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Sunday, April 30, 2017

                                                                                                      April 30, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,
 I had wanted to get closer to take a picture of these flowers, but the sign on the gate said, BEWARE of Dog, and yes, there is a big dog on the other side of the fence, and YES, we did set him off when we approached the yard! We try to strike up conversations with people when we get a chance, and we were hoping that someone would come outside so we could ask them about these flowers, and then offer them a pass a long card.  :)  However, that same day, we choose a different path to walk on, no cement or walkways here, just mowed grass/weeds and bugs, and we ran into this guy!
 His name is Michael, and the yellow/black boa's name is Jackie; she costs $750 and only constricts Michael's neck to a certain point then stops,....or so he says!  We learned by far more than we ever cared to know about his pet! He would quote a scripture one minute, than tell us in the next breath of his 161 IQ.  Quite the fellow, but gladly took a pass along card.
For those of you wondering, yes, we have been getting quite the rain storms!  As of last Thursday, the rainfall has been 81.57 inches so far this year!  And that doesn't even count the hugh storm we had Sat night.  I went outside to record the sound of it plus the thunder, but messed up and recorded me and Gary trying to fix the umbrella after a part fell off, not too interesting.  The thunder and lightening were super impressive and scary.  The alarm went off several times, power went out too, but quickly came back on.  Parts of the mission earlier in the week had outages over night.  Woke up to that thing going off at 6:00 am!  

These are the Elders and Sister serving in the North Little Rock area.  Left to right, Elder Geddes, Bleazard, Jacquez, kuchin, Arbon, Sister Burk, Stringam, and Elder King.  Great group of missionaries, we love them all.

 One set of Elders want to put out this sign and then have the office couples do the tours!  We told them that we probably had plenty to do, but they insisted.  Guess we will see how it goes.
Elder Hess had a wonderful Birthday, and he said that the very BEST part was getting to talk to his family!  He received lots of great cards, and enjoyed the day.  He did get his wish for a Cherry Chocolate cake that we took to the office to share with everyone.  

Lots of fun treats, new tie, movie, shirt, gift cards and $ for a maritime museum!

Some of the young Elders decorated the office, and it was very festive.  President and Sister Wakolo called early that morning to sing him Happy Birthday.  Sister Wakolo came into the office later that day and we were thanking her for calling.  She said, "I thought American's liked to be sang to on their Birthday, but we were not getting a very good response when we called the missionaries."  Then she said they realized that they need to call from HER phone, and not the Presidents!  Missionaries would see his number come up and think, OH, NO, I'm in trouble!  

 Most days when we go into the office, Elder Hess works from a class room for privacy, so some artistic Elder put up some crepe paper, balloons, and left a cheery greeting!

 As part of Elder Hess's Birthday, we decided to go to Memphis to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley.  We and the Sorensen's  left Friday late afternoon and arrived around 6:00.  Had a nice dinner at Piccadilly, a cafeteria type restaurant, and then fell into bed before 9:00 pm.  We had prayed for good weather despite the predicted 65% chance of rain, and we were not disappointed!  The sky was overcast, temps in the high 80's, but not rain until after we pulled into North Little Rock on Sat!! Like the sign on the parking lot of our hotel??
 This is Graceland, a most beautiful and peaceful 14 acres of grass, trees, and flowers.  We were given headsets and an tablets for a narrated tour of the home, surrounding buildings and grounds.  The home was built in 1939 for his Aunt Grace, Elvis bought the home and refurbished it in 1957.  We enjoyed the tour, looking at his airplanes, and many, many cars and other toys.

Look who else enjoyed the tour!  
One of the displays with his Gold Records and awards.  Elvis was quite the charitable person, and donated time, money and talent to many others.  

 We didn't know that Elvis had a twin brother Jesse, but he was still born.  Elvis was his parents only child.  He, along with his parents, and Grandmother Minnie Mae are buried at Graceland, with a marker for brother Jesse included.

The King of Rock and Roll lives on.....or, maybe he will die out as 95% of the visitors we saw were over 60!

I don't know the significance of this fountain, but I do know that it reminded me of the Love that our Savior has for each of us.  Today for the 5th Sunday, our Bishop talked to us about being a more inclusive and watchful ward.  He wrote this sentence on the board,  "I am not a_______________."
He asked that we each personally fill in the I not a good Visiting Teacher, a good Home Teacher, a morning person, or whatever it is that we are not good at.  He then asked us to change the behavior that was not good.  Do we need to become a morning person in order to read and pray at the beginning of our day?  Do we need to become a more patient and loving person to those around us?  Are we not a Sabbath Day keeper?  Then become one.  A pretty simple challenge for each of us to improve.  The Saviors arms and love is inclusive to and for all.  2 Nephi 1:15, "But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my sou from hell; I have beheld His glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." and in Alma 5:33, "Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and He saith: Repent, and I will receive you."  

Have a great week everyone, and we send our love and prayers to all of you!

Elder and Sister Hess

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