Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday we had to make some emergency trips. And that involved 700 kilometers of driving. It is interesting being an assistant, because you never know what is going to happen or what president is going to ask you to do when you see his number on the caller ID. So it keeps things exciting. Meanwhile, the new companionship in our house is tearing it up. They have set two baptismal dates since being together - which is under a week. They are doing great.
Sounds like you all had a wonderful Christmas break/are having a wonderful Christmas break. That is fantastic. I don't really know what to write about since we talked only a few days ago and talked about everything, it seems like. Transfers are coming up, so we have been talking to President quite a bit about that in the past few days.
I really don't know what to write about this week. It looks like the mission is going to end the year with 154 baptisms. That is about a 90% improvement from the Rome mission from last year. So we are preparing for the temple quite nicely.
Well that is it for me. I love you all!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Well this week we returned from our exchanges in Foggia, Bari, Lecce and Napoli. It was a good trip. In one week, we traveled 1500 kilometers. So we traveled a good 960 miles. Lots of good quality time in the car...lots. That was fun. I saw a lot of missionaries that I did not know from the old Catania mission. It was nice.
This week has been pretty crazy getting everything organized and rules set straight for Christmas. But that has been pretty much it. Kind of a boring week so far. The work has slowed a little because of the holiday season. But it will pick up.
Well, I love all of you. I'll talk to you at 5 pm Italian time on Christmas.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Saturday there was a Zone Leader Council that we attended, and Elder Cuasse talked about our mission vision and how we would accomplish that. It was a really good visit from him. That night we had a couple of lessons. It was good to get some teaching in the mix of things. Then on Sunday, we went to church and there were a couple of investigators in church, and then we went to the Christmas Devotional. It was broadcast a week later, so it could be translated and watched at a reasonably decent hour.
Monday we had a district meeting and a meeting with President. In that meeting, one of my companions and I got the assignment to do some exchanges and things during this week. So on the flash, we left Tuesday morning and arrived in a town called Foggia. Here we met up with Anziano Pace and Anziano Packer. We are doing some exchanges here and helping to implement some of the things that Elder Causse taught to us. We will be leaving to go to Bari tonight, and then we will go back home and make a pit stop in Napoli to see some of the Zone Leaders there.
Clark and Elder David PaceSo it has been fun to be here in Foggia to see Anziano Pace. I think this is something like the third time in the entire time we have been out that I have seen him. He is a good missionary that talks with everyone. Plus, it has been fun to serve with someone from Idaho Falls. Really fun.
Sounds like there is a lot of weather action happening in Idaho this year. That makes for some exciting adventures. Julie and Jalayne....no sliding off roads this year, alright? I am just kidding, but seriously. No sliding. Kim, your child is growing up too fast. He is what, 4 years old? I didn't know Santa was just a symbol until I was in 3rd grade. I guess I am just not a realist like little Elliott.
Well, I love you all. Hope that you have a great week. I don't have a time period set yet for the phone call, but when I do, I will be sture to let you know.
P.S. Did I mention fighting fires in a letter? I didn't think that I did, but ya, that is something that I am thinking about doing over the summer. So if someone could reasearch that, that would be great.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
So the trip from Messina to Rome was anything but glorious. In fact, it took 12 hours and all night on a bus. That was an interesting trip. But it was worth it. As my first assignment here, I am companions with the district leader who was also supposed to train a new missionary. But his missionary didn't come from the MTC because of health problems. He broke his finger pretty bad or something like that. So I am splitting my time between the District Leader and my other two companions. It is weird, because I go from doing finding work and teaching lessons to meetings with President and planning travel and stuff for exchanges with zone leaders. It is a pretty crazy life.
Well, I don't know really what else to write. Kind of crunched for time. I love you all though, and I hope to hear from you all soon!
Friday, December 3, 2010
Dear Brother and Sister Hatch,
Elder Hatch has just been called to serve as an Assistant to the President in the Italy Rome Misison. He and my other two Assistants will work closely with me in guiding the work of approximately one hundred missionaries.
Elder Hatch has shown great dedication in his missionary labors here. His strong testimony, love of the people, and desire to serve has helped mold him into a wonderful missionary. Sister Kelly and I are looking forward to this new association with him, feeling of his testimony and strength of spirit, and watching his leadership skills unfold. The many challenges he will experience will not only enable him to serve well now, but will prepare him for future callings in the Church.
We appreciate this opportunity to serve with your son. May the Lord continue to bless you at home as you support him in the great work he is doing. Thank you for your faith and prayers.
Thomas E. Kelly
Italy Rome Mission
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
We let the Reggio Anziano use the font on Thursday as they also had two baptisms and their font was broken, and the new one they had ordered had not arrived yet. They did the baptism outside, and so the font was a little dirty. So we had to clean it a little. That took pretty much all morning. Then we came back after lunch and started to fill it up. As the water was flowing in, water started leaking. So we took turns standing with a mop and mopping up water as it came out and as the font filled. We prayed fervently that the font would stop leaking.
After about an hour and a half, some members showed up along with an investigator. We had scheduled an appointment with this investigator and the branch president with us. So we stationed a member on mop duty and went into the lesson. As we were teaching, we heard a loud boom! And the members outside the room were kind of freaking out. Anziano Polelli and I were kind of freaking out, and we had worried faces on. After talking about it later after the lesson, we both expressed that we felt that everything was fine and to continue the lesson. So we did. The lesson went well, and that investigator should have a baptismal date in a couple of weeks.
So after the lesson, we went out and the font, under the pressure of the water that was in it, popped into a different position. So all was fine. What was even better was that in its new position, it stopped leaking water. My how great is our Heavenly Father. Then the baptismal service began, and there were two really good talks that brought the spirit very strongly. Then the baptisms. Let's just say that although the fond had stopped leaking, there were enough tears from the people in that room that we almost needed the mop again. The spirit was really strong. As the participants changed, Anziano Polelli and I gave a presentation about the Restoration. We talked and watched parts of the movie, "The Restoration." The spirit was very strong again. Just in short, the whole things was filled with the spirit. Anb ecause of that, one of Mariapia's sons decided to continue meeting with us. And jer daughter-in-law decided to start meeting the missionaries. So a really good night.
Then on Sunday, the confirmations were again a very spiritual experience for everyone. With these two baptisms, the entire branch was involed. All knew those that were being baptized, and there was a brotherly love that filled the chapel. Saturday night though, President Kelly called us and told us that I was reeturing to Rome 2 and that Anziano Polelli was staying. That made Sunday a little hard - having to osay goodbye to the members here. There are a lot of great people here.
So the last couple of days, we have been teaching lessons and saying goodbye to people. Mariapia gave me a tie and a very nice letter last night. I will miss Messina.
As far as Logan goes, you can just tell him to write me a letter. I can't believe he is home. Sounds like you all had a great Thanksgiving. I miss having a real winter. But what can you do? Things are great.
So I will be returning to Rome where I started the mission. It is weird. Oh, and I will be in the other companionship in Rome 2, the one close to the president.
Love you all!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So in this week of Thanksgiving, I have decided to do just that...give thanks.
I am grateful for an opportunity to serve a mission, and for the health and physical capacities as well as the emotional and spiritual tolerance that have accompanied me on this journey. I am grateful for the blessings that I have seen in my life as well as the blessings that have come to those that I have had the pleasure to teach. I am grateful for promptings of the spirit and spiritual witnesses that testify to the people of the truthfulness of our message - of the message that Christ taught us almost 2000 years ago. I am grateful for eternal truths taught to us by tireless prophets and courageous apostles. I am grateful for the scriptures and modern prophets that bear testimony to those searching for the truth. I am grateful for the spirit that touched the heart of both Christina and Mariapia this weekend at Stake Conference and for their decision to enter the waters of baptism this Saturday. I am grateful for mission leaders, inspired mission presidents and their wives, and General Authorities of the Church.
I am grateful for "goodly parents" who have taught me in the ways of the Lord and about the scriptures. I am grateful for their example and for their loving support throughout my life. I am greatful for the thousands of miles traveled to attend football and basketball games. I am grateful for family road trips and reunions. I am grateful for happy, healthy parents. I am grateful for the example of a loving mom who has been an examplar of womanhood, motherhood, and being a wife. I am grateful for a father who faces each challenge and calling in an optimistic way with trust in priesthood power and wisdom to listen to leaders - and then humbly puts that wisdom into practice. I am grateful for my brother and my brother-in-law that, along with my father, have been examples of righteous priesthood holders. I am grateful for the example they have set for me. I am grateful for the love of sports and good competition embedded in my by my brother. I am grateful for the great wife that he found, the example that she is for me, and the great standard she is for the woman that I hope to meet one day. I am grateful for a logical side of me born by friendship with my brother-in-law. I am grateful for the health conscious and spontaniety of my oldest sister, and for her great example of motherhood. I am grateful for the middle child that has taught me the beauty of order and how to have good clean fun. I am grateful for the peach who, though smallest of all in age, is the spiritual giant of the family. I am grateful for nieces and nephews that teach us many things about life - to name a few: how to enjoy simple things, how to always be engaged in doing something, and how wonderful life is inside the arms of a loved one. I am grateful for wonderful aunts, uncles, and cousins that fufill the statement, "it takes a village to raise a child." I am grateful for friends and their good examples, for righteous priesthood leaders and bishops.
I am grateful for chili potatoes and (I know you can't believe it) warm bowls of oatmeal in the morning. I am grateful for campfire smoke and stories of Herman the worm. I am grateful for shouts of "ah-ah-nic-a-shee" emphatically shouted in the woods. I am grateful for trampoline games and nights under the stars, for homemade shrimp salad, steak, potatoes, and chocolate cake. I am gratefuly for turkey sandwiches and chocolate pudding, for Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Wicked, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat, for snowmobiling and snow caves, for fishing, fresh air, and fishing. I am grateful for the grace of a bird and the blessing of powered flight. I am grateful for modern transportation and the beauty of the earth.
I cannot list all of the things that I am grateful for. Thanks to all who have influenced my life and for the love and help that you have offered. I love you all!
Saturday was used visiting some less activies and an investigator, Mariagrazia. The Branch President passed by her house with his wife and shared a thought with her and talked with her for a while. Her husband died a couple of months ago, so times are a little rough for her. But the Branch President asked her to pray about whether or not it was time for her to get baptized or not. She has been praying and has been having positive experiences. She also got an interview offer for a job in Scotland. She was really excited for that. She speaks English pretty well and teaches English here in Italy. She was looking for some kind of work that she could do outside to improve her English. So things are shaping up for her. She also came to church on Sunday even though she told us that she wouldn't be able to come. Things just work out like that.
Monday, we did exchanges in Siracusa. That was good. We participated in their district meeting and got to see the whole district there. They are doing great work here. The thought came into my head while we were knocking on doors that either I am crazy or I know that this is true, because I wouldn't be walking around knocking on doors if it wasn't. I would be at home playing basketball. But nothing is more fun than talking to a sweet old Sicilian woman at her door, even if you get turned down.
Tuesday we had a lot of appointments. We taught three in the presence of members. We have been focusing a lot on that lately. Lessons with members are always better, well most of the time. All three lessons were with old investigators from the area book. They were all interesting lessons. If those people decide to continue taking lessons, they are going to need a little bit of work. But patience is a virtue.
Today we went and saw one of the oldest churches in Europe. It is 1000 years old. That is pretty old. It was a pretty good p-day. We went with a member and he fed us afterwards, so that was good.
Mom, as far as school goes right now, I know that I want to retake Chemistry 104. Maybe if you hooked me up with some generals, then I can decide. Thanks. And with the package, wait another week and then you can send it to the mission office. We are pretty sure that the company didn't get the order, because there wasn't the right amount of money on my companion's card. So another week, and we'll confirm.
Dad, I don't know if the training broadcast was in Italian or not, but they have the manuals. And I know that at least our Branch President is very fervent about making sure that they will be used.
Love you all!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sunday was a really spiritual day at church. The lesson in priesthood was taught by the Branch President, and he talked about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. Then in Gospel Principles, we talked about talents, and then in Sacrament meeting, we had a nice testimony meeting. There were no thank-a-monies, and the spirit was strong. Good sacrament meeting to have three investigators in and two potentials.
Mariapia's baptism has been moved back to the 27th because of Stake Conference. Therefore, we will have a double baptism on that day, and there will be two more baptisms on that day in our district and two more in the zone. So that will be a great day in the zone.
On Monday, we had the assistants here with us, and we did some exchanges. We went to Reggio to have a district meeting and then came back. One of the assistants almost got kinda sea sick on the boat. That was pretty funny. Then in the afternoon, we left for Milazzo where we taught a couple of member families. Then yesterday was Zone Conference. We had to go down to Catania very early so that we could pick up Pres. and Sis. Kelly from the airport. Then we took them to the church, and then we played shuttle system for the missionaries from the station to the church. We got everyone there, and then we had a great Zone Conference. We talked about improving our prayers, working to fulfill what we pray for, and being more obedient. It was a pretty good training. Then we played shuttle again after, and got Pres. and Sis. Kelly back to the airport. And then we were able to arrive back in Messina with enough time to enjoy a pizza. So the night ended well.
Today, I went to the post office to pick up the package from mom. Thank! I already enjoyed some Jelly Belly jellybeans. Those are good. If I had to make recommendations for the next package, it would be tootsie rolls (original) and Reisens. Yummy, yummy.
Well that is it for the week. Love you all!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Well, time for storytime. So Monday afternoon, we set off for Palermo. The office decided to fly us out of Palermo this time, because it was cheaper. So we drove there and arrived amidst the rain and wind in peace and safety. But after almost 4 hours of travel, I remembered with this great memory of mine, that I forgot my passport in Messina. So we called President looking for advice. In the past, I had been fine just using my permesso di soggiorno which makes me a legal "citizen." But it is expired. So we decided to try it. If it didn't work, I would stay with the missionaries in Palermo and my companion would go with the other zone leaders from Sicily to Rome. Well blessings came, and I was able to get on the plane with no problems.
We had a great conference and have set a goal as a misison to get 40 baptisms by the end of the year. Right now, we have 30 dates just for the month of November. So I believe that it is a reachable goal. After a good conference, we were left to ourselves for pretty much all of the day on Wednesday, because our flight wasn't until 6:35pm. So we took a little "tour" around the city, led by me. And we went and saw a few of the sights again in Rome. It was nice. I love that city. Here is where the story gets sticky.
So we get to the airport at 4:30 and go to check in. I show my permesso and they say, "Can you fly with just this?" After a bit of discussion, they decided that I could. (I already knew that, because I had done it twice before. It was just that this comapny had some problems and was very mean. Maybe corporate came down on them or something. I don't know. But customer service was pretty much at a zero). It wasn't the permesso thing that got me uptight, because it is true, I forgot my passport and it was expired. So that is my fault. But what happened next was uncalled for.
So we go to security and the man that checks to make sure that you have a ticket before you get to the scanners made me put my bag in the little bag size checker. It was too big by 3/8 of an inch. He said, nope you can't take that. You have to check it in. So amidst the grumbles of me and the inconvenience of paying another 22 euro to check in another bag (I wasn't the only one that had to do it), the same man let a woman go through with 4, that is right, FOUR bags AND a purse. I believe the requirement is ONE bag, and that is it. But nope, she got through nice and fine. So after calming down from that, and the fact that there were some really inappropriate advertisements in the airport (I mean how can you advertise for clothes when the models aren't wearing clothes. REALLY, they were just wearing their hands!), we were about to board the plane and the lady checking tickets decides that it is her time to shine. She does ANOTHER check of the bags and their sizes, makes my companion move stuff around again, although it had already been put through a very tiring test. Then she stops me because my permesso was expired. After talking with her, finally, with all the evidence that I was the person on the card, (there is a picture of me on the permesso) plus showing my driver's license and telling her that I was in the process of renewing my permesso, and telling her that the man who gave me my ticket had already checked with superiors, she grudgingly let me pass - almost as if she was promised a raise if she stopped someone from getting on the plane. What frustration.
That night was not that fun. But we did get to Palermo safely. And we drove back to Messina in safety, so I don't have too much I can be angry about. The blessings outweigh the inconveniences. So I am happy. Jalayne congrats on the temple trip. The first time is like you are drinking from a fire hose, but as you go back it becomes more and more beautiful. I miss it.
Well that is about it for me. Love you all!
Friday, October 29, 2010
It sounds like Julie has been keeping things up to date. We got to watch the groundbreaking with the members and two investigators. It was really great. The area presidency was there with President Monson and the stake presidents, and so on and so forth. The spirit was strong and I almost cried when I saw the picture of the temple for the first time. It was really great.
Nothing extraordinary has happened in the last week or so until recently. Yesterday was a dynamite day. We had a lesson with the son of one of our investigators. We had invited him to read the Book of Mormon on Sunday when we ate lunch at his house with him and his mom. Then we went back on Tuesday and his mom was still at work. (His mom is Mariapia.) But we had planned to teach him anyway. He had already read the Testimony of Joseph Smith and gotten to Chapter 9 of 1 Nephi. That was great. He is loving it. He says that he feels good when he reads it. At the end of the appointment, he asked for another Book of Mormon, because he wants to give one to his friend. And then he said, "Ya I'll give this to him, and then maybe you can go over or we can go over and you can explain what this is. And then maybe I can share a little bit about what I have felt." We were like, YES, that would be fantastic.
So that was good. All in all it has been a good week. We finished our English class advertisement stuff, finally, so we can get that started. And members are getting ready to give referrals. I feel like we are going to be really busy towards the end of November, because there is Zone Leader Council next Tuesday, and after that there is Zone Conference and exchanges that we have to do. With all that, plus members that want us to teach their friends, we will be busy. We will just have to plan well. We'll see how it goes.
Halloween in Italy doesn't really exist. They get most of their things from what they see America do. It is starting to pick up I think, though. Mostly just a time to throw a party. There are lots of Halloween parties. But as far as trick-or-treating goes, it doesn't really exist. So that is that.
Well that is it. Love you all!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Anyway, last Thursday we were in Catania all day long facilitating transfers. Things went reasonable well except there was one missionary that has been out only 2 transfers (12 weeks), and he was left by himself sitting at a bus station lost way out in the boonies. Well, he was in the city, but he was kinda farther away from the other bus stops than we had anticipated. He was there for about 2 1/2 hours. Then we decided that after a two hour delay, the bus had to have arrived, so we enlarged our search area and we found him sitting at the stop waiting for someone to pick him up. We felt bad, but at least he got found, right?
We will be waiting a little bit longer on Mariapia, as she feels too much stress at this time after being sick and in the hospital. So we will wait a little bit longer, but she knows she needs to do it and has expressed her desire to do so. So we will just be patient.
Sunday was an exceptionally good day. We have had all of our ward members return now from America, or the temple in Switzerland, or other various places. So this week we were able to relax and sit with our investigators. It was really nice. A really refreshing Sunday. Also, there was the 1st counselor from the Stake Presidency in our branch on Sunday, and he gave a good talk. Something about 1st counselors, I guess. They just give good talks. :) Monday, we had a district meeting and all went well. Then we taught some lessons to a member and a new convert. Those went well. Then we went to FHE at a member's house and other than the FHE being really good, they told us that the temple, genealogy center, stake center, visitor's center, hostel, and all the parking will be completed, finished, and dedicated in the year 2013. So I guess I better start saving my money to return as soon as I get home...If I have anything to save. That was exciting news.
So, I didn't get any feedback on my thoughts about my course of study from last week. What does that mean? That everyone is in agreement? Feedback is still welcome. You all should ask Elder Fife, if you haven't already, if he has any relatives that served in Italy, because one of the teachers in the MTC was Fratello Fife. So maybe and maybe not. Sounds like you all are having lots of fun. Keep up everything you do!
Life Goal List: Roast chestnuts on an open fire...check
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
It is raining cats and dogs right now, and I am pretty sure that the building down the street got struck by lightening. It was a pretty intense sounding strike. So the week has been a good one. We saw most of our investigators and I don't remember if I told you all, but we set another baptismal date with Mariapia for the 23rd of October - the same day as the temple dedication. We don't get to go, but I guess that Pres. Monson will be there with at least four other apostles. So pretty big deal. The only people that are invited as far as church members go are stake presidents, bishops, district presidents, and branch presidents. This is because there is limited parking space at the temple site and so lots of people cannot go...yet. The temple grounds are huge, but there is just nothing there right now. Anyway, back to Mariapia - she should be baptized in the coming weeks.
We had a really good lesson with one of our investigators, Mariagrazia. We went over to her house and she told us that she is ready to find out whether or not God is there. Before she told us that, we had decided to listen to Bishop Edgely's talk "Faith - It's Your Choice." It was really good. She was really hit by it and now she is reading the Book of Mormon and is determined to finish it in three months after we invited her to. So that is looking up.
So I have been thinking about school lately, and I have been thinking to pick up the Physical Therapy thing again. The more I think about it, the more I like it. But you cannot study that at BYU. So I have been thinking to do my prerequisites at BYU and then attend a different school for physical therapy. While at BYU, I will major in something else. I have been thinking something completely different that will give me an advantage if I need it. I was thinking about something in computer sciences. I don't know what, but I think that it would give me a good advantage. I don't have everything worked out, but everyone's input is welcome.
Well that is it for me this week.
Love you all!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Saturday, we were able to play soccer with some members and their friends. That was fun. We then went to conference at the church here in Messina. The Anziani from Reggio were with us. Then on Sunday, we went to Catania so that we could watch the rebroadcast of the Priesthood session. That was amazing. I really enjoyed that session. We stayed there to watch the rebroadcast of Saturday afternoon, and then we drove back to Messina to be with some investigators. We watched the Sunday morning session that night. I enjoyed Pres. Monson's talk very much. Also Elder Oaks' talk was very good.
Monday morning we had District meeting, after which we started some exchanges with our district leader. I stayed here in Messina. We taught one of our investigators, Cristina, and set a baptismal date with her. Then in the afternoon we set out on our search for a referral. We found her, and it was actually a member who used to live in Germany. So my companion for the day, Anziano Marzolla, got to speak his native language with her. Yes, that is right. She is German. That was fun.
Yesterday the highlight was the fact that we had a great lesson from a referral that a member gave us. She taught really well along side us. This new inestigator looks very promising and I think will make the right changes in her life to join the church. Not that it seems like she has to make that many. She is great. Now we have Mariagrazia, Mariapia, and Mariacatena as investigators. When we plan for them, it is different because we can't make shorcuts with their names cause they are all Marias.
Well that is everything for this week.
Love you all!
Panorama from the apartment in Crotone
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Well, since the last time that I wrote, "a lot" has happened in these three days. Sunday, we had a normal day at church. Our main investigator was still in the hospital. Then there was a fireside that we attended with one of our investigators about the Bibilical proofs of the Book of Mormon. It was really interesting and the person that did it has studied the Bible in Italian, English, and Hebrew. So he is a pretty informed man. He is part of a senior couple that is working in Palermo. They did a good job. Then later that night, the assistants arrived from Rome to do exchanges with us for Monday.
Monday morning, unfortunately for Anziano Hansen who was with me, we went to the Questura to do some paper work so I can be a legal "immigrant" until the end of my misison. So we got that out of the way. Unfortunately it took all morning. So in the afternoon we went to the north side of the island to meet with our new branch mission leader and do correlation, and then he came with us and we went and visited some less-active members. Meanwhile, my companion and the other assistant were able to visit Mariapia in the hospital. She should be out next week.
Then on Tuesday, we woke up the assistants, took the bus to go to Catania, and we picked up the elder from Reggio and 68 sandwiches, and we went down to Catania. Then I was given the calling with one of the Assistants to drive to the airport and pick up President and Sister Kelly. Driving isn't a problem for me, but being the driver for the mission president, I seemed to drive with even greater ease and increased concentration. We arrived at the church without any problem. Then the conference was good. President trained us on these new lessons that will help us be better teachers. After the conference, it was my duty again to get President Kelly and his wife to the airport. I was proud of myself as I had driven to the airport only once, but I did it without making any wrong turns and fairly fast also. Sister Kelly asked me if I had seen "The Princess Bride," and I said, "Yes." And she said, instead of Miracle Max, I was Miracle Hatch, because I drove there and back with no problems. It was good. Then we drove back to Messina.
The realization set in. All of the cities that Paul stopped in on his way to Rome are all the cities in Italy that I have been to - Siracusa, Reggio, Calabria, Pozzuoli, Tre Trimestrieri, and Rome. That is pretty humbling. I have walked where thousands of years ago, the Apostle Paul and Peter trod. It is cool.
Welp that is it. Love you all!
Well, this week has easily been the most draining week, spiritually, and probably physically also. Last week finished with the normal missionary work. Visits to less actives and investigators alike. Mariapia, our most progressing investigator, has been in the hospital for the last week and a half. She should get out of there today. Sunday, we had our two other progressing investigators in church. I taught Gospel Principles on the Word of Wisdom. The lesson went well up to a point where the conversation turned to the why must we follow the Word of Wisdom. And people threw out answers left and right. "It is good for your liver, for your body..." I heard just about every benefit and more chemical terms than I have ever heard before supporting both for and against the WoW. At a certain point I had had enough, and as the teacher, I arbitrarily stopped the conversation and bore testimony. I said basically, it doesn't matter what blessings were promised with the WoW. Those are just plusses. It doesn't matter what doctors say about the WoW, cause I could care less. If you have a concern with the WoW, you need to ask yourself two questions. Will you follow every commandment that comes from God with complete obedience? And, was Joseph Smith a prophet of God? If Joseph Smith was a prophet, then God commanded us to follow the WoW, not Joseph. That is all we have to decide. It was a pretty powerful moment to close the class.
Then Monday, we drove (I drove) to Catania. We were there for the District Meeting. There are some great missionaries there. Then we did splits with the Anziani there. We spent the night, then at 4:30, the Anziano drove us to the airport and we flew to Rome. Our flight was on time. Then we spent three days in Rome receiving training on eight supplementive lessons to PMG, teaching directly how to be a better teacher. They are really good lessons. During that time we also got to go out and do some proselytizing in Rome. I was able to call Riccardo Rossi whom we baptized when I was in Rome 2. He is still doing amazing, and it was great to be able to see him strong in the church. It was really beautiful. Then Thursday, we went back to the airport and felw to Catania. Our flight was late by about 45 minutes, so we had to sleep in Catania again. Then we drove south to Siracusa and did splits with the Anziani there, and we did a baptismal interview. After the interview, we drove home. And that brings us to today.
Yes mom, much to your worry and displeasure, it is my calling to be Zone Leader and therefore the responsibility to drive around to various places in Italy. But it isn't too bad. Maybe I have just become one of them, and I just don't notice. But we are safe and always drive defensively. Well, that is pretty much it for me. If I were to ask for something for Christmas, it would be candy. Maybe some money. But I just don't need anything, so...ya.
Love you all,
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sunday we went to church, obviously, and the Stake President taught for the first two hours and then Sacrament Meeting was fast and testimony meeting. The testimonies were good save a few who told long long stories about their trip to the temple. Like the normal problem with testimonies - too much story, not enough testimony. My companion has been in Messina for over 7 months now, so he bore his testimony and broke the news to everyone that he had been transferred. When he said it, there was a loud, "uhhh...no!" from everyone. Kinda irreverent, but funny also. It was cool to see how much this branch loves my companion. He has served in Sicily his whole mission, so most of the members on this island know him or have at least heard of him. Maybe not most, but a lot.
Then the last few days have been spent getting as many appointments out of the way as possible. We are trying to see as many members as we can with as many investigators and everything. It was been really tiring.
From "Remember the Titans," I quoted the part where they are doing updowns, I think, and Coach Boone says , "We got to change the way we run. We got to change the way we tackle. We got to change the way we eat..." and so forth. It fit really well with our training.
So down here more in the south and in more humidity there have been more cockroach encounters. Usually about 3-4 a week. Most recently, their favorite hiding place has been in my desk drawer for some reason. I don't know why. The other day, I was talking with President Kelly on the phone , and I opened my desk and saw one and had to use all my strength to not scream into the phone. It was great. I felt like a woman at that point.
Well, this is it for me this week. Love you ya'll!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Saturday we had some rather routine activities such as lessons and finding work and a lesson with one of our progressing investigators, Mariapia. We gave her a baptismal invite, and she said that she will when she knows that the church is true. We were not able to set a date, but she is awesome. She is in her late 40's early 50's with two kids and is separated. She works as a secretary in a law firm. She is great. On Sunday, she came to church for all three hours (her third time in church) and the first counselor from the Stake Presidency was visiting. He gave a great talk about first children in sacrament meeting and how everything should be done to keep them in the meeting. Then he talked about growth of wards and branches and how it comes when we focus on what the gospel focuses on, the individual, and not the numbers. Focusing on the number will not get us anywhere. It is the same way in missionary work. It was a really great talk.
We have started formulating our ideas for our training for Zone Conference and we are pretty set on the topic of change. On how we change and preserve change in ourselves and in investigators/member/less-active members. We are hoping to organize all of our ideas so that we can transmit this idea that we have to the zone, so it can benefit them.
On Monday, we had district meeting and then we did exchanges with the Anziani in Reggio-Calabria which is the city across the strait from us. I went to Reggio and the missionary I was with is from Germany. That was fun. We had a good exchange and then we came back and, with my companion, went to some appointments including one with Mariapia.
Well, that is all as big news goes. Next week, since Zone Conference is on Wednesday, we will either do email Tuesday or Thursday. We are not sure which one, but if you all could plan accordingly that would be nice. That is pretty crazy about all of the conference rearrangements. Who knows what will come of it (I am speaking of football now). Who knows but maybe this will help BYU finish a sports season like men instead of scared dogs with their tails between their legs.
Sounds like the reunion went well. I actually had a dream that I went fishing up in Island Park the other night and caught a nice big brown trout. That was fun...then I woke up. Haha Dreams are fun.
I have one picture this week, and it is a yellow watermelon. It is smaller than a watermelon and the inside is yellow. The seeds are arranged like a watermelon, and it tastes like a watermelon, but it is yellow like a pineapple. Crazy!
*Please note Clark's new mailing address. (His email address remains the same.)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Then on Saturday was our "festa di lavora" (work holiday) which is one of the two days of the year where we stay in and clean our apartments due to ridiculous parties and Catholic "holidays." But we only cleaned in the morning because we had to go fill up the font for a baptism! Yes, that is right. Angelo Curro was baptized last Saturday. He set the date a couple of days after I got here, so I'll just take credit for helping him endure to the date of baptism. He then was confirmed on Sunday and interviewed and given the Aaronic Priesthood and is now a Priest. He says that "I never thought in my entire life I would ever become a priesthood holder of any sort. But here I am...I can't believe it." He is great. He has a really raspy voice from smoking for 42 years, so that information should help you imitate his voice.
Monday we did an exchange in Siracusa which is in south east Sicily. Wow. I have been tracking my travel since I left Pisa, and I have been going south nonstop. If I keep it up, I am going to end up in a service mission in Algeria or something. No, I am just kidding. That wouldn't happen...
Anyway, so we were there for some lessons and district meetings. The work in that city is going really well. There is a ward there. Oh ya, I forgot to say last week that this last June Sicily became a stake. So the church just keeps on growing. The exchanges went well. The district leader is a funny guy and good missionary. He was the one I was split with. We were walking down the street and a fence grabbed my shirt and ripped my sleeve beyond repair. It happened so quickly I didn't know what had happened.
My companion is the man that is hairier than Dad in the background, by the way. I call him the werewolf, and I make a wild noise everytime he takes his shirt off. We have good times.
Well the weeks ahead include Zone conference (in two weeks), preparing a training for zone conference, finally some normal missionary work, and hopefully another baptism. So hopefully some exciting days ahead.
Well, that is about it for me. I love you all!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Friday morning we got the assignment to take a new car down to Sicily. So we started the drive from Rome to Messina. It took ten hours. Lots of traffic and construction. But we did stop in Battipaglia where my companion used to work, and we got some pizza. They gave them to us for free because they were good friends with my companion. So that made the trip worth it.
Saturday we had a baptismal interview for our investigator, but we were not able to be there because we had to go to Catania and do a baptismal interview down there. I conducted the interview, so consider my first baptismal interview under my belt. And everything went well. Everything went well for our investigator also. He is a 50 year old man who has been smoking for 42 years. Yes that is right. That puts his first cigarette at eight years of age. There was a point in his life when we was throwing down 150 cigarettes a day. That is a lot of money. He has been an investigator for 20 months and just hasn't been able to stop smoking. Then one day, a member gave him this book, "It's Easy To Stop Smoking If You Know How To Do It," but in Italian of course. He read the book and hasn't touched a cigarette since. So he is being baptized this Saturday.
Monday morning we set out early go to to Consenza and do an exchange. The exchange went well. I was exchanged with a brand new missionary. It was great. He is going to be a great missionary. Then the next morning we drove to Crotone and did exchanges there. Also the exchanges there went well. Then this morning, we drove home but stopped at some relatives of my companion. We taught them a lesson and they fed us, and then we drove back to Messina. And now we are at the internet point, and I am writing this email. What a week.
To answer some stray questions: No, Sister Smith is not in my Zone. But my companion just informed me that she is a good missionary. Service, Dad, is the key to brotherhood. I believe that it is the best way to show your love for someone else. It is what our Savior spent his whole life doing.
Love you all! Give Mikki a few more pets for me!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
My new companion is awesome. He actually comes from the branch from which I was just serving in Battipaglia. So it is really fun to talk about people we know and for him to see how his branch has grown since he has been gone. He has been in the mission since February of 2009. So he is a litle older than me...in the mission. He is actually 23 and about 3 or 4 inches taller and probably a good five pounds heavier. He is awesome.
So our area has a car, and so we are trying to get my license converted so that I can take some of the driving burden off of my companion. Who knows when the Italian government will get that done, though. But it won't affect my license now. We have work in two cities to do, so the car is really useful. Also for when we have to do exchanges with the District Leaders who are spread all throughout Calabria which is the foot and toe part of Italy and the eastern side of Sicily. So our zone is pretty big. Most of the missionaries in my zone are from the old Catania mission. Save myself, one other, and two fresh from the MTC, the entire zone is made up of the old Catania mission.
In about five hours, we are catching a flight to Rome for a Zone Leader conference. I am really excited to be back in Rome for a couple of days. Everytime I have been back, I feel like Rome is home - funny how that rhymes. But ya, so we will be in Rome for a couple of days. I have already felt the stress that comes with more responsibility. We have baptismal interviews scheduled that we have to be to, Zone Conferences, exchanges, and any problems that could possibly happen in the mission field. It will be an exciting new adventure.
I have to apologize, because I forgot my camera. But that just means more next week right? Well that is about it for me this week. I love you all and thank you for your letters!
P.S. Give Mikki a few pets from me!
P.S.S. I forgot to tell you that we set a baptismal date this week for the 14th! Tell you more about it next week!
P. S.S.S. I also forgot to tell you that I have also been asked to be the Branch pianist - which means I play in Sacrament meeting. I played last Sunday. I had to play a simplified version of "There is a Green Hill Far Away," because I have never practiced any Sacrament hymns. So another story that is being unfolded.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Dear Brother and Sister Hatch,
We are pleased to inform you that your son has been called to serve as a Zone Leader in the Italy Rome Mission. He will have the responsibility to preside over two or more districts in one of our zones here in the mission. He iwll be responsible for his zone both spiritually and temporally. He will teach them once a month in a combined district meeting and will help with the planning and training at Zone Conference. He will go on exchanges with all of the missionaries in his zone to help them with teaching or language skills. He will also serve as a member of the Zone Leader Council which helps direct and plan initiatives for the entire mission.
We love your son and are excited for the opportunity to work closely with him. He is an outstanding missionary.
With best regards,
Thomas E. Kelly
Italy Rome Mission
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Last Wednesday, we went to Napoli to eat a pizza. We got nice replica Napoli soccer jerseys and shorts, and a fun time was had by all.
Thursday we taught some inactives and some investigators. Our investigator with a baptismal date told us that she didn't want to be baptized yet. She felt like she still isn't ready. I pray that someone will be able to find the answers to her concerns. She has only been an investigator for 8 years. Then we had a very interesting lesson with our new convert that is preparing himself for the Priesthood. We talked a lot about the blessing of modern scripture. He was under the impression that the Bible contained everything necessary for the Church of Christ to run. Although that is partly true, the blessings of modern revelation are why the church is what it is.
Friday we did weekly planning. I hate planning for week 6 of the transfer, because if someone gets transferred it throws off your plans for the rest of the week. But we did it nonetheless. We taught a few more lessons that day, one with a very Catholic woman who told us that it is written in the Bible that babies should not leave the house until they have been baptized. But that doesn't make sense, nor is it written in the Bible.
Saturday we did yard work. I mowed the lawn. YES! It was looking really good for our branch activity later that night. After we did yard work, we ran home and showered and ran back to the church to have a lesson with Carrie. She will be baptized next transfer. I say next transfer, because she is going to Canada for a couple week to visit family. The activity was awesome. We had seven members there and 12 investigators there. So that made us pretty happy.
Sunday morning was one of the most interesting mornings of the mission. The assistants called us and gave us our transfer calls. I am being transferred to Messina in Sicily (Sicilia) tomorrow. I will be a zone leader down there, so there was another shock. My companion will be staying here and will be host to his new companion. Plus, they are opening a companionship here in Battipaglia. The rest of the day went really well.
So I will be traveling to Messina, sadly, by myself, and if I understood right, it will be about an 8 hour trip. So lots of time to talk to people, I guess. The last few days have been normal. So that's it for this letter.
Love you all!
One of the greatest families in Battipaglia
Monday, July 26, 2010
1. We bought a 3 kilogram ball of mozzarella to celebrate our one year anniversary. It took us 4 days to eat it, eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
So President Kelly was a business lawyer working for JetBlu if I remember correctly. He has served as a BYU bishop and a U of U Stake President. He is really personable and understands youth really well. From what I saw, he is going to do great in leading this merger.
At Zone Conference yesterday, a lot was talked about loving your companion and being obedient. My companion and I have talked about it and (his dad being a mission president in Mexico City) we talked about the things he saw in his dad's mission when he was a new president. What we came down to was something that an elder said yesterday in Zone Conference. He said basically that it doesn't matter what a new mission president does or new leadership in zones, we are called to find, teach, and baptize. And that is what we will do. Who our leader is, what his name is, where he is from does not matter. He was chosen by comeone that we sustain as prophet, seer, and revelator. So whether we did knowledgeably or not, we also choose to sustain our mission president. I thought that that was a beautiful insight into things.
It is good to hear that you are all doing well. We have had a pretty average week the last couple of weeks. Just trying to help our investigators progress while making more time to find. We haven't seen the blessings from that yet, but we will, in the Lord's time.
So my companion's dad wrote him and said basically this: that he, at his Zone Conferences, ripped into his missionaries for being lazy and babies. That is what he said. He said that he used his two sons on missions as examples. He said that if "my son in Italy can reach 20-24 lessons a week, we should do much better than that. If my other son in Russia after some planned activity with 20 minutes to nine can be dedicated to use that time to find instead of going home and then find a new investigator, we should be able to do much more." He told them that they were scared to see what they could be and that they were too much so mammas boys. (Not that that is a bad thing mommy, but it can be in excess just like everything else). So that was cool to see that about a different mission.
Mom, I got the license renewal letter and signed it. I accidentally ripped the page, but I taped it so I hope that is fine. Other than that, keep praying for miracles and you'll see them!
P.S. I don't think I need anything that I haven't said already as far as packages go.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The time spend with the Zone Leaders was good. They told us that Pres. Acerson, before he left, really stressed "cleaning the inner vessel." Which is for us to take inventory and look at the things where we could improve. They warned us against pride with two missions merging together. Be humble and recognize that we are here doing the same things and no one is better than anyone else. Pres. Acerson, I guess, was expecting that the missionaries, next transfer, will be shuffled together like a deck of cards and then distributed. But that is not for another three weeks. Next Tuesday will be the first time that I meet the new president and will also be my first interview. So next week I will have the information that you are all dying for.
The biggest news after that would be that the member (Francesco) and I had a good talk about the priesthood last night. I didn't have anyone in my English class, so we just talked about priesthood organization and started to talk about the responsibilities for these things. Then we ran out of time. But I think the main problem is that he just doesn't want it for now, cause he doesn't understand it. But we can help with that. We have an appointment with him for tomorrow. So we'll see the fruit from that later.
So to answer mom's question about our little party - it isn't going to be anything big. We are just looking for the biggest ball of Mozzarella di Buffula that we can fine. That is mozzarella made from Buffalo milk. They are good. One of the pictures is of those Mozz-balls.
Well family, I love you. Thanks, Jalayne, for the package. I hope that I'll get it by zone conference so that I can enjoy the contents. Love you all!
A picture of, you guessed it, the Italian Football League. It was on at an investigator's house. Really funny.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I learned over the past few weeks that my reader list of my letters has gotten a lot bigger than I thought. I hope one and all enjoy anyway.
Let me start off with something that I think I forgot last week. The church building here, even though it is a remodeled apartment building, has a lawn! A pretty big one. And guess who gets to mow it every Thursday morning? That is right. Me! So that is a blessing that I get to enjoy here. I get to do a little yard work. Even on the mission. This week has been a pretty good one. We have been teaching a lot of lessons and so we have decided for this week to pull back on the lessons (we have been exceeding 22 both weeks so far) and spend more time doing finding work. When was the last time you heard a missionary say that? Probably never. So we are shooting for twenty lessons this week but with the blessing of doing more finding work. We want to enlarge our teaching pool. Friday we played basketball with some people that come to our English class. As usual, the Americans won, although they weren't bad. One of them (a girl - although very short) was pretty good. But the height factor affects her. She said that she wasn't on the local team cause she was too short.
Skipping to Sunday. It was a pretty sad day at church. For some reason members and investigators alike decided to take vacation that weekend. The numbers went like this: eight members in the Battipaglia branch boundaries, two members from other branches, one investigator, and four missionaries. It was pretty lonely. We had an average Monday and Tuesday. Then today we went to Paestum...
We also saw some members and an investigator. The meeting with the investigator was the best. This woman is an American who married an Italian. I don't know how she met the missionaries but she has known the senior couple (the Marlors) for some time. She is searching for a testimony - really searching - and has been for a long time. So today we talked about testimonies. My companion and I didn't really have lots of time to prepare, but we decided that we wanted to use two scriptures from Alma. While in the lesson, I felt that I should share the beginning of the story. So we went to Mosiah 14 first, and we read about how Alma the younger was. Then we went to Alma 36 and read a little bit about what happened during the three days and nights that he was in the stupor. Then we finished with 45-46 of chapter 5 of Alma. Last week we had talked about Laman and Lemuel so we compared them to Alma. They had both seen angels, but their stories were totally different. We broke it down like this. Alma did basically three things. He tasted of the goodness of the Atonement, he fasted, and he prayed. I think that she has been getting kind of discouraged , but I feel like this revitalized her. We invited her to pray and fast this Sunday with a promise from an Apostle, that if she would come to church with a question in mind, she would find the answer to that question. Well we all know what question she is going to bring. So let's put our faith in a promise from the Lord, shall we? I know she will receive an answer.
Well this is the letter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTIN! Also you will all have to wish America a happy birthday for me. Oh and Dad, if you are going to try to mow a flag into the lawn, good luck. That took three years to perfect. haha.
Love you all!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
So here there is a family that is half baptized. The family is composed of a father, a mother, and three daughters. The dad and one of the daughters are baptized. We want more than anything for the whole family to be baptized. So pray for them. They are really great. I think it is because the dad has kind of stopped progressing. He was baptized two weeks ago and still doesn't have the priesthood. His only problem, that we know of, is that he doesn't understand why we need the priesthood to perform blessings if people can be healed by faith alone. So this brings me to a rare thing. Question of the week - and I expect answers - so for you all, "Why do we need the priesthood to perform blessings if people can be healed by faith alone?"
I saw a member from Castellamare last night, and he told me that the Amendola family was endowed with the Melchizedek priesthood on Sunday. The Branch President gave it to the dad, and the dad to his son. Then the Branch President gave it to the other boy, Gennaro, also. It must have been absolutely beautiful.
As far as World Cup action goes, everyone is disappointed in Italy's performance thus far. But they also say that their team is too old for World Cup competition. I like to ask people how America is doing because someone told me that they might do pretty well because they have a younger team. We'll see. I guess they pulled off a close call tie with Slovakia the other day. They play again today. We might watch it since they play during p-day.
And for the changing of mission stuff, it is weird cause we are the farthest south in the Rome mission right now. So we don't hear anything from anyone about things that are happening at Rome or things that are going down. So zero updates other than the mission will change July 1.
Well until next time, don't do dumb things and do good things. Julie, stop getting operated on. I can't wait for the 4th of July...oh wait, I am in Italy. Speaking of that, our big celebration will be on July 15th, the day Anziano Nancollas and I arrived in Italy. So we are going to plan a good meal for that one. Anyway thanks for everything you all do!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
A statue of Jesus Christ. Near it there is a fountain with a reference to the water's of life scripture. Not very famous but cool.
A really bad translation into English. I even know what it is, but the directions still don't make sense.
(Product use information. 1. Add water 400G on the product, about 4 hours it will grow up. 2. One clear beauty satiety face will grow up. 3. When the flower want to oxygen and nutrition, I will help you too much.)Caro Famiglia,
This week has been a fantastic week. Let us start by killing the suspense. I have been transferred to...Battipaglia. So I am still in the Rome mission and my new mission president will be President Kelly. I will be leaving tomorrow. Battipaglia is pretty much just 45 minutes to an hour southeast from Castellammare. I will be DL still and I will actually have a district to preside over, as a senior couple from Rexburg is also serving in that city. My new companion will be one of my companions from the MTC, Anziano Nancallas. So we will be able to skip the pleasantries and just get to work. I am excited for that.
This week has been a great one. We played some soccer and made some good contacts. They said they were impressed with the way that my companion and I played soccer. I guess we were pretty good for a couple of Americans. I did kick a ball in that was in the air. That was pretty cool. We have another game for this Friday, but I will not be here. Managia!
We had president's interview last Friday. He was in a hurry cause he had interviews to do with members also while he was down in the Napoli area. He couldn't find a parking spot so he had us come down, and we drove to a spot and we had interviews in the car while one of us waited outside. It was pretty funny. Being one of the few missionaries that President ever got permission from his wife to play with, I thanked him for that opportunity and for all the wonderful things that he had taught me in my stay in this mission so far. He looked at me and said, "Next time we play I will be in shape and it won't be so easy for you." We had a good laugh about it.
Then on Sunday was probably the most beautiful day. It was an area conference for all of Europe, broadcast from SLC. Speakers were Elder Johnson (who conducted), Sister Cook from the Young Women's Presidency, Elder Bednar, and President Packer. I have really come to love Pres. Packer's talks. Both he and Elder Bednar talked about an experience they had when Elder Bednar was a missionary in Germany and Pres. Packer was a newly called Apostle. The story of the twenty mark note. They both had different lessons that they pulled from the story. It was really good. I had heard the story before in the MTC when Elder Bednar came and spoke. And not only was that wonderful, but we had four - yeah that is right - FOUR members from our branch sustained to be ordained to the office of the Melchizedek Priesthood. One was the other man that was recently rebaptized, two were his sons, and the last was their friend. They are all awesome people and I will never forget about them. They say that they are already planning to come to Battipaglia to see me. I would love that.
And that leaves us here. At the end again. Man, time really flies, but I am happy to be staying in the Rome mission. I must have completed the things I was called to do in Tuscany while I was in Pisa. Time to work down south, I guess. Oh boy, that will be really, really hot. Oh yeah, two strange things that happened this week. On Saturday it was so humid I thought I was going to die. Then it started raining, and I looked up and the sun was right above us - no clouds in sight other than a misty looking thing that looked like the mist of a hose attachment. That was weird. Mother Nature how you amaze me. Then we were doing house on Monday morning (tracting) and a dog bit the back of my leg. It was just a little thing and it didn't break the skin. But I couldn't believe I got bit by a dog. Where am I? South America? It was pretty funny.
Well sounds like another great week for you all. Keep having fun and loving life. Remember to keep growing your testimonies! If you are not moving forward you are moving backwards!
A funny sign...well I thought it was funny. I'll let you all translate it.