Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Dear Family & Friends,
            Monday, Dec. 19, was a chaotic, flitting kind of day.  We had lots of emails, letters to Departing Missionaries to print up and send out, photos to go through, printed up the updated 4-year address list, went through mail that came in, sent out an email to get the information sent back, and had our semi-monthly staff meeting with the Wakolos, etc.  I picked up a quick meal from Captain D;s for Jim & I to share while we talked to Brent, then we stayed until 7:15 working on photos.  Then we came home, watched TV, ate a 2nd dinner, mended Jim’s pants, ordered Christmas gifts for each other, and had a super cold day-high of 30 and low of 16!! That is very cold for Little Rock.
            Tuesday I gave cinnamon roll wreaths to the Greens and the missionaries at the District meeting.  Worked on 5 Departing Mission Memories Binders.  I deleted all the emails with childhood photos (probably 180 of them!!), did emails and phone calls.  Had 4 new missionary recommendations come in and started processing them.  Started printing up the Letters to the President for the 5 binders.  Jim had lots and lots of bills to pay and new apartments to work on.  We closed the Office at 4:00, dropped off cars at the apartments, and the Sorensens and Sister Hugentobler rode with us to have an Office Christmas dinner at the Asian Buffet—delicious!!  And we ate too much!!.  Then we drove to Sherwood where we drove very slowly through the “Trail of Lights.”  Really beautiful!!  Everyone really enjoyed it.  Went home, Jim ironed shirts while we watched TV, and went to bed.
            Wednesday I worked on sending out Thank You letters to the stake relief society presidents for gathering all the items that were in the gift bags—we had things like toothbrushes, glue sticks, nail clippers, soap, hand sanitizer, pens, colored pencils, gloves, ties, hard candy, and lots of other things.  Also Thank You’s to the two wards that prepared and served the luncheons, and to the stake presidents for their support.  Processed the new missionary recommendations, stopped work at 11:00 to drive to Little Rock and pick up the three grandchildren and take them to lunch at “All Aboard”, then to Toys R Us to let them pick out the toys they wanted for Christmas, and to Barnes and Noble to let Gary pick out some books that he wanted for Christmas.   Then we took them home and went back to the Office, where we worked until 6:00 p.m., went grocery shopping, did the laundry, wrapped gifts, and went to bed.
            Thursday I finished processing the miss recommendations, sent 1st letters to the missionaries who are coming in February and to their parents, sent out photos of each Zone to all the stake presidents and stake r.s. presidents holding their bags, took care of medical bills that came in.  Learned about BYU winning the Poinsettia Bowl over Wyoming.  Wish we would have watched it but we forgot!!
            Friday sent out 2nd letters to the February missionaries, worked on the 2017 Calendar, making changes that the president requested.  It is a hard program to work with and I struggle with it.  Elder and Sister Sorensen are being trained every day.  We did our cleaning at the Office in the morning, and had a real treat in the afternoon when Tommy and Elaine Tannehill stopped by on their way from Henderson to Savannah, Georgia.  We had a great time visiting for about ½ an hour, then they continued on.  They have been in rain ever since they left Henderson, so they brought it to us.  We did some shopping on the way home, then watched TV and relaxed.
            Saturday (Christmas Eve) I made the last batch of cinnamon rolls and regular dinner rolls for Christmas dinner at Larry and Holly’s.  We exercised, went through papers that had been building up in piles on the table, went to see “Rogue One” and really enjoyed it, though it had a sad ending.  We came home and opened our presents—I got a new coat, some candy, family slides on DVD’s, a sketch book from Shawn, Jim got a new sweater and a new tie.  More gifts will come next week that we ordered late.
            Sunday, CHRISTMAS!!, we went to two Sacrament meetings and enjoyed lots of musical numbers and some scriptures and talks.  What a great day to celebrate the birth of the Savior. We enjoyed a few wonderful talks and some really great music to sing praises to the King of kings.  How blessed it is to remember the end of His life also, the atonement in the garden and then the resurrection from the garden tomb.  Without Easter no one would remember the baby born to Mary.  We are so thankful to Him and the peace He offers in a troubled world.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only true peace.  Bishop Warner also reminded us that we need to learn to hear the music of the gospel in our hearts.  When we get things into our hearts then we can make the changes we need to do to become someone better.   Then we went to Larry and Holly’s and got to see the things the kids received and they opened our gifts, helped them pick up a lot of the wrappings and tape, ate the salads (a tossed salad, Cookie Salad, and Holly’s Rainbow layered salad.  Then Larry cooked the prime rib in his ceramic cooker and we watched “A Christmas Story.”  Then ate dinner, the meat with more salad, Cheesy potatoes, rolls, etc.  Then Jim and I cleaned up the kitchen while Larry and Holly started getting all the stuff ready for them to leave early Monday morning to drive to Colorado for a fun ski trip.  We drove home after 5:00 and were able to visit with Brent and several of his kids, then Joseph, next Christi and her family, and last Shelley and her kids.  We watched a Christmas movie and went to bed—a great Christmas Day!!
            Well, Happy New Year Everyone!!
            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Zone Conference

Dear Family & Friends,

            First—we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas next Sunday!!

            Last Sunday we spent the evening putting missionaries’ names on Christmas cards from the First Presidency and sealing them up to be handed out at the Zone Conferences.  Also had good phone visits with Lois and Christi.

            Monday I was busy all day doing 16 Departing miss letters.  I also had to forward more child photos and work on my Christmas story for the program here in Arkansas.  Our new Office Couple, Orval and Callene Sorensen from Layton, Utah, arrived about 4:15 and met with President Wakolo.  Then he had to leave and asked us to use the Mission credit card to take them out to dinner before showing them their new apartment, which we were happy to do.  They are great people and will take over for Elder Green—Vehicle Coordinator, and Sister Hugentobler—Referral Secretary/Recorder/and Mail Handler.  After we helped them unload their van, we headed to the movies to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”  It was quite whimsical and even scary, but well done and we enjoyed it!!  Came home to visit with Shelley while we got more envelopes ready.

            Tuesday the missionaries helped set up tables to be decorated in the Cultural Hall, the Sorensens came in for their first day of training, I printed up Mission Histories to go in the “Mission Memories” binders, updated the 4-year Miss. Address List, and printed up the letter that goes into their binders.  Went home at 4:30 to exercise, eat dinner, then went back to the chapel for the rehearsal of the program for the Zone Conference.  It was a bit rough but we do have some good singers.

            Wednesday was the highlight of our mission!!!  What an incredible 3-Zone Christmas Conference it was!!!  We had Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Searcy Zones for the Arkansas side.  It started with missionaries arriving starting at 7:30 a.m., trying to take care of stuff in the Office before going into the meeting.  We were in there by 9:15 and it started at 9:30.  Elder Beheshti was presiding.  The Assistants conducted the meeting, starting off with hymn, prayer, and then recitations (the missionaries were impressive with how much they had memorized!!), then President Wakolo spoke and gave a great Christmas message.  Then Sister Wakolo had put together a lovely Christmas program with narrators reading scriptures, songs presented by solos, duets, and trios.  Wow, what an improvement from the rehearsal the night before!!  I have a 6-minute Christmas story talk at the end of it and felt such a good Spirit.  Then Sister Beheshti gave a short talk about changing O to E—Got to Get, as in “I got (have) to do missionary work” changed to “I get to do missionary work.”  The change of attitude can make such a big difference.  Then Elder Beheshti spoke and gave a really inspirational message and told some great stories.  Jim: for me I am most touched by the Spirit thru stories and so the two stories that Pat shared and the story at the end of Elder Beheshti’s talk were the highlights for me.  Good speakers like these are able to paint a great picture of the events they are speaking about by the way they share the stories.  That helps me to internalize the story and feel the principles involved.

            Then we went into lunch put on by the North Little Rock Ward—it was beautifully decorated and had fancy serving tables with sisters serving us with love.  The food was delicious!!  And the desserts plentiful (enough to put in lots of baggies for the missionaries to take home).  Then the missionaries got into Zones and were given their Christmas bags that had been collected from all the wards and branches in the Mission by their own Stake President or a Counselor, and their First Presidency Christmas cards.  Next a couple of games were played, the missionaries did a talent show (very fun!!), then they played lots more games of the Minute to Win It variety.  Some were hysterical!!  Last but not least, they all sat on the floor in front of the stage while childhood pictures were put up on the screen and the missionaries tried to guess who each person was.  They LOVED IT!!!!!  So cute!!

While they were watching that, we brought out the gift boxes that had been coming into the Office from their families, and had 25 that were made by a group of Mission Moms to give to the missionaries who did not get any gifts from home.  These were mostly foreign missionaries.  They were so surprised and pleased—you should have seen their eyes light up after walking to the tables thinking they would get nothing.  What a great feeling it was to see their delight!!  Then everyone had to clean up and go home, which took about an hour before everyone was gone.  As they left, there were so many hugs and Thank You’s, tears and more hugs!!  There was stuff left, and thank heavens for the Office Elders who went around to all the rooms and the chapel to collect all the stuff and the garbage.  It is so wonderful to have young men who are so committed in their service!!  Then we went grocery shopping, home to do laundry and eat a light dinner, and just sit in amazement at the wonderful day we had had!!  (Sorry if you are tired of the exclamation marks—but that is how it was!!)

Thursday was the Zone Christmas Conference of the two Zones in Tennessee—Memphis and Memphis North.  Jim and I and the Sorensens were the only ones in the Office and the phone hardly rang all day.  But we were filled with the glow of the warm Spirit we had felt the day before.  I sent letters to the missionaries in the MTC who would be coming on January 3rd.  Had to get stuff ready for another missionary who had to be sent home to have a surgical wound that wasn’t healing get some treatment at home.  Went home to exercise and work on Christmas gifts and cards.

Friday was a flitting day—a little of this, a little of that, going from activity to activity.  Everyone was back and we were all busy.  Sister Wakolo came in for about an hour and told me about some stories of some of our most faithful missionaries and the struggles they had had early in the mission field, wanting to give up and go home.  One even wanted to commit suicide and they watched him around the clock for two days, but finally he turned himself around and was one of the happiest missionaries I have seen.  Jim took me to dinner at a Greek restaurant called Tazikis—such good food!  Then we wandered the mall and enjoyed the Christmas decorations, did a little Christmas shopping, stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on the way home, then put our feet up and watched TV.

Saturday I made more cinnamon roll wreaths, we cleaned the bathrooms, exercised, ordered Christmas presents online, sent out more Christmas cards, etc.  The temperature on Thursday was 40degrees, on Saturday it was 70 degrees, and today was 30 degrees!  Incredible!!

Today we had talks in Sacrament meeting about Christmas memories, enjoyed SS, Priesthood meeting, and RS.  Michelle and another sister in the ward were rear-ended on Thursday and are both hurting with back, neck, and headaches.  Please pray for them.  Went to the Office to work on photos in the afternoon, then home for naps and watching Music and the Spoken Word.  Had a good birthday visit with Joseph, and a good dinner, and visits later with Christ and Shelley. 

In our latest President’s letter, he shared a quote from a missionary:  “We were having a rough night with little success last Monday, and we were heading to the church to sync with 15 minutes left and all of a sudden the Spirit told me, “stop.”  And so we got out of the car and knocked on a door.  No one answered.  But then we went to the next house and we got talking to this couple.  The next day, we got a text from a member saying that this lady we had talked to had told her of the night before.  She and her husband had been at ‘rock bottom’ talking and crying over their son who had passed away, when she said, there was a knock on the door.  She said ‘God sent these two missionaries.’  That made me so happy to know that we really ARE on the Lord’s errand.”  There are some great stories that President shares each week. That helps us stay connected with why we are here, to support the missionaries so they can have these teaching experiences.

Today at the North Little Rock building when we stopped to do some photos in the Office, a sister stopped me.  Her name is Sister Edgar.  She has lived here a long time and remembered years ago when Larry and Holly moved here and became a part of their ward.  She was Relief Society President and Holly was RS Secretary.  She said, “Holly is one of the sweetest people—she is a great mother and has a wonderful husband and family.”  It makes me feel so good to get complements about our children and the wonderful people they have married.  This kind of thing happens whenever we visit their wards.  We are so grateful for the positive impact they have on those around them!!

We really love the feelings of love that abound this time of the year, and are treasuring every memory and event that we get to be a part of.  We wish you all a most wonderful Christmas season, and may the feelings of love and service be a big part of your 2017.


Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, December 11, 2016

It's Cold Outside

Dear Family and Friends,
            Last Sunday the chapel was sooooo cold!!  I think someone forgot to turn the heater on earlier and we were shivering!!  In the evening we watched a movie on BYUTV called “Winter Thaw.”  It was very well done and showed a cobbler whose heart changes over the course of a couple of days.  He changed from being selfish to selfless through several experiences similar to Mathew 25.  Quite touching.
            Monday was busy and loooong.  I worked on emails with lots more of missionary photos coming in of those missionaries between the ages of 5 & 10.  I usually had about 15 each day except Tuesday and I had only one!  I worked on and sent out Departing Miss letters, we had an Office Staff meeting from 1:00 to 3:30, and some new assignments from that.  Also travel itineraries to go over.  I left at 4:45 to go get a couple of pizzas for dinner.  When I got back the Assistants were there for our unscheduled “emergency drill.”  The idea was that a text was sent out at 6:00.  The last time we did it, they could leave their cell phones on a go to their emergency family’s home.  This time they had to turn off their cell phones, stop what they were doing and drive directly to the family’s home.  Then someone in the family would call us and tell us which missionaries were at their home.  We would see who would respond the fastest.  We got really worried when one set of three sisters did NOT call, so at 8:00 we called the elders from their district to check on them.  Turns out they had they had left their cell phones in their car and didn’t know about the drill!!  We did eat our pizzas while we were waiting for the phones to ring.  We finally left the Office at 8:30 and headed home for what was left of the evening. 
            Tuesday I did more letters, answered emails, worked on the December calender, helped Sister Wakolo who had come into the Office to get several things done.  At 12:30 we stopped and took the Office Elders and the Assistants out to lunch for two birthdays—Elder Claridge and Elder Hunt.  We went to Larry’s Pizza as it is a favorite!!  Did more work in the afternoon, headed home to exercise, eat dinner, watch TV and head for bed.
            Wednesday I did 17 Stake President’s letters and Honorable Release Certificates, printed them up, sent copies to parents and bishops in emails.  That took all day.  Then we went grocery shopping and did laundry at home. 
            Thursday Jim & I did our cleaning as I had a big project on Friday.  Produced and sent out a couple of letters to missionaries coming in February but going to the Mexico MTC to learn Spanish the beginning on January so they have to get their stuff done early.  I made address labels for all the missionaries to go on the Christmas cards sent to us by the First Presidency.  They will be handed out at our two zone conferences this coming week.  It was an exercise day, and Jim also had a good phone visit with his brother Dean for Dean’s birthday.
            Friday I was in charge of putting the Christmas bags together—one for each missionary, 190 in total.  The Relief Societies in the 5 stakes have been gathering stuff, and we had 5 sisters from each of the 3 Arkansas stakes come and we put all the stuff out, counted it so we knew how much to put in each bag, then went around to gather all the stuff, seal the bags, and put them in a big Christmas bag and several boxes.  The missionaries will get the following:  chapstick, colored pencils, tooth brushes and tooth paste, hand sanitizer, pocket tissue, glue sticks, pens, candy, candy canes, sticky note pads, blank cards, thank you cards, gloves, nail clippers, and ???  (I can’t remember everything but there were a couple of more things).  These will be handed to the missionaries by each Stake President after the luncheon of the Zone Conference.  It took us about 2 ½ hours and we were done!!  Sister Wakolo also came and helped.  Then I had to work on Release letters for 3 missionaries who are having to leave for various health reasons.  We will surely be sad to see them leave.  Had a nice evening at home and I made some Cookie Salad.
            Saturday we got up and drove to the Little Rock ward building where we worked with other ward members doing a deep cleaning of the building and assorted other service projects.  Jim & I worked in the Primary room—Jim dusted the pictures on the walls and anything up high.  A family in the ward came in and they dusted/wiped off all the wood trim (chair railings and baseboards).  I cleaned all the windows and window sills.  Then I went around the building and cleaned all the little windows in the classroom doors, and the windows and sills in those rooms.  It took almost an hour.  Then we had a delicious brunch with lots of muffins, breakfast casseroles of various kinds, several kinds of fruit salad, etc.  We ate well!!  Came home and did our own apartment vacuuming and dusting, put up Christmas lights on our railing, made cinnamon roll wreaths, exercised, wrote the Christmas letter.  Jim had to do the dishes twice with all the baking stuff!!
            Today the chapel was much warmer than last week!!  We were surprised with the calling of a new bishop and counselors!!  Bishop Houston was great!!  But he will be deployed in a couple of months and needed to get things ready for leaving.  Our new bishop is Bishop Warner, who was the First Counselor.  He called Brother Stuckey (who was a great Ward Mission Leader!) as his First Counselor, and Brother Webster who we don’t know to be his Second Counselor.  There were sweet testimonies and feelings shared, and President Dixon gave a great talk, too.  We enjoyed SS class, then had a joint meeting about the new “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” program.  They will start holding classes in January.  Stopped by the Office on the way home for about ½ hour, then came home, ate and are enjoying a quiet Sabbath.
            All week has been cold!!  Glad we brought our long johns!!!
            We love you all and pray you are doing well.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, December 4, 2016

December Begins

Dear Family & Friends,
            Monday was a busy day.  I worked on contacting all the Senior missionaries and Apartment Advisors about the Senior Social on Friday.  I did Leadership Letters, emails, took care of the information that Sister Wakolo brought into the office from the new missionaries, had photos to upload and email to parents of Departing Missionaries and New Missionaries.  The local missionaries had their P-day at a different building so it was pretty quiet, just me and Elder Hartzell and Sister Hugentobler.  Went to see the movie “Dr. Strange” in the evening and liked it.  It is quite different.
            Tuesday had a lot of the same kinds of stuff to do.  I have to be sure I had added all the new missionaries and their parents to our email address contact list.  Jim and I cleaned the car after lunch at a nearby car wash—it was looking pretty dirty inside, and we tell the missionaries that they need to have a clean car so we need to set the example.  We exercised after work, then took the regular church music off the iPhone 4s and put Christmas music in my iPad to listen to at the Office.  (We tried to put it in the iPhone but it kept trying to put ALL the music in instead of just Christmas music—very frustrating!!) 
            Wednesday was MLC—Mission Leadership Conference.  This is where the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders are trained about their responsibilities and given some inspiring messages.  Sister Wakolo fixed a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch with all the trimmings—sure was delicious!!  She even had a friend make pumpkin cheesecake—Yum!!  I also helped Sister Wakolo with a project for Christmas—she had me ask all the missionary parents (of 190 missionaries) to send photos of their child taken between kindergarten and fifth grade.  As I get them in, I record them and forward them to Sister Wakolo.  That has kept me real busy!!!  I also ordered the travel for the missionaries who are leaving during the February Transfer.  Mid-afternoon we had a mock emergency drill to test the missionary communications channels.  It went well. We went grocery shopping after work, and I did 3 loads of laundry.  I have been having some pain in my right elbow, upper arm, shoulder and neck.  I think I clenched it too many times on the hike a week ago, plus all the computer mouse stuff that I do. Also on Wednesday I had a “catch in my get-along” but it was gone on Thursday—go figure!?!
            Thursday was a “flitting” day where I flit from one thing to another.  I had all those photos to take care of, paperwork to prepare for a missionary who was leaving early for mental health issues (many missionaries suffer from depression and other things), letters to send to parents of missionaries leaving in just four weeks, and other odds and ends.  We headed home and exercised, ate leftovers for dinner, and tried not to think about all the things I wasn’t able to get to that day.
            Friday was a welcome break—it was our Senior Social day at the Mission Home.  Everyone brought either a snack/appetizer or a dessert.  We ate and talked and took turns having interviews with President Wakolo.  Sister Wakolo fixed Hawaiian Haystacks and Beef Curry for lunch and it was delicious!!  Then we ate the pecan pie/sweet potato pie/cherry cobbler/apple tart/cookies, etc. that everyone brought.  Wow—we really ate well!!!  The best part was the concluding meeting where the senior missionaries that will leave before next June shared their testimonies.  We stayed until the end to help clean up.  We even dropped off part of our dessert at Larry and Holly’s.  They were putting up Christmas decorations and it was very festive!  Had a quiet evening at home.S
            Saturday was a rainy day after a nice sunny day yesterday.  We cleaned, worked on the budget, exercised, Jim organized photos on his computer (an on-going project), got mine and Jim’s hair cut and mine colored, cleaned up, and went to the North Little Rock ward’s Christmas in Bethlehem party.  We thought there would be dinner but there was only snacks so we came home and ate pot pies, watched some TV and went to bed.  The weather has cooled off and this next week it gets down to 19 degrees on Thursday! What happened to the warm south?!  Of course, last summer we complained about the warm south!
            We enjoyed a lovely Sabbath today, with some great testimonies in our Sacrament meeting, a good lesson in Gospel Essentials about families, and a good lesson in RS about the tender mercies of the Lord.  Lots of rain yesterday and some this morning.
            The Church has started a challenge:  Light the World in 25 Ways Over 25 Days.  We are trying to follow it and share the light of our testimony with others through many different kinds of service.
            We want to welcome our friends, the Halversens, home from their successful and rewarding 23-month mission to Cape Town, South Africa.
            We hope you all have a great week.

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Week

Dear Family & Friends,
            What a great week this has been!!  We started off with being busy on Monday sending out letters to the missionaries who are coming in January that we just got their recommendations last week.  Jim & I worked on the Transfer Board on IMOS and got that all taken care of and submitted except for the new missionaries who would be coming in on Tuesday.  We left the Office at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home to help prepare the Farewell Dinner for the six missionaries who are leaving and also one more missionary who has to go home because of health reasons.  I was also able to have a phone visit with both Brent and Shelley.  Shelley was at our home in Payson with her in-laws for a fun few days including Thanksgiving.  After a delicious dinner, we got home about 7:30 and I did a couple of loads of laundry, and we wrapped some Christmas packages to give to the Boyles to take home with them.
New Office Elders--Lindstrom and Claridge
            Tuesday we had missionaries in the building all day as they were meeting other missionaries to transfer to new areas.  Some had never been in the Office before so we showed them around.  Got some letters out to missionaries, finished updating the new missionaries and their Trainers in IMOS and submitted it around 3:00 p.m.  I ran a quick trip to the bread store, then Jim and I left at 3:30 to go help with the Welcome Dinner for the new missionaries.  It was fun to meet them!  We ended up not eating until 6:30 so weren’t done cleaning up until 8:30.  We went home as Christi, Shawn and their family were not arriving until 10 p.m.  They stayed at Larry’s and Holly’s. 
            Wednesday morning we drove to the Rodney Parham building for the Training of the new missionaries.  Then went back to the Office and sent out a quick email to let their parents know they had arrived safely.  Worked on calendars, emails, and sent out several reports that different groups in the mission needed, including printing up some for our Office.  We did our Office cleaning—me doing the dusting and Jim the men’s bathroom and the Greens doing the other stuff.  We left the Office at 3:30 and went to spend the evening with Larry and the Boyles.  We had a good time eating, talking, playing ping pong, watching TV, then we left at 8:30 because we had to stop at the store to get last minute stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. 
            Thursday—THANKSGIVING!!—we went over and had crepes for breakfast plus buttermilk syrup, then watched the Macy’s Parade, made the Waldorf Pomegranate Salad, Larry cooked the turkey in his ceramic smoker and it was ready by 2:00.  Jim helped Larry install a trailer hitch on his Jeep.  We had mashed potatoes, Larry’s special gravy, dressing, and corn on the cob.  Wow—it was all so delicious!!  
Thanksgiving Dinner--Yum!!
We had fun going around the table to talk about the things that we were thankful for—including people, gifts, books, movies, B of M people (both major and minor), songs, etc.  Lots of fun things to talk about. 
Holly's beautiful mantle
We all helped clean up, then watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, ate pies, played a “Harry Potter Scene It” game, then watched another movie, and some played “Ticket to Ride.”
            Friday we ate Christi’s Bacon Pancakes—yummy!!  We went to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum which had submarine that served in WWII, and a tugboat that had been at final signing of peace with the Japanese, thus bookends to the war.  
On the submarine Arkansas Razorback
We got to tour the sub but not the tug.  The sub was really interesting.  Then we ate at Larry’s Pizza, did some Christmas clothes shopping, sent the men home and shopped for Abby’s Christmas dress (she must have tried on 40 different ones but hard for her because she is so slim and tall that most were too short or too wide or both!!  Finally found one!!  Went home to make Shepherd’s Pie, and I watched a Disney Special while others played video games or Balderdash. 
            Saturday Larry took us on a nice hike up one of the Pinnacle Mountain trails.  

Found a good photo tree

Hiking on Pinnacle Mountain
Wore me out so I didn’t make it to the top—oh, well!!  Then we went to a place called Playtime Pizza and had a great time eating and playing lots of games.  My favorite was the go-carts, and I had fun watching the grandchildren do lots of fun games.  We were there for almost 3 hours.  Then we went to see the movie “Moana” and really enjoyed it!  Went to Larry’s and Holly’s to played Runs and Sets, and went home exhausted!!
            Today we all went to Larry and Holly’s ward and enjoyed a lovely Sacrament meeting where they talked about the Atonement.  Very nice.  We left with Christi and Shawn and family to go home and make lunch while they packed up.  They left at 12:45 and we headed to the Office to take care of a few things, then home for naps, blog writing, dinner, watching some BYUTV, and recovering from an awesome week.!!
            This afternoon we watch the Music and the Spoken Word and then a BYU Devotional given by Brent Scharffs, a BYU professor in the Law School who spoke on the Audacious Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I thought it tied in quite nicely with the Sacrament talks on the Atonement and our thankfulness.  How thankful we are to have a knowledge of the true nature of God, that he is a man and he is the Father of our spirits, that we lived before we can here, and we will live again because of the atonement with God and our Savior Jesus Christ if we keep the commandments and our covenants, live good lives, and serve others, enduring to the end. Then not only will we be with God, but also with our righteous family and friends.  Who would not be thankful for that if they truly knew it.  Well apparently there are many who will not.  One of the interesting points that Dr. Scharffs suggested was that the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that did not follow God’s plan may have chosen not just in rebellion to God, but that they didn’t want to face the trials that we go through in this life.  I had never considered that possibility and can see how some may not want to face such a challenge.  He told a touching story of a young boy who was in his deacon’s quorum he was teaching, that was in serious automobile accident and in the hospital for quite a while.  This was in the early 90s before they were testing blood very well for the HIV virus, and he received a transfusion that was infected.  That was pretty much a death sentence then.  The boy told of two non-member friends that came to visit him.  One said to him that he was sorry to hear about what happened to him and what did he do wrong to have God punish him.  The other said he was sorry to hear about what happened and that he must have been so righteous that God gave his this great challenge.  Then the boy said that he didn’t believe either was true, but that it was just the price of mortality.  And so it is, we do live in mortality with good and bad things happening to good and bad people.   It is how we face these challenges of life that ultimately counts.  May we have the faith and courage make those right choices that will lead to the happiness that we each seek.   
            Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving—we sure did!!

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Preparing for Transfer Week

Dear Family & Friends,
            We were able to have good visits with Christi, Shelley, Joseph, Brent and Larry all either Sunday or Monday.  It’s great to hear how everyone is doing.
Monday I sent out “Letter # 3-The Big Letter”—this one has about 7 other pieces of paper plus a return envelope—to the missionaries who will be coming in January.  Then on Tuesday, I got 4 more missionary recommendations for January, so now I will have to send Letters #1, 2, and 3 to them.  Also on Monday we had Staff Meeting, worked on the 2017 Calendar, got three or four boxes of stuff that a stake had ordered to give as gifts to the missionaries for Christmas.  The stakes were supposed to collect the items from the ward members, but felt their members were overburdened already so just paid for the things themselves.  I was surprised by this.
Tuesday Jim & I went to the Little Rock Stake Center for the Zone Conference there.  We really enjoyed it and were well-taught by President and Sister Wakolo, the Zone Leaders and Sister-Training Leaders.  We were really impressed by how well some of the missionaries knew the Recitations that all of us are asked to memorize.  And President Wakolo talked about being at the Mission Presidents’ Seminar in October and being asked how many scriptures the missionaries in the various missions had memorized.  The average was about 5 scriptures per missionary.  But in our mission it’s like 75!!!  So proud of our young people!!!  Jim & I had the Articles of Faith memorized before we came (it’s a family tradition), and already had 1 Nephi 3:7, but learned 3 Nephi 5:13 (which we had started to memorize on our mission in Japan), and the Standard of Truth (from the Wentworth Letter in the History of the Church, 4:540), Our Purpose as a Missionary, and D&C 4, plus the full-time missionaries learn a whole bunch of others.  We recite these at every conference and meeting.  Sure sounds awesome!!  We had a delicious lunch there and our group photo taken, then left at 3:30 to head back to the Office to try to get a few things done.
Wednesday Jim & I were the only ones in the Office as Sister H and Elder & Sister Green went to the North Little Rock Zone Conference.  It was a quiet day and I processed the 4 new missionary recommendations.  I also worked on printing up the Letters to the President for the 6 missionaries who are going home next Tuesday.  Picked up a quick dinner at Arbys (love their Cinnamon Apple Crisp!!), then did our weekly grocery shopping, did three loads of laundry, and watched TV.
This week has beautiful, unseasonably warm and sunny weather, and Thursday was no different.  I worked on my desk calendar (stuff that I need to be sure to take care of each day), handled some iPad issues, worked with Sister Green on some of them, worked on the Senior Social that we will have in two weeks, exercised at home, and feel asleep watching TV.  Jim: In our office staff meeting today I gave the spiritual thought from a talk given last Sunday by the high councilor about the plan of happiness.  He referred to the 2060 stripling warriors and how they were all still all accounted for despite the many wounds from their battle to defend the people of Ammon to worship as they chose (Alma 58:39,40).  I tried to liken this to me and us.  We too receive many wounds that Satan inflicts upon us and by mistakes we make on our own, and sorrows as we experience life and see friends and family suffer for one reason or another.  But we too can receive the same promised blesses as did these young men if we will be steadfast, remember the Lord, observe to keep his statutes, judgements, commandments continually, and faith in the living prophecies from our church leaders.  Our wounds, as were theirs, will be healed by the Master healer.
Friday it finally cooled off and we had about 4 hours of rain—badly needed!!  It was our cleaning day and instead of dusting everything, I polished the wood furniture (it was all looking dull).  Also, several of the desk areas are not wood but are formica so I wiped them down with a damp clothing.  Nice to have things look shiny again.  The Assistants were in the Office all day typing up the Transfer lists that they will send out on Sunday and the missionaries will move on Monday and Tuesday.  The Office Elders worked to organize the Media Closet some more for Sister H., and she went and bought hamburgers for everyone!!  Also, President and Sister Wakolo came in for a couple of hours to work on things with different people in the office including me.  I had made up address labels from a list they had given me to send Christmas cards to the General Authorities.  I worked on assorted other things, and we stayed at the Office until 6:00 as the North Little Rock Ward was having a hoedown with a baked potato bar, a square dance demonstration (very fun), and some line dance that I enjoyed participating in (can’t resist dancing!!)  Picked up some Christmas decorations for our apartment on the way home.
Jim:  This has been a busy week for me, catching up from being gone last Friday and then on Tuesday.  I got all the bills caught up, credit card charges entered, and executed two apartment renewals and a couple others started.  I have a little more surface area around my desk, which is how I determine if I am somewhat keeping up or falling behind.  I meet with the office elders, Boggess and Lindstrom, most days they are in to check on the status of their activities for the apartments. They are great hard-working missionaries.  They don’t get a lot of opportunity to share the gospel or teach, but do have a couple of progressing investigators now.  When President Wakolo was in on Friday I reviewed a few issues with him, and identified two more apartments to close.  He also had time to review the financial expense sheets from the past two weeks or so and formally sign off on them.  The process is that I input into IMOS an expense, he then has to go into IMOS and approve it before it is actually expensed and paid by Salt Lake.  Then a check is cut and mailed, or paid electronically.  The paper copy of this expense is put in a folder for President to sign off, which is what he did today.  In a two week period there is pile of about 21/2 inches thick for his signature (good thing he has a signature stamp).
Saturday we drove to the Memphis Temple to finish the endowment and sealing for two of Jim’s family members, one of his aunts and uncles. Jim: this was very special for me.  I have been waiting a long time to do this work for them. Hopefully there was rejoicing in the Spirit world as well.   Our “hump” day was November 15th so we took our photo in front of the temple to celebrate that day!!  Can’t believe we have been here 9 months now!!  

Celebrated being half-way through our mission at the Memphis Temple
Ate Chinese food and drove home and exercised and cleaned up for the Sabbath.
Today was a beautiful cool day (the highs are now in the 50’s), and we enjoyed our meetings.  Michelle and her family are sick with colds so we dropped off our birthday/house-warming gift to her and she was very appreciative.  They just moved out of their apartment and into a rental home that is much closer to her work and to the church. 
A story to share from one of our missionaries:  While tracting, a lady walked out of her house and obviously wanted to talk to us.  Her best friend growing up was a Mormon.  After introducing ourselves and telling a little of the Restoration, she rebuked us for not sharing more in depth.  My companion asked her to read the First Vision, and she read slower and slower, until she stopped before the end, in tears.  We just stood in silence until she finished.  We then testified and I invited her to be baptized—all in 5 minutes.  She accepted!  One of our miracles!!
We hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving!!  We have much to be thankful for, most especially for our Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement.  How lost we would be without it. 

Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sight-seeing with the Dotans

Dear Family & Friends,
            Monday I met with Sister Wakolo about changes being made in the mission and how to handle future lunches.  There will be no more Specialized and instead, have zone conferences of one kind of another every transfer.  I also worked in emails, the calendar, shredding, etc.  The smell in the building is still pretty bad and we keep our office door closed.  Had a good visit with Brent after work and while we ate dinner.  Quiet evening. Jim: The smell is actually so bad I had to use a mask most of the day and we had the outside doors propped open most all week.  It is awful!!  Also, the fall colors here are not very colorful—it has been too dry and lots of trees’ leaves have turned brown and fallen off.
The best color we could find.
            Tuesday we got in 5 new missionary recommendations, with a 6th one coming in on Wednesday.  I redid some forms, worked on the 2017 calendar, making changes that Pres. Wakolo requested.  Changed the beds and washed sheets in the evening, plus a load of clothes.  Watched the election results on TV from time to time, but didn’t stay up past midnight so found out the results the next morning.  We were good with Trump winning and really hopeful that he will change how some things are done and make a difference in our economy.  I don’t like being in debt, whether it is our personal finances or the countries.  Different presidents have promised, with Bill Clinton coming the closest in the past 20 years.  Sure hope Trump is able to turn it around and not give that huge debt to our children. 
            Wednesday I spent the day processing the missionary recommendations.  There is quite a procedure to follow, but I did get them all done.  Did some other odds and ends.  We went shopping after dinner, then did more laundry at home, plus cleaning the bathrooms, getting ready for company to come. 
            Thursday did more of the stuff I have already mentioned this week, plus printing up and putting new baptism and group photos on the bulletin board outside our office.  Went home and made Chicken Tortilla Soup to serve for dinner.  Finally, at 6:45 p.m. our dear friends from Israel, Sheila and Itzhak Dotan arrived.  They have spent the summer in Athens, Georgia.  Itz is a professor of chemistry who does research at different universities around the world.  We met them 40 years ago in Boulder, CO, right at the time I gave birth to Larry.  We clicked and have been friends ever since.  Jim & I count ourselves so lucky to have many dear friends that we connected with at different times in our lives and have stayed connected to all through the years.  Many of you are those special friends and we are so grateful for each of you!!
Showing Sheila and Itzhak Dotan the Mission Office
            Friday we got up, ate, and took off for Little Rock to see the sights:  Historic Arkansas with several old houses and a nice museum, The Central High School National Memorial where segregation was begun in Arkansas and the Little Rock Nine (nine black high school students braved the crowd of angry white people who treated them terribly), the Heifer International building that I talked about in a previous email, and the Clinton Presidential Library.  They had a wonderful exhibit about the Beatles which I really enjoyed, being a big Beatles fan!  We even rode the Trolley and had dinner at a good restaurant called Cheddars.  While at Central High School, a man noticed our name tags and introduced himself as a church member from Monterey, CA.  Always fun to make good contacts like that!
This was a photo we took of Central High School in March of 2014.  Had to get the grandkids in, you know!!
The Little Rock Trolley all decked out for Christmas
             Saturday we drove to Memphis and spent the day at Graceland and all things Elvis.  We each agreed that, though none of us were huge Elvis fans, it was a great tour and we learned a lot.  We were glad we went!!  
Getting ready to go into Graceland

Then we said a sad farewell and Jim and I drove home.  Jim was able to have a great visit with his brother Dean, and I enjoyed some nice visits with my sister Lois during the week.
            Today was a lovely Sabbath day.  We enjoyed our meetings.  Before Sacrament meeting started, we met a couple who were visiting from Briggs, Idaho.  They told us about their humanitarian mission to Vietnam.  They were called for 18 months, but in their setting apart, their stake President blessed them to serve 24 months, and sometime later they were officially asked to stay 24 months.  Also he blessed them with good health, which was important in a country with poor water and food.  They loved it there and made many wonderful memories!!
            Hope you all have a great week!!
            Elder & Sister Hartzell


Sunday, November 6, 2016

November Begins

Dear Family and Friends,
            We hope you all had a nice Halloween!  We were in the Office all day.  The floors in the Cultural Hall are being redone, so the missionaries did not come and hang out there for their P-day.  That meant that it was real quiet in the Office all day.  I worked on some of the Departure Letters for those leaving on Nov. 22nd, and sent some letters to the Arrival Missionaries who just went in the MTC and will be here on Nov. 22nd.  At 4:30 we drove to Larry and Holly’s and helped fix dinner and enjoyed the fun costumes that Holly had worked on.  We ate a delicious pumpkin chili that Holly fixed and I helped make the “pigs in a blanket” from smoked sausages and crescent rolls.  Yummy!!  Then the family left to go trick-or-treating and we sat on the front porch and handed out candy to the kids.  We also talked to Brent a little, but it was interrupted too much so say goodbye pretty quickly.  The costumes we saw were lots of fun—some store-bought and some homemade, but all cute little kids!!  Larry’s family came home with a lot of candy and shared a few pieces with us.  I helped Harper take her makeup off and get to bed—we read some books together and she said a sweet prayer.  Then we headed home, watched some TV, and went to bed.
            Tuesday was a good day in the Office—worked on the Correspondence module in IMOS, sent out some letters to Departing Missionaries’ parents, took care of some letters that came in, ran an errand with Jim, worked on the Mission Memories binders, and took care of some medical bills that came in.  The smell from the sanding of the gym floors was terrible so we kept the Office door shut all day with a sign that said to Come In.  We also had a missionary who is sick come and stay in the Office.  He was put in a 3-some so his companions could go teach and leave him with us.  He has been coughing up blood and is quite weak.  He has been to the Emergency Room 3 times and is trying to get in to see a regular doctor.  Went home at 5:00 and exercised while our spaghetti sauce and spaghetti squash was cooking.  Had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday I worked on emails and sorting through a bunch of papers.  Then Jim and I left at 11:30 to go get pizza for a missionary meeting that was over at the Pinnacle Mountain building.  We picked up 22 pizzas and kept them warm in the kitchen’s ovens for an hour until they had the lunch break.  We stayed and cleaned up so we were gone for 2 ½ hours.  I am pretty caught up—especially because no new missionary recommends came in on Tuesday.  We went grocery shopping and did laundry and I worked on the budget recording receipts.
            Thursday I started shredding files.  I found out that we are supposed to keep returned missionary papers only 6 months to one year, and we had them stored in the church attic going back to 2012!!  So I shredded all of those.  Jim is supposed to keep his financial records for 3 years, so I shredded the 2012 of his.  This took all day!!  The new missionary couple, the Harrises were in the Office for a while as he had to do some stuff on the internet and they don’t have good Wi-Fi where they live.  So she helped me with the shredding—me pulling out the staples in the packets that were too thick to go into the shredder, and her putting the papers into the shredder.  Sure saved me a lot of time!!  I also put some files in the file box and moved other files around to make more room in the drawers I use the most often.  Went home and exercised.  Got word that our nephew’s granddaughter had successful heart surgery and is recovering well.  We were glad to hear that!!
            Friday Jim & I cleaned for 1 ½ hours, worked on emails, shredded more documents, and printed up a Stake President letter and certificate for the missionary who has been sick.  He was going to fly home on Saturday with an early medical honorable release.  Sure hope that they will be able to find out what is wrong with him!!  He wants to return and finish his mission.  They put the finish on the gym floor today and the smell from the fumes was terrible.  We had the doors closed and a fan blowing at the window.  Jim had to go outside several times to get some fresh air.  Jim had a new project today to find and edit the Emergency Action Plan for the mission in the case of a disaster.  It was mostly okay except for the contact information.  It also raised some questions he is researching about how they know which members to contact in the case of a disaster.  There is a calling tree, but how do they have access to it in an emergency.  Had a quiet Friday night.
            Saturday it has cooled off and a high of only the low 70s.  We went to Larry and Holly’s where Jim helped Larry with a project, and I spent time with Bram and Harper.  Gary was gone to the temple and Holly went to work out.  Their rooms were all picked up and beds made and it looked great!!  I helped Harper put away her clean laundry, then we played Go Fish, gathered up all the inside Halloween decorations, and they went to play with their friends.  I was able to have a good visit with my cousin who is enduring chemotherapy and it was good to talk to her.  We ate lunch, then went home to vacuum and dust our own apartment, and I finished the October budget.  We are doing good. We exercised and took showers, ate dinner, and went to see the movie, “Inferno.”  It was pretty good but not as good as the other two in the series.  We turned our clocks ahead and stayed up later instead of getting the extra hour of sleep!!
            Today is wonderful and cool—high of only 73.  We took Michelle and Caleb to church with us.  We enjoyed the testimonies in church, but there are many who are dealing with illness and problems, so I was glad when our RS lesson was about Joy.  It has to do with our attitude and desire to be happy and have faith.  A quote from Elder Russell M. Nelson’s Fall Conference talk:  “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives.  Joy come from and because of HIM.”    For a closing song we sang “Joy to the World.”  Stopped by the Office on the way home so Jim could work on some stuff he did not get done on Friday, and I took a nap.  Now we are home and Jim is napping and I am writing to all of you!!
            We did have some bad news on a couple of things, nothing I can share, but it is hard to feel joy when you are dealing with sadness and disappointment.  Hopefully things will get better in both of the situations that have come up. 
            We love you,

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Shelley & Derek's

Calvin, Maxwell, Weston

Derek, Maxwell, Shelley, Calvin

Edison & Stewart

Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Christi & Shawn's




Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Joseph & Shanna's

Joseph, Shyloh, & Nolan with Lexin watching



Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Larry & Holly's



Holly, Gary, Larry, Gary, Bram