Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Week

Dear Family & Friends,
            What a great week this has been!!  We started off with being busy on Monday sending out letters to the missionaries who are coming in January that we just got their recommendations last week.  Jim & I worked on the Transfer Board on IMOS and got that all taken care of and submitted except for the new missionaries who would be coming in on Tuesday.  We left the Office at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home to help prepare the Farewell Dinner for the six missionaries who are leaving and also one more missionary who has to go home because of health reasons.  I was also able to have a phone visit with both Brent and Shelley.  Shelley was at our home in Payson with her in-laws for a fun few days including Thanksgiving.  After a delicious dinner, we got home about 7:30 and I did a couple of loads of laundry, and we wrapped some Christmas packages to give to the Boyles to take home with them.
New Office Elders--Lindstrom and Claridge
            Tuesday we had missionaries in the building all day as they were meeting other missionaries to transfer to new areas.  Some had never been in the Office before so we showed them around.  Got some letters out to missionaries, finished updating the new missionaries and their Trainers in IMOS and submitted it around 3:00 p.m.  I ran a quick trip to the bread store, then Jim and I left at 3:30 to go help with the Welcome Dinner for the new missionaries.  It was fun to meet them!  We ended up not eating until 6:30 so weren’t done cleaning up until 8:30.  We went home as Christi, Shawn and their family were not arriving until 10 p.m.  They stayed at Larry’s and Holly’s. 
            Wednesday morning we drove to the Rodney Parham building for the Training of the new missionaries.  Then went back to the Office and sent out a quick email to let their parents know they had arrived safely.  Worked on calendars, emails, and sent out several reports that different groups in the mission needed, including printing up some for our Office.  We did our Office cleaning—me doing the dusting and Jim the men’s bathroom and the Greens doing the other stuff.  We left the Office at 3:30 and went to spend the evening with Larry and the Boyles.  We had a good time eating, talking, playing ping pong, watching TV, then we left at 8:30 because we had to stop at the store to get last minute stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. 
            Thursday—THANKSGIVING!!—we went over and had crepes for breakfast plus buttermilk syrup, then watched the Macy’s Parade, made the Waldorf Pomegranate Salad, Larry cooked the turkey in his ceramic smoker and it was ready by 2:00.  Jim helped Larry install a trailer hitch on his Jeep.  We had mashed potatoes, Larry’s special gravy, dressing, and corn on the cob.  Wow—it was all so delicious!!  
Thanksgiving Dinner--Yum!!
We had fun going around the table to talk about the things that we were thankful for—including people, gifts, books, movies, B of M people (both major and minor), songs, etc.  Lots of fun things to talk about. 
Holly's beautiful mantle
We all helped clean up, then watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, ate pies, played a “Harry Potter Scene It” game, then watched another movie, and some played “Ticket to Ride.”
            Friday we ate Christi’s Bacon Pancakes—yummy!!  We went to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum which had submarine that served in WWII, and a tugboat that had been at final signing of peace with the Japanese, thus bookends to the war.  
On the submarine Arkansas Razorback
We got to tour the sub but not the tug.  The sub was really interesting.  Then we ate at Larry’s Pizza, did some Christmas clothes shopping, sent the men home and shopped for Abby’s Christmas dress (she must have tried on 40 different ones but hard for her because she is so slim and tall that most were too short or too wide or both!!  Finally found one!!  Went home to make Shepherd’s Pie, and I watched a Disney Special while others played video games or Balderdash. 
            Saturday Larry took us on a nice hike up one of the Pinnacle Mountain trails.  

Found a good photo tree

Hiking on Pinnacle Mountain
Wore me out so I didn’t make it to the top—oh, well!!  Then we went to a place called Playtime Pizza and had a great time eating and playing lots of games.  My favorite was the go-carts, and I had fun watching the grandchildren do lots of fun games.  We were there for almost 3 hours.  Then we went to see the movie “Moana” and really enjoyed it!  Went to Larry’s and Holly’s to played Runs and Sets, and went home exhausted!!
            Today we all went to Larry and Holly’s ward and enjoyed a lovely Sacrament meeting where they talked about the Atonement.  Very nice.  We left with Christi and Shawn and family to go home and make lunch while they packed up.  They left at 12:45 and we headed to the Office to take care of a few things, then home for naps, blog writing, dinner, watching some BYUTV, and recovering from an awesome week.!!
            This afternoon we watch the Music and the Spoken Word and then a BYU Devotional given by Brent Scharffs, a BYU professor in the Law School who spoke on the Audacious Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I thought it tied in quite nicely with the Sacrament talks on the Atonement and our thankfulness.  How thankful we are to have a knowledge of the true nature of God, that he is a man and he is the Father of our spirits, that we lived before we can here, and we will live again because of the atonement with God and our Savior Jesus Christ if we keep the commandments and our covenants, live good lives, and serve others, enduring to the end. Then not only will we be with God, but also with our righteous family and friends.  Who would not be thankful for that if they truly knew it.  Well apparently there are many who will not.  One of the interesting points that Dr. Scharffs suggested was that the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that did not follow God’s plan may have chosen not just in rebellion to God, but that they didn’t want to face the trials that we go through in this life.  I had never considered that possibility and can see how some may not want to face such a challenge.  He told a touching story of a young boy who was in his deacon’s quorum he was teaching, that was in serious automobile accident and in the hospital for quite a while.  This was in the early 90s before they were testing blood very well for the HIV virus, and he received a transfusion that was infected.  That was pretty much a death sentence then.  The boy told of two non-member friends that came to visit him.  One said to him that he was sorry to hear about what happened to him and what did he do wrong to have God punish him.  The other said he was sorry to hear about what happened and that he must have been so righteous that God gave his this great challenge.  Then the boy said that he didn’t believe either was true, but that it was just the price of mortality.  And so it is, we do live in mortality with good and bad things happening to good and bad people.   It is how we face these challenges of life that ultimately counts.  May we have the faith and courage make those right choices that will lead to the happiness that we each seek.   
            Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving—we sure did!!

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Preparing for Transfer Week

Dear Family & Friends,
            We were able to have good visits with Christi, Shelley, Joseph, Brent and Larry all either Sunday or Monday.  It’s great to hear how everyone is doing.
Monday I sent out “Letter # 3-The Big Letter”—this one has about 7 other pieces of paper plus a return envelope—to the missionaries who will be coming in January.  Then on Tuesday, I got 4 more missionary recommendations for January, so now I will have to send Letters #1, 2, and 3 to them.  Also on Monday we had Staff Meeting, worked on the 2017 Calendar, got three or four boxes of stuff that a stake had ordered to give as gifts to the missionaries for Christmas.  The stakes were supposed to collect the items from the ward members, but felt their members were overburdened already so just paid for the things themselves.  I was surprised by this.
Tuesday Jim & I went to the Little Rock Stake Center for the Zone Conference there.  We really enjoyed it and were well-taught by President and Sister Wakolo, the Zone Leaders and Sister-Training Leaders.  We were really impressed by how well some of the missionaries knew the Recitations that all of us are asked to memorize.  And President Wakolo talked about being at the Mission Presidents’ Seminar in October and being asked how many scriptures the missionaries in the various missions had memorized.  The average was about 5 scriptures per missionary.  But in our mission it’s like 75!!!  So proud of our young people!!!  Jim & I had the Articles of Faith memorized before we came (it’s a family tradition), and already had 1 Nephi 3:7, but learned 3 Nephi 5:13 (which we had started to memorize on our mission in Japan), and the Standard of Truth (from the Wentworth Letter in the History of the Church, 4:540), Our Purpose as a Missionary, and D&C 4, plus the full-time missionaries learn a whole bunch of others.  We recite these at every conference and meeting.  Sure sounds awesome!!  We had a delicious lunch there and our group photo taken, then left at 3:30 to head back to the Office to try to get a few things done.
Wednesday Jim & I were the only ones in the Office as Sister H and Elder & Sister Green went to the North Little Rock Zone Conference.  It was a quiet day and I processed the 4 new missionary recommendations.  I also worked on printing up the Letters to the President for the 6 missionaries who are going home next Tuesday.  Picked up a quick dinner at Arbys (love their Cinnamon Apple Crisp!!), then did our weekly grocery shopping, did three loads of laundry, and watched TV.
This week has beautiful, unseasonably warm and sunny weather, and Thursday was no different.  I worked on my desk calendar (stuff that I need to be sure to take care of each day), handled some iPad issues, worked with Sister Green on some of them, worked on the Senior Social that we will have in two weeks, exercised at home, and feel asleep watching TV.  Jim: In our office staff meeting today I gave the spiritual thought from a talk given last Sunday by the high councilor about the plan of happiness.  He referred to the 2060 stripling warriors and how they were all still all accounted for despite the many wounds from their battle to defend the people of Ammon to worship as they chose (Alma 58:39,40).  I tried to liken this to me and us.  We too receive many wounds that Satan inflicts upon us and by mistakes we make on our own, and sorrows as we experience life and see friends and family suffer for one reason or another.  But we too can receive the same promised blesses as did these young men if we will be steadfast, remember the Lord, observe to keep his statutes, judgements, commandments continually, and faith in the living prophecies from our church leaders.  Our wounds, as were theirs, will be healed by the Master healer.
Friday it finally cooled off and we had about 4 hours of rain—badly needed!!  It was our cleaning day and instead of dusting everything, I polished the wood furniture (it was all looking dull).  Also, several of the desk areas are not wood but are formica so I wiped them down with a damp clothing.  Nice to have things look shiny again.  The Assistants were in the Office all day typing up the Transfer lists that they will send out on Sunday and the missionaries will move on Monday and Tuesday.  The Office Elders worked to organize the Media Closet some more for Sister H., and she went and bought hamburgers for everyone!!  Also, President and Sister Wakolo came in for a couple of hours to work on things with different people in the office including me.  I had made up address labels from a list they had given me to send Christmas cards to the General Authorities.  I worked on assorted other things, and we stayed at the Office until 6:00 as the North Little Rock Ward was having a hoedown with a baked potato bar, a square dance demonstration (very fun), and some line dance that I enjoyed participating in (can’t resist dancing!!)  Picked up some Christmas decorations for our apartment on the way home.
Jim:  This has been a busy week for me, catching up from being gone last Friday and then on Tuesday.  I got all the bills caught up, credit card charges entered, and executed two apartment renewals and a couple others started.  I have a little more surface area around my desk, which is how I determine if I am somewhat keeping up or falling behind.  I meet with the office elders, Boggess and Lindstrom, most days they are in to check on the status of their activities for the apartments. They are great hard-working missionaries.  They don’t get a lot of opportunity to share the gospel or teach, but do have a couple of progressing investigators now.  When President Wakolo was in on Friday I reviewed a few issues with him, and identified two more apartments to close.  He also had time to review the financial expense sheets from the past two weeks or so and formally sign off on them.  The process is that I input into IMOS an expense, he then has to go into IMOS and approve it before it is actually expensed and paid by Salt Lake.  Then a check is cut and mailed, or paid electronically.  The paper copy of this expense is put in a folder for President to sign off, which is what he did today.  In a two week period there is pile of about 21/2 inches thick for his signature (good thing he has a signature stamp).
Saturday we drove to the Memphis Temple to finish the endowment and sealing for two of Jim’s family members, one of his aunts and uncles. Jim: this was very special for me.  I have been waiting a long time to do this work for them. Hopefully there was rejoicing in the Spirit world as well.   Our “hump” day was November 15th so we took our photo in front of the temple to celebrate that day!!  Can’t believe we have been here 9 months now!!  

Celebrated being half-way through our mission at the Memphis Temple
Ate Chinese food and drove home and exercised and cleaned up for the Sabbath.
Today was a beautiful cool day (the highs are now in the 50’s), and we enjoyed our meetings.  Michelle and her family are sick with colds so we dropped off our birthday/house-warming gift to her and she was very appreciative.  They just moved out of their apartment and into a rental home that is much closer to her work and to the church. 
A story to share from one of our missionaries:  While tracting, a lady walked out of her house and obviously wanted to talk to us.  Her best friend growing up was a Mormon.  After introducing ourselves and telling a little of the Restoration, she rebuked us for not sharing more in depth.  My companion asked her to read the First Vision, and she read slower and slower, until she stopped before the end, in tears.  We just stood in silence until she finished.  We then testified and I invited her to be baptized—all in 5 minutes.  She accepted!  One of our miracles!!
We hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving!!  We have much to be thankful for, most especially for our Savior Jesus Christ and his atonement.  How lost we would be without it. 

Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sight-seeing with the Dotans

Dear Family & Friends,
            Monday I met with Sister Wakolo about changes being made in the mission and how to handle future lunches.  There will be no more Specialized and instead, have zone conferences of one kind of another every transfer.  I also worked in emails, the calendar, shredding, etc.  The smell in the building is still pretty bad and we keep our office door closed.  Had a good visit with Brent after work and while we ate dinner.  Quiet evening. Jim: The smell is actually so bad I had to use a mask most of the day and we had the outside doors propped open most all week.  It is awful!!  Also, the fall colors here are not very colorful—it has been too dry and lots of trees’ leaves have turned brown and fallen off.
The best color we could find.
            Tuesday we got in 5 new missionary recommendations, with a 6th one coming in on Wednesday.  I redid some forms, worked on the 2017 calendar, making changes that Pres. Wakolo requested.  Changed the beds and washed sheets in the evening, plus a load of clothes.  Watched the election results on TV from time to time, but didn’t stay up past midnight so found out the results the next morning.  We were good with Trump winning and really hopeful that he will change how some things are done and make a difference in our economy.  I don’t like being in debt, whether it is our personal finances or the countries.  Different presidents have promised, with Bill Clinton coming the closest in the past 20 years.  Sure hope Trump is able to turn it around and not give that huge debt to our children. 
            Wednesday I spent the day processing the missionary recommendations.  There is quite a procedure to follow, but I did get them all done.  Did some other odds and ends.  We went shopping after dinner, then did more laundry at home, plus cleaning the bathrooms, getting ready for company to come. 
            Thursday did more of the stuff I have already mentioned this week, plus printing up and putting new baptism and group photos on the bulletin board outside our office.  Went home and made Chicken Tortilla Soup to serve for dinner.  Finally, at 6:45 p.m. our dear friends from Israel, Sheila and Itzhak Dotan arrived.  They have spent the summer in Athens, Georgia.  Itz is a professor of chemistry who does research at different universities around the world.  We met them 40 years ago in Boulder, CO, right at the time I gave birth to Larry.  We clicked and have been friends ever since.  Jim & I count ourselves so lucky to have many dear friends that we connected with at different times in our lives and have stayed connected to all through the years.  Many of you are those special friends and we are so grateful for each of you!!
Showing Sheila and Itzhak Dotan the Mission Office
            Friday we got up, ate, and took off for Little Rock to see the sights:  Historic Arkansas with several old houses and a nice museum, The Central High School National Memorial where segregation was begun in Arkansas and the Little Rock Nine (nine black high school students braved the crowd of angry white people who treated them terribly), the Heifer International building that I talked about in a previous email, and the Clinton Presidential Library.  They had a wonderful exhibit about the Beatles which I really enjoyed, being a big Beatles fan!  We even rode the Trolley and had dinner at a good restaurant called Cheddars.  While at Central High School, a man noticed our name tags and introduced himself as a church member from Monterey, CA.  Always fun to make good contacts like that!
This was a photo we took of Central High School in March of 2014.  Had to get the grandkids in, you know!!
The Little Rock Trolley all decked out for Christmas
             Saturday we drove to Memphis and spent the day at Graceland and all things Elvis.  We each agreed that, though none of us were huge Elvis fans, it was a great tour and we learned a lot.  We were glad we went!!  
Getting ready to go into Graceland

Then we said a sad farewell and Jim and I drove home.  Jim was able to have a great visit with his brother Dean, and I enjoyed some nice visits with my sister Lois during the week.
            Today was a lovely Sabbath day.  We enjoyed our meetings.  Before Sacrament meeting started, we met a couple who were visiting from Briggs, Idaho.  They told us about their humanitarian mission to Vietnam.  They were called for 18 months, but in their setting apart, their stake President blessed them to serve 24 months, and sometime later they were officially asked to stay 24 months.  Also he blessed them with good health, which was important in a country with poor water and food.  They loved it there and made many wonderful memories!!
            Hope you all have a great week!!
            Elder & Sister Hartzell


Sunday, November 6, 2016

November Begins

Dear Family and Friends,
            We hope you all had a nice Halloween!  We were in the Office all day.  The floors in the Cultural Hall are being redone, so the missionaries did not come and hang out there for their P-day.  That meant that it was real quiet in the Office all day.  I worked on some of the Departure Letters for those leaving on Nov. 22nd, and sent some letters to the Arrival Missionaries who just went in the MTC and will be here on Nov. 22nd.  At 4:30 we drove to Larry and Holly’s and helped fix dinner and enjoyed the fun costumes that Holly had worked on.  We ate a delicious pumpkin chili that Holly fixed and I helped make the “pigs in a blanket” from smoked sausages and crescent rolls.  Yummy!!  Then the family left to go trick-or-treating and we sat on the front porch and handed out candy to the kids.  We also talked to Brent a little, but it was interrupted too much so say goodbye pretty quickly.  The costumes we saw were lots of fun—some store-bought and some homemade, but all cute little kids!!  Larry’s family came home with a lot of candy and shared a few pieces with us.  I helped Harper take her makeup off and get to bed—we read some books together and she said a sweet prayer.  Then we headed home, watched some TV, and went to bed.
            Tuesday was a good day in the Office—worked on the Correspondence module in IMOS, sent out some letters to Departing Missionaries’ parents, took care of some letters that came in, ran an errand with Jim, worked on the Mission Memories binders, and took care of some medical bills that came in.  The smell from the sanding of the gym floors was terrible so we kept the Office door shut all day with a sign that said to Come In.  We also had a missionary who is sick come and stay in the Office.  He was put in a 3-some so his companions could go teach and leave him with us.  He has been coughing up blood and is quite weak.  He has been to the Emergency Room 3 times and is trying to get in to see a regular doctor.  Went home at 5:00 and exercised while our spaghetti sauce and spaghetti squash was cooking.  Had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday I worked on emails and sorting through a bunch of papers.  Then Jim and I left at 11:30 to go get pizza for a missionary meeting that was over at the Pinnacle Mountain building.  We picked up 22 pizzas and kept them warm in the kitchen’s ovens for an hour until they had the lunch break.  We stayed and cleaned up so we were gone for 2 ½ hours.  I am pretty caught up—especially because no new missionary recommends came in on Tuesday.  We went grocery shopping and did laundry and I worked on the budget recording receipts.
            Thursday I started shredding files.  I found out that we are supposed to keep returned missionary papers only 6 months to one year, and we had them stored in the church attic going back to 2012!!  So I shredded all of those.  Jim is supposed to keep his financial records for 3 years, so I shredded the 2012 of his.  This took all day!!  The new missionary couple, the Harrises were in the Office for a while as he had to do some stuff on the internet and they don’t have good Wi-Fi where they live.  So she helped me with the shredding—me pulling out the staples in the packets that were too thick to go into the shredder, and her putting the papers into the shredder.  Sure saved me a lot of time!!  I also put some files in the file box and moved other files around to make more room in the drawers I use the most often.  Went home and exercised.  Got word that our nephew’s granddaughter had successful heart surgery and is recovering well.  We were glad to hear that!!
            Friday Jim & I cleaned for 1 ½ hours, worked on emails, shredded more documents, and printed up a Stake President letter and certificate for the missionary who has been sick.  He was going to fly home on Saturday with an early medical honorable release.  Sure hope that they will be able to find out what is wrong with him!!  He wants to return and finish his mission.  They put the finish on the gym floor today and the smell from the fumes was terrible.  We had the doors closed and a fan blowing at the window.  Jim had to go outside several times to get some fresh air.  Jim had a new project today to find and edit the Emergency Action Plan for the mission in the case of a disaster.  It was mostly okay except for the contact information.  It also raised some questions he is researching about how they know which members to contact in the case of a disaster.  There is a calling tree, but how do they have access to it in an emergency.  Had a quiet Friday night.
            Saturday it has cooled off and a high of only the low 70s.  We went to Larry and Holly’s where Jim helped Larry with a project, and I spent time with Bram and Harper.  Gary was gone to the temple and Holly went to work out.  Their rooms were all picked up and beds made and it looked great!!  I helped Harper put away her clean laundry, then we played Go Fish, gathered up all the inside Halloween decorations, and they went to play with their friends.  I was able to have a good visit with my cousin who is enduring chemotherapy and it was good to talk to her.  We ate lunch, then went home to vacuum and dust our own apartment, and I finished the October budget.  We are doing good. We exercised and took showers, ate dinner, and went to see the movie, “Inferno.”  It was pretty good but not as good as the other two in the series.  We turned our clocks ahead and stayed up later instead of getting the extra hour of sleep!!
            Today is wonderful and cool—high of only 73.  We took Michelle and Caleb to church with us.  We enjoyed the testimonies in church, but there are many who are dealing with illness and problems, so I was glad when our RS lesson was about Joy.  It has to do with our attitude and desire to be happy and have faith.  A quote from Elder Russell M. Nelson’s Fall Conference talk:  “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives.  Joy come from and because of HIM.”    For a closing song we sang “Joy to the World.”  Stopped by the Office on the way home so Jim could work on some stuff he did not get done on Friday, and I took a nap.  Now we are home and Jim is napping and I am writing to all of you!!
            We did have some bad news on a couple of things, nothing I can share, but it is hard to feel joy when you are dealing with sadness and disappointment.  Hopefully things will get better in both of the situations that have come up. 
            We love you,

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Shelley & Derek's

Calvin, Maxwell, Weston

Derek, Maxwell, Shelley, Calvin

Edison & Stewart

Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Christi & Shawn's




Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Joseph & Shanna's

Joseph, Shyloh, & Nolan with Lexin watching



Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Larry & Holly's



Holly, Gary, Larry, Gary, Bram


Grandchildren Halloween 2016 Brent & Becca's

Brent and Becca's Family:








Hannah with Becca