Monday, June 26, 2017

June 2017 Transfer Week

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, June 19, we got up early and drove to the temple in Memphis.  There we attended a session with the missionaries who have June birthdays, and with the Departing Missionaries.  It was so beautiful and peaceful and so good to be there.  Afterwards we drove home.  We came to a full stop and were there for at least 30 minutes.  We looked on Waze and found out that a car had hit a truck with a trailer full of horses, and they were out and running around so we would be stopped for a while.  The fellow parked next to us offered to back up so that we could get through and turn around and go up the on-ramp we had just passed.  What a great guy!!  We did that and were soon on our way to Little Rock to the Mission Home to help get dinner ready.  We prepared it at the Rodney Parham chapel as there were 16 missionaries and it would be too crowded at the mission home.  We had a delicious dinner of ham, potato casserole, chicken curry, rice, green bean casserole, tossed salad and toppings, cookie salad, lots of cut up melons, and brownies and ice cream for dessert.  The Departing dinners are served on nice china, good silverware, glass goblets and linen table cloths.  So afterwards, with no dishwasher like at the mission home, we had an assembly line to scrape, rinse, wash, rinse, and dry all the dishes.  We left for home after 8:00 p.m. very tired!
            Tuesday, June 20, Jim and I did the Transfer Board in IMOS, and trained Sisters Sorensen and Hess how to do it, too.  It takes about 2 hours to move all the missionaries around to their new areas.  I also answered emails and did some organizing.  We welcomed Elder Maskovich as a new Office Elder to join with Elder Jennings.  There were lots of new and used bikes to deal with also due to the Transfer and the new missionaries.  Jim also has several apartment changes due to the closing of some areas.  We left the Office at 3:30 to go to the Rodney Parham chapel and prepare the dinner to the new Arriving Missionaries (12) and their Trainers (15 because of some 3-somes).  We had chicken teriyaki, rice, green bean casserole, potato casserole, tossed salad, cookie salad, and fudge bars for dessert. Tuesday night’s dinner was on paper plates, bottled water, and plastic utensils.  We had to wash a lot more dishes on Monday night!!! 
            Wednesday, June 21, we drove to the chapel early for breakfast at 7:00, but we did not have to help prepare or clean up.  We were there as invited guests!  After the breakfast, we listened as the missionaries did their Recitations (3 Ne. 5:13, D&C 4, My Purpose as a Missionary, The Standard of Truth, and listing the 24 points of Preach My Gospel with associated scripture references).  It is powerful how much they have memorized!!!  Then we did our Training presentations.  I go first, then Elder Hartzell, Sister Sorensen, and Elder Sorensen.  Then we went back to the Office, put in the last of the Transfer Board changes (which Trainers will be training which new Arrivals), processed 2 new missionary recommendations, sending out lots of emails, taking care of all the paperwork the Assistants brought into the Office in the late afternoon, downloading all the photos from the camera.  Jim: I am still trying to catch up on bills to pay that came in on Monday and dealing with several apartment issues.  I also get phone calls or emails requesting used bikes from future missionaries coming.   We left the Office late, went home and ate, did 3 batches of laundry.  We also were able to see and talk to our daughter Christi and her husband Shawn, using WeChat, who is working again in China.  She joined him this time for a vacation and are having a great time.  Lots and lots of pictures and short videos.  We saw similar art and architecture that we saw in Japan.  The technology is great that we are able to see and hear them so far away with no time delays. We keep praying for word on a new couple to replace us so we can train them before we leave in August.  We are asking you to please pray for this, too!!
            Thursday, June 22, I finished processing the 2 new miss., sent a letter and photos to the parents of the 12 new Arriving missionaries, sent out the letters the new missionaries wrote to their parents along with a map of the mission, and put lots of paperwork away that I got in the mail.  Came home, exercised, and had a quiet evening.  It rained in the late afternoon and all night.
            Friday, June 23, was cleaning day at the Office, did an assortment of tasks, and was busy all day.  I sent emails to the New Arriving Miss.’s parents along with the photos of them.  I also sent photos to the Departing Missionaries.  Jim & I took some time to go to Sam’s Club and replenish the water bottles in the Office (bought 6 cases this time).  Jim: I did finally catch up on all the bills to pay but am still working on apartments to open, close, or renew, that is essentially a never ending job along with the bills.  It rained on and off all day, but when it came time to leave, it was pouring buckets and so we ran to the car and drove home.  We got several flood warnings on our phones.  We worked on a project at home and watched a couple of movies.
            Saturday, June 24, was cleaning day at home!  We also exercised, worked on projects, went to the Office to do a Departure Binder for a sister who is leaving two transfers early, did our grocery shopping, came home to eat and cut up two melons for a Linger-Longer today after church, and rested.  We also had a good phone visit with our friend Michelle who now has the other eye needing the same surgeries that the first eye needed.  So she is on our prayer list again. 
            Sunday, June 25, a nice, quiet, restful morning!  We enjoyed reading and then watching Music and the Spoken Word.  We went to church from noon to 3:00, having good talks, especially one about the Life of Christ, and good lessons, also one of which was about Jesus Christ.  Afterwards we had a potluck Linger-Longer, and then a baptism.  Then we helped our friend Michelle get home.  Had naps, read, and then had a good phone visit with Shelley. 
            We hope you are all doing well.   Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Fathers Day!

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday evening, June 11, we enjoyed good FaceTime visits with Christi and Shelley and their families.
            Monday, June 12, I got 2 new projects from Pres. Wakolo—make digital copies of all the Leaders newsletters since he came here 3 years ago (this would have been easy if they had not accidentally gotten deleted off the computerL), and make copies of all the Board Cards of the missionaries who are here now.  He wants to put all of them in a photo album along with all the ones he kept as the missionaries went home.  That took most of the day.  Jim helped me with the Leaders.  We had a quiet evening at home cutting out the Board Cards while we watched TV.
            Tuesday, June 13, I worked on the Departure Binders and Letters to the President that go inside of them.  It took all day to do 12,so I still had 4 more to do.  We exercised at home.
            Wednesday, June 14, we were the only ones in the Office as the Sorensens and Hesses drove to Memphis on Tuesday afternoon to spend the day Wed. at the Memphis Zone Conference.  It was pretty quiet in the Office and I finished up the last 4 “Mission Memories” binders, and started processing the 5 new missionary recommendations that came in—one for August, making that 24!!, two for September, one for later Sept who was ASL (they come and go at odd dates), and one for October.  I had a phone visit with my sister, went home and had a phone visit with Brent.  Brent shared their good experience attending the Tucson Temple open house, and his triplet’s first summer camp experience.  Ate dinner and went to see the movie, “Wonder Woman.”  It was really good!!
            Thursday was our Arkansas Zone Conference in our building.  Jim and I attended the whole day while Sister Sorensen watched the Office.  We were well-taught!!  Pres and Sis Wakolo and their daughter Jasmin all bore their Farewell Testimonies.  We ate a delicious lunch prepared by the sisters of the Searcy Ward.  We gave a beautiful plaque to Pres Wakolo and gifts to Sister Wakolo and Jasmin.  Jim:Probably the most important reminder that President Wakolo left us with was the counsel he received once from Elder Bednar who said that our testimonies will not save us, it is our continuing conversion to the gospel that is needed. Also, casualness leads to casualties; and Atonement or torment. Missionaries signed several different cards for them, we watched a fun video presented by the Wakolos. 
President Wakolo showing us the plaque that the Mission gave him.
Farewell Testimonies were given by the 12 missionaries in our Arkansas zones who leave on Tuesday, and no one wanted to leave.  We stayed until 6:00, then went home, exercised, and had a quiet evening.
            Friday, June 16, we cleaned the bathrooms at our corner of the church, I finished processing the 5 missionary recommendations, got pizza and salad for all the missionaries in our building—the Sherwood sisters, the Office Elders, and the NLR elders, plus the Sorensens and Hesses.  It was fun to eat together.  Even two of the Assistants and Pres. Wakolo came and had some food.  Watched a couple of movies in the evening, including “First Knight,” an oldie but goodie!!
            Saturday, June 17, we took our three grandchildren to the Little Rock Zoo.  We had a great time!!  It was overcast and had a nice breeze, so we were fine in the morning.  It was Enrichment Day at the zoo, which means that the zoo keepers would set up special food treats and cereal boxes to play with, then let the animals out to have some fun.  So we got to watch a black jaguar enjoy himself with the two hard-boiled eggs and checking out the signs they had put up.  Also, the otters loved their treats and playing in their pool, plus the girl otter next door had fun climbing a tree and watching the two boy otters play.  (They do not live together).  

We took the kids to McDonalds for lunch after being at the zoo for 2 ½ hours, then took them home.  We stopped by the Office for about an hour so that I could work on a project, then did our grocery shopping, I stopped and got my hair cut, then we went home and cleaned our own bathrooms, got cleaned up, and watched some TV.
            Today, June 18, is Fathers Day—Happy Fathers Day to everyone!!  We attended Larry’s and Holly’s ward and enjoyed our meetings.  Came home, ate lunch, and worked on the blog.  We had a rest and then drove to Larry’s house for a great dinner of steak and shrimp!!  We had a visit with Brent on the way.  Technology is great!
            We hope you are all doing well.   Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June Begins and 44th Wedding Anniversary

Dear family and friends,
            Last Sunday evening we enjoyed our visits with Christi and her family, and with Shelley.  It’s so good to catch up with them.           
Last Monday, June 5, I sent letters and itineraries to the Departing Missionaries.  I know they were looking forward to getting those!  We had our Staff Meeting with Pres. and Sister Wakolo and covered a lot of different topics, esp. about things that were going to happen over the next 3.5 weeks as they prepare to leave.  After the meeting, we had our interview with President Wakolo and he thanked us profusely for all the good work that we have done.  It sure made us feel good.  He also prayed with us and asked for a special blessing on our families at home, which really touched our hearts.  We went home after work and had FHE, made our lunches, etc.  Jim ironed his shirts and washed the dishes.
            Tuesday I sent letters to the 20 missionaries who will be coming in August, including the 4 new missionary recommendations that came in that day.  That takes quite a while!  I also sent information to the sisters who will be serving the luncheons for the next zone conferences. Jim: yesterday was quite busy with several bills to pay and arranging for a couple MSF cards we have been waiting on to arrive.  Today was a little slower and it was a beautiful day, no rain as has been the case lately.  I am preparing to address how to help the missionaries keep safe with their combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It seems that some do not know what to do if the CO detector alarm goes off.   In the evening we exercised, talked to Brent, and had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday this morning we drive to Little Rock and I had my final follow up on my broken wrist.  It is completely healed and I can do anything I feel up to.  Hooray!!  I do need to exercise it more to get the strength and mobility back.   I got 4 more missionary recommendations, so it took me all day to process the 8 new ones, and I had to send letters to those 4 new ones.  I also had to send letters to those 24!!  Then we got word that one was going to a different mission, so 23 total!!  Still a lot.  After work we did a load of laundry, ate dinner, and went to see the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.  We laughed a lot and quite enjoyed it!!
            Thursday was our 44th Wedding Anniversary!!  What a special day!!  I am so grateful to be married to such a good man.  He has always taken good care of me and our family, and this last 2 months he has had to do so much for me as I recovered from my fractured wrist.  I cannot thank him enough!!!!  Jim: it has been a wonderful 44 years and the little extra help I have been the last little while has just helped me to appreciate her all the more.  We need to learn to appreciate all that we have, and not take things for granted.  We need to see the Lord’s hand in our lives, for it is surely there all the time.  Being on a mission together has helped us draw even closer through working together.  We have always had common things we did to keep up the house, yard, and raising the kids, but a mission has been especially nice.  We recommend it to every couple, and the Lord really needs us here in the Mission field.  To date we still have not received any notice of a replacement couple for us in mid-August.  There are needs all over the world for senior couples.   Pat:  I spent the day making multiple copies of papers that need to go in the Arrival Miss 2nd letters.  Also, Sister Wakolo and her daughter Jasmin came in the Office for a while and we had a great visit!  After work Jim took me to the Kanpai Japanese Steakhouse and we both got Katsu, which was delicious!!  We brought leftovers home to enjoy a second day.  We watched TV and went to bed.
            Friday I wrote up all the 23 letters that I prepared materials for on Thursday and sent them all out.  That took me most of the day.  I also went through the Departing Missionaries’ folders and got their papers ready to put in their “Mission Memories” binders.  The 4 Assistants, Elders James, Cowley, Taleni, and May came into the Office for a meeting with Elder Sorensen about planning for the cars and drivers for the next Transfer.  It was good to visit with them.  Some of our missionaries who are coming cannot drive and that makes it harder.  And they cannot get their licenses while on their mission.  So that has to also factor into the Transfer companionships.  We went to get groceries on our way home from work, put food away and ate dinner, and had a quiet evening of TV and movies. 
            Saturday, June 10, was beautiful and sunny and not too warm—which it has been all week!!  We love it!!!  We vacuumed, dusted, cleaned all our windows to let the sunshine in, worked on packing a large bag to ship stuff home.  We also exercised and cleaned up, then drove downtown and went through the Little Rock Visitors Center, which is a pretty restored home in the downtown area. 

  We also went to the Old State House/capital building.  It has been restored and we were given a tour of it.  It was very interesting.  
The odd shapes he starts with

We saw a display of rustic guitars and banjos that were made by an old fellow named Ed Stillery.  
The finished instruments (still  oddly shaped)
The pictures on the wall are x-rays of what is inside them  He put lots of odds and ends inside.
 Then we drove to the Little Rock Stake Center, ate a light dinner, and attended the evening session of stake conference.  President and Sister Wakolo spoke about the scriptures that tell about the Plan of Salvation, and were presented with a beautiful “Arkansas Traveler” certificate mounted in a large frame, for contributions to the state of Arkansas.  Jim:The first speaker was President Dixon, the stake president, and he spoke on the blessing of having the Book of Mormon and was very emotional as he reverenced that sacred book.  We heard from a sister who recently completed the 12 week self-reliance course on personal finance and the testimony she has of that new program and the increased testimony it has blessed her with of the Savior and the miracles that they saw occur for those in the class.  The Memphis temple matron, Sister Danielson was one of the other speakers and gave some family history stories from her personal family.  The concluding speaker was Elder Steven Thompson of the Seventy, our visiting general authority.  He spoke on several things but the one that touched me the most was also on family history and his reminder to us all that we have been blessed to have been born and received the Gospel in this last dispensation of time.  We probably made promises to our ancestors, who are still in spirit prison because their temple work has not been done yet, that we would do that work.  They are waiting on us.
            Sunday, we went to Stake Conference, sat with Larry and the kids (Holly was home sick), and enjoyed the meeting and the beautiful talks and testimonies.  Jim: Music was an important part of our worship service today.  There was prelude piano medley of several songs, one of which is a real favorite of mine, “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” It has such wonderful verses to depict the grandeur of a Loving Heavenly Father and his loving plan of us all and that there is no end to His love for us, and all of His grand attributes and the glory that we can inherit.  Then during our meeting two of our wonderful sister missionaries performed a special number, Sister Brumett sang with her angelic voice and Sister Beckstrand signed to the song ‘Love One Another’. They had a quartet of viola, violin, flute, and piano, accompany her.  It was wonderful.  The talks were wonderful also. President Dixon and the Stake RS President spoke on keeping the Sabbath day holy.  Both last night and today there were recent converts who spoke and a couple of reactivated members who shared their experiences and testimonies. Sister Wakolo spoke on asking good important questions and let that be a guide as we study and serve to be able to find the answers.  President Wakolo spoke about his conversion to the gospel through the reading of the Book of Mormon.  The book is all about God’s love for us and has so much more information about the atonement than in the Bible. 36 chapters compared to a few verses in the Bible.  Elder Thompson, our  visiting General Authority, shared some special experiences and miracles, as did others on the program.  He taught about patterns that we find in the scriptures that teach us how to act and to serve.  If we are trying to find revelations we will likely not find them while we are sitting on our couch, but rather when we are serving others.   We need to act in order to bind ourselves to the Lord.  The Lord is in the details of our lives, and he gave a couple of really great examples of that from his life.  Came home after, ate lunch, and took naps.  We then worked on our blog, chatted with both our daughters and their families which was a lot of fun.
            We hope you are all doing well.   Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,
            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Memorial Day and the Senior Social

Dear Family and Friends,            
             Last Monday, May 29, was Memorial Day.  We spent the day in Hot Springs, AR, with the Sorensens and the Hesses.  The downtown area is a National Park celebrating the natural hot springs that are there and the bath houses that were built over them.  The Visitors Center is a restored building that we toured through and saw how they were used during the 1920’s through the 1950’s, and some are even in use today.  They were used as mineral baths. 

 It was fun walking around and looking at everything.  This was definitely for rich folks.  They were used as mineral baths for hydrotherapy and other such remedies of the day, such as massages, vibration, light, and some electric shock, claiming no one was ever electrocuted, but it looked a little scary.  

When we stopped for lunch, there were people in the restaurant who saw our name tags and stopped us to tell us they were also Mormons and wanted to know about our mission.  It really makes us feel good when people want to connect with us! 

            Tuesday in the Office I spent most of the day putting the pre-made materials in the 16 Mission Memories binders for the Departing missionaries who leave to go home in 3 weeks.  I also received a bunch of mail that had updated information for missionaries that I needed to change in IMOS.  It poured rain all afternoon and evening, but we exercised anyway.  We also enjoyed a nice phone visit with Brent.
            Wednesday, May 31, I processed the six new missionary recommendations that came in.  Two for August, three for September, and one for October—our first one.  I also sent letters to the missionaries who just entered the MTC and will come here on June 20th.  We also went to Sam’s Club to pick up lots more bottled water and granola bars for the missionaries who come to our building for meetings.  We picked up some veggies at Kroger on the way home after work. Jim: Yesterday and today the weather forecast was for only 10% chance of rain, but it rained buckets just as we were leaving both days.
            IT’S JUNE!!  Thursday we did our office and bathroom cleaning first, then I worked on various letters, made folders, and answered emails.  We visited with Larry on our way home, and spent the evening making the veggie dip and cutting up veggies for the Senior Social on Friday at the Mission Home. Jim: This has been a regular week for me of some bills to pay, MSF cards to replace, but not much on apartment issues.  I am still working on a project to have members in the different areas of the mission contact the missionaries when severe weather is alerted, as the missionaries don’t get those alerts on their phones.
            Friday, June 2, we went to the Mission Home to spend the day with the other Senior Couples and Sisters who serve in this mission with us.  This includes the couples who live here locally and serve as Apartment Inspectors/Advisors.  We ate lots of snacks brought by some of the couples, did lots of visiting, ate a wonderful lunch prepared by Sister Wakolo, and desserts brought by the rest of the couples/sisters.  President Wakolo also had interviews with most of the people who came.  We had a special treat—our cousins, Gary and Lou Colton and their granddaughter, stopped to see us at the Mission Home at about 11:30!  We fed them some of the snacks (we had plenty!!), and visited with them.  They were on their way to Alabama for a grandson’s wedding.  We do love to have visitors!!  At the end of the luncheon, all the missionaries who will be leaving before the next Social next December bore their testimonies.  That included President & Sister Wakolo and Jim and me!  It was a poignant moment for us.  Our final days are getting closer.  We helped clean up at the end of the Social, then stopped at Kroger for our weekly shopping, went home and entered receipts and did our May budget, then watched a movie.
            Saturday, June 3, we cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen floor in our apartment, exercised, cleaned up, and drove to Larry’s to pick up our grandson, Gary, and took him to David’s Burgers for his birthday lunch.  The burgers and grilled chicken there are HUGE!!  Then we stopped at Game Stop, then Barnes and Noble where we bought him two books for his birthday. 
Gary is 13 now!
  Went back to his house and visited with Larry and the family.  Larry was working on putting cleft lips in some very lifelike dolls to be able to show parents the surgery that would be done on their infant.  He and his team do impressive work.  We then headed home and took naps.  It started to pour rain which lasted for two hours.  We drove over to Burns Park while it was still raining and went to a covered pavilion there where the North Little Rock Ward was having a catfish fry.  It stopped raining as the Blessing was said, and we were able to enjoy a wonderful dinner.  A count was taken and we had 90 people in that pavilion!!  Then they had a different kind of talent show where people told us how to:  play a ukulele, box, make wood carvings with a scroll saw, have a garden, fish by hand for catfish, etc., and they each had to do it in 3 mintues!  It was fun!  We went home, watched a movie, and went to bed.
            Sunday, June 4, it rained during the night and on and off during the day.  We had a quiet morning, enjoyed our church meetings including the testimonies of the members.  Had lessons on prophets and RS and favorite scriptures.  Came home, took naps, and are looking forward to our evening visits with our daughters.           
            Special story about President Wakolo told by a general authority, Elder Condie.  When Elder Condie was serving in the South Pacific, he took a letter to President Wakolo who was president of a Fiji stake at that time.  The letter was a call to serve as an Area Seventy.  While there the elder noticed a tattoo on President Wakolo’s right hand.  The elder suggested that President Wakolo cover it up with a large band aid each time he spoke to the youth in the different places he would be assigned.  President smiled and said, “I’ll take care of it.  I want to be a good example.”  When they met again a few weeks later, the elder noticed the hand was heavily bandaged.  When he asked President Wakolo what had happened, President said, “I followed your counsel and had the tattoo removed.  Not laser surgery, but I had it surgically cut out.”  Now there is a large, unsightly scar on the back of the hand.  The elder apologized for having been the cause of such a big scar, but President Wakolo responded, “Not to worry, President Condie, this is my CTR ring.  Now the Lord knows where I stand!  I’ll do anything the Lord asks of me.” “President Wakolo has become a disciple who keeps his covenants and strives to do good continually.”   We are grateful to have had the opportunity to be taught and led by such a good, faithful man!!!
            We hope you are all doing well.   Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell