Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy August!!

Man, I can't believe it's August already. Time is flying! The weeks feel like days now. But man oh man, I'm LOVING it right now!! So much good stuff is going on! I'll get into that in a bit.

 Hope it isn't too hot over there! The weather has been perfect over here so far. A little rainy, but with temps in the 80's mostly. We spend most of our time inside teaching though. We're hardly ever outdoors. Big change from my first transfer. So, I guess all I need to do to stay alive this winter is have a lot of investigators. That'll keep me warm! haha.

OH man. This week was SO awesome!! Honestly, I'm filled with so much joy and excitement right now. One of our investigators, Malachi, is absolutely on fire. He's been a solid investigator so far, I mean, he comes to church, prays, calls us whenever he's available to be taught, etc. But this week, I finally got a taste of what conversion really is. On Saturday, we gave him a call to see how he was doing and see if he needed a ride to church. He ended up staying on the phone for about a half hour. He told us about how he feels closer to God now than he has his entire life. He told us about how the joy and peace he feels is amazing, and it comes from the knowledge he's gaining from our lessons. He told us he wants to move his baptism date closer and wants to get going. Oh man, it was SO cool! I was jumping around the room when he said he wanted to move his baptismal date sooner. Later that night, he sent us this text: "Today has been a great day. I feel surrounded by divine grace and blessing...thank you SO much for finding me!!" That really hit a soft spot for me. I was the one who found him 5 months ago. It was at like 9:50 on a back alley of Belfast. He was walking to Family Dollar. I stopped him and asked him if he wanted to talk religion. He invited us to walk to the store with him. Now, he's going to be getting baptized. To see the changes that have come over him the past 5 months has been SO awesome. The gospel really has the power to change people. Yesterday, he came to church, and the lesson in gospel principles was on sacrifice. Later that night, we went over and taught him the Word of Wisdom. He sat there, smoking a cigarette, reading D&C 89. We saw his complexion drop a little bit when he realized how much he was going to have to give up. He basically has to make a change in all 5 areas of the word of wisdom. But he looked at us and said "This is a small sacrifice I can give to the Lord. I'll do it." He's so awesome! After the lesson, I told him how bummed I was that I might not be here for his baptism. Odds are, he'll be baptized in the beginning of September, and transfers are two weeks before that, and we all think I'll be biting the bullet. He looked at me and said "I really want you to be here for it. I want you to do it. You've been here every step of the way. You spearheaded this operation. I owe all this to you. Thank you for finding me." I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, because I know I did none of this. The Spirit lead me to find him that night, it was his answers to his prayers that converted him, it was his diligence that did this. But I'm finally seeing fruit come from my service. I'm finally seeing works coming from being a tool in the hand of the Lord. And I can't believe the happiness that is coming into me because of seeing someone growing closer to God. I can't stop smiling. I'm tempted to say I've never been this happy and peaceful in my life, and that joy and peace is coming from the Spirit, and that Spirit is coming because of my yielding my heart to God. Life is good.

Anyways, I'll get off all that haha. The week itself was great. We worked a lot. We weeded Rose's garden for two hours on Wednesday, we threw, moved, and stacked wood for a less-active member for 4 hours, and we taught 20 lessons over the course of the week. It was a busy week. We also made it to Catholic Mass on Saturday. That was a new experience. I love seeing how other faiths worship. I find it really interesting. It's also somewhat of a testimony builder that I'm a missionary for the right church haha. Let's see, what else...Oh. I made some awesome zucchini bread this week. My cooking skills are growing! I also found a little time during meal breaks to create a version of RISK for the mission. New Hampshire Manchester Mission Risk. It's pretty sweet. We'll be giving it a test run today with an investigator and the Rockland elders. That should be fun. Also, we got to check out the Maine Lobster Festival on Wednesday. It was down in Rockland, so we checked it out after district meeting. It was super packed. We were planning on getting lunch there, but the line was at least 2 hours long. But that was cool to get to check out. This week should be sweet. We have zone conference in Augusta on Thursday. You'll be proud- they've called me to be the pianist. I'm really excited for it! Rose has also told me she'll teach me how to make homemade noodles on Wednesday. It should be a good week. But yeah! The work is going great. I really feel like I'm finally becoming a truely effective missionary. I'm putting all my effort into being a tool in God's hands and letting him use me as he sees fit. I can't wait to see what He has in store for me. All I know is that the joy and peace I feel right now is real, and that joy is coming from seeing others grow closer to God, and I hope more of that joy is on the way.

I love and miss you all. Thanks for writing, and I look forward to hearing from you all soon!


Elder Esplin

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