Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

Doctrine and Covenants 50:22

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Power to Astonish

Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! I love this time of year and I love Jesus Christ. We had a wonderful devotional this last week from Elder Gay of the Seventy who talked about how as representatives of the Savior we have power to astonish, to deliver "good tiding of great joy". How beautiful! I want to testify that that is true because this week I personally have truly been spiritually AND mentally astonished... is overwhelmed a synonym of astonished? haha. Wow. What a week. I will just start from the beginning.

So transfers: it was a difficult Monday and Tuesday morning of good-byes and getting stuck in the snow. Over and over again. #arizonaproblems. After finally packing my stuff the morning before transfers, we headed to the meeting with our kind member, Sister Bischoff because our tire was completely flat. At transfers they announced the new STL's and where they were serving. So before I even found out who my companion was, I learned that I was heading back to the winter wonderland of Wyoming, to Rock Springs. lol. Shock number one of one thousand. As the drama of transfer meeting continued I finally got my golden greenie, Sister Hill, from a small town of 5,000 in Salem, Missouri! She is a convert of 2 years and has the brightest and strongest greenie fire! She is in a family of 9 and only 2 of her siblings and now her parents are active members of the church. She is so adorable and ready to work. She loves this work and is already making miracles happen. Bonus: we also get along great. We are polar opposites but we work so well together and have already had such a blast together! #pumped. So whitewash-training and STL news made it for a late exit from the mission office, between figuring out our new area book, getting all of my stuff AND sister hills stuff in a tiny Toyota to head back in the storm to Wyoming, and learning my role as STL. The roads were horrible and the freeway was closed past Evanston, so Sister Eberhardt had us stay in SLC. So we ended up going BACK to my last area and staying the night with Sister Parker and her cute new greenie, also a convert of two years, from the deep south. We had nothing to do from 5 pm. to 9 p.m., so we got to go out to eat with President and Sister Eberhardt, the Assistant’s to the President, and the office staff, which felt pretty official.

We couldn't get our stuff out of the car at my old apartment, because it was so tightly packed and we didn't know what was where, so we slept in our clothes and left first thing in the morning for Wyoming.  We made it Evanston around 9 a.m. but the roads past that were still closed. We finally made to Rock Springs around 5 p.m., made it two a few lessons, messy hair, dirty clothes, un-brushed teeth, and all! #cute Then had to head back Friday morning to SLC for our temple trip.
The temple was beautiful and it was Sister Hill’s first time seeing it. It is actually her first time in Utah, which was really fun and exciting because 90% of our missionaries either come here like yearly, or have family here, or both. She was so happy! The traffic was crazy because of everyone there to see the pretty temple square lights so we made it to the Banks’ house way past curfew. The Banks, who are in our mission presidency, have a huge mansion so that was fun to stay in. The next morning we had our zone conference, mission dinner, and devotional which was amazing! Can't wait to tell you more about it. That ended late so we stayed another night at the Banks’ and left around 10 the next morning. We finally made it back to Rock Springs and had a boss lesson with our less active named Vlad, from West Africa, and his fiancé who we found out is not a member. Sister Hill extended her first baptismal commitment and Vlad’s fiancé, (can’t remember her crazy Brazilian name) was so excited! She said yes! The Spirit was so strong. So Sunday was our first full day so it was a bit overwhelming but of course meetings and lessons were so centered on the birth of the Savior and we had some great Christmas programs in our wards. I don't know much about our area quite yet, but we are learning more about our investigators.  Right now we have 7 investigators, including Vlad’s fiancé we found on Saturday, but the prior sisters were already working with the 6 other investigators and none of them are progressing. We have called all of them and have visits scheduled with almost all so I am looking forward to meeting them and helping them. We may lose some investigators and gain others because in 2 weeks they are completely re-doing the stake boundaries. We have 3 sets of missionaries here in the stake, it is a fairly large stake and even covers Pinedale, which is about a hundred miles away. We have 3 wards right now and I think we still will, but we don’t know who will be where until January 10th. So, that’s fun. #drowning. We met with the stake president about that yesterday and he is really great and super missionary-minded, so I know things are going to just keep getting better. So, we are leaving back for SLC tonight, or sooner, because another storm is coming in, for New Missionary Training, and then I think we will be in our area again for at least the rest of the month. So, in a nut shell, that's our life right now. #astonished
Missionary life is great. The Spirit teaches me daily. The Lord is molding me. I have heard missionaries say how exhausted they are at the end of their mission. #true. I have finally hit that point. I know from here until the end I'm going to have to rely on the Atonement on a whole different level than I have before and, for that reason, I am so grateful. I am grateful to learn more of His Atonement and use it, because I have so much more I need to give. More to give to the people in Rock Springs, to the sisters in Wyoming, and most of all to my Savior. I am so looking forward to figuring out how I can truly give my whole heart to the Lord. That is really all we have to offer. Everything else we give Him is just returning what He has already given us. I want to give the Lord my complete heart. The amazing thing is, I know as I do this , He only gives me more. How good is our Master? His love for me astonishes me daily.

Our zone conference was centered on personal conversion and our testimonies of Jesus Christ. In our wonderful devotional, Elder Gay talked about some of the symbolism of Christmas and the special responsibility we have as missionaries to testify of the Savior’s birth. I know that Christ lives. I know we celebrate His birth because of His death and resurrection. I know the Atonement is real and as we allow it to change us we can ever be becoming: becoming more happy, more pure, more like our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that everything we do here on this earth, we can magnify and beautify as we rely on the Savior, as we rely on His love and the power of His Atonement. I pray we can ever be astonished at the magnitude of His gifts to us and, as we do so, we can freely give. We have to the power to astonish. The gift of Christ is a miracle. I testify in Christ’s name, which I bear, amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"I Will Follow Gods Plan for Me, Holding Fast to His Words and His Love." ~ 14 December 2015

I have always found peace from the primary children songs; such simple beautiful testimonies that hold such important truth. It has been a rough morning. Tomorrow is transfers: my favorite thing, as you all know. haha. Transfer news has come and gone and I got quite a bit of news. Sister Parker will be staying here in the area and training a new missionary. I will be Whitewash-training and becoming one of the new Sister Training Leaders (STL). So in nonmissionary terms I’m getting a brand new missionary and we are going to an area where we both won't know anyone. Usually it means the area needs a bit of a re-start, and as an "STL" I will be over all the sisters in my zone to serve and to train them... Guys, I am super scared. But mostly, unbelievably sad to be leaving this area. I have given my heart to this area. Whitewashing a new language program has truly helped mold me and I have become soooo very attached to the deaf people and to the members and investigators I have found here. This has been my most favorite area and the best people I have ever served. I want nothing more than to see James, Christy, Callie, and Mark through to their baptisms. They have become such a part of my life and are forever friends. 

Through feeling this overfill of emotions, I have come to understand a glimpse of how Heavenly Father feels. His whole purpose is for us. He created us. He loves us. He knows us inside and out. I know he loves the people here in this area 100 times more than I do. I have to trust that. I think that when Heavenly Father sent us here to earth He wanted nothing more that to keep us by His side and teach us himself and love us. But, for us to grow and become as Him, we had to leave. Now I have to leave, for my own growth and for the growth of the people here, and that is super hard for me. I often think that Heavenly Father puts too much trust in me, but I am grateful because I remember that I can never put too much trust in Him. My mission is coming to a close and I know that where ever I go, I will go with all of my heart, and become something more, more like my savior, more like the pure love of Christ. How grateful we should be to be here on this earth and experience so many adventures that God has to offer. I love my mission, I love this gospel, I love this earth, and most of all I LOVE getting to know the GREAT worth of EACH soul. I am very excited to serve more of God’s children and some of the sisters here in the SLC East mission. God is so kind.

XOXO, Sister Hatch

Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name. ~Alma 26:35