Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 6 Stout's Grove

August 17, 2015 div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
Remember he has a 7' wingspan.

Smith River

California Redwoods

Well it was another good week in Crescent City. I feel like the days just blur together into weeks here and at the end of the week I can’t remember what has happened. It’s weird even though I have only been in Crescent City under a month, it seems like I have been here forever. In a good way though, it’s not like the days drag on forever, instead it’s like every day is really long but in a good way, like we get stuff done. Also if there is anyone else in the family that wants to get these emails I will start adding them in just let me know?

On Tuesday, we went down to McKinleyville again but this time it was for zone conference, which is usually with 2 or 3 zones, but since our zone is so isolated, it was just ours. But President and Sister Wright both came up, along with the senior missionaries and the AP's. It was good to see and hear from all of them but especially President and Sister Wright. President Wright is pretty much the jolliest guy in the world. Maybe more so than Santa Claus, honestly. I love it, he has always got a huge smile on his face and it is very contagious. Sister Wright is an awesome lady, as well. She is a little more serious than President, but I think everyone on earth is. He is still serious when he wants to be but is still happy even when he is serious. It is kinda rough having to go an hour and a half south to even see any other missionaries but I kind of like the isolation as well. I feel like I can just focus on the work and not worry about anything else going on.

On Monday after I sent out my email, we went to Stout's Grove, which is this awesome place in the Redwoods where they filmed a part of Star Wars, on Endor with the Ewoks. It is such a cool place. The Redwoods are so big that it is insane. You wouldn't believe how big the trees are here. I will send some pictures in my picture email after, but it is hard to capture how massive the trees actually are in a picture. But it was cool the trees are big and the Smith River runs right next to it. It had this tiny little bridge going across it that moved if you walked on it. The Smith River is so gorgeous though, it isn't super deep, but it is so clear you can see right through it.

On Wednesday I had a super cool experience. There is a lady in our ward that lives in Hiouchi that was in a major car accident like 3 months ago. We went to see her husband like my first week here and she was still in the hospital. She broke her back, both ankles, and shattered a knee. Anyways we went over to see them on Wednesday and she was back from the hospital. She was doing ok, as good as you can in that situation. She was in a wheelchair and was talking to us a bunch. But before we left her husband asked us if we could give her a blessing of comfort. One of the zone leaders was with us on exchanges that day and he suggested that I give the blessing. It wasn't a high pressure situation which I was thankful for, but it was cool to be able to give my first blessing. It was a super cool experience and I hope that I will have the opportunity to do it again sometime soon.

We taught one of our progressing investigators, Arrain Villegas, who struggles with modern day prophets other than Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, because none of the other modern day prophets have done any "Moses like" event. We feel that we are so close to helping her understand, and I feel like she will get it any day now. She has been taught by the missionaries for over 20 years now, since she was a teenager. But I feel like since she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and that she is so close to understanding, that I might have the opportunity of seeing her be baptized. It would be super cool, as she comes to church almost every Sunday and seems to enjoy it. Another investigator we have that I have talked about named Sarah Ballard. She is progressing well, too and I feel like she is very close to baptism as well. We have a member of the ward that she is a friend with that comes to the lessons with us, and he is a great influence on her. His name is Brother Berg, and every time I say his name it reminds me of the Seinfeld guy, Alex Beeeeeeeerrrrrrrgggg. Nobody in my apartment watches Seinfeld though so they don't get it. It’s a dang shame. Anyways she smokes, but I think that she is very close to knowing that the gospel is true, and once she knows that that quitting smoking will be easy for her.

We also have baptism this week!! I am SO pumped, this guy Ervin is super cool, and it’s amazing to see how the Gospel has helped him in his life. The baptism is this Thursday at 7:30 my time. I think that I will be privileged enough to be the one that confirms him. I am pretty nervous about that to be honest. I don't really know how that will go. It will be very humbling though, that I know. The other ward has a baptism this week as well, on Saturday. It is very exciting to see the fruits of our labors. It would be hard for me if I had to be like Abinadi and not see any fruits from my labors. But I take comfort in the fact that even though he didn't see the fruits of his labors, because of his conviction and testimony of the gospel; he was able to help convert an entire nation, though he didn't realize it.

Anyways hope you all are having a fantastic time in SLC or wherever you may be. I love all of you guys so much and appreciate everything you all do. Until next time,

Elder Hatch

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Week 5 Questions From Home

August 10, 2015

Riding the Golden Bear

Medford, Oregon Temple

Foursome Serving in Crescent City

Well, it was another great week. It feels like I haven't even had a bad day in the mission yet. I seriously feel so blessed to be where I am right now and to be able to be out here doing this. Crescent City is doing great as usual. We have been getting more of the normal Crescent City fog that apparently was absent my first week here. Add that with the smoke from the fires just a little ways off and you've got yourself some pretty heavy smog. It’s kind of gross but I like it. The fog makes the city feel a little different than other places, and it makes me feel like I am on Endor all the time or something.

Mom asked me some questions in her email so I am going to do my best to answer those right now. My days here are pretty awesome. We wake up and go walk for like 15 minutes then we come back and take turns showering while everyone else takes naps. We then eat breakfast, and then do personal study for an hour, then companionship study for an hour. Since I and Elder Waites are fresh, we then do a thing called 12 week studies, which we will be doing for, you guessed it, the first 12 weeks of the mission. We then eat lunch and afterwards all split up into our companionships and go out and teach lessons, do service, etc. We usually eat dinner at members’ homes for dinner but occasionally we have to fend for ourselves so we go to BK or Taco Bell. There aren't many fast food chains up here so we have to pick and choose. I mostly eat sandwiches and ramen for lunch. I enjoyed the spoon very much, but the pyrex bowl is a little bit big. I still use it though because it reminds me of home. The area that I am in goes from Crescent City, all the way up to the Oregon border where there is a little town called Smith River. It’s about 25 minutes away. We also go over to Hiouchi, which is about 15 minutes to the east of us. We cover a place called Gasquet, which is pronounced Gaskee, but nobody really lives there that we teach or is a member so I haven't been there yet. We drive a lot and our area is one of the biggest areas in the mission. If you go onto and look in the missionary section under mission maps you can look at all the wards, stakes, zones, and areas of each mission. It is way cool. I am in the Crescent City 2nd ward area. There are a lot of cool people in our ward. I like pretty much everybody that we have gone to dinner with. I can't say that I love any one family especially or have connected with anyone yet, because I just love everyone. It really is a cool ward. On P-days we usually shop, clean a little, email, and play some ball at the church. Today we are going to go hiking in Stout's Grove, which is where they filmed Star Wars. They actually filmed a lot of Star Wars up here. It seriously is Endor. The Temple was so awesome. I finally got to see a different video which was way nice. It was the one where Satan is in Saints and Soldiers is what the other Elders were saying. It is hard to find my way to some places, but luckily there is the highway 101 that runs through the city so most places you can get to by either going north or south on the 101 which makes it easier to find things. I better learn quick though because Elder Searle and I both think that he is getting transferred at the end of this transfer. We don't have anything to back that up though.

As for the investigators, we set a baptismal date for one of our investigators, Ervin Strickland. He will be baptized on August 20, at 7:30. I am so excited for him and this decision. His wife is an inactive member of about 20 years, and his kids are not members. They are 12, 10, and 5. He and his wife both really want to be sealed together in one year, and they are going to bring their 5 year old with them to be sealed. He wants his other kids to go with him as well but doesn't want to force the church onto them. When we told him that he could baptize his kids he got really excited though, and I think that they will all be baptized eventually and be sealed. It is amazing to see. This guy used to be a huge druggee and gangster, but in the last few years has really turned his life around. It’s amazing to see how the gospel can change people’s life. We have several other progressing investigators, and I feel good about several of them.

This week I had a really cool experience. It wasn't really consequential but cool nonetheless. We were on a blitz so we had a bunch of names to go visit, and I was with Elder Waites. We went to all the houses and nobody answered, and one house we didn't want to knock because they had a fence with a huge dog inside the fence that we would have to go through to get to the door. We didn't even attempt the first time we went around to all the houses. We made a quick pit stop for a McDonald’s $1 drink, and then decided to go to all the houses again. We went around to the houses again and when we got to the scary German Sheppard dog house, we didn't know what to do. We wanted to contact the guy, and also we weren't even sure if it was the right house, because it didn't have an address on the house or the mailbox. So we decided to say a prayer, which we hadn't done the whole time we had been looking for people. So in the prayer Elder Waites asked that we would find the right house, that we would be protected from the dog, and that we would find Israel, who was the guy. So right after we were out in the street looking for the house, and we saw the house number on the curb. It was the house with the dog, so we go up and Elder Waites bravely goes through the fence and right up to the door, without the dog attacking him or anything. I timidly followed but as soon as Elder Waites knocked, the guy answered. He was just leaving too. It was so cool. Everything that we asked for in the prayer was immediately and specifically answered. The guy ended up being semi interested, and his wife had taken discussions from the missionaries in the past. We gave him our number and he said that he would give us a call. It was such a cool experience. I had never had a prayer answered so quickly and directly before. It was like the Lord was right there guiding us as soon as we remembered to pray. It reminded me that sometimes all we need to do is pray, and Heavenly Father will help us. We think that we can do it on our own, and we try our best to do things, but we just need to call on his name and he will provide. Even the savior, in 3 Nephi 17:3 tells the people to pray about the words that the savior speaks. You would think that hearing from the mouth of Jesus Christ would be enough, but even He asks us to pray to the Father for understanding. I also recently finished the Book of Mormon, and it strengthened my testimony even more. It is such an amazing book. It truly is the word of God. It is another testament of Jesus Christ, or Another Covenant of Jesus Christ. A covenant that if we will read it and abide by its precepts, that we will know it’s true and will be able to follow its steps on our way to Eternal Life. The Gospel is so simple, and so complex. It’s fascinating and amazing to learn more about it each day, or to have your testimony strengthened each day about something you already knew, or thought you knew. I also started reading the New Testament this morning, so if anyone wants to read it as well and share your insights I would love that. Or any insights or revelation that you received, just go ahead and email it to me. I can read emails any day of the week and would love to hear all of your testimonies and knowledge. I love you all and pray for you each individually each night. Thanks for everything


Elder Hatch

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week 4 Miracles are Happening

August 3, 2015

Anyways it was a really good week again this week. We are teaching around 2 lessons a day and we have a bunch of potential investigators lined up. On Tuesday I got to mow a lawn for the first time in a while! It was a really messy lawn, but it felt refreshing, even though the mower was crappy. Velva Allen, the older woman that had her records removed but is coming back into the church is still waiting on her papers. She really has a strong testimony though, and I love going to her house. I went down to a little town called Klamath, which is actually in the other Crescent city ward boundaries, but we were on exchanges. This guy, Brother Bates, a 78 year old guy, is pretty much the third nephite. I’m not kidding. This guy has like 15 kids and about 100 grandchildren. He is related to basically every person in Klamath. We went with him and taught like 5 lessons that night because he knows everyone and just like goes into their house and doesn’t care. It’s pretty awesome haha he is a way cool guy. 

Our investigator, Ervin Strickland, was having a problem because he quit smoking and was on vapor cigarettes to help quit his smoking. It was like a judgement call and we all thought that he should be able to be baptized while on them, because there is no nicotine or tobacco in them. But after a talk with the bishop, he realized that it was about the image of the church, and that he was representing the church when doing the smoking motion, even with just the vapor cigs. He realized that it was dumb to be on them and quit the next day and has been off for about a week now. He is set to be baptized this month sometime, and he and his wife are going to work towards being sealed in a year. It was amazing to see that miracle happen. It seemed as though we were at a sort of impasse, then everything worked out through the hand of the Lord and he is going to be baptized this month. It was so cool! Anything is possible through the Lord! When he told us that he quit the vapor cigs too I was just like freaking out in my mind like holy crap how did this happen?! It was so cool. Anyways we have another investigator, Sarah Ballard, who we have taught twice now (but me only once). She is very interested in what we have to say in our lessons and has been to church twice now. I really feel good about her. She smokes, but we can work that out once she has a testimony and truly desires to be baptized. Like I said before, anything is possible through the Lord. We have another family that we were going to visit, but she had her baby on Saturday, so we are going over tonight just to say hello and get our foot in the door a little more. They live next door to the bishop so his wife is going to go over with us and say hello. They said that they are looking for a church so we are keeping them in our prayers as well. Arrain, another one of our investigators, and her husband Robert are doing ok as well. She didn’t see the importance of the book of Mormon so we tried to explain it to her and committed her to read it and pray about it more. Her husband is still concerned with all of the temporal knowledge of the church and tries to bash with us a little, but is a good guy and isn’t really mean. He just doesn’t really believe it yet. He is reading the book of Mormon a lot too though. 

We were tracting again this week and these guys called us over to come talk with them. One was Catholic and the other Episcopalian. The catholic one was drunk and high, so it was difficult to talk to him, but the Episcopalian really liked some things about our religion and wanted to discuss it and learn more. We ended up pairing off with them one on one, and lucky me, I got the way buzzed one. He really liked that we were out doing what we do and spreading a message about Jesus, and had a strong belief in God, but he would just ramble on for a while at a time. I could get some stuff in but eventually we got talking about the Holy Ghost and what it feels like. He explained that he felt it really strongly with a certain minister, and he left. I told him that he could feel that same spirit if he read the Book of Mormon, and I gave him 4 chapters in it to read. I hope he reads it when he is sober. We are going to go over there again and see how they are doing, even though the one that Elder Searle was talking to lives in Sacramento, and is just here for a little bit. We ended up being there for two hours, because they both were talking our ears off. So basically things are going great here in Crescent City. The work is moving forward, and I am learning more every day. Thanks for all that you do, and I pray for you all, all the time! Love ya!

Elder Hatch

He gets to go to the temple in Medford, Oregon on Wednesday. He is really excited to be able to do some temple work there.