Sunday, January 15, 2017

Friday, the 13th and Stake Conference

Dear Family & Friends,
            Last Sunday evening we had a good visit with Shelley and I worked on the blog. 
            Monday I worked on baptism and other photos to put in the Leader.  Right now a returned-missionary sister is doing it for us.  She had to leave her mission early because of health reasons but still wanted to be involved in missionary work so she offered to publish The Leader for us.  We had a Staff Meeting in the afternoon and I got several new assignments relating to our new mission president.  We found his name is Hanson and he served here in Arkansas on his mission.  So I will start collecting information to send to him so he can start being familiar with the things we are currently doing and deciding what changes he wants to make.  We went to Olive Garden with everyone in the Office to have a Farewell dinner for Sister Hugentobler.  She is still doing poorly and comes in when she can.  Had a good phone visit with Christi and her family.  Her husband Shawn left the previous Friday to fly to China for a job working as a concept artist on a feature cartoon film.  He will be there for three weeks, then come home for some time.  We don’t know when he will go back again.  Hopefully this will last for at least the next 6 months to give them some income until he can find a new permanent job. 
            Tuesday I worked on a lot of Leadership Letters to send to the missionaries, put in their files, and share in an email with their parents.  We had no new Missionary Recommendations come in.  The Sorensens left at 2:00 pm for Memphis and their first two Zone Conferences on Wed. and Thurs.  The Assistants were in the Office most of the day, and other missionaries came and went.  The weather was much warmer and got up to 68 degrees.  It was 47 degrees when we got up today and was 22 yesterday, wild swings. We exercised, had a phone visit with Brent, and spent a quiet evening.
            Wednesday I worked on various papers, emails, and took media orders as both Sister H and Sister Sorensen were gone.  The Rasmussens came in for a visit, and then the Greens, so we went out to lunch with them.  Just as we were finishing up, I got a call from Pres. Wakolo saying that there was NO lunch for their Zone Conference!!  I was just sick about it.  I went back to the Office and found out that there had been a mis-communication between me and the stake RS president over that stake/zone.  Pres. ended up ordering pizza for everyone.  The Rasmussens headed home, but the Greens stayed to help go through different things.  Elder Green helped me with the Mission History, and Sister Green deleted lots of stuff off the computer at the back.  I worked on the Zone Conference Lunch Schedule and made sure the stake in charge of Thursday’s lunch was ready.  We went grocery shopping after 5:15, then home to do laundry and played some games and relax.
            Thursday was a very hard day—it was my “Friday, the 13th,” even though it was Thursday the 12th.  I went through the Zone Conference lunch schedule and sent it to Pres & Sister Wakolo to make sure it was correct.  I worked on lots of emails and ordered travel for missionaries leaving March 28th.  Then I found out that Sister Green had deleted a program that had the Mission Calendar on it that I had spent all Fall working on and finally finished after Christmas!!  And that my computer copies of “The Leader” including baptismal photos were all deleted!!  Talk about being sick to my stomach—I just sat and stared for a while trying to figure out what to do.  Jim helped by going into the Recycle Bin and we found the Calendar stuff—HALLELUJAH!!!
I worked off some frustration by cleaning the bathroom before we left (plus it was much warmer than in the morning!!).  The Sorensens got back from Memphis about 3:00.  Sis H never came in and we found out that her checks had been stolen last week in the break-in so she had spent a lot of time talking to her bank back home in Moab.  It helped that her son is the bank manager! We had a nice visit with Larry on the phone as we drove to the apartment.
            Friday I spent time going into our email program called Outlook and went back three months and found copies of the October and November Leaders and saved them to my computer.  I also found all the baptismal photos and copies them to my computer, too.  By the end of the day I felt much, much better!!  I also worked on faxing medical bills to SLC, finished the Lunch Schedule and sent out the final copies to the 5 Stake RS Presidents.  I also redid the Lunch Book to keep all the information I need in one place.  Sister H came in and I went with her and Sister Sorensen to take the missionaries out to lunch to celebrate 3 of their birthdays and honor Sis. H on her last day as a missionary.  There was a big group and we had fun eating and visiting.  Finished working in the Office by 5:30, did a little more shopping of things we had missed, went home and changed and went to a movie, “Passengers.”  It was pretty good but did have a couple of scenes we shut our eyes in.
            Saturday we exercised, cleaned our apartment bathrooms, updated addresses, made a bean soup, took naps, cleaned up, went to the Little Rock Stake Center and had dinner at 5:15 and enjoyed visiting with Michelle and others.  Then had an awesome Adult Session—several good talks by the 3 sisters who are presidents of the stake auxiliaries about how the Spirit had worked in their lives.  Some great stories.  President Wakolo spoke and gave a great talk about the need for the Gospel and missionary work.  The music was by some mutual youth in our Little Rock Ward and they were wonderful.  President Palmer, councilor in the Stake Presidency gave a wonderful talk on hope and our challenge to act, to increase our hope and faith.  Then President Dixon spoke and talked about surviving in a fallen world and how to overcome the tendencies of the natural man, by walking in the light and way of Jesus Christ.  Saw Sister H and gave her a hug.  She had moved out of her apartment earlier that afternoon.  It has been really foggy the last few days—Jim says it is eerie and I say it is ethereal.  When we were almost home, we exited the freeway and saw a car on the other side of the road that had taken a corner too fast and not only jumped the curb but rode up some heavy guywires attached to a power pole.  It was hanging on them sideways!!  I wished we had taken a picture—it was incredible!!  Oh, well---
            Today was a wonderful Stake Conference.  We sat with Larry and Holly and the kids.  We heard a number of good talks, including one by a young woman about 19 who had joined the church when she was about 12.  Her family were not supportive at all, in fact they were antagonistic, telling her she could only go to church once a week.  Over time they became a lot more supportive, her mother telling her she had changed for the better.  She had a “mean” YW leader who made her do the Young Womanhood program so she could earn her medallion.  She was so glad she did it and was proudly wearing it around her neck.  She talked about her love for the Book of Mormon and how reading it every day really helped her stay close to the Lord and get through the tough times.  Then an older sister, perhaps in her 60’s, spoke of growing up and having visions and being told that was not possible.  But she described them and they were so beautiful.  She eventually found the church just a couple of years ago and finally found the church that had answers to all of her questions and revelations.  She has been going to the temple and loving the Spirit there.  Also, she found out about doing her family’s work to be sealed to them.  “Why would I want to do that?!!  I don’t want to be sealed to THEM!!”  But the Lord told her, “Because that is what I want you to do.”  And the peace she felt was overwhelming.  Her love for the Lord and the Gospel was palpable.  There were other wonderful testimonies, but I will just share those two.  The special musical numbers were by our ward and were wonderful again.  Jim: I just wanted to add one other remark that the wife of the first councilor in the Mission Presidency, Sister Jones, shared.  She spoke about all the things she was thankful for and shared a quote she has on her night stand which says, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience but rather spiritual beings having a human experience.”  And her husband, President Jones, had all the missionaries stand and sing the Mission Song.  I even cried.  That is impactful to ponder.   We had a quick Missionary Correlation afterwards, then we went to lunch at Larry’s and Holly’s where we had a delicious pork roast salad and rolls with Orange Juliuses for dessert and played Uno and Go Fish.  We left at 3:30, went to the Office for a while, and are now home and enjoying a quiet Sabbath evening.
            We love you all and testify that when tough times happen, just remember that “this, too, shall pass.”
            Have a great week—Elder & Sister Hartzell

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