Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Castellamare!

Alright Castellamare! Well my new area is great. Right on the gulf of Napoli on the southern tip. Like Mom said in her letter, it is only 20 minutes from Pompeii. We'll go someday. My new companion, Anziano Mercado, is from the Detroit area. He is a Wolverines fan, so he has got that going for him. He is in his 4th transfer and is really good with the language. He really impresses me. The Napoli area is old and tattered as you will see in the photos. The outside of the apartment buildings are less than is to be desired. Falling apart here and there, but the houses on the inside are really well kept. It is really amazing the transformation that goes on.

My new responsibilities are not many. I am in charge of directing the affairs with the branch council and branch mission leader. But since there are only two of us here, we are both pretty involved in the work. Other than that, I call in the numbers at the end of the week. With a district of only two people, there really is no difference in my responsibilities which is nice cause I don't have to spend time doing things that are not missionary work.

I need to thank Grandma Clark for her comment and her confidence in her semi-retarded grandson. I laughed rather hard when I read that.

Sounds like you all had a really good time in D.C. Did you go to Alexandria (I think that is the place) and go visit "Remember the Titans" landmarks? That is something, now that I think about it, that I would do. But it sounds like you all had lots of fun. How is the tournament doing? Are things really as crazy as Justin and Dad made them sound last week? I got a letter from Aunt Evelyn. That was really nice of her. I also received the news that she will be going to South Korea. That is pretty cool.

Oh yeah, as for transportation, we usually walk everywhere. Sometimes there is a bus or a train that we can take. But 87.687% of the time we are walking.

I am loving this new area. It is really warm though, which doesn't bode well for anyone that has dad's sweat glands. Man, I am wet like all day long. The other day, we were helping this member move some things and I was sweating so bad.

Well that is it for this week. Thanks for all the emails and prayers!! Ya'll keep up the good work now!

Heart,
Anziano Hatch

(Clark also sent some pictures, which I will post next week when we get back from vacation.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bye Pisa!

Well this week has been a mighty fine one that ended with a bang. To not keep you all waiting, I am being transferred to the Napoli area to a city called Castellammare. It is on the other side of the bay from Napoli. So that will be a great adventure. Oh yeah, and I will be senior companion and the district leader. So lather on another layer of responsibility. I couldn't believe it when I heard it. I am only in the 7th transfer. But as Logan (Elder Baker) said in his last letter that I received (he went senior comp and DL) "who the Lord calls the Lord qualifies." It was a good letter.

Well the highlight of the week was that we set a baptismal date with that Filipino family for May 8th. That was really exciting, and we were really happy that they wanted to set that goal. Other than that, the week was finding work and usual member appointments and new member appointments.

This week was a week of accidents it seems. We were walking down the street in front of our house (which is a one lane road for those that like to follow the law) and a car goes zooming down the "2nd" lane and gets to an intersection where a motorcycle with a man driving and a woman behind him was starting to cross. Neither one saw each other till the woman was breaking the windshield and the man flying down the street 19 yards or so. The car stopped, obviously. The woman fell to the ground (didn't go through the windshield because of the new types of glass they use). There was no blood. The injuries weren't bad thanks to leather clothing and helmets. But the part that made me sick is the man got out of his car and started to yell at the injured cyclists. "What the **** are you doing?!! How could you have not seen me!!"

That made me sick. A man could have mutilated those people. Luckly they weren't. And he would have still got out and lamented the damages to his newish SUV. Another guy got out and chastized the man, luckily, telling him that he as no right to yell at someone he just speared with his car. In the end the ambulances were called, no major injuries sustained save the windshield that was of no use anymore and a motorcycle that looked like it had been chewed up and spit out be a Decepticon (for those who don't know, those are the bad guys on Transformers). That was a weird event.

Well to answer some questions, my companion is from Udine which is north of Venice. He has a very thick German-Italian accent since most of the Italians on that border are almost more German-Austrian-Croatian than Italian. But don't get me wrong. He is very Italian still. It has been fun serving with him. Pisa differs in missionary work like their populations. Pisa is about 100,000 people. Rome something like 2-3 million. So there are less people to talk to. You have to be creative because a lot of the population here are students that attend the university here. So you need to identify yourself quickly to attract them or at least to get them to listen to you. The language is coming along well. I translated sacrament meeting every week and taught some Gospel Principle lessons with little difficulty. Living with an Italian has helped me with the language a lot, especially with direct and indirect objects.

Dad, sounds like this is going to be a busy month for you. But then again, when are you not busy? I wish I could be there helping prune the yard. But I am busy pruning another vineyard for now.

Well family and friends, from what I hear you are all doing great! Keep it up!

Love,
Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Week Has Been a Good Week

Not much to report on the extraordinary. Just plain old missionary work. Last week we had exchanges with the zone leaders. That went pretty well. That was after we played some zone football which was excellent. The zone leaders made zone t-shirts for everyone. They are simple but cool. This week has been full of dropped appointments and finding work. There hasn't been a ton of interest. We are approaching it in different ways. But we know that after the trials come the blessings.

We had a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries and we talked about things coming up and how investigators are doing. There is a Young Single Adults Activity/investigator activity next Saturday. It was supposed to be this Saturday but it had to be changed due to a bridal shower that same night. That got everyone in the meeting pretty riled up. They thought, and I agreed, that since this activity had been planned for so long that the bridal shower should have been moved. (The problem being that all the young adult women would be at this shower). So I got thinking. The Church is life. It is not something that comes after you have done your various things. Like that example of the jar, the rocks, and the sand. If you put the sand first, there is not room for the rocks. But if we put the rocks in first, then there is room for the sand. Which is how our lives should work, ALWAYS. Being baptized isn't something that you do and then it is done, or you only do things with the church when it is convenient. It becomes your life. You become part of the body of Christ to use Paul's words, and without YOU the church cannot function. The church isn't an organization that others will take care of. It is the Church of Jesus Christ that WE take care of. If we are not thinking about missionary work, who is? If we are not thinking about Home Teaching/Visiting Teaching, who is? If we are not thinking about Christ, who is? If we are not thinking of how we can help, who is? I came to the conclusion that it is our responsibility to do these things. It was a good pump up for me and maybe someone else who reads this letter. I liked what you said, mommy, about getting up 20 minutes earlier to get something done. I have done the same thing with working out, cause I wanted more time than a half hour to work out. It is the same thing again with being late to church EVERY Sunday. Get up a half hour earlier and get to church early.

Sunday went well. I wasn't able to play the songs [in Primary] because we had to go on exchanges so my companion could go pick up some invesigators in a car. And I needed to stay with some investigators in Elder's Quorum. So I am playing again this week though. So we'll see if I actually get to or not. Since we had some dropped appointments this week, we spent a bit of time in the church. We're getting tired of practicing the piano. I learned how to play "Ye Elder of Israel" on the organ, with one foot playing the bottom bass note. I am not good at it but it sure was fun.

This week we are hoping to set some baptismal dates with the Filipino family we are teaching. We are planning at least three from the family. The mom, daughter, and the mom's sister. The dad isn't quite ready, but he'll get there.

Well that is it for this week. Thanks for all your prayers and emails/letters!

Love,
Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Letter - March 9

Well dear family of mine, how has been the week? Mine has been pretty darn good. No baptisms or anything like that, but is has been good. Last Thursday we had a slow day though, filled with fallen through appointments and finding work. Lots of finding work. But when things have been so good one can expect such trying times. It is a test from the Lord to see if you are ready/worthy to receive the blessings that are coming your way. So on Friday we did weekly planning like normal and then some service at the Caritas. Then that night we had a great appointment with a new family. They are not super duper interested but the Spirit was there and I think it got them asking some questions about their lives and their future. Saturday we had bomb lessons with Felix and the Opina family. But unfortunately only one member of the Opina family came to church the next day. Monday we had DDM which was really good. Then that night we had a post-baptismal lesson with Francesco who was baptized last transfer. Yesterday was when our finding work experienced some blessings. We were doing house, the most menial and toughest work to do in Italy, and when we were almost finished, we finally someone that wanted to listen to our message. We talked mostly about the Book of Mormon. He is a medical student who had an LDS friend who went on a mission and hasn't heard from him since. Anyway, he said he would read the Book of Mormon but also said that he isn't looking to change his religion. We told him that was fine. So there is a baptism, maybe not for another 5 years or more but it will happen. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get a hold of our baptismal date. He has fallen off the face of the earth and missed his baptism. Sad but we will keep moving forward.

Well in other news I have been continuing my pursuits in the piano areas, and therefore I practice hymns whenever we have the chance. The members have heard me playing, and one of them asked if I could be the substitute primary pianist. That took me off guard but I said yes, and I will be playing this Sunday while the woman with the calling has been gone sick. Some form of scary arthritis. So that was pretty exciting. As March progresses, I am feeling that annual excitement for March Madness, but alas, it cannot be this year. Sweet dance. It just cannot be. I will miss it though.

I feel much for Tyler in the fact that it has been very rainy and very mundane everyday here. And I feel that often I get stuck in my little rut, my safe place that won't let me go. Every morning I read the scriptures and kindle a bonfire inside, but when I go outside sometimes, it seems to be nothing but embers. But the choice is ours. This morning I read in the book of Alma 10:6 "...Therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know." How often do we know what we should do and not do it? I am afraid it is too often. That really hit me. Then I read this quote from my study journal, "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." When we can find that, that will be the great day of our lives.

Keep working hard all you at home. The picture speaks for itself.

Love,
Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Your First March Letter

Well, the Church has switched it's email server to Google. So now the interface is the same as gmail. It is really awesome. So much better and so much more useful. And the best part - Spell Check. Well, this week was a hard week. As I told you last week, the Snows went home and so we were piled with work. Between keeping up with their work and our week, we have been busy. Every day starts with a little bit of finding work and then some kind of appointment whether it be service or otherwise. Then lunch and afternoon appointments with two or three backup plans, so if one falls through we just go somewhere else. Then nighttime appointments.

We have been working with our new converts quite a bit, one who received the Priesthood last Sunday. They are really good guys. They were baptized last week. We have a baptism coming up next week of an older man named Virgillio. He is late 40s mid 50s range. Sorry dad, but compared to who we have been working with lately, he is old. So that is probably the most exciting news. After him we have a Filipino family that we are teaching. They are finally taking steps to come to Church which means towards baptism. We will see what the next step with them is Saturday when we see them again.

Well yesterday we were in Florence for Zone Conference and Elder Paya was there. I am not sure which Quorum of the Seventy he is in, but he talked about planning and syncing ourselves with the Spirit so we do what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. It was really good. He and his wife told some really good stories and we all left feeling more edified than before we came. Also yesterday I got a letter from Logan. That was awesome. He is doing great! I also got letters from Jalayne and a package from the Moss family. Tell them thank you for me. I really enjoyed that. Well Jalayne, I'll just tell you right now. Thank you!

Well that is about it for me. I have some pictures I am going to send attached to this email, so haha yes, gmail rocks!!! Love you all!!

Love,
Anziano Hatch

I made pancakes last night when we got home from Zone Conference.

video

This is a video from when we went to the zoo back when I was in Rome. It is a turtle working out. I thought it was pretty funny. I just saw it this morning and thought I would send it to you all.