Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter

First of all, I'm really sorry about last week. It was "Patriots Day" out here (It's the celebration of the founding of Massachusets I think. Why the heck Maine celebrates it is beyond me) but the library was closed, so we didn't get to write emails. We tried finding another source to write at, but there isn't another point of public internet in Belfast. So, I had to go the week. It bugged me a lot, but I got to be obedient. So sorry about that.

Happy Easter by the way! I had a good holiday. I had to give another talk in sacrament meeting. And yes, I did just give one a few weeks ago. But I really enjoyed this one. It was on light, which has become one of my new favorite topics to study about. I talked about three properties of physical light and how they can compare to Jesus Christ being the light of the world. It was super fun to give. After, we went finding for a bit. We a really cool experience. We are really short on miles for our car, so we were going to walk about 4 miles to get to the Branch President's house because he offered to have us over for Easter Dinner. As we were walking, we saw a lady standing at the side of her house smoking. We just walked by, but I felt that we needed to go back to talk to her. So, we turned around and started talking to her. After a bit, she told us her son had died in a car accident in January and started to break down, saying "This has been a really hard Easter." My companion bore his testimony to her that he knew she would be with him again and that he was in a better place, and then I bore my testimony to her that I knew that the love of Jesus Christ would get her through this hard time. I started getting teary as I bore my testimony to her too. The spirit was super strong. We told her we'd return in a week and said a prayer for her before leaving. It was probably the highlight of my Easter. I felt the true meaning of Easter in action by applying the true purpose of Easter- the victory of life over death- to someone in need. It was great. After, we kept walking and had an awesome meal with the Branch President. I even got to color a few eggs, which was good. Not gonna lie, I got a little homesick realizing this was the first year I'd miss coloring eggs with the family. But, especially after that experience with the lady, I know I was supposed to be here this Easter. Overall, it was a great day. I ate lots of food, got spoiled by the members, and reflected more deeply than ever the true meaning of Easter. It was awesome.

Yep! I got the packages! Thank you so much. I also greatly enjoyed the candy. And also, thank you so much for that Easter egg activity!! We shared it with members and investigators all week to help them remember the true meaning of Easter. It was perfect. I've also gotten the cards from both the Beahms and the Packs. Thank you for sending them over. I'm gonna send a letter over in the next few weeks, so hopefully I'll be able to find time to reply to them as well, but send them my appreciation as well. By the way, thank you for the pictures!

So this last week was transfers. Dad, you nailed it. My trainer bit the dust. He got sent down to Massachusets. But I'm still here in Belfast! My follow up trainer is awesome. His name is Elder Brown. It's so awesome working with him. He's a musician too. We sing together tons. We've started opening every lesson with a song. I'm actually starting to get some pretty good pipes. But we're both very similiar and we are already teaching really well. There's TONS of potential this transfer. I'm loving it so much! Since he got transered over, I'm doing the area training. I'm loving the added responsibility. I kinda felt like I was just going along for the ride with Elder Hodson, but now, I actually feel that I'm doing the missionary work. We have tons of potential investigators and progressing investigators we're working with- 31 to be exact!- so our plates are very full. But we're tearing it up. I'm expecting lots of great things.

That's basically most of what's going on. Elder Brown is going to a meeting in Manchester tonight, so I'm going to be on exchanges with a greenie from Rockland for 3 days while his trainer goes to the meeting as well. I guess I'll get a little taste of what it's like to train and be in charge of an area! We have some really solid lessons planned. This last week, we got a girl who we were teaching- Serena- to recommit to baptism at the end of May. I'm super pumped about that. We also have lots of investigators close to being committed. We're gonna jump on it!

Well, I better get going. I'll leave with this little thought that I used in my talk. When darkness and light go to battle, light will always win instantly. It's like a room with a light switch. It will only be dark if it's switched off. But as soon as you turn it upwards, light will instantly dispel the darkness. Thus it is with life. You can only have darkness in your life by not having light. So, if you do have something that feels like darkness, flip your switch "upwards," let the light come in, and the darkness will loose 100% of the time. I promise it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hola!

It's good to hear from ya! Writing the e-mails home is becoming one of my favorite times of P-day.

I can feel your pain about the snow. There's still quite a bit of it on the ground now. But it's warming up finally. It hit 60 on Saturday. We were walking around without jackets. It was super nice. It's raining out right now. Hopefully that'll melt the snow and get Spring over here. I can't wait!

I've had a really intense week in a lot of ways. I've been humbled through some not-so-good experiences, and I've miracles too. On Monday, I went on exchanges with Rockland. That town is so beautiful. The entire town is on the coast. I loved every second there. It was a good exchange. I learned a lot from the elder I worked with. On the last morning I was there, he took me out to this way cool lighthouse. It was on a little man-made rock island about a half mile out in the middle of the ocean. It had this rock path leading out to it. They call it a breakwater I believe. I took some pictures of it. I'll be sure to make sure they get home. But that was really cool, and I got to see my Maine lighthouse. Woot. I came back to hear some not-so-good news. Last week, during one of our lessons, we asked one of our investigators to say the closing prayer. She declined, as always. We had discussed earlier that week about the importance of having the head of the household offer a kneeling prayer, and me and my companion decided to explain to her why we wanted her to pray. I went ahead and told her why she should pray. My comp came in and cleaned up after. She still declined. I then suggested that I'd offer the closing prayer and then we'd all say an individual prayer to have her feel a bit more comfortable praying with others around. That was last week. Well, while I was on exchanges, Elder Hodson went back to visit her. Apparently I had offended her and I was "too pushy." She said she was having mixed feelings about meeting with missionaries now. She was OK with her family visiting, but wasn't sure about herself anymore. She got mad at my companion too, but most of it was directed to me, and I wasn't even there to apologize. It crushed me when I heard the news. I wasn't even aware I had done anything wrong. I was just doing what they taught me in the MTC. I didn't know what to do. But I think I needed that experience. Even though I had the right intentions, I didn't have the Spirit like I should have. Beyond that, I had to remember that I can't persuade anybody to do anything. Only the Spirit can. It just reminded me that I have a lot more to learn about missionary work, and it's made me focus more on having the Spirit in my teaching and being more conscious of every word that comes out of my mouth. Anyways, we went back on Friday and I apologized to her and she said she'd still let us come over, and I'm hoping I can show her that I'm worthy of her trust.

That was the bad. Now for the good. We had an AWESOME week of finding. In 3 days, we found 8 new investigators tracting. I'm pretty sure that will be the high for the mission since most weeks the high is around 5. We spanked it. Next week will be super fun going back to them all and giving them Books of Mormon. We met some really interesting people in the process though. We met a practicing Rustafarian man. He was a white nomad. Very interesting guy to talk to. Another man was an athiest genius. He was mid 60's, had a pony-tail to his mid back. He was a contra dancer, hunted super-novas in his home made observatory tower, and studied religion as a hobby. He got excited as we came up. Me and him got into a really intense discussion about science. He said he refused to believe anything that can't be proved without logical proofs. I told him I could explain to him through logic how the Gospel of Jesus Christ made perfect sense. That set him off. He went off about how the Book of Mormon and Bible can't be proven with science, how the concepts of development and creation can all be explained with biology, etc. My little background of biology and psychology paid off. I talked with him about genetics, psychology, animal behavior, all that fun stuff. I eventually stumped him though. He started talking about slavery and about how he's always known since he was little that slavery was wrong. I asked him how. He said he wasn't sure. I asked him if he believed everybody had a conscious. He agreed. I asked him how that was possible. He said he hasn't really looked into that one enough, but he was convinced he was taught it. I called him out on how he contradicted himself in saying it was innate, yet he learned it. He paused and he said "you're right. That doesn't make sense." I explained to him the concept of how we all have a Spirit and how we all have the Light of Christ. I told him he may not be able to see his Spirit, but I told him he could find out if he had one or not. He told us he'd love to have us back to discuss the logic of God's Plan. I'm super excited for that one. But I think that just goes to show, once again, that God cannot be denied, and science is just man's attempt to explain how God works. It was a really fun discussion. Also, we tracted into a man from Puerto Rico. He didn't talk way good English, so I talked some spanglish with him. Dad, I told him you served there and he got really excited. Turns out he used to be an investigator to the church. He was attending in Massachusets, but moved and lost contact with the missionaries. He said he was attending the Pentacostal church now, but said we needed to come by and say hi every week. I mentioned to him how much I loved hispanic food and he promised us he'd have us over for dinner one night. We have a Book of Mormon in Spanish in our apartment, so I think I might try to put a little message together in Espanol. I thought you might be kinda excited about that one Dad. Anyways, overall, it was a great week for finding. Lots of new investigators to work with. I can't wait!

Only one problem might lie ahead though. Transfers this next week. I'll get a call Saturday, so get ready. I might have news next monday. On another note, sorry to anybody who's written to me and haven't gotten a letter back yet. I'm really behind. P-day just isn't long enough. But I will write you all back. "Write, and ye shall recieve."

Ok. Last little bit. I had a HUGE spiritual paradigm shift this week. While I was on exchange, I received a talk from the elder I worked with. It's called "The Fourth Missionary." It talks about 4 different types of missionaries that serve and about what they each accomplish and get out of their missions. It talks about how all missionaries should become the "fourth missionary" who is the one who gives the Lord is whole heart and comes back a different person. It went right along with the talk on consecration I heard from Elder Maxwell a few weeks ago. It all finally clicked to me. I never really understood the concept about giving the Lord your heart until now, and now that I do, I wish I could go back in time to teach it to myself. Giving the Lord our heart is really the biggest test we have on earth. The talk made this point. Everything we have, God could take back if He wanted. It's all his. We mistakenly believe that we own the things that we do- our possessions, our talents, our families, all of it. But as we've seen recently with Japan, God can take and give however he'd like. Of course, He has a reason for it all, but still. We own nothing, and justifiably, everything we give him could, in a sense, be stamped "Return to Sender." The ONLY thing we have that we can give God that he can't take is our heart and our mind. That would defeat the purpose of agency. Everything that we do in life is the process of either taking steps towards or away from giving our mind and our heart to God. Of course, it's the hardest thing he can ask us to do. After all, it's all we really have. But he promises us that if we will give Him this one gift, He promises to give us all He has in return. What an exchange rate! I know I'm doing a horribly job describing this concept, but I learned something big from this, along with the talk last week in general conference. What we do is a reflection of what we are, and what we are is where our heart lies. If we give our heart to the Lord, we won't have bad feelings about keeping the commandments. People wouldn't even have the desire to break the Law of Chasity, the Word of Wisdom. They'd pay their tithing and fulfill their callings. Keeping our hearts to ourselves or to the things of the world puts us on an unsure foundation that can, and will be, shaken whenever God or the world sees fit. But if we surrender our hearts to God in the ultimate act of humility, then we'll be built upon a foundation that won't go anywhere, and we'll be endlessly happy in this life and the next as the promises of blessings through obedience follow. Anyways. Sorry I did such a poor job describing that. But that's been my course of change this last week, and I found that missionary work came 10 times easier, I have a smile that I can't get off my face, and I've been seeing miracles right and left. So yeah. I found that talk by Elder Maxwell. It's in the April 2002 conference. I'd recommend everybody to read it. It's a little intense, but it's amazing. It's totally changed my perspectives on missionary work, and it will most likely carry over into the real world once I'm finished here. Good stuff.

Anyways, I better get going. Love you all. Hope all stays home back well. I'm in love with the work right now. I feel like I'm really getting the hang of it and I'm seeing great things happen. The Lord is taking care of me, and I hope He's doing the same for all of you as well. Take care! Talk to ya next week!

-Elder Esplin

Monday, April 4, 2011

This week was AMAZING!!

Can I just first say that conference was AMAZING?? Dad, you nailed it on the head. I watched every second of all 10 hours (minus a few during one talk. I dozed off for a split second but was saved by my companion) and I got more out of it than I think all the past 19 years combined. So amazing! But I'll go into that a little later. This week was super solid. Loved it.

I'm getting quite a bit of mail! I'm hearing from lots of friends, so that's good. Sounds like lots is going on back home. I'm getting kinda fond of the letter writing thing. Checking the mailbox is the most carnally pleasing thing I get to do every day.

As far as food goes, I'm still alive! I guess that means I'm doing good right? haha just kidding, I'm eating very well. I'm trying to keep it under $20 a week. There's lots of cool food things I'm discovering over here. Fluffer-nutters (peanut butter and marshmellow fluff sandwhiches), whoopie pies (basically a giant oreo made with round cakes with marshmellow fluff in-between), lots of moose and venisen and whatnot (we have moose in our freezer from a member. I'm stoked for that), and the biggest discovery, the Samoan. It's a sandwhich with a ramen package barely boiled so its soft but still square, then fried with an egg and topped with peppers, BBQ sauce, and mayo. I typically throw chips in there and dip it into salsa. I know, it sounds like death, but its SO delicious, and it costs about 50 cents to make. It'll definitely be something I keep when I go to college. The soup kitched keeps us fed too. We give service in the soup kitchen twice a week doing dishes for a few hours. I love it, and they let us take home leftovers occasionally. It isn't the best, but it's better than frozen foods. And mom, I'm doing my best to eat healthy. I buy fruit every week, and help myself to vegetables when members serve them (I don't think I'll bring myself to cook them myself just yet). And Dad, 30 mintues of exercise is paying off well. I'm doing lots of push-ups and sit-ups daily. At this rate, I'll make your arms look like pea-shooters by the time I get home.

So a few random things. First, I think the missionary brainwash is officially complete. I don't really register KC as my name anymore. It just looks kinda weird now. I call myself Elder in my head when I talk to myself. Yeah, I'm crazy. But still. It's really weird. Esplin is really foreign over here too. Nobody can pronounce my name. They call me "Espleon" or "Espin" all the time. It's definitely a lot different than Utah in that way. Over there Esplin is a celebrity name. Here, it's "unique, yet not weird" in the words of a gentlemen on a door aproach. So yeah. There's that.

This week, we had a huge snow storm on April Fools. Ironic right? It was bad enough that we had to cancel all our apartments and we just went out all day shoveling snow for anybody that seemed to need help. I think karma sent me here because I made it 19 years without ever having to shovel snow. But those massive boots got a good work out mom. They're awesome. I'm sure I'll be living in them next winter.

But yeah. My week was just solid. Lots of teaching, lots of good member interaction, and we got to end it with a super solid session of conference! We watched it in our regular chapel. I honestly never knew conference would be so good. We were hanging on every word. We got a ton of investigators to watch it too. Hopefully that will lead to a few more accepted baptismal invitations this week. But yeah. Such good talks. I took 17 pages of notes. Granted they were smallish pages, but still. Awesome stuff. Lynn G. Robbins probably gave my favorite talk. Such a good concept of how what we do and what we are should be directly related and connected. I also loved Elder Anderson's talk during priesthood. I honestly felt he was talking directly to me the entire time. He helped me have insights that I've been needing to help me with mission work, so that was solid. But I loved the Sunday PM session so much. Elder Scott gave SUCH a good talk on family. He totally described the kind of relationship I want to have with my wife when I get older. I found it ironic that so many talks were on getting married quickly when you're young. I might pull a Kirk when I get home =P Elder Christofferson's talk right after was super good too! I loved the concept that judgement isn't going to look at the lits of what we did good or bad, but what we made of what happened to us, of what we became, of the intents of our heart. I'm going to be sharing that one with investigators every time I teach the Plan of Salvation and the purpose of life for the rest of my mission. That's a message of hope right there. I could keep going, but I'll stop, because I know you watched them too. But I feel totally uplifted and my testimony is strengthened. I hope you all felt that too.

It seems I'm composing another novel for a letter, but I gotta tell one more story to close. On tuesday, we went back to teach a guy we found tracting last week. His name is Leroy. This guy is my hero. He was a band teacher who at one time played every instrument, he's a liscensed pilot with his own plane, he has a degree in environmental science, and he built his own house out of the trees that were on the plot of land he bought. I know, it all sounds crazy. But we found him repairing the house he built. He showed us the marks he made as he cut it in a lumber mill that he made himself and his signatures in the cabinets and whatnot. This man was a genious. Anyways, we went back to talk to him and he showed us the changes he had made in his house. After a while, we started getting into the restoration, but he stopped us. He said "Listen boys. I think you're just wasting your time on me. I'm so set in my views, that I think it's too late for me to change." I asked him to explain his views a bit more. He said he didn't know if there was a God after all. He grew up in various religions and saw some terrible things and didn't think God was necessary. He said that it all could be explained with science. He used this analogy. "Say we're playing a game of pool with 8 balls. I place those 8 balls at random places on the table and mark those spots. I then rack up the balls and break the rack. I belive that if you broke those balls, it would be inevitable that that exact configuration would happen. I believe the creation is the same way. Even though it isn't very likely, it was inevitiable that it would happen." My companion had a good come back. "Yes, but it would also be a possiblity that it would never happen. It wouldn't be inevitable." He thought about it for a second and replied "I guess that's true. Never thought if it that way. Then I came in for the kill. I said "Can I try my own analogy? You built this house yourself, right? Let's say you took all the supplies you used to build this house and put them into a giant cannon and fired it into the air. What you're saying is that if you did so, it's inevitable that one of the possible combinations of it all coming down would be this exact house?" He agreed, saying that if he could fire it an infinite amount of times, one of the combinations would be the exact house. I said "But we'd both agree that the chances of that happen, according to the laws of the universe, are extremely small, right?" He agreed. I said "But what if we introduce someone like you into the equation, someone who knows the materials, knows how to organize them, knows what the end product could be. What are the odds that something livable would appear?" He smiled and said "it'd be a lot more likely." I smiled and said "and that is the role of God. The chances of it happening by chance are almost impossible. But as soon as you introduce someone with a plan and knowledge, then it's inevitable. I can tell you that this is the role of God in the creation, and when you approach it logically, it really can be the only possible explaination."

Sorry to make it so long, but the story gets better. He laughed and said "You're very good at this. But I have another one for you. Let's say there's a deep ditch, and on one side of the ditch is a car, and on the other side of the car is a man. If you're standing at one spot in the ditch, you can't see the man behind it because of your perspective. That's how I feel now. I can't see a man on the other side of that car, nor do I feel the desire to move." I responded "Sir, that's why I love being a missionary so much. Our job is to tell people "look. If you stand over here, you can see what's on the other side of the car." We can't make anybody move. I'm not going to drag you over. But I can tell you that if you are willing to, we can show you where to stand so you can stand in the light and get out of the dark cold ditch you're standing in right now. I can promise you that standing where you can see God will make you feel happier and warmer than you ever have in your life. Will you allow us to teach you?" He smiled and invited us back the next week.

I learned two things from this experience. First, is that you can fight the concepts of God with logic all you want, but it really is only logical that there has to be a God. I can especially see that from studying Biology. Anybody who believes this all happened by chance is closing their eyes really tight and refusing to look around. And anybody who has an argument for that fact, please remember it in two years and I'd love to destroy you then =)

Second, I learned that the ditch analogy can apply to my other investigators and to us. Sometimes, we do find ourselves in the ditch and aren't able to see the man standing on the other side of the car. Sometimes we keep our face down in the mud and refuse to move, like Leroy, and sometimes, other people might try to throw dirt on us to keep us down there. But staying there is to keep yourself from standing in the light, and keeping yourself miserable. But I also learned that no person can make you move but you, and the only thing that will make you want to move is the Savior. He is the only one who can brush off the dirt and make you sit up, but you have to decide to get up and move or not. But I can testify that if we're all willing to get up and move, we can see God every second of every day, and we'll be able to stay in the light and we'll experience greater warmth and happiness than we can ever experience when we're lying face down the ditch.

So yeah. It's been a great week. Sorry again to write such a long response. I went way over my time limit, but I loved that experience and thought I'd share it. Love you all, and I hope all is well. Can't wait to hear from you all next week!

Faithfully,

Elder Esplin

Hello Everyone!

Oh man. This was such a solid week, and this next week is going to be so amazing! I can't get over it. We have some awesome stuff planned.

Hopefully letters will keep coming. Honestly, mail is the best thing ever. Speaking of which, I have another favor to ask of you. Also, could you get the the address for the SCHS seminary? I want to write them a letter about how much scripture mastery is helping me on the mission. If you could throw them onto my next email, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

That's a great idea with the google earth! If you want to get a taste for how big my area is, look up the town of Polermo, Maine, and Winterport, Maine. Those are the two ends of the mission. We get everything in between. But we work a lot in the town of Searsport and Searsmont and well as Knox and Brooks. Check those ones out. It's pretty baren. To answer your other questions, yes, I do get a car. It's quite nice. It's a Corolla, only about a year old. But we have tight restrictions on how many miles we drive, so we typically drive to a town, park the car, and walk tons. It's hard when the houses can be a 10 minutes walk apart, but it says in Jeremiah that we have to hunt them out of the holes in the rocks, and I sometimes feel that I'm doing just that. I haven't worn the boots much tracting mom, but I wore them a lot snow shoveling. They're a bit too heavy for all the tracting we do, but they were perfect for lugging around in the snow. Yes, it's still snowing a bit up here. We had a huge storm tuesday night. It's only in the 20-30 degree range right now, but supposively spring is coming. It should warm up this week, but they say there's always a big snow storm the first week of April. I'm looking forward to that. Not. Also, I do have pics I want to send, but I never seem to have time to attach them to the email or I just forget my camera (like today). But I will try and get something sent home ASAP. I am trying to remember to take pictures. They'll come a bit more in the summer when the trees start blooming. I hear the transition between summer and fall is the most beautiful thing in the USA. I'm excited to be here for it.

So as I said before, this week was incredibly awesome. We found some super solid investigators and taught some sweet lessons. I also had my first exchange with the zone leaders. I went up to Brewer, Maine. It was really cool to have a new experience with another missionary. The missionary I exchanged with was super outgoing. It was a change to Elder Hodson, who is normally a bit more reserved. It brought me out of my shell a bit. I'm tearing it up now. But I gotta tell you about yesterday. It was the best day of the mission so far.

So I started off the day making cinnamon rolls and listening to a talk by Elder Maxwell on consecrating ourselves to the Lord. Super good talk. Look it up. And I think the cinnamon rolls is going to be a tradition for the rest of my mission. Good stuff. Anyways, after, we had branch council, and I got to play children's songs on the piano while my comp made a few phone calls. I think being the primary pianist would be such a cool calling. Anyways, sacrament was super good. Not as many investigators showed up as we were hoping, but the talks were really good. It was on families. It got me thinking about my future family and how excited I am to get there. After sacrament, Elder Hodson, one of our investigators named Matt, and I put on a skit for the primary. We acted out the story of Naaman and Elisha found in 2 Kings 5. The kids ate it up. The presidency gave us full constumes and we made it totally corny. We had a blast doing it. We performed it for both groups of kids (they have about 15 kids total in their primary. Quite a change from Utah) and then went to priesthood. It was on parenting, so once again, my head starting drifting off to my future family. Good stuff. After church, we had coordination meeting, the members showered us in food (my favorite part of sundays), and we went home for lunch. We then picked up a member named Kyle and went to teach some new investigators named Stan and Missy that we found last Sunday tracting. This is where it gets good.

Stan and Missy have had a hard life. In the last 10 years, Stan has had 2 surgeries on his back and 2 brain surgeries to remove tumors. Missy is a survivor of cancer herself. Last week when we found them, I mentioned the plan of salvation to them and how it could bless their lives. Missy said she's been wondering about that stuff and invited us back. As we went through the plan, I saw a light clicking in both of their eyes. They said it was answering tons of questions they had. When we got the resurrection, I brought up the concept that we were going to be blessed with perfect bodies that would be free from sickness and pain. Stan looked at me and said one word. "Nice." I bore testimony to him and Missy about how I had had medical problems in my life, and how my family had them too, and about how much comfort the plan of salvation has brought to me knowing that I will one day have a perfected body, as will my family, and we can live forever free from sickness and pain. It stuck them hard. The spirit was super strong. We finished up the plan and got a return appointment. It was such a neat lesson, probably my favorite one thus far. As we were leaving Missy made an interesting comment to us. She said "You know, we've had 6 or 7 people come by wanting to teach us what happens after we die. We always turned them away. I don't know what it was that made me want you to come back." I really think I was sent here partially so I could meet this couple and so I could bear my testimony to them. I think that's true becaue as I'm typing this, I'm being engulfed in the spirit. I know I'm here for a reason, and that I'm supposed to share how much the gospel has blessed my life, and I can't wait to see the gospel bless the life of this awesome couple.

After that lesson, we tracted for a bit and then went to prep for our final lesson for the night. We were teaching the word of wisdom to another couple, Annette and Richard, whom the missionaries have been teaching for quite some time. We took some really solid members, the Turnbulls, with us to help teach it. We started off by following up on the committments we left them last week to pick something in their life that they could change to show Christ our devotion to follow Him. Annette said she failed, and that she was going to come to church this Sunday, but couldn't because of work. Me and Elder Hodson were estatic. The missionaries have been trying to get her to church for months, and this was the first time she actually tried to make it. It was awesome. We then talked about conference this weekend and they committed to come with us to watch the Sunday night session to hear the prophet speak. We've been telling everybody about conference. We're super excited for it. Then we began the Word of Wisdom. She was right with us until we got to coffee. She didn't like that one bit. She said she drank coffee all day, every day. She also smoked. She said she could drop smoking easier than she could drop coffee. But she said "It's gonna be tough. I'll give it a try." Not "I can't do it." She accepted right up front that she needed to change because it was a commandment. That showed us she really is being converted and wants to follow Christ. It was awesome. The spirit was strong, we bore testimony that they'd be blessed if they kept those committments, and left. The spirit was strong again, and we felt we left them with great steps to take. We were whooping and yelling the whole way home. It was such an awesome day. We swung by a sick member on the way home and left her with a message and prayer, and I made french toast for me and my companion (I'll be honest, it was another "future dad" pondering moment. Honestly, being a dad is going to be so awesome!). But honestly, it was the best day thus far. Two solid lessons, plus an awesome experience at church, and some insight to my future. I'm learning to trust the Lord more and more every day, and I love seeing Him work miracles on a daily basis.

Oh yeah. I'm supposed to share a spiritual thought. I share this one with less-active members and member families a lot. Look up 1 Nephi 7: 17-18. There's something interesting that happens between those two verses that leads to an interesting principle. See if you can find it out for yourself. It's awesome and really helped me out in the MTC.

That's all I have time for this week. Anybody who hasn't mailed me yet- you should. Because I don't have your addresses, so I can't send you anything until you do because I'm a fool who didn't get any addresses before I left. Fail. But life is good in Waldo County, Maine. I'm loving it up. The work is awesome and the church is true. I love and miss you all. This next week should be an awesome week for me. Lots of great stuff planned. Hope it's great for you all too! Take care!

Faithfully,

Elder Esplin