Monday, January 30, 2012

What a week

I had quite the week this week. Tons happened. I'll start with a miracle that happened on Tuesday.

Me and the "Evening Sandwich Program" gang
 I was on exchange in Waterville. We didn't have anything to do at 10 AM (the hardest hour to do something productive), so we decided to walk some keys to a member who lived just down the road from us (the walk would take about 5 minutes). Before I left, I felt prompted to say a prayer. In it I prayed, "Heavenly Father, I know that we'll only be out for a short walk this morning, but if it be Thy will, let us please cross paths with someone ready to receive the Gospel." Then we were off. I kept my eyes peeled to see if anybody was near. The streets were deserted. So, we went to the members house, dropped off the keys, and started heading back. But I checked my watch, saw we had about 15 minutes to burn, so I proposed we'd take the long way home. So we did. As we were walking, I felt prompted to go visit a potential investigator we met several weeks ago. We knocked on his door, and found out he moved. At this point, I figured we should head back to the apartment. As we left the potential investigator's house, we saw a man walking in the opposite direction of us on the other side of the road. As he got closer, I waved and yelled "Good morning sir! How are you doing today?" He yelled back, "Oh, I'm hanging in there!" I responded, "Well, that's not the best way to be! What's been going on?" He then told us (while on the other side of the street) that his girlfriend had just left him and that he was struggling financially to pay for his apartment now. He now had no friends and nothing to do with his time. I waited for the first break in traffic and darted across the street. We began to talk more, and found out his name was Phil. I told him that we had a message for him that would help him feel peace and happiness as he goes through this hard time. We told him about the Book of Mormon, asked if we could come visit him another time that week, and said a prayer of hope and peace over him. He was eager to have us back. Since then, we've been back, and had a great lesson on the Restoration, and he's eager to start reading the Book of Mormon and start coming to church.



That experience was probably one of the most direct answers to a prayer I've ever had in my life. It built my faith up so much that Heavenly Father really does hear every sincere righteous prayer, and that he does answer. I KNOW that that is true.



So yeah. That's how the week started off, and it was incredible. Wednesday, we went up to Bangor for a zone training, which was great. It was fun getting to see a bunch of my missionary friends, including Elder Carroll, who will be going home next week. Also, while I was there, they had us all show pictures on our cameras of our visuals we had hanging up back in our apartment (identifying potential investigators, charting and making goals for investigators and less-actives, identifying ward members, less-actives, and unknown people from the ward list, etc.) I showed the copies to the president's wife and she said to me," Oh my. You've updated these. You'll need to email me these pictures." She then gave me her email. I was very confused. I asked her why she needed them. She then told me that President Wilkey had been using specifically our area's visuals in his reports to the area authorities to show what had been going on in the mission. Yowza. I guess that means that President Wilkey likes what's going on in the area! (Either that, or he's using ours as the bad example. That's definitely a possibility too haha)

Helping people quit smoking is the best!!!


Thursday and Friday were especially blessed days. And by blessed, I mean awful. And by awful, I mean the stomach flu. Yeah. That wasn't fun. Thursday was probably the worst I've ever had the flu in my life. But, I got a blessing and took the day off, and now I'm back on my feet and better than ever. But I'll tell  you what, I was miserable, but not just because I was sick, but because I felt I was wasting the Lord's time. It sure did make me grateful for the fact I still have a year left to work as hard as I can!



Another fun thing this week was that I got to give a talk in Sacrament! That was really fun. I was amazed at how easy this one came- probably the most comfortable I've ever been giving a talk. My subject was on the Plan of Salvation, which I was grateful for because that's my favorite subject to teach as a missionary. I centered my talk basically around the purpose of our existence- to grow. I started it off by telling two parables about "growth." I shall now share them as my weekly spiritual thought.



-The Parable of the Two Acorns-



"A wise old man once decided he wanted two mighty oak trees on his property. So, he carefully found two acorns which he knew had the potential to become mighty oaks. He found fertile soil, planted them with care, and ensured they had sufficient water and light. He then left them to grow. The first acorn looked at his situation and said," This is great! I am in the perfect situation to become what I can be. All I must do is change, so change I will!" It then surrendered who it was at the time and underwent a metamorphosis and became a tall, mighty oak. The second acorn, on the other hand, saw itself in a cold, dark, damp hole. It pouted to itself, saying," What a horrible situation I am in. I was once out in the light, and now I am stuck in this rotten hole. I do not want to change who I am- I enjoy being an acorn, and that mean old man should have known that. Who is he to have put me in these circumstances!" Then that acorn spent the rest of its existence in a dark hole cursing the old man that put him there."



and the second parable...



-The Parable of the Two Rubber Bands-



"A wise old man once had a job he needed to complete. But in order to do so, he needed two rubber bands. He search and found two, but discovered they were too small to do what he wanted them to do. So, he began to rub them and roll them, and then began to stretch them. He stretched them until they were about to break, then would let them recover. Over and over he did this. Finally, he stretched them over a large book for the night, and he knew that in the morning, they'd be large enough for his task. The first rubber band said to itself," This isn't much fun. I don't rather enjoy this. But, I know that I am growing because of it, and I trust the hands of the one who is stretching me." It held on through the night, and in the morning, found itself larger than it ever had been and was able to help the wise old man in his project. The second rubber band, as it sat stretched on the book said to itself," This isn't much fun. I don't enjoy this. Why am I here? I was quite content being a small rubber band. Why did this old man cause me this pain? He must not care about me, and I do not want to do this any more." And as it finished saying that, it snapped."



The best thing about parables is that the meaning of it is to be interpreted by the reader. So, have fun! (Also, think about how this applies to missionary work...)



Ok, I best be off to do P-day things. I love you all and hope you have a great week!! I know the church is true, that the Book of Mormon is truly of God and the events in that book really took place, that the Plan of Salvation is real, and that our Heavenly Father really does hear and answer our prayers!!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Monday, January 23, 2012

Letter from Elder Jenkins' Mother

December 26, 2011



Sister Esplin,

Hello, My name is Kimberly Royal.  My son is Elder Tyler Jenkins and the new greenie serving with your son.  I wanted to say hi, and thank you for raising such a wonderful son!  I’m so grateful that Tyler has been blessed with a wonderful trainer and is fortunate to have 12 wks with him.  Tyler is very well versed in the scriptures and the gospel it is all he has ever wanted was to serve a mission.  He is high energy and not always the best in social situations.  But he sounds like his companion and him are excited to have each other.  Your son had a plan and they are working the plan.  Tyler told me they have gone from your sons last companion teaching 6 discussions a wk to now together they are working the plan they are teaching 20 a wk!  I’m thankful that he has a companion who wanted to work and embraces Tyler’s enthusiasm. 



Small world, my neighbor who lives 2 door down for the last 14 years son is in the same mission.  In fact he is the zone leader and during interviews Tyler was interviewed by him!  His name is Trevor Lowe.  He is flying home wed.  When his dad called a while ago about the arrangements he talked to the mission Presidents wife and asked about my Tyler.  She said he definitely had the best trainer in their mission!  He knows Tyler and his intelligence especially in the gospel so he needed someone who would be on their game.  She let him know that Elder Esplin was very knowledgeable and they had prayed about it.  Tyler is in total heaven and we know that is a great deal with his companion.  So I wanted to let you know how much peace I’ve had knowing how happy he is.  I even talked to your son yesterday on the phone to let him know how much I appreciate his kindness and patience with Tyler.  Tyler will force a companion to gain patience.  LOL 



I was also excited to hear he is from St. George.  That is so close.  I hope they keep in touch.  We live in Las Vegas and my parents have a cabin in Pine Valley.  So we go up there a couple of times a year.  I hope you had a nice Christmas and a good visit on the phone with your son. 



Thanks Again for having a terrific Son!




Kimberly Royal  J        

My Birthday was Awesome!

 
This last week was another awesome one!  We


had a great district meeting in the morning, where we discussed
teaching skills and whatnot. After, we ate a ton of cake that members
had given me and the other member of the district whose birthday was
the same day. I got him a gift, and he got me one. It's a pink shirt
that says "McStud" on it. I love it. A lot. After district meeting, we
taught three less-actives, one of whom had us over to cook some
burgers we had and then cooked me a cake. So most of the day was spent
teaching, but honestly, I wouldn't have had it any other way! Thanks
to all those who sent me letters and cards for my B-day. Your love was
greatly appreciated!!

The work continues to press forward. Tammy was confirmed yesterday,
which went super well. She's still on fire. Her conversion has been
one of the highlights of my mission so far. She went from being
depressed and alone and struggling in darkness to being a light-filled
daughter of God. The Gospel really does have the power to change
people.  I know this, because I've seen it. Another one of our
investigators, Roger, is experiencing some great conversion. This last
week, he proposed to a recent convert, and they've been reading the
Book of Mormon daily. He says he's feeling such great changes coming
into his life. To quote him in his thick southern accent "Brothahs,
I'm livin' the more abundant life." He'll be baptized as soon as they
get married, which will be soon. I'm super excited about that! The
Seventh Day Adventist investigator we're teaching is going great too.
We had an intense lesson two days ago about why the Sabbath day is on
Sunday, not Saturday. But, we had studied hard to explain it the best
we could, and she accept it. She's reading the BoM and praying
dilligently, and as soon as she gets her answer, she'll be set.

We also started teaching a new family this week. My first transfer in
Waterville, I took my companion less-active hunting. We were just
going through the ward list knocking on the doors of members who
aren't coming (there are like 170 head of households that don't come.
There's TONS of less-actives in the area.) One of those we talked to
was Bro. Berard. He's a less-active who has a non-member wife and four
kids. From the first visit, I felt something that was special about
that family. I felt a strong need to keep going back. So, we did. We
have been for months, each time getting to know them a little bit and
sharing spiritual thoughts. Last week, I felt prompted to extend an
invitation to Bro. Berard to retake the lessons to rekindle the
feelings he had when he took lessons from the missionaries the first
time. He accepted, and asked if the family could sit it. We were
thrilled to say yes. Yesterday, we went over for a lesson. We didn't
know if the family would actually come in- they didn't seem to be into
us coming the last few times. But as soon as we got there, the whole
family herded in and eagerly went through the Restoration lesson with
us. The kids, all under the age of 14, were asking questions, and were
eager to accept the invitation to pray, come to church, and go to
mutual. We have  a return appointment next week. I now know that it
was the Spirit that kept telling me to go back, and I have a strong
feeling that they are ready to receive the Gospel.

So yeah. Life is awesome. This week, we'll be going up to Bangor for a
specialized zone training. I've been asked to play the piano for
another musical number. I'm excited for that. We were also asked to
give talks in next week's sacrament meeting. I'm super excited for
that. Giving talks on your mission is awesome, because it gives you a
reason to invite EVERYBODY to church. And I mean everybody. I invited
the lady who owned the laundromat we used this morning to come haha.
Hopefully we'll have a big turn out. My topic is, conveniently, about
my favorite topic to teach- the Plan of Salvation. I can't wait. I'll
update more about it next week.

This next week should be awesome! I'm still loving the mission life.
I'm healthy and happier than ever. Well, I better get going. I'm going
on exchange again, and we have to drive for an hour west to get to
their area to switch. Love you all! Hope all stays well! Can't wait to
hear from you next week!

-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

P.S.- Sorry to those who have written me letters that I haven't
replied to yet. My P-days have been insane because I've been having to
do exchanges every Monday. I typically only get about a half hour to
write every week. I promise I will write, but it may take a little
longer now. Please keep writing me though! Mail means the world to a
missionary. Thanks again for all your love!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Killer Week

Yehaw! We've had SUCH a killer week this last week. Good heavens, it
was awesome. We taught like crazy- 26 lessons in one week. From what
we could see, it's a record for the area. We're shooting for 30 this
week, and we have plans to reach it!! We also baptized Tammy on
Sunday! That was an amazing experience. Watching her conversion has to
Tammy's Baptism
be one of the greatest highlights of my mission thus far. Watching as
the Spirit worked on her heart step by step, seeing miracles on a
weekly basis, and then to be in the water of the baptismal font with
my arm at the square baptizing her....it was such an amazing
experience. I KNOW that this gospel has the power to change lives and
bring people happiness and peace that they can't find on their own- I
know it because I've seen it.

The weather finally turned into "Maine weather" this week. Yowza. It's
cold. It's pretty consistant at being under 20 degrees almost all day.
But I'm adapting pretty well. I went all day yesterday in my suit with
no thermals and I was fine. That probably won't last much longer
though. They say February is rough. I'm excited to see how that goes!
Luckily, since we're teaching so much right now, we're hardly ever out
tracting or walking around, so I'll live most likely!

So you know what's a crazy thought? I hit 11 months out today. Nuts...

Hmm...what else...Oh. We had another discussion with a baptist
minister this week. We also had a great talk about the Book of Mormon
with a devout Quaker. We also had a great lesson with a very strong
Seventh Day Adventist. It's so cool to see that in every one of those
instances, all I needed to address was the Book of Mormon and whether
or not it was true. In every instance, we could see some way that we
could only add to their faith, not take away, and all they could do to
us is try to take it away. The Book of Mormon is SUCH a blessing to
have. Without it, we'd be so lost.

My birthday plans this week are pretty chill. District meeting will be
that morning, so that'll take up a little while. Funny enough, one of
the other members of the district has the same birthday as mine, so
we're going to have a little party and whatnot. The rest of the day
should just be a normal-ish day. We have quite a few teaching
appointments planned. Jeff and his wife are having us over for burgers
and cake that night, so that'll be fun. But honestly, I'm more excited
about the work than for any celebration for my birthday. The only
thing I'm looking forward to is not being a teenager anymore haha.
That'll be nice.

So I'll end with a little spiritual gem I found this week. The third
lesson we teach is about the Gospel of Christ- faith, repentance,
baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the
end. It's always been my least favorite lesson out of the 5 we teach
for some reason. But this week, I was studying it for a lesson we were
going to have with Tammy. As I studied it, something in the material I
was reading clicked with me. It said "It's a way of life." I felt
something stir when I read that, but I didn't really get it. So I just
let it slide. That night, as we were teaching Tammy, I felt prompted
to draw a diagram to explain it. I didn't know where I was going with
it, but I did. The words just poured out of my mouth as I proceeded to
explain how Christ showed us that our life should be a cycle of
building our faith in him and his plan, changing our life accordingly,
renewing our covenants through the sacrament/making covenants through
baptism, and enjoying the peace and happiness that comes from having
the Holy Ghost in your life. Then feeling that peace and happiness
leads to more faith, which leads to wanting to change your life more,
and so on. It hit me like a train. This is it! That's how we're
supposed to live our life! I can't believe I never really grasped it
like I did right then. If we were to really embrace that cycle, we'd
be living in a state of never-ending happiness (literally actually
haha). This week, I've decided to devote a lot of time to studying
this principle more, because it's so important. Think about it. This
concept can change our lives. For example, let's take church. If you
go to church with a mindset that you're there to build your faith,
then you'll leave having increased faith. That faith will lead to a
desire to change. Once we make that change, we partake of the
sacrament to receive forgiveness for taking so long to take that step
towards Christ, and we then receive the Holy Ghost in greater
abundance, which in turn, gives us peace and happiness. Or think
about, say, the paying tithing. You first have to have faith that
tithing is a commandment and God wants us to do it. We then repent if
we're not doing it, and do it. We take the sacrament to finalize
repentance and renew our covenents, and by doing so, entail ourselves
to feel the Spirit more, which leads to the peace and happiness we're
ALL looking for. Isn't that cool?? The best thing is, I know it's
real, because I've seen people live it and have seen the changes that
happen as a result,and I'm living it too, and I can say that I'm
overflowing with peace and happiness. It's SO awesome. Gosh dang it, I
love being a missionary!!!

Ok, I gotta go. A member is taking us out for pizza. Love you all!!
Hope you have a great week! Talk to ya soon!!

-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

(or, as they'd say it in Maine)

Eldah KC Esplin

Year is off to a great start

So this last week was great. I started it off with an exchange with a missionary up in Skowhegan. My first exchange as a district leader. It went well though. We found a new investigar, and funny enough, the conversation started because St. George came up. I'm amazed at how many people out here know about St. George, Utah. I love it. I also had my first baptismal interviews. It got exciting when my first interview confessed things to me they failed to bring up to the other elders...so I got to work that one out. But, it all came together and they'll be baptized this next weekend. I'm super excited for them. I came back from exchange to learn that the elders here in Waterville set a baptismal date with Sam! She'll be baptized most likely on the 29th of January. I'm super excited about that. Wednesday was district meeting with the zone leaders. I did a training on the structure of the ward and the role missionaries play in it. I learned a TON about how a ward functions as I studied for it, and I noticed that I seem to love learning how an organization is structured and about how the individual roles function to contribute to the whole. Might this contribute to a career choice? Who knows. But all in all, it was great catching more of a vision of what my calling is in the Lord's Kingdom as a missionary.



Eating a Whoopie Pie.....Yummmy
So yesterday was really exciting. We had a great investigator turn out to church. Among them were two new investigators we got started this last week. One of them is named Roger. He just moved up from North Carolina, and has a super thick southern draw and is a "southern gentleman" in every sense of the word. Extremely polite and proper. We taught him about the BoM and he loved it. He'll progress rapidly. We also found an investigator named David last week, and they had us over for dinner this week. He's the husband to a less-active member of the church. He told us that his parents died in a fire a few years ago, and ever since then, he's suffered from anxiety and depression. We expressed to him that true peace can only come from understanding and living the gospel, and then taught him about who his Heavenly Father was. It was so special to look him square in the eyes and testify that he has a loving Heavenly Father, and to see a light come into his eyes. He said the closing prayer, and in it, he thanked God for the feeling of peace he felt as we taught him. It was super powerful to see the Gospel in action. He then came to church, loved it, and wants us over for dinner this next week. Another really cool thing about Sunday- Tammy passed her baptismal interview, so she's all set to be baptized this Sunday! We're super excited for that too. She's so awesome. After church, we ended up in a Baptist Preacher's home having  a little...chat...about doctrines. He was trying SOOO hard to get me to Bible bash with him. But I refused to, and just kept pointing him back to the BoM and Joseph Smith. It was a super intense hour and a half, but ultimately, he refused to read the BoM or pray about it, which was lame. But, his daughter, who goes to a college near by, said she really wanted to learn what we believed, so she accepted a BoM and said she'd give us a call. We'll see where that goes!



So yeah. It was a really good week. This next week should be good too. Lots of teaching, lots of potential investigators to wrap up, and lots of baptismal invitations to extend! I decided that the goal for the area should be to have 12 baptisms by April, and I'm pretty sure they can reach it. I'll work my tail off to set it up!



So, I've been thinking about progress a lot lately. About reaching our potential and whatnot. And I realized something. If we don't feel like we're progressing, we either have one of two problems- a lack of vision, or a lack of humility. Both are damning in the true sense of the word. Just something worth thinking about.



Ok, I gotta go. Love you all! Can't wait to hear from you next week! Take care!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Happy 2012

Well, I really can't believe it's already 2012. The only thing weirder than that was when I sat down to think about what I did all year and I realized that almost the entire year was out on my mission! It doesn't even feel like I'm even close to have being out in a year. In only a few months, I'll be on the downhill! It's so crazy! New Years was good though. Nothing fancy. We were on exchange with the Zone Leaders in the morning, then we taught a lesson to Tammy, then we went to have a lesson with an investigator Paul, but his Evangelical friend was there,and he had his heart set on destroying our testimonies. Bad move on his part haha. All we did was point him to Matthew 16 and told him that we could compare the knowledge of man all day long, but what it comes down to is the knowledge we get from God. I looked him in the eyes and told him I knew from my loving Heavenly Father that the Book of Mormon was true, and that nothing I could be see, read, or hear could change that fact. We pointed him to the power of prayer and ended it there. Our investigator, who watched the entire thing, told us he wanted us over as soon as we could so we could have another lesson with us. Apparently, he liked our perspective. So that was a cool experience dodging a bible bash by bearing sincere testimony. We then went to a less-actives house to visit her, and then we had to be in the apartment until 7. I spent all night creating my new years resolutions. I did something a little different this year. I took a while thinking about who I had been, who I am now, and who I wanted to become. I looked at who I wanted to become from two views- for the second half of my mission, and for my future family. I realized that I could summarize who I wanted to become on both accounts in one word- Strength. So, I set 3 goals in the categories of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social, each with a heading about "Be Strong." It sounds super corny, but when I prayed before and after it, I felt it was along the course Heavenly Father wanted me to take. So I'll go with that! All in all, I can't wait for this next year!



This last week was terriffic. Firstly, Dan got baptized!! His service was yesterday, and it was incredible. We had a great turn out for it, including several investigators. Tammy loved it and is still stoked for her baptism in two weeks. Another investigator, Sam, also said that after seeing a baptism happen, she's thinking more about doing it herself. So that was a definite highlite of the week. This next week, Dan will be confirmed, and he's asked me to do it. I'm super excited for that. My first District Meeting was on Wednesday, and it went super well. Turns out, we have one of the youngest districts in the mission. All of the members, besides me, and been out less than 6 months. So. That's exciting. We had a discussion about using pamphlets when teaching, and about using Mormon.org effectively. We talked about the value of having profiles on there and posting mormon messages on facebook to find people and share the gospel. I don't know if I've ever really talked about Mormon.org in these emails, but everybody should make a profile on there. Missionaries use that website like crazy, and its a great resource for non-members to do research. I've made a profile on there, and it's helped me find people to teach. Plus, the movies and articles on there are fantastic. So. If you just read this, you need to go to Mormon.org and create a profile and post a video you liked on facebook. You've been committed by a missionary to do so. Report back to me when you do. Thank you =)



So, about the car. Two words- It's amazing. It's a 2012 Subaru Legacy- the only one in the mission right now. It's so beautiful. Dad, remember how you said it might be manual? Well, you're partially right. It's semi-auto (I think that's the word for it) meaning you can drive it either as an automatic, or in manual. But instead of having a clutch, it just has paddle shifters on the steering wheel. So, I've been practicing listening to the engine and knowing when to shift gears. My goal is to be able to drive manual by the time I get home haha. So, that's been really fun. She's a beautiful car. We've name her Layla.



This next week will be exciting. I'm going on my first exchange as a district leader. One of the areas in the district have a baptismal interview that I need to do. That'll be an interesting experience! We're also setting Tammy's baptismal interview for the 15th of January, which we're all really excited for as well. Other than that, life is still going great! I feel like I'm more immersed in the work now more than ever. The work is going extremely well, and we're working like it all depends on us and praying like it all depends on God. Miracles are happening daily, and I know that God is in on this work. I love being a missionary, and I can't wait to see what 2012 has to bring!



Love you all! Hope you have a great start to a new year! Take care! I look forward to hearing from you next week!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Day after Christmas

Thank you so much for your Christmas gifts too! I loved them! Those ties are perfect. I
wore the royal blue one to church on Sunday, and I got tons of
compliments on it. Pretty sure it's my new favorite tie. And that
quote book is the most amazing thing ever. I don't even know how the
world will be able to handle so much philisophical wisdom oozing out
of me once I add that to my arsenal that I already inherited from you
all haha. But thanks again! I know you basically know everything going
on, but I'm going to write it out for the blog and for the journal
that will come out of it.

Merry Christmas! This week proved to be one of the best weeks of my
mission thus far, which was suprising given it was week 6 and also the
Enjoying my Christmas Lobster!!
week before Christmas. But it ended up being great! We taught 24
lessons, found 5 new investigators, and had tons of new people at
church. SUCH great things are happening with the work here! We're
loving it!

One of the highlights of the week was with our investigator, Tami. We
taught her several times this week, and during one of the lessons, we
set a baptismal date for the 15th of January! We're really excited for
that. On Friday though, we were about to head over for a lesson with
her when we got a phone call. Tami was being rushed to the hosptial in
an ambulence. We went over as soon as we could. She was having severe
abdominal and leg pain, and they were running tests to determine what
was wrong. We shared a spiritual thought, and she asked for a
blessing. Elder Jenkins annointed and I gave the blessing. After the
blessing, she told us that during the blessing, she felt all the pain
in her legs and stomach go up her body into her head, and as I lifted
my hands after the blessing, I took the pain with it. She said she
felt instantly better. An hour later, she called us to tell us that
all the tests had come back negative and she was back home. It was
definitely a miracle from God showing her  that the path she was on is
the right one.

Christmas was SO awesome! Elder Jenkins woke up and had a little
Christmas celebration with music and cinnamon rolls and opening of
presents. Then it was off to church. Tons of people ended up coming,
which was great to see. After church, we went straight to a member's
home, the Fegels, for lunch. They also gave us stockings full of
goodies. We also sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, and we each wrote
down something we'd give to Jesus for his Birthday this next year. It
was a really great experience, and it helped me set a goal for this
upcoming year. After lunch with the Fegel family, we headed to the
church to make phone calls. While Elder Jenkins called his family, I
practiced on the organ, which is always fun. I loved the phone call
home. It was so great to hear from everyone and to share spiritual
experiences. I am so lucky to have the family that I do! After phone
calls, we went over to the ward mission leaders house for dinner. They
cooked us up lobstah and all other sorts of yummy food. I'm getting
pretty good at taking a lobster apart and now I know how to cook them.
That'll be a fun skill to have! The family also gave us stockings and
a bag full of goodies. We felt very loved. After that family, we swung
by Jeff and his wife to share a spiritual thought and have pie, then
to Sam and Tami to share a Christmas message and give them some
goodies we cooked. Yes, that's right. We cooked goodies to give out.
Rice crispie 'snow balls.' Boo-ya. We came home and opened some other
goodies that the ward had given us. They definitely took care of us.
We now have more food than we can handle. But the cool thing about
this year was that it really wasn't the gifts that mattered. This was
one of the most Christ-centered Christmases I've ever had. Being able
to go around all week sharing messages about the true meaning of
Christas and bearning testimony of the divinity of the Savior really
made this season have a speical feel to it. All in all, this has
proved to be one of the most memorable Christmases ever!

This next week should be a good one. We're getting a brand-new 2012
Subaru on Wednesday, which will be super nice. Our current car really
struggles.Also, we're expecting a baptism this Sunday! Dan will be
getting baptized. We're really excited for that. Oh yeah. I forgot.
This last week was transfer calls. We got a call. But don't panic-
neither of us got transferred. But I did get a call to be the new
District Leader. I'll be having my first district meeting and start
taking reports and all that fun stuff this week. All in all, it'll be
a great week!

Love you all, and I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! Have a great
week! Take care!

-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

Christmas is almost here

I really can't believe Christmas is here already. The Christmas season has a completely different feel to it on a mission. There isn't the stress of giving and getting presents, and we really get to center in on Christ. It's been great. This week, we're basically going to dedicate most of our lessons to the true meaning of Christmas. I can't wait- it'll be a great way to spend the week.



This week has been a week of miracles again. Either Elder Jenkins and I are either doing something right to be thought of as worthy by God to receive miracles, or Heavenly Father sees how bad we struggle and is helping us out so we don't mess things up too much haha. Either way, things are going great. We've had several very powerful lessons with Sam and Tami. Tami is already thinking about her baptismal service. Ever since that priesthood blessing two weeks ago, she's been on fire. We actually had a really cool experience with her this morning. We came to do emails a little earlier today, but we got a phone call from her saying she really needed to talk to us. We rushed over. I guess last night, she really felt opposition to everything. But, she looked at us and said "I want this more than ever. I know this is coming from Satan trying to stop me. It's hard, but I know it's only because I want this so bad." We offered her encouragement and said a prayer for her. It's so cool to see the Spirit working on her to help her know of this message's truth. Gosh, I love this job!



We had another amazing miracle this week too. Last Saturday, we spent several hours at a less-active family's home raking their leaves (I'll never complain about raking leaves in STG ever again). After we were done, I asked the mom if she knew anyone who would want to talk to us. She said she had a friend she was talking with, and she'd keep us in the loop. Yesterday, that family came to church, and I saw they had a young woman with them whom we hadn't met. We went over and introduced ourselves. Her name was Jenn, and it was the friend the less-active had talked about. She stayed for all 3 hours of church and we set up an appointment with her that night. When we went over, we talked with her to get to know her a bit better. Turns out her church kicked her out when she had a kid at the age of 19. She had been going there all her life, and was devastated. She stopped going to church and had lost herself. Now, she was wanting to find a new spiritual family and find herself again. She said she had been praying she'd find somewhere she would belong, and felt that going to our church and feeling so welcome was an answer to her prayers. We taught her the restoration, and she set a baptismal date for herself to be baptized in mid January. How cool is that?? Such a neat experience to know that there are people out there who are looking for the church, but just don't know where to find it. But because a friend reached out to her, she's on the path to finding peace and happiness.



We also had zone interviews this last week down in Augusta. I swear, President Wilkey will become an apostle when he leaves this mission. You can quote me on that one. I had a great interview with him, and I left feeling pumped to work even harder. It was also great to see some of the missionaries in the other zones, including an MTC companion and Elder Brown. This week will be great too. I'm going on exchanges with the Zone Leaders today until Wednesday. I'll be staying in Waterville and Elder Jenkins is going up to Brewer. It'll be a fun way to spend the last week of the transfer. Transfer calls are also going to be on Saturday. I'm not too worried though. There's a 99% chance I'll be staying here since they're trying to keep trainers with their greenies for 12 weeks. Plus, it'd be bad to pull us out when there's so much going on. I'll give you the update next week.



I better get going- lots to do today! Love you all! Have a very Merry Christmas! Talk to you soon!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

What a Week!

So basically, this week has been one of the hardest working weeks so far on my mission. We've been going 100 miles an hour. But as a result, we found 6 new investigators, taught 21 lessons (11 to less-actives and 10 to non-members) and contacted 11 referrals and received 7 more. Number wise, it was the best week on my mission so far. But the miracles we saw are much greater than any number we reached.



Monday - Wednesday, I went on exchange with my district leader, Elder Maxfield. He came here to Waterville. He's about to go home and was just brought down from being a zone leader last transfer, so he's all full of experience. We had a killer time. We finally got Dan a baptismal date! He'll be getting baptized on New Years Day. We're all excited for that! On Thursday, we had an appointment to go see a part-member family with a member of the ward, but it fell through last minute. So, we had about two hours to kill before we had a member meal across the area. We decided to contact less-actives in the other area. As we went through the names, one of them just jumped out at me, and I just knew that that was the one we needed to go to. So, we took off. We reached the house and a woman came out, who we assumed to be the member. We talked for about an hour or so about family and how the world seems to be tearing down values. It was later in the discussion that I realized this lady wasn't a member. So I shifted gears a little bit and started talking about our beliefs and shard the Book of Mormon with her. I read Ether 12:4 and asked her to think of her 3 kids and if she'd want what the scripture described for her kids. After, she said that's what she was looking for. We'll be meeting with her and her family this week. Total miracle on the Lord's part guiding us there. That night, we had a great member meal with a member of the bishopric. After dinner, we read the First Vision keeping in mind what impact that event had in our lives. The Spirit was super strong, and I kept choking up as I read through Joseph Smith's story. It was a great experience.



We also had another crazy awesome thing happen. On Wednesday, we had our plans fall through and weren't sure what to do. But, I suddenly felt prompted to go see a member who we had helped move in a while before, but hadn't really gotten to know. After talking to her for a little bit, she suddenly cringed in pain and said her back was in intense pain and she had been needing a blessing. So, we gave it to her. She said that during the blessing, she felt the pain just go away. That was a miracle in of itself. The next day, she called us up and said she had a challenge for us. She had invited two of her non-member friends over for dinner and wanted us to come and see if we could start teaching them. We were all over that. We needed a male to come with us because it was all women, so we decided to bring Jeff, the recent convert. Jeff had been going through a rough time and had stopped coming to church and wasn't sure if this was what he wanted to do anymore. But, he was all for a free dinner, so he agreed to come. The night of the dinner, we had a great discussion with the member's friends- Sam and Tami, and Jeff actually contributed a lot. Both her friends agreed to take lessons from us and come to church the next Sunday. After the lesson, we went home with Jeff and thanked him for contributing, and we asked him if he'd come to church this Sunday with his wife. He said he wasn't sure, but we asked him to think about it. Sunday morning came around, and we went over on our way to church to see if they were coming. Jeff opened the door, invited us in, and announced that he had changed his mind- he felt this is what God wanted him to do, and he was going to do it. He quit smoking again, came to church, and said he wanted to be there to help teach Sam and Tami for the rest of the lessons. It was an answer to so many prayers to see Jeff get back into the swing of things. It was one of the happiest moments of my mission to see him back in church. Mircales happen!!



But the story doesn't end there. Sunday after church, we went over to see Sam and Tami again to see how they liked church and to teach a lesson. Jeff came with and loved it. During the lesson, Tami told us she had spent all the night before in the ER because of some stomach complication. She asked for a blessing. Tami isn't really a spiritual person and isn't sure what to believe, so for her to ask for a blessing was really cool. I explained how the priciple of faith works for blessings, and we got up to give her a blessing. Elder Jenkins annointed, and I blessed. After, she said that as soon as Elder Jenkins laid his hands on her head, she felt a warmth on her head and a peace all over her body. We explained it was the Spirit. Suddenly, her face went shocked and she said "The pain just stopped. What's going on??" Her member friend laughed and said it was the power of the priesthood at work. She looked at us and said "This is unreal. I can't believe it. This stuff works." It was so cool to see another miracle of God as he healed her and boosted her faith. I'm excited to see where Sam and Tami go! Also, an update on Eric and his family. They couldn't make it to church because they had a family friend die and we couldn't meet with them this week because of his crazy work schedule. But, they're still reading and praying, and he's working with the Bishop to get married. They're still great!!



I could keep going about how blessed the work has been lately. God really has some big plans for Waterville, and I count myself so fortunate to be a part of it. I'm working my little tail off trying to keep up with it all and keeping my greenie in line (he's actually doing great. He's goofy, but he's doing great). I'm loving the Christmas season too. It's weird not being home for the usual traditions, and I know it's going to be even weirder as Christmas gets closer, but it's been cool to go around and sharing the true meaining of Christmas and how it can bless families. I love being a missionary! It's by far the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's also the most rewarding! Thanks for all your love and support. I know this is where the Lord wants me to be, and I consider myself so lucky to have been blessed by him so much to be where I am.



Love you all! Have a great week! I look forward to hearing from you next week!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Fall Pictures of Waterville