Sunday, March 19, 2017

Zone Conference Week and St. Patrick's Day

Dear Family and Friends,
            Last Sunday in church Brother Bellarose was confirmed.  In the evening we enjoyed good visits with Christi and her family, and with Shelley.  They are all doing well.
            Monday I forwarded the President’s emails to the Seniors as I do every Monday.  I updated the 4-year address list for the missionaries, then started a new 4-year address list that includes a column for email addresses.  Those have not been regularly included in the past.  This took me time over 4 days, finally finishing up on Friday.  Also on Monday we had missionaries in and out of the Office all morning, there for P-day and emailing their families.  After work, we came home, grabbed the chicken salad we had made Sunday evening, and went over to the theater room at the club house.  Jim: This was a really busy day, three compromised or lost MSF cards by 10am and then lots of bills to pay.  The Sorensens and Hesses brought their salads to share, too, and we also brought snacks to eat afterwards during the movie.  The salads were all delicious, and we had a great time watching an old Disney movie called, “The North Avenue Irregulars.”  It was really cute and funny!  And we snacked on popcorn, carmel corn, and M&M’s.  It was a great FHE.
            Tuesday continued work on the 4-year address list, plus working on other emails and phone calls that came in.  Elder and Sister Hess came in and worked all day.  The Sorensens left at 1:00 to drive to Memphis, go to the temple, and be ready for Zone Conference over there on Wednesday.  We stayed at the Office until 6:00, and were also able to enjoy phone visits with Larry and Brent.  We drove down to Little Rock Ward for the RS Birthday dinner party and celebration.  We had Hawaiian Haystacks (that were delicious), and then shared testimonies of what Relief Society meant to several of the sisters.  I have a strong testimony of RS.  It means so much to me.  I have learned and shared so many things that have made a difference in my life.  I am so grateful the Lord gave us this wonderful organization.  Jim drove me there and waited for me, eating a sandwich he had fixed.  I wished I could have shared the dinner with him, but he wouldn’t come in. 
            Wednesday was real quiet.  It was also cold outside, only 30 degrees this morning.  Both the Sorensens and Hesses were at the Zone Conf in Memphis, so we were in the Office alone.  The Office Elders came in a couple of times, and the Spanish Zone had a Zone Meeting—it’s first!  They loved being together and doing their role-plays in Spanish.  We got two new Missionary Recommendations in—one for May and one for June—so I processed those which took me all day because I also did their first letters.  Went shopping after work, made and ate dinner, did three loads of laundry, Jim washed the dishes and ironed his shirts, and watched TV and went to bed.
            Thursday was our Arkansas Zone Conference.  Lots of missionaries in the building from the three zones.  We went all day and loved the presentations and talks and activities.  There was such a beautiful Spirit there.  We had a great presentation from the two mental health specialists who help the missionaries in some of their struggles.  They talked about Companionship Relations and how to get along better and make changes in how they talk to each other and to themselves.  One phrase we should never use is “makes me” as in “that makes me be angry,” or “you make me upset.”  Instead we should use the phrase “I feel.”  It’s also good to do a Companionship Inventory every week, not only on your mission but in your marriages.  We had a delicious BBQ Beef lunch (there were about 140 people there), and also a presentation of yellow roses was given to Sister Thompson, our Mission Nurse.  She has just been released from her mission, and now Elder Hess is fully in charge as Mission Nurse.  The meetings ended at 3:45 with the final testimonies of those missionaries who are going home in two weeks.  Very sad and sweet!!  Then for an hour we had lots of missionaries in and out of the Office to ask questions and pick up media.  It was chaotic!  Sister Hugentobler came for her last visit.  She left on Saturday to drive with her family back to her home in Moab, Utah.  Sorry to see her go!!  Came home, made and ate Chicken Curry for dinner, chopped up two heads of cabbage and two onions for cooking on Friday.
            Friday was St. Patrick’s Day, and my sister, Lois’s birthday.  It was so quiet.  All the calls went to the Sorensens.  I sent out Letter 2 to the missionaries whose Recommends I just processed, then spent the rest of the day on the new 4-year address list and got it done by 4:45!!  Hooray!!  Now I just need to check it and print it up and put them in the “Mission Memories” binders.  Came home and sautéed the cabbage and onions, then went to the North Little Rock building for an Irish dinner.  We thought we might just drop off the food and go to Gary’s soccer game, but I was too worried about the rain that was supposed to come.  The dinner was a lot of fun—good food and entertainment (quite a few good singers, pianists, and guitar players in the ward) and silly Irish jokes and activities.  Lots of fun!  We helped clean up after and went home and collapsed!!
            Saturday--it warmed up nicely the latter part of the week and was in the mid-70s today.  We exercised, dusted and vacuumed, read and deleted lots of emails that we were behind on, recorded receipts, ate lunch, then changed and went over the new Broadway Street Bridge (finished a month ahead of schedule!), and then to the Big Dam Bridge 

where we took a nice walk to the top to look over the Murray Lock, Dam, and Arkansas River.  

Then we did a fast walk down and back to the car, grabbed a quick bite at Wendy’s, then met Larry and his family at the theater to see “Beauty and the Beast.”  It was wonderful!!  They had some new songs, plus the usual ones, and it was so beautiful!!  Loved it!!  I laughed in parts and cried in others.  (I know, I’m an old softie!)  Came home, Jim did the dishes, and we watched a western movie. 
            Today is Sunday.  The weather is warming up more and we are enjoying it very much.  We had a quiet morning, watched “Music and the Spoken Word,” went to church and enjoyed the talks and lessons, drove home, took naps, and watched a BYU Devotional where President and Sister Nelson gave talks.  It has been a lovely day!
            Some quotes to share from the missionaries:  “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” 
            “This week we were able to visit a member.  He has not been able to make it to church in a few years.  We have been over regularly to visit, share a spiritual thought, and assist him in making plans to return to church.  Recently he was promoted to Sergeant and got his weekends off.  Well, he came to church yesterday!  He was really excited!  And in priesthood he shared his experience with the brethren.  He said that since the missionaries have visited him constantly, he has felt like he wasn’t forgotten and that he was still loved, and that gave him the motivation necessary to keep looking for ways to get back to church!  Now he plans on coming every Sunday!  We are really excited!!”
            We love you and pray you are all doing well,

            Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Quiet Week

Dear Family and Friends,
            Last Sunday we started out with rain, but then it stopped and was cloudy.  It was a nice Fast Sunday.  We took Sister Bowie to church with us, enjoyed the testimonies and lessons.  Some people shared a few of their tough experiences that they survived with the Lord’s help.  Came home after, rested, did the blog, went to dinner at the Hesses with the Sorensens.  We had a lovely time.  Had good Facetime visits later in the evening with Christi and Shelley.  Nice day!
            Monday I forwarded the President’s email to all the Seniors, and The Leader to all the missionaries plus their parents at home.  They love to read what has been going on in our mission and look for photos of their children!  I also worked on the Mission Calendar and my own desk calendar.  In the afternoon we had our Office Staff meeting with Pres. Wakolo there in the Office and Sister Wakolo on the phone.  Bed bugs are back in the sister’s apt. near us, but they seem to be taking care of it well.  Had a nice phone visit with Brent on the way home, vacuumed and dusted the apartment since we didn’t get to do it on Saturday.  Had rain in the evening and Jim did not sleep well Monday night as the emergency alarm radio kept going off because of problems in counties near us.  We need to reset it to only cover our county, but we didn’t realize it was set to extend so far away.  We had some sister missionaries in Memphis observe a shooting right across from their apartment.  It was rather traumatic for them and they are now staying with the Sister Training Leaders until we can move them.  It was a little ironic because they were moved to this new apartment complex because of how rough the area was that they were in.
            Tuesday it had rained all night but gradually cleared up during the day.  Worked on emails, did a lot of shredding of old documents, printed up the baptismal photos from February and changed out the baptismal photos on the board for these new ones.  The missionaries who come in to the Office always look to see who has baptized.  We had 17 in February!!  Was alone in the Office for a while when Jim went with the Sorensens to pick up some new cars for the Mission—Chevy Malibus.  Talked to my sister, Lois, for a little bit.  Exercised and ate dinner when we got home and had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday was nice and sunny and actually got up to the high 60’s.  I continued to do a lot of the same stuff I did on Monday and Tuesday, plus worked on updating information for the White Binder that will be sent to President Hansen for him to use.  I still don’t have all the information from the various stakes (one out of five).  Lots of calls from the missionaries came in for Sister Sorensen to order media.  Elder Sorensen was busy with car stuff, Jim with apartment issues, and nothing new for me.  We went shopping and had a nice short visit with Larry while we were at the store.  Went home, ate dinner, did two batches of laundry, and had a quiet evening.
            Thursday was a slow day for me.  When I don’t have new missionary recommendations come in on Tuesday, then there is not so much for me to do on Wednesday and Thursday.  And that has been the case for the last two Tuesdays.  Pray for us to get some new Miss. Rec’s this Tuesday.  I am still waiting for information to come in, too.  Exercised in the evening, and did one more load of laundry.
            Friday was cleaning day and Jim & I did the bathrooms and collected the garbage.  I got some letters out to the Departing Missionaries, cleaned out some folders that we don’t use any more, had some emails to take care of, sent letters to our missionaries who just went into the MTC and will be coming on the 21st (the ASL sisters) and on the 28th.  Sister Hugentobler came in to visit for about an hour.  It was so good to see her and her health is very good!!  She leaves for home in Moab next Saturday (the 18th).  We will miss her and hope to visit her when we get home.  Sister Hess was in the Office most of the day working on her phone report.  Got gas on the way home, fixed and ate dinner, I worked on our budget and got it done for February.  We are doing well. 
            Saturday it rained on and off all day.  We attended the baptism of an older fellow named Richard Bellarose.  His wife Mary was baptized a year ago in Washington state.  We ate lunch at Subway, then went to MacArthur Park and the War Museum.  

Jim in front of a civil war statue.  Notice the interesting shape of the tree behind him
We spent 2 hours there looking at lots of posters, pictures, letters, memorabilia from WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and General MacArthur.  Lots of medals on display, plus a Jeep and information about it.  It was all very interesting.  General Douglas MacArthur was born in Little Rock, hence the museum here that taught a lot about him and his many accomplishments.  And the building was part of an old fort and armory.  Then went home, took naps, cleaned our own bathrooms and kitchen, exercised, ate, cleaned up, and relaxed. 
            This morning is rainy and cold—only 33 degrees!!  However, during the course of the day it grew sunny and warmed up to 50 degrees.  We enjoyed church, came home and took naps, and look forward to a peaceful evening.
            Some quote from the missionaries’ letters to the President:
            “Divine discontent means that we are dissatisfied with ourselves, but in a way that we know we can become better through Christ.  It motivates us.”
            “Bishop Wadell said in stake conference—Believe enough to ask, trust enough to do.”
            “One night this week, before the baptism, we were at a member’s home with our investigator, teaching about temples and eternal families.  Her father passed away when she was really young and so we were able to testify strongly that we will be able to be with our family forever—that’s the whole purpose of the plan!  At the end of the lesson we asked her what this means to her, and she sat there for a good minute thinking.  I was silently praying no one would say anything, and would just let her process.  Our investigator is really quiet, but when she opens her mouth, she always has something profound to say.  She sat quietly for a moment, and then whispered, ‘I can be with him.’  Then she started to cry.  The Spirit was so intense.  Even writing his now, the Spirit is reminding me of that powerful statement and its reality.”
            “Studies are going great.  I read Hebrews this week and really liked what it said about faith, and I read a little bit more about the Atonement and had some cool insights.  One thing I like from this week was a quote that said, ‘With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing.  If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.  Don’t give up when the pressure mounts.  Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness.  Face your doubts.  Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’  Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.”  I really liked that verse in Hebrews about not casting away your confidence.”
            We love you and pray you are all doing well.  Thanks for sending us little notes now and then.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jim's Birthday, the Memphis Zoo, and Bob

Dear Family and Friends,
            Last Sunday was sunny and cold.  We picked up the Bowies on our way to church.  The talks in Sacrament meeting and Prsthd/RS were all about Family History and Temple Work, including Indexing.  Michelle was there, and asked for a blessing after church because she was having her eye surgery on Tuesday.  Came home, napped, and watched some BYU TV while I fixed a nice spaghetti dinner.  At 5:45 there was a knock on the door and Larry and Holly and family were here!!  I set it up to surprise Jim as an early birthday present.  We enjoyed a nice dinner together, had lemon meringue pie and oatmeal chocolate chip or raisin cookies for dessert, then played some fun rounds of “Head Bands.”  

They left and we had good phone visits with Christi and Shelley.
            Monday I got a lot done at the Office.  One of our missionaries who was released last October has not been able to use his IPad.  I kept working with SLC to get the problem resolved.  Finally, it is done and he can use it!!  Hooray!!  I got all the first Departure Letters and iPad information out to the missionaries who leave the end of March.  Also, letters to all the parents of the 20 missionaries who will leave in June sent out asking for their latest contact information.  Sister Hess was in the Office all day working on different things.  We also discussed the need to comply with the instruction that we are only to have 4 computers in the Office (we have 5) and only 3 copiers in the Office (we have 4).  We will gradually get rid of the extras.  I had to do a “Mission Memories” Departure Binder and stake president letter for a sister who is leaving 1 ½ transfers early for health reasons.  Ran errands on the way home, enjoyed our leftovers, and had a quiet evening.
            Tuesday was Jim’s un-birthday!!  He is 17 ¼ years old!!  Jim opened his cards, and we exercised before work, went into the Office, and were surprised with lots of decorations in Jim’s Office.  The Office Elders and NLR elders went all out and put up balloons and streamers and a nice sign, plus birthday glasses and a pin to wear, etc.  It was all so fun!!!!!  

I brought in Oatmeal Cookies to share with whoever came into the Office.  I worked on a variety of stuff, including helping Sister Wakolo who came into the Office to take care of some things.  I wrote up all the Stake President letters and certificates for the missionaries leaving March 28th.  I had put all of the elder’s letters in envelopes to mail, but had to stop when one of the sisters came in with her companions.  I didn’t want her to see the letters so I put them aside to do later.  This was a tender mercy because the letter-template had been saved after the last “health” release letter, so they all said it was a “health” release.  I found this out because I started getting emails back asking why that word was included.  So on Wednesday I redid all the sisters’ letters and sent out the emails again and printed the correct letters up to put in the envelopes.  It was a tender mercy that I was stopped before I could insert the wrong letters in the envelopes.  Little things like that make such a big difference in how things go doing the Lord’s work!!  After work I went shopping while Jim had a nice phone visit with Brent.  Went home and had a quiet evening.  We had some tornado warnings but the storm passed north of us.  There was some bad wind and rain and hail in the storm that we missed.  So sorry for the folks who got hit bad.  Some missionaries were out of power for several hours.
            Wednesday I finished the stake president letters as I said above, finished my project of going through all the missionaries’ files to make sure they had the needed information and looked for the paper that belonged in the Vehicle Coordinator’s files.  Nice to get that done!  Had some problems with the fax machine and called it in to SLC.  They will send a technician on Friday.  We went to dinner at the Dixie Café for Jim’s birthday and were joined by the Sorensens, and Hesses, the Rasmussens, and the Greens.  We had such good food and a great time visiting and enjoying all these wonderful Senior Couples.  We are glad the Greens, who are not missionaries any more, still come by to see us and keep a good friendship going.  Went home and did two loads of laundry.  Jim opened his birthday gifts and I fell asleep watching TV (I often do).  The Office Elders brought over a memory foam mattress for Jim’s bed that came from a Senior Couple that had to return home.  Said it was nice. Jim: today I studied James 5: verses 14 &15 where anointings are spoken of and in addition to healing the sick it speaks of forgiveness of their sins.  Both of which are predicated upon the faith of the one receiving the blessing, as was taught by President Kimball “Faith is essential for healing by the powers of heaven” Ether 12:12 “The need for faith is often underestimated. The ill one and the family often seem to depend wholly on the power for the priesthood and the gift of healing that they hope the administrating brethren may have, whereas the greater responsibility is with him who is blessed…”  President Kimball Oct 1981New Era p. 47.  I was impressed with the blessing that the brother gave to the sister on Sunday prior to her eye surgery.  He discussed this concept from James and then blessed her with forgiveness prior to a blessing of health.  I had not remembered hearing that before and I was impressed by it.
            Thursday was very slow and quiet.  The missionaries had individual Zone Meetings all morning.  I made copies of letters to send to our new mission president to review.  I also finished up the Mission History that I put in a big envelope and mailed to the Church History Department.  Then I did a lot of shredding of old papers and got rid of old stuff we weren’t using.  Was able to exercise both before and after work.  Also did two more loads of laundry, and Jim had a good phone visit with his brother, Dean.
            Friday was another quiet day as it is a day that the missionaries all do planning for the next week.  I did more shredding, plus started printing up the 40-year Mission Histories that go in the “Mission Memories” binders.  Also sent out letters to the missionary and parents who will be going into the Mexico MTC the beginning of May.  He should have lots of time to complete the paperwork that we are sending him.  Also worked on materials to go in the White Binder for the new mission president.  Did more shredding, and assorted other stuff.  The technician came in and finally got the fax machine working again!!  Hooray!!  Quiet evening at home, too.
            Saturday we got up and drove to Memphis to go to the zoo.  It is a really nice zoo and we had a great time.  They had Lego creatures all over the children’s area and places close by.  

As we were leaving, we got a call from the Dotans in Israel—her birthday is also on Leap Year day, so she and Jim wished each other a Happy Birthday and talked about their birthday activities.  Then we went to visit a dear friend, Bob Ziegler, who was visiting his daughter Marlowe and her family who have lived in Memphis for the past year.  We had a nice visit with the family, then Bob took us out to lunch and we ate great Memphis barbecue and talked and talked for over 2 hours!!  Sure is great to keep up with dear friends.  We drove back home, stopped at Walmart for a couple of things (nice that it’s close to the apartment), and went home to eat dinner and watch a movie.
            Sunday (today) it is raining outside and about 50 degrees. 
            We love you all,

            Elder & Sister Hartzell