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Saturday, October 28, 2017


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                                                                                                       Oct 28th, 2017

 Dear Family and Friends,




 Just can't help taking pictures everywhere we go, always something colorful and new if you keep your eyes open. I gathered these leaves on a recent walk, but decided to leave them behind and just take a picture of them to remind me of their beauty.  And the berries, I don't know what they are....
One highlight from the month was having Elder Klibengat visit our mission!  What a power testimony and conversion story he has.  He was basically just handed a Book of Mormon by one of his friends and that was the beginning.  He started reading on his own, prayed about it, and over the course of a year, he was baptized.  Soon after his baptism his friend left for college, he had no family support and he felt completely on his own. All he could do was to trust in the Lord and he did. There are SO many things I would like to share from his visit.  He was definitely very blunt and to the point about how we all need to be living our lives in these last days.  Some of his points include: " There is power in the Book of Mormon that won't come from anyone or anywhere else. Beg for insights as we read. We must be good at repenting ourselves before we can ask others to do so. God will call down the powers of heaven in our behalf if we are doing our best. Satan leads us away when we decide to stop reading our scriptures and having our prayers. He knows that he can attack and when that crisis of faith comes, we will be weak. Christ is coming soon, he senses the urgency that the Brethren feel.  We are to look for Him and prepare for Him so that we can run to Him."  He was very perceptive as he looked out over the room of missionaries and spoke to those who were being disobedient, not by name, but he knew. He wanted to go on record that he was here, he spoke, he warned and instructed.

We had worked through our P-day on Saturday, so Monday afternoon we visited the Arkansas State Capitol and got to heft $450,000.00 or 16 pounds of "Loot"!  Very beautiful capital of granite, marble and hard wood.  Some type of event was being held there, so Max, this next picture is for you!
Below is Sister Eda Aguilara from Honduras.  She is here with a group of people learning about Head Start and how to apply for funding to start a school back home.  She served a mission in SLC on temple square a few years ago, and she is amazing.  Elder Hess calls her Miss Honduras; she is is quite tall and very beautiful.  She keeps saying, "when you come to see me in Honduras....well, that's one place that was not on my bucket list!  But, maybe, just maybe....
On a Friday afternoon the senior couples headed out to Mountain View in the Ozarks.  We were so hoping to see the fall colors, but fall had not made it's appearance yet. We stopped by Jimmy Driftwood's barn for some REAL Blue Grass music.  The assorted group below are all volunteers and play every Friday and Sunday night in Mountain View.  They pass the basket for donations to keep the place in repairs.  What a bunch of characters with a whole lot of talent!!
 The man on the right played several instruments, one of them being a dulcimer.  He was the leader for the group and after the program I spend 10 minutes asking about dulcimers.  He said, come on back tomorrow and I'll give you a lesson!
 I didn't go back for the lesson, but the next day at the Ozark Heritage Center we saw several other people who played them.  This is Debra, a basket weaver, and musician. The Center was a haven for learning all of the Ozark crafts and skills.  Soap and perfume making, weaving, toys, blacksmith, herbs, spinning, copper, corn husk dolls, gun smith, knives, leather, stained glass, printing and more. The people in the area pass down their knowledge so that this heritage isn't  lost.  We talked to several of the teenagers there who were playing violins and guitar.  The schools in this district have a program called "Roots".  It offers all students a chance to acquire and learn to play a stringed instrument.

 No canning this year for me!  But sure wish we had a few bottles of peaches for this winter...

I guess this is a lemon, but take a look at the size of this thing!!
 We pause for a group photo, left to right, E/S Wies, Baird, Sorensen, and Hess.
Next we drove to the Blanchard Springs Caverns, an amazing adventure and underground wonder!

 This picture does NOT do any justice to the size of this cavern, large enough to hold many many buildings inside! We are looking down into the cave and it's plethora of formations.  We walked down hundreds of steps to reach the bottom.
One of the smaller rooms.  Our guide would point out small hills (40 feet long by 6-8 feet tall)of black stuff now and then, any guesses as to what it was? Guano!  Yep, that's another word for bat poop!  Elder Hess posses for a silly picture at a beautiful place. We headed home late afternoon after making one more stop... We just stopped by to take a look....or so we thought!  After all, I was the 3rd person from Wyoming that very day who had been into the McSpadden shop and bought one of their handcrafted dulcimers; all woods from AR.
Beautiful ride home.
You probably don't recognize Matthew McKinney, but he was in one of our earlier posts when he was at our apartment with the Elders.  He is a first generation missionary in his family, and was called to the Provo City, UT mission.  Really proud of this young man! Come on Elder Hess, smile.....
We visited the AR State Fair one afternoon, quite a money maker with $10. parking and entrance fees! We enjoyed the many types of animals, miniatures, and novelties like the Zonkie below.
 
 What's a fair with out fair food!  Elder Hess enjoying his large corn dog.
 The exhibit booth was interesting, and the produce very different from that of the Valley...how would you like to cut into a 122 pound watermelon or a 166 pound squash???




  Guess we'll be home in time to check out the Lincoln County Fair next year.

 Once in a while we do have a "blue" day and miss our family, or things just don't seem to be going as well as we would like.  On a day just like that last week, we had a box of "Sunshine" arrive, just in time.  Made our day!
The days are definitely getting colder, we had our first frost this morning!  Must mean that Halloween is getting close.  At least there is no snow on the ground. This blowup greets us every night when we drive into our apartment complex.  Friday night was our ward Halloween party, and the missionaries got into the right spirit of the night, plus one cute family of trolls!  Transfers were on Monday, and Elder Miller, third from the left, fell off his bike and broke his arm the first day in his new area, not a good way to start out a transfer.  The flip side of that though, is now he and Elder Sagle get a car for a few weeks.  Poor Sisters are now full bike area while he recovers.

Our High Counselor gave us some good advice on Sunday.  Any large decision needs to be made with fasting and prayer and as the Lord pours out His judgments upon the earth, we will need Him more and more. He told a cute story about his son and how in the morning he would hear his young son say, "another day on the lily pad".  When he asked his son what that meant, his son replied that  at school, the teacher had a large chart with frogs on it, and depending on how you acted that day you would either be on a lily pad where it was safe, or you would be in the pond where the alligators were.  No one wanted to be near the alligators, so the kids all tried to stay "safe" on a lily pad.  So to all our dear ones, please stay safe on a lily pad, stay close to our loving Savior, Redeemer and Friend.

 Happy Halloween to all, and to all a good night.

Love you,
Elder and Sister Hess

Monday, October 9, 2017

Oct 9th, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,
It's Oct 9th, and we are half way through our mission!! We really can't imagine being anywhere else, so we are glad to have another nine months here!  We hope to make it the best half of our time in serving the Lord full time.  Several weeks ago we drove into Little Rock to see the High School where the Little Rock 9, the first 9 black students were being integrated into an all white high school.  The following is a headline from one of the many sites that explains this era.

The 1957 Desegregation Crisis at Central High School

Little Rock Central High School is recognized for the role it played in the desegregation of public schools in the United States.  The nine African-American students' persistence in attending the formerly all-white Central High School was the most prominent national example of the implementation of the May 17, 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. 
 There is a large visitors center that explains exactly what happened and why.  A very interesting period of time, and certainly very courageous teenagers who stepped forward to be the first.  They survived a most turbulent time in our history, and endured daily abuse. 
 This little card is part of the museums displays, and gives you an idea of the hate the nine faced.
We visited on a Sat., and so we didn't get to take the school tour of the actual high school, which is still in use today.  That will have to wait for another day.       

 









 
 Our next week was a busy week with 2 Zone Conferences, we had Elder Kearl, AMA and Elder Call, AMHA  both visit and speak at the conferences.  We also had a very large group of new missionaries come into the mission in Sept.  Twenty six new eager Elders and Sisters joined us.  This is one shot of the mass confusion we experience at each transfer/departure/arrival week.  Bikes, luggage, laundry bags, books, packages, etc., litter the office and all hallways near the mission office.  It's no wonder that when the doors finally close and the last Elder or Sister is out the door, we find all kinds of items left behind, and wonder who and where they belong.😇

We always enjoy our outings in Little Rock near the River Market.  There is always something going on, and something new to see.  One this particular Sat., the side walks were being colorfully painted with chalk and paints by artists of all ages.  
We noticed tonight that one of the WY newspapers had a headline stating that 150 miles of WY roads were closed due to a snowstorm!  What!! Today here in North Little Rock, it was 91 very hot degrees!  On the same day as the street art, we saw some innovative people sledding down their own hills!
We had our last temple trip during Sept.  The temple is now closed for renovation and won't be opened for the next 18 months.  What a spiritual feast and experience to sit in the temple with a group of all missionaries.  All worthy Elders and Sisters there to feel uplifted, peace, quiet, and comfort from being in the Lord's house.  This is Sister Sorensen and I after our evening session.
We have wonderful Relief Society Sisters in every stake that fix food and serve the missionaries at each zone conference.  This great bunch of sisters even had this poster made for us to use.  You don't have to be in AR long to know that the people here LOVE their teams!  The Razor Back mascot is everywhere...



After a few days thought, We decided that it would be good for me to head to California for a short visit.  A very colicky baby was making for a very sleep deprived new mama! 
 
Quick trip, great visit, loved seeing this great bunch of Grand-kids!   And, such a wonderful welcome home from Elder Hess, you would think that he missed me!
As I close this post, let me share with you some thoughts from a conference talk by Sister Joy Jones. "A Sin-Resistant Generation".Heavenly Father has given universal guidelines that will help us...The Spirit will inspire us in the most effective ways we can spiritually inoculate our children...Every day of our lives courage is needed - Perhaps we underestimate the abilities of children to grasp the concept of daily discipleship.  ..start early and be steady...begin at very early ages to lovingly infuse them with basic gospel doctrines and principles - from the scriptures, Articles of faith, For the Strength of Youth booklet, Primary songs, hymns, and our own personal testimonies - that will lead children to the Savior." "Creating consistent habits of prayers, scripture study, family home evening, and Sabbath worship leads to wholeness, internal consistency and strong moral values.  I sometimes wonder why it is so hard for us to realize that it is the small, consistent habits that make the difference in our children's lives.  Sister Jones makes a point of teaching children to "keep their commitments", "There is unusual power in making and keeping covenants with our Heavenly Father.  Teaching them to keep simple promises when they are young will empower them to keep holy covenants later in life....hold your little ones close - so close that they see your daily religious behavior and watch you keeping our promises and covenants. Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate."!    

 This is Sister Keiser.  She left her mission about 3 months ago after injuring her knee.  She went home for knee surgery and recovery.  We were so happy to pick her up at the airport during the past transfer, and she is thrilled to be back.  Here is a sister who had promises to keep, and worked hard to come back and keep them.  She had been taught about making and keeping her covenants. 
On the way back to the mission office, she told us that she had hoped that if the President couldn't pick her up at the airport, that we would be the ones to do so!  How sweet of her, and how thrilled we are to have her back.  The number of sisters in our mission is now at 1/3, up from the 1/4 when we arrived.  We love them, we love their hugs, their smiles, their spirits, and devotion to the Lord's Work!

(Max, now that you are mastering the guitar, you may find the banjo your next instrument of choice!

 








May the moss not grow under our feet as we go about the Lord's work.  May we be anxiously engaged in sharing the good news with everyone we come in contact with.  May we all be "Believers", true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Love to all,
Elder and Sister Hess









Saturday, September 16, 2017

                                                                                                           Sept 16, 2017




Dear Family and Friends,
It's been a while since we have had time to make a post...and the days roll around so quickly!  As a refresher....three different times Elder Hess and I were promised that our family would be blessed while we are serving!  Once when we were set apart, once in the MTC, and the third time by our first Mission President, Pres. Wakolo.  It didn't take long to know about a very special blessing, but it did take a while for that blessings to materialize.😁  And so, may we introduce you to the newest little blessing in our family.....
Harper Noelle McNair!

Isn't she just a little doll?  Little is actually right, 5 lbs 4 oz, born on August 28th, 2017!  Mother and baby are doing great, Jess is just a bit sleep deprived!  Harper has her days and nights mixed up at the moment.  

 Jess has some good help at home, and the whole family loves holding and cuddling this bundle of joy.  It's going to be so hard not seeing her until she is 10 months old.....
Meanwhile, back to our mission...We had another senior couple come and stay with us for a night.  We are in the same Stake, but live over an hour away from each other.  This is Elder and Sister Wies, and they are living in Morrilton, and are Member Leader Support.  They do a fantastic job with the members and the missionaries, and since the Elders live in the duplex next to them, they get feed regularly!  Elder Wies is legally blind, and gets around amazing well!
We showed the Wies's around Little Rock on Sat...walked across the Presidential Park Bridge, an old train bridge, had lunch at "Forty Two", at the Clinton museum, took the trolley around Little Rock, stopping off at the Arkansas Historic Statehouse, then home to get ready for Stake Conference.
 One of the many bridges from North Little Rock to Little Rock, and picture below is Pinnacle Mountain.  We haven't driven out there yet, but it is suppose to be very beautiful, be over 2,000 acres of Stake Park, and rise the the staggering height of 1,011 feet!
I'd say that we look the part of a Hillbilly, what do you think?  Simply put, the Ten Commandments make us a better person, a better community, a better nation, and a whole lot better world! One of our speakers at Stake Conference was a recently returned missionary.  He told of how his father had died what he was a young boy.  Growing up, his mother had taught him to never give up and so while on his mission his mother passes away.  This young missionary went home for her funeral, and then went back out to complete his mission.  He asked the question, "Why do we fall?... so we can learn to pick ourselves up. Jesus picks us up through the gift of His Atonement."  He went on to talk about how attending the Temple encourages Personal revelation as does daily scripture study. He teaches a primary class and spoke about how even in the simplest of Primary lessons, you find true doctrine and that when you stop and look at life, you see that pure doctrine in everyday life, and everyday conversations.  In speaking about covenants, he reminded us to not only prepare to receive them, but prepare to keep them.
 Elders Sagle from Canada, (can you tell?), and Russell, grandson of Royce and Paula Hoopes.  These are two of the Elders now assigned to a BIKE ONLY area!  They show up at the office now and then with pretty red faces and a bit weary!
Another speaker from Stake Conference talked about her missionary son, and she asked him how he keeps going when things get tough?  He responded in a letter, that she had taught him to "push through the pain and keep going because quitting never accomplished anything!  Good advice. He reminded her of a time when she had told him to....:Grow up, throw up, and get back to work!!  The family had taken on a chicken farm to raise money while the father was in school.  The speaker, the mother, said that the work HAD to be done, so that is how she responded to her son when he said that he was going to throw up!  (think that they may have been cleaning out coops?) He also told his mother "I stand tall with my name tag on!  I remember Who I am, and WHOSE I am!"
 More typical things one would see in Arkansas, vines on the trees, and something my brother Deb and I use to fight over growing up!  Yes, those are chicken gizzards and hearts!  Yummy!!
Another speaker started his talk with a question....."Want Joy and Happiness? then Serve Others!"  His second question, "Is there something that Heavenly Father is not proud of me for?"  One of the Stake Presidency made this statement...."Your agency is not given so you can get what you want, but what Heavenly Father wants for you." I had never thought of that before.  

We look for a new saying on this church sign each month.  So, Jonah 2:2 says, ..."I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice."  I know that Heavenly Father does hear us.  
 Elder May, one of our APs headed home.  What a fantastic young man, ready to take on the world!
And, fried Ice Cream we had after lunch at our new favorite Mexican restaurant!   
And so family and friends, I'm happy to say, that "Every day I'm Servin in...
And as they say in the South, Have a Blessed Day!

love to all,
Elder and Sister Hess