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.
Life is SO GOOD!!! My oh my I’ve been so happy since Wednesday when I got paired back up with one of my favorite people in the whole world- SISTER ASTON :)) It truly felt like we hadn’t even been apart for the last 6 months. I am overjoyed that I get to finish my mission with her! Yay!
But rewind to Tuesday…Sister McPhie and I worked SO HARD and we accomplished our goal for the transfer that our mission president gave us. We started the transfer with 1 friend we were teaching- Ernest. And we ended 6 weeks later with 4 PEOPLE ON DATE and 12 FRIENDS BEING TAUGHT God truly worked through us & we made miracles happen! Tuesday was a crazy day because we were working so hard to reach our goal. We still needed to put 2 people on date and find 2 more friends and God delivered! We put two friends on date for baptism. The joy I felt when we extended the baptismal invitation was indescribable. I was so happy!!
This friend is absolutely amazing and I’m still blown away that I just randomly found her on FB and reached out. God also helped us know who to call that night who would let us teach them something and set up another lesson. It was pretty cool! My testimony grew even more of the fact that THIS IS GOD’S WORK, not mine. I’m just His hands! That is the short & condensed version of that day but just know, it was an ideal day as a missionary. Miracles upon miracles!!
We had some great lessons with friends & members this week. Sister Aston told me that she can feel the love I have for these people as I interact with them & that meant so much for me. It’s crazy how much I’ve actually come to love people! Strangers I didn’t know 6 months ago but now they’re family. It’s such a cool feeling!
We went to the Klarin’s house last night. I LOVE their family!!! They’re probably one of my 2 favorite families in the ward. Their kids were asking us a bunch of questions about missionary stuff & we got to know them really well. I’m so grateful for the people I get to meet!
Last night in the young adult devotional with Elder & Sister Holland, a lot of insights stuck out to me. I loved when Elder Holland said “Untested faith isn’t much faith at all.” If our faith isn’t ever tested, it won’t be able to grow stronger. I loved Sister Holland’s comment to “Slow down, calm down, kneel down.” I’m gonna make that one of my life mottos now! So inspiring!
Overall this was a fabulous week. I’m so grateful to be a missionary and I shed a few tears this week about the fact that in a few short weeks I won’t be a full-time missionary anymore. So many emotions! Excited to finish strong!!!
Elder Evan Arkell in Argentina
Hola a todos! Cómo les va?? Espero que esta semana hayan visto la mano de Dios en sus vidas. Dios y Jesucristo siempre están acá con nosotros.
What a week it was. A lot of highs and lows…
Tuesday: We set some goals for the transfer that we are going to work really hard toward. 2 baptisms, 5 friends con fechas, and 10 progressing friends. We have put our trust in the Lord and we are already seeing miracles! Tuesday night we went to the stake center to help set up some chairs for a play that the stake was putting on. Man I love doing service.
Wednesday: We saw miracles! We found 2 people and 1 of them is really promising. The other it was just a plain miracle that happened while we were talking to her. We had originally just knocked on her door because we had taught her dad a few weeks ago and we were trying to contact him. But she answered and said that her dad was sleeping. She then asked us very skeptically who we were and what message we teach. We told her about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. She was very skeptical. She kept saying, “That’s not the Bible” or “Who wrote that?” She had a death glare the whole time. I started praying in my heart that her heart would be softened. A miracle happened. I recited the First Vision and stared in here eyes the whole time. I could literally see something change in her eyes. She went from skeptical, to receiving the Book of Mormón and wanting to read it. The spirit is amazing and can change peoples hearts.
Thursday: Freaking tough day. A friend whose baptism was supposed to be 14th of Jan, told us she doesn’t want to talk to us anymore and she doesn’t want to be baptized. Although it was really hard to hear, I learned a great deal from it. I learned that I need to stop focusing on baptisms just for numbers. These are real people that I am here to help build a stronger relationship with Christ through covenants. I need to convert them to Christ before I baptize them. As I look back, she was NOT ready for baptism. I wont go into details for the sake of her privacy, but her situation really opened my eyes to the fact that I am rushing to get people baptized, but all I need to do is help them grow a testimony of Christ, and then ya está!
Later this night we played soccer with the ward. Elder Moss, Oscar Lomardi, Logan Lomardi, Zach Kauffman, who should all be very disappointed in me. I’m terrible. 3 months in Argentina and I still play like the less than average American.
Friday: We had an AWESOME lesson. One of the miracles of Wednesday was that we found this other lady and this day we had a lesson with her. She told us that she had read the Book of Mormón, including the Testimonies of the 3 and 8 witnesses. She said, “I feel that this Book is true. I believe that it is true. There is a reason you guys knocked on my door, I think God was sending me a sign.” That was Awesome!!! It was definitely what my comp and I needed to hear that morning.
Saturday: 2 Crazy miracles today but they are to long to type using a phone. Just know that God is in the details and all we need to do is constantly try to refine ourselves so we can be better tools in his hands. I had a personal study today that was bomb!!!!!! God is real and he loves you personally!
Sunday: 0 friends in church. Stupid. But I will be like Nephi with his bow and I will work to overcome the trials!!
Please pray for me, my comp Elder Bardales, and our area Jorge Newbery, Liliana, Antonio, Pablo, Alejandra, Brisa, and Cira! Thank you!!!
2 Nephi 11:5: “And also my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death.”
I invite you to think about the reasons you love God. And the reasons who have to rejoice because of him. God is good! Jesus Christ lives!!