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