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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A sad day for El Paso- Elder Espinoza getting transferred!

March 31, 2014

Well, I guess I learned everything I needed to learn in good ol' El Paso Texas. The Lord needs me somewhere else now. Im soooo sad to leave all these wonderful people here and all the amazing missionary opportunities that are waiting to happen here. I told my mission president that i'm leaving the promised land and he said, "No, you're gonna take the promised land with you!" That's my plan! I remember when I first got to El Paso I was pretty disappointed to leave my greenie area and now i'm not so disappointed but just really sad cause i've grown so close to all these people here. If it wasn't for them I think my first Christmas away from home woulda been a rough one. But the Lord knows what he's doin otherwise I probably never would have come to El Paso! I've grown so much in this ward. I went from junior comp and district monkey( the district leaders companion) to training a new missionary to district leader to zone leader. So lots and lots of memories here in El Paso. It's just sad cause everone but a few are military and won't be here when I come back to visit. Some may end up in Washington though! which would be amazing! I feel like this is the most ready I will ever be to leave this area though so its perfect timing. I am exciting about meeting new people and going to a new area. It will be strange to not be in a military ward though. I spent half of my mission in a military ward and going on to military bases! Im excited to go work with a new zone and try my best to help them improve as missionaries! This last week was a good one though! We didn't teach as much mainly cause all of our investigators got baptized so we spent a lot of time finding! We actually got a knife pulled on us. It was pretty funny. We had a priest with us and I though he was gonna wet his pants haha We met some new people that are super interested in the gospel and will do so wonderful progressing towards baptism! Sad to leave them but its not the missionary who converts people its the spirit! Well I don't have to much time today cause I still have a million people to say bye to :( More tears to be shed! but I am excited to go :) Love you all!
Love Elder Espinoza

 The Davis family. Gonna miss them dearly!

 The Rosenbergs. :) Love that family!!!

The Kidd family. Only 3 outta 13! Totally plan on visiting them in Kentucky after the mish! Bro. Kidd got to el paso  the same time I did and we had a race to see who would leave first. I beat him by 6 weeks :) haha

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

So last week was just an amazing week to have as a missionary. We had 3 baptisms on Saturday and the south elders had 1. One of ours was taught by the Spanish missionary and at the last minute and he wanted to get baptized into our ward. He's a good kid, his family is all members but he never got baptized! The baptism was awesome! We had to do it in the chapel because so many people came. Our ward mission leader said when he bore his testimony that he served while on his mission in Alabama there was more people at this baptism than there was at a sacrament meeting any Sunday during his mission. The spirit was very strong there of course. Lots of non-members where there and now we are teaching someone who just came to watch the baptism of his niece and used to make fun of us "Mormons", lol.
So Elder Weber and I had about an hour of free time one morning last week and we just walked around the neighborhood. We were trying to decide if we should go straight or turn left at one point and decided to just turn left. So we started walking through the parking lot of an apartment complex and there was this guy leaning up against his car smoking a cigarette and when we were about 20 yards away he said, "I think God brought you here." At first honestly I thought he was just some crazy drunk guy but of course we walked up to him and started talking to him and turns out his wife was sitting in the car and she worked with this kid in our ward that just left on his mission to Colombia! So instantly we had a connection with them. Then he started telling us about what has been going on with him and how he believes in God but doesn't know why God would do these things to him and now he doesn't believe. His wife does but he really struggles. So we had a short lesson with him at his car and scheduled one for the next evening. We got there and had an absolutely amazing spiritual lesson with them. He really wants to change his life and get right with God. The most amazing thing happened at the end of the lesson. He asked if he could say the prayer because there was something he wanted to say. You could tell he was getting way outside of his comfort zone but he really had something he wanted to say. His prayer was honestly one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard in my life and I have to say I have never felt the spirit during a prayer as much as I did then. It immediately filled the room and hit me like a ton of bricks. This is how his prayer went. "Dear God, Thank you." That's all he said. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard or seen in my life and that's all he said. Stuff like this is what makes missionary work worth it. It was kinda funny 'cause he wasn't sure at the end if he needed to say amen or anything so my comp said "in the name Jesus Christ, amen." and he said it after that - it was amazing. That is definitely something I will never forget about my mission for the rest of my life.
Missionary work really is the greatest work we can all do! These experiences not only change the lives of others but all of us as well. If you're struggling with trying to feel the spirit or with your testimony go out and share the testimony you do have and just see the effect it has on people. I love you all and have a wonderful week.

Elder Espinoza

 Ari! Very sweet and smart little girl!

 Elder Weber and I

 Robert Obong. Such a stud!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Last week just flew by way too fast! The first half of my mission flew by and I hear the second half is even faster...kinda scary! lol Last week I did my first zone training as a zone leader. It was definitely a lot different than just sitting and listening and learning. I loved learning from my zone leaders in the past so I was kind of a little sad to not be able to learn as much but I guess just like everything else you teach, you are really the one that learns! Lol I think our zone liked the whole burn our ships thing. I really enjoyed it myself. Its really helping me consecrate myself as a servant of the Lord.
So we are gonna have 3 baptisms in our ward this week! Two will by ours and 1 is the south elders! Were pretty excited about it. There's gonna be lots of different people coming in from out of town for our investigators so were gonna have to do it in the chapel. It should be a really neat experience for them. We were really hoping our investigators would choose members to baptize them but they all chose me. I was really honored to get to be the one who does it! It should be a wonderful experience for everyone that attends it - always is :)
So our investigator who is getting baptized next week is so on fire! He had a few concerns about some doctrine recently and we were really worried about him! Of course me always thinking of the worst scenario that could happen didn't help out at all, lo,l but we were finally able to teach him again last night and it was basically a Q&A. I was surprised at how well we were able to answer his questions. Some stuff we didn't even know but I guess when you teach by the Spirit the Lord makes up it for it! It was a really an awesome lesson and experience for us and him. We have kinda been feelin' like we aren't really teaching him much and maybe he's been getting a little bored recently because he is already very knowledgeable in the bible and a very spiritual man but last night was definitely what he needed to get that spark going again! He's really excited to be baptized and go to the temple. He also asked me to baptize him and I was very honored to get to do so as well.
These last two weeks of the transfer are definitely the best ones to end on. I feel like I will be getting transferred this time FOR SURE. But who knows! I'll go wherever the Lord wants me to go! I may be a little sad but I know its where I am supposed to go. I learned that when I got transferred down here from Alamogordo, lol. Well I hope everyone has a great week I love you all!
Love Elder Espinoza

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

So last week was a really busy week. We had zone conference on Monday then pday on Tuesday then had to leave to Albuquerque on Wednesday for a meeting with all the other zone leaders and sister training leaders on Thursday. Lots of traveling! Both meetings we had were very inspiring and I was able to learn a lot and receive personal revelation for myself, my zone and the investigators I am working with. Being a zone leader is a definitely a different experience but it really is an amazing calling to have as a missionary. Makes me want to be even better than I was before!
Even though we were super busy last week we were still able to teach a lot of lessons to our investigators who are really progressing! Its always so amazing to come out of a lesson where your investigator gets YOU excited about the gospel! We had moved one of their dates to this Saturday but unfortunately his wife will not be able to make it so we moved it back to the 29th which is totally okay! He is just super ready to be baptized and get going in the church! Next Saturday we will have two baptisms and the south elders in the ward will have 1 and then the following Saturday we will have ours and they will have one as well so its super exciting to be in this ward and the members are seeing how easy it is to do missionary work I feel like! Its really not that hard and I'm not just saying that because I'm a missionary, lol, it still is hard for us but once you do it it just comes naturally, like things to say or how to relate whatever it is you're talking about back to the gospel. Its actually pretty fun!
We have to do our zone training this week and we are super pumped for it! We have it pretty well planned out and hope our zone learns a lot and feels the need to consecrate themselves even more! Our main topic is going to be having both feet planted in the mission and were gonna read a story about Hernan Cortez when he was able to conquer Mexico. Apparently when they landed he had them burn their ships so there was no way they could go back to Spain and their only option was victory and of course they were victorious. So we're gonna hand out a picture of a ship to every missionary and have them write down things that they need to let go or things that are holding them back from being the best missionary they can be then we're gonna go outside and burn our ships and let those things go and become the missionary the Lord wants us to become! We're pretty excited! That's just part of it, we have a lot more planned. But anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful week and have an even better one this week! I hear the weather is getting nice finally! Its coming up on windy season here which is no fun but oh well! lol Love you all!
Love Elder Espinoza

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

There's nothing better then teaching other people and sharing your own personal testimony with people who aren't as lucky as you to have had the gospel in their lives

Hello hello,
So last week was just an amazing week for missionary work here in El Paso. That guy we met is just so on fire its crazy. We set a baptismal date with him for March 29th and then two days later we moved it up to the 15th and he is just sooo excited about it! It is so amazing to see this happen. And I've already seen it in lots of people on my mission but he is just something else. His wife is also a member and I guess they have been having troubles and the other day he told us about some stuff and my first thought was, "Dang he is doing this for his wife and now hes gonna drop us!" but I was soo wrong. He said he is not letting anything get in the way of his baptism and it's all for himself! I about leaped outta my chair for joy! Haha! He was saying how he usually likes to set goals and his next goal was to make the E6 rank in the army which is an amazing goal to have but he said that he has never been so determined to reach a goal as he is for this baptismal goal. He is just so prepared for this gospel its unreal. The night we moved his date up we talked about the word of wisdom a little bit cause in this mission you have to be living it for at least two weeks to be baptized and he was like well I've never drank or smoked and I don't drink coffee and rarely drinks tea and that it wouldn't even be a struggle for him. That was a big relief for us haha were just so excited for him right now, its crazy.
We also have another investigator that's just about as solid as he is! He even came to our zone conference yesterday and talked to almost 60 missionaries about what teaching methods we used that worked for him the best and at what moment did he feel the spirit. He did an amazing job and had all of us missionaries were asking him questions and laughing it was so awesome! We also have another little girl getting baptized. She didn't grow up in the gospel or anything and she is one smart cookie! Haha! We taught her the plan of salvation and she taught it right back to us and she's only 10. I don't even think I knew how to spell the plan of salvation when I was 10 haha jk. But these 3 will be getting baptized this month and the elders that cover the south half of the ward will be having 2. That's 5 baptisms for this ward in one month! Talk about hastening the work! Its just a super exciting time to be a missionary right now and I'm loving every minute of it.
Its also crazy to think that on the 6th I will hit my year mark! This first year has flown by way too fast and this next one is supposed to go by even faster. Kinda sad but it makes me want to work even harder now! This work truly is amazing and when you have wonderful investigators who are progressing they make YOU excited about the gospel. Especially when the investigator is doing missionary work after the first lesson you have with him! I would really recommend going out with the missionaries. Especially if you are struggling with your own testimony right now. There's nothing better then teaching other people and sharing your own personal testimony with people who aren't as lucky as you to have had the gospel in their lives. It truly is an inspired work! Love you all and have a great week!

Love Elder Espinoza

This was my last district! All of them except one are in my zone!

 This is the Thompson family. They moved to Spokane last week :/ Lookin forward to seeing them after the mission though!