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