Sunday, July 2, 2017

Farewell to the Wakolos and Welcome the Hansens

Dear family and friends,
Last week we welcomed our new Office Elders--Jennings & Maskovich
          Monday, June 26, I started showing both Sister Sorensen and Sister Hess how to do my work so that they could try to keep up until a new couple could come.  I don’t know what the mission will do to cover Jim’s desk.  I sent out some mail and answered emails.  We had our last Staff Meeting with President Wakolo.  There were tears as we sang, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”  We also sang “Happy Birthday” as his 49th birthday was the day before.  I received some new assignments including changes in the Mission Calendar, and additions to the Mission History that have to be sent to SLC.  Came home and did assorted things such as a little laundry, cleaned the freezer, ate dinner, and went to Larry’s to play games with him and the grandchildren.  Sure was fun!
            Tuesday I worked on the new assignments, prepared most of the Leadership Letters (there are a lot to do), helped with some iPad issues, and was busy all day.  President Wakolo was in the Office for a little while and continues to hand out Book of Mormons wherever he goes.  He is an awesome missionary!  He even gave one to a delivery person yesterday, and to our faithful mailman, Johnny, today.  Jim: I was busy yesterday and today working on bills to pay, tracking missionary bicycles, and dealing with apartment contracts.  At the end of both days I couldn’t believe it was 5 pm already.  Came home, exercised, had a good phone visit with Brent, and a quiet evening.  We did get notice of an “In Hush” Office Couple, which means that someone has been called but perhaps has not yet responded.  We will know as soon as they do.  It says they will go in the MTC on August 7 and we know they will be there for 2 weeks, so if we extend our mission by 2 weeks we will be able to train them.  Pres. Wakolo suggested that I train Sister Sorensen to take over my position so that she can train the new sister to do her position.  I think that is a great idea and can work to have better continuity!!  Also talked to my sister, Lois.  We are trying to get her ready to move to her daughter’s down in Phoenix, and I feel bad I cannot be there to help her.
            Wednesday was MLC.  I did a “Mission Memories” Binder for the Wakolos and presented it to them at the end.  We also had Jimmy Johns box lunches for lunch, which Jim and I went to pick up, and also mailed our next big suitcase home to our neighbors to put in our house.  Sister Wakolo made her last batch of  Cookie Salad for those missionaries who gobbled it up with grateful hearts!!  Had one missionary get sick before lunch and throw up, so he spent the afternoon resting on the couch in President’s Office.  President and Sister Jones and President and Sister Faulkner came into President’s Office after the MLC meetings to be released from their Mission Presidency assignments.  They are such wonderful people!  Jim: There was some problem with the Church’s IMOS system and the Outlook email, so it was down for several hours today.  You don’t appreciate how dependent you are on these systems until they are not there.  I was grateful to be able to catch up after they came back on line. Then we all went to Asia Buffet in Little Rock for a wonderful Farewell Dinner for the Wakolos.  We ate and talked and enjoyed each other so much!!  What wonderful servants of the Lord!!!
Our Farewell Dinner--the Hartzells, the Hesses, the Faulkners, the Sorensens, and the Wakolos
(We also found out that evening that Christi and Shawn were home safe from their trip to China—we are so grateful!)
            Thursday we cleaned the bathrooms at the church so we would have Friday free to meet with Pres. and Sis Hansen.  I then worked on checking to make sure all the missionaries’ driver’s licenses were still valid.  I do this in a program called GVM (Global Visa Management), which is the same program I use to order the Departing Missionaries’ travel home.  There were several missionaries I had to call and remind them that they need to renew their driver’s licenses now.  I also contacted parents so that they could coordinate efforts on the next Monday P-day when they could email each other.  I then processed the 3 new missionary recommendations that came in on Tuesday.  Two for September and one for October.  Pres. & Sis Wakolo went to the airport to meet and visit with Pres. and Sis. Hansen for a couple of hours, then the Wakolos flew out at 4:00.  So Sis. Hess and Sorensen went to pick up flowers and balloons.  Sis. Sorensen arranged the flowers in a beautiful bouquet, and we took them, picked up two dinners from Olive Garden, and drove to the Mission Home to welcome the Hansens.  They had only been there about 30 minutes, so we were able to visit with them for about ½ hour, then returned to the Office to finish up and go home.  Did laundry, exercised, ate, visited with my sister and her daughter again, and relaxed for awhile.
            Friday I finished up the last of the 3 new recommendations and took care of emails.  At 10:45 the Hansens and the Assistants all came into the Office and we had a big meeting to talk about what we are doing and changes that will be made.  We took a lunch break at 1:30 to go to Larry’s Pizza to eat, then continued the meeting.  The Hansens are warm, outgoing, missionary-oriented people.  They love the Lord and have some ideas of things they want to do to further the missionary work in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission.  It was obvious they had thought and prayed about what they wanted to change and are following the Spirit as they lead this mission, as did the Wakolos.  He served here as a young missionary and is so excited to be back. They shared several experiences from their life, and some of the teachings from the Mission Presidents Seminar instruction with us.  It was great.  We each introduced ourselves and talked about some of the challenges of our assignments.  President Hansen is very willing to do whatever is necessary to further the work. We felt their testimonies of the work and know they are called of the Lord to serve here at this time.  We are glad to have that testimony of them, just like we did the Wakolos.   Afterwards the Hansens met with different individuals, and I went to work at my desk making the changes to the Mission Calendar and taking care of other tasks.  We left at 6:00, did our grocery shopping, and headed home to relax. We were still full from our late lunch, so only snacked in the evening.
            Saturday Christi called and we had a good phone visit as she told us more about their China trip.  We exercised, cleaned our bathrooms and the kitchen floor, I recorded receipts and worked on and finished the June budget.  It was a quiet day at home with lots of little things accomplished.  A good day of R&R. 
            One of the cute things that was done at our last Zone Conferences was a fun game called “What are President Wakolo’s most often used phrases and one-liners.”  I will share a few each week. 
            “We must do the Lord’s work every day, every day, every day.”
            “Brothers and sisters, I rejoice with you in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We thank you for what you do, but mostly we thank you for who you are.”
            As he bears his testimony about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Church, he says, “I will never doubt that, I will never question it.”
            And one of his favorite scriptures, “3 Nephi 5:35—Behold I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ (that is who I stand for); I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life, (that is what I stand for).  Because they are who and what I stand for, I am very careful to who and what I fall for.”
            We hope you are all doing well.   Great is the work and we are glad to be a part of it.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all,

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

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