Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy thanksgiving!!

Man, I CANNOT believe it's already Thanksgiving. It honestly still feels like it should be summer. The weather is definitely contrary to that haha. Although, we still don't have snow, so I can't complain!! But the time just keeps flying by faster and faster. It's ridiculous!! So. This last week was one of, if not the most, stressful week of my life!! Honestly, at the end of the week, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep going, but I'm doing much better now! Let's back up to last Sunday. So, as soon as church was over, we had a member meal and rushed over to the office. Elder Nash of the 70 was to arrive Sunday night, and requested a meeting with us to report on the geography of the mission, trends in the key indicators, and the progress of the mission in finding, activation, retention, involvement with members, and application of the fundamentals of PMG. We prepared the report and met up with him and President Wilkey around 8 PM. We were introduced to Elder Nash and were quickly engulfed by his warmth and light. I know I said this a year ago, but there really is something different about those general authorities! They really have a light in their countenances that is out of this world. Anyways, we then sat down for an hour and a half or so and gave our report, which he said he really enjoyed. He then talked with us a while to get to know us, our concerns for the mission, and to give us instruction for what we were to do the next week. We left so impressed for his warm nature and for how complimentary and kind he was to us. The next morning was zone conference at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. We had to get there in the morning to set up, so we were running pretty low on sleep. I was asked to conduct, which was a little bit of pressure, but I think I did pretty well. I was also asked to accompany two musical numbers, which both turned out pretty well. One of them was President Wilkey singing, and was accompanied by me and a harp player. Elder Nash then gave a training on faith (which is what his conference talk was on), and on working with members. At the end of the conference, we had a leadership training with all the zone leaders, district leaders, and trainers. Elder Nash gave the training, and talked about D&C 84:106, talking about going on exchange. He also addressed how after a meeting, it's up to us to make what we learn a reality, or just a nice memory. We have to apply what we learn, or it's a waste of time. It was a pretty cool training. The next day, we took a much needed P-day. We drove up to Kittery, ME and did some shopping, and chilled for a little while in a massage recliner haha. Then we finished the drive up to Topsham, where we set up for zone conference the next day. We then spent the night in Yarmouth, got up early, and went back up to Topsham for the next round of zone conference! This one was a bit bigger because 3 zones were in attendance. It went very well too. After, we had the same leadership training, but this time, he asked us to give the training as he sat in the back. That was a lot of pressure too!! But we pulled it off fairly well. After the conference, we were in a wicked rush putting out fires, answering questions, and ushering missionaries out to get to work. We then moved into clean up mode. As we did do, Elder Nash surprised us by asking if he could interview us each individually. I was really excited for that. In the interview, he asked about my family, and asked if I had any question for him. That's a pretty crazy opportunity- get to ask a general authority one-on-one any question. I asked him a question about faith, and he gave me some really good instruction. Again, it's amazing what it's like to have a general authority look you in the eyes. There's really something special about them. After the interview, we were invited to attend a private dinner with the stake presidents of the mission, which was a real privilege. We were only in attendance because Elder Nash insisted on it because he wanted us to have that experience. We had some AMAZING lobster bisque and enjoyed talking with two of the stake presidents and President Wilkey. Then Elder Nash stood and gave us a training that will really change my paradigm on leadership probably for the rest of my life. He read to us D&C 84:106, which basically says that those who are strong should go TO those who are weak and take him WITH him. Not teach or invite, but to literally go to his side, and take him with him. He said in leadership, if those who you are a steward over are struggling with their callings, instead of talking to them and offering instruction, invite him to go with you as you do the things they are struggling with. Then, they will be close to your side, and see your example. Another example is with less-actives. Instead of just telling them to go to church, instead, invite them to come with you to church. Take them with you. It was a remarkable training, and gained a lot of power as he read a verse following D&C 84:106 which stated that this is how the Savior and apostles built up the church back when he was on the earth. It's a power concept. I'll definitely keep that in mind in the future.
Anyways, after that meeting, we had to say our goodbyes to Elder Nash. I learned a lot from him, and he inspired me to change and grow in many ways. He expressed his gratitude to us, and asked us to keep in touch and to feel free to visit him in the future. I hope I will get to keep in touch with him!! So there's the basic overview of the crazy week I had. Oh yeah, Sunday was stake conference too,and I was asked to play the piano for the choir and to accompany President Wilkey again. Between getting everything worked out for the conferences, and playing catch up with everything going on, we haven't had much time for anything else! So yeah. There's my life for you!! OK I better get going. Have a great Thanksgiving!! I know I'm grateful to be part of the family I am. I sure do love you all! I'm also grateful to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints. I'm grateful to be serving in Bedford, and to have all that the Lord has blessed me with. Life is good!! -Faithfully, and thankfully, Elder KC Esplin

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