Monday, June 4, 2012

Canton - Week 2

Hello! I think I win the prize for most creative letter headings! I don't have much time to write because this morning we were in Massillon, Ohio at 10am helping the Sister missionaries move into a new apartment complex. The Senior Couple in our ward and a few other companionships from Akron came and helped too and it was successful. We got a dryer (ours is broken) out of the move so that's nice ;) We were able to do quite a bit of tracting this week and through it we found a handful of people who said we could come back! One house we knocked on and a man came out with a cigarette in mouth and a phone to his ear. He stepped outside and finished his phone conversation with him and us on his porch. He finished and asked what he could do for us. We explained who we were and why we were standing on his porch and he said, "Now let me tell you something... I came into this world a Baptist... And I'm going to go out of this world a baptist... But--" and then explained to us how he had a sister inside his house who was very mentally unhealthy, suffering from some extreme depression. He asked if we thought we could help her and we said we could try. The poor lady... She looked awful. When we walked into the kitchen, we found a woman sitting at a small kitchen table. She glanced up for half of a second and then shot her eyes back down to her Bible which she was frantically turning the pages of - too quickly to read anything. As we would speak to her, she wouldn't even flinch. After about 5 minutes of us saying a few sentences and then waiting for any evidence of comprehension and her brother just shrugging his shoulders and blowing his cigarette, the three of us stepped outside again. This time Kenny asked us to sit down and we talked for a bit on his porch. He was very concerned with his sister. Apparently she had a daughter who committed suicide a few months back and at the time his sister showed little to no signs of grieving. Then a couple months back, she just lost it and stopped communicating to everyone - her husband, grandchildren, siblings, doctors, pastors, etc. We had coincidentally left a Plan of Salvation pamphlet on the table next to her before we left, so we went back in and talked about life after this one (though she wasn't responding, maybe she was hearing what we had to say). Kenny thought it'd be a good idea for us to give her a blessing, but we did not feel comfortable touching her (even if it was just the crown of her head) if she did not agree to it - not when she was so mentally unstable. We still were unable to get any respond out of the poor woman and finally her brother had it and he began to yell in her face "DO YOU WANT THESE GENTLEMEN TO ANOINT YOU?? YOU'RE BEING RUDE! ANSWER THEM! ANSWER THEM! DO YOU WANT THEM TO ANOINT YOU?? ANSWER THEM!!" It was so sad to watch. After minutes of him yelling she looked up at him and screamed "NOOO!!!" Kenny looked at us and shrugged his shoulders again and we walked outside again. Kenny was so worried about his sister and before we left agreed to meet up with us in the future to hear our message. I wish I had some cool ending to this story of how we were able to help this distraught woman and bring the light back into her eyes, but as far as we know she is still trapped in her depression. The whole experience made me really value the information I know - that of the Plan of Salvation and of eternal families. I'm grateful for the blessings of the temple and knowing why we're here and where we are going. We will be calling Kenny this week so check-in on him. Bonnie on the other hand is doing great! We had a church tour with her on Thursday where her and a couple members from the ward walked around the building talking about the different rooms in and functions of the church. We had a small lesson afterwards about what it would mean to be baptized and why it's so important to know if the Book of Mormon is truly God's word or not. She came to church that next Sunday (yesterday) and had a great time! There were a few weird testimonies given but Bonnie didn't mind. She is in Jacob in her Book of Mormon reading (which is amazing!) and has a baptismal date for the end of the month! We can't wait! We really hope that her husband can learn with her and be baptized too so that the two of them can come closer together through the gospel and eventually go to the temple together! It's such a blessing to be able to witness the blessings of the gospel in families who live the teachings of Christ. We will be meeting with Bonnie a few times this week to teach her about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. It's been a real joy being back in this ward. I've been able to go down to the Nevilles house just like old times. Elder Bills and I began teaching them and they were baptized shortly after I left Canton. Sister Neville is one of the organists in the ward and does such a great job. We shared a lesson about eternal families and temples (I sense a theme in this letter...hmm...) to prepare them for the temple which they are eligible for in July! It's also been fun to see such families as the Maas'. We had dinner there on Sunday. Sister Maas makes amazing food and yesterday made us Cafe Rio! Brother Maas was our Ward Mission Leader last time I was here and we were over there all the time - meetings, service, dinners, etc. I saw my first firefly there I'm pretty sure. The weird part is not having Elders Bills, Toth or Hinds there with me (I guess they're not Elders anymore... Dominic, Adam and Derek). But the ward is great and I'm so glad to be able to serve them again. We also got to go back over to the Bosnakovic's house and see Michelle and Fred (whose not a member) again! When I was here last time we did some service over there (digging a coy pond) and they would always feed us huge feasts, usually consisting of some kind of steak, ribs, salmon, burgers, or anything else you can barbeque! I always loved going over there and spending time with them. I'm hoping Fred can take us golfing one of these Pdays (he's a pretty good golfer from what we hear) so he can show me how it's done. What else did we do this week...? We volunteered at the local Habitat for Humanity. The Elders have been going there once a week for a few months now and the workers love us. This time they kept saying how much they appreciated our good attitudes and good work ethic. Not only are we able to help the community but we are able to have a good impact on the people we serve around. Hopefully there can be some great missionary opportunities through it all! Nothing too new to report otherwise. This month is the Sorensen's last month and everyone is very sad about that. It will be hard to see them go. The weather has been beautiful. A few storms on and off but overall it's been amazing. We are doing all we can to soak in the cool breezes before the heat and humidity roll in. Being on a mission is great and I can't imagine anything else I would rather be doing with my time right now. The church is true and the blessings of the restored gospel are amazing. Love, Elder Dransfield

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