February 21, 2016
Dear Family & Friends,
We are now officially missionaries!! We were set apart last Sunday by our stake president, Pres. Pullan. He gave us wonderful and personal blessings that we treasure in our hearts.
On Monday, we entered the MTC for a week of training in how to be missionaries using Preach My Gospel. Our teachers were young returned missionaries full of the enthusiasm of bringing the truths of the Gospel to all we meet. It seemed like deja-vu as we were in the MTC just 8 years ago at this time! We did role-playing, but this time was different. We role-played couple to couple instead of doing it in front of the group, and were not critiqued so much as encouraged and complimented. We felt such a wonderful spirit each day!
We enjoyed the food and ate too much at first until we learned a little more self-control. The rooms were nice and the bed was comfortable. The people were all terrific!! We were in a group of 46 couples, all going different places around the world and doing different assignments such as Office Couple (like we are), military relations, CES, MLS (member, leadership, support), Family History, etc.
We enjoyed several videos that are just available here at the MTC, including one by Elder Bednar about “The Character of Christ.” It was so beautiful and so powerful!! And the Devotional by Elder Rasband Tuesday evening was about the guidance of the Spirit in each of our calls by the Apostles and church leaders as they are led to know where we are supposed to go and what we are supposed to do. It was so wonderful!!
We also had some tender mercies this week. On Monday, we had four full-time missionaries help carry our stuff to our room from our car. As we were visiting with them, one of them was from Las Vegas. On further questioning, I found out that his grandfather was the man who had been my Bishop as a teenager, also my dentist, and later the Stake President, Dr. Kendall Jones!!! I was so thrilled!! He was a most special church leader in my life and I am so grateful for his guidance in my life. Another tender mercy was we were able to spend some time with some Jones cousins Thursday night—how we love these and our other Jones cousins!! And the last one was on Friday night when we went to dinner at the cafeteria, a young worker came up to talk to me and it was Eliza, the daughter of our niece Leica!! It was so fun to see her and visit with her a few minutes before she had to get back to work.
We do know that the Lord knows us and knows what would be meaningful to us in our lives. Another very tender mercy was how strong the influence of the Holy Ghost was as we taught. You might think that in a role play situation that it might feel not real, but we can testify that it felt very real and we were guided to say things by the power of the Spirit, just as we would have done in a real situation. We believe this was the case because the role play was real situations that occurred to real individuals. It was wonderful!
We look forward to this next week as we learn the office procedures and methods we are to follow.
We appreciate all your faith and prayers, and pray the Lord’s blessings will be with you, too.
Love, Elder and Sister Hartzell (Jim & Pat)