Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

We had a great week this week. It was interesting trying to find new investigators though. We found people, but then realized that they are not ours, so we sent them off and tried to find other people. Our ward has been pretty empty these last couple of weeks, what with everyone being gone for the holidays. #YSAproblemsmuch. We spoke in church yesterday and actually had a few more people than I had anticipated being there. Anyways, our week turned out well and we were at least able to go out and talk to as many people as possible, which was good as far as conversations go.

Christmas Eve was a really great day. We had our district meeting, and from there went straight to the stake center for a baptism in the Olympic (Korean) ward. I had Sister Baek teach me some Korean so that I wouldn't have to just stand there while she did the missionary moment in Korean. It was very rough, very broken Korean, but they understood. Afterwards a man got up and told me my pronunciation was perfect (but it wasn't). However, as that guy continued to speak, he got more and more emotional. I was just sitting there trying to enjoy being still when Sister Baek leaned over to me and said that he was talking about my brief and simple testimony. 

All I said was that I know God lives and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. She said it had reminded him of when the missionaries came to teach them, and all they knew was very broken and rough Korean. He said that the Spirit touched him as I spoke and he was able to feel those same feelings and confirmations from the Spirit as he had all those years ago when he was being taught. I thought it was pretty cool, especially since I had absolutely no idea what was going on. We were able to enjoy dinner with some of the members after the baptism before heading out to work. (I even tried Kimchi, sp? and tofu!!) We had more than 20 conversations that night, and shared the good news of the Savior's birth with as many as we could.

Poor picture quality, but that is me about to try kimchi!! I used chopsticks the whole meal and I am proud because I did pretty darn good!

The district
Back: Sister Chavez, Sister Ericsen, Sister Ordaz, Sister Nikolaus,
Sister Meyer, me, Sister Baek, Sister Bergeson.
Front: Elder Staker, Elder Benimana, Elder Clarke, Elder Kuyoth

Then the next day was Christmas!! We had a busy day, and left early to go contact a referral. We were not able to contact him, but we were able to talk to the people around his apartment and share our Christmas message. It was so neat to talk to so many people who were happy on Christmas day. I enjoyed it. Early that afternoon we had a Christmas lesson with Anna at the Visitors' Center, and she LOVED it. She had read and learned about the Christmas story and told it to us, and we talked about the Savior and what a blessing that is in our lives. She enjoyed the happy Spirit that is there, and I enjoyed seeing her be so happy despite all of the opposition in he life. From there we went to our recent convert's home to Skype. It was so good! I loved seeing all of you and I was so thankful for the time we were able to spend talking to each other. That night we made dinner and ate with Sister Olson. It was a nice evening, and I think it was good to spend it with her. After dinner we sang a few Christmas songs together. 

Christmas Skype visit

Christmas dinner with Sister Baek, Sister Olson, Me 

Christmas dinner!!! We had fettuccine, Indian curry, rice and tortillas.

I didn't have time to open my gifts that morning (which turned out to be a blessing) so I got ready for bed, then opened my gifts. They were perfect, and I am good to go probably until the end of my mission. I also wanted to try and have that day be about the Savior, not me, so that is another reason I didn't worry too much about opening my presents that morning. 

I can't believe it was already Christmas and New Years. The months are going by faster and faster. Thankfully I have come to enjoy my mission more and more, and I am thankful for this time that I have to serve the Lord. I enjoyed spending Christmas as a full-time missionary, representing our Savior and sharing His glad message with everyone. It really was a unique experience that I am very thankful for.

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week and enjoy your vacation from school!!! I have a feeling that the next 7 months are going to go my super quick! EEK!

Sister Hatch :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas in the Mission Field

December 21, 2015


This week was good! We had our area book planner training on Wednesday, so the goal now is to be paperless by the end of this transfer! That means that we get to put all of the information from the area book into the iPad.  It has been an adventure trying to get everything figured out, that's for sure. But it will be good once we get the hang of it.

Then on Friday and Saturday we went down to Torrance for the 2 Christmas devotionals for our mission. Sister Baek played the piano for a duet in the Christmas program part of the meetings so we got to go down on both days. It was a nice sunny day for the one on Friday, and we went to Chik-fil-a for lunch. Sister Baek hasn't ever eaten there before! But I got her well acquainted with the deliciousness of it all. She was full afterwards, so mission accomplished.  At the one on Saturday, I saw Sister Martinez from Torrance 1st Ward. She lived right behind us and made delicious food. It was good to see her. There are elders in that ward now. 

Sister Baek's first time at Chick-Fil-A!! :)

The Christmas program was really neat. We each took a picture with President and Sister Weidman and they gave us little ornaments of an etch of the LA temple, and the sisters got a little angel. It was good to have that brief time to reflect on our calling as missionaries and how that relates to this special time of year. I was able to read a part on the program and bear my testimony. Afterwards we has a really yummy "Christmas dinner" except that it was lunch time - ham and roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls, the whole 9 yards. And for dessert we had peach cobbler and ice cream. That was a special experience.

Sister Weidman, Me, President Weidman :)

This is Sister Bielamowicz :) She may be tiny, but she is pretty much the energizer bunny!

At our meeting, President mentioned that we will need to prepare for the wet weather that has been forecasted for the next 3-4 months, by acquiring wet weather gear. He said they would send some info out, but they wanted us to prepare to serve even though it will be raining. The funny thing was that it rained on Saturday, after he made that note. The problem with rain is that you can't see the lines separating the lanes when you drive. That could be a problem. And if you add all the ridiculous LA drivers, then the horns get going and it's a struggle to keep my composure. I am learning patience here, that's for sure!

Besides that, we have been working really hard on finding people to teach. Lots of conversations and finding. But it is good! Hopefully we'll find people soon!

I am really looking forward to Christmas here in the mission. It is definitely going to be a unique experience, and I am going to try to make the best of it. Since I only have this one Christmas here, I am going to work really hard and give the Savior everything I've got as a gift for his birthday. As a missionary, I have the opportunity to represent Him all the time, 24/7. That is a special opportunity and it is a blessing as well. What better way to spend my Christmas this year, as a full time representative of Jesus Christ sharing the glorious message of His birth to anyone and everyone. 

We met a guy on the street the other day who said "I'm not selfish enough to think that the Creator of the universe knows and cares about what I eat for dinner." I got a little offended, because I don't think it is selfish to believe in a loving and all knowing God. Rather I think it is such a blessing to know that the Creator of the universe knows me, Sister (Lauren) Hatch, and loves me, despite my imperfections. And it is for that very reason, because He loves us and cares about us, that we even celebrate this season of the year! It makes me SO thankful for the knowledge I have of this gospel and the Plan of Salvation. What a sad existence that would be. But I don't have to go about my life being sad because I know why the Savior came and I know that God loves me and each of us here. What a happy thing we know and share with people!

Side note: The guy I mentioned earlier also thought we had evolved from animals. . . . Needless to say we have a few very differing opinions. We kindly handed him a card for the #ASaviorIsBorn video and walked away politely. #ain'tnobodygottimeforthat!!

I am super excited to see you all on Friday! I hope you have a Merry
Christmas! Love you lots!!!! 

Sister Hatch 

A lovely view of the temple and a beautiful sunset!!

Moving Again and New Companion

December 14, 2015

Hey everyone!

This week was really good! We had transfers on Tuesday and then came back and moved into Sister Olson's home in Beverly Hills. It has been an interesting adjustment, what with a new companion and a new living situation. However, so far so good. We have our own bedroom and bathroom and have some space in the kitchen. Her nephew's dog lives there with her, so we have our very own guard dog. He is a good dog and watches out for us. Her house is a good size. Her family has lived there for many years and you can tell. She is sorta like a walking history book. It is working out well, so that's good. The only thing is that our room is an add on so we have a little electric heater that we crank up whenever we are home. I make good use of my long pants and socks!

We haven't been tracting in a long time. Usually we try to contact less actives that the ward doesn't have any information about. Since the target age group we are looking for are somewhat hard to come by, we just go contacting and try to find new people as we go see less actives. We do get kinda a lot of referrals as well. It is just a toss up with Young Single Adult wards though. We'll see how Christmas goes.

My new companion is Sister Baek, from Korea. This is her last transfer and that makes me a little sad. She is a great missionary and it has been a good week. She is a go-getter and isn't afraid of anyone. I'm afraid last transfer I didn't work as hard as I would have liked. But I have repented and have resolved not to let that happen again. We are going to kick butt this transfer and I am going to try to learn as much as I can from Sister Baek before she leaves. It should be good! We have a few lessons set for this week and hopefully everyone leaving for Christmas doesn't put a damper on our work.

It has been cold this week. Granted cold here is still only 50 degrees, but still! I have been wearing my scarves and leggings under my skirts. Last night it rained and we had to have our recent convert Justin to come jump start our car. We are sitting in the car dealership right now wishing for them to change the battery in our car. We drive a 2014 Chevy Cruze ;) it is pretty funny.

This week should be good. We have a training for the area book and planner app for our iPads = no more paper. That will be weird, but also good, because we will have all of our map information in one place.  Then on Friday and Saturday we will go back down to Torrance for our Christmas devotionals. Sister Baek will be accompanying a couple of elders for a special musical number, so we get to go to both. It should be good. I am looking forward to Christmas.

I hope you have a great week! I am really excited to see you next week over FaceTime! It should be good. Things here are going well and I am enjoying being a missionary. I am so thankful for so much love and support that I receive from you and so many others as well. I love you all very much and am so thankful for you and all that you do for me.

Love, Sister Hatch :)

Me and a cute Christmas tree at a member's house after dinner. We
don't have one, so I wanted to take a picture with this one :)

This is me with Mary and Hayley Bateman from South Bay YSA ward. They
came and attacked me at the departing missionary fireside and it was
so good to see them :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

So Blessed!

December 7, 2015

Happy Monday!!

This week was good. I came down with a fever on Friday, so we stayed home. I spent most of the day in bed. I do NOT like being sick, and especially not as a missionary. I felt better on Saturday, so we did our weekly planning and went out, but I didn't fast this time. On Sunday I woke up feeling fine, then not so fine, until finally at church after Sunday School I went to the bathroom and got sick. :/ But the good news is that afterwards I was feeling much better, and this time, there was no appendectomy involved. ;) I think this is the first time I've been sick since all that went down a few years ago. 

Yesterday was a good day. Erin got confirmed, and we were able to go to the departing missionary fireside (that's when all the departing missionaries bear their testimony and sing, and the people they have worked with are invited to come and say goodbye). We went with Erin and Angel, another investigator from the SMC Institute. I got to say goodbye to Sister Wehrhahn and a couple of the other missionaries who are leaving, and also see some of the people in my previous wards! It was so good!! It made me feel good when Bishop Duncan (Torrance 1st) walked up to me and said hello. Brother and Sister Magalhaes (they are from Brazil, also Torrance 1st, he is in the bishopric, she's the RS pres.) did that too, and they brought me some little Brazilian chocolate ball things that I tried to make once upon a time for a school project (mine didn't turn out so good, but these ones are delicious!!). It was great! I sure do have a lot of great people here that I know and love, and it will be exciting to see them at my fireside in August. It was pretty sad to say bye to Sister Wehrhahn though. She looked really good, and I am sad that I won't be able to see her around anymore. We became companions when she had just reached her half-way/9 month mark, so that's kinda crazy! 

My sweet companion is leaving me on Wednesday! :(

Transfers are tomorrow, and I will be staying here. My new companion will be Sister Baek (said like Beck). I think she is almost done with her mission, and she is a super cute and sweet Asian sister. It should be a good transfer. Christmas time in a Young Single Adult ward is pretty sparse, especially here, where everyone is a transplant from elsewhere. But that's okay. I am looking forward to it! And yes, we will be moving tomorrow. This time we really will be moving to Beverly Hills, and I can say that confidently because Elder Bielamowicz gave me the keys! HAHAHAHA!!!! But really though, it should be good. And not having to drive to far to everywhere will be nice on Mondays too. 

I'm moving up in the world!! We stopped and took pictures here last Monday :)

Welp, I think that's about all this week! I don't think I will be able to get Christmas presents for all of you this year, so forgive me. I did get you 2 gifts last year though, so that counts! HA! But really though. I hope you don't all hate me for it. 

I love you and hope you have a great week!! 

Sister Hatch :)

WE GOT TO WEAR PANTS TO GO DO SERVICE! The good news is that they still fit :)

This is my zone from this transfer.

Just for fun.

LA and CLAM (California Los Angeles Mission)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Another Baptism!

November 30, 2015

Happy Monday!! 

Elder Kim B. Clark came to visit our mission! We had a Zone Conference with him and his wife on Tuesday and it was really good. We also got a preview of the new Christmas video, #ASaviorisBorn. It is a really neat initiative and it will be even better now that we have iPads to actually be able to show people the video on the streets. Anyways, Elder Clark is super funny and he and his wife are great teachers and examples. We focused a lot on the importance of Faith in this work and how we can strengthen/deepen our faith, thus raising our expectations and increasing the Spirit's influence in our everyday activities. (CLAM Culture - Deep Faith, High Expectations and Mighty Prayer) It was insightful and helpful to be taught from someone else whose everyday calling is to be a representative, and who understands the necessity of having the Spirit. Without the Spirit we can't do squat! We also talked about how Nephi and Laman and Lemuel had such different perspectives on the things that they were asked to do. I've always noticed that, but this time it was especially eye-opening because attitude makes all the difference, and what with everything going on lately, that struck me. 

Elder and Sister Clark and President and Sister Weidman

Our Thanksgiving was good! Lots of people were gone, which meant less traffic-YAY!!!! We ate 2 delicious meals and had a good day. That's about all I have to report on that one. 

Clockwise around the table: Thanksgiving #1
Alona, Joseph, Amanda, Steven, Christine, Hawk, Sister Abon

Thanksgiving #2: on the couch- Jason, Dennis, Jessica, Wesley, David, Sister Abon, Me
On the floor, Kelly, Kalia, Andrew

You might be asking, "What is everything that has been going on??" Well. . . . . . . . . . . . . Yesterday Erin got baptized! Her date was scheduled for this coming weekend, but her grandfather's funeral and a stake service auction are on Saturday and the Departing Missionary Fireside is Sunday. So we got a call on Saturday morning from the Zone Leaders asking us if Erin would want to be baptized tomorrow-Sunday. We had a lesson with her that afternoon and asked her, and she said "Yes!" so we got busy planning a baptism. It was more than a little stressful, considering the fact that some people that we need to work with are a little particular about how they do things, and thus Sister Hatch gets more than a little irritated while trying to plan someone's PERSONAL SALVATION, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But everything worked out and she will be confirmed next Sunday. That was also nothing short of a miracle. Thank goodness this isn't my work, because things would not work out so smoothly. 

Sister Abon, Erin, Me

Transfers are next week, and Elder Bielamowicz informed us 30 minutes ago or so that we will most likely be moving next Tuesday, or sometime around there. More adventures to come! I've decided that no matter how tired, frustrated, upset, embarrassed, etc. I may get, I am not going to complain. The Savior did much more than I will ever do, and he did not complain. So I'm going to try not to either. 

That's about it for this week! I love you and hope you have a great day!

Sister Hatch 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2015

Well hello! 

Brace yourselves, because this email is going to be pretty long. 

The last 2 weeks have been crazy! So let me start with where we left off last time I sent out a big email. That Monday Elder Bielamowicz called us up and told us to pack our things because we would be moving on Wednesday. So we got all packed up and cleaned up. Then either Monday night or Tuesday morning (I forget which) Elder B called to tell us that we would still be moving to accommodate the new senior couple, but he wasn't sure where we would be moving to or when, but soon.  So we smile and say "okay!" And go about our merry little way. 

We had an AMAZING lesson with Emily at president Weidman's home that Tuesday night. She brought up some concerns about her family not being able to go to the temple and not having their complete support, and President and Sister Weidman were able to help her out with those. She also basically taught us the law of chastity and word of wisdom, and said she knew that lesson was coming, so she stopped coffee all by herself. #miraclesandtendermerciesmuch! So that lesson was great and afterwards we enjoyed some little cookies and a beautiful view of the back of the LA temple from the mission president's back porch. It was so great. 

Wednesday of that week was rather uneventful. . . . But it was misleading because the rest of the week was ridiculous. That night, Elder B called and said they would be there to pick up our stuff at 7am, since we would be going to the temple at 7:30 Thursday morning. So the next day we went to the temple and it was great! The endowment session was really good. We finish the session and grab lunch before heading to district meeting (there is a cafeteria in the temple -- did you know that?). Sister B had called and told us to stop at the mission office before going to our meeting. She told us we are not moving yet since the repairs to the apartment we were moving to had not been completed yet. So we're in limbo for a while until we are able to talk to Elder B and get things all figured out. That night we moved back up into the patron apts. temporarily, and they told us we would be out of there first thing Saturday morning. So we do weekly planning on the hide-a-bed and only have some of our things since we would be leaving in 24 hours. 

Saturday morning comes and we get our stuff packed up, again, and head out. We get to our new place in Hollywood, not Beverly Hills and it is a pig sty. They didn't have as much time for the repairs and installation of new floors and painting before we needed to be in there, so they did not do a great job cleaning or anything. We kind of get things set up, but the stove doesn't work, there is paint on everything and we have some not-so-great live-ins known as roaches. :( We also didn't have an operational shower since they painted the bath tub. Needless to say, we spent as little time there as possible that day. We came back for the night, but then got up and left first thing Sunday morning to go back to the patron apts. to shower and get ready for Sunday. We didn't go back 'til that night. 

We spent 5 hours on Monday cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. We didn't even leave until 3pm, just to go back to the patron apt. to shower and do our laundry, etc. The maintenance guy came to fix the showers supposedly, but we ended up showering with a big bowl because the faucet worked but not the shower head. Lame, but whatever. We did get the shower working though, and our apartment is looking pretty Celestial now :) It took some serious elbow grease!

We had a great lesson with Erin on Wednesday, who is set to be baptized on Dec 5. She asked us how to repent, and mentioned that it is something she wants to do to prep for her baptism! It was so cool. Our next lesson with her was on repentance. đŸ»

Also on Wednesday, Emily had her baptismal interview and it went well, despite the possible postponing of her date. President interviewed her and all was well! 

Thursday we had district meeting and zone training meeting to learn about the new Christmas initiative #ASaviorisBorn and practice for our meeting with Elder Clark of the 70 tomorrow. It went well and we then proceeded to freak out about plans for Emily's baptism. One building didn't work out, and the guy wasn't so nice about it and I was a little irritated. Then the next building worked but needed to be a bit later, and it was going to be tricky (or so we thought). 

Saturday comes and we get everything set for the baptism. It was pretty small because a lot of people are gone for Turkey Day. But the miracle was that Emily got baptized!!!!!!!! Everything came together perfectly and we had a great baptism. It seriously was nothing short of a miracle. She got confirmed yesterday and it was great!!!! 

Me, Emily, Sis Abon

Emily's friend Stacy, me, Emily, Audrey from the ward, Sis Abon 

David (bottom) baptized and confirmed Emily, and Logan (top) was
baptized 1 year ago on the 21st, so he and Emily share a baptism

I probably left out several details, but time is short, and I'll cover more next week. 

I love you all very much and am so thankful to have you as my family. Have a great week and eat some turkey for me!

Love, Sister Hatch 

Beginning November 29, 2015, visit https://www.mormon.org/christmas/teaser for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' new Christmas Initiative.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


November 9, 2015

Happy Monday!

As the subject line suggests, we are moving to a member's home in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, so I won't be here at the patron apartments anymore. I am glad we are leaving. It is all too easy to justify laziness - which I have been fighting since I got here. We will only be like a mile away or so though. Now the vacation feeling will hopefully go away. If I haven't mentioned that previously, it feels almost like I am on vacation from missionary work here. But no more! The lady is great according to Elder Bielamowicz, so I guess we'll find out. Needless to say that most of our day will be spent moving to and fro. Thankfully Elder B said he would take our suitcases in his truck, so that saves us a few trips too.

Anyways, on to the rest of the week! It rained on Monday and was super cold, but throughout the rest of the week it warmed back up again. Right now it is sunny, but very windy and it is a cold wind. I was starting to think that word didn't exist anymore. But I broke out some of my warmer clothes and such.

On Wednesday we had interviews with President Weidman, and that was also my official 9 month mark! Crazy! I celebrated by wearing the same outfit I wore to the MTC that day.  I thought it was kinda funny. Before interviews we had a lesson with our golden investigator Emily. Her story goes something like this: she walked into the visitors' center a few weeks ago and tells whoever she talked to that she wants to be baptized. Now we are teaching her and she is preparing to be baptized on November 21. We are planning to have a lesson with her at the Weidman's home tomorrow, which is both exciting and more than a little bit intimidating. It should be good though. I was able to address some concerns with president and that helped a lot. I am just so thankful to be able to serve with him and sister Weidman.

On Thursday we had Zone Training Meeting and then went straight to 3 lessons at the Santa Monica College Institute. They were pretty good. You asked about driving, yes I am the driver, and sure we'll say that it is fun. Parking is a BEAST and after our lessons it took us about an hour to get home for dinner. Basically, we have to be really careful about planning and where we go at what time of day. Thank you so much for letting me get a GPS by the way, it helps a lot.

On Friday, we had exchanges with our sister training leaders. I went to the Spanish area with Sister Moli, and my companion, Sister Abon stayed here with Sister Vincent. While on exchanges we had a few neat lessons in Spanish, and I was able to follow the conversation and contribute. With one struggling mother I shared Mosiah 4:9 and talked about how my mom shared that with me when I was struggling. She's been having problems with her kids, and they are less active. So that was cool, because I understood what she was saying in Spanish and then read the scripture (in really rough Spanish) and Sister Moli translated what I was saying. We sang a couple songs in Spanish that night too. It was cool to be able to contribute, even though I was a white girl that didn't understand a ton of Spanish. The Spirit is a real thing folks! I still struggle with it, but it is slowly but surely getting a little better.

My companion, Sister Abon, is a cute little Marshallese girl who has been out the same amount of time as me. She is so laid back and sweet that it makes perfect sense that she is from the islands. She is pretty tiny too. We took pictures, but the mission office, visitors' center, etc. are closed today for carpet cleaning so I can't send them this week. She's fun - she was sister Scott's companion after she left Harbor City. She and her family are converts, and she is going to teach me how to do the poly dances -- it's been a good couple of weeks so far.

I think that's all this week. We've got lots of good things happening and we are staying busy! Thank you for your love and prayers and being a wonderful family. I love you a lot and am so glad to be able to email you- have a great week!

Sister Hatch 


November 2, 2015


This last week has been completely different than any other week of my mission. I don't even know where to start. Things here in the LAYoung Single Adult area are going to take some getting used to . . . I was told that this ward is full of "hipsters" and "aspiring actors", and quite honestly I was not sure what to expect. I was thinking that this ward would be a bunch of snobs who are trying to make it in the world from LA. But much to my surprise and delight that is not what I found. 

Yesterday was one of my favorite Sundays of my whole mission. (That's not a whole lot of Sundays, but definitely enough to make a difference). We had a great fast and testimony meeting, and there were plenty of people who got up to bear their testimonies. The theme of the day seemed to be that God loves us and the church is true. We then talked about that with regards to faith in our gospel principles class (that was bigger than I expected it to be) after sacrament meeting, and that was great too! Then to finish off our church meetings we had a great lesson in Relief Society about Leadership. It also helps that we had an awesome break-the-fast afterwards too! I think my favorite thing was that we had 5 non-members (4 investigators, 1 soon to be) at church. We had Emily (baptismal date of 11/21), Erin (baptismal date of 12/5), Taylor (baptismal date of 11/14-we'll have to move it though) and Drew (I didn't meet him, but apparently he is an investigator). The 5th person was a friend of Lindsey Stirling named Afsheen (SP?). He said he loved church and he was glad that he came!!!

****Side Note*****
Yes, the cute little red headed violinist Lindsey Stirling is in my ward. She is one of our ward missionaries, and she is so cute! And TINY! She got up and bore her testimony yesterday and it was really neat to hear. She has a great testimony and I thought is was super cool that she brought a friend. Another of our ward missionaries mentioned to me, "Sister Hatch, I am not intimidated by many people, but I am intimidated by Lindsey Stirling". I thought it was pretty funny. I can see how he would be, but she is really nice and quite personable. I gave her a hug and told her that I enjoyed her testimony and she welcomed me to the ward and all that. So I have officially met a famous person ;) I have the potential to meet more, because anything cool that there is to do here is in my area, so we'll see. Hopefully we'll be able to hike to the Hollywood sign soon. Adventures!!!! :D

So yeah, that was a bit of a slap to the face about casting unrighteous judgements and what not. But I already love this ward. It  is full of missionary opportunities and member power to back it up. I think that is my favorite tender mercy this week. I really am so thankful that I have the opportunity to serve with all these young adults who have walked their own paths and still take the time on a Sunday afternoon to attend church. It is a testimony to me that this church really is true and it is for EVERYONE. No one is exempt from the blessings of this gospel and the joy it can bring to our lives. It takes some work and effort on our part, but it is so worth it! All week we went out and found people that were willing to learn more about this message, and judging how the last 9 months of my mission have gone, I was not expecting that to happen. But that's Heavenly Father's way of reminding me yet again that this is HIS work, not mine (as much as I sometimes feel or think that it would be better that way). I am looking forward to this transfer and being able to serve here in the heart of this city. 

With all that being said, I do really miss my last ward. There were so many amazing people there too, who are/were working through different personal struggles. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to serve there with them, and look forward to many life long friendships there. Three of our ward missionaries there are preparing to serve missions - it is the best! And they were so willing and ready to help us out with anything and everything we needed. 

It sort of feels like a vacation to be up here so close to all the mission stuff. But it is better than I thought. Super weird though. I could easily lose my hard work ethic if I don't watch out. But it is great to be around all the senior missionaries from the Visitors' Center and office - they always get so excited to see us and give us big hugs. 

Lastly, I do feel like I am doing a lot better now, and finally getting the hang of all this being a missionary stuff. It feels good and I think I am seeing things differently (it is still a work in progress, but it is progress!). I am enjoying this and am okay with everything that happens. That's not to say that everything is easy all of a sudden, but I have been learning and growing. So that's good to know that you see it too, and it isn't just me being a little prideful :)

Besides that, I don't have much to report. I am going to buy a GPS when we leave here so as to help us maneuver the ridiculousness of LA a little easier - if that's even possible. It should be great!! I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Sister Hatch :)

And don't you forget it!!! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Birthday Report

October 26, 2015

Hi Family,

I got to experience celebrating my first big holiday as a missionary this last week - my birthday!! It was my "golden" birthday, and it truly was golden!!!! We went out and worked hard and got 20 conversations and had a great day. A couple YSA members even threw a little "party" for me (meaning pizza, cake, balloons, a sign and candles that re-lit themselves: Janay's dad went to buy candles and those are the ones he bought. It was HILARIOUS). It was such a good day. I was a little apprehensive at first about whether or not things would go well, but as the day went on things fell right into place and I was so very thankful. I didn't receive any physical gifts since my box came late, and that was good. I think if I had gotten it on time it would have been a distraction. Instead of focusing on that, I went out with my companion and tried the best I could to forget about myself and get to work. It seemed to turn out well.

The yummy breakfast my companion made me for my birthday.

At dinner/my birthday celebration with Janay, Me (not sure who is between us), Sister Wehrhahn and Nia.

"Happy Birthday to you . . . . "

She blows them out. . . .

Or. . . so I thought. . . (Sister Wehrhahn's face says it all ;) )

And then they're finally out!

***Side note: at Zone Conference this transfer, we committed to pause 3 times a day and point out our tender mercies, then share them with President Weidman on Mondays. So that's what the tender mercies are each week***

My favorite tender mercy for this last week happened on Saturday. We were in part of our area looking for some potentials for Torrance ward, when we came across a man who was struggling to carry his groceries. So naturally we asked if we could carry them for him. Usually people don't let us help them (LAME!), but this man was so very thankful for us coming and offering our help! He introduced himself as Ash, and said it was a miracle that we came. He had parked his car in the street while trying to take the groceries, and was worried that something would happen to his car. He was also really weak from cancer treatments, if I recall correctly. We took his groceries up to his apartment after talking with him for a minute, and introduced ourselves to his mom (or tried at least; his mom is from India and we don't think she understands any English). We walked in and she was standing at the stove stirring some food and dancing while she was at it. We got a good laugh out of it. It was not a coincidence that we were there just in time to help that man. He was so genuinely thankful for our help, and kept repeating over and over how God is so good to us. I couldn't help but agree with him!

Transfers are tomorrow and I am going to be moving to the LA YSA and will be staying at the patron apartments behind the temple, according to the zone leaders. It will be cool to be so close to the temple and everything else.  If I remember correctly, the patron apartments have AC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is definitely a tender mercy. 

I got my birthday box on Friday and it was great! Don't worry about it not getting to me on time. As you read above, it worked out better that way, I think. I was going to ask for it while we were at the mission office last Monday, but I just decided to leave it for Friday. Thank you for putting all that work into it. I really appreciate it! 

I think that's about all for this week. Have a Happy Halloween and keep doing all the good things. I love you all and miss you too!

Sister Hatch :)

We stopped at the ice cream truck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Golden Birthday

October 19, 2015

Editor's note:  October 20, 2015 is Sister Hatch's 20th birthday (her "golden birthday" since she is turning 20 on the 20th).


Our week was pretty good. As time goes on the weeks just seem to go by faster and faster. I am starting to get them mixed up! I didn't think that was possible, but apparently it is. We have been trying to work on 20 meaningful conversations and not letting people get by us without at least trying to have a gospel conversation. Some people still don't want to talk to us, but we have also been working on our persistence and boldness when inviting even people on the street to do something. We really are trying to be creative in our conversations and use different aspects of the gospel to approach people.

This week we got a referral from our district leader. They had met this girl while she and her mom were waiting for the bus, and I guess set a return appointment or something. They then referred her to us for the Young Single Adult ward, and we were able to meet her on Thursday. She is 23 and has had a rough life. She recently found out she is pregnant, and isn't sure who the dad is (that we know of). As we talked with her, we listened to how much she just wants to know what her purpose is and that there are people out there that can be her genuine friends. I could hardly keep myself from bouncing up and down and yelling that the gospel that we share is EXACTLY what she needs and is looking for in her life!!!! She comes from a Catholic home (if I remember correctly) and has really tried to rely on God throughout all of the struggles she has had. (DISCLAIMER: usually I am not really all that ecstatic when we find people who are so prepared. I probably should be, but that's just not quite my personality. That being said I was absolutely positive that this message is what she needs right now, in order to find what she is looking for in this life.) She did not come to church yesterday, but we invited her to family home evening later this evening to make chocolate chip cookies. I don't know how anyone could say no to that!! I couldn't. :)

Meeting her made me so thankful that we are able to bring this "good news" to people and help them find and see the light of the gospel for themselves. Our tender mercy that night was how much of a blessing it is that we have both been able to do the right things throughout our lives (and more specifically our missions) to be able to bring her the light of the gospel. It also made me so very thankful that I was raised in a home with "goodly parents" who have worked so hard to teach me the gospel. I consider it a huge blessing and privilege that I am worthy to represent our Savior and be his tool to bring people back to the fold.

That point brings me to another cool thing from the week. Yesterday at church, we had a great lesson in the YSA relief society. The girl we were going to eat dinner with that night gave a fantastic lesson entitled "Feed My Sheep" by President Ezra Taft Benson. I have heard that term a million times before, but yesterday that lesson stood out to me. We are called to leave the 90 and 9 - our families, friends, etc. - to go out in search of the 1 lost sheep. Now there are many definitions of "lost sheep". As missionaries, the lost sheep we look for are those who are not members of the church, those who do not have the gospel in their lives. We are often times involved in searching out those who are less active or literally "lost", meaning that no one knows where they are.

I realized how important it is to love people before we do anything else. I am guilty of judging others and their decisions, when maybe I didn't have all of the information. That lesson helped me to think about how important it is to genuinely love people in order to bring them back into the gospel. The same applies with non-members. We talked during the lesson about how you can totally tell when people are being fake and just going through the motions. Every person deserves to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and have the light of the gospel in their lives. I can and should do a much better job than what I am doing right now. I am here and it is my job to reach out and love the family members of other people. We all have a part to play in this life, and that almost always includes how we can reach out and bless other people. I have resolved to do better at being that ray of sunshine in someone else's life.

. . . This is how Sister Hatch feels!!!  Just Kidding!  :)

Sister Wehrhahn and our cute missionary owl at Young Single Adult family home evening last week.

I love you all and am glad to hear that you are doing well! Have a great week!

Sister Lauren Hatch 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Columbus Day

October 12, 2015

Dear Family, 

We had a pretty good week this week. We had the opportunity to go do service at House of Yaweh, which we didn't do the week before because we had the special assignment from zone conference.  It is always a good time there, and I love that we are able to focus on something that will benefit those who are struggling physically. I know that the gospel will help those people, but you can't really see it if they don't accept it. So I particularly enjoy going and packing boxes of food for other people. 

Then on Wednesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders. They told us the night before that I would be going to Bell Gardens with Hermana Perez, and sister Franks would be coming here with Sister Wehrhahn. Bell Gardens is on the far east side of our mission, right in the flight path of all the planes going to LAX. I was a little nervous about going to the Spanish area. I only know how to say a few simple things, like ask for the bathroom, food, money or directions. But that day I got really good at saying "Somos misioneras de la iglesia de Jesu Cristo de los santos de los Ășltimos dĂ­as!" And then Hermana Perez would take it from there. It was super fun and pretty funny for us too. I bet all the latinos were wondering what the heck I was doing trying to speak Spanish. We ate dinner with an awesome convert family and then I went to their coordination meeting. It all worked out, and I was able to understand more Spanish than I thought I would. I can't say much to people, but I can more or less follow the conversation at least. 

We had a good weekly planning session this week too. We have been really trying to work on what we can do to help our area and our investigators. We have also been working hard to involve the wards as well. We love that the Young Single Adults are so willing to come out with us even though it is super hot outside. It is a little harder to get Torrance members out on days like the ones we have had lately, but that's okay. For them we try to invite them to set appointments if nothing else. Unfortunately we haven't been able to get in contact with those 2 people we set baptismal dates with. :( But that's alright. We are still working hard and doing what we need to. 

At zone conference a couple weeks ago we were challenged to find the tender mercies at 3 different times throughout the day. I enjoy finding the tender mercies during the day. Sometimes I have to think really hard about them, but then, I find one and that gets me started on all the blessings I can find just from that day. One tender mercy happened yesterday at church. A young man gave his "farewell" talk yesterday and the youth were going to sing a special musical number. In ward council the youth leaders mentioned that the youth were going to be sparse that day, since several of them were out of town. So they turned to us (of course!) and asked if we would sing with them too. We said sure and asked what song they would be singing. Turns out they were going to sing the "Army of Helaman" medley that we sing at all of our mission meetings. We thought it would be a piece of cake and went for it. There were maybe 4 girls before church to practice, two of them being us, and I was a little worried because the deacons weren't singing very loud. I was going to be disappointed if it didn't sound like it does when we sing it at our meetings. But then it came time for the special musical number and up walked a big group of people. We started the song and it sounded so good! I loved it. I could feel the power that was behind all of those voices singing those words, and also the power we as God's children have in this world. How cool is it that we get to witness that to the world! Heavenly Father has chosen us to be his army at this time, and I love singing that song as a reminder. 

It has been really hot and I am starting not to believe in the word cold anymore. It is so ridiculous. To make matters worse, the nights are still hot too! And the AC in the Relief Society room is no good, so we have to go somewhere else for Relief society each week. Good grief. The car said it was 104 the other day, and I tood a picture to prove it! 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Sister Hatch :)

General Conference

October 5, 2015

Hi Mom and Family,

Our week was busy! We were able to have members out with us almost every day, we set 2 new baptismal dates (our goal was 10, but we weren't able to contact a few of the people behind that goal), we had zone conference and general conference, and have a new investigator with zero religious background. Crazy!

Us with a recent convert, Brandi from the Young Single Adult Ward and she is awesome!!!

On Saturday evening we were scheduled to eat dinner with a family from the Torrance ward, while their dad was at priesthood meeting. We were about to call and confirm/set a time, and we got a text from the mom that confirmed us coming, asked what time, told us her daughter wanted to give her friend a Book of Mormon and asked if we had an extra one she could have. It was so neat!! And that little girl is only 7 years old! I think the most I did at that age was invite a few of my friends to church. They are such an awesome family. Just a week or two earlier, their dad gave us a referral too. It was neat. 

Zone conference was really good. We talked a lot about charity and motives. We set goals for how we can gain more charity, and it has been good this week to have more of an emphasis and reflection on charity. I have been working on remembering my goals and have been trying to work on those. It is really hard sometimes. I included in my goals not commenting on other people's driving, and that one is a particular challenge, what with California drivers and all. This morning I also went through my notes from conference and plugged all of the answers to my questions into the blank spaces I left specifically for that purpose. It was good to take the time to ponder the words given to us this weekend when they were still fresh in my mind. I am so thankful that we are able to receive guidance and direction for ourselves and others as missionaries. It is such a blessing to us and for me.

                                                                 Torrance - Palos Verdes Zone

We have been working really hard to be exactly obedient and do everything we need/are asked to do. I feel that finally we are starting to see the "blossoms" of our labors - not the fruit quite yet, but the start of it at least. This week I have been dog tired by the end of the day, and then it lingers on to the next day, and the next and so on. I have been really trying to involve Heavenly Father in these struggles, but sometimes feel that it doesn't help much. I know that He helps me keep going every day, but man it sure is tough sometimes. It makes me feel like a wimp when I think about all that the pioneers suffered and endured, compared to the things that I am asked to do. They are hard, but in today's world, nothing like what they did to establish the gospel. How thankful I am that I live in such a blessed time to have the gospel and so much to help make our lives a little easier. I am also thankful for the guidelines established for us as missionaries in using this technology wisely. Heavenly Father is so smart and so loving to provide us these tools.

My box of sunshine from my Aunt Elaine :) (NOT my best picture, but I needed the box :P)

GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so good to sustain the new general authorities and hear the inspired words from Heavenly Father through our wonderful leaders. I didn't have a particular favorite talk, but I think that what stood out for me is that the gospel is simple. If we go to church, read and study the scriptures, pray attend the temple, etc., we will be okay. It was so good to hear also that this church is led by a living prophet who holds all of the priesthood keys necessary to carry forth the work of the Lord and church. It seemed like that was something that people mentioned a little more than usual this week.

I am so thankful for my testimony of this gospel and the things that we testify to people are true. I don't want to think about where I would be without it! It is so neat that Heavenly Father inspires our leaders to say just the right things to all of us as the church, and then uses the Spirit to personalize it for us individually. (If I remember correctly, that was mentioned in a talk this weekend too).

I think that's about all for the week. I love you all and hope you are enjoying fall break!

Sister Lauren Hatch :)