Saturday, April 26, 2014

Just Being Honest

This week has been hard, I am not going to lie. 

Sunday we got the chance to meet and hear from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  Meeting an apostle of God was so awesome. After he spoke he walked around, and he gave me a huge hug. That's something I'll never fully forget. We had an Easter Egg hunt with the Hermanas and got to go to a video that told all about President Monsons life. Monday I was having an awesome day, until I got to my room. My companion told me that a letter from my grandpa had arrived. Before I was even opening it up I was crying. I got half way through opening the letter up and I was already sobbing. I'm not sure if it was a sense of joy or sadness. I had to get my companion to read it aloud, I wasn't stable enough to read it on my own. Getting that letter seemed to set the tone for the rest of the week. Tuesday I woke up and we got to hear from another apostle. Elder Dallin H Oakes, its so cool that's the third one I've already met and heard from. The Eldredge family sent me an awesome Easter Egg package with food. Every night after a long day I come in so hungry, so Todd and Janell, THAT WAS ON POINT. Wednesday was the rough one for me, It seemed like everything had just fell apart. I guess home sickness started kicking in and I just lost it. I started thinking about grandpa and what if something happened to him and I was going to be in a different country. I started doubting things and I wasn't sure what I was doing. I met with my district president and we had a conversation about possible reassignment. I had a day to think it over. I had to meet with President Nally, and that's the biggest man at the MTC for my non LDS friends. The night before I was praying so hard for an answer, I didn't understand why I was having these feelings. I opened up my missionary portal and saw the Argentina flag beside my name. It's like a wave of joy and spirit had hit my face. At that very moment I realized that I had been called by God to Argentina. There are people in that country who need me and it's just for me. Why would God call me to Argentina if he wasn't going to look after my family? I've learned this week that putting your trust in God is the most key thing I can do during my mission. President Nally and I spoke, and I told him how I was feeling. And I am indeed still going to Argentina, all with the Lord's help.
The very next day I taught a lesson in English with an investigator. His name was Gabriel. He has a son with cancer and he was looking for answers, he didn't like the Catholic church, he was raised in that church. I shared my testimony with Gabriel and told him my baptism story and my past life. It's like this huge bubble of spirit was surrounding me, my companion and Gabriel. It felt like everything I was saying was God's words. I didn't feel like I was saying it, God was. All three of us was in tears and I have been continuing to teach Gabriel. He has made it clear that he is very interested in joining but has some issues he needs to clear up. I didn't realize how teaching someone and helping someone can effect me so much. I can relate to this guy because he is from a different religion and background. Making the decision to serve this mission is feeling so much more right every single day that I wake up. The more I teach, the more I learn Spanish, the more I pray, missionary work is for me. This is my element. I love it, and this is part of God's plan for me. 
I'm not sure how to sum up my week, everything had sort of been up and down. But God pulled me through. I know that for a fact. My faith in God has grown and I've seen that with everyday that I am here. The hermanas in my zone are leaving Monday and that means new zone leaders will be called. It would be cool to be called to a leadership position. A lot of things going on in the coming week and I can't wait to see what God has in store for me..

Just a few things, shout out to my boy Andrew Hiatt for getting that mission call to PERU. Dude you'll be an awesome missionary and the people of Peru will be so blessed to have you brother. Also, to my Indiana Pacers, you guys need to get your act together. I know I'm not there to scream at the TV while you guys are losing to an 8 SEED. You won't beat Miami playing like a bunch of school girls. Also Mason Timmerman, miss you man, I love reading your emails and I can tell you are loving Germany. Saw a picture of you devouring a sandwich, so I KNOW you're happy. 
To my brother Travis, I want you to know that I hope you know I wish I could be there to help you with those puppies. This is your dream man, and I'm so glad that things are starting to look up. I think about you and Jessica and grandpa every single day and I pray so much for you guys. Hold the fort down and keep me updated on the puppies. 
Thanks so much for the packages, the dear elders and letters. They mean the world to me. Every night I look forward to opening my letters. Its like my Christmas present. And always feel free to write, I will certainly get back to you asap. 
I love you all so much, and cannot wait to hear from you. I'm doing the things that I have been dreaming of doing for the last 2 years and loving it. 
(if anyone has extra food laying around, just keep in mind my lunch is at two, and my dinner is at 9 clock rolls around I'm a starving pig, SOOOO... if someone was to send some snacks and food, I wont complain) JUST A THOUGHT :)
With all the love in the world,
Elder Hutchens
Me pointing to my mission. Its just a missionary thing :)

Elder Hutchens. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014


This week has certainly been an eye opener. So our first preparation day we got to go off campus to eat, all the Elders and Sisters was walking together and I go "Where is the nearest Bojangles I'm starving." One of the Elders goes... "Elder, what is a Bojangles?" I go "YALL AINT GOT NO BOJANGLES?!?!?!?!?!?!" Not a single person out here knows what Bojangles is, every time someones walks by me they go "YALL AINT GOT NO BOJANGLES" mocking my accent. Elder Bojangles has been a common name used to address me of late. Funny, right? But how am I going to live without Bojangles...
This week was so spiritual, the MTC is by far the most spiritual place I've ever been. And slowly but surely things are starting to click. Monday we has an AMAZING lesson with Hermano Howard on Spanish conjugates, its soooo hard, but God is on MY side and I will eventually get this Spanish thing down. Tuesday we went to a devotional and heard from Neil L. Anderson, it was an honor to be able to meet an apostle, and this Sunday a member of the first presidency will be speaking here, IM SO STOKED. Wednesday we got new missionaries in so its nice to not be able to say that I'm one of the newbies on campus. You can tell they're new because when we walk by them we say "Hola" and they go "Hello..." it makes me laugh. Thursday was my very first tough day, it's easy to let your mind slip and start thinking "what am I doing, why am I out here." But quickly I had to reassure myself that I'm out here to do a job, and it will be done one way or another. Friday was an awesome day. You guys wouldn't believe the guy I have become in just almost two weeks. I'm speaking Spanish more than I am English. Elder Perkins mom also sent us Easter candy, which was so nice and awesome. I got skittles and some sort of candy was gross. And last Sunday we got to hear from the BYU mens chorus. They sang "Lean On Me" and everyone in the gym stood up and gave a standing ovation. It was solid for sure. 
So Thursday I got the BEST DEAR ELDER EVER. Todd Eldredge sent one that I opened. He was talking about some sort of something and then at the bottom he goes "Pacers got #1 seed, so congrats"......I had to stop, think about what I just read and then out of no where I started screaming. I was jumping up and down yelling YES YES YES YES YES YES YES I started hugging my companion. At this point he has no idea why I'm yelling. Then I ran across the room to the others Elders dorm and just starting hugging everyone and screaming YES YES YES. I was honestly almost in tears. Everyone goes "WHATS WRONG??!?!" I was too excited to talk so all I said was "PACERS PACERS PACERS THEY GOT IT THEY GOT IT." I eventually explained what happened and being the great guys that they are they all celebrated with me. It was an awesome moment.
The Lord has blessed me beyond measure. I'm slowly starting to see the things that is going on in my life, and also starting to see the real reason that I'm out here. Lately my faith hasnt been up to par, but being here has changed my outlook on everything. The more I think about it, the more that it seems I grow closer with Heavenly Father. The way I like to look at it is being on Gods side is like being on a team with Michael Jordan or Lebron James, you just have to give them the ball and have faith that they will put the ball in the hoop. I just have to put my life in Gods hands and have faith that he will take care of everything. Its not easy doing what I'm doing and I immediately saw that the day I stepped onto this MTC. But I'm not out here for myself, I'm out here for Heavenly Father, and the great people of Argentina. You cant selfish and the last thing that needs to be on your mind is yourself. Realizing all of this has made me love what I'm doing even more. Between personal scripture study, companion study and even language study, I love this life. I leave out for Argentina in a little over a month but i can honestly say that I will never forget the MTC experience. The last time I saw my grandpa he told that this was going to be a growing experience, boy...was he right. 
Todd, Forbes magazine was on point joke. 
The pictures I sent was me in my PACERS SHIRT. Some of my best friends at the temple and a picture of me with the most beautiful Utah mountains ever. 
I love and miss you all so much. Thanks to everyone who wrote me letters, and sent me Dear Elders, they are the bright spot of every day. I'm writing back to everyone today so give it a bit and I'll get back to you.
Thanks again for all the support, it means the world to me.
Elder Hutchens. 
Tanner with some of his best friends in front of the temple.


Elder Staples, Hermano Brown (teacher) and Elder Hutchens

Elder Staples, Hermano Howard and Elder Hutchens

Elder Staples, Hermano Porter and Elder Hutchens

The most beautiful Utah mountains!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Life Has Begun

Dear familia and amigos,

Someone once told me that leaving your family and friends for two years would be the hardest thing that you can do. I disagree. I've only been gone for four days and my life is something I never imagined it would be. Hugging my grandpa for the very last time almost killed me, and I was for sure that when I got on the plane to leave for Salt Lake City that I wasn't going to be able to do this, that my emotions and my feelings were too weak to carry on for two more years without the people I know and love. I sat down beside a man on the plane and we never spoke until he asked me why I was dressed in a suit and tie.  I proceeded to tell him that I had just left my family and friends for two years to do a job for Jesus Christ. His words after that were amazing. He said, "I commend you in the highest rank.  When I was your age I served my mission in Brazil." From that moment forward I knew Heavenly Father had sent me a message, and that simple message was to carry on and complete the job I had set out to do.

The MTC is amazing. I find myself speaking in Spanish more than I do my own language, and the sad thing is I can bet that I can already speak more Spanish than most of my friends in high school that took Spanish ALL 4 YEARS. Weird right? But I love it! I love the environment, I love Utah and I love my companion. My companion is Elder Keith Staples, and trust me I love the guy to death, but spending 24 hours with a dude is for sure different for me. I enjoy walking by a sister and reassuring that women still live. But he is such a great guy.  He got called to district leader so I get to sit in on all his leadership meetings, boring but interesting for sure. 

EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE loves to hear me talk. I had 4 sisters walk up to me DURING MY LUNCH and asked if I would speak out loud. I thought at first that it was weird, but once I started talking they went crazy. I suppose my southern accent is not very common out west, and I quickly found that out. So now everywhere I go Sisters and Elders are stopping me just to hear me talk.  I love it, but its annoying. 

Quick thing before I go on, and this is to my friends. There is a website you can use that I was unaware of. Its called This site will allow you, while I'm in the MTC to write me electronically. You go on the site, you will need my mailing address here in the MTC, which can be found on my blog. Once you put in the address, you can write me letters as many times as you'd like as many times a day. My companion got 45 the first night... yes I said 45. I get to open them everyday at 9:30 pm. So write me, and let me know how things are going. I got one from Keri Marsh and Sister Torgersen, and I LOVE getting letters, so by all means feel free to write. 

The life that I am living now is so different than what I was living before. I left North Carolina as Tanner Hutchens, and here in Utah I'm Elder Hutchens. Two totally different people. The spirit is here every second. I can sense It, and it helps me carry on every second of the day. I need the spirit so much when I'm learning to speak Spanish and not only Spanish but the Gospel. I've never in my life been in such a spiritual place. Also, this is the first time I've ever been in an area that consist mostly of LDS religion, and I absolutely love it. I don't see how members who have lived in Utah are able to move to North Carolina with such a drastic change. I love it, I'm living it and I feel it. This is all so new to me, and I had no idea what to expect.  I also realize that what I'm doing seems very crazy, and it is to a certain degree,  but I think you have to have a certain bit of crazy about you to do something like this as a convert. I never grew up in the church and most kids grew up knowing they would one day serve a mission. So this is certainly different, but I'm not complaining. I love what Heavenly Father is doing in my life. I've been using the power of prayer every single day, every chance that I get, and that's what the MTC will do to you. I feel the spirit, I love my companion, I love my teachers and I love my life. I look forward to hearing from all of you, and please understand that I am doing okay. There's not a place in the world that I would rather be than on a mission...


With love always,

Elder Hutchens.


Elder Hutchens and Elder Staples

My MTC District in front of the Provo Utah Temple

Me and my companion in front of the Provo temple.  Beautiful temple by the way.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Arrival at the MTC

Tanner arrived at the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah.  He was picked up at the airport by the parents of one of the members in North Carolina, Brent Warr.  They went to lunch at the Brick Oven Pizzaria and took some pictures by the temple before dropping him off at the doors of the MTC.  After checking in and getting his assignment he was met by Robert Hiatt, who is from Mount Airy,  Robert showed Tanner to his new housing on the west campus and said that Tanner has a certain light about him and fits in well.  He will be a great missionary.
He's off with the MTC has really begun!

Brother and Sister Warr picked Tanner up at the airport and  delivered him to the MTC.

First look at the Provo Temple.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Last night...with Elder Hutchens

Tanner was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His grandfather Paul Hutchens and his friends Haley and Luke were there to support him, as well as Todd and Janell Eldredge and the Marsh Family. Tanner has a 6 a.m. Flight in the morning to Salt Lake City where he will catch a ride to the Provo Mission Training Center. He will spend six weeks learning the Spanish language and studying gospel principles before fly to Argentina where he will spend the remainder of his two years. Good luck Tanner!  You will be missed but your friends know you have work to do and lives to bless in Argentina!

Grandpa, Haley, Tanner and Luke

Grandpa and Tanner

Tanner and Luke

Todd Eldredge and Tanner

Monday, April 7, 2014