Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1 month mark & best week yet!

Hello! This is Haley... This post will be a little different.  I realized that on the introductions of each of Sister Hatfield's letters were addressed to family.  She had mentioned in her previous letters that she will let me know when there are things to post but she's super busy and hasn't done so.  So i'm taking charge and just going to sum up letters from now on until she specifically writes a post for the blog, just to update you with what's going on in her mission. 

-First - Sister Hatfield's title in her email was "The Best Week Yet"

-One of her and her companions investigators [Miranda] has agreed to be baptized! She will be baptized on August 25th! Sister Hatfield and her companion Sister Gardner are so excited! Sister Hatfield will even get to sing at this baptism! Something that I found really cool that she said was, "That experience alone would make my entire mission worth it"

-There are a lot of sisters in the ward she's serving in that are thinking about serving a mission themselves! They really look up to her and her companion for guidance in making this huge decision in their lives!

-Sister Hatfield really wanted us to know that any help that we can give to the missionaries serving in our area really helps.  Every. little. bit.

-Here's a direct quote from her letter : "Our branch President said this yesterday, "The Savior can only bless you to the extent that you are willing to bless yourself." Strive a little harder, to be a little better in your missionary work each day. You WILL be blessed for it and it will bring you some of the sweetest joy you will ever partake of. I love this gospel and I know that it is true. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had so far and for the ones that are to come. It's been a long and hard road that has brought me to this point in my life, but I am eternally grateful for those hard times that have prepared me for this work."

-Keep writing Sister Hatfield! She really enjoys hearing from all of you!

P.S.  To all you regular readers, please let me know if this is a OK way to update you while she's on her mission.  I'm not so sure about the format or if I should just paste the actual letters in here.  Any input is much appreciated :) Thanks, Haley Harrison


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


My Dearest Family,

My first week here in AK has been amazing. It's been a long week, but we've done a lot of work so far. Time is such a weird thing. I never know what day it is, even though I look at my planner about a million times a day. Days go by so slowly, yet I have no clue where the last week has gone. Weird, huh? Anyway, last Monday was just a lot of travel. We woke up at 4am to get packed and to the airport by 7am. We had some time to kill and were allowed to call our parents. I must say, it was wonderfully painful to talk to you mom and dad. I loved hearing your voices and telling you all about the MTC and how I was feeling, but it was so hard knowing that I couldn't hear them again until Christmas. Anyway, the flight to Anchorage is 5 hours long. I spent most of the time trying to sleep and catching up on my journal writing (I'm trying to be so good, mom! I may have slacked a little at the MTC...don't judge me). When we got to Anchorage we were greeted by President and Sister Beesley and the APs. We took some pictures and headed off to the mission home. I placed a BoM with a really sweet girl in the AK airport. Sister Beesley was really impressed. :)

We had dinner in the mission home and just spent some time getting to know everyone at the mission office. Then, we went tracting around where the mission home is. It was quite an interesting experience. It isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, but the first door is scary as heck. Plus, you never know what/who is behind the door. Everyone in AK has HUGE dogs that love to bark. Haha it's a neat experience. That night we found out where we were headed and met our trainers. The next day we just did a bunch of training and got ready to head out to Fairbanks. Sis Gardner and the 2 other sisters up here don't like to/can't drive, so I get to be the designated driver. Haha! We spent all of Wednesday driving up to Fairbanks (about a 7.5 hour drive north).

Fairbanks is BEAUTIFUL! There are so many trees and wildflowers everywhere. I think any picture you take here could be on a post-card. We are serving in the YSA branch here which is a really weird experience. I just came from a YSA ward, so it's hard to find the balance between friend/peer and missionary. We are working really hard and have a LOT of less-active members we are trying to teach. We are white-washing the area which means that we are both brand new missionaries to the area, so basically we are starting from scratch. We also are the first sisters to serve in the YSA branch in the last 10 years! President must really trust us. :)

We are teaching a girl named Miranda. She is INCREDIBLE. She is the best investigator that we could hope for. She is ready to make changes in her life and really wants to work hard to find the answers to her prayers. We taught her the first lesson on Saturday, she came to church on Sunday, and we are teaching her the second lesson tomorrow. Needless to say, we are so excited. It's a great way to start the mission.

The ward is great here. There are about 8 or 9 members who are interested in serving a mission, so Sis Gardner and I are probably going to start teaching a mission prep class. We're also going to have them come out and teach with us. I am very excited to see how many of them actually serve. They would all be great. I really feel like, even though it's super hard work (and not in the way you would expect, much more emotional), this is where the Lord needs me to be. I know that I can do amazing things here in FBX and am excited to be here for as long as I am needed.

Technically, since we are serving in the YSA branch, we cover the entire zone which goes from (now is the time to pull out your map, folks!) North Pole all the way up to the very tip of AK which is Barrow. Thankfully, we have a really nice SUV (Jeep Compass, silver, brand new!) that has 4-wheel drive. There are a lot of back roads here and we end up on a lot of adventures. The weather has been pretty crappy these last 5 days. Mostly cold rain. Generally, FBX is the warmest city in AK in the summer (up to 80 or 90) and the coldest in the winter (about -40 or -50) and the snow starts to fall in October. Don't worry though, Sis Beesley gave us some really nice warm coats.

I am very happy here and am striving to do my very best and to give everything I have to the Lord. He needs me more than my family or friends do, so I am trying to be diligent and obedient in everything He asks me to do. I am really learning how to rely on the Spirit always, and it makes a huge difference. My teaching is going really well, but there is always room for improvement.

I hope you all are happy and doing well. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers and feel free to send me a letter or two. Read your scriptures and say a KNEELING prayer twice a day. You will be amazed by the happiness that comes from talking with Heavenly Father. I love you all!

Sister Hatfield

P.S. My address is 3250 Strawberry Rd Anchorage, AK 99502

P.P.S. Pictures are coming soon! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last letter from the MTC!

Hello Family!
How are you?? Can you even believe that I am leaving the MTC on Monday? I can't! I feel like this has been the longest 3 weeks of my life, but also the shortest. It's a very hard thing to explain. I have enjoyed the MTC very much, however, I am very ready to head out to do amazing things in Alaska. My flight leaves about 10am on Monday July 16 and it's about a 5 hour flight to Anchorage.
This week has been a major rollercoaster ride. It was full of a ton of blessings and answers to prayers as well as some really not so wonderful moments. But that's just how life always is. As the scriptures say, "They could not know joy for they knew no sorrow". How very true that is! Let's focus on the good moments though! :)
  1. I received a TON of letters this week full of love and encouragement from a ton of different friends and family. Thank you ALL for writing me! I cannot express what a blessing my letters/packages were for me this week. Keep them coming! (But don't forget to send them to AK instead of the MTC)
  2. Our investigator Sara (the non-member who has been incredibly challenging) was especially difficult to teach on Tuesday. We couldn't even share a brief message with her in any of our lessons for the last two weeks and this Tuesday was the worst of them all. Sister Morrison and I were getting incredibly discouraged. We prayed for guidance in our lessons multiple times a day but were not receiving any answers. Our final lesson with her was on Thursday and we didn't even bother planning a lesson because we knew there was no point. We had a talk with one of the TRC (teaching resource center) workers to see if he had any advice...he didn't and was actually telling us that we were bad missionaries because we weren't getting anywhere with her. We said a prayer to have some direction in what we were going to say and to ask for help in filling our mouths with the message that Sara needed to hear. I can't express to you what an incredible experience we had in that lesson. We taught for 30 minutes about the temple, plan of salvation, Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the Atonement. At the end of the lesson I commited her to baptism. It was a truly wonderful moment hearing her say yes. Sister Morrison and I walked out of the room and just sobbed. The Spirit was so strong and we knew that we had changed Sara's life for the better. We prayed to Heavenly Father for forgiveness for not putting our full trust in Him sooner.
  3. We also commited our other 2 investigators to baptism this week! It bring such joy to see how much the Gospel really blesses our lives and the lives of those we teach.
  4. I can officially say that I have played 4-square at the MTC! What an experience. haha
  5. On Wednesday our district got to "host" the new incoming missionaries. I was chosen by the head of the media department to be followed around by a photographer while hosting a sister. They are making a new Welcome to the MTC manual/video presentation and were taking pictures/video for the book! Basically, I'm going to be famous here at the MTC. Haha just kidding, but it was a really fun experience!
  6. Answers to prayers are real. After I had the experience with Sara, our teacher challenged us to go outside and pray. To ask God a sincere question and to listen for an answer. I can testify to you that God hears each and every one of our prayers and that He answers them. I received an immediate answer to my prayer through reading the scriptures. It was an INCREDIBLE experience. I challenge you all to do that this week. Ask God a question that you want the answer to. When you are done, just listen. Listen for about 4 times longer than you pray. I promise you that you will get an answer.
I want you all to know how much I am loving being a missionary. My testimony has been strengthened so much in the last 3 weeks, but I am looking forward to seeing how much it will grow in the next 17 months. I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and each and every one of you reading this. He knows you and loves you so much. He answers your prayers on His own time. Jesus Christ is our Savior. He experienced every hardship, trial, and sadness that we are going to experience here on this earth. He died so that we could have the opportunity to return to our Father in Heaven if we are willing to follow in His example. Joseph Smith is and was a true prophet of God. He saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove and he restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this dispensation. I know that families can be together forever.
I love you all so much. Please continue to write me and tell me how you are doing. I hope everything is going well and that you all are loving life and doing what's right. Next time you hear from me, I will be writing from Alaska!
Love Always,
Sister Hatfield

Monday, July 2, 2012

First letter: The MTC!

Hello Family!
How are all of you? I don't have much time on here, but I will try and write as much as possible.
First off, I love and miss you all so much! Thankfully we stay really busy here, so we don't have much time to focus on home. I'm sure once I get out to the field it will hit me harder that I'm actually out here and away from all my friends and family. Time here is such a funny thing. Days go by so slowly. I am more exhausted than I have ever been in my life, both spiritually and physically. But, it definitely gets easier every day.
My companion is Sister Morrison from Encinitas, CA. She is AWESOME! She is called to serve in the New Jersey, Morristown mission. We get along so well it's almost scary. We are both very outgoing and love to laugh. I can honestly say that I truly love her. She reminds me so much of my sister, Erin. She's short, blonde, outgoing, and just has a lot of the same mannerisms as her. It definitely makes me miss Erin more than I already do. I'm so grateful to have a good companion who has such a strong testimony of the Gospel and has a strong desire to work hard and learn like I do.
Mom wanted to know what the MTC day-to-day life is like. On Wednesday after we were dropped off we were taken into a gym to get our packet (which has our name tags, keys, and "blue card" in it) and to fill out some paperwork. We were then escorted to our classroom to do an online orientation and to meet with our district. Let me just say, I LOVE MY DISTRICT. All but three of us are going to Alaska (4 elders and 3 sisters) and the rest are going to New Jersey. We get along so well and have a tendency to get loud very quickly. Haha! We work hard and we learn a lot, but we all know how to have fun. The age difference between the elders and sisters is very apparent, but Sis Morrison and I try not to think about it or dwell on it. Anyway, after that we went to the Presidency Orientation. That was the first time it started to feel real that I was actually at the MTC and was a missionary. We sang The Army of Helaman and they changed the lyrics from "We will be the Lord's missionaries" to "We are NOW the Lord's missionaries". It really brought the Spirit and hit me hard. After that we had dinner than headed to a Teaching Experience. They had us teach actual investigators that very first night. They definitely don't waste any time here, and I love it!
The second day we spent most of the day in our classroom with our teachers Sister Murray and Brother Dohm. They are the most amazing people I have ever met. The testimonies that they have are almost tangible they are so strong. I really look up to both of them and hope to learn as much from them as I can. We really focused on learning the fundamentals of teaching and our purpose of teaching which is: To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was an incredible day full of insight and inspiration.
The third day all we seemed to do was STUDY. 5.5 hours straight to be exact. And after that we had a 30 minute lunch and back to the classroom for 6 more consecutive hours of classroom time. We actually taught our first lesson and it went pretty well. We definitely have a LOT of work to do, but we are grateful to be getting a lot of experience.
Today was about the same as yesterday. We did a lot of studying, teaching, and role-playing. We also went to Zone teaching and Sister Morrison and I were asked to teach an "investigator" which is normally not done until you're in your second week. Apparently they think we are more advanced. :) We then went back to class and learned about the Restoration.
I feel like I have learned more about the Gospel in the last 3.5 days than I have in my entire life. The Spirit here is so strong and I can feel my testimony being strengthened every second of every day.
I am out of time, but I am glad I got to write you. I love you all and miss you tons. Please write me! You can even use DearElder.com.
Have a great week!
Sister Hatfield
P.S. My PDay next week is Friday
P.P.S. My expected departure date is July 16th!