Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 28, 2011

Dearest Familia,
It was wonderful to talk to you and see you on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Starting January 9th our preparation day will be moved to Mondays. So I have one more Wednesday (the one where Sister Brown goes home and I get a new companion) and then I will be writing on Mondays. So get your letters in by then!
Have you ever heard of having chili with noodles?? Because a couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned it "spaghetti chili" and then TWICE this week, we had chili with noodles. It sounds super weird, but it's actually pretty good.


Friday I went on an exchange with the Wheaton Sisters. Sister Fossett came to Woodridge to work with Sister Brown, and I went up to Wheaton to work with Sister Nielson. IT WAS SO COOL!! We had an awesome day together and had a really cool miracle. We were working in a little neighborhood, not having much success, but so is life. We got to the end of the second streeet and turned around to work the other side, rather than continuing around the corner. When we completely finished both of those streets, we decided to start working on the next street at the top of where we had started from originally. At the first house of this circle, we met a teenage boy who told us that they weren't interested and so, as was our practice, we left a Joy to the World card, and continued onward.

As we were finishing our loop, a man came out of one of the houses we had already knocked on and asked us if he could offer us anything warm to drink and said that he was interested to know more. We didn't recognize the man, and realized that it was because we had never met him, but had only talked to his son. He invited us in and we sat down with him and his wife and ended up having a 40 minute discussion with them about the Book of Mormon, why we are here on missions, prophets, and what it means to truly follow Christ. IT WAS AWESOME!!!! Sister Nielson and I were both able to bear powerful testimony about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and why they are so important to us, but that we do not worship them.

Sister Nielson, who is also going home next week, said afterward that she has been waiting her whole mission for one of those experiences where someone calls them back because they have decided they want to know more. They were both really nice, and it was a great experience to be able to answer so many of their questions, and to be able to do so by bearing testimony.

A while ago, we had planned to teach Don about obedience, and following the Prophet, but that lesson never actually turned in that direction, so we didn't give him the Book of Mormon Ensign we had planned on giving him. Yesterday we met with him, and were finally able to teach that lesson. Sister Brown still wasn't talking much, so it was mostly on me - a little intimidating I admit. I felt impressed to ask him about church on Sunday and dig a little deeper into his feelings about that, and we had a really good discussion about that and what going to church is meaning for him and Rose. From that discussion I was able to discern further some concerns that I previously knew about, but hadn't connected to this topic of following church leaders, which I was then able to use in talking about following the Prophet. Then, after we gave him the Ensign (which, by the way he totally loved and thinks is the coolest thing ever - he loves when we give him new things to read and new ways to research and learn about the church) and he had looked through it briefly, he said "You know, this is really what I needed today..." AH! And then I realized why we hadn't been able to give it to him two weeks ago like we had planned - because the Lord knows him, and knew that he would need it more today.

Last night we had dinner with Sister Beyler (her kids are all out of town with their dad this week, so she has the house to herself). Sister Brown was exhausted from being sick, so again, the lesson would be pretty much on me. I was thinking about it all morning, but I was struggling to know what we could share with her. It would be different because all the kids wouldn't be there, and we really wanted to share something that would help strengthen and uplift her. As I was pondering on the matter, and praying to know what on earth we could share with her, I had the thought to look at a letter from President and Sister Doll which they had given us for Christmas with some quotes by Elder Holland. I got out the page and began reading the quotes. The Third one seemed like it would be a good direction, and Sister Brown agreed, so we decided to share that with her. In the quote, he talks about how the best missionary work we can do, is to just be a good example of a happy and faithful Latter-day Saint life. And that's TOTALLY Sister Beyler. She is incredible.

Anyway, we got to her house, and she had invited her mother over for dinner as well, who is not a member. I got a little nervous, because our message was directed very specifically at Sister Beyler and the awesome example she is of "happy and faithful Latter-day Saint life", and not geared at all toward having a nonmember present. Sister Brown didn't seem to concerned though, and I didn't know what else to share, so we just went forward with it. As we were driving home, Sister Brown said she was glad we had still shared the quote, and I was too, because it led to a really great discussion, and it was nice to let Sister Beyler know how great we think she is and what a good job she is doing, even though things are really difficult for her family right now. And then as Sister Brown and I talked about it, I realized that as we had talked about earlier, we don't need to worry - the Lord has it all under control. I shouldn't have been nervous just because her mom was there, becasue the Lord guided me to that quote, and HE knew that her mom would be there, even if I didn't. And if we had known, we probably would have shared a completely different message.

I love you all so very much! And thank you for your prayers.
The Lord is in control. He is watching over all, and we just have to trust him and give our worries over to Him.

Love, Sister Hatch

December 21, 2011

Dear family,

Some updates of
how things are going:

The big thing out here is not ice cream, but custard. It's EVERYWHERE! Seriously. Have you ever heard of Culver's? It's a fast food place out here that has a different flavor of the day every day of different things they mix in the custard. It's delicious :)

I finally went into a Menards. What the heck?? That store is crazy! It's a hardware store mostly, but then you're walking through, and suddenly you're in the middle of a cereal isle. Continue walking, past the Ranch dressing and tuna fish, and you will soon come upon clothing. And toys. And who knows what else because that place has EVERYTHING! It's crazy.

And now to the more serious things (though ice cream/custard is quite serious in itself): Our ward is awesome. In addition to all the food they gave us, they have now given us tons of Christmas presents! Our "tree" actually kind of looks like a tree now it has so many things under it! And once again, our counter is beginning to overflow with goodies and treats. Apparently everyone has the same train of thought, which goes a little something like this: "I have WAY too much of this food and these Christmas treats... I know, I'll give it to the missionaries! We had to freeze some of it we have so much. And some of it might still go bad before we can eat all the leftovers, becuase the ward feeds us every night! It's awesome.

Have you ever been to You should go. It's cool.

About investigators: Jasmine (have I told you about her?) is doing great. She is so cute! She is 12 years old, and has such a strong desire to follow God! She really is incredible. And we were finally able to meet her mom! We tried to schedule times that she would be home, but then things kept coming up, and it would only be the grandma home, who doesn't actually speak English... (She is from Haiti, so she speaks French Creole). Then on Monday, her mom came home right as we were getting ready to leave. She was so nice and thanked us for teaching her daughter about God. It was really cool. English is her second language, so she said she struggles sometimes knowing how to teach Jasmine about Him, but she seems to be doing a pretty good job so far. We talked to Jasmine about prayer on Monday, and she said that they say their prayers every night before bed, AND they have family prayers. umm... AWESOME!

We also just started teaching a girl named Nathalice (sounds like Natalice). She is 16 and has a 6 month old baby, andwants to be a better person. We found her because she had ordered a Bible from after she heard people talking about the Second Coming and she wanted to know more because she was kind of scared about it. She said we could come back, and we were able to talk to her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. We have our third appointment with her on Friday. She is so sweet. It was actually really sad (turned into a good thing) too, because she said that she didn't feel like she could pray or that God would listen because she hadn't been to church in a while (her family is Catholic, but I don't know how strong they are) so when we told her she could pray to know about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, she was really happy to know God would still listen to her and that He would answer her prayer. The next time we went back, she said she had been having a really bad day, so she decided to pray, and afterward she felt really good and things started to get better. It was so cool! She's great and I am so excited for her to learn more about the gospel and be able to turn her life around.

Update on Don and Rose: Rose had a crazy weekend working, so she wasn't going to be able to make it to church. Because she wouldn't be coming, neither would Don. But, the Spirit was working on him, and on Friday he told us that he was going to try to come even if she couldn't! And even though it would be far for him to drive alone. Sunday morning it was really foggy outside and we weren't sure if we would see Don or not. But he still came!!!! Without Rose, driving far by himself, and driving through the FOG! It was a miracle. Then yesterday we had lunch with Don and Rose and it was really great. We were able to explain a little more about the Restoration to Rose and answer some of her other questions. And we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and she said she would read from it!!!!!

Things are really moving forward here in Woody 2 and I am so blessed to be a part of it!
I love you all so much! I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas.

Love, Sister Ali Hatch

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

  • 1) eating my first Chicago Dog
  • 2) this is from the Live Nativity that we had on Sunday. I guess they've been doing it for 20 years now! Our ward and the other ward in our building do it together, and people from all over the area come. It was REALLY awesome.
  • 3) the Picture that Hailey Smith sent me and told me to color to look like myself. Please share this with them.
  • 4) some of my Christmas decorations :)
  • 5) our Christmas "tree" - it's the fireplace... and the best we could do.
  • 6) the Chicago Dog.

The Christmas card: I can't believe you actually did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahah! I was cracking up when I opened it.

Thursday was our Zone Conference, and it wasn't super Christmas-y as Sister Brown had predicted, but it was still really good. Every ZC, President sends out an assignment to everyone for a 5 minute talk (all the same topic) and then at the conference a few people are asked to come up and give their talk. I was one of those chosen. Our assignment was 3 Nephi 5:13 about being a disciple of Christ. I focused on the last line that talks about how we do these things that they might have everlasting life. That line describes how selfless our calling as missionaries is, and how Sister Brown put in context for me the saying that "we're not here for ourselves". For some reason I was SUPER nervous the whole time I was speaking and I could hear my voice cracking and everything, but everyone said I did a really nice job, so that was comforting.

Exciting news relating to discoveries concerning my distant past: One of the Elders that meets in our same building is named Elder Hibbard. On Sunday we discovered that Katie Hibbard, the same Katie Hibbard who shares my birthday and was my best friend until I think I was 4? when they moved to Meridian, is his cousin. SMALL WORLD.

Yesterday we had two appointments in the same neighborhood (Don and Cierra) so we decided tha in between them, we would just keep working in that area. We've already done a bunch of it, so soon we'll have the whole section tracted out! It was not only convenient, but turned out to be inspired. We knocked on a door and this man, Jermaine, came outside. Sister Brown introduced herself, and I followed suit. Jermaine was SHOCKED. He told us that his god-father had just died a few days ago. His god-father's name was Robert Brown. And Robert Brown's best friend (and Pastor) was Pastor Hatch. None of us could believe it! I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering that the name Poplar is what led us to find Don and Rose, and Cierra. But I truly believe that Jermaine really needed a Hatch and a Brown yesterday to grab his attention so he would listen. We had a really good talk with him, and then Sister Brown asked him to read from the Book of Mormon in Moroni 10:3-5. He read that, and then he just kept reading for a while after that. I felt the Spirit so strongly and I could tell that he definitely did. It was really cool. We set up an appointment to meet with him next week.

After our appointment with Cierra yesterday, we saw that we had a voicemail. It was from Don, who had seen our car across the street. He told us to come over for a minute when we were done. We went over and Rose had just gotten home from work. She had brought us a poinsettia for Christmas! It was so sweet and so perfect! They were wanting to do something for us for Christmas, but they don't have much, so it turned out perfectly that she was able to bring one home from work to share with us. I also LOVE them of course. Well anything that has to do with Christmas really... Each week we make goals, and we decided to make a few fun goals this week and one of them was to Christmasify our apartment. I had already made a few snowflakes and a paper chain, but we thought the place could still use a bit more. And it's been awesome because people have just been giving us stuff this week! We got another Poinsettia from Sister Andrews later that night, and on Friday, a sweet old Philippino lady gave us some bells to hang on our door.

I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011

And so dearest family, here is my update for the week:

Last week President told us to all expect and pray for miracles, so Sister Brown and I decided to make that one of our goals. On our first street of the day, we prayed to find miracles, and let me tell you - we found them! At almost every house (I think all but one) if they weren't already home, the people either pulled up right before we got to their house, or as we were knocking on their door. Because of this we were able to talk to so many people! Then, about halfway trough, we got a phone call. We decided to head back to the car to talk so that we weren't just awkwardly standing in front of this house we were about to knock on. By the time we were done on the phone, the lady at that house was outside talking on the phone. We decided it would be a little odd to bee-line it straight to her with her watching us for the whole walk, so we just decided to start at the top of the street again, just on the other side, and work our way back down to her house. At the second door we met Lizzie. Lizzie only had about 10 minutes before she had to leave, but she let us in and we were able to teach her a quick lesson about the Restoration! She was really excited about it and invited us back! If we hadn't had that phone call, and then decided to start at the top of the street again because of the phone lady, we totally would have missed her. MIRACLES. It was so awesome!!!

I got a new bed! Yay! The old one was like sleeping on springs, and I ended up sleeping on the couch for about a week because it finally got so bad. But thankfully they brought me a new one and I am sleeping much better now. However, I have gone from sleeping on an extra tall bed (there were two boxsprings) to now sleeping on an extra low bed (I guess the mattress is just really small? I'm not exactly sure how my bed got to be so much shorter than Sister Brown's...)

Burr Ridge (where the Hoogland's are moving) is just barely outside of my area. It borders the northeast corner of my area in fact.

The Beylers are awesome. So are the Andersons and the Andrews. Those are probably my three favorite families, and they all really love us, so it's great :) Eating with the Beylers is where I heard the coffee thing. Those kids are so funny. I wish I knew how to describe it, so you could enjoy it as much as I do.

Don said he wants to get baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He just wants to wait for Rose, who we still haven't been able to meet with, so we don't have a date yet. But I am very okay with that. We know that he wants to, and once he has committed to it, you can be pretty certain he'll do it. He is starting to realize that only on of the baptisms can be valid, which is really exciting becuase it means that his testimony of the Restoration is starting to really take root. Cierra is awesome. She just "gets it" all, and said she feels like the Book of Mormon is something she should believe. We are also teaching a 12 year old girl right now, Jasmine, that also soaks it all up and really wants to do what is right. Yes that means that half of our investigators are teenage girls.

quick side note: How on earth did you get such a big tree??? Does it even fit INSIDE? Also that is really cool about the Elders and the whole 16th ward effort.