Sunday, June 26, 2016

The June Senior Social

Dear Family & Friends,
            Last Monday I was busy all day long (unlike Jim who is busy all day long everyday)—lots of letters to write and send out, emails to take care of, and phone calls to respond to.  Also, we have not been able to access our phone messages as no one knew how to get into the answering machine or what the password was.  So Sister Cahoon contacted the phone company and was able to get the correct procedure.  Then I proceeded to listen to 155 phone messages from way back in November.  Ok, I didn’t listen to all of them, just the June ones.  The rest I deleted as soon as each one came up.  So now we are up to date and everyone is taking care of their own messages on the phones on their individual desks.  Now we don’t have the incessantly blinking light on our phones!!  Hooray!! 
            Tuesday we got two new missionary recommendations, and I had to put together a Departure Book for a sister who was going home early because of a leg injury from playing basketball with members and investigators on a Saturday.  It is the second one to go home early in the last 4 months, and they are awesome missionaries, so now the President has asked that the only basketball be played on Mondays with other missionaries who are under strict rules to not play aggressively.  We just don’t want to have any more injured if we can prevent it.  Several apartments are dealing with bed bugs.  They are really hard to eliminate once they get started.  Two of the apartments had to have professional exterminators come in, and that is really not cheap.  In the evening Jim worked on some family history and we installed some 2x4s as bed slats to keep the box springs from sagging to the center—it works great now.
That afternoon was our Staff Meeting with Pres. and Sister Wakolo.  Things are going well throughout the mission and there were only a couple of extra things that he wanted us to do.  Then we, the Office Staff, took turns going in to see him for interviews as couples, or Sister Hugentobler went in alone.  He made us feel really good by telling us he would like to clone us so that we could always serve here!!  Guess we are doing okay!  Also, the Greens stopped by for a quick visit and it was good to see them again.
We also found out that Shelley’s little Maxwell’s arm is all healed!  Thank you so much for your faith and prayers.
            Wednesday I sent out the letters to the stake presidents with the Honorable Release certificates for the missionaries going home in July.  There will be @ 14 going home and 21 coming out.  We got a new Senior Couple in our mission yesterday—Andrew and Lori Rasmussen from Alpine, UT.  They are getting adjusted and are excited to get busy with the missionary work.  We did our grocery shopping, then went home, ate, and did our 3 loads of weekly wash.  We got a phone call at 9:50 from Pres. Wakolo asking us to make an emergency run to the Office to get the passport for the sister who was leaving at 5:45 the next morning, which we were happy to do.  We got home at 11:00 and went to bed!
            Thursday was a much slower day and mostly did letters and organized a few things and made up a new chart to help me keep track of stuff.  We also did our weekly office cleaning today since we would be busy Friday morning.
            Friday was a really fun day.  It was our Senior Social held at the Mission Home!!  They are held every 6 months and involve all Seniors who are serving in our mission.  We have about 24 serving, some are local people who are called to evaluate missionaries’ apartments and try to help them keep them cleaner.  The rest are serving away from their home, except for the Just Serve couple who are to coordinate service efforts of the missionaries in the Just Serve program.  All of the couples either brought appetizers/finger foods, or desserts.  The Wakolos provided the lunch.  It was all so delicious and we had such a good time visiting!!  The Seniors were from all over and had interesting stories to tell.  We loved being there and making connections with the others.  Of special interest were the Milks who are from Las Vegas.  I had talked with Dennis before (he was a year behind me at Vegas High School), but not his wife.  Turns out they were brought into the church by one of the good friends that I grew up with—Sharla Richards Humphries!  What a small world it is!!  It ended at 4:30 and we helped clean up, then went home and relaxed.  We checked with Brent on how his son Asher is doing after some surgery on his legs that day.  He is doing well but it will take him 4 to 6 weeks to recover so we are asking for your faith and prayers.
            Saturday, our P-day, we exercised, cleaned bathrooms, caught up with some stuff around the apartment, then went for a nice drive (too hot and muggy for any walks) around North Little Rock to see where things were.  We went to see a war memorial statue,

a pedestrian/bike bridge that crosses the Arkansas River called “The Big Dam Bridge,” 

 and a red covered bridge that is part of Burns Park (a huge sports park with areas for multiple baseball, soccer, golf, and tennis fields and reportedly the second largest park in the United States).  
We picked up some dinner and ice cream and went home to just hang out!!
            Today has been a lovely Sabbath Day.  We have enjoyed our meetings and talking with wonderful people in the Little Rock Ward. 
            Some quotes from this week: 
            “If you want to be tutored by the Lord daily, serve a mission.  You will be taught and strengthened in ways you never thought possible.”
            “We need to stand with the leaders of the church, be they at church headquarters or locally serving.”
            From a quadriplegic who had been in a hospital for a long time and was finally taken outside and started crying, “The breeze is a gift from God.”  We need to recognize all the gifts from God that we might overlook or take for granted.  The scriptures are a gift from God that are often left wrapped.
            From a Church News article quoting President Ronald Reagen:  “Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience . . . without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure.  If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”  Sad to say we see this happening all the time.  I am so grateful we have God in our lives!!
            Sure do love you all and wish you a wonderful week!
            Elder and Sister Hartzell

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Fathers Day!!

Dear Family & Friends,
            Happy Father’s Day to you all!!
            As reported last week, Monday was our Mission Tour/Zone Conference with Elder & Sister Arnold.  We went to the Office at 7:30 so we could get some things done.  The missionaries started their Leadership meetings at 8:30 and the Seniors joined them at 10:30 for the actual Zone Conference.  Sister Wakolo reviewed and taught Jacob 5 (The Allegory) which centered in Christ being the Tree.  He also needs to be the center of our lives.  Then Sister Arnold taught about obedience.  She told about when she was a girl she had to ride the fence on her parent’s ranch.  The purpose was two-fold:  to make sure the fence had no gaps in it, and to keep the cows from the wheat.  But some cows just weren’t satisfied with all the wonderful field grass on their side of the fence.  They would push against the fence hard to try to reach the wheat.  One day she came on a cow that had pushed so hard against the fence, that the fence was down and the cow was bloating from all the wheat it had eaten.  “No, no!!” she said, “eating the wheat will kill you!  The fence is there for your protection!!”  She rode her horse to find her dad and bring him back, but when they got back the cow was dead.  “Why wouldn’t you let the fence protect you and keep you safe?!!”  That is what the commandments and obedience are all about—they are there to protect you and keep you safe. President Wakolo talked about how in the scriptures, each time Heavenly Father introduces His Son, He says, “This is my beloved Son.”  And that is what we all are—His beloved children, His sons and daughters—and that is what all the people we teach are.  Then Pres. Wakolo talked about the kind of missionary Sister Susan Fulcher was:  one who put people first, who loved the ward members as much as she loved the investigators, who always tried new ways of doing things, and who had a positive attitude at all times.  Then Elder Arnold then taught about changing our own attitudes and behaviors and becoming “Fulcher missionaries.”  If we want to change the result we have been obtaining, then we need to do things differently and think outside the box.  We had a quick hour for lunch and a Conference photograph, then were back in the meeting practicing different ways of doing the Work.  It was a wonderful and spiritual day!!  The missionaries started a fast to have baptisms in July, and we fasted with them.  They all left pretty quickly after the meetings ended at 4:00, and it was real quiet in our building. 
            Tuesday we received 3 new missionary recommendations, plus I had mail from the prospective missionaries with information that we had asked them to return to us.  Also, we get wonderful letters from parents introducing their sons or daughters to President & Sister Wakolo that I print up and give to them and put one copy in their file.  Also, letters that are for their son or daughter to read when they come.  So we were busy all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  For Jim Monday is usually quite a busy day, so missing most of it caused him to be really busy on Tuesday.  Did laundry Wed. night.
            Thursday and Friday Jim had stuff to do all day, and I had stuff to do in the morning but was done by about 2:00 each day.  So I asked Jim if I could help him, but there was only a few things to do.  I did send out lots of mail and answered some phone calls, but most were for other people in the Office.  Sister Cahoon went home sick with a cold on Thursday and most of Friday.  Jim & I did our cleaning on Friday.  Stopped at the store for a few things on the way home, and had a nice relaxing Friday night.
            Saturday we did aerobic exercise, which we do three times a week, ate, vacuumed and dusted the apartment, cleaned up, made a sandwich and ate it while we drove to the store for some candy and lemon meringue pie for Father’s Day dinner/dessert.  Then we went to Larry and Holly’s and picked up the kids and took them to see “Finding Dory.”  It was just as good as “Finding Nemo” and we laughed out loud a few times and shed a few tears at other times.  It also had a really cute short at the beginning about a baby sandpiper.  What a sweet time we had!!!  Then we went to dinner with L&H at Larry’s Pizza, then we left them and went to meet the Cahoons (Sister Cahoon was feeling much better) at the Little Rock Community Theater where we saw a performance of “Annie, Get Your Gun.”  It was very well done and the leads were good looking and great singers. 
            Today was a lovely Sabbath Father’s Day!  We enjoyed seeing the grandkids singing in church, and also Holly and all the women and Young Women.  Then I helped a bit in Primary, took some pictures after church, went home and had naps!!! (love Sunday naps), then went to eat a delicious lasagna dinner at Larry and Holly’s, along with salad, French bread, and lemon meringue pie and different kinds of ice cream for dessert.  We adults also played “Balderdash.”  Came home to visit with the kids and grandkids.

            Love, Elder and Sister Hartzell
Grandad, Dad, and kids

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June Transfer Week

Dear Family and Friends,
            Monday was a pretty light day for me—answered some emails and took care of a few things.  Jim was busy as usual.  At 3:30 Jim and I drove to the Mission Home to help Sister Wakolo with dinner.  Elder and Sister Cheney were already there working hard.  The dinner we prepared for the Departing Missionaries was:  ham, cheesy potatoes, chicken curry with rice, green bean casserole, rolls, spinach salad, cookie salad, cut up fruit and melon, chip and dips, and brownies and ice cream for dessert.  We came home stuffed!!
            Jim: Today I gave the spiritual thought in our morning devotional time at the office.  I had been reading 1 Ne 13:35 and was thinking about Nephi, a teenager, wanting to know what is his father Lehi had seen in his vision, and had been shown the future of his people falling away and being destroyed.  I was just struck by how hard that would be to know of that future.  I think I would have been very discouraged, and maybe would have said what is the use in trying?  But not Nephi.  He pressed forward, ever faithful, testifying to his brothers who never asked to know, and lead his people as a prophet does.  I am glad I don’t know the specifics about my future.  There may be sadness that I am very glad to not know about ahead of time.  With faith and pressing forward we can apply the atonement in our lives and get through any of these challenges, but I am glad to not know about them ahead of time.  Nephi is one of my great heroes.   
            Tuesday we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our beautiful Payson Utah Temple!!  We loved all we did to help during the Open House, and the Dedication itself was so special and beautiful.  What a treasure it is!!!  In the Mission Office, Jim and I worked together on the Transfer Board online in IMOS.  It took about 2 ½ hours, but we got it done and submitted.  The Office Elders changed the Transfer Board around in the President’s Office.  Then I went in and updated all the photos with their new positions.  I also went with Sister Cahoon to Sam’s Club to buy a lot of bottles of water, granola bars, and candy for the Mission Tour/Zone Conference next week.  No new missionary applications came in, which was a surprise as it was the second week in a row!  Sister Cahoon and I drove to the Mission Home to help with the Arriving Missionaries Dinner. Elder Hartzell and Elder Cahoon came about 1 ½ hours later.  This time we had pulled pork, beans, coleslaw, cookie salad, cut up melon and fruit, and just ice cream for dessert.  We had 8 missionaries leave and 8 come in. 
It is wonderful to see the seasoned missionaries return home and new enthusiastic missionaries come out.
            Wednesday was our 43rd Wedding Anniversary!!  We gave each other our cards in the morning, and at the end of the day we went to see a movie.  At 9:00 that morning we had our training at the Rodney Parham building, teaching the new missionaries things that they will have to know as they do their work in the field.  Then I was busy sending out lots of email letters to parents with accompanying photos, plus emails to parents of missionaries who have new leadership assignments.  We found out that night that our grandson Maxwell, who is 5 months old, was being turned over by a brother and his arm got caught and his humerous bone was fractured!  Shelley, his mom, ended up spending Wed. afternoon, evening, night, and Thursday morning and early afternoon in the hospital while they did various x-rays of him.  He was finally released Thursday about 3:00.  He does not need a cast, but does need to keep his arm bound to his body.  The family was vacationing in San Diego, so they didn’t have a lot of help, but Derek took care of the 4 other boys while Shelley stayed with Maxwell.  It was traumatic for everyone, but the Spirit was with them and helped them do what needed to be done.
            So Thursday was spent a lot of time praying for little Maxwell and Shelley and her family, and was glad to hear he was released that afternoon.  I entered info in IMOS on CO/smoke detectors in the various apartments.  Our wonderful Apartment Advisors from each stake are installing them, while they also check the cleanliness of the apartments.  We are surprised to learn how many missionaries don’t know how to clean anything, how to take care of a vacuum so that it does not get all clogged up, and several apartments have problems with bed bugs or lice.  No fun!!  I got a haircut Thursday afternoon (too short but great for summer).  It is really starting to heat up—95 degrees and getting hotter, plus humidity of 95 degrees, so that makes a heat index (like chill factor in the winter) of 105 degrees.  So now we are breathing bricks like we did in Japan in the summer!! 
            Friday is our cleaning day in the Office, and this time I did the dusting in all our offices including the foyer and hallway near our Office.  It takes over an hour.  Then I did lots more emails and letters all day long, making a few mistakes along the way, but correcting them quickly.  We stopped at the store for a couple of things on the way home, then ate our anniversary dinner at the restaurant called Kirin Garden that had both a Chinese and Japanese buffet.  It was very good. Then we spent the evening watching movies.
            Saturday we slept in, then exercised, ate breakfast, worked on bills, cleaned the bathrooms, ate lunch, took naps, did some aerobic exercise, cleaned up, drove to the Otter Creek building where we ate dinner (sandwiches) and attended the Adult Session of Stake Conference.  Our General Authority was Elder Mervyn Arnold, the one who did the talk in General Conference about going to the rescue.  We had various speakers who gave short talks, including President Wakolo, and then they spent an hour doing demonstrations about different kinds of councils.  It was very interactive with audience members giving comments, too.  We really enjoyed it.
            Elder Arnold’s parents in their council they had 5 goals for their children:  1) have a personal testimony of Jesus, 2) teach them to pray, 3) observe the Sabbath day, 4) learn the value of work, and 5) get an education.  Then Sister Arnold talked about 7 principles to guide a family council discussion: 1) make it interesting, and an appropriate length for the age of the children and teach about divine position, God controls when we come to earth and to what families, we are here at the right time, 2) start with a question  3)  focus on how you need to improve, ask others for input, 4) talk about the hard stuff, 5) listen, you have two ears and  just one mouth, 6) Keep it positive.  One thing that was shared by Sister Arnold was that for every thing that you say to a child or family member that needs improving, you need to say 5 positive things to them.  Someone once gave her a acronym of PIE (praise, instruct, and encourage), and 7) persevere.
 Another thing that the Temple President, President Griffin said was that everyone that comes to the temple needs to be treated like our nearest and dearest friends.  Can you imagine how much better we would all feel if we treated our family members, our extended family, the people in our wards and stakes, the people in our sphere of influence, as our “nearest and dearest friends.”  That would sure make everyone feel better about themselves and others.
            Today was Stake Conference and we saw a miracle as our Stake President, Elder Beheshti, was released, and a new stake president called with his new counselors.  Elder Arnold and Elder Carter had interviewed many, many men in the stake, and the Lord told them who the new president was to be.  And it has to be done so quickly (in less than 24 hours).  It is really amazing—especially when one of them in his testimony in the meeting said that he had been feeling that this was coming and had been trying to ignore it.  Truly, the Spirit of Revelation is working in our lives!! 
            In Elder Beheshti’s testimony he shared a gem: “the greater the truth, the greater the opposition” and then spoke about the sacred grove, leaving us with a challenge to read the first vision account and ponder it. Jim: That was how my journey began to membership in the church.  I did not see a light or hear a voice, but I received that witness I heard in my heart which lighted my soul. 
            Sister Arnold spoke about the troubled times we live in and there are many voices, and quoted President Monson who spoke about that the voice we need to be listening to is the still small voice of the Spirit.  We are transparent to God, He knows our hearts.  No trial we suffer is wasted. We gain and build up our character when we suffer in faith and endure in joy.
            Elder Arnold then spoke and shared some of the trials that he has faced in his life and how thankful he is for those trials that have helped him to begin to understand the atonement of the Savior. As we give our wills to God he will heal us.  He testified that this is true for him and can be for all of us.
            Tomorrow will be our Mission Tour/Zone Conference for us here in Arkansas, and Tuesday it will be held in Memphis, Tennessee, part of our mission.  We will tell you all about it next week.
            Love to you all,

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June Begins

Dear Family & Friends,
            Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!!  Can’t believe it is June and summertime already!!!  We are sure you all have great plans for the summer—ours is to learn to survive heat (been in Vegas and Phoenix for a lot of years) and humidity (were in Japan for 2 summers, but that was 7 years ago!!) while doing missionary work.  However, since we do ours in an air-conditioned office, shouldn’t be too hard!
            Last Sunday evening while visiting Christi and Shawn and family, Shawn told us how he learned the simpleness of the Atonement and Faith in Jesus Christ.  Lily who is almost 5 had aching legs Saturday night and couldn’t sleep.  Christi gave her Children’s Tylenol and Shawn laid by her and rubbed her legs and told her stories and prayed with her.  The next morning she came in and announced that Jesus had healed her legs because He loves her!  That is what the Atonement and Faith in Jesus Christ is all about!!  Love our grandchildren!!!
            Monday we had missionaries at the church all day from 6:30 until 4:00 because several of their companions went to the Memphis Temple for a session because they were either leaving the mission next week or had a birthday in May or June.  So the missionaries left behind read and studied, then played games like volleyball, basketball, etc., for their P-day.  Meanwhile we were busy in the office doing our work, and when I got mine done, then I helped Jim with a couple of his projects.  I even got to read a little while and took a short nap. 
            Tuesday I was busy all day printing up a lot of the materials that are needed to go in the Departure Books I am putting together for the 8 missionaries who are leaving day after tomorrow.  I can’t print up their letters to the Mission President until the last of the letters had come in by Monday night.  There were other things that needed to be printed, too, so I kept our two main printers busy all day! 
            Wed. was a more normal day—we were both busy all morning, then I had a light afternoon and was able to call my sister Lois and visit with her. Helped Jim with another project, then we had dinner at Taco Bell and did our grocery shopping.  Went home and did laundry.  It has been cloudy everyday with some rain, but today we had a big downpour and thunder, too, during the day.  Thank heavens it ended before we left the Office.
            Thursday Jim and I made all the changes in IMOS (the internet mission operating system) of all the new Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.  Then I wrote the Leadership letters to each of them, and emailed copies to their parents, bishops, and stake presidents.  These missionaries did their transfers that day, so they were around the office.  It felt really good!!  Sister Wakolo told me that she and her husband get to study with different missionaries often, he with elders and she with sisters, which she loves.  A while back one of the elders asked Pres. Wakolo why a missionary who was junior to him in terms of how long he was in the field was able to be a District Leader and he himself was not given that opportunity.  President Wakolo asked him, “Have you asked the Lord?  He is the one who makes the call, have you asked Him why?”  That was powerful!!  Have we asked the Lord how we are doing and is there more He requires of us?!!  Jim: Some days are quite stressful to get everything done.  I had two this week, thankfully they were not back-to-back. It is usually about not setting something up for a new apartment that I find out later that I forgot to do.  I have check lists but when you get interrupted, sometimes you don’t get back to what you were doing.
Beautiful bush of Lilies on our way to the Office
            Friday the Assistants were in the Office all morning finishing up the Transfer list.  They then called all the missionaries on Saturday and told them about their new assignments, where and with whom they would be.  The transfers then take place on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Jim & I will input the final results on Wed. into IMOS.  It rained more on Friday and the humidity is close to 100%.  It is still in the 80’s so not too bad temperature wise, but getting warmer.
            Saturday was a fun day.  We did do some vacuuming and dusting, but also went to breakfast at Ihop with the Cahoons and Sister Hugentobler.  Then we all went to a local small park called “The Old Mill.”  We loved it—it is a beautiful garden area with structures made of cement but made to look like wood.  It was even prettier in the spring with lots of flowers but we missed it.  We will try to go again in the fall and see the autumn colors.  It is close to the Office, we just have to make the time to go there. 
Sister & Elder Cahoon and Sister Hugentobler and Sister Hartzell
Jim & Pat in front of the water wheel

Jim inside the Old Mill

One view of the Old Mill
The gardens at the Old Mill
Pat sitting by the water wheel

Sister Hugentobler in a bridge made of cement but made to look like wood
Jim took me home, then went to the Office for 2 ½ hours, while I watched TV and took a nap, and worked on the budget.  We also exercised, which is always good for us.  We are grateful to both feel good right now!
            Today was a lovely Sabbath and Fast Sunday.  We felt the Spirit all day!!  Beautiful testimonies and lessons.  RS lesson was about Family Traditions and one sister shared that their family had a family motto:  “Build a bridge and get over it!”  I think that is awesome!!  That helps with so many different things in life!!!!
Jim: In priesthood the EQ president, Brother Tobler, gave a lesson about being a dad and how that is different than just a father. That includes focusing on the family’s needs and wants more than our own, spending quality time with them, using teaching moments, and showing by example how much we love the Lord.  He referred to a priesthood leadership meeting last year with Elder Renlund, who spoke about that one day we will be accountable to our Father in Heaven for how we treated our wives, our children, our church callings, and if we were honest in our work profession.  We need to keep our priorities straight.  It was a great discussion.  One of the things President Tobler shared was one of his treasures, a testimony written to him by his grandfather.  He then challenged us to write our testimonies to our children and grandchildren so they will have something specifically written to them from us that will carry on after we are gone. I have written my testimony in my journal and in some other letters over the years, but this would be a specific letter to each child.  That is a bigger challenge and a good thing to do.
            Hope you are all doing well and feeling good!

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell