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!
Elder KC Esplin