Dear Family & Friends,
This was a pretty quiet week. On Tuesday, we got 5 new missionary recommendations, which I processed. We had our Office Staff meeting (these happen usually every other week), and I got some new assignments.
Had pouring rain driving to the Office on Wed. morning, but it cleared up soon after, and has only rained a couple of times since, and they were light. Worked on a variety of different things. At lunch we (the Office Staff) were taken out to lunch by a ward member. He took us to “the best fish place in town,” called Cajun Wharf. And the food was indeed delicious!! It is right on the Arkansas River and we watched some barges pass by. Also, Sister Wakolo stopped by and visited for a few minutes. She told me that she and President often go to missionaries’ apartments to study with them (the missionaries study every morning until 10 a.m., and they are not supposed to call or receive calls until after 10). She tries to help the sisters try to get more out of their study time. This also helps her and the President get to know the missionaries even better.
She also talked with Jim and told him about a baptism she had attended in Larry’s ward Tuesday night. A young man was baptized and another one, who was baptized less than a year ago, stood and bore his testimony about how he wanted to be a “dad like that man over there” (pointing at Larry). How he admired so much the way Larry took care of his family and was so kind to others. Of course, this is music to a mother’s ears and heart. I had loved visiting the wards of our children and have people tell me what good people our children are, and how much they love them and their families. I don’t know if I tell our children this enough, but I am so proud of them, their spouses, and their children! They have strong marriages of love and trust, and strong families built on the principles of the Gospel. I am so happy for all the good things they have going on in their lives!!! After work, we went shopping and then went home to eat and do laundry.
Thursday was a Mission Leader Conference in our building. It consists of Pres. & Sis. Wakolo, the Assistants, and the Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders—about 30 people total. At lunch time Jim & I helped serve them some fried chicken from Church’s Chicken, a tossed salad, southern macaroni and cheese, and a cookie salad that Sis. Wakolo made. It is wonderful to be around these missionaries who work so hard trying to help the other missionaries do better, work harder, and be more obedient.
Friday, started working on letters that I needed to finish from the day before, and soon realized that I was redoing some I had already done! So I created a new checklist and that is working much better. We have 22 new missionaries coming in July, and I was sending them and their parents letters, and it is easy to lose track of where I am without the checklist. This will help me be much more efficient!
At 5:30 we closed down the Office and went with the Cahoons and Sister Hugentobler to meet the Elder and Sister Cheney for dinner at a local restaurant in Sherwood, a 15 minute drive from the office, called Ropers. Deciding to eat their specialties, I had country fried steak and Jim had fried hamburger steak. It was all delicious!! But I haven’t eaten fried foods in a long time so this is real different for us.
Saturday we actually slept in, cleaned, exercised, went shopping, and relaxed. Jim did go into the Office for about 1 ½ hours as he had some stuff he needed to get finished up. We didn’t go anywhere fun but it was good to have an R&R day.
Today church was good and we enjoyed being with such good people. We love running into people who used to be in Larry and Holly’s ward before it was divided and tell us what good people they are. Again, we are so proud and grateful for all our children and spouses.
A sister missionary heard that one of the elders had a contact in her area. She marched up to him at a meeting and said, “Give me that referral right now! He wants to know about the Gospel and we want to go see him now!!” She leaves the mission in three weeks and is not trunky at all!!!
This is Jim. Pat writes most of the blog posts and you can probably tell, but I wanted to add something from my observations that has to do with preparing young men and women for missionary service. I am not addressing their spiritual preparation, rather their living preparation. We have missionaries here that don’t know how to clean an apartment. The couple who check some of the apartments find vacuums so plugged up for lack of cleaning the filter or empting the bag that they won’t suck any air. We have others who know absolutely nothing about car maintenance. They don’t know how to check air in the tires, or change a flat, or how to open the hood of the car, where to add oil or coolant or how to check if you need it, and they ruin tires by running on them when they are flat. The vehicle coordinator tells me some really sad but funny stories. Two elders recently hit a curb that had some kind of a pipe sticking out of it and ruined the tire. When the vehicle coordinator asked if the tire was flat they seriously said, “no it was still round on the top and only flat on the bottom.” He asked if they were kidding him, and they said no. If you are a parent of a teen, or have grandchildren who are teens, or have a calling with the youth, please help them get some education about some of these basic things.
Thought I heard recently – “Men are that they might have joy and not guilt trips!”
Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell