I am now serving in Norwalk, Ohio. It is about 25 miles south of Sandusky, Ohio which is right up on the lake. East of Toledo, West of Cleveland, kind of in the middle of the two. Sandusky is known for their huge, indoor-water parks and Ohio's best amusement park - Cedar Point. Norwalk is known for... I'm not really sure yet. Yesterday, somebody told us that there is a virus named after the town. So, that's cool! Norwalk is a small little town in the sticks where nobody every leaves. It's very different than any other town/city I've served in.
Elder Jarvis is my new companion. He is from Safford, Arizona and has been on his mission for almost a year. I picked him up from the airport when I was an AP - now he's my senior companion! I'm leaving this mission the way I came in ;) He is my 8th companion since I've been released as an AP. President Sorensen had told me that I wouldn't serve with a missionary more than a transfer for the rest of my mission, but I figured I could get by at least ONE 2-transfer comp! Guess not. Norwalk was and has been for years a Sister missionary area. Elder Jarvis and I "shotgunned" or "white-washed" the area (they put two new missionaries in an area instead of transferring just one at a time), which has been interesting. Our first night here, I started feeling really sick and next thing you know, I was over a toilette trying to throw-up. For the next 3 days I was down-and-out, trying to kick the stomach virus which I thought I had stayed clear of the 2 or 3 weeks our apartment was all sick. I got it my last day. What are the odds! I'm feeling like 99% better today, so we'll be working or tails off now.
It's been an interesting transition from Sisters to Elders. Usually when an area is white-washed, there is not much work going on. Here, though, the Sisters had tons of investigators and less-active members they were teaching. It's been overwhelming trying to contact all these people as quickly as possible while fighting some stomach virus. But we've slowly but surely been catching everyone home and establishing good first-impressions (thus trust!). The ward welcomed us warmly although were very confused why we weren't dressed in skirts with name tags reading "Sister...". The ward originally had one set of Elders and one set of Sisters - now there are two sets of Elders. We have a great Bishop and a new Ward Mission Leader who are excited about the work - so hopefully we will be able to feed their fire and get the ward to start doing some of their own missionary work.
The Sisters left our apartment very clean and we have not found long hairs all over the place, so we've been very grateful. We have called one of the Sisters who served here before like everyday with questions, but I think we're getting the hang of everything now. The reason they took the Sisters out was because of the need for more Sisters at the Kirtland Historical Sites. The church is assigning less Seniors to the Sites because they're needed in other parts of the world. So there were good Sisters here and they left us with great notes, people, and work to do. This is my second area I've white-washed, so here we go!
My last day in Canton was a little sad, but not as bad as I thought it would be. We went by some members houses and said goodbye, had a district P-day at the Holley's where we ate, played games, and took pictures, and we ended our day having dinner at the Bosnackovic's. Sister B was pretty sad that I was going - she decided that we were friends in the pre-existence, but I told them that it wouldn't be the last time we see each other! She made us her famous salmon and enchilada's (Elder Montgomery wanted Mexican) for dinner - Mmmmm! I got to say goodbye to people like Bonnie and Keith - both were shocked I was going and sad to see me go. But they're both on great paths now and are doing amazing in their progression. I'll come back to that ward and they'll be in the Bishopric and Relief Society Presidency ;) Just kidding, but I'm happy for them. It's cool to reflect back and see why I came back to Canton for such a short time - see the lives I was able to be a part of and help. I'm sure I'll do the same when I am leaving Norwalk.
Things are going well, as they always have. The weather is nice, the church is true, and I still have gained no weight :'( But it's all good! I'm grateful to get to serve here in Ohio and spend my last few weeks in this new assignment. President Sorensen told me, before I was released, that he was going to squeeze me like a sponge and get everything out of me before my mission is over. At transfer meeting, one of the Assistants came up to me and whispered to me that where I was going is how they would get every drop of everything I know/have out of me. So here we go! It will be the most exhausting, yet empowering, last 6 weeks, but I'm ready for it! Have a great week everyone!
Love, Elder Dransfield
My new companion, Elder Jarvis
This is from a harbor in Sandusky,Ohio