Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Ultimate Week - End of our Mission

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, August 21, we worked all day at the Office.  I did letters to the Departing Miss. leaving early on Sept. 1, and letters to the Dep Miss leaving on the regular Transfer Day, Sept. 12.  I also did the 4th Letters that go in all their Mission Memories Binders.  There were a lot of emails to take care of, plus forwarding the weekly letter from Pres. Hansen.  It was the day of the Solar Eclipse, so we looked through the cereal box that Elder Sorensen had made.  But I got more out of the Weather Channel station that showed it all across America.  It was pretty special!  I especially liked a lot of the photos that were on Facebook.  Pretty spectacular!!  At 2:00 our replacement couple, Elder and Sister Baird, arrived.  We were so glad to welcome them.  We showed them around and got started showing them their responsibilities.  I worked on updating the calendar and assorted other things. 
The Hesses, the Sorensens, the Hartzells, and the Bairds
We closed the Office at 4:30 and all went to dinner at Olive Garden with Pres. & Sis. Hansen.  It was delicious as usual.  Then the Bairds followed us to the Mission Home where they spent the night, too.  They had their first interview with Pres. Hansen.  We played Runs and Sets with Sis. Hansen, and she won most of the rounds.  She was thrilled as she said she doesn’t usually win very often.  Had a good night’s sleep.
            Tuesday, August 22, we took the Bairds over to our old apartment, their new one, to help them unload.  But we were shocked to see that the apartment and the rugs had NOT been cleaned.  So I quickly told Denise and she got both cleanings done for that day.  In the meantime, the Bairds came back to the Office and worked all day.  Then they decided to go back to the apartment, even though the carpet would still be wet.  We headed to the Mission Home, thinking that they would check things out and come back to spend another night, but they never came back.  We found out that they went out to dinner, then felt the carpet was dry enough and unloaded their car.  I think it wore Sister Baird out as her cold that she caught in the MTC was worse and she slept all day.  Elder Baird came in until lunch time, then went home to check on her.  He came back and finished the day.  Jim: Elder Baird has good experience at doing the finance so it was fairly easy to show him what was going on.  He had not been doing anything with housing, so that will be the big challenge.  I have a spreadsheet with all the apartments listed and the details for utility payments, so this is a required resource to pay those bills.  Without it life would be much harder.  He is slowly getting the hang of it.  Pat: I spent several hours with Sis. Sorensen going over the letter process for all the letters that have to be done.  I also worked more on the Departure Binders and a variety of other things.  In the eve. Jim went for a walk and I exercised in the FR while talking with Brent for almost an hour.  Then we fixed and ate dinner and made our lunch.  Got a few other things done and went to bed.  The Hansens were gone to Memphis.
            Wednesday, August 23, Sis. Baird was feeling better and came in and was trained by Sis. Sorensen.  It was Leadership Training in our building and we had lots of good missionaries in and out of our Office.  We had 4 new Miss. Recs. come in and I processed those.  I also ran some errands.  After work we went to Kroger and did some shopping.  Then we went to Hesses for a nice farewell dinner and were joined by the Sorensens and Bairds.  So nice to all be together.  We will surely miss them!!  Went home, washed a batch of clothes, and went to bed.
            Thursday, August 24, I worked on emails, sent letters to the 25 missionaries in the MTC who will be coming on Sept. 12.  I also helped Sister Hess and Sister Baird work on the Arrival Binders—there are 25 to get ready!!  Jim: I worked with Elder Baird all day and introduced my Word document TODO list I use to keep track of repetitive activities or one-time assignments.  It has helped me immensely to not forget to do something. I hope he will use it. We also worked on a couple of the open apartment issues.  Elder Thompson happened in also so Elder Baird heard a lot about dealing with bedbugs.   We left work at 4:30 so we could go home for dinner.  Then Jim went to a Missionary Choir practice at the church and I stayed home and repacked my suitcases and relaxed.  It was really nice!  Sister Hansen is always giving us hugs and telling us how much she loves having us stay there with them.  We feel so welcome by both of them.  What a nice way to finish our mission.  Of course, President keeps telling us to plan on coming back in 18 months!!
            Friday, August 25, as we left the Mission Home, we saw some men standing by their cars and they waved to us.  We did not know (nor did the Hansens) that they were coming in to paint the rooms on the main floor.  When we got home, the house was in chaos—all the furniture downstairs in each room was pushed to the center and covered with plastic.  So no more access to the TV and no more access to the kitchen!!  That was really hard.  We were able to get to the fridge but not much else.  At the Office we had the Bairds help us clean the bathrooms, went through emails, then had a 3-hour Staff Meeting that started at 10 a.m.  We sure talked about a lot of things, and Pres. treats us like a council and asks for our input a lot.  It is quite empowering!  Then we went to David’s Burgers and enjoyed a delicious lunch.  Came back to the Office to take care of the new assignments we got.  Jim: We worked on the six new apartments there are to open.  Most of all we are waiting for input from the apartment managers so we can proceed.  We finally left at 5:30 and came home to the chaos described above.  Because we were still full from lunch, we finally cut up a cantaloupe at 8:00 and ate some and some popcorn.  Had a quiet eve.
            Saturday, August 26, the painters were back, so we ate a light breakfast.  We exercised, repacked some boxes to ship, cleaned up, drove downtown to the Arkansas Historic District and bought some farewell gifts for the Hansens and the other Office Couples.  Then we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch, then back to the Mission Home for reading and naps.  At 5:30 we drove to Kroger for a couple of things, then met up with everyone at the Asia Buffet at 6:00 for a delicious buffet.  Oh, it was sooooooo good!!  We went home after to rest.
            Sunday, August 27, was a wonderful Sabbath Day!!  We had a nice quiet morning, then went to our Little Rock Ward for church the last time.  We had some wonderful testimonies from Lily and from Bro. Bellarose on their conversion stories.  Jim sang an outstanding musical number with the Missionary Choir, and both Sis. And Pres. Hansen spoke.  They gave good talks, and Pres. Hansen spoke about missionary work, telling the ward members they needed to get Jesus Christ in their bones, and then they would know when to open their mouths and what to say.  SS, RS and Priesthood were also good, and then we had the monthly potluck.  This time the food was a Latin theme and was so delicious!!!!  Pres.  & Sis. Hansen stayed for it and enjoyed visiting with people.  We took photos and shed tears with lots of dear friends, especially Michelle and Lily.  We are going to miss them so much!!  We went home and took naps, had a short visit with Christi on our way to Larry and Holly’s, where we gave the kids their little gifts and visited with them, talking about their school week, had delicious spice cookies that Holly made, and gave everybody hugs goodbye.  Talked to Christ on our way home, then went into President’s Office for our Exit Interview.  It was really special and made us cry.  Went to bed and slept well. 
            Monday, August 28, the painters came in as we left for the Office.  Sent out Letter #3 to the Departure Missionaries, updated and printed up the 4-year Address List to put in the 17 Departure Mission Memories Binders.  Worked on trying to get some of the iPads paid for.  Jim: Things were going fine until about 11AM when we got a call from the manager at one of the apartments we are setting up and she couldn’t get the contract to transmit to us electronically, so I had to drive the 30 minutes to their office to sign the papers.  That was frustrating.  First time that has happened.  I am a little worried about the housing set ups that Elder Baird is going to have to finish.  I tried my best to get it done before he arrived, but some things you just cannot hurry.  Said goodbye to the missionaries who came into the Office, worked on an assortment of things, and said goodbye to the Sorensens, the Hesses, and the Bairds.  Went home, did the final laundry batches, packed everything up, said goodbye to Pres. & Sis. Hansen—we all were a bit weepy.  We will surely miss everyone.
            Tuesday, August 29, we left.  We drove through Memphis for the last time, then on to Nashville, north to Louisville, KY, and finished in Columbus, OH, to stay with Jim’s brother and sister-in-law.  We called President Hansen during the trip to sing Happy Birthday to him.  We got a call at 10:30 p.m. from President Pullen, our Stake President in Payson, to officially Release us as missionaries.  It felt sad to take off our badges and put them away.
            Thank you all for taking the time to read our epistles each week and share our mission with us.  You mean a lot to us! We hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.
            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

PS—Our Homecoming talk won’t be until the end of October because of Ward speaking assignments already defined and of all the travel we have planned in September and October.  We will send out an email when we know the date for sure, for those who would like to come.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Penultimate Week

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, August 14, I got up and made a crab salad for the Senior Potluck and FHE for in the evening.  Then went to work where I worked on a variety of things with Sister S:  letters to send to parents for information about the December Departure Missionaries, letters to send to stake presidents of the September Departure Missionaries, calendar changes for the mission, answering phone calls and a lot of emails.  It was a busy day!  Then we drove to the Mission Home for a delicious potluck dinner—no assignments were made and we had a good variety of good food!!  Then the Griffiths gave a FHE lesson on D&C 4:5-6.  It was very creative and based on a book about the D&C by David Ridges.  Afterwards I helped wash dishes, had fun visiting, and went home to bed.
            Tuesday, August 15 was our 18-month anniversary of the start of our mission—the day we entered the MTC.  I did a lot of work with Sister Sorensen, going over the desk manual I had to help her put everything together.  After I leave, she plans to have my number on speed dial!!  I printed up 4 Mission Histories, updated the calendar, took care of emails, cleaned up the Mission Secretary file in the computer.  At 11:30 Jim & I took some packages to the post office (sending old iPads to SLC), then went to Kroger for salad and to Little Caesars for pizza and served our District missionaries lunch after their District Meeting.  It was fun and nice to visit.  It included our Office Elders, Maskovich and Lochlan Smith, Elders Russell and Sagle, and Sister Andrews and Shumway.  Was busy all afternoon doing a variety of things.  Jim: yesterday and today were very busy with catching up on bills to pay that I didn’t have time to do last week and working on new apartments to find for this next transfer in September.  I have never had 5 new apartments at one time to find and set up.  I also annually have to calculate the senior missionary living expenses, so that took a while also.  Pat: Talked to Lois on the way home and she is doing so well.  Also exercised, Jim talked to Brent while he went for his walk.  Brent was able to be in one of the sealing rooms for the dedication of the Tucson Temple and said it was a wonderful, spiritual experience.  Ate dinner, washed a load of towels, did some gift-wrapping, looked at a bunch of photos that Brent linked us to in order to see pictures of the Cultural Celebration that the triplets were in.  We did spot Isaiah and James, but not Noah.
            Wednesday, I worked with Sis. S all day.  While she processed three new missionary recommendations, I put together 4 Mission Memories binders.  Took a short nap in the afternoon, went home after work and did 2 loads of laundry, recorded our receipts and did the July budget, organized a lot of papers, and went through the desk drawers.  Finally relaxed from 9-10, then went to bed and slept great!
            Thursday, August 17, I did a variety of things:  letters to Sept Dep Miss, letters to their parents, printed up more Mission Histories (I try to not do more than 4 a day as it ties up the printer and also the printer gets quite hot), talked to SL for a while about some problems with the printer, updated our calendars, etc.  Got a fun email from Sister Wakolo updating us on the things they are doing.  Elder Wakolo is going on trips with General Authorities every weekend, and this weekend Sister Wakolo will go with him.  Came home, exercised, and packed our suitcases and boxes, but not the final packing yet.  Mostly just gathered and organized stuff.  Watched some TV while Jim washed dishes and ironed shirts. 
            Friday, August 18, sent out more Departure Letters (we end up doing these two times as we have 4 missionaries leaving early on Sept 1st, and the other 13 leave on Sept. 12th, the normal Transfer Day.  We updated lists, calendars, answered phone calls, I took a nap, etc.  Jim: I finally by today made some good progress on 4 of the 5 apartments to open.  One has been especially hard to communicate with the manager, who is too busy.  Went home to do more packing.  The Hesses came over to take a few things that they wanted, including the Gazelle that I have used for exercising, and a couple of plants.  We watched a movie and went to bed.
            Saturday, August 19, we exercised, packed, washed all the sheets, the mattress pads, the towels, and the bathroom floor rugs.  We were super busy all day, except for a couple of ½ hour breaks.  Jim took three loads of trash to the dumpster.  We finally loaded the car at 3:30—it was sunny and HOT—and then drove to the Mission Home, where we unloaded the car with the help of Pres. Hansen and Elder Cowley.  Elder May was installing President Hansen’s new computer.  They put everything in the LR, and Jim & I carried everything upstairs to one of the bedrooms.  We sure have a mess of stuff!!  So glad we didn’t have to carry it all into a hotel.  The Hansens have been so welcoming—Sister Hansen giving me several hugs and telling us how glad she was to have us there.  Then they left for a baptism, we ate some of our left-over food that we brought with us, then just watched TV all evening and tried to recover from the day!!  New bed meant we didn’t sleep the greatest, but it was nice.
            Sunday, August 20, was a lovely day.  We had a quiet morning, went to our regular Little Rock Ward meetings, had many people tell us how much they will miss us and thanked us for our friendship, ate a delicious Mexican dinner at Michelle’s that she and her daughter, Danielle, prepared, with Lily providing the yummy chocolate silk pie for dessert.  Went home, napped, and enjoyed talking to Christi and Shawn, Lucas and Abby, as they told us about their week in China.  It was an incredible experience!!  Also visited with Shelley as she told us of losing her cell phone in the lake, and someone finding it and turning it in to the AT&T store and it still works.  Shelley went from sorrow and depression to joy and exhilaration in 24 hours!!  She said she had learned at least three things, 1) don’t get so upset over material things 2) believe in miracles 3) have more compassion for others when they are struggle with things.
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Three Weeks Remain

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, August 7, was another very busy day.  Lots of emails had come in over the weekend that needed to be dealt with, and mail that needed to be opened, recorded, and filed.  We entered all the contact information of the new Arr miss into the 4-year Address List.  I did take a few minutes for a quick nap in the afternoon.  Came home, exercised, did 2 loads of laundry, and read for a while.  Fell asleep watching a TV show, then went to bed. Jim: I continue to write up some more procedures of the various responsibilities to share with the new Elder when he arrives.
            Tuesday, August 8, we worked on the Leadership Letters.  We even made a new one for something called a Model District—this is where the Zone Leaders are also the District Leaders of their District so that they can be a model on how a district should be managed.  It was a day of the NLR Zone Conf in Conway, so we didn’t have our local missionaries in the Office.  Also, Elder and Sister Hess and Elder Sorensen will be gone every day to those zone Conferences.  We did receive the Book of Mormon order from SLC-30 boxes with 40 in each box!  Sisters Sorensen and Hess were so happy!!  And busy filling all the orders that had come in that they couldn’t fill before.  Went home after work, made and ate dinner, had a good phone visit with Brent (they are looking forward to this weekend when their new Tucson Temple will be dedicated and their triplets will participate in the Cultural Celebration), then we went to the movie, “Dunkirk.”  This was a difficult movie to watch and told a powerful story of fear, sorrow, hope, and courage.
            Wednesday, August 9, we finished all the rest of the Leadership Letters, had one new miss. rec. come in and processed it, did 4 stake president letters for the 4 missionaries who leave early on Sept. 1st, plus a letter to each of their parents.  Sis. Sorensen will send the letters to the 4 miss. on Thursday.  It was the Searcy Zone Conf.  We left at 4:30 to take a package to the post office, then went to Sister Culwell’s for dinner.  We were early and they had no room at the table as they had 6 elders there who came at 5:00.  So we sat in the living room and read until 6:00, when the elders left and the 2 sisters came to eat with us.  Then we stopped by the Office for a couple of things, then went home to do another load of laundry & exercise. Jim: I worked at getting 5 new apartments.  I have never had more than one new one at a time, so this is a real challenge.
            Thursday, Aug. 10, is my mother’s birthdate.  She was born in 1905, and passed away in 1996.  I love to remember her, especially on that date.  It was our Little Rock (Benton and Pine Bluff) Zone Conference.  We loved the teachings by Pres. Hansen, our zone leaders, and Sister Hansen. President taught about being Spirit-directed, he introduced a new home teaching/visiting teaching program that the missionaries will be involved with and is supported by all the 5 stakes.  He also taught about daily pondering in the morning to clean our mind and let the Spirit prompt us with things we should do that day, or soon, jot them down, and then think about them during the day and accomplish the prompting.   At the end we had a testimony meeting. Jim & I shared ours to say goodbye to our wonderful missionaries.  We also had our LR Ward prepare the lunch so it was great to visit with Sister Nance, Sister Stuckey, Sister Loken, and Sister Jones.  We visited for a little while and they told me how much they will miss us.  Sure makes us feel good!!  And I will certainly miss them!!  Then we did some shopping on the way home, and relaxed while watching some TV.
            Friday, Aug. 11, we cleaned the bathrooms at the church.  Sis. Sorensen sat at my desk and worked on taking care of my responsibilities.  We had a Staff Meeting at 10:00 that lasted until after 1:00.  We had Dr. and Sister Kearl from the Area Office who are over the medical care of about 8 missions.  They talked about the medical needs of the missionaries and how things are going.  Mental health issues lead the list.  Then we went to lunch at Larry’s Pizza, worked on stuff all afternoon, got a haircut on the way home, ate a light dinner, and fell asleep watching TV.  Jim couldn’t even wake me up!
            Saturday, Aug. 12, we cleaned our apartment bathrooms, and I cut Jim’s hair.  We started gathering stuff into boxes of:  ship it home, carry it home, and leave it here.  We picked up Bram at 12:30, and took him for his birthday lunch at Five Guys.  Even though his birthday isn’t until the end of September, we won’t be here then so are celebrating his birthday now.  After lunch, we went to Toys R Us where he picked out a couple of small Star Wars Lego sets, then went to the Discovery Museum downtown and enjoyed playing with a lot of different activities that taught about science and nature, etc.  We also watched a special Tesla demonstration that was interesting. 
Bram on a bed of nails at the Discovery Museum

When we dropped Bram off at home, we watched a stop-motion video he has been working on.  It was now about 5 or 6 minutes long.  He is very creative.  Also, his sister, Harper, made him an “ocean book” with lots of sea creatures.  She did a great job!!
            Sunday, Aug 13, has been much cooler, a high of only 75 degrees, with rain on and off all day.  We enjoyed our meetings and our friends, the talks and the lessons.  Afterwards we went to the Anderson’s for a delicious dinner and good visiting.  Then visited with Lois on the way home, took naps, made our lunch for tomorrow, and will visit with Shelley later.  Christi and her family flew to China and will be there for one week.  How fun for them!
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.
            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August Begins

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday, July 30th, was a cooler day-only a high of 86 degrees!  Jim & I were asked to bear our testimonies in Sacrament meeting as the “Youth Speakers!”  So we each spoke for about 5 minutes.  It was special to share with them our love of the Lord and our gratitude for being here for the last 17 months.  The other talks and the RS/PS lesson were all about “Teaching in the Savior’s Way.”  This is such a wonderful program that the church is encouraging.  In the evening we had phone/Facetime visits with Joseph, Christi & her family, and Shelley.  Christi and her family are getting ready for a week trip to China in August!!  We also talked to Lois, who is doing well.
            Monday, July 31st, we got up early and went to the Memphis Temple with the Departing Missionaries. 
At the Memphis Temple with the other Departing Missionaries
The weather was very nice.  It had dried up to only 40% humidity, which for here is like the Sahara Desert.  We were able to say goodbye to some of our Senior Missionaries who serve in Memphis:  Sister Womack, Sister Nichols, and the Milks who are former missionaries.  I was praying hard for an answer to a problem I had and felt that the Lord would take care of it.  I ended up with a vision migraine that took a while to go away.  We drove back to the Mission Home to help fix dinner for the Dep Miss:  ham, potato casserole, tossed salad, peas, and Cookie Salad, with brownies and ice cream for dessert.  We helped with the cleanup, then headed home.  I got 3 bug bites on my ankles from Sat., and they are itching like crazy.  I don’t have very good self-control about not scratchingL!
            Tuesday, Aug. 1st, I took care of a lot of mail and emails that came into the Office over the weekend and on Monday.  I then turned my computer over to Sister Sorensen and Sister Hess who did the Transfer Board in IMOS.  They got it all done very well!  I ran some errands, then took over the computer while they left at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home and help with the Arr. Miss BBQ.  Elder Hartzell and I took care of the Office, leaving at our usual 5:00.  We got to visit with both Larry and Brent, so that was great!  Had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday, Aug. 2nd, we drove to the Mission Home early in the morning, arriving by 7:00 so that we could help make big batches of waffles, and Jim browned 3 # of sausage and cooked a lot of scrambled eggs.  We then fed the 21 new miss. who came in the day before.  Then they left and we cleaned up and went over to the NLR chapel for their training all day.  There was a lot of catchup work to do.  Our lunch was prepared by the Pinn. Mtn. sisters organized by Sister Beheshti.  It was delicious!!  We had a surprise visit from Sister Abby Jensen and her family who just went home in March.  Her mom was one of the main organizers of the Christmas packages for our foreign missionaries last Christmas.  It was so good to see them all!!  And they shared lunch with us.  After lunch we did our Training of the new miss, then went back to the Office and worked on all the paperwork that was collected by the Assistants and turned in to us.  I was going to stay late but ended up with another vision migraine and had to go home and rest.  I still did 3 loads of laundry.
            Thursday, Aug. 3rd, I filed away a lot of paper work, sent out the letters from the new miss to their families, submitted Part 2 of the IMOS Transfer Board.  Jim & I mailed a package to the Wakolos, did a deposit at the bank, and picked up a bunch of water and food at Sam’s Club for the mission.  Came back and worked with SLC on some mobile device problems that we finally figured out.  My main help there has been Greg Solia, and I gave him profuse thanks for all the problems he has solved for me!!  Also sent out emails to the various stakes who are providing lunches over the next 2 weeks for the 5 Zone Conferences.  We needed to give them the numbers of how many they are feeding.  Went home and packed and made food for a quick trip we were going on over the weekend.  I love talking to my sister, Lois, everyday—she sounds so happy!!
            Friday, Aug. 4th, I dusted Office and Jim vacuumed.  I labeled all the photos of the new missionaries, and sent out email letters to all of their families along with the photos.  We started receiving thank you’s almost immediately!!  Sis. Sorensen entered all the new miss email addresses into Outlook, and sent out the July Leader.  Had a lot of phone calls about Area Books on the mobile devices not working, so I just referred all of them to send in help requests to SLC.  I learned how to do some additional things.  Jim has been busy with apartment issues all week, bills to pay, and some bike challenges.  Then Jim & I left at 3:15 to drive up to the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas to a dude ranch called Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.  It is owned by a family whose patriarch is in the North Little Rock Ward.  He came into our Office last April and gave us all postcards with invites to stay one or two nights for free.  This included not only the cabin, but the food.  However, all the activities would be extra.  We got up there about 5:45pm, to a beautiful valley surrounded by cliffs, a wonderful pastoral scene, with goats and horses grazing in the meadow.  We ate dinner at 6:30.  It was delicious!  We met a really sweet couple who work there named Cam and Jennifer.  He is a convert and she is reactivated.  They were sealed in the St. Louis Temple last October.  They are so happy!!  It was great to hear their story!  We took our stuff into our cabin, sat for a while on a swing on the porch, then enjoyed a restful night’s sleep. 
            Saturday, Aug. 5th, we got up, ate a delicious breakfast, went back to the cabin and took naps, went for a lovely walk in the green countryside and saw the horses and goats.  Ate lunch, took naps, read, Jim went for another walk.  At 6:00 we met at the barn and rode in a tractor-pulled wagon to the BBQ where we ate fish and steak!!  Delicious!!  Went back to the lodge for dessert.  Went to the cabin and slept soundly!! 

            Sunday, Aug. 6th—woke up this morning to pouring, dumping rain!!  I was worried about getting out of the valley, but we said a couple of prayers, and I decided to have faith and close my eyes and not worry.  Jim drove us out just fine, and we drove the rest of the 2 ½ hours home in pouring, dumping rain!!  We got home, unloaded the car, changed our clothes and headed to church.  We loved Sacrament/Testimony meeting and our other meetings as well.  We went home, napped, and went to Larry and Holly’s where we enjoyed a nice dinner, heard about their trip to Utah, and played games.  Sure is great to be with family!!  Also had fun visits with Christi and Shelley.
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Fun Memphis Trip

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday, July 23rd, was a lovely, quiet Sabbath Day.  We enjoyed our church meetings and visiting with the wonderful members of the Little Rock Ward.  The Sabbath is a rejuvenating day for us. We had a Linger-Longer Potluck after and ate lots of good food.  Went home and took naps, then had phone visits with my sister, Lois, and with our daughters, Christi and Shelley.  It’s always so fun to catch up with everyone.
            Monday, July 24th, was Pioneer Day.  We couldn’t stay home and watch the parade on BYU TV but we did see parts of it later.  And we had thoughts about the pioneers at the Office.  I took care of emails and we had our Staff Meeting from 10-1:00.  We talked about a lot of things, and President Hansen likes to use the Council process, so we discussed a lot of things that we don’t usually talk about.  It was very informative, but also takes a lot longer.  He also shared some of the miracles that he has seen in the month he has been here.  He has felt the guidance from the Spirit, as promised by Elder Anderson when he was set apart, stronger than at any other time in his life. We went to lunch at Larry’s Pizza (right around the corner), and then President continued discussions with the various individuals and the things they needed to talk about that the whole group did not need to be there for.  I worked on a few new things that the President asked me to do.  In the evening I talked to Lois and Carolyn and Glenn.  This is all to set up my sister moving to Phoenix.  Maybe then I can finally have a good night’s sleep again—I have been so worried about her as she is not in a safe place. 
Pat teaching Sister Sorensen how to do her work
            Tuesday, July 25th, was our 5-week mark until we leave.  I worked on Departure “Mission Memories” Binders all day, showing Sister Sorensen the process.  I got 10 of the 15 done and will let Sis. S. do the rest Wed.  I also had a good phone visit with Sister Hugentobler—she really misses being here and I know we will feel the same when we are gone.  We exercised both before and after work.  Jim was able to have a good phone visit with Brent during his walk.  I talked to Lois and had a quiet evening.  Was able to sleep good.
            Wednesday, July 26th, Sister Sorensen finished the last 5 binders.  We had a weird problem happen in IMOS and had SL try to help us, but it was because of some change in Google so we just have to deal with it.  Two missionary sisters came into the Office saying that someone had tried to open their door after 10:00 the night before.  They called their District Leaders and the police, then drove to the Sherwood sisters’ apartment and spent the night there.  We talked with them, they talked to President Hansen, and we determined to get them some lunch, take them to the store for a few things like pepper spray, and have them go back and collect their stuff and go stay with the sisters in Cabot.  They went back, prayed about their apartment, and just didn’t feel good about it, so did what we suggested.  Some places are just scarry!  We were invited over to dinner at a member’s home.  Their family has fixed dinner for the missionaries in their ward (the LR ward) every Wednesday night for over 30 or 40 years (I can’t remember when they started but it was a long time ago!!)  Good food and good company.  I feel so sad - my sister called and told me some bad things that happened to her this week. My heart just breaks and I will be so glad when my sister is moved.  So I didn’t sleep well that night or the next. Thank heavens there are other family members who help out with love and support.
            Thursday, July 27th, was MLC, and we got to spend a little time with some great missionary leaders.  I taught Sister Sorensen how to do the Departure and Arrival Programs, how to forward itineraries, how to print up the lists for the Departure and Arrival envelopes, and assorted other small things.  I also helped Sister Hess go through all the 22 Arrival Binders and make sure all the materials were in them.  There were several ones that had stuff missing, so it’s a good thing we did this.  We went to get the Jimmy Johns box lunches and enjoyed eating them.  Worked on the calendars (both my desk calendar and the Mission Calendar), answered emails, and other stuff.  Jim: I have been very busy this week with apartments.  Opening one new one, there are 12 renewals in process and now 5 more that we need to find due to an increase in missionaries coming to the field.  It is a good busy.  I went home with the Hesses as Jim had to stay for a Church Disciplinary Council (a young elder did something wrong and is being sent home).  I spent the evening alone as Jim did not get home until 9:15.  Jim: These councils are held to bless the individual in helping them repent and receive the blessing of the atonement in their life. It is a humbling experience for all who are involved.  I had spoken with Lois and she was trying to feel calm with all the bad stuff going on in her life.
            Friday, July 28th, was cleaning morning at the chapel and we did the bathrooms and collected the garbage.  I sent out a bunch of emails and recorded the responses as they came in.  I did some more calendaring, training, and organizing.  After work we did a quick clean at the apartment and got stuff ready for Saturday.
            Saturday, July 29th, we had a fun outing to Memphis.  We rode with Brother & Sister Green, and met up with the Sorensens and the Hesses at a place called, “The Slave Haven Museum—a stop on the Underground Railroad.”  It is a small house but the guides pack a lot of information into their presentation.  Because we had to stop and repeat a couple of times as more people joined us, it was a bit frustrating, but finally we got the rest of the tour and it took about 2 hours (including the stops and starts).  It was very interesting.  Then we went to Beale Street and got lunch at a restaurant called Jerry Lawlers (a wrestler).  Good BBQ and gumbo soup.  Then shopped at Schwab’s Drug Store and a couple of other places.  Then we went to the Cotton Museum, where all the instruction was done with displays and videos, so we could take our time and see what we wanted.  We were there about 1 ½ hours.  

Standing in front of the Slave Haven Museum/House
A little view of the famous Beale Street
Enjoying BBQ, Gumbo, etc.
 Then we said goodbye to the other car and headed home, stopping at Red Lobster for dinner.   Then came home and relaxed.  My sister and her daughter Carolyn got packed up in the morning in Orem and drove home to Phoenix, with Carolyn’s husband Kraig driving the truck home that he and his brother-in-law, Alan, packed.  My sister said as she rode south that she felt a great weight lifting off of her, and she could finally feel peace.  I felt so much better all day and slept really good last night as I was so relieved!!
            More and more people are realizing we are leaving and letting us know how sad they will be to have us gone.  And we will surely miss them, too!
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Pioneer Day Tomorrow!

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday, July 16, was sunny, hot, and muggy.  We enjoyed our meetings and the good feelings in the Little Rock Ward.  Had nice phone visits with my sister, Lois, and a long 2-hour visit with Christi and her family.  We also took naps and watched the Mormon Tabernacle in the morning and the Pioneer Concert with Alex Boye’ in the evening.  Loved all the good music!
            Monday, July 17, I worked on the calendar, taught Sister Sorensen how to do Dep. Letter #3 that includes the missionaries’ itineraries.  I also worked on some iPad issues, took care of some personal business, finished and printed up and mailed the 6-month Mission History to Salt Lake City, and updated my desk calendar.  After work we ate dinner, then went to see the movie, “Spiderman.”  It was pretty good but not great.  Came home, made our lunches, and went to bed.
            Tuesday, July 18, I printed up 4 more Mission Histories to go in the “Mission Memories” binders, worked on updating the 4-year address list for the same binders, updated drivers license information, showed Sister Sorensen how to do the Mission Memories binders, putting in the copies of the letters in their files.  I also updated a lot of the papers with Sister Sorensen’ name instead of mine.  That feels strange!  Came home, exercised, talked to Lois and Brent, and was grateful that Renae took Lois to the doctor’s for her last checkup before she leaves.  She will really miss him as he has treated her so well.  Had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday, July 19, Sister Sorensen processed the 3 new missionary recommendations that came in.  Because she had to do that at my desk, I went through missionary files that were a year old and shredded them (we are only supposed to keep them for a year), and moved some of the files around.  I also worked on several iPad/Samsung tablet issues with the help of the people in Salt Lake.  After work we did some shopping at Walmart and ate dinner at a little restaurant called “Two Sisters.”  The food was delicious, but we are not used to the deep-fat cooking and I didn’t feel very good that evening.  We did two loads of laundry.  Talked to my sister who told me about cousins picking her up and taking her to see our dear Aunt Wilma and say goodbye to her.  Also tried to comfort her after a difficult evening.  My heart aches for her.  I was glad a ward sister had brought her dinner and was there to help her also. 
            Thursday, July 20, showed Sister Sorensen how to take care of mobile device issues, cleaned up one of my desk binders that had accumulated too much stuff!, and had Sis. S. do the Arrival #1 letters to the missionaries coming in September, and the Arrival #1 letters to the parents of those missionaries.  Jim and I took some things to the post office and went to Holly Lobby and Michaels looking for frames to match the ones that are on the hallway walls near our office that have photos of the past 14 mission presidents and their wives.  All 14 match, but we can’t find any more that will match, so we are trying to decide what to do.  We have even looked online, but so far no success.  Guess we will have to get something different. Also, while we were at Michaels, the lady at the counter saw our name tags and asked if we were Mormons.  She then said that she had been a Mormon once, but her father (whom she did not get along with) had her name taken off the records of the church.  We asked if she would like to talk to the missionaries and she said “yes” and gave us her card.  So we gave it to the Sherwood sisters and hope she will take the lessons.  Fun to do some actual missionary work!!  Jim: This has been a week of mostly apartment issues.  Trying to find a new one in the Memphis area and dealing with other renewals and a closings.  Some apartment managers are very responsive to renewals and others are way slow.  Exercised after work and talked to Lois.  Glad she is having some help from a physical therapist to get her more active.  Did one more load of laundry.
            Friday, July 21, Sister Sorensen and I worked on the Arrival #2 letter.  This one includes a bunch of information papers that need to be filled out and returned, so I had to update signatures of Pres & Sis Hansen and Sister Sorensen, then print up a lot of copies.  We printed up all the letters (there were 25 of them!!), and did an assembly line of all the papers that went in each envelope.  This took all day.  I also ran to the magnet store twice to pick up magnets for the Transfer Boards in the President’s Office and also his office at home.
We did our grocery shopping, got gas, dropped off mail, and had a delicious dinner of fish and veggies.  Tried to watch TV but feel asleep.  I have not been sleeping well lately L
            Saturday, July 22, did both exercises, dusted and vacuumed the apartment, recorded receipts, ran errands (still no success on finding the frames), paid some bills, visited with my brother and my sister and my neice.  In the evening we went over to the Hess’s apartment to have some delicious peach cobbler and visit with Elder and Sister Griffiths who are Self-Reliance missionaries.  They are working hard to get the program going here in the Arkansas and Memphis stakes. 
            We hope you are all doing well.   We can’t believe we have about 5 weeks left.  Hope we can stay caught up with everything!!

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

These are some of the different colors of the crepe myrtle trees that bloom here in June and July.  We love seeing all their pretty colors.  Thought we would share them with you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A New Couple is Coming in August!!

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday, July 9, was a lovely Sabbath day.  We enjoyed our church meetings and had some good questions and answers in our Gospel Essentials class.  After the block, we went to Michelle’s house where she and Lily fixed us a delicious roast dinner with all the trimmings, and peach cobbler for dessert.  They are both good cooks and it was delicious!!  The Little Rock Elders were there, too, and we all enjoyed visiting together.  Jim left with the Elders to take them to a teaching appointment, but no one was home.  I stayed and answered a question that Michele had that the Sister missionaries didn’t answer for her.  The discussion went well.  Then we drove home and napped, talked to my sister, Lois, and had a good phone visit with Shelley.
            Monday, July 10, I taught Sister Sorensen how to do the 2nd Departure (Dep.) Letters, along with the three enclosures that go in it.  Worked on emails and phone calls.  We had a Staff Meeting in the afternoon and got new assignments as usual.  President Hansen is still figuring things out and it is going to take a while.  We worked late.  I assembled all the letters the missionaries had written to the Wakolos at the Meet the President meetings last week and put them in a binder.  I worked on that at home.
            Tuesday, July 11, I put together half of the Departing Miss “Mission Memories” binders with the pre-made materials.  I taught Sis. S. how to do all the stake president’s letters and the Missionary Release Certificates.  We had to do 15 so it took a while.  I also worked on making the changes in the Mission Calendar, emailing and calling various people who schedule the different buildings, so that the changes could be made.  I requested the mailbox addresses of the 24 missionaries who will enter the MTC on Wed., but also got a notice of a cancellation of one of them and a postponement of another, so now 22.  Jim and I took our two boxes to the post office and mailed them to our neighbors.  I want to take a minute and pay tribute to our wonderful neighbors, the Hunters, who have taken such good care of our home and yard!!  They are true saints and we could not have done this mission without their help!!!!  After work, we exercised, had a good visit with Brent, and he told us about the triplets receiving the priesthood.  They will pass the Sacrament for the first time today!!!  I was ready to brag about not having any mosquito bites this summer compared with the multitudes last summer, but got 3 so the itching is back! J 
            Wed., July 12, was Leadership Training in our building.  There were 48 missionaries there, plus some extra companionships who were getting cars fixed, etc.  We had Chick-fil-A for lunch, and Sister Sorensen provided the salad, cut-up melon, and ice cream floats.  Yummy!!  Sis. S. also processed the 5 new missionary recommendations that came in on Tues., including a new Office Couple!!!  Hooray!!!  They are from Idaho, he is 80 and she is 75!!  He has done Financial Secretary work in the mission office near their home for the last couple of years, so Jim won’t have to do a ton of training and is doing the dance of joy, as are we all.  Because they can’t be here until Aug. 22nd, we are extending our mission from Aug. 15th to Aug. 29th, so we can overlap for a week and do the training.  Thank you for all of your prayers to get the new couple here so that we could be here to train them. One of the extra missionaries that was in the office part of today is a real computer specialist and went through 3 of the computers to update and remove bad files and things that have been slowing them down.  That was a great help.   Came home, did laundry, and relaxed
            Thurs., July 13, I put the rest of the binders together, showed Sis. S. how to do Dep. Letter #4 to go in their binder, printed up more materials, worked on the calendar and scheduling some more, and did lots of emails.  Jim went during lunch to a Timex factory and got a couple of new watches cheap.  After work, we exercised, talked to Lois and she told us that her granddaughter Vivian was there all day boxing stuff up, cleaning, and even cleaned the refrigerator in preparation for Lois to move in two weeks.  Lois also had help from the bishop of the ward to move her daughter’s stuff out.  So grateful for family and the church to help in each situation of need.  Jim: this week I have done the usual bill paying, had some apartment issues to address, reviewed and surveyed the bicycle status, and worked more on updating the Mission Emergence Plan.  We want all the missionaries to have this available to themselves as a PDF file on their tablets for reference.  Having the information in a notebook in their apartment doesn’t do them any good except when they are in their apartment and assuming they can find it. Did I mention I am really EXCITED that the new senior elder that is coming has been a financial secretary before.  YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            Friday, July 14, we cleaned the bathrooms at the church, put information into IMOS, taught Sis. S. how to do Arrival Letter #3 that we mail to the MTC, went to the magnet shop to order more board magnets, printed up and cut and put up on the board all the June baptism photos (the missionaries love to look at these when they come in).  Had a ton of rain in the afternoon, but it let up and after work we went grocery shopping, I got my hair cut while Jim took the groceries home, he came back to pick me up and we had a sandwich at Panera Bread.  Went home, enjoyed a movie, and had a quiet evening.
            Saturday, July 15, we exercised, cleaned our bathrooms, kitchen, and our refrigerator (Lois’s granddaughter inspired us!).  Jim got a new iPhone 6 but is having trouble with the volume so worked on that for a while.  Also visited with Jim’s brother, Dean, about going to see him and his wife Deb after our mission.  Also talked to Lois, and to her daughter Carolyn who is in Chicago with her daughter at a special dance clinic that they have been planning and saving and doing fundraisers for the last 6 months.  We tried to stream her performances but had lots of breaking up issues and only saw part of one.  It was cloudy part of the day and sunny and hot a muggy the rest.
            More quotes from Pres. Wakolo:
            “A step away from the world is a step closer to Christ; a step away from Christ is a step into the world.”
             “I am perfect only on one thing—at being rebuked by the Holy Ghost.”
            We hope you are all doing well.   Great is the work and we are glad to be a part of it.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Happy 4th of July!!

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday, July 2, was Fast Sunday.  We enjoyed the testimonies that were given, though some of them were more like talks.  The lessons were good, too.  After church, we were invited to the Andersons’ for dinner.  They served lots of vegetables and homemade bread that had rosemary in it.  It was very tasty and good.  Sister Anderson does painting freehand designs all over her walls and furniture, she makes her own yeast, her husband is a great pianist—self-taught, and we had two other brothers from the ward there who are both into music.  So we had some fun discussions.  We got home, took naps, and had good visits with Joseph and Shelley.  We started making plans to visit Phoenix and Tucson in October. Jim: In High Priest’s meeting we had a discussion about and read from the Book of Mormon as a group and had discussions about every 5 verses of impressions.  We didn’t get very far because of the good insights and comments.  It was a great experience and I am thankful for all the efforts that have flowed from President Monson’s conference talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon and our reading it every day.  There are goals being set, reading being done, and that is a great thing.  Some individuals who have been church attenders for years are now reading the Book of Mormon which they had not done previously. We thank Thee, Oh God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days.
            Monday, July 3, I made copies of the 24 medical cards that come in for the Arriving Miss in August.  I also filed lots of papers and took care of a number of emails.  Jim and I went to Sam’s Club to pick up water, granola bars, and fruit for the Meet the President Meetings that would be held in each Zone on Tuesday, Wed., and Thursday.  I started showing Sister Sorensen how to do the Stake President Letters and Release Certificates for the August Dep. Miss, but we didn’t get very far as we ran out of day.  Baked the dessert I will be taking to a dinner Tues. night.  Had phone visits with a niece and my sister Lois as things are not going well for her and her daughter is trying to get her moved down to Phoenix before school starts.  Lots of problems there, and trying to help from a distance is limited.   It was hard to sleep because of the worry.
            Tuesday, July 4th – Independence Day!!  Hope you all had a great one!!  Ours began at the Little Rock Ward Pancake breakfast at our Otter Creek chapel.  It was outside at the pavilion.  Delicious!!  Then we went to  the Meet the President Zone Meeting, also at our Otter Creek chapel.  We were very inspired by President and Sister Hansen as they introduced themselves to the missionaries.  What a great couple—full of faith and love for the Lord.  Also, he had been a missionary here about 35 years ago under the 2nd mission president.  He loved it here and had much success!  We saw his memory book that showed converts, companions, goals, experiences.  It was quite full of obedience and hard work.  He grew up on a dairy farm and is a dairyman and has loved that for years!!  She is wonderful and raised 5 children, the youngest is on a mission Brazil and will come home next February.  Their biggest message was that we need to rely on the Spirit.  It went from 9 am to noon.  Jim: I already knew after our first meeting with President Hansen that he was called of God to lead this mission at this time, and I have had that testimony reinforced time and time again during this meeting.  I am sure that the other missionaries felt the Spirit, as did I, and the mantle that he holds now as President of the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.  I was very touched by the entire meeting, brought to tears multiple times as I felt the Spirit as he taught.  His main reference talk was from Elder Sabin “Stand up Inside and Be All In”.  His focus was on feeling the Spirit and his examples from his mission and in life supported how he has listened and set goals to be all in.  Sister Hansen shared things about their family and taught the Joseph Smith First Vision.  One other thing that President taught that has become meaningful to me since the meeting, was about preparing for prayer.  He said he likes to read a hymn before he begins his morning and evening prayers to help bring the Spirit and help him focus on what he should ask and pray about.  So I have been trying that all week and it has really helped me in my prayers.  I am thankful for that comment that he shared. It is interesting to see some of differences so far in his leadership style compared to President, now Elder, Wakolo. Both have their own way of doing things, and both focus on the Spirit. 
Us with Sister Karen Hansen and President Norman Hansen
Pat:  Then we drove back to the Office and took over as the next Meet the President meeting was in our NLR chapel, and the Sorensens and Hesses went to that.  I got letters to parents finished up and sent out.  I also worked on the Mission History and printed up some copies.  Went home and wrote an email, then went to the dinner at the Sorensen’s.  Also there were the Hesses, the Rasmussens, the NLR Elders (Russell and Hall), the Office Elders, and Pres. and Sis. Hansen.  We ate well and had a great time visiting.  Pres. also shared a video from the Mission President’s Seminar by Elder Holland.  Only the mission presidents have access to that.  But then the next day I read the article in the Church News.  Watched the fireworks from Washington, DC, on the computer as our TV remote isn’t working.  Oh, dear!
            Wed., July 5th, I worked with Sis. S. to finish up the Stake President letters and Release Certificates.  There are 15 Departing Miss. so this took awhile.  Worked on emails and phone calls and showing Sis. Sorensen how to do some other things.  Went to Walmart after work to pick up some stuff, had a good phone visit with Brent, and then FaceTimed with Christi, Shawn, and family as they shared more about their great time in China and what the kids had been doing while they were gone.  Their other grandma was there but was sick some of the time, so Lucas and Abby took care of their younger siblings, cooked, and helped take care of her.  I also did 3 loads of laundry and started feeling sick so we went to bed. 
            Thurs., July 6th, woke up and felt fine.  Finished doing the first letter to the Departure Miss with information about their iPads.  Then I taught Sis. Sorensen how to process Missionary Recommendations.  There were 6 that came in on Tuesday—3 elders for Sept. and 3 sisters for Oct.  We worked on them all day between phone calls and emails, but didn’t finish them.  Jim & I exercised in the morning and in the evening, made our lunch as we do each evening (but now I can fully help instead of Jim doing it all). 
            Friday, July 7th, was sunny and muggy all day.  Because of all the cloud cover and rain, our temperatures have stayed in the 80’s, and even though the humidity was 100 %, it wasn’t bad.  However, because Friday was sunny, the temperatures got up to 95degrees and we finally felt the oppressive heat that we had experienced here in Little Rock last summer!  Thank heavens we are in a nice, air-conditioned office!  We did our office vacuuming and dusting first, then worked with Sister Sorensen on doing the Board cards for the new missionaries.  However, in doing that, I saw some mistakes I had made on the dates of the ones I had done last week (I had the sisters only being out for 6 months instead of 18 months.)  So I remade those first.  I printed up 4 more Mission Histories, redid the sample letters in my letter binder, taught Sis. Sorensen how to do the Departure Letters to the parents that includes the itineraries (these they are very anxious to get, though they also get them as emails).  I took care of medical bills that had come in the mail, faxing them to SLC.  Stayed late at the office to finish them so we could mail them on the way home.  Jim:  This has been a usual busy week for me, with lots of bills to pay the first of the week, and then lots of apartment issues.  I have been working for a while on our Mission Emergency respond guideline and adding members who live near the missionaries to call them when they receive severe weather reports on their phones, so they will call the missionaries and alert them, since that is not a feature on the missionary cell phones.  This has taken a lot of time to coordinate, but it should result in helping them be safer.  Pat: Did our grocery shopping, had a nice phone visit with one of our nieces who had some questions, and watched a movie on the computer.  Slept fine except for the thunder and rain we had most of the night!
            Saturday, July 8th, Brent’s and Becca’s triplets turned 12!  We called and sang to them.  Wish we could be there for the setting apart as they become Deacons!!  Also had a wonderful phone visit with Larry (I know, he lives right here and we can visit all the time, but this one had more substance and meaning and we loved it!), with Lois, with her daughter, Carolyn, and assorted other calls.  We vacuumed and dusted our apartment, did both kinds of exercise, packed up two boxes to ship home (one a small book box, and the other a big blanket box), plus Jim did the dishes and ironed his shirts.  Lois said that her grandson came over and worked for two hours to clean and organize her bedroom (he’s a good worker like his dad, she said).  Sure gave her a lot of comfort and relief.  We cleaned up and had a quiet evening.  So nice!
            Some more quotes from Pres. Wakolo: 
            Honoring his wife:  “She is the first counselor to the Holy Ghost to me.  She is truly a disciple in every way.  When I do not listen to the Holy Ghost or the first counselor, that is double trouble.”
            “It’s the plan of happiness, not the plan of sadness.”
            “Casualness causes or leads to casualties.:
            “I will never, no never forsake Him.”
            “Doubt not, fear not.”
            “Atonement or torment.”
            We hope you are all doing well.   Great is the work and we are glad to be a part of it.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Farewell to the Wakolos and Welcome the Hansens

Dear family and friends,
Last week we welcomed our new Office Elders--Jennings & Maskovich
          Monday, June 26, I started showing both Sister Sorensen and Sister Hess how to do my work so that they could try to keep up until a new couple could come.  I don’t know what the mission will do to cover Jim’s desk.  I sent out some mail and answered emails.  We had our last Staff Meeting with President Wakolo.  There were tears as we sang, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”  We also sang “Happy Birthday” as his 49th birthday was the day before.  I received some new assignments including changes in the Mission Calendar, and additions to the Mission History that have to be sent to SLC.  Came home and did assorted things such as a little laundry, cleaned the freezer, ate dinner, and went to Larry’s to play games with him and the grandchildren.  Sure was fun!
            Tuesday I worked on the new assignments, prepared most of the Leadership Letters (there are a lot to do), helped with some iPad issues, and was busy all day.  President Wakolo was in the Office for a little while and continues to hand out Book of Mormons wherever he goes.  He is an awesome missionary!  He even gave one to a delivery person yesterday, and to our faithful mailman, Johnny, today.  Jim: I was busy yesterday and today working on bills to pay, tracking missionary bicycles, and dealing with apartment contracts.  At the end of both days I couldn’t believe it was 5 pm already.  Came home, exercised, had a good phone visit with Brent, and a quiet evening.  We did get notice of an “In Hush” Office Couple, which means that someone has been called but perhaps has not yet responded.  We will know as soon as they do.  It says they will go in the MTC on August 7 and we know they will be there for 2 weeks, so if we extend our mission by 2 weeks we will be able to train them.  Pres. Wakolo suggested that I train Sister Sorensen to take over my position so that she can train the new sister to do her position.  I think that is a great idea and can work to have better continuity!!  Also talked to my sister, Lois.  We are trying to get her ready to move to her daughter’s down in Phoenix, and I feel bad I cannot be there to help her.
            Wednesday was MLC.  I did a “Mission Memories” Binder for the Wakolos and presented it to them at the end.  We also had Jimmy Johns box lunches for lunch, which Jim and I went to pick up, and also mailed our next big suitcase home to our neighbors to put in our house.  Sister Wakolo made her last batch of  Cookie Salad for those missionaries who gobbled it up with grateful hearts!!  Had one missionary get sick before lunch and throw up, so he spent the afternoon resting on the couch in President’s Office.  President and Sister Jones and President and Sister Faulkner came into President’s Office after the MLC meetings to be released from their Mission Presidency assignments.  They are such wonderful people!  Jim: There was some problem with the Church’s IMOS system and the Outlook email, so it was down for several hours today.  You don’t appreciate how dependent you are on these systems until they are not there.  I was grateful to be able to catch up after they came back on line. Then we all went to Asia Buffet in Little Rock for a wonderful Farewell Dinner for the Wakolos.  We ate and talked and enjoyed each other so much!!  What wonderful servants of the Lord!!!
Our Farewell Dinner--the Hartzells, the Hesses, the Faulkners, the Sorensens, and the Wakolos
(We also found out that evening that Christi and Shawn were home safe from their trip to China—we are so grateful!)
            Thursday we cleaned the bathrooms at the church so we would have Friday free to meet with Pres. and Sis Hansen.  I then worked on checking to make sure all the missionaries’ driver’s licenses were still valid.  I do this in a program called GVM (Global Visa Management), which is the same program I use to order the Departing Missionaries’ travel home.  There were several missionaries I had to call and remind them that they need to renew their driver’s licenses now.  I also contacted parents so that they could coordinate efforts on the next Monday P-day when they could email each other.  I then processed the 3 new missionary recommendations that came in on Tuesday.  Two for September and one for October.  Pres. & Sis Wakolo went to the airport to meet and visit with Pres. and Sis. Hansen for a couple of hours, then the Wakolos flew out at 4:00.  So Sis. Hess and Sorensen went to pick up flowers and balloons.  Sis. Sorensen arranged the flowers in a beautiful bouquet, and we took them, picked up two dinners from Olive Garden, and drove to the Mission Home to welcome the Hansens.  They had only been there about 30 minutes, so we were able to visit with them for about ½ hour, then returned to the Office to finish up and go home.  Did laundry, exercised, ate, visited with my sister and her daughter again, and relaxed for awhile.
            Friday I finished up the last of the 3 new recommendations and took care of emails.  At 10:45 the Hansens and the Assistants all came into the Office and we had a big meeting to talk about what we are doing and changes that will be made.  We took a lunch break at 1:30 to go to Larry’s Pizza to eat, then continued the meeting.  The Hansens are warm, outgoing, missionary-oriented people.  They love the Lord and have some ideas of things they want to do to further the missionary work in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.  It was obvious they had thought and prayed about what they wanted to change and are following the Spirit as they lead this mission, as did the Wakolos.  He served here as a young missionary and is so excited to be back. They shared several experiences from their life, and some of the teachings from the Mission Presidents Seminar instruction with us.  It was great.  We each introduced ourselves and talked about some of the challenges of our assignments.  President Hansen is very willing to do whatever is necessary to further the work. We felt their testimonies of the work and know they are called of the Lord to serve here at this time.  We are glad to have that testimony of them, just like we did the Wakolos.   Afterwards the Hansens met with different individuals, and I went to work at my desk making the changes to the Mission Calendar and taking care of other tasks.  We left at 6:00, did our grocery shopping, and headed home to relax. We were still full from our late lunch, so only snacked in the evening.
            Saturday Christi called and we had a good phone visit as she told us more about their China trip.  We exercised, cleaned our bathrooms and the kitchen floor, I recorded receipts and worked on and finished the June budget.  It was a quiet day at home with lots of little things accomplished.  A good day of R&R. 
            One of the cute things that was done at our last Zone Conferences was a fun game called “What are President Wakolo’s most often used phrases and one-liners.”  I will share a few each week. 
            “We must do the Lord’s work every day, every day, every day.”
            “Brothers and sisters, I rejoice with you in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We thank you for what you do, but mostly we thank you for who you are.”
            As he bears his testimony about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Church, he says, “I will never doubt that, I will never question it.”
            And one of his favorite scriptures, “3 Nephi 5:35—Behold I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ (that is who I stand for); I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life, (that is what I stand for).  Because they are who and what I stand for, I am very careful to who and what I fall for.”
            We hope you are all doing well.   Great is the work and we are glad to be a part of it.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 2017 Transfer Week

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, June 19, we got up early and drove to the temple in Memphis.  There we attended a session with the missionaries who have June birthdays, and with the Departing Missionaries.  It was so beautiful and peaceful and so good to be there.  Afterwards we drove home.  We came to a full stop and were there for at least 30 minutes.  We looked on Waze and found out that a car had hit a truck with a trailer full of horses, and they were out and running around so we would be stopped for a while.  The fellow parked next to us offered to back up so that we could get through and turn around and go up the on-ramp we had just passed.  What a great guy!!  We did that and were soon on our way to Little Rock to the Mission Home to help get dinner ready.  We prepared it at the Rodney Parham chapel as there were 16 missionaries and it would be too crowded at the mission home.  We had a delicious dinner of ham, potato casserole, chicken curry, rice, green bean casserole, tossed salad and toppings, cookie salad, lots of cut up melons, and brownies and ice cream for dessert.  The Departing dinners are served on nice china, good silverware, glass goblets and linen table cloths.  So afterwards, with no dishwasher like at the mission home, we had an assembly line to scrape, rinse, wash, rinse, and dry all the dishes.  We left for home after 8:00 p.m. very tired!
            Tuesday, June 20, Jim and I did the Transfer Board in IMOS, and trained Sisters Sorensen and Hess how to do it, too.  It takes about 2 hours to move all the missionaries around to their new areas.  I also answered emails and did some organizing.  We welcomed Elder Maskovich as a new Office Elder to join with Elder Jennings.  There were lots of new and used bikes to deal with also due to the Transfer and the new missionaries.  Jim also has several apartment changes due to the closing of some areas.  We left the Office at 3:30 to go to the Rodney Parham chapel and prepare the dinner to the new Arriving Missionaries (12) and their Trainers (15 because of some 3-somes).  We had chicken teriyaki, rice, green bean casserole, potato casserole, tossed salad, cookie salad, and fudge bars for dessert. Tuesday night’s dinner was on paper plates, bottled water, and plastic utensils.  We had to wash a lot more dishes on Monday night!!! 
            Wednesday, June 21, we drove to the chapel early for breakfast at 7:00, but we did not have to help prepare or clean up.  We were there as invited guests!  After the breakfast, we listened as the missionaries did their Recitations (3 Ne. 5:13, D&C 4, My Purpose as a Missionary, The Standard of Truth, and listing the 24 points of Preach My Gospel with associated scripture references).  It is powerful how much they have memorized!!!  Then we did our Training presentations.  I go first, then Elder Hartzell, Sister Sorensen, and Elder Sorensen.  Then we went back to the Office, put in the last of the Transfer Board changes (which Trainers will be training which new Arrivals), processed 2 new missionary recommendations, sending out lots of emails, taking care of all the paperwork the Assistants brought into the Office in the late afternoon, downloading all the photos from the camera.  Jim: I am still trying to catch up on bills to pay that came in on Monday and dealing with several apartment issues.  I also get phone calls or emails requesting used bikes from future missionaries coming.   We left the Office late, went home and ate, did 3 batches of laundry.  We also were able to see and talk to our daughter Christi and her husband Shawn, using WeChat, who is working again in China.  She joined him this time for a vacation and are having a great time.  Lots and lots of pictures and short videos.  We saw similar art and architecture that we saw in Japan.  The technology is great that we are able to see and hear them so far away with no time delays. We keep praying for word on a new couple to replace us so we can train them before we leave in August.  We are asking you to please pray for this, too!!
            Thursday, June 22, I finished processing the 2 new miss., sent a letter and photos to the parents of the 12 new Arriving missionaries, sent out the letters the new missionaries wrote to their parents along with a map of the mission, and put lots of paperwork away that I got in the mail.  Came home, exercised, and had a quiet evening.  It rained in the late afternoon and all night.
            Friday, June 23, was cleaning day at the Office, did an assortment of tasks, and was busy all day.  I sent emails to the New Arriving Miss.’s parents along with the photos of them.  I also sent photos to the Departing Missionaries.  Jim & I took some time to go to Sam’s Club and replenish the water bottles in the Office (bought 6 cases this time).  Jim: I did finally catch up on all the bills to pay but am still working on apartments to open, close, or renew, that is essentially a never ending job along with the bills.  It rained on and off all day, but when it came time to leave, it was pouring buckets and so we ran to the car and drove home.  We got several flood warnings on our phones.  We worked on a project at home and watched a couple of movies.
            Saturday, June 24, was cleaning day at home!  We also exercised, worked on projects, went to the Office to do a Departure Binder for a sister who is leaving two transfers early, did our grocery shopping, came home to eat and cut up two melons for a Linger-Longer today after church, and rested.  We also had a good phone visit with our friend Michelle who now has the other eye needing the same surgeries that the first eye needed.  So she is on our prayer list again. 
            Sunday, June 25, a nice, quiet, restful morning!  We enjoyed reading and then watching Music and the Spoken Word.  We went to church from noon to 3:00, having good talks, especially one about the Life of Christ, and good lessons, also one of which was about Jesus Christ.  Afterwards we had a potluck Linger-Longer, and then a baptism.  Then we helped our friend Michelle get home.  Had naps, read, and then had a good phone visit with Shelley. 
            We hope you are all doing well.   Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell