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