Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!


OH MY GOODNESS! I hope that y’all have had a wonderful Christmas and have been able to feel of Christ’s love for you. First of all, shout out to my family. I love you guys so much! Saturday night we helped a lady in the branch put on a single adult party and the song that popped into my head was from Karen Carpenter. “Merry Christmas darling, we’re apart-that’s true. But I can dream, and in my dreams I’m christmasing with you”. We Esplinos (especially Megan) love Karen Carpenter and these lyrics reminded me of my feelings for them.  I am so grateful for my sweet family and for all of the wonderful memories we have made together over the years during Christmas. I am also so grateful for my extended family and friends. I absolutely loved the 24 days of letters from everyone. It was super touching. It really made my day every day to read sweet letters from those I love and cherish. Thanks y’all! 😊

This week we had so many different things going on. It was hectic and also so fun. We had exchanges this week with the sisters in the Pinnacle Mountain Ward. Our zone was originally going to go caroling in our area on Monday but they cancelled last minute on us. Kind of lame. But the sisters still came and we visited some people and sang to them. It is so interesting how people who would usually get angry at you for knocking on their door late at night are so sweet and kind when we start with a song. Maybe we will do that all year round. Hehe. It is so true that sacred music invites the spirit. If all else fails, sing. 

On exchanges, Sister Feinga and I were able to go see Sister Moss, whom we had felt we needed to visit for a while. We went over to her house and she was super overwhelmed with things and with some things that happened with her kids and daughter-in-law. We had gone in with the intent to show the video “The Good Samaritan”, but the spirit told me to share another one called “I am good enough. Will I make it?” . She loved it and Sister Feinga asked her what she was going to do now because of what we had talked about. She really was repenting. 

On Saturday we were able to help Sister Cordova set up a singles party at the church. We were the youngest people there. The next youngest person was in their fifties. Eek. But it was so neat, for some of the sisters that were there it was going to be their only Christmas festivities. That was seriously the highlight of their Christmas. It was so fun to be able to serve everyone and help make other people’s Christmases better. 

Guys I am so sorry the letter is so short this week. BUT MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves me and that He loves you. I am so excited to one day personally thank Him for the great gift that He has given me every single day. This week we had zone conference and we watched “The Testaments” and while we were watching the film,  I felt so strongly that Jesus Christ loves me and that He died for me and that He will help me with anything that I stand in need of as I turn to Him in faith and trust in His plan. 

I love y’all!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!!!!
Sister Esplin


 Christmas Day with Sister Winn

 Exchanges with Sister Feinga

Goodbye to Sister Anderson. 
She goes home a couple weeks after me. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Walking in Arkadelphia

Arkadelphia sisters did not sing as they walked and walked and walked and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaalked. 

Well well well. Seems like a week has just FLOWN by! I seriously cannot believe that I have a mere 17 days left. WHAT!? I cannot wait to see y’all, but at the same time I am really going to miss my mission. BUT as Donna summer and Barbra Streisand would say: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” this week was so crazy and we walked SO MUCH because our car was in the shop. Seriously y’all, it got attacked by FIVE DOGS. It was truly one of the scariest moments of my life. Okay, maybe one of the top 20. Our car got so messed up from it and, as a result, we have been on foot this week! When we dropped off the car, the really sweet secretary at the car shop asked us what car they were giving us to drive to which I replied: “our feet”. Stunned and confused, she decided to repeat the question.  Again, I told her that we were planning to walk. She just looked at us with big eyes and told us that they would definitely work super hard to get the car finished quickly. As it turns out, we will be getting the car back today so Hooray! 🚗 

Walk weeks always bring miracles, and this week we had some good ones:) Just to preface I want to say that the weather here has been CRAZY. It will be hot one day and then freezing the next day. Everyone is getting the flu and pneumonia. Please pray that I don’t get sick! But everyone has been either down and out with the flu or out of town for Christmas, which is a bummer but also is helpful to meet new people. We walked ALL over Arkadelphia! It really is amazing how your feet can take you anywhere. At the beginning of our first day it seemed impossible but then, at the end of the day we were able to look back and see all of the success we had had and the ground we had covered. 

Sadly, this was our last week working with Maria.  We prayed and felt like this was the last week we could to give her before we dropped her and we were so sad to realize that it was time to move on.  It is always super hard for me to drop people that we have seen make progress, but we also can’t keep making excuses for them. We can help them to a certain point, but ultimately these individuals need to make and keep their commitments and get to work so that they can have the joy of repentance. Repentance doesn’t come without effort or pain. When you repent you are fighting against the natural man and becoming someone even better and stronger. So it was sad that Maria’s schedule was so crazy that we were not able to continue teaching her. On the bright side, her son Cameron has been progressing.  When I first met him he wouldn’t read the Book of Mormon and he wouldn’t talk to us. But this week we were trying to meet with Maria and he was there and we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and we turned around to leave and he came outside and told us that he wanted to read the Book of Mormon with us. Yay! We read 1st Nephi chapter 1 with him and it went really well. 

While we were walking this week we were able to see so many people and share the gospel and the light the world message with them. People here in Arkadelphia are really sweet and nice but not super committal. But we were able to meet this awesome lady named Shannon. She was so sweet and super interested in the gospel and about learning more! She is engaged and we talked about the temple and she was super excited to hear more! The sad thing is that she lives outside of our area, so we had to refer her to another set of missionaries. :(  That is okay. Sweet is the work!

Well y’all! I love you guys so much! Thank you so much for all of the support and help that you give me. I am also super grateful for your love and I love all of the Christmas cards! Thank you so much! 

This week I just wanted to share with you my love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. As we are celebrating His birth, it is so important to also remember His life. I know that Jesus Christ was born and that He lives. I know that His life neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. I know that as we turn to Him, His arms are always open and He wants us to come unto Him. I love Him and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Him and become more like Him.

Sister Ashley Esplin


 Walk week

Apparently we look alike? I have no idea. 
President always gets sister Daniels and I mixed up. 
Sister Hansen apparently also looks like us 🤷🏻‍♀️

Monday, December 11, 2017

Be Ambitious For Christ

Merry Christmas! 

I hope that your Christmas season is going great and that you are doing the #lighttheworld activities every day. 

Life has been so crazy busy! I feel like I have been running around like a chicken with her head cut off. There is so much to do before my departure on January 4th and I have so little time! Since Sister Winn is going to be with me for these remaining four weeks, there is so much to cram into her brain about the area. Poor thing, but she is such a trooper!! It has been such a blast working Sister Winn this week! She is so fun and is excited to do the work. It has been a great transition. Usually the first week together is super awkward and weird, but I feel like we just dove in and have been getting along well. 

We got SO MUCH visiting teaching done this week! Yay! It really is helpful to have a new sister with you that you can introduce to people. We had a lesson with Sister Beatrice where we read the Book of Mormon. She didn’t really want to read, but I reminded her that she had promised to read the Book of Mormon the last time we met. She kind of grumbled but then she got over it. Fortunately, she is doing well and I can see that she  is enjoying the book of Mormon more and more. She gave Sister Winn a 25 pound bag of pecans! What!? She also told Sister Winn that when she “faxes” her parents she needs to tell them that Sister Beatrice loves her. FAXES her parents....She is adorable!!!

We also had a lesson with Sister Nisbet! We read Enos with her. We read with her in the chapel, and there was such a sweet spirit there. You could just feel love from Heavenly Father. She was so sweet and so overwhelmed by the love she felt. It was just one of those moments that the you just feel so happy to be a missionary.

We did so much service this week. It was crazy! We put up two Christmas trees and we cleaned for a bunch of people, as well. Another great thing that happened this week was our branch Christmas party!!! It was so fantastic. It was so fun to be able to be around the branch members and there was so much fun to be had. Everyone had a blast! It was crazy how everybody turns out for the Christmas parties. 

We also did quite a bit of finding this week. It was not super fruitful and it left me wondering and pondering about what more I can do to improve and help this area to grow and how we can find people to teach effectively. This week, I turned to prayer a lot and felt that Heavenly Father truly answered my prayers and I was able to learn a lot from Him. I also felt like I was able to understand more of what He wants me to do while I was partaking of the sacrament yesterday. I am so grateful for the sacrament and the opportunity that it provides us to renew our covenants and to turn to our Heavenly Father and to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for that experience I had to feel the spirit in more abundance. 

I am so grateful for the time that I have to be a missionary and to be able to proclaim the truth to all that will hear and to be able to help others to come unto Christ and be a part of their lives. I am so grateful to be serving in Arkadelphia for the rest of my mission! I know that this is where I am supposed to be and that there is so much to do and so little time. I love the people here, both the members and the people who are not members. People are so kind and I love the spirit of Christmas that is in the air. 

My spiritual thought this week is from a conference talk from October 2016 “Be Ambitious for Christ”. “What does it mean to “be ambitious for Christ”? Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work. Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor. Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts.”

I am so grateful that I can strive to be Ambitious for Christ. I invite y’all to strive for that as well. Remember striving is a consistent effort. It isn’t just trying. I have an invitation for y’all this Christmas: Get a new Book of Mormon, write your testimony in the front of it and then pray to either come in contact with someone who will need the book or a name of someone to give the book to. Then wrap it up and deliver it to the person with a plate of cookies. President Hansen has invited us to invite the members in our wards and branches to do that and I know that it can bless y’all as well! SO PLEASE DO IT AND RESPOND BACK and TELL ME HOW IT GOES!!!!

❤️ Sister Esplin
Master tree decorator

Being Ambitious for Christ

 Day 10 of #Light the World

 With Santa Claus (President Carter). 

 Roderick the snowman. I made him for Korrine. 

 Decorating the Skaff Sr.’s Christmas tree

With Sister Winn

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Final Countdown Begins

The Final Countdown Begins

Hello. It is me. Your favorite missionary. Potentially. For my ego’s sake, let’s just say that I am your favorite missionary. Hehe. 😉 WELL. On Saturday we got BIG TRANSFER NEWS! For my LAST TRANSFER. I. Will. Be.............(drumroll PLEEEEASE!!!).........STAYING IN ARKADELPHIA!!!!!! WOOT WOOT! I am so so so excited to stay, even if it is just for a few more weeks. Sadly, Sister Black is leaving me, but she is going to Millington (if you remember correctly, Millington was my last area) and I know that she is going to do great and wonderful things there and bring joy to her new companion and area just like she did here for me and for the Arkadelphia branch. She is a great servant of the Lord and I feel so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve with her and get to be companions with her. She is so funny and just so great! But you may be wondering at this point, “Wait, if Sister Black is leaving, who is going to be with Sister Esplin?”  Good question! I am going to be a solo missionary...JUST KIDDING! My new companion’s name is Sister Winn! She is from Arizona and she has been on her mission for about three months and she seems fantastic! I am so excited to serve with her. 

It is really weird. Since I am staying for only a month of the transfer I thought that I would be in a trio. I thought wrong. I feel bad that she will have to be involved in some sort of emergency transfer, but I bet she will be tough. My hope this transfer is that we can have fun and work hard talking to everyone we see.

This week was a pretty good week! We were able to get in contact with a lot of people and have some great lessons! We took a walk day on Tuesday and we were able to see Brandy! We intended to go and teach her a lesson but what was interesting was that we ended up doing service for her instead. We came to her house and she was super stressed out so instead of teaching her we helped her fill out paperwork. It was great because after we helped her she had so many questions for us and we were able to teach her a little bit more. It is amazing how service softens people’s hearts. 

We were also able to do a lot of visiting teaching this week! We had a lesson with Sister Smith and it was so interesting! She was talking about how her life was horrible and how she always feels depressed and then she started talking about how the whole world was going to die (pretty dismal). We tried to teach her the plan of salvation and she just kept making it seem like it was the plan of sadness. I told her that this is a plan of happiness! I then felt like I was should ask if how her Book of Mormon reading has been going. She told us that she hasn't been reading.  I promised her that if she read the Book of Mormon she would have peace and comfort and help along the way. In fact, we are starting a book of Mormon reading group with her!

Since today is a transfer day, it has been a super busy today so all I am really going to say is to read the Book of Mormon! There are so many blessings that come from it. We have seen both the blessings and consequences of reading and not reading the Book of Mormon this week. 

We also had a mission tour by elder Robbins of the presidency of the seventy this week and I will tell y’all about that next week! I am so sorry! The email next week will be amazing! Hopefully ;) 

Also, the “Light the World” initiative is amazing and I love it and I hope that y’all are enjoying doing it and if you aren’t doing it... START NOW!!!!!
Love y'all!

Sister Esplin 
Sister missionary
In her last transfer…EEK!



 Arkadelphia youth lighting the world 

 Month mark with the Cordovas!

 When wolves reject me

Monday, November 27, 2017

Turkey Week

BONJOUR! Am I getting repetitive yet? I feel like I might seem like a CD with 6 songs on it that gets stuck in your car’s CD player. At the beginning, you love the CD and you think that you can stand it. BUT, soon enough, you are sick and tired of it and you would rather listen to silence or the classical music station on your radio (in this situation, you only have one radio station available and it is that one). But maybe at this point in my mission you have decided that you really did like the CD and you want to listen to it again, right before you trade in the car for something better. So guys, stick with me! I still have things to say!

Just as a warning. This week was pretty lame because basically nobody was home this week. Seriously. Arkadelphia was pretty much deserted. It was so spooky. It looked like a ghost town. 

On Tuesday we were able to go tracting around the apartment complex of a sister who lives in the branch. Nobody was super interested but we met a lady named Miya and her daughter and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and she said that we could come back and teach her. YAY!

On Wednesday we had district meeting in Camden and we talked about the reviewing progress section from the new part of Preach my Gospel. But actually not really at all. That is what we prepared for, but we actually all left feeling a little confused about what that District Meeting was about. We then drove 50 miles back to Arkadelphia where we had lunch at a Chinese buffet with Brother Crockett. He told us about his conversion story and about how we need to find him a wife. Pretty funny! Also, at the end we got fortune cookies and Brother Crockett didn’t want his so he said we could have it. Well I love getting fortune cookies so I said that I would take it. BUT then Sister Black opened her fortune cookie and it said, “you will receive a fortune (cookie).”. That is literally what it said. So then she got the other fortune cookie. Mine just said that A golden egg of opportunity falls into my lap this month. Maybe a golden investigator??? :)

Well, I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We had a pretty good one. We had thanksgiving “Linner” (lunch/dinner) with the Johnstuns and Sister Johnstun did an AWESOME hosting her first Thanksgiving. Everything was so good. We were instructed to stay at homes for no more than three  hours. So, after three hours we sadly left. But then we went and finished making a ton of sugar cookies and we delivered them all! It was so fun! CRAZY THING! We were coming back to the car after dropping off some cookies at the house of a sister in the branch that we visit teach and Sister Black and I were talking when suddenly she was gone!! Oh my goodness I let out a little squeal and then yelled to see if she was okay, but I heard nothing. Then she just popped up! I had imagined that she had slammed her face into the cement and was going to be crying and all bloody but she just told me that she was okay. She had just stepped in a hole (like a rain gutter) that went up to her knee. OH MY GOODNESS! After we got in the car she showed me her knee. WHAT IN THE WORLD!! She had a giant scratch on her knee and she was bleeding quite a bit! What have we learned from this experience? Sister Black under-reacts and I over-react. BALANCE.

This week was a pretty good week though. I have been so excited for the #lighttheworld initiative and it is finally here!!! We were able to go walking around on Saturday and hand out some light the world cards and some people told us that they would visit the website. I think it is going to be so awesome! We also are solidifying the plans for the #lighttheworld table at HSU. WE ARE SO EXCITED!!! It would probably be next week. Yesterday, we had a speaker in church cancel so a member of the branch presidency asked one of us to speak about light the world. Sister Black volunteered me since I am the senior companion. I will get her back though. Lol! I was actually super grateful to get to speak about that. I prayed that the spirit would be able to speak through me and the promise in the scriptures is so true that as you study the scriptures,  God will give you the words to speak in the very hour that you need them. I felt that God definitely helped me at that time. I shared Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. 

I love the gospel. I love the opportunity that we have as missionaries to be representatives of Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel to every living creature! Something exciting though, is that ALL of you can be representatives of Christ. This season you can be angels to those around you. You can serve and help others. I love Mosiah 2:17, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God”. Serve others and do the #lighttheworld activities this Christmas and I PROMISE that your Christmas will be so much better. You will feel the love of christ in your hearts and you will be happy no matter your circumstances. 
 I read this week in the New Era in November what Elder Hales said. He said: “Each of us was there in the Council in Heaven to choose the great plan of happiness we now enjoy. . . . When you have made a commitment to yourself, your family, your bishop, your employer, be there. When it is time to be in church, at Mutual, or fulfilling [an] assignment, be there. When it is time to graduate from school or training programs, be there. When it is time to serve a mission, be there. When the young woman [or man] you love most kneels at the altar of God’s holy temple, be there (and not as a witness). When your family is gathered in the celestial kingdom, be there. When the Savior waits to greet you as you return with honor from your life on this earth and your Heavenly Father wants to encircle you about in the arms of His love, be there.” I just thought that was really cool.

I love y’all so so much!!! Have a great week and enjoy Christmas festivities this next month!
Sister Esplin
A six song CD
Someone who only got ONE fortune cookie

 Thanksgiving with the Johnstuns!! It was AWESOME!!!

 Cookie deliveries!  So many cookies!

 Call up Shel Silverstein! I found where the sidewalk ends. #southernlife

 Mural in Camden

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Church signs, white houses, leaf storms and more


I hope that y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are able to stuff yourselves with turkey. But in between the stuffing and potatoes, try and think about the things that you are thankful for and take the time to really reflect. As I was driving this week, I passed a church sign in Arkadelphia that was pretty funny, but also really got me thinking. It said, “Be grateful that God doesn’t give you what you deserve”.  

This week was a pretty good week! We were able to have a lesson with Maria about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the lesson went really well. She understood it and as we talked about how it is important to have faith in Jesus Christ, she also told us that not only is that important but, we also need to have a RELATIONSHIP with Christ.  So True!  I understood that, but I loved that she talked to us about how important it is!

This week people have been so generous to us in keeping our stomachs VERY full. We got fed every night and we also had two lunch appointments as well. We went to Cracker Barrel twice and also a Chinese buffet. We are now so stuffed, by the end of this week we may start rolling to get places. Hehe! 

On Thursday we went to Henderson State University to see if we could proselyte on campus. Sister Cordova helped us find who we should talk to and then she got us hot chocolate and she led us to the student relations guy. Well. It turns out that we cannot proselyte on campus, BUT we can spend some money and pay to have a table from 8am-5pm and give out pass along cards and proselyte if we want. So we left just shrugging our shoulders and deciding that that was that. Well,  as we were walking back to the car,  Sister Cordova turned to us and said, “If I get the cheddar, can you do it?”. Sister Black responded with “what is cheddar?” And I responded with an “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, what?”  We reached out  to all of our mission leaders including President Hansen and also President Carter-the branch president- and they all said that it was great! We are going to do a “Light The World” table (hopefully) and give out cookies and light the world cards and also show the video and do a big thing with the LDS Student  Assocation! YAY!! President Carter even talked about getting a committee together! Oh my goodness, I am so pumped to #lighttheworld this year! 

On Thursday night we had dinner with the Skaff Seniors (There are two generations of Skaffs that live in the branch so they are Skaff Seniors and Staff Juniors). The Skaffs had invited several couples there and then us:) Well, we were just having a lovely dinner conversation when suddenly, Brother Skaff jumps up from his seat and goes to a secret compartment in his wall and just takes this long piece of wall off and pulls out a super old rifle and pistol. WHAT! We all were freaking out! What a crazy turn of events! I never in a million years would have thought that that would happen. One moment we are having a delightful conversation over tortilla soup, the next moment everyone is ogling over the old guns and passing them around as Brother Skaff Sr tells the history of them. Oh my goodness. I love branches! 

On Saturday we had a walk day. Oh my goodness gracious! It got SO WINDY!!! I thought that I was going to get blown away. Seriously. Leaves where everywhere, my hair was everywhere, my skirt was everywhere (walking up a hill, waving to cars that are passing by you, keeping your hair out of your face, and trying to keep your lightweight skirt from flying up is no easy task. Only a sister missionary). We had walked that day and we had walked from across town to get to our apartment on time for our ride to pick us up. Well, we got to our apartment and she cancelled on us. The ride was to go visit the person picking us up! So our plans were also cancelled. I was so frustrated. I didn’t know what to do. I felt pressure because I am the senior companion,  BUT I still don’t know the area as well as Sister Black! In that moment, I  felt so discouraged and frustrated and like a burden. I was trying to be productive so I finally decided to hit my knees. I went to the bedroom and just prayed. I asked God to help me and to guide me and direct me as to what I was supposed to do. I just prayed and prayed and prayed. Finally the question came, “Will you do what I ask?”. Of course, I thought. Then I heard again in my head, “Will you do what I ask?”. I paused and I really thought about it. It was cold and it was getting dark. I finally answered yes. I felt that we needed to go to a white building on the left side of the road. I thought in my head of a place that matched that description. It was a pretty decent walk away. So I got up and grabbed my stuff and started walking. I’m sure Sister Black thought that I was crazy, but I just walked as fast as I could so we could get where we needed to be before it got too dark. As we were walking down the street, I saw a woman who was picking up her garbage and garbage can from the wind storm earlier in the day. I was going to walk past her, but then I remembered a scripture I had studied that day D&C 61:3 “It is not needful for... mine elders to be moving swiftly... whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief”. So I went and talked to her and even though she said she didn’t need help, I picked up some of her garbage and tried to help her. In my head I kept thinking, I need to get to the White House on the left side of the road! But then I just stopped and tried to focus on her. We finished picking up and she turned to us and asked if we would like to come and share a message with her. My mind kind of reset. It was great! We were able to talk to her and she shared her story with us. Her husband died when she was 21 and she had two kids. She is 64 now and she has not remarried. We were able to give her the plan of salvation pamphlet and we asked if we could come back. She told us that we were welcome to return any time!

At first, I was kind of frustrated because I never got to the White House on the left side of the road. But as I looked back I saw that HER house was white,  AND that it was on the LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD! What a sweet tender mercy. 

My spiritual thought goes hand-in-hand with this experience. Sometimes we have a plan in our mind and we feel like we are doing what Heavenly Father wants us to do and we get frustrated and possibly even angry when things don’t go according to plan. Heavenly Father is in control! Nothing is not according to His plan. It all works out the way that He wants it to. God wants us to be happy. So when we are doing what is right, obeying the commandments, and listening to promptings, don’t be discouraged if we don’t get the outcome that we think that we are going to get. IT IS ALL IN THE PLAN!!!! Trust in Him. I love Psalms 46:10 which says, “Be still and know that I am God”. 

I love y’all so so so much!!!! I hope that you have a wonderful week!!! I have a challenge for y’all as well. I invite all of you to pray to be able to come in contact with someone to introduce the missionaries to by the time that I give my homecoming talk. I know that you will be prompted and guided by the spirit to find those people. I hope that y’all have a great week. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I hope that you continue to read it everyday! 

Love y’all! 



Sister Esplin

 Meeting up with Sister Cordova at Henderson State University.
We can’t wait to #lighttheworld!!!

 FALL! 🍁 and walk days!

Selfie with Sister Moss after she went teaching with Sister Black and me.

Waiting at Cracker Barrel for our dinner appointment.

Beautiful ARKANSAS sunsets!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Your regularly scheduled Sister Esplin broadcast!

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. 

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!!!!


Sister Esplin
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!!