Jan 28, 2018
Dear Family and Friends,
Even though we still have our Christmas wreath on our front door, the season has passed....We drove through this beautiful display of Christmas lights Thanksgiving weekend. It was over a mile long, and just breath taking!
These are just a few of the Elders and Sisters from the 2 Zone Conference Christmas parties.
Hawaiian Haystacks for lunch, and it was a "Hit"!
Below, White Elephant gift exchange! Quite the variety of gifts were opened!
One of the biggest highlights of the Christmas season was having Mitchell, Sierra and Ephraim here to celebrate with us. What a wonderful time we had with them, and so fun to have an almost two year old to make the holiday magical.
This little Christmas Elf was so much fun, and he loved opening the presents...
We spent one very chilly day exploring Little Rock, and the Museum of Discovery. Mitchell and Ephraim built a Lego house.
We certainly experienced some very chilly weather the end of Dec and first of Jan; down in the single digits! Several of the church buildings had their ceiling sprinkling systems freeze, break, and cause some damage.
Some of our most favorite Sisters left in the early Jan transfer, Sisters Van Orman, Esplin, Povey, Dayley and Burk.
See, it actually can snow in Arkansas....well, this is actually the first visible frost we had this year, but it did snow, and the schools were out for three days, a whole week in Memphis. (all for 1 1/2 inches) The office did take a 1/2 show day, didn't want to be out on the roads with all of the crazies...and yes, there was lots of ice under that bit of snow. The Fountaine Bleau fountain wasn't flowing and took several days to thaw. Transfers had to be pushed back one day due to the road conditions in Memphis, the I-40 is not a fun road to travel at it's best.
Another highlight in Dec was a visit from Elder Donaldson from the Seventy. Pres. Hansen has begun to worry why so many 70's are visiting the mission. But, we are 1 of 12 pilot programs in the mission field, so they check up on what's happening with the new technology, smart phones, face book, and new referral system coming out. I may have mentioned it. So, now when someone googles something about religion, the church will have links off to the side that point them in the right direction! These links give visitors information about the Book of Mormon, if they want to be contacted, or if they would like a free Bible or Book of Mormon. The mission is expecting this to be a great boost and aid in referrals. This is Elder Donaldson. He attended one of the recent Zone Conferences, and Elder Hess and I, along with the rest of the office seniors, were pulled into the meeting to act as investigators. It was a bit unnerving when he knelt down beside me and the missionaries who were teaching me, to see how they were addressing my concerns, and if they had figured out exactly what my concern was as an investigator. Those choice Sisters who were teaching me were inspired to ask me what my relationship with Jesus Christ was....as I was explaining to them, you could feel the Spirit enter that tiny group so strongly. The lesson I learned is that when we bear testimony of the Savior, the Spirit is there, is strong, and touches all those who are in tune. Pres. (Elder now) Wakolo always reminded us to "connect people back to Christ". that is exactly what the Sisters were doing. You know me, I cry at the drop of a hat, and so we shared some tears, and then it was time to move on to the next set of missionaries, a couple of choice Elders. In those next 2-3 minutes, we were all wiping away the tears as we shared some personal experiences, me again as the investigator. I will forever remember and love those Elders and Sisters. Thank you Sister Petty and Colwell, Elders Lee and Clayton... for teaching me the importance of bearing testimony of Jesus Christ. Elder Hess and I look a bit short standing by Elder Donaldson.
Just some thoughts from his visit: Know your audience, your investigators, teach to them; what do they know, what are their concerns? Seek, observe, Listen, discern, and then teach. Teach the doctrine. Really look at people, do they have overwhelming stress in their lives, temptations, etc.? Their spirits want peace, answers, they must feel something, especially the good that we can share with them, we must provide that and show them where they can find it. Help others get out of the D's: depression, discouragement and doubt Be passionate about what you teach. These choice servants of the Lord always bring great teaching to the mission, they are very discerning in their individual teaching, and we all learn.
New Years Eve brought the six missionaries back for dinner, darn...I didn't take any photos!
That day in church our Bishop had some good thoughts for us...."Those who wear the gospel mantel more comfortably are those who are striving to improve their lives, they are more confident, more secure in themselves and in their faith. Those not making any spiritual progress are less comfortable. The spiritual principle in this is that we must work; work on ourselves, our callings, skills, gifts, and our spiritual and physical well being. The next speaker was a sister undergoing cancer treatments. She made the observation that...where but in the South do people come up to you, see that you are in need of something, and then offer to pray with and for you, no matter where you are - the grocery store, the pharmacy, or in a hospital waiting room. Remember that this is the gospel of miracles, so expect them, pray for them, be worthy of them.
Are you still with me here....if so, you may want to just google Called to serve in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. The emails notices that you get are not the same as what I spend hours putting together, at least it looks more organized in the actual blog format... either way,http://calledtoserveinthelarmission.blogspot.com/
We love you and pray for you daily. Please stay in touch and let us know how things are going in your lives.
Elder and Sister Hess