Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Week Before Zone Conference

Well, we are one week away from Zone Conferences, and as zone leaders we have lots to do. Last Thursday and Friday was planned and had appointments. Friday's appointments were all out of town in Milazzo where there used to be a branch, but it became part of the Messina branch. So we had some less active appointments to go to and such things up there. It is a beautiful north Sicillian town. Whoever thought that I would be lucky enough to serve in Rome, Pisa, Napoli (close there to) and Sicily? What a blessing it is to serve in such wonderful, amazing places with amazing people.

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!

Anziano Hatch

*Please note Clark's new mailing address. (His email address remains the same.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Week Of...

Well, it has been a good week again. As I sit here, I find it harder and harder to write. There are so many things going on and little time to write about them. This week we taught a lesson at a member's home to our new investigator, Maria Pia. She is doing great. I think last week I mentioned that she is looking for the truth again after having a bad spiritual experience in the evangelical church. Well, she came to the right place. I don't remember if I told you about her or if that was on the investigator progress sheet. Anyway, she is making good progress. She listens, has questions, and is doing great.

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!


Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Week to Remember

Well, this has been probably the busiest week of my mission. On Wednesday, we flew to Rome. Because of holiday travel, our flight was delayed for two hours. Other than that, the flight went well, and the assistants were at the airport to pick us up. We stayed the night at the Rome 2 apartment where I had served last Christmas. Talk about a trip down memory lane. That was great. Then Thursday morning we did some planning and went to the misison home for the conference. The conference was really good. We talked about baptismal invites and how we can help our zones in their work. It was a good conference.

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!

Anziano Hatch

Pictures of the ferry and my "seat" accomodations

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Life in Sicily

Well, life in Sicily this last week has been insane. It started out last Thursday. I sat at the end of a train car, because my train ticket didn't get assigned to a seat. So I sat on the floor for about 8 hours by myself. Luckly there were some other people that were banished to do the same thing. So I had some people to talk to. After that, I arrived at the station in Catania, and no one was there to meet me. So I called my companion and he said he was on his way. They arrived in a couple of minutes. Oh, I forgot to say, to cross the ocean they loaded the train onto a ferry and ferried the train over and then unloaded it. It was pretty crazy.

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 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!

Anziano Hatch

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.

Anziano Hatch

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Elder Hatch

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