Dear family and friends,
Sunday, July 2, was Fast Sunday. We enjoyed the testimonies that were given, though some of them were more like talks. The lessons were good, too. After church, we were invited to the Andersons’ for dinner. They served lots of vegetables and homemade bread that had rosemary in it. It was very tasty and good. Sister Anderson does painting freehand designs all over her walls and furniture, she makes her own yeast, her husband is a great pianist—self-taught, and we had two other brothers from the ward there who are both into music. So we had some fun discussions. We got home, took naps, and had good visits with Joseph and Shelley. We started making plans to visit Phoenix and Tucson in October. Jim: In High Priest’s meeting we had a discussion about and read from the Book of Mormon as a group and had discussions about every 5 verses of impressions. We didn’t get very far because of the good insights and comments. It was a great experience and I am thankful for all the efforts that have flowed from President Monson’s conference talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon and our reading it every day. There are goals being set, reading being done, and that is a great thing. Some individuals who have been church attenders for years are now reading the Book of Mormon which they had not done previously. We thank Thee, Oh God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days.
Monday, July 3, I made copies of the 24 medical cards that come in for the Arriving Miss in August. I also filed lots of papers and took care of a number of emails. Jim and I went to Sam’s Club to pick up water, granola bars, and fruit for the Meet the President Meetings that would be held in each Zone on Tuesday, Wed., and Thursday. I started showing Sister Sorensen how to do the Stake President Letters and Release Certificates for the August Dep. Miss, but we didn’t get very far as we ran out of day. Baked the dessert I will be taking to a dinner Tues. night. Had phone visits with a niece and my sister Lois as things are not going well for her and her daughter is trying to get her moved down to Phoenix before school starts. Lots of problems there, and trying to help from a distance is limited. It was hard to sleep because of the worry.
Tuesday, July 4th – Independence Day!! Hope you all had a great one!! Ours began at the Little Rock Ward Pancake breakfast at our Otter Creek chapel. It was outside at the pavilion. Delicious!! Then we went to the Meet the President Zone Meeting, also at our Otter Creek chapel. We were very inspired by President and Sister Hansen as they introduced themselves to the missionaries. What a great couple—full of faith and love for the Lord. Also, he had been a missionary here about 35 years ago under the 2nd mission president. He loved it here and had much success! We saw his memory book that showed converts, companions, goals, experiences. It was quite full of obedience and hard work. He grew up on a dairy farm and is a dairyman and has loved that for years!! She is wonderful and raised 5 children, the youngest is on a mission Brazil and will come home next February. Their biggest message was that we need to rely on the Spirit. It went from 9 am to noon. Jim: I already knew after our first meeting with President Hansen that he was called of God to lead this mission at this time, and I have had that testimony reinforced time and time again during this meeting. I am sure that the other missionaries felt the Spirit, as did I, and the mantle that he holds now as President of the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. I was very touched by the entire meeting, brought to tears multiple times as I felt the Spirit as he taught. His main reference talk was from Elder Sabin “Stand up Inside and Be All In”. His focus was on feeling the Spirit and his examples from his mission and in life supported how he has listened and set goals to be all in. Sister Hansen shared things about their family and taught the Joseph Smith First Vision. One other thing that President taught that has become meaningful to me since the meeting, was about preparing for prayer. He said he likes to read a hymn before he begins his morning and evening prayers to help bring the Spirit and help him focus on what he should ask and pray about. So I have been trying that all week and it has really helped me in my prayers. I am thankful for that comment that he shared. It is interesting to see some of differences so far in his leadership style compared to President, now Elder, Wakolo. Both have their own way of doing things, and both focus on the Spirit.
|Us with Sister Karen Hansen and President Norman Hansen|
Pat: Then we drove back to the Office and took over as the next Meet the President meeting was in our NLR chapel, and the Sorensens and Hesses went to that. I got letters to parents finished up and sent out. I also worked on the Mission History and printed up some copies. Went home and wrote an email, then went to the dinner at the Sorensen’s. Also there were the Hesses, the Rasmussens, the NLR Elders (Russell and Hall), the Office Elders, and Pres. and Sis. Hansen. We ate well and had a great time visiting. Pres. also shared a video from the Mission President’s Seminar by Elder Holland. Only the mission presidents have access to that. But then the next day I read the article in the Church News. Watched the fireworks from Washington, DC, on the computer as our TV remote isn’t working. Oh, dear!
Wed., July 5th, I worked with Sis. S. to finish up the Stake President letters and Release Certificates. There are 15 Departing Miss. so this took awhile. Worked on emails and phone calls and showing Sis. Sorensen how to do some other things. Went to Walmart after work to pick up some stuff, had a good phone visit with Brent, and then FaceTimed with Christi, Shawn, and family as they shared more about their great time in China and what the kids had been doing while they were gone. Their other grandma was there but was sick some of the time, so Lucas and Abby took care of their younger siblings, cooked, and helped take care of her. I also did 3 loads of laundry and started feeling sick so we went to bed.
Thurs., July 6th, woke up and felt fine. Finished doing the first letter to the Departure Miss with information about their iPads. Then I taught Sis. Sorensen how to process Missionary Recommendations. There were 6 that came in on Tuesday—3 elders for Sept. and 3 sisters for Oct. We worked on them all day between phone calls and emails, but didn’t finish them. Jim & I exercised in the morning and in the evening, made our lunch as we do each evening (but now I can fully help instead of Jim doing it all).
Friday, July 7th, was sunny and muggy all day. Because of all the cloud cover and rain, our temperatures have stayed in the 80’s, and even though the humidity was 100 %, it wasn’t bad. However, because Friday was sunny, the temperatures got up to 95degrees and we finally felt the oppressive heat that we had experienced here in Little Rock last summer! Thank heavens we are in a nice, air-conditioned office! We did our office vacuuming and dusting first, then worked with Sister Sorensen on doing the Board cards for the new missionaries. However, in doing that, I saw some mistakes I had made on the dates of the ones I had done last week (I had the sisters only being out for 6 months instead of 18 months.) So I remade those first. I printed up 4 more Mission Histories, redid the sample letters in my letter binder, taught Sis. Sorensen how to do the Departure Letters to the parents that includes the itineraries (these they are very anxious to get, though they also get them as emails). I took care of medical bills that had come in the mail, faxing them to SLC. Stayed late at the office to finish them so we could mail them on the way home. Jim: This has been a usual busy week for me, with lots of bills to pay the first of the week, and then lots of apartment issues. I have been working for a while on our Mission Emergency respond guideline and adding members who live near the missionaries to call them when they receive severe weather reports on their phones, so they will call the missionaries and alert them, since that is not a feature on the missionary cell phones. This has taken a lot of time to coordinate, but it should result in helping them be safer. Pat: Did our grocery shopping, had a nice phone visit with one of our nieces who had some questions, and watched a movie on the computer. Slept fine except for the thunder and rain we had most of the night!
Saturday, July 8th, Brent’s and Becca’s triplets turned 12! We called and sang to them. Wish we could be there for the setting apart as they become Deacons!! Also had a wonderful phone visit with Larry (I know, he lives right here and we can visit all the time, but this one had more substance and meaning and we loved it!), with Lois, with her daughter, Carolyn, and assorted other calls. We vacuumed and dusted our apartment, did both kinds of exercise, packed up two boxes to ship home (one a small book box, and the other a big blanket box), plus Jim did the dishes and ironed his shirts. Lois said that her grandson came over and worked for two hours to clean and organize her bedroom (he’s a good worker like his dad, she said). Sure gave her a lot of comfort and relief. We cleaned up and had a quiet evening. So nice!
Some more quotes from Pres. Wakolo:
Honoring his wife: “She is the first counselor to the Holy Ghost to me. She is truly a disciple in every way. When I do not listen to the Holy Ghost or the first counselor, that is double trouble.”
“It’s the plan of happiness, not the plan of sadness.”
“Casualness causes or leads to casualties.:
“I will never, no never forsake Him.”
“Doubt not, fear not.”
“Atonement or torment.”
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