had five rows of tables lined up perpendicular to the stage with white table clothes and colorful Hawaiian fabrics covering them. Our center pieces on all the tables were pineapples cut into boats (which pieces were eatable). We had surf boards made out of ironing boards, big cardboard pictures of Hawaiian flowers all over the walls, big palm trees made out of sun umbrellas and fabric (looked really cool), lights all around the room, aaaand I'm probably forgetting some things but it looked great! The room was a little bit dim but light up with the lights. The room was PACKED with people and by 6:45 we began our show.

The show started with the overhead lights flickering and suddenly the plane crash scene from LOST projecting onto a white screen (a normal project screen which suspends over the stage). There was dramatic LOST music and everything and on the 30 second video the last thing you see is a huge piece of cargo or plane fly at you and then we cut the video and sound with a single spot light on the screen. Brother Collete was playing as the typical beach bum and he was behind the screen. He pulled it up, raised his conch shell, and blew it to start the Luau! Then the curtains opened and from the back of the room two of our members ran yelling and screaming - the story was then about a young couple on their second honeymoon and their plane had crashed over the Pacific. They thought they were on some deserted island but really were in Hawaii. The wife of the couple (in real life) went to school at Julliard and has danced on Broadway and such, so her acting ability is amazing. So in the show, she was freaking out and being over dramatic while her husband remained calm. The rest of the show was a series of performances in which the two would watch and then be the transitioning piece to the next show. For example, Sister Tokunaga came out and calmed them down and welcomed them to Hawaii (the couple were talking slowly and loudly to her "We... mean... you... no... harm!" and to calm them down she performed a traditional dance. Afterwards she shows the couple her school class that she teaches and the primary classes sang to the audience and did hand motions to the song "Pearly Shells" (you can probably youtube it and see what I'm talking about). Sister Tokunaga left to take her children back to the school when the beach bum came out and showed them how to get the milk out of a coconut (it is not the water inside, you have to break it open and squeeze it out of the white part apparently) and then when the touristy, confused couple couldn't pay for the beverage, he called his people and they came to scare them away with the Hakka. Luckily, Sister Tokunaga came back with some of the Sisters from the island and they danced the Hula. A few more numbers were performed and from the show we transitioned everyone to the church tour.

For the tour, we had four different stations - the youth (young men's/young women's), the Relief Society, the Primary, and the chapel. At each one, members explained what each program or room was used for and why we did certain things. It was similar to a temple open house. In the end, we had everyone come back into the cultural hall for us to announce the winners of the costume contest (winners won some Hawaiian CDs (actually from Hawaii) and some Hawaiian punch (actually from WalMart!). By 8:05 we were done and began to clean up. We received wonderful feedback from the members and nonmembers and Karl Anderson told President Sorensen that it was the best church event he had ever attended - if anything for the fact that we were done by 8pm, rather than dragging on and on into the hours of the night with our presentations). But everything worked out well which came from TONS of planning and undoubtedly from the help of our Heavenly Father. Although we didn't get 50 nonmembers to come (that was my goal), it was still a success and the ward and many in the stake are still talking about it. Hopefully we were able to plant some seeds for the nonmembers who were able to come and learn more and feel the Spirit in the chapel.

Sunday we had stake coordination with the Kirtland Stake President, his High Councilor in charge of missionary work, and President Sorensen. We were able to talk about some of the success with missionary work, reactivation, etc. and see ways we can continue to strengthen the different units in the stake. It was my last Kirtland Stake Coordination meeting because I'm being TRANSFERRED! I'm a little sad, but I know that where I am sent it where the Lord needs me. After the meeting, we met up with Elder Bills to practice our arrangement of Redeemer of Israel which we were to perform at the Kirtland Fireside. Elder Ingersoll and I wrote a violin part for the song, and we were able to put it all together an hour before the performance. The fireside's theme was 2 Nephi 33:1 and 7 recent-converts were given time to bear their testimonies and talk about their conversion and 3 musical numbers were performed. It was an incredible meeting; the Spirit was so powerful and touched every ones hearts. It was packed with people and we received great feedback about our performance. Erica spoke and did an amazing job, and I was privileged enough to have a front row seat. As she spoke of her coming to know the Book of Mormon and church are true, floods of memories came back to me. It was such a blessing. President and I were talking after the fireside and he said that as he watched her bear her testimony and me sitting almost directly in front of her, he kept thinking that that opportunity I had, if not anything else, made my mission worth it. Being able to hear her bear testimony to a room packed with members and nonmembers that she knows the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only complete church on the earth. Again, I feel so greatly blessed.

Another huge blessing from the night was I got to see the Nevilles and Hornings!!!!!! (From Canton)! I was literally jumping in the air getting to see them again! AHH! It was Awesome! And I also got to see many members from previous wards and missionary companionships (like Elder Hansen and Elder Bills). That night was just so enriching and powerful - I'm grateful I was able to attend and perform.

This last week, as you can tell if you're still reading this (and if you are, I'm sorry if I've wasted your time!), was a very, very busy week. But it was also very fulfilling and memorable. I'm so grateful for the time I've worked here in Shaker Heights/Kirtland. I've loved my companions, I've loved the ward, I've loved the people I've met, I've loved the missionaries I've been able to serve (even if, I'll admit, having to be a Zone Leader over 20+ Sister missionaries terrified me at first), I've loved the lessons we've taught and the powerful experiences we've been graced to have, and I've loved the Spirit I've felt here - it's different from the rest of the mission. There is a Spirit of peace, as Kirtland truly is sacred ground where God, the Father, and His son, Jesus Christ, both appeared. I've loved my mission, and these four-and-a-half months have marked another chapter in my life that I will never forget. I have grown and learned things here that I couldn't anywhere else in the mission, and that is one of the many ways I know that God is in this work. It isn't always an easy work, but it is true. And as Erica said on Sunday, if it's true, then what else matters? I am grateful for the ability to see God's hand in my life. I've found on my mission that there are many people who struggle to see that. He is real, He lives, and He loves us unconditionally. If there's one thing I've learned out here, it's that. He love us. And He always will, no matter how far we've strayed or how lost we feel. He loves us, and always will. How much better can it get? I love you all too! If you are still reading this, you should probably do a few jumping jacks and go grab a bite to eat. Your face is looking pale and your eyes are turning into squares. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Dransfield

Monday, May 14, 2012

(Luau Nightmares + Unplanned Service) The Book of Mormon = My Week!

For the past week we have continued to make preparations for our Luau activity coming up (this Saturday!). We've changed the show a little bit... It will no longer be about two missionaries arriving in Hawaii. It will be about a newly-wed couple who think they are stranded on some deserted island, when really it's Hawaii. The Sister went to school at Julliard for dance and has performed on Broadway and such, so her performing skills are pretty good. They were role-playing possible ideas and we were all laughing. It'll be a lot of fun!

To prepare, we've been calling ALL the members in our ward and setting up appointments to show them a nine minute clip from the Preach My Gospel DVD we got the idea from. Let's just say, I've pretty much got the video memorized. It's to the point now where when the members are watching it on their laptop for lack of a nearby TV, and we can't see the screen, Elder Ingersoll and I can say certain comments right on cue. I even dream about the DVD and the luau. Last week, I had a nightmare that the Relief Society President told me that she wouldn't invite any of her friends. Yes, a nightmare. But the preparations are going well and it should be a great event! Our only concern is that we won't have enough table settings or food. But I have faith and confidence that the Lord will provide for us those things that are out of our control, after we do all we can. It'll be a great activity!

On Thursday, we exchanged with the Assistants and I went with Elder Hicks back to my last area: North Olmsted. We had lunch with Erica (recent-convert) and Michael (was less-active but is now preparing for a mission) and went to do service for Sister Gircis (used to do a lot of service for her on her barn). We had a really great time and it was special to see that a lot of the fruits of my labor there were still growing and even producing more fruits! It was good to be back. AND Elder Hicks and I got Robeks smoothies. Hmmm... My new favorite? Strawanaberry with peanut butter. Mmm!

The family of eight we found a month or so ago is officially M.I.A. and Angel continues to be hot and cold as to her progression. We haven't been able to get a hold of her for a few days. Although last Tuesday we showed up at her house and had a pretty cool experience. We got there and found that she wasn't home when she texted us, explaining that she was helping a friend move then and lost track of time. Rather than simply rescheduling, we asked for the address and went over to also help the friend move. What took us maybe 30 minutes probably would have taken Angel and her friend a few hours to do alone, which deeply touched the friend. She was brought to tears when we told her that we had come to help her move, and again when we had finished it all with enough time for her to drive to her new house (about 45 minutes south, in the Akron area) with still some daylight. While we were moving and cleaning she asked many questions about our beliefs and we invited her to meet with the missionaries down in Akron who we had called and arranged to meet her in 45 minutes to help her unpack. We called the next day to see how everything went and she said how after the missionaries had moved her in, they said they'd have to come back to deliver the message (due to how late it was getting and missionary curfew) and she told them "What? The other guys said you'd share a message! I want my message now!" but she agreed to have them come back. She also told us that she had an outfit picked out for our luau and that she wouldn't miss it for anything :)

There are miracles and blessings everywhere. We just have to be looking with our spiritual eyes. See all the miracles around us and choose to magnify those things, rather than focus all our energies and worries on the troubles before us or stress of the world around us. I often find peace in a verse from John 16:33: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). It's that eternal perspective that we must keep - that's part of the "endure to the end" part found in 2 Nephi chapter 31. As we count our many blessings and allow ourselves to be, as Lehi puts it, "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love" (2 Nephi 1:15) we can make it through things okay. Angel not being home ("flaming" us as we call it in our mission), brought immediate discouragement. But as we remained calm, loved her as Christ would, and looked for opportunity rather than blame or fault, we found a huge blessings. Life is all a matter of perspective. I wish I had some cool fortune cookie I could quote right now...

Other things that went on this week... Another Zone Meeting. We had the 1st and 2nd councilors in the Stake Presidency and one of President Sorensen's councilors all in attendance. We talked all about member involvement and how important it is to get the home and visiting teachers involved in our rescue efforts. Sunday was Mother's Day which means....skype home! It was so fun to see everyone and get to chat for a bit. It was my last time skyping/calling home until September. Wow! I also gave a talk yesterday at church in the Young Single Adult Branch. I spoke on prayer (and did my best to tie in Mother's to it - at one part I quoted from the Children's Songbook Love is Spoken Here:

I see my mother kneeling with my family each day, I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray. Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears, and I am thankful love is spoken here.

I am grateful for the many blessings in my life which my Heavenly Father has saw fit for me to have. I'm grateful for the teachings of the prophets, for my family, and the many other friends and examples in my life. I know that God lives and hears and can answer all of our prayers. I know that families can be together beyond the grave - not "till death do us part." I know and have a burning, living testimony within that the Book of Mormon is true. And I know that anyone who reads it can also have such a testimony. I'm grateful for Joseph Smith and his sincere prayer as a 14-year-old young man. It is because of him that I know who Jesus Christ is. And I know that Jesus Christ lives. Thanks for enduring through another random letter by Elder Dransfield. The church is still true over here in Kirtland. I love you all!

Elder Dransfield

These picture are when we did service for the Community of Christ Church a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Random Thoughts of the Week

This week I seemed to be traveling more than I was working in my own area. We had exchanges with the East Cleveland Elders and the Solon Elders, both of which I went into the other proselyting area. Exchanges are a great way to learn from other missionaries, talk to them about different principles or teaching skills, check to see how they are doing with their planning, etc. Every time I go on an exchange, the Lord seems to provide us with all kinds of miracles - always finding lots of people who are very friendly and/or interested. This week we have another two exchanges where I will be heading out to North Olmsted (my old stomping grounds!) and Euclid. One of the skills you develop on your mission is living out of a suitcase. In Solon we went and did some service at a Retirement Home where we helped serve lunch to some seniors. The older ladies all lovvvvvved my red hair. And then I got on the piano and started playing and they were sad when I had to stop, but we'd go around and visit with them and it meant the world to them. It was nice to brighten up their day and hear their stories. We also had our Zone Conference this week. Elder Ingersoll and I got to pick any topic we felt our Zone needed to be instructed on and were given 15 minutes to do so. We chose to do it on "purpose" or chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel. We read from the first few pages of the chapter and then took hymn #112 - Savior, Redeemer of My Soul and read through the lyrics with everyone. We lead a discussion on the meaning of the song and showed how the Atonement directly parallels with our missionary purpose. We ended our workshop by playing the song (the version from the movie 17 Miracles...I think if you type "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" into youtube or google, the first few video options are the version we used. Our ward mission leader was looking up the lyrics for us and that's what popped up when he googled it) and then finished with our testimonies. We received great feedback - it was exactly what our zone needed to hear. I have to give a shout-out to Sister Steele, one of the senior missionaries here who works at sites, for accompanying one of the most beautiful, spirit-filled musical numbers I've ever heard in my life. Her tremors makes it difficult to play the piano, but she is one of the most angelic, amazing ladies I've ever met in my life. You can't understand until you meet her... One day I'll introduce you all to her :) We are currently also putting together a huge ward luau. We have taken the idea from the Preach My Gospel DVDs - it's going to be awesome. I'll attach the flyer I made last week for it. We are going to have a big dinner and shortly after the dinner starts, the show will begin. Sister Tokunaga explained to us how real luau's work in Hawaii and from that we created a show of two missionaries (Elder Ingersoll and I) arriving in Hawaii from the MTC and being lost in Hawaii. At one point the primary children come and sing/dance the song "Pearly Shells" to us, another point we are attacked by some natives doing the Haka at us (Kau Mate Kau Mate Kaora Kaora!) and by the end we find the audience and invite them to come on a church tour with us. We will then take 4 groups around the building where members will be explaining the different functions of organizations such as the Youth Program, the Relief Society, the Chapel, and the Primary (we were going to do Family History, but our building doesn't have a library). It should be great! Other big news - our stake dissolved a ward this last Sunday! The ward above us that met in the same building as us is no more, so we have absorbed about 120 members, and lost about 30. It has really shook up the members and the stake are relying on us in making sure members don't fall through the cracks. Yikes! It'll be good though - the boundary changes provide more Priesthood leadership in some wards, in our ward a large youth program... Oh, and 3 of the Bishops were released in 3 of the wards including ours! It's been pretty crazy, but it is all very inspired. Bishop Maughan (our new Bishop) arrived in the ward just weeks after I did and everything in their life just lined up perfectly for his to slide into this new calling. He has a lot on his plate and we're going to do the best we can to support him. The luau is also perfect timing - allowing the new ward to merge together at a fun gathering. Aloooooooohaaaa!!! The big family of 8 we found a few weeks ago dropped us :'( The mother was anti-ed by some friends and doesn't want us to come by anymore. The father is still interested and said he will call us, but he hasn't yet and the chances of him going against his wife's wishes are slim to none. :( It was pretty tough when we found this out last Monday, but at least we planted some seeds. I just wish people would stop caring so much about what the world says. Just ask God. It's so simple and real. Angel is doing well. We are pretty sure she is receiving a lot of opposition from her family who try to keep her from meeting with us, coming to church, or to our Book of Mormon class. But yesterday we went over with a calendar and a teaching record (has all the lessons we teach on it) and mapped out what we would be teaching her on what days up to her baptism. She said she wants it, so now we'll just have to help her continue to work towards her vision of who she can become. Yesterday was a CES Fireside hosted in Sacramento! President Sorensen invited all the missionaries to watch it, so we went to the institute building and watched it with our YSA ward: http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/ces-devotionals/2012/05?lang=eng&pid=738917358001&pkey=AQ~~,AAAAmBrDwtE~,_58lK-P1xvJ5WTHbRnmdONkYkAiPKoal. It was a great devotional by Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Quorum of the Seventy. He alluded to the Sacred Grove, where he served as a mission president, and talked about 4 things we can learn from where such a pivotal moment of history occurred. I recommend watching it (even if you're not a young single adult)! Things are going well though, as usual. We keep finding, slowly but surely. Our major push right now is the fireside - getting into EVERY members' home and talking about the luau and some specific families they can invite. Elder Ingersoll is a stud and is a great leader, companion, and friend. We are planning for another meeting this Friday - a zone meeting all about member work (which is perfect seeing as that is our focus right now). We will probably plan it all out tomorrow morning. I sit in too many meetings! I don't think I ever told the story of the hole in my pants.... Maybe I was embarrassed last December about it. Oh well, here it is: December 2011 - Kirtland Temple We were having our Christmas Conference that Elder Parkinson and I (then AP's) were heavily involved in planning. This was our second conference and I was speaking this session, rather than conducting. I was up in the pews (is that the right word?) to the right of the pulpit in the temple, and there are three levels of pews. I was sitting on bottom and behind me were 2 stake presidents and their wives, who were also giving talks in the temple. Well... As a missionary, you really only have one or two suits, and one I prefer over the other because it has a little bit of a charcoal coloring in it, rather than solid black. I was wearing this suit. The meeting was going to start in about 10 minutes and everyone was sitting in the temple reverently, probably reading, praying, maybe sleeping(?) and I was reviewing my notes. I then suddenly remembered that Elder Parkinson and I had forgotten to tell the musical numbers (we had 3 of them) when they would be performing. I stood up and motioned one of the Elders to me, and as he came up to the pew, I bent over the wall (the pews stand a few feet up in the air) to whisper the information to him. Picture it... Tall, lengthy Elder Dransfield, bending over like an "L" with the stake presidents and their wives all directly behind me. We are done talking and I straightened up and I put my hands on my hips or something and feel something funny on my butt. I feel down, and there is a good 2 or 3 inch hole right where my butt bone is when I sit down. And what was piercing through the charcoal pants to the stake presidents and their wives? My nice, white underwear (sorry if that was TMI). I'm sure I turned bright red as I sat down on my hands to cover the hole. The rest of the day I was walking around with my hands on my butt. Shortly after I went to Men's Warehouse and asked them to fix it. At first they said they couldn't, but I was...persistent?...and they said they would try. And so now I have a patch that doesn't really match on my butt, but hey- it's better than my underwear! My conclusion at the end of it all, was I either, A) Sit in wayyyy too many meetings as a missionary or B) Need to put on some weight to overcome my boney butt. I hope it's okay that I'm saying "butt" so much as a missionary... I apologize if that's not very professional! Haha, that was a fun tangent about sitting in meetings. This coming Sunday is one of the missionary holidays when we get to email home - Mother's Day! We will get to skype home again for 30-40 minutes at a members home. So that'll be exciting. I also have to give a talk on Mother's Day at the YSA Branch, although we haven't been told the topic yet... Well, that's all for today I guess. Here's one of my favorite LDS.ORG videos about temples that I'll close with: http://youtu.be/JLWERGAIdD8 Have a great week. Love ya! Elder Dransfield