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!

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