Monday, November 28, 2016

Turkey week! Gobble Gobble!!

Well, well, well. Another week in Sherwood has come and gone! BOOM! That went fast! It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is over and now it is Christmas time. I want you to know how much I love hearing from you all every week. I just hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving holiday! As always, there are good days and not so good days. Moments of exceedingly great joy (like my scriptural reference there? ;)) and times of great sadness and disappointment. Fortunately, the times that are sad, hard, difficult, or frustrating are all outweighed by the joys that each day brings. Heavenly Father truly does love each and every one of us completely and perfectly. It is truly remarkable to feel of His love and acceptance each day. Some days are so frustrating and I just look at my ankle and think, "why does such a temporal thing stand in my way?", but then I remember that I can learn from every trial I have and grow and be more like my Father in Heaven. To be honest, the boot has become a pretty good talking point. For example, i have heard a few people shout out..."girl! Why you be walkin' outside with a boot and no coat on!" Or when someone shares, "I don't know how you do it", I can share how much I love being a disciple of Christ. I am committed. I may not be able to do everything that I want to, but I am still here and that is a blessing in and of itself. I am so glad I get to be here still! As far as I can tell, my ankle is doing pretty well. I should be going to the doctor soon to have it looked  at. Honestly, I'm kind of scared for the boot to come off. I'm SO clumsy. I worry I'll break something without it! For example, on Sunday night we went and visited someone in the ward and when we went to leave I ran into their plexiglass door. Oops!! It totally freaked me out! 

Anyhoooooo, here is a rundown of my life this past week!

TEMPLE!!!! I talked a bit about that last week. It was such a spectacular experience and the Memphis, Tennessee temple was so so so beautiful!! Sometimes you just need to be recharged and, goodness, the temple is the best spiritual charger in the whole world! Just feeling of God's love and feeling such a wonderful abundance of peace was just great! 

Tuesday I got sick! Seriously, I sure love this place but my body seems to be physically rejecting Arkansas. I would like to tell some awesome story about how I was waiting at the urgent care forever and no one helped me so we found some golden investigator in the waiting room to teach. I would like to say that, but that didn't happen. We actually were the only ones there that time of day, so we were able to get in and out of the instacare in less than 30 minutes altogether. What! Crazy sauce!!!  Seriously, I was freaking out about what a short amount of time it took.  That was the best urgent care visit EVER!!  Apparently, I not only have tendinitis. I also have sinusitis. So cool. I am "itis" woman. Everything in me is inflamed. Woot woot! Go Sister Esplin! Even though we didn't get to make a contact at the Instacare, we were fortunate enough to meet someone at the pharmacy. We went to Walgreens to get my prescriptions filled and the pharmacy tech at the register asked me what a missionary was doing breaking her foot. (I don't have a broken foot, by he way--don't want y'all to worry). During the course of our conversation we noticed that she used the words "missionary" and "investigate", so we asked her if she had met the missionaries before. She said that she was a member and her name was Kaitlin. Oh my goodness! We had been trying to get in contact with her since my first transfer here! It was so cool to finally meet her. She said she wasn't interested in meeting, but she was sweet as pie...pumpkin pie!! It truly was awesome to finally visit with her and invite her to the ward Christmas party!

Finding galore! We made the rounds to find/see people in our area book and wooooooweeeeee was that an adventure. Not super exciting, but oh so interesting. I am not going to lie. I have met a lot of hoarders while serving my mission. It makes me really want to go to the container store and just organize my entire life. There was one guy that had cars on his lawn just filled with stuff, but he really was the nicest guy and was so excited about attending the Christmas party. We also were going around and asking what people were grateful for, which was really nice. They were a lot more happy to see us and it was so interesting to hear what everyone was grateful for. YAY for Thanksgiving! We had dinner with the Joyce's and with Sister Bush. We went to Corky's and I had ribs! I was eating my ribs with a fork and everyone was looking at me strangely. Finally, I confessed, "I don't really know how to eat ribs since I haven't really had them before". Brother Joyce just looked at me and said, "Well, the first step is to throw away that fork", so I did. I must say that I didn't like eating with my hands as much as I thought I would. After that we went to "Pie Night" at the Crandall’s. They had tons of pie and lots of people over so we thought we would go to meet some people. Well, when we got there we were talking to brother Crandall and he said the only nonmembers had left 15 minutes earlier and that all the other people were from different wards. Ohhhh. That was kind of a bummer, but it was super fun to meet other people and take part in such a fun pre-Thanksgiving bash.

THANKSGIVING!!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! Well, the day started off a bit rough, but it ended just wonderfully. President Wakolo texted us after studies and told us that he would like to do interviews with us in about 15 minutes. So we skedadled out of the apartment and over to the church to have our interviews. It was heaven sent that he called us for interviews at that time because I just needed some help. Although our interview didn't fix everything, it did leave me feeling more peace in my life. We then went to President and Sister Wing's house for Thanksgiving Dinner (lunch). It was so much fun! They had their two sons there, Davis and Clark, and the Lowerys were there, as well! The food was delicious! I just love turkey..absolutely love it!!  They also had some really really good sweet potato casserole that was insanely good. It had coconut in it! We all played telestrations after dinner, which of course, brought back awesome family memories of days gone by, such as our rain poncho telestration. It was so much fun and it was great to laugh at everything that everyone came up with. After sharing dinner and fun with the Wings we went to Maumelle and went to see the Miller family. Their family is simply adorable!  They have 5 kids between 6-11 and they are just the cutest things! Plus, the kiddos give me hugs every time they see me, which always makes me feel good. Since the Miller family was sensitive about us feeling homesick, they gave us some DELICIOUS mint chocolate pie and then they let us help them put up their Christmas tree and decorate it. We also took turns sharing Christmas memories and just basked in the happiness and joy of the holidays. It was so great. In case you don't know, I am a very nostalgic person. The holidays tend to get me sighing over the memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases of yesteryear  (aaaahhhh), so it was such a treat to be around all of those kiddos and to feel (almost) like I was around family. Plus one of their sons reminds me of Parker ***tear***. Honestly, it was just an all around wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't worry, nobody's cherry pie beat your cherry chicken pie, Uncle Nathan ;). 

Black Friday. We did not do what hoards of others did on black friday. We did not go shopping. Instead, we had an awesome lesson with Chelsea! She has finished the 2nd Book of Nephi and she just loves the Book of Mormon and how 2nd Nephi ended. She was freaking out about it and reading me a bunch of verses. She was so excited! She also had a friend over named Anthony and he was really interested in the church and learning more about it. No biggie that he was vaping the whole time. He wanted to learn more so we talked a bit about the first discussion lesson.  We eventually discovered that Anthony lives in Marigold which is actually in the Mississippi Jackson Mission (Bummer), but it is still awesome that he showed genuine interest in learning more about our church. After our visit with Chelsea and Anthony, we had an awesome lesson in a member's home! We had dinner with the Johnson family and their next door neighbor Kathy, and her two sons. We talked about the restoration and the first vision and then we shared the new Christmas video. It was an awesome lesson. Kathy seemed a bit reserved about learning more, but  she was super nice and said that she would like to come to church some time. Yuuuuuuuuusssssss. 

We visited Sister Haynie and Sister Sandlin, which was awesome. Sister Haynie is such a sweetheart. It was great to talk to her and tell her that her Father in Heaven loves her. We also went and “turkey attacked” the doors of some ward members which is the same concept as “heart attacking” doors but with turkey feathers. It was a lot of fun.  

I LOVE SUNDAYS!! It is one of my very favorite days ever. Just the spiritual upliftment and the fellowship that you feel around everyone is so wonderful. I love that we get to go to church each week and partake of the sacrament. The fact that we get to start new each week and look towards Christ for hope is such a beautiful blessing to me. After church we were going to see a less active sister, but she cancelled on us :( , so we went out finding and inviting people to the upcoming Community Christmas event at church! It was so fun! Some people were really nice and we met some people that really want to come to church next Sunday! What? That never happens, but it was awesome. Also the Christmas video is just the best thing ever and I love showing it to people-or rather inviting them to go watch the video and remember CHRIST in CHRISTMAS. :) We then had dinner at the Brown’s house. They let us decorate a Christmas tree and, man, it reminded me of all the years my family has decorated our family tree. It turned out so cute! I wish that I had taken a picture. Everyone has been so gracious to make sure that we still get to do some fun Christmas stuff. I just love it here. The members are the best and everyone is truly so kind (for the most part). Yesterday, as I was outside in my summer cardigan (it's a thing, look it up. 3/4 sleeves yo), walking around the neighborhood freezing my arms off, a lady at her door said she wished she had chocolate so she could give us some. What a sweetheart!😉 

This week my spiritual thought is on prayer. Something we do everyday-or should be doing everyday- and something that I have realized is completely essential in every aspect of life. I don't think I go an hour without praying to my Father in Heaven for guidance, help or thanksgiving. Today I was reading an April 2007 conference talk by Richard G. Scott, "Using The Supernal Gift of Prayer". READ IT. It is a marvelous talk. He taught, "Prayer is a supernal gift of our Father in Heaven to every soul. Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me, as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father. Actually, because He knows how desperately we need His guidance, He commands, “Thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.”  It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him. We need no appointment. Our supplication can be brief or can occupy all the time needed. It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help. He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer.”…”It is so hard when sincere prayer about something you desire very much is not answered the way you want. It is difficult to understand why your exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not grant the desired result. The Savior taught, “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you.” At times it is difficult to recognize what is best or expedient for you over time. Your life will be easier when you accept that what God does in your life is for your eternal good."

This week has really been a week of prayer, as I have sought to understand things, sought to grow closer to God and sought to understand His will for me and for this area. I am so grateful that we can pray to our Father in Heaven and know that He is listening and that He cares. I know there have been times in my life when I have felt like He isn't listening or that He doesn't care, but I know now that He DOES know and that He greatly cares. He LOVES ME! ME! A missionary in Arkansas who is hobbling around in a boot and trying to figure out how to help others. ME! Of course he loves you! OF COURSE! It is such a divine blessing. I think I feel His love for me even more when I feel His love for others. That is the most beautiful feeling in the world. It just makes you want to love and serve everyone around you. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love my Savior and my Father in Heaven. I love you all. I love the season of thanks and the season to remember Christ. Remember Him in all that you do and remember how much God must love you to send His son for US.

I love y’all!!!
Sister Esplin
A sister who misses her ugly Christmas sweaters...and white Christmases. 

Thanksgiving dinner with the Wing family

Twin Turkeys!!! Sister Jensen and I BOTH received similar Thanksgiving packages 
from our cute moms…Haha!

The fall leaves in Arkansas are simply AMAZING! 
Sister Jensen and I had to capture their beauty with a few pics!!

 Trimming the tree with the Millers

Eating ribs with the Joyce’s and Sister Bush

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sherwood forever! Take 4

So…BEST THING EVER! I got to go to the temple today!!!!! We don’t usually get to go to the temple unless it is our birthday or we are going home, but yesterday President Wakolo texted us and invited us to the temple! I was so excited! It really was such an incredible day. The Memphis, Tennessee temple is smaller in size, but it sure is such a beautiful and amazing place filled with majestic beauty and power. I feel so honored to have been given this special opportunity. 

This week has been always. Today I have to write this email in the giant 12 passenger transfer van and I don't want to get carsick so I will need to share just a few awesome highlights! 

First of all, I AM IN SHERWOOD STILL!!!!!!! YAY! I get to stay in he NLR ward through Christmas.

On Monday I had the opportunity to go to Conway with the office elders and the Jacksonville sisters to keep the car ride white handbook approved. It was so great to be with the sisters for a short amount of time and get to know them. They were so cute!

On Tuesday we had a lesson with Lavetta. During our last appointment with Lavetta, Sister Wright had invited her to pray to Heavenly Father to find guidance and to know if his is the right path to go on, then to write down the impression that she received. Well, Lavetta did it! She said that she had been praying about everything and reading the Book of Mormon and she had the impression to stay still. So she took that to mean that she needed to stay still in the church she is going to. Noooooooo!!! We seriously thought that she was dropping us! But then she went on to say that she wasn't sure if it meant something else, like stay still and continue on this path of learning! She then decided it was the second option. She begged us to keep teaching her! We were so happy!!! 

On Wednesday we had our ZONE CONFERENCE!!! It was so amazing. I just felt so spiritually uplifted and pumped to just BAPTIZE!!! President Wakolo talked about how our Heavenly Father has high expectations for us. Sister Wakolo taught us as well and posed the question:  are we praying with our lips or with our hearts?   It was cool for me to think about my prayers and assess  if I am really praying for my investigators with my heart. 

On Thursday, we had Hermana Olsen with us while her companion went to Memphis for a doctor’s appointment. It was so great to have her with us! Sorry, we forgot to get a picture with her…Bummer!!  We attempted to visit a former investigator, Mary. When we knocked on the door, we found out that Mary didn't live there, but we did meet Tara! She has lived at that address for about a month and she was looking for a church to go to! She was so nice and she was so happy to talk to us. It was so great to meet someone who wanted to really learn more! We also went to Cyrstal's (yes that is how it is spelled) house and cleaned her house. Cyrstal's husband is actually a mall santa and he will be working this season in Alaska. I share this because when we were cleaning their house we found a patch that said IBRBS, which for all of you non-mall Santa aficionados, that stands for the “International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas”. I had no idea that such an organization exists!!!  Cyrstal has been a member for about 8 months and she is just amazing. 

On Friday we had the Ward Round Up dinner, which was so much fun!  Brother Sanders from the ward is part of a square dancing group called the “Maverick Mixers” and they came and did a square dancing performance for all of us!   

Sorry this email kind of stinks. I have a tendency to get really carsick in the car and since I only have time to really write my emails while riding to and from the Memphis temple, I will need to keep my letters short this week.  Before I go, I just want to share some thoughts on an awesome talk that I read this week called “Converted to His gospel through His church” by Elder Donald Hallstrom (April 2012). Elder Hallstrom taught, " the purpose of the church is to help us live the gospel!"  I love that! I just love that! Sometimes I meet people that get offended by things that happened when they went to church, but the important thing is to remember that the gospel is what is important! Sorry, next week I'll write something a lot better, but for now, I would invite y'all to read that talk. It is awesome!!!!

I love you all so much! I am so excited for Thanksgiving! May we all remember that there is so much to be grateful for!!


Sister Esplin 

Memphis, Tennessee Temple

Heading to Memphis to go to the temple!!!

 Packing up Sister Christman

 Goodbye to Elder Boggess, Elder Smith, & Sister Forsyth

Teaching with sweet Sister Jackson

All the Sisters in the North Little Rock Zone Conference

Ward Round Up Dinner 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thank you for your prayers and fasting!!!

Hey y'all! How goes it out in the real magnificent world? I want to thank y'all for all of your prayers and fasting on my behalf. I really appreciate it and I truly believe it is because of your prayers, fasting, and faith that I have the outcome that I do for my ankle.

TENDINITIS!! Yep, the doctor came in and told me that he had good news and bad news. He said the bad news was that the MRI didn't really show anything. The good news was that I didn't need surgery. He told me that I have intermediate tendinitis on the peroneal tendon(s?),  mild tendinitis on the tibialis posterior, and some degree of tendinitis on one more tendon whose name I can't remember. In a nutshell, I have tendinitis in all the tendons that I need for know, the ones you need to use everyday as a missionary. He told me not to walk on that foot, which is interesting because when I first went in I was told that my ankle would be strengthened with walking. Well, the next day we walked 11&1/2 miles and my leg got swollen and my condition got worse, which forced us back to the doctor's office. This time, the doctor told me NOT to walk on my foot. Confused, we asked why he would say it was okay and then change his mind. He told us it would be okay to walk on it if we walked like normal people, but we walk like super humans. That is what I am going to call missionaries now. Missionaries: Super Human walkers.  😆 Anyway, he told me that I needed to not walk on it and that it needed to stay stable. Well you know me, no brace can stop me from twisting my ankle! I've twisted it several times with the brace on. Oops. So he said the next step was a boot or a cast. A BOOT. I'LL TAKE THE BOOT!! NO CAST, PLEASE!! So now I have a super cute boot that makes me feel like iron man. I. Am. Clumsy woman. So the boot is my new fashion accessory. All the sisters are so jealous of me and my limping gait. She has style, she has grace, she is Miss United States. Yep, that's me. The newest member of the boot crew. Anyhoo, onto the next topic of conversation-I never was good at transitions. 

This week, as always, has been filled with good moments and bad moments. Moments of beautiful joy and moments of confusion and heartache. But the atonement helps all. What a simple phrase with a large meaning behind it. I have come to love my Savior more and more each day.   Alright, I am just going to give some highlights (or lowlights). 

On Thursday, we went to lunch with Donna. We only went to Sonic and then back to her apartment, but holy cow, did that little outing make for an eventful afternoon! Donna wasn't stable on the curb and she fell backwards! Her walker flew up in the air and she HIT THE GROUND! I yelled and went hobbling to find some help, but since no one was around, we called 911 and a fire truck came. Well, I still had my Sonic drink with me when help arrived so I slowly lowered it to the ground so it didn't look like I was just enjoying the day watching Donna lie on the ground. Fortunately, she is totally fine, just a bit sore. When she fell, all of the people in her retirement community came outside and watched her, some with snacks. Geriatric theater?!! 

We also had a lesson with Cyrstal (a recent convert) and it was amazing, the spirit was so abundant there. We were talking about the temple and it was such a beautiful moment that I just didn't want it to end. Even Cyrstal commented that it just felt wonderful there. It was such a beautiful moment relating everything to Christ and to eternity. 

On Friday, we visited with Chelsea and she shared that she feels a lot of peace in her life, like she feels like things are just going to go well. I just love her. Plus, she is in 2 Nephi 30!!! I am SO proud of her!

On Saturday, we had a member, Sister Sandlin, come out with us. In fact, she actually called us up and asked if she could come out teaching with us. That never happens!! Unfortunately, one by one all of our appointments fell through, which was a total bummer, but we salvaged our time together by meeting with some of her visiting teaching ladies. 

Alrighty, here is my spiritual thought. I was reading Elder Don R. Clarke's October 2006 conference talk, "Becoming Instruments in the Hands of God". Elder Clarke posed the question- "Do we really want to be instruments in God's hands? If so, our desire will permeate our prayers and be the focus of our fasts." He also taught, "When we receive promptings regarding God's children, if we write down the thoughts and inspiration we receive and then obey it, God's confidence in us increases and we are given more opportunities to be instruments in His hands". I would invite you all to pray for opportunities to be instruments in the Hands of God and then to write down promptings and to act on them. I know this church is true, I love it completely and will believe it forever. President Wakolo always says, I will never doubt it, I will never question it. I want to say that as well. I am still trying to grow my testimony each day, but I am surrounding it with truth and love. I love y'all and I am so grateful for your influence in my life!

Have a great week! 


Sister Esplin 

Lunch with Donna

Showing off our sonic stuff. Literally, seven minutes after this picture was taken she fell off the curb and we called 911. What a crazy turn of events.

District meeting 

 Check out the cars the missionaries in our district drive. So sweet. I drive the mommy minivan!!

 Eating lunch with sister Wood, Sister Decker, sister Smith and sister Forsyth  at “Two Sisters” 
Look at that fried chicken! Sister Wood and I were twinners. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

What an IMPACTful Week!!

Well, hello there! I am excited to announce that fall has actually arrived in Arkansas! It got cold again-but as I write this I am hesitant, for I don't want to jinx it and be the reason for 87 degree winter here. On Halloween it was around 90 degrees. Woooooweeeeieee!  

Halloween turned out to be such a good day! We thought that we were going to be all alone on Halloween, but then the Turners invited us over to make mini pizzas which was so much fun! It didn't quite match up to all of the fun and pandemonium that goes on back at the home front, but it was sweet and memorable! Sister Jensen and I also went to TCBY to get some really yummy fro yo, and in an effort not to break tradition, I made pigs in a blanket. After, we watched "Meet the Mormons" on this handy dandy iPad of mine. Yay for mission Halloween! 

On Tuesday, we had district meeting where we practiced teaching the plan of salvation to someone on the street and then calling a member to come with us to the follow up lesson with that person. After district meeting we went and talked to a less active sister, Sister Christman. It was so cool. We went in wanting to talk about how families can be together forever and I was kind of nervous (sometimes that can be a sensitive topic), but we as we let go of our fears and  testified of this great truth, we had  such a spiritual and beautiful lesson. 

Also, last week I forgot to share a super cool experience that we had with a potential investigator named Tangie.  On Sunday, we decided to go find someone whose address indicated that she lived in Hollywood California. Well, I assumed that there was most likely a Hollywood Drive/Avenue/Blvd or Circle here in Sherwood. Sure enough, there was! We found the home and met Tangie.  She said that she had recently moved to Jacksonville and was now only here visiting her father at his house, but she shared that the elders had seen her every day when she used to live in Sherwood and that she just loved hearing about the gospel!  She even asked for something to read, so we gave her a Book of Mormon. We gave her name to the Jacksonville sisters because Jacksonville isn't just another ward or city, it is a whole different Stake than us! Interestingly enough, when we  looked for her teaching record, we couldn't find any information on her! The elders had seen her every day but didn't put anything down to help us so that we could follow up with her! Poor lady. I hope she likes being taught by the Jacksonville sisters. :) The reason I bring this up is because on Tuesday we went to find Tangie to tell her that there were sisters right by where she lives in Jacksonville, but she was at her sister's house...a couple of streets away! So we went over, missed Tangie, but we met her sister, Ashley! She said that she had met with the missionaries before and would be interested in meeting with the missionaries again! YAY!

On Wednesday, we had a super awesome member come out with us and try to visit a lot of the less active single men in the ward that live in Sherwood  (we can't go alone). Well, we didn't get to see anyone, but she was just fantastic! 

THURSDAY!!!!!!!! Well, let me tell you why I make a big deal about Thursday. It really made an IMPACT on me--Tee hee!! On Thursday we were kind of struggling. Dana had not shown up to the lesson SHE had set and we were kind of lost as to what to do. Just when we needed some extra love and strength,  we got a phone call. We answered the phone and the IMPACT SISTERS were on the phone! Quick explanation. "Impact sisters" are two awesome sister missionaries in this mission who are assigned for that transfer to go to different areas where sisters are and they stay with those sisters and help strengthen the missionaries, the companionship, the area, or anything they need to help the area grow stronger. Our experience with them was SO COOL!!!! Hermana Macfarlane and Sister Skordas were with us from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. On Thursday afternoon, we all went to Sister Jackson 's house and cleaned her windows because she can't reach them. Sister Jackson is so cute!! After, we went to dinner with Sister Hugentobler at chilis! 🌶 Then, we dropped Sister Jensen off with Hermana Macfarlane to go see Brother Medlock while Sister Skordas and I went to see Sister Kurkowski. It was so neat. Sister Kurkowski told us that we were just what she needed that day. We shared a scripture with her (Alma 37:36-37) and she said that she had been needing to hear just that! It was so neat to be there. Then, we went to pick up the other sisters and it was cool to hear that they had found some people that had met with missionaries before and wanted to meet with missionaries again! 

On Friday, we had weekly planning and then Sister Skordas and I went to the hospital and got my blood drawn so that they could take my creatinine level in preparation for the MRI. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the hospital, we needed to turn around and go pick up the sisters from where we had dropped them off because the McKinneys had called us on Thursday to ask us to come over at 3:15 for a surprise! Well, the McKinneys live in Maumelle, so that is a bit of a drive, but the sisters found some really awesome people to teach!!!! When we got to the Mckinney's, Brother McKinney let us in and he told us to sit down and that he would get Sister McKinney. Well "sister Mckinney" turned the corner and surprised us. IT WASN'T SISTER MCKINNEY!!! IT WAS SISTER EVANS--my first companion and trainer!!! She finished her mission back in AUGUST SEPTEMBER but had come back to Arkansas to go to the temple with one of her converts in Conway and she was staying with the McKinneys and wanted to surprise me! As Sister Evans turned the corner, I totally freaked out and started to cry. I had been feeling really down on myself because my dumb ankle was slowing me down and preventing me from becoming the missionary that I knew I desired to be. These past few weeks,  everyone has been telling me to slow down. The mission nurse, President Wakolo, the physical therapist, and the Doctor. I just wanted a hug from my mom so much and for her to just tell me that everything would be okay. In my heart, I knew I couldn't have that. So did Heavenly Father. But, He bestowed on me a tender mercy and He gave me the next best thing...My MISSION MOM! In that moment, I felt such immense love and understanding from my Heavenly Father. He knew what I needed. Even though Sister Evans wasn't there to see me, it truly was  something that really helped me see that God cares about me and knows that I still have things yet to do here. 

Later that night, we went to the hospital and remained there for the longest time! In spite of the long wait, something really cool happened.  If you know me, you know I HATE needles. To complicate the situation, no one can EVER find my veins. I am not exaggerating. My veins are small and run deep under the skin, so blood work is always a nightmare. In fact, the last time I did blood work back at home, I went through multiple nurses/phlebotomists and multiple sticks only to get sent home because NO ONE  could find a vein and my entire arm had become a pin cushion. As you can imagine, I was dreading another awful experience. At first, a couple of people felt around to find a vein but couldn't find one. Then, another phlebotomist came by, swiftly stuck a needle in my hand and immediately found a vein! Phew!! What a TENDER MERCY!

On Saturday, we had interviews with President Wakolo and it was such an amazing experience. I had so many concerns and feelings of inadequacy and he really helped soothe those fears and feelings of weakness. What an amazing man of God!! I am so grateful to have him as my mission president. I also told him that Lexi Ostler from my home YSA ward had recently been called to this mission and he was excited for her. She is going to love it. This is the best mission ever. 

Everyone, thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support! I have felt so much strength from your fasting and prayers. I had my MRI this morning and I will be having my follow up appointment with the doctor to go over it on Wednesday. I am a bit nervous, but I know that everything is in God's hands. I love being a missionary. It has been difficult to not work as hard as I know I can and that is so FRUSTRATING! I am so grateful that my awesome parents have helped me become a person who is now not comfortable with taking it easy. It just isn't fun. Still, I love this time because I have grown so close to my Heavenly Father, as I have sought to know what he would have me do, and and then follow the promptings given. I don't feel that it is time to go home. I believe that Heavenly Father is just helping me learn patience and more fully realize how joyful this work truly is. Oh sometimes I wish that I could see what He has in store for me when I start my trial, but I really do love the "Ahah" moments during them. 

I love y'all. I love this gospel. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him, to declare His word, among His people that they might have everlasting life! (3 Nephi 5:13). Thank you to all of you who have fasted and prayed for me. You all are amazing and I am so grateful to have y'all in my life. Stay strong and love God!! 

Sister Esplin


Working with the Impact Sisters

 Sister Jensen and I went to this cute cafe called “Two Sisters”.  How fitting!!

 SISTER EVANS!!! Look, NO name tag.  Who even is she? ;)

Sister Jackson!

 Dinner with Sister Edgar and the Maumelle Sisters

 Making cute Christmas crafts at the Carpenters with the Maumelle Sisters

 Dinner with Sister Hugentobler

Nightly icing of the ankle. Woot! Woot!