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 SchoolLittle 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.
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 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!
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