Friday, November 30, 2012

Last Letter November 26, 2012

Score the final touchdown and then kneel in prayer when the game is over and thank the Lord for the opportunity to play on His team.

I don't know what to say.  I cant believe its really coming to an end.  Haha good thing I don't have to give a talk in this moment, because I wouldn't be able to.  Ya know, every single area that I left behind in my mission, I did so bawling my eyes out, so much for a tuff guy huh.  It started with Vila Nova de Gaia, as I had to say my goodbyes over the phone to J, then it was hearing one of my best friends Brother N F play his rewritten version of GOD BE WITH YOU TIL WE MEET AGAIN on the piano as we all sang together.... I didnt make it past the first verse before I was crying so much I couldn't even sing.  Haha Elder Peacock was the only one who finished the hymn, as I left the ever so beautiful area of Covilhã.  Then Viana do Castelo, in which I told myself that I wouldn't cry anymore as I left, but that didn't work out hahaha.  My heart was too full as the C family called me late at night to come back to see them one more time before I left, because their kids were crying too much because I was leaving.  Then it was a late Sunday night, right after we baptized F, that I received my call to leave Portimão early the next morning, making me run around saying my goodbyes to all the people that I love so much.  Giving my last hugs and trying to get N and the V family to stop crying, "because with God, we will truly meet up again"  haha I didn't help much because I was bawling too.  Then leaving behind Santarém and all my family there, not a chance of not crying haha.  Don't get offended family but I think I have cried more here in Portugal saying goodbye to these people then I did when I left you guys haha.  But you all know its a different situation.  
I am so grateful.  Family, I don't know how I could possibly explain my feelings to God and to this people.  Do you all know that my entire mission I have been praying and wanting to gain a true testimony, a strong testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His role in my life?  I have always testified of Him, with all of my heart, I always believed in Him, the things I read about Him in my studies blew me away, I have strived to do my best and work my hardest to follow Him, I have given up everything for Him, I do this, I live my life, for Him.  I would have given up my life for Him because of the beliefs that I had in Him.  I never doubted, but I always wanted that testimony to look into peoples eyes and say, I KNOW FOR MYSELF THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, and I know that because he cured me and He changed me.  And He did, without doubt.  The Lord gave me one of the sweetest tender mercy in my life yesterday, as I gave my very last talk in the Portuguese language, here in Portugal.  I explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what it has done for me in my life, the changes that I have had.  At the end I bore my testimony and the Spirit touched me so strongly, as I said, I KNOW, WITHOUT DOUBT THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.  When I said those words my prayers were answered, and were answered with such an amazingly powerful force.  I felt every fiber of my being be filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and my beliefs, my hopes, were answered and confirmed.  I now know, and say without a doubt in my mind, by personal revelation given by the Holy Ghost, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is my Savior, Lord, and Redeemer.  My heart is so full that I cannot explain it in words.  If I only had that very experience in my time of service for two years, I would have gained everything I ever would have wished for, my mission truly is complete.  Now I know why I needed to stay more time here in Portugal and extend my time, now I understand.  If this is the reward that we get after we work all of our lives to follow the Lord so that we can one day just meet Him, COUNT ME IN.  I want to do everything that I can to have that privileged  because I can only imagine that if the Lord touched my heart so strongly as I testified of Him, what it will be like when I one day come unto Him.  
These are the honest feelings of my heart, haha I don't know if I sound weird or dramatic or anything, but its honestly what I feel.  
I love you all, thank you so much for everything!  These truly have been the best two years of my life.  I wouldn't trade anything for the experiences that I have had, the people that I have met, served, and taught, the tears that I have shed, battles that I have been in.  Its been more then worth it.  I look forward to being a missionary for the rest of my life and helping all feel the same way I felt as I said, I know without doubt that Jesus is the Christ.  
I wont try to make this last letter the most epic of them all, nor will I put in feelings that I don't really feel.  I try to write this humbly and share with you the best feeling that I have ever felt in my life.  Maybe if I saw this letter two years ago I would have thought that I was a little weird haha.  
I guess the last thing I wanna say before I see you all is, I love you and I love this gospel.
Elder Daniel John Hatch
Epic Picture huh:)  my "Peace Out Portugal"

Week 93 November 19, 2012

Sorry, here is the email I didnt send yesterday.
Well, Fam, this was seriously one of the best weeks of my mission, especially the weekend.  I feel like my heart is full, my happiness is complete, my mission, my battle, coming to the end.  I would love to tell you all about my week and weekend, which was amazing, but I will wait til we can talk face to face, I want to use all the time that I have left to see this beautiful country and people that I love.  I know that you understand and will forgive me.
Some things that have happened, District Conference in the Algarve, where I had the opportunity to see some of my recent Converts from Portimão and see their progress.  One of which was given the melq. Priesthood!  and also I had the privelage of baptizing my good friend, Cyesterday.  Very cool.  
I love you all, I am super excited to see you all, and I know that these next two weeks are going to fly by, so I am not going to waste too much time writing today.  Just know that I love you and I am super grateful for all of your support.  
Love Elder Daniel John Hatch
p.s sorry if I didnt answer some questions, no time

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week 92 November 12, 2012

Wow, I think this week I got more emails then I have gotten my whole mission haha.  I got like 28 emails or somethin, fogo, you guys dont need to write me that much, I will be back soon enough hahaha.  Joking, I love hearing from you all, but look forward more to talking with you all face to face.  I guess a lot of those emails are due to my tall buddy, AO, and all of his pictures haha, I love that kid!  Tell him hi for me.
Well, first, I need to know what my homecoming talk subject is.  Talk to bishop, tell him to pray about it:)  I want to make sure that I am decently prepared for it, being that I havent given a talk in english for over 2 years, I think I need to practice a little bit.  Also, mom and dad, talk to bishop and try to get as many friends as you can to church that day.  I challenge the ward with that.  Not because I want a lot of people there, I just wanna keep preaching this gospel to all who still dont have it in their lives, and that will be a good chance for us to do that.  Aka, talk to my friends.
Cool, thanks for the plans, looks like I am headed to Paris:)  Sounds good, I want to practice my french a little bit while I am there.  I have been learning a little bit of other languages since I have been here, and its fun to practice.  For example, my comp. is from Cape Verde, and there they speak Creolo, which is very similiar to Portuguese, but a little different.  Its fun to practice and try to speak, especially because there are a ton of Cabo Verdianos here.  The Portuguese language is awesome, I love it so much, although I dont speak it perfectly.  When you speak Portuguese, you understand spanish too haha.  
Elder Jared Beckstrand on his mission
Well, this week is going to fly by in a second.  Oh ya!  Before I forget, I heard that Beckstrand is coming to Portugal!!!!  So so so sick!  I am super excited for him!  I hope I will get to talk to him for a little bit before he goes out on the mission, and also his dad too!  Actually, tell his dad that one of the people that he helped be baptized is still super strong here in Tavira.  He actually lives in Vila Real de Santo António, but I saw a picture of him and Elder Cunha, at the baptism of this brother.  His name is J G!  Such a cool moment to see Brother Beckstrand at a young age doing work here.  Small world.  Irmão G was super excited to hear that I know Elder Beckstrand haha. 

Elder Hatch with Companion & C
Well, this week we are helping a good friend of mine, C, get ready for his baptism!  Its been a bunch of big miracles with him so far, and we look forward to help him create this new future, with new opportunities.  He loves the church, he loves everything about it.  He will be baptized this Saturday at the Algarve District Conference.  
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we have to go to Faro for the District conference and because of my responsabilities as a branch president, so ya, the week will fly.
Well, I love you all.  I am not going to write much anymore, save my time to spend in Portugal.
Love Elder Hatch