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Sunday, April 23, 2017

                                                                           April 23, 2017
Dear Family and Friends,                                                                                                                          
Hope this finds each of you well and happy!  We have really had the up and down weather this past week, in the 80's one day, then rain and cold the next day....lots of humidity too!  One thing we have noticed is that food doesn't stay as fresh here, not even in the fridge.  
One Sat. afternoon we and the Sorensens visited a small historical park, "Reed's Bridge." It is one of many such parks, all preserved in tribute to a different memorable battle from the Civil War.  The wording listed in such sights are carefully written to portray the South's proud heritage, and "almost" justification for their way of thinking during that bloody time of war. Like I said, they are carefully written, but they are always proud of their soldiers, their bravery and their cause.  We walked around the beautiful site and enjoyed the wild flowers, slow moving creek, farm land in the distance, old log cabin and outdoor cooking hearth.  The Battle on Bayou Meto took place on Aug., 27, 1863. Sister Sorensen and Elder Hess check out the facilities of that day.



On our late afternoon walks we breathe deeply and continue to love the sights and smells of this little park.  Each time I pass this part on the path, I think of the Sacred Grove, and imagine Joseph Smith kneeling in a similar place; the morning sun shining through the trees and shimmering off the dew covered leaves.  We occasionally stop to speak to a fellow walker or more often than not, a dog walker.  This week it was a police officer on his patrol bike, just making his rounds.  He talked about a former neighbor of his who had a son that was best friends with his son.  The LDS neighbor is 
Caden Haws, a 2016 BYU Football Recruiting Class.  The Officer graciously took one of our pass a long cards, and educated us on some of the surrounding plants.  We are so impressed by the kind people here in Arkansas. 

We had two egg dye days, one with the Sisters serving here, Sister Burk, & Stringam, forgot to take a picture!! They colored lots of eggs and decorated some lemon cupcakes.  They brought us dinner!  Later in the week, Elder Jaquez and Arbon came to decorate.  We also made some Rice Krispie nests.

Elder Hartzell wouldn't be very happy if he saw how bad this picture is, ...he was typing at his desk when I said his name and he just swung around when I snapped the picture.  He takes care of all of the finances and apartments for the mission, plus many other things.

 Elder Sorensen keeps all of the mission cars in tip top shape!  What a headache for him,  The cars have Tiwi's installed that monitor the missionaries driving.  We hear him make calls that go something like this...."Hey Elder Ray, I see that you've been driving in the Red"!  That means that he has been speeding and it is recorded and sent as a report.  There is constantly someone in getting their oil changed, tire fixed, rotated or fresh dents being taken care of.  He is on call as is Elder Hess, and anything car related he takes care of.  He also buys the new cars and sells the ones with too many miles.  The mission purchased a new truck for the office Elders to use in all of their moving missionaries and furnishing apartments.  I think it may have been only 2 weeks old and it had a cracked windshield and dented fender; whoops!  Poor Elder Jaquez!
 Sister Hartzell above, is the one who broke her right wrist.  Here she is on her Birthday with the Office Elders.  She, too, has a big job to do, so many little details in the letters to the incoming missionaries, letters for all leadership positions every six weeks, updates to addresses, phone lists, Bishops, Stake Presidents and parents for each Elder and Sister.  She checks on all drivers licenses to make sure they have not lapsed. Makes a hugh outgoing binder for departures, keeps the Presidents schedule updated, assigns morning devotional for the office, and much more.  Then Sister Sorensen on the left, she has even more to do in my opinion!  She takes care of all the letters and packages that come in.  Each package and letter has to be forwarded on, recorded and then a follow up to see if it arrived.  She takes care of all the media ordering and distributing.  Each day missionaries call in for Book of Mormons, Bibles, pamphlets, pass along cards and anything else related to teaching.  She organized the board that you see below by zone and area with a coordinating color.  We recently when from 5 zones to 10 to expand the work and opportunity for the missionaries.  What it gave Sis. Sorensen was an expanded challenge to make all of the necessary changes as it affects everything.

We recently drove to the Memphis Temple, and many flowers were blooming along the freeway as you can see.  Don't know what they are, but they are beautiful! Below you can see a Remington Firearms Plant. It caught our eye the first time we saw it.  We will have to check it out to see if they give tours.

On the warm nights we like to open our patio door for some fresh air.  The patio is actually a cement slab, about 5x8 feet, and has a wrought iron fence around it.  There is no screen for the door, so as you can, a night time visitor came to call!  In the morning Elder Hess could hear a rustling sound in the corner by his desk right next to the spider trap.  Guess this little guy thought he had found some easy pickings in the trap.  

We had big plans yesterday, but the weather changed all of that for us.  Maybe later on we can drive to Mountain View for a music festival.  Yesterday was cold and rainy, so we wondered what to do. Some near by Sisters called to say that one of them was in a lot of pain from a jogging accident the week before so we drove the 15 min to their apartment to check on them.  Such sweet Sisters, just trying to do their best, and one with an injured knee.  We had gotten her some crutches earlier in the week, unfortunately, she is one of those accident prone people! She is waiting for an MRI on Monday, and we are praying that she won't be another missionary that has to go home for medical treatment.  The other sister, Sister Povey, is from Clifton ID, near Preston.  After we got her some pain medication, and Elder fixed their light on the fan in their front room, (something he is very good at) we drove back to North Little Rock to check out a Farmers Market on old main street.  It was the first day for this season, not many vendors, but it was so fun to find.....cilantro pesto, an ancient form of white corn meal, some raw honey and good grass fed beef.  We made a haul!

This is the clinic that we drive to every week for Elder Hess's infusions.  It takes about 20 min if the traffic is good.  The Hospital campus has it's own exit because it SO VERY LARGE.  It is Baptist Memorial Hospital, and Elder Hess says that it is the "Mothership" of all the many Baptist hospitals in AR.

I like this quote from the April Ensign: "Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace:thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21) "Building a strong relationship with Heavenly Father is key to experiencing peace and happiness here on earth. When I don't talk to my Heavenly Father and listen to His voice through promptings, scripture, and modern-day revelation, I am cutting myself off from the happiness and blessings I could receive from Him."  
We love you and we pray for you,

Brother & Sister Hess

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