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 DearElder.com. 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...
KERI AND JANELL WHY DID YOU UNTIE MY TIES? DO YOU KNOW HOW SILLY I LOOK WHEN I'M STRUGGLING TO TIE MY TIES AND THE OTHER ELDERS TAKE LIKE .2 SECONDS TO TIE A PERFECT TIE?????? I still love you both.
With love always,