Monday, February 28, 2011

First Day and First week in the MTC

Hey everybody!
Man am I grateful for P-days. This is the first one I've had since I've gotten here. 8 days of non-stop feeling of spiritual goodness get tiring. But I'm finding myself growing in every way- physically (the MTC food is way too good here...), mentally, since I'm studying the gospel basically every second of every day, emotionally, as I've faced some of the most emotionally straining things of my life here, and of course, spiritually, as my testimony of this gospel and of prayer has been strengthened. I love it so much. And I'm seeing a ton of elders I know up here- Elder Fisher, Elder Ence, Elder Walters, and Elder Heaps from the ward. I also ran into Elder Nygaard and a bunch of others from high school and 4-H. Everybody is super nice. I honestly love the MTC so much. It's such a good experience.
I miss you all a ton. But I know the Lord needs me here right now and I'm getting ready to do his work. I'm indescribably excited for it. Tell dad I got his Dear Elder. Spread the word about those. 3/4 of the mail here is from Dear Elder. Thanks for all the love and support. I miss you guys tons. (p.s. get Jared and Kirk writing me too those punks! =P )
So, it would take me way longer than the 30 minutes I have to write everything that's been going on. But I'll lay down a few highlights. I spend about 6 hours in class every day. I feel like I'm back in college. But the lessons are a bit different. We spend about half the time learning and the other half teaching each other. Me and my companion get along great. His name is Elder Rodriguez. He's from here in Provo. He talks Spanish pretty well, so we talk back and forth every once in a while. Not that we'll ever get to use it...but still. It never hurts to be prepared. I love the role plays we do. Even though we aren't really teaching real investigators, the Spirit still manifests to our hearts what we need to do and say. It's crazy how the Spirit can guide us if we're truly worthy. So crazy. Oh. One other big thing going on for me is that I was chosen to be the district leader. There were 9 elders in our district initially. My jobs were to hold two weekly district devotionals, attend two leadership trainings weekly, hold personal interviews every week, get the mail, and choose the prayers and songs every time we meet. As far as the actual tasks I'm required to do, it isn't too bad. But feeling the responsibilities as the district leader are kinda tough. I've been trying really hard to keep a feeling of brothership amongst us. We're all going to the same mission, so we're growing really tight. Problem is, there's been lots of road bumps. A few of the elders aren't meshing very well. Also, one elder has already gone home for personal reasons, and one more elder is leaving today, with one more hanging in the balance. It's really hard for me to see them go. I cried seeing the first one go. Even though I've only known these elders for a week, I love them like brothers, and it's hard to see them go. But I know the will of the Lord is being done and I pray I can just be what I need to be for my district. But on the matter of those elders going home, I just want all the young men out there to know to be careful before you get to the MTC. Anything on your conscious will eat you alive. I've seen it rip apart a third of my district. The spirit here is so strong that you really won't be able to handle it. Just get it taken care of before you get here. You'll regret if you don't. And young women, be careful what you do with the young men. Don't let them do anything stupid. Their mistakes will keep them from their mission and keep you from feeling the spirit. Don't let it happen. Sorry to get all preachy, but watching my fellow elders go home has been one of the hardest things for me to see.
I'm running a little short on time, But I want to share one story from this past week. Tuesday morning, I woke up in the middle of an AWESOME migraine. But this one was particularly "special." The pain was more intense that I've ever experienced previously, to the extent that my right arm was numb. I managed to take some meds and I lay in bed hating life until my alarm went off. I couldn't sleep it off because I needed to get up and going. As I sat there wondering what I could do, my body answered the question for me with a wave of nausea. I spent the next hour going back and forth between the bathroom and my bedroom getting into my suit and emptying my stomach. I somehow managed to get ready and teach the devotional, but by 8, I was wasted. I sat at breakfast with my head against the table. I tried drinking some sprite but it made me way sick. The light hurt my eyes and my stomach was churning. I was really miserable. But I needed to be better. Me and my companion were supposed to teach an investigator a lesson we had been preparing for many hours the last few days. I needed help. So, I said a sincere prayer. I asked that the Lord would just take this away so I could focus on becoming a good missionary for him. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head. It echoed a phrase I had heard many times the last few days "According to thy faith be it unto you." Whether it was myself producing that in my mind or if it was a manifestation of the Spirit, I don't know, nor does it matter. I knew I had an ultimatum on my hands. Did I really have the faith to be HEALED? I searched my soul for my faith. I thought back on the experiences and spirit I've had this week as well as before the MTC. I knew I could. So, I poured out my faith and testimony in prayer. As I did, I felt my head begin to grow clear and my stomach stopped churning. I opened my eyes and the light didn't hurt. I wasn't tired and I could think straight. I was feeling perfectly normal. I know I was healed by prayer. My migraines always last at least 5 hours, and this one stopped after hour 2. My testimony of prayer has strengthened so much as many more of my prayers have been answered. I've seen many miracles here in the MTC and know it's because the Lord is truly blessing us that are serving him.
Well I'm afraid I'm out of time. Sorry you had to wait so long to hear from me. Waiting the extra few days for P day killed me. But send some letters up here! Mail really does help missionaries out so much. I'd love to hear from you all. Love you all. the church is true. I'm so excited for the chance I have to serve. These two years are going to fly by way to fast.
With love,
Elder Esplin

First Day

Wow! what a first day in the MTC as a missionary.  I can't believe I'm finally doing it.  I'm heading out on my mission.  To be honest, the last few days, I've been bettling feelings of inadequecy, but now that i'm here and I've gotten a little taste of the work I'm super exited and ready to get going.  New Hampshire won't know what hit it.

I just wanted to write this to let you know I miss you all and  I love you all.  As a side note I sang "Because I have been given much"   today in the MTC.  I thought of home the entire song.  I really owe it all to you.
    Second Day

Day 2 has been good thus far.  woke up at 6:30 am,  and had class until 11:30 am, had imunizations check, lunch and now gym.  I'll be leaving for gym in just a minute. Looks like I might need an MMR far so good.  love everyone, look forward to hearing from you all.

Elder Esplin

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