Good morning, good afternoon, good evening!
Hello! I hope that y’all are doing wonderfully! Perhaps the leaves are bright and colorful on the trees or now they are brown and dead on the ground. Here in Arkadelphia it was SO SO SO beautiful and there was a wonderful brisk feel to the air, then disaster hit. It suddenly got WAY HOT, and then it got FREEEEEZING COLD. And now everything is brown and dead and not pretty. But, it was STUNNING while it lasted.
Thank you, Sister Esplin, for the weather update. Now to Sister Esplin with the news.
Thank you sister Esplin. (I thought that was funny). This week was filled with crazy lessons, resetting baptismal dates, and exchanges! Oh my. Stay tuned for the full story after this word from our sponsor.
READ THE BOOK OF MORMON.
It is another testament of Jesus Christ and it WILL help you grow closer to God.
It is the most correct of any other book.
Back to our regularly scheduled missionary news. Okay, okay. I’m sorry I will stop with the newscaster thing. Gotta be creative with your emails after you have written a lot.
Anywho….On Monday night we had an awesome lesson with Lisa, the lady that came to church with her friend that was speaking and that we tracted into. She was awesome! She had great questions and she was super excited to start reading the Book of Mormon. We even have an appointment with her and her friend, Sister Cordova, where we are going to read the Book of Mormon together.
On Tuesday we had a lesson with Cameron, Maria’s son. Story for this week. We prayed at the beginning of the week and we said that if we were not able to meet with her that week that we would drop her, which is really sad, but we committed to do it. It was her do or die week. So we came over Tuesday and her 16 year old son came to the door (he actually came to general conference last month, but we hadn’t taught him because he never sat down in our lessons and when he was home his mom wasn’t). He told us that he had read the plan of salvation pamphlet that we had left with him and that he was ready for Bible study. We told him that we could not come inside without another sister and he said that his mom was home but that she was sick in the bathroom and she told us that we could come in. So awkward....We did teach him the plan of salvation and he loved it and had lots of good questions and experiences to share with us. An interesting thing about this lesson was that his girlfriend was on speakerphone and “listening” in on the lesson the whole time. She never said anything, but she was just there. Apparently, they will watch tv together but not be together. They will just waste their minutes! When we talked about how families can be together he told his girlfriend that they needed to get married in the temple. That is good. We also were able to see Maria and set up another appointment with her for the next day.
On Wednesday, we had our lesson with Maria and it went wonderfully! She loved it and we discussed how we needed to change her baptismal date to December. She said that she really really wants to be baptized and that she is committed to it. She told us about how whenever she leaves her house she takes her Book of Mormon with her so that she can read it. She is great, she is just super hard to pin down for an appointment. Grrrr.
Thursday we had zone conference and interviews with President Hansen! I love zone conference. I forgot to mention earlier that since we have become a more technology and social media mission, we have a new section of preach my gospel. It is “How do i fulfill my purpose?”. It is really good and it really focuses on focusing on the people. I just love zone conference! The Hansens are fantastic. One of my favorite quotes from this zone conference came from President Hansen: “Skip the B.S. (direct quote guys). Introduce the Book of Mormon and get them (our investigators) to read it”. He is very straight forward and wears his heart on his sleeve, which I love. He is also brutally honest. I enjoyed my interview with him and I tried to ask him what he was going to do with me next transfer (he is notorious for telling people what is going to happen to them the next transfer in their interviews). Well, I told him that I love Arkadelphia and that I would love to stay here for the rest of my mission. I asked him if that could happen and he kind of said, “eeeeeeeehhhhh, we’ll just have to see”. WHAT! I was kind of expecting him to tell me yes. PRESIDENT!! Also, I asked if I would be in a trio since I will go home 2 weeks early and the answer he gave me just confused me more. Moral of the story, don’t ask questions to your honest mission president if you don’t want to hear the answer or the NOT answer. Also, my other favorite quote from zone conference was from President Hansen, as well, when he shared, “WE need to to learn to turn our will to God”. SO SO SO TRUE!!
On Friday and Saturday we had exchanges with the Pinnacle Mountain sisters and I was able to go to Little Rock on Exchanges. It was awesome. I went with sister Feinga and we met so many awesome and sometimes crazy people. There were a lot of people that came to their door and told us that they were indecent. My continuing question is why do people answer their doors if they are not decent!?!? But I learned so much from Sister Feinga. She is such a spiritual giant and she just takes everything in stride. I was also able to see the apartment that my parents and I lived in when we lived in Little Rock!!! It was so cool to see walk around the apartment complex, knocking on doors, and think about the fact that this was the first home I ever lived in after entering this world. It was such a surreal experience!
Yesterday, we were able to have a lesson with Brasha, a girl that we had found a couple of weeks ago. It was awesome! We were able to teach her the restoration and she loved it. She felt the spirit and she told us that she felt so calm. She told us that she wanted to share this message with her friends and she was wondering if we could conduct a Bible study with her and her friends every Sunday night. What?!!! She told us that we could teach everyone what we taught her that night because she felt that it will bless and help their lives. We just kind of sat there in awe. WHAT. She is great!!! She also committed to reading the Book of Mormon. Life is good y’all. The church is true!!!
This week I studied something interesting in my Book of Mormon. In Helaman 5:8 we are taught- “And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.”
I had some thoughts on this. My mission is not to “boast” about being a “returned missionary”. It is not to receive worldly praise or gain. My mission blesses my life eternally. My mission is not about me. It is about connecting others to Christ. My mission is to help others gain eternal life. My ultimate goal is eternal life and I would much rather receive those blessings and praise in Heave than on earth. My call is from on high. I am here to assist the shepherd in gathering His sheep. Our greatest gift is eternal life. Do we want praise here? Or in heaven?
I also read a wonderful talk by Steven E. Snow from his April 2011 general conference address titled “Hope”. He said, “ Hope alone does not cause us to succeed. ...Our hope in the Atonement empowers us with eternal perspective. Such perspective allows us to look beyond the here and now on into the promise of the eternities”.
I LOVE THIS. This life is the time to prepare to meet God. Sometimes it may seem dark and impossible, but the light that Jesus Christ gives through His atoning sacrifice helps us to see ahead and have that hope to continue on.
I love y’all so so so so much!!! I hope that you have a wonderful week. Read the Book of Mormon and continue to pray. I know that doing those things can help us and bless our lives. I know that this is Christ’s church on the earth again! I know that Christ lives and that he loves us so so much. I know that Heavenly Father knows the whole plan and that he wants to help us. I know that as we turn to Him, he is able to guide and direct us.
I love y’all!!!!
Serving in Arkadelphia
Wannabe newscaster ;)
Side note from Ashley's Mom-
Ashley’s visit to our Little Rock apartment is such a tender mercy bestowed by the hand of the Lord. Ashley recently wrote home on her PDAY mentioning that she thought that she would be doing exchanges in our former Pinnacle Mountain Ward (where we first lived when Ashley was born). At the time, I thought to myself, “Wow, I sure wish I could find our old address… Wouldn’t that be cool to share that with her!” That thought went in and out of my mind lickety-split since I hadn’t seen a record of that address in years and years and I was certain that I not would be able to find the address since all of our papers from twenty years ago had long since been shredded and discarded. Well, the night before she did exchanges, I was restocking some copy paper in a filing cabinet we use specifically for copy paper…not important files or documents…just copy paper. As I pulled out an empty hanging file folder to put the copy paper inside of it, I realized that there were a few sheets of paper still inside the hanging file folder. Those documents turned out to be bank statements from our time in Little Rock…and the craziest part is that the bank statement cycle was the month that Ashley was born. Honestly, I have not seen any documents with our Little Rock address in about a decade. The fact that I was guided to this address without even trying to find it was truly a MIRACLE!!! I love that Ashley was granted this opportunity to discover her first home on earth. This address is part of HER life story. This is where she came home after she was born at St Vincent Hospital. This is part of who she is. This experience demonstrated to me, once again, just how truly mindful our Heavenly Father is of each and every one of us. This tender mercy was only made possible by Him and I am humbled by His great love and goodness in the big and little details of our lives!!!
Love these Sisters!
Amazing Sister Feinga
My very first home as a child
13111 W Markham Street, Apartment 288
I can’t believe this is where I first lived!!