Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update from the Mission Home.

This is a letter to parents from the President Wilkey

DATE:    October 29, 2012
TO:         NHMM Missionary Parents
FROM: President Wilkey, New Hampshire Manchester Mission
RE:          Hurricane Sandy
As you are likely aware, we are on the cusp of Hurricane Sandy.  The hurricane is on a collision course with a winter storm and a cold front, and high tides from a full moon make it a rare hybrid storm. 
  We have been tracking this storm for several days now and it appears our mission will not be as affected as others.   However, we will not under-judge this storm and will err on the side of safety for your missionary.   We have consulted with local members and officials, the National Weather Service and media outlets.  Irene looks to produce some high winds up to 70 miles per hour and potentially some rain, but nothing like last year’s Hurricane Irene.  With the vast size of Northern New England the impact will vary, of course, by location.  There is a likelihood of power outages, a routine phenomenon in these parts.     
Embedded within our emergency plan is a calling tree wherein each companionship communicates with district leaders who in turn communicate with zone leaders to my assistants and then to me.  I will receive those “All-in-safe” reports for the next two days.  We continuously monitor any new developments and will update you in the event of any significant change in conditions.  Yesterday I instructed the entire mission to stock up on non-perishable food, water, flashlights & extra batteries etc. according to emergency guidelines in our published plan at each apartment.
At this moment, your missionary is preparing for 2:00 pm today.  That is when I have grounded the car fleet and ordered all missionaries in their apartments for the duration of the day and through tomorrow (Tuesday).  In some parts of the mission this will be “overkill” but we do this to err on the side of safety.     
At this point I am confident our missionaries are prepared well .  The only thing that will prepare them further is your faith, your prayers and your confidence in these great Latter-day warriors!  Thank you for preparing them in all ways for just such moments as this.  I feel much as did Helaman with his stripling warriors, “...they were firm and undaunted.  Yea, and they obey ...with exactness; yea and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them (Alma 57:20-21).”  With that backdrop to our present situation I am confident in their obedience and in what they were taught at home.   Therefore, they will “ preserved by his marvelous power.”  (Alma 57:26).  

Some Pictures from Jacob

Here are some pictures Jacob sent.

Him and Elder Barfuss on the beach at Pday. This was in August.

He also sent me pictures of the coast and the trees and when they visited an old building on the coast.  I don't know if it is a light house or just what it is.

These are the pictures I sent to him.

Then there is a picture of Jacob in his apartment.  I think his companion just caught him unaware.  

Jacob Updates ...... Finally

So, I have not updated this for ages.  Jacob is doing great.  He is an awesome missionary.  He has not been out for six months.  He has spent his whole mission in Kittery Maine so far.  He has had two companions.  His current companion is Elder Barfuss from Tremont, Utah.  He has been awesome for Jacob.  They have similar upbringings and can actually speak the same language.  Jacob said his first companion taught him how to be a good missionary.  Elder Barfuss taught him how to be a good missionary and love it.  He is having fun now.  When we get letters from him Rebekah calls them "love letters," because he loves us, he loves the gospel, he loves the people of Maine, he loves the gospel.  They really are love letters.  Here are some of his emails. I took the names out because it is a public blog.  I just left their initials.  
September 25, 2012
Hey family, I am so glad that Elder Barfuss is my companion.  He is such a great missionary. I learned how to be my self and a missionary, which had to happen some time because I would not have made it two years if I had to do what I was doing before I would not have made it. But now I am having so much fun and success I could do this for a long time with no problems. ( not longer than two years if I am to be honest.) But for right now I am pumped up and ready to go. There are so many good things happening in Portsmouth we have been having tons of new members and less active lessons.  It is so cool.  We take a new member P M (He was Jacob's first baptism) to a lesson with an investigator and then go have his lesson at some other members house the Lunds. It is such a spiritually powerful two hours.   I love it when we can pull it off. The other good thing is that R, who has had trouble with smoking for ever, started to go to AR classes down in Exeter but we cant get him to come to church.  It is maddening, that dang agency. Another tough case is K.  He is such a good guy he loves the Bible and has read it enough to uncover the plane and precious things that have been taken out, but he wont read the Book Of Mormon.  He has all the right questions, but because of so much anti from his father, he the calls the BoM spooky and wont read it.  But he is coming along. He cannot believe that such good people could be so wrong, so he will come to the truth sooner or later. I love being a missionary and myself. Love Elder J Esplin 

PS. Hey, I got a package in the mail.  It had APPLES and a rope and a sweet pencil in it.   I love you guys so much.  Thank you and you say there is another one on the way.  Awesome!! Have a great week!

October 2, 2012  Jacob just sent us the letter he sends to his mission president.  He does that often but he usually writes one to us too.  This week he did not write anything else.  
Hey President Wilkey,
 I can't believe it is October.  It is crazy the way time works for a missionary. The harder you work the faster the time goes and the better you feel. The less you worry about your self the more the you are taken care of by others the more you teach the Gospel the more you love it. I am  always learning and growing because the better representative of Jesus Christ I can be, the more people might take hold of the eternal truths I am telling them. I have come to the realization that the best thing I can do for every one is preach the Gospel the best for my brothers and sisters in New England and for my family back home. It reminds me of the quote "lift where you stand."   I need to lift those around me - every one around me. This in turn mean, I can only lift as high as I can reach. I don't know were I am going with this, but just to say,  I need to be better so I can help others be better. Speaking of others being better. Ki  has told us she wants to be baptized.  All that is holding her back is that one of the people that first introduced her to the Church is off to BYU ID so she is going to wait until she gets back. That will be some time in Dec. Before Christmas, so I  guess I will just have to stay here for a while. I need some more time to work on K he is a stubborn New Englander, but I will get him my secret weapon is Brother M.  He is the best thing that ever happened on my mission.  He has such a strong testimony.  Sunday he bore it in testimony meeting and he is terrified of public speaking (umm me too).  But he stood up there and bore his heart out and he is the one we take over to Keven's.  He is in the Navy.  K was in the Navy.  They both love the Bible.  The lesson we had last time was so awesome and spiritual. M is still doing great.  She has such a hard life she needs our prayers. R is a frustrating a ever. He wants to quit smoking so bad but will not come to church or read his scriptures.  Oh man, agency. The cool thing that happened is that we actually had a lesson with Ra.  He is so cool.  He has been through a lot of religious upheaval and is scared of change, but we explained that the book of Mormon is another witness of the same Jesus of the New Testament.  Hey family, Umm, do you want to send me another rope so my comp can rope too.  Maybe a hard one because he is a beginner.   Love Elder Esplin
October 9, 2012
I am so exited about the change of age for missionaries.   I wish I could have gone when I was 18.  That year after I graduated was rough.   I think that there will be a lot more sister missionaries so I am pumped.  What is Logan going to do?  Hey Dad,  I have eaten so pretty good sea food.  Some members cooked me up some lobster.  It was so good but other than that I have only eat regular stuff and oh man have the leaves started to change.  It is so beautiful but E. Barfuss told me it is not even half way started I will try to get some good Pict's.Love Elder Esplin
Hey President Wilkey Wow conference was amazing. That announcement about 18 year old missionary's really surprised my family.  My little brother is kinda scrambling  with his finances.  He thought he had another year to work.   I am glad that I am already out and don't need to make that choice. I am so happy to be here at this time. I know that the Lord wanted me here. At first I wished that I could have left when I was 18, then I thought of the wonderful people I have met and particularly Elder Barfuss.  I am so blessed to have crossed his path. I love being his companion.  It has changed my whole out look on my mission.  I saw it as a trial that had to be endured, but now it is a sacred opportunity with eternal blessings like what President Uchtdorf discussed.  I am now hearing the beautiful music of my mission instead of waiting for the quiet of my homecoming. The people places and experiences I would not trade for anything. Ki is  going to be such a good member I can't wait for her baptism.  I hope I am still here and last night we had dinner with a wonderful family, the Bomgardners. I love them. They are such wonderful disciples of Jesus Christ. It shined in there faces. Who else K is so stubborn.  He loves his Baptist church and I don't blame him.  It sounds fun.  He does not know what he is missing - the truth and way to everlasting life, but I will keep trying as long as I can.  He is such a good person.  I see him a he can become not as he is. I love this area.  I finally feel like I could really do some good. I would be so Happy staying here, but I know enough to say not my will but Thine be done. That is the way to true happiness and progression. I don't know, I am just happy to be a servant of the Lord in the best mission in the world.  Love Elder J Espli
October 16, 2012
Well, false alarm. I am staying in the same place for 6 more weeks with my buddy E Barfuss. Man life is good.  I am having tons of fun being a missionary but you know what would make it a little more fun - a package.  That would be cool.  I love the apples.  I might send home some pictures and then you can send me some new ones. Oh man Logan.  What a Boss! Going out right after High School.  Way to be!!  My mission pres kinda sounds like Cami, but it is up to you.   It will be fine whenever you go.  It is the best thing you can ever do.   I wish I would have gone a little sooner and if most your class goes later than you can come back and have free choice of the girls.  Think on that for a bit you will make the right choice, if you pray about it. I love my family - every one of you.  The church is true.  Missions are great and I will be home before you know it, cracking jokes like before. Love Elder Jacob Esplin
 I can't wait to get married too yaahh
This is from President Wilkey
Be sure your brother knows that 18 yr olds don't HAVE to go, it is just another OPTION. It is perfectly fine if it is best for him to have another year to prepare finances. He will know!

Glad you love your area.....I was thinking "move him" but then i FELT "leave him." So, carry on my precious young friend!!

Sister W says, "4H forever." I say, marriage to her forever!!!