Monday, December 17, 2012

Back in the PSG

Dear Family!

Well, we are back in Petersburg and boy was it fun to come back.  We had people all over town welcome us back; members, non-members, random people we don't know... it was really neat and made us feel so loved.  Leaving Wrangell was hard.  We really grew to love the people there in the short time that we were with them.  We got to take the Ferry back to PSG, which was SO fun! We planned for the week and then did some puzzles to fill our time on the boat.  We also went to the gift shop and Sis Ashbrook bought her family the book "Outhouses of Alaska"... we got a good laugh out of that one :) When we got back to PSG we through ourselves right back into our busy schedule and got right to work. 

We taught a couple of our investigators and less-actives this week.  One of our investigators, Barbara [a 70-something with a spit fire personality.  She's met with the missionaries for about 2 years now]. really opened up this week.  We taught her about temples and about how she can be sealed to her husband [who passed away] for all eternity.  It was a really wonderful lesson and the Spirit was very strong.  We invited her to think and pray more about being baptized.  We called her on Saturday night and asked if she would like to come to church.  There was a long pause, and after a littel talking she agreed to come!! It was amazing! She's  never agreed to come before, with any missionaries, and she totally came to church.  I don't think that her experience was what any of us had expected but we were so glad that she came and got to feel the Spirit in some way.  Maribel is doing well, her kids and husband are out of town for the next week, so we plan on spending a lot of time with her. 

Oh my gosh, cool story... I got a letter from someone I don't know this week.  It was a girlw ho is about to come out on her mission to Alaska and found my blog online while she was researching! iIt was so neat! She asked advice on how she can prepare, and I'm excited to write her back.  I put in a good word with President, saying that I dibs training her.  He said, "Well wouldn't that be neat?" haha we'll see what happens :)

We've done quite a bit of singing, but what else is new! We are singing in the community Holiday concert tonight, which will be fun.  Other than that, nothing is really  new.  We're both really looking forward to Christmas and have gotten a few invitations for some fun activities with members in the branch.  WE're all geared up with a few Christmas messages to share with the people we teach :)

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Hatfield

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zone Conference & Such!

Hey guys,

Oh my heck [Sister Ashbrook says that ALL the time and has me saying it now!] This week was absolutely INSANE, but oh so fun! We left PSG on Tuesday morning and flew to Juneau.  We weren't sure if the plane was actually going to leave because we'd gotten so much snow, but it did! The flight was only about 24 minutes, so it wasn't too bad.  When we got there the elders picked us up from the airport and treated us to lunch! Isn't that nice? [Actually, it was E. Hartelius' mom who bought us lunch, which is really nice of her!]  After that they sent Sister Ashbrook and I out to visit some women in the Juneau area.  It was really fun   neat to get to know some of the wonderful women that are up there.  On Wednesday we had a Zone Pday- which NEVER happens in Juneau Zone because we are all scattered across the islands of the SE.  We made a group trip to Costco [which was completely overwhelming since the biggest store I've been in for the last 5.5 months was a small Walmart, which was over 3 months ago!] After Costco we headed over to Booyah Grill for burgers.  It was really good food and excellent company.  Some of the elders here are just so funnt! They had us in tears we were laughing so hard the entire week.  After lunch we decided we were going to "walk to the glacier" [that's what the elders said it was... a walk. HA!]  We got there as the sun was starting to set [about 2:30] and trekked through about a foot of snow across a frozen lake. The "walk" was about 3/4 of a mile one way, but in that much snow it felt like 6 each way.  Needless to say, Sister Ashbrook and I quickly found out how out of shape we were.  Thankfully, the elders are super Christlike and were encouraging us the entire way.  On Thursday we had a day full of training which was really nice.  The purpose of Zone Conference is to "re-align our compasses" as President says.  We learned a lot and did a lot of fun activities.  The Zone Leaders did a relay race as part of their trainig and Sister Ashbrook and I had to race and eat Muk Tuk [whale blubber and skin... a native delicacy].  It was AWFUL! I vowed the first day I came to AK that I would never eat it, and I was forced to.  The elders were laughing at me the entire time because I was literally gagging it down.  The blubber was fine, kinda oily, but the skin was like chewing a tire.  Anyways... after all of our training, we had a Christmas Party with a White Elephant gift exchange.  I got a tie and a VHS of Free Willy and Sister Ashbrook got a toy dinosaur.  Haha! President was giving a training in the other room and had asked me if I would sing for it, so we actually missed most of the gift exchange, hence the gift I received.  On Friday morning, we had interviews with President, which are always so incredible.  He just makes everything all better again.  He brings me back to reality while still helping me stay focused on the work.  We talked about some changes that are coming up in my future and I'm excited.  I think I'll have some good learning opportunities starting after Christmas.  On Friday, we flew from Juneau to Wrangell where we were welcomed with open arms! The branch here is just as big, if not a little smaller than our branch in PSG.  Everyone here has been so wonderful and kind.  The last time they remember having sister missionaries was about 20 years ago! We are staying with Brother and Sister Buness [who are the parents of a Sister in our ward in PSG] and they are the absolute best.  Sister Buness literally just came out and brought us some herbal tea [some kind of yummy christmas flavor.  People in AK LOVE herbal tea.  We drink it at least twice a week] and some really yummy treats [rice krispie cereal, dates, pecans, brown sugar, butter and cocuonut [my FAVE] rolled into powdered sugar]  to enjoy while we email :) We've been staying pretty busy here in Wrangell visiting some investigators and less-active members of the branch.  It's been a really fun trip, but we are ready to get back home to PSG and get ready for Christmas. 

Welp, things are going good and definately looking up.  Sister Buness was just talking to us about missions and we decided that they are just like pulling taffy.  You are pulled and stretched in every way imaginable, and let me tell you it is tough work, but it is so very worth it.  I  love Alaska.  I love the people of Alaska.  And most importantly I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I hope you all are having a wonderful week. 

Love always, Sister Hatfield

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sorry 'Bout It!

Hey guys,

Sorry about not sending an email last week.  We had the craziest day trying to get a lot of stuff done, and ended up taking 3 hours out of our P-Day to do missionary work.  But anyways....

All is well here in PSG.  We've gotten about 8 inches of snow this week and it is BEAUTIFUL! I feel like I live in a snow globe.  It's cold, but not too cold, maybe 20 degrees this last week.  Not bad.  Feels like home.  We're starting to get all geared up for Christmas here.  We've hung up some lights in our apartment, put up a tiny tree, and stuch a manger scene in the window (you know, those window cling sticker things?).  It's been fun. 

We've been doing a LOT of singing lately, shocker right? We joined the Oxford Carolers, a group that sings traditional english carols.  We had 2 performances this week with them and have 2 or 3 more this month.  Sister Ashbrook and I were also asked to put on a set at the museum open house yesterday.  We roped in a member of the branch, Doc, to play guitar for us.  It went really well and was really fun.  We're also working on music for 3 musical firesides, getting ready to record about 6 or 7 songs while we're in Juneau this week for Zone Conference, practicing for some musical numbers for ZC, planning a Primary Christmas program, getting music together to sing in Sacrament for Christmas sunday, working on music for the Oxford Carolers, and getting ready for Yulebahing(sp? It's a Norweigian tradition where all the shops in town stay open and make LOTS of food and everyone just goes around from store to store eating and visiting and singing carols! We're so excited!! )

Tomorrow we leave for ZC in Juneau for 4 days, then we're going to Wrangell for another 4 days.  The missionary work is really slow there, so they took missionaries out of the area for a while.  However, they have 3 women who are investigating the church and are close to baptism.  President is sending us over there to teach them.  This first trip is to teach, get to know the town, and to speak in church.  THEN, they want us to come back later this month for their branch Christmas Party to throw a musical fireside.  We're still working on logistics for that one. 

OH, so, listen up grandma Hatfield, you'll be so proud....

Our favorite Cleo has been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately (I don't black her.  It's pitch black by about 3 or 3:30pm, it's cold and she can't walk or leave the hospital, sad!) So, we decided to start a project that would help brighten her spirits! She LOVES to quilt and had one started that she was working on before she entered the hospital.  We decided to take on the project and finish the quilt for her.  We're hand stitching around appliqued butterflies and dutch dolls.  We're doing a blanket stitch, which is new for me and is really fun.  Sister A has bever sewed, so it's been fun teaching her too! Cleo is SOOOO happy.  She loves watching us stitch and has been much happier.  We bring our quilt blocks to our visits with her and we just talk and stitch.  It's actually helping her testimony too! She listened to church (we can all in in to sacrament on a conference call)yesterday for the first time in about 6 months! How awesome is that???

Anyway.. got to go.  Today is only a half P-Day since we get a whole one in Juneau.  Oh, and I might not email next monday because we'll be in Wrangell, but promise I will email as soon as I can.  ]

Have a great week!

Love always,
The ever-busy Sister Hatfield

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let there be snow!

Why hello there!

I'd like to announce that Petersburg is officially covered in snow! It's gorgeous and I forgot how much I absolutely love the sound of my feet crunching on the ground as I walk! SO fun :)

Well, this has been one adventurous week for the Sister Missionaries in Petersburg, Alaska! We didn't teach very much (this area is pretty slow), but we're going to work SUPER hard this week so that we can teach more.  However, we did so much service it's incredible. 

We went to visit Shannon (the true Alaskan woman who kills her own deer!) on Tuesday.  The second we pulled up, I opened the door and before I even got out she told us that she was skinning her deer.  I kid you not, I hopped out of the car so fast! So we watched her do that, then came back the next day to help her cut up the meat.  I'm telling you, I'm a true Alaskan now.  I've spent about 9 hours this week chopping up dead animal.  It's nuts! Okay, sorry.. that was graphic.  We also helped at Bingo, passed out shirts and visited people at the Great Alaskan Smokeout (to help alaskans quit smoking) helped wrap presents at a Primary Activity, and helped to pass out medals and keep times for a 5k run put on Parks&Rec.  It was a nuts-o week, but was a lot of fun and we learned a ton. :)

Oh, good news! We'll be staying in Petersburg for this next transfer (which ends on New Years Eve) WE're really excited and have a lot of fun singing events and firesides ahead of us.  President is actually sending us to another island to teach some sister's there.  We're going to Wrangell right after zone conference. (in Juneau_ the first week of December.  Should be fun! WE get to fly AND take the ferry (the only two ways to get anywhere in the SE)

Anywhoo.... all is well here and we're excited to start another week and a new transfer.  Oh, and it's Thanksgiving this week! We're already planning on at least two dinners with some members in the branch.  Should be fun! It will definately put me on track to gain the rest of the weight I need to meet the mission average goal...Haha! (FYI, the average weight that sisters gain is 30 pounds here in AK) Don't forget to "Gobble til you Wobble" (Hatfield family motto..) and thank Heavenly Father for all the beautiful blessings you receive each day! The Lord is in the details of our lives, but they are just so slight that we might not see them.  Keep your eyes open, and marvel at all the blessings you receive from our loving Heavenley FAther. 

Have a fabulous week and don't forget to say your prayers!

Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

And sometimes the bears get in the trash...

This was such a long week full of so many fun activities.  I think last week in my email I mentioned some of the fun service we were going to be doing? I don't know.  Anyway... this is how our week went...

Monday: PDay... emails, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping (SOOOOOO EXPENSIVE! The cheapest milk is about $6 and goes bad in less than a week...) letter writing...
Tuesday: Helped Shannon pack her deer meat all morning! I was in charge of working the grinder (gross fact: I had blood caked fingers all day) and Sister Ashbrook was in charge of packing up and labeling the meat.  It was really fun and we got to talk a lot about families, life, love, trials and the gospel! We also helped Kris make her year supply of soap! We each got to try different scent combinations and we all voted on which one we liked best.  Mine won! Plumeria, Sweet Orange, and Vanille.  Yummmmmm! It takes about 6 weeks for the soap to really set up, but Kris said she'll send it to us when we're done. 
Wednesday:  Volunteered at the Museum (we scan pictures into archives), washed dishes at the "Old Folks Home", taught a couple lessons, and went to young women's and helped them do family history.  Ended the night with a run-in with two GIANT spiders (about the size of a tea-plate).  It was horrible and we were screaming so loud and laughing so hard.  Don't worry, I killed them both all by myself! I'm a big kid now!
Thursday:  helped the residents at Long Term Care play BINGO! had a zone meeting over the phone, taught lessons, FINALLY got my AK driver's license, visited some people, and smile at strangers. 
Friday:  Woke up at 4:30 to teach early morning seminary (we're teaching until tomorrow I don't know how these kids do it, I'm EXHAUSTED!) went to the church to get in our hour of training and found that a bear had gotten into our trash can at the church.  There was trash all over the entire parking lot! Sister Ashbrook and I spent a little over an hour picking up the frozenfood, paper plates (with the centers eaten out of them), sacrament cups and confetti (from YW in excellence) off the frozen ground.  It was hilarious and we just sang and laughed to try and forget how freezing cols our hands were.  At dinner that night we were both laughing so hard about something TJ (a member_ said that we both leaned over and bonked heads (HARD) on accident.  Which then sent all 5 of us into a laughing fit for a good 5 minutes.

Nothing else super exciting happened.  We both spoke in church yesterday which was actually really fun! There are only about 15 people in church who can speak, so we helped to add some variety which was nice.  Other than that, nothing else is really new here on the island.  This is the last week of the transfer and 2 of my best friends from my mission are going home.  I'm sad to see them leave, but excited to have them both start writing me! I love all the people here in Alaska and can't believe how many life-long friends I am making. 

I love you all and hope you have a fabulous week! Stay warm!
Love always,
Sister Hatfield

Monday, November 12, 2012

4 months out already??

Hello all!

How are you guys?? (I think I ask that question every week, and the only person who really answers is my mom.  Way to go, mom!)

What a long week! We taught quite a few recent converts and less active members.  One of our RC's is from Colombia and only speaks spanish.   Thankfully Sister Ashbrook speaks almost fluently, so we are actually able to teach him.  I am learning how to speak, but am much better at understanding.  This wee I understood about 90% of what Victor said and felt so accomplished! It must have been working around Argentine's for so long:) We of course visited our sweet Cleo this week.  We actually got her to really open up about w hy she stopped going to church and it truly broke my heart.  When he husband died not on person from her ward called, visited, or brought over meals.  How important is visiting/home teaching?? it was really sad, but we're going to work with her and the branch here to get her back to church! Other than that she's doing quite well.

Halloween was pretty fun here.  We worked all day, then came in early at night.  All the little kids in the branch came over to our house to show us their costumes.  All the little girls loved showing off their fairy winds and halos, so it was really fun! Our mission-wide "radio" program went pretty well.  Nothing too spectacular.  but still fun.

We have quite a few fun things coming up this week though.  Tomorrow we're helping pack (grind the meat and wrap up) some deer for a less active, then going to help Kris (the frozen chicken fence woman) make homemade soap and jam! Isn't missionary work the best?? Haha it really is great though.  I love the work I'm doing and the people of Petersburg.  I think we'll be staying here through Christmas and were told to "get creative" with our singing and sharing the gospel.  We think we're going to carol while we tract.  Fun, huh? Anyone have any other creative ideas? Let me know!

Well that's about all I have this week.  I hope you all are doing great and getting excited for the most wonderful time of the year!!! I can't believe it's almost Christmas.  I've already been out 4 months and feel like the time is just slipping through my fingers.  Have a great week and write me a letter! I'd love to hear from all of you!

Love always,
Sister Hatfield

p.s. Did I tell you Rachel from Fairbanks (a girl I was teaching and completely adore!) got baptized 5 days after I left??? Sister Gardner says she's on fire! I'm so happy for her and all my other converts! Keep it up you guy.  Love you!

p.p.s.Sister Ashbrook and I are writing a song together and she's helping me finish writing my first song I'm so excited!! :)

Dogs, Service, and Eartquakes... OH MY!


Dear Family.

I don't know if any of you heard about the Earthquake we had here, but I just want you all to know that I am fine.  SE Alaska was hit with a 7.7 quake on Saturday night and had Tsunami warnings for about 48 hours after that.  We hardly felt anything and didn't get any tsunami waves, so all is well.  It was a little scary for a while, but only because some of the other missionaries on other islands (who are my really good friends) had to be evacuated.  Everyone is fine though, so all of the prayers said in our behalf were answered.  

In other news.. this week was full of service! We helped out at Sally's for a few hours on Tuesday and volunteered at the museum for a few hours on wednesday.  While we were at the museum one of the members called us and we answered she just yelled HELP! The young women in our branch were throwing a Halloween carvical for the Primary that night and there was lots to be done.  One of the YW leaders last minute decided to go with her family to Hawaii to be sealed in the Temple, so we took on all her responsibilities.  We baked cupcakes, cut fruit and veggies, decorated, etc.. (isn't missionary work the BEST???).  The carnival was a huge succes, we were happy to help.  Plus, we had 4 investigators go! On Saturday we went to visit a potential and ended up helping her pull out her chicken wire fence and do some other random jobs.  It was a blast! The ground was completely frozen, so it was really difficult to yank out.  Sister Ashbrook said, "we need to boil some hor water to melt the groun." Then I said, " No! we need a blow dryer!" Then Kris (the potential) said, "I have a  propane blow torch.. would that work?"  So we used that! Haha! I'm a true Alaskan now! I also held a chicken AND a goose. I know, I know, I'm SO hardcore. ;)

We babysat the dog of the members we live with this weekend and that was a blast! It made me miss Cooper, haha.  Dogs are hilarious!

Other exciting news... there are going to be so many new missionaries! Our mission president went to a meeting in San Diego with a bunch of other mission presidents and they talked about how they are going to accomodate all the new income missionaries.  They said that on average the church receives about 300 mission applications per week.  The first week after conference they received 4700! The second week they got 4500! and the third week they received 2700! Can you believe it?? Anyway, our missiona president says we need to start getting really creative with how we can use missionaries.  I can't exactly say how I will probably be used in the future but let me tell you, I AM SO EXCITED! I will be able to really use my talents to bless the people of Alaska! More news to come in the future..

That's about all I have for this week, keep sending me fun emails.  I love hearing from all of you :)
Also, please pray for my sister and the other missionaries on the East Coast! Thanks!

Love always,
Sister Hatfield

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life on the Island


Well, everything here in Petersburg is going great! It's a whole new experience, and a different form of missionary work than what I was doing in Fairbanks, but it's just as wonderful and rewarding.  Everyday here is completely different.  This last week we spent a lot of time doing what we call "planting seeds".  Basically, we just visit people who aren't necessarily interested in joining our church, but like to talk with us about our church and what we believe.  Everyone here is really kind and welcoming, so they make for excellent company.  We also do a lot of service to help fill our days.  This week we: helped at the museum in town scanning in photos for the archives, washed dishes at the Manor (old folks home/assisted living center), played piano and sang at the hospital, played and sang at the Manor, and helped a member organize/clean her house.  We do a lot of work with senior citizens and I LOVE it.  Before my mission I was always afraid of old people because I felt like a lot of them were just so close to death that I was afraid I would just burst into tears if I talked to them. Now, I LOVE the senior citizens and find so much joy in visiting them. When I get home I really want to start doing more volunteer work. 
This week our sweet Cleo (a 86 year-old less active woman who lives in long-term care part of the hospital that we visit every day) had a birthday! We took some time out of our day to head to the hospital for her birthday party.  It was so sweet and so much fun.  Cleo seemed a little overwhelmed, but I think she really had a good time.  The sun came out this week!!!! We've had about 4 day sin a row of sunshine and I am in HEAVEN.  The sun is really different in AK.  It's not very warm and hardly rises over the tops of the hills, but it does the soul some good. :) It's pretty cold here, but not too bad... yet.
Oh my gosh, I forgot to tell you guys about the porcupine madness last week.  So we were at dinner with the members we live with, and they were telling us all about how they thought that there was a porcupine eating their raspberry bushes and how mad they were about it.  They were so frustrated about it that they decided if they ever caught it they would kill it.  We just laughed and brushed it odd.  Later that night, we were in our apartment doing our nightly planning when all the sudden we heard two gunshots.  We immediately knew what was going on so we opened our window and yelled out "Did you get it??". Before they could even answer we ran downstairs and out to the backyard to join in the excitement.  Apparently, the porcupine was too fluffy and the bullets didn't even injure it.  So, as I'm asking the member what he's going to do to kill it, he pulls out an ax and just kills it right in front of us.  Poor Sister Ashbrook was so freaked out! She screamed really loud and covered her eyes.  To my astonishment, I found the entire situation fascinating and even went back the next day and pulled out some quills.  Who am I???? I feel like I'm turning into a real mountain woman... and I love it!! haha
The work here is going pretty well.  We are teaching quite a few people; a couple investigators and a couple less-actives(one only speaks spanish and I am so grateful that I can at least understand about 85% of what is going on!).  We're working on finding new people to teach and praying everyday for some referrals.  We actually got one yesterday (which was an incredible experience in itself) and will be contacting her tonight. 
That's prety much all that's going on here on the island.  I hope you guys are all doing well and looking forward to the most wonderful time of the year! I can't wait for Christmas and hope I'm still here on the island for it.  We've heard that get really crazy here, since it's my favorite holiday I might add my own crazy to theirs.  Time is really flying by and I can't believe it's almost November.  Where does the time all go?? Love you all and hope to hear from you soon. :)

Love Always,
Sister Hatfield
p.s. some people have been asking what I need/want in terms of gifts for the holidays.  Here are some ideas...
*Pens (you can never have too many.  I LOVE bright colors especially pink)
*Stamps (again, you can never have too many)
*Stickers (we missionaries in AK love to not only send each other letters but love to put stickers on the back)
*Music (CDS are great.  Anything uplifting and spiritual.  Please no MOTAB haha)
*Mints (we can't chew gum, and sometimes I struggle to stay awake when we visit the old folks)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Island living....


Petersburg is FABULOUS! I am having such a wonderful time and learning so much.  It is such a tiny town with completely different feel than Fairbanks.  There are about 3000 people here in about a 10 mile diameter.  TINY! But it's really fun.  Everyone here is super nice and very welcoming.  There is only one branch here on the island and only 10 (or less) families attend.  I met the entire ward before Sunday without even trying.  We do a lot of service here to help fill our days.  We go to the hospital and old-folks home (The Manor) and play piano/sing for them twice a week.  We also help with dishes at the manor, move wood (for winter), help sort clothes at Sally's (AKA Salvation Army and one of the two clothing stores in town), and any other random job we can help out with.  This last week we helped our branch president grind and pack his moose meat which was a blast! I'm sure many of you will be surprised to hear that I actually volunteered to help out with that one.  This city girl's a changin! We also helped out with the "Beat the Odds" run/walk for breast cancer.  We helped to direct the runners and tell them where to go.  Basically we just stood on the street and yelled words of encouragement.  It was a blast! The weather here is crazy! Petersburg gets on average about 110 inches of rainfall per year.  Needless to say, it hasn't stopped raining since I got here.  I never do my hair because the second I walk outside it's drenched.  It's awesome! The climate here is actually considered rainforest! Who knew??
Anyway, the work is going pretty well.  We have about 7 investigators that we are trying to get to progress a little faster.  They are all very sweet and love learning about the church. 
Sister Ashbrook is amazing!!!!! We get along SO well.  She sings really well and plays the piano like Bethoven, so we're a fun pair! Presidents told me that our mail purpose in being together is to use music to cheer up the people in this tiny town.  Don't worry, we got right on that :) We're working on some songs to recored for the next mission CD.  (P.S. my last songs are a total hit! The polynesian elders loved them! haha) Well, that's about all I have time for today.  Hope you are all doing wonderful and loving life.  Keep your heads up and don't forget to say your prayers!

Love, Sister Hatfield


From Moose to Whales....


Dear Family,

Well.... I'm getting transferred! I left the wonderful city of Fairbanks amd one of the largest zones in the world (I covered the entire zone, too!) and am headed to Petersburg, AK which is a TINY Norweigian fishing town in Southeast by Juneau.  I drove all day back down to anchorage and are staying in the mission home until tomorrow.  Transfer meeting is today and I'm so excited.  I love being back around all of my best friends. :)

Leacing Fairbanks was probably the hardest thing I have done so far.  I think it was harder than leaving home.  I loved the people there so much, but am excited to embark on a new adventure!

I love you guys and will have much more to say next week I'm sure.  Have a fabulous week and remember to turn to the Lord in ALL things. 

Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Best Week Yet!


This week was incredible!!! It was insane, busy, stressful, and psychotic, but oh so good. :D

First of all, I saw a lot of prayers answered this week.  It's amazing to see how much Heavenly Father is involved in the details of our lives.  I love being able to witness outstanding miracles and the simple tender mercies of the Lord each and every day.  What a blessing it is to be doing His work and His will.  Side note:  there is a running joke in the zone that I get everything I pray for... this week did not help me in trying to disprove that statement.  Haha.

Second, we had TWO baptisms this week! Walter was baptized on Thursday.  It was such a fun day.  He was thrilled to be able to join the church and loved wearing his cute white jumpsuit ;) When his baptism started there were only a few people in attendance.  Sister Gardner and Corey (our ward mission leader) started both feeling pretty doubtful that more people would show up.  I just turned to both of them and said, "Faith".  By the time the closing hymn had finished, the entire room was full.  It was incredible.  Walter was so excited to be baptized and looked overwhelmed with happiness throughout the entire service. On Friday we had TJ's baptism! I didn't think that anyone could be more excited about baptism than Walter, but TJ definately showed me how wrong I was! The kid couldn't have stopped smiling if he tried! TJ asked me to sing at his baptism and I sand, I Stand All Amazed.  As I was singing I looked up at TJ and saw tears in his eyes.  I just about lost it and cried myself! After he was baptized, TJ bore his testimony.  It was full of short, simple, bold and powerful statements, which is exactly what a testimony should be. After he sat down he turned to me and said, "Was that okay? I tried really hard!" with a worried look on his face.  Bless his heart!! I told him he did a wonderful job and assured him that it was perfect.  They were both confirmed at church yesterday and were still grinning ear-to-ear.  Walter said, "Sister Hatfield, I could feel Heavenly Father speaking through President Terry!" I said, "Of course you could! That's what the power of the priesthood can do!" :)

Third, I saw another moose!!

Fourth, yesterday was the first snow of the year! It's gotten really cold these last couple of weeks and everything has died.  I can't wait for the snow to stick so that Alaska can be pretty again!

Fifth, I FINALLY SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!!  We were driving home from North Pole last night and our friends and District Leader Elder Record and Elder Beirne (who is the recently retired quarterback for Uof A... don't worry, we have forgiven each other for liking different teams) called us and told us the Aurora was out.  We looked up and there it was!!! It was the most beautiful spectacular thing I have ever seen.  President gave our zone permission to drive out together to a nearby town to see them better.  We got all bundled and drove out, but they were gone.  :( It was so sad.  But we did get to see the pipeline.  Haha ( I took a picture just for you, dad!). 

All in all it was a great week.  We are working really hard and have a lot going on this week.  We already have 24 lessons sey up for the week and it's only Monday! This is the last week of the transfer and possibly our last together here in Fairbanks so we are really going to try and make the most of it.  The church is TRUE.  Christ LIVES and families can be together FOREVER.  Never forget that!

Have a wonderful week!

Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAMMY(TODAY) AND GRAHAM-BO (WEDNESDAY)! I hope you both have a spectacular day. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 24th

Dear Family,

This week was so LONGGGGGGGGGG.  Everyone always tells you how "hard" missionary work is, but they never tell you in what way.  And don't get me wrong, it's different for everyone.  For me, it's incredibly hard emotionally and mentally.  It's so easy to fall into the "wo-is-me" mindset.  However, that is not the point of missionary work.  It's been hard, but I am getting much better at thinking outward and not beating myself up when we don't. 

Anyway... we had some really interesting experiences this week.

1.  We ran into a lot of scheduling conflicts with the baptisms this week, but we finally got them all worked out and Walter is getting baptized on Thursday the 27th (which is my 'click' day... aka my month mark) and TJ is getting baptized on Friday the 28th (mom's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!) TJ asked me to sing at his baptism so I'll have to try and find some time to pick a song and practice! I am so stoked to be able to be involved in these two baptisms.  These two are such great guys and are going to be excellent members of the church. 

2.  Yesterday we had 'Invite a Friend to Church Day' in our branch.  At the very beginning of my time in FBX I told Sister G that I really wanted to see our make-shift chapel full.  We have a really small branch (about 40 active members), so it seemed impossible.  However, yesterday my vision became a reality! The room was PACKED! Every seat was taken and they even had to add more seats in the back.  What a miracle! We met quite a few people and wil hopefully find some new investigators.  Our branch president had us bear our testimonies (surprise!) and it was so fun! I have no clue what I said but I could feel the power of the words I was saying.  (Did that sentence make any sense?! haha)

3.  Yesterday for dinner we were eating at the Maynes'.  Bro Maynes is the 1st counselor in the branch and his wife and daughter are some of my favorite ward members.  Anyway, we had spaghetti.... but not just spaghetti... MOOSE spaghetti.  It was DELISH! While we were eating there was a knock at the door and some Russian people asked if they could harvest some of the mushrooms on the lawn.  We were all DYING laughing.  Only in Alaska... haha! Have I ever told you guys how weird the Alaskans are? It's a whole new world (cue Aladdin music) up here.  For military it's even considered "overseas"! Back to the Russians... we tried to get them to come in and have dinner and listen to our message, but they were really freaked out.  Don't worry, I got a picture of the harvest.  I'll attach it to the email!

4.  Our investigator Rachel moved her baptism date!!! (Did I already tell you that? Sorry, the mission wipes out your memory!) She's getting baptized on October 13th and is SO excited! :) this will be my 4th baptism since I came out on my mission, and the most baptisms the branch ahs seen (in such a short time period) in the last few years.  We are thrilled and are so grateful that all of these wonderful investigators just fell into our laps. :)

Transfers are in a couple weeks (conference weekend).  I will officially be done with my 12 week training program and will now be eligible for transfers.  It will be fun to see whether I stay or leave!

Are you guys as excited for Conference as I am?? I hope you are! I try and read/listen to about 3 talks a day to prepare myself.  They are all so inspiring.  I can't wait!

Welp, hope all is well wherever you are! Thank you so much for your continuous love, suppost, and prayers.  You are all the BEST! Have a fabulous week :)

Love always,
Sister Hatfield

P.S. I'm getting better at letter writing, so keep sending me letters! I love hearing from you!

Special shout-out to my letter-writers from this week: Ali (I got 2 from you this week!:) Haley, Tanner, and Brooke.  You guys rock!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Love you guys!

Dear Family,

This week went by so fast! I feel like I was just here at the college library writing you.  Time is whizzing by and it is blowing my mind.  Everyone said that the first 3 months are the longest.  Well if that's true, I'll be home in no time flat.  The 27th of this month is my 3 month mark... crazy!

The work slowed down a little this week.  We only taught 26 lessons, but our days were full and very busy.  All of our investigators are doing really well.  We moved Walter's baptism date back a week because he was feeling overwhelmed with school.  So... next week we'll have a baptism on Thursday and Friday and 2 confirmations on Sunday! It will be marvelous.  I am so excited for both of them, and they are both very excited for themselves. :) Rachel is loving the gospel.  She loves to meet with us and hear all about the things we have to share. We are currently teaching her the Plan of Salvation and she is LOVING it (who doesn't??).  The other sisters in the zone have been teaching a Korean YSA names Kyungshik (key-ung-sheek) for the last 5 months and he surprised us on Friday by saying that he wanted to be baptized on Sunday.  So... surprise! We had a baptism.  It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved.  Rachel came and loved it and how excited she was for her own baptism. 

Now.... the highlight of my week! Yesterday in church, Miranda received her first calling.  She was called as a branch missionary!! She is going to be great and we are so excited to have her come with us to lessons and share her testimony with our investigators.  We had the opportunity to sit in on her setting apart and it was one of the most incredible blessings I have ever heard.  The Spirit was so strong.  Both Sister G and I felt it in waves throughout the entire blessing and were in tears by the end.  She was given one of the most amazing promises in her blessing and I am so grateful to have been there to hear it.  After the blessing ended, the branch President (who gave the blessing) said, "Wow".  It was very powerful.

It is starting to get really dark here at night.  It's strange because I haven't seen 'night' for almost 3 months.  It's a very hard adjustment, but it will be just fine.  We have quite a few fun things coming up in the next few weeks and are very excited about the work and about preparing for the baptisms next week.  :) This Sunday we are having an "Invite a friend to church" day and are very hopeful it will be a successful event. 

Thank you all for your continuous love, support and prayers.  It is much needed and graciously received. 

Love always,
Sister Hatfield

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall is here!

Dear Family,

I hope you all had a wonderful week! This week has been absolutely nuts-o here in Fairbanks YSA.  We are teaching a LOT of lessons and making a lot of progress with people we teach.  We have 5 investigators that we are currently teaching: Walter, TJ, Rachel, Zena and David.  They are all awesome!

Walter is doing great! He is getting baptized next Thursday and is SO excited.  He has so much enthusiasm for the gospel and cannot wait to become a member of the church.  He is going to be an awesome member, too! He loves to learn as much as he can in our lessons and always asks really good questions.  Next week will be incredible for him and we can't wait. 

TJ is one of the most genuine, kind, loving people I have ever met.  He always has a huge smile on his face whenever we see him and he just has this light avout him that I love.  TJ shared with us some very personal stories about his past this week.  They were stories that he'd only told one other person before and were very difficult to tell.  TJ and I have experienced some very similar circumstances in our childhoods and it broke my heart to her what he was saying, or how he felt, because I too have felt some of those things and lived very similar stories.  As he was sharing them the Holy Ghost kept prompting me to tell him a bit about myself and my past.   I absolutely did NOT want to do that, so I just kept pushing the thought out of my mind.  But, just like any other prompting we receive, it kept coming back to me.  So, when the time was right, I shared some of my experiences with him.  It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  By the end of the lesson all 4 of us were in tears and the spirit was so strong.  It was an incredible experience and taught me so much about what true missionary work is.  When we were leaving we hugged Aubrey, TJ's girlfriend who is a member, and TJ said, "Are we finally close enough that we can hug?" It was so sad! All we wanted to do was hug him but we couldn't.  Once we got in our car to head to our next lesson I felt awful.  Sometimes it's just so difficult to hear the trials that others have been through or are currently working through.  But, that is where the gospel of Jesus Christ comes in.  I could relate to a lot of the things TJ has been through, but not all.  The Savior, however, completely understands and has literally experienced and felt all of them.  Nothing brings me more comfort and peace than knowing that the savior can heal any wound whether it be physical, spiritual, or emotional.  I want nothing more than to see TJ come to that realization for himself, and I know that one day he will.

Rachel is doing great! She set her baptism date for November 17th and is very diligent in learning the gospel.  She started reading the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the summer and was in Mosiah before we even met her!! Basically, she's solid.  Some of her family isn't too thrilled about her decision to join the church.  Las night there was a CES fireside that was broadcast from St George and Elder Holland spoke.  It was an INCREDIBLE fireside (hint, hint... look it up online and read/watch it!!).  He talked about standing firm in our beliefs and not "checking our religion at the door". Rachel acsolutely loved it and said, "It's so true!!"  Basically, she's doing great and we love teaching her. 

We've only met Zena a couple of times, but she seems to be doing really well.  She is full of questions and accepted a conditional baptism date.  We're excited to meet with her
more about the gospel!

David is doing pretty well.  He's a medic in the Army so he is very busy and has the craziest schedule.  We don't get to meet with him very often, because his schedule, but we never stop trying.  He's going out for some training excercises for the next months so we probably won't be teaching him for a while.  :(

Other than our investigators we are keeping VERY busy teaching less-active and active members. We taught 33 lessons this last week! It was awesome :) I'm really learning to love teaching and finding new ways to present the lessons.  (if any of you have any good analogies or object lessons, let me know)

"Fall" has officially hit here in Fairbanks and it's gotten pretty chilly.  It's been in the upper 30s, lower 40s this week and pretty rainy.  All of the leaces have changed colors and are starting to fall off.  I'm definately excited for winter to come, but must admit that I'm a little scared.

I hope you all have a fabulous week and keep choosing the right!
Remember.. "This life is to be enjoyed, not just endured"

Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zone Conference, Recording, and Teaching...

Dear Family,
THIS WEEK WAS NUTS.  Ever since Miranda got baptized, we have started teaching 5 new investigators! 3 of them have since been put on date and 2 will be baptized before the end of the month!! We are very excited about them and their willingness to follow the Savior.  The work is going really well and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be their missionaries.  We are working really hard and have been really focused on putting their needs before our own.  My mission has taught me so much about loving people.  I love hearing about the lives of those I teach and about the spiritual experiences they have had.  It brings me so much joy to see their testimonies grow. 
On Sunday we had a wonderful testimony meeting. 4 of the members bore their testimony about something we had taught them in a lesson.  It was such a confirmation to me that I truly am inspired to say the things I say.  It's a really wonderfully strange thing to have the Holy Ghost work through you.  Sometimes I will leave a lesson with no recollection of what I said, but only a confirmation that the Holy Ghosst was felt by all in the room.
This past weekend we had Zone Conference! It was SO fun! We did about 6 hours of training between Friday & Saturday.  The AP's, President B, Sister B, the district leaders, and Sis G and I all gave different trainings.  It went really well and we learned a ton.  We also did some service and team building activities outised centered around Zion's Camp, which is something we have been focused on as a mission the last few months.  We pulled handcarts and played games, ate Reindeer stew for dinner, and had a testimony meeting around the campfire.  Our new Zone Leader asked me if I would sing a song with him and another Elder the night before ZC, and of course I agreed.  Elder Boyer played the Mandolin, Elder Meek played the Banjo, and I sang.  We sang a song I had never heard and only got to practice for 15 minutes before we performed.  The song is called, Be Thou My Vision.  It's a beautiful song and really brought the Spirit to our meeting.  I have a video that I will try and send.  After Zone Conference, Sister Beesley had us recored the song for our next mission CD.  I also recorded a version of God Be With You Till We Meet Again with a member of my branch.  It's been so fun to share my talents and see how it can be used for so much good.  After we finished recording the Beesley's took Sister G and I out to dinner.  We went to President's favorite restaurant... Denny's.  haha it was fun to be out with them and to get some one on one time.  They are both such amazing people.  They always know exactly what needs to be said in order fo us to learn the most.  They are both incredibly spiritual but have such awesome personalities.  We laugh a lot as a mission, which is important!
Anyway, all in all it was a wonderful week full of testimony building experiences and spiritual moments.  I love my mission, I love the gospel, I LOVE teaching the principles of the gospel to everyone we come in contact with.  I am learning so much about life, love and most importantly our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness for each of us. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Keep reading your scriptures and praying DAILY.  Our testimonies are our strongest, most effective weapons against the adversary.  USE THEM.
Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

Monday, August 27, 2012

2 months down...

Dear Family,

This week has been incredible! We have been blessed in so many ways and sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure that I am not living in a dream.  This Gospel and the people in it are outstanding and bring me so much happiness, I can't even contain my huge smile sometimes :D

First off, Miranda was baptized on Aug 24 and it was a wonderful service.  There were two talks, one on baptism by Carly, a sister in the branch; and the other by Sister Gardiner on the Holy Ghost.  Both of them did an incredible job and really brought the Spirit while teaching and testifying.  After their talks I sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go".  While singing I looked up and saw Miranda wiping the tears from her eyes which, surprise surprise, made me start to cry.  Then Miranda was baptized by our ward mission leader Corey.  She looked so changed she bore the most incredible testimony.  It was clear, accurate, and powerful in every way.  She was confirmed yesterday in Sacrament Meeting and received a wonderful blessing from the branch president.  I am incredibly humbled and grateful to have been a part of her conversion.  Even though I played a very small role, I know that my part was necessary.  I love Miranda and look forward to all the wonderful things that she will do in her life.  She is a huge blessing to me and has taught me so much about loving others and serving Heavenly Father with everything that we have.

Second, we have 2 new investigators who are on track and on date to be baptized (TJ doesn't quite have an official date set, but he/we are praying about a date!) Walter and TJ are both awesome, solid guys and are both thirsting to hear more about the Gospel.  We are excited to keep teaching both of them and helping them come closer to the Savior and Heavenly Father.  We also have 3 new people we are going to begin teaching this week.  David is doing good.  We didn't get to teach him this week, but he is still reading the BoM and says that he knows it's true.

Fairbanks is starting to get really cold! The weather is changing so quickly. :( Fall is officially here and winter is fast approaching.. let's just say, I am not ready for -50 degrees.  But, I am excited to see the Aurora!

I FINALLY SAW A MOOSE!!!!  After almost 7 weeks in AK, I finally got to check that goal off my list.  We saw a mama and a baby crossing the road on the day of Miranda's baptism.  I told her that it was a sign from Heavenly Father that He loves me, and that he was proud of Miranda.  She agreed! Haha.

The first official transger of my mission is over! It flew by and I am excited to spend at least another 6 weeks here in FBX 4th.  Today makes exactly 2 months since I started my mission! I can't believe I only have 15 months left.  It's going to come so much faster than any of us thought :(

I am loving my mission thus far and can't wait to see all the other miracles that will come up.  I am learning so much and am loving almost every single minute of my mission. 

I love you all and miss you bunches.  Keep writing me letters... :)

Sister Hatfield

p.s. here are some pictures!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A week breakdown from Sister Hatfield!

Dear Family/Friends,

Holy cow!! This has been the fastest week of my life! We were SO busy! We taught 26 lessons this week, which is 6 more lessons than the goal for our mission. It was insane, but was such a good learning opportunity. I'll do a day-by-day recap of this last week just so you can all get a little taste of what my mission life is like. :)

Monday: PDAY!!!!! Laundry, emails, grocery shopping...We went on a hike as a Zone in the afternoon. It was a pretty easy trail, but was definitely a work-out. We ended up running back because we had an appointment to get to which was probably not the best idea...I couldn't walk normal for about two days. I also got huge blisters on both ankles, but it was so worth it! Our zone is so fun. We love to laugh and joke around so it makes for some really good times. :) I only had about 20 minutes to write letters. Unfortunately, I had 11 letters that I needed to respond to, but there was just no time. Sorry everyone! I'll try and respond to every letter I get, but there really is no time. Please don't be offended if I don't write you back. I still love you and would love to hear from you. :) After the hike we had 3 lessons than retired for the evening.

Tuesday: Work out, study, District Meeting, lunch, study, teach 4 lessons, try and find less-actives. Nothing too exciting.

Wednesday: EXCHANGES. Since there is another set of Sisters up here in FBX, we went on exchanges. I was with Sister Chan from Hong Kong. It was a crazy day, but was really fun. We got to teach one of her Chinese investigators which was a really neat experience. We taught 6 lessons that day!

Thursday: Work out, study, Training meeting (every Thurs we watch a live feed of the training meeting going on down in Anchorage. The whole mission watches and participates. We love technology!!), study, family history (each week we do one hour of family history or, taught 2 lesson, and did some service. The service was really last minute and was very emotionally challenging. It was good for us though. It definitely made me grateful for everything I have and for the wonderful people I have in my life.

Friday: Study, weekly planning (3 hours of planning/setting goals for the next week), taught 4 lessons, took an investigator to a baptism going on in the stake. We always try to bring investigators to baptisms so that they can feel the Spirit and get excited about getting baptized for themselves.

Saturday: Study, Zone tract (2 hours of tracting for a companionship in the zone), interview with the AP's (assistant to the president...two elders assigned to help out our mission president), 5 lessons.

Sunday: Study, Church, 4 lessons. Sundays never go as planned, but they are always really good and very uplifting. 

Miranda is getting baptized this Friday night! We are all very excited for her and she is so ready to be an official member of the Church. I will take lots of pictures and will send them on next week's email!

The weather is starting to change here already. It's getting colder and starting to feel like Fall. I love it, but I'm not quite ready for winter yet. I have officially been in FBX for over a month now. Where has the time gone?? Next Monday will be my 2 month mark on my mission. I am loving every second and am having so many wonderful experiences. Please keep writing to me and thinking about/praying for me. I love all of you and hope you all have a wonderful week.

Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Happenings

The title of this letter was "I'll be home for Christmas" .... and I fell for it. Haha.  Here's her letter for this week! :)

Did my subject trick you?! Haha sorry about the joke, but I really will be home before next Christmas. My official release date would have been in January and was kind of stressing me out and keeping my mind away from what I should be thinking about, so in my interview with President Beesley this week, we decided to pick a date to come home. It will be the beginning of December. He said that he didn't want me to be away from my sister for 3 Christmases, so he's sending me home! I was so relieved and felt a lot more focused on the work after we decided that. :)

This week was a good one. The weeks go by so fast here that I have a hard time keeping track of what happens! But I guess that is a good thing. We taught a TON of lessons this week. 16 to be exact. The mission goal for weekly lessons is 20 and we should be higher than that next week. Miranda was out of town for the last 5 days, so we didn't get to see her as much. We did find a new investigator though! His name is David and he lives on Fort Wainwright. We were there on Saturday to visit a less-active member. David "happened" to walk by right as we walked in and Josiah (the LA) invited him to join us for the lesson. He is such a sweet guy from southern VA. He said the closing prayer in our lesson (which is huge!) and took a Book of Mormon and said he would read it. I invited him to come to church yesterday and he said he would try and make it. And he did! He and Josiah both came to church and he said he really enjoyed it and learned a lot. He also said that he had read his Book of Mormon! We are meeting with him again on Tuesday and are excited about teaching him the lessons. 

I had a really interesting experience this week that I would like to share with you all. I think I mentioned in a previous email that we met with a LA who is now a 7th-Day Adventist. We challenged him to Read the BoM and pray about it and we set up a return appointment. Well, we went this week and were completely unprepared for what was about to happen. We walked in his apartment and he and his two other 7th day friends were sitting, bibles and notebooks in hand, ready to "chat" about the BoM. Side note...just the day before, Friday, I had told Sis Gardner that sometimes I worry that I don't have the Spirit with me when I teach, but she assured me that I do and that I am just so used to having it that I wouldn't recognize it being there until it was gone. Fast forward back to the soon as we sat down and began talking to these people I immediately felt the Spirit leave me and felt sick the entire time we were there (which was over an hour). I told them that we were not there to argue or to bash each-other and that I didn't want anything to get out of hand. They agreed, but continued to put our church down, so we decided to leave. Although it was a difficult time and experience, I am grateful for it. I learned that when we don't have the Spirit with us, we are forced to face this dark and scary world alone. 

I also had some really good times and met with my mission president. He is incredible and is really proud of the work we are doing here. Sister Gardner and I are seeing a lot of miracles and blessings in the work every day, and we know that none of them would be possible without strict obedience and willingness to serve with everything we have. And we are striving to do just that. I love the work I am doing out here. It brings me so much joy and is teaching me so much. I can't wait to share with all of you the wonderful experiences we are having!

I hope you all are doing well and are finding true, eternal joy in the lives you are living. If not, find it. It is there and is wonderful.

I love you!

Love always,
Sister Hatfield