Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy December!!

This week was awesome. The trip down to Manchester was way fun. I got to see a ton of missionary friends who were on the other side of the mission, including my trainer and past companions. We learned a ton too. We had training on combating people who have been anti-ed, using the scriptures more effectively, how to have better district meetings, how to be better trainers, how to deal with it being dark at 5 PM, etc. I also was one of 5 elders who received a specialized training on family history. That was really cool. I got really familiar with I can picture myself getting hooked on that stuff- that Spirit of Elijah is serious stuff! Also, funny story. I got a little rebuked by President Wilkey haha. We had an extended dinner break, so me and a few elders went to the Primary room to hang out. I hoped onto the piano and started playing around. I slowly drifted into less-than-hymn types of music. Suddenly, President Wilkey walked in to grab his briefcase. Unfortunately, he walked in right when I was playing and singing along to "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago hahahaha. He gave me a gentle little rebuke and went on his way. So. Needless to say, I'm going to tighten up a bit on my piano playing haha. But he joked about it with me after so I know it wasn't anything serious. Just another step for me developing a set apart heart.

Christmas is definitely in the air here. Christmas lights are going up like crazy. There was a huge parade down main street the day after Thanksgiving that was fun. We went to it and did some street contacting. A ward member is getting us to go caroling with them every Sunday for the rest of the month. That'll be fun too. I'm excited to see what Christmas on the mission will be like. Of couse, It wont be able to compare to Christmas back home, but I can already tell I will be feeling more of the true meaning of Christmas out here. Also, to answer a question I've gotten a lot, the weather is actually insanely good. They say it's one of the most mild pre-winters ever. I'm loving it. But, everybody tells us "Just wait. It'll come." That's exciting...kinda. They say it'll come in the next three weeks. Let's hope not! The longer the snow will stay away, the better! My companion feels the same way, being from Vegas. We're getting along great though. He's a total goof-ball, but we still have lots of fun. One thing I've been learning lately is that I can be more easy-going and laid-back than I ever gave myself credit for. Or maybe it's just something I'm learning out here. I dunno. But it's nice not ever being stressed. Good change from the rest of my life haha.

So, we had a total miracle this week. On Thursday, we were sitting in the church for District Meeting, when our family history consultant came to the door and called me out. I went, and she had a guy with him. She said "This young man wants to investigate." His name was Eric. He told us he'd been doing research online the last few months and thought we were the church for him and wanted to learn more. We were ecstatic! We met with him that night to teach him the Restoration. He loved it. We gave him a tour of the church, and said it just felt right and said he'd want to be baptized. We found out he had a girlfriend with a kid on the way, which isn't the best thing for a missionary to hear because they have to be living the Law of Chastity to be baptized, but he asked us if the church could marry them because he wants his to be born into a family. Boo ya! The next day, he texted us saying how good he feels and asked how much it costed to be baptized!! hahaha how sweet is that? Eric came to church on Sunday with his girlfriend Ashley, and they said they loved it. Eric even got up and bore his testimony, during which, he said he was grateful for Joseph Smith for allowing him to be there that day. During Sunday School, he talked to the bishop about getting married and being baptized. After church, we were teaching Ashley the Restoration. After we taught about Eternal Families, Eric looks over at Ashley and proposed on the spot! It was crazy! She accepted, and they want to be married by the end of the month. Last night, he texted us talking about how much he loves family scripture study and prayer, and how he's already talking to his friends about coming to church with him. Sooooo.......yeah. Basically....ITS THE COOLEST THING EVER!! Total testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father is preparing people to receive the Gospel. They're looking for the truth, but they just don't know where to find it!

Ok, I better get going. Lots to do today! Love you all! Can't wait to talk to you in a few weeks! Enjoy the Christmas season!


Elder KC Esplin

This week started off with snow

Alright. Let's get down to the Nitty Gritty. This week started off with an unpleasant suprise- snow. Lots of snow. It pounded in out of nowhere. We drove to district meeting Wednesday morning in it, and it was super intense. Cars were everywhere haha. It wasn't even a slight problem for me though, seeing as how I've grown up driving in the snow...oh wait...haha no, I did really good. Yes Dad, I'm going really slow and being extra cautious. There's not a chance in Hades I'd do something stupid and lose this car. Snow is still on the ground too, but it's melting fast. Hopefully we'll hold off the snow a little longer! They say it's the warmest it's almost ever been this time of year. Global Warming for the win! Haha not really. But I'm enjoying it all so far. Staying warm, being safe, all that good stuff.

Thanksgiving was awesome. We basically ate non-stop for 7 hours. No joke. I don't know if I've ever eaten that much food in a day before. We had 3 dinner appointments, each 2 hours apart, then on to the Bishop's home for pie. It was an incredible day. I was at the brink of exploding though haha. I woke up the next morning still feeling full. But that's half the fun, right? Everyone also thought of us to give us left-overs, so I won't be needing to buy groceries this week. The ward here is awesome- I'm getting quite attached. We already have people fighting over having us on Christmas day. We've already got the day mostly scheduled out. Anyways. With every home we visited, we shared the story of the 10 lepers and talked about gratitude. I reflected about gratitude a lot this last week, and I feel more appreciation for the goodness of God towards me than any other time in my life. It really hit me in church yesterday. I was sitting in Priesthood listening to a lesson on enduring trials, and I was just overcome with gratitude for everything I have and am. I ended up saying one of the most sincere prayers of my life. "Heavenly Father, Thank You. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." All in all, I've been really grateful for this lst week's Thanksgiving experience.

This next week should be a good one. I've been invited to a leadership training back in Manchester tomorrow through Wednesday night, so I'll be making the same 3 hour pilgramage back to New Hampshire tomorrow. I'm super excited for it though- I hear these MLT's are amazing, and I'll be seeing a lot of my former companions and MTC group there as well. My greenie is going to be running the area while I'm gone. It'll be interesting to hear how that goes!

So I'll share a quick experience before getting going. Yesterday, we made a visit to a referral given to us by a member. We asked him "Who's the most religious and open-minded person you know in all of China?" (the town they live in). He gave us the name of a trinitarian minister. He said he didn't see it going anywhere, but we could always pay him a visit. So, we did. We ended up sitting down and discussing faith for about an hour. We taught him about prophets, baptism, the Atonement, all the good stuff. Bible references kept coming to mind, and I know that was the Spirit bringing things to rememberance for me. But after a while, we hit a road block. He didn't know if he could buy into the Spirit World concept. He started going for references in the Bible, and I could feel a bible bash coming on. But, I then remembered what our mission has been emphasizing like crazy the last few months- the Book of Mormon. I pulled out a copy and told him about it, what it was, and I told him this. "We could go back and forth in the Bible all night long if we wanted to. But ultimately, what it comes down to is that we belive the Book of Mormon is true, and that it was translated by a prophet of God. The only way to find that out is through revelation from God through the Holy Spirit. I know it's true. It's through that book I discovered the love of Jesus Christ. And we'd encourage you to read it, ponder it, and pray and ask God to reveal to you through the Spirit if it's true. That's how you can know if what we say is true. Don't believe us- believe God." Oh man, the message of the Book of Mormon is so beautiful! I love it! He said he agreed that only God could reveal truth to us, and asked for a month to read it before we could come back. It was a testimony builder to me that our message really is so simple- God's called a prophet, and you can find out through the Book of Mormon. That's it. That's the only conflict someone needs to figure out with the church. Is the Book of Mormon scripture translated by the power of God, or ficticious religious philosophy written by a cunning genious. Those are the only possibilities. Anyways. That was a really cool experience for me yesterday. Thought I'd share!

Ok, I best get going. We have a lot to do before I can pack for the trip to Manchester. Love you all! Hope you have a great week. The church is true and God loves you!


Elder KC Esplin
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