Monday, June 27, 2011

Hello Everyone!

So, we had a pretty interesting thing happen to us this last week. One of the elders in our district got sent home. So, the other elder from Rockland is coming up and joining us in Belfast. I'm back in a trio again. It's pretty intense. We had to rearrange the apartment so we could fit him in. Our beds are now in the living room, the bedroom is now the weight room/ my study room, and it's gotten pretty crowded with all of us in there. But it's going to be really fun. Elder Nicholes is a great missionary. He's been out for a little over a year, and he really knows his stuff. Plus, he sings too. This morning for comp study, we sung "How Firm a Foundation" with a 3 person harmony. It sounded really cool. We're thinking of standing on a street corner singing hymns for all the tourists for a finding activity. It was really sad seeing the other elder go home. It's the 3rd time I've had to see an elder tell us he's having to go home. So, once again, I need to say this- young men- DON'T MESS AROUND WITH GIRLS!! You won't get away with it. It'll haunt you on your mission, and it'll make you miserable. Seriously, seeing these elders say they have to go home for this stuff is one of the saddest things I've ever seen. Also, Young Women- DON'T HELP THE YOUNG MEN SCREW UP!! Keep them focused on their missions and don't give them stuff to reflect back on constantly. After several months without girls, all they'll have to think about is things they did in the past, and those memories can really distract from the work. Anyways. I'll get off my soap box. Just remember Jacob 6:12- "O be wise; What can I say more."

But yeah. Having a trio will take some getting used to. But I'm excited to see what happens. Plus, it'll only be for two weeks. The transfer ends next weekend. Yikes! And you nailed it Dad. I won't be able to write on the 4th of July. The library will be closed. But I'll come back the next week with the results from transfers.
District meeting this week was really cool. The entire conversation was based around how to truely convert people. Baptism and conversion are completely different. In our mission, baptisms are rare enough (about 15 a month for the entire mission), but many of them end up falling away. Turns out that in Rockland, none of the people who have been baptized in the last 5 years that were found by missionaries are currently active. Zero. The discussion was about how so many missionaries baptize without seeing conversion. I made a vow to myself that I wouldn't baptize unless they understand that this is an eternal committment. So, to answer many of your questions, no, I haven't had any baptisms yet. But I am seeing conversion happen. And that's what I feel I'm really out here to do.

We've been having lots of success with Peter and Rose this last week! On Wednesday, we went over and did service for a while on their farm and taught them a lesson on CPR- church, prayer, and reading the scriptures. We really emphasized church and committed them to come. They did, and stayed for all 3 hours! It was awesome. The lesson in gospel principles was on baptism, the members all got to meet them, and they really enjoyed themselves. They're really moving along. We're going to be teaching them again on Wednesday, and they invited us over on Friday with two couples from the branch for pizza. Peter and Rose both lived in Italy for a while, and they built themselves a stone oven. She's way good at cooking. I can't wait to see the stove in action.

 We're also seeing lots of success from Molly and Malachi. He got a job and is working basically all day, every day, but they're inviting us to come over whenever they have free time. We talked to him about coming to church, and he said he'd talk to his boss to get Sundays off so he can come to church regularly! Molly is really excited about it. She's reading the BOM, checking out, and wants to learn more. They're both super solid. I can't wait to get them going too.

Belfast is awesome right now. Beautiful weather, the work is going great, and I'm learning and growing every day. I can already tell I'm a different person now than I was when I left, and I can't wait to see what the Lord shapes me into through the next several months. Time is flying by- I'll be home before we know it! Love you all. Talk to you in two weeks!

Elder Esplin

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