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 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)