That was so awesome to see the videos of mom's birthday! All the kids look so old and mom looks so young! Seriously, i see women here that are way younger and look much older. And the cake was nuts! I'm sure Kristen made it. Sister Risso made some cupcakes that were decorated really pretty with flowers on them and it made me remember all of Kristen's beautiful cakes! I hope everything went great and that you enjoyed your birthday, Mom :)
This week i felt more like a tourist than a missionary. I barely even got to do normal missionary work.. but that's kind of my life lately. Tuesday and Wednesday we were in the office all day downloading videos off the internet for a DVD we're making for all the missionaries in the mission with mormon messages, "i'm a mormon" videos, and bible videos to use for their investigators. It takes so long sometimes for them to download and then they would be messed up or randomly in english, and i had to figure out how to make a dvd menu and i got it all done then after all the program had a virus or something and it all crashed and we ended up paying our pensionista's husband to do it. So all week while we were in Jaen and Chachapoyas the office crew here was here in chiclayo burning dvds, and now they're all ready to give to the zone leaders in the Zone Council this Wednesday! On Thursday morning we headed out to Jaen, aka more great 70s music and I slept most of the way in the car. We got there in the afternoon and i went out with the zone leaders in a trio to work for the afternoon. I realized that i have only worked in a trio two or three times in my whole mission, and it was weird.. But at the end of the day we taught an awesome lesson to a teenage guy. The spirit was amazing when we taught him the Restoration and i felt my testimony being strengthened and confirmed in those moments while i was sharing my testimony with him. Before my mission i had always heard that your testimony grows when you share it, but when i shared it in sacrament meeting all i felt was nervous.. Now i understand what an amazing experience it is to connect with a person and have the spirit teach you both in that moment that what you're saying is true. He accepted to be baptized, and after the lesson all four of us knelt down to pray and he asked to know if what we had taught him was true, and after the prayer he told us he felt that it's all true and that he needs to be baptized! I wish it was always that simple! Some people take months or years to be able to feel an answer that clearly and make their decision. But honestly, i have been so blessed to see the field white all ready to harvest. God truly is preparing the hearts of people all over the world to accept the Gospel.
I also got to interview a lady in Jaen who's super ready to be baptized- the missionaries have been teaching her for four months, and they finally got all the papers set so they can be married and baptized a few days later!
Friday morning elder Chuiz and i put on a leadership training meeting in Jaen for the district and zone leaders, it was the third time we did it. I don't know how teachers can teach the same thing all day every day. When i repeat the same thing even twice i get bored! I don't think a teaching career is for me. That afternoon i worked with Elder Cabrera from Bolivia in the Laureles ward. We taught some people who are kind of eternal investigators who don't want to go to church and are just too lazy to do anything, so i tried to pump them up and get them to commit to go to church, but no luck- they just kept coming up with new excuses. It's funny/sad when at first the people tell you one thing like, oh i can't go because my mom is sick.. then later you invite them again and they say, no, because i have to go to the market and then cook for my kids..No wait, i have to go out of town! if you're going to make up an excuse you have to choose one and go with it! But at least we taught a guy with an amazing neck beard that was two-toned and a hitler mustache. I respected him for that and because he accepted the word of wisdom. He doesn't want anything to do with going to church or praying though.
Saturday we went to Bagua Chica and president interviewed the missionaries there, then on to Chachapoyas. Recently the mission took over the Chachapoyas branch, because the leadership there was terrible. So now, the four missionaries there are branch president, first counselor, secretary, and elders quorum pres. Ever since the missionaries have been in charge things have gone way better there in the branch. We got there just in time to set up for the relief society broadcast (internet is amazing!) and i even got to watch the new president's talk while Pres. Risso was interviewing Elder Navas, then he and i went out to work for the night. We knocked on one door and got in to teach the lady a lesson- turns out she's the mayor's wife! I hope she can progress! Sunday we went to their meetings there in the branch (they meet in basically a garage) and i played the little electric organ for all the hymns. It was a first for them in Chachapoyas, because they have the organ but nobody knows how to play! Needless to say the kids were mesmerized. After the meetings there we went to the Sunday meetings of another little family group where there is one companionship of missionaries in a place called Pedro Ruiz, like an hour from Chachapoyas. It's so cool to see faithful members of the church in little remote places, fulfilling their callings and raising Christ-centered families. A little 7 year old girl gave the opening prayer in sacrament meeting, and it was the best prayer from a little kid i think I've ever heard! Anyway, by that time it was five in the afternoon, so we trekked 2 hours back to Jaen where Elder Chuiz and i received all the weekly reports from the zone leaders. This week we had about 40 baptisms! That's the most the mission has ever had in one week! And it put us at 136 for the month, the mission's best month EVER! We slept there in Jaen last night, and this morning made our way back to Chiclayo. The road id kind of dangerous with big mountains and cliffs.. and when we were driving along we see a huge group of people on the side of the road and emergency crews.. When we drove by and made a loop down the road we saw that a huge tour bus had flown off the road off a really steep part of the mountain. It made me sick to my stomach. They were trying to rescue people with a rope pulling them up the mountain from the ravine where the bus had gotten stuck. Down the road at a toll booth they told us that like 30 people had died. how sad :( But pres Risso always is really careful driving, so don't worry.
Now i'm back in Chiclayo and this week we have the zone leaders meeting, so these next days we'll be preparing that, and the rest of the week will probably be crazy, too!
Oh, the sister missionary from last week is doing much better. For precautions we moved here to an area here in Chiclayo where she can get more tests and stuff done, so her companion in Cajamarca is with a mini missionary for the meantime.
Hope you have a great week!
Love, Elder Hatch
Here is my new friend, an awesome monkey eating a candy some kid gave him
Here we are in the central square of Chachapoyas!