Monday, January 2, 2017

The sun has set on my time in Sherwood

Well, I'm gone. I'm not in Sherwood anymore. In fact, I am not even in the state of Arkansas ...I am  in TENNESSEE!!  My new area is Lakeland, Tennessee, which is actually where Sister Jensen came from when she came to Sherwood. I was so sad to leave Sherwood, but I think this is going to be good. I am super pumped. My new companion is Sister Fogg and she seems super sweet!  I have been told that Lakeland is a pretty upperclass area, which is pretty funny, considering that I am not. I also am going to be living with the Seamans, who are members. I am really excited to get to know them!!

Here is my week in a nutshell: "Twas the week after Christmas"

On Tuesday we had a zone meeting, which was simply great. I really enjoyed the things that were shared and the instructions that were given by our stellar sister training leaders and zone leaders, Sister Decker, Sister Kirby, Elder Plaira, and Elder Johnson. I also was touched by the testimonies given by the four departing missionaries (including my companion, Sister Farr).

On Wednesday we had exchanges. Since the sister training leaders in Conway were dealing with bedbugs (Ooooooh Fun!!!), the sister training leaders from the Little Rock Pinnacle Mountain Ward came to do exchanges with us instead. During exchanges, Sister Minster worked with me while her companion, Sister Skordas, worked with Sister Farr and Sister Jensen.   To be completely honest, since I was planning for the day without my companions, I was a little nervous that they day would not go well.  The day before I had expressed my reservations to my companion, Sister Farr, and she  had turned to me and said, "exchanges can bring miracles”. Well, I really took that to heart and hoped that this exchange would, so I took a deep breathe, planned the day out,  and just prayed hard for miracles. I really wanted to get to work! And as Whitney Houston sang with Mariah Carey, "There can be miracles! If you believe!!!!" And, boy howdy, were there some amazing little miracles that occurred that day. ;) Sister Minster and I started out the day in the best way possible. We met with Chelsea who holds such a special place in my heart. The last time we met with her we wanted to teach her about tithing and fast offerings but the lesson got derailed and we never had an opportunity to share those truths. On Wednesday, I wasn’t sure if we should discuss the topic of tithing, but the spirit boldly let me know that this was, in fact, what Chelsea needed. That day, Chelsea had great questions that led us to teach her clarifying truths about tithing as well as the word of wisdom. I just have to say that I love Chelsea so much.  In many ways, she feels like a sister to me and there have been times when I have wondered if we knew each other in the pre-earth life and made a deal to help each other down on earth.  After our visit with Chelsea, we visited Kathy, who is a bible referral that we had been trying to see forever. We knocked on the door and she actually opened the door! As a matter of fact, she was pretty excited to see us. She let us in and started to pour out her soul to us. We offered to help her move, if she needed help, and she just turned to us and said that we must have been angels. She said that you can know a lot about where somebody is sent from based on what they say and do and because we offered to help her she said that she knew we were sent from God. 😊 Isn’t that sweet?

On Thursday we went to Maumelle! We went and visited Gina, who was recently diagnosed with MS and has been dealing with a lot of pain and health issues. Well, that day she agreed to let us in and she was so happy to see us. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and she was just awesome. She was really grasping everything we taught her. Sometime you hear about super prepared people. I believe that this is Gina. She is crazy prepared. We extended a baptismal invitation to her, but her mom burst through the door-who we are also teaching- and distracted her. They did say that they thought that we were angels. Gina actually turned to Sister Farr and said, I hope it doesn't offend you, but we call you our angels. Awww. Why would that offend us?? Seriously. 

Saying goodbye to everyone was REALLY hard. I have been in Sherwood for six months….SIX MONTHS, people!!! Also, it is hard to be away from Sister Jensen and Sister Farr. I am so grateful for Sister Jensen and Sister Farr and all that I learned from both of them. I am so sad that Sister Farr is going home. I mean, I'm happy for her, but I wish that I could have been with her longer and gotten to know her even better. She truly is amazing. I miss her already. But bigger and better things, right? As much as it hurts to leave so many people that I have grown to love, I feel so much peace about being in Lakeland and being with Sister Fogg. She is seriously such a sweetheart. It is scary to be in a new place, but I have faith that this next chapter in my life will be wonderful, as well. Also, I hit my six month mark on the 29th! I have finished a third of my mission. Crazy sauce, I tell you!!  

Spiritual thought. Thought. Do I have any? I have been up since five this morning so I am a bit frazzled. Forgive my frazzled state.  It’s a New year, right? I mean, I have been so in the thick of saying goodbyes, packing, and moving, that I didn’t even realize that it was a new year until about 9:00 in the morning. This new year is going to be a great one. I just know it! Basically, I have one year left. My goals this year are essentially the goals I make for the last year of my mission. That is a little daunting! I really like what my mom encouraged me to do. She challenged me to counsel with my Heavenly Father and work hand-in-hand with Him in setting my goals.  I really have been trying to do that. I, likewise, challenge all of you to pray and counsel with your Father in Heaven to see what He would have you strive for. And don't be scared to challenge yourself or go out of your comfort zone. There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone. I love y’all. Stay safe! Remember who you are and what you stand for!

Sister Esplin 
Memphis missionary
Goal maker

Excellent packer....with the help of awesome companions

 My final zone conference as a Sherwood Sister

 Lunch with the Routts after Zone Conference

 Sister Edgar's Family

 David's Burger on New Year's Eve!

The Miller family 

 The Kabaou Family, our investigator family 

 The Flakes

 The Repponds in Maumelle

Goodbye, Arkansas!

 My new home away from home….Living with the Seaman in Lakeland, TN

My new companion, Sister Fogg

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