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