Thursday, May 17, 2012

Home to Heal

Ali has been sick since early February, and they finally determined she needed to come home to rest and get better.  She has just been working through it for a few months, but it hasn't gone away.  She got home to Boise last night, and it was great to see her.

She of course has mixed feelings and will greatly miss the people in Chicago she has learned to love.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wonderful Stake Conference

Andrews Baptism from Last weeks letter.
I will call around 5:00 my time for Mothers Day!!!  I'M SO EXCITED TO TALK TO YOU!!!!!!!!!! :)

This week has been good, but pretty boring as far as lessons go.  As in, we had ZERO lessons with investigators or just people letting us in after knocking on their door.  We had 3 less-active/recent convert lessons and 6 active (from dinners) and that was it.  But we did find a lot of potential investigators this week.  Hopefully we will be able to turn them into new investigators soon!  Because we are really struggling for a teaching pool right now.  Sister Carlton and I are doing well though and are as happy as ever together.  She is seriously hilarious and cracks me up on a daily basis.  It's great :)

Stake Conference was AWESOME!  We got to go to the Saturday evening session, because we had a potential investigator who was able to attend.  His name is Charley and he's been going to church for 3 months in the Soldier Field area (I think that's somewhere in the City??) but he lives in our area, so the Elders just told him that he needs to be taught and baptized in our area!  So we met him for the first time on Saturday, and will hopefully begin meeting with him officially very soon.  He is super busy though, so it's going to be hard to schedule things.  At least we know he has the desire though!  So back to Conference.  Elder Oaks is really funny.  All the talks were great - there were a lot about parenting, which is kind of fun, because the principle totally relate to teaching investigators about the church! And the things that don't apply now, are good reminders for the future.  And then Elder Oaks got up and was commenting on all the other talks and adding his bit to what they all said and throwing in random stories all over the place.  It was great.  He did the same thing on Sunday :)  As he was speaking on Saturday though, after a while, he paused, and then said that unrelated to anything that had been talked about and not concerning anything he had thought he would talk about, he felt impressed to talk about Family Prayer.  He said that we need to be having DAILY, KNEELING family prayers, and that as we kneel in prayer, we are able to overcome the formality of prayer "which won't help God at all, but it will sure help you!" 

Sunday, he talked about the Sacrament and how if we truly take the name of Jesus Christ upon us, we are promised that we will ALWAYS have the Spirit to be with us.  Then he talked about the difference in the two Sacramental prayers and how that condition and promise is only given together in the prayer for the bread.  It was pretty cool.  Along with that, he had a big emphasis on the NAME of Jesus Christ and said that there are over 1500 references to the NAME of Jesus Christ throughout the scriptures.  He said that Apostles are not special witnesses of Christ, they are special witnesses of the NAME of Jesus Christ and that it is by the NAME  of Jesus Christ that we are saved.  I'm not really sure what the full significance of all this is yet, but it really stood out to me.  I need to study it more and I would love to hear all of your ideas about it!  

He also talked about Tithing.  In our "Tithing" pamphlets that we use there is a story about Elder Oaks mom, so it was really neat to hear him share the experience himself.  His mom told him that there might be some people who were rich enough that they could afford not to pay tithing, but that they were poor, so they needed to pay their tithing.  

Then he gave this little formula:  90% + Blessings > 100% without blessings.  

It's so true!!  We NEED the Lord's help in our lives.  None of us are rich enough to get along without his blessings.  We ALL need to pay our tithing.

On Saturday, he also talked about the Articles of Faith and compared them to other "supreme expressions in the English language" such as the Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence and parts of the Constitution.

He told a story about when he was serving as President of BYU and Elder Maxwell in one of their meetings asked all the men present to think about "What do you want to be remembered for when you are released from you current calling?" and then related it to parenthood.  I think it's a great question to ask ourselves in ANY situation we find ourselves in.  

Elder Payne of the the Seventy also came and one really profound thing he said was, "The first element of Testimony, is gratitude." and then talked about how if we feel like our testimonies are waning, we need to work on being grateful for all that our Heavenly Father has given us, and then our testimony will grow.

One of the funny stories Elder Oaks told was about a letter that he got from a little 10 year old girl after speaking at a Stake Conference in England a number of years ago.  At the end of the letter she wrote, "I know you are an Apostle, because you are clean and your head is shiny."   Hahaha!  It was great. 

So yeah, Stake Conference was great.

Sadly though, we found out Saturday night that our District Leader, Elder Harmon, is being transferred.  We are really going to miss him.  He has been a FABULOUS District Leader and we have had a lot of fun together as well.  He really cared about us and our investigators, and it was nice to feel that love and concern.  

Oh!  And the very exciting news of the week, is that President Doll gave the WHOLE mission permission to go to the Cubs game on May 29th!  Woohoo!  We're super stoked :)

Can't wait to talk to you!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Sister Ali

p.s.  Do you by chance have any news about Juliette and the wonderful Soelberg family?  I haven't heard from Jette since December...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!!  I've been thinking about you ALL week :)  I hope you have a good day and have fun with the missionaries tonight!

So it turns out I might be allergic to minocycline?  Well, not might be.  Most very likely am.  And all tetracyclines for that matter.  Weird.  My blood tests came back all nice so I went back to taking the minocycline since Elder Craner (mission doctor) had told me to wait until everything was back to normal before taking it again.  Since all was well, Friday morning I took some.  As we were tracting that afternoon I started to get sore, but I just figured it was from our run that morning and that my arms were sore from some exercise I had done on Thursday.  But then I realized how odd it was to be so sore from a run in the same day.  And it just kept getting worse, and it was happening rapidly.  I decided I better take some ibuprofen since that's all they did for my last time, and I wasn't sure what else to do.  We had Andrew's baptism Friday night, and all I wanted was to be able to get through that.  Sister Carlton could tell I was starting to suffer the more we walked, so when we finished the section of street we were on, we headed back to the car, I took some ibuprofen and we went home until dinner so my body could rest.  I ended up sleeping for the whole hour because the pain was exhausting!  Miraculously, I was still able to get down on my knees, and I said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to help my body have the strength to get through the evening without being distracted by the pain.  The worst of the pain held out until after the baptism was over.  It was a miracle.

The baptism was perfect.  Andrew's whole family came and some very good family friends drove all night from Delaware to be there for it, so that he could baptize Andrew.  They stayed for Sunday so he could be confirmed, and then drove all night back to Delaware Sunday evening.  Brother and Sister P... had so much love for this family!  It was a really neat experience to see their love and sacrifice for their friends because they wanted them to understand how important being active in the gospel is to them.  Dear Sister P... started crying as we talked with them after church on Sunday thinking about how sad it made her when she found out that they weren't active, and then thinking about how happy she is now that they are starting to come back to church.  It was also a really incredible experience to witness Brother B... wrestle with the Spirit on Friday at the Baptism.  That was his first time in a church building in several years, and the first time that many of the members had ever seen him.  All the songs we sang were primary songs, and it was great to see Brother B... start singing them.  And then as we watched from the corner of our eyes, we noticed he would close his eyes and really seemed to be wrestling with the Spirit as Enos describes in the Book of Mormon.  We are praying that he will allow the Spirit to win this wrestle. 

Saturday I woke up and my body was all puffy and swollen, and I was in pain.  Not as bad as last time though.  We had a really busy day planned, with several appointments, but there was no way I was going to be able to make it.  We called the Woodridge Sisters, and their schedule happened to be completely open during all of our appointments, so they were able to come do splits with us, so that we didn't have to cancel.  I am very grateful for their help, and grateful to see another example of how God is in the details of our lives.  I was able to get through church yesterday, and today I have more energy, but my body still hurts - especially the bottoms of my feet, which makes walking difficult...

Oh right.  So back to how I'm apparently probably allergic to minocycline.  So Elder Craner and the nurse at my Dr.'s office both said that somehow I must have developed a sensitivity or an allergy to the medicine and that's what's causing the pain.  So all I have to do is never take minocycline (and probably not any other tetracycline either) ever again, and I should be fine.  Elder Craner doesn't think it's necessarily related to all the crazy blood tests from earlier, or the pain BEFORE the major attack, but at least it's ONE thing we can be pretty certain about.  I have an appointment with Dr. Weinberg tomorrow, so we'll see what she says.

Brittaini is doing really well.  The ward is getting her involved with things and soon she will be a visiting teacher!  We will be riding with her to Stake Conference on Saturday night :)  She bore her testimony on Sunday and it was beautiful.  So did her son Alec.  He's only 5 and only been to church 4 times.  It was so sweet to hear him share about how he knows Heavenly Father and Jesus love him because they created the earth for us to live on.  They were also able to come to Andrew's baptism, and it was super cute because afterward Alec was just jumping up and down and told me "I want to get baptized RIGHT NOW!" 

Rick is going out of town for a couple of weeks, which is kind of scary because Satan works really hard on people who have chosen to change their lives and follow the Lord, and Rick is on date to be baptized, so Satan will be working hard on him.  It will be hard to not see him for so long, and I just pray that he will continue to read and pray while he's gone and stay close to the Spirit.  He is worried about his family and not having them come with him on this spiritual journey to a church that asks so much of us.  We are trying to help him understand that it's not because the CHURCH requires so much, but the LORD that is requiring his time and sacrifices.  Even if it means not going to church with his family because they've chosen another path...

I actually saw Don this morning, because he gave me a hair cut :)  He and Rose are doing well, but still working on a few things.  They finally stayed for Sunday School!!  We all really want them to come to Stake Conference, but Satan is so tricky how he comes up with ways to keep people from going to where he knows they will have a spiritually strengthening experience!  Bill's daughter (the man who lived with them until he died in February) wants to "talk" to them, and apparently the only time she can do it is Sunday morning.  I think he would LOVE to hear from you.  I will also attach some pictures of the fun Sister Carlton, Sister Weber and I had while Don was cutting Sister Stewart's hair... 

This afternoon, we had a May Day celebration with some of the other missionaries.  It rained though, so we had to improvise on our "pole" inside...  I'll send some pictures :)  Between the adventures this morning during the hair cuts, and the May Day Celebration this afternoon, it was a really funny day. 

Also - the most success in missionary work comes when MEMBERS REFER people for us to teach!  Preferably where YOU - the members - introduce your friends to the missionaries by inviting them all into your home for a lesson.  Most people won't listen to us if we just knock on their door. But when they KNOW the missionaries are coming by to see them because you suggested it to them, or you invite them over to learn more about the family proclamation, or something important to you and to have a gospel discussion with the missionaries, THAT's when the work moves forward and we actually see investigators progress to baptism.  It's possible the other way, but it's much more difficult.  So PLEASE think about someone you know that you can tell about the gospel and invite to learn more about why it means so much to you.

This gospel is TRUE.  Sometimes it gets frustrating when people don't accept the truth, or can't see how it really all DOES make sense.  And sometimes I find myself questioning why it is that they can't put the pieces together, and I start to wonder if it really DOES all make sense.  But then I think about all the things I KNOW to be true.  And I realize that Satan is just trying to stop the work.  I know the gospel is true.  I know Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth again.  I know that the Priesthood - the authority to act in the name of God - is real and that it is powerful.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church on the earth to hold that authority from God.  I know that in order to return to our Father in Heaven we must have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the End.  I know that God requires these things of us in order to help us grow and learn so that when the time comes, we will be comfortable in His presence.  I know that God loves me.  I know He loves you.

Alma 26.  Read it.  It's amazing.

All my love,
Sister Hatch