Dear Family & Friends,
Last Sunday evening we talked to Christi and Shelley and their families. We also made our lunch for Monday as we would have to leave early.
Monday morning we got up, got ready and left for the Memphis Temple (2 ½ hours away) at 7:15 a.m. It was foggy and rainy most of the way. We enjoyed a wonderful session in the temple with the missionaries who were returning home, the missionaries who had birthdays in December and January, President and Sister Wakolo and the other members of his mission presidency, and other Senior Couple. What a beautiful and blessed experience it was!! It is a small temple but is full of the Spirit of the Lord. Because we didn’t have to stop for lunch, we drove straight to the Mission Home. It was pouring rain for the first hour or so--I am talking dumping!!! But we made it safely. We helped prepare the Departure Dinner and served it to some of our favorite missionaries including Elders Hooker and Hunt who were Assistants, and Elder Boggess who was an Office Elder. Elder Phillips, another Office Elder, left the past week to get into school right after the 1st.
Tuesday Jim & I spent the morning doing the Transfer Board in IMOS. It took 1 ½ hours. The only thing left to do is enter the companionships of new Arrivals and their Trainers. That happens after they meet. I also worked in emails and letters and updating information in the computer. We worked until 4:45, then drove to the Pinnacle Mountain Chapel to help with the dinner there. More good food and it was so nice to meet the new missionaries who just came in. What a great group!! We cleaned up after and left by 8:00, drove home and relaxed. I also went through papers I had collected to see what was left to gather Wed. morning.
Wednesday we drove to the Rodney Parham building (same place as the night before—it goes by both names), and did our training with the new missionaries. It went well and I collected a lot more papers and the passports from 3 of them. Went back to the Office and finished putting the Trainer/Trainee information into IMOS. Then I started printing up and emailing all the reports that the missionaries and mission presidency need. That took most of the day. I recorded the paperwork that they gave me, and also set up the Zone Conference luncheon schedules for 2017 with the stake RS presidents. We stopped to do grocery shopping on our way home, ate dinner, and fell asleep watching TV.
Thursday the Office was closed because the electrical company was replacing a wood pole and had to shut off all the electricity. We drove by at 11:45 to see if they were done and they were, so we called everyone and told them to come on in. It felt strange to only be there for ½ a day, but we got things done at home so it was not a waste. We had picked up cases of water at Sam’s Club as we were running low at the office and also got pizza there for lunch. Sister Wakolo came in and gave me paperwork that she had collected—paperwork—it’s what I do!! I also sent Arrival Information letters to the three ASL sisters who will be going in the MTC in a month and arrive here on March 21, one week before the regular transfer. We left at 5:00 to go home and exercise and have a quiet evening. I read something that morning from Moroni 7:2 that touched me: “. . . because of the gift of his calling to me.” I have learned that each new calling I have in the church is a “gift” that helps me learn and grow. Some I even ask for, like going on a mission, many are scary, but all turn out to be wonderful!!
Friday it was bitter cold (20 degrees but felt like 11) and there was 1-2 inches of SNOW on the ground!?! I know—snow in the south?!! But it was and we heard from the Sorensens that they got to the Office but it was scary. There are no snow plows here. They do put down some sand/salt stuff, but on the hills that are all over Little Rock, the roads get icy and you have NO control!! We stayed home until 10:00 and ventured out, but when we got to the Office were told that the hill going to the Office would likely be blocked off and, if we didn’t want to spend the night there, we needed to go back home. So we did!! So we did our Saturday activities instead: cleaning, working on music for our iPad, budget stuff, going through lots of emails that we haven’t looked at in a month, and doing some phone calls. It was nice to stay inside and look at the snow out the window.
Saturday we slept in, ate a late breakfast, then drove to the Office and worked for about 5 hours. The roads were clear but it was still real cold. I worked on downloading photos of the Departing and Arriving missionaries in my computer, then took a couple of hours to send out the photos to all the Arriving Missionaries’ families. The Sorensens, Assistants, and Office Elders were there, too. Felt like Friday instead of Saturday. It was cold as I think the church heat was affected by the Thursday electrical shutdown. Afterwards, I got my hair cut, I then cut Jim’s hair, and he colored mine. We cleaned up and enjoyed a quiet evening.
Today was cold—I wish I had worn my warm snow boots to church even though there was no snow. I was warm everywhere but my feet!! Church was lovely and I feel so good in the Little Rock ward and so welcome. We got a new elder, Elder ‘Iongi, and a new sister, Sister Inman, in the ward. The testimonies were beautiful, and the lessons were good. It was nice to talk about temples and family history work in Gospel Principles, and the Restoration in RS. We had some investigators and I could tell they really felt something. Went by the Office on the way home and spent a couple of hours sending out the photos to the Departing Missionaries and their families. Came home, napped, watched BYU TV, ate dinner, and am writing the blog.
I received a special email in the Office from a Missionary Mom from the Philippines whose son is a Visa-waiter (serving in the Philippines because his Visa hasn’t come through yet). She said, “Thank you so much Sister Hartzell, before I went to a net cafe to open and see if the email I had sent has a reply I really prayed sincerely....hoping that there's somehow a response--and I am so surprise and thankful for your loving reply Sister Hartzell. Thank you from the bottom of my heart-it took a very long time to make a letter because I am so very much concern about how to use correct English grammar. But a voice said just start typing your message what matters is the thought that you really made it for your son and also for Pres.and Sis Wakolo. Again Thank you so much we are so excited for our son to work there as a Full time Missionary. I know you will help him too if he has questions or concern. Like about different cultures and language.. Happy New Year 2017 we are sending our love from our family to all of you there in Arkansas.” Isn’t that the sweetest letter?!! The Spirit truly works with all of us.
Our love and prayers are with all of you—Elder and Sister Hartzell