Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Cosenza and Back

This week has been fantastic. We had to go down to Battipaglia to make a car switch. So we drove to Battipaglia and gave them our car temporarily, and then we drove down to Cosenza and gave the senior couple the car that was in Battipaglia. And we took their car, drove back to Battipaglia, and gave them the car that was in Cosenza. And then we took our car back to Rome. It was quite the trip. While we were in Cosenza, we had the opportunity to do exchanges with the missionaries there. We had a really good time with them.

This Tuesday marked the first day of transfer decisions. So we started working with President Kelly on transfers. I always love this time of transfers. It is an opportunity to watch the revelation process. But being with President Kelly also has its perks, as I already know that I will finish here in Rome in the spot where I am now. I know who my companion will be and so on. My companion now, Anziano Sapio, after six months together, has finished his mission. So he will be one of the missionaries leaving on Friday. Just as a warning - next week is shaping up to be a very long week filled with lots of things. It wouldn't surprise me if I don't have time to write until Monday. That would also be nicer for me, because I can then give a full report of all the craziness that will happen.

Hey Mom, I was wondering if you could order for me a compact quad with a snap set of scriptures like the one I have now for use when I get home. I can pay for it, but I would like it for when I am back.

Well that is it for today. Love you.
Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

There and Back Again: A Missionary's Story

Well I am sorry this letter won't be as good as the subject title makes it out to be, but I will try to make it a good one. To start with some bad news, one of the senior couples in the mission had a son die and the sister was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. And so they returned back to America this week. That means our job in the office became a real job. We are now officially responsible for supply orders and traveling. That adds some more fun for us - adds a little craziness for us. But what would life be if it weren't a little crazy?

So Thursday and Friday were spent learning various things in the office and taking on responsibilities that we didn't even know existed. Man, it takes a lot ot keep the mission running. Saturday we took an inventory on everything in the basement. We didn't finish until Monday evening. There is a lot of stuff in the missionary supply room in the basement that I didn't know existed. On Sunday we flew over to Sardegna and participated in the District Conference there and then a Zone Conference with all the missionaries afterwards. There was an area authority there that spoke at the conference and also at the Zone Conference. In the meeting with the missionaries, he talked about the story about Jesus with the woman at the well, and talked about it in a way that I had never heard before in my life. He talked about the time of day and about how Christ must have been thirsty and hungry, but how he put those things aside and taught the Samaritan woman. He converted her and the whole town. Then he told us a couple of stories about not letting little inconveniences decide whether we keep working or not. It was a good one.

We spent the next day in Sardegna and stayed for one of their district meetings. We have some really good missionaries in Sardegna right now, and I was really impressed with their performance. About mid-day Monday, we flew back to Rome to take care of some things in the office and then returned home. On the flight home, there was a flight attendant who recognized us as missionaries, and we had a chance to share the gospel and give out a couple of pass along cards. That was good. On Tuesday, we started planning for our next transfer - my last one in the mission. How strange a feeling that is. I can't believe I only have this much time left. Craziness.

Well dear family of mine, that is it for this week. I love you all!

Anziano Hatch

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hey Family!

This week has been a great one! Hey, and what do you know? I am writing on Wednesday this week! Ya, beat that. That is great about BYU, although I don't think they will get past the second round if they don't choke before that. Sorry the first email ended so abruptly. (An email to mom about apartment hunting in Provo). We had to take care of some things and the computers in the office were needed. So this weekend was fantastic! We got to go down to Battipaglia to see the branch president and his wife. Anziano Sapio got to see them before they leave for Mexico to adopt some children. They leave before he gets back, so President Kelly made a special exception for him and me! So we were there Saturday evening, and we traveled to Castellammare that night. We went to church there. It was so great to see all of those members again. That branch is probably my favorite one that I have served in. I felt so lucky to be able to go back there.

That night we traveled to Napoli and spent the night there. The next morning we had a district meeting with the Anziani in Napoli. The meeting went really well. We had some really good discussion about member work and how we could help the church grow in Napoli. Really good talk there. That afternoon we took the train from Napoli to Caserta to Bari. We spent the night there, and then the next morning we had some conferences with the missionaries in the Puglia and Calabria regions. It was a good conference. We have been talking about member work and increasing and improving the way that we work with the members. Good stuff. Then after the conference, we drove back in the car with President and Sister Kelly.

Well it is 99% sure that I will finish in Roma. I am excited. I really have enjoyed this time here. I love the unique opportunities to do exchanges with missionaries all over Italy. I have really enjoyed digging in and working with them and the different challenges that they face in different regions of Italy. It is really interesting work and really uplifting.

Well that is all for this week. Love you!

Anziano Hatch

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let the Madness Begin

Well this week has been a great week - real busy, filled with plot twists and fun. But first, let me just say that I can't believe that all those people are home! Man, I feel really old. I had a younger missionary ask me this morning, "So Anziano Hatch, when do you finish?" I said, "May," and he said, "Wow you are old." So there you have it - the word of someone who cannot lie.

So this week we started our Zone Conferences, but because they are in the off transfer in the rotation, they are Specialized Training Meetings. The first one was in Catania in Sicily. We went down a day early, but we flew into Palermo because a missionary left the keys to the car at the mission home last week. So we had to go rescue the car at the Palermo airport. And after paying a good sum of money, we went on the way to Messina. There I got my permesso de soggiorno. That makes me a legal resident again in Italy until May 20...weird. I wonder why they chose that day.

We stayed the night there and planned our training for the meeting and then headed for Catania Tuesday morning. The conference went really well. President Kelly talked about our thoughts and how we become what we think. Really good training. We flew back from Catania to Rome Tuesday night. It is kind of weird flying all over the place. I feel like Dad back in his Basic American Foods days flying all over the place. But thankfully, I haven't tested the "even if the bag does not inflate, oxygen is still flowing" yet. Yesterday we had a fun P-day. But before the fun, we had to play taxi driver to a couple of misisonaries with hand problems that had to come to Rome to see a hand specialist here. Then we got to play a little bit of soccer and some basketball. That was wonderufl, although I am quite sore today. But I haven't done that in a very long time.

Those classes look great Mom. I don't think I can take Chem 105 because it is a four credit class and I can't take more than 18 credits in a semester. But that is good for now, and if I want to change something when I get home I can do that. So how is BYU doing is basketball? I hear they are tearing it up. Well that is it for me, family. Love you all!

Anziano Hatch

These are the latest pictures of the temple grounds

Friday, March 4, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Well as you can tell, this week has been a busy one. We have been on the go as we have prepared for Zone Leader Council. We had a senior couple that got hit with some pretty bad colds, so we ended up sharing a lot of their responsibilities and taking care of our own. I believe I bought airplane tickets for the first time in my life. That was a new experience - nothing big, but new. I did great. One thing that I have learned being here is that there are a lot of logistics that go into a mission this big. Lots of traveling, and lots of missionaries thinking, and lots of potential problems. We try to keep things as simple as possible. We had very few problems bringing in the zone leaders from all over southern Italy and the two islands. After everyone was here in Rome at the misison home, we had a great council about things that could go better in our mission:

1. Our relationship with members and how we work with them.

2. Rules in the Missionary Handbook that we need to focus on as a mission.

3. Being more diligent in our work.

It was a good conference. We got people back to their assigned cities with a little hassle, but everything went well.

So a couple of incredible travel things that happened during the council - First, a couple of missionaries in Sardegna missed their flight because during the night someone knocked the phone off of the nightstand, and the battery fell out. They got to the airport as fast as they could but missed the flight by a couple of minutes. Somehow, Alitalia let them change their flight for free. Try that on for size as a miracle in these days. Then on the way back, we were driving out to the airport, and we got there (40 minute drive) and one of the missionaries says that he forgot the key to their car in Sicily at the mission home. So to make a long story short, we are changing our traveling schedule so we can fly to Palermo instead of Catania to get the car out of the airport parking. Nothing ever goes 100% correct when you are moving missionaries around. Too much free agency involved. Although that is not a bad thing. It is just what keeps it from going 100% great and keeping us from getting "pneumonia in the baptismal font from baptizing so many people." haha

Well that is it for my letter. Love you all!

Anziano Hatch