This week we have seen quite a few miracles with many less-active members we have been working with. It breaks my heart that I'm going to have to leave them so soon.
The first guy is Jake. He's an older man who lives in the "armpit of Belleuve" as he told us (Belleuve's a town west of Norwalk). He is on disability and lives in some kind of government home. But Jake LOVES remote control airplanes - the big ones. We met him, really by accident, a week or two ago and set up an appointment to visit again. We ended up having to push our appointment back, and when I called I asked if on the day we decided he would show us some of his airplanes. He said, "What? Really? My airplanes?" I said, "Yeah! I've never actually seen anyone fly those things." He got really excited. I called him the morning of and said "Well, it sure is raining hard... Should we watch the planes another day?" and he said "No, come over. I've been watching the weather channel all day - it'll pass." And he was right. I think Heavenly Father had something to do with the weather because when he got out there, it was the most beautiful day we've had all summer. Absolutely perfect with the whitest, fluffiest clouds you've ever seen. Even the ground was dry by the time we got there! So we spent some time with him, admiring his planes and laughing at all the cool tricks he could do (like chasing the big birds!). We had a great time with him. Afterwards, we drove back to his apartment and shared a lesson. He admitted he's never been in the temple and has always wanted to. We invited him to meet with us weekly to prepare him - he accepted. His demeanor and comprehension was COMPLETELY different from our first, lesson the week before. Funny how just giving someone some time and love the way they need it will soften their heart. He told us while he was flying his plane "This makes me happier than anything in the world." I can see why Heavenly Father prompted me to ask him about his planes.
Another family we are working with are the Rosales - a Hispanic couple in their 70's. I love these two like they are a part of my family. We have taught them two or three times (they were invited by the Ward Council months and months ago to take the lessons from us to help them return to church, which they accepted. Due to some medical problems getting in the way, they ended up having to pause the Sisters from coming over so much, and when we got here we started the lessons over). We had a lesson Thursday, teaching about the Plan of Salvation. The discussion made an unusual turn talking strictly about church and we invited them to come back. They gave the usual excuses "it's too early...our legs are too this or that... etc." and we just listened and addressed their concerns. The Spirit must have pricked Brother Rosales, because he felt impressed to share with us the real reason he struggles to come back. I probably wont write about it on here, it's long and personal. But basically some family trials in Mexico arose, secrets were uncovered, and the Bishop in Mexico wasn't very helpful to Brother Rosales. Other things happened (some word of wisdom battles, which have long been over) and now it's been 20+ years since he's been to church. He told us he's not sure how we'll react when he comes back, because he's been holding in this anger (not towards the church, but his father) for so long. We listened and ministered to him. The member who came with us (who knew them when they were active in the church) talked about the healing power of forgiving others. It was very good. Then I had the distinct impression to invited to take a tour of the church building. He liked the idea of the church tour.
We met at his house Saturday around 4pm. We drove up together (it's about a 20 min ride to church) and for the next couples hours went from room to room, talking about the memories he had - his baptism, his families baptism, his daughters in Young Woman's, etc. But when we went into the Chapel-- Wow. I will never forget the experience there with him. We walked in and just sat for a while. Then we pulled out the hymn books and sang a few hymns he could remember. The one that stood out to him the most was "I Need Thee Every Hour." We pulled out the sacrament trays and the prayers. In tears, he read them out-loud. We talked about the Spirit which we are promised in those prayers and then sat in silence some more. The room felt like it was fogged with a wonderful Spirit - so peaceful, so serene. We had told the Bishop we would be there and asked him to stop-by if he had time. Of course he made time and he popped in near the end of out time in the chapel. He and his wife got to meet Brother Rosales and talked for some time. Brother Rosales told him about what had been happening - his inactivity, his father, how he told us all this and our amazing Bishop ministered to his needs. He invited him back to church and Brother Rosales said - not this Sunday, but next Sunday we will be here. As we were leaving, Brother Rosales said to me, I never thought I would be able to show my face there again.
They invited us over for dinner the next day (yesterday) and we had a wonderful time. They are very sad I'm leaving. Even though we've only spent three of four evenings together, it feels like we've been together forever. But they're on the right track now and I'm fairly confident that they can be considered active members soon. I will be sad to leave them.
We also met with Sister Jimenez and her family yesterday. The Bishop came with us (along with 3 of his kids!). We had an awesome lesson about families - Sister Jimenez was lead to tears again. She's such an awesome person - I told her last night that she needs to come back to church - less-so because she needs it, but this ward really needs her! Her family has so much to offer and she knows it's all true. It's just difficult to take on something again after so long of putting it off. Them and the Rosales' are two families I hope I can keep in touch with. They'll be back at church soon. I know it :)
Well, I've probably written too much for everyone - ha! It's been a rewarding week being able to see so many people touched by the Spirit and coming closer to Christ in their lives. I'm grateful for my testimony of Christ. I couldn't image not knowing or not believing in Him. Hymn #136 "I know that My Redeemer Lives" is going through my head right now... "I know that my Redeemer lives... What comfort this sweet sentence gives! ...He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend. He lives and loves me to the end...." Good hymn - anyways. I'm grateful for our Savior and for how much my testimony and understand of Him has increased these last 2 years. What a blessing it's been.
Well! We are going to go meet some Elders in Lorain to play some volleyball! Thanks for the many letters, prayers, love, etc. that have been sent my way these last few years. I'm grateful for the many examples in my life which have led me to this point. I wrote in my journal the other night, "I can't imagine where I would be right now if I didn't serve a mission." It has truly been some of the best 2 years. But why am I talking like this?? I still have 10 days left! I still have all the time in the world to find, teach, baptize! I'm going to live it up and when I walk off that plane next week, I'll be a pile of pulp who has given my all to the Lord. And man, it's all so worth it.
I really do love all of you. Thank you.
Love, Elder Dransfield
The ladies we do service with at the hospital every Friday morning. Nancy (left) is our boss and Rose (red head on right) we have been told by EVERYONE in the hospital is one we have to "look out for" haha, they're very sweet and they love us coming