Sunday, March 27, 2016


Dear Family & Friends,

HAPPY EASTER!!  What a wonderful time of the year!!  The resurrection of the Savior and the renewal of life are so uplifting and full of joy and peace!!

This past week went pretty well in the office.  Jim had a few emergencies (such as power ready to be cut off) to take care of but was also able to actually get things done that he was needing to do.  I sent out letters, got 5 new missionary recommends in the emails on Tuesday so had busy days taking care of everything that needs to be done for them.  I also started working on the Departure Notebooks that will be given to the Departing Missionaries at the end of April.

Each week President Wakolo sends out an email to all the missionaries.  He often includes experiences that missionaries had shared with him.  I am going to share one now:

“This week was walk week. . . . It rained last walk week, and we got stuck in it, and it rained this walk week, and we got stuck in it again!  It always seems to rain a lot on our walk week.  Oh well, though, it broke my companion in!  Ha ha!  Nothing like walking over 15 miles a day to start off your mission!  As you would say, ‘sweet is the work!!’  However, the Lord blessed us for putting up with the rain by leading us to someone very elect.  We found him at a different investigator’s house.  He let us in and let us teach him the restoration, and the lesson went awesome!  He understood everything, from the priesthood, to dispensations, and the purpose of reading and praying about the Book of Mormon!  We said at the start of the lesson that we weren’t perfect teachers, but that the spirit would be the teacher for him, and we invited him to look for it, and he recognized it, but he also said that we were pretty close to prefect teachers!!  We did teach well, but it wasn’t us, it was the spirit.  I have definitely felt the spirit more in my missionary work in the past weeks, and I’ve definitely noticed its impact on our investigators and even on me.  I know the right things to say at the right, time, what scriptures to use at the right time, the right questions to ask, and how to overcome people’s concern when they have them.  It’s awesome!  Because the spirit was there so strong, he accepted a baptismal date as well.  He is awesome and I hope he will progress.”

Powerful!!!  So proud of our good missionaries and the good work they are doing.

A big thing that happened a week ago was that the musical, “Book of Mormon,” was performed in Memphis, which is part of our mission.  So the mission president went over and the missionaries had permission to stay up and hand out Books of Mormon to people as they went in and out of the theater.  They handed out over 2,000 Books of Mormon.  Some people were rude, but many were nice and accepted the gift.  And the missionaries got lots of referrals!! 

We went out to dinner on Wednesday night (Fridays and Saturdays are just too busy!!) and enjoyed that.  On Friday we watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir presentation of “Messiah.”  How majestic!!  Saturday was cleaning and catching up day.  Then we went to Larry’s to watch the kids show us tricks on the trampoline, the adults played some badminton and later Gary joined us, we all colored eggs, then we ate some delicious barbecued ribs that Larry had been cooking for awhile.  Then we drove to our chapel and I watched the Women’s Session Broadcast while Jim worked in the office.  Went home and to bed.

Then this morning, we attended our ward and enjoyed and wonderful Easter program with beautiful music and wonderful talks about the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection.  After the block, we followed Larry and Holly to their friend’s house in Hot Springs where we had a delicious potluck dinner, followed by a great Easter egg hunt, and enjoying lots of dessert and visiting. 

Now we are home and enjoying the peace of the Easter Sabbath Day.

This is Elder Hartzell, I just wanted to add a testimony about personal revelation.  When I was perplexed with a particular finance problem when we served in Japan, I received an answer almost immediately after a fervent prayer. This week I was struggling with another financial question, and didn’t know how to proceed. This answer came by waking me up at 3:30 AM so I could write down this procedure that I needed.  I was again so thankful for answers that come in various ways.  When we have done all that we can, then the Lord will help us find the answers we seek.  The struggle is part of the journey and from which we grow the most.

Our love to you all,

Elder and Sister Hartzell

This is our official "Welcome to the Mission" photograph, standing with President and Sister Wakolo

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Calm Week

Dear Family & Friends,

This past week was a much calmer one for the office.  We had a few missionaries in and out, but not a lot in the way of interruptions.  Jim’s was still stressful as he had to finish the audit and had to look all over for papers and receipts.  He ended up only missing 7, one of which was found when the auditor was there!  But he is glad that that is over for another year.  We even went up to the attic to see the boxes of papers from 2010 until now, some of which we can gradually throw and/or shred.

I had some parent letters to get out to those parents of missionaries who are expected in a few weeks, and to the parents of missionaries who are going home in a few weeks.  Always information needs to be imparted to both the coming and going ones.

This is the first year of having missionaries with iPads.  All their scriptures and Preach My Gospel are in them which is much easier to carry around.  They have had cell phones for a while so are used to those, but some will still abuse them.  We get phone reports that tell us each phone’s usage, so any misuse is caught fairly quickly.  Thank heavens that is only a few of the missionaries.  Most are obedient.  With the iPads, the missionaries and their parents have to pay $300 for their use during their mission.  If they want to take them home, they have to pay an additional $81.  All of this is paid through their church donation slips.

We had a lot more sunny days this week, which was nice, and it even got up into the 70’s, but not today!  Only 50’s. 

Last Monday Larry invited us over for FHE and showed us pictures of the medical trip to Ecuador.  He worked with a great team of doctors, dentists, nurses, and assistants and he was able to do @ 4 or 5 surgeries each day to correct cleft lips and palettes.  Other surgeries were going on at the same time by other doctors.  He showed many before and after pictures.  It was so impressive!!  We are very proud of the good work that he and others do.  It was fun to be at their house and watch Gary working on decorating a shirt for school the next day, Bram working on a Lego set, and Harper making nice notes to give each of us.  We love, love, love, being with our grandchildren here!!  Good thing all our families don’t live here or we wouldn’t get any mission office work done!!

Friday night and Saturday were spent resting and recuperating from the week, doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, and just taking it easy. 

Today we went to our new ward, Larry’s and Holly’s ward, but they weren’t there as it is Spring Break week for them and they were at a beach on the Gulf Coast enjoying sun and warm water.  We expect lots of photos when they get back.

Our cousins, Judy and Devon Tufts, left Salt Lake City yesterday to serve their mission in Honolulu, Hawaii!!  We wish them well!!

My sister, Lois, celebrated her 81st birthday on St. Patrick’s Day.  My brother Glenn and his wife Kay took her out to Tucanos—a favorite birthday restaurant.  We are glad they all had such a good time!!

The grass is greening up, some bushes and trees blooming, and some flowers.  We love spring.

We love you all and wish you a great week!

Elder & Sister Hartzell
The front of our apartment complex, The Fountaine Bleau Apartments

The front of our apartment with the side door/balcony showing

Inside the front door
Our living room
Our already-cluttered new/old desk
The kitchen and laundry room
Bedroom #1
Bedroom #2

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Transfer Week

March 13, 2016
Dear Family & Friends,
This past week was Transfer Week.  It happens every 6 weeks.  It actually started last Thursday when the missionaries who will stay here are moved around to different companions.  The Departing Missionaries, seven of them this time, have their last day in the mission on Monday.  They attended the temple in Memphis that morning, then came to Little Rock for a wonderful Farewell Dinner at the elegant Mission Home.  They were served with china, silver, crystal and delicious food!!  So Elder Hartzell and I went to work that morning as usual, and my morning went fine, but poor Elder Hartzell got an emergency call about a notice on one of the missionary apartments that the rent was NOT paid and the missionaries would be evicted the next day!!  It took him probably 4 hours to figure out the problem and get the rent paid.  Then the Office Staff left to drive to the Mission Home and help in preparing the Farewell Dinner, which we also got to eat.  Then we cleaned up and left as the Departing Missionaries had a Farewell Testimony meeting.  We went home exhausted and full and enjoying the great spirit of those experienced missionaries.
On Tuesday they are taken to the airport and sent home to their waiting families.  That same afternoon, the three New Missionaries arrive and are brought back to the Mission Home.  We were at the office all morning and early afternoon, and Jim had another emergency eviction notice to deal with!!  Plus bills that needed to be paid and lots of financial stuff that needed to be figured out.  I continued learning about all the letters and reports that I needed to deal with.  Then we all left at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home and prepare the dinner for the New Missionaries.  They also got delicious food, but it was served on paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic utensils.  And again, we got to share it, too.  Clean up was much faster and easier!  We headed home to rest.
Wednesday, the New Missionaries had a day of training.  We went over that morning for a quick introduction to things they needed to know about finance, mail, phones, cars, etc.  Then went to the office where Jim & I worked on the computer in a program called IMOS where the online Transfer Board is.  There we moved around the photos of all the missionaries so that they were in their new areas with their new companions.  Some did stay where they were, but it still took us about two hours to go through all the changes of place, companion, assignment, etc.  We then submitted the information and hoped it was all correct.  In the next couple of days we found out about some problems, so I called Salt Lake City to find out how to fix things.  Thank heavens, they are just a phone call away!!!  Worked all day at the office, then did some shopping on the way home. 
Thursday was pretty quiet.  Jim had two more potential evictions to deal with, and I sent home emails and photos to all the parents of the New Missionaries so they would know their child arrived safely, and had photos of their child with their new companions and with the Mission President and his wife.
Friday I typed up letters to all the missionaries who had received new Leadership responsibilities.  These letters are called Leadership Letters.  I emailed them to the parents, and in some cases, to their bishops and stake presidents.  I mailed the originals to the missionaries themselves.
It rained like crazy Tuesday until today (Sunday).  We had flooding around the area on Tuesday night, but the quantity of rain and flooding lessened each succeeding day.  Friday night we went out to dinner at a good Mexican restaurant, then did some more food shopping, came home and watched TV.
Saturday we cleaned a new/very old desk that the Office Missionaries had found for us.  Then Jim headed back to the office to pay bills for 4 hours, while I stayed home and worked on our budget.  Fun, Fun!!  We were able to exercise, clean up, and attend a wonderful Fireside broadcast with Elder and Sister Renlund, and Elder and Sister Kapischke, which was broadcast from their meeting in Memphis.  We enjoyed the beautiful spirit and great stories and messages we heard.
The Sake President in his remarks commented that recently the First Presidency prayed about the question of “what can we do to strengthen the members”. The answer was focus on the Sabbath day.  It would be good for all of us to consider how we keep the Sabbath day. He used the story of David and Goliath, and how David chose 5 smooth stones as he went to meet Goliath.  What stones will we choose?
Sister Renlund shared some touching stories about the saints in Africa and the challenges they have and do face.                                                                                                                         
Elder Renlund’s message was about what is our foundation built upon, rock or sand?  The winds will come, and the rain will fall (especially in Arkansas lately) how will we weather those storms of life?  He shared a story of a man with a very bad heart condition who had 4 transplants and should have died several times, after the final transplant, which was successful, he then was upset over cold oatmeal in the hospital.  We need to look and acknowledges the miracles around us and be thankful for them and not get upset over the “cold oatmeal.”  His closing remarks were about the atonement and what a blessing that is to us all.  When we repent, no matter what we may have done, it is over as far as the Lord is concerned and we should accept that and not keep asking am I really forgiven.  Elder Packer in his last conference address, at the end of his prepared remarks then talked about the blessing of the atonement, which fixes it all if we repent. 
 We took Sister Womack with us as Sister Hugentobler always spends the weekends in Hot Springs with her son and his family.  We remembered to set all our clocks forward and lose that precious hour’s sleep.
This morning we attended the Pinnacle Mountain Ward.  That is the ward that Larry and Holly are in.  Larry has not returned from Ecuador yet, but we got big hugs from Holly and the children!!  Came back to our apartment, had lunch, took naps, and are ready for another week.
We love you all,

Elder and Sister Hartzell

Elder Hartzell in his Financial Office
The Front of our Chapel/Mission Office

The Office Secretary Trainer, Sister Kathleen Green, at the desk where Sister Hartzell will do all her work.  Sister Hannah Hugentobler is the Mission Recorder Secretary.

Sister Patsy Womack, the Referral Secretary

Elder Brooks Green, Vehicle Coordinator

President Wakolo's Office

The Transfer Board in President Wakolo's Office

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 6, 2016

March 6, 2016
Dear Family & Friends,
Sunday night we ate dinner at Olive Garden, compliments of Brent & Becca, who had given us a gift card as a thank-you for helping them last September when Becca had back surgery. 
On Monday, Jim’s “17th” birthday, we traveled from Oklahoma City to Little Rock, and drove right to the Mission Office.  They welcomed us with open arms.  We met Sister Green, the “part-time temp” as she likes to call herself, who is training me; Sister Hugentobler who is the Recorder; and Sister Womack who does the Referrals.  Sister Green’s husband was not there but he is training Elder Hartzell.  Sister Womack had us follow her to the new apartment, gave us the keys, showed us around, and left to go back to the office while we unloaded our car and started to set things up.  We got hungry so went to Chick-fil-A for dinner.  Then we headed to Walmart for the first of several stock-ups we needed to do.  While there we got a call from Larry asking for our apartment address so they could come and “surprise” us!  We hurried and finished and got back to the apartment just before they arrived.  It was so good to see them!!!  What fun!!!  And they brought a delicious pizza cookie called a pizzokie, along with ice cream and 3 different toppings.  We fixed our bowls and they all sang Happy Birthday to Jim!!  It was so great!!  We visited a little, but they had to leave as the kids had school the next day.  They left and we put a few more things away and crawled very tiredly into bed.
Tuesday, we found our way back to the office by 10:00 for a meeting with President Wakolo.  He is a great man and we had a good visit for an hour and a half.  Then we broke to eat our sandwich and get ready for the weekly Office Staff meeting at noon.  Sister Wakolo came so we got to meet her, too.  What wonderful people they are!!!  We talked about things that are coming up and what needed to be done.  We ended about 1:30 and got to work being trained.  It felt really good to be back in a mission office but we both realized there was a lot to learn.
The rest of the week was spent at the computers, me learning IMOS and Word and Excel programs for the Secretary, and Jim learning all the Finance stuff.  By the end of the week, we had accomplished a few things but it was like being trained by a firehose—there is so much to know and do.  Thank heavens, the Greens are very patient and willing to help in every way possible!
Each evening we would leave the office about 5:00, stopping at stores to buy things we needed, then going home to put things away.
On Friday, the Greens took us to Chili’s for lunch to welcome us to the office.  Sisters Hugentobler and Womack came, too, so we had a nice visit and got to know each other better.  I found out that Sister Green was one year behind me at BYU, also majored in Business Education, and also lived in Alice Merrill Horne Hall her Freshman year!!  What a great connection!!!!  She is delightful and very warm and kind.  Elder Green is a lot like Jim—quiet and constant and a really good man.
Saturday we worked all day doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, ironing shirts, exercising in the exercise room that is here in the apartments, then cleaning up, doing some shopping, eating out at Carino’s with a gift card that had been given us by Shelley & Derek for helping her with new baby, Maxwell.  Then we went to the adult session of the North Little Rock Stake Conference, where we heard some wonderful talks about keeping the Sabbath day holy.  The speakers included our new Mission President, Pres. Wakolo and Sister Wakolo, and Elder Craig Zwick of the 70 along with his wife.  We were very uplifted!  Sister Zwick spoke about the women with an issue of blood from the New Testament.  The virtue that Christ spoke of means power or healing power – we have access to that power if we have faith and act.  His virtue can pass to us each Sunday as we partake symbolically of His blood and we can be healed.  He may not move mountains for us, but he will give us the power to climb them.  Elder Zwick taught and had a great two-way communication through questions he asked. He concluded by talking about how in DC 110, when you read the introduction that Joseph and the brethren first partook of the sacrament, and then came the revelation and visitation from Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. When we partake worthily of the sacrament, coming with a desire to learn, we invite revelation.
This morning, we went back for some more wonderful messages.  One that particularly touched me was by Elder Zwick, telling us a story that happened to their family just a couple of years ago.  They had just had the funeral for his father, when the First Presidency called the couple to come in.  They were told that there were problems with the mission in Puerto Rico and they were asked to leave the next day to go serve as mission president and wife!!  Of course, they were willing to do whatever they were asked, so they left.  But one big problem was that one of their daughters was expecting in the next two months, and there were complications.  The baby was going to be Down Syndrome and had a very bad heart and would need surgery immediately after birth.  The Zwicks were planning on being there to assist in caring for the family.  So they asked their missionaries to pray for their daughter and her family.  Much fasting and prayer was offered in their behalf.  A few weeks before the due date they got a call from their son-in-law, and he was so choked up he couldn’t talk.  They feared that the baby had come early and was still-born or in very bad shape.  When he could finally speak, he said that the opposite was true.   Though the baby had come early, it was perfectly fine with no problems!!  The Lord promises us that our families will be blessed through our service.  We are so happy to serve Him because we know that He will take care of us and those we love!! The other miracle Elder Zwick spoke of was at the re-dedication of the Fiji temple last month.  They had the worst cyclone on record, and yet all that was needed to be done, was done.  President Eyring, who was there, spoke of it just this last Thursday in the meeting with the general authorities in the Temple as the Fijian miracle.  One part was that the pianist that was to play for the dedication, and had been practicing for months, due to downed trees could not get there.  A 15 year old boy was asked to play the music he had never seen before, and he performed marvelously.  If we have genuine desire to serve, the Lord will make up the difference between what we naturally can do and what is needed.
Holly’s mom, Laurel, came on Wednesday to visit them and help Holly out as Larry was leaving on Thursday to do a medical mission to Ecuador to perform cleft lip and palette surgeries.  We heard via Facebook that he also ran into one of his former companions from his mission to Colombia.  Wonderful!
We love all of you and pray that you are doing well.

Elder & Sister Hartzell

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

MTC Week 2

February 28, 2016
Dear Family & Friends,
Last Sunday, February 21, Jim & I had the opportunity to go on a very special tour of the Provo City Center Temple.  It was offered to us by their Open House Committee because of the help we gave them when we were members of the Payson Temple Open House Committee.  They were very happy to share with us their special temple.  We stopped in almost every room where they would share stories and feelings about that particular room.  The tour, which is normally about 30 to 40 minutes, took us two hours.  What a wonderful Spirit was with us!!  We are so grateful they shared so many wonderful experiences.  It was truly a blessing!! The most special experience was the discussion that Brother Lund, who is the overall committee chair, gave as we sat in one of the sealing rooms.  He commented about the importance of the promises and blessings that are made there across sacred alters and the priceless value they have for all eternity if we live worthy of them.  Stars and galaxies may come and go, but that union is eternal. 
Then Monday until Thursday afternoon we were trained in office computer skills.  We would learn something, then they would give us simulations to test our abilities.  It was great to remember at least some of the office procedures I did in Tokyo.  Elder Hartzell had a little harder time as the Financial stuff he did in Tokyo was not what the rest of the church was doing at that time.  But he did remember quite a few things and felt more comfortable doing that than the Car or Apartment or Phone programs.
We checked out of the MTC on Thursday @ 3:00 p.m., and headed home to wash clothes and finish packing and do some cleaning.  We woke up Friday morning and loaded the Toyota Highlander totally full.  I am so proud of Jim’s packing skills—the back was stuffed top to bottom and side to side!!!  And we actually got in everything we had planned to take!!  We finished some cleaning, made sure the doors were locked, and left for our mission at about 11:30 a.m.  We drove to Grand Junction to spend the night with Shelley and Derek and their family.  They were so glad to see us one more time and we had fun eating pizza and playing a fun Disney Find It game.  Then ate pie and ice cream for dessert while they sang Happy Birthday to Jim.
We got up Saturday morning, ate, and said our goodbyes.  We drove down the beautiful Hwy 550 through the Alps of Colorado, Ouray, and Silverton, through Durango, Albuquerque, and stopped for the night in Santa Rosa, NM.  Sunday we drove to Amarillo, TX, for Sacrament meeting, getting there right at the start of the Sacrament Song—talk about good timing!  Then we continued driving to Oklahoma City to spend the night.
One more day and we will be in Little Rock.
So far all is going well!!
Love to you all—Elder & Sister Hartzell
(The Provo City Center Temple is from a visit we did in January, hence we are not in missionary attire.)