Monday, May 23, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,
            This was a good week at the Office for Jim and me.  We were each able to do some organizing, take care of various tasks that needed to be done, and actually enjoy quite a bit of peace and quiet.  The Cahoons were gone on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and the missionaries were hardly in the Office at all.  Several times I was able to get done with my work and go into Jim’s office to help him with some projects. 
            On Tuesday, I had three new missionary recommendations come in—two for August and one for October.  After work, we went to Sam’s Club and became members (there are no Costcos in Arkansas), ate pizza there, then went to the apartment and exercised at the Clubhouse.
            Wednesday, I worked on the Departure Books for the Departing Missionaries.  There are a lot of pages that go in them, and the ones I put in now are all premade.  Next week I will add all their personal letters and letters to the mission president.  We left the Office at 4:00 to go to Larry’s house where Jim helped Bram finish putting the wheels on his Pinewood Derby car.  There was no electricity in the house, and the Cornias said that it was because a car had run into the poles and knocked them over.  So I helped Laurel round up candles and matches.  They told us later that the power came back on about 11:00 p.m. and suddenly all the lights in the house came on, even though Laurel had tried to turn them all off before they went to bed!
            The online Church internet system we use all the time for finance, housing, and all the secretarial tracking of missionaries has been down since last Thurs for all the financial work while they did an upgrade.  It was supposed to last until at least Friday, and I had planned on not having it until next Monday.  But there it was back again Wednesday morning.  I really didn’t get behind at all.  Yea !!!!!!!!!!!!
            The missionaries are all bringing in their old DVD players as they don’t need them any more because they all use iPads now.  So on Thursday, I went through all of them (about 60) and determined whether or not they were broken and could be thrown away, or still working and we would give them away.
            Friday we had the brake rotors on our Highlander turned so that the brakes are a lot smoother to use now.  I went through an old book to see what it said about the things I need to be doing, but it is way out of date and so I am trying to make it more current.  Met a couple who have accepted an assignment to help check missionaries’ apartments in their stake.  This is much needed!!  The husband is Samoan and she is from Arkansas, and they have both lived here a long time.  In February they just returned from a mission to the Bay Area to serve in the Samoan community to help reactivate members and teach investigators and help people learn how to serve in the church.  When they first got there, her husband was talking to groups of people in Samoan and she could understand nothing.  She was getting so frustrated.  Finally, she said a prayer, saying in essence, “Father, I want to be on this mission and I want to help the Samoan people, but unless You help me understand what they are saying, I won’t be able to do what I need to.”  All of a sudden, she was understanding everything everyone was saying!!  She received the gift of tongues.  She still couldn’t speak it, but since they all understand English, she could participate fully in the conversations.  What a blessing!!  And they helped the Branch grow from 150 to almost 300 when it was made a Ward not long ago!
            Friday night we ate out and went to see “Captain America-Civil War.”  We love those kinds of movies, but it was hard to watch the heroes fighting each other.
            Saturday we went to the Pinewood Derby.  Bram’s car came in 4th out of 12 and looked good.  Then we went home for lunch, took naps, vacuumed and dusted the apartment, exercised, ate dinner, and then Larry invited us to go see the movie again with he and Gary and Bram and Gary Cornia, and that Larry would pay for us all!!  So of course, we said yes and went and enjoyed it again.

            Sunday has been a lovely cool to warm day.  We enjoyed Sacrament meeting and SS at the Little Rock Ward, then drove to Larry’s Pinnacle Mountain Ward for a second SS and RS/Priesthood, so we would be there when Larry gave Gary the Priesthood and ordained him a Deacon after church was over.  It was so special!!  And we had a marvelous dinner to celebrate Gary's 12th birthday--ribs, melon salad, tossed salad, smashed potatoes, rolls, and a sugar cookie cake with caramel icing.  Wow—we ate well!!  Said goodbye to the Cornias, who flew home today.

            In sacrament meeting the concluding speaker was a member of the Little Rock Ward, Marc Gray.  We were so impressed with his talk.  He spoke about how to avoid letting doubt affect our testimonies and how we serve in the Church.  He had three points: 1) reflect upon past spiritual experiences, 2) expose ourselves to more light than darkness (doubt) – invest real time in this effort and 3) know that you have a place in God’s kingdom.  Even though we may have doubts at times, don’t let them stop us. 

           We love you all,  
Elder & Sister Hartzell

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