Editor’s note: Many are familiar with my daughter, Sara Arkell, also known as The Piano Gal. Sara has been called to serve in the New York Syracuse Mission. This is a series on her weekly letters that we will be posting on the site for those who wish to follow along with her mission. You can read her previous emails here.
This week was AMAZING! We had the privilege to have a General Authority visit our mission for a mission tour. Elder Kelly R. Johnson and his wife taught us so much!! It was wonderful. Sister Thompson & I did a musical number of “I Need Thee Every Hour” and it was beautiful! I’ve done a musical number for every zone conference on my mission so far (6 now) and I hope to keep that streak going haha. We talked a lot about power vs authority. When we’re set apart as missionaries, we receive the authority to act in our calling but it’s up to us to receive that power through our diligence and obedience.
Elder Johnson was also so good at making the scriptures come alive and tying different verses together that I never would have thought would relate. We learned a lot from Alma, Amulek, and Aaron’s mission stories in The Book of Mormon. And Zone Conference is always a good time because I get to see other missionaries I haven’t seen for a while! Like Sister Dean!! I had the opportunity to attend a couple special leadership meetings, too, which taught me a lot about how I can be a better sister training leader. I received lots of promptings of many things I can be doing better. I’m continually being refined and I pray every day that I will come home so much better than I came out!
We had another fantastic lesson with one of our friends. She had so many questions for us and we were able to answer them from the scriptures and our own personal testimony. I love how simple the gospel is. Her husband who is very devout in a different religion asked her the other day if they should be calling themselves “Latter-day Saints” now. That made our hearts so happy to hear that!! Her family is going to be SO blessed by the gospel. I can hardly wait for them to get baptized and to be sealed as a family in the temple! Eek!
It got up to 93ºF this week and it was SO HUMID. It felt claustrophobic because of the humidity and heat. This is going to be a long summer, we’re just getting started.
Sunday was a really discouraging day for us. We worked so hard this week to get our friends to church. We set up multiple church tours & none of our friends showed up to them. We had members invite our friends to lessons, too. We were so excited and overjoyed to go to church because we had 7 friends who said they would be there! And guess what? Not a single soul showed up. It was so disheartening!!
The thing with missionary work (and anything in life) is that we can try our hardest but ultimately, they have to make the decision for themselves. We continue to try over and over again and have the faith to continue showing up and then eventually, the fruit will come. I’m really learning to trust in God & His timing. We so badly want our friends to come!! Please pray for them that they will have the desire to come & that Satan won’t be able to overpower them. He is really good at putting things in their way to prevent them from coming.
But our Sunday ended on a better note because we had a lesson with the cutest family in the ward ever, the Rasmussens!!! They haven’t let missionaries in their home in 4 years but we finally set up a time to go over after many “rainchecks”. They are the cutest! We see them at church every week and their daughter, Ava, is my favorite. I’m definitely going to visit them after my mission. I can’t wait for that!
Sister Thompson’s 6 month mark was this week & I put together a surprise little scavenger hunt for her. It was cute! We have such a fun time together. Love her so much!
Being on a mission teaches you a lot of lessons & I am grateful for it. My official halfway mark was this past week & I want time to slow down. There is so much work to be done! Being a missionary is honestly the coolest thing. I LOVE IT!!