Is Elder Dransfield being transferred or not?? You'll have to read to find out!
Boy...what a week. This has been one of the hottest July's Ohio has ever seen (or so they say). We only tracted about 7 hours this week because of the heat. But with plenty of water to drink and many silent prayers offered, we survived. Several houses would have us come inside and give us glasses of ice water. They wouldn't be interested but would ask us questions about what we do and we were able to explain to them how different we are than other missionaries. How we leave home for 2 years and pay our own way. They are always very complimentary but politely explain they are satisfied by where they are at. And then we have the other kinds of people who yell at us and slam the door in our face. But it's all good, especially when Heavenly Father sends a nice cool breeze your way - tender mercies.
This week our investigator Bonnie was "out of commission." She had to cancel our appointment Monday evening due to not feeling very good, and shortly thereafter found out she has kidney stones :( The stones have been very painful and have brought her to the doctors twice. I was talking to our Relief Society President, Sister Dayton, about it and she explained it as being as bad as giving birth but you don't get anything (a child) out of it. Yikes! So we have been calling and texting Bonnie daily to keep tabs on her and were going to give her a blessing but she was rushed to the E.R. before we could. She is doing much better now and is on bed rest until Wednesday. We will pick-up our lessons then and will continue to prepare her for baptism! She is amazing though. She truly understands the gospel and the magnitude of it all and her desire to follow Christ is evident. I cannot wait for her to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.
Things have been pretty normal other than that. We were able to do some service yesterday for Fred and Michelle (she's a member). I am now a master at spraying poison on weeds and filling wheel-barrows up with mulch. And I offer free labor - can't get much better than that! They always feed us huge meals afterwards and give us half of their fridge to take home. They treat us well and we're grateful for them and their kindness. Yesterday they barbequed burgers topped with grilled pineapple, a mango-chipotle sauce, and Gouda cheese. Mmmmm!
Tonight we will be doing some service for the amazing Maas family. I have to pay tribute to this wonderful, amazing family who does so much for us (including reading my blog every week and saying how I need to mention them more). I wish I could be JUST like this wonderful BYU family and make dough boys (a fire-pit dessert) every day with them. Every time their youngest daughter sees me she asks "are you the one who saved the bee?" - a year ago I got a bee out of their house for them, so I'm the bee-hero. Haha. They DO always text us with really cool missionary experiences they have. We invited them to pray for missionary experiences and Sister Maas told us that whenever she does, her husband gets all the cool opportunities to share the gospel. Three days later, she called and told us about how every day since she has had experiences to share her testimony with her friends. When you pray for missionary opportunities, God sends miracles! Maas family - I hope this paragraph and mini-bio is sufficient. :)
Sister Haas showed up at church this week again. This time she stayed for all three hours. We had a nice time catching up and it was so great to see her there again. Hopefully we'll be able to go out to lunch this week and hopefully be able to rekindle what little of a testimony she has still burning. She's a nice lady and I know the gospel could bless her life so much if she would let it.
We also have been having a great time teaching Keith and Tracey. They are siblings who were baptized as teenagers with their mother. They didn't remain active and we have had the privilege of teaching them the fundamentals of the gospel. We have been focusing a lot on prayer and how important it is in our Heavenly Father's plan (it's relation to the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.). Yesterday's lesson was really cool - we read the Sacrament prayers together (how prayer is related to church) and their was a wonderful spirit present as we did so. I love reading the scriptures with non-members or less-active members and showing them how rich the scriptures are - especially the Book of Mormon. I'm not sure I can read them without being uplifted by the Spirit and feeling such a strong desire come over me to share the gospel with everyone. I know that prayer is so important in our lives here on earth. A quote from Preach My Gospel that I love about prayer goes as follows: "The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries--we place the order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 469).
We have found many people lately through tracting. This is good but scares me a little because the fellowshipping comes a little slower and the "anti" seems to come much faster. Hopefully we will be able to do all we can to minister to these 4 people we've recently began teaching and help them do what is needed to gain their own testimonies of the truthfulness of this church. I do love tracting though. Being able to testify over and over that our Heavenly Father has, again, reached out to His children in love and has called a latter-day prophet on the earth, and the only way one can know if this is true is by reading from the Book of Mormon and praying, with real-intent, to ask if it's true. If the Book of Mormon, the rest is a domino effect - Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, he restored the same church that Christ did back to the earth, the heavens are open, families can be together forever, we have a prophet today, etc. I love it because I can feel the Spirit every time I talk about it. The Spirit is how God "notifies" us of truth. It's that simple! I love the simplicity of the gospel, because I'm not very smart but can still figure it out :)
So I'm not being transferred. We got the call last night and Elder Harris will be leaving tomorrow. He is sad to go, but we are glad to go where the Lord wants us to go. I don't know who my new companion will be, but I know that we are supposed to labor here in Canton together, and I am excited for this. There is much work to be done, and as we diligently and joyfully work, I know that we will find success. I will most likely be in Canton for the rest of my mission (I have 2 transfers left - 11 weeks (this next one is only 5 weeks long instead of the regular 6 to accommodate to the change in our mission presidency)). I am very glad that I will be staying - I love it here. I love the people, I love the area, and I love the ward members. It will be a great last couple transfers.
Love you all. Stay cool (I'm not sure if it's hot where everyone else is, but I assume it is). The church is true. If you're questioning it, get over yourself and ask God. That's the phrase I'm known for by the other missionaries now - "get over it." haha, I'll have to explain in another email. I promise I'm not mean. Just practical.
Love, Elder Dransfield