Monday, April 4, 2011

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

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