Hello hello!!!! It's me, Sister Esplin!!!
Are you sick of me yet? I sure hope not. Because you have, a solid 4 more months of this. Eek! 😬 Sister Anderson (one of my favorite people ever! Plus we were in the MTC together) told someone at a doorstep this week that we had been on our missions for fourteen months. That only made my eyes pop out of my head and my heart start racing from panic. Not yet-I whispered to myself as I simultaneously screamed inside my head. BUT! Enough about that.
This week was AWESOME!! 🙌 It was (drum roll pleeeeaaase!)...WALK WEEK!!!! Huzzah. I love walk week, because literally, walk week always brings miracles; and as much as it brings me great joy to have a car again at the end of the week, I recognize the great blessings and miracles that come from walking all of the time. Anywho… On with the show!!!
This week I really saw so many miracles as well as had some fantastic awkward moments! Yay! It really is true that you cannot know what sweet is until you taste something bitter. Truth. So since we were walking we were able to talk to as many people as we could. It was actually kind of funny though, because at one point I told Sister Anderson-on our exchange- that I really hadn't had TOO many doors slammed on me, more people have just blatantly ignored me. She just kind of looked at me and smiled. I'm sure what was going through her head was, 'Bless your heart, you just cursed yourself'. Don't complain about the lot you have in life. So at one point we knocked on a door that Sister Anderson really wanted to knock on. We got to the door step and there was a little door hanging that had all of the kids' names on it. It had Gideon, Simon, and Naomi. All good Bible names. So we were talking to each other about how awesome these people might be and the lady opens the door and points at Sister Anderson and just says, “No”, and-you guessed it- slammed the door right in our faces! In my head I thought, maybe she needs to read those Bible stories a little bit more. But of course, like he always does, the spirit rebuked me and I felt bad for being frustrated at her.
On Tuesday we had a super sweet member, Sister Christensen help us out and take us to a neighborhood that was close to our dinner appointment and so we were gonna be there for about 3 hours. We just started knocking on doors like crazy!!! Nobody really answered, but a few did and they were AWESOME!!! We knocked on one door and this 13 year old boy answered the door and told us that he was going to get his mom. She came to the door and invited us inside (we were VERY happy, because it was CRAZY hot and humid). We talked with her a little while and she was so amazing. She told us that she is really open to learning more and she would love to come to church with us. We told her about how we do emails with little videos for people and she told us, ABSOLUTELY! She really wants us to come back and talk with her husband as well. So we are pretty excited for that.
We also met a man named Mike! He was working on a cool old car that for the life of me I cant remember what model, or brand or year it is. I probably asked him 3 times and I cant remember. Anywho we just quickly taught him the restoration and then told him that we know that there is a prophet on the earth today and that he leads and guides us and that he has called us to be here at this time to talk to him. He asked us who the prophet was and we told him. He told us about how he has a hard time believing that God is a loving God because of how every summer there are little babies that die in hot cars and how could a loving god let them die painfully like that. He continued to tell us that he had a bit of a hard time with his faith and that people think that he is evil for saying that. He has so many questions but a lot of religions do not accept questions and in fact condemn them. We told him that we love questions and that it is okay to have a hard time with our faith sometimes, that is how we grow. And the church was RESTORED because of a question! We gave him a Book of Mormon and we talked to him about Alma and Amulek in Alma chapter 14 where all of the people are being burned. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and we asked if we could come back and he said yes!!!!! It was so amazing. The spirit was so strong there!
OH MY GOSH. LAST ONE! While I was on exchanges with Sister Anderson, we went to an investigator's house and the lady, Laquetta, was not there. But, her daughter, Latonya was there! She talked to us and she was so so sweet. She was just telling us about her life and she just started crying. She just felt like she hadn't been forgiven and she kept saying that she wanted God to forgive her because she was trying to make changes in her life. We told her that as she truly repents she is forgiven. She just bawled. We testified of God's love for her and how truly special she is. Oh my goodness, the spirit was so so so strong. I feel like there were definitely angels there. We shared with her Alma 7:11 and we told her about how the gospel can really bless her family and if she wants to know if God really loves her, the fact that we were at her porch at one of her lowest moments truly testifies of his love for her. She just cried. She told us she felt speechless. She felt so much happiness. Oh my goodness. She felt the spirit so strongly. She had been looking for purpose and direction and we told her, God is ready for her to come back and it was not a coincidence that we were there. She nodded and told us that she knows. We said a prayer with her and she just hugged us. Sister Anderson and I both walked away from that and just looked at each other and did a little happy dance and talked about how we had never met such a prepared person in our missions. And we've been out for 14 months!
Y'all. Life is so good. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you. If you doubt that, ask him. I PROMISE that as you ask him, he will tell you. I know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for every one of us and that he knows us perfectly. He knows how to help us and he knows what we need. I know that he is so so so aware of us and he is seriously right by us. I always tell people that I imagine that He is standing right by us and He is just begging us to let Him help us and we just ignore Him and basically say that we know what is best and what will help us. And yet He still stays with us, just waiting for the opportunity to help us and strengthen us. I know that our Heavenly Father lives!!
I want to share a little bit of my studies with y'all this week. I was in sacrament meeting yesterday and there was a speaker that was talking about service and he brought up a really good point that was in Preach My Gospel in chapter 3 lesson 5, under Service. It says "We are to become aware of others' physical and spiritual needs". I love that. I thought, how can we know that? How can we become aware of their needs? By being in tune with the spirit. We can literally be angels in other people's lives. As we live righteously and listen to and act on the promptings of the spirit, we can bless others lives and serve as the Savior would.
I read a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard (and y'all I cannot for the life of me remember if I have shared this talk during my mission, it has been a hot minute, so sorry if it is a repeat. I felt like I should share today). It is from October 2012 general conference and it is called, "Be anxiously Engaged". Some of my favorite things that he says is, "Only when our testimony transcends what is in our mind and burrows deep into our heart will our motivation to love and to serve become like unto the Savior’s. It is then, and only then, that we become deeply converted disciples of Christ empowered by the Spirit to reach the hearts of our fellowmen." I loved that especially with my goal to become a converted disciple of Jesus Christ! It was like a lightning bolt to the heart!
Another thing he said was, "I’m simply suggesting that we take the next logical step in our complete conversion to the gospel of Christ by assimilating its doctrines deep within our hearts and our souls so we will act and live consistently--and with integrity--what we profess to believe.
This integrity simplifies our lives and amplifies our sensitivities to the Spirit and to the needs of others. It brings joy into our lives and peace to our souls--the kind of joy and peace that comes to us as we repent of our sins and follow the Savior by keeping His commandments.
How do we make this change? How do we ingrain this love of Christ into our hearts? There is one simple daily practice that can make a difference for every member of the Church, including you boys and girls, you young men and you young women, you single adults, and you fathers and mothers.
That simple practice is: In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible."
I invite all y'all to really pray and ask for opportunities to serve. I know that a lot of you are already doing that, and that is awesome! I just know I love being a missionary and serving and helping others. Someone posed the question, “ Why do you think that missionaries are always so happy?” I truly believe that it is because they are looking outside themselves and trying to serve others with all their heart. I really am trying every day to do that. I know that as we read our scriptures, pray, and serve, we can find eternal joy and happiness.
I love y'all so so so much!!! You are amazing! I am so grateful to have y'all in my life. I hope that you have a wonderful week and that you can have spiritual experiences that can help you grow closer to the savior and our Heavenly Father!
READ THE SCRIPTURES!!!
Someone who literally scares people into dropping everything and changing their plans for the day to avoid me.
Someone striving to serve.
The Sisters in the Millington SIStrict!!!
There are the elders…our district/zone leaders! The model district for the Millington Zone.
Up close and personal.
Those Tennessee skies just kill me! Sigh!
Exchanges with Sister Anderson! I am not that short!
I found a 901 rock!! It’s a big deal here.
901 is the area code for around here and people are very proud.
901 rocks are just scattered throughout the city.