Sunday, March 20, 2016

Transfer Week and Tender Mercies

March 7, 2016

Hello dear family!

The first week of this new transfer is history! We had a good week and are getting ready for another one!

This week we had a few lessons with our baptismal date, Saray. I am honestly just speechless when it comes to her and her story. She is so incredible and has just embraced everything about this gospel: the word of wisdom, law of chastity, tithing, a calling, and anything else. And she isn't even a member yet!!!! We had a couple of really good lessons, and one of them was with her friend that originally brought her to church last summer. It was really good. She got a priesthood blessing after another lesson, and she passed her baptismal interview with flying colors on Saturday night. It has been to amazing to have the opportunity to teach her the gospel and see how she accepts things to easily. 

Our lesson yesterday in gospel principles was all about missionary work, and our Ward Mission Leader/the teacher asked her if she could see how the Lord has prepared her for this time to accept the gospel. It was such a witness to me that Heavenly Father works so hard and so specifically with and for each of us, so that he can accomplish His purposes through us, and I know that He will use her to do great things in the church. It is also a very humbling experience to be able to teach the gospel and share these plain and precious truths with Saray. All of the hard times and struggles and challenges and doors being shut, etc. are all worth it, 100%. I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for giving me the opportunity to teach her and to see her grow. There is nothing better!!

During companionship study this morning, we finished watching the rest of the District 2, episode 3 from last week's Preach My Gospel study. At the end Elder Bott is talking about how special it is to be able to be a missionary and see others come unto Christ. I got all emotional and realized just how much I enjoy being a missionary too. There is nothing like it. There was a long period at the beginning of my mission when I thought I would NEVER love this work or being a missionary or anything. I thought I would just have to endure to the end and that would be that. You all may or may not remember that. BUT then one day a few months ago, I realized how much I was enjoying being a missionary. I have come to love LA even more than I used to, even though I have seen way more than I would have otherwise chosen to. Being here is an incredible experience, and I have really come to appreciate all of the highest highs and lowest lows that come with my mission. It was a neat little "Aha!" moment that helped me realize the beauty of where I am in my life and how things are going. I can tell that I have grown so much and have had many testimony building experiences and opportunities. I am so thankful for Heavenly Father's perfectly timed expressions of love for us. This is a priceless opportunity that I have-thankfully-come to love dearly. 

I have to say, there are lots of changes going to be happening, and I am somewhat apprehensive about them. . . I'm the oldest sister in my District, and 2 of the other 3 sisters are the ones I trained/ am training! I know it is all going to work out fine, but these are things that are on my mind nonetheless. You know how well I do with changes. . . :/

Anyways, I'll step off of my soap box now. Since coming to live with Sister Olson, I have appreciated the different experiences I have had with helping Dad with different little handy-man things around the house. On Saturday morning, I got in the shower and didn't have hot water. It has been cooler lately, so I was not too happy about that. Throughout the day I noticed that we still didn't have any hot water, even after letting the sink run for a minute. So I asked if Sister Olson had hot water that morning, and she said yes. So I thought maybe it was just the pilot light or something like that. So I went down in the basement (it isn't big enough to be a legit basement, but it is a smallish room right under the house) to see if we could get it figured out when we came home for dinner. Well, when I got halfway down the stairs, I could see the light reflecting off of water. I knew that wasn't supposed to happen, so we called elder B, and he called the plumber, and that night he came and got things taken care of. Turns out it was sewer water - EW!!!! I guess there were roots in the piping that caused the drainage to get backed up. That was fun. But we did avoid a plumbing emergency, and I guess that's good. So thank you Dad, for being Mr. Fix it! ;)

I had a few really neat tender mercies this last week that I wanted to share. They aren't huge or anything, but they were from Heavenly Father, just for Sister Hatch :)

1. An awesome Fast Sunday- I hadn't prepared very well, and had a headache in the afternoon before starting my fast, so I wasn't sure if I would have a good fast or not. But I didn't have any problems and our Sabbath Say was a delight :)

2. Last night we were in part of our area wanting to see some people, but we couldn't find a place to park. I was frustrated, so we stopped and said a prayer asking for a parking spot if that was where we needed to be at that time. Shortly after ending our prayer, we looked up and saw a spot right across the street from where we had stopped to pray. 

3. Our dinner calendar has been rather empty lately, and we brought it up in our meetings before church yesterday. Then they mentioned in Relief Society that the last member meal we had was 2 weeks ago and that we need to be fed! So they passed around the calendar and it got filled up more than ever since I have been in this area!

These are seemingly random things, but they really were just for me. Recognizing them helped me know that Heavenly Father is mindful of us and loves us!! Don't you forget it!

I don't have much else to report on. . . Things are moving forward and I am super excited for the baptism we will have this weekend. We have a great district and zone and we are going to have a great transfer. We have made some goals and plans for things we want to work on this transfer, both in our area and for our companionship. Hopefully those help us to build unity and hasten the Lord's work in this area. It is going to be great. 

I love you and hope you have a good week this week!! 

Sister Lauren Hatch :)

Leap Day

February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!!

We had a pretty good week this week. We were able to have a couple of lessons with Saray, our amazing investigator with a baptismal date. She is doing so well! She came to church yesterday in our ward, met lots of people and seemed to really enjoy it. She also came to the pot luck that Bishop had at his house afterwards. It was really great. We took her to the church for the stake activity and introduced her to Bishop and then she got to meet him again and chat with him at the pot-luck. So that was really good. I just love her to death! I am speechless when it comes to her and her story and how incredible she is. She is going to be baptized in just under 2 weeks, and it is going to be wonderful. 

On Friday morning towards the end of 12 week study, we got a call from the Visitor Center sisters telling us that they had a referral for us. They said he was watching the Joseph Smith movie, and asked if we could be there in about an hour when the film finished. So we were able to go and meet him and have a lesson with him! He has had some hard experiences, and also had some addictions that he was working on quitting. It was cool to hear how sincerely he wanted to change, and how much peace he said he felt at the Visitors' Center. He went to the stake open-mic (People showcasing whatever musical talents they have. So there were violins, singers, pianists, guitarists, etc. That sort of a thing.) later that evening, and said he will be coming to FHE his evening. Unfortunately he was not able to go to church yesterday, but we have an awesome member fellowshippper who is helping us keep tabs on him. Hopefully we will be able to help him be baptized. 

Besides that, not much happened this week. We had a special Zone Training Meeting on Thursday and that was really good. We had trainings about the schedule and the things that are sometimes hard for us to follow it exactly. We had another training on planning too, and that one was a good reminder of how we can plan effectively. 

ANYWAYS this week is transfers and Sister Green and I will be staying in this area for the coming transfer. We have a busy 7 week transfer ahead: temple day, zone conference and general conference, and some other things in there that I don't remember offhand. Also, my release date has been moved back a week, so I will come home August 24, instead of the 17th. They are extending the training period at the MTC, so all departure dates are being moved. Just a head's up. 

I think that's all this week. I love you all a ton and am so thankful for you being my family. Have a great week!

Sister Hatch :)

This is our zone from this last transfer
Back row: Elder Lamah, Elder Milke, Elder Staker, Elder Guerrero, Elder Altamarino,
Elder Low, Elder Clarke
Middle: Sister Green, Sister Hatch, Sister Nikolaus, Sister Craven, Sister Heller
Front: Sister Bergeson, Sister Smith, Sister Ericsson, Sister Lopez, Sister Castillo

Golden Contact

February 22, 2016

Hello everyone!!

I should start by telling you that this email is really long, so get comfortable, because if you read the whole thing, it's gonna take a while. 

This week was really good! We started by going out after P-day was over to have a lesson with someone that we met on the street. They weren't home when we went, but we stayed around the UCLA campus to contact for a while, since we still needed our 20 conversations. We met lots of different people, and several of them recognized that we were Mormons. There were also a few who mentioned that they had friends who either were serving, or had recently returned from serving missions. I thought that was pretty neat. Also, while we were emailing last week, some of the sisters in our district from the Visitors' Center called us and gave us a really cool referral! We set an appointment for Thursday, and I'll talk about that down a little ways. 

Then on Tuesday, we started the day by going up to the northern-most boundary/border of our area: Mulholland Drive. That was a neat thing to do. We went to contact a new person who showed up on our ward list. We drove up through Beverly Hills and probably part of Bel-Air as well. We reached the top of the road, and saw a neat view of the valley. Then came the trick of finding the address we were looking for. Thankfully, there were several large mailboxes with the house numbers on the side, and we got in the gate to find the person we were looking for. The first 2 people who came to the door were acting kinda funny, and then the girl we were trying to find came and informed us that the house was her boss's house. So I don't know if we just happened to walk into some famous person's house or not, but we did find the girl, and we are going to figure out a time to meet with her! 

***SIDE NOTE*** The ride in California Adventures that was formerly known as Mulholland Madness was very accurately named. That road is like the Payson road and the road in Colorado (The one to Silverton, I think? Whichever one I drove when I just had my permit that was on the edge of a mountain and narrow). It was a cool drive, but it kinda made me feel a little woozy. Just like the ride! Hahahahaha. 

Anyways, from there we headed down to Hollywood and tried to visit some people before going to our dinner appointment. The girl we ate with is a singer/songwriter, and she is quite possibly the sweetest person I have ever met! She also has a really great testimony of the gospel, and the work that missionaries do. Her younger brother is currently serving in Ukraine, and the whole time she asked us a bunch of questions about how she can be a good missionary sister. I thought it was so neat. She took the time to have us over for a delicious dinner the night before she flew out of town, and was doing the best she could to be a good missionary sister, and a good missionary in general. It was really neat. She was one of the first people I met in this ward, so it was also fun to get to know her better. 

On Wednesday, we had interviews with President and Sister Weidman. We ate lunch at the stake center after our interview, then headed out. As we were driving to where we were going to be for the day, it started to rain! The rest of the day was really good though, despite the rain. We were able to go downtown and have 31 conversations. That was a huge tender mercy, because the last time it rained, we struggled to get our conversations. Then we had coordination with one of our ward missionaries (Our Ward Mission Leader couldn't make it) and then ate dinner with him and a couple of girls from the ward as well. During our meeting, the power went out, so we had quite an interesting time figuring lights out. Thankfully the apartment had a gas stove, so the girls were still able to cook. We were a little concerned about Sister Olson, but her friend came while we were gone, so it all worked out. 

We were privileged to be able to do service at the temple for a few hours before going to District Meeting. It was good. We matched and folded socks for almost the whole time. Then we headed off to district meeting and had a good meeting. Our training was about "Turning Investigators Over to the Lord" (the term we try to use instead of using "drop") and we might need to do that with an investigator that the Hollywood elders sent us. It was a timely training, to say the least.

My FAVORITE thing happened on Thursday night. We had a dinner appointment, and a lesson scheduled with a referral for later that night. I made sure to plan for enough travel time, since the appointment was across town, and our dinner was just south of the temple. Well, we made it to dinner earlier than planned, so we went out to contact for a little while before we ate. But then we got to talk to so many people, and we were just a little late to dinner. Then we left dinner on time, but there was AWFUL traffic and it took forever to get to the appointment. Thankfully the investigator was late leaving work, so she had only been home for about 10 minutes by the time we made it there and found a place to park. 

We had a fantastic lesson and found out that this person had been reading in the Book of Mormon, had read lesson 4 in Preach My Gospel, and wanted to get baptized!! One of the members of our ward brought her to church last summer and she loved it, but she was super busy at that time, so she didn't get into it. After releasing a documentary and completing an Iron Man Triathlon, she was finally able to put some more time into the whole church thing. One Sunday she was driving home from San Diego and had a thought that she should go to church. So she found the closest one in New Port Beach, (that's where she was on her way home) and that's where she went! She has been going there since mid-December. Yesterday she went there for a missionary's homecoming, since his mom was one of the first people she met in that ward. And she invited them to come to her baptism in March!!! SHE IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Being able to teach her is a huge tender mercy. I think that is definitely a timely miracle from Heavenly Father just for us, and especially me. We took her to the Visitors' Center for a fireside with Jenna Kim Jones (Narrator/host of Meet the Mormons), and she loved it. 

Then this morning she texted us and told us that she finished reading the Restoration Pamphlet, and the Plan of Salvation pamphlet, and that she knew it was true!!! She quoted the part from Joseph Smith that says "They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness, but they deny the power thereof." That was her experience, and her text said something about this living inside her, and that it was so good to reconnect. In her own words "This is something that rings so true to me and the reason why I left the other church." It was quite possibly the best text message I have ever received in my whole life. Tomorrow we have an appointment with her, and we are going to bring our recent convert, Emily, with us for the lesson. It is going to be wonderful! I am so excited! She said that she was thankful for us being a part of this journey, and I am so thankful too!

That's about it from the week. Saturday we had a good day, although I was having some serious allergy issues. (They hit me like the brick hits Marv or Harry in "Home Alone" - lol).  Sunday was good and we had the fireside and a good lesson about emergency preparedness. Now we are getting ready for another great week!!

I think that's about it! Plumbing issues are under control, and we are doing alright. Life's good! Have a good week! Thank you for all that you always have done and continue to do for me! I love you! 

Sister Hatch :)