Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hey Everybody!

Sorry I'm not going to be able to send out individual emails this week. We're in a terrible rush. My companion is getting transferred and still needs to pack his things, and we're picking up the new missionaries from the airport in two hours! We've already had to do reports, staff meeting, and make a trip to our old apartment to move some things over to the new place. The craziness continues as always!



This last week was a good one. It was fairly low key. Well, comparably that is haha. We had zone leaders council in Bedford on Tuesday where we had a pretty intense discussion on real growth and what more we can be doing to improve the growth of the church in New England. The church is needing some real growth up here. With the economical problems going on, lots of the members are moving west, and the wards are slowly shrinking. So we were discussing what more we could do to help that situation. The next three days, we got to just focus in on the area and work our tails off. Included in there was a great lesson on repentance with our drug abuser friend, an intense discussion on Joseph Smith with an investigator requiring "logical conversion," a woman dealing with an abusive relationship, a member woman fighting to keep her family growing in righteousness despite having a less-active husband and "roudy" children, a less-active woman trying to decide if she wants religion back in her life, the 19-yr-old whose father just passed away and is interested in getting back to church, and a former investigator who has been taking lessons for 10 years and as a result of our last lesson, feels for the first time that the Book of Mormon might be the word of God. So yeah, things have been going pretty good!! On Friday, we had a marathon mission planning session to chart out a swarm of training meetings coming up in the next month or so. I honestly have no idea how the Wilkeys do it!! I'm up to my ears in things to do, and I'm only assisting them in the load they bear!! It's crazy. Anyways, that planning meeting took about 4 hours, then it was off to Matt and Kristina. I know I've probably talked about them before. They're doing AWESOME!! Kristina is super eager and ready to be baptized. Her husband isn't as enthusiastic as her unfortunately. He told us this last week about how he doesn't want to be baptized until he can say with conviction," I know the Book of Mormon is true" just like he can say about the Bible. It's a great thing he wants that, but we feel he's ignoring a plethera of signs that have already been given him from Heavenly Father. But they came to church, and we feel it's really helping them along. No matter what, Kristina will be baptized on August 3rd, and we're super excited about it!!



Saturday was quite the day. President Wilkey finished making his decisions about transfers, so we went in on Saturday morning to figure out travel plans to get all the missionaries to their new areas. It gets pretty exciting when missionaries live 6 hours away from their new areas haha. We worked on that until about 11:00, and then we took off to a ward party for a little bit. We grabbed a bite to eat and played a quick game of ultimate with the ward. It was a pretty warm day, and all that running in a shirt and tie did a number on me haha. But we had a load of fun, and it was a good break from the 10 hours we spent in the office preparing the travel plans haha. At the end of the night, we got to sit down with President Wilkey, do a little counciling together, then took our load to make the transfer calls. I had a lot of fun with that. You could tell the missionaries on the other end of the line were just on the brink of breaking down from anxiety, so I couldn't help but to draw out the process as much as possible hahaha. But it was fun getting to interact with a lot of different missionaries I have come to known. We didn't get back to the apartment until a little later than usual, so I was pretty tired Sunday morning. But we got right to work. We had 2 hours before church started to work, and we had a goal to find 3 new investigators, so we jumped on it. The Lord shone miracles upon us, and sure enough, we found 3 new people in about an hours time!! One of them was even a contact in spanish. My companion speaks it fairly well, and I was able to follow the entire conversation and throw in my two cents every now and then. It was pretty cool. After church, we had a member meal where I got to talk to another member of our ward who is a chiropractor, and had two great lessons, one of which were with our drug addict friend again. She's changing SO much, it's such a miracle to see the atonement healing her as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays daily.



So...yeah. There's my week for ya! This next week will be a busy one. Here in about an hour, we'll be going to pick up the new missionaries (4 of them this transfer), and we'll take them out teachig with us for an hour which should be pretty fun. We'll then eat dinner with them @ the mission home and get them orientated with different stuff. Then Tuesday will be transfer meeting. As I said before, my companion Elder Sommerfeldt is getting transferred, which I'm pretty bummed about. We worked really really well together, and did a lot of good this last transfer. I won't lie, I'm kind of jealous of his new calling too. He's training a new missionary in Waterville- the exact way i've dreamed of finishing my mission haha. but I'm hooking him up with all the people I know who have potential so he can hit the ground running. He'll just have to finish up all my unfinished business!! I already know who my new companion will be. I'm really excited to serve with him. His name is Elder Baker. He's a convert of about 3 years now. He was raised catholic and has an awesome testimony. We went on exchange this last week and had a good time, so I'm looking forward to serving with him.  Anyways, like I said, Tuesday will be transfer meeting. We'll work the area the rest of the day. Wednesday, we'll be presenting a training to all the new missionaries and trainers, so that'll be interesting. The rest of the week we'll just be working the area, but also throwing in there some extensive preperation time for specialized zone trainings that'll be coming up, along with an article to go out in the mission news letter and finishing up moving out and cleaning up the old apartment. This whole next transfer is going to be INSANE. 5 specialized zone trainings in every zone in the mission (we'll get to do a lot of traveling. I'm really excited), 2 zone conferences, one or two zone leader councils, and district meetings and exchanges throughout. All in all, I'm buckling up for a rollercoaster ride of a 6 weeks!!



Alright, it's time for me to get running. I sure do love you all and miss you! I really look forward to mondays when i get to hear from you all. It's one of the highlights of my week. I hope all stays well and everybody is happy and healthy. Have a great week!! Love you!!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin

Hello!

Hey!! Good hearing from you all again! Man, it's nuts how fast the weeks are flying by now. it just keeps moving faster and faster, especially now with our new schedule. We had a great week, but we'll get into that in a bit.

I had a great week this last one! On Monday, we drove up to Sharon, Vermont and spent the night with the South Royalton elders. It was pretty funny, we typed the address wrong into our GPS and ended up driving for a while in the direction of Sharon, NH, and ended up on the southern end of New Hampshire haha. We then had to turn around and drive back the way we came and traveled half way up the state into Vermont. But it was all worth it in the end because the elders had 5 gallons of Ben and Jerry's ice cream from the factory that wasn't all too far away. The next morning, we drove up to Essex Junction, Vermont, which is at the top left-hand corner of the state. I spent the day up there on exchange with Elder Weaver, who I was in the MTC with. I have discovered that I LOVE Vermont. It's so gorgeous up there, and I love the feel of it. I can definitively picture myself living up there one day. Also, with the trip over to Essex, I've officially been from one end of the mission to the other. New England really is such a beautiful place. I love it out here.


After a few days up in Essex where we had some pretty good success, we drove back to Manchester to work for a few days. Great things happened in the work here too. We found some really awesome investigators. One really awesome one is a 19-yr-old girl named Caitlin. She was just sitting on her porch about to leave for the beach, but we stopped as we walked by to talk to her for a second. She later told us that her Dad has recently passed away and she had been asking herself a lot of questions about what happens after death and whatnot. She also told us she had been praying a lot for guidance, and was waiting for an answer to her prayers. I asked if she felt we could be an answer to that prayer. She looked down for a second, then looked me in the eyes and said, "That's what I'm beginning to feel." We shared some basic beliefs about the plan of salvation with her, and she accepted a return appointment so we can start teaching her!! That was really experience. The Lord really is preparing his children to receive the gospel- we just have to open our mouths!!


On Saturday, we made our big move out of our old apartment. it was NOT fun haha. Our old apartment is on the 3rd floor, so we got to move everything down 3 flights of stairs. But when we finished getting our stuff into the new apartment, it was all worth it. Our new place is SO much nicer. New carpet and flooring, dishwasher, and the best part- we actually have AC now!! The past two nights were the first two in like a month when we've been able to sleep without just laying on our beds sweating all night. So that's been an adventure, and I learned a lot from it too, especially about hooking and unhooking washers and dryers. That's been a fun experience haha.


So here's another random thing i had this week. We ate dinner over at a members home this last week, and we talked about his profession. He's a chiropractor. He told me about what he does for work and about the philosophies behind it all. It fascinated me and got me intrigued. I feel like that's a field I need to seriously consider when i get home. Dad, I know you do similar work to what they do- do you have any input to that revelation? Do you think I'd be good at it or enjoy it? Any insight would be great. So yeah. There you go. I might end up being a chiropractor in Vermont haha. How cool would that be??


Ok, I gotta get going- staff meeting will be starting soon. But I'll end with this. Last week, a member read a quote by President Eyring that really impressed me, so we got copies of it, and I've been working on memorizing it all week. I thought I'd share it because it has a lot of power behind. It contains some very powerful concepts, so hopefully we can all embody this one day. Be sure to read it slowly line for line!


"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast! I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear! I cannot be bough, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up of the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till he stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.

-Henry B. Eyring.


It's my testimony that this is the attitude we've been sent here to Earth to develop. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that everything is possible only through him. I know that this is His church, and that we are doing His will, and that if we will give our hearts to Him, He will give us everything in return.


I love you all, and hope you have a great week. I'll look forward to hearing from you all soon!!
-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Great Week in the Gospel

I had a great week on my end! Not so much traveling as last week. We only went to Somersworth, New Hampshire which is only like a 1 hour drive from here. But since we didn't have to do much traveling, we got to really work our area hard! And we had some pretty good success too. We were able to set 4 new baptismal dates! One of them was with Lee, one of our investigators. He was introduced to the church by his member girlfriend. We had a great lesson with him on Friday, in which he was talking about how he's had answered prayers that the Book of Mormon was true, and about how he feel so good around members of the church. He was concerned though that he wanted to make sure he was doing this for himself, not for his girlfriend. That's a great example of  a "sincere heart" and "real intent." We should do the same- making sure we're living the gospel for ourselves, not for others. Only living the gospel for ourselves can produce our salvation! Anyways, at the end of the lesson, he accepted the goal of being baptized on August 24th! That'll be put to the test this next week, since his member girlfriend broke up with him yesterday morning. Let's hope he hangs on to that precious revelation he's received!!




I've had a really life changing experience this week too. I won't lie, I occasionally have felt during my life, especially on my mission, something along the lines of, "Man, I wish I knew what it was like to not be a member of the church. To see what it's like on the other side, to see what it's like to smoke or drink or do that stuff." I sometime wish I knew what it was like so I could relate to these people better and to help them more as they come unto Christ. But this last week, I have had a series of experiences with an investigator who has changed that curiosity for me. We've been working with her for a while, and she seemed very mysterious and was never home and always dropped our appointments. This week, she confessed why. She's a serious drug addict. She's into doing drugs of every shape and sort. Her arms are bruised with injection points. She just can't function if she doesn't get several fixes every day. On top of that though, she struggles to come up with money to keep up on drugs, so she does some unspeakable things to raise funds to keep up with her addictions. We went over the night before the 4th of July, and had a talk with her outside her porch. She sat and sobbed wishing she could be free from her addictions, telling us about how she feels she's let her family and herself down, that she feels God doesn't love her and that she doesn't think she can change. Seeing the sincere pain and despair these addictions had brought her erased those desires I ever had to experience life without the Gospel. If I didn't have it, who knows where I'd be. I might be in her situation and have an addiction run my life. But it was amazing that as we went over the next several days and taught her about repentance and the Atonement, her confidence in her ability to change grew. She checked herself into a rehab to detox a bit, she's started hanging out with members of the church we've introduced her to, and she even came to church yesterday!! Her countenance is starting to visibly beginning to change. She has a long road to walk, and she has a lot of battles to fight. But I have faith that if she has the desire, the Atonement can heal her, and she'll reach her potential as a Daughter of God. Once again, my mission comes through and throws an experience at me that will change my life forever.




We had many other adventures this week. Another intense one was with an extremely logical business man who lives in Bedford. He actually is really good friends with Elder Carlson of the 70, which is pretty cool. We met his wife, who was an awesome German woman, two days before, and she invited us back two days later to talk with her husband. I dove right in to our discussion about "Truth." He was thoroughly convinced that God is merely a sum of truth and wisdom that fills the immensity of space, without form, and that all religions, whether it be Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or any other, all point to the same truth. All one's life  is just to find the truth within yourself. Needless to say, we had quite the intellectual conversation. I had a blast with it actually haha. We talk to a lot of people on the streets in lower class areas of the city, so this was a type of conversation I don't have often. We went back and forth for almost 2 hours about truth and about the Book of Mormon and whatnot. In the end, he agreed to read and meditate on the Book of Mormon and would earnest see if he could extract truth from it. We're already preparing our battle plans for our next visit. Gosh being a missionary is fun!




This next week should be a good one. Tonight, we'll be traveling to South Royalton, Vermont and spending the night there. The next morning, we'll drive to Essex Junction, Vermont to go on exchange with the zone leaders that are essentially in stewardship over the state of Vermont. I'll be staying up there until Wednesday night, which is when I'll return back to Bedford. We'll have a few days to work, have a marathon mission planning session on Friday, and then on Saturday we have something really exciting going on- we're moving apartments!! Remember that apartment I told you we worked on a few weeks ago? Well, as we left, I look at Elder Sommerfeldt and said "That place is nice. We should move there." He was hesitant at first, but then as the summer heat cranked up, and our third floor apartment which has no AC got hotter and hotter, he agreed. So this last week, we finished up the logistics of it all, and will be moving into a first floor apartment with a dishwasher, washer and dryer, new tile and wood floors and carpet, the whole shebang. It's going to be a pain to move everything down the 3 floors, but it'll be worth it in the end!! So that's what's going on on Saturday. It should be interesting.




Ok, well I better get going. Our staff meeting will probably start soon. Love you all!! I hope you have a great week!! Always remember something- You lived with God before you came here. It's amazing concept when you think of it! Take care!




-Faithfully,




Elder KC Esplin

Monday, July 2, 2012

Got to see Vermont

This last week has been awesome on my end. The week started great with a little road trip up to Sharon, Vermont, where we got to see the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. It was an amazing experience. The Spirit there was SO strong. They also had a movie about the purpose of families based from the family proclamation, which I think is only shown in a few places. It was incredible as well. I then got a few minutes to just sit alone on a bench right next to the old back step to the house where Joseph Smith was born, and I was able to pray a little bit for more another confirmation that he really was a prophet. And it came. I really do know that he was a prophet and that this is Jesus Christ's church. Overall, it was an amazing trip.

The next day (Tuesday) was zone leaders council. I was put in charge of conducting it, and things got really exciting when President Wilkey got called out of the meeting for an emergency, leaving Elder Sommerfeldt and I to lead a training and discussion that he was going to head. It definitally made me stretch, and I felt very under qualified to do it, but we pulled it off and it went well. I left right after up to Auburn, Maine, where I went on exchange with an Elder Tanner from Groose Creek, Utah. He actually ended up knowing Courtney Packer (now Erickson) so that was kind of fun. We had quite an interesting conversation with a VERY devout Roman Catholic, which went very interestingly. She was bashing on us for this and that, we just bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and left it at that. She referred us to her neighbors though, so we went there and placed a copy of the Book of Mormon, and he seemed pretty interested. Hopefully he goes somewhere. Speaking of Catholics, we had a fun encounter with two Catholic missionaries in Manchester ( I didn't know there were Catholic missionaries either). They attacked us pretty intensely, and pretty much told me straight up I was going to hell. We just smiled, bore testimony of the restoration, and left it at that. I thought it was pretty stinking hilarious. It made me glad to be a missionary in the way our church has us go out, that we aren't to teach by fear or compulsion or argumentation, but simply by the Spirit. I think that's the way the Savior would have us do it to be honest.

The day after I got back from exchange (Thursday), we drove up to Lebanon, New Hampshire for zone interviews. I got to drive a 15 passenger van up. That was a new experience for me. I even had to take a test just to drive the van. "Moose" we call it. The interview with President Wilkey was amazing as always. It was also fun to see some missionaries there that I knew pretty well, including a member of my district in Watervile, and a companion I served in a trio with for a week.  Then that night was was just typical proselyting. Nothing too fancy.


We had some great progress made with a few investigators this last week. One of them is Flora. She's an older lady from South Sudan. She speaks with a very think African accent and always has people over to her house wearing tradition African attire, which I think is pretty cool. We had a great lesson on the Plan of Salvation with her, and we prepped her to be baptized on August 3rd. She said the closing prayer at the end of the lesson, and it was one of the most sincere and heartfelt prayers I've ever had an investigator give in a lesson. I was truly touched. She then came to church that Sunday and i sat with her through gospel principles. She has the sweetest spirit, and I'm so excited for her to be baptized.


I'm still loving life in this new area, including all the new responsibilities. I really love doing the administrative aspect of the work (numbers, reports, concerns, all that stuff). The area is still awesome too. All in all, I'm a pretty happy camper! The only down side, is that I'm always exhausted. I'm having to take quite a few power naps, and I always end up fighting falling asleep in lessons a few times a week. But besides all that, life is great!

We have a really empty week this next week. Nothing really major going on. We're going on exchange with the zone leaders living in Concord, New Hampshire, but I'll be staying in Manchester. The elder I'll be with loves tennis though, so we're going to play for exercise, which I'm really excited for. I haven't played since I've left! Other than that, this should be a pretty ordinary week. We'll have to see how it all goes!!

Love you all, hope you have a great week! I'll look forward to hearing from you soon!!
-Faithfully,

Elder KC Esplin

Another Great Week

Whew! What a week. We worked super hard all week long and we had some great things happen. There wasn't a ton of assistant-type work to do, so we basically had a full week to work in the area. The only administrative things we had to do was help put on a training for all new missionaries and trainers, update transfer boards, take two sets of reports, and a few phone conferences. In the trainers meeting, I was in charge of a little workshop where we watched a talk by Jeffry R. Holland  about missionary work. I think it's called "Feed My Sheep." It was given in the MTC this last January. Word on the street is, it's now on Youtube. Anybody reading this email should go look that talk up. it's AMAZING. You'll get a lot from it. Check it out. Anyways, that went really well. After the training, Elder Adams left our trio, so now I'm back to just a normal companionship. Not gonna lie, I really enjoy that. Being in a trio is fun, but it gets exhausting at times, and it makes things a little more complicated. But we've had some KILLER success in our area. We set 2 new baptismal dates, found 4 new investigators, and taught 21 lessons total, which is the most this area has seen in at least a year apparently. I have an AWESOME companion. He's an extremely hard worker, and has an incredible base of skills. We work really well together. We've already been told basically we'll only get to work together this transfer, which is a bummer. So we're just going to work our tails off until then! (Speaking of working our tails off, I have some exciting news. Between working out harder and eating healthier, I'm proud to say that I now weigh as much as I weighed when I left on my mission! And I'm a lot more fit now too. So there's that for you haha).



We had lots of crazy random things happen this week too. For example, we were in the middle of a lesson with an investigator named Jessica. She approached us on the streets last week and wanted to learn from us. She has a little daughter named Jessica, and she's a super solid investigator. She wants to strengthen her connection to God, and wants to have a family that will teach her daughter good values. We showed her the Family Proclamation, and she loved it. Anyways, on Saturday, we were in a lesson with her in her apartment teaching her the Plan of Salvation, when all of a sudden, a bird frantically flew into her living room! It flew around like crazy, dropped an air missile right on the couch between my legs, and flew into a closet. I grabbed a garbage pail and a box and was trying to catch it and ended up chasing it out a window. It was pretty exciting haha. Or another fun adventure. We were sitting with a group of people in lower Manchester, which is a pretty shady area, when all of a sudden this guy came whipping around a corner on a scooter, hit the curb and went rolling down the side walk. He jumped up laughing. Luckily, he  and the scooter weren't hurt. His friends ran over laughing, including the owner of the scooter. The owner then rode off to see if it was broken. We were dying laughing. Then, 10 minutes later, the same guy who crashed it earlier, came skidding out of nowhere, hit a boat on a trailer that was driving by which totally messed the back of the scooter up, and then proceeded to crash it into a little retaining wall. It came out of nowhere and happened in a matter of seconds. Moments later, the cops were there, cars were pulled over, and the guy jumped up and said "man, I can't drive that thing!" and walked off. Again, nobody was hurt, but it was stinking hilarous and random haha. Also excitingly, at that same stoop I was sitting at, I was offered weed, wine, and an invitation to break the law of chastity. I'll tell you what, I'm definitely living in a different world here in Manchester, New Hampshire, but boy do I love it! I can already tell this might become my favorite area. I'm extremely happy here, we're teaching some people who are AWESOME and progressing, and I'm loving my new duties as an assistant. Life is super good!



Oh, really quick. There's another investigator who we're working with who is awesome. His name is Lee. He's a musician who learned to play just about every instrument out there. He has a hobby of making ukuleles out of cigar boxes. He's super cool. One day, we were helping him and his brother paint his apartment and lay hardwood floors, and he walked out with an EWI (electronic wind instrument, which is one of my dream things to own) and asked if I knew what it was. Long story short, we ended up having a quick little jazz jam session where we comped back and forth to some jazz tunes with me on the EWI and him on the guitar. It was rad. Anyways. Just wanted to throw that in there.



So  yeah. This week was epic. This next week should be exciting too. Tonight, we'll be driving up to South Royalton, Vermont to see the Joseph Smith Memorial (which I'm INSANELY excited for) and we'll be picking up the Essex zone leaders and driving them back. Then Tuesday will be zone leaders council in Bedford, and that night, I may or may not be going to Auburn, Maine for exchange. We're not sure who's going yet. Then Wednesday we'll be driving back up to Maine to exchange back. Thursday, we'll be driving to Lebanon, New Hampshire for zone interviews. Then everywhere in between, we have awesome teaching appointments lined up. It's going to be a great week!



Ok well I better get running. The office staff needs the computer. But know that I love and miss you all. Know that I know that this church is true, and that miracles happen to those who have faith and are ready to receive them. I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and has a plan for us. This truly is the Gospel of Happiness. Have a great week!!



-Faithfully,



Elder KC Esplin