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

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