Tuesday, August 27, 2013

blessed be the wind, for the hermanas need any help they can get

So yeah. I`m in the field. I`m in puerto Barrios. there are 9 areas in the capitol, and 2 outside and far away from the capitol, I`m in the furthest area from the capitol, it was a 6 hour bus ride from the city with a couple of elders to get out here. We are right next to the ocean and it is super humid, and quite hot. I am grateful for the spurts of wind. my cold showers in the morning are not a problem. I am in a building right now with air conditioning, which might be the only building with AC.
Guatemala is a third world country for sure. dirt floors, dirty water, ants everywhere,  street dogs, busses crammed full with people, trash everywhere on the side of the unpaved roads, luchous ( can't spell in english anymore) trees and bushes, chickens in houses, mosquito bites, it`s gonna be great. I think it is quite interesting that people will have a cell phone, but have a dirt floor in their house. houses are made of cement or random wood slabs, tin roofs and they usually have a light bulb or two in the house. 

I would have to say my "culture shock" has not been too bad though. I kind of expected it to be like this...kinda. I just know to take things as they come and love it. "come what may and love it" I had a mini melt down session one time, but it was okay. I just got stressed when my companions said I would probably be in this area for 6 months. as I said, it is hot and humid, and I know my happiness depends a lot upon the weather and my ability to communicate with people. and since we are the only sisters in this area, and one of my companions will be going home next transfer, and my trainer will probably get moved after training me for the 12 week training program, it probably means I will have to train in this area too, and teach someone where to go (we have the biggest area) know all of the investigators, and so on, so yeah, it was a bit of a stressful thought, but I'm okay. it will be okay. 

It was a little sad to say goodbye to my ccm district. I loved those people so much. I learned a lot from them. To follow up on past stories, I can do a pull-up (our 6 week program was a success) we had our half-court lightning game and the three of us who have been practicing did really well. The other two sisters were 1st and 2nd place. I was proud. I took on the nick name "docta hutch" from hermana Fitzgerald. it didn`t have a specific reason (her friend, hunter hutchins, got the nickname docta hutch and he is going to go to med school or something) idk, but I kind of liked it. It would be sweet to actually be a doctor. I think I drew a total of 22 pictures of christ in the ccm, really neat experience. So there is a little sum up of some ccm stuff. 

so I have so much to say, but no time to say it. 
I miss vegetables. everything we eat has to be peeled or cooked. sister cacool cooks our lunches and dinners and does our laundry. she is awesome, she`s a little guatemala woman who knows how to work and has a heart of gold.  pretty much our grandma.

we greet all of the women here with a kiss on the cheek/air by the cheek. I really like that closeness and friendliness people have here. In america people can be ridiculous. People will walk around campus, see one of their old roommates and not even make eye-contact, whereas here, a stranger will come up to you, give you a hug, kiss on the cheek, pat your hand or something and take pictures with you and still not even know your name. I really like that about the people. 
kids here are stinkin' adorable too! I love how much faith children have. I committed a 10 year old girl to baptism on my first day out in the field. I have actually commited 3 people to baptism just this week. So that was pretty exciting. 

I am in a trio! and I love it. My companions are just great. one, hermana Ramirez is from new york city and is half-nicaraguan. She only has been in the field for about 4 months, but she is my official trainer. she is really good at spanish, but is not perfect. she is super fun to be with and is a great friend. I am so grateful to have someone that knows english so that I can get filled in on things when I really need it. But we don't speak english very much at all, usually just a bit in the evenings. She looks VERY similar to my good friend Rachelle Larsen, so that`s kinda cool. Sometimes it makes me miss my friends, but at the same time, it is also comforting, strange, but that's just my life. 
My other companion, Hermana Ceballos is from Mexico, and she only has about 5 or 6 weeks left for her mission. she is a really great teacher of the gospel and knows just where to go. She is nice and fun. People love her here. She reminds me a lot of Jane, my sister, and is very positive. I am so grateful for my amazing companions. 

The language is coming and my companions help me learn more and more every day. I don`t say much when we are in a meeting with people because I don`t understand much unless we are talking about gospel topics. I think it is funny when people will ask my companions, "does she speak?" I can understand that phrase, my companions always say that I can, I usually reply with a  "un pocito" ( a little bit) 
I stick out just as I suspected. since my american companion is half niceraguan, she only sticks out because she has beautiful big eyes and long eye lashes, but me, being the 5 foot 9 ish white girl with debatably blonde hair that I have, I do attract attention. and whistles, and little phrases in broken english "hey baby, how are you doin?" yeah. it`s fine though. I don`t feel too weird. I just have to be careful not to hit my head on things like power lines and roof tops hanging over the edge. I think I`ve only hit my head on something 3 times the first day. success!

I have a new batch of bugbites :) but I`m still alive! I had one really sketchy one that was about 4 inches in diameter and in a bulls-eye formation, which is a sign of lymes disease (thanks elise bowen for letting me sit in  on your infectious disease class one day last year) well yeah, that was scary, because you can go blind and die from lymes disease, I called the old mission nurse (the new one is my mtc companion, but she is not the official one yet) she said put some medicine on it. I'm fine! I'm not blind or dead! 

riding the busses is cool. There aren`t a lot of cars. mostly just busses, taxis, and motocycles. We ride in the busses ( 15 passenger vans) most of the time because it is cheaper than taking a taxi. it`s not unusual to have 22 people in a 15 passenger van. It`s really cool how it works though. usually there is a boy preteenager who hangs out the side and yells wherever they are going to and helps people get in and out and exchange the money and such. they need to have loud voices and are very quick with they money exchanging. It`s pretty neat what kids are allowed to do here. 

Sorry this is random, but we carry little rags around with us all of the time to whipe our sweat. my make up usually consists of mascara. going to the bathroom is a concern for me, for I never know the next time we will be at a place that has a restroom. you don`t put your toilet paper in the toilet, rather, in a trash bag next to it. My companions never seem to need to go to the restroom, apparently it's an aquired skill which I don`t have yet. Therefore, I am hesitant to drink water because I know it will go right through me, but I know I need water because it is SO hot here. oh 3rd world problems. 

Being here has made me so grateful for everything. I`m grateful for my eyes, for glasses, shoes (especially my crocs), my good teeth, clean water (when we buy it) showers, an apartment with a floor,money to live, relatively clean food, my watch, a good back pack, usually running water, my good companions, and the gospel especially. 

we have about a 7% active rate for the members here. there is apparantly some 1000 members in the branch, but only about 70 show up for church. some people don`t have the money to take a bus/taxi to church on sundays ( wich is like $1.50 there and back) There was like 6 or so adult men there. (Oh how I wish more men would get the desire to DO stuff.) I find it to be true in"the family, a proclamation to the world" it talks about how a country is only as strong as the homes in the country. That is how I feel about this place. There just seems to be way more women than men. The world needs good valiant men to be leaders, examples, providers, and protectors.  

spiritual moments come with teaching. I`ll be sitting there feeling like hellen keller because I can`t understand what is being said, and I can`t speak the language fluently (and with my "lymes disease" bite, maybe I won`t be able to see either ;), jk, I`ll be fine) well yeah, I feel like hellen keller, but I`ll get promptings to say something, and I don`t know what people are even talking about, but I`ll just jump in and say it with the best spanish I can, with as much power from the spirit that I can. Those moments are moments of acting in faith, but they are really neat, at least for me. 
I really enjoy lessons and being able to learn from my companions too, they bear great testimonies that uplift me too. 

I am very grateful for my good life, and I am very grateful for this amazing ac and internet right now. I am grateful for the gospel, I am learning more and growing stronger in my testimony. 

I love you all!
Hermana Hutchins

mom, what is jane`s new job. jane needs to write me an email about her new married life! send me pictures of the reception when you get them, I am so grateful for your good friends too, mom. I hope susan does well with school starting and all. I thought a lot about jane this weekend. I love my sister. and no I haven`t seen the new temple video, probably won`t get to either since the nearest temple is 6 hours away from me. susan, can you get wendy roberts mission email for me? emails are good, there is a computer lab place. letters would take a long time to get here. 
elise bowen (ps, you should write me an email.) and I know alexa shmeilie...or something like that.

not even a plate of rasins could ruin this week

Wendy- if you get this, let me know, I don`t know your email, so I`m just gonna guess. ps, I hope you are doing great!
This is my last email from the ccm, I`ll be in the field in a week, so I won`t be emailing in a week from now, and about dear elders, If you sent one this last sunday, it`ll get to me, but the next one will have to go to the field. I`m the east mission, but if it  doesn`t have that option, choose north. I`m assuming the mission home is still the same for the east that it used to be for the north because it`s the same mission president. that address is:

Start everything with HERMANA in the heading, it makes it go through customs without question, and no need for any jesus/vergin pictures on the outside of anything. so yeah....
Guatemala Guatemala City East Mission
avenida Reforma 8-60, zona 9, officína 505
Apartado Postal 921-A
01009 Guatemala City

letters are always fun

So the weird obsession with rasins (or the anti-obsession might be a better way to put it) with my district girls continues on. The other day we had a bunch of favorite foods like casi cafe rio and churros. it was declared a day that "not even a plate of rasins could ruin this day". The phrase is now used for many-a-good things. 

I accomplished a goal this week. ....make up a pun-joke in spanish that even the natives would laugh at... that was a good moment. Rasins are called pasas and after we asked the hispana about what raisins are called I said "¿que pasa?" witch ususally means what`s up or what`s going on, but with the joke it means, "what raisin?" yes it was on purpose, and yes, she did laugh. 10 points for griffindor! 

We have picked up some catch-phrases for our district of little things we laugh at.
The other day in relief society the teacher (who I think is a temple worker or something) gave this lesson. This lady has a love for the liahona, and I quote "Wow! how loaded it was! it was reaaaaaaaallllly good." and later in the lesson when she opened up the liahona, "lookie where I`m looking". yeah, she used to be an elementary school teacher. This stuff never gets old. 
one other ...a girl in my district said, "I feel like a woman!"...someone other girl in my district who is on that time of the month, " I hate that feeling."   consequently, we all had a good laugh. 

I have special talents...particularly height. I still stand as the tallest woman at the mtc after our new batch of missionaries. (ps, mary Griffin from byu 82 is here, I was hoping I would know somebody new comming, so for all of those people who say that I ALWAYS know somebody, it still stands true, ALSO my old roommate jacky ayala may be coming to the CCM this week, which would be AWESOME. well, yeah, if jacky comes ( native to guatemala) I hope we get some time to talk in spanish. Over a year ago she would help teach me spanish and help practice reading the scriptures and pronounciation and all. It would be cool to talk with her because now I can speak fairly fluently (in gospel topics of course) and small talk conversations. It is neat to see the progress. 
okay, so yeah, I`m tall and the other day my teacher had me come up to write on the white board because she couldn`t reach the top. small services....or should I say, "tall services" ;)
This place is under construction, as I said before, and the other night at 10:45 ( 15 minutes after lights out) we all hear a rushing water sound ( which was weird because the water was off...again, without any warning from the construction workers.) yep, so rushing water, we all go out in the hall to check if things are alright to find a waterfall coming from the celing. A pipe upstairs must have broke, but they got it stopped pretty shortly there after, however, the hall and most of the bedrooms were flooded, some of the girls in the first room were kneeling to pray and then noticed the water leaking in through their door. Luckily our room was unaffected because ...I guess the floors aren`t level here or something, I don`t know, but I find it to be a blessing. we shoved an extra sheet under the door crack just to be safe. all is well in zion, except for the carpeted stairs and moldy celing tiles. sister Fitzgerald, in my district said the next day, "guys, if our hallway floods tonight, I`m slip-n-slidin`, I`m not kidding". that`s hermana fitzgerald for yeah. 

English is awful. ha. we were trying to figure out a spanish concept and my teacher was trying to find a good example in english....we couln`t find one. I decided that if we were to have an "irregulars" english sheet ( we have a little sheet of our common spanish irregulars) that the english "sheet" would have to be a book! swim...swam...swum???? who knows!

our teacher, when we do practice teaching to her, has a scarf and glasses she puts on and her name is magically laura. well, the other day she opened up a little bag with her markers and there was LAURA`s scarf!  ;) we were all "in shock" and said, "what did you do to laura!" in a distressed and exasperated voice. our teacher is like 4-11 on a good day, definately an investigator snatcher ;)

my other teacher has a dad and brothers with the names of jose josé and josué. wow, really?!

I got 4 half court shots in a row the other night...if anyone cares. I thought it was cool. and our "6-week pull-up plan" is coming along nicely. 

Rachelle larsen will appreciate this, if you turn a basic 4 generation blank geaneology chart on it`s side (so in the shape of a pyramid) and put an angel moroni on the top, it looks like a temple. Aren`t mormons cute?! we got that one in rs. 

well, really quick. we watched a video clip by elder holland and elder erying that I would entitle "salvation isn`t easy" but I think it`s called "the atonement and missionary work" look it up, it`s worth it! it was a great experience. I have been thinking, it seems like asking these people to change their lives and to give up a lot of things that they currently enjoy and to pay tithing, and keep the sabath day holy, and obey the word of wisdom...( and so on) well this talk made me realize that it`s okay because salvation isn`t easy. Who would think that this would be easy. If it wasn`t so hard, I wouldn`t think that it would be as worth it as it will be. I know that salvation is worth it. and perserverar hasta el fin ( perservering to the end) is worth it. I have a testimony of this gospel and that we have a prophet today and that he receives revelation for the world from our heavenly Father. I know that families can be together forever. I know that Heavenly Father has asked us to do some hard things right now, but that it is for our good and growth. we will realize that with charity we will want to be obedient.

gotta go. love ya! sister hutchins. ...wait, that`s my mom. Hermana Hutchins.

Monday, August 5, 2013

David ArchulettaVisits the CCM

So my birthday was great. All I could have ever dreamed my 20th birthday in the MTC would be. Plety of people were suprised I was only turning 20. I got sung to I think ....7 times. yes. Latinas know how to celebrate somebody. Sisters were coming up giving me hugs who I don´t think I´ve ever talked to before. I got two hostess cupcakes stacked on eachother with a used non-lit candle in the middle. My distict also made me a card and wrote little notes in it. My roommate made me a balloon squid/octopus thing, that was nice. And the Devotional movie was super good too. It was Elder Holland talking about missionary work and the improvment with pmg and other stuff. I really really liked that devotional.
I am almost done drawing pictures in my district´s book of mormon inside covers. Only one of my teachers left (good thing too, because my brown pen is almost out of ink)
There is a strange obsession with rasins in the food here. My district complains about this weird rasin feddish because they all hate raisins. I don´t have any problem with them in my rice, and banna bread, and stirfry and...yeah.
the girls in my district also have a strange obsesssion with ice cream. we can get an icecream after lunch and dinner (if they still have any) and they always look forward to the day the ice cream shipment comes. A girl yesterday said that she was more excited for choco-conos than emailing home. priorities.
also, we are so excited to go to walmart tomorrow. the things that make missionaries happy.I figure we will be very easy to please by the time we get home.
So deportes is always fun and exciting. The other day a girl in my district rolled/sprianed her ankle on a water drain. She is on crutches now and is doing alright. she is super independant and stubborn, but I can be too. Right after it happened I carred her up the stairs into her room. She couldn´t walk at all, she was secretly appreciative, she is just so sweet, and stubborn. I carry her bag around for her, I asked her today if she wouldn´t mind leaving the cinderblock at home next time, I have no idea what makes that bag SO heavy.
Also at deportes. one of the teachers challeneged all of the girls in my district to do a 3 minute plank (an exercise where you hold a position similar to a pushup) I haven´t done one of those since hs I think. He offered a giant chocolate bar if any of us could do it. All but me and one other girl did it. However, he also challenged us to "max out" on the leg lift machine. He couldn´t even do it (but he is guatemalan) I could do that 200lb lift easily. He was impressed, most of the other girls couldn´t even do it once. We all have different strengths.
Also at deportes. Since someone accidentally threw the volleyball over the fence...again. we kind of ended up talking with our teacher and chillin in the rain the other night. I asked deep spiritual questions like "what is a great contributing experience to your testimony" or "where/how do you feel the spirit expecially strongly?" and so on. so for every three people to answer my question, they would ask me a not-so-spiritual question like "what is your most embarassing moment?" Any of my friends would probably think my questions are just the "classic deb" kind of questions.
I got a 40 personal coaching study the other day. it was great. Hermana melgar (the one in the picture that is not attached to this file) is so great. I feel like we have been good friends for years. We talked a lot about the first week compared to this week and how far I´ve come. It is really neat to look back and see the growth.
last night for the sunday evening devotional we watched an old missionary devotional with elder ballard. But one of the special musical numbers was david archuletta singing "the spirit of God" It was funny to see all of the girls ooo and ahhh over him, on a movie devotional. it was quite hilarious actually to see those sister missionaries be soooo...ya know.
We watched, a couple of nights ago, a mormon message with elder holland talking about the book of mormon and the testimony people have of that great book. It was a really neat experience.
mom and grandma and grandpa, I know hermana Brown from Paige. ps.
since yesterday was fast and testimony meeting, I got up to bear my little spanish testimony. It was really good, I was nervous, but it was good. That meeting was nice, I could understand a lot of what was being said.
Susan thinks I sugar coat everything...so for susan....We sit in class a lot, plan lessons a lot, struggle with spanish a lot (solo español), we get bug bites a lot, we are tired a lot, computers don´t always work and there is never a keyboard with two good little lifty things in the back to make it tilt up ( a pet-peeve of mine). we go to the baño a lot. we pray a lot. so yeah. life of a missionary at the CCM.
The people around me are amazing. I just love them so much, I am sure going to miss them a bit when I get out into the field. The kids here are adorable, they are so polite too, I got a hug from a little boy the other day with the look on his face of "I´m only doing this because my mom wants me to" but it was adorable, he was probably 5 years old.
I am really growing into the CCM life, so i guess since I´m getting comfortable, it´s time for a change.
field here i come in 2 weeks!
"if ye love me, feed my sheep" It´s time to leave the old life behind and start a life of service in behalf of the lord. I am grateful for the blessings of the gospel in my life, I am excited to share the joy.
with much love, Hermana Hutchins

My First Baptism in Guatemala

entonces (so/ a filler word) one of my spiritual highlights of the week would have to go to my first baptism here in guatemala. It was so special to see him go into the waters of baptism and when his name was called out to start the ordinance, I felt the spirit rush in like nothing else, I started to tear up and remember, ´´this is why I´m here´´ which reminded me of when Nick got baptized and I fully decided to go on a mission. The whole experience was really great, I cherish that moment. ok, so maybe it wasn´t MY investigator, but I did get to see it and the story is true. We have our classes at the chapell behind the temple now because they are doing construction on the third floor of the CCM (and everywhere else it seems). so we were in class like normal, and then my companion asked if we could go to the bathroom, which is down the hall. as we walked we saw the young man preparing to enter the water for his baptism and I got to see the whole thing as my companion was in the restroom. Best bathroom trip ever!
I also seem to get emotional over coaching study. It´s when your teacher gives you feedback on your teaching, and you talk about what is going well and what is not etc. I was expressing my emotions of feeling frustraited not being able to share what I feel the spirit wants me to share because of the language barrier. She shared some more scriptures and I got my composure back together and I felt alright. She asked me to close with the prayer, and while I was praying (in spanish) I felt a feeling of comfort and peace and that I am trying and it´s okay. needless to say, I started choknig up again, but it was good tears of love this time instead of frustration. Ever since then things have been going much better. My attitude is all-over better and I don´t feel like I want to give up. My companion helps me a lot because she is a very accepting of difficult things kind of person. She is patient and encoraging. We balance eachother quite well with our strengths and weaknesses.
speaking of which, yesterday we were practicing teaching to other hispanic missionaries and instead of teaching two-on-two we taught one-on-one (which we did not plan for). It was so hard not having eachother as companions, we were still sitting near eachother though, and we occasionally caught eachother looking at the other for support, help, or the next thing  to say. We realized how great it is to be in a companionship.
Also, on sunday we have a meeting that is kind of like sunday school. we get together with one other district and some leader like the ccm president or something. and then two companionships are randomly chosen to teach the lessons (we know the topics ahead of time so we can prepare) however these lessons are no sweat because they are in English. usually. Since the new rotation of missionaires happened on wednesday, we are with a new group, which just happened to be latinos. My companion and I hadn´t taught yet, so we assumed since we were the last ones in our group to teach, we would for sure be going. The ccm president got up and called for hermana hutchins and hermana fitzgerald to give the first lesson. uhhhhh we aren´t even companions, AND we are going to teach this lesson in spanish that we had planned to give in english. well, they fixed the companionship thing but we still had to teach in spanish. that was special. because we had never taught a lesson on tithing in spanish before, so tithing and personal story words were at a minimum, but it worked out okay and everything went well.
At casa de CRE ( a little place we teach) me and my companion prepared a 15 minute lesson to ´´strengthen faith´´ as we were told to do. however, when we got there we were paired up with this very old and very sweet guatemalan woman who´s husband died 4 months ago. we thought that it would be fine and go like normal, untilllll...we asked ´´como esta?´´ which means ´´how are you´´....and let´s just say 15 minutes later I think we got in a couple sentences about our lesson. haha. I guessed she just needed someone to talk to. It was good, she left VERY happy. I guess we did our job.
My teaching ability in spanish is coming along well. Our lesson outlines are very simple which means a lot of the lesson is given off our minds and whatever we can think of. we have a lot less notes, read a lot less out of pamphlets and books, and are bearing testimony and asking and listening to questions better. It feels good to see improvement.
The drawing has not come to a stop, actually, it kind of picked up a notch. I drew 7 more pictures this week and 5 of which are very intense and took a couple hours or more to do. they are for people in my district now and everyone wants me to draw the pictures in the front inside cover of their book of mormons. kind of intense, but they have all turned out well. The other day hermana Fitzgerald asked me if my patriarchal blessing says anything about doing art. I responded that it does and that I am supposed to serve people with that gift and that I´ll come up with ways to help build faith in Christ (essentially). I thought that moment was really neat to see just how my life is unfolding. People are still boggled that I can draw like I do but that I´m majoring in food science. ...we´ll see.
My companion declaired me ´´jack of all trades´´ after me drawing pictures, leading sining and such, offering to fix a gilrs skirt wich needs some mending, and helping this girl figure out the rest of her balloon animal that her mom would usually make ( she is kinda like a clown that does balloon art or something) , but she forgot what else it needed and I commented on what it could be and she was so flabberghasted that I knew what to do and she asked how I knew. and I just said something like how I have skills of a ´´proffessional ´´without any training.
sorry for any misspelled words, spanish is taking over.
on sunday we have companion ´´splits´´ for a couple of hours with a latina. She was so sweet. we talked only in spanish and she ended up giving me a little picture of her temple in northern guatemala. she was adorable, I hope I get a trainer/ companion like her.
no worries about my 3 point basket ball abilities. I made 3 in 5 minutes the other day, 2 of which were in a row. so I guess I´m over that plateau. we also like to do a daily pull up as a 6 week work out plan in my district of girls. We are actually improving and now we can do a couple a day durring deportes.
another funny moment. we had a bit of downtime at the chapel and a girl in our district was playing hymns on the piano and me and one other girl was singing to the piano. after the first verse another girl in my district asked if I could sing it an octive lower ( which she really just wanted it a little bit lower which would need a key change in the piano) but I replied...uh, maybe, I´ll try. so I sang the whole song an octive lower just fine. It was funny, we all chuckled a bit.
I got 6 bug bites. wahoo. they aren´t too bad though, and I´m still alive.
´´forever red´´ is still very much so alive, it´s my nickname sometimes in my district, but only the girls called me that. I actually wore your red dress again on sunday (the forever red one) and then we had pictures taken again yesterday and my companion REALLY wanted me to wear it for the picture, oh, ps, when you get the picture, my companion is behind me and hermana bender is right next to me, we pretended hermana bender was the third tallest at the CCM to make it so she would be able to stand next to eachother in the picture, she is actually like the 5th tallest, but who really cares. I am officially the tallest woman at the CCM. You don´t have to be THAT tall around here to claim the faim of being the tallest. ok, so to clarify on the forever red thing: what makes it so funny is that we have no idea what he really meant by forever red, we just laugh now whenever it´s brought up. one of the new girls had this ´´great´´ idea that maybe he was referring to the bath and body works ´´forever red´´ line of perfume....for some reason, I really doubt that´s it. haha.
ahh no more time!