Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for the many prayers and well-wishes that were offered to help me get over my cold. They worked!! Sunday morning I woke up feeling much better, was able to attend church, and had a good day. We are attending the Gospel Essentials Sunday School class and enjoying being there with the new members and the investigators.
Pat's Birthday party from last week
Monday morning we awoke early, met the missionaries at the chapel/office, and drove to Memphis, TN, where we attended a special session in the Memphis Temple. This is done the Monday of every Transfer Week so that the Departing Missionaries can attend the temple one more time, in addition to all missionaries who celebrated birthdays in March or April, and half of the Senior Missionaries. The Temple was small but beautiful, and we loved the Spirit we felt there!! President Griffin, the Temple President is from Hot Springs, Arkansas and owns the home where we went to Easter dinner and had fun with Larry and family. He is also an ENT, knows Larry and in fact Larry did a tonsillectomy on one of his grandchildren last week. There was less traffic on the road this trip, no rain, and a much more pleasant drive. We drove back to Little Rock to attend the Farewell Dinner at the Mission Home. Delicious!! We had ham, Sister Wakolo’s chicken curry, tossed salad, Sister Wakolo’s Cookie salad, fruit, chips and dip, rolls, and brownies for dessert! So good!!!
Tuesday we got 5 new missionary recommendations in email, 3 sisters for June and two elders for July, and I processed them. We both worked in our Office all day and got much accomplished, and I visited with my sister, Lois, at lunch. Wednesday we did a Training with the one new missionary who came in—a sister. Then back to the Office and putting all the Transfer information into IMOS so that all the information on where each of the missionaries was now and what their Areas were would be complete. It took Jim and me almost 2 hours, with a break for lunch, to compete it, and we asked the Office Elders to check it and make sure it was correct. Then they were sweet enough to go into the President’s Office and make the changes on the Transfer Board in there.
Wednesday evening we drove to the Larry’s Pizza in Little Rock to attend Harper’s Fifth Birthday party!! She is so adorable!! We ate well and had lots of fun!! Then went home to do laundry (Pat), wash dishes (Jim), and recover from the day (both).
Thursday and Friday I had letters and emails and photos to send out to the families of the Departing and Arriving Missionaries. Also, we had a bad thunderstorm on Friday and tons of rain, but it lightened up by afternoon. Elder Hartzell: I not only do finance, but also housing. There have been lots of apartment issues this week, and since we arrived. Looks like that will be a common thing.
Saturday the soccer games were cancelled because of how soggy the fields were. Jim and I exercised, cleaned the apartment, did budget stuff, cleaned up, and at 1:30 we drove north to Conway to the famous or infamous Toad Suck Festival. It turned out to be good sunny weather, lots of booths, watching the Toad races, singers, dancers, and fun. Then we went to Brother and Sister Green’s to eat a wonderful dinner of veggies and dip, chips and dip, barbecued chicken, pulled pork, potato salad, coleslaw (all from Whole Hog), rolls, watermelon, and a wonderful lemon ice cream dessert!!
|Jasmin Wakolo, sitting by her folks, Elder and Sister Cahoon, Sister Green, and Sister Hartzell|
Yummmmmmmmy!!! Then drove home and enjoyed a quiet evening. Jim even had a good visit with his brother, Dean.
Last Monday we heard a wonderful miracle story. A sister missionary who is serving here is also from Payson. She said that she had a brother who had been on a mission but returned home early and became inactive. The family had been praying for the Spirit to touch his heart. This past Easter Sunday, the parents had to be out of town and asked the brother to take his younger brother to church, which he did, but the older brother waited in the foyer. In the meantime, the Apostles had been asked to pray for where they needed to attend church on Easter, and so Elder Oaks came to that building that day and met this young man, who felt the Spirit and is starting to come back to church again. Truly, prayers and fasting produced a miracle, and the family is so grateful to the Lord.
There is another interesting experience we have observed somewhat from a distance, only hearing some of the details. But one of the local colleges has asked their students to write a paper about a religious topic and two of these students have chosen the LDS church to write about. There is a young lady who has met with the missionaries asking questions about the how we minister and administer the gospel. She has come into the office several times and has been given a copy of the Book of Mormon and several other references. It has been a very positive experience for her and the missionaries. Then today in the Little Rock Ward that we attend, a young man is doing a similar research paper and has attended the last two Sundays. He had some very positive comments after he heard the testimony meeting today. The missionaries are meeting with him later this week. Not sure at this point if it will lead to them becoming progressing investigators, but at the very least they are having a very positive experience as they learn more about the church.
Jim: As I was sitting in sacrament meeting during the administration of the Sacrament I began pondering the difference between sacrifice and atonement and shared some of feelings as I shared my testimony (this month I got right up and was the second person to share their testimony compared to last month when I hesitated and had no opportunity later). One can sacrifice time or money or even their life for someone else for their protection, or physical needs, but none of us can sacrifice anything that pays for the sins of ourselves or for anyone else. Only the Lord Jesus Christ could and did that for us. I am so thankful for His atonement. I have made plenty of mistakes and continue to do so and only through my repentance and the Grace of Christ through His atonement can I be forgiven for those things. I testify that I have experience this in my life, the peace that surpasses all understanding.
We hope you are all doing well and we have loved the great emails we have received from some of you. Thanks for communicating with us.
Love, Elder and Sister Hartzell