Monday, January 23, 2017

LakeLAND of Plenty

Hello beautiful friends and family! I love you all and I just love and adore all of your emails, letters, and pictures. Thanks for all the love and support that you give me each day and week. You are all truly amazing and I feel extremely blessed to have y'all in my life. 

I just adore Lakeland. Can I just say that? The ward is just fantastic and they just saved my life this week. Since our mission has to put limits on car miles each month, we were scheduled for a walk week  (🎶 walking in Memphis🎤), but I was super stressed about going on walk week with my ankle-yes it's still a problem (I'm acclimating to the pain).  Fortunately, the amazing (member) sisters in our ward took such good care of us. We made a sign up sheet for people to pick us up and come out with us, and seriously, SO many people did! And miracles really did happen!! WE SET TWO BAPTISMAL DATES!!!!!! HOORAY!!! 

Here is the highlight reel for the week! 🎬

On Tuesday we had district meeting, which was awesome. Our district leader told us to share gospel truths with those we meet. So we did! When we went out with the Young Women's President, we met a boy named Jay-who is now avoiding us, so dang it- and I gave him a restoration pamphlet and told him that the priesthood of God had been restored and is on the earth today to bless each one  of us! 

Thursday was truly our miracle day!!!! We started out our day by going out with Sister Miani. We were attempting to visit some former investigators, and when we got to the first house the lady told us her dog had made a huge mess so we would need to come over some other time. Well, we were walking down her driveway and I saw this girl with a straight outta Memphis beanie on and decided to run over to her and give her a card. Well, the spirit obviously had other plans because, oh man, I invited her to baptism. Outside. On the curb. In the rain. Two minutes after meeting her. We actually gave her the restoration pamphlet and the Book of Mormon and she looked at us in wonder and asked how she could learn more! Crazy! She accepted the baptismal invitation and Dominique is her name. We just got in the car and I just sat there for a second. It was so amazing. I felt like the spirit definitely was the one that did that. Not me. We just testified of God's love for us. And she wanted to know more. 

We later went to Rosie and Eddie's house. Rosie is a returning member and Eddie is her brother. They have been taught for a little while, but last week Eddie came to church which was HUGE! We went to their house and we talked about the priesthood and about learning and serving in the church and he was so excited about everything, so we set a date with him,  as well!!!!!! He also asked us to please keep teaching him about baptism so he can learn. Okay Eddie!

On Saturday our Sister Training Leaders spent the day with us. We actually went and cleaned someone's house in the morning and then we split off, Sister King worked with me, and Sister Decker worked with Sister Fogg. Well, lucky for me....Sister King was assigned to CLEAN THE TEMPLE!!!!!!! It was so amazing and peaceful and just fantastic. I truly felt so clean and happy. And the coolest thing happened. I walked into the temple and who did I see? Brother and Sister Pierson from the NLR ward!!! Later, Sister Wing (the wife of my former Stake President in NLR) came  up to me, as well, and gave me a giant hug! It was like I was home! All these people at I had grown to love in NLR were here at the temple. Then, I saw some other people I knew from Tennessee! It truly was amazing to me. For a moment, I felt like I had a small glimpse into comprehending what  it will probably be like in the spirit world someday. That everywhere we look we will rediscover people that we love and have missed and that it will be such a happy and joyous reunion. It was such a privilege to clean the temple. As I was dusting I felt so strongly that my Heavenly Father knows me and He trusts me and that He is proud of me. When I glanced into  the mirrors where you can see for eternity I noticed that it when I looked only at myself I could only see a little ahead of me, but when I would look at Sister King or someone else in the mirror, I could see forever. This experience reminded me that I truly need to be looking towards eternity for my investigators. I need to stop looking at myself and noticing how I am right now and start looking at how I can help others to come closer to the temple and to having eternal life. When I could see others forevers, I could better see mine. I just love the temple. 

This week our Sister Training Leaders had us do an exchange for several days and it was so much fun to be in Bartlett with Sister King! She is adorable and we laughed so hard, but got a lot done. We even went out with a cute girl in the ward. It was so fun. 

My spiritual thought actually comes from the Book of Mormon. I have been studying leadership qualities so that I can better appreciate my leaders and recognize their love for me and one thing that I have really loved is that in the Book of Mormon Nephi often says that he is telling us these things for our own eternal welfare. In 2 Nephi 6:3-4 it says, " 3 Nevertheless, I speak unto you again; for I am desirous for the welfare of your souls. Yea, mine anxiety is great for you; and ye yourselves know that it ever has been. For I have exhorted you with all diligence; and I have taught you the words of my father; and I have spoken unto you concerning all things which are written, from the creation of the world.
4 And now, behold, I would speak unto you concerning things which are, and which are to come; wherefore, I will read you the words of Isaiah. And they are the words which my brother has desired that I should speak unto you. And I speak unto you for your sakes, that ye may learn and glorify the name of your God."

I love that we lead and serve others for the welfare of their souls. I love you all. I hope you all have a wonderful week. I am so grateful to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and have a part in this great work. There are hard days, sure. But they are so worth it. I just adore everything about Lakeland. Everyone is great. The work is good. I love my companion! Life is just dandy. It is hard, but so fulfilling. I love y'all.  Have a fantastic week!!!

Sister Esplin


 Cleaning the Memphis Temple with Sister King

 Memphis Temple

 Picnic outside the temple with my STL’s Sister King & Sister Decker

 Raising the roof with Gracie

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