Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat! Y'all don't want to smell my feet.

Alright, alright! So this past week was a good week. It may have not been a great week based on our numbers, but we did talk to new people and we really strove to plan effectively to meet our goals. The only problem is that you can plan and pray as much as you would like, but people still have their agency. Agency, thou double edged sword. Still, it was so beautiful to see Heavenly Father's hand in my life each day-even the hard days...actually, especially the hard days. 

I don't know if y'all know the story of the footprints 👣 in the sand, but I love it SO MUCH! Basically, the poem is about a vision in which a man sees his life in review, matched with two pairs of footprints on a beach—one belonging to himself, and the other to the Lord. During the hardest times of his life, the man sees only a single set of footprints. Troubled by this observation, the man asks Christ why the second set of footprints is missing during his greatest trials and when he needed the the Lord the most, the Savior explains that the single set of footprints were His… “It was then that I carried you.”  Some days that is how I have felt when I hurt, when no one wants to hear the WONDERFUL message of love and gladness that we have to share, when people drop us, or when I just wonder if I am even making a difference. There are moments where I just see that one set of footprints and for a split second think that I am alone, but then I realize that those moments are the ones that the Savior has carried me through. I absolutely love this gospel and the fact that we know how much our Savior has done for us! 

Alright, here comes our awesome week in 3....2.....1!!!!!!!!!!  There were definitely some sweet experiences this week....along with some crazy ones. 

I'd like to start with a quote from a sweet little 4 foot 2 German sister in her 80s named Sister Jackson. She told us when we went over to visit her this week, "Rest if you must, but never ever give up".  We just love Sister Jackson. She is truly amazing!! She survived WWII Germany. She is just so cute and tiny and has the spirit with her all the time. Whenever we visit her,  she truly uplifts us. For example, one day last week we went and saw a less active member who drove the spirit away and just made us feel downright horrible (it seriously was one of the craziest things that has happened on my mission, it was so weird and rough).  Afterwards, had a visit scheduled to help Sister Jackson, but she ended up being the one to bless our lives and help us so much!

This week, my ankle finally felt strong enough to walk and go 'finding' in some neighborhoods close to our apartment and, let me tell you, the homes are so CUTE! I have had some houses in mind that I have wanted to knock on for so long. Well, none of those people in those neighborhoods wanted to hear about the message, but I saw these super high tech cool doorbells where people can see us while they are away at work! Scary. Also there is a BEAUTIFUL white house that I have always wanted to knock on (or at least since I have seen it), so we went and knocked on it. An old Vietnamese lady opened the door, told us she was Catholic and Vietnamese, and then she just stared at us. I handed her a picture of Christ and she took it, looked at it, nodded her head and then gave the picture back to me. I tried to give it back to her, but she just kept saying "Catholic, Catholic, Catholic". 

You just have to love my end-of-the-night less active visit stories. This past Thursday evening, we went and visited Sister Bersett. Sister Wright, the Relief Society president had suggested that we visit Sister Bersett but we hadn't for a while so we thought we would go by and see how she was doing. Oh. My. Good. Night. She is awesome. The spirit was so strong! She was helping sister Jensen and I work together, to better share scriptures, and she even told us our fortunes....hmmm! Apparently, I am going to be a national roaming reporter and Sister Jensen is going to be a stressed out housewife. Pretty funny. I love that she counseled us to work harder at working together. She talked about the people at church with so much love. We need to get her to church. That is our new focus...working with the less active. 

On Saturday, we went to a lesson with Latonia, which I was super excited about! Then we got there. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and she just started shaking her head. She refused to believe us. It was a pretty discouraging lesson to teach. She was flip-flopping all over the place! One minute, she would say that she would read the Book of Mormon and then the next minute she would say that she would not read the Book of Mormon. She kept saying, "I don't believe it" and shaking her head. I asked her if she wants to believe it and she just laughed and said no. At that point, all that I could do was testify of it’s  truthfulness, so I testified that I knew that the Book of Mormon is true and that God loves us so much that He gave us the Book of Mormon!  It hurt so much to KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it testifies of Christ, only to have Latonia tell us that it doesn't feel right. That was really hard. Interestingly enough, the more she treated the Book of Mormon like it was an evil book, the more the spirit testified of it's truth and my love for it and faith in it grew. 

Compare that to our next lesson of that day. JUNE! She is so cute. She is a little old lady who loves Mormons. She used to live by a family that were really good friends with her that were Mormons. In fact, the dad was a newscaster here in Arkansas.  We went over and chatted with her and asked her if she felt anything about the Book of Mormon as she had been reading it. She replied  that she has no doubt that it is true, and that she has no doubt that our church is true. She then told us that she had a connection with Joseph Smith and believed that he did see God, the Father, and His son, Jesus Christ. It was so awesome and the spirit was testifying to us all.

On Saturday, WE HAD OUR WARD TRUNK-R-TREAT!!!!!  It was so much fun. The four elders were supposed to judge the chili contest, but only two elders showed up so all of us judged. It was so fun! Plus, we judged the Halloween costumes. Everyone was so cute in their Halloween costumes! I just love Halloween! As a bonus, Donna came! I didn't think that she would, but she did! Sure, she came 2 hours late and was the last person to leave, but she came, and it made me so happy to see her there!!! There was just so much happiness all around!!!

Alrighty, spiritual thought. I have been reading a lot in the war chapters of Alma lately. Actually, I finished Alma recently and now I am in Helaman!! YES! May I just say that I absolutely love when Captain Moroni is getting angry at Pahoran for not helping out more and he just is pretty much chewing him out in his epistle. He basically tells him to stop sitting around on his lazy behind, and to help them out or he will kill him! Eaaaash. Harsh words, but I love that Moroni says “I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God , and the freedom and welfare of my country”. (Alma 60:36) Now, in my opinion, Pahoran totally has every right to get ticked off at Moroni. Moroni seriously threatened to kill him. Come on! But instead, this is why I think that Pahoran is the most underrated character in the Book of Mormon. Pahoran  responds in Alma 61:9  "And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it matters that not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgement seat that I may preserve the rights and liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.”  Pahoran also moves forward and works together with Moroni. How cool!! I want to be able to respond in love to those that fight and get angry with me. That is my goal.

Well, bye for now! I hope y'all have a great Halloween! I know I have!!! 


Sister Esplin
A Sherwood sister
A sister in tights
Someone who loves Halloween

Happy Halloween from the Sherwood Sisters!  
For the ward trunk-or-treat, we wore coordinating green dresses so we could be the “Sherwood (Forest) Sisters”.  

Sharing a moment with this amazing spiritual giant, Sister Jackson!

Dinner with Bishop Gustafson's family

 Dinner with the Quigleys

Look how pretty!

Having fun with the mustaches that Sister Jensen’s mom sent.  Sister Jensen and I love Halloween!

 More Halloween Silliness
Hope y’all had a Happy Halloween!

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