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

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