Friday, January 13, 2017

The garden of Lakeland

Well, I just have to say...I love Lakeland, Tennessee!!! It is legit. Sure, we aren't teaching anyone right now, but I truly believe in miracles and I think that we, as missionaries, each have a role to play in each area. I have heard it related to a garden. Some people are the ones that plant seeds. Some nurture the plants and help them to grow, and some are the harvesters. I believe that Lakeland might be in the seed planting stage, but you know, sometimes while you are planting seeds you find fruit that is ready to be harvested! I truly believe in miracles and I am so happy to be here. I have learned that a happy heart and good attitude can go a long way. I know that attitude is truly so important. We often talk about the four pillars of missionary work in this mission. They are attitude, obedience, work ethic, and gospel knowledge. I really, really think that they all tie together. When you have a good attitude you will be more obedient, thus have a good work ethic, leading to learning more and increasing your gospel knowledge. I really have been learning that putting a smile on your face just helps you to feel good. There have been many days when we have knocked on SO many doors, and all of our plans have fallen through, but I can honestly say that I don't feel discouraged. In fact, just the opposite. I believe that my hope and faith in Jesus Christ are the very things that buoy me up. I think I have hit my rest easy point every night-the point were I can go to bed comfortably knowing that I did all that I could do that day. Even though our numbers were not great this week-which isn't why we do this work- I can honestly say that there was a lot of unseen work behind them. 

Alrighty. Well, I don't have a ton of things to share. I worked a lot. I knocked on a LOT of doors. I didn't talk to a lot of people. I got sick...again. Woot woot! OH!!! It snowed!  People were losing their minds over this. Seriously, it was just a little bit of snow…like not even enough to make a snowball. They cancelled school. They almost had us stay inside. What?! It did get crazy cold, but that’s okay. My Utah upbringing had my driving covered. Yup. I'm still the designated driver. So all of my pre-mission stressing when I got into my car accident was for nothing. Hahahaha. 

Oh! I had a miracle happen this week.  Since our mission had discouraged us from being outside in the cold weather, we decided to do some service while we remained indoors. We decided to visit members and nonmembers with cookies, so made a quick pitstop to Kroger to pick up some cookie dough. We drive a 2017 Malibu, which is a keyless car. I understand that the car usually works great, but when we arrived at Kroger and got outside of the car,  I tried to lock the car and it wouldn’t lock.  So we got back in the car and tried to start the car.  Nope. Didn't work. In fact, it didn't detect the key…the key that was in my hand! At this point, we started freaking out. We tried everything. We called the members we lived with, other members who live close by, even our sister training leaders and our district leader. Nobody could help us. The problem also was that I didn't know how we would lock the car, so we would have left the car unlocked all night-yes, now I know that I could have locked the car on the inside of the door and then left it. Don't judge me…I was stressed!!!  At this point, I was feeling pretty frazzled, so I basically just started talking to God, asking Him to help me. I just needed to vent to Him before I asked Him for help (forgive my irreverence). Well, I basically told Him that I KNEW that he could do miracles, that I knew he could start our car. After all, He created the universe!! After my that,  I humbly prayed and pled for help, asking that if it wasn't His will to start the car, that He would guide us as to what we should do. And what happened??? The. Car. Started. WHAT!?!!?! It was so cool. Also, the music was on and what was the song?? “Hallelujah” by the MoTab. I seriously was dying. It was so cool. So that is my miracle. I will attach the video I made afterwards. It pretty much sums up my excitement and the joy I had. 

My spiritual thought for this week is about the restoration.  It comes from a talk that I read recently about how we really need to have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the first vision, because if we don't believe that, then everything else is a fraud. We cannot say the church is true without believing in the first vision, because if that didn’t happen, we would not have the priesthood and that would make it so that we were just like all the other churches. I have prayed and pondered a lot about that and I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he truly saw God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I would invite all of you to pray about that, as well..especially if you have doubts. I know that this is Christ's church on the earth again and that the priesthood truly is on the earth. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring us so much joy! I love my Savior. I love my Father in Heaven. I love all of you! Sorry for the preachy tone. I just feel pretty passionate about it. That is something else I have learned on my mission. I am passionate about the gospel. Thank y'all for the emails. Thank you for all of the letters and the pictures. I love them. Thank you for your prayers and support. I love you and I know our Heavenly Father loves you too!

Sister Esplin
A keyless car driver
Someone who occasionally rants to God

A girl on a mission;)

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