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The End of One Chapter, Beginning of the Next

The End of One Chapter, Beginning of the Next

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.

Welp, this is the last official weekly email that I’ll write on my mission.  
Let me just start by saying that I will be eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven for prompting me to serve. I seriously cannot imagine my life without the experiences I’ve had, lessons I’ve learned, and people I’ve met while on my mission. Words honestly cannot express my deep gratitude. My mission means the absolute world to me & I am forever a changed person because of it.
On Saturday one of our friends got baptized! (Seems the baptism days are the most stressful as missionaries lol) The hot water was not working so we spent 2 hours boiling water and adding it to the ICE COLD water that was filling the font. Whether the water is warm or cold, it’s still a sacred act to show your commitment to God. 🙂 What a blessing to end my mission with a baptism! 
Sunday goes down in history as the most incredible sacrament meeting I have ever attended in my lifetime and I think every single member in that room would second that. Wow, wow, wow. 
First off, one of our new members gave her first talk ever and her husband CAME TO CHURCH WITH HER!!! This was a huge miracle because he hasn’t ever been to church with her since she got baptized in September. His heart is softening little by little! I felt so much joy listening to her speak. She is a gem and my life has been forever blessed because I was able to be an instrument in helping her accept the gospel. 
Then I was able to play a musical number of “Abide With Me” on the piano. I was holding back tears as I played because I needed to see the sheet music lol. But all the emotions were hitting me and then Brother Klarin, a member in the Bishopric, did something I will never ever forget.  He had me come stand at the pulpit with him for a little experiment. He wanted me to see all the lives I’ve touched while being in Lockport for 7 1/2 months. He asked them to stand if they related to any these 5 things – 1) if they’ve taught a missionary discussion with me 2) if they’ve been taught a missionary discussion by me 3) if they have felt the Spirit through my music 4) if they’ve felt the Spirit when I’ve been in their home 5) if they’re a youth & they’ve been inspired by me. Basically every person in that room stood, probably like 60 people. My heart was going to burst with pure love for these people. I will never forget the way I felt looking out at all these people who have deeply touched my life. It was such an amazing moment. I truly felt like that is what the celestial kingdom will feel like.  It was INCREDIBLE. This area will always have my heart. It’s amazing what can happen when you pray earnestly and work so hard to feel pure love for people that used to be strangers but now feel like family. 

Me with Brother Klarin

It was just absolutely amazing. I felt so loved in that moment & so blessed to have served with all of those people and all the people in my past areas as well. My heart is SO FULL, it’s gonna burst!
Final words – if you’ve been contemplating serving a mission, DO IT. So many blessings await you and I am so convinced that you will never ever regret going on a mission as long as you serve faithfully and give it your all. I know this gospel is so true. Jesus Christ loves you so personally & God has the strongest desire to have you live with Him again. I know that The Book of Mormon holds the answers to the deepest questions of your soul. I know that life is meant to have opposition but it’s a beautiful thing when you trust in God & follow His will for you. I am so excited to take the lessons I’ve learned & apply them to the rest of eternity. I’m forever a changed person. 
Thanks everyone for the support while I’ve been serving & for staying tuned into my crazy adventures! 
In case you didn’t see it before, my homecoming talk is on this Sunday, February 19th at 10:30AM MST.  Here is the Zoom link if you want to watch it >

Elder Arkell in Argentina

This email will be a little different. I was impressed last night that I should write about things that I have learned so far on my mission so here goes…
First off I will say that these first 5 1/2 months have been soooooo hard. Harder than I expected. But looking back I have can see that I have grown so much. 
 I don’t know if you remember but I wrote in my email two weeks ago that Elder Renlund gave us a training through Zoom. I have put his advice into practice and I have seen miracles come from it. He said that the miracles come not when we just work, but when we work because we WANT to work. We should work because we love God and the people. I have been praying every morning that God would give me a stronger desire to work, and a stronger love for the people, and the miracles have come! 
I have learned to be humble. I realized that I had a lot of pride. In my drive to be a great missionary I was always comparing my self to others. I was very envious when others would be having more success then me. And when I would have a good day or week, I would give the credit to myself and not to God. That, my friends, is not good. I read a scripture recently that slapped me in the face. Doctrine and Covenants 59:21 “And in nothing doth man offend God… save those who confess not his hand in all things…” I have learned in these last few months that there really isn’t such thing as a great missionary, we are just tools in the hands of an all-powerful, all loving God. The success comes from Him.
My testimony of the necessity of trials has grown un montón (a lot). Ether 6:8 says, “the wind did never cease to blow toward the promised land.” The trials and hard times are necessary. Without them, we couldn’t learn and grow. 
I have grow and solid testimony of this church. Ain’t no way that its not true. I testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I testify that the prophets and apostles are living servants of God and were called by Him! I testify that God lives, I testify that Christ lives and loves each and every one of you. I love them with all my heart and will strive my hardest each day to become more like them. 
Here is a paragraph of a talk by Jeffery R. Holland that I love. Its amazing. “I had a missionary ask me once if I would give my life for the Church. I said, “Elder, I am giving my life for the Church.” I know what he meant. What he meant was, “Would you die for it?” Well, that’s the easy part. That’s a snap! On some days it looks really appealing. That’s the easy part, to die for it. Well, what God needs is people who will live for it, people who will go the distance, people who are in this race we’re talking about that will go all the way to the tape. And some may die along the way and that’s wonderful, but He needs people who will finish the work. He needs people who will wrap this up, and that’s the pledge I make to you, and that’s the pledge He asked. We’re in this together.”
To finish, I would like to give a shoutout to my amazing, beautiful, sister, Sister Sara Arkell, who will finish her full time mission for the Lord Jesus Christ this week. She had been such a great example of devoted service and would be 100% satisfied if I could become a missionary just like her one day. I love you Sis! I cant wait to give you a great big hug!
You guys are awesome! Thanks for all your support and love! I will be praying for you!

Angie Stephenson

Wednesday 15th of February 2023

Just wonderful 💝