Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Forever Red"

One day my companion, some other girls and I were talking about the ´´option of going home´´ (none of us were thinking about it, just we were talking about it) and I came up with the great comment that made everyone laugh, ´´you can´t. socially, I´s not an option´´ --sometimes we just laugh. also, coming home from the temple (which is tiny, and good thing i know what I need to say because the guy had a VERY thick spanish accent) and we stopped at the distribution center to get scriptures etc. as I was checking out, the lady, who is native, said in pretty impressively good english, ´´are you a swimmer? because you have very...strong shoulders´´ haha, yep, that´s my life. I told her I did other sports, but obviously my shoulders say ´´swimmer´´ haha. If you can´t tell in the picture, I´m the second tallest hermana at the CCM, which, by tomorrow I will be the tallest since the tallest one is leaving. oh, and another thing aobut height, when the tallest guy in my district gets on his knees, he is the same height as our hermana teacher. haha, it´s great. people are quite short, some aren´t too short though. The other day I was wearing my mom´s bright red dress with shoulderpads that she wore on her mission. A couple of hispano elders whenever they would walk past me and my companion, without any eye contact would say ´´forever. red´´ with a thick spanish accent. we still laugh. I have now gained some new nicknames of ´´forever. azul´´ , ´´forever. rim´´ (I just couldn´t make that half court shot, no  matter how many times i tried) and others of the such. The guys in my district have this thing with excitingly yelling random words. like DEPORTES! or DESAYUNO! (breakfast) MAPACHI! (raccoon) SOY DE UN CHAMPIN!  ( i am a native, ....which they aren´t) ´´ENTONCES!´´ (so) and others of the such...really?! this is what happens when you let 18 year olds on missions. but they are good. ...just a little immature at times. when we were showering after deportes, hermana fitzgerald was talking about a friend from BYU and I couldn´t tell what her name was that she was saying, the name was ´´kristin´´ and I was like ´´christine?´´  NO ´´christina?´´ NO ´´kiersten?´´ NOOOO!!!we´ve had some good laughs about that one.
We have a busy road about 100 ft outside of our bedroom window. and ALL night there are cars and alarms and who knows what making noise out there, we deal with it though, sirens are a usual.
yesterday, on sunday, I was studying the baptismal invitation during one of the videos and on my page where i have it written down i had drawn a picture of jesus being baptized (like the one on the cover of PMG) and this girl behind me noticed it, showed it to her companion, and they were all oooing and awwing over it, then the companion of the girl handed me her journal and asked me to draw her a picture. she chose this tiny picture out of the pmg with christ pulling up a girl from these rocks with a river, and him holding another child in his other arm. it was dark and small, and she wanted it big. I drew the pictures in brown pen, so there is no forgivness if i mess up. after I drew hers, other girls asked me to draw them pictures, I ended up drawing 8 pictures of jesus yesterday, some of which were in people´s journals and front pages of pressure, right? but through blessings, they all turned out well. super scary doing it all in pen. I was kinda a bit famous yesterday, even guys i have never talked to were like, ´´are you the one that draws?´´ and I was like ´´yeah...´´´and then they would ask me to draw them a picture. haha. people are so funny sometimes, but I´m glad i could make them happy. one girl was particularly grateful, i drew the picture of jesus and the women at the well in the front page of her journal, it turned out really well, and she is the sister is very nice and thankful for it.
overall, things are getting easer. not easer to do, but easier to handle. eventhough it feels like we are planning lessons all of the time and can´t even find the time to just read english scriptures or something. it´s intense, but it´s good.
we have this thing called ´´coaching study´´ that one of our teachers (who was also our investigator for the first week, she was disguised as a cook and everything, it´s a tatic, which takes a long time to explain) so coaching study is when they take us by companions into the hall and talk about teaching and what we are feeling and could improve on and give tips and encouragment etc. so this was our first night with our ´´investigator´´ as our teacher. she is SOOO cool and I love her a bunch. she also knows my old guatemalan roommates, jacky and jenni, from glenwood last summer. she shared a lot of tips and guided us. it was a spiritual highlight of the week. she testified and gave support. she talks super fast in spanish, but I actually understand most of it. I usually only miss one word in a sentense, but sometimes that can really leave ya hangin´.
another spiritual highlight was when I was preparing to teach our ´´investigator´´ about the atonement. I really do care about her, even though I know she is only acting. and I wanted her to get this lesson into her heart and have the spirit touch her. I prepared, and prayed, and prepared, and read, and prayed, I just wanted it so badly to go well because i know how the atonement is so important! The lesson went pretty well, however, my companion didn´t feel so hot about it, she didn´t prepare nearly as much as i did for this one. But she did notice how I really stepped into it. I was taking a chance and talking without looking at any notes ( all in spanish) and bearing my testimony to her of the importance of the atonment. It was special to me, if no one else. I tried to take what I got from coaching study and really tired to apply it.
and for another highlight: a couple of elders stopped by to show us an example of teaching and to bear their testimonies. I was walking up the stairs and thought ´´hey look! ít´s missionaries!!´´´and then I realized, oh yeah, we are at the CCM, we are all misisonaries. :D well, they ended up being missionaries who are just about to go home to north america. they are fluent now and they look like well used missionaries for sure. they showed their example, but talked way too quietly and fast, but then bore powerful testimonies in english. it was sooo nice and their testimonies had a lot of emotion and power and spirit. it was great.
I am sad to have the first batch leave tomorrow. the CCM will be almost empty for a day. i have gotten close to almost all of the nortes ( most of the hispanas have different schedules, and the language barrier and everything...we are friends, just not so tight) I know almost all of their names from memory, first and last, and some thing about them. they are all so incredible, and i know they will do great.
the weeks and days are finally speeding up a bit, i hear these next few weeks fly by. I´ve got to go, but love you all!
con amor, Hermana Hutchins.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

First Week at the CCM

Well this week has been a rollercoaster for sure. (btw this keyboard is for spanish so all of my words are ¨spelt incorrectly¨and the space bar doesn¨t want to work, and I can¨t find an apostrophe.) I lived through the first day even though I was about to pass out because of the need of sleep. I calculated it to be about 38 hours with 1.5 hours of sleep, so I figure I had good reason to be that tired.
for way of answering some questions: I got my bag the afternoon of the second day, everything was in there, so nothing was lost, but I forgot to put my new contact solution in a plastic bag because it was still in a box. It ended up leaking, so my jeans were very much so wet when I took them out. Also, it¨s a good thing we put the pressure canned stuff in a bag, I think they all leaked out. 
There are about 150 people here at the CCM, and a little over half of them are hispanos. My district of 11 missionaries is composed of all norte americanos. My companion, hermana Medina, is from CA, graduated in nursing from BYU, I think she is 21, maybe 22 years old, she has red hair, she knows my friend Amanda Magneson from school because they did nursing together and graduated together. She is great and cares about me, I have nothing to complain about my companion, which is very nice. Almost all of the elderes in my districto are 18, I think one just turned 19. You can definately tell that they are 18. They don¨t learn quite as fast and have a hard time focusing for so long, but overall, they do okay. They are all very nice as well. To answer mom¨s question of weather I¨m making friends ultra fast like always, is yes! claro que si! By the second day I felt like I could talk to anyone, at least in english, and enjoy a meaningful conversation. Last night one of the girls in my district came up to me at night after all of our classes and lessons and asked if she could talk to me for a bit. She said that she missed talking to her mom and just needed someone she could vent to, this was not very unusual to me. I am glad though that people feel like they can trust me. 
For a run down on a typical day: wake up at 6:30, get ready until 7:15 personal study for an hour, go eat breakfast for 45 minutes, where we are expected to solo hablar en español. then we language study for an hour where we are usually working on class pre-work or memorizing assignments like "our purpose" and now we are working on "the first vision" all in spanish. we have some sort of grammar lesson for about an hour with our teacher and sometimes we get to watch little movie clips of general authorities speaking, which are usually in english, so that is really nice. We study in class more spanish grammar until it is time for luch (ps, the food is AMAZING) however, it does have the ability to make people sick. I have only been sick 1 day, and it wasn"t bad enough to keep me from going to class. Although, I think 3 or 4 of the people in our district have missed class at one point or another because they were sick. I think everyone gets digestive problems, but it"s pretty okay. so after luch is usually more class where spanish! (big suprise, I know)  We"ll usually do some spanish activity that involves missionary work use. after dinner we plan lessons for our investegator (who may or may not be acting to be an investigator, but either way, we teach our best) only the second day we were allowed to teach in english, after that, every day since, we are expected to teach in spanish, which usually turns out to be Spanglish,  my companion and I work really hard to teach most of our lesson in spanish, I would say yesterday it was about 90% en espanol. It"s hard to be teaching a lesson, feel the spirit and want to say something, and not know HOW to say it. We just need to be patient and keep working. After each companionship takes a turn of teaching for 20 minutes each, we plan for the next day, go back to where our rooms are, get ready for bed, sing and pray as a hall (all in spanish) and write in our journals and get to bed by 10:30. The days are long but they are moving by faster. 
At the CCM, we are expected to learn super super fast, have everything memorized that we are asked to, and prepare ahead of time. it is so hard to do everything they want us to do as "homework" because we have no free time. However, we try our best and try hard to stay positive. By about the third day, I wasn"t feeling all-so-positive, I worked to get through it, but now things are looking more up. I am learning new words all of the time, and I do believe in the gifts of tongues and my calling as a missionary. for example, I tried memorizing "my purpose" in spanish before I came to the CCM. I worked on it for a few days, but I could NEVER get it down. I came here, they told us to memorize it by tomorrow, and I was able to. 
I have to throw in a HUGE THANKS for my 9th grade spanish class and teacher, Mr.Cluff. People are so impressed with my spanish when they hear that I only had two years of it in 9 and 10th grade. I am about at the same level as people who came in with 3 to 5 years of spanish, including a year or two in college. I can hardly believe how much spanish I was able to learn and continue to use from 9th grade. That class has made a huge difference with my spanish experience here. I am not fluent, for sure, but it gives me a bit of the upper hand. I also have to say that my companion that came with no spanish, is doing SO well. She is able to do a lot in the lessons for our investigator, alejandra, and she is able to bear testimony really well, which is harder for me in spanish. it takes me about 3 or 5 seconds per word to make sure I conjugated everything correctly.
All of the people here are so nice and press you really hard to speak at least spanglish. any word I do know in spanish, I try hard to always use it. Even today, I was talking to this teacher who sells stuff in spanglish, and a girl who has been here longer said, "he knows English, so you can just talk to him in english" but then I said, "well, I need to learn to speak in spanish, so I"ll say what I can in spanish" It"s all getting better, slowly, but surely. 
Sunday was great,and very well needed. We get to have lots of classes, and watch church movies too, most of which are in english! haha, a comment was made in our class when we were talking about learning to recognize the holy ghost, and  they said something like, "it doesn"t matter what language the spirit speaks to you in, as long as you hear it" or something like that. My wispered comment to my companion was "well, the spirit speaks to me in english" haha. so hopefully soon the spirit will start speaking to me in spanish, because it has been hard for me to really feel the spirit when everything is in spanish and I understand up to 50% of what is being said. slowly, but surely. 
for some spiritual experiences: while we were watching "mountain of the lord" ( which is a movie about the making of the SLC temple and all of the trials with that)  in english on sunday, I started to get a little emotional when they laid the first corner stone.REALLY? I thought, I get emotional about a rock being placed in the dirt, but I did. It was a really good movie, I enjoyed it very much. 
also, teaching alejandra last night went well. we were talkinig about the temple, and at one point, my companion was making a comment and I could really feel the spirit there, I looked over to here, and she was all teary-eyed. It was a great moment. 
I don"t know all that you want to know, and I"m running out of time. 
If you want me to get cool textile scripture covers  for 15$ , or really cheap ties, let me know. 
so they are coming in to kick us out now, time for the next people,
oh, today is my p day. we get to go to the temple today!
love ya! hermana hutchins.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My first day at the CCM

Today might be the LONGEST day of my life. It´s not bad though. I had probably a total of 1.5 hours of sleep on the plane, and that is why this day is literally feeling soooo long, I´ve pretty much been up for 36 hours straight, same goes with the other missionaries in my district. My journey through the airport system was definitely a new adventure. The airport from Saint George was small and the plane was tiny too, I tried waving at the window like you said you would be there, but the window is about at my shoulder, and I can´t see through the glass of where the family would be. Let me know if you could see me wave, I sort of doubt it. Landing in SLC was fine, and the airport was easy to navigate. I did eventually meet up with two other elders and two other sisters (or should I say Hermanas) right before we left SLC. I ended up sitting near Sister Anne Fitzgerald, who I have a mutual friend with, and who I also communicated with over fb before our missions. She is super nice. Our flight in SL was delayed 10 minutes, which turned out to be 20 minutes because it took a long time to board and find space for everyone´s stuff, and then took a while to land as well. With all of this said, we were cutting it close to make our LA flight, we did make it there with enough time and I ended up sitting next to Hermana Fitzgerald again. We tried to sleep, but it was quite hard, I suppose it´s something about airplanes or maybe being missionaries and the new excitiment and wonder that comes with that. There was one point on that flight that the turbulance was BAD, however, I felt safe and not worried. I actually found it strange that so many people were so scared, but then I realized that it could be pretty scary. It thought it was neat to look out the window and see lightning flashing right there and so close. A few hours later when the sun rose was a real treat to see. I have never seen so much rich color into a sunrise (I guess the spanish is working it´s way in, because I am already struggling to not write the words I know in spanish actually in spanish) We made it to Guatemala safely though, so all is well. However, one of my luggages did not make it to guatemala (my big purple one). I figured if someone were to get their baggage lost, it probably would be me. haha. Know what´s great though? having 11 new spanish missionaries try to communicate with non-ingles speakers. It took a bit of time to communicate that my bag was lost and that  I needed to fill out a report. they eventually found someone that knew english that could help me. We are still working on getting that bag, but it´s okay since I have my bag with clothes and I brought some travel sized toiletries on my carry on bag. However, I wish I had a travel deoderant. Hopefully my bag will come soon.
All of this happened by 6:00am wednesday morning. whew!
we drove to the CCM in a very old school bus with some signs saying "jesus te amo" and driving was an adventure too. All of the cars drive really close beside eachother and there are colorfully painted busess which are fairly common. Oh, there was also a "police" like group where people were holding guns riding in the back of a jeep, they had police lights too. Some of the missionaries thought that was really strange.
My companion is great. Her name is Hermana M....I am so bad at remembering last names, especially without knowing first names. I promise I will know all of my companion´s name by tonight. (if that ever comes. I´m getting dizzy for the need of sleep). She just graduated from BYU in nursing and was called to be the mission nurse as well as a normal missionary. She knows some of my friends, including Amanda Magneson from my Glenwood ward. We get along well and are a good companionship so far.
My spanish is going really well! thank you 9th and 10th grade spanish classes. It has definitely made a big difference in my experience today. I get a lot of what the teachers are saying, and I can answer questions too. However, it gets harder when trying to have a conversation with other more advanced sister missionaries here.
The food is great, but I´m not very picky. some of the Hermanas don´t eat very much. It´s just different, but not bad at all. There is some strange fruit here; leechas are an example, they look like hairy strawberries, but you bite into them, peel the sides and then only eat the flesh in the middle, while avoiding the pit. They are good, and remind me of grapes.
All of the missionaries I met up with are a part of my district, totaling 11 missionaries . The CCM president says that we have the smallest incoming group, probably due to a larger influx of native missionaries.
I don´t know what else you want to know, but there is a run down of my life as a missionary. I have a name tag and all, now, too!

when the MTC president was briefing us and sharing some goals he bore testimony that really brought the spirit. He talked about our name badges which we had received just minutes before. He talked about how we have christ´s name, as well as our inherited family name. And that who we are and where we are today is a result of our family circumstances, good or bad, either way, we are here. He talked about the effect of 1 on posterity and how many 0´s behind 1 our mortal posterity will be, and how many 0´s would be behind our 1 for our spiritual posterity. He made some neat comparisons to the stars in the sky and how infinate they seem. I could see this fact touching the hearts of the 11 missionaries in that room.
It´s pretty sureal being here, actually a missionary, actually on a mission, actually in central america learning  spanish.I´m happy to be here, even though it is physically challenging right now. Everything will work out.
ps, i don{t think this is my normal writing day, but i will let you know once i know. oh, and it is also the SAME time as utah. so no time change. kinda weird.
gotta go. bye! love you!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's almost here

Rewind back to February 20, 2013. I opened a large white envelop that cleared all question of when and where I will be going on my mission. As I read, "Dear Sister Hutchins: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Guatemala Guatemala City [East] Mission.. . . You should report to the Guatemala Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, July 10, 2013" there was a feeling of great. . . relief. This all-so-deciding moment declared a date months in the future. Between February 20 and July 10 would be another two months of a challenging Winter semester to finish, followed by another two months of Spring classes that would fill my life with hours and hours of physics in a day, finally followed by two plus weeks at home after finishing 22 months straight of school. Being a missionary was not on the top of my most-important-thing-to-pay-attention-to-list for those months, but now it is. This all-so-distant date of July 10 is now right within reach. Skirts are sewn, plane tickets are ready, luggage is almost completely packed, and now is the time. Tomorrow evening I'll be set apart as a full-time missionary, starting 18 months of life fully dedicated to the Lord's work. Tuesday evening I'll be on a plane, and another plane, and another plane, and then finally in Guatemala. As the July 10, 2013 sun rises I will be at the Guatemala City MTC, tired, but ready to be a missionary.
With all of this said, I'd love to hear from YOU! So here are some addresses that can help with that process:

You can write me through dear I'll be in the Guatemala MTC and then the Guatemala City East Mission (it still may say north, but hopefully it's all fixed to be East). This is either free, or the price of a stamp. But you type, they print and deliver.

my email for my mission:

my MTC mailing address is:

Sister Deborah Ann Hutchins
Guatemala Guatemala City East Mission
Guatemala Missionary Training Center
Bulevar Vista Hermosa 23-71
Vista Hermosa I, Zona 15
Guatemala City 01015

Letter mailing address (mission office address until I get my first assignment in the field, but this will get to me eventually)/package mailing (I don't expect packages, it's waaaaay too expensive):

Sister Deborah Ann Hutchins
Guatemala Guatemala City East Mission
Avenida Reforma 8-60, Zona 9, Oficina 505
Apartado Postal 921-A
01009 Guatemala City

 pouch mail is pretty exciting too:

Sister Deborah Ann Hutchins
Guatemala Guatemala City East Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

here is a run-down on how to do pouch mail, I'm pretty sure it is only for communication either to or from the US:

it must be written/printed on normal white copy paper (not lined, not smaller, not colorful, not lighter weight)
you can only write on one side, you can't attach anything, like photos or notes, but you can print them onto the paper, and I bet you can draw pictures too.
once you are done writing, lay the paper with the blank side down.
fold the bottom (the shorter side of the paper, ya know, the 8.5" side) up to reach the 2/3 point from the bottom, and then fold the top down so that it touches, or almost touches, the crease made from the previous fold.
then get two pieces of tape and seal the letter closed by placing them on the long side about one inch from the ends without sealing the ends (so put the tape on the 8.5" side. part of the tape touching the original top of the piece of paper and the other part of the tape touching the crease, and one inch in from the sides, so the tape pieces will be about 5.5" apart)
Then on that same side (so one the back side of the top of the letter which is now the side laying up), on the top left corner write your name and return address, in the top right corner, place your US first class postage (just one is enough), and in the middle write the missionary address.
This is an envelope-free mailing system. it gets sent to church headquarters and then gets privately distributed to the missions.

Yay for my first blog post, my family will hopefully be keeping things up-to-date for anyone who wants to know about what's going on.