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