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. My son, Evan, also recently began his missionary service in the Argentina Bahia Blanca Mission and his email is below Sara’s.
Transfer #11 is in full swing! It’s blowing my mind that I’m in my second to last transfer. Time is going by way too fast. I want it to slow down! There is still so much to do!!!
Thanksgiving was a good time. Holidays are always a bit strange being away from home but it’s great to be surrounded by people who have started to feel like family! We got to have dinner at the Paces home. Elder Pace is an Area Seventy so it’s always very spiritually uplifting to be around him and his family. Enjoyed some yummy food & had some good conversations about gratitude.
I’ve been reflecting a lot about how grateful I am for the life God has given me. I definitely used to take it for granted. I am truly so so blessed and I guess it took me a while to fully open my eyes & see that. He has blessed me with a knowledge and firm testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a family who is always there for me and who I love so dearly, friends who I’ve had for a while but also a lot of new best friends I’ve met on my mission & can’t imagine my life without them, talents to share to help others feel God’s love, freedom, joy, you name it. I am just so grateful!!!
We set up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving & I absolutely love it! Christmas time as a missionary is a glorious time because most of the world catches up with us on what we do year round -> focus on CHRIST!! 🙂
We only have a tree that past missionaries have left behind so we have no idea how old it is, kinda funny. Half of the lights don’t even work but hey, it’s better than nothing! One of my fav things to do is lay with my head under the Christmas tree listening to Christmas music. It’s so peaceful! I’ve done it a few times already, it’s great haha. I am excited for Light The World this year! Make sure to follow along with the initiative because it really helps you feel joy & get into the spirit of CHRISTmas!!
We taught our friend about the Word of Wisdom and he took it like a champion!! I really felt the Spirit guiding me as we were teaching. The Spirit told me specific things to say that I’ve never said when teaching that commandment before. It was kinda cool! Must have been the way he needed it because God definitely put the words in my mouth.
At the end of the lesson, he said the closing prayer & it was so sincere. He told God he is willing to live the Word of Wisdom & asked Him to give him the strength to overcome the addictions he has in due time. It was so heartfelt and I just felt so grateful in that moment. It’s a beautiful thing to witness people changing their lives around!! Jesus Christ makes everything possible
Sunday night we had a fireside where we sang a lot of hymns & had a couple special musical numbers! I was playing the piano along with Sis Parker on the organ for AN ENTIRE HOUR. It was so enjoyable but also, I haven’t played piano for that long in a while so my hands are feeling it today! At the end, Sis McPhie and I sang “Mary Did You Know?” while our Bishop played the guitar. It was so beautiful!! We killed it! Felt like we were in heaven. God definitely magnified our talents for that number!
I was reminded of this line of a hymn this week & it’s now going to be my new motto. “I BELIEVE IN CHRIST, SO COME WHAT MAY.” I invite you to ponder this phrase this week!! Love y’all!
Elder Arkell in Argentina
Buen día a todos! Cómo están? Espero que estén bien!
This week was wild. So much stuff happened this email could be craaazy long. But I’ll try to keep it relatively short. We saw a lot of miracles.
I’m starting to love it here. Sharing the best message in the world to the people of Argentina is just awesome. There are so many things that I am experiencing that I wouldn’t be able to back at home. One of them being almost getting robbed in the middle of the day…
Yeah so we were walking down a street at 5 o’clock yesterday and I pulled our phone out to look at the address of the next person we were gonna visit. Two dudes drove by us on a motorcycle and I didn’t think nothing of it, that happens all the time. But then like 30 seconds later I heard something behind me so I turned. The two guys pulled up beside me and grabbed the phone in my hand, but then instinct just kicked in and I yanked it out of their hands.
They jumped of their motorcycle and started coming at us with their hands in their shirts trying to make us think they had a gun. The conversation went like this… “Give us your phone.” “No” “Why not?” “Because I said no, I don’t want to.” Jaja But we’re all right, all I did was just flex my right bicep and they ran away just kidding. After they realized they had no chance because like I’m 6’4″ and my comp is beefy, one of them punched my comp in the face and then they drove off. What an experience.
On a better note, we saw a craaaaaazy miracle this week. First off, one night in comp prayer I prayed for more opportunities to use the priesthood. The next day the bishop texted us and asked if we could go visit a sister and give her friend a blessing of health. Of course we said yes. So we went to the sisters house and she brought her friend (non-member) in from his bed and sat him at the table. He said he couldn’t feel his legs or arms, and he had a really bad headache for days straight. So we proceeded to give him the blessing.
After the blessing, we talked to them for a bit. After like 15 minutes, the guy we gave the blessing to said, “Usually if I’m out of bed for for than 2 minutes I fall over and am in a lot of pain, but right now, I don’t feel pain. I can feel my legs and arms. What did you do?” I then gave my testimony of the priesthood and the spirit was really string. And then he came to church yesterday!!! And we were going to go visit him but he said he was walking around downtown!!! The priesthood is real everyone! God is real!
I baptized someone on Saturday! It was a really cool experience. I give all the credit to God. It is cool to be an instrument in the hands of God and to help bring souls unto Him.
Also, on Saturday, Argentina played Mexico in the Mundial and won. The streets were craaaazy after the game, but during the game, there was no one. My area turned into a ghost town. Jaja
To end, I want to bare my testimony that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost will always be there to help us through the darkest times of our lives. Our trials are necessary in order for us to grow. During the first like 5 weeks here in Argentina, it was really hard, and I mean reeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyy hard. I was constantly homesick and was having thoughts about like, “Why am I here? I’d rather be home! These people will find the gospel in the millennium so I don’t need to be here.” I wanted to go home really bad. But the dark times are what help us appreciate the light.
Looking back, I grew so much from this struggle. I was constantly praying, sometimes on my knees, the rest of the time in my heart. I needed to rely on God to get through it. Because of this trial, I have a stronger testimony of prayer, of the Atonement, of the scriptures, and of this gospel in general. For the past few months leading up to my mission, I was praying every night for stronger faith. I know that going through this hard time was an answer to that prayer. Roman’s 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
God knows you. He knows what your going through. So does our brother, Jesus Christ. In the dark times, rely on them and their power, we can’t do anything on our own. The trials in this life are necessary. As I really wise man once told me (my dad)… “An arrow can’t fly forward if isn’t hasn’t been pulled backwards.” God is good. The most powerful being in the universe loves you infinitely. I say this things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I hope y’alls have a great week! Stay safe out there and don’t get robbed! As always, feel free to write!