Monday, August 7, 2017

What a week!


This email is going to be a little bit shorter than usual. (I know, y'all are shouting for joy for not having to read my boring novels 😉) but believe me, you ain't missing much :)

This week was kind of hard, mostly because my body completely shut down from stress, fatigue and a virus and I was throwing up a ton this week so we didn’t leave our apartment for 4 days. Also, we didn’t have a car until Saturday, which was super fun since we were completely new to the area and didn’t know where anything was. OHHHHHH, SWEET IS THE WORK!!! 

Well, some really good work that we did this week, we did while we were in Bartlett with the Sister Training Leaders. I found about 3 new investigators!!! For Bartlett… This didn’t really help our numbers in Millington, but you know what? We are all on the same team!!! TRUTH. 

On Monday I went tracting with one of the STLs and it was amazing to see how the spirit can work through us. Also, I developed a stronger testimony of role playing in companion study or at zone conferences. Last week we went to a mission leadership conference (MLC) and did a role play with some elders where we knocked on the door and the situation was that their mother had just passed away. I honestly didn’t know what to say. All of a sudden, I heard the words come out of my mouth, “How have you gotten through that?" Right after I said it, I thought to myself, “Why would I say a stupid thing like that?!” Well afterwards, we evaluated the role play, and they said that that question was what helped them open up and feel the spirit. Wow!  Well this past Monday, we encountered a lady whose mother had just passed away. Once again, the question fell out of my mouth. She immediately broke down and she was so happy to listen to the message of the Savior and His triumph over death and how much He loves her. I feel so strongly that Heavenly Father truly prepares us for moments like that. I just love testifying of the love our Heavenly Father has for us and for the knowledge that we have that Jesus Christ is always by us and helping us each and every day. 

Another cool moment occurred this week as I was struggling and feeling so bad about myself and thinking, “Wow, Esplin, way to go! You just HAD to get sick! If you were stronger, you would be able to get through this and not be sick and work really hard here..etc. etc." All things that the adversary puts into our minds. It's not true, but at that moment, I just felt so alone and so bad about myself, that I knelt down and said a prayer out loud. I asked Heavenly Father for comfort and strength and that I would be able to feel like I am not alone. At that moment, I felt so comforted. I KNEW that Heavenly Father had sent angels to help me and strengthen me. I literally FELT like angels were surrounding me and, as I sobbed, I felt that people that knew me and loved me were around me and wanted to comfort me. I was able to get up and feel so much better about myself and the great job that I have to do here. 

I want to share a little from my studies this week. I read an amazing talk from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf from last general conference, called "Perfect love casteth out fear". He said: "The more I come to know my Heavenly Father, the more I see how He inspires and leads His children. He is not angry, vengeful, or retaliatory. His very purpose--His work and His glory--is to mentor us, exalt us, and lead us to His fulness. God described Himself to Moses as “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Our Father in Heaven’s love for us, His children, surpasses by far our ability to comprehend. Does this mean that God condones or overlooks behaviors that run contrary to His commands? No, definitely not! But He wants to change more than just our behaviors. He wants to change our very natures. He wants to change our hearts. He wants us to reach out and take firm hold of the iron rod, confront our fears, and bravely step forward and upward along the strait and narrow path. He wants this for us because He loves us and because this is the way to happiness.
So, how does God motivate His children to follow Him in our day?
He sent His Son!
God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the right way.
God motivates through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned. God is on our side. He loves us, and when we stumble, He wants us to rise up, try again, and become stronger.
He is our mentor.
He is our great and cherished hope.
He desires to stimulate us with faith.
He trusts us to learn from our missteps and make correct choices.
This is the better way!"

I know that Heavenly Father loves us all so much and I love that He wants us to change. He doesn't want us to become something completely new. He wants to mold us and help us along the way so that we can be able to become more like Him. I love the fact that He wants to change our our natures and our hearts. Something that I have come to hold onto and cherish is the fact that I am never alone and that I have a perfect person, who has felt EVERYTHING that I have felt, to rely on. He is there, and He wants us to turn to Him. I hope that we can each look inside of ourselves and see things that we can change to become more like the Savior and more like our Father in Heaven. 

As a zone, we are doing a 30 day consecration where we fasted yesterday and last night prayed for what Heavenly Father wanted us to put on the alter to give our whole selves to Him. We had a pen and paper near so we could write it down. The great thing is, we aren't asked to do multiple things at a time, just one thing at a time, until the Lord tells us that we have mastered that and we can move on to something else. I invite y'all to do that as well. I know that He will guide and inspire youth ways that you can change, because He sure has told me. 

I love y'all so so so so so so so much!!!!! I hope that you have a good week. Thank you so much for your prayers and your emails and letters. I sure love hearing from you!! Love you lots and lots!!! I know the church is true and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Pass it on!

Sister Esplin
Believer of miracles
Recovered from a virus

Crazy person

First week in Millington, TN
Our bishop seems awesome!!

On the road again…getting transferred to Millington, TN!

This was our area book when we arrived in Millington  last week…COMPLETELY EMPTY!!😳😧

Our cute STLs 

Frozen custard…Oh man!!!

Stake Women’s Conference in the North Memphis Stake
RM Sister Jensen and her family came back to visit the mission and made a surprise visit to the conference that day! 

That moment when your companion tells you that someone stole your catchphrase. Made my day!! ☺️

When you are sick all week so your companion finishes TWO puzzles. 😝 Also, rocking some crazy “Ted-head”. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Baseball bats and pepper spray

Hello my lovely family and wonderful friends!!! 

I say hello with a grateful heart and touched spirit. This week was quite a week and I don't know how much I should tell y'all about now and how much I will tell y'all after my mission. I have been praying about whether or not I should share with y'all what happened this week, but since I am no longer in Lonoke, (SURPRISE! I'm transferred! 😢) I felt that it should be okay to tell y'all. Also, partially because this took up pretty much the WHOLE week. Please forgive me if I share too much. I pray I can follow the spirit in what I share with y'all. 

Okay, last Monday we started our exchange with our sister training leaders. Sister Peterson went with sister Dayley to Conway and I remained in Lonoke with Sister Gray. I am so grateful for the members in Lonoke!!! Sister Shelton was such a sweet heart and she drove us all the way to Conway to drop of Sister Peterson and then bring Sister Gray back to Lonoke. Her cute daughters were such good sports about driving a bunch and they had so much fun in the backseat with Sister Gray. They were totally hamming it up, which totally reminded me of Katelyn and Parker and how they would be with new people...or really, any people. 

Tuesday we had our second walk day of our walk week. It was fantastic!!! We had our district meeting that morning which was interesting. We then had several skype meetings at the church. Yay for meetings!!!! I love being so spiritually fed. We actually decided to study three of the  citations of Jesus Christ as listed in the topical guide, like President Russell M Nelson challenged everyone to do during the last General Conference that we had. Sister Peterson picked the three topics and we studied them all together over skype!!! Yes! Huzzah! It was so spiritual and it really opened my heart, spirit, and mind. I love the scriptures and I love Jesus Christ. 

We also were able to go finding and we were able to find someone super awesome named Sydney!! She is so cool! She came outside in the humidity and she had AMAZING makeup and I was just freaking out. She was so amazing though. She was so sweet and she accepted a Book of Mormon and we were able to testify that we know that Heavenly Father loves her and knows her. I love the gospel!!!

On Tuesday night everything kind of blew up.  Sister Gray and I were sitting in our living room/dining room at about 10 at night with all of our lights on just busting a gut.  All of a sudden, we heard a noise and we just stopped. We have a super heavy glass and steel screen door and someone was very very slowly opening it. In a crazy out of body experience, I rushed to the door and flipped the deadbolt. After that, someone tried to open our door then they slowly shut our screen door. We immediately freaked out and grabbed our stuff and hid and said a prayer. We asked that if we were in no danger that he would give us peace. Immediately we felt an increase of panic so we called our district leader who prayed and then called us back and asked if we ever felt like we should call the police. We answered in the affirmative and immediately one of the assistants to the president called us and told us to get out of there. We agreed. But we didn't quite feel comfortable going outside to our car, out through the door that someone just tried to break into. So we called the cops and he gave us an escort out. Yay!!! Plus, I gave him a Book of Mormon and he was so so grateful! Sharing the gospel even at 11 o'clock at night! Our AP called us “The Midnight Missionaries”. We renamed ourselves “The Sisters Revere”, 😂 driving into the night to stay in Sherwood. The next day we returned with bats and pepper spray, as per President Hansen’s instructions, and returned to our apartment in Carlisle. but neither one of us felt safe there.  This week I learned a lot about discerning the spirit. For the remaining week we have been on the run staying with different people. I have probably had 15 hours of sleep this week. I joked and said that I was being driven from our home by persecution like the early saints (not really)! Now, both Sister Peterson and I are being transferred to Millington, TN where we are opening the area. Woot woot! 

Oh my goodness we also got asked to go to missionary leadership council which was so cool!!! I learned so much and felt the spirit so strong. Something so cool that President said was that rationalization is knocking on the doors of hell. 😧He is seriously so cool. He just loves us and wants us to be so spiritually led. I love that he said that because I think that we do that a lot where we rationalize what we are doing and it eventually leads to much bigger things. I just feel so blessed to be on a mission. Seriously, this week the spirit has been so strong and I have truly felt angels around me protecting me and helping me along the way. I know that Heavenly Father knows me and loves me. I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to serve others and to say that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I hope that I can strive to live up to that title and truly serve each day. I love y'all so so so much! Thank you for all of your love and support. Y'all are wonderful! Have a great day!!

Sister Esplin
Lover of knocking on doors
Armed with a bat and pepper spray

New missionary in Millington

 In Conway with the STLs  Sister Dayley and Sister Gray

 Making a pit stop at Sam’s Club with the Sheltons

 Armed with pepper spray and a baseball bat

Beautiful sky!!!

 With Sister Alston

 Saying goodbye to the Sheltons 

 The Cabot sisters!!!

The signed shirt

Getting a much needed hug from Sister Pierson