Dear Family & Friends,
There is a big effort in the two local stakes in the Little Rock area to go and help with the clean up after huge flood in Louisiana where thousands of homes and a few of our church buildings were flooded. From the Little Rock Stake they had 6000 volunteers. Our son Larry and grandson Gary went down as part of the effort. They had to take their own tents, food and water to drink and hand tools. The Little Rock Ward bishop went with his son and reported today that they were mostly ripping out wallboard in the homes that have lost everything. There are areas that have never seen flooding before. They call it the 1000 year flood. What a blessing the Church is to these devastated areas, bringing in supplies and labor. New thought, there is a sister and her grandson we have been picking up to take to church each Sunday. It is exciting to see her growth in returning to activity after many years of non-attendance. One of the missionaries spoke today in Sacrament meeting and talked about how important the family is in God’s plan for us. We are so impressed with the young missionaries and their ability they have developed to speak on great topics like this one.
Last Sunday after our church meetings, we rested and ate dinner, and we watched part of the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics, and this past week, from time to time, I have watched various events on my iPad Mini. I continue to enjoy the wonderful athletes and their hard work and dedication that has brought them together. Most of the athletes are peaceful and helpful with each other, but sadly some countries still do not get along with other countries. I feel that the Olympics are one place that people show that they can be above their country’s politics. I am one of those that can cheer for the other team if they make a good play, and feel that sportsmanship means more than championship. Ok, that’s my 1 cent worth!
Last Sunday we also had good phone visits with Christi and Shawn and their family. Monday Jim was busy with bed bug issues most of the day, and bill paying. Some missionaries had to be moved out of their apartments because the bugs kept coming back. So he is looking for new apartments. I worked on letters to get out and some projects for Sister Wakolo and for Jim. In the evening we had a nice phone visit with Brent on his way home from work, and later with Shelley and cute little Maxwell—he can’t talk yet but can smile and laugh and coo!! Love it!!
We have been praying for Senior Couple recommendations to come, so each Tuesday I eagerly look for them. We did get two young sister missionaries’ recommends, but no couples yet. Please pray for us!! If we don’t get them, then the young missionaries have to come into the Office and work and can’t do their regular missionary work. I love that we are here so that they don’t have to be. It is fun when the missionaries tell us about their grandparents who have served, but as far as I know none of their grandparents are serving currently. They sure appreciate us and we are glad to be here!! I also completed three Mission Memories binders, and we had a Staff meeting in the afternoon. We exercised in the evening and cut up fresh peaches to freeze—these are local and delicious! I do miss our Utah peaches, but these are good, too.
Wednesday was busy with more Office letter stuff, went to Sam’s Club for food for the Mission Leader Conference on Thursday (MLC), and in the evening the Cahoons took us to dinner at Cheddars in Little Rock to thank us for helping them with the cars last week. The food was delicious!! Came back to the apartment and played some “Lucky Unders” (thank you, Halversens, that is one of our favorite games) with the Cahoons, and when they left, watched some TV while doing 2 loads of laundry, and went to bed.
Thursday was the MLC and we had the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in meetings in our building all day. Jim and I went and picked up the Chick-fil-A chicken to go with the salad and grapes and cookies and chips we served them for lunch. Then I sent letters to them congratulating them on their new assignments, and send email copies to their parents, bishops, and stake presidents. So proud of these great young men and women!! We also got a new Office Elder. Elder Heidinger was made a ZoneLeader, and Elder Lindstrom is the new companion to Elder Boggess.
Friday was a hodge-podge day. I did a little of this and a little of that. Jim reports that you can see some desk top surface, which is a good sign that he finally got caught up with missing the two days last week. Most of my projects I had to do this week were done, so I did clean-up kinds of things. I am trying to make a new desk manual to help the person who replaces me be able to know what to do. I know, I have a year before that will happen, but we never know what will happen and I want to be ready just in case. The Assistants were in the Office and working on the Transfer lists some more, especially trying to figure out rides to and from the Temple. Because there are a lot of changes this time, a lot of missionaries are having to be moved around and it has to be all well thought out by the Assistants. It was fun watching them go over stuff and figure out more things that needed to be done. They are really hard workers!! For my Japanese friends, oteskare sama des (probably misspelled it!)
Did our grocery shopping, went home, put our feet up and relaxed!
Saturday we vacuumed, dusted, read and answered emails, napped, exercised, and did assorted other things, including watching more Olympics. Felt we had accomplished a lot!
The miracle I will tell you about happened to one of our Senior couples. Two weeks ago when we had all that rain this couple and two elders had gone to teach a part-member family. The road crosses over a small creek and has never been a problem. When they were done teaching and driving home, they came to the creek and it was a bigger stream, but they still tried to cross it, in their SUV. It whipped their car around and had them going down backwards for about 500 yards. They wisely put down their windows, and when the car was stopped by a tree, they climbed out onto the roof. Except for the sister, who went down into the water. One of the elders grabbed on to her arm and promised he wouldn’t let go. Her husband came to that side of the car and grabbed her other arm and together they pulled her up on the roof. They were able to go down the other side of the car and get onto solid ground. They walked back to the people’s house and were well-taken care of and given dry clothes and a place to sleep. The next day the creek was small and they were driven into town and are renting a car while their old one was finally towed out of the creek and is totaled. So now they are looking for a new car. I asked the sister how she felt and she said that though she was afraid, she felt calm and peaceful and knew that whatever the Lord wanted was fine with her. We are glad He helped her to live and be safe. What a wonderful miracle!!
We love you all and pray for miracles in your lives,
Elder & Sister Hartzell