Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weather Variations

Dear Family and Friends,
            Last Sunday was cloudy and quite warm—in the 70’s.  We left early for church so we could pick up a deaf family in our ward named Bowie, father, mother, and 7 year old son.  The son hears and speaks.  We have a deaf branch who meet as part of our ward and we love to watch the different ward members sign for the talks and hymns and lessons and prayers including the Sacrament.  We have 3 new missionaries in the Ward, two new sisters, one of whom is coming back after being away for 4 transfers, and a new elder.  We came home in the evening and watched some BYU TV, ate some of the good smoked pork that we got yesterday, and had good Facetime visits with Christi and Shelley and some of their families.  We also had a nice visit with my sister Lois and found out that a cousin fell and broke his femur and was having to have surgery to put in a steel rod and some pins.  He is in our prayers for a good recovery.
            Monday was quiet in the Office.  I worked on emails, the calendar, and starting to create and send out Leadership Letters to all the missionaries who became Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and District Leaders in the Transfer last week.  The President has decided to put two sets of Zone Leaders over each zone so that more of the missionaries could develop leadership abilities in advance of the new mission president coming.  When I fill in the correct information in each letter, I print up two copies (one to mail out and one to go in the missionary’s file), then I “Share” as an attachment in email form to their parents, bishops, and stake presidents, depending on the assignment.  I often get very special responses of thanks and love and feel so blessed to be part of the process!!  Had Office Staff meeting in the afternoon, but we did it on the phone as President had to go to the dentist in the morning and was late coming home so they could not make it in. But we still got a lot done.  I did NOT get any new assignments, so I am grateful for that.  Had a good phone visit with Brent on the drive home, and had a quiet evening.
In a recent email from President Wakolo he shared comments from several of the missionaries.  One was particularly impressive to Jim – “My studies have been great. I am coming to the end of the Book of Mormon and I absolutely love the story of the brother of Jared. I love that Jesus told him to present a plan. Christ could have just told him what to do, but he wanted to see what the brother of Jared would come up with. I think that happens a lot in life. Sometimes we ask God for help, but he leaves the choice up to us. For example, I never got definite answer to going on a mission. I prayed and prayed and I finally decided I needed to stop waiting for an answer and start acting.  So I started my papers and turned them in! When I read “Arkansas Little Rock Mission” on my call letter, I knew that I had made the right choice. I’m glad I took that leap of faith instead of waiting for an answer!”  We grow as we act in faith.
            Tuesday I worked all day on the Leadership Letters which I was able to finish, answered a lot of emails, and worked on various things.  Sister Hess came into the Office to help with both the Arriving Binders and the Phone Report.  She is just learning about this and struggling a bit to understand how to do it and to try not to go cross-eyed reading all the thousands of lines of data (text messages) and information (phone calls).  A sister missionary came in to spend the afternoon sleeping on the couch in President’s Office as she did not feel well.  That way her two companions could still go meet with people.  We came home and exercised.  I was delighted to find out that the other treadmill in the Exercise Room was fixed so I have a much better chance of being able to work out on a treadmill. 
            Wednesday I worked on the Mission History and finished it and sent it to President Wakolo to review and make changes.  I also did a bit of shredding of all paperwork, worked on the calendar, answered phone calls, and had a pretty quiet day.  Did the grocery shopping on the way home, then did the laundry all evening, watched TV, etc.
            Thursday we sent a copy of the Welcome Binder to our new mission president for him to review.  I started going through all the missionaries’ files to be sure they each had a bio paper (many did not so I did a lot of printing), and to take out a paper that was supposed to be in their driving file.  Because I did not know that when I came, I had to take out quite a few.  Sister Green came in to work with Sister Hess on the Phone Report, and the three of us went out to lunch at the Mexican restaurant that is close by.  It was fun to visit with Sister Green again and get to know Sister Hess better.  Jim spent the day having his annual audit.  I will let him tell you about that: compared to last year it was much easier.  When I arrived last year none of the files were very well organized, so it was very hard to find what the auditor wanted to review.  This year we found everything much easier.  There were a couple reports that we couldn’t find, but we have procedures in place now that will remedy that next year.  He arrived about 9:45 and we were done by noon. YIPPEE!!!
            Friday Jim and I cleaned the bathrooms, then I worked on emails, continued going through the folders and am almost finished with them.  It was a pretty quiet day with hardly any phone calls.  Went home, ate dinner, and fell asleep watching the new MacGyver, so I missed the ending.  Darn!!  Hard when things are not recorded like I am used to at home.  Watched some more old TV shows on Hulu Plus, then went to bed and slept well.
            Saturday we got to sleep in until 7:00!!  Hooray!!  It was our P-day and was sunny but colder (brrr), it was in the upper 70s on Wednesday, so it cannot decide to be warm or cold.  We exercised (both strength and aerobic) at different times during the day, made cookies, organized some papers and files, cleaned both bathrooms, changed our sheets and washed our bedding, cleaned up, when to Walmart to do some shopping for Jim’s birthday on Tuesday, the 28th, and also got some medicine and food, ate Subway (it is so convenient to have one in the Walmart store just like we do in Payson), went home and relaxed.  At 7:30 we went over to Sorensen’s and played games and ate snacks with them and the Hesses.  We had a lot of fun and did a lot of laughing.  Came home and went to bed.
            We hope you are all doing well.

            Love, Elder and Sister Hartzell

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 2017 Transfer Week, Valentine's Day, and One-Year Anniversary

Elder and Sister Hartzell at the entrance to the LR AFB
Elder Hartzell at the War Memorial on the LR AFB

The Rasmussens, the Hesses, the Sorensens, and Sister Hartzell looking at one of the many planes on the AFB museum park.

Gary and Harper on the tramp when we stayed at their house the end of January
Pat doing Harper's hair--that's a smile not a grimace on Harper's face!!
 Dear Family and Friends,
 Last Monday, February 13, I woke up feeling a little off (probably ate too many of those good ribs Larry made), so I drank broth and 7-up all morning and felt good again by the afternoon.  It was the Monday of Transfer Week, which means it was the P-day that a lot of missionaries come to our building to hang out all day while their companions go to the Temple in Memphis, and they await them or maybe their new companions.  Many people got new companions that day.  Jim & I worked on the Transfer Board in IMOS and submitted it first thing Tuesday morning.  It took 1 ½ hours.  Then I worked on all the Monday emails, forwarded President’s newsletter to all the Senior Missionaries, took phone calls, worked on the History and the Calendar.  We left with the Sorensens at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home and help finish getting the Departure Dinner ready.  Sister Wakolo had made ham, potato casserole, Cookie Salad, and I made the green bean casserole, did the rolls, all of us made a tossed salad and cut up a lot of fruit.  Sister Wakolo also made rice and a delicious Curry.  We gathered at 5:30 after they came back from the Temple, prayed and ate.  I was able to take a little time to have a nice visit with Brent, as we always do on Monday.  We cleaned everything up, washed and put away the big dishes, loaded the dishwasher and got it running, drove home and found out that we had left our briefcase there so had to drive all the way back, I ran in and got it, then drove all the way home again (a ½ hour drive).  Relaxed, watched TV, and went to bed.
            Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, it rained all day and was real dark and gloomy outside, and full of light in the Office.  The sister missionaries who work in the ward gave us candy and hearts and cards.  They are wonderful!! (of course, a lot of it came from one of their moms who is real good at making sure the holidays are well-celebrated!)  We got a new Office Elder, Elder Croft, in the Office, and said goodbye to Elder Lindstrom.  Worked on most of the same stuff as yesterday, plus tried to get things finished up on some iPad issues several of the missionaries are having, including a couple of the missionaries who have gone home.  We left at 4:00 to go to the Pinnacle Mountain building to help with the Arrival Dinner there and meet the new missionaries who just came in.  Our missionary who was coming from the Philippines (we have had his Recommendation since July) was supposed to come in at 5:45 p.m. but missed his connection in Chicago because of long lines at Customs so didn’t get in to Little Rock until 10:00.  He is so excited to be here, as are they all!!  We had one missionary who had gone home with a health issue the beginning of December, come back.  We love those success stories!!  We ate Teriyaki Chicken and rice for dinner, more fruit, more tossed salad, and more Cookie Salad.  We ate, cleaned up, and headed home.
Pat with her Valentine's Day bouquet
            Wednesday, February 15, is our ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!  Quite a significant day!!  We went to the Pinnacle Mountain (PM) chapel for Training.  Our part takes about 35 minutes, including a bike video that Elder Hartzell showed.  We want the missionaries to be careful on their bikes and take good care of them.  Then we went back to the Office to input the Trainers and their new missionaries into IMOS and submit it.  However, we found that the new Filipino missionary was still showing up in the Philippines and not in our mission.  So I contacted several people to make sure the change was made.  It finally was changed on Thursday.  We had a new Senior Couple, the Schanks, who arrived in Little Rock and went to the PM chapel to meet with President Wakolo and go out to dinner with the Wakolo family.  Then they spent the night in a hotel that we had arranged.
I worked on inputting all the new missionary information including their parents’ contact information, into Outlook (our internet email), and into the 4-year Address List, and made necessary changes in IMOS.  Went grocery shopping, did laundry, and took it easy.
            Thursday we dropped our car off at Sears to be serviced.  For a couple of years we have had a terrible squeal in our Highlander almost every time we started it.  When it first started squealing, we had it checked and thought it was fixed.  However, it came back over time and has gotten worse and worse.  So we left it at Sears and had the Sorensens pick us up to go to the Office.  Sears called at noon, said they were done, that they had replaced two belts that were dry and cracked, and did a few other things.  We picked it up when Sister Sorensen and I went to Jimmy Johns to get the boxed lunches for a Special MLC meeting.  NO MORE SQUEAK!!  It is wonderful!!  I think our neighbors might actually like us again!!!  J  The Special MLC meeting at the building was because we had a lot of new ZL’s and STL’s and they needed some training.  President decided to have two sets of Zone Leaders over each Zone in order to get more experienced leadership to have ready when our new mission president arrives the first of July.  The Schanks came into the Office so we got to meet and welcome them before they headed to their new assignment in Memphis.  They are full of enthusiasm and energy!!  They also brought donuts, which all in the Office enjoyed.  Also got word that our Filipino missionary was officially in our mission, so we entered him and the Schanks into IMOS and I was able to start printing up and sending out Organization reports, Companionship Rosters, Phone Rosters, and other assorted reports.  Sister Wakolo came in and gave me all the paperwork she had collected.  I sorted it, recorded it, and filed it.  Came home, exercised, made and ate Split Pea Soup (yummy!!), watched TV and went to bed.
            Friday we cleaned at the Office.  I did all the dusting and Jim did all the vacuuming, we collected garbage, and cleaned the front glass doors.  Sister Hess came in.  Things have finally slowed down enough that she can come in and help us in the Office.  Sister Sorensen is teaching her how to put together Arrival Binders.  I worked on inputting all the photos off the camera, and then sent out emails with the photos attached to all the parents of the Arriving Missionaries, and all the Departing Missionaries and their parents.  I know this is a joyous time for all of them!!  The Assistants were in the Office for a while, Elder James working on various assignments, and Elder Taleni watching the video and taking the test that will allow him to drive the big 12-passengar Transfer Van.  After work, we used a Christmas gift – a gift card for Red Lobster – and enjoyed a wonderful Valentine’s Dinner.  All week I have enjoyed some beautiful flowers that Jim bought me at the end of last week at Sam’s Club.  They have been opening up and are so lovely!!  He treats me so well!!!!
            Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny day, but still cool.  We dusted and vacuumed our apartment, recorded receipts, checked our budget (while we are on our missions, we end up with more money at the end of the month.  We feel so blessed in so many way!!), went through emails, got some smoked pork from a member of the North Little Rock ward who gave some to each companionship (there are 3 in their ward, and the three couples from the Office), and we will enjoy that for dinner tonight!!  We drove over to Burns Park, following the Sorensens and the Hesses.  There we walked along the Arkansas River up to the Big Dam Bridge, then back, then drove to the red Covered Bridge and enjoyed the peace there, then Elder Hartzell and I went to the Office so he could take care of an issue with one of the MSF cards for one of the missionaries.  Then home for some wonderful Red Lobster leftovers, movies, and a good night’s sleep.

An intricate carving in a tree trunk

A simple carving in a tree trunk below the intricate one.

Sister Hartzell with the Sorensens and the Hesses at the Big Dam Bridge
            It is foggy this morning but supposed to be in the high 60’s so it will feel nice.  There are also signs of spring with daffodils, some flowering bushes and trees beginning to bloom.

Our first signs of spring!!
            Our prayers have long lists of several missionaries, family members, and friends who are dealing with lots of health issues—physical, emotional, and mental.  We want you to know that we pray for you and hope you are each one doing well and able to feel the Spirit every day!!

            Love, Elder and Sister Hartzell

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Prelude to Transfer Week ending Feb. 12th

Dear Family and Friends,
            On Monday, February 6, we got to the Office at 8:00.  I worked on all the emails that came in over the weekend, including the one from President that I forward to all the Senior Missionaries.  I updated schedules, worked on the “Mission Memories” binders, had Office Staff Meeting, and President Wakolo told us that he has already requested our replacements for next August.  I got a few new assignments, worked with Sister Wakolo after the meeting, did a new MLC Schedule for 2017, helped Sister Sorensen label some photos for The Leader (it’s kind of neat knowing a lot more of the missionaries’ names).  We talked to Brent on the way home, ate leftovers, finished the last blog, and went to bed.  We were awakened three times during the night by our emergency radio issuing rain and flood warnings.  As long as it wasn’t tornadoes, I didn’t worry about the other.  And the rain did come down all night and all day Tuesday.
            Tuesday I started printing up the Letters to the President for each of the Departing Missionaries.  I was able to do 5 of them and complete their “Mission Memories” binders, also worked on the printed programs for the Departing and Arriving Testimony meetings to be held next week.  I updated calendars, worked on emails, etc.  Went home and exercised, ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.  I had a bad leg cramp during the night that I had to take an Advil for and walk around for a while.  I do get them occasionally. This was a sunny day compared to yesterday.
            Wednesday I completed another binder, processed a missionary recommend for a missionary couple who will be coming in March, (always so glad to see more Senior Couples coming in), sent out their letters, the Hesses stopped by the Office to pick up some dishes and things out of the shed, they were having a much quieter day as things had slowed down a bit.  Jim has a new task to evaluate the cell phone and text usage.  The report is published the first of Feb for the month of December usage.  That makes it challenging to keep track of who is where due to transfers.  We are looking for long calls, too frequent calls, too many texts, calls out of state, and last calls.  On the phone data there is 28,000 lines of data, so having drop-down sorting of the spread sheet really helps.   I ran some errands and took care of taking some mail to the Post Office.  After work we did our grocery shopping, went home and ate dinner and did the laundry, worked on recording some of our receipts, and watched TV before going to bed.  Jim received a really nice phone call from the sister missionaries that serve in the Pinnacle Mountain ward where Larry lives.  He had given a copy of the BOM to a couple that came trick-or-treating at Halloween when we were passing out candy, and they are being baptized on Sunday.  What great news that was.
            Thursday I finished the last two “Mission Memories” binders and their letters, made corrections to the programs and printed them up, collected the needed passports out of the locked cabinet, and put them in the envelope to hand out to the Departing Missionaries (the envelope is used on Tuesday at the airport to collect their MSF, TiWi, and Mission Medical cards), then worked on the calendar, and email address list in Outlook, and got a new print-up of the 5 stakes and their wards with contact information.  Also printed up a Release letter for a sister missionary who has to go home for health reasons.  Jim worked on some bicycle issues keep track of the bikes coming and going for the upcoming transfer.   We have been doing a lot of shredding of finance, records of baptisms, and missionaries who have been gone over a year, and our big main shredder broke down, so now we have to use our smaller ones.  Came home, exercised, went to Sam’s Club for pizza and to pick up lots of bottles of water to have in the Office for the missionaries (we use a flat of 40 + a few extras every time we have an MLC), and some food for our own freezer. 
            Friday I had no big projects, just lots of little ones.  I did the calendar, answered emails and phone calls, sent a couple of letters, worked on plans for the Transfers next week, worked on iPad stuff, updated some names and addresses in IMOS, Outlook, and the 4-year Long Term Address list.  Got my hair cut on the way home (it ended up being too short L), Jim bought our dinner at Panera Bread, then watched some movies and went to bed.
            Saturday we exercised, I cut Jim’s hair and he colored mine, ate breakfast, cleaned up, and went to see the Air Force Base in Jacksonville (just north of us about 20 minutes).  We have our Military Relations Couple there, the Rasmussens, and they took us to see some huge planes and helicopters on display at a big park.  We walked around and read the plaques and enjoyed visiting.  Then we saw their cute little duplex apartment, and went to lunch at Chili’s.  Then went home to nap, clean bathrooms, work on the budget, then drove to our chapel in Otter Creek for a fun ward Valentines party where we played “Name That Tune,” (I came in 6th and Jim didn’t even try, though he helped me a couple of times), and also “Two Truths and One Lie.”  That was also fun.  Came home, TV, and bed.
            Sunday was wonderful!!  We went to the Pinnacle Mountain Ward for the baptism of Ryan and Kristie Williams.  They are the couple that we met when we were handing out Halloween candy at Larry and Holly’s house and they came by with their two kids.  Ryan noticed Jim’s nametag and asked if he was a missionary.  When Jim said yes, Ryan said he grew up in Utah as a non-member, and now they were searching out the church to learn more about it.  They had talked to the bishop, but that was all.  Jim asked if they had a Book of Mormon and they said no.  So Jim ran to our car and gave them one!  They started taking the missionary lessons and have been coming to church faithfully.  The sister missionaries called last week to tell us about the baptism and said that the Williamses wanted us to come.  When Ryan saw Jim, he told him he was still reading from that Book of Mormon and that he loved it.  It was a beautiful service!!  Then we stayed for the Sacrament meeting and Jim stood in the circle for the confirmation.  We heard some good talks and testimonies.  Then we drove to our chapel, eating our sandwiches on the way, and went to Sacrament meeting there, after handing out some boxes and mail to the missionaries who meet in that building (4 sets total).  It was our Ward Conference and Bishop Warner spoke on Faith, President Dixon spoke on having a vision of our future, and our SS and RS lessons were also about Faith.  It was a powerful day.  We went home, took naps, enjoyed Music and the Spoken Word, drove to Larry and Holly’s and ate a delicious rib dinner!!  Then we had fun spending time with the family, playing Clue (I got lucky and ended up in the right room almost from the beginning so I won), had pie and ice cream, and headed home to talk to Shelley and Christi and their families.
            Some of the thoughts from the missionaries this week:  “As I read the booklet about pornography addiction, I found a lot of principles that apply to every situation in life, not just overcoming pornography.  One of the quotes was a teaching by Neal A. Maxwell that stated: ‘Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  Light dispels darkness.  When light is present, darkness is vanquished and must depart.  More important, darkness cannot conquer light unless the light is diminished or departs.’”
            Also, a story:  “Yesterday, I felt the need to study the phrase ‘open your mouth.’  I read from D&C about the promise that when we open our mouths, they will be filled.  I saw that promise fulfilled numerous times yesterday.  One example really stands out.  Yesterday, we went out to contact a less-active member.  She wasn’t home at the time, but her neighbor across the street was just getting home.  We hurried over to talk with her before she went in the house.  As we started talking with her, the words I was saying were not my own. Usually, I am a little awkward and sometimes stumble over the things I say when I first meet people, but those words were clear and the conversation flowed in just the right way for us to testify of how the gospel can answer her questions and help her find the direction she’s looking for.  God does fulfill all His promises.  I have never felt anything like that moment where the Spirit spoke so clearly through me.”
            Also, “just keep the commandments and don’t be stupid!”
            Also, “I remember praying as I submitted my papers that I would be sent not only where I am needed to find people, but also to the companions I need to meet, the members I needed to work with, and to the mission president I needed to be under.  I definitely know that prayer has been answered!  Thank you both for being worthy parents away from home for me and all of us.”
            Also, “if I am not loving my mission now, then will I love heaven?”
            And last, and funniest!:  “Looking back now my spirit has been starving for so long and because of my mission it is becoming obese!!”
            I hope all of our spirits are becoming “obese” in the scriptures, the Gospel, and the Spirit!!
            It was a good week!!
            Love to all of you,

            Elder and Sister Hartzell

Monday, February 6, 2017

February Arrives

Dear Family and Friends,
            Monday was a really nice day and I got many things accomplished:  sent letters to the missionaries in the MTC, letters to the Departing missionaries along with their itineraries, finished all the missionary biographies and put them in a binder to mail to President Hansen, printed up baptismal photos for December and put them on the bulletin board outside our Office, did some calendaring, took care of paperwork that came in the mail, and emails.  We received some sad news that one of our MLS missionary couples will be leaving this week due to illness.  We are sad to see them go, they have done a lot of good in the Ward they have been assigned to serve.  Talked to Brent on the way home, made and ate dinner, Jim did the dishes, worked on Family History for a while, we watched TV, and went to bed.
            Tuesday I worked on the 4-year missionary list and printed it up for the “Mission Memories” binders, learned that one of our Senior Couples who had only been out for 3 months needed to go home because of health issues, also learned that one of the local Senior couples who serve as apartment inspectors has a health issue—the husband has liver cancer that has spread everywhere so he is not doing any treatment and says he will serve until he dies!!  What an incredible testimony of service!!  Went to the post office to mail packages, picked up board magnet names for our Transfer Board, and stopped at the bread store for a few things.  I set up lunches for the next two days for Leadership Training for all the Zone and District Leaders—Wed here and Thurs in Memphis.  Came home, exercised, worked on the blog, watched TV.
            Wednesday, we had two nice days of sun, but are back to clouds again today.  I processed four new missionary recommendations—all elders and all coming March 28, picked up the pizza for the Leadership Training Lunch (Pres. Faulkner will take care of the lunch on Thursday in Memphis), and worked on assorted other things.  Did the grocery shopping on the way home, did the laundry, Jim ironed his shirts, relaxed and I slept great, but Jim was awakened by music in the middle of the night!  He couldn’t tell where it was coming from and was awake for about an hour.  How rude of our neighbors!
            Thursday I got the three letters out to the new missionaries I just processed and their parents, did a lot of scheduling and updating the calendar with new stuff coming up, and did some shredding of old files.  Went home an exercised and took it easy.  Since it was Groundhog Day, we watched that movie which Jim had never seen before.  Now he understands all the references to it he has heard through the years.
            Friday was cleaning day, I worked on the Annual History which has to be done every year at this time, had some emails to take care of, printed up some of our personal tax documents that we can only get online and we have no printer at the apartment.  Jim has been busy all week with the normal bills and apartment issues and has added trying to learn how to analyze the cellular phone call data that comes each month.  It is a big task sort out the calls or texts that might not be in accordance with mission rules.  This had been done by Sister Green and prior to her, Sister Cahoon, but now there is no one else to do it.  We stopped to visit with the Hesses on our way to our apartment.  They live in the same complex and will probably end up staying in their apartment to do all of the medical work for the missionaries.  They received phone calls all day long!!  They have a real nice desk setup that we got from the previous Temple President’s home.  It is well used but very handy for the two of them so they can work together.  Went home and had fun watching movies.
            Saturday we exercised twice, vacuumed and dusted the apartment, worked on our taxes and are ready to make copies and mail them in.  Cleaned up and went to see the movie, “La La Land.”  Except for one glaringly bad word, the movie was good.  It was a musical hearkening back to the days of good movie musicals without a lot of junk in them.  Then we went shopping and had dinner at Olive Garden.
            Sunday was cold and cloudy.  We put a roast and cut up vegetables in a crock pot before we left.  We enjoyed Fast and Testimony meeting.  Michelle and Caleb were there and her eye has shown just a little improvement.  The insurance refused paying for her treatment, so the doctor is going to write them and see if he can persuade them otherwise.  Enjoyed classes about the signs of the times, and then about how to recognize if we need course corrections.  We took Sister Bowie, one of the deaf sisters in our ward, to her house, then went home, had naps, watched BYU TV and set the table and got ready for dinner.  The Sorensens came over to eat with us, but the Hesses said they were “slammed” and could not take time for dinner.  I feel bad for them and all they have to deal with.  The missionaries have many physical and mental issues, and need to be treated with patience and love.  After dinner we played some games, then they left and we had visits with Shawn, back from China!! and with Christi, and also with Shelley.
            So it’s been a good week and feel that we are getting along pretty well.  Hope you are all the same!!

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

An Apostle Visits

Dear Family and Friends,
            Sorry this is late, but we had a busy weekend and couldn’t get to it. 
            Last Sunday, the 22nd, since church didn’t start until noon, we had a nice slow start and were able to do a lot of reading.  Church was nice—we had talks on self-reliance and tithing, and had good classes and discussions.  We took a girl home who is a new investigator, then went to the Office for a while to work on photos.  Went home for dinner and visits with Christi and Shelley.
            Monday I got some Departure letters out, took care of phone calls and emails, and we had a good Staff Meeting with, of course, lots of new assignments.  We talked about preparing for the visit of an apostle, Elder Neil L. Andersen, who was coming on Saturday, and all the things that each of us needed to do to be ready.  Talked to Brent on the way home and learned that their youngest, little Hannah, has been sick and they are doing tests to determine what is wrong.  Also, Michelle has blood in her eye and will probably need some procedures done.  Because of all the stuff I needed to do, I don’t go to sleep quickly and wake up early, so I averaged about 5 hours a night. The rain has stopped and the sun is out and beautiful.
            Tuesday I worked on the calendar, took care of paperwork that came in, had to work on ordering lunches for STL (Sister Training Leader) meeting on Wed., MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) on Thursday, and dinners for the missionaries on Saturday night.  Our new Mission Nurse, Elder Hess, and his wife arrived at 3:30.  We showed them around the chapel, then took them to their new apartment and left them with the Office Elders, who helped them move furniture around and get things set up.  Then we did our shopping for mission food at Sam’s Club, went back to the Office for an hour, then met the Sorensens and Hesses at Chili’s for dinner. 
            Wednesday, during STL meeting, they stopped and we all went into the chapel for a special broadcast from SLC about changes in the missionary schedule, and special things they want the missionaries to emphasize.  The focus needs to be on the Plan and on the Doctrine of Christ—that all things need to be taught in that framework.  It was really powerful.  As soon as it was over, we went to Chick-fil-A to get lunch for the sisters, we all ate, then I cleaned up and put stuff away.  I printed up the Mission Histories, put together the premade material in the “Mission Memories” binders, took Sister Hess to the shed in the parking lot to get stuff for her apartment, went shopping with Jim, and headed home to do laundry. Jim has been busy setting up a new apartment this week and paying bills as usual, plus all the surprises each day to addresss. There is no end to apartment renewals, opening or closing apartments, and the utilities. 
            Thursday was MLC.  I worked on making copies of the bio information on all the missionaries who will be here when our new mission president arrives, did the 4th Departure letter that goes in their binders, left at noon to get the Subway sandwich for the lunch, cleaned up after, left early to go to Larry and Holly’s and babysit the grandchildren while Larry and Holly went to Napa Valley, CA, for a conference and to have fun.  We made spaghetti for dinner, watched a family DVD, had Tim Tam Slams, and watched a fun “Goofy”movie.
We put Harper to bed, then later the boys and us.
            Friday we got up and fixed French Toast, then Jim went to work and I did stuff with the kids.  I watched Gary and Harper jump and do tricks on the tramp, then did puzzles and games with Harper.  When she left for a birthday party, the boys just did video games and I watched movies.  We stopped for lunch at 12:30, they got all their stuff together for a sleepover, and their friends picked all of them up to go have fun and stay at their houses.  Jim had to do the weekly cleaning at the building, including both bathrooms as I wasn’t there to do my job, and had a lot of other interruptions.  I called Jim to come pick me up, and we took all our stuff with us, went to the Office, ate dinner there and kept working until 7:00 p.m.  Went home, changed the stuff in our suitcases, watched TV and relaxed.
            Saturday we got cleaning done and exercised at the apartment, went to the church at 1:30 and made sure things were ready for the missionaries to come.  And they all came from all over the mission.  We had 190 there!!  It took 40 minutes to get everyone in place for a big group photo, so that when Elder Andersen came in with Elder Klebingat, Bishop Waddell, Elder Beheshti, and Pres & Sister Wakolo, everyone got real quiet and were so respectful.  The brother took the photos, then we followed Elder Andersen into the chapel one zone at a time and shook everyone’s hands.  Then we had a wonderful meeting!!  We heard great testimonies about missionary work and how important it is to teach the Doctrine of Christ, and memorize scriptures that touch our hearts and sink deep into our souls, and help us feel the Spirit. Jim--Elder Anderson emphasized the importance to keep on the covenant path all of our lives, and being converted to the Lord, not the church.  He also quoted Elder Oaks who said that a testimony is to know and conversion is to become. We need to become and the atonement allows us to repent, which is how we change.   Bishop Waddell talked about the power in the Book of Mormon to convert, and then mentioned the difference between serving on a mission and going on a mission.  We need to be looking outward and not inward.  Elder Klebingat used Acts 5:11-12 to address what we might not be laying on the altar of God, and what we might be holding back in our service.  Afterwards I hurried outside to make sure that each missionary going back on the bus to Memphis had a box dinner until all were handed out, and Jim gave out hard-cover Book of Mormons to the missionaries for their personal study.  We had Bram meet us there while Gary stayed for a youth meeting with Elder Andersen.  We picked up Harper on our way home, then got home to Larry and Holly’s and had them get out their Sunday clothes and take baths and showers.  Then all went to bed.
            I awoke at 2:00 a.m. with terrible stomach cramps—oh, I was in such pain!! I had diarrhea and was soooooo sick.  I kept having cramps all night and all the next day, just not as bad as at first.  I am pretty sure it was food poisoning.
            Sunday Gary woke up with a runny nose, sore throat, and feeling miserable, so we both stayed home and Jim took Bram and Harper to church.  Then we had a quiet day watching some good movies like “Finding Dory” and “Snowball Express.”  We had pizza for dinner, then Larry and Holly got home having had a great time in Napa Valley and in San Francisco.  We headed home, talked to Christi and then Shelley, then went to bed.  I still didn’t feel great but was able to get some anti-diarrheal medicine Monday morning and finally stop the cramping.
            I will stop there and talk about this week next Sunday.
            Sure hope you are all doing well.

            Love,  Elder and Sister Hartzell