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Saturday, May 12, 2018

                                                                        May 12, 2018
Dear Family and Friends, 
I had expected to see many of these fellers, but this was the first, and was on our path along the River Walk in Little Rock.  I hope it is our last spotting while we are here! Now, on to more pleasant pictures.

The daffodils have been gone for more than a month, the azaleas too, and now it's time for the roses.
 This is Elder Ralph, I may have posted his picture once before, but this time he is with me, such a fun Elder!
                              Elder Hess with Elders Sammons, Cepeda and Russell at an MLC
Special cupcakes made by a member owned bakery, they were so yummy!
 The Farmers Market along the River Walk in Little Rock is open again, Happy Day! We walked through a sculpture garden one weekend, many beautiful pieces to look at.  Muddy Arkansas river...

 Of course there has to be this one, we are in "Hog" country!  People wear shirts, even saw one today, that say, "Woo Pig Sooie" written on it.  People here are loyal to their mascott!
We took some old bread with us to feed the turtles.  They were having their afternoon siesta on the bank, but came alive with a few tosses of bread.  
                                       One of the vendors at the market; interesting.
 Elder Hess looking closely at his Hillbilly was pretty tasty!  Don't tell him I added this one....

We had a fantastic weekend in Mountain View a couple of weeks ago, we went especially for the Folk Music Festival.  People from all over the United States come there to play and here the Blue Grass masters.  Every corner of the town square, count house steps, parks, and parking lots people are gathered together making music.  Other attractions included miniature piglets for sale, or to just cuddle, craftsman who made and sold one and three string guitars. Roger is playing a "bedpan" 3 string, and in the background he has some 1 string cigar box guitars.  He builds them with amp capability, pretty innovative! He says that the bed pans are getting more hard to come by.  He once bought 350 Moon pies that came in commemorative tins just so he could use the tins.  He then shipped the pies to the soldiers. 

 I wanted you to hear some of the music, but Mitchell, you will have to help me with this...
                     All girl band, "Twang", ages 13-14 and AR State champs for Bluegrass.

The town of Mountain View is doing everything they can to preserve the old ways.  They have the Heritage Center that I've talked about before, and this is a large two story building dedicated to teaching people the lost arts of the hills.  At this school they teach all types of artisan crafts, and this photo shows 7 of their looms waiting to be warped.  (there are more that you can't see)  Also, it is this school district that has the "Roots" program that offers free music lesson AND Bluegrass instruments to any student who wants to learn.  Wow, how amazing is that!

Now, if you happen to get a notification of a new blog, so sorry, I think I may have clicked on Publish instead of this may be a repeat!
Some favorite Sisters after one of our Musical Tributes..Sisters Petty, Colwell, Wilson, Quigley and Rowley. We had an interesting Zone Conference this last time, but much good came out of it.  President quoted from Helaman 1:18, which talks about the contention in their government which led to insufficient preparations against the Lamanites.  It made me reflect on families, and how the same thing can occur, contention resulting in not enough preparation against Satan's lies and distractions.  Our families need to be solid, united and grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ, it makes things so much easier if we are all working for the same goal, eternal life with our Father in Heaven. President Hansen reminded us that we are representing the Prophet and the 12 Apostles, and are we acting as they would?  We are here serving the Lord to help prepare for His 2nd coming; preparing a righteous posterity to meet Him.  We MUST be attending the temple and remaining faithful to survive.
Elder Bednar tells the missionaries to...Speak, Observe, Listen, Discern and Speak again.  Those we come in contact with either be very glad you opened your mouth, or really sad someday that you did not. 
This day started out so joyful, a marriage for Tim and Michele, and then a Baptism for Michele.  There was suppose to be a double baptism, but several days before the date, it came to light that there was a parole issue and he would have to wait.   Now, due to an ongoing abuse problem, Michele is filing for an annulment.  I only share these details because I want to comment on Michele's faith and trust in Heavenly Father and His promises.  After having her world turned upside down, and at one of her lowest points, one of the missionaries shared Alma 37:37 with her.  She clings to this promises, "He will direct thee for good".  Counsel with the Lord in all, and she does.  She came to the office one night and asked for a blessing.  Some of "her" missionaries were there, so  they and Elder Hess sat and counseled with her, sharing more scriptures, Mosiah 7:33 and Mosiah 24:13-15. She just wanted to feel some relief from the hopeless and distraught feelings she was having.  Mosiah 7 talks about turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart and trust, He will delivered you out of bondage. (In His timing) Second reference is about easing the burdens of those who are in bondage.  Listening to Michele read those scriptures, clearly and slowly saying each word, thoughtfully applying them to her, and then in knowing that the Lord would also "strengthen" her in her afflictions was something that I wish each of you could have heard.  She marvels at the wisdom of the Book of Mormon. She has more trust and faith in it's promises than many life long members do.
 We celebrated another Baptism and Elder Hess' Birthday on the same day!  Sister Tunnie Brown was baptized by her brother from Alabama.  Her missionaries are Sister Vaitai and Sister Tyree.
 They brought Elder Hess his favorite chips, Kombacha and a goofy hat...
 We didn't get to eat cake and ice cream until 2 days later, just so much happened that weekend!
 Birthday gifts...

Have you all had a chance to go out and Minister after the changes that have come about?  We are trying to do our best with the families that we have, even though one of them doesn't let us in, but will come out on the porch to visit for a bit.  Our Bishop spoke on ministering one week, "Ministering is Christlike caring for others and helping meet their Spiritual and Temporal needs.  John 1 tells us that, "4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." We can be the Light and can bend into places that sometimes cannot be reached. Through our prayers and pondering, we can reach those who need comfort, hope, direction and love. 
 Still amazed at Christian signs, and billboards with scriptures that we see here in Arkansas. 
A change in our office missionaries..  Sorensen's on the left, are now back in Layton, UT, next are the Bairds from American Falls, ID, and Griffiths from UT filling in for the Sorensens.
Our testimonies continue to grow as we serve the Lord here in the mission field.  For those of you reading this that can go on a mission, get those papers in!  There seems to be quite the shortage of senior missionaries right now.  Not only does the Lord need us, but we need Him, and we need  this wonderful opportunity to stretch and grow.  

This scripture was shared during our last Fast and Testimony meeting by Michele, Alma 34:33, "I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end...this day of life.. is given us to prepare for eternity. 

Love to each of you, and a very Happy Mothers Day to each Sister out there.💖
Elder and Sister Hess

Friday, April 13, 2018

                                                                                                                        March 28th, 2018
Hello Family and Friends!

We have spend a few Sat afternoons visiting more museums, there's one in every community.  It's been fun, but not so fun when you see some of the items they consider "antique", and you remember these items well!  Some Sisters sent this picture to Elder Hess today, the missionaries LOVE him.  Last Sunday as we drove to a Musical Tribute to The Living Christ, put on by the missionaries, and the Sisters we had picked up in Searcy on our way to Jonesboro, kept asking Elder Hess to tell them a story!  He is so witty.  Sometimes some of the Sisters will send him a picture of what they have been eating, but only if it is something healthy!  He teases them that to catch a husband after their mission, they will have to woe them with a Spring mix salad with a raspberry vinaigrette!
The Sisters and I did a few "Heart Attacks" on Valentines Day, it was such fun, even though we got caught on one of them.  This is Sister Vaitai from SLC, UT.
Pres. Hansen has been speaking at each of the 5 Stake Conferences, and has asked the members in each stake to get a new copy of the Book of Mormon and mark it for an investigator.  Then to pray for the "one" to give it to.  What a great thing to do, want to take that challenge with me??

This is Untinet Turner, and she finally made the decision to be baptized!  Her family attended the baptism, but no one was really in favor of it.  She knows she has found the truth, and exercised so much faith in taking this leap of faith.   She has so many strikes against her with family problems and health concerns, but she has the biggest heart and will do anything for anyone!  Back, Brandon, Auraijaria, Bow, Untinet, Sister Vaitai, Sister Tyree, Jordon, James, Semja, and Andrew.

 Wanted to show you some of the people we see often in the office.  Dave works for the church and can fix anything!  Johnny is our faithful mailman who never comes into the office without his smile and good humor. He wears shorts any day that it is above 36 degrees.

Interesting museum in Stuttgart we visited, and instead of a a Miss Peach like Brigham Cities peach days, they have a Queen Mallard!  Take a look at the various duck calls housed here, and the display of the Queen Mallards...

This also houses quite a display of the years of rice production in AR, Rice land Rice. Tremendous flocks of ducks and geese spend the winder here, gleaning from the rice fields.

Cotton is big here in the state, and most museums have an interesting display of all of the products that cotton goes into, how it is produced, and old pictures of the workers, and actual bags used to put the picked cotton into, some of which were 10 ft long. (smaller ones for the children)

                                            Here's the long and short of it....Elder Ralph....
Sister Kaylee Croin, baptized in Feb.  She had had the missionaries in her home off and on for over a year.  She is such a wonderful person, and wants to serve in anyway that she can.  
                    These are some of her missionaries, and this is one of our Sunday dinners.
                 Our gate code box, and front gates...                                                 
Lunch at a small zone conference.  The two ladies on the left are sisters that the missionaries found.  The second sister, along with her son, was homeless when the Sisters found her several years ago. Now she is the Relief Society President in Jacksonville, AR  Her sister joined a year later.  
Isn't it amazing what one person can do, one person who will share the gospel of Jesus Christ and forever change that persons life.  
                                      Funny little building that use to be a police station
 Elder and Sister Beheshti, area authority, is always a part of the departing missionaries farewell instructions. 
 Daffodils have come and gone here in AR; Wisteria is fading,, but the Azelas are in full bloom!

  Poster at one of the museums....and, something I am looking forward to when we get home!

One quick story about an Elder Parker who spoke at our last Stake Conference.  He is an area 70, very Southern, and talks like a Baptist Preacher.  When he was 21 yrs old, a friend gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he started reading it.  He studied the book for 3 years before joining the church.  For the next seven years his family disowned him; his grandfather and his brothers are all Baptist Preachers and one of them has a mega church which means his congregation is over 10,000 people!  As he spoke to us, he said, "I have seen the Spirit of God rest upon you". He extended an invitation to any present that night who had not been baptized, to do so, immediately! "If you have a desire to be better, be your best self and to love your family, you need to be baptized. Then, go and serve. Those who oppose you or sustain you will not be present at your personal interview with the Lord, that will be between you and Him." Very powerful speaker.  I took Untinet up to meet him after the meeting and he looked at her without any introduction and said, "I want you to be baptized before the month is over. Here's my card, you email me when it's done!"  Her baptism was on March 17th. During his talk he spoke of his grown children and how he always wanted them to know 2 things about him..."if you have opposition with the Lord, you have opposition with me, if you have opposition with the Brethren, you have opposition with me. If you have questions, you come to me. If you are outside the boundaries of the Lord, you are jeopardizing our family and we cannot lose you to the world!."  He went on to say, "we, as parents, cannot shirk our duty to our children." D&C 109:14...(teach) words of wisdom out of the best books...and Alma 7:15, lay aside every sin which easily doth beset you. Alma 7: 25...and may the Lord bless you and keep you...

We are praying that He will do just that tonight...we are under another tornado threat, severe thunderstorms and probability of damaging hail.  Our weather radio has sounded several times in the last couple of hours, and we pray for all of the missionaries.  I sent them all an alert today to be extra watchful of the weather. 

Love to all,
Elder and Sister Hess
(Mom and Dad)