Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Penultimate Week

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, August 14, I got up and made a crab salad for the Senior Potluck and FHE for in the evening.  Then went to work where I worked on a variety of things with Sister S:  letters to send to parents for information about the December Departure Missionaries, letters to send to stake presidents of the September Departure Missionaries, calendar changes for the mission, answering phone calls and a lot of emails.  It was a busy day!  Then we drove to the Mission Home for a delicious potluck dinner—no assignments were made and we had a good variety of good food!!  Then the Griffiths gave a FHE lesson on D&C 4:5-6.  It was very creative and based on a book about the D&C by David Ridges.  Afterwards I helped wash dishes, had fun visiting, and went home to bed.
            Tuesday, August 15 was our 18-month anniversary of the start of our mission—the day we entered the MTC.  I did a lot of work with Sister Sorensen, going over the desk manual I had to help her put everything together.  After I leave, she plans to have my number on speed dial!!  I printed up 4 Mission Histories, updated the calendar, took care of emails, cleaned up the Mission Secretary file in the computer.  At 11:30 Jim & I took some packages to the post office (sending old iPads to SLC), then went to Kroger for salad and to Little Caesars for pizza and served our District missionaries lunch after their District Meeting.  It was fun and nice to visit.  It included our Office Elders, Maskovich and Lochlan Smith, Elders Russell and Sagle, and Sister Andrews and Shumway.  Was busy all afternoon doing a variety of things.  Jim: yesterday and today were very busy with catching up on bills to pay that I didn’t have time to do last week and working on new apartments to find for this next transfer in September.  I have never had 5 new apartments at one time to find and set up.  I also annually have to calculate the senior missionary living expenses, so that took a while also.  Pat: Talked to Lois on the way home and she is doing so well.  Also exercised, Jim talked to Brent while he went for his walk.  Brent was able to be in one of the sealing rooms for the dedication of the Tucson Temple and said it was a wonderful, spiritual experience.  Ate dinner, washed a load of towels, did some gift-wrapping, looked at a bunch of photos that Brent linked us to in order to see pictures of the Cultural Celebration that the triplets were in.  We did spot Isaiah and James, but not Noah.
            Wednesday, I worked with Sis. S all day.  While she processed three new missionary recommendations, I put together 4 Mission Memories binders.  Took a short nap in the afternoon, went home after work and did 2 loads of laundry, recorded our receipts and did the July budget, organized a lot of papers, and went through the desk drawers.  Finally relaxed from 9-10, then went to bed and slept great!
            Thursday, August 17, I did a variety of things:  letters to Sept Dep Miss, letters to their parents, printed up more Mission Histories (I try to not do more than 4 a day as it ties up the printer and also the printer gets quite hot), talked to SL for a while about some problems with the printer, updated our calendars, etc.  Got a fun email from Sister Wakolo updating us on the things they are doing.  Elder Wakolo is going on trips with General Authorities every weekend, and this weekend Sister Wakolo will go with him.  Came home, exercised, and packed our suitcases and boxes, but not the final packing yet.  Mostly just gathered and organized stuff.  Watched some TV while Jim washed dishes and ironed shirts. 
            Friday, August 18, sent out more Departure Letters (we end up doing these two times as we have 4 missionaries leaving early on Sept 1st, and the other 13 leave on Sept. 12th, the normal Transfer Day.  We updated lists, calendars, answered phone calls, I took a nap, etc.  Jim: I finally by today made some good progress on 4 of the 5 apartments to open.  One has been especially hard to communicate with the manager, who is too busy.  Went home to do more packing.  The Hesses came over to take a few things that they wanted, including the Gazelle that I have used for exercising, and a couple of plants.  We watched a movie and went to bed.
            Saturday, August 19, we exercised, packed, washed all the sheets, the mattress pads, the towels, and the bathroom floor rugs.  We were super busy all day, except for a couple of ½ hour breaks.  Jim took three loads of trash to the dumpster.  We finally loaded the car at 3:30—it was sunny and HOT—and then drove to the Mission Home, where we unloaded the car with the help of Pres. Hansen and Elder Cowley.  Elder May was installing President Hansen’s new computer.  They put everything in the LR, and Jim & I carried everything upstairs to one of the bedrooms.  We sure have a mess of stuff!!  So glad we didn’t have to carry it all into a hotel.  The Hansens have been so welcoming—Sister Hansen giving me several hugs and telling us how glad she was to have us there.  Then they left for a baptism, we ate some of our left-over food that we brought with us, then just watched TV all evening and tried to recover from the day!!  New bed meant we didn’t sleep the greatest, but it was nice.
            Sunday, August 20, was a lovely day.  We had a quiet morning, went to our regular Little Rock Ward meetings, had many people tell us how much they will miss us and thanked us for our friendship, ate a delicious Mexican dinner at Michelle’s that she and her daughter, Danielle, prepared, with Lily providing the yummy chocolate silk pie for dessert.  Went home, napped, and enjoyed talking to Christi and Shawn, Lucas and Abby, as they told us about their week in China.  It was an incredible experience!!  Also visited with Shelley as she told us of losing her cell phone in the lake, and someone finding it and turning it in to the AT&T store and it still works.  Shelley went from sorrow and depression to joy and exhilaration in 24 hours!!  She said she had learned at least three things, 1) don’t get so upset over material things 2) believe in miracles 3) have more compassion for others when they are struggle with things.
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Three Weeks Remain

Dear family and friends,
            Monday, August 7, was another very busy day.  Lots of emails had come in over the weekend that needed to be dealt with, and mail that needed to be opened, recorded, and filed.  We entered all the contact information of the new Arr miss into the 4-year Address List.  I did take a few minutes for a quick nap in the afternoon.  Came home, exercised, did 2 loads of laundry, and read for a while.  Fell asleep watching a TV show, then went to bed. Jim: I continue to write up some more procedures of the various responsibilities to share with the new Elder when he arrives.
            Tuesday, August 8, we worked on the Leadership Letters.  We even made a new one for something called a Model District—this is where the Zone Leaders are also the District Leaders of their District so that they can be a model on how a district should be managed.  It was a day of the NLR Zone Conf in Conway, so we didn’t have our local missionaries in the Office.  Also, Elder and Sister Hess and Elder Sorensen will be gone every day to those zone Conferences.  We did receive the Book of Mormon order from SLC-30 boxes with 40 in each box!  Sisters Sorensen and Hess were so happy!!  And busy filling all the orders that had come in that they couldn’t fill before.  Went home after work, made and ate dinner, had a good phone visit with Brent (they are looking forward to this weekend when their new Tucson Temple will be dedicated and their triplets will participate in the Cultural Celebration), then we went to the movie, “Dunkirk.”  This was a difficult movie to watch and told a powerful story of fear, sorrow, hope, and courage.
            Wednesday, August 9, we finished all the rest of the Leadership Letters, had one new miss. rec. come in and processed it, did 4 stake president letters for the 4 missionaries who leave early on Sept. 1st, plus a letter to each of their parents.  Sis. Sorensen will send the letters to the 4 miss. on Thursday.  It was the Searcy Zone Conf.  We left at 4:30 to take a package to the post office, then went to Sister Culwell’s for dinner.  We were early and they had no room at the table as they had 6 elders there who came at 5:00.  So we sat in the living room and read until 6:00, when the elders left and the 2 sisters came to eat with us.  Then we stopped by the Office for a couple of things, then went home to do another load of laundry & exercise. Jim: I worked at getting 5 new apartments.  I have never had more than one new one at a time, so this is a real challenge.
            Thursday, Aug. 10, is my mother’s birthdate.  She was born in 1905, and passed away in 1996.  I love to remember her, especially on that date.  It was our Little Rock (Benton and Pine Bluff) Zone Conference.  We loved the teachings by Pres. Hansen, our zone leaders, and Sister Hansen. President taught about being Spirit-directed, he introduced a new home teaching/visiting teaching program that the missionaries will be involved with and is supported by all the 5 stakes.  He also taught about daily pondering in the morning to clean our mind and let the Spirit prompt us with things we should do that day, or soon, jot them down, and then think about them during the day and accomplish the prompting.   At the end we had a testimony meeting. Jim & I shared ours to say goodbye to our wonderful missionaries.  We also had our LR Ward prepare the lunch so it was great to visit with Sister Nance, Sister Stuckey, Sister Loken, and Sister Jones.  We visited for a little while and they told me how much they will miss us.  Sure makes us feel good!!  And I will certainly miss them!!  Then we did some shopping on the way home, and relaxed while watching some TV.
            Friday, Aug. 11, we cleaned the bathrooms at the church.  Sis. Sorensen sat at my desk and worked on taking care of my responsibilities.  We had a Staff Meeting at 10:00 that lasted until after 1:00.  We had Dr. and Sister Kearl from the Area Office who are over the medical care of about 8 missions.  They talked about the medical needs of the missionaries and how things are going.  Mental health issues lead the list.  Then we went to lunch at Larry’s Pizza, worked on stuff all afternoon, got a haircut on the way home, ate a light dinner, and fell asleep watching TV.  Jim couldn’t even wake me up!
            Saturday, Aug. 12, we cleaned our apartment bathrooms, and I cut Jim’s hair.  We started gathering stuff into boxes of:  ship it home, carry it home, and leave it here.  We picked up Bram at 12:30, and took him for his birthday lunch at Five Guys.  Even though his birthday isn’t until the end of September, we won’t be here then so are celebrating his birthday now.  After lunch, we went to Toys R Us where he picked out a couple of small Star Wars Lego sets, then went to the Discovery Museum downtown and enjoyed playing with a lot of different activities that taught about science and nature, etc.  We also watched a special Tesla demonstration that was interesting. 
Bram on a bed of nails at the Discovery Museum

When we dropped Bram off at home, we watched a stop-motion video he has been working on.  It was now about 5 or 6 minutes long.  He is very creative.  Also, his sister, Harper, made him an “ocean book” with lots of sea creatures.  She did a great job!!
            Sunday, Aug 13, has been much cooler, a high of only 75 degrees, with rain on and off all day.  We enjoyed our meetings and our friends, the talks and the lessons.  Afterwards we went to the Anderson’s for a delicious dinner and good visiting.  Then visited with Lois on the way home, took naps, made our lunch for tomorrow, and will visit with Shelley later.  Christi and her family flew to China and will be there for one week.  How fun for them!
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.
            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August Begins

Dear family and friends,
            Sunday, July 30th, was a cooler day-only a high of 86 degrees!  Jim & I were asked to bear our testimonies in Sacrament meeting as the “Youth Speakers!”  So we each spoke for about 5 minutes.  It was special to share with them our love of the Lord and our gratitude for being here for the last 17 months.  The other talks and the RS/PS lesson were all about “Teaching in the Savior’s Way.”  This is such a wonderful program that the church is encouraging.  In the evening we had phone/Facetime visits with Joseph, Christi & her family, and Shelley.  Christi and her family are getting ready for a week trip to China in August!!  We also talked to Lois, who is doing well.
            Monday, July 31st, we got up early and went to the Memphis Temple with the Departing Missionaries. 
At the Memphis Temple with the other Departing Missionaries
The weather was very nice.  It had dried up to only 40% humidity, which for here is like the Sahara Desert.  We were able to say goodbye to some of our Senior Missionaries who serve in Memphis:  Sister Womack, Sister Nichols, and the Milks who are former missionaries.  I was praying hard for an answer to a problem I had and felt that the Lord would take care of it.  I ended up with a vision migraine that took a while to go away.  We drove back to the Mission Home to help fix dinner for the Dep Miss:  ham, potato casserole, tossed salad, peas, and Cookie Salad, with brownies and ice cream for dessert.  We helped with the cleanup, then headed home.  I got 3 bug bites on my ankles from Sat., and they are itching like crazy.  I don’t have very good self-control about not scratchingL!
            Tuesday, Aug. 1st, I took care of a lot of mail and emails that came into the Office over the weekend and on Monday.  I then turned my computer over to Sister Sorensen and Sister Hess who did the Transfer Board in IMOS.  They got it all done very well!  I ran some errands, then took over the computer while they left at 3:30 to go to the Mission Home and help with the Arr. Miss BBQ.  Elder Hartzell and I took care of the Office, leaving at our usual 5:00.  We got to visit with both Larry and Brent, so that was great!  Had a quiet evening.
            Wednesday, Aug. 2nd, we drove to the Mission Home early in the morning, arriving by 7:00 so that we could help make big batches of waffles, and Jim browned 3 # of sausage and cooked a lot of scrambled eggs.  We then fed the 21 new miss. who came in the day before.  Then they left and we cleaned up and went over to the NLR chapel for their training all day.  There was a lot of catchup work to do.  Our lunch was prepared by the Pinn. Mtn. sisters organized by Sister Beheshti.  It was delicious!!  We had a surprise visit from Sister Abby Jensen and her family who just went home in March.  Her mom was one of the main organizers of the Christmas packages for our foreign missionaries last Christmas.  It was so good to see them all!!  And they shared lunch with us.  After lunch we did our Training of the new miss, then went back to the Office and worked on all the paperwork that was collected by the Assistants and turned in to us.  I was going to stay late but ended up with another vision migraine and had to go home and rest.  I still did 3 loads of laundry.
            Thursday, Aug. 3rd, I filed away a lot of paper work, sent out the letters from the new miss to their families, submitted Part 2 of the IMOS Transfer Board.  Jim & I mailed a package to the Wakolos, did a deposit at the bank, and picked up a bunch of water and food at Sam’s Club for the mission.  Came back and worked with SLC on some mobile device problems that we finally figured out.  My main help there has been Greg Solia, and I gave him profuse thanks for all the problems he has solved for me!!  Also sent out emails to the various stakes who are providing lunches over the next 2 weeks for the 5 Zone Conferences.  We needed to give them the numbers of how many they are feeding.  Went home and packed and made food for a quick trip we were going on over the weekend.  I love talking to my sister, Lois, everyday—she sounds so happy!!
            Friday, Aug. 4th, I dusted Office and Jim vacuumed.  I labeled all the photos of the new missionaries, and sent out email letters to all of their families along with the photos.  We started receiving thank you’s almost immediately!!  Sis. Sorensen entered all the new miss email addresses into Outlook, and sent out the July Leader.  Had a lot of phone calls about Area Books on the mobile devices not working, so I just referred all of them to send in help requests to SLC.  I learned how to do some additional things.  Jim has been busy with apartment issues all week, bills to pay, and some bike challenges.  Then Jim & I left at 3:15 to drive up to the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas to a dude ranch called Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.  It is owned by a family whose patriarch is in the North Little Rock Ward.  He came into our Office last April and gave us all postcards with invites to stay one or two nights for free.  This included not only the cabin, but the food.  However, all the activities would be extra.  We got up there about 5:45pm, to a beautiful valley surrounded by cliffs, a wonderful pastoral scene, with goats and horses grazing in the meadow.  We ate dinner at 6:30.  It was delicious!  We met a really sweet couple who work there named Cam and Jennifer.  He is a convert and she is reactivated.  They were sealed in the St. Louis Temple last October.  They are so happy!!  It was great to hear their story!  We took our stuff into our cabin, sat for a while on a swing on the porch, then enjoyed a restful night’s sleep. 
            Saturday, Aug. 5th, we got up, ate a delicious breakfast, went back to the cabin and took naps, went for a lovely walk in the green countryside and saw the horses and goats.  Ate lunch, took naps, read, Jim went for another walk.  At 6:00 we met at the barn and rode in a tractor-pulled wagon to the BBQ where we ate fish and steak!!  Delicious!!  Went back to the lodge for dessert.  Went to the cabin and slept soundly!! 

            Sunday, Aug. 6th—woke up this morning to pouring, dumping rain!!  I was worried about getting out of the valley, but we said a couple of prayers, and I decided to have faith and close my eyes and not worry.  Jim drove us out just fine, and we drove the rest of the 2 ½ hours home in pouring, dumping rain!!  We got home, unloaded the car, changed our clothes and headed to church.  We loved Sacrament/Testimony meeting and our other meetings as well.  We went home, napped, and went to Larry and Holly’s where we enjoyed a nice dinner, heard about their trip to Utah, and played games.  Sure is great to be with family!!  Also had fun visits with Christi and Shelley.
            Hope you are all doing well, and may the Lord bless you.

            Love, Elder & Sister Hartzell