Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Am Out of Titles

Good morning, goodnight, good afternoon, or maybe even happy midnight to one and to all.

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 saw some ancient Greek temples. Greek temples - so before Roman time. They are pretty old.

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!

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The First in Battipaglia

Well this has been a good week. We finished last week teaching a total of 24 lessons. We are on track this week to replicate the same kind of numbers, although we need to get some new investigators. I don't think I have ever taught this many lessons before. It is pretty amazing how Anziano Nancollas and I are pumping out lessons. It is fun working with him, because we just started off the first day like we hadn't missed a beat from the MTC. The senior couple here are the Marlor's from Rexburg. Elder Marlor was a professor at Ricks College for something like 43 years before the mission. They are really cool, but it is different being a district leader over more than just your companion. It is a good experience.

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!

Anziano Hatch

We saw a Pucinella show. Kinda weird. But exactly what you see in the movies with these puppets. It made me think of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
This is Battipaglia

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Transfers Take Nine

(We begin with the promised pictures from last week's letter.)

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!

Anziano Hatch

The dog bite - not that bad, just ridiculous.

A funny sign...well I thought it was funny. I'll let you all translate it.

(A very loose translation: A Warning - bring your dog to do the needs in this area.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Week That Was

Well let me start by saying welcome little Benji! I don't know if someone forgot or if no one has put a camera to the poor guy's face yet ,but I didn't get any pictures. But I'm sure that will happen next week, right?!? Congrats to Kim also. I like how mom described your walk as it started to sprinkle and then it started to rain. For a second, I had to decide if she was talking about the weather or a balloon of amniotic fluid that had sprung a leak. I figured it was the latter. But congrats on three boys. Sorry Jalayne, but it seems as if Kim is on the road to stealing your dream of having all boys. Better get crackin...but find the right person first. That would be the best thing to do.

So Dad's report about Mikki made me think of an old football player that just became a free agent. Still good at what she does; being a friend, snoring, shadowing, shedding, drooling, being cute and funny, but just old. Sorry Mikki not all of us can be Brett Favre.

Well this new week started out with exchanges with the zone leaders. So I went up to Napoli and stayed some time there. That city is really dirty, but the half of the city where the zone leaders work is really beautiful. It is like New York around the Central Park area and Time Square but Italianized. I was very surprised. Than I returned back to good ol' Castellammare where we did some finding work. The next few days were spent extending commitments and promising blessings to get our investigators to church. That has been the hardest thing by far here in Castellammare - to get people to church. So Saturday night we had an appointment with a really bright woman and we taught part of the plan of salvation and at the end she prayed. It was wonderful, and she promised that she would come to church the next day. So my companion and I were very happy to hear that news. Then Sunday came...the day of "judgment." The first two hours passed and no one showed up. As Sacrament meeting started, I opted to stand outside of the building cause the entrance of the building is kind of hard to find. Fifteen minutes passed and I went back in for the sacrament. Then as I was heading back out, I saw not one but two investigators that had snuck passed me (probably while I was in the bathroom) and were already in the chapel! But neither of them was Giovanna. Then five minutes later came another. Not Giovanna but the husband of the woman from the Dominican Republic from last week. That was a blessing. She later got up and bore her testimony of how grateful she was that she had found the church again after all this time. But then Giovanna showed up - probably the most spiritual part of the meeting. She was really touched. Instead of us setting up an appointment with her, she set one with us. We are eating dinner at her house tonight. That was really exciting.

Later that night we, along with the Branch Mission Leader and another returned missionary, presented a missionary fireside. Our part was about a talk that Elder Ballard gave a few years ago that I had read recently called "Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits." It is mostly about how in a world where the church is gaining more attention, as members we need to be ready to give accurate and precise answers to questiong without burying people in information. In this way members can build bridges, create new friendships, and, the ultimate goal, have the opportunityto share the gospel with someone. It was a good fireside.

So it has been a good week. Sunday really was a climax of the week, like they told us in the MTC. To answer mom's question about the mission changing as mission presidents are about to switch. I don't feel a difference other than I am getting kind of anxious to see if I will be in the Milan Mission or the Roma Mission. Transfers are next week and anything could happen. We'll see next Wednesday won't we? Yes, we will. Well that is about it for me. Say hi to Benji for me!

(Clark also included two pictures which I will include in next week's post after I return home from helping out with Benji).

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weekly Weeks (I Don't Know What That Means)

Dear Family,
Well it sure seems like it has been a busy week. Happy birthday to Dad, Kim, Taylor and Braxton. I apologize cause I think I missed Ashley's birthday a month or two ago. Happy extra-belated birthday Buckwheat! Sounds like the birthday bashing was a rip-roaring great time. To answer mom's question about the weather here and in response to all the weather comments about Memorial Day, the weather here in the Napoli Gulf is sunny six days out of seven with rain on that seventh day. That keeps things pretty humid. The temperature is around 28 to 30 degrees celsius. You do the math.

To answer the Mikki question, although I would love to have her around when I get home, the voice of reason is speaking to me that it would be better for her in another place. A "retirement home" if you will. All is ask is that you send a couple pictures of her.

For a report of how our week has gone, there are principally three things that I want to comment on. Diligence, blessings, and talking in church.

1. Diligence. We were forced to do a lot of finding work this week as many of our later week appointments fell through. We weren't seeing much success until Sunday.

3. Talks in church. I gave the closing talk in church today on a talk given by Elder Rasband at the CES Fireside in March. He talked about having good friendships and seeking good mentors. Towards the end of the talk, a lady walked in that I had never seen before. I just figured it was a less active member that I had never seen before. After the meeting we talked to her. Turns out that she is a member from San Domingo who, about 15 years ago, moved to Italy and lost contact with the church. A few months ago she saw missionaries in Napoli and asked them if there was a church in Castellammare. They gave her our number and they parted ways. She lost the number, but with renewed hope in finding the church, she searched intently until she had found us this last Sunday.

2. Blessings(Sorry the numbering is off. It just happend this way). In talking to her we found out that she is married with two kids and her husband was waiting for her outisde the church. She wanted to introduce us to him. We talked and set up an appointment for yesterday which went very well. They have already been welcomed into the church with open arms by the members. Then later that night, we were doing some finding work by drawing the Plan of Salvation on a sheet on the ground. As we do this people stop and we talk to them about what we are doing. As we were cleaning up, we started talking to a young couple with two young boys. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and they invited us to their house Saturday for lunch to talk some more.

So this week has been a rather awesome display of the blessings that come from diligence. You are all awesome. Keep up the great work! Elliott I will keep my eyes peeled for some tornadoes, and I'll have my camera ready!

A General Conference style picture of a castle


Anziano Hatch