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.