Monday, November 24, 2014

November 26, 2013

It's odd how time fly's by. Just felt like the other day that I was sitting in a high school classroom goofing off and up to no good. Its even crazier to think that one year ago the 26th, I lost one of the most important parts of my life. The day that my grandma died I can remember everything almost so clearly, it was like a nightmare happened. Although we were expecting it to happen, I still wasn't quite ready for it. I was sitting in Coach Hoots class when I got the text from my brother that she had passed on to heaven. Coach Hoots, being the awesome guy that he is, walked me outside and said a prayer with me. I believe everyday that God wanted me in that class when she passed away, because God knew that I needed a prayer when I found out the news. I wouldn't have ever thought to have prayed honestly. When he said that prayer with me, I had a warm feeling in my heart that everything was okay. I had been so scared that I was going to lose myself, go into depression and change completely. After he said that prayer I went to my car and drove in the pouring rain to Yadkin Medical Hospital, walked in and saw her lifeless body. In that moment, I felt a sense of relief, a sense of happiness for her. She wasn't struggling anymore, she wasn't struggling with swollen feet, or weakness, or diabetes or aspiration. She was at peace, she was freed from the bondage of sickness. I remember a voice in the back of my head that said "Tanner, if she's at peace, why can't you be?" I swear everyday I know that was Heavenly Father, that was also a confirmation that she was okay, she was looking down on me smiling because she was out of pain and agony. This past year I had a lot of reflecting to do on my life, the mistakes, the good and the bad. But one thing I always took for granted is having my grandma around, and I wish I didn't. There is a lot of things I wish I can tell her today, thank her for the things she did for me, the life lessons that she has taught me and just for being the great christian woman that she was. That example I will carry on for the rest of my life. I was one of the lucky ones, still am honestly, but since she has passed away I have come to realize the importance of family. I have come to cherish my relationship with all the living family I have. It's so good to know that I have a strong relationship with my mom, my grandpa, my dad, my brothers and sisters and even my step family. These are the people that have my back no matter what happens, these are the people who love me unconditionally. Just like my grandma always told me "Your family will always be the center of happiness." If I could replay my life, I would go back and spend more time with the family I haven't seen as much, or that I haven't given as much attention to. My Mamma Kay, if I had a do over I would have spent more time in the nursing home with her before she got so far into alzhiemers, she did a lot for me growing up, matter of a fact she did a lot for all her grandchildren, I was just too young to care. Point is, now that I have lost someone so close to me that i have spent a lot of time with, I just want all my family to know that I love them, and that you guys mean the world to me. I know this mission isn't what was in store when I was first born, I know we have different religious beliefs and that I am thousands of miles away from home with no means of contact besides one letter and email a week, but you guys are my family. Mom, grandpa, Dad, Pam, Travis, Jessica, Riley, Karley, Michael, Cody, Deanna, Sarah, Matt, Dylan, Mamma Kay, Tara. You guys are my family, and I am so glad I have your support. My grandma is in heaven, and I want to say that although its been a year, it just feels like yesterday you went on. Keep watching down over all of us and just know I love you! 
This week was fun! We had a general authority come speak to us. His name is Elder Mervyn B. Arnold. Man was he a fun guy to listen to speak! He taught a lot of us how to become better more improved missionaries. The more that he talked, the more I felt the spirit. I felt compelled to sit near the back for some reason, and I made the mistake of sitting right beside some guy that loved to talk. He asked me about myself and I told him about being a convert and so on. Elder Arnold was speaking about the importance of finding the elect and how it cant affect the future family of a convert. The guy beside me stood up, and goes "Elder Hutchens here is a convert, he is starting a new generation when he goes home. Darn, I just had an ackward shout out. Then Elder Arnold told me to stand up and share my conversion story. In front of literally half the mission I stood up, red in the face, and started talking about how I came to know the church and my future plans to have children and get married in the temple. Well if that wasn't enough, he called on me 15 minutes later to walk up to the front and stand there in front of all the missionaries. (I am almost positive that my face was the color of my hair at this point) He asked me questions like, "What if these missionaries didn't find you?" "Did you understand the importance of baptism whenever you were days away from your baptism." I despise that Elder that called me out, because I stood up there for what felt like 10 minutes just talking. And I hate public speaking. Overall, Elder Arnold's visit here in the WKM was an awesome one. He taught us a lot and really showed me how to become a better missionary. Showed me that I have a lot to work on also. 
This is the week of Alan Jones's baptism. He has been coming to church the last two weeks and he really enjoys it! I am so excited for him, and I am so excited to have been an instrument in the hands of The Lord in finding Alan and bringing him back to The Lord's Kingdom. He has asked me to baptize him, and I feel absolutely honored to do it. I guess its only appropriate if the North Carolina hillbilly baptizes the North Carolina hillbilly :) But pray us and him as he enters the waters of baptism! 
Happy Thanksgiving guys, we have like oh I don't know...5 dinners Thursday so lets hope I don't put on too much weight. You guys have a great holiday and I love you guys! I have a lot to be thankful for, we all do. Just remember to count your blessing and tell someone that you are thankful for that you love them. 

Con Amor,
Elder Hutchens

Philippians 4:13

Monday, November 10, 2014

6 months!

This week was just amazing. Every week that goes by the more I find myself learning and growing, but isn't that the point of this mission in the end? My personal studies are becoming more pure and it seems that I'm learning to recognize the spirit more clearly. When reading from both the Bible and The Book of Mormon, you get the whole picture of Gods plan for us. I am so thankful for the scriptures that we have been given and it's almost like a weapon that we as missionaries are given to help bring back Gods children. It's also so cool the way that God works, giving us living prophets that is. It shows how much God loves his children, enough to give us a prophet so that we can be guided in these latter days. The church is set up just like the original church was set up when Christ was walking the earth, and that alone makes me feel at peace. 
We had the special opportunity to baptize Hannah Hair this week, it was just a spirit filled baptism at that. I personally have had the chance to be with her since day one of these missionary discussions, and it was SO neat to watch her grow. She had been coming to church for like two years and never took the discussions. Around the time that Elder Ballard and I came, her parents agreed to let her be baptized. Since the very first lesson with her, you tell how closely Christ has touched her heart and the light of Christ has really shown down on her. She asked me to give a talk on The Holy Ghost which really was SUPER fun preparing. I learned a ton just about The Holy Ghost which was very beneficial for me. But something super funny happened. 5 hours before the baptism we are always asked to fill up the font so we started filling it up at noon and it was filling up great. We had a zone conference so we had to leave it running for about 3 hours. About an hour before the baptism we went and started blasting the water like crazy into the font and left to go to our house. We got back into the car and drove back to the church. We walked into the church and all your hear is "THE FONT IS OVER FLOWING." I ran into the bathroom to shut the water off and it was indeed over flowing. The water was so high that you couldn't take the plug out to drain the font. So...someone had to get into the font. Guess who volunteered? I WENT SWIMMING ON MY MISSION. WOOOOOOO.. I got in, the water being cold as pee, fully immersed myself into the water to get that plug out, and successfully starting draining the font. I had like 15 minutes to put my clothes back on, dry off and get into the chapel to give a talk. I somehow accomplished the task of looking like I didn't just go swimming before I went to give the talk. Was a cool and funny experience. However, the baptism of Hannah was awesome, her parents were there to support her which is always heart warming to see a family give support like that.

Hannah on baptism day
More miracles happened this week. We were visiting with Alan Jones, the man from my home town, and her basically said something a long the lines of "I am willing to give up coffee, I'll have headaches, but I want to be baptized." I feel like both Elder Ojeda's and my jaw just dropped. So, with that being said, he will be baptized in just a few weeks. Alan has been a blessing in my life more so than I ever expected. From the time I met him, I knew that something amazing was going to happen. Teaching and meeting him has been a confirmation that I am in the mission that I need to be in, that this Washington Kennewick Mission is the mission for Tanner Hutchens. Alan has been so good to us and so patient with us. And watching him come close to Christ has been the sweet part about all this, watching his conversion process has just been something i can't explain. He has asked me to baptize him which will be even more special. It blows my mind how God is working in this area. The people here are being prepared every day, and it's clear. Please continue to pray for Alan, that all will go well the next few weeks. 
Sister Smith made us milanesa and empanadas

This Saturday we have another baptism coming up for Virginia Diaz! So look for that next week and the story behind her. Can't wait to watch her come closer to Christ. 

Guys, this mission is awesome, I don't know how else to put it. Thanks for the support and the love! 

P.S. Transfer's are this Saturday...so pray for all those who will are being moved and called to their new callings.

Philippians 4:13   I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Con Amor,

Elder Hutchens


Pumpkin picking with the zone.



 

 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Necisitamos fe in Jesucristo :)

I don't understand sometimes how fast this mission goes. This whole entire week felt like 2 days. The more that I am here, the quicker it goes. It feels like last week I flew in here and met all these awesome people here in Milton-Freewater, 2 baptisms later I have already been here almost 3 months. A lot has happened within that time period as well. 
This Saturday Hannah Hair will be baptized! It's been an awesome experience working with her and watching her grow. The Lord has really helped her through a lot and it seems like every time that we meet I always feel The Spirit stronger and stronger. I was honored to be asked to give a talk at her baptism on The Holy Ghost. That should be super fun! Next Saturday we have another baptism coming up, Virginia Diaz will be baptized. We had the chance to have her interview this week and she passed, but Elder Shoenberger said that she had really genuine questions for him. She has been meeting with the missionaries for 2 years, and is just now understanding everything. We were having a lesson with her and its just like a light bulb went on, you could just see in her face. She goes "Oh yeah yeah yeah...I probably should be baptized, shouldn't I?"

I've been hitting The Bible hard this past week. I love The Book of Mormon so much, but The Bible will forever hold a special place in my heart. Typical North Carolinian :) But I was in Matthew chapter 8 and I have always known this story, but it never really caught my attention. The first part of the gospels you see Christ healing people left and right, typical Christ like thing right? So he hops on this boat with all these disciples and fisherman and sails out to sea. Christ decides that hes going to take a nap for whatever reason? (I never imagined Christ napping) but he does. Then this huge storm comes out of no where. The seas and the winds are just super crazy. All these fisherman and disciples are like OH CRAP WE GON' DIE TODAY BOYS. They start freaking out and then come to realize that Christ is sawing logs. They wake him up and after hes awake they are still scared and under the impression that they are going to die. Christ says one of the greatest things in the scriptures in my opinion. "Why are ye fearful, of ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and sea; and there was a great calm." After this was done, the fisherman were marveled and super shocked that Christ could do such a thing. I feel like sometimes as a missionary and also as a member of the church Christ is always asking us that same question. "Why do you have little faith in me?" A lot of times things seem super difficult and almost impossible, and lets get real, its hard to put everything in Christ's hands. But I've found the more that we do rely and have great faith in Christ, things are just easier. Things might not always go the way we want them to, but things just feel better. At the end of the day, its nice to lay down and think "I put all my faith in the most perfect being to ever walk this earth, a God of miracles and wonders." Is that not the best? I thought you guys would enjoy that story, It's been on my mind a lot this week. 

Pray for us here in Oregon this week! Miracles are happening :) 

Elder Visker, Shoenberger, Ojeda and I on our service day building a chicken coop! 

A girl that leaves tomorrow for her mission in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. Crazy right?

Just some really pretty scenery. 


Elder Ojeda and I sporting our Argentina/Paraguay jerseys (VAMOS ARGENTINA)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hillbilly Blessing

It was going to be hard to top last weeks spiritual high, but this week was without a doubt a spirit felt one. We met with Alan twice, and things with him are going great. He like a lot of people are having some problems with the Word of Wisdom, just continually send up prayers for him that he may be at peace with it all. He's so ready for baptism that its crazy, and I hope The Lord pricks his heart. He calls me his Hillbilly Blessing, since we are from the same exact town. I thought that was an interesting name, but I can get used to it.
Dinner appointment with Alan

Hannah and Virginia are progressing very well also, their baptismal interviews are this week, and the 8th both are being baptized the very same service. I thought that was different, but neat.
Sister Humbert cooked out for the missionaries

Something that has been on my mind this week is The Atonement. What Christ did for us. I had to give a talk this past week during Sacrament meeting on The Infinite and Eternal Sacrifice. I of course being a typical missionary referred back to Elder Holland's 2001 devotional in the MTC "Missionary Work and The Atonement." What did Christ actually do for us? Let me paint a picture for you. The most perfect human being to ever walk the face of this earth, a man who healed the sick, made the paralyzed walk, arose people from the dead, made the blind see, this man knowingly performed all these great miracles, keeping in mind that he was to die for our sins one day. This perfect human being was nailed to a cross, each hand, each wrist and both feet, was crucified and stayed there for how long? 9 hours. This perfect human being took it upon himself to die for us. Did we deserve that? Do we deserve the chance to repent for our sins? Christ did all these things for us, and some of us cannot even give 3 hours devoted time to him on Sunday. God says come as you are, last time I checked we all have problems, we have struggle with trials in our life's. Nothing should separate us from the pure love of God, from the chance to be at church to take part of the Sacrament. As a disciple of Christ, I see every single day people who struggle, who need the Atonement in their life's. I am so honored and privileged to be here serving every single day, to watch the light of Christ working in people's life's. This is not what imagined myself doing 2 years ago, but God helped me find my way as I hope God will help people here find their way. The Lord's work is hastening as we here in the WKM are building a culture of high expectations. 

Thanks for all the love and support, it means the world to me. 

Con Amor,

Elder Hutchens
Cute frog Tanner found

Monday, October 20, 2014

Best week of my life...


 
 

Elder Ojeda, Christina and Elder Hutchens
 
Elders Visker, Hutchens, Shoenberger and Ojeda
I have been so sick through out this whole week. I thought at first I had the flu, then come to realize it was just nerves. It seemed like from the time I got off the computer last Monday, I was worried about Christina. I was worried about baptizing her, worried almost to the point that my nerves were being involved. I didn't eat much, I was weak. I was just troubled for some odd reason. Still to this day I have no idea why I was so...upset? All week my mind was completely on the baptism, it seemed like this week just flew by.
Christina and Elder Hutchens, happy on Baptism Day
Saturday morning I woke up and i felt the spirit. In spite of me feeling a little sick, the spirit was there. All day my mind was constantly on Christina's conversion story, and how she had endured and kept pushing towards a baptism. In spite of her parents being so strongly against her being baptized, she still had chose to be baptized regardless. It didn't hit me until I got to the church at 3 o clock that afternoon that her baptism rested in my hands. All the people watching, her parents there watching and everything she had worked for this whole time, it all came down to her and I. There were a ton of people at this baptism which was strange because it was a YSA baptism. The service started and I was all dressed up in white, so was she. The talk before hand was really spiritual. Joseph Quiner gave a talk on baptism which set the tone. After the talk, her and I left and went and got into the water. She grabbed my hand and I started to say the prayer.."Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you, In the name of The Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost." And within a second I had just baptized Christina. Oh man, I cannot explain the feeling I had just felt. Probably the biggest day of her life, I was a huge part of it. I feel so humble and honored to have been able to baptize her. As big of a day as it was for her, it was almost equally as big for me. After the baptism I went into the bathroom and Elder Manwill, Davison and Ojeda greeted me with a smile and a hug. They said that while my hand was in the air, i was so nervous that my hand was just shaking like crazy. It had looked like I was waving to everyone...haha. I didn't notice it until they pointed it out. We went to sit back down and the talks were just awesome. Near the end of the service, we sang "How Great Thou Art." Its interesting, as I was sitting there praying I heard a voice in the back of my head...it said "I am so proud of you." I had realized just then that this song that was playing was the exact song that was played at my grandmas funeral, and that it was one of if not her favorite hymns. It had dawned on me that my grandma was there with me during that baptism, that she was watching over me. That song playing indicated that she was present, and that she had my back. I don't know Christina personally, but she is SO special to me wether she knows it or not. Is it coincidence that she chose that song for her baptism? My first baptism? I don't believe so..I believe it was God that sent me here to this mission for a reason. I believe with all my heart that as I watch Christ come into these people's life's that I myself am growing with Christ as well. And me being here is more than just Christina, its Alan too, and my companion, so much more. I know I am where I am supposed to be. There is no doubt in my heart. As I continue to watch people come closer with Christ, my heart is softened every time. I just want to say also that I am very aware of my grandma's presence. She left me almost a year ago and went to be with our Heavenly Father, but she has made it known that I am not alone. My grandma played probably the biggest role in my life, and set that Christ-Like example for me and my brother. She raised me, embraced me and taught me life principles at the age of 82 years old. I will never be able to repay her or my grandpa for all that they have done for me. I also want to say that I love my mom, and that i am so proud of her! Our relationship has become stronger and more alive. Her and I have had our ups and downs, but through trial and tribulation our relationship is how it should be. I believe with my heart that God has something to do with it too, that me serving this mission has been something good not only for me, but for my family. Family is the most important thing there is, period.
Elder Hutchens and Elder Ojeda
In spite of everything this week, its always great to say that the spirit has been with Elder Ojeda and I constantly. As we have taught, people have listened, and people are understanding. We are working with Alan, the guy from Yadkinville, North Carolina. As we have taught him the spirit has been strong every single time we are in his house. We have had the special chance to watch Christ answer his prayers, and soften his heart. Also Virginia, Hannah, Jazell and Miah. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people here working towards baptisms. The Lord is preparing a way and opening the hearts of many and I testify of this great and noble work. I testify that God is real, that Christ is battling Satan every day for us. Christ died for OUR sins.. and for that I owe him my whole life.
Guys, the work here is moving forward. I am seeing the world differently and becoming a different person. Christ's light is shining down on me and I cannot deny that the Holy Ghost is constantly speaking to me. As we continue to work, just know that if any of you have any problem, any question, any struggle or trial, that our Heavenly Father is the best source of comfort. In his own time, he will answer your prayers and ease the burden.
Thank you guys so much for the love and support. I hope things are going well back in NC.
Love and miss you all..
Con Amor,

Elder Hutchens
Pictures: Christina and I
Elder Ojeda, Visker and Shoenberger

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Most Spiritual Week Ever

This week has just been a blessing, period. I don't even know where to start...

So transfers happened this week and I unfortunately lost Elder Ballard. He's going to be a great Zone Leader up in Moses Lake. That's one thing I have been blessed with is companions in Leadership who have been around the block a time or two. He was a great example for me and my mission. We traveled up Kennewick together to pick up my new companion. My new companion is awesome!! I dare say he might be one of my favorite companions thus far. His name is Elder Ojeda. He is from the country of Paraguay, and he's just the bomb. He speaks really good English but we always speak in Spanish of course. He is like a spiritual power house. Every lesson we go to the spirit is there and you can just feel it so strongly. 
Goodbye Elder Ballard
Hello Elder Ojeda
Lets talk about our investigators..

Alan- Alan is from NC, born and raised in Yadkinville, North Carolina. He is SO solid. We went to his house with a member this past week and both me and Elder Ojeda was just pounding questions in on him. He opened up finally and started telling us his past life. He talked about how his past religions with Southern Baptist scared him because of the way the people acted. I felt so connected with him because I have the very same background as him. Not that i am scared of Southern Baptist people, both the people that raised me are Southern Baptist, the people in that church are great people as a matter of a fact, but it just wasn't for me or him. He finally came around and said "I know The Book of Mormon is true, can I have one? I have to overcome my fear of going to church.." So we are now teaching him the lessons. He is one of those guys that is so ready...but he doesn't know it yet. Can't wait to continue working with him and helping him progress. A baptism is in his future.

Christina- Christina is just so golden. She will be baptized this coming Saturday the 18th. Her parents are Seventh Day Adventist preachers, and for the longest time she never told them that she was going to be baptized into The Mormon church. When I got here she was planning on telling them soon, but one morning we got a text from her saying "Hey guys, I am going to tell my parents tonight, please pray for me." So guess what she did, she told them. Every since then they have been giving her a hard time with being baptized. Sometimes almost mean to her. But this past Wednesday after we were just saying our prayers the phone went off and it was a text. It said.. "I forgot to ask you Elder Hutchens, will you please be the one to baptize me?" Man, I never in my life have felt so honored and privileged in my entire life. So this Saturday, I will be performing the baptism for Christina! She has been a blessing to work with and can not to wait to see what the future holds for her. 
Christina

Hannah- Hannah is just as golden as Christina. She has been coming to church for two years and not ever has she taken the lessons from the missionaries because her parents wouldn't let her. A little before I got here her parents decided it was okay to let her get baptized but the missionaries couldn't get a hold of her. She is in high school and the president of the FFA, so shes super busy. But we have been meeting consistently every single Wednesday for the last month or so, and shes ready! We had a lesson on The Plan of Salvation and things just gradually started to click and you could see she was learning very rapidly. She has a baptismal date for November the 9th! So stoked for her..but we got home that night after the lesson and the WHOLE young women in the church left us Twinkies with cool designs on them on our front door step. They had notes from all the young women in it. One was from Hannah, it said " Thanks for you do Elders, I can't wait for my baptism and I am learning so much!" Its always nice as a missionary to know that your investigators are learning and giving you twinkies all at the same time..

Virginia- Virginia has been meeting with the missionaries for a long time. But never has she understood how important it is to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood. Elder Ojeda with that rolling spiritual tide came in here this past Thursday and we had a meeting with her. We started explaining the Priesthood...I was talking, he was talking, I would talk, he would talk. I would testify..he would testify...BOOM...we had a baptismal date. She's set to go November 8th. But Elder Ojeda and I were speaking by the Holy Ghost. We had nothing to do with her finally understanding all this. The Holy Ghost was using us as tools to deliver the words she needed to hear. She comes to church every single week, and we are excited for her!! 

Guys, I have been blessed as a missionary to be here in the Washington Kennewick mission. The Lord is working on these peoples hearts, and its evident. I am rapidly learning more Spanish, the Spirit is always strong, and our investigators are progressing. I am aware that things will not always be this good in the future, but I am thankful for all this. Your support has been awesome! I have also been blessed with awesome leaders, awesome companions and an awesome area. With transfers of course happening, almost half our zone is now turned upside down. We have so many new people here but I am getting to know them. They seem like awesome missionaries! Can't wait to send yall pictures of the baptism this week, and to let you guys know how our investigators are progressing. Pray for us that we may be able to feel the spirit during these lessons and use the right words to help these people come close to Christ! 
I love you all, and I am rapidly putting on weight..so...not sure how to feel about that. haha.

Con Amor,
Elder Hutchens 
 

Elder Manwill, Elder Davison and Elder Hutchens

 

 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Buenos Dias!


Wow what a great week it was here in the WKM. Got a lot to talk about so lets go..

 

Was conference not the best thing ever? Every time that someone spoke it was like I felt the spirit just crawling down my back. I for one enjoyed Elder Christofferson and Elder Holland's talks. Both of those guys are just studs..well seeing as how they are my first and second favorite apostles. But anyways, Elder Holland was talking about the importance of service and how our most Christ like thing we can do is helping the poor and needy. It made me realize how blessed I am. There is ALWAYS someone out there who has it worse than you, and those people need our help brothers and sisters.  Elder Holland went on to say that he isn't poor, nor has be ever been poor, but there is always someone who needs our help. "He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor." I feel like Elder Holland was talking to us missionaries directly. Jesus's first duty was to bless the poor, including the poor in spirit. I don't know I just absolutely loved that talk, SO EVERYONE GO LISTEN TO IT. :) Hope everyone had a great conference weekend though!

 My first transfer happened this week, which is crazy. I can never keep a companion longer than one transfer. Elder Ballard and I are being split up this Wednesday as he is going to Moses Lake to serve as a Zone Leader. Pray for him, will you? But I am receiving a missionary straight from Paraguay. How cool is that? He speaks Spanish fluently obviously, but i am not sure how much English he speaks, so this should be fun. I hope The Lord can bless me with patience.

Listening to Elder Holland during conference talk about King Benjamin was a spiritual upbringing. I myself am not poor, I do not need for anything, and i am certainly not living in poverty. But King Benjamin said it best, arent we all beggers? Don't we all beg for mercy? Don't we all beg for forgiveness of our sins? I am indeed a begger for God's love, I am a begger for mercy, and for forgiveness. Everything that King Benjamin said during this passage is just amazing. I love the example he set for his people also. He was a king, he ruled over his people, but he wanted it known to his people that he was ONLY called by God, and that he is no different than his people. He is the same person with a different calling. I think we can all take something away from this example. Magnify our calling, do the best we can, no one is above anyone else. 

North Carolina Man, Alan

Rolling Hills of Washington

As we were walking around talking to people we stopped by a man that was sitting down. We started talking to him and he asked where I was from, I said "It's my accent, right?" He goes "You're from North Carolina aren't you? I was born and raised in Winston-Salem and I lived in a small town called Yadkinville for a long time." I couldn't believe the words he just said..that is exactly where I come from. God works in weird ways..and we have an appointment with him this week :) 

 

Thanks for all your love, it means the world to me! 

 

Con Amor, 

 

Elder Hutchens

 

*Help yourself before you seek help from others.*

Monday, September 29, 2014

MEET THE MORMONS

This week was so incredibly spiritual, where to begin? 
 
We had the chance this past week to meet in a specialized zone training with our mission President. He discussed a lot about weekly planning and how crucial it is to keep doing it with all our hearts. Our weekly planning starting this week will start at 9 in the morning and end at 7 o clock. But its nice, we have every second of every day planned out for the week. It shows The Lord our plans and that we have work to do. Before the training we got to view the film Meet The Mormons which comes out in theaters October the 10th. I am not going to ruin it for you guys, but all people, Mormon or non Mormon, should go and watch it. It had me crying by the end of it. It's a good way to show the world that Mormons are real people, and that we arent some crazy cult. So anyone that is close with my family, call them up and take them out to watch the movie when it comes out. You'll also get a huge laugh from it too, it has a ton of funny scenes. But I dare so it was one of if not the most spiritual movie I've ever watched. Want to see the life of a Mormon? GO WATCH IT. 
Want to share a weird but funny experience that I had this week. We went to go visit a woman named Elva, shes been heavy on drugs, prostitution, she has 3 kids whom she cannot support, it's one of those situations that we have to be careful with basically. But when we got there, I bent down to pick up my book that I had dropped and WHAM....I had just been hit in the head with a rock. I looked up, and some strange woman was standing in Elva's door. She goes "YOU GUYS NEVER GIVE UP DO YOU?" Then Elva came out of no where and all we hear is and see are cops coming out of no where. Apparently some woman had went into Elva's house and refused to leave the house. So Elva called the cops, she looks at us and says "Hey boys, it seems like every time my life goes crazy theres ALWAYS Mormons around." I never really understood why she threw a rock at me, but its whatever. We then sat down with Elva and read our scriptures with us. Finally the cops got the woman out of the house and we went in with one of the members of the church and said a prayer. But it was one of those moment's that we came home and laughed so hard about. 
Something I have been thinking about is repentance. How many people actually know the process of repentance? I am still learning myself actually. But I read this morning in the book of Acts, chapter 3. You read about Peter and John and how they healed the man with no strength and couldn't walk. With the power of Christ, Peter healed the man and he stood up and walked normally. The man was so happy that he ran and shouted and screamed with joy. People had noticed how Peter had just healed the man and was in total amazement. But Peter, being the great apostle that he was, told the people that they were incorrect, that he had not healed the man, God did. And that they needed to repent of their sins. The people had killed Christ, he resurrected and they still didn't believe in Christ. Peter preached only on repentance, the people couldn't deny the miracle they had just witnessed so what did they do? They repented. Repenting of our sins is so important. We all make mistakes, none of us are perfect but at the same time recognizing our sins is crucial in the repentance process. The people that Peter spoke to had not realized of their sins until they saw the miracle that Peter had performed through Christ's help. It shouldn't take a miracle to recognize our sins, it should be a normal habit. Repenting is something I myself am working on, and I strongly encourage everyone to learn the process of repentance and to start repenting of our sins. Why do we get baptized? To cleanse our sins, right? After that, all the mistakes that we make God gave us the repentance process, SO USE IT. 
5 weeks ago two missionaries here in the area knocked on a door and a young lady by the name of Heather Davis opened it. Soon after, the two missionaries got transferred, and in came myself and Elder Ballard. The last 5 weeks we have been working with Heather and watching her grow through Christ. Her, like everyone else, has made mistakes, had bad habits, and wondered if there was even a God. I've had the chance to watch Christ take her life into his hands and its even greater that she accepted him. Shes a totally different person. Yesterday, I am proud to say that Heather Davis was baptized, and I am so blessed to be apart of her conversion. I never thought 2 years ago when i was baptized, that I would be out doing what those missionaries did for me. Yesterday, I got the chance to experience it. Seeing someones life change is something I can't explain, nor can I even try to explain. It's one of those warm feelings that you get that you only know that God is giving you the feeling, or that the Spirit is there. When she came out of the water she said she felt like a totally new person, and thats what its all about (As my grandpa says). Baptism is so important and the more that I'm here the more that I understand that being baptized is the first step in a life long journey here on this earth. "Matthew 28:19"
Just a couple side notes, hate to hear that the Braves did so poorly to finish out the season, but hey theres next year right? At least we did better than the Cubs...well actually my high school did better than the Cubs...or wait...didn't the Yadkin County Riverside 7th Grade All-Star team do better than the Cubs? Oh well, its whatever.
PAUL GEORGE WILL BE HEALTHY WHEN I COME HOME...Just saying. :)
I love you all, thanks for the letters, it means a ton. 
Until next week,
Con Amor,
Elder Hutchens
 
Me in some slick boots that Elder Manwill gave me.
My companion, Elder Ballard,  and I with Heather moments before her baptism.



Heather's family picture with myself and my companion.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Who would have thought?

SO..for some reason I didn't make the connection. But when I got here the President had told me my companion was Elder Ballard. It didn't hit me until I was in my room Wednesday and I was looking at Elder Ballard's photos. I saw his dad and I go.."hmmm, this guy looks familiar." I was looking at a Ensign and came across the apostle Elder Ballard. I said "Hmmm, I feel like I've seen this face before today." Out of no where it hit me, I go "OH MY GOSH MY COMPANION IS ELDER BALLARDS GRANDSON." I asked my companion and he just smiled, I am under the impression that he's not allowed to tell or that he chooses not to admit it, but how cool is that? One day I'll be able to tell my kids I served with an apostles grandson. Way cool, no?
So this week was awesome. We had the best temple trip in the world. We got up at 4:30, rolled out went and got dressed and took that long drive up to Tri-Cities. The temple here in this mission is so beautiful. It's certainly been a blessing to be apart of a mission that allows me to go to the temple. After the temple we took loads of pictures. I'll send some with them Email and some more will be on my blog. I've gotten to know some friends here in this mission that i hope I will be able to keep through out the rest of my life. Was certainly a neat experience. 

The work here in the Washington Kennewick mission is moving so forward and I am so blessed to be apart of it. THIS coming Sunday, I will experience my first baptism. My companion and i have been working with a young lady named Heather, and boy is she golden. It seems like every question we ask her she comes back with the perfect answer. She is so excited to be baptized and we are just as stoked for her. Its awesome seeing peoples life's change through Christ. From the time that we first met her, until now, shes a totally different person. You can see Christ in her eyes, and see the changes that she has made. I just hope that Sunday the Spirit will be there and Heather will feel the difference in her life when coming up from the water. We are also working with another young lady named Hannah. She is also just as golden. She has a baptism date for October the 18th, and she is AWESOME. We have been working on things with her, and now her parents are investigating the church a little. But Hannah has always wanted to be baptized, and I'm just the lucky one that gets to help her. We also have another baptism coming up for Christina Canwell, coming up in mid October. I am so blessed to be apart of the work here, I know I say that a lot but I mean it. I feel the Lord's presence every single day. I have found that yes, I am here to help change other peoples life's, but at the same time I see my own life changing. My relationship with Christ is inevitably growing stronger every day. I look over to the beautiful mountains sometimes, or I look up at how pretty the stars are, and just think to myself..."There has to be a God." None of this happened by chance, the Holy Ghost is real. Not only do I sense its presence every day, but other people around me feel it as well. 

A long with how spiritual the week has been its also been a funny one. We had an area authority come to speak to us this past week, Elder Risenmay. He asked myself and my companion to come and teach the first lesson in front of the whole sacrament meeting. After we did I had 4 people, 4 PEOPLE come ask me if I was from Australia? I mean is my accent that heavy? Have people out here never heard anyone from the south? I've also had people ask me where North Carolina is located, or is that another country? People out here must live under a rock their entire life's. 

Love you guys so much, and thanks for all the support. Cant wait to talk to you guys next week! 

 
Con Amor,

Elder Hutchens
Elders in the district

Elder Ballard and Elder Hutchens in front of Columbia River Washington temple.

Elder Hutchens in front of temple.

Elder Hutchens, Elder Heldt and Elder Visker.

Elders and Sisters in the zone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spiritual Week

What a week guys, its been so incredible to serve here in the Washington Kennewick Mission so far. I'm not even sure where to start. 
We have been working with a girl named Christina. She has parents who are both 7th Day Adventist preachers. They don't like the Mormon faith at all, and for the longest time they have forbid her to get baptized. Shes 21 years old and has already applied to BYUI. Yesterday we got a phone call late at night and it was her. She said "I told my parents im getting baptized and theres nothing they can do about it." So we a baptism coming up soon for her, I believe it will be this week. But her example of knowing what she has to do has been a testimony strengthener for me. No matter what, she has said from the beginning that she wanted to be baptized. So hopefully this Saturday will be the day she finally gets baptized, ill keep you posted. We also have another baptism coming up for a girl named Heather. That will be the 27th of September. Shes 16 years old, we started working with her and trying to explain all the things that we could to make it clear for her. We went and visited her, the first thing she said was "Elders, i know its true, things just clicked." So we set her up for a date to be baptized. Also we are working with another guy named Reyes, hes also 16 but was raised Catholic. After talking to him and working with him, hes starting to come around. Hopefully soon things will click for him but he says he feels a lot of peace and joy when he is at the church. Yesterday at church we had 4 investigators at church also, thats the first time I ever had any investigators at church and it was such a blessing. 
If you guys cant tell the work here in the Washington Kennewick Mission is going forward very strongly. The Lord is blessing the people here and opening up their hearts. I am so blessed not only to be serving here, but to be serving period. We pray for these people every single day, with that being said i see the power of prayer. We had prayed so much for Christina to tell her parents, and just like that she did. God is changing these peoples life's and as a missionary I have the rare opportunity to see the life's changing. I never realized how some people rely on missionaries so much. We have an investigator named Elva. Shes 35 years old with 7 kids and no job. The Elder that was working in my area before me had been working with her for a while. I suppose she got really close with the Elder and when she found out I had taken his place, she sat down and started crying her eyes out. In that moment it was like i realized the significance of the power of a missionary. How some people put so much stock and feelings into missionaries. 
We also had an interesting Monday night. Monday night around 8 myself and Elder Ballard came in and i had to go pee. We heard a knock on the door and he went to open it up and no one was there. It freaked us out a little. That night after I had went to sleep, my companion woke me up at 1 o lock. He and Elder Manwill were up and both of them said they had weird feelings. They then heard someone trying to open up the window and Elder Manwill grabbed a golf club, and he said after that he never heard the noise again. We called the cops and a cop came and checked everything out. After he left we went down to the church and I slept in a pew. Was one for the ages for sure, not only scared the pee out of me, but I'm not sure how safe i feel in the house anymore. But we fixed the windows and everything so it should be good. 
I love you guys, and can't wait to continue reading all your letters and packages. It means the world to me. Getting a letter and packages is like Christmas. I'm so thankful for all the support that has been shown and I'm so thankful for all the prayers. I hope i can make you guys proud back home, not only you guys but Jesus Christ. 
Thanks so much for everything, love you guys!

Con Amor,

Elder Hutchens
Cruisin' in style

Elders in the Zone


A yard full of chicks

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back in the Game

HOLA FAMILIA Y AMIGOS. 

So for those of you who don't know, I had to go home for around a month or so due to some complications. With that being said I was called to serve in the Washington Kennewick mission, spanish speaking. I just got here last Friday and I love it!! The people here are great and I love my mission President. 
So being out here on the West coast its easy for people to pick out my accent, especially a North Carolina accent. My companions, my district, my zone, every one makes fun of how I talk. Its okay though because they dont have a cool accent like myself. Being here in Washington serving is so much different than serving in Argentina. I guess that also has a lot to do with the culture, the Mission President, and the food. Everything is just so different. I like it though, actually to be honest I love it. A long with that the only thing I dont love is the lack of Bojangles. No one here has heard of Bojangles, no one. They have all heard of Pop Eyes and KFC, but not Bojangles. Thats one thing I am going to miss. My companion is super awesome!! His name is Elder Parker Ballard. He is a very very relaxed guy, which is always a plus. We work well together and it seems that we are helping the work here in Washington move forward. 
Adjusting back to missionary life was very difficult but so satisfying at the same time. I am almost fully adjusted and am loving it. The one thing thats bothering me the most is the 3 hours of sleep I lost. So i go to bed at 9:45 every night. I just feel like I am supposed to be here, it feels great.
The Washington Kennewick mission is a mission of high expectations. I walked right into about 5 investigators that I think personally will be baptized. I'm in a zone called the Walla Walla zone, and its a little town almost identical to Yadkinville. So naturally with that being said I feel right at home. But the expectations here are high, lots of work here is being done and the missionaries are doing a great job. We have an investigator named Reyes. He was Catholic all his life and he left the church due to some problems he had with doctrine or something. Anyways, he says there is no God but is looking for something that would restore his faith. He had a lot of great questions about our church and he is really progressing. We have been working with him and I've been praying that he will see the light and that he can be baptized and brought into the Church of Christ. 
We had lessons with some less active members and some people that are extremely less fortunate. The people confide a lot in us and it almost puts a lot of pressure on us to say the right words. I've been praying for God to help give me the words to say and to help guide these people closer to Christ. Its difficult sometimes because my words aren't exactly what these people are looking for. It seems like we are looking for the same thing; happiness. I can't make it clear enough to everyone that happiness is Christ and Christ is happiness. If people can just wrap their mind around that, things would go so much easier. 
I just want you all to know I love you so much and thanks for the support. Going back home wasn't the easiest choice at all and almost an even harder choice to go right back out. But with the love and support of my family, my friends and my church, I know that this mission will be the best thing to ever happen to me and not only me, but my family. Today I had one of my missionaries that taught me, send me a picture of the day I got baptized, I'll send it out to you guys. Anyways, my strength every day is Philippians 4:13. I shared that with my Ward this past Sunday. I actually had the chance to go up and take 10 minutes to introduce myself and to tell my story. I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am in and even more so to be serving Christ day in and day out. Again, thank you all for everything. It literally means the world to me. I'm not going to let you down, ever. Returning with honor is my main concern. 

Con Amor,
Elder Hutchens

pictures: myself and Elder Ballard in front of our car, myself and Elder Ballard our first day and our first P-day. Also, March 16th, 2013; the day I was baptized. 
Elder Ballard, Elder Hutchens and their wheels

Elder Hutchens with Elder Ballard on the first day in Walla Walla.

P-day in Washington

March 16, 2013
Baptism of Tanner Hutchens

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Goodbye Again

Tanner will be continuing his mission in the Washington Kennewick Mission, Spanish Speaking.  He left early Friday morning after being set apart Thursday night.  There were several people there to support him and who love and care about him.

Tanner and Grandpa Paul

Tanner with good friend Todd Eldredge
Tanner with Mom Stephany and Grandpa Paul
Tanner, Mom, Grandpa and Mary June


Tanner with President Marsh
Tanner with Charles Teague

Tanner with Janell Eldredge and Keri Marsh



Monday, July 7, 2014

Hola!

This week was weird especially with me and Elder Roberts. We are so inexperienced, and you can tell it. But we found 8 new investigators, 2 of which i believe can be baptized. The work here is really picking up for these Elders and we just had a baptism yesterday. I´ve been relying on the Bible a lot here lately, sometimes its hard to be happy and its easy to slip into doubts. But hopefully I can find my faith in Christ. Gracias por todo, I estoy trabando cada dia encontrar mi testimonio. 

 
Elder Hutchens. 

PS. Yo tango un cumple anos in una semana!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Surprise!

This week has been full of nothing but surprises. NOTHING BUT SURPRISES. So this week was sort of crazy because everyone was expecting things to be rough with transfers happening. I was for sure and certain that nothing was going to change with me because I havent even finished my training yet. Elder Sanchez and I went to this lunch appointment with a less active member. We walked in and BOOM, apparently this guy went to like 8 years of school to be a baker. So, what did we have? THE BEST PIZZA I HAVE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH HANDS DOWN. On top of that he fed us 4 pizzas, a bunch of baked sweets and this awesome drink that he fixed. Wow, what a surprise, no? Also with transfers happening the guys in the house spent the week helping out with Elder Carreno because sadly he left yesterday afternoon. It was my first missionary that I was close with that had to go home, but he served a great and awesome mission, and he was such a great inspiration for me. I hope one day I can be half the missionary he can be.
 
Just wanted to say something before I go into the juicy part of this email. I just wanted to say that I love my grandpa so much. I never realized how much he did for me until I got out here and basically had to live and manage my own life. The things that my grandpa did for me even after grandma died was amazing. 82 years old and was still helping raise a 19 year old boy. Many things like laundry, car issues, and much much more. So this week I just wanted to thank my grandpa for all that he does, and did for me.
 
SOOO...transfers happened this week. Elder Sanchez and I was walking down the street when our phone went off. It was Elder Carreno saying that he has all the new transfer info. I didnt pay much attention because I honestly thought I was going to stay where I was. He kept reading off all the missionary that was getting moved..and then he said my name. In this moment my WHOLE mission changed. He said "Oh, Elder Hutchens, you and Elder Roberts are now companions.." Now, let me make this very clear why this is so significant. Elder Roberts was in the MTC with me, he went in the very same day as me. Elder Roberts was on the plane to Argentina with me, Elder Roberts is a brand new missionary just like me. Elder Roberts knows about as much Spanish as I do, Elder Roberts cant understand what the people of Argentina are saying. In a nut shell, I finished my training 6 weeks early, so did Elder Roberts, and now we are companions....again..let me make this clear..THIS IS NOT NORMAL. We no longer have our trainers, we no longer can fully understand what is going on. We have to figure out how to be good missionary by our selfs. Nothing more. The two least experienced missionaries in the zone are together. Now, with that being said its very easy to look at all the bad things about this. Its hard to see the good that can come from this, but there is plenty good from this. Elder Roberts and I get the chance to do something that hardly no missionaries get to do. We get to figure this out together, as a team, we get to learn Spanish together, we also get the chance to grow. This is a huge growing experience. This has been the chat of the zone the last few days and im not sure that anyone expects us to baptize. But heres the thing, I believe in miracles. WE DO NOT CONVERT THE PEOPLE.. The Holy Ghost does. If we do our part and work our hardest, we will find the souls of Argentina that needs Christ in their lifes regaurdless if we can speak fluent Spanish. No one including myself was expecting this, but it happened. And we are going to make the best of what we have.
 
With that being said..VAMOS ARGENTINA. Woooo, its so cool to be in a country when the World Cup is happening, wow. People down here watch this World Cup religiously. Everybody takes off work when the World Cup is on.
 
Also, if you guys want to send packages that fine. But ONLY send the padded packages. Because normal box packages will NOT MAKE IT. The mail service here is horrible but its likely that a padded package will arrive to me.
 
Guys I have a lot in front of me, this mission just got 10 times more difficult than what it already was. But thats okay. Im not here for myself, Im here for Christ. Proverbs 3:5 has been keeping me going this week along with Philippians 4:13. I know God will lead us to the right people, to help them with their needs and teach to their specific needs. I love you all and thanks for your support. I cant wait to let you guys know all about how my week goes, next week. 

Con Amor,
Elder Hutchens