Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008


Elder Jim & Sister Pat Hartzell -- Japan Tokyo Mission, 4-25-12 Nishi Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo-to, 161-0031 Japan phone #011-81-3-3952-6802 email:

We can’t believe we are writing this year’s Christmas letter from Japan! For many of you who have taken the journey with us, what we have done this past year is not new. For some, you will be very surprised. We feel that this is the year of HOW MUCH!!


· We enjoyed Christmas in our new home in Payson, even with lots of snow to shovel

· We loved being with our children and grandchildren last New Years

· We enjoyed living with Christi, Shawn, Lucas, and Abby when they moved into our home

· We enjoyed having two of our children and their families, and many family and friends at our Mission Farewell

· We felt the Spirit when we were set apart for our mission

· We have learned this past year about missions

· We enjoyed our training at the MTC in March

· We have enjoyed getting to know and work with Pres. and Sister Hill

· We have laughed with and loved the dear missionaries we get to work with each day

· We have learned about mission office work, both secretarial and financial

· We have appreciated God’s help when we were struggling and looking for answers and he answered our prayers

· We love Japan—what a beautiful country it is, even the hustle and bustle of Tokyo!

· The subway and trains can be filled with people (sardines in cans have more space during rush hour!!!)

· The people of Japan can be kind and helpful

· The member of the Nakano Ward have made us feel welcome and loved

· Things cost here (sometimes twice as much as America)

· We still want to learn and do and experience

· We love their parks in the middle of the city, all over the city—so well-planned and cared for

· We have learned in the different museums we have toured

· We enjoy seeing all the different Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines

· We love the peace and reverent feelings in the Tokyo Temple—truly an island of calm in the midst of a city of constant activity

· This year has flown by

· We are glad for the technology that allows us to Skype with our family every week

· We enjoy hearing about the adventures of the:

Brent & Becca Hartzell family with Isaiah, James, & Noah—3 yrs, Malachi—21 mo. , Elijah—7 mo.

Larry & Holly Hartzell family with Gary—4, and Bram—2

Joseph & Shanna Hartzell family with Nolan—2, and Shanna’s surrogacy pregnancy

Christi & Shawn Boyles family with Lucas—6 and Abby—3

Shelley & Derek Dean family with Edison—2 and Stewart—4 months

· We have enjoyed sharing the last year with so many of our family and friends

· We have loved getting your encouraging and supportive emails

· The Lord blesses those who serve Him—He has certainly blessed us this past year!!!

We wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

We love you all very much—

Elder & Sister Hartzell (Jim & Pat)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dec 15, 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

I have a correction to make—the food I like to eat is “tonkatsu”, not “konkatsu”. Sorry I misspelled it.

We were quite busy last week. Our Zone had their Training and Luncheon on Wednesday, and it was soooooo delicious!! We met together at 9:00 a.m. and were taught by Pres. Hill and our Zone Leaders, then went in for lunch, and afterwards sang Christmas carols (I played the piano) and heard cute Christmas stories. It felt so good.

On Thursday and Friday I helped Sis. Hill prepare the meals and clean up after, so I was at the Mission Home from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. By Friday afternoon I was exhausted!!! I don’t know how Sister Hill does it so effortlessly. She really plans well and knows just what needs to be done, and I just followed her directions. I also played the piano on Friday as that Zone didn’t have a pianist. It is fun to hear all the songs, including many hymns that are not Christmas ones.

Saturday was a cleaning and laundry day and we also took it easy, too. That evening was a wonderful Stake Christmas program that included a choir, a small orchestra, and a wonderful youth musical production. It was about giving service instead of just gifts for Christmas—giving of your time and love. It was original and they did a great job!!

Sunday we went to sing in one of the gaijin (foreigner) wards in their choir. It was under the direction of Elder Robertson who is in our FHE group. We had a wonderful time singing the beautiful Christmas music and were told we sounded great!! We are glad we got to do that. My school friend, Chuck Olson, also came and enjoyed it. Afterwards, he took us to a Unitarian meeting where we heard a woman who is a Baptist missionary here in Japan. She has lived here since 1990 and raised her family here. We enjoyed her presentation about the Savior and Christmas. There were about 15 people there and asked her some good questions, plus the woman who conducted the meeting talked about a book about the Bible written by Isaac Asimov. It was all very interesting.

Our thought for the week is: “By learning of Him (Jesus Christ), by believing in Him, by following Him, there is the capacity of become like Him. The countenance can change; the heart can be softened; the step can be quickened; the outlook enhanced. Life becomes what it should become. Change is at times imperceptible, but it does take place.” Pres. Monson, “The Way of the Master,” Ensign, January 2003.

Our word for the week is: kudasai. I think I have used it before, but I want to again because it shows how polite the Japanese are. It means “please” and they use it whenever they ask you to do something. We need to try to be more polite with each other every day, and they set a good example for us.

We love you all—

Jim & Pat

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dec 8, 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

Sorry this is late.

It has turned quite cold here, so it feels good to bundle up. We had a nice day last Saturday so we took pictures of trees in the park that we like to go walking. We always love the beautiful fall colors—one of the main reasons we moved to Utah. Hope you are able to enjoy them once we get them downloaded to our blog.

Sister Hill is doing something different this transfer. Usually, when they do zone interviews, Pres. & Sis. Hill travel to each zone and do some training and interview them there. But for this transfer, they are having each zone (there are 9 total) come here to Nakano for their training, interviews, and a special big Christmas lunch that Sis. Hill is personally preparing for them. It is so wonderful!! The Mission Home and Office are all decorated for Christmas, the missionaries eat well, sing Christmas carols, hear Christmas stories, and get the royal treatment for Christmas. This is fun but lots of work. I help when I can. Our apartment is also decorated with a tree (about 24 inches tall) and decorations that have been left by previous office fufu.

We have been surprised with all the decorations and Christmas music in the stores since the beginning of November. Of course, it is mostly for the commercialization, but for us Christians, it reminds us of this beautiful time of the year. Cut evergreen Christmas trees are very expensive here in Tokyo, $100 per foot!

In the Church News for November 30, one of our apostle’s wives, Sister Oaks, told of being a missionary in Japan a number of years ago, and not seeing any Christmas decorations anywhere, and feeling a bit sad to be in a country with no Christmas. Then, one night, they heard a violin playing “Silent Night” coming from somewhere nearby. Suddenly she knew that God had not forgotten her, that he knew who she was and where she was and loved her.

We also know this—God knows us and loves us and helps us in our work each day. And he loves all of you, too, even more than we do (and we love you a lot!!)

We had Stake Conference this past weekend and enjoyed wonderful, uplifting talks. Our Stake President was all excited about missionary work and encouraging his stake members to share the Gospel more. Made our missionary hearts feel all warm and fuzzy!!

Our thought for the week is: “The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 51:10. “We have work to do, you and I, so very much of it. Let us roll up our sleeves and get at it, with a new commitment, putting our trust in the Lord.” Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

Our word for the week is: konkatsu. It is the food I really like to eat here. It is similar to tempura, so I have been calling it the wrong name for awhile. It is fried battered pork and it is delicious. They have a wonderful meat sauce to pour on it or dip it in.

That’s all folk!!

Love, Jim & Pat