Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another great week

This last week was a week of ups and downs for us. But we're riding
the waves the best we can! On Tuesday, we went on exchange with the
elders down in Rockland. It was fun going back- I went on exchange
there several times while I was serving in Belfast a year ago...holy
smokes, that was a year ago...weird....one fun thing was that we met
up with the elders in Belfast, and while we were there, we got to see
quite a few of the members because they were all at the church for
young mens/ branch council. It was neat seeing them again.

The exchange went really well. I went on exchange with an Elder
Prusak. He went to USU the same time I did ironically, and we talked
about rooming together when we get back. He's pretty cool. We spent
most of our day tracting. But as a result, we found two new families
for them to teach! As we were knocking on doors, one lady opened after
we knocked, she said she wasn't interested, and her kitten ran
outside. We asked if we needed to catch it, and she said it wasn't a
big deal and closed the door. We knocked next door, and we started
talking to a mom about how the gospel would bless her family when the
dumb cat ran inside her house. The mom quickly grabbed it and threw it
out. No sooner had it landed than it spun around and tried going in
again. I could tell this was distracting the mom from the Spirit, so I
volunteered to hold it. It was content for about a half a second, then
started making it known it wasn't happy being held. I was almost done
with the contact, so I ignored it. I then asked if we could leave with
a prayer. As I prayed, the cat lost its patience and proceeded to put
a nice, deep cut through my palm and another across my wrist. I
quickly finished the prayer, closed the door, and shooed the cat away.
Hand now bleeding quite nicely, we walked about half a mile to an
investigators house so I could clean up. It was a pretty nice battle
scar. So yeah. There ya go. That's the daily adventure I get up here
in Maine haha.

The next day (Thursday) we had zone conference down in Augusta. It was
centered around the Restoration. It was great getting to see all my
buddies again, along with some of my new friends I've met in the zone
from going on exchanges. Elder Jones and I had to give a training to
the zone about our zone goal and using priesthood keys to reach our
goals related to finding new investigators. It went really well. The
Spirit was super strong the entire conference as we talked about
Joseph Smith and the impact he had on humanity. We closed the
conference by singing "How Great Thou Art." I got to play the piano
for it as well. There were few dry eyes amongst the 75 missionaries
present. SUCH a powerful experience, and I know that my testimony of
the restoration was increased. This really is it! Anybody who says
differently needs to take a second and think things over a little bit.
It only makes sense.

The next day (Friday), in the middle of weekly planning, I got a
migrane. Woohoo. So I was out for the count for the next several
hours. I woke up hating life to find out all our lessons fell through.
We exchanged with the Bangor elders that night. The next morning, I
got a call from Elder Jones that he had an eye infection and needed to
go see a doctor. So we spent almost all day Saturday getting that all
take care of. We took the day easy for the most part because i was
still sick and he couldn't open his eyes. We had two appointments that
night that we were really excited for. They were what was keeping us
going. But then we got a call back to back for both of them canceling.
Needless to say, we were quite discouraged. We were both sick, tired,
and had nobody to teach. So, we ate a big dinner, and we tore apart
the area and made plans about what we could do to change the way thing
had been going. We created plans, set goals, and had our vision
lifted. That night, we knelt in prayer to consecrate our plans and
give ourselves to the Lord for the next few weeks so we can turn the
area around. So this week, we're going to hit the pavement hard with
renewed vigor, and we're expecting some awesome miracles!

So yeah. That's my week for ya. This next week will be a good one.
We're going down to New Hampshire tomorrow until Wednesday for zone
leader council, which is looking like it's going to be super intense.
Then I'll be going to the Waterville district meeting, which will be
super weird for me to do haha. Then I'll go on exchange with the
Farmington elders for two days, then back to Brewer to go on a
new-investigator-finding-extravaganza. Sooooo...yeah. It'll be a busy
week. I'm super excited!

Ok, time to run. I gotta pack for my trip down to New Hampshire. Love
you all! Hope you have a great week, and I'll be excited to hear from
you all next week! Take care!

-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

Time is flying by quicker then ever

Time is flying by quicker than ever. The last two weeks don't even
feel like they existed. Here's a fun fact for you- I'll be on the
plane exactly one year from today. Don't get too trunky for me being
home yet though! haha we had a party to celebrate my year mark on the
16th. It was the same day as district meeting, so after, we had pizza
and I burned my year mark white shirt, as is missionary tradition.
That was a lot of fun. I can't believe I"m officially on the downhill
side! Everybody tells me the second year goes the fastest. I'm anxious
to find out if they're right!

I got to see a lot of cool stuff this week. On Monday, we went on
exchange with the Elders in Machias, Maine. Their area includes the
most eastern point in the United States. It's also the main producer
of blueberries in the world. We did a lot of work, which was really
cool. I was also introduced to P-90X and did a few workouts while I
was there, and I'll DEFINITELY get into that as soon as I get home.
Good stuff. It's been fun to get to drive around and see a lot of the
state. I'm going to know Maine super well!

Most of our week was dedicated to finding this week, since our
teaching pool has been a little shallow. We saw some insane miracles.
Here's a good one. Before we left to go tracting, we said a prayer
that we'd find someone who has been prepared and is ready to receive
the gospel. We then hit a neighborhood our bishop told us to go tract.
Everybody was home (which was super weird) but nobody wanted to hear
us out. As we approached our last house, I thought to myself," man, I
wonder if any of these people realize how hard and awkward it is for
us to be on their doorstep..." So, I decided I'd tell this last person
just that same thing. So, I knocked on the door and basically said,
"Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. We're sorry if we interrupted you in the middle of anything,
and I'm sorry we showed up unannounced, but we can assure you that
it's as weird for us knocking on your door as it is for you  having us
show up." She laughed. I then looked her in the eyes and said," But
the reason why we're here is because we have a message that has
changed both of our lives, and we know it will bless yours, and we
only ask for a minute of your time so we can share it with you." I
felt the Spirit as I said it, and I could see she felt it too. We then
shared the Book of Mormon with her. She told us "It's funny actually
that you're giving me this book. I just finished reading a book and I
was just thinking about what to read next." We have an appointment to
come back next week. I learned two things from that- first, that the
Lord really does have people prepared to receive the gospel, and
second, that by being real with yourself and others, people will open
up. We don't need to put on a show.

Another cool finding miracle. We were going around contacting former
investigators, and we knocked on a lady's door. She saw us and just
said "Oh, we're not interested anymore, sorry." I quickly asked if
there was anything we could do to help her out. She thought about it,
and said "Well, I've been wanting to take this screen door off for
ages, but I haven't been able too. Will you help?" We then spent the
next 15 mintues or so ripping the screen door off. After, she invited
us in, and we got talking about her family and about her interests and
whatnot. We then segued into the gospel, and told her about the
blessings that would come into her family as she accepted our message.
She agreed to have us come back next week. Again, I learned two
things- that our message really is designed to bless the family, and
secondly, that giving service can open large doors.

Welp, there's the gist of my last week! On the menu for this week,
I'll be going on exchange to Rockland tomorrow until Thursday (I'm
super excited for that- it'll be my first time going back there since
last year) and then on Thursday, we're going to go to zone conference
down in Augusta. Then on Friday, we're going on exchange with the
Bangor elders. So....yeah. It's going to be an insane week. But I'm
loving the work, I love my companion, I love our mini-van, and I love
all of you! Have a great week!!!

-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

Monday, February 13, 2012

My new area is Bangor Maine

Wow. This last week was super intense. TONS of transitions. First of all, turns out my prediction from last week that I'd be going to Auburn was wrong- I'm serving in Bangor, Maine. The actual name of the area is the Brewer Area, Brewer being a smaller town on the outskirts of Bangor. There's a set of missionaries that serve as the Bangor elders, so they call us Brewer to distinguish. So yeah. We actually cover more of the city of Bangor than they do though, ironically enough. Because of that, our area is tiny in comparison to my last two areas- more than half the size. But, because Bangor is very densely populated, we still have TONS of people to talk to. Bangor is like the third largest city in Maine. It's also super old- established before the 1800's I think. I like it so far. The whole week has been kind of overwhelming between meeting all the investigators/less-actives we're working with, getting to know the ward, being trained to be a zone leader, etc. But so far, it's going great!

A few awesome things about the new area. Firstly, the apartment is AMAZING. It's one of the biggest in the mission. It even has two floors. Yeah. It's basically an entire house to ourselves. I LOVE it. Huge change from the tiny little apartment I had in Waterville. We also get to drive a mini-van now. Yep. It's awesome. Her name is Frieta. The teaching pool is really small right now, and I understand why- it's going to be really hard balancing being a zone leader and going on exchanges/district meetings/trainings and so on with running the area and doing normal missionary work. But, Elder Jones (my new companion) has been out for a long time (he goes home after this transfer) so if we put our heads together, I'm sure we'll get the area up and running.



Well, there's a ton more I could write about everything that's going on in the area, but I'm super short for time today. We have an exchange to go on tonight, and we're carting the Bangor elders around all day, and we have tons to do. I guess I better get used to having not tons of time to do things I want to do!! Here's my new address by the way.

Elder KC Esplin
58 Perkins St. #2
Bangor, ME 04401

 Know that I love you all, you'll be in my prayers, and I hope you have an awesome week! Take care!

 -Faithfully,

 Elder KC Esplin



P.S.- I hit my year mark this Thursday. How crazy is that????

Transfers and I'm now a Zone Leader

So. This last weekend was transfer call weekend. And sure enough, I got the call. The verdict- I'm leaving Waterville. I'm kind of bummed about it. I've grown to love this area so much, and I've put my heart and soul into it, and have seen it change and grow in incredible ways. It's going to be hard to leave.

 But...that wasn't the end of the phone call. The phone call was actually by the mission president. After telling my companion I was being transferred, he asked to speak to me and asked if I was sitting down. NOT a good sign if you ask me. He then told me he was extending a calling to me from the Lord to be a Zone Leader. He told me that the Lord qualifies those who he calls, and that I was being called for a reason. He asked if I had any questions, and moved on to make other calls.

 So...yeah. Looks like I get to be a Zone Leader now!

 I still don't know where I'm going yet...but I have a preeeetty good idea. I'm not going to transfer meeting, and I'm 90% sure I'm not going to Bangor, ME because of the travel plans I have, so that leaves either Auburn, ME or Exeter, NH. But, I'm 90% sure that I'll be going to Auburn, ME. If so, that'd be awesome. My companion would be Elder Nicholes, and I served in a trio with him in Belfast, and he's probably one of my best friends I've made so far on my mission. Plus, that apartment has a washer and drier AND an organ! I'd be in heaven. I'd be over the Augusta zone, which would be a change of scenery. But, I still don't know for sure, nor will I know until tomorrow afternoon when a car comes to the apartment to pick me up and drop my replacement off. I'm really excited to see how all of these changes will be! It'll be a new adventure, a new chance to grow. I can't wait!

 This last week went really well. It was a little slow, and I struggled a little with my focus because I was anticipating being transferred, but it was still a great week. We had some incredible lessons. One of them was with a part-member family. It consists of a less-active dad, a non-member wife, and four non-member kids. We taught them for the first time two weeks ago, and they liked it a lot. We committed them to pray individually and as a family. When we came back this last Thursday, they had kept their commitment and all of them had prayed! The coolest thing is, the 13-yr-old twins both said they felt butterflies in their stomach when they did and wondered what it was. The 15-yr-old said she felt the strangest feeling that someone was actually listening to her. We were super excited!! We immediately jumped into the Spirit and helped them recognize that they were feeling it. They were really excited about that. We then had a great lesson on the Book of Mormon, gave them each a copy, and they were more than eager to start reading. One of the girls sat down and started reading as soon as we left. They'll be baptized. Mark my words.

 We had another incredible lesson with a wife of a member of the ward. She's a Seventh-Day Adventist, and has very strong beliefs in that faith. On Friday, we watched the Joseph Smith movie with her (the one they showed at temple visitor centers a few years ago) and talked about everything he did. The Spirit was SO strong. Probably the strongest I've felt it on my mission. We were all in tears. She's reading the Book of Mormon, loving it, and praying to know if it's the truth. She'll be baptized too. Mark my words haha.

 We had a lot of other lessons where the Spirit was so strong. I'm beginning to realize just how critical the Spirit is in our lives. That's how we find our happiness and peace- by having the Spirit. And we have the Spirit by honoring our baptismal covenant and placing ourselves in environments where it can exist. And by not having it, we surrender peace and happiness. That doesn't sound like a very smart thing to me. I'm finding that the more I turn my heart to God, the more I'm feeling it, and the happier I become. It's a remarkable experience!

 So yeah. That's my life right now. I'm really sad to leave the area when so many investigators are progressing and doing great things, and when the ward has finally caught on fire and they're doing missionary work like it's never been done in Waterville before. I'd love to be here a little longer. But, I have faith that this transfer comes from the Lord, and I'm eager to go to a new area with new people to bring to Christ, a new ward to work with, a new companion to unite with, and new growth and change that I can bring into myself to make myself the man, husband, and father I'll need to be one day. I'm almost half way done with my mission- it's time to kick it into overdrive!

I love you all, and hope you have a great week. I'll let you know next week where I ended up for sure. Stay tuned!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin



P.S.- I'm horribly behind in letter writing, and I'll have zero time to write today because I'll be packing and whatnot, and I don't know how much free time I'll have on P-days from now on now that I'll be dealing with Zone Leader duties...But I WILL write everybody back who writes me. Keep being patient with me please! And please keep writing and keeping me updated on how you're doing! Mail is an incredible boost for missionaries, and I LOVE hearing from you!!