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.
Hey friends and family! This week has been an emotional rollercoaster, oh my goodness. The closer I get to going home, the more I break down in tears lol. So many emotions!!
I LOVE the people here so much. We had so many incredibly fun moments this week with members of this ward. At youth night on Wednesday, they were learning about photography so we got some good pictures with the youth and I will forever cherish them. Pictures really are worth a thousand words I just can’t adequately describe the joy I feel around these people. I feel like so many voids I’ve had in my life are being filled. It’s SO AMAZING.
It was super cold this weekend!! There was an area in our mission that was -20⁰F but felt like -45⁰F with the wind-chill. Pretty crazy. In our area it got to be 1⁰F but felt like -17⁰F…brr!! We didn’t go outside to do finding because you could’ve gotten frostbite within 5 minutes! So crazy. Made me extremely grateful for heating & that I have resources to warm me up when I’m cold.
We had a sweet little miracle with our new 9 year old friend. She is the friend of our recent convert who was baptized about 1 year ago. She started bringing her to church 3 weeks ago and we finally had an actual lesson with them this week. She had never prayed before so we taught her how. She said her very first prayer and oh my goodness it was so special You could tell she was feeling the Spirit and it was so heartfelt. She was so happy when we were teaching her about how she is a daughter of God. Aww! It was an amazing thing to witness. That will never ever get old. Then on Sunday, she got up and bore her testimony about Jesus!! That was so cool!!
I’ve been a wreck this week lol. It’s literally breaking my heart to have to leave these people. My mission has been lifechanging in so many ways but a lot of it has to do with the relationships I’ve made. I am so eternally grateful I can’t wait to have these people be lifelong friends. But my goodness I haven’t cried as much my whole mission as I have this week. It’s so sad!! I really don’t want to leave.
Stay tuned for a music video coming out on Friday!! It’s such a beautiful song!
Elder Arkell in Argentina
Hey what’s up every one! Crazy week to be honest. Crazy crazy week. I’ll tell yalls a few of the highlights…
Monday: Spent the day in a different area with some other Elderes. We went to the house of their recent converts and chilled for 5 hours. We talked and played some futbol(it turns out im really good against 10 year olds). The highlight of the night was that they killed 3 pigs right in front of us and then later that night we ate them. It was cool to see the whole process. We also herded cows from their field into their pen. Mission experiences baby.
Tuesday: Did divisions with my boy Elder Hoopes. We found 3 new people to teach and had some great lessons with some less active members. We are both pretty new so it was cool to see the Lord working through us. Oh, and apparently recently-killed pig meat is really bad for my stomach.
Wednesday: We had an awesome meeting over zoom with Elder Renlund! It was awesome to hear advice from an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said a lot of things that I really needed to hear. He admitted to us one of his weaknesses which is exactly one of the things I am struggling with right now. It was awesome to be able to relate with him and receive counsel on how to overcome it. Also I had to go to the bus terminal at midnight so that was terrible.
Thursday: My comp had a 3 hour long leadership meeting so I just studied the whole time. I studied about the Apostleship and boy, it is very interesting. The Apostles and prophets are so cool. Was a pretty hard day honestly. But I got through it so its all good jajaja
Friday: We went to a member’s son’s house to give his son a priesthood blessing and we also blessed his house. He has been struggling for a while with addictions and he says that he could never feel peace and was always stressed and worried. He also said that there was always a bad, heavy feeling in his house. So then we gave the blessings and he told us a few days later that right when we blessed him and the house he felt the weight be lifted and he could finally feel peace in his hearts. This experience strengthened my testimony so much in the priesthood and really that the other side is real. We need to be constantly be fortifying our strength against the adversary and his forces.
Saturday: I participated in my first ever Helping Hands service project. It was cool. We went to the regional hospital and basically just cleaned it up. It was fun. I started on the roof and had to scoop up bird poop with my hands. Its crazy how much poop there was on the roof. Indescribable. At night some dude asked us for money, basically 1 dollar. So my comp gave him some. Then he knocked on our door an hour later and asked us for the equivalent of 10 dollar. My comp gave him it. What?? The dude promised that he would come to church to pay him back. But surprise….. He didn’t.
Sunday: Crazy day. During church a man walked in and I cant explain it but I could just see and FEEL power. I could just tell that the spirit was with that man. It turns out he was the Stake Patriarch. It was a really cool experience. As a missionary, I need to be working toward that goal. Be so pure that the spirit can be with me so that people can see and feel it. Second crazy experience… We talked to this dude for an hour. He told his very frankly that our church wasn’t true and that it was of the devil. He told us that the whole Smith family were gold diggers and that his story is false. He hold us to stop being missionaries for the church or God would judge us. He gave us a bible verse to disprove our church(it was a really dumb verse to TRY and disprove us) and told us to think about it. I just shook his hand, looked him in the eye, and testified to him that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that our church is true. I told him that I have had too many experiences to deny it. “A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an opinion.”
Moroni 9:6 “And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.”
As missionaries, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a duty to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ. I challenge all of you to share the gospel with someone this week.