Sunday, December 9, 2012

This weeks recap

So, one big questions I need to ask- can you please set up a dental appointment for me when I get home? I probably need to get the wisdom teeth out. My jaw has been giving me quite a bit of grief again. Luckily, all the wisdom teeth are completely erupted, so it won't be too much of a procedure. I might not even need to go under anesthesia. The problem is, one of the teeth has grown in too far, so it's throwing off my bite, which is why my jaw is messed up (at least, that's what the last dentist I saw said). So if you could please schedule me an appointment right when I get home, that'd be great. Thanks!! Alright, now on to the weekly recap. As I said last week, it was transfers on Tuesday, so I spent all day Monday working with the cute little new missionaries. Then on Tuesday, we had the good ol' transfer meeting. I received my new companion- Elder Smith from Washington state. He's a goof ball. We're having a really fun time together. We also had the new addition of having sister missionaries added to our area! Sister Caffall from Arizona, and Sister Buxton from Pleasant Grove (she actually knows a bunch of my PG friends, and she knew some of my USU friends because she went there. Small world!). So we got to deal with splitting the area between us and the sisters, and we had to pass over a bunch of our investigators, which was definitely kind of a bitter-sweet experience. I was getting pretty close to some of them, and now I won't be able to work with them anymore. But it's OK! The sisters who came in are awesome, and I think the ones we have passed over will be well taken care of. So that's been an interesting part of the week- getting the boundaries drawn, passing referrals back and forth, meeting and explaining the situation to investigators, all that jazz. But I think we've got most of it figured out! The rest of the week was basically just pure proselyting, and it was very much enjoyed!! One highlight is we had the annual "creche, carols, and cookies" event. They bring in dozens of nativity scenes from all over the world and set them up in a display, bring in performing groups from the community to do Christmas songs, and have a ton of cookies. We've been passing out invitations for several weeks now, and probably passed out about 500 total. We even went to a Christmas parade on Saturday and went up and down the streets handing out invites. The event actually had a really good turn out! Probably about 200 people came though, and we talked to a lot of non-members and found a few potentials. Overall, it was just a lot of fun too. I got my Christmas fix in! I had a really cool experience in a lesson this week. It was with Flora- remember her? She's the 50-yr-old lady from Sudan who was supposed to be baptized on October. She has kind of fallen off the map for a little while now, because she's been living in some extreme fear. She feels that there's groups of men following her everywhere she goes trying to hurt her. I think it's probably post-traumatic stress because she left Sudan in the middle of the war and has seen some pretty crazy stuff. Anyways, we haven't been able to meet with her for a few weeks, and she had stopped coming to church. But this last week, we finally got in and could have a lesson. We went in with the plan to read the Book of Mormon with her, but as we sat down and talked, I got the distinct impression that we needed to tell the story of Daniel and the lion's den. I thought to myself, "What the heck, Daniel and the lions den?? I've never even shared that story on my mission, nor hardly any other old testament story!" But, the impression was still there, so I decided to ride it out. We all got out our Bibles, and we turned to the book of Daniel, gave her the back ground info, and started to read. As we went, we asked her questions, like, "How do think Daniel felt when he was told he couldn't pray? Do you think he was nervous to pray?" Also, "How do you think he was feeling right before he was thrown into the den? How about while he was in there?" She gave the answer that he felt fear. Honestly, i think she's right. I think he was confident that the Lord would help him, but I'm sure he'd feel some degree of fear regarding the situation. But we then talked about how Daniel trusted the Lord, and his trust was greater than his fear, and because he did as God commanded him, and believed God would protect him, he was kept safe. I then brought out a picture of story in my gospel art book and let her look at it for a moment. She began cry. She pointed at Daniel and said, "He is like how I am now. I feel fear like he did." We then told her, "It's ok to feel fear sometimes. But if you trust God and do as he wants you to do, he'll keep you safe in your own lion's den." She looked at us, smiled, and simply said, "Thank you." She came to church this Sunday for the first time in a few months, and said she felt safe the entire trip over. I know that if we trust God in our moments of fear, and be willing to do what is right, we also will be helped and come out safely from our own lions' den.
Alrighty, I better scram for today. Love you all! Hope you have a great week, and I'll be excited to hear from you soon! I'm also excited for Christmas to come up so we can talk!! -Faithfully, Elder K. Esplin

Monday, November 26, 2012

I sure love this fast pace!

Alright, on to my last week. As expected, it ended up being insane. No big surprise there! We got word on last Saturday night that a missionary was going home early, so we ended up driving to Yarmouth, ME to pick up the elder. We also did an exchange with the zone leaders up there. I stayed in Yarmouth with an Elder Lewis from Logan, UT. We had fun talking about USU (he goes there as well). I really enjoyed the time I spent up there. We spent most of Tuesday morning working at a food pantry. We picked up food from a local market and took 3 car loads over and dropped it off and sorted it into the freezer and shelves and whatnot. They also told us we could grab anything we wanted for ourselves. As we were wondering around in the freezer, something caught our eye- a Maine lobster pizza. We couldn't let that one pass us by! Haha anyways, after the sorting, we helped families get boxes of food for Thanksgiving. After that, we got right to work and had some really awesome lessons. We had one with a lady named Sally. It was her first lesson. She had read the restoration pamphlet and came with concerns (she had grown up protestant). Most of them were pretty common concerns- the Trinity vs. the Godhead, Joseph Smith and the plates, the Resurrection, the Spirit World, etc. We did a pretty good job answering all of her questions out the Bible, but eventually brought it back to the clincher- "We understand why you have all these questions- they're all new to you. But we think all your questions can be boiled down to one simple one- 'Was Joseph Smith really a prophet?' If he was, then he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, so we know they're two people, we know the Book of Mormon is scripture, we know the Spirit World is the next destination..." and so on. We then pointed her back to the way she can know if Joseph Smith really was a prophet is to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. She then looked me in the eyes and said, "So, do you really believe the Book of Mormon is true?" Moments like that are kind of intense at times. It really puts you and your testimony on the spot. Fortunately, this was one area I could bear with all sincerity of heart. I told her about how I came to know it was true, about the peace it brought and brings me, and about how I discovered the love of Christ through its pages. At the end of the testimony, I asked her, " Will you also read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true?" She paused for a good 30 seconds. Finally, she looked up and said, " I will, but it sure is scary. If I get an answer to my prayers, that'[ll mean everything I've been taught isn't right." That was a wake up for me. I never even comprehended that someone might be scared to get an answer if the Book of Mormon is true. That would mean they'd have to change their lives and belief systems completely, and that's pretty overwhelming when you think about it! But, we bore testimony to her that we know that uniting with the truth would bring her closer to the Savior, and that is what's really important. Anyways, long story short, I walked away from the lesson probably having learned as much as Sally! On Wednesday, we drove up to Winthrop, ME for a district meeting, then E. Gaykowski picked me up in Yarmouth and we made the trek home. While on exchange, we got a phone call from President asking us to complete the interview schedules by Friday, which is a project that takes several hours and we were going to do week one of next transfer. So, we went right to the office and got to work! That takes us to Thanksgiving. It was very nice, but nothing fancy. We went to District Meeting in the morning, left right after to get to the office to work on the interview agendas, then went to a member family- the Spencers for Thanksgiving dinner. After, we shared a spiritual thought on gratitude from the Bible- the 10 lepers. After that, we went back to the office to help President with transfers. And that was my Thanksgiving! The next few days was just preparation for transfers. We did travel plans, helped with the board, prepared agendas and trainings, all that good stuff! And...yeah, that's my week! I'll tell you what, its getting a little tiring flying at this speed, but boy am I enjoying it! Alright, I better wrap this up. Today marks the beginning of the transfer. Elder Gaykowski will be going home. I'm pretty bummed- he's proven to be one of my favorite companions. I've learned a ton from him, and we taught really well together. I'll miss having him around. My new companion will come in tomorrow. I"m excited to serve with this elder too. This will mark my 5th transfer as an assistant. It'll be exciting!! Love you all!! Have a great week, and I'll be excited to hear from you next week!! -Faithfully, Elder KC Esplin

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy thanksgiving!!

Man, I CANNOT believe it's already Thanksgiving. It honestly still feels like it should be summer. The weather is definitely contrary to that haha. Although, we still don't have snow, so I can't complain!! But the time just keeps flying by faster and faster. It's ridiculous!! So. This last week was one of, if not the most, stressful week of my life!! Honestly, at the end of the week, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep going, but I'm doing much better now! Let's back up to last Sunday. So, as soon as church was over, we had a member meal and rushed over to the office. Elder Nash of the 70 was to arrive Sunday night, and requested a meeting with us to report on the geography of the mission, trends in the key indicators, and the progress of the mission in finding, activation, retention, involvement with members, and application of the fundamentals of PMG. We prepared the report and met up with him and President Wilkey around 8 PM. We were introduced to Elder Nash and were quickly engulfed by his warmth and light. I know I said this a year ago, but there really is something different about those general authorities! They really have a light in their countenances that is out of this world. Anyways, we then sat down for an hour and a half or so and gave our report, which he said he really enjoyed. He then talked with us a while to get to know us, our concerns for the mission, and to give us instruction for what we were to do the next week. We left so impressed for his warm nature and for how complimentary and kind he was to us. The next morning was zone conference at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. We had to get there in the morning to set up, so we were running pretty low on sleep. I was asked to conduct, which was a little bit of pressure, but I think I did pretty well. I was also asked to accompany two musical numbers, which both turned out pretty well. One of them was President Wilkey singing, and was accompanied by me and a harp player. Elder Nash then gave a training on faith (which is what his conference talk was on), and on working with members. At the end of the conference, we had a leadership training with all the zone leaders, district leaders, and trainers. Elder Nash gave the training, and talked about D&C 84:106, talking about going on exchange. He also addressed how after a meeting, it's up to us to make what we learn a reality, or just a nice memory. We have to apply what we learn, or it's a waste of time. It was a pretty cool training. The next day, we took a much needed P-day. We drove up to Kittery, ME and did some shopping, and chilled for a little while in a massage recliner haha. Then we finished the drive up to Topsham, where we set up for zone conference the next day. We then spent the night in Yarmouth, got up early, and went back up to Topsham for the next round of zone conference! This one was a bit bigger because 3 zones were in attendance. It went very well too. After, we had the same leadership training, but this time, he asked us to give the training as he sat in the back. That was a lot of pressure too!! But we pulled it off fairly well. After the conference, we were in a wicked rush putting out fires, answering questions, and ushering missionaries out to get to work. We then moved into clean up mode. As we did do, Elder Nash surprised us by asking if he could interview us each individually. I was really excited for that. In the interview, he asked about my family, and asked if I had any question for him. That's a pretty crazy opportunity- get to ask a general authority one-on-one any question. I asked him a question about faith, and he gave me some really good instruction. Again, it's amazing what it's like to have a general authority look you in the eyes. There's really something special about them. After the interview, we were invited to attend a private dinner with the stake presidents of the mission, which was a real privilege. We were only in attendance because Elder Nash insisted on it because he wanted us to have that experience. We had some AMAZING lobster bisque and enjoyed talking with two of the stake presidents and President Wilkey. Then Elder Nash stood and gave us a training that will really change my paradigm on leadership probably for the rest of my life. He read to us D&C 84:106, which basically says that those who are strong should go TO those who are weak and take him WITH him. Not teach or invite, but to literally go to his side, and take him with him. He said in leadership, if those who you are a steward over are struggling with their callings, instead of talking to them and offering instruction, invite him to go with you as you do the things they are struggling with. Then, they will be close to your side, and see your example. Another example is with less-actives. Instead of just telling them to go to church, instead, invite them to come with you to church. Take them with you. It was a remarkable training, and gained a lot of power as he read a verse following D&C 84:106 which stated that this is how the Savior and apostles built up the church back when he was on the earth. It's a power concept. I'll definitely keep that in mind in the future.
Anyways, after that meeting, we had to say our goodbyes to Elder Nash. I learned a lot from him, and he inspired me to change and grow in many ways. He expressed his gratitude to us, and asked us to keep in touch and to feel free to visit him in the future. I hope I will get to keep in touch with him!! So there's the basic overview of the crazy week I had. Oh yeah, Sunday was stake conference too,and I was asked to play the piano for the choir and to accompany President Wilkey again. Between getting everything worked out for the conferences, and playing catch up with everything going on, we haven't had much time for anything else! So yeah. There's my life for you!! OK I better get going. Have a great Thanksgiving!! I know I'm grateful to be part of the family I am. I sure do love you all! I'm also grateful to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints. I'm grateful to be serving in Bedford, and to have all that the Lord has blessed me with. Life is good!! -Faithfully, and thankfully, Elder KC Esplin

November 5-11

Sorry for the delay. As I said last week, we've had quite the insane week. I'll catch you up on all that soon. I only ended up finding a few minutes to day to write quicker email, but I should have a full P-day on Monday so i can write a bit lengthier one. So I'll catch you up on last week (Nov. 5-11) first, and then I'll tackle this last week on Monday. Sound good? Last week, we did a TON of traveling. Like, more than I ever have before in such a short amount of time. It started on Monday. We got a text from the Wilkeys on Saturday letting us know they'd like us to attend the Montpelier Zone Meeting up in Montpelier, VT. We wouldn't really be giving any trainings or anything like that, but they wanted us to be there to support and take notes of how it went so we could structure future zone meetings. So, we made the 2. 5 hour drive up to Essex, VT Sunday night, had the training on Monday, and drove back down that night. The next day was Zone Leaders Council. That went from 9 until 5:30 PM, when we packed up the car and drove right back up to Essex, VT again to drop the zone leaders off. We were then going to go on exchange. I took Elder Wright (one of the members of my flight group) over to Colebrook, NH, (which is getting almost as far north in New Hampshire as you can get- not far from the border of Canada) for a district meeting. We then made the trek down back down to Bedford for a few hours of proselyting and getting some forms taken care of. The next morning (Thursday), we packed up early and drove back to Essex AGAIN to exchange back, and drove right back down to Manchester for a 5 hour staff meeting in preparation for zone conference. the next day (Friday) we had a 7 hour mission planning with the Wilkeys in preparation for zone conference, and then spent several hours on Saturday preparing reports for Elder Nash. So. There's the brief overview!! So for those of you keeping score at home, we spent about 15 hours in the car and drove over 1,000 miles. Pretty exciting, right?? Haha it was actually pretty enjoyable. it's a good thing driving in New England is so beautiful, or else I would have been going crazy. Between all the driving, we did have some pretty cool experiences. We had a couple from Korea move into the ward a few months ago, and they had us over for dinner to try authentic Korean food. It was surprisingly good! I never thought I'd enjoy eating seaweed haha. We also had a really great lesson with an investigator named George. He was having a really bad day, and he walked right through the door to his apartment building just as we were leaving. We sat down and talked about what was going on in his life. He talked about the relationship problems he was having with his girlfriend, about how he can't see his son because his ex is being very brutish about the situation, about the stresses of probably being unemployed now that winter was coming along, etc. We read with him the chapter in the BoM of Alma the elder and his people in the city of Helam, and of how because they poured out their hearts to God, their burdens were lightened. It was a very powerful lesson, and his countenance completely changed. It's so cool to see how the gospel can help any person no matter what their circumstances! OK well I better call it quits for now. I'll write all about zone conference and my interactions with Elder Nash on Monday. But I need to hop off the computer for now. Love you all!! Have a great week, and I'll look forward to hearing from you on Monday!! -Faithfully, Elder KC Esplin

No P-Day again...sorry I'm late

So, as you may be able to guess, I didn't get to have a P-day today haha. We got asked last minute to make a trek up to northern Vermont for a zone meeting, so we've been doing that all day. We'll probably get some time on Thursday or Friday to email....sorry it's so late. We have zone leaders council tomorrow and will be driving back to Vermont after, then have an exchange on Wednesday, then driving back up to Vermont and back on Thursday morning. Yep. That'll be 3 treks up and down basically the entire state of Vermont in 4 days. Approximately 800 miles and 13 hours in the car. Wahoo.....but anyways, I'll get back to you ASAP!! Love you all!! -EKCE (p.s.- the election has been crazy up here. Mitt Romney is actually in Manchester tonight throwing his final brawl. We drove by just a few minutes ago to see if we could sneak in to the stadium, but there was a line several blocks long...but, I guess I can say that Mitt Romney was in the city I was serving in the night before the election!! It sure will be exciting to see what happens on Tuesday. It sure has been a big deal, especially among the members!) Hello! So, I finally finagled my way into having time to hop onto a computer. Sorry for the delay! But, once you hear about the week I've had, you'll understand haha. So, since I'm a week behind (again), I'll update you on last week instead of this week. Sound good? OK. Cool. The adventures of last week started up with the thrill of Hurricane Sandy. Shortly after sending the e-mail to you about how it was only a drizzle, it picked up a bit more. It ended up being really windy and rain was coming down pretty hard. It wasn't anything really crazy though, like what it sounds like New York or New Jersey got. But it was enough of a concern to the President to ground all the missionaries to their apartments for the day. He had us stay in the office to be the sort of "control base" or something like that. So, we sat in the office for a grand total of about 13 hours. It was pretty intense. We got a lot of work done though. I've been working a lot on excel making programs and work sheets for mission-wide key indicators and things like that, so I made best use of proselyting time to work on mission-related things. The next morning, we were up early making calls around the mission to make sure everybody was in and safe and to see if it was safe to have the missionaries go out and work, which it was. So life went back to normal! We taught several lessons that afternoon. One of which was pretty spontaneous. We had a less-active member who used to serve as a cop call us up saying she had a friend who really needed a bible study. So, we ran over there and had a lesson. You could tell this lady was going through a really hard time. She was homeless, friendless, and directionless. We read the chapter in the bible about the adulterous woman and about how the Savior is willing to forgive us so long as we keep his commission to strive and sin no more. It was a really good lesson. One thing I love most about my current companion is that we teach REALLY well together. We have a similar teaching style, and tend to feed off each other. Elder Gaykowski is becoming one of my more favorite companions. Anyways, the next day was Halloween! Guess what we did?? We went to meetings! Wahoo!! Haha but it was actually really cool. We drove up to Laconia, NH for a zone meeting all about working more effectively with members. It was really well done, and we got a lot of insights to how we could better work with the members of the Bedford ward. That night, all the missionaries were grounded again from 5 till the end of the night to keep us off the streets on Halloween. Probably a wise move- I'd hate to have another 5th grader beat me up and steal my candy...instead, we deep cleaned the apartment and cooked a really good dinner- a member taught us how to make a potato dish that's really easy and resembles dutch oven potatoes, so we made that and mixed it with egg and made breakfast burritos. They weren't too bad if you ask me! The next day, we had ANOTHER zone meeting, this time in Exeter, NH. We had to go because they needed a pianist, and I wanted to hold a practice for a special musical number we were doing in Zone Conference. Not too much else happened that night. That brought us to Friday. That morning, we had probably one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. It was with a less-active, Donald. We have been working with Donald for a while now teaching him all the lessons, and he's been coming to church regularly. This particular lesson was on baptism. Since he had already been baptized when he was 11, we mainly focused on the covenants aspect of it all and taught about the importance of covenants in God's plan. At the end of the lesson, he asked if he could be re-baptized because he couldn't remember what his baptism was like. We explained that he didn't need to because the covenant he entered into was still valid, even if he didn't remember it. But then, I had a sudden inspiration that I had to share with him. I said, "You know Donald, you're basically doing through the same process an investigator would go through. You're being taught the lessons, being extended the same commitments, all of that good stuff. Most have the end goal of baptism to work towards, but you can't really do that. Instead, what if we set a new goal for you- getting to the temple. There, you can do baptisms for the dead. It can be your goal to make the necessary changes to get there, and not only will you be able to be baptized for someone else, but you'd also be able to show God that you've accepted his Gospel once more and have gotten to the point he'd have you be." The Spirit rushed into the room like a tidal wave. I asked him what he was feeling right then, and he started to cry. I told him how I was feeling the Spirit and asked him to describe what was happening. He explained the feelings of peace and love he was feeling, and said it was probably the most spiritual moment of his life. I know this probably doesn't sound very dramatic or crazy from the sounds of it, but if only you could have felt what was in that room. It was SO powerful. The power of the Spirit never ceases to amaze me. OK I better pick up the pace a bit. Saturday, we spent almost all day moving Matt and Kristina. Yep, they're moving out of the ward. They moved into the ward on the other side of the river. That means I can't work with them anymore...it was pretty depressing to see them go for me. I've given that family everything I have. But, they're not happily embedded in the gospel, and we did all we could to give them a jump start. Now we just hope and pray they'll apply what they've been taught and stay active and faithful the rest of their life. I'll be excited to hang with them in the Celestial Kingdom if we can all make it! Alright, that's pretty much the weeks' highlights. Pretty crazy eh? Well, just wait until you get to hear about the week I"m having right now....phew!! it's been nuts. And next week will be even worse- General Authority Zone Conference yikes. Speaking of that, the first Zone Conference is going to be held on Monday, so I won't be able to email again...but I should be able to on Tuesday. But in case we get called on by Elder Nash or President Wilkey, we may not make it....but we'll do our very best, and if we can't make it, I'll get on first chance I can!! Ok, it's time for me to do my mid-week reports. The first zone leader will be calling any second. Love you all!! Have a great week, and I"ll look forward to hearing from you in a few days!! -Faithfully, Elder KC Esplin

Hurricane Sandy Alert to Parents!

DATE:   October 29, 2012

TO:  NHMM Missionary Parents

FROM:   President Wilkey, New Hampshire Manchester Mission

RE:  Hurricane Sandy

As you are likely aware, we are on the cusp of Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane is on a collision
course with a winter storm and a cold front, and high tides from a full moon make it a rare hybrid storm.
We have been tracking this storm for several days now and it appears our mission will not be as
affected as others. However, we will not under-judge this storm and will err on the side of safety for
your missionary. We have consulted with local members and officials, the National Weather Service
and media outlets. Irene looks to produce some high winds up to 70 miles per hour and potentially
some rain, but nothing like last year’s Hurricane Irene. With the vast size of Northern New England the
impact will vary, of course, by location. There is a likelihood of power outages, a routine phenomenon
in these parts.

Embedded within our emergency plan is a calling tree wherein each companionship
communicates with district leaders who in turn communicate with zone leaders to my assistants and
then to me. I will receive those “All-in-safe” reports for the next two days. We continuously monitor
any new developments and will update you in the event of any significant change in conditions.
Yesterday I instructed the entire mission to stock up on non-perishable food, water, flashlights & extra
batteries etc. according to emergency guidelines in our published plan at each apartment.

At this moment, your missionary is preparing for 2:00 pm today. That is when I have grounded
the car fleet and ordered all missionaries in their apartments for the duration of the day and through
tomorrow (Tuesday). In some parts of the mission this will be “overkill” but we do this to err on the side
of safety.

At this point I am confident our missionaries are prepared well . The only thing that will prepare
them further is your faith, your prayers and your confidence in these great Latter-day warriors! Thank
you for preparing them in all ways for just such moments as this. I feel much as did Helaman with his
stripling warriors, “...they were firm and undaunted. Yea, and they obey ...with exactness; yea and even
according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto
me that their mothers had taught them (Alma 57:20-21).” With that backdrop to our present situation
I am confident in their obedience and in what they were taught at home. Therefore, they will “...be
preserved by his marvelous power.” (Alma 57:26).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Man, I can't believe October is already almost over....time keeps moving faster and faster!!
Thanks for your emails. Sounds like you got that letter about my return date haha. I actually read that exact letter before it got sent. I was talking to the mission secretary as she was preparing it. I wanted to write a note on it but she didn't think president would appreciate that very much haha. but yeah, I've know that is my return date my entire mission. It's on my ministering certificate. But, I choose to ignore it haha. People keep coming up to me and asking how long I have left and always make those comments of "oh, you're almost done!" Or "oh man, you're an old missionary!" It's weird though, because it doesn't seem like any of those comments make an impression at all. they just kind of bounce off. I still feel like a new missionary and that this is my entire life and I'll never go home!! that'll probably change come new years, but for now, I'm quite content living in ignorance!
 
Speaking of that matter of finding work when I get back, can you keep your ear to the ground for me? I'd like to get working and busy as quickly as possible to avoid any idle time. Especially if you could find something that would provide work experience for the medical/dental field. I hear a lot of dentists hire a dental assistant for basic things for low wage....maybe you might know a dentist who could use one in a few months? anyways, keep an ear out for me please. I'd appreciate it!
 
So, I guess I'll start with the big question most people probably have right now- "Elder Esplin, are you getting blown away in a torrential hurricane right now??" The answer is.....sadly, no haha. Right now, it's just a little windy and we're getting sprinkled on. The storm is supposed to hit our mission, and it probably will pick up a bit more than it is right now, but it isn't expected to be bad. Our mission president and his staff are following the storm very closely. It'll supposedly pick up in intensity later today and tomorrow, so President Wilkey has asked all of us to be in and safe at 2 today and take extra precautions like having gas in the car, keeping the phones charged, having extra water, etc., but isn't expecting a very big hit. So we're erring on the side of safety. So never fear, my beloved kindred. I will weather this storm!
 
Other than the fear of being sprinkled to death, my week has been great!! It sure was a blur though. It feels like last Monday was AT LEAST a month ago. It's so crazy how much of a time warp I'm experiencing...anyways, Monday we left the office early to head up to Yarmouth, ME to pick up 8 missionaries for a meeting. On the way, we stopped by a sandwich shop just outside of Portland and I got a lobster roll (basically a lobster sandwich). It definitely wasn't worth what I paid for it, but it felt good to be eating lobster on the coast again! Tuesday, we hosted the New Missionary/Trainers meeting again. I did a training on planning and using planners and on the importance of updating the area book. Nothing too crazy. We then received the news that a missionary was returning home for medical reasons, so we hung around to wait for his arrival, took him teaching for a bit. We contacted a former investigator and got into his home. He explained how he was a born-again Christian, but didn't go to church anymore and wanted to come back. As we talked, I was listening carefully to try and find a natural and normal way to segue into our message. We heard star wars music in the other room, and my companion asked what he was watching. He said he was playing a star wars game and how he loved anything to do with star wars. I took that as my Que. I proceeded with, "You know, the main message we share as missionaries is a lot like star wars." He perked up a bit and asked, "Oh? How so?" I explained, "Well, as you know, in the beginning of star wars, there's a bunch of Jedi who are defending and establishing peace. But eventually, an evil one came fourth, executed an order to destroy the Jedi's, and there was a period of time when darkness was on the earth and evil reigned. But one day, a new Jedi was called. He was trained by a master and went forth, defeated the evil one, and brought peace back to the Galaxy." He agreed emphatically. I continued,"well, that's exactly what we're teaching about. Centuries ago, Christ set up his church and things were good. But eventually, a force of evil resulted in the death of Christ and his Apostles. Darkness reigned on the earth for a period of time, until Christ called another prophet named Joseph Smith. He was trained in how Christ's church was set up, and he went forth to set it up again, ending the period of darkness." We then went in about how the Book of Mormon was evidence of it, and that by reading it, it would rekindle his faith in Christ. He became a new investigator and we'll be going back to see him soon! So yeah, there ya go. I thought that was a pretty fun experience. Isn't it cool how our church just makes sense??? I'm a fan of it personally.
 
The next morning, we spent a while proselyting, then we had to drive a bit to get the returning missionary to where he needed to be. We got back just in time to participate in the ward trunk or treat. That was a ton of fun. We bought a ton of candy, and handed each piece out with a pass-along card. We sat in the back of our van and blasted Mormon Tabernacle Choir too. The kids totally ate it up! They kept coming back again and again. We gave out probably over 100 pass along cards haha. I'm sure some parents will wonder why the heck their kids all had pictures of Jesus in their Halloween candy, but hey, at least they'll have an excuse to share the gospel now!
 
Then came Friday. We spent all morning and afternoon with the Wilkeys doing mission planning. We have SO much going on this transfer that it was a real marathon session. But that evening made it all worth it. Because.....MATT GOT BAPTIZED!!! WAHOO!!!! man, it was SO cool seeing him finally take that step. I've been working with him for 5 months now, and it's been so special to see him learn and grow and finally make that decision. Him and his family are so awesome, they'll be kingdom builders for sure. He asked me to give the talk at the service, so I spoke about an analogy to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I talked about how (figuratively), the world is lost at sea- in the sea of sin. Christ died and paid to build a life boat for all of us so we can get to paradise. But, since he's the captain, he has some rules on his ship- that we don't bring any 'water' on board, that we listen to the commands of the captain (or his first hands), and that we stay busy and work. We first have to decide we want to get on the boat (faith), climb up a ladder on the side to get on the boat, which is pulling ourselves out of the water and towards Christ (repentance), and how the captain is waiting at the top with a towel (baptism) and a blanket (Gift of the HG) so we can dry ourselves of all remaining "water" and feel a warm confirmation giving us a fore taste of the warmth we'll experience in paradise. But, just because you're on the boat, you're not safe yet. Heaven forbid, you could still jump off and go overboard for some ridiculous reason. Maybe somebody else on the boat is annoying you, or maybe you want to keep hanging out with your buddies in the water, or maybe you just get bored or tired from working. but if you jump off, you're right back in the water, no closer to the paradise you worked so hard to get on the boat to reach. So, we have to 'endure to the end' of the ride in order to get to paradise. It didn't go as well as I had hoped (I got a little flustered once I got up there), but I think they got the point! Anyways, overall, it was a really special evening for me. A lot of joy was felt!
 
I think I'll end my epistle there because nothing else really noteworthy happened the rest of the week. Just work in the area and lots of assistant ship work. I sure am enjoying my time here in Bedford! I"m starting to get super close to the ward, and the work is moving forward. So, to summarize it all in two words, I'd say, "LIFE'S GOOD!"
 
This next week should be another good one. I'll keep you updated! Love you all! Have a great week, and I'll look forward to hearing from you next week!!
 
-Faithfully,
Elder KC Esplin
 
P.S.- To anybody who reads this blog and has written me in the last few months and I haven't written back yet- I'm sorry!!! I've hardly had any time to write (none at all the last two weeks). But I'm writing every Monday that I"m given time to, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience with me!!
And to all you who read this blog and haven't written in a while...all i can say is this- Alma 60:6.
I invite you to repent!!


Happy Thursday!!

So, first off, sorry again for the delay for me to write. This week has been insane. It's the only way to describe it. This last Monday ended up being the busiest Monday of my entire mission. We were running around like crazy trying to get all the reports ready and getting emails sent off for Sister Wilkey, and preparing for the drive up to Yarmouth, ME...we didn't get time to do anything! And then we were planning on taking our P-day yesterday, but then a missionary got sent home for medical reasons, so we got to do quite a bit of driving instead. but luckily, today, we found an hour or so we could sneak in and write an email!

OK!! So. I know I'm writing mid-week, but I think I'll save all the info from this week for Monday. There's a lot of juicy info, so I'll save it for all at once. Let's chat about this last week, shall we? So Monday, we got all the cute little new missionaries in. There were 12 total- one of the biggest transfers yet. They're saying more like this will be coming often in the future with the new influx of missionaries joining the ranks due to the announcement at conference. It was fun getting to work with them and hopefully have an influence on them before they set out to work. Whether it was a good influence or a bad, we'll just have to wait and see! We tried something new this transfer where the assistants both take turns with the new missionaries 1-on-1 to share a scripture and insights. I decided to do D&C 4:3. I talked about how each of these missionaries were 'embarking in the service of God' and talked about each element of that scripture and about what it meant to serve with each of the aspects- heart, might, mind, and strength. I then made the point that 'standing blameless before God at the last day' will be more of an internal judgement- being able to say "i did all I could to serve" with no guilt of consciousness. I think all of us will have to give an accounting of our missionary efforts in that way. It's kind of a humbling thought, isn't it?
 
The next day was transfer meeting. it was a really good one. The transfer was HUGE because of all the missionaries coming in, so it was quite populated. Elder Baker bore a great testimony, along with Elder Sommerfeldt and Elder Niebergall. All three went home this transfer, and I served with all three. It's a really weird feeling driving that many of your former companions to the airport....anyways, as i said last week, I received Elder Grayden Gaykowski from Salt Lake as my new companion. We've clicked super well so far. We teach really powerfully together, and have a really good time. i can already tell he's going to end up being one of my favorite companions. He goes home in a month though, so it'll be a short run. It'll be interesting being an assistant for at least 1 1/2 more transfers. I'm really enjoying it though, so I should be ok. Exhaustion seems to be not pressing too hard. 
 
The rest of the week, we basically just worked a lot! We taught 6 investigator lessons with members present, and several less-actives. We spent a lot of time preparing for upcoming events too. This transfer is making out to be a really really busy one. We have a training to prepare for EVERY WEEK- last week: new missionary and trainers meeting, this week: zone meetings, the week after that: zone leader's council, the week after that: zone conference with Elder Nash (that's going to be a HUGE project for us), then the next week will be transfers all over again! So. Life has been crazy, but it sure has been awesome!!
Ok, I think that's pretty much all of the updates I have this week. On Monday, I'll have a lot to talk about, so stay tuned. it'll be a packed email. Love you all! Have a great week!!
 
-Faithfully,
Elder KC Esplin

Howdy!!!



So, I won't lie, this week was fairly unremarkable. Just lots of work on transfers. We served as President's advisor for a lot of it, giving him insights about the missionaries across the mission to help him make decisions. We also did the usual chore of making all the travel plans for transfers tomorrow. The rest of the week, we were busy busy busy working! We found 3 new investigators, which was pretty exciting. We also got to drive up to Labanon, NH for a District Meeting. And....yeah. Honestly, not too much crazy happened haha. Either that, or I'm just really tired right now and can't think haha. i've been running like crazy all morning getting things ready for transfers tomorrow (hence why I'm writing this at 3 PM instead of the usual 11 AM). And we still have a ton to do before we pick up the 12 new missionaries at the airport in 40 minutes....yikes, I didn't realize how little time I have. I better pick up the pace!
Just a little heads up for my new situation. Elder Baker, my current companion, is going home on Wednesday. So, I'll be receiving a new companion tomorrow. His name is Elder Gaykowski, from Utah. I've been on exchange with him a few times, and I'm excited to serve with him. But get this. He goes home at the end of this transfer. We don't know why yet, but I guess President felt impressed to call him to be an assistant for just 6 weeks. but what that means for me, is that I'm garenteed to be here for another 2 transfers. So, I'll be here until at least january. Pretty crazy eh?? 7 1/2 months as an assistant. I'm super excited for it, but it'll be pretty exhausting. I'm really excited to be in the Bedford ward for that long though. I'm really getting close with a lot of the members, which is cool because I'll be here for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. So, I'm pretty pumped!! Also, just as an update, Matt didn't end up getting baptized this last Friday. He had some things come up that prevented it. But, he's on track now to be baptized on October 26th, so now we're shooting for that! Other than that, there's not too much else to report! I'm just excited for this next transfer.
This last weekend at conference, did you notice the speaker Elder Marcus B. Nash of the 70? He's the general authority coming this next transfer to the mission. Aparently we're going to get to work with him quite a bit. I'm pretty excited!! Although, I am slightly nervous- he seems like a pretty intense elder. But I'm sure Elder Gaykowski and I will be able to pull it together.
A few other tidbits you might find interesting:
  • I FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO WISTLE!!! Yes, that's right. I've finally figured it out! I've been trying for a few months out here trying to do it good, but to no avail. but then, one morning as I was getting ready for the day, it finally came out, and I've been whistling since!! So, I thought you'd find that interesting! haha. Now you can't make fun of me for it!!
  • The other morning, I played 2-on-2 basketball with two youth from the ward, both of whom play basketball in highschool. My companion is pretty good too, and it's known that in the past I haven't really...excelled in basketball. Well, me and my companion totally won, and I actually scored about half the points. Looks like I might actually be able to play hoops after all!
  • It's starting to get pretty cold now. It's starting to drop down below freezing at night...the colored leaves are still holding in there though, and they're still very beautiful. But anyways, I've started wearing the long sleeved shirts again, and this morning, as I was putting on a shirt that was well sized for me, has grown a little short (not around the waist either). Does it mean that I've grown out here?? I sure hope so!
Welp, we have to leave in 15 minutes to pick up the new missionaries and I still have to write my letter to the president, so i better go. Love you all!! have a great week, and I'll talk to you next week!!
-Faithfully,
Elder KC Esplin

Holy cow! I'm an Uncle!!

 Haha that sure was unexpected to hear that Ashton was born! I wasn't expecting that one at all. That's troubling to hear he has some health problems though. Although, i guess that isn't anything really foreign to our family haha. I sure hope he's doing better! I'll keep him and everyone else in my prayers. Man it's exciting.
 
 
I sure did have a good week this last one! How about that announcement in general conference about missionary ages dropping!! I was freaking out when he said it. It's going to change things SO much! it's weird to think that if he had done that just two years earlier, I'd probably be home from my mission. It'll be interesting to see if I get to see first hand an increase of younger missionaries in our mission. I know one thing for sure- there's going to be a HUGE influx of sister missionaries around the world. In fact, I'm quite confident that many if not most of my female friends back home will be on their missions or have their calls by the time I get home. Plus, I'm sure that most of Utah will soon be purged of many 19/20 yr-old girls. It's going to be an interesting transition when I get home! But I'm excited to see the signs of the times and the Lord hastens His work. I don't think this move and all the attention the church has been getting are coincidental. Not at all.
 
As I said before, this week was awesome. On Monday, we drove up to Vermont in our 12 passenger van and filled it up with elders to bring down to Manchester. We were able to leave early enough to go to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory in the Montpelier area. I even talked the tour guide into letting me have 3 ice cream samples haha. That was a fun trip. Then Tuesday, we had our leadership training for all the district and zone leaders in the mission. We had a lot of responsibility, including facilitating several discussions and giving trainings. Probably my favorite one to prepare for was a training on being an example. I posed the question, "Imagine that you were cloned 120 times and that you were in every position in the mission. Where would the mission be at?" I then made the point that since as leaders, we are setting the example of what all missionaries should become, so to a degree, that's exactly what is happening. I think that principle could apply to everyone in any organization, especially in the church. Just some food for thought.
After the training (which was very enjoyable), I hopped into the Brewer van and returned to my old stomping grounds up in Bangor, ME! I went on exchange with Elder Levie, who I came out with in the same MTC group. I had a blast being back up there. We went to see Joe and Susie, the Wilcox's, and the Hendersons, along with many others. I sure did enjoy myself, and we got a lot of work done. It was over way too soon! Before I knew it, I was making the 4 hour drive back down to Manchester. of course, we had to stop at Big G's in Waterville on the way to grab a sandwhich. We even met up with Elder Sommerfeldt and his companion, who also had with them a member couple I got pretty close to when i was serving there, so that was a lot of fun. 
 
Friday, we worked in the morning and taught some good lessons, including a lesson with a less-active on how to quit smoking. We then spent 6 hours planning and preparing reports for President Wilkey. Then we moved in to Saturday, where we watched conference, helped with two moves, and did a baptismal interview. Sunday was equal in craziness. Boy did we enjoy conference though! President Uchtdorf's talk on Saturday was probably my favorite. But yeah, overall, this was probably one of my favorite weeks of my mission. We worked hard, were spiritually fed, and I got to touch back with a lot of people I got close to. It was a great week!!
 
This next week should be good too. It's Elder Baker's last week of his mission, so I'm sure we'll be working really hard. We have no trainings or planning meetings during the week, so hopefully we'll just get to work work work! We do have this exciting news- Matt should be getting baptized this Friday!!! We're really excited for that. He made the final decision to go ahead on Tuesday night. He'll be interviewed tonight and should be good for Friday.Stay tuned next week to hear more about that!!
Ok, well I better get going. We've got tons to do today, and we're hoping to get done as early as possible so we can go on a hike through the woods to really enjoy the fall foliage. It's at it's peak right now, and all I can say is this- I've never experienced anything so beautiful. I'm going to miss the trees so much. I've learned to love them. Anyways, I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and I'll see if there'll be any worth sharing next week! Love you all! Have a great week!!
 
-Faithfully,
Elder K. Esplin

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Already!!!!

Welp, once again, it's Monday already. I know I've said it before, but I CAN'T BELIEVE how fast the weeks are going by. It just feels like every day is Monday now. Crazy. Anyways, my week was great, but pretty uneventful. Well, comparatively at least haha. We had two main tasks that we were constantly working on- preparing for a leadership training we're putting on tomorrow, and unifying with the members. We've been putting a lot of focus on the members and helping them do their missionary work, as well as hopefully building their trust in us. Last week, we made oreo truffles (balls of grounded oreos and cream cheese, coated in white chocolate. They were wicked good) and we took them around to members who do a lot for the missionary efforts in the ward. It was fun getting to surprise them with goodies and (as an even bigger surprise) not follow up with an assignment of some kind. We've also been hard at work getting ready for this Wednesday. We worked with our ward mission leader and the local public affairs representative to put on a local event where people in Beford can come learn about the values and faith of members of the LDS church and ask questions, in a non-evangelical setting. We spent several hours going to members homes asking them to pray for us as we went and gave flyers to all of their neighbors. It also got into the newspaper, and is all over face book. It should be a pretty good event! We're excited about it. So between those two things trying to unify with the members, we were making preparations for workshops for tomorrow's leadership training. All the District Leaders and Zone Leaders in the mission are coming down tonight or tomorrow morning, so we had to make the travel plans to get everyone down using as few mission miles as possible. That was quite a chore. We also got to throw in time to get the tires changed out in our car (we placed a Mormon.org card and a family proclamation in the auto shop though!), and move couches down and back up 3 flights of stairs, and practicing piano for another special musical number. Sounds like fun, right??
Amid all that good stuff, we had some really great lessons. We had a great lesson with one ouf our investigators- Tammy. She's been struggling to progress and keep her commitments to read the scriptures and pray, and hasn't been to church yet, even though she's committed several times to come. We didn't feel she really understood why our message was so important, so we retaught her the restoration. After we watched a movie about the first vision, she had an "a-ha" moment where she realized why what we were doing was so important. We then helped her understand that this was the reason why we invited her to pray and read the scriptures and come to church- to find out if we are really Christ's church back on the earth! We have high hopes that her attitude towards our visits will be different now. We also had a great lesson with Matt and Kristina about how a family can be eternal. We brought with us a member who recently was sealed to a little girl who he had just adopted. It was a very tender lesson. Matt is still on track to be baptized next weekend! We did receive news that they're planning on moving up to northern Maine at the end of the month...we're a little bummed about that, as is the ward, but I guess it's just how life goes! We had another great lesson with Flora, the older Sudanese woman who is getting baptized next weekend. We taught her the Word of Wisdom. It's a very big part of her culture to drink coffee and tea, but upon hearing she wasn't supposed to, her resolve to quit was immediate. She said she would have to keep serving it to her family, but she would be willing to not drink it because God didn't want her to. I hope one day to have faith like Flora.
Those are the highlights of the last week! Very busy, and finally with work for our own area, and it's proving to lead to some great changes! This next week will be epic- I'm super excited for it. Today, I'll be driving the huge 12 passenger van up to Vermont to pick up 8 district leaders/zone leaders, then we'll have the training tomorrow (which is going to be AWESOME). Then, after the training, I'll be getting into the Brewer van and going back to my old area up in Bangor for exchange! I'm super excited to see everybody up there again. I also got word that they scheduled a meal for me at one of my favorite members home, so that'll be fun. Then we have general conference this weekend!! WAHOO!! Haha everything combined, this next week will be incredible. I can't wait!!
Love you all!! It was great hearing from you. I'll look forward to hearing from you next week!!
-Faithfully,
Elder KC Esplin

September Mornings

Monday, we drove up to Lewiston, ME and spent the night with the zone leaders. We exchanged and drove back the next morning. I was in Manchester with an Elder Smith from Washington. We had a great exchange- we taught 5 lessons, found a new investigator, and got in contact with a few investigators who had fallen off the face of the earth. We had a really cool lesson with one of our investigators- George. He had been having a really busy and stressful week, so he hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon or praying. We talked to him about how his life had improved during the past when he was doing those things, and he pointed out that he felt he received small blesings every time he prayed. We read the scripture in Alma 37:6-7 about small and simple things, and he just sat there for a second and said, "You know, I've been really busy lately, but I need to make time for God. He's what really should be most important. I'm going to start taking a half hour aside every night to read the Book of Mormon and pray. I need those blessings." We were stunned- when we first met him, he didn't seem horribly interested in listening to us at all, but now, he's willing to devote a half hour every night to reading! And we weren't even trying to motivate him to do that- it was all the Spirit. We though that was pretty nifty. There really is power in doing those small and simple things that the Lord has revealed to receive the big blessings!
The next morning (Wednesday), we drove back up to Maine, ate at an incredible Chinese Buffet, and drove back with two stops in Cornish, ME and Sanford, ME. Overall, I spent 8 hours driving that day. Wahoo. Haha but we ended the day with a great member meal and then had a lesson with Matt and Kristina. That was a great lesson too. We took a member with us, who is a very successful and wealthy business-man, and he bore his testimony and told his conversion story. At the end, we set a goal with Matt to be baptized on October 12! We're pretty stoked about that. But it gets better. The next morning, Kristina texted us and said that she was wanting to recommitt herself to reading and praying and teaching her kids lessons like she used to. She recognized that she wanted to reconnect with God and find greater happiness. It was another tender mercy of the Lord. He sure does know how to work miracles!
The rest of the week was just work in the area. We re-established contact with a few investigators we haven't had time to catch up with recently, which was really nice. We also dropped a few investigators who weren't really progressing, and even found a few new prospects! We also made sure to find time to decorate the mission home for President Wilkey's birthday, and we decorated the office for one of the office staff sisters who works here. We also got to spend several hours helping a member move. Unfortunately, he was hardly packed and only one other member of the elders quorum showed up so...that was an exciting afternoon! But it lead to us getting approached by an Obama campaigner, and we talked to him for several minutes about the church and gave him Mormon.org to use in his campaign about what the church REALLY believes. That was pretty exciting. But, all in all, it was a week of just mellow work, and boy was it nice!!
This next week will be another crazy one though. Tomorrow, we'll be putting on a new missionary/trainers meeting. Then right after, we'll be going on exchange with the New Hampshire zone leaders. Friday we'll be driving up to mid-New Hampshire for zone interviews too, and we'll be making preparations for doing early transfer plans. Sounds exciting, right?? I'll give you more updates at the end of the week.
That's all I got for now! I sure love you all! Have a great week, and remember- "...Man are, that they might have JOY!"
-Faithfully,
Elder KC Esplin

At last a "Mellow" week

We had a pretty mellow week our here. And boy was it nice! On Tuesday, we had a training for new missionaries/trainers. We gave two trainings on planning and record keeping. Nothing too crazy. The best part (as it usally is) was getting to see my buddies from around the mission. That night, we drove up to Concord, NH and exchanged with the zone leaders there, then whipped back to Manchester to go to a funeral. There was a sister in our ward who passed away at ate 92. We met her a few weeks ago, and were really touched by her spirit. She was a convert to the church, and her and her husband sure did love the missionaries. They would have them over to dinner all the time, and had a wall in their home dedicated to missionaries who had served in their area or missionaries who were serving from their ward. We thought we would go and give respects from all missionaries who she had helped. We also gave some pamphlets to her familiy who had driven up from Kentucky. It was a little surreal for me to see someone pass so quickly- we saw her about a month ago and she was still as fiery as always, but then a few weeks later was in a rest home and was fighting to be conscious. We visited her there as well. I haven't dealt with death much in my life, so anytime I encounter it, it puts me in check a little bit. I'm grateful that my testimony of the plan of salvation has been strengthened on my mission. I know now that death is NOT the end.
The next morning, we drove to Sommersworth, NH for a district meeting, then worked all night. We had a pretty intense with a 7th day adventist who was from Dominican Republic (I think?). He was arguing very intensely that the Book of Mormon was not needed, that the Bilbe testified of Christ and that's all we needed. I came back by pointing out that what he was saying was the same as saying, "I have the book of Matthew. It tells me of Christ. I don't need your books of Luke, John, Acts, or any others. All I need is Matthew." We did our best to show how the Book of Mormon, just like the other gospels, doesn't take away from what he already treasures- it enhances it. We then talked about how the Book of Mormon is esesential to understand the Bible, because obviously one can't rely solely upon the Bible to know the way (if it was perfectly clear, there wouldn't be hundreds of religions based off of it!). Then we ended by having him look at a picture of Christ in the Americas blessing the children and asked him if he though Christ's love could extend to those here in America. It was a tender moment. We committed him to read 3 Ne. 11 and pray about it, which he said he would. Overall, it was a great lesson!
Thursday, we went on another roadtrip up to Concord, NH for a district meeting, then worked all night. Nothing too exciting there. Friday, we drove up to Hanover, NH for zone interviews! I sure do love my interviews with President Wilkey. We also received trainings on goal setting, 1 Ne. 8, and finding for real growth. The best part of the day- we didn't have to do anything!!! We were just participants, and boy was it nice haha. That night, we had dinner with a family. In the lesson, we focused on getting the kids excited for the upcoming primary program and how it was an opportunity for them to be a missionary- they could invite their friends to listen, and they could bear their testimony through their lines and songs. I made them little origami shirts and ties that said "future missionary" on it, and they were so excited by the end. it was a lot of fun!
Saturday, we had 5 hours of planning, 1 1/2 with the ward mission leader, and 4 with the Wilkeys. Sounds like fun, right?? But after the planning, we had a lesson with matt and kristina at the mission home. We were bringing in the big guns to help Matt meet his baptismal goal in October. We discussed the restoration and his feelings about Joseph Smith, and ended the lesson by singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." It was a very powerful lesson, and we think he'll make it in October!!
That's about it for this week! There's a ton of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. One of which we're very excited about is we're having a "mormons next door" night for the Bedford Commiunity next week. We thought that due to all the attention the church is getting, it'd be a good move to have non-threatening night to teach about the church a bit. We're going to be spreading the word about that a ton this next week. We've also started going out once a week with ward/stake leaders to contact every less-active on our rolls. It's a big project, but we're planning on using it to not only reactivate less-actives, but to receive referrals to bring them to church too! We've also started working really hard to get all the members out teaching with us, and not just the ones we usually take. The atmosphere about missionary work is slowly changing, and I've been super pumped about it!!
That's all I got time for today. Love you all! Have a great week, and keep letting me know how everything is going!
-Faithfully,
Elder KC Esplin

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thoughts for Mom's talk

Now, I gotta start with this. I'm trying to think of things I can share that won't take away from things I want to put in my homecoming talk! But, I guess it wont hurt to hear some things twice, right?



A few funny experiences to start I guess.



A few weeks ago, we were doing a workshop at a zone meeting on creating visuals based out of Preach My Gospel to find new people to teach. While elders and sisters were reading the paragraphs in Preach My Gospel and calling out things we could put on our visuals, me and my companion were writing the points up on small white boards at the front of the room. I was writing sideways because of the awkward position, and very quickly to keep up with the comments, so my writing was starting to slope downwards slightly. During a pause in the calling out, a missionary on the front row said, "Elder Esplin, your writing is making me have to slant my head to read it!" I turned over my shoulder and said to him, "Elder, you should already know that I have a tendency to turn heads."



That doesn't have much to do with anything, but you'd probably get a laugh from sharing it haha.



Ok here's some meat you can use Mom. Use as little or as much as you want. I'll probably share all of these in my homecoming talk.



Points for future missionaries and members alike.


Don't be fearful of change. Changing has a central purpose to our existance. (The parables of the acorn and the rubber band would both fit in here).

           -Application: In my second area (Waterville), there was a woman who had attended LDS services for over 10 years, yet wasn't baptized. She attended mainly because her husband was a member and she went to spend time with him. She was a practicing 7th Day Adventist, so she'd go to her church on Saturday, then go to the ward on Sunday. One night, she was praying because she was feeling torn-The church she attended was giving her a hard time because she would attend the LDS services, yet the LDS church was so warm and friendly, and she had many friends there. She said a prayer for guidance to know what the Lord would have her do. That night, she had a dream. She saw the faces of members of the church that she had known her entire life. Then she was suddenly in the presence of God, and she asked what way she should go. He replied that He had shown her the way and had dropped signs through members she had known her entire life. She woke up and knew it was time to fully investigate the church. She contacted us and asked to go through the lessons for the first time in the 10+ years she had been attending. The lessons were very intense. She was undergoing an immense conflict between the doctrines we were teaching versus the doctrines she had grown up being taught her entire life. But, she was firm in her belief that God had given her guidance to the faith and she was willing to stand firm in that revelation. She was willing to change her perspective from something she had been set on her entire life. But because of her faith in God and humility to do WHATEVER it took to please Him, she was baptized 2 months later and is, today, a faithful gospel doctrines teacher.



Another life-changing principle I've learned:


Don't put happiness off to another day.

      -In all honesty, when I first got out on my mission, I had a hard time adjusting. I went from being at the university I had always wanted to attend, having many close friends, spending time with my family, listening and performing music, all those things I had loved...to living in a strange place (Maine) with someone I had never met, spending all day walking through snow in freezing rain having door after door slammed in my face. More than once did I say to myself, "Man, life was a lot better back home." And the more I thought about the things back home, the less happy I was. I found saying to myself things like, "I'll be happy when we find a new investigator" or "I'll be happy when I get a letter from a girl" or "I'll be happy when I get transferred." In short, I wasn't happy because I was choosing to be happy on some other day than the day I was living in. But then I read a series of talks ("consecrate thy performance" by Neal A. Maxwell, "The Fourth Missionary" by Lawrence E. Corbridge [Dad, if I could give any advice to the stake to prepare missionaries, it'd be to have them all read that talk. It's not on LDS.org though, so you may have to hunt for it. Let me know if you can't find it- I'll get it for you], and "Bloom where you're planted," which was an article in some random ensign I read). The basic lesson I learned about happiness was this- it's all about where your heart is. My heart at that point in time wasn't on the present- on missionary work or the Lord. It was on the past- on the memories of the things I'd left back home! No wonder I was miserable- I wasn't even living with a heart- it was 2,800 miles away and two years into the past! I determined that the only way I'd ever be happy and be able to serve others effectively would be to learn to bring my heart to the present and to give it over to the Lord. So that's what I did. Every night, I would kneel and tell the Lord that my heart was his, that I'd go where he wanted me to go. I focused on making what I wanted to be what the Lord wanted. And as I did so, the Lord began to want exactly what it is that I wanted. Miracles followed. I saw lives change as soon as I was willing to pull my heart out of the past, into the present, and give it as a present to the Lord. It isn't a one time deal either- I have to work hard to keep it there. There are some times that I let my heart wander out of the Lord's hands into the hands of other things, and it's those times that I'm not very happy. But as long as I'm able to keep my heart in the present and in the hands of the Lord, I've been able to experience happiness constantly instead of on some unknown day in the future.



So. My advice to future missionaries and to everybody who will listen- don't let you heart reside in the past or in far away places. Keep it in the present and give it over to the Lord. You'll find that once you do, you'll be happy NOW instead of later.



Well, there's a few tidbits for you Mom. Hopefully they'll help. I'd write more, but you have over 75 letters to back track through! Hopefully it goes well- let me know what you shared and how it went! Good luck! Love you!



-EKCE

Hello Hello!!

Man, it seems like right when I log off the computer to go work for the night on Mondays, next thing I know, I'm getting back on to email again! It scares me how fast time is going by.; It's definitly a bitter-sweet thing to think about leaving the mission. So, I'll just not think about it =)

 I keep waiting for life to slow down a bit. I've even gotten excited a few times thinking that it would. Then, right on schedule, things come up to keep me busy! It's nuts. But, I guess it's good I'm staying busy- it's keeping me out of trouble. This last week was no exception to the busy life. Monday, as I said last week, was the day we got to pick up the new missionaries from the airport and spend the night getting to know them, answering their questions, and playing a missionary jeapordy game with them that we made. Tuesday, we got to have transfer meeting. It was fun seeing all my buddies again. I was asked to be part of a quintet and sing "All Creatures of our God and King" at the meeting, but our piano player showed up having not practiced and unable to play, so I opted out and played the piano instead. By the way, in case you're wondering, I didn't get transferred! So, that means that since Elder Baker wil be going home in 5 weeks, I'll be garenteed to stay here until mid-November, which I'm really excited about! Especially since we'll be having Elder Nash of the 70 come and do a zone conference, so I'll get to work with him for a few days. Anyways, that was Tuesday- Transfer meeting.



Wednesday morning, we had quite the experience. We were assigned to take the returning missionaries to the airport to fly out. We showed up at the mission home in our van ready to pick them up, but found out the flight had been delayed. So instead, we took one of the returning missionaries out with us to go finding new investigators in Bedford. As we started driving through Bedford, lo and behold, a black bear ran out of the woods, in front of our van, and into the woods on the other side (no, we didn't hit it. Sorry if I got you excited). We slammed on the brakes and pulled over the van to watch it. He stood there in the woods watching us, and we sat watching it. Then it took off into the forest and out of sight. It was quite the adventure! We then drove to our destination, which was vacant. We still had 15 minutes, so I told the returning missionary that this was his last chance to do missionary work, and I'd drive around Bedford and wait until he felt a spiritual prompting to stop the van, and we'd contact whatever house he felt we needed to do. We drove about 5 minutes and he yelled, "THAT ONE!" I slammed on the brakes and parked, and we jumped out and knocked on the door. A man answered and politely told us he wasn't interested and that was the end of the contact. We walked back to the van slightly confused, when we spotted a man walking in the road coming towards us. We stopped him and started talking. His name was Joe, and he was a VERY devout Catholic. We talked for about 20 minutes. He told us about how we were on the wrong path and needed to join  the REAL church, and we took time to teach him about the great apostasy and need for a restoration. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he agreed to have us over to continue our conversation. So there ya go. that's the story of Catholic Joe.



We rushed back to the mission home slighly late, loaded up our 12-passenger van "Moose "with luggage and got them to the airport just in the nick of time. The rest of the day was spent teaching and preparing trainings. We did find a sweet couple on a door step. One was a Jew from West Africa, the other was an Italian Jehovah's Witness. I love the diversity of Manchester!



Thursday and Friday weren't as exciting. We were in meetings ALL day Thursday (from 10 AM to 7 PM) then drove to South Royalton to pick up the Vermont Zone Leaders and drove back. We then took reports until 11 PM. And that was Thursday. Wahoo.



Friday was Zone Leader Council. Elder Baker and I gave a training on goal setting. We called the training "Begin with the End in Mind." We talked about the trio of things we need in order to successfully set a goal and achieve it- Vision, Knowledge, and Desire. We also shared this quote by Bishop David Burton: "Discipline is the bridge that connects goals and accomplishments." I liked that one a lot. That night, we taught a 9-yr-old boy about applying what we learn by playing with corn starch in water. He's quite the hyper little boy! He'll be exciting to teach.



Saturday and Sunday were the only days we really got to work the area. So we did just that- work. We spent a lot of time stopping by investigators who aren't really doing anything and giving them the ultimatum of deciding whether this is something they want in their lives right now. We lot quite a few investigators. But, the hope is, because we dropped the ones not so interested, we'll have more time to find the committed in the surrounding towns. We're excited to get hardcore into some finding! We already have a few prospects in the town of Bedford so we're excited about that. Sunday night, we got to watch the CES devotional by Elder Holland. Mom and Dad, did you get to go to that?? It was given in the burns arena. I almost blew a fuse when I saw all the pictures of STG haha. I wish I could have been there! but it was a great devotional, and we think Kristina and Matt got to get some things out of it.



Welp, there's my week for ya! As I said before, nice and busy. This next week should actually allow more time in the area to work. We're driving up to Maine tonight and driving back tomorrow morning, but other than that, we have no outstanding meetings or anything like that. Just time to work in the area. It should be a great week!!



Ok I better go. Love you all, and I hope you have a great week!! Take care!!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Happy Labor Day!



Welp, it was, yet again, another crazy week! I'm starting to get used to it by now haha. But we did have some exciting things happen! On Monday, we worked in secret with Sister Wilkey to arrange to have President Wilkey's golf clubs brought to the mission office. Then, when he went to the bathroom, we snuck them in and set up his clubs and golfing clothes in his office. We then basically kidnapped him to take a break to go hit a bucket of balls. President was a big golfer back home, but never takes P-days so he hasn't touched his clubs since he got here. We've been going through lots of stress as a staff with a bunch of elders going home for health or not wanting to be out here. We thought it'd be a good break for everyone to go golfing together. So we got out! It was a lot of fun. That night, we worked till 9, and called it a day! Tuesday, not much happened out of the ordinary. Elder Baker had to get his authorization to drive our 12 passenger van, so I worked on a jeopardy game we would play with the new missionaries. It should be fun. That night, we taught 2 less-actives and Kristina (the one recently baptized). To one of the less-actives, we had a lesson on the importance of developing Christ-like attributes. We read from the first page of Ch. 6 of PMG about how Christ's invitation to "Come Follow Me" isn't just an invitation to follow him physically- it's an invitation to learn and become as He is. It was a really powerful lesson.



The next day, we drove up to Saco, ME (which is near Portland) to a district meeting. When we got there, we received the exciting news that the power was out. So we crawled around in the rafters looking for the power breakers. That was a good adventure! After, we went to Pizza hut buffet. One of the elders who I'm buddies with left his wallet, so I offered to pay for him in exchange that he'd let me crash at his house one night (he lives in southern California). So I got myself rooming for a vacation to California now! haha that should be good. Anyways, we drove back after the meeting and met up with President Wilkey for several hours to discuss the upcoming transfer. The rest of the night, we taught lessons and did random drop offs of goodies (I made some rolo cookies, we bought 2 liters of soda, etc) to give to people we knew who were going through hard times. That was a lot of fun.



The next day was our own district meeting. It was pretty awesome. Afterwords, we went in to the office to work on the interview schedules for President Wilkey. That took a while. As soon as we could, we took off to get to work. We had dinner at a members house with a lesson after about the importance of sharing the gospel through Mormon.org and how to use pass along cards to do so effectively. Mormon.org is one of the church's biggest pushes right now. Especially with Romney getting so much attention, it's proving to be a great resource in getting people interested. Also, with all the anti that is sure to come in the near future, it's the best way to help those who hear things that are false to get the real story from an official church website. So, if you aren't familiar with it, you should be! The church wants us to share the gospel using it!!



Friday was a breath of fresh air. We taught back to back lessons all morning. My favorite was with an investigator, Tammy. We had a powerful lesson on Plan of Salvation, and we really emphasized the Atonement as the centerpiece to it all. It created a great foundation for future lessons on faith in Christ. We had mission planning for a few hours that afternoon, then we hit the streets again to teach a few more lessons, along with another member meal.



Saturday morning, we started it off with a super intense lesson with Marshall and Nadja, a couple who live in Bedford. He is a retired general officer in the Air Force, and is good friends with Elder Carlson of the 70. He's an extremely logical guy, and has spent much time reflecting on the things of philosophy. Anyways, we had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation, and it got pretty deep. Luckily, I think very similarly to him, so I did my best to keep up with him. He was debating that if our Plan of Salvation were to be entirely correct, we'd need a path connecting the Spirit World back to Earth life so we could be reincarnated so we can properly develop to become like God. His argument was that "your current Plan of Salvation is like saying to a 4-yr-old 'I will judge you for the rest of your life from what you do today from 1 PM to 2 PM.' Then, when he breaks a vase, condemning him to live in a dark hole for eternity. Where is the justice in that?" My rebuttal was this: "I love to perform on the piano. Growing up, I played in recitals. Some of my piano performances were in front of 100+ people. One of my favorite songs to play, the Pathetic Sonata, takes 6 minutes to play. Yet, despite the short duration of the piece, I've spent dozens, if not hundreds, of hours practicing for just those 6 minutes in front of the audience. Once I'm on that stage, there's no turning back. No extra time for practice. I play the piece, and at the end, I'm judged on my performance. I can't go back and redo the song. I can practice and play another performance, but I can never go back and have that exact opportunity again. Our time now is the time to perform, not to intentionally mess up and look forward to the next performance." He took the point and accepted to mediate upon it. He also accepted to read the Book of Mormon in Alma 40-42 and agreed to have us back to talk more about Christ and the demands of Justice and Mercy. Man, I sure do love those logical discussions! After that lesson was over, we went to the office and worked on the plans for all the transfers. That took about, oh, 10 hours. Then we made the transfer calls, and hit the hay! Pretty exciting day if you ask me!



Sunday, we had two investigators at church! Matt came, and Flora came. After church, we had dinner with a member family, then had a lesson with Matt and Kristina, then another mission planning session until the end of the day. I heard this quote in church and I really liked it. "Working hands are holier than praying lips." -Nepali Proverb. I liked that one a lot.



So yeah! There ya go. Quite the week. As you can tell, there's been a lot of administrative things going on with transfers and preparation for this next transfer. But, we won't have any zone conferences or zone meetings (that we know of) to go to, so we'll hopefully have more time in our area. This was just a ridiculously packed transfer. Hopefully things can slow down and we can put more attention into our area! By the way, a fun little fact for you, this last month, we drove our mini-van for a total of over 2,500 miles. Pretty crazy, right?



Instead of giving the preview for next week, I think I'll just lay it all out next Monday. If I have to sit at a computer screen any longer today, I'm gonna lose all my hair.



But I sure love you all! I'll be excited to hear from you all soon. Know that I know the church is true, that Joseph Smith is the Prophet, and that Jesus Christ is the only path that leads to real happiness. Have a great week!!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin


Man, the craziness doesn't seem to stop!! This last week was one of the craziest yet. Monday, after reports and staff meeting and emails and all that good stuff, we packed up shop and headed up to Vermont. We set up the chapel that night, and had our first Zone Conference the next day at the chapel on the Joseph Smith Memorial grounds. It was a really cool experience. I'll talk more about what went on in Zone Conference in a bit. We got back late Tuesday night because were asked last minute to drive two elders back to their area a ways west of Royalton (and we decided to grab some Denny's a while later about a mile away from the Holy KFC haha). Wednesday morning, we got to work the area like normal, then at about 5, we left again to head up to Augusta, Maine. We set up that night, then had another zone conference up there on Thursday. After, we went out to dinner with the 18-yr-old harpist and the Wilkeys, then headed back to Manchester, just in time to do weekly reports! Friday we worked the area plus about 4 hours of planning. Then come Saturday, we made arrangements to take Kristina, her husband Matt, and one of the coolest members ever, Bro. Quindley, up to the Joseph Smith Memorial! I finally got to spend some time there to take the tour and take it all in. We watched a new Joseph Smith movie they had there, toured the memorial and the visitors center, and even went on a special tour of the foundations of the houses that existed on the Mack farm when Joseph was born there. It was a great day, and we could tell it had an impact on Matt. We got back just in time for 2 more appointments and called it a day.



Then came Sunday. At church, we received an elder who was leaving for Argentina. He had been serving here waiting for his Visa. Elder Morgan from Layton, UT. He went to USU, so we had a good time talking. We worked hard and ate harder at a members, and before we knew it, it was 9. We then had to do some investigative work about some mischevious elders in northern Vermont a few months ago, and finally hit the hay. Then this morning, we woke up at 4 something to drive Elder Morgan to the airport, and now we're finishing reports and doing email. Fun stuff right?



So. The verdict- this week was crazy, but so awesome!



The zone conferences we had were amazing. The theme was repentance. The main discussion was about how true repentance isn't about going through steps to obtain forgiveness- it's about having a change of heart, mind, knowledge, and breath. It's a process of not only turning from something, but also turning to God. We then broke into workshops of 8, where the zone leaders and us moderated a discussion about how teaching "faith unto repentance" (see Alma 34) is the most effective way we can, as missionaries, influence our investigators/less actives to keep commitments. My big take away that will impact me for the rest of my life is this- If a person truly believes in Christ and loves him, then keeping the commandments and having a desire to do the right thing will be natural and instinctive. Confronting problems case by case isn't what will change someone- helping someone discover faith in Christ which will lead to loving him will change not only their behaviors, but their heart. And that's what God is really after. I left those two conferences feeling very uplifted from just that revelation.



After the training on repentance, we talked about tithing. The big thing I got from that is that tithing has very little to do with money. God isn't so much after our money. What he wants is our heart. By loving God enough to give up our most needed worldly possession (money), we in turn sanctify our hearts to become more like Christ. When one realizes that by giving tithing, they are purifying their hearts to prepare them for the Celestial Kingdom, suddenly tithing becomes something they'll want to do. Once again, it's all about the heart. I think if I were to pick one thing I've learned most on my mission, it's the fact that it's all about our heart. But that'll have to be another discussion for another day!



There was lots of other fun parts about zone conference too. As always, it was great getting to see my friends from every part of the mission. I also really enjoyed playing the harp/piano duet of "How Gentle God's Commands." It sounded pretty good. I even was offered a chance to play the harp a bit, and it was surprisingly easy. I was able to play out of the hymn book after about 10 minutes. So, I might have to add the harp to my arsenal when I get home haha. It was a lot of fun. I also got to play the piano for two districts singing "Lead Kindly Light." That went fairly well too. We also really enjoyed spending the night with the South Royalton and Augusta elders too. One of the best parts- the South Royalton elders were given 7 gallons of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, so they gave us 2 gallons to enjoy. Score! It's wicked good. Then the Augusta elders hooked us up with a package of Oreos. They're not helping me keep my resolve to eat healthier...but you only live once, right?? I'm weighing less than the rest of my mission, so I can afford it!



So yeah. There you go. This last week was one of the craziest yet! But at this point, I'm getting used to the 'fast and furious' lifestyle. Next transfer, it should calm down a lot. No zone conferences or trainings, just zone interviews, and we're not involved with that beyond just having to create the schedule for them. So next month will be a month to focus in on the area, which I'm really excited for. This next week is filling up fast. We only have to travel to one district meeting, and the rest of the week will be spent here in Manchester. Yes! But it will be transfer week, so we'll be involved in making the arrangements to get everyone where they need to be. It should be interesting. But that's all I got! I'm excited for a great week to work hard!



Ok I best get going. Love you all! Know that I know the church is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. The only way I can truly say that is because God has told me through the Holy Spirit, and there is no witness greater than that of God. Have a great week!!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Doing well, enjoy the pics!

tThI fou


Good hearing from everybody. Sounds like life keeps on chugging along. Dad, it sounds like you had a great training from Elder Wilkensen. General Authorities sure are awesome. I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but we're going to have a general authority here in November. Elder Nash of the 70. Hopefully I'll still be an assistant then! That last little bit you mentioned he talked on- about how the church isn't under seige but families are. that really caught my attention. What all was discussed there? I'd be interested to know. Mom, sounds like your projects are keeping you busy. And if they aren't Molly and Jared are! How big is she? Also, have you heard how Bennett is doing lately? Also, i hope the dogs are doing well! We had a meal with a member this last week, and they had a Jack Russell. I played with him a lot, he had a lot of similar characteristics to Trixie. I'll be excited to play with her when I get back!

Kristina's Baptism
We had an awesome week! First off, KRISTINA GOT BAPTIZED!! It was such an awesome experience. She really went through the refiners fire the week before. Satan sure does push hard to bring people down right before they get baptized. She was presented with a lot of doubts, anti from her family, and even had an uncle die. But the night before, we went over and retaught her the plan of salvation and gave her a blessing. She said that night, she did a lot of praying to know if this was what she should do. The next morning (the day of her baptism), she didn't have any doubts at all. She was smiling and laughing all day. Because of that, she asked if she could bear her testmiony at the baptism, and talked about the transformation she's gone through because of the gospel, and about why she chose to be baptized. It was a really powerful experience. She's going to make a great member. Now we just have to finish off her husband, and there'll be a great new family in the Bedford ward! I'll do my best to attach a picture of the baptism too.



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The rest of the week was pretty busy. On Monday, we had a zone leaders council down in Exeter, NH. (The morning before, for exercise, we played a doubles tennis match with the Vermont zone leaders, and we totally won. It was pretty sweet). After the meeting, we came back home and got right to work. On Tuesday, we had the first real P-day I've had since becoming an assitant! We didn't do much though haha. Reports we didn't get to do on Monday, cleaning the apartment, shopping, lunch, and about an hour of piano. Then in the evening, we drove back to Exeter to pick up the zone leaders down there for exchange. I stayed in Bedford with an Elder Packer from Idaho. Yep, the same one I was companions with in the MTC. Pretty cool, huh? We traveled up to Hanover, NH for a district meeting, then worked the rest of the day. That night we exchanged back, and things kept going. The rest of the week was just working hard with other investigators, getting everything ready for Kristina's baptism, and prepping for zone conference this next week. So....yeah! That was pretty much my week!


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This week will be another REALLY insane one. We got two zone conferences. Here we go! We leave tonight to set up in South Royalton, Vermont (we actually have zone conference at the Joseph Smith Memorial. Pretty cool, right?), then we'll be gone doing zone conference all day Tuesday. We'll work the area for half a day Wednesday, then leave for Augusta on Wednesday to set up, then be gone all day Thursday. We'll then get to work the area all weekend. So...not the best week for proselyting, which I'm pretty bumemd about, but I'm excited to do lots of traveling and see all my missionary buddies. Plus, on Tuesday, i get to play the piano for two special musical numbers, one being a quartet singing "Lead Kindly Light." The other one is really cool. We're doing a harp-piano duet. There's a girl in my ward that plays harp, and President Wilkey though it would be cool to do a harp musical number. She a pretty cool girl- she'll be going to Utah State next year. We went over last night to practice, and it sounds pretty good. I'm really excited- i've never played with a harpist before! but I'll let you know how it goes.



Ok that's about it on my end! I'll do my best to attach some pictures. Oh, another note on the side. I hit my 18 month mark this week. can you believe how fast the time is flying?? It really freaks me out- i don't want it to be over! But I'm excited to push myself to the limit and leave everything on the alter. It's going to be a wild 6 months!
Thugging in Downtown Manchester--these are the streets I walk Daily.



Love and miss you all. Know you're in my thoughts and prayers. I'll be excited to hear from you next week!

Me and Manchester:)

View from the top of Manchester.
To celebrate my 18 month mark,
 our district made the missionary's traditional "Samoan Sandwich"
 they are surprisingly delicious!!

The "Holy KFCTThethe The

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Me and my  "Samoan"