Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Week Gone By

Well the baptism got pushed by ward leader back to this week. But the program is certain, and Pietro is excited and will be baptized at 3:00 on the 31st of October. So we are all excited for that. It will actually be a combined baptism with an investigator that the sisters in La Dispoli have. We don't know who is baptizing and stuff yet, but we do know that we will be singing "Un Fermo Sostegno" (How Firm a Foundation) in the baptismal services. That will be really good.

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.

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

Well, I will start out by saying congrats to Justin on being an official blood-sucking no-good lawyer. Haha. His own words. Also, thank Jalayne for her consistent letter writing. I don't expect to get regular mail cause I told everyone to write emails. But she continues to write snail mail and it is fun to get a letter from her everytime I am near the mission office.

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


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.

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Week of Transfer Three

Well another week has gone by. Funny how that happens. Sometimes I feel like the brother of Nephi, Jacob, when he says, "and life passed us by as if it were a dream." Things are good.

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

General Conference

So it seems the main question this week is: Was I able to watch General Conference? Well let me just say, before the mission, I didn't really appreciate how much the prophets do so that they can broadcast that message across the world. We watched live Saturday night at 6pm local time as the Saturday morning session started. We then came back on Sunday to the Stake Center and watched the Priesthood session at 11, the Saturday afternoon session at 2, and then the Sunday morning session at 6. So I missed out on Elder Holland's talk. It sounds like it was pretty amazing!

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.

Love y'all!
Anziano Hatch