Hey family and friends!!!
Well, can you all believe that we are getting closer to yet ANOTHER CHRISTMAS!?! Wow!!! Remember when I was back in the MTC and spending my first Christmas away from home? All kinds of mixed emotions and changes? Hahaha well, although its thousands of miles away and a year later, believe or not some of those new emotions and changes have still affected me and my life as a servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ. But first, let me tell you all about my week.
So this last week was a good one that just seemed to FLY by! On Saturday we had the branch Christmas party which was AWESOME. Yesh, of course your beloved son and brother and friend participated in it:) Singing the hino da missão with his fellow District members with Christmas hats and stuff. It was really fun, the members here are awesome!
The next day, on Sunday, we baptized R!!!! Wow! Can you believe it?! The Lord God truly does prepare people for us to find, teach, and baptize, because we taught her for about 2 weeks. Funny, when the Jdubs taught her for a couple years hahaha. Figures right?;) But the whole experience was a B.E.A.UTIFULL one:) From giving her a blessing, to watching her recieve a HUGE miracle in her life, to watching her enter into the waters of baptism for a remission of her sins, to baptizing her:) I am so grateful for the opportunity that we had to teach such a prepared daughter of God. Elder Guanuna and I really were blessed to teach her and help her find the truth that she had been looking for, for so long! The Gospel is True, What Else Really Matters? As an old friend would tell me:) So, I will have to send you pictures of the baptism next week, but I will be working hard for some other pictures of more baptisms to come as well:) I am DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS if you catch me.
Then after the baptisms (Lagos in my district had theirs with us.... they are such studs, they have baptized like every week so far:)) we watched the Christmas message from the first Presidency, which was really cool. Its always such an amazing experience for me to be able to hear the words of a living prophet of God:) Isnt it just amazing!!? We are a truly blessed people!
The next day we woke up at like 5AM..... I take that back, the ZL´s woke me up at like 430AM and we got on a bus headed to Lisboa. May I just say now that Lisboa is so awesome! Its a beautiful city, I hope that I get to serve there one day. But ya, we headed to Lisboa and we had our Christmas conference there.... which was epic! We had Elder Texeira from the Area Presidency there and he spoke some words that just touched my troubled heart. Serious, he said things that just came at the right time for me. The time for change and the time when I honestly needed it. I am truly grateful for the inspiration that he shared with us this Christmas, and now I know what I need to do to become the man and servant of God, that I need to be! He himself is Portuguese, so he loved speaking in his native language and stuff:)
After his talk we had some funny talent show things, and enjoyed an amazing lunch together with about 150 other Elders. It was truly incredible to be in the midst of some of the greatest missionaries that there are. I take a lot of pride in being here in Portugal, and making this big push for Europe with all of these, my brothers, by my side. It is truly an army, led by a captian that as was said, NEVER STOPS. Truly the Moroni of our days. This year so far (we still have 2 more weeks!!!) Portugal has been blessed to have 1,031 baptisms! ...... wow!!!!!!! This is truly a war that we have been in here, every single day is a battle to baptize, and it has been the best thing in my life so far. I am truly blessed to be apart of this push in Europe, fufilling the Prophecy that Portugal would one day become as like the missions in the Americas:) And of course, the Lighthouse of Europe. Its truly a privelage in my life that I will never forget. Glory to God!
So, times of change. Sometimes life gives you a hand that you didnt really expect, or dont really know how to deal with it. Things happen that you cant control, you only pray that the Lord gives you the strength to overcome the challenges and become stronger because of them. With a new year coming into sight, It is becoming a fresh start for me, as a missionary and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, as a man trying to become the person that he wants to be, as a son, as a friend. Its not really the first time that I have been through change, I was always blessed with a lot of good challenges to make me grow, but I guess this time will be a really big one for me. This is the year that I really grow, the year that I really change, the year that I will always remember. And I start now hahaha. Its funny that as I have planned out to start making new plans and goals to start now to get on a good running start for the new year, other things are changin in my life. With the coming of a new year with all kinds of new adventures, I have one thing that gives me a surety of peace of mind. The Lord is on my side, he will direct me, he will guide me to know what to do. Come heaven and hell, Glory to God in the highest:)
I would like to end this email with my testimony. I know without a speck of doubt that the Lord, Jesus Christ, leads and guides this church. I feel the presence of the spirit every day in my life confirm to me that THESE THINGS ARE TRUE. I know that THIS is really what matters. It matters most that we have a testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ, and what he has done for us. It matters most, the spiritual things. I know that the Lord loves each and every single one of us, and that he has a great plan for us. I know that if we show faith in him, we can see miracles in our own lives. Once again, I testify, that there are ANGELS amongst us, lifting us, helping us. I have been in their presence, I know without doubt that they really do exist. Of this testimony, I cannot and will not every deny, God being my witness.
I love you all! Dont forget to focus on the things that matter most during this wonderful Christmas season!
Love Elder Hatch