BONJOUR!!!! IT IS I! SISTER ESPLIN! COMIN' AT YA FROM........ LAKELAND!!!!!
HOLLA!! I am so so so so so grateful to be able to serve in this area again with Sister VanOrman. She is literally the best. This area is the best. I am so excited because I think that I am getting better! Fingers crossed. 🤞I feel like I am getting better, although my abdomen and back have been giving me a lot of pain the last week. So I didn't get to really go out much. Grrrrr. It is pretty frustrating to be a lump on my bed, in pain and not doing what I want to do and what I have been called of God to do, but I have faith that I will be healed and that this has all been for a reason. There have been times though that some people have told me that I should go home, or others just talk about how I should go home amongst themselves, only to have one of them tell me about it-rude. So I have been praying and praying and praying and praying. There isn't much else you can do actually when you are in this state. I have just been praying so hard to know if I need to be preparing myself to go home, which I DO NOT want to do. Sorry family :) . But I knew that if it was God's will, I would do it. But I just kept feeling peace that I had work here that I still needed to do, and that I needed to just weather this storm and rely on Him. That was awesome. But then more people kept questioning my missionary ability-don't need help on that, thanks-so Sister Van Orman told me that I should text President Wakolo and see if he could give me a call. So I did and that night he called me. I told him all of my concerns and the fact that a lot of missionaries were giving their opinion (by many I really just mean 3 or 4. But sometimes you know that you are being judged, you just know it) about me staying on the mission. So I just asked him, "President, I don't want to do this, and I have prayed about it and felt that it isn't time, but if you feel that I need to be prepare myself mentally for the chance of going home please tell me. Am I supposed to go home right now?" To which his comforting Fijian voice told me strongly and kind of surprisingly, "No! Sister Esplin, take those thoughts out of your mind. They are from the Dark one trying to frustrate you. Do not even think the words of going home. You are staying here. Don't listen to other people. Listen to the Lord and listen to me. And I am telling you to take care of Sister Esplin. Get better so you can be better. We all have something to learn from you". To which I thanked him and sat on the floor crying for 30 minutes just feeling love and validation. I know for a fact that I was sent to this specific mission at this specific time for so many reasons. I know that President Wakolo was supposed to be my mission president. He hates sending missionaries home and he will do everything in his power to help them so they can stay, which is such a blessing, since I am a sister missionary who promised herself that she would serve a full mission. President Wakolo is the most amazing mission president. I know he truly listens to the spirit and loves us all. I will be so sad when he leaves this summer. :(
We had a lot of people blitzing our area this week. Three sets of sisters in one area. Sister Jensen ( love that girl!) and her companion came, along with our Sister Training Leaders. So we, or they, went out and did some awesome work. I slept. But it was amazing. I just have not been able to get very good sleep at all for the last six weeks because I am seriously wracked with guilt-for napping, even though my mission president told me to- and stress, and just general frustration. Well, Sister Decker stayed with me the first day of the blitz and I fell asleep and I had the most restful sleep that I have had in such a long time. Sister Decker said I didn’t move at all. Usually I move when anybody moves or makes a sound. She said that she had been praying for me the whole time that I was asleep. I seriously felt so good. But also then I felt bad shortly after. Dang it. But seriously, it was amazing. I also got a new prescription to help me sleep- I didn’t think I needed that, since the problem was staying AWAKE- and it has been helping a lot. Apparently, I have had super bad sleep for like the past nine months. But now I am sleeping a lot deeper which is great.
When the sister training leaders came on Friday we went to go drop off Sister Decker and Sister VanOrman and then we were going to wait to see if the appointment they were going to go to showed up and if they weren't there, we would have taken them with us and all gone to get my prescription. Well their appointment wasn't there. But as I was sitting in the car, I saw a lady at her mailbox-I hadn't talked to anyone but members basically all week- so I grabbed my sticks (scriptures) and told Sister Guthrie to put the car in park and I ran towards the lady. Well, she was not as excited to see me as I was to see her. She is a Jehovah's Witness. We tried to talk to her, and she asked us if we knew that God has a personal name. We kind of paused, because we knew he did but that wasn't something you share with everyone on the street. She then told me to turn to psalms 83:18. I heard psalms 83:10, which reads:" which perished at en-dor: they became as dung for the earth". I just looked at this woman so confused. Was she calling God dung? Was she calling us dung? I just stared at her, kind of dazed. She then corrected me and told me to read 18. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth". I felt really bad, but I couldn't even get through the verse because I was laughing so hard at the situation. Obviously I had been away from people for too long, because I lost control. I could not stop laughing. I apologized and finally got it under control. But she then told us confusing things about the Father and the Son and that God's name was Jehovah. WE finally just bore our testimony and told her to have a blessed day. Not exactly what I was hoping to happen on the only contact of the week, but it was exactly what Heavenly Father knew I needed. Moral of the story. Either listen better or know your scriptures.
Well this week has been amazing. I love y’all so much! Thank you so much for all that you do, I hope that you have a wonderful conference this week! I love General Conference so much. It seriously makes me feel like I could do a backflip off of a mountain, I feel so spiritually uplifted. From Elder Ballard's 1987 talk, Keeping Life's demands in the balance, he said :“It is good, on occasion, for everyone to face adversity, especially if it causes introspection that enables us to openly and honestly assess our lives...Sometimes we need a personal crisis to reinforce in our minds what we really value and cherish. The scriptures are filled with examples of people facing crises before learning how to better serve God and others...All of us must come to an honest, open self-examination, an awareness within as to who and what we want to be." I really liked that a lot! Often when I go through trials, I think of what my parents have told me, which is to try and understand what the Lord wants you to learn and DO IT. I have been thinking about it a lot because I kept thinking, "What would the Lord what me to learn from being tired all the time and in pain? I probably wouldn't even be awake enough to hear anything.". But when I read that talk, I just paused. I really did do a self-examination and realized that there are a lot of things that I would LIKE to change and then there are things that would be GOOD for me to change and are IMPORTANT to change. I also really loved in the Book of Mormon how in Mosiah 26:13 Alma turned to the Lord because he "feared that he should do wrong in the sight of God". I want to do better at turning to my Father in Heaven more often.
I love y’all. Have a good week!!!
Love ash :)
Someone who is going to listen more closely to verses
Recovering with Sister Ostler, who is also from Farmington!
Love seeing my Farmington homies!
Sister Ostler and me. Dying.
The Memphis temple!!!!
Saying goodbye to Sister King. I love that girl. She will be missed.
Literally my one sadness is that we were never real companions.
Cute trees! I love Tennessee. Legit best place. :)
With Rosie this week
Our band cover :)