Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1st Letter - From the MTC

My dearest family,
I am doing great!  I only have 25 minutes before this computer logs me out so that is sort of stressful... we'll see how this goes.
This first week has been CRAZY!  So good.  But definitely crazy.  My companion's name is Sister Kearnes and she is awesome.  We get along really well and it's great.  Our district is incredible too!  Several of the Elders are a little older, and the ones that are 19 don't seem like 19 year old boys.  There are 4 Sisters and 6 Elders and we are all either going to Chicago or Fort Worth, Texas.  My companion is going to Texas, but the other Sisters will all be joining me in Chicago.  My teachers are Sister Christensen (who served her mission in London) and Brother Taylor (he served in Fresno) and they are so awesome!!!!  
They just changed the way they teach at the MTC a couple of weeks ago and we are some of the first missionaries to be learning under the new program.  There is one Sister in our room who has been here for a 9 weeks and she is in the old program, so it's funny because we ask her questions all the time, but her experience has been completely different from ours.  This new program involves throwing us right into teaching without telling us ANYTHING.  They tell us stuff eventually, but we are finding out new rules every day that no one bothered to tell us.  Like the fact that we aren't supposed to study in the residence halls.  I suppose that won't count against my goal of exact obedience since I didn't know for 4 days...?
This last week has been really good, but also really hard at times.  The spirit is everywhere.  Our classes are amazing and I am learning so much.   We have four people that we are "teaching" right now and I'm pretty positive I'm doing more learning than teaching.  They set us off teaching right away and didn't actually tell us until a few days later what or how we were supposed to be teaching.  So that has been challenging, but it is also a very motivating way of learning. 
Thanks for the notes all through my luggage Mom and Dad!  I love every time I find a new one.  I showed my companion the first couple I found and she got so excited that she pinned them right up on the wall.  They have really helped. 
Wellness worked for my companion, but just as usual, it's power was lacking in my own immune system.  I have a cold.  Of course. 
Thanks for the football update!  There is a Sister in my branch (going to Thailand) from Kuna so I told her the news when I got your email this morning.  Go Cougars!  And GO BRONCOS!! 
I haven't watched the relief society broadcast yet.  I think we'll do it on Saturday while all the Elders are watching the Priesthood session.  
I'm going to try to add a few pictures and I want to have enough time, so that's all I'll write for now, but I might hand write a letter later if I remember more things I want to tell you.  I love you all so much!  I miss you, but in a righteous "I can't wait to see you in 18 months" kind of way. 
Sister Hatch
Okay... I cannot figure out for the life of me how to attach pictures.  I guess you'll just have to wait! 
I'm sorry.  I feel like this is such a short letter and doesn't really at all express all that has really happened to me this week.  But that's about all I have time for.  This life is crazy!!!  I love you.  Thanks for your little notes everyone!  I can't wait for Medora to come!  Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And she is off...

Our last run together before she left

We said goodbye  at the Boise Airport, and her friend Juliette picked her up in SLC and took her to the MTC.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

3 more days

Ali has 3 more days until she enters the MTC.  We went to the Temple together yesterday, and had a very nice day at the Twin Falls Temple.  She's mostly packed and ready to go.  We will miss her, but are excited for her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teaching by the Spirit

This weekend was my "farewell" talk.  It was great to have family there and many friends that had come to support me.  I had been asked to speak on obedience and so I spent a lot of time the last few weeks researching and reading about that topic.  I had been told that I should speak for 15-20 minutes, and never having had an assignment to speak for so long before, I was naturally nervous.  My biggest fear was running out of material and then having to repeat myself to fill the time, so I studied a lot about obedience and the plan of salvation.  I read every talk I could find on the topic, every scripture, and I tried to come up with examples from my own life.

As it turned out, I had plenty of material.  In fact, I didn't even get to most of it.  There were things that I would have liked to have said more eloquently, and points that I had definitely wanted to mention but afterward realized I hadn't talked about at all.

I have tried to have an attitude of allowing the Spirit to guide me through my talks and lessons.  And I really do trust that Spirit led me to those points which were most important for me to share.

So while I prepared a lot more than I ended up needing, that's not what was important.  It was a lesson, I suppose, in allowing the Spirit to be the teacher, rather than myself.  It was a lesson in humility: a matter of realizing that no matter how well I think I can say something, my impressive choice of words will not convert someone to the Truth.

Only the Spirit can do that. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hardest time of my life?

Everyone said that the time between getting my call and leaving on my mission would be one of the hardest times of my life.  I was warned that that time would be filled with


and trials

and more men than I could handle.

But I have not found that to be the case at all.  Men have not been rushing to my door, or falling at my feet, I have received no marriage proposals in the last three months, and I don't expect any will come in the next 10 days...  In fact, since I moved home a month and half ago, I don't even think I have seen any eligible men my age, let alone talked to one.  

And I must admit, I'm a little disappointed. 

I mean really, what was all the hype about?  On a more serious note though, these past few months have been wonderful.  I got to see my entire family this summer and spend more time with each of them than I have got to in a long time.  What a blessing it was to be with them all.  I am so grateful for eternal families!!  I have taken the challenge of my bishopric to write down in a journal each day how I have seen the Lord's hand in my life that day as President Eyring talked about in his talk "O Remember, Remember" given in General Conference a few years ago, and I have seen it make a difference already.  As I take the time to ponder over the happenings of my day I have recognized the Lord's hand in my life.  I realize, now more than ever, how aware He is of me and how much He loves me and wants me to be happy.  I have always believed that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me, but that point has been driven home as I have accepted this challenge to look for His hand each day and to not only recognize it, but acknowledge it. 

So where are all those trials and temptations I was warned about?  I'm not really sure... but I happily embrace their absence and the love and growth and learning that have filled their place instead.  Though I wouldn't have minded a little romantic intrigue.  Just to mix things up a bit ;)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I can't believe the time has almost come!  I leave for the MTC in two weeks (September 21st).  I will be there for about three weeks and then I will head out to Chicago!

I have been asked to speak in church this upcoming Sunday (September 11th at 11:00 A.M. at the LDS chapel on Northview between Allumbaugh and Fry) as a sort of "farewell" before leaving for my mission.  I have been trying to study and search the scriptures as well as the words of prophets in preparation for my talk.  I hope to be able to share the spirit of truth that I feel about the gospel of Jesus Christ both during my talk on Sunday and throughout my mission. 

Other preparations are coming well and I have gathered most of the things that I will take with me for the next 18 months.  It's crazy to think that after living at school these last three years with more stuff than could fit in my car, that I will spend the next year and half living out of two suitcases.  But it has been good for me to learn how to simplify and condense.

In choosing to go on a mission, I will be leaving many things behind.  I am putting off school, leaving behind friends; I will miss the weddings of some very dear friends, I will miss my niece being born, and miss watching my others nieces and nephew grow up; I will miss making memories with my roommates, I will miss being able to call my mom and dad, or just chat with my sisters when I have some free time.  I will miss many things, it's true.  But to share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and bring the joy of faith into the lives of others, will make it all worth it.  

I know that Jesus Christ lived upon the earth and that the same church which existed in his day, exists upon the earth today.  I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to bring about that restoration and that God continues to call prophets to lead and guide his church today.  Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet and I truly believe that he has been called of God.  I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.  That it is, like the Old and New Testaments, another testament of Jesus Christ.  This is my testimony.  This is the reason I have chosen to serve a mission.  Because I know these things to be true, and I want to share that message and the joy that comes from knowing and having a relationship with our loving Father in Heaven.