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Sunday, August 13, 2017

                                                                                                               August 6th, 2017
Hello Family and Friends,

 It took me a while, but I finally found the name of this flower.  It is listed in the "27 Jaw Droppingly Beautiful plants that will get your neighbors talking"! It is a Purple Passionflower, and it's cousin, the blue version, is actually listed in the 27, guess the purple one is more common.  I have never seen anything even remotely similar to this delicate, multi layered delight!  I'm still trying to decide if the 5+ new mosquitoes bites were worth the walk and picture of these. The bites take forever to go away! Although, a bite from this 250 pound Alligator Snapping Turtle may take longer to heal!!
Our Trusty Office Elders bring us a yummy treat on their return drive from Memphis...Such great Elders  E Maskovich/Jennings.  (Dressed to clean out an apartment)

One weekend the four couples drove to Memphis to check out some sights.  We first went to a place called Slave Haven.  The home was used as an "underground railroad" for slaves escaping North and belonged to  a white business man and his family who had emigrated from Germany.   It was very interesting, and we even went down into the cellar where the people would wait for their chance to head North. It was a pretty damp, dirt floored area; very small and not tall enough to stand up if you had any height. 

 We spent about 2 hours looking at and listening to the history of the plight of the slaves.  One interesting thing our guide told us was that the Burkle family brought the first magnolia trees into TN.  They planted two in their front yard to be an alert to those fleeing that this was the house to come to.  According to our guide, this tree does not shed their leaves, and so served as an easy identifier.
Sister Green took the picture, so she is not shown.  She and her husband were former service missionaries who worked in the office.  Next we drove down town for lunch.  So many places to choose from, but we headed to BB Kings. It was SO full, and SO noisy, that we chose a different place.  This busy street is the center for street artists, music, eating, and lots of people.  

  Hey Max, check out this guitar! Fun sights and atmosphere.

After lunch we visited the Cotton Exchange, the bustling center for the cotton trade back in the day. (just like a mini wall street)
You can see the way it use to look, minus the couple of tourists!

A hefty sized cotton bale, and bound so tight, you would think it was wood or something.  And, a cotton bouquet for the former festivals.  As they use to say, "Cotton is King"!  Hard to imagine what a hugh industry this use to be.
 Just so you know, we don't spend all of our time playing, that is certainly an exception to the rule. Transfer week came and we wondered if we would survive! We had  15 who left, and 21 who came into the mission.  It's a wonderful week getting to know the new Elders/Sisters.  Elder Jennings and Sister Stringam leave us for new areas.  We love and miss them!

The following week is always a Zone Conference.  This month it was in five different areas, and since Elder Hess is presenting at each, we have been on the road.  Conway on Tues, Searcy on Wed., and Little Rock on Thurs.  This Wed we will be in Memphis TN, and Thurs in West Memphis, AR. The mission decided to fund a project that Elder Hess wanted to do, and so at each conference the missionaries are assembling a medical kit for their apartment.  A companionship picks up 12 different items for the kit, and each one has multiple uses.  It's hard when someone calls you at 9:00 at night and they need an over the counter medicine or thermometer and they don't have what they need. Elder Kearl, our AMA did this in his area, and he said that it was saving lots of doctor visits and money because there is self-help right away so things tend to not escalate into a doctor visit.  The missionaries seemed excited and grateful for the kit.  You know Elder Hess, he trys to keep things light and add a bit of humor to his calling!                                                                                               
As usual, I wanted to share some thoughts from our President Hansen. "You cannot play in Babylon all day and then go out and teach in Enoch at night and have the Spirit with you."  He stressed complete obedience to the mission rules, and promised miracles if they would.  When talking about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, he reminded us that they were not mediocre in their faith, their love, and their stand with Jesus Christ.  If you could sit in one zone conference during a testimony meeting, you would never doubt what a converted missionary can accomplish.  The light and love that they radiate as they bear fervent testimony brings you to tears.  When one after another stands and says that they will never doubt or turn away because they know their Savior, and they know what the Holy Ghost feels like, they know how He speaks to them.  They Know.  Pres. Hansen, "at my disposal I have 182 faithful, full time recommend holding, Sabbath keeping missionaries under my keys of authority. We will go with Angels as we do the Lords work.  We are so lucky to be engaged in His work, God be thanked that He trusts us enough to do His work."  "The more we love something, the more we will seek for it!  What is the value of what we are seeking? 
This is Elder Sorensen, and this is the building where the Brinkley Branch (really a twig) meets.  It is well over an hour for the Sorensen's to drive each way each week, and they drive a 1990 something Astro Van!  He sincerely hopes that it will hold up while they are here.  He is the "Car Czar" and spoke about car accountability. To make a point about keeping the cars in good order, he told about going to the Ogden Temple the night before the demolition began for it's remodel.  He was part of a large group of people who went to clean the temple, and leave it in pristine condition.   Sister Hansen spoke about Obedience and Charity. One Sister shared how she had prayed and prayed for charity for a young mom they were teaching.  Every few days the mom would run away and be gone for a few days.  She would eventually return home and teaching would resume, only to have this repeated and repeated.  As Sister J. prayed to have charity for this investigator, the Lord told her, "you see a mom who keeps running away, but I see a precious soul who keeps coming back!  
It's getting late, and I'm about to crash and burn, so it's off to bed.  Just remember, when you are having a very bad day (like the driver in the picture) or you keep looking to the past,
Chin up and look heavenward, Heavenly Father is just a prayer away!

Love to all,
Elder and Sister Hess

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