It's been quite a while since I've shared what we are doing! This little tile was laying next to a tree on our favorite path for walking. There were NOT been many days during Jan or Feb that it was warm enough to get some fresh air. We had temps in the single digits a couple of days, and many days in the low 30's. Now, we see days in the 60's and lots of sunshine. This past week we had days of solid rain, pouring rain, and saw many flooded roads at the most inconvenient places! Our GPS would take us to a neighborhood, only to find out the roads were closed due to flooding. Problem was, our GPS kept trying to take us right back to the same route...
The biggest news of the year was centered around this event below! We were suppose to have a Visiting Authority come in Jan, Elder Oaks. After Pres. Monson passed away, things had to be changed and then came the announcement that for whatever reason, we were having TWO visiting authorities....Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf! That caused no small stir in the mission, but also meant so much preparation and details to iron out. Even getting this photo took days to set up; photographer, risers, lights and seating/standing charts. You can see Elder Ralph in the center back, he's a mere 6" 9' and is always our center. This was the first time that the whole mission was together since last Jan when Elder Anderson visited the mission. One of the miracles that happened that morning was what we called "feeding the 5,000"! We planned on feeding the AR side of the mission, about 100 missionaries, and someone else was suppose to provide breakfast for the other half, more like 80 missionaries. That group boarded a bus in
that morning at 5:00 am to make the drive over to , a 2 1/2 hour drive.
Not sure what happened, but no one had those little sack breakfasts prepared
for the trip. We had just about cleaned up after feeding our side, and in
walked the TN side, starving. Many of the missionaries had driven to North Little Rock from as far away
as 2 hours and had stayed the night before with other Elders and Sisters.
Somehow that cereal, milk, cuties, and hard boiled eggs fed them all, with some
to spare. Memphis
Also in this picture is Elder Besheshti, our area 70, and Elder Klebingat of the Seventy and their wives. After the photo, we all lined up to shake hands with them. We were suppose to state our names and where we were from. What a blessing to be that close to two of the Lords chosen Apostles. This Sat morning meeting was for the missionaries only and Elder Besheshti was the first speaker. He reminded us that we were sitting on sacred ground that day, and that's what it felt like. One important thing he said was, "a family can't pull together if they aren't going in the same direction"! Elder Klebigat told us not to leave this room without a to-do-list! And, that you can't love the Lord if you do not love His commandments. Elder Uchtdorf stressed that we become our first convert. And, if you fail to keep the Lords commandments, at least keep the trust in Him alive while you repent." "Don't underestimate our potential of ability to achieve. Elder
spoke last, and the first thing he said
was, "if you are not keeping a journal, you had better start!"
"It is not our positions or callings that matters, it is the cleanliness
and purity of our souls." As missionaries, you are to bear witness of the
Savior anywhere and everywhere for the rest of our lives." The gospel of
Jesus Christ must be the most important thing in our lives. Heavens
investment in us is eternal, and we can't lose the Shepherds! In true
Elder Holland fashion, this is where he spoke loud, firmly, and with tears and
great passion. He cautioned all missionaries that they do not have the
right to damage the image of an LDS missionary when they go home, and that the
church thinks they are all perfect. With tears and great emotion, he told us
that he has no neutral bones in his body and his last breath will be used in
declaring, "It's true, I Love Him"! He left on us an apostolic
blessing, "as if my hands were on each of your heads". I could
go on and on, and this was only 1 of 4 meetings that they spoke at. Holland
This is one of our favorite Elders, Jeremy Jennings. He is home now, but he was my pager turner several times. Sister Hansen asked me to play for the missionaries to sing at the Little Rock Stake Conf. when the Apostles where here. Talk about nervous, scared, and determined to make it happen....I prayed and prayed, practiced and practiced, sometimes 2 hours a day. It was a challenging piece for me, and I was worried. The Sunday morning after the song was over, Elder Jennings leaned over and asked me if I felt relieved. All I could say was, I feel grateful! Then I looked at him and said, you fasted for me, didn't you? He responded, "of course". Could not have asked for a more humble and sincere missionary.
Many of you have probably already seen the photo of the two missionaries on bikes at the MTC. The person who posted this noticed that 2 angels were also riding with these elders. We know that this is true as we have seen divine intervention for some of our missionaries when they have been out there doing the Lord's work. Roll over accidents and they walk away, one car with 3 Elders hit from behind at 60 miles per hour, and no injuries, Sisters on bikes hit by a car and come away with a bruise. Miracles still happen everyday.
Some Zone Conference shots and the breakfast photos. A not so clear picture of the Apostles... Above, Sister Johnson photo bombing:)
For the last Zone Conference, we stayed with some members, and their Great Danes, Nephi and Bella.
True Disciples of Jesus Christ in skirts.
And, back in Memphis, again. What I should say, is Memphis Tennessee, and West Memphis, Arkansas.
The Poster was at a museum we visited, and the other picture is of two dear sisters who had completely followed directions for the emergency drill! The member whose home they went to took them to Wal-Mart after the drill and filled their backpacks with everything they needed for their 72 hour kits. Words of the poster describe their dedication and service to the Lord. This is His work, and it will not stop until it has "swept every clime and sounded in every ear." Standing there so brave and immovable in doing good, they look like modern day Stripling Warriors! Sisters Shumway and Gunnerson :)Crossing one of
Guess that's about all for today. I love this photo of shoes, wore out in His service. What a great testament of our lives if we serve Him willingly everyday for the rest of our lives.
"Those who serve quietly and inconspicuously are “no less serviceable” than those who receive the world’s acclaim. You, too, are part of God’s army. When we understand why we serve, we won’t be concerned about where we serve."
We find great joy in being here in
, serving the missionaries and those
around us. We try to do our best, and try to have His Spirit with
us. The last couple of pictures are of a family that the Sisters have
been teaching, and we have been feeding now and then. We made lots of
French Bread Pizza at the church one Sun after meetings, and again, we ended up feeding 6-8 additional
missionaries not planned for....but the food held out. Arkansas
This is the Turner family. They have had several lessons and the mother wants to be baptized. She has a lot working against her, so time will tell. Her husband threatens her, as well as her Mother in law, saying that she will take the kids away from her if she takes that to "that" church. Multiple, blended family...We helped them move from an apartment to a home recently, and what an eye opener. We had been warned about being in
and it was all the truth! Untinet is the mom, then Jacksonville ,
Brandon, James, Semaj and little Anthony. They had great fun making pizza,
wearing aprons, (thanks Astle's) and helping out. The Turners brought the
farewell cake for Sister Shumway. James (next to Sister Shumway) is the hugger in the family, and holds on tight. Hug your family and hold
on tight! We all need each other, and we all need our Savior Jesus
Christ, this I believe, this I know. The Lord blesses us, watches over
us, and can make our lives rich and full when we reach out to Him through
prayer and study, pondering and repenting. Arausha, Jordan