This week has definitely been a week of humility-I guess that is something that Heavenly Father really wants me to cultivate. Darn. If you told me in high school that I needed to be on bed rest for a week, I probably would have cried from happiness and jumped over the moon with that cow 🐮 🌙. Well, it is an entirely different story on a mission. Having mono has been such a humbling experience. It has been SO HARD to remain on bedrest this week. That isn't my purpose here. I'm not here to convert my pillow to the gospel of Jesus Christ! I am here to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel! Needless to say, I wasn't a completely obedient bed rest patient. Luckily, my companion made sure-for the most part- that I followed doctor's orders. I would stay with members and she would go out and preach the gospel to the people of Lakeland! I was really happy that our area wasn't abandoned this week, but goodness gracious, it was SO hard to not be with my companion. Anywhoooo, the reason I share this is because this week was definitely filled with miracles but Sister Van Orman and I had very different weeks. My miracles occurred more from within, where my Heavenly Father worked on me. Since I was not allowed to get out much, this will be a shorter email this week. Oh well. I am sorry.
Eddie is getting BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!!!! WOOT WOOT!!! He was so excited to have passed his interview, that when he saw us he did a fist pump and told me that I was making banana pudding. Darn. I don't know how to make that. Apparently, one of the last sisters that served here made banana pudding for them, so I guess that is a missionary skill that we all are supposed to have. No banana pudding making skills over here. Uhhhhh. Snap. Still, Eddie is SO EXCITED TO BE BAPTIZED!
On Thursday we had zone meeting, but when I woke up I was seriously struggling and almost passed out several times. Because I REALLY wanted to go to zone meeting, I dug deep and we went, but oh man, I really struggled…but I DID IT!!!! At the end of the meeting, I walked up to our district leader and begged for a blessing, which I then received. HALLELUJAH!!! I can’t adequately express my gratitude for priesthood blessings. Being on a mission has only heightened my desire to one day marry someone who is a worthy priesthood holder. To have the priesthood in your home is such a blessing…a blessing I didn’t appreciate enough growing up. The blessing brought me a lot of comfort and I would like to believe that I feel a little bit better:) In the blessing, I was told that I would be able to persevere to the end of this illness and that as I keep fighting and exercising faith, Heavenly Father will give me strength and that Heavenly Father loves and appreciates me. So there, Satan! YOU CANT MAKE ME QUIT!!!!!! I AM SISTER ASHLEY ESPLIN AND THOUGH I FEEL LIKE DYING RIGHT NOW, I WILL KICK THIS ILLNESS IN THE TUSH BECAUSE I AM STAAAAAYYYYYYIIIINNNNNGGGGG ON MY MISSION!!! *insert wild banshee yell here*
So yeah, I'm ready and pumped to get out there this week. I will take it slow, but it will be good. I read a really good article on lds.org this week and it really helped me. I have felt miserable and like a horrible missionary just lying in bed and not helping anyone so, yeah, Satan has definitely been working on me, but I read an article called “The Perfect Lie”, which talks about how Satan wants us to think that, in our efforts to be like Christ, we should live by this math equation: me + more = christlike . In reality, Christ wants us to follow this pattern: me + Christ = more. In doing so, we can come to Christ, and in turn, He will help us be equal to all things placed before us. We can be so much more WITH christ. I have spent a lot of time on my knees and the feelings I receive every time are the feelings of love and understanding. I ask for answers, and do you know what? I haven't gotten a huge answer that sounds like someone is talking to me. No , I just have felt that Heavenly Father truly loves me and that I can’t do this alone. It is only through Christ. Heavenly Father doesn't want me to feel bad. He wants me to understand that He has a great plan for me and learn the things He wants me to learn. I can become so much more with Christ than I can imagine.
I love this gospel. I love this work. I am so grateful to be a part of it and to have the spirit so present in my life. I know this is Christ's church on the earth today and that the priesthood has been restored. I know that President Monson is a prophet of God and that he leads and and guides us on the earth today. I know that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I love all of you and I am so grateful for you. Thank you so so so much for everything you do. Stay strong and keep believing and hoping.
Memphis North Zone Conference!!
Rosie's great grandkids: Mia (far left), Money (middle), and Cam (far right)
Amelia made us a baby pound cake! So sweet.
Watch out my dear siblings. You could get replaced. Just kidding.....
How I really spent my eight month mark. In bed.
(Almost) aways sunny in Tennessee!
I realized that it was close to the end of the week and we had not taken any pictures.
Since this was the only day I had makeup on and went out of the house,
I told sister Van Orman we had to take a picture.
This basically sums our relationship!