Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First week in the field

......everytime I do get a little nastalgic, I remember
the words of President Bensen about how work is the best cure for
homesickness, and I replace my thoughts of home with thoughts about an
investigator. I'm trying to get lost in the work. I have lots to do,
and i know the Lord needs me here, and I'm excited to give him all
I've got.

Week one on the mission field has been something else, I'll tell you
what. I honestly feel like I'm living in a dream. It doesn't feel like
reality anymore. Probably because I'm not living in the reality I used
to know. But it's way cool to be living this new lifestyle. I'm loving
it. My first area is incredible. Belfast, Maine. It's a little harbor
town right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It's gorgeous. I can
see the ocean from my apartment. It's a super small town though. But
the houses are all colonial style and the shops are really old and
whatnot. I took some pictures, but I left my camera in my apartment.
Whoops. I'll send them next week hopefully. But it is way different
from Utah here. There are so many stinkin trees!! I can't get over it.
I get claustraphobic a bit because I'm always surrounded by trees. No
mountains either. Just trees, rivers, and ocean. That's it. It's going
to be SO amazing in the fall. I can't wait. It's fairly cold too. It's
actually explosively warmer than it has been for months right now. It
hit 40 degrees yesterday and everybody was freaking out. But there's
lots of snow on the ground and the it rains and snows a lot. But I
love it. My area is actually really big. It would take more than an
hour to drive from one corner of the area to the other. The way
mission areas are split up is that there's a companionship to every
county, and each county has 1 branch or ward. Can you imagine what
it'd be like if all of washington county were one ward? Yeah. It's
intense. My companion has been here for 4 months and has only seen
half the area. There aren't a ton of members- only about 120 in the
county with about 70 solid and active. But the ones that are around
are super awesome. They give us tons of food and support and love us
to pieces. The missionaries are like a complete unit in the ward. We
have a sunday school class that we bring investigators to, we have
announcements to give in priesthood, we can attend branch council, the
whole shibang. We're like celebrities. It's really fun. But the
members really are super awesome. They made me feel really welcomed.
The fact I play piano has helped me get in with them. Apparently they
having had a piano player in priesthood for over a year. They almost
cheered when I raised my hand to play. It's been really cool though.
I'm finding it's easier to play since I left on my mission. I always
struggled to sight read on the piano before I left, but I can play
almost any hymn now. I know the Lord is helping me there. The work is
really awesome. I LOVE working with all the people. We tract on a
daily basis knocking on doors or doing street contacts on the roads of
Belfast. Not tons are interested in our message though. Most are
either Born Again Christians and have no interest to hear us out, or
they feel God has no role in their lives. A lot of people are actually
living in really humble conditions. Maine is a really impoverished
state. We tract a lot of shacks and trailers on muddy roads in random
hills. I love reading Jeremian 16:16 about how we hunt them out of the
holes in the rocks. That's totally how I feel. But I'm working with my
companion on how we can improve our door approaches to get our message
to them faster. I love talking to everyone though, even though most
don't want to talk to me haha. My companion takes it a bit more
personal to me when we can cursed off a door step, but I just sing a
hymn as I walk away with a smile. I love it. We have a lot of
progressing investigators. We have 3 with a baptismal date with an
older couple really close to committing. We have lots of others too.
The last few days have been a whirlwind of trying to get to know
everybody and their names and stories and whatnot, but I feel I'm
starting to get it all down and I think I'm ready to rip it up this
next week!

I'm running out of time, but I want to share something that's really
affected me so far on my mission. We teach a lot of messages out here.
Not tons of lessons, but we share lots of messages to inactive members
or recent converts or to investigators who don't have much time. Every
time I get the chance to share a message, I always share the same
scripture, and I think it's become my new favorite scripture and my
mission motto. Provorbs 3:5. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,
and lean not unto thine own understanding. I think that's close, I
don't have my scriptures on me. But I've shared that scripture a ton
the last week. I've shared it with a mom trying to quit smoking. I've
shared with a woman who just lost her house. I shared it with a mom
who just had a premature baby who is struggling. I've shared it with a
family who just lost a close relative. I shared it with a woman with
systic fybrosis. I shared it with a man who's business is going under.
I shared it with a family who's life is just about perfect. I've found
that it doesn't matter what's going on in your life, no matter your
trial, no matter how big or small, it can all be answered with that
one simple scripture: Trust in the Lord. I know it's easier said than
done, especially for me. I like being able to explain things. but
sometimes, you just have to accept the fact you don't understand or
comprehend how it's all going to work out and just trust in the Lord.
I've relied heavily on this concept the last week. I've had a lot of
really cool experiences, and I've had some harder ones. But through it
all, I just trust that the Lord will take care of me and take care of
my investigators. I also have been having a tough time missing
everyone back home. It's killing me to not be in touch with everyone
like I was before. But I just pray every night to Heavenly Father that
he'll take care of everyone and I trust Him to take care of all of
you. But, being a missionary, I feel the need to leave you with a
commitment. Take a minute to day to let something go that you're
totally stressing about that is out of your control or comprehension
and pray to Heavenly Father that you trust Him to take care of it. And
mean it. I promise that if you do, you'll feel the Spirit comfort you
and you'll reap the fruit of the Spirit, with is love, peace, love,
gentleness, and so on. Trust in the Lord. It's good stuff.

I'm afraid I'm out of time, and I only got to say a portion of what I
wanted to. But know I love you. I think about you every day (a healthy
amount that is. I can't get distracted =P ) But I'd love to get mail
and hear from anybody who desires it. Mom, Dad, Jared, Kirk, Family,
know I love you all a ton. Thanks for the love, prayers, and support.
I feel it clear out here in Maine. But it really is so awesome out
here! I love it so much, and I'm loving the fact I'm getting to devout
two years to helping people and to serving the Lord. It's gonna be
epic.

Love you all. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is back in a big way. I know
it is. Talk to you all next week!

Faithfully,

Elder Esplin

Oh yeah. One more story I wanted to share. On friday, we tracted
really run-down trailers for 5 hours in the mud in 12 degree weather
in the pouring rain. If any of you want a little more gratitude for
Utah, let me know =P

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