Monday, August 8, 2016

Sherwood is on FIRE!!!

Hello everyone! Someone call the fire department, because Sherwood is on Fire!!! Oh man this week has brought forth such blessings but also much tribulation (do you like my Book of Mormon language? Teehee). It has been such a whirlwind! I have got to say, there are definitely people out there that are prepared by God to find the gospel and there are definitely some people out there that are just there so that you can help them be prepared for other missionaries to help them...if that makes sense. I just love this area! This week I have been working on having more faith. I have faith in my Father in Heaven and that He can do anything, I think the disconnect is that I struggle to have faith that He can do anything through ME. Ugh. But do you know what? He really can do anything through me. I just need to open my mouth! This week was amazing because it really showed me how much God really cares about this work and how great a hand He has in this work. One day this week we had finished everything that we had planned to do, but we had 10 minutes until we had to be in the apartment. We contemplated just going home, but then we thought that we should go and see an investigator that the elders that had been here before us had found. So we went over and she opened the door and said, "Can you come back tomorrow afternoon?" So we set up an appointment! I was so pumped about it, but the closer we approached the appointment, the more I thought, “Oh great! She isn't going to keep the appointment”, because that happens fairly regularly. We got there and oh my goodness. It was wonderful. She is actually a member! She hasn't been to church since Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet and she has been to lots of different churches but she has always been drawn back to the LDS church because it is the one she grew up in. She had been praying and reading the scriptures and she felt that she needed to have the missionaries come over but she didn't know the phone number to call. Then we came!! She came to church yesterday, as well! We called her to see how she felt like it went and she said that it felt right and that she would definitely be there next week. We are going to see her this week, but it made me so excited to see her at church! 

WE HAVE TWO BAPTISMS SET UP!!!! Donna committed to being baptized and she said that she is excited about it! We definitely need to keep going over things, but we were just so excited for her to make this amazing commitment! Also, we got a referral from the elders named Dana and we went and saw her and she said that she wants to be baptized and has picked the date September 3rd. Well, that just threw me! She is so ready to be baptized. She has been taught since before Christmas last year and she just needs to quit smoking, but oh man, when we were in the room talking to her there was just a light about her. She had a glow. Oh man. I love Sherwood! Yesterday we also had a member, Sister Jackson, come with us to see Donna, (Donna went to her old church one last time so we wanted to make sure everything went well). Sister Jackson is the sweetest, tiniest, most faithful women I have ever met! She was telling me stories about her life and I had to stop myself so that I wouldn't cry. Sister Jackson is from Germany and she was there during the war.  She and her siblings were taken from their parents and right before she was taken she was baptized, but her parents didn't tell her why. It took her so long to finally understand why, but she just had faith in God that whole time. She truly is amazing!!

I have learned what having true love for an investigator means, because I have quit chocolate. I have quit chocolate until Dana gets baptized. She is struggling to quit smoking so we are not eating chocolate while she tries to stop smoking. I really had to evaluate my love for her, because we had just gotten some thin mints from some ladies in the ward. LOVE is quitting chocolate for a little while so that others can have eternal joy. That is a mission. 

Well, my spiritual thought this week comes from 2 Nephi 2. Lehi is talking to Jacob and he says in verse 2: "Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." I think of how much we have all gone through, wether it be spiritually, emotionally, physically, or mentally. We all go through trials, but those trials are for our gain. It is hard to think of a trial as a blessing at the time, but I know that my trials are sacred to me. They are what have helped me to "know of the greatness of God". Often people say, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle". I'm not entirely sure that is true. I think that God doesn't give us more than we can handle with His help. It is through the atonement that everything can be made whole and right again. It is so hard to think about after a trial and how it can be a blessing, but when we go through a trial, relying on Heavenly Father and on Jesus Christ's atonement, it can become so beautiful. It can be like a refiners fire.

I also just want to say as a note, go out with your local missionaries! They love members and going to a lesson is so special. Even if you go and no one is there, the fact that you were willing to take time out of your day is so special to Heavenly Father. Also feed the missionaries. :) Hint. Hint. Hint. I love you all so much, you are amazing and I love this church and the people in it. I love Arkansas but I love Utah, as well.

Love y'all!

Sister Esplin

Hanging with my bike and a free bike that someone just GAVE us at the bike shop!

Our chocolate sacrifice!

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