Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ok Sup

So this week came the blessings. We have been working very tirelessly to try to have appointments with people and to have new investigators much to our avail. Finally some wind in our sails.

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.

Anziano Hatch

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...

...the first is of the Vatican and me,

then a panoramic of the Vatican,

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.

As you can see, there were a lot of people there. That is no small piazza. The pope spoke in Italian and talked about the love of Christ. From what I understood from the times I was paying attention, it sounded like a good talk - a little off on a few points. But heck, what can you expect? It ain't no General Conference.

Love, Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Well Another Week Gone By

Well another week gone by and another good week at that. A few big things happened that were great, not really BIG, but great. One not so great, actually. Anyway, let's get it started:

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!

Anziano Hatch

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Days Go By

Well another week has gone by and a hard week it has been. We have lost most of our investigators due to lack of interest. We are still trying to work with a few, but they always cancel appointments. So our days have been largely filled with finding work.

Finding 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!

Anziano Hatch

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.

The next one is how many different languages of the Book of Mormon that we found in our apartment after cleaning it deeply. There is something like 26, I forget though.

The next one is some members. Can you get more Italian than Armando on my left?

Next are some ruins we walked past today while we were in Rome. It was like the Forum of Augustine or something, I can't remember. It is still being dug out.

And then an update on how I a looking with my companion in the background throwing a blue steel at the camera.
That is it. Love you all!
Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Well let me start off by saying thanks to all who sent letters. It sounds like you all are having a wonderfully great time. School is starting up. Football has started :( but I am still happy. Don't worry. I miss it but whatever. I am in Italy doing the Lord's work. What could be better? You are right - nothing.

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!

Anziano Hatch

Two pictures this week.

The first is a picture of a temple in the Primary room in our ward. I notice under the picture translates, "We pray for our temple." And how true it is. The paperwork to start construction is taking longer than it should, so I ask you to keep that in mind as you pray.

Second, is my first attempt at mashed potatoes from memory. They were delicious. Thanks mom for the recipe, but I don't think I'll need it anymore. haha

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

Let me start out by saying Happy Birthday Mom!!! Haha Yea, even with all the reminders I wouldn't have forgotten, but thanks to all who did.

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,
Anziano Hatch

Elder Gillespie and Elder Hatch

Waiting in Napoli for Elder Gillespie's Permesso di Sigiorno

First encounter with a passenger train