Monday, October 3, 2016

General Conference: An amazing missionary holiday!

Hello hello hello! 

This week was super crazy. We got a call from one of the assistants one day this week asking us if we would be able to have a temporary trio for a few hours for two days. Of course we said yes, so sister Jensen came and was our companion from 10:30-3:30 on Wednesday and Thursday this last week. She's so great and I loved having two redhead companions:) Well, a really cool thing that we did this week was that last week we did a challenge called pray in faith "praith". Sister Beckstrand and I went to separate rooms with our maps out and we prayed about where we should go. I had had the name of Victoria come to mind, so last Sunday we went to Maumelle where there was a Victoria Circle and we knocked doors there and found some (by some I mean one person interested, a lot of people who had already been "saved", and someone who tried to convert us to Catholicism) people. Well, by the time we finished with Victoria Circle it was dark and late, so this Wednesday we finally got to go where Sister Beckstrand had been directed in her prayers. It was a trailer park in Sherwood. She had put a pin in the map and so we started knocking close to where the pin was. Crazy thing was, the first door we knocked on went a little something like this: "Hi we are sister missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! We share a really unique message about Jesus Christ that really shows God's love for us." "Oh the Mormons..." "You've heard of us before?" "Yeah, I joined the church in 1979 and I love everything about it!" We seriously stood there in awe. This lady was not on the ward roster so we had no idea she existed! We asked her about her experience there and she said she loves the church and she had been in several leadership callings in the church in Jonesboro and around the country. She then said that she would not be going to church because she was very very sick and she was dying in a year. She was so excited to go to the spirit world. It was really interesting. It felt so good to find a lost sister! We are going to try and get the relief society involved and get some service for her. Also in that neighborhood was another lady that told us that she would love to hear about what we believe! It was so great because, honestly, it often feels like no-one really anyone wants to hear our message, but when people do, it is so wonderful.

This week I was really trying to do God's will. I asked Him in every prayer to help me understand His will, but sometimes it is hard to truly be willing to do it (even though you want to, it can be kind of scary and awkward to do). I have really been trying to do that, but you know, it is a little rough to do God's will when others won't try. Agency….Thou art a tricky thing, you double edged sword!! Something that has been a bit tricky is continuing to follow what God has told me to do. Not in a bad way! No, it is when we have felt a spiritual confirmation that we should drop an investigator and once we drop them we want to see them. But then we remember that that is not what God wanted us to do. He has a plan for them, and we may not be the missionaries that are going to be the ones fulfilling the plan to baptism. That is a little hard. Especially because you love them so much and you know that they have the  potential to do so much!...but they just won't fulfill their purpose. I have to imagine that is how a parent feels when they see a child doing things that they aren't supposed to do. The challenge is to let them go, knowing that they may have to deal with unfortunate consequences. They can't be around to save them every time. Perhaps that is not exactly what being a parent is like, but it sure is so hard to let people make bad decisions! We just want to help them and they won't let us! Ugh. Sorry about the rant. It is a struggle sometimes. 

As you might know, we basically started our area book all over because the elders that served in Sherwood before we came in did not leave a nice and tidy book and most of the people in the area book were duds. So we prayed and felt that it was time to start over in faith....ouch. That is ROUGH! But we kept Dana. She just loves the gospel so so much, but she will not come to church!!!!! She wants to come so bad,  but she doesn't have a car and she doesn't have great health. Sometimes she will wake up and not be able to get out of the bed, but she just wants to be baptized so bad! It is so hard so see that she is actually getting in the way of her own progression! But we have faith that things will work out. It was really cool, the other day we were talking to her and we told her, "Dana, we promise that Heavenly Father will provide a way for you to come to church and for you to be baptized and for you to find a place to live! But you have to obey the commandments. You just have to. We know that He will do that for you though.". Hopefully she listens.

Alrighty, I just loved conference! I loved everything about it. Nobody came to the stake center to watch conference, which was a very big bummer, but our recent converts and less actives that we have been teaching all came! Donna even came! During conference,  our ward mission leader texted us  and asked where Donna went. Donna walks so so so so so slow so I knew she hadn't run off. She was asleep on the pew!! Oh so funny. The talks were all so powerful, and it was great to have all of my questions answered. I just love that we have a prophet and apostles on the earth today to help and guide us!!! My goal this week is to be like Alma in chapter 8 of Alma. He left the city of Ammonihah feeling dejected and sad and I bet a little discouraged, but an angel came to him, in fact the angel that appeared to him the first time, and told him to lift up his head and rejoice. He then told him to return to Ammonihah. I want to be able to lift up my head and rejoice because I am doing everything that I can to do be the best that I can be and to share the gospel with everyone. I want to be able to be willing to return to places that reject me because God has told me to go there. I know that God is our Father in Heaven who loves us more than we can comprehend. I know that there are times when hard things come into our lives and  sometimes we want to ask "why me?”, but I know that God has a plan for us more glorious than we can imagine. If we are suffering on earth and remain true and faithful to the gospel, just imagine the treasures in heaven that we will have. I love y'all and I love this gospel. Each day that I am out here brings me more joy than the one before. Each moment that I share God's love with others helps me to feel it more and to understand Him more.

Sister Esplin

A missionary who will raise up her head and rejoice

 Serving in Sherwood with Sister Beckstrand and Sister Jensen

I just love the mission office couples!!

With Elder and Sister Cahoon before they went home

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