Thursday, January 10, 2013

My own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

So, I had my companion open my package and get out the tree and oh man, you should have seen my reaction. i LOVE THAT TREE!!! Thank you so much!! All last month, I kept telling my companion, "We need to just get a little Christmas tree for our apartment. Not a big one, just a little Charlie Brown tree." And what do ya know, you sent one out. I greatly enjoy it. I also had him pull out all my wrapped presents and they're under the tree now. I'm planning on saving that tree too, so it was definitely a good buy! So thanks again! So, Christmas is right around the corner. I can't believe how fast it came up on us...it's nuts. Welp, in comparison to some of the past weeks, this last week was really chill. Only one cross-mission trip. Only one trip to the office. No mission planning in the mission home. It was basically a pure week of proselyting, and boy was it nice! Actually I just remembered, we did have one training on Tuesday. It was the new missionary/trainers meeting here in Manchester. That one was pretty nuts. Because of preparations for the surge, our mission has been getting much larger transfer groups lately, so we had 23 companionship down. Making travel plans and sleeping arrangements ended up being pretty crazy. We had 8 missionaries sleeping in our apartment plus us. That morning got pretty crazy as we all rushed to get ready. The training went really well. I gave the same trainings I did last time- area book and planning. Afterwords, we had to drive a group of 8 missionaries up to Portland, ME to get to where their cars were so they could return to their areas. Of course, we had to stop and get dinner at Red Robbins. And of course, the Portland elders heard and took their dinner hour with us, so we had a group of 12 missionaries there. I think we terrified the entire restaurant haha. Somebody gave me the idea of ordering the endless root beer float, and I downed 3 very large glasses, which probably summed to about 2 liters of root beer. Needless to say, I felt very sick by the end of the night haha. But that's all not missionary related, so let's move ahead! Like I said before, we spent almost the entire week proselyting, which was really nice. Our area has taken a big hit from passing a ton of our investigators and potentials over to the sisters who just came in, so our pool has gotten pretty shallow. But we had some really cool experiences! One was with the less-active we're working with- Donald. He had set the goal about 2 months ago to quit smoking this last Wednesday, so we went over in the morning to have a lesson and help him crush the rest of his cigarettes. That was a really cool experience. Unfortunately, since he's been smoking for like 30 years, his body started having severe withdraws to the point he'd wake up in the middle of the night shaking, so he gave in...but it was a good start to the path to the priesthood! We had another intense lesson with a man named Josh inside of a Starbucks. He's a born again Christian who we learned loved to argue. We had planned to just read Alma 32 and have a nice discussion about faith, but he turned it around when we hit the verse referring to enduring to the end and we ended up talking about salvation which turned to a discussion about faith vs. works. He tried to bash with us, but we did what he have been instructed to do- answer the question, then point it back to the restoration. After about an hour, we finally got through Alma 32, and I said to him, "You know Josh, I know we have a few different views on some of those verses in the Bible we read today. But ultimately, our invitation to you is the read and pray about the Book of Mormon, to exercise your faith in Christ and desire to learn of him to read it and see if it brings you closer to God." I then bore testimony of how I found it to be true, and closed with the invitation, "the only way you'll find out if it's true is if you read it." It's simple, but it's true for everyone. The ONLY way for a person to resolve conflicts they feel about the church, whether it be Joseph Smith, or faith vs. works, or what day the Sabbath is, or the Trinity, whatever it is, the only way to know if what we share is true is to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Once a person receives an answer it is true, then everything else will fall in to place. It's that simple. We had another awesome lesson with a lady from Sudan named Kapooki. She was baptized several months ago, but hasn't come to church for a while because of her work. We stopped by spontaneously when a lesson fell through, and she welcomed us in. She immediately told us, "Elders, I had a dream last week, and I don't understand what it means. Many people have tried to interpret it, but I want to see what you think." In the dream, she was walking on a road with another woman, and they heard beautiful singing, so they walked towards the voices. On the path, she saw a big, ugly red brick building with two scary men outside of it. They turned away from this building and saw a big pure white tent with a giant tree next to it. They walked into the white tent to see it full of people all wearing white. She couldn't see to the front, but knew that Christ was at the front of the tent. Then she woke up. I got really excited when she finished, and asked if we could run to the van to grab a movie. I have a little D&C disk set, and on it is a movie of pictures of the temples put to music, so I grabbed that and rushed back upstairs. We watched that and told her we felt she had seen herself going to the temple. We then read Lehi's dream and pointed out all the parallels to his dream- walking on a narrow path, a large building off to the side, pressing forward towards the beautiful tree and a pure whiteness, etc. It was a very powerful lesson. At the end, she asked for a blessing to do what God wanted her to do. It was a super powerful lesson. Alright, one more quick one. Yesterday, we had a cool lesson with a girl from Nepal. Her family is Hindu, so she didn't know very much about Christ. We taught her a lot about the Holy Ghost and about how we can learn who God really is. She also shared with us about the Hindu faith and how it compared to what we shared with her. It was really interesting to learn more about her faith, as well as teach someone who didn't have a Christian background, which we don't really encounter often. Alrighty, I guess I better fly. Love you all!! Have a great week, and I'll look forward to getting your emails next week, and talking with you the day after!! I'm quite excited!! -Faithfully, Elder KC Esplin

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