Dear Family and Friends,
Last Sunday the chapel was sooooo cold!! I think someone forgot to turn the heater on earlier and we were shivering!! In the evening we watched a movie on BYUTV called “Winter Thaw.” It was very well done and showed a cobbler whose heart changes over the course of a couple of days. He changed from being selfish to selfless through several experiences similar to Mathew 25. Quite touching.
Monday was busy and loooong. I worked on emails with lots more of missionary photos coming in of those missionaries between the ages of 5 & 10. I usually had about 15 each day except Tuesday and I had only one! I worked on and sent out Departing Miss letters, we had an Office Staff meeting from 1:00 to 3:30, and some new assignments from that. Also travel itineraries to go over. I left at 4:45 to go get a couple of pizzas for dinner. When I got back the Assistants were there for our unscheduled “emergency drill.” The idea was that a text was sent out at 6:00. The last time we did it, they could leave their cell phones on a go to their emergency family’s home. This time they had to turn off their cell phones, stop what they were doing and drive directly to the family’s home. Then someone in the family would call us and tell us which missionaries were at their home. We would see who would respond the fastest. We got really worried when one set of three sisters did NOT call, so at 8:00 we called the elders from their district to check on them. Turns out they had they had left their cell phones in their car and didn’t know about the drill!! We did eat our pizzas while we were waiting for the phones to ring. We finally left the Office at 8:30 and headed home for what was left of the evening.
Tuesday I did more letters, answered emails, worked on the December calender, helped Sister Wakolo who had come into the Office to get several things done. At 12:30 we stopped and took the Office Elders and the Assistants out to lunch for two birthdays—Elder Claridge and Elder Hunt. We went to Larry’s Pizza as it is a favorite!! Did more work in the afternoon, headed home to exercise, eat dinner, watch TV and head for bed.
Wednesday I did 17 Stake President’s letters and Honorable Release Certificates, printed them up, sent copies to parents and bishops in emails. That took all day. Then we went grocery shopping and did laundry at home.
Thursday Jim & I did our cleaning as I had a big project on Friday. Produced and sent out a couple of letters to missionaries coming in February but going to the Mexico MTC to learn Spanish the beginning on January so they have to get their stuff done early. I made address labels for all the missionaries to go on the Christmas cards sent to us by the First Presidency. They will be handed out at our two zone conferences this coming week. It was an exercise day, and Jim also had a good phone visit with his brother Dean for Dean’s birthday.
Friday I was in charge of putting the Christmas bags together—one for each missionary, 190 in total. The Relief Societies in the 5 stakes have been gathering stuff, and we had 5 sisters from each of the 3 Arkansas stakes come and we put all the stuff out, counted it so we knew how much to put in each bag, then went around to gather all the stuff, seal the bags, and put them in a big Christmas bag and several boxes. The missionaries will get the following: chapstick, colored pencils, tooth brushes and tooth paste, hand sanitizer, pocket tissue, glue sticks, pens, candy, candy canes, sticky note pads, blank cards, thank you cards, gloves, nail clippers, and ??? (I can’t remember everything but there were a couple of more things). These will be handed to the missionaries by each Stake President after the luncheon of the Zone Conference. It took us about 2 ½ hours and we were done!! Sister Wakolo also came and helped. Then I had to work on Release letters for 3 missionaries who are having to leave for various health reasons. We will surely be sad to see them leave. Had a nice evening at home and I made some Cookie Salad.
Saturday we got up and drove to the Little Rock ward building where we worked with other ward members doing a deep cleaning of the building and assorted other service projects. Jim & I worked in the Primary room—Jim dusted the pictures on the walls and anything up high. A family in the ward came in and they dusted/wiped off all the wood trim (chair railings and baseboards). I cleaned all the windows and window sills. Then I went around the building and cleaned all the little windows in the classroom doors, and the windows and sills in those rooms. It took almost an hour. Then we had a delicious brunch with lots of muffins, breakfast casseroles of various kinds, several kinds of fruit salad, etc. We ate well!! Came home and did our own apartment vacuuming and dusting, put up Christmas lights on our railing, made cinnamon roll wreaths, exercised, wrote the Christmas letter. Jim had to do the dishes twice with all the baking stuff!!
Today the chapel was much warmer than last week!! We were surprised with the calling of a new bishop and counselors!! Bishop Houston was great!! But he will be deployed in a couple of months and needed to get things ready for leaving. Our new bishop is Bishop Warner, who was the First Counselor. He called Brother Stuckey (who was a great Ward Mission Leader!) as his First Counselor, and Brother Webster who we don’t know to be his Second Counselor. There were sweet testimonies and feelings shared, and President Dixon gave a great talk, too. We enjoyed SS class, then had a joint meeting about the new “Teaching in the Savior’s Way” program. They will start holding classes in January. Stopped by the Office on the way home for about ½ hour, then came home, ate and are enjoying a quiet Sabbath.
All week has been cold!! Glad we brought our long johns!!!
We love you all and pray you are doing well.
Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell