Elder Espinoza

Elder Espinoza
Alma 26:12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christ Like Attributes

                                                                                  December 30, 2014
Well I hope everyone had as amazing of a Christmas as I did! Last week was actually a really slow week for us. We had set a few appointments with people but most of them cancelled on us.  We got to have a wonderful and very traditional Danish dinner on Christmas Eve. I guess it has been a tradition in their family since before they were even born. So it was neat to get to participate in that! I guess one year some people brought rolls for the dinner and they were pretty much shunned cause it wasn’t traditional haha it was really fun! For dessert she made a rice pudding. Kinda tasted like aroz con leche but not as good ;) ha but apparently most people think its gross but there’s kind of a game they play with it. It has slivers of almonds in it with ONE full almond and whoever gets the almond gets this Marzipan Pig. So I think I kinda gets everyone to actually have to eat the rice pudding so they can get the almond haha we didn’t get it but the person that did apparently had gotten it three years in a row now so she gave it to us! Then we all held hands and sang three Christmas songs as we circled around the Christmas tree. It was fun! After that we all opened the gifts that were under the tree for us. Really cool night! Then of course the next day we got to skype! So nice :) We got our time extended as well so it was a real blessing. Scary to think that that was my last time getting to skype on the mission....  Its going by way too fast! So yesterday I started this 9 week long study of Christ like attributes. Our mission president challenged us to take the little self assessment at the end of Preach My Gospel Chpt. 6 which is Christ like Attributes and then study each attribute for a week and apply it throughout the week and see how each attribute strengthens in us. So I am pretty excited about it! I’ll be finishing the last one on the last week of my mission! Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a safe Happy New Year. Ponder goals you want to set for yourself. Its important as well to do that prayerful since the Holy Ghost teaches us all things it will help us to set meaningful goals that we can achieve throughout the year to better ourselves and most importantly come closer to our Father in Heaven, :)

Love Elder Jaden Espinoza

 Miss these goofy people! got to go to lunch with them! :)

 My little ghetto tree haha

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hello Hello!
I hope everyone has a wonderful merry Christmas! I've been really thinking a lot about giving gifts and how wonderful it is and exciting it is when people open up your gifts and love whatever it is you got them. Its way better than opening up your own gifts I feel. There's just no other feeling like it. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to give someone a gift and them not like it and just set it aside and not use it. That would be terrible! Now lets apply this to our Heavenly Father and the most amazing gift that He gave. Think of the sacrifice our Savior went through, willingly, being the gift our Father in Heaven gave us. The effort, love and thought that went into that gift is greater than any gift that we ever could give. Think about how we make our Father in Heaven feel when we don't accept that wonderful gift or use that gift. When we think lightly of that gift that brings salvation to all men and women, I can't imagine how He feels when we do this. The wonderful part is He still loves us no matter what and the gift will always be there for us so long as we apply the principles taught from the it and use them in our everyday lives. We are SO blessed with all that we have. Everything is a gift from our God and it all ties back into the one most important gift our Father in Heaven gave us. Its why I love the new video the Church put out. Its amazing to think about!
I have also, this Christmas, been pondering on the birth of our Savior. He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, yet He was born in a humble stable. The first people to know of His birth were shepherds. They were His first visitors. Its all humble. Which is why we too must be humble when we accept this wonderful gift of Christmas. These are just some of the thoughts that I have been having this Christmas!
So the ward I am serving in is awesome! The members here love us lots. We have gotten quite a few gifts from them already, ha ha! We have been going caroling with members and it has been fun to see peoples faces light up! Sad that this is my last Christmas as a missionary so I'm trying to soak it all in. The work here is getting a lot better. We still have our investigator on a date to be baptized! She is doing so awesome. So lots of exciting things going on here in Rio Rancho. Thank you all for the cards letters and packages. It means so much to me :) I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and have safe travels and most importantly remember the true gift of Christmas :)
Love Elder Jaden Espinoza

Thursday, December 18, 2014


                                                                       December 16, 2014
  So last week was a pretty awesome week! These members in our ward have a dental practice and they entered into a parade and had their own float to advertise but she wanted us to come along and hand out toothbrushes and what not too but we ended up handing out the HE IS THE GIFT cards so we handed out a TON and talked to TONS of people it was so awesome!!!! The parade was cool too haha Then they took us out to dinner after and we told them that we are supposed to be caroling every night and they said they would come with us. So last night they had an FHE Christmas gift exchange thing and had a few families over and everyone came caroling with us after. We went to their next door neighbor’s house and all the kids were super excited so they all ran there and knocked on his door and rang his doorbell a million times which I’m sure did not make the older man happy AT ALL but it was amazing to see his countenance change as we all started singing. The spirit of Christmas is so amazing!!!! So we did a few other houses and had lots of fun :) We might have found an awesome family too! We had about a half hour before we had dinner so we decided to walk around the members neighborhood which is a ways out and we never go out there so we thought it was a good idea. We started talking to this really humble man who was spraying down his sweet dirt bikes. We talked about the HE IS THE GIFT video and he was excited to show his wife. We noticed they had a picture of Christ in their garage and asked him if he was pretty religious and he said not as much as he wanted to be and then we talked about his family and he has 3 kids and we bore sincere testimony that families can be together forever and he started to tear up!!! We couldn’t get a return appointment with him but he wants to meet with us. He said he needed to talk with his wife first so we’re gonna go back over and see what’s happened since then. We’re praying to start teaching them!!! We have zone conference tomorrow so excited about that. Its gonna be a good week! Love you all!

Love Elder Espinoza

​Me, Sister Barnard and Beech, Elder Taylor, Hicken and Jensen. Sister Barnard went home

Had a pretty awesome snow storm roll through but now its only on the mountains.


Monday, December 8, 2014

A definition of sacrifice is to make sacred

                                                                                            December 8, 2014
So we had zone training last week and it was one of the better ones that I have been too. The spirit was amazingly strong. The main topic of our meeting was sacrifice. I had never really though before what the word sacred means and why things are sacred to me.. a definition of sacrifice is to make sacred. And i thought to myself what things are sacred to me? Then I thought about why those things are sacred to me? And it was all because of the sacrifice that I have put in myself for those things! For example the Atonement is the most sacred thing to me. Obviously I didn’t put in any sacrifice for that Christ alone did that but my understanding of the atonement and the application of the atonement is what is sacred to me because of the things that I have sacrificed to understand better the atonement and the apply the atonement in my life. It was amazing to think about everything that is sacred to me and why that thing is sacred. I would invite all of you to think about what is truly sacred to you and then ponder why it is sacred to you. You will have an amazing experience I can testify of that. Of course another thing that is sacred to me is my mission. For all the things that I have learned and now understand on my mission. Not to mention all the other things you sacrifice to go on a mission. But then you really think about the love you have for the Lord and the atoning sacrifice He made for us individually and suddenly all those sacrifices that you have made no longer seem like sacrifices anymore. It seems like it is the least that you can do for the Lord. The least you can give up for the Lord....you really aren't giving up anything to the Lord because if it wasn’t for Him you wouldn’t have anything. When I was thinking about this I was reminded of Kind Benjamin’s speech in Mosiah. Chapter 2 happens to be my favorite and that’s when he talks about no matter what you do you will always be indebted to the Lord. Its just amazing how he puts things into perspective. But still when it comes down to it we are sacrificing things. Time being one of them. So kinda just something I have been pondering this last little while.
Anyway, we did some service for a less active member in our ward and he contemplated having me dig this trench from the side of his road to underneath this tree kinda passing through it so the rain water won’t run down the road but into this field. We were both talking about how it’s not gonna rain anytime soon but I told him Id do it anyway so i finally did. Ended up getting a little over half an inch of rain that night and then through the next day haha super funny! Half an inch of rain floods everything down here! Transfers are this week and I will be staying with Elder Stevens in our area and we will no longer be a trio. It sure was fun while it lasted!!!!! Our investigator on date is still doing really well! so that’s exciting :) Well I hope you all have a wonderful week!! Thanks for all the love and support! Also, congrats to the Riverhawks for making it to state! Too bad they didn't win but going back to back is a huge achievement!

Love Elder Espinoza

 Elder Bushman came back to visit the mission so he stopped by for a while to say hi! Guess I'm supposed to call him Karl now haha :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"He Is The Gift"

                                                                                                                                               December 2, 2014
 I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend!!! Our thanksgiving was pretty good of course. Members made us lots of good food :) This time of year is always so wonderful since we have so many things to be thankful for especially in this wonderful country that we live in!       Last week was also a week full of miracles. The most amazing one being we were able to set a baptismal date with our investigator! She has been meeting with missionaries for a long time now and this is the first time she has ever set a date with any of them! She set it for her birthday which is in January but the spirit was SO strong when she said it I just knew that that was the date for her :) It’s amazing to see the change in people’s faces when they see the progress they have made with strengthening their relationship with Christ. It NEVER fails to amaze me. This work is so wonderful especially since it is not our work. It is the Lords work and will move forward whether you are helping or not but ya might as well jump on this bandwagon! 
I hope many of you have been able to see the "He Is The Gift" video the Church has put out. The Church keeps making it easier and easier to share the wonderful message of our Savior and His atonement. The video is very non-threatening and really brings in the true spirit of Christmas. We have been handing out those cards like candy this week!! So if you got an Ensign please do the same :)
Congrats to the Riverhawks for making it to state again! Represent! :)

Love Elder Espinoza

Me, Elder Stevens and Elder Pattison

"He Is The Gift"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The most important thing to focus on

Last week was amazing! We had the wonderful opportunity to have Elder Villareal (our area 70) and Elder and Sister Corbridge of the 1st Quorum of the 70 come and speak to our mission! So we have everyone up north get together for one big one and everyone down south did the same! One thing that I really love that Elder Corbridge said was that when we focus on something that we really want to do such as becoming a great piano player we literally shut off everything else from the world when we go and practice or focus on that one particular thing. Its the same for any other thing that we would want to do except for one thing...and he called it the most important thing. And when we focus on this most important thing it does not block out everything else in the world and it should be our number one focus. Then he had this super long presentation and finally at the end he told us what the most important thing was. And what it boils down to is the spirit! He gave us a ton of scriptures where the Lord commands us to do things ALWAYS. There were quite a few such as pray always, let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly and many more, but all them had the promise at the end that we will have the spirit to be with us more. Which if we do this most important thing we can also focus on whatever else it is we want to focus on. But, the minute we lose focus on the most important thing and start blocking it out with other things of the world then whatever it is at the moment we are focusing on literally blocks out everything else in the world. It was very interesting but made complete sense to me! Obviously that was no where near word for word what he said but that was the main gist of things! Anyway I really enjoyed it!
So last week as well we had this AWESOME lesson planned out for our investigator to invite her to be baptized and to resolve concerns that she has had but about an hour before she asked to move it back a half hour which cut our time in half! So we still figured we could get the most important things of the lesson in but by the time all was said and done we had about 15-20 minutes to teach a lesson so we decided to not teach that lesson just yet and had to come up with something on the fly! We ended up showing her "Mountains ToClimb" the Mormon message by President Eyring. It was so inspired! Then we started talking about what it meant and somehow baptism was brought up very briefly but before I could say anything more than the word baptism she stopped me and said she had a question. She said, "How do I get baptized?" I'm sure you coulda seen my mouth hit the floor in shock because we were totally not expecting that at all! haha So we talked about what needs to happen and tried briefly to set a date with her but she wanted to wait till next time which is tomorrow so we are so excited!!!!!!!!!!! Miracle story of last week!
So things are going great here! Lovin' the new area! Thanks for all the birthday wishes and cards it was much appreciated! :) Love you all!

Love Elder Espinoza

We never got a picture together as the Albuquerque West Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders!
 Elder Taylor, Me, Sister Beech and Sister Barnard. 
We had a mulit zone conference so that's how we got together! 

 The Sandias turn red in the sunset. Not the best picture but its still a cool one!

 Elder Van Leeuwan and I! He went home for a few months for medical purposes and know is back out in the field so I was excited to see me MTC comp!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Always having a prayer in your heart.

So my first week in Enchanted Hills has been a great one!! Its fun being in a trio, haha, except we are still trying to figure out the best way to get all of our showering in on time and with hot water for everyone, lol, so its fun.
I was able to meet many of the investigators and one seems really close to being baptized. She has never accepted a date but we are going to try this week and I think it will go well :) She has been struggling pretty bad with her older son and asked us to come and bless her house, so that was a good experience for her. We also watched a Mormon message called “Good Things to Come” by Elder Jeffrey R.Holland. It was my first time watching it and it was really good! The spirit was there very strong and we have another appointment with her tomorrow with really good fellowship!!! So things should be going good for her :)
It has also been VERY cold down here! Well, probably not as cold as back home but hey I was in El Paso last winter, so I'm not used to all this cold weather. The wind is what makes it really bad honestly. Cuts right through ya haha. The weather here is just crazy though. Its pretty warm today which is nice.
So this week Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge from the 1st quorum of the Seventy is coming to our mission. He has written some amazing talks! So we are all very excited! Also, there is this sister serving here for a few transfers who was called to the Temple Square mission and was asked to play the violin as a special musical number. Well, someone lied to her and told her I was "good" at the piano and so she asked me to play with her, haha! I have definitely gotten a lot better on my mission but I guess we'll just have to see how this goes! We are playing A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief which is one of my favorite songs so I'm excited about that :)
I started reading the Book of Mormon again and this time I am going through and only highlighting anything that has to do with prayer. Its been amazing so far and I cant wait to get into more scripture!! I think I have learned the true meaning of always having a prayer in your heart. We literally can always pray to our Father in Heaven. He just sits up wherever He is I am sure and waits and waits to hear from us and I am sure nothing pleases Him more than to hear from us, even if it is the smallest thing. I truly feel if anything is important to us than it is important to Him as well :) Anytime we ever had/have a prompting to pray it, is the Spirit teaching us that we must pray. Any time we have a doubt on whether to pray it is from the adversary. So next time you are contemplating on whether or not to pray remember who it is that wants you to pray and who its is that does not want you to pray and most importantly who you will be pleasing when you make your choice :)

Love Elder Espinoza
First Snow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I am pretty excited to learn more and to make weaknesses strengths!

It’s always interesting when you have plans to do certain things and then boom the Lord has different plans for you. I was needed somewhere else in this mission and I definitely was not expecting that one! But The Enchanted Hills ward on Rio Rancho is AWESOME! I haven't met very many people but they all seemed fired up about missionary work! I guess this ward was baptizing like crazy earlier on this year and its died down but now its about to pick back up again! :) I am also in a trio with Elder Stevens from Sydney, Montana and Elder Pattison from Murray, Utah. I've been out as long as both of them combined... haha, but they're good elders and we get along great! Don't have too much in common with either of them but its all good, we're having a blast so far!
I have already realized a few of the reasons why I am here now in this area, so I am pretty excited to learn more and to make weaknesses strengths! The Lord ALWAYS knows what he is doing ! 2 Nephi 2:24 says, "But behold, all thing have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things." - aint that the truth!? Its never fun when things change but when we later realize why things happened it sure does make all the anguish worth it :) Sorry this is so short today but we only have an hour here!
Love you all!!!!
New Address-
Elder Jaden Espinoza
4501 Sprint Blvd Apt. 5212
Rio Rancho, NM 87144

​I wish my camera would capture the real beauty of the sunrise from our balcony!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Seek for commitments to extend to ourselves that will bring us closer to God

                                                                                      November 4, 2014
   Transfers last week always make the week go by faster! We now have two new sisters in the district. One I served around when she first came out in the field and we go home together! So I was pretty excited about that! The other one is new and she seems like a really solid missionary. Super prepared!
   So today is the Los Lunas Zone Turkey Bowl haha I’m pretty excited about it! They picked 4 captains and I got to be the first! So I don't have much time to email today cause Los Lunas is pretty far and we have to be down there early! I think my team will win, not gonna lie ;) hahaha
   I love this time of year. It’s starting to get cold down here and the leaves that we have are turning colors!
   So District Meeting topic was helping investigators make and keep commitments. Its chapter 11 in PMG (Preach My Gospel) I believe. But it was definitely a good one and what I felt my district needed as well as my companion and I. It talks about how to extend commitments and promise blessings and testify and follow up. But then I kinda started thinking about how we kinda need to do that to ourselves and the Lord. When we as missionaries extend commitments to investigators it should be things that we have sought inspiration for  what they needed to progress towards baptism but we can do that to ourselves individually as well. Seeking for commitments to extend to ourselves that will bring us closer to God. These commitments invite our investigators to repent and it works for us the same. We ALWAYS need to repent and to change things we do to conform our life to live more in harmony with the will of God. Following up is also extremely important. An analogy PMG uses is not following up is like buying a ticket to go to a concert and then not going to the concert. How ridiculous does that sound? Pretty dang ridiculous! I can’t think of anyone that would do that! Now imagine that but on a spiritual level which is definitely more important than a concert. We also need to follow up on commitments that we give ourselves. That is truly how we show the Lord we want to change certain things in our lives. Anyway, I hope that made sense sort of!
   Well sorry this is so short again! Love you all and hope you all had a Happy Halloween! 
Love Elder Espinoza
PS. Congrats to Chiawana for killing Pasco like that! whoop whoop!

My pumpkin!

Monday, October 27, 2014

How to develop Christ like attributes

                                                                                                         October 27, 2014
  Well transfers are tomorrow but it get to finish training Elder Gulbransen which is something that I haven't gotten to do on my mission so I am pretty excited about that! It would be awesome to get to be comps with him even after this transfer but since I will only have two more left I feel like I am going to train again which would be awesome because then I won’t even have the time of day to be lazy when I get down to my final months!
 So miracle of the week!
 That same kid that has a baptismal date also has a 13 year old sister who is not a member. We went over to teach him and he wasn't there but his dad and sister were and his dad was like, "Hey this is my daughter and she wants to get baptized too." And she said, 'Um, no I don't" haha I about died laughing! But anyway we were finally able to convince her to sit down with us for ten minutes and then make her mind then. So we started off with who Jesus Christ was and the example that He set for us and then talked about the importance of baptism and by the end she could feel the spirit strongly confirming to her that his was something that she needed to do! It’s amazing what the spirit can do in just 10 minutes of testifying of our Lord. So now we have two people on a baptismal date for November 22nd! :) We are super excited to get the young men’s and young women’s involved with this and really help build and strengthen this ward!
    For district meeting this last week the topic was Preach my Gospel chapter 6  which is how to develop Christ like attributes which really is my favorite chapter in PMG and if you have not read it I would strongly encourage you too. You read about these attributes and how you can better develop them and it gives you scriptures to study and study activities to do on your own and with your companionship. It’s amazing to read about all of them and realize the weaknesses you do have which in turn should not discourage but encourage you to make those weaknesses strengths. My favorite scripture of all time is Ether 12:27 

 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

 which talks about why the Lord gives us weaknesses and how to make them stronger. It’s interesting in that scripture how Christ says pretty much if you humble yourselves and have faith in me then will make weak things strong unto them. So we don't make weak things strong by ourselves. The Lord makes them strong for us as we exercise our faith in Him and understand the need for His help in all things that we do. It’s amazing to see where we really should be with these attributes then realizing that Christ has all of them and is perfect. How great is He?? And being the perfect person he is he humbled Himself below all things that are worldly and sacrificed himself for us. So amazing to think about. It is common knowledge to Christianity that He died for us but when you break things down and understand each aspect of the atonement it really starts to amaze you. Anyway that's  sort of in a summed up version of what I learned this last week! Love you all and hope you have a great week! Have a happy Halloween!
Love, Elder Espinoza

Also! Congrats to Blake Whitby on his engagement. My boy is growin up! haha Super excited that he will be getting married the same week I come home!

Elder Gulbransen and I

 Elder Rosales and I. He was one of my favorite zone leaders and he ended up coming up the my zone for his last transfer!

The trees down by the Rio Grande turn really cool colors! I missed fall last year cause there are no trees in El Paso! haha

 Cool picture of the "river" here hahaI.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

          So last week we had zone conference and the zone I am in now combined with my last zone for it, so I got to see everyone in my last zone which was sooo nice!  The main topic of zone conference was planning which is something I totally need more help on and is something that is so vital to missionary work and the longer I am on my mission the more I realize how vital it is to every day life.  I remember one time at a Mission Leadership Council our mission president said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  Its stuck with me ever since!  It makes complete sense to me.  We know that when Christ created the Earth he first had a vision, then set goals and then made plan and in those plans he actually went out and did it and now we are all here living wonderful lives full of blessings and tender mercies from the Lord.  Many of which we do not even realize!  So planning is now something I plan on making a part of my everyday life even after the mission.  Our mission president who is a very successful and wealthy man gave us so many examples of his life where he had a vision of something that he wanted to do.  Not like a dream vision but a vision of what he wanted to accomplish.  Then he set goals for how he was going to achieve that vision and made plans for how he was going to achieve goals and then boom.  Met his vision.  Its amazing how simple it is but how helpful it can be!
          We also got to watch Meet The Mormons!  And I stand by what I said last week that this might be one of the easiest ways to invite people to learn about who we are and the true gospel of our Lord and Savior!  It was an amazing video!  I would highly encourage you all to go and watch it with someone who is not a member.  I have already heard of many stories where people who used to completely shut out the church now want to learn more.
          So last week a less active member texted us and said his son wants to get baptized and if we could come set a date with him.  How awesome is that!? Haha!  So we went on Sunday and he told us how he was on you tube and somehow got to some videos that talked about hell and how it scared him so much and he did not want to go there!  All he knew was that he needed to get baptized.  It was pretty crazy to see how sincere and scared he was.  His eyes were watering up talking about it.  So we talked about how strong that feeling and emotion was and how much stronger and better the feeling is of having the spirit with you in your life.  So we set a date with him and I'm pretty positive he will be getting baptized sooon! :) 
          So the work is truly picking up here in our side of the ward!  Well I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! :)

Love Elder Espinoza :)

Sister Libbey and Beech and Elder Taylor and I at zone conference! Our zones were combined so I got to see my last zone! And Sister Beech was a Sister Training Leader who as ZLs you work with a lot but we both got training calls last transfer!

Our zone had a big get together last Pday cause we had to wax our cars for zone conference so my district decided to wear pink bandanas since we are a RS district haha building district unity!
From left to right is: Elder Gulbransen and I, Then Sister Johnson, Clark, Eldredge, Andrasko, Carter and Beck

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jump on that bandwagon of missionary work! It's the greatest work there is!

So last week was great of course! Our mission has these standards of excellence which is pretty much our mission presidents vision for us each week. Basically how many people we talk to and lessons we teach and so forth. So for zone training a few weeks ago it was on that and for my district meeting I had to do a zone training review and I seriously needed that. I feel like I had kind of been lacking a little faith in the standards of excellence. I have totally been in an area (El Paso) where Elder Hoggan and I hit the standards a lot! So I know its possible but I feel like most missionaries in this mission don't know that because our mission averages are well below the standards so I felt like they needed to be lowered but now I don't again and neither does my district now! It really was a spiritual meeting. I didn't realize how much I missed doing district meetings once a week! IT IS AMAZING to receive inspiration during your planning but also during the district meeting itself when you say lots of things that you had never thought of before or say something that someone really needed to hear. I'm not sure if I have talked about my district but its my comp and I and three sets of sisters! Haha! So mission slang would call that a Relief Society district which would make me the Relief Society president, haha kinda funny. Most missionaries would hate it but hey, sisters can be awesome hard workers and I have already seen so much improvement with these sisters! Also during the hymns it's really nice cause they sing nice and loud haha but you would think some of them could play any hymn in the hymnbook but I'm still stuck playing hymns! Haha! it helps me get better at piano though and learn the hymns so I'm not complaining.
So Sunday night I got to interview with my mission president and it was an amazing experience for me. I totally know priesthood authority and keys are so real and, as my mission president he can receive revelation for me and the Lord will inspire him to tell me things I need to hear. Its amazing to just sit and listen to him talk. He has helped me with so many of my struggles that I have had as a missionary and I have learned so much from him! I heard one time, from a man who works in the mission department and sits in the room when the apostles call you to missions, that the Lord puts you in a mission with a mission president who you would learn the most from!
Truly inspired work going on here! We have zone conference this week! I'm excited because I actually get to sit with all the other missionaries this time and take notes and learn, haha. It will be great! Also there is a rumor going around that we are going to get to watch Meet the Mormons! Hopefully! I've heard so many great things about it! I would encourage you to all invite your friends and family to watch it with you. It might be one of the best and easiest missionary opportunities that the Lord has blessed us with in this dispensation. So take advantage and jump on that bandwagon of missionary work! It's the greatest work there is!

Love Elder Espinoza

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What was your favorite talk from confernce?


Well, General Conference last weekend was by far my most favorite. I think the reason is because this time I truly honestly and sincerely had questions with things that I have been struggling with and looking for added strength too and it was so amazing when I felt that the speakers were specifically talking to me about things that I have been needing help with. I think one of my favorites was by Elder Jorg Klebingat. I'm a pretty blunt guy and I don't like things being sugar coated when I am being spoken to and his talk was absolutely directed towards me, lemme tell ya! I loved it so much. I can't wait to print it off and really study it. I hope everyone else had as great of an experience as I did and if not go through those talks again and read them or listen to them and you will have that experience!
Last weekend was bittersweet for me as well. A family that I got VERY close to in the Bandelier got baptized! It was a very special situation since they live in another stake but through the proper authority and priesthood keys, miracles can happen. And that family getting baptized so soon may have been one of the most amazing miracles I have ever seen in my life. I was so sad that I was not able to attend the baptism since I am serving in another zone now -even though I was 5 minutes away. The Lord's house is a house of order. It really did kill me inside to not be able to go and I'm still not too sure what the Lord was trying to teach me, but conference once again really helped with that. They truly are a special family. There was about 280 people in attendance for their baptism. I guess on the bright side of things I will be off of my mission when they go get sealed and I will get to go to that :) My last companion Elder Taylor and I had so many spiritual experiences with that family that I will never forget and its experiences like those that strengthen my testimony and let me know without a shadow of a doubt that our Savior lives and he truly does have a plan for us individually and as a family. Its in moments like that when you know exactly why you were sent to the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission and even though you always wanted to leave when you were 19 but agency happens and things don't work out the way they do and you end up going on your mission later than normal, you realize why the Lord's timing is not your timing. This family has helped me realize that and I would never trade anything for the opportunity that I had to get to grow so close to them. They truly are an amazing family. I was lucky to get pictures of them before they got baptized! I love them!

Love Elder Espinoza

 Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence
by Elder Jörg Klebingat
Or, scroll down past the pictures to read it.

 Teal, Cameron, Graham, Alyssa and Bella :) Bella isn't old enough to get baptized yet

Hot air balloon fiesta

Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence

By Elder Jörg Klebingat
By applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you can begin increasing your spiritual confidence today if you are willing to listen and act.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God? Do you have a personal witness that your current offering as a Latter-day Saint is sufficient to inherit eternal life? Can you say within yourself that Heavenly Father is pleased with you? What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now? Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation? Would you meet or avoid His gaze? Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?

Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God. The adversary knows that faith in Christ—the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles—goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right. For that reason he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.

As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.

I would like to share six practical suggestions that, if heeded, will dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it. Regardless of the rating you gave yourself on that 1-to-10 scale, by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you can begin increasing your spiritual confidence today if you are willing to listen and act. I will speak boldly, hoping to edify and not to offend.

1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuses for why you may not be fully striving to be obedient. Accept that you are “free according to the flesh” and “free to choose liberty and eternal life” (2 Nephi 2:27). The Lord knows your circumstances perfectly, but He also knows perfectly well whether you simply choose not to fully live the gospel. If that is the case, be honest enough to admit it, and strive to be perfect within your own sphere of circumstances. Spiritual confidence increases when you take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily.

2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit (see D&C 88:15). Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it! Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should “regard our body as a temple of our very own” and that we should “control our diet and exercise for physical fitness” (“We Are Children of God,”Ensign, Nov. 1998, 87; Liahona, Jan. 1999, 103).

President Boyd K. Packer has taught “that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character” (“The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character” [Church Educational System fireside, Feb. 2, 2003], 2; speeches.byu.edu). Therefore, please use good judgment in what and especially how much you eat, and regularly give your body the exercise it needs and deserves. If you are physically able, decide today to be the master of your own house and begin a regular, long-term exercise program, suited to your abilities, combined with a healthier diet. Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Savior, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman.

3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life. Acknowledge that you cannot love God without also loving His commandments. The Savior’s standard is clear and simple: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Selective obedience brings selective blessings, and choosing something bad over something worse is still choosing wrong. You can’t watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous because you did not watch a very bad one. Faithful observance of some commandments doesn’t justify neglecting others. Abraham Lincoln rightly said, “When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad” (in William H. Herndon and Jesse William Weik, Herndon’s Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life, 3 vols. [1889], 3:439).

Also, do the right things for the right reasons. The Lord, who “requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34) and who “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (D&C 33:1), knows why you go to church—whether you are present in body only or truly worshipping. You can’t sing on Sunday, “O Babylon, O Babylon, [I] bid thee farewell” and then seek or tolerate its company again moments later (“Ye Elders of Israel,” Hymns, no. 319). Remember that casualness in spiritual matters never was happiness. Make the Church and the restored gospel your whole life, not just a part of your outward or social life. Choosing this day whom you will serve is lip service only—until you actually live accordingly (see Joshua 24:15). Spiritual confidence increases when you are truly striving, for the right reasons, to live a consecrated life in spite of your imperfections!

4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly. Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out. Embrace the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance as things that are to be welcomed and applied daily according to the Great Physician’s orders. Establish an attitude of ongoing, happy, joyful repentance by making it your lifestyle of choice. In doing so, beware of the temptation to procrastinate, and don’t expect the world to cheer you on. Keeping your eyes on the Savior, care more about what He thinks of you, and let the consequences follow. Spiritual confidence increases when you voluntarily and joyfully repent of sins, both small and great, in real time by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

5. Become really, really good at forgiving. “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10). Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life. Don’t hold grudges, don’t be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly, and don’t ever think that you are exempt from this commandment. Spiritual confidence increases when you know that the Lord knows that you bear no ill feelings toward another soul.

6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested, “to see if [you] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [your] God shall command [you]” (Abraham 3:25)—and may I just add, “under all circumstances.” Millions of your brothers and sisters have been or are being thus tested, so why would you be exempt? Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end. Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into [your life] because of what [you] are doing right” (Glenn L. Pace, “Crying with the Saints” [Brigham Young University devotional, Dec. 13, 1987], 2; speeches.byu.edu).

While presiding over the Ukraine Kyiv Mission, I once asked one of my most faithful sisters why she was always so hard on herself, why she was always beating herself up over the smallest things. Her answer was a classic example of someone listening to the wrong voice as she replied, “So no one can beat me to it.”

Brothers and sisters, my counsel to this sister missionary is my counsel to you: acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don’t be immobilized by them, because some of them will be your companions until you depart this earth life. No matter what your current status, the very moment you voluntarily choose honest, joyful, daily repentance by striving to simply do and be your very best, the Savior’s Atonement envelops and follows you, as it were, wherever you go. Living in this manner, you can truly “always retain a remission of your sins” (Mosiah 4:12) every hour of every day, every second of every minute, and thus be fully clean and acceptable before God all the time.

Yours is the privilege, if you want it, to come to know for yourself, today or soon, that you are pleasing God in spite of your shortcomings. I testify of a loving Savior who expects us to live the commandments. I testify of a loving Savior who is so very anxious to bestow His grace and mercy. I testify of a loving Savior who rejoices when we apply His Atonement daily with the calm and happy assurance that we are facing in the right direction. I testify of a loving Savior who is anxious for your “confidence [to] wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.