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.
Why hello everyone! Another week in good ‘ole New York has come and gone which is crazy. I’m not okay with how fast time is flying.
I had my exit interview with my mission president on Tuesday. That felt surreal. But it was so amazing! I was able to reflect on the ways I’ve grown and the things I’ve learned on my mission. I also talked with President Gentry about goals I have for my future and it got me really excited to shape the course of my life!
Then he gave me a priesthood blessing that was very comforting & inspiring. Lots of words of advice but something he said in particular stuck out to me. He told me that the greatest blessings of my missionary service are yet to be realized. I can’t wait for that! Talked a lot about my future family and how the lessons I’ve learned as a missionary will help me with that. I am sad to leave my mission in 3 weeks but also so excited to go full speed ahead at continuing to fulfill everything God wants me to do!! It’s an exhilarating feeling!
I had a couple experiences this week that opened my eyes to how real Satan actually is. Before my mission, I don’t think I realized that. But Satan is powerful and is doing literally everything he can to make us miserable like him! We’re constantly in a spiritual war! We visited someone’s house this week who told us many stories of experiences she has gone through with really evil things and the feeling there wasn’t good.
I’m grateful to have the Holy Ghost with me to help me discern between good and evil. The closer we get to God, the easier it is to resist temptation. But we need to constantly work hard to get stronger in our faith & resolve to live the gospel.
I was reading in 2 Nephi 28 this week & the words from verse 24 have stuck with me. “Wo be unto him who is at ease in Zion.” Think long & hard about that. We are in trouble if we’re at a stand still. We need to continually press forward and be proactive with our gospel living! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much of an urge to read every gospel book, go to the temple, do everything I can to solidify my conversion so Satan has no chance with me! This world is crazy and there is a lot of scary things going but if we’re prepared, we don’t need to fear!!
Last night we went to a youth fireside and, oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVE this ward. When I left Rome (my last area), I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to love the people here as much as there because my heart was 100% in Rome. I can now say that I have 100% of my heart here in Lockport as well. God expanded my heart!! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE SO MUCH. So much laughter and joy was going on as we interacted with the young women and some of the Bishopric members that just made me so happy. It is so fulfilling to be happy. I LOVE IT.
Do what it takes this week. Strengthen your testimony. It’s not gonna grow if you’re a stand still. You need to be prepared!!! Love y’all!
Elder Arkell in Argentina
Monday: For P-day we went to this tall tower to look over Mar Del Plata. It was BEAUTIFUL! There’s no way God’s not real. The place was actually closed when we got there but one of the Elders used Chapter 14 of Preach My Gospel to get us in. What a legend.
Tuesday: We found a family to teach! They were a reference from a member and we went over to their house to give a blessing to the mother. Afterward, they accepted another visit! Vamo! We also found 8 new people to teach this day. And a bunch of them with a whole lot of potential!
Wednesday: Finally had an actual service project! My first one in my mission. We went to an inactive member’s house and dug a well. Its crazy. Basically every house here has to have their own well to provide water for their house. We also figured out that we are going to have a special devotional over Zoom with Elder Renlund! Boy am I stoked for that. Its not in-person, but im excited either way.
Thursday: We had a lesson with my last baptism. It was the first time I’ve seen him in a while because he went to Bolivia on vacation for 3 weeks. The lesson was really good and he is progressing really well. He is a completely different person than before. He is visibly happier, he talks more, his whole personality has just changed. He told us he feels so much better than before. He also told us that he keeps dreaming about two angels dressed in white and that he knows those angels are us. That was cool to hear. I honestly needed it really bad.
Friday: We had Zone Council and ill just say my Zone Leaders are capos(the best, basically). At the end of the Council they offered to give blessings to anyone who needed or wanted one. Of course I asked for one. We went into a separate room and I basically just told them everything I’m struggling with. And yes, I cried. Y’alls know me. Hahah. But they gave me some good words of comfort and council and then gave me a blessing. Boy that blessing was amazing. It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. As if the Lord was talking directly to me. I am so grateful for the priesthood that I know has been restored once again on the Earth.
Saturday: Basically the only thing that happened today was that we invite one of our friends to church and he told us straight up no because he needs to be worthy to enter. We told him that the church is a place for the sick and not the healthy and that it is for people that want to change. Also we had a really good lesson about the Restoration with a lady who had met with the missionaries 15 years before. Just more proof that if people don’t accept us now, we are just planting seeds for later on.
Sunday: Had some really weird experiences in church. Mostly with members saying phrases in English. Phrases that some unrighteous American missionaries taught them in their missions. It always catches me off guard when people here speak English.
Doctrine and Covenants 30:11, “And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.”
Doctrine and Covenants 4:2, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”
These two scriptures have helped me a lot this week. I realized that I have been serving God with all my might and strength, but Ive been missing the other half, the more important half. I need to serve Him with all my mind, heart, and soul. When we do that, when we give up our will, our soul, to the service of our King, that is when the true blessings come. Our will is the only thing that we can give Him that isn’t already His.
May God be with you all! I live you all! Remember that God lives and loves you! Christ church has been restored once again on the earth. Of that, I am certain!