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Friday, January 5, 2018

                                                                                                             Jan 5th, 2018
Dearest Family and Friends,

Wow, a lot of time has passed and a lot has happened in the last 5 weeks.  It was an extremely busy time, but such a Blessed time, too.  I was in charge of the 200 gift bags for the missionaries Christmas, and we started early to get everything put together.  I decided to wrap the mini Doctrine and Covenants that Pres. Hansen wanted the missionaries to have, it took a few nights, but that's one sure way to get into the Christmas Spirit, wrap presents and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie!
 Then I bought, counted, sorted, and filled 200 bags with assorted Christmas candy....all the while trying to make each bag come out equal. I enlisted our great Office Elders and we spent an afternoon putting everything in the bags. Mission T-Shirt, *thanks Deb and Marie for your help...candy, D&C, picture of the Savior, a Christmas poem written by one of the Elders, a Christmas card from the First Presidency, and a Flash Drive with one of the 6 performances the Missionaries did during Oct and Nov. "A Missionary Musical Tribute to the Savior".  They were amazing performances, and the Spirit that attended those choirs of 70-80 voices was overpowering at times.  There were many tears shed, testimonies strengthened and borne of the Savior, that the Spirit could NOT not be there.  The Closing song was always, Amazing Grace, a favorite of the South.
We finished up the bags and stored them away alphabetically. After the last transfer, we had to rearrange them all into Zones.
 Another great moment in the mission was when Elder and Sister Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy came to visit.  We had wonderful Zone Conferences, and they taught us all so much.  Some of his teachings include the following: The Savior said that He would MAKE us fishers of men, not Call us to be one.  We are only successful as we let the Lord lead us, guide us. We are His CHILDREN, not His perfected adults.  He talked about the Lord's different weapons of war - fire, wind, earth quakes, etc, and how the Lord likes to stack the odds so that the people know that the battle is His; example would be David and Goliath. The Lord gives us weakness to humble us, and obedience brings blessings. I see that last one everyday in the mission. You can sense what kind of missionary you are talking to if they are obedient and humble. He reminded us of the Stripling Warriors, and even though none of them perished, many were wounded. They had to be brought out of the battle field, and  Nourished back to health, just like we have to nourish those who have lost their faith. In preparation for Elder Robbins visit, the mission was asked to read and ponder of one of his talks, "Be 100% Responsible", given at BYU Education Week, Aug 22, 2017. You will find this a great treasure trove for learning.  Hess Kids, please find it and read it. At the conference, he told the missionaries that they are enrolled in 505 classes here, classes like Diligence, Patience, Good works, all of Christ's attributes. "I firmly believe that a missionary rarely carves out his stature more than when he is on a mission; it shapes your life forever. It is the Best university for Mother/Fathers, Husbands/Wives in teaching us the virtues of Christ." I had about 20 pages of notes from E Robbin's teachings.

 Another highlight of the Christmas season was being the choir for the Forgotten Carols!  We had many many practices, and the full cast did an amazing job.  The ward here does something for the whole community every year, and that was their gift this year. 
 Of course you all knew about the "Light The World" campaign that the Church offered this year.  What an inspired program it is and was, and countless hours and acts of service were rendered because of it.  The special giving vending machines brought in close to half a million dollars in aid.

More thoughts from Elder Robbins: "A problem is a goldmine'!  No problem? No challenge to fix or learn from. Example would be Ammon as he took King Lamoni's sheep to be watered.  Look what that problem resulted in... "Good Samaritan opportunities are not convenient.  Pray to see the problems of those you want to teach and lift.  He told many stories; Missionaries walking by saw a man on the side of the road, his motorcycle wouldn't start. he had tried and tried but to no avail.  After the Elders had delivered their message, the man tried again and it immediately started up. The prophets have told us that their are no coincidences in this work.
Even this picture doesn't do justice to the amount of packages that came into the office for Christmas!  This load came all in one day. The Mail truck delivered this load early one morning, and filled the whole truck! Once again, every package was recorded, tagged with name and zone and placed into separate corners for later distribution. Check out the President office where Elder Hess hangs out...


 We made sure that every missionary received a package, and many wonderful missionary moms helped to fill in the gaps. 
This is one of the reasons that we don't like the drive to Memphis and back, I-40!  Elder Hess has to speak at Zone Conference now and then, and this shot was taken on our last trip back to N.L.R. There can be lengthily delays due to accidents or heavy traffic, and when this happens to the Office Elders in the transfer van, you will find the missionaries out walking up and down the line of cars handing out Books of Mormon, and meeting new people.  You can also find different types of "road kill" along this stretch, even deer!



Hey Deb, this picture is for you....remember when we use to fight over the chicken gizzards and hearts that Mother would fry up for us?  Now we could each get our fill without the fight!

I had to look this one up, couldn't figure out what is was,,,,,Smoked Pork Tail! Looks like it's a bargain. One night close to Christmas, I was checking out at Wal-Mart, and an older "Arkansanian" couple behind me had FIVE large gallon containers of frozen Chitlins that they were buying! Glad I was having turkey and ham for Christmas dinner....
Now this is a Christmas tradition that I can handle!  Sure glad I brought the recipe with me...
Because I am behind in posting, this will have to be in two parts.  

We are so blessed to be on this mission, so blessed to work with 188 other wonderful, faithful, consecrated missionaries all trying to do the Lord's work. We are doing our best to "Speak up", bear Testimony of our Savior, love the people here in AR, and bring souls to Christ.  Because everyone of you reading this is a member missionary, please do the same.  "Perfect love casteth out fear", and we are all commissioned to be missionaries, "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." Jeremiah 16:21

We send you all our love and best wishes for the New Year.  "Things we don't change will remain the same", Elder Robbins...

Elder and Sister Hess

Saturday, November 25, 2017

                                                                                                Nov 25, 2017
Hello Family and Friends,

Just a bit of Fall color to start off with!  The hills here are covered in trees, and fall was beautiful, but some of the leaves decided to just shrivel up and NOT change colors!  Still we enjoyed a short side trip to Pinnacle Mountain for a late afternoon walk.
A bit windy at times, but still such a beautiful place.  Hundreds or acres are set aside for hiking, walking and biking.  The picture below lets you guess what Elder Hess is constantly doing no matter where we are at.  Heavenly Father's creations are breathtaking at times.  Such beauty so well planned out and created.  Interesting tree in next picture that Elder Hess is leaning on. The ground is softly carpeted for winter, brilliant yellows, oranges, reds and browns decorate the landscape in maple, oak and various varieties of hardwoods.  Hickory nuts, acorns and others make for a life on easy street for the plentiful squirrels!



 The Zone Conference held mid November was centered around the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ.  President Hansen reminded us that this book has it's own Spirit, and that it was preserved at all cost in Joseph Smith's day.  The book speaks for itself, and when True and Sincere prayers are offered as to it's correctness, you will Know and Believe.  Because of the Book of Mormons power, the missionaries have been instructed to NOT move on with lessons for investigators if they are not reading.  They must first read, they must know for themselves that the book is true!  President gave us each a challenge to start reading from a new Book of Mormon wherever we are currently at, and mark it with an the intent of giving it to an investigator.  You definitely look at things more intently, and thoughtfully as you do this.  Maybe each of you would like to take this same challenge.
We said goodbye to our new friend, Eda Aguilara.  She finished her course here with the Head Start program, flew to Washington D.C. for a few days, then home to Honduras.  She insists that we come and see her after our mission!  Funny how you can get so close to someone in such a short time, and with just a few interactions.  


 Small Zone Conferences where held in 5 different locations.  At each conference, it was a chance for the missionaries to get their flu shot if they chose to.  Elder Schoessler was among the first to get a shot, and he wanted to make sure that his right arm was well flexed before I took the picture!  Wish you could each hear his voice....never heard anyone speak so low.  He had a shirt on from an Elder who had gone home, and the shirt was at least one size too small for him. The tech had a hard time getting his sleeve rolled up high enough.  For those Elders who wore long sleeves, and could not get them rolled up high enough, we would have to retreat to a near by class room so he could remove his shirt.  Several Sisters had to change tops with someone else for the same reason.  We only had one screamer, and two or three near fainters.  Oh, and Elder Schoessler keeps in shape and swallows 13 raw eggs every morning for breakfast!!
One of the touching parts of President Hansen's message for the conferences was this....He likes to get up early, around 5:15 to read, pray, ponder and worship.  He says that he likes to do this so as to "set the heart beat for the mission.  That way when the missionaries wake up at 6:30, the Spirit is set in place.                                                                                                 
Somehow here it is all about the Food!  And, our waistlines are showing it big time!!!! We ate at a little diner one Friday night and had their special, Fried catfish!I didn't take a picture of our own food, so some friendly customers next to us obliged. There is one difference though, we split one dinner, and still couldn't eat all of it! You can see what two dinners look like, catfish, fries, hush puppies, beans, coleslaw and friend green tomatoes. (A dieters delight) A local church was providing Gospel music entertainment that night.  Elder Hess made friends with the band leader, and was promptly asked to come up and take a turn singing.  E. Hess assured  him that the older sister playing the piano would not know any of the songs that he knew, and so declined.  
                 
We've seen so many beautiful Star Valley sunsets posted on Face Book, here is one of ours in Arkansas.  The church /mission office is on the right.
 We can't ever complain about the amount of leaves we rake up at home!!! Piles line the streets everywhere, and very large clear bags are stacked in large piles on many streets.  Elder Hess often wondered if there wasn't some type of machinery that just sucked up all of those leaves.  Well, we found out that is just the case for some neighborhoods....here it is, sucking up and mulching all of those mountains of leaves!
Elder Baird turned 80 years old on Wed, and his wife of 1 year had secretly asked all their families, friends and ward members to send him a card.  She was shooting for 80 cards.  Well, it took a few days after his birthday, but at last count, he had 85 cards!  That's a whole lot of love and postage...
 Thankful baskets, one from a ward member to us, and the second one from an elders family to the office.  Very thought people, we are grateful.

One of our Sacrament meeting speakers talked about our loving Heavenly Father and how He does not condemn  His children when we make a mistake, just as we do not condemn our own children when they make a mistake.  So, don't condemn yourself when you make a mistake, Elder Cornish said, "Don't be so hard on yourself", just be humble and repent."  He said that we need to add Repent to the list of Primary answers that we always give.

 Our missionaries participate in a ward talent show after the pre-Thanksgiving dinner.
 These little guys are strewn along many paths here in AR.  The missionaries call them gumballs, but we call them dangerous.  One fairly new Sister stepped on one while out jogging and ended up going home for knee surgery! 
 Our friends the Rasmussen's head home to Alpine Utah.  Such good missionaries!
 Remember that saying about "objects may appear larger than they seem"?  Well, it IS large! Whatever it is....
 Quite some time ago our granddaughter Juliet sent us this little missionary girl.  Her name tag says,
Sister Juliet Wutkee!  What a treasure.  We hope and pray that everyone of our grandchildren will serve a mission.  It's the best experience for giving them a head start on life. What a blessing serving a mission is.


Most of the Seniors that had Thanksgiving dinner together.  New couple, Tippets, Wies, Sorensens, and Bairds.
Our High Councilmen Bro. Smith spoke of his conversion at 15 years old.  He said that when he realized that a member of the Godhead walks with us everyday, he knew that he had to be baptized. Makes one think, doesn't it?  Elder Hess and I was reading this week in Hebrews 6.  It was like a tender mercy reading  verse 10...."For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (continue reading) Sometimes it helps to be reassured that you are on the right path, doing what our Father wants you to do...I felt His love.
Here's a labour of love for a companion, a steadying hand from Elder Hess, and a cheering section as backup!
As we walk this path of life, let us walk it together, following in our Saviors footsteps, holding the hands that hang down, lifting a heavy burden, cheering the weak, and most of all, sharing the
                                                                    "Good News"
I'm sure by now that each of you know that the campaign to "Light the World" will bring you your Best Christmas Ever!  Visit mormon.org and see how you can light the world for 25 days starting Dec 1st.  It is our goal to follow our Savior and do our part to "Light the World".  As families, please record how you do this then share it on social media, and help flood the earth with something worthwhile.
 Hope your Thanksgiving Holiday was filled with all good things, good food and family.  We love you all,

Elder and Sister Hess

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