Monday, May 26, 2014

Hola Argentina

Wow..where do I start? Let’s start with my travels. So I left Utah about 6 in the morning to take a train to Salt Lake, we spent around 2 hours on trains and switching around trains. We finally got to the airport and hopped on a plane to fly to Atlanta, it was about a three and a half hour flight to Atlanta, finally Elder Byrd and the rest of our 30 missionaries arrived in Atlanta. We had a 5 hour layover in Atlanta. We all walked around and ate. All my companions got to try BOJANGLES for the first time; they all fell in love :) From Atlanta we got on a plane for Buenos Aires. We had to wait an hour for the plane to even take off because there was leaks on the plane toilet. 12 HOURS, 12 HOURS on the flight to Argentina. Gosh it was so rough. I sat right beside Elder Starr, we got to speak in Spanish to many Argentines. Landing in Argentina I knew I wasn’t in America anymore. Everything is different, the smell, the people, the humidity. We got on a bus to go to the temple from the Airport. It took 5 minutes to get there and we got to go around the temple and take pictures, it was nice. We went into the Argentina MTC, I got to try my very first authentic Milanesa. It’s different for sure. Then we took a 2 hour bus ride to another airport, i got to catch some sleep on that bus ride thank gosh. We had to wait an hour for the plane to leave, so we all walked around and enjoyed Argentina for a bit. We took an hour plane ride to Bahia Blanca, and there is where my life begins.... 

Empanandas are soooo good!

After arriving in Bahia Blanca, we got to eat some empanadas...OH MY GOSH SOOOOO GOOD. I can eat them things every single day and i would be totally content with myself. We went off to the room that we would be staying at for the night. There was 12 of us in one room. The water here is so dirty, we´re not allowed to drink out of it. There was no heat in the room on top of that it was like 30 some degrees outside. The showers had no hot water, I had no covers with me and no pillows and I slept on the highest bunk in the room. There was insects on the floors, and only 3 showers. So not the best way to spend my first night, but it only gets better. After we endured through the tough night we woke up got ready and went to the chapel. We went through some training and President Parreno assigned us our companions and our areas. I got the BEST companion in the world, I´ll talk about him later.
Elder Hutchens in front of the small branch in Tandil
Elder Roberts and i had to wait 5 more hours before our bus left. It was just him and I because everyone else had left out with their companions and left for their areas. We had yet to meet our companions. After a long wait we finally got on the bus. That bus ride seemed like we was going to die. We got assigned in Tandil which is 6 hours away. The people in Argentina drive so so so crazy. This bus was going at about 60 miles an hour on back roads, I felt so nauseous and sick from how crazy this bus driver was driving. We kept praying that the bus driver wouldn’t wreck this bus the whole sick hours, on top of that i felt like i was going to vomit. Elders Roberts and I literally endured through the toughest bus ride of our lives. After we arrived in Tandil at 3 AM, our companions were waiting for us at the stop. Such a relief to see someone we was supposed to be with after 6 hours of torture. My companion and I went back to our new home and got 3 hours of sleep and woke up to start the day. At this point I started my day with 9 hours of sleep in 3 days. I took a cold shower and started personal and companionship study. At this point, my body, my mind, my emotions is absolutely wrecked. We went out knocking on doors, and I got a good taste of the culture. There are literally dogs everywhere in the streets, along with dogs comes dog poop, EVERYWHERE. I have to walk with my head down to make sure I don’t delight my shoes with dog droppings. We pass by kids that throw rocks and dirt at us every single day, the kids here in Argentina are so crude. Its cold here in Argentina but I have an awesome coat and scarf that keeps me warm through the day. 
Elder Sanchez and Elder Hutchens in frigid Argentina

There mud EVERYWHERE, my shoes are always dirty and my pants always end up dirty. We went into an investigators house, i sat in a chair that had cat pee all over it, my companion sat in a chair that was made out of a woman’s bras. I still have no hot water for showers, I get to eat about once a day and that of course is lunch and a small snack at night and a small snack in the morning. All this may seem terrible, yes I know. But guess what? I love it. I love this culture, I love the work I am doing, I love the people I love the food, and most of all I love Jesus Christ. Yes, my conditions may not be the best here, and its nothing compared to what I have at home. But the people here are poor, and when i say poor I mean dirt poor..literally. There are houses made out of dirt, there are floors with rocks, people here have terrible mouth conditions, it’s rare to see someone with healthy teeth. But these people are so proud of what they have and i love it. It makes me so appreciative of what I have back home. My companion is awesome, his name is Elder Sanchez, he’s from California but he grew up in Utah. He’s helped me out so much with Spanish. He truly is a great guy and God has blessed me with the best companion. 

Let’s talk about Spanish, shall we? The Spanish in the MTC is much different than the Argentina Spanish. I´m irrelevant in lessons because I can’t understand a word anyone is saying. Put it this way...when they talk it sounds like Spanish, Daffy Duck, Forrest Gump, Gibberish all put into one sentence. It’s tough to understand. But my vocab is increasing every day. 

We have a baptism date set for a woman that has been investigating the church for a while. June 14, so look for it ;) 
Two important books for missionaries

At times i ask myself...What in the world am I doing? Two years ago I wasn’t Mormon, I had no plans to go to a foreign country and learn Spanish, change my whole lifestyle and leave my family. Why am I doing this? These times that i ask that, I always remember the church, my family, my friends, the example I am setting, and most importantly the people of ARGENTINA. This mission isn’t about me..It’s about Christ, and his children. I love you all and thanks for the support. GO PACERS..

Elder Hutchens 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Goodbye MTC

Well my journey here at this wonderful MTC is coming to an end in less than half a day. It has certainly been an experience that I hope I will remember for the rest of my life. Its taught me so much more than just gospel principals and the Spanish language. I've learned how to live outside of my bubble of Yadkin County, I've learned to take care of myself and understand a fraction of having some responsibility. My grandpa told me last Sunday that he knows now that I'm not a boy, I'm a man. Hearing those words come out the mouth of the man that has raised me really effected me in so many ways, and it finally felt like I've made him proud. All the many friends that I've made here in Utah will be life long friends, and friends that I hope feel the same about me. There hasn't been a day gone by that I haven't made friends and gotten to know different types of people. Although I miss my family more than words can explain, its so nice to have a family that supports what I'm doing here as a missionary and backs me up 100%. I never thought so much could happen in just a short amount of 6 weeks, but the growth that I've seen in myself, I owe it all to this MTC. As my grandpa once told President Hiatt..."I hope he can do you guys some good"..(referring to missionary work for the church) thats really all I strive for. To set examples for kids like my nephew Riley, and I always think about the Eldredge kids. I hope I can make you guys proud over the course of the next 23 or so months and come home honorably. It's going to be so tough BUT I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me. Between learning Spanish and learning more of Jesus Christ, it's all going to be the biggest adventure of my life. In the last week I've had the chance to say goodbye to friends that have went out into the field before me. I never realized how hard it was to say goodbye to these people that I most likely will never see again in this lifetime. And now its my turn to say goodbye and leave out into the world. I'm going to miss this place SO much and the people that I've grown to love and grow close to. But all good things must come to an end. 
It hasnt been easy being here though. I've had trials just like anyone else and I've struggled pretty bad at times. But I find peace in a few things; one of the last things that my grandma said to me before she died was this.."Tanner you're a Christian, if I die before your grandpa I want you to remember something. Being a Christian isn't easy, but keep in mind one thing, If you choose to serve this Mormon mission, i want you to act like a Christian. And ALWAYS remember Philippians 4:13 because you CAN do all things through Christ which strengthens you." Whenever I'm down or having a tough day I always remember that bible verse, and how important it was to my grandma. She wasn't a full time missionary, but she lived one of the best Christians life's that I have ever seen. And I hope I can be as joyful and full of spirit as she was. So as I journey off into South America, I hope to take the skills I've learned in this MTC and the skills I've learned prior to this MTC and use it to the best of my abilities to help the people of Argentina. I just wanted to thank my family, Grandpa, Grandma, and Travis for always being there for me. I hope you guys know that I love you, and I also know that Grandma will be guiding me in my travels in this mission. I will be letting you guys know how Argentina is as soon as I can. Thanks for everyones support while I've been here in this MTC. HUGE shout out to Maplewood Baptist Church. Maplewood was the Baptist church that I grew up in. They put a note in their weekly bulletin to pray for me and to send me letters. It goes to show that even though we are all not Mormons, Baptist, Methodist, we all come from different backgrounds, religion and families. But we all have one central common trait,  we are ALL children of God, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and we all should love one another for who they are. Again I love you all, and can't wait to tell all about Argentina...

GO PACERS GO PACERS GO PACERS GO PACERS GO PACERS. BEAT THE HEAT BEAT THE HEAT BEAT THE HEAT BEAT THE HEAT BEAT THE HEAT. Good luck Indiana, I will be rooting for you guys all the way in Argentina. Be sure you guys keep me updated as much as you can. 

Well I got some packing to do, got to go get ready for ARGENTINA.. last day with Hermana Savage, one of my Spanish teachers. And the food is the box of food that the Eldredge family sent me. It was enough to feed my WHOLE zone. 

Elder Hutchens. :)
Care Package from the Eldredge Family--YUM!!!

Hermana Savage, one of my Spanish teachers, on our last day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

TRAVEL PLANS!!! (and David Archuleta)

Oh boy, so yesterday when we checked the mail there was a few papers in our mailbox. Turns out it was our travel plans, WHICH MEANS I LEAVE IN 9 DAYS FOR ARGENTINA!!!!! So the 19th, we have an 11 o clock flight to Atlanta, we will arrive there around 4. We have a 5 hour lay over in Atlanta and then we get on a plane to Argentina at 9 o clock and will arrive there around 8 the next morning. The district is so pumped up and we are all ready to see Argentina. I cant believe its almost been 6 weeks that I've been here. 
So let me tell you guys about my week. It was amazing. Since I've been here we have got to meet and hear from Elder Oaks, Christofferson, Andersen, President Uchtdorf, and Tuesday Elder Holland came to speak to us. It was the most spiritual devotional I've ever been apart of. He is so "in your face" with how he talks and he tells it how it is. He spoke to us about how hard missionary work is. That when we're out in the field and we are struggling, spit on, rejected, and life is just plain tough, he said remember that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest human being that has ever walked the face of this earth. We are Christ's disciples, we are walking where he walked. Why should it EVER be easy for us as missionaries when it was never EVER easy for him. Elder Holland really spoke to my heart and I'm so thankful I had the chance to meet him. 
Tuesday night as I was laying in bed, I heard that it was starting to storm. I got up to go see how much it was raining outside and it wasnt raining or storming. I started to think I was hearing things, when I heard thunder again. I heard a lighting crack but saw no lighting. I quickly crawled back in bed and starting to slap myself because I figured I was dreaming. I kept hearing BOOM and BANG. I was so scared. I woke my companion up and he heard it too. We then was under the impression that someone was in our dorm and we was about to be shot or someone was robbing us. We saw a light go on and I knew I was done for. The other guys in our district walked out and goes "Whats wrong with you guys?" APPARENTLY, Elder Baker in the next room over listens to CD's of rain and thunder to help him sleep during the night and somehow it got turned all the way up that night. I've been rooming with this guy for how long and had no clue about this. I felt so silly, and scared all at the same time. But i was super relieved that we wasn't being robbed. Wednesday my companion had a doctors appointment. As I was waiting out in the lobby for my companion this other missionary and I got into a conversation about girls. He goes "I've had a terrible time since I've been here at the MTC with girls." He continued to talk and I was like "Shouldn't your mind be on other things than girls?" He showed me a letter from his girlfriend that he had been dating a few years that he got while in the MTC, the letter said the few words..."Ramon, as I was going through my family history and genealogy, I've found out that we are second cousins, sorry It had to end like this." Now I don't know if thats a laughing matter, but I laughed until I cried. What a terrible way for someone to break up with you while on your mission, right? 
It's crazy how this MTC can change the way you act, think, and feel about this world, about God and about yourself. It's like this. My English is already slightly broken from talking so much Spanish. My relationship with Christ is growing so rapidly, I feel the spirit every single day while I'm here and I know that God is working these blessing into my life. I've been teaching actual investigators while here in the MTC and I've found that just being myself, Tanner Hutchens, is helping these lessons flow so much easier. I love talking to all these different types of people and teaching the gospel and telling them my conversion story and my religious background. I love telling them about the example my grandparents set for me while growing up and the roots of my faith in Christ comes from all those years with maw and paw. I love telling them I'm a recent convert and letting them know that even though these lessons are ackward, and seems so weird and different, that this is the Church that Christ established on the earth, that God is our loving heavenly father, that Christ is alive today. I only have 9 days left here but in the past 6 weeks I've felt that this is taught me more than anything or anyone has in my whole entire life. Responsibility, leadership, LAUNDRY..(yes grandpa I do my own laundry) Its just been an amazing experience and so much more to come the next two years.
By the way GO PACERS. So glad you guys can beat the 8 seed. Lets wipe it up with the Wizards and BEAT THE HEAT...BEAT THE HEAT...BEAT THE HEAT.
Got loads of pictures this week. The one on the bus is me with Elders Pallila, Allred, Whitt(from NC) Hutchings. Our new zone in front of the temple is Hermana Hathoway, Crawford, Tagg, Afu. Elder Christoffersons nephew is our teacher, the guy with the red tie on is Hermano Christofferson who left to start his family in OhIo. Hermano Porter who left to go to France for a college project. And the picture where I'm kneeling down in front of the other Elders is myself with the new elders in our district. 
I love you all and thanks so much for all the support. Times are changing very quickly for me and soon enough I'll be in Argentina. Not really looking forward to flight, but hey I'll get over it. God has a plan for me in Argentina and I cannot wait to see what is in store. GO PACERS!!!!

Elder Hutchens
Elders Pallila, Allred, Whitt (from NC) and Hutchings with Elder Hutchens.
New Elders arriving in the district
Elders with their teacher Hermano Christofferson who is Elder
 Christofferson's nephew.  He left to start his family in Ohio.
Elders with their teacher Hermano Porter who has left for France on a college project.
P.S.  We went to the Art Museum today and I was sitting down looking at a painting and I look over beside of me and David Archuleta is sitting right beside me..I didn´t believe it at first but I just got up, went and asked my companions if that was him and sure enough it was him. I went and sat back down and shook his hand and all of my companions shook his hand. He thanked us for our missionary work service, for all my non LDS friends. David Archuleta is Mormon and just got home from his mission in Chile. Was too cool, right place and right time. We couldn´t get a picture of it but it was still awesome!!!
Elder Hutchens and Elder Staples in front of the temple.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What a Week!!!

Where do I start? 
Saturday after I got done writing my emails it started snowing, then the sun came out, then it rained, then it snowed again? Utah is so weird and it makes no sense to me. But hey, I love it out here. This Sunday I was called to serve as the district leader, and it surprises me. I never saw myself as someone of a leader type position. But its really taught me alot about responsibility so far and I love how its helping me grow. But Sunday also brought a lot of funny and spiritual events. Sunday as we we was doing our devotions with just my teacher and district, we were all speaking and I don't remember exactly what I was attempting to say to my teacher in Spanish, but i tried to say something and I said this... "Mi pato es musulman".....for those of you who do not know Spanish that translates..."My duck is Muslim." So after I said it I dont remember anything else because we all was just dying laughing. Its been an on going thing now..I believe Pato (duck) is the word now. Sunday was also a very emotional day, the hermanas (sisters) in our zone left. We have grown so close to them in a lot of different ways, they were our mentors, our best friends and almost like our actual sisters. Once they left Monday morning we all felt a sense of emptiness, but they are going to be doing wonderful things in Mexico. I will be sending this to all 6 of you guys, from district 123, all 4 of us love you guys and we pray for you everyday. You guys had such an impact and we cannot thank you enough. Good luck, Hermana Ibarra, Parslow, Ramirez, Wells, Bullock and Powell. 

I've also learned that missionary prepares you for a lot of things. Like're going to meet people that you'll probably never see again in your life. So being a missionary certainly prepares you for something in the matter of death. Kind of funny, but true. Tuesday I got word that I am now apart of Dobson Ward? Can someone explain that to me because I'm not entirely sure how that happend, and its sort of scary. Tuesday also marks the day that we got to hear from Elder D. Todd Christofferson. That makes the 4th apostle of Jesus Christ that I've had the opportunity to meet and listen to speak. The Lord truly works in amazing ways. Since the sisters left Sunday, we got a new zone in on Wednesday. We got to have a orientation with them and as a district leader i got the chance to greet them and work the orientation. They seem like a really nice bunch of missionaries. 4 Elders and 4 sisters. Not too bad. Thursday I got an awesome package from the Eldredge family full of food and some other goodies. Just a shout out to the Eldredge family, I tell everyone that you guys are like my second family. Also May the 11 I will have the opportunity to call home for 30 minutes. I will let you guys know the exact time next Saturday. 

A special experience I would like to share. My 10th day here at the MTC we had the chance to watch a video entitled "Jeffery R. Holland, Missionary work and Atonement" I got the chance to watch it with just my district. We watched the video and all 4 of us was just crying our eyes out. Its just a graphic and emotional video and I recommend LDS and non LDS members to go watch it. Seriously will change your life. Anyways with the new missionaries in our zone, I've had the chance to watch them. They have been scared and super emotional and it seemed at times they felt that they were alone. We have devotionals every night from 9:15 to 9:30, and as a district leader I have the chance to choose who picks the hymns we sing and who picks the video that we watch. I felt a prompting from the spirit earlier in the week to show the Elder Holland video to the new missionaries but my district felt it was too early. Honestly, that was one of the very few promptings I've probably ever had from the spirit and I knew that showing them this video was the right thing. One of the sisters in the new district had been really struggling and discussing with our branch president about going home, that missionary life wasnt for her and that she missed her family. I made the decision to show that video last night hoping that It was the right thing to do. We all piled in our room, made sure everyone was watching and cut the lights off and i hit the play button to start the video. As soon as I sat down I knew the spirit had lead me right. We watched the video, and the spirit was hovering around our room. It seemed like I could almost feel the spirit crawling down my back. When the video was done, I looked back and not a single person in the room wasnt crying. We all had tissues and we all was just crying our eyes out. I knew the spirit had guided me to the right thing. The girl that had been thinking about going home came up to me after the devotional and shook my hand and said these simple words..."Thank you so much for showing that video, I've been thinking about going and I've been praying for an answer as to what I should do. After watching that video, I know now this is where I'm supposed to be, and i just want to thank you so much." In that moment the phrase "missionary work" had taken a whole new meaning on for me. Not only am I here to spread the gospel with people that aren't apart of the church, but to help my fellow man, to help my friends in times of struggle or sorrow. God knew was he was doing when he prompted me to show that video, and it paid off. We all have hard times here at the MTC but when I start to struggle or I start to think "why isn't this easier?" It was never EVER easy for Jesus Chritst, so why should It be easy for me? What he went through is far more worse than what I'm dealing with I know, but its nice to know that I'm standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest man to ever live during my missionary work. Hes on my side, and thats really all I need. 

Game 7 for my Pacers tonight, hope they can win. Seriously I'll cry if they lose. GO PACERS...

Shout out to my brother Travis on getting them puppies here, it seems God is looking after you guys and It brings so much joy to my heart to see things looking up. 

I'll be honest, I'm ready to leave the MTC, just 2 weeks left and I'll be heading for Argentina, crazy right? 

The pictures are of the whole zone that includes the hermanas that left and a picture of our zone, can you guess which one is me? Hermana Wells, Ramirez, Parslow, Ibarra, Bullock, Powell and Elder Hutchens, Staples, Baker and Perkins. 

I love all of you guys so much, and thanks for all the support its beyond amazing to feel the love back home and I'm so far away. Its been an awesome week, and I hope God has an even better week in store for me this coming week. Take care, until next Saturday...

Elder Hutchens.
Hermanas from the zone
Hermana Wells, Ramirez, Parslow, Ibarra, Bullock and Powell

Which one is Elder Hutchens???

 Hermana Wells, Ramirez, Parslow, Ibarra, Bullock, Powell
and Elder Hutchens, Staples, Baker and Perkins