Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“Behold, I am a disciple of Christ…”


I hope that y'all have had a wonderful week. I know I have. Well, it has been an interesting week, but it has been a really good one, as well. This week really had some awesome experiences. ALSO… I have been out for a year. WHAT?!!!!! So so so crazy. I seriously cannot believe it. It feels like just yesterday I was getting dropped off at the MTC. So much has happened though. I feel like there have been so many highs and lows, but the highs always have outweighed the lows. I would not trade or change ANY of my experiences on my mission. I have met so many amazing people and had so many amazing experiences that have helped me to grow closer to my Savior and to my Heavenly Father. I have loved my mission so much. I just love that I have the BEAUTIFUl opportunity to serve here. I definitely think my mission has a refiner’s fire, but I would not change ANYTHING about it. I am stronger and I am closer to my Savior. I have realized how little I know and how little I can do on my own. I know that it is only through Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father that I have been able to do anything. Sometimes I forget and that is rough, because I am given opportunities to humble myself, but I am grateful for all that my mission has given me.  I wouldn't change it for the world. I am so grateful for my family and the sacrifices that they have made so that I can be here. They are such a blessing to me and I am so so so glad that I get to be with them for eternity. 

As for this week... HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Tuesday was definitely one of the amazing highlights of this week. We started off with district meeting, where we discussed how we can better work with the members in our areas. We also made two dozen cookies, but because we had an appointment right after district meeting, we left the cookies and said that we would come back later to have some. Well, later came and 2 sets of elders ate ALL 24 cookies. WHAT! I was floored that they could inhale all those cookies!  After our appointment, our sister training leaders came and blitzed the area with us. Sister Dayley went with me and Sister Gray went with Sister Peterson. Sister Dayley is just awesome!!! It was so great to tract with her for the day. I felt like I learned so much from her. I also realized that I have a long way to go. BUT, we totally kicked trash and found SO MANY people to teach :) YAY!!!! WE seriously talked to everyone. And when I say everyone I mean EVERYONE. There was also this little neighborhood and a bunch of kids were asking us for cards and giving us a ton of referrals. Yay for kids! We gave out so many cards on Tuesday I was seriously writing cards as we were walking up to people. So much work!!! The field is truly white y'all. I just felt so blessed. Seriously, the more people that we talked to, the more people Heavenly Father placed in our path that wanted to listen to us. God is GOOD!!! But, seriously, there were people asking US if we could come back… that they WANTED to hear our message! YAY!!!! I felt hot, sweaty, sticky, and itchy, but I have never felt happier. You could not wipe the smile off of my face. SWEET IS THE WORK!!! I just love being a missionary. I love sharing the message that has brought me so much joy and peace! 

We didn’t get to do a TON of work this week, because I got dehydrated on Wednesday (apparently I should have been drinking more water considering that I was sweating so much. We were just talking so much and there was no time to drink water). On Friday, my companion got SUPER sick with what we thought was strep, so we have been inside for almost 72 hours, except for when we went to church and dinner last night.  On the bright side, I have been able to study so so much, which is great! I love building up that gospel knowledge.  WE also got a new mission president this week. President and Sister Hansen are now here! YAY! I am so so so so excited to meet them this week. I just hope and pray that they can feel the love that we all have for them. I hope that everyone welcomes them with open arms and open hearts. I know that they will bring this mission to even greater heights. 

I have some more thoughts, (sorry it is so long, it has been a spiritually high week 😊).
With it being the 4th of JULY this week, I was thinking about how grateful I am for the opportunity to have religious freedom. I wouldn't be able to be here and do this divine work if it weren’t for the sacrifices that our founding fathers made for us. I am so grateful that we live in a country where I can be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

This week I have done a lot of study on how to become a converted disciple of Jesus Christ. It was really interesting. It wasn't a topic that I had planned to study, but the Lord definitely led me there. I was reading the Book of Mormon and one of my very favorite scriptures came up in my studies. 3rd Nephi 5:13. “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare him word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.” As I read that passage, I referenced the institute commentary and I absolutely LOVED what it said: “‘The word disciple comes from the Latin [meaning] a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ--learning to think, to feel, and to act as He does. To be a true disciple, to fulfill that learning task, is the most demanding regimen known to man. No other discipline compares … in either requirements or rewards. It involves the total transformation of a person from the state of the natural man to that of [a] saint, one who loves the Lord and serves with all of his heart, might, mind, and strength’ (Chauncey C. Riddle, ‘Becoming a Disciple,’ Ensign, Sept. 1974, 81)”.  When I went into Preach My Gospel to study, I was drawn to chapter 6, which is the Christlike Attribute chapter. Another little paragraph just stuck out to me and, literally, the words pierced my heart. "Some chapters of preach my gospel focus on what you need to do as a missionary-how to study, how to teach, how to manage time wisely. Just as vital as what you do, however is who you are" (Preach my Gospel, pg. 115). The thought came to me, if I were to do all the right things, but not become changed-not become like my Savior, Jesus Christ- I would entirely miss the mark. I am not only here to declare the gospel to all who I see and meet, but I am here to BECOME a changed person. That is what we are ALL here for, whether it be on a mission or at home. We are here to become more like Him.  I love the next paragraph in PMG, it says: " The restored gospel enables you to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Savior has shown the way. He has set the perfect example, and He commands us to become as He is (see 3 Nephi 27:27). Learn of Him and seek to incorporate His attributes into your life. Through the power of His Atonement, you can achieve this goal and lead others to achieve it also". (PMG, pg. 115) I have been thinking more and more and more about that. 

Since my companion was sick this week, I was able to do a lot of studying. I was reading a story in a really old New Era magazine and it was talking about a missionary that came on his mission and he had a ton of goals. He aspired to be a district leader, to baptize for six consecutive months, and to be a zone leader. What was interesting was that those achievements really didn't do anything if he wasn't becoming more like the Savior. It wasn’t until he studied about the Savior and really tried to think about what the Savior would do that he found the most success and joy on his mission. I made a commitment to myself that I would better learn of the Savior, and to become more like the Savior in all facets of my life. I say to people all the time that we are representatives of Jesus Christ. Well, If I'm going to be his representative, I will (always strive to) do what he would do. I will say what he would say. And I will be where he would be. Those thoughts just opened my mind a little more to what being a missionary is all about. It is about helping others come unto Christ. If I am not being like Christ and trying to live so I can see his image in my countenance how can I help others to the greatest extent that I can?

I love y'all so so so much and I hope that you have a wonderful week filled with miracles and blessings and learning experiences. Most of all, may each of you grow closer to our Savior this week, as well. HAVE A HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! 🇺🇸🎆🎇
Love y'all!!!
Sister Esplin
A disciple of Jesus Christ
Sweaty monster 

 One year out on my mission!!! Happy Birthday to Me!!! 

 I didn’t want to burn any clothes, so I burned a little sign that I made instead.

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