Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Other than that, it has been a mellow week since we talked on Christmas. We had a few appointments including a quick 5 minute spiritual thought with our investigator that was down in Napoli over Christmas. He is doing great. He has a baptismal date for the 9th of January. Companion is being tranferred to Florence to be a zone leader in that area.
Sunday, we had an open house at the mission home. That was a really amazing thing. The Acerson's (President and his family) opened up their home to members, investigators, and anyone in the area that wanted to come. It was really well done. We didn't have as many people as we wanted to come, but it was a fun time. And the investigators/neighbors that came had a good time.
Yesterday we had our District meeting. I had the training. I gave it on humility and how it is the key to opening up anything - such as unity with companion or Holy Ghost, learning, listening, and various other attributes. One of the sisters in my district is training. That will be fun to see another missionary get trained.
This morning we went bowling with a member in the ward that will be leaving for the Milan mission at the end of January. I bowled a 95 behind my back and a 102 not. I am starting to think that I am better off bowling behind my back. (Technique being like a behind the back pass in basketball.)
Well that about does it for me. I don't have a ton to write about since we talked on Friday. But everything is going great! Thanks for all your letters, prayers, and support!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This week has been a fun one. Today actually, we played soccer and football against our missionary buddies in the Rome 3 district. It was a really good time. But I broke two toes, so I am on crutches!...April Fools! haha. Sorry, I just had to do that to keep myself awake. I am really tired. Football isn't so easy when you aren't conditioned for it. My team was really grateful for me today because the teams were evenly matched, but (I know I probably shouldn't have) I took the last 5-10 minutes of personal study to write down some plays on some flash cards. And it became a little playbook that I kept in my pocket as I quarterbacked. That playbook made all the difference. It helped our sisters and our Italian roomy understand where they needed to go. It was a great time today.
I just remembered about the Christmas money. Could I have about 100 Euro worth for January sale shopping? In January and August, there are ridiculous sales on everything, because "high fashion" Italy has to move all of "last season's" stuff out to make room for the next season. So ya.
Anyway, I'll be calling between 7:30 and 8:00PM IST (Italian Standard Time (I just made that up)). So I can't wait to hear from you. It will be really fun! Avete un buon Natale! Ok, mi racomando.
Vi volgio tanto bene!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I will call with the calling card. That sounds like it will be pretty easy. But as far as updates, the other companionship had a baptism last Saturday of a man they had been working with for about four months. And the sisters have a baptism this Sunday. So that is a good thing. We have an investigator with a baptismal date for the 2nd of January. His name is Guiseppe. He is a good guy. Well that about wraps it up for me. Toodles. Talk to you next week!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday we played some calcieto (soccer on a fenced in short field) with the other elders and some investigators. I had an amazing goal that (I don't want to float my boat too much) was the highlight of the game. I curbed the shot around the defenseman in front of me to the right. Then the ball curved back to the left into the goal. It looked like a beautiful right to left putt in golf, but in fast forward and in the air. That was amazing and everyone was amazed. I must admit, I have no idea how I did it.
Sunday we had three investigators in church. One man from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and the Phillipines. They are all really awesome. Sunday night we ended our fast with another guy in our ward trying to decide if he should go on a mission. He is 25 and the deadline is coming up. So we fasted with him and broke our fast at his house. He made a delicious pasta and we ate well. We haven't been able to follow up with him yet, but I know he will get an answer.
Monday we had our district meeting. My companion taught the training. He gave a good training, the main point being if we use the scriptures well, we invite the prophets of old into the room to teach our investigator. It was a really good training. Then we went on exchanges with our zone leaders. We both went over to Rome 3 to do the scambies though cause the bishop in the ward needed to move a piano from the church to his house. I guess the church bought a new piano and he bought the old one off the church. Anyway, the zone leaders said that the bishop wouldn't move the piano unless he had me there. He "hand picked" the missionaries he "needed" at stake conference a few weeks back and so he needed the biggest and the strongest. I thought that was funny.
Speaking of that, I can proudly say that I have been working out every morning and now, as a result, my suit coat doesn't fit as well as it did. It is a little small. In this apartment there are free weights with more than 14 kgs. So I have been having a heyday in the mornings.
We met the family of an awesome girl last night. She is getting baptized this Sunday. She is the sisters' investigator but we were invited to her nieces birthday party so we met the family. They are awesome. I don't know if anything will happen in the near future, but they have said that they have already seen a change in their daughter for the better, so that is a good sign. Hopefully she will continue to be a good example.
Two last things. I got my documents so now I am legal for the next year here in Italy. That is good. Also, there was an elder serving here because his visa wasn't going through, but he left on Monday to the POCATELLO IDAHO MISSION! Cool huh. His name is Elder DeMola. He is awesome. Keep your eye out for him.
Well that is it. I love you all!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Since I emailed last, we have had a couple handfuls of appointments, soccer, finding work, and all that great stuff. Rome 2 is a fun place to serve. The famous parts of Rome are in our area so we work among the ruins of Rome. It is really fun. Although I haven't had time to take many pictures, they will come with time.
We are working with a few steady investigators. One is a young man from Russia who, I think, Is trying to find himself and who he is. He will be able to find that with us. Then there is a guy who is about 21 who was born in Napoli who we had an amazing lesson with last night. He saw some terrible things in his childhood in Napoli and I think that we cracked open the shell he has had around him from those experiences. We taught a strong lesson on faith, what it is, how we develop it, and what it does for us. It was a great lesson filled with the spirit. We are meeting with him again tonight, so we will see how it goes.
My new companion is a work horse. Amazing and not afraid to talk to anyone. I have learned a lot from him already. Last night, some Jehovah's Witnesses came up to me while we were doing street and tried to bash with me, but I kept my cool and left them with a pamphlet. It was a good experience cause I was able to prove to myself what I can do on my own without my companion.
I got my Christmas packages and already opened them. I know. I am guilty, but I was just looking for the cds ;-), but I didn't find them. So either they got stolen or they didn't make it into the packages. So I would like to make a re-request for that Joseph Smith CD and Kory Kunz's CD.
Yesterday was zone conference and our district sang "In a Coming Day" by Kory Kunz. It was really good. I forgot how much I liked his music.
Anyway, that about does it for me. I can't believe that Dad and Justin have iPhones. Crazy. Both of their letters made me laugh.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Yes, I am now in the same ward as the mission president and his family. It was weird seeing him on Sunday. This district is so much different than the one I was in. It went from being two people to ten. Like I said, my new district is two sets of elders, one of which is the assistants and the other is my companionship, a set of sisters, and two senior couples. It is weird working so closely with so many other people. The area that I am in is the northeast sector of Rome. It is a pretty big area.
My new companion is an awesome guy, except for the fact that he is a Buckeye fan. He is a convert from Columbus, Ohio. He is a pretty amazing guy.
Well, there are a billion other things that I could say, butI don't have the time this week. So I'll try to remember them for next week.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Other than that, last Thursday and Friday was my three month conference and President's house with my district from the MTC. Really for us, it was our four month conference. It is just something that President and his wife do with the APs once new missionaries reach their three month mark - or thereabouts. It is full of trainings and good food prepared by Sister Acerson. It was a good conference.
Saturday was a busy day, because it was basically our only free day. So we crammed three appointments into it. We taught a first to our investigator from Peru. That lesson went really well. We recapped with our investigator from Sri Lanka and then had a quick chance to meet witn Aaron. A very busy day.
Sunday was Stake Conference. It was really good. The talk that hit me the most was given by the Stake President , President DeFeo. He talked about how blessings have if-then statements attached to them, and only the Lord has control of those conditions and when we receive the blessings. It was a good talk. Then we were invited to lunch at our ward mission leader's house. That is always fun because the whole family speaks English, and they love to practice with the missionaries in their house. So that was a really fun lunch. Then we had zone singing at Piazza del Popolo. And that was good as usual.
Monday and Tuesday were filled with the usual grind of service, finding work, and member appointments such as FHE and a fireside.
To answer Dad's question, we don't work directly with the ward council. We work with the ward mission leader and then he goes to ward council and such.
This week has been a really good one. I will miss Ostia even though I will not be that far away from it. Sounds like the family is healthy and happy. Keep that up. Love you all and thanks for the letter and prayers!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Then we volunteered at a place called the caritas (charity). It is basically a glorified soup kitchen, and there was a fight between two drunkards. My companion and I helped administer the break up. That was fun. My companion and I have both decided that if we ran a place like that, you would have to be sober to eat there. Point in case, a man yesterday peed his pants and couldn't even stand up straight he was so drunk. So that is always a weekly adventure.
Congrats to Justin and Ashley on the new twins! They are beautiful! What an exciting adventure that will be.
Julie, it sounds like you gave a good talk. And sounds like you are doing great in school. Keep that up! I hope you get better soon! Kim and Chris, didn't get an update on you this week, but I assume everything is great. You two are awesome. Jalayne, I almost sent you a letter last week. I didn't have stamps though. So I hope to write an updated letter and send that today. Mom and dad...you two are wonderful!
Ok, two more things for this letter. One, I translated in sacrament meeting on Sunday. I translated 2 1/2 talks. The other half of the third one, the speaker didn't announce the scripture, so the ward mission leader that was helping me took over. Our ward mission leader is awesome. He is an Italian but served his mission in England. So he speaks English and he is Justin's age. He is awesome.
Other thing. After church, some Romanian members of the church came wandering in. They were on vacation in Rome, and they were searching for three hours to find the church building. I asked them (they spoke English) with only two days in Rome why they wanted to get here so bad. They said they wanted to see a ward-sized building. They were so amazed at the size of the building. Even though it is a stake center it is nothing like an American-sized stake center. But they were awed, because they only have branches currently in Romania. It was a cool experience to talk to them.
Well that is about it for this week. I'll talk to you again in a week. Good luck to you all in your pursuits. Thanks for your many prayers!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I underestimated how powerful the spirit was going to be there, and my voice got kinda cracky when I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. Yes, that is right. I successfully gave my first talk in Italian. I got quite a few compliments on it. I did not think it was as good as they were saying, but what can you do? Then on Sunday, Pietro bore a powerful testimony for a convert on how he knew he had to be baptized. It was great to see him and his wife be a full member family. His wife got baptized in May of this year.
Then on Sunday, we set a baptismal date with one of our other investigators for the 29th of November. He is excited. He is from Ghana. I'll have to write Jared about that. And I'll answer dad's question right now. I am able to keep in touch with Jared and Tyler by email, Logan only by home address cause I don't have his email, and I don't know if his president lets him write email to people other than his family. The rule here is family first and then any extra time you have can be used on other people. But don't spend more than an hour at the internet point.
We have started to teach an English class at the library. I don't know if I have told you that yet. It is fun. Every week, though, we have people ask us if we can teach for longer than one hour a week. And we have to be like, sorry we only have this much time that we can devote to this. It is fun though.
We had president's interview on Monday. They went well. I told president about Justin's soon to be born twins, and he was excited for you, Justin. He told me to keep him and his wife updated. He'll be excited as am I to know that the twins are coming into the world on Friday. I'll try to dream about them that night. That is so fun!
We have given many blessings lately because of sicknesses that are going around. We have made it a goal to make sure we have the wording memorized to give a blessing both in English and Italian. We have both reached that goal. I feel more ready to be called on to give a blessing with the wording memorized.
Well, that is about it for this week. It is great to hear from all of you! Keep up the good work. Thanks for all your prayers. You really helped with the baptism of Pietro!
Oh, P.S. my companion did the baptizing.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Last Thursday was Zone Conference. It was really good- really uplifting. The trainings were on working together as a companionship and districts and so on up. Also making more detailed accounts for president in our president's letters. So we will be sure to do that.
Also on Sunday, we had a very busy day. We traveled our hour and a half to church and did the church things, then went to a member's house in Nettuno for lunch. Then we road the train back home to Rome and went to Piazza del Popolo and did some zone singing. It was a busy day to say the least. We were rather tired.
We have had a lot of lessons with members lately, and wow, what a difference that makes. They are able to answer all the hard questions even though they are easy - but they are hard for us cause we don't always understand them. If that made sense. haha But wow, what a difference they make. They have really strengthened my testimony on that key indicator.
Dad, that is a crazy story that you relayed to me. I hope everything is alright. I know everything will be. Julie, sounds like you are having a blast in high school. Keep it up. Everyone else in the family, hope you are doing well. Sorry this is a short letter, but it was mostly a grinding week this week. Lots of finding work, but we got a few contacts that should yield something.
I love you all. Thanks for your letters and prayers.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Second, a few things that I have seen that I thought were funny. So Italians wear almost anything that has English on it, most of it American slogans even though they are all(most) "America haters." So this last week I saw a shirt that had Maya the Bee on it, and I thought of the little theme song, Miiiaaaaaya, Maya the Bee! and I thought of Kim and Jalayne. It made me giggle out loud. The second one I saw was a Thunder Cats t-shirt and thought of the song, Thunder thunder thunder THUNDER CATS!!! That made me laugh also.
A small shout out to Elliott. I rediscovered the delectableness of raisins and eat them in my oatmeal and for snacks all day. I think of him everytime I eat some and say to myself in an Elliott voice, "MMMMM. These are delicious!" Cute.
So an update on our investigators. We had to move the baptism date to the 31st cause the bishop knows this guy really well and wants to be at his baptism and is going to be out of town on business next weekend. But Pietro is doing great still and is still coffee free. He is an awesome guy.
Our other investigators are kind of stagnant. One is amazing. He is from Ghana, but he is really hard to teach because he doesn't get home from work until late every night. So our opportunities to teach him are limited.
We had an appointment with a member and we showed up and, surprise, she invited a friend over to hear the first lesson. That wasn't what we were planning, but we are always happy to teach a first lesson. So we got a new investigator out of that. Her name is Luz and she is from Mexico but has been living in Italy for 30 years.
My Italian is pretty good. Not great. My understanding is to the point where I can understand basically everything, but saying what I want to say isn't as smooth yet. But I am working on it.
Dad, a good topic I think for young men to hear is getting a testimony early in their lives. The earlier they have it , the stronger it will be. When they befall hard times in life or on the mission, they will always have that truth to fall back onto. The sure foundation never changes.
Sorry this letter is short. I am going to write another letter to the priests and you can read that too.
Love you all! Thanks for your letters and prayers!
Love, Anziano Hatch
HELLO PRIESTS OF THE BOULEVARD WARD
I hope you are all doing well and I am grateful for the prayers that you have offered in my direction. I wanted the topic of this letter to be why I am glad that I made the decision to serve a mission.
On my mission I have seen many miracles. I have only been out for three months in Italy but I have seen the Lord change me and the people that I interact with. I will share three stories.
Story one. We have an investigator right now with a baptismal date for the 31st of October (Halloween doesn't exist in Italy). We were teaching him everything and he wanted to get baptized. We got to the Word of Wisdom lesson and he told us, "I know this is true. Drugs and alcohol are bad for you, but I don't think I will be able to stop drinking coffee." After a long discussion, he said he would try but wasn't guaranteeing anything. So we said great! We prayed so hard for two days and we got to our next appointment. No coffee. We were amazed, and he seemed to be happy with his improvement. A week passed, no coffee. Zero. Not a drop. And he told us he doesn't understand how he was able to just stop drinking coffee after drinking it for his whole life pretty much. Almost two weeks and he has had not coffee. Miracle!
Story two comes from a member that was baptized before I got here. She had a similar problem with the Word of Wisdom. But it was with smoking. She smoked 4 packs a day, roughly 80 cigarettes a day. She really wanted to quit smoking. She fasted and prayed and so did the Elders. A week later at the next appointment she hadn't smoked a single one. Out of habit one day she picked up a cigarette after lunch and just stared at it. She told them that she had forgotten how to smoke. She couldn't believe it. After smoking 80 cigarettes a day, she stopped cold. Miracle!
Last story comes from my life on the mission. About a month ago we were having a lot of trouble talking to people. Everyone we talked to seemed to be an American hater or absolutely not interested. As a result we failed to talk to people as we were on public transport and on the streets. We just felt like there was no purpose. Our teaching pool fell empty. We had no appointments. It was the worst week of my mission. During study time in the morning, I was reading an article in an Ensign about a sister missionary in England some years ago. She had the same trouble. She read a talk from Elder Holland and it was quoted in the article. To sum up, he said that his mission was hard. His whole mission was hard. It wasn't easy. But it was his testimony of the truthfulness of the Church that got him through. Every time hardship struck or disappointments came, he fell back upon the sure foundation. And in turn, he turned his mission into a blessing for his entire life. That picked my companion and me up and we went out to do finding work. The first person we talked to became an investigator, and on old investigator called us and asked if he could continue receiving the lessons. Miracle!
How can I prepare to serve a mission?
What I mostly want to talk about is having a sure foundation. But how does one go about building such a foundation. First, learn and live the commandments. Like the investigator and the member I talked about earlier, by learning about and living the commandments, we receive blessings. When we put a commandment into practice, such as reading and praying everyday, we see the edification (blessings) that come from such activities and we gain a testimony of the truthfulness of that commandment. Second, the Lord shows us our weaknesses through them. In Ether 12:26 it says that if we humble ourselves and ask for help with our weaknesses, the Lord will help them become strong. He always provides a way for man to accomplish the things which he has commanded them IF we do it his way and seek his guidance and help (1 Nephi 3:7). Third, find peace. Through living the commandments and applying Alma's test (Alma 32) we are able to find the peace that comes from KNOWING that the gospel never changes. And when we live the commandments of the Lord we have a sure foundation so that no matter what the world throws at us, our house will never fall(Matt. 7: 24-25).
I love all of you and can't wait to hear about your mission calls. Keep up the good work. The gospel is true. Continue live it and find out for yourselves.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Elder Gillespie and I are still in the same apartment together still alone in Ostia. Our lessons with Pietro have been going really well. His date is still scheduled for the 24th. The only set back I would foresee is him not committing to stop drinking coffee. I know he will. He is awesome.
We have been working a lot with a member and his mother that know the ward really well to do two things. One, to help us organize our member book. And two, to help us find the less active members in his area. I swear he knows everyone and is an awesome help.
We were talking to his mother after the family night that we hold at their house with investigators and any other members that want to come. She told us how she came into contact with the church and showed us newspaper articles about her jumping out of the 2nd floor window to save the life of her and her granddaughter. She ended up breaking a leg and was in the hospital for a while. Some missionaries ended up making a pass by at the hospital to visit a member and then went around to talk with everyone else. And that is how she met the missionaries. The rest of her story is amazing. Step by step, her family is and has become/ing members. Two of her sons come to the family night every week.
We have another investigator from Ghana who cuts hair. My companion and I went and he got a hair cut from him. He did a great job. My companion had to select hair cuts from a book that only had black models. So he was a little nervous on how it was going to turn out. Haha, but the investigator is really cool, and we are going to get him a baptismal date for Nov. 7th. We are actually meeting with him tonight.
So, as I was talking on the train to people on Saturday, I ended up talking to a guy from Ghana and one from Nigeria. They are both members of the church but lost contact with it when they immigrated here. What miracles! We actually had Pietro pray for us (cause he had struggled to separate himself from memorized prayers being Catholic and all) that we would be able to find people. And so that was a blessing for him also.
Other than that, our days are spent doing finding work and having the occasional lesson with potential investigators. Some pictures will probably be coming your way, but I am not sure yet.
I love all of you. Thanks for your prayers. I can feel their help in my life.
Ok, the first picture is a cool statue in Nettuno. Yes - where they held the World Baseball Classic. We were there visiting some members and inactive members.
Next, the ocean on a stormy day with a beam of light. I think it is way cool. The winds got up to 50 knots that day - 90 kmh in mph. I don't know. But I guess five people died because of this storm due to high sea winds an falling trees and tree limbs. Sad.
Last, we BBQed some steaks. MMM, they were good.
Love, Anziano Hatch
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Other than that, we had to drop our investigator that had a baptismal date. She just won't make the commitment to come to church under her own will, and she has cancelled many appointments at the last second with us. So we decided she wasn't ready and we are going to meet with her about once every two weeks.
But when disappointments come, so do some blessings. We had a former investigator return to interest and now he has a baptismal date for the 17th, but it probably won't happen till the 24th so we can have time to teach him everything. So that is really awesome!
When President Monson announced the Fortelezza temple (sorry probably killed the spelling), I gave a fist pump and all the missionaries looked at me and were like, "What? Why are you so excited?" I was like, "Ya that is where my brother served his mission! Ya!" So shout out to Justin!
Sounds like your trip to New York was eventful. I have to say I am very jealous that you all saw "Lion King" as that is in my top 3 favorite movies.
Last week after the Vatican, we left to Napoli to go pick up some paper work for my companion again to keep him legal in the country. Thursday, we spent all day in Napoli and they were like, "You didn't come to pick up your permesso on your appointed day, and we don't have it at the office right now." And my companion was like, "You didn't tell me a day to pick it up!" and stormed out rather angry. It was funny. So we wasted a day in Napoli but I got a laugh out of it.
Something you must understand about Elder Gillespie. He is like Chris...but more nerdy! Haha I love the guy. He loves computers and Super Nintendo. So Chris would like that I think. But he wrestled in high school so that keeps him from being super nerdy, just like Chris played tennis when he was younger at the park...or tried to..haha I am just kidding Chris. Calm down. Haha, ya, but that was a huge waste of time.
And finally yesterday, we got transfer calls. Yes, it is true. Another transfer come and gone, and I will still be in Ostia with Anziano Gillespie. So we'll get to baptize Pietro. Perfect!
Well that is it for this week. Love you all. Sorry if my spelling is terrible. I can't spell at all anymore.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
First we got a referral from Church headquarters in a town called Anzio, just about the most southern part of our area. We exited the train, got a map, and started walking. We walked for two hours and arrived at the house. Much to our surprise, the house existed. We rang the doorbell and a lady answered, also to our surprise. We walked in and saw a BYU Bookstore bag...turns out she was a member and she was visiting her sister in Orem. She was at the Joseph Smith building and signed the "guest book" which turned out to be a request-a-missionary visit list. So we talked and chatted and we are going to end up teaching her son.
Then we go to church on Sunday and an old investigator that was dropped here two transfers ago showed up and told the bishop he was ready to be baptized. So the bishop told us that, and we quickly set up an appointment. So two new investigators.
Then a member of the bishopric from Rome 2 (we are in Rome 4/Ostia) called us and said he had an appointment with some friends that he wanted to bring the missionaries to. Turns out that family had run into Jonathan Scoville when he was here, so we talked about him. The mom isn't that interested but loves us. But the hopes from this member are that we get the 17 year old son interested and then next year when he turns 18, he can get baptized, cause his parents are divorced and the father wouldn't give permisison.
So the blessings have been flying in here, just like the pattern in Nephi. Before they find the land Bountiful, they suffer much in the wilderness for food. Nephi's bow breaks, and his brothers try to harm him. But by faith and looking for what the Lord wants, Nephi is able to bring blessings. So it is said that after a trial of our faith come the blessings.
Well, other than that I have one more fun story, and that would be found in my other email.
So we went to go see the Vatican today...and I guess today was also the day that the pope felt like speaking to the people. So...
and then the pope himself. I got a video of him but can't send that. Haha, my companion got a picture of him holding out the Book of Mormon as he drove by in his Pope-mobile.
Love, Anziano Hatch
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
1. In church on Sunday, the bishopric announced that the area seventy has given them permisison to look for a place to build a church in Ostia or close to there, because all of our members without cars have to travel one hour or more to get to church. We have to travel and hour and 15 minutes. But they announced that in 104 days they want to have a place to build a chapel or to rent someplace that won't kick them out because of noise. If you are wondering why 104 days, well that is double the time it took Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, which was what the lesson was on...
2. During the lesson I was thinking about these chapters which I had just read - the story of Nehemiah - in the MTC after reading one of President Uchtdorf's most recent talks. I read the part in chapter four where it talks about - we are few on the line, but we build with one hand and in the other we hold our swords. I started thinking how much that is like Italy right now. The time has come where the church is pushing for higher membership in the United States, calling more missionaries to those missions - as is apparent with all of my friends being called stateside. So certain less productive missions (such as those with low baptismal rates) suffer in the number of missionaries. My mission is one of those missions. The area presidency is trying to get just two man apartments for the meantime here in all of the mission, so that more missionaries can be used somewhere else. We have seen, my companion and I, that in a two man apartment, it is much like Nehemiah. We are few on the wall and we build with one hand and defend with the other. Some of our duties have started to fall on going with members to recover the less actives and teach a lesson to them or to an investigator. But most of our time is still spent building the kingdom, doing finding work. And it is hard, but worth it. Monday we were doing house, and it was pouring rain and we didn't have umbrellas or raincoats cause it was sunny, no clouds when we left. We were wet and tired and finally we buzzed someone on the intercom and...they said, "Ya, ok, I'll listen." First time that has happened since I have been here. We taught a first, and she seems interested but she lives in Rome and only nannies in Ostia, so I don't know if much will come from that.
3. Now for the sad news. Our investigator hasn't been coming to church and hasn't been keeping appointments, and therefore, we had to cancel the baptism for this week. Sad, but it is for the better, cause I feel now that she just isn't as ready as we originally had thought. But we have another investigator that we are going to extend a baptismal invite to tonight. He is awesome and super humble. He just doesn't have a lot of worldly possessions, money being one of those things. Transportation and what not is really hard for him, but with a closer church, that would help. So pray for that.
Other than that, it is just been finding work and member work this week. It was a good week, although I don't think I have any pictures for this week. I can't remember. I'll check and send some if there are some.
Give both Chandler and Jon my wishes of good luck. Tell them to dig in, enjoy being with their companion and talking to people about what is the real source of their joy in this life. They will both be great missionaries. Enjoy it. It is fun.
Well, that is about it for this week. Love you all and always enjoy your letters. And Jalayne, I forgot for like four weeks, but yes, I get your letters! Love you all!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Finding work...my my my, I love it. Hard stuff, not going to lie, especially in Italy. First, there aren't a whole lot of people that want to listen anyway, but then you ring their door bell and that just makes them more irritated. So i nstead of house to house, we try other things like riding the metro to and from it's final points of destination. We ride the busses. We draw the plan of salvation on the sidewalk. All sorts of stuff to try to talk to people. But it is hard. You just have to dig in and literally dig through the people that aren't ready and find the people that are ready. We have had almost no success until yesterday. I was talking with a woman on the train who lives in Ostia and was investigating the church some time ago in San Domingo. What a break that was. Although we have trials we will still have blessings. Like the story of Nephi - bows break, bellies are hungry, but when you don't murmur like Nephi, you become an instrument in the Lord's hands and find the promised land (blessings).
So that sums up our week. Our baptismal date got moved to the 26th, but that is still on. She is strong but pushing the date back scares us a little. She has already had the interview and passed, but she said she wanted to wait for some family to get into town. So we wait, pray, and continue to work with her.
I have to pause and say, "DAD, YOU HAVE AN IPHONE?????!!!??!???????? Holy cow. I didn't see that coming. But I hope it treats you well. I mean you could basically throw your computer away seeing how that phone does just about everything you need it to. That is cool.
The weather here has finally changed from being sunny every single day to rainy, actually. We had a rather huge lightening storm last night. The storms come hard here. There is always a lot of water coming from the skies. We were soaked last night. There was also one around 4:30. Which is my next thing. I guess my body has really adjusted to the time change, as a couple of weeks ago I started to wake up at 4:30 in the morning every morning without fail. Usually I don't get back to sleep, but that is ok. I just review the language in my head since I don't have permission to get up since it is a mission rule to not wake up and do stuff without your companion. So until I get a chance to talk to the president about it, that is how it will be. I like it really. I was usefull in college, cause I am not tired when I wake up then. I just feel full of energy like I got a full night's sleep. But just keep chugging.
Well that is about it this week. I love you all and hope that you all continue to do as great as you sound like you are doing! Peace and love from the city of ruins!
Ok, the head shot is me at the top of a hill in an area called Casal Bernocchi. It was beautiful with the reddish stone from a sunset on a dark bloud background, although I don't think that the picture captured it was well.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The mornings are starting to get cold - about 15 degrees celsius, whatever that is in Farenheit. I have no idea, but it is a lot colder than 27. The days are colder and shorter, and soccer practice is starting. I see a lot of kids playing under the lights. I sometimes have the urge to rip of my proselyting clothes and go play under the lights with them. Even though I am terrible at soccer, I guess I could teach them how to get the most out of a foul. Haha
We have been doing some rather deep cleaning in our apartment since it is only us two. Our apartment is starting to look really good. REALLY GOOD. It feels like a home now and not just a place where we sleep and put our stuff. I like that feeling and wish all elders would bring that attitude like Elder Gillespie does.
I have started working out every morning now and have some good awesome workouts that get my heart beating fast like running, but without running. I just don't like to run with other people really, and my companion doesn't want to so that is the way it is. I use the weights we have and I am looking pretty good if I do say so myself. haha Well maybe not that good. Some diet ideas from dad and Kim would be good, like filling snacks, lowfat and low sugar meals and snacks. Stuff like that.
And now the most exciting news of the week. We have a baptismal date for next Saturday! The person is an awesome lady from Africa (I can't remember which country), but she has an awesome little 6-year-old boy and she is ready. She has had some baptismal dates before, but this time she says she feels different. And she has members with her almost all the time it seems like. Pray for her so that any doubts she might have will not be a problem.
Ok, now to give mom an answer for Christmas. I have finally compiled my list of stuff that I want the most. 1. Toothpaste, Rembrandt canker stuff - you know what I am talking about - the good stuff. 2. Protein powder - even if it is a small jar. AWESOME. 3. Gatorade mix. I am dying for some cheap drinks and that would be great. 4. Pens. Not just any pens,but Zebra F-402. I love this pen. It is so choice. Even zebra refills at the very least. 5. A rollout piano keyboard. My skills at the piano are failing and I have no time to practice cause going to the church takes an hour and a half and the ward needs a piano player. My companion is on that one, but I saw an elder with this in the MTC. It is cool.
Awesome. Oh and Dad could you send me a copy of the priesthood line of authority, cause I don't have one and I would like one. Thanks!
Well my time is drawing to a close. I love you all and ask for your continual prayers for Italy!
Two pictures this week.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
That is exciting, but down to the nitty gritty. So as I said, transfer calls were last week. There were four of us in Ostia...WERE. Now there are two of us. The other two got transfered to L'Aquilla for some help there. I guess things are starting to pick back up after the earthquake and they needed some more volunteers and other missionaries up there. So there are four there and only two here.
That makes for some exciting times where Ostia is the third biggest area in the mission. We have a lot of work to do. Taking on another area book and getting to appointments in diverse locations - it will be good. The members have rallied around us, many offering their services such as member appointments, transportation, whatever we might need. So that makes things a bit easier.
Oh, good news! We got a new shower head this morning and our toilet tank doesn't leak anymore. In Italy the water tank for the toilet is above the toilet on the wall about head high, and then the pipe goes into the wall, and at the bottom of the toilet it comes out of the wall. So we had a little leak and the plaster was getting soggy, but it is all taken care of now, and now our bathroom is a rather nice place.
Also happening this morning is that I am now a completely Legal immigrant to the Republic of Italy. I finished my paper work for my Permisso de Sogiorno and got fingerprinted and all that good stuff. But heck, I am legal. So that was fun.
Monday night we went down to Napoli for my new companion's Permesso. You have to go back to renew it at the city you first did it in. So I got to go to Napoli for a night and a day, and we stayed at the other elders' apartment there. I have some pictures of that I will send later. But I had my first Napoletane pizza and I guess that is the best pizza in Italy. It was prety darn good.
Other news you ask...well I am officially my companion's first companion to buy a sack of potatotes. Heck, what can I say? I am a potatoes kind of guy. I eat them for breakfast some days, others for lunch and others at dinner. They are just the perfect good and what would an Idahoan do without them? I don't know either.
So what do I want for Christmas, mom asks? I would like a Carbon action rifle with a blue steel butt and a compass in the stock. Or my two front teeth (don't worry, they are alright and still in my mouth. It is a joke because they are fake). Haha, but really some stuff that I am looking for and can't find is a tub of gatorade powder mix, copies of the CDs of Newsies and that Joseph Smith play we have. And there is more but that is all I can remember. I'll keep you updated.
Other things - mom, could you get me some recipes of some simple soups I can cook up and have for like a week without cooking? That would be perfect. Also, how to make homemade hashbrowns and mashed potatoes. Awesome. Thanks.
To answer some of dad's questions:
As far as number of ward members, I have no idea. I guess it is pretty large, but the month of August is a big vacation month, and I just met two members that I had never seen before the other night because they have been on vacation. So I'll answer that question later.
We have two investigators that a member brings and we usually have two others in church. Like I said, that has been hard to do in August because of vacation stuff, but that is the most we have had.
Well that about wraps it up for me. Once again mother, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love you all,
Elder Gillespie and Elder Hatch
First encounter with a passenger train
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We received transfer calls last night and I learned that I will be staying in the city of Ostia for another transfer. But I will have a new companion. Elder Gillespie is his name. I don't know much about him seeing he doesn't get here till tomorrow afternoon.
So that will be a new adventure. I can't believe I have been here for an entire transfer already. WOW! My companion now is heading up to Florenze.
So that is exciting stuff. More exciting stuff - while doing house we found a lady from Peru that is very interested. We taught the first lesson last night and it went well. She said she will read and pray. What more could you ask for? Haha. She lives on the third floor and on the way down we saw some Jehovah's Witness missionaries that wanted to talk to us, but we said we had another appointment to go to which was true. Oh the JWs. What a wonderful people they are in the lives of missionaries.
So the work is progressing here in Ostia. Sounds like things are good back home. I can't believe that CC is engaged. That is crazy. That should make Allyson happy haha not. Allyson hates the idea of anyone getting married so young. Wow, two girls that I have dated down in two weeks. I guess I just picked the good ones. Haha haha.
Sounds like this summer has been great for you all and the school year is about to start again. I can't believe that it has been a whole year since I started college. Wow, how time flies.
So I can't wait to hear about the stuff you learn at that dinner, mom. It will be fun to hear what all the guys are up to. That is it this week for my email cause I want to send some pictures, and that takes time.
So love you all. Thanks for all your letters and prayers!!
So here are some pictures.
The first two are of a church we went to. It is filled with bones and sculptures made out of bones. The other missionaries said that when you go in you seriously feel the spirit run out. So of
course I had to try it :-). So we went in. It is true. There is no spirit in there. Kinda creepy too.
Next the Pantheon. What an amazing structure. It is huge and has a hole in the ceiling. No one knows still how they built it like that.
Next, me barbequeing over an open fire. Some delicious chicken steaks. No one else knew how to cook stuff like that except the member whose house we were at. But she was busy, so I was assigned to do that. They were great!
By the way, if Chris could send me instructions on how to embed photos into the email that would be good, so I could send more in one email. Anyway, they continue.
Well that is it!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I am healthy, my clothes are holding up well and everything. I have been to Relief Society for the last two weeks to translate for English-speaking members from Kenya. That is my first time in there ever, since I can remember.
Man, I am really mad at the computer now. I am sorry this letter will be so short. Mom, I bought a new MP3 cause my iPod speakers don't work anymore, and I have no way to charge them. So that was great. The ward here is good. Sorry again this letter is so short. I am just really angry right now. That last letter was very long, and took a half hour to write. So love you all and I will talk to you next week.
I don't think I've been this sweaty in a while. Love you all and sorry for such a short letter. I feel bad, but I just don't have the time now to rewrite everything that I wrote.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I'm sure this email will be a surprise, but the 15th of August is a holiday in Italy, and everyone takes the day off. So the day for us is spent cleaning our apartment and being able to write our letter again.
So not much has happened in a couple of days except me schooling some Italians at basketball yesterday. We were playing a series of best of five and the first game we played we won 21-0, then it was like 21-7 or something. Then the next game they were up 20-14 and we came back and won again. Then we decided to keep playing. We played six games and America won every time. It was fun. There were a couple of ballers there, but they played very predictably. My companion and I were stealing passes left and right and just taking them to town.
So that was great. Our apartment is now claen and that is nice - like deep cleaned. I don't think that apartment has been cleaned like that in a good long while. So it was good that we got that done.
Anyway, not too much to report. Nothing crazy has happened, just some good old missionary work. Love you all!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So this week has been amazing. We have had a couple of finding miracles that have just been awesome. First of all, the other group of elders in Ostia set a baptismal date with this lady for the 22nd. So she just needs to keep coming to church and she will make it. It is hard for her 'cause our church building is in Rome (for some reasons that I don't want to get into 'cause it makes me mad to think about). But she is a great lady and if she keeps coming to church we'll have a baptism on the 22nd.
Next story. So my companion and I got a referral from another elder that met this woman on the metro. He gave us the number and the name and we gave her a call to set up an appointment for Friday at 11:00. Perfect. She gave us the bus number we needed to take, 764. That was awesome. So we embarked on the one hour travel to Laurantina and searched for the bus at the station. Didn't find it. We asked the woman at the biglietaria (ticket booth/sales) and she said that it existed but that we could also take a bus which was already at the station. So we said, awesome perfect, and took the 765 instead of the 764.
So relying on the word of the lady at the ticket counter, we asked the bus driver to double check if he went to that street. He said that he didn't go anywhere near that street. So he dropped us off at another bus stop. We looked at the map and found a bus that would take us close, and then we could walk the rest of the way. So we took that bus and asked the driver, and he said he didn't go close to that street. But he stopped close to a stop that the 764 stops at, and that bus would take us there.
So we wait at the bus stop. At this point it is 11:30. So we wait, and 20 minutes later the bus comes and takes us to the street. So we are searching for palazo (apartment building) number 53. Cannot find it. We wearch for another 45 minutes up and down this street. It is a way long street. Can't find anything. So we decide to just head home and call the lady and set up another appointment. So we are walking up a street that makes a T intersection with the road that this woman lives on, and we see the bus we need to take to get back to the station. And if we don't grab this bus, we will wait for another 45 minutes to catch it again. So we run. No, we sprinted with all of our might. It was urgent we caught that bus.
So we didn't make it to the bus stop, but luckily there was a lady who was at the bus stop that stopped the bus with us running as fast as we could and flagging it down. And it waited for us to get there. So we get on the bus and move to the middle. We are hot and sweaty and just want to go home and eat lunch and set another appointment with this lady, when a woman walked up to us and says, "Are you Mormons?" "Yes," I said. Then she said, "I had an appointment with one of you this morning, but they didn't show up." I then exclaimed, "You are Laura!!!!!!!" And she said, "Ya." We then commenced to teach her the first lesson on the way to her work, which happened to be the stop before ours on the way home. So we had a good 50 minutes or so with her.
The Lord is preparing his people. Even now there are people for us to find and teach. And if we mess up and get off at the wrong stop, he will provide a way for us to find his elect - if we keep pushing to do his work.
What a great miracle that was.
Ok, some other things that I wanted to share really quick. First, the Italians put their fork on the right when they set the table. I think that that is funny. Oh, and I have lost 5 kilograms (11 pounds). That is a whole belt notch for me. I can hardly keep my pants up. But my muscle is still there, so don't worry anyone that is reading this. I am still the beautiful self that I was when I left. Just a little thinner.
Other news in the mission - this mission is shrinking, and for reasons that make me angry, I will not talk about them right now. But we only have one missionary coming in this next transfer. So ya, and we are losing eight. Sad, but I guess we just have to work harder.
I love you all and hope that you are doing well. It is fun to hear from all of you. Jalayne, can't wait to hear more stories about your teaching job. Julie, you are going to love high school. Kim, your leg will get better, promise. And Justin, keep up the lawyering.
I just wanted to add another little sauce recipe real quick. So you just use plain tomato sauce and you customize the sauce they way you want. Add a little bit of olive oil to thin it out on the pasta and then add basil, garlic, and any other spices you want to add. You just have to play around with the flavors. My favorite is tomato sauce and olive oil with peperoncini (a small spicy pepper), with basil and parsley. That is really good. You just need to play with it till you get the flavors just right.
Love you all, and I am praying for you. Pray for the people in Italy. They need your prayers.