Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Zone Conference

(This is the second of two letters posted today - since I was a slacker and didn't get last week's letter on the blog. Be sure to scroll down to read Clark's letter from last week.)

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!
Anziano Hatch


(This letter was written on Saturday, September 25th.)

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,
Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week One

Well, it is week one with a new companion, Anziano Polelli from Modena. He is Italian but as you can see in the photo, he is not a tradiational Italian.

He was adopted from Ethiopia when he was three by member parents. He is great and speaks English alright, which is really funny because he calls himself a gangster all of the time. He is great.

This past week has been a very, very long and tough week. But it was good. Last Thursday we had to drive down to Catania to pick up Anziano Polelli. We also had another Anziano with us who was waiting for a companion from Rome. My old companion, Anziano Sapio, had a bus at 4:50 in the afternoon to go to Palermo. The bus stopped in Messina, but he couldn't buy a ticket to get on because all of the seats were taken. So his new companion got off the bus, and they had to wait till about 7 to get the next bus. Then the other Anziano that was with us, Anziano Marzolla (he is German) found out that his companion would not arrive until the next day. So we were in a threesome for a day. The next morning we found out that the bus that his companion was going to take from Cosenza didn't exist anymore, because the bus company hadn't changed the schedule yet. So he took a train and finally got here at about 4 the next day. So transfers were a little rough. Luckly I didn't have to go anywhere this transfer.
To put a cherry on top of all of that, this transfer is only 5 weeks due to a conference that Pres. Kelly needs to go to in Germany. So we don't have lots of time to do everything this transfer. Our zone has been blessed with lots of work, and therefore we have three baptismal interviews that we have to do as Zone Leaders, plus splits. It will be a good transfer.
On Sunday, we went to a member's house for lunch after church, and while we were eating they were like, "Hey Anziano, we are going to a friend's house after this, and we were wondering if you wanted to come." We said yes, of course, because we had nothing but finding work planned in the afternoon. We went and we taught, and they said they will come to church. Now we have two new investigators. It was a great Sunday.
The last couple of days have been normal days of missionary work. The craziness doesn't start until next week. We will be in Rome for three days for an extended training for the Zone Leaders. They say it is going to be pretty good. We'll see. We are going to be even busier this transfer than we were last transfer. It will be great! But this conference means that I probably will not write until Friday or Saturday next week. So don't be worried if you don't see a letter from me on Wednesday.
The service project that you all did sounds like it was really great. Maybe I'll be around for the next one. We made a deal with one of our investigators that if he comes to church on Sunday, we will go running with him during the week. He is in training for a triathlon in Catania at the end of the month. So today I am going to buy some new running shoes, so I can take running a little more seriously. Plus, I wouldn't be displeased if I lost a couple of pounds. There should be enough money on my personal card because I haven't bought anything in a while. But I also refuse to buy something expenseive. We will see what the stores have to offer.
Well that is is for me. I love you all!

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well this has been a good week. We recovered from our Zone Conference and p-day experience and got back to "normal" missionary things. Friday morning we wanted to do weekly planning but got dragged away by some appointments and so we had to push that back. It ended up not happening until Monday morning. Friday afternoon we were invited, like normal, to branch council. Immediately after we had an appointment, we had another appointment. And that ended the day. Then Saturday, my companion was sick so we stayed at home and I read in the Book of Mormon and in Jesus the Christ. It was some good study time. We only left the house once on Saturday and that was for an appointment with Mariapia. Also I cleaned the house that day. Oh yeah, and transfer calls came and my companion is being transferred to Palermo. I am staying here and will get Anziano Polelli. So I get to sit still for at least another six weeks.

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, "!" 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!
Anziano Hatch

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Zone Conference

Well this has been a very busy week. I don't remember if this made it into the last letter, but our investigator Mariapia has a baptismal date for the 18th of September. We are really excited about that. That is what happened this weekend slash last week.

Let's start on Monday. Monday night the assistants drove down from Rome to do some splits with us before the Zone Conference. Tuesday we were with the Assistants. I was with Anziano McDaniel. He was in the Catania mission but was in the MTC at the same time I was. It was fun to be with him. He is an amazing missionary. That day it rained for the first time since I have been in Messina so who knows what that means. Hopefully just cools down and doesn't get too rainy.

Wednesday morning, we picked up some elders that work across the sea from Sicily, and we headed for Catania. We left at about 8 in the morning. I was great. Italian driving is insane but not that insane. But it is no America. The conference started at about 11. (By the way, before I forget, I got your package mom! Thanks!) President gave the first training and he invited us to read the Book of Mormon in 91 days and pay close attention to anything and everything that has to do with our missionary purpose writen in PMG. It was a good training. Then Sister Kelly talked about health and cleanliness and how it affects our work with the Spirit. It was interesting and well presented. Then we ate lunch. After lunch was our training. We talked about change and how to make it last. We focused a lot on helping us see that, as missionaries, our goal is not just to fulfill the mission statement in PMG, but to do something much higher than that to help ouruselves and our investigators reach eternal life. It went really well. The Spirit helped us with it and, of course, I couldn't hold back, and I shared a quote from "Remember the Titans." It applied very well. After Zone Conference were President's interviews. They went well. I really love Pres. and Sister Kelly. They are amazing.

After that, we started some exchanges in Catania. Today we did some work in the morning and then went to the Waterfalls of Acantera. It was sweet. It was basically a slot canyon, but instead of sandstone, it is lava rock. Since we are cheapskates and because of the rules, we were just above the canyon and on the banks of the rivers. Enjoy the pictures.

I will continue to pray for you all, and you all continue to pray for me. I love you all!

Anziano Hatch