Monday, September 26, 2016

Are we there yet? Faith, Trust, and Lots of Door Knocking…

Hey y'all! This week has been one crazy week. I feel like I say that every week though. Oh well, the life of a missionary. Gotta love it. This past week started out with me being really dumb. Real dumb indeed. As missionaries, we are allotted a certain number of miles for our car each month, and since we are on full car (meaning we don't have to share the car with other missionaries, thank you!) we have to take a walk week so we can meet people and get out like normal missionaries. In our mission, we are given 1050 miles a month, which shouldn't be hard to maintain, right? Well....wrong. Usually we are really good at budgeting our miles, but this month since we were living in Little Rock for a couple of weeks, our commute gobbled up our miles! By Tuesday of  last week, we realized that we had about 60 miles left for the entire month. WHAT!!  Considering our predicament, we decided that we had better start our walk week..Yeehaw!!  Well, given my current ankle issues as well as the fact that Sherwood and North Little Rock are really spread out and very hilly, we decided to forgo biking and just walk and get rides from members. Well, as I'm sure you know, members have lives, as well. What??? It isn't their job to give us rides everywhere?!! Crazy talk!!! ;) For the first three days of our week, we walked EVERYWHERE, which ended up being a  really really really dumb move. We walked so much that my whole calf and ankle were swollen and I was so sore from all the hills that I was limping because of my really bad ankle and then hobbling because of the walking. I looked so funny. I should mention that the  reason that we chose to walk was because when I was at the doctor last week we told him that we walk a lot and he said that it would be fine and actually good for my ankle. He didn't realize how much we walk….  When we went to the doctor to check on the swelling, we got in trouble because we were walking so much. Fortunately, Elder Cahoon, the mission vehicle coordinator, was so kind and he  gave us extra miles.  I was told I should forgo the rest of walk week and just drive the car if members couldn't go with us.  Blessings from heaven, right there. 

Anywhooo…..on to the good stuff!!  This past Wednesday, we had a member join us for an appointment with Dana. I must confess, I am always so stressed to take members because of the inconsistency of the investigators and the craziness that could go on. Well, let me tell you…this appointment was a doozy!  Dana doesn't sleep for days on end because of really bad insomnia, so when arrived, Dana was completely OUT and would not wake up, but her Dana’s roommate, Tammy, was there and she was downright crazy  that day.  She seriously was trying to cast out demons. She was telling Satan to go away. One minute, Tammy would be talking about something and then she would start crying and then start laughing. She told us that she had satanic rituals done on her when she was a child. Then she started to hold on to the poor member we brought and cry. We were trying to tell Tammy about the gospel, but she would just freak out. The member was a little frightened, to say the least. Oh man…the South!  

On the bright side, we have been trying to work with a lot of less active members and it has been going pretty well. We brought Sister Wright, the Relief Society President with us on Thursday to go to a lesson with Chelsea and talk about learning and serving in the church. We just love Chelsea and we are so happy that she continues to want to progress. We also got to go to the church on Saturday and watch the general women’s session which was so awesome.  I must say, general conference will be a glorious, spiritually  rejuvenating holiday to me, as a missionary. Seriously, growing up, general conference was the BEST THING EVER!! But it will even cooler out here because I will get to witness the power that general conference can bring into the lives of new members and  investigators. I am excited for these new members and investigators to hear our living prophet and apostles for the first time.  It will be amazing!  

So back to the general women’s session…the young women were so sweet and made Cafe Rio (just like my family makes every year for our annual Cinco de Mayo parties! Kind of made me a little homesick). Apparently, Cafe Rio and Costa Vida are just a Utah thing. What?!!  I would have eaten it more at home if I knew that! ;)   I just loved the broadcast and I especially absolutely loved that President Uchtdorf spoke! I was telling Sister Beckstrand all day on Saturday that I hoped he would speak, because he's my favorite…and he did!  I love that he said that God rewards those that earnestly seek Him, but those rewards are rarely behind the first door. I loved the story he shared about the young missionaries feeling inspired to enter a four-story building and literally knocking on every single door. For three floors, they had absolutely no success. In fact, it wasn’t until VERY LAST door on the fourth floor that they finally found someone who was willing to open the door and listen to their message. That someone was the family of President Uchtdorf’s  lovely wife, Harriet!! 

In our mission, we  definitely encounter a lot of closed doors that won’t open.  In fact, we had to start our area book completely over this week. We had to drop Lindsey and a lot of the potential investigators, because they weren't interested. It was really hard to drop Lindsey, but she wasn't showing up to any appointments that she was setting or keeping any commitments. It is so hard, because we love her and we know she wants the gospel but she just won't do what she has to do to be baptized. All too often, it feels like very few people ever want to talk to us. So when President Uchtdorf shared this story, it truly gave me some hope. The other night Sister Beckstrand and I did something called “praith”, which means Pray In Faith. As we knelt and prayed about where we should go,  I had the name come to mind—Victoria.  I checked on the GPS to see if there was any Victoria Street, Drive, or Circle close by, and there was one in Maumelle! So last night, we knocked there and we actually found someone! We gave him a Book of Mormon and prayed with him and it was simply awesome! I know that sacrifice brings forth blessings, that Heavenly Father takes the steps that we cannot take, and that He provides a way and prepares people! 

I love y'all!

I hope everyone is doing well, I love hearing from you and I can definitely feel the prayers from y'all.

Sister Esplin

Sister with a three inch blister that wraps around my toes (ew,ouch, ew)
Faithful door knocker
Missionary to those who have seen "demons"

Dinner with the Piersons

My red face

Quality time with Donna

The other night, as we getting ready for bed, we smelled rotten eggs and we thought it was a gas leak.  As a result, we were up super late while the elders tried to figure out what it was. It stunk so bad. We were not amused!!

Cute getup with the brace!

Our board with goals at the bottom. Notice how long it has been since I had an accident. Kuzco is code for “get back into the groove” (from the movie, Emporer's Groove). Satan has definitely thrown off our groove!!

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