Sunday, September 22, 2013

say good-bye to abs of steel and hello to stomach of steel.

A really good quality trait to have in a forein country is being able to eat whatever is put in front of you. Where I am now, I have to eat whatever is given to me, even if it is white bread, like a lot of it, every day ( hence the good-bye to abs of steel) and other good little treats like the cow toungue I had this afternoon, or soda, which I really just don't like. ...oh yeah, and at times, we might be given river water (thank you filtered water bottle) but the good news is, I have yet to have stomach problems (unlike my companions) and I can pretty much down anything (thank you boy scouts). My companion considers my ability to eat on demand a talent. I would have to agree. I try to work out pretty intense for my 30 minutes every morning, but eating cake 6 times in a week is sorta rough for the waist line, a 15 year old member girl even had to make a comment that I need to watch my figure. How am I supposed to do that when she gives me cake and soda twice a week. pff 1st world missionary problems.
The other day I might have gotten trapped in our bathroom by our sketchy closet that spontaneously leans over everynow and again. I had to wait a couple minutes for my companion to respond to my little pleas for help.  

And we might have used a piece of the wood from that sketchy shelf to add to our fire for smores. and we MIGHT have had the opportunity to lay in a couple hammocks in the past two days and drink pine apple juice ( I promise, we do work)
ps, fitting 3 hermanas in one big hammock can be tricky, but we got skillz.

I got the opportunity to lead the music in church this sunday. Which is a lot harder to do in spanish, with out a piano, and when you have to sing the first line a capella to the whole branch. Well, I thought I was pretty good at leading music, until they change the song two seconds before and I couldn't figure out what the tune was/which song it was for a couple of seconds, or that I didn't signal for people to stand up for the rest hymn ( which we don't do in my home ward) and the last song...well, story has it it is also in the english hymn book, but I don't think I have ever sang it in my life, but I did it, and I'm pretty sure it was right (thank you sight reading skills)

We had another baptism this week! and we have some more in the near future!
We see little miracles every day in our lives. weather it is a bus that comes promptly, lack of sprained ankles, medicine, remembering keys, having somewhere to go to the bathroom, or some random dude that knows where this lady lives that we are trying to contact. 

Sometimes I have neat little realizations...this one is that a mission is kinda like a mini plan of salvation. We get "our call" you get to go to earth, this time, this place, this language. Then you get assigned a family (my companions and district) you have to learn how to talk and need to be taken care of at every turn. You grow up, learn the gospel, share the gospel, help others, in the mission case, watch people make covenants, have a LOT of learning experiences, and endure to the end, and then you return back, to be judged, and receive your glory. Sometimes I think about the time that I'll be where my companion, hermana ceballos is right now, just a few short weeks from going back home, and I think to myself, what will I want to be feeling/thinking then? what do I need to do now to be able to have that feeling of satisfaction by the time 18 months rolls around? I have a lot to work on, but I need to keep takin it one day at a time with an end goal in mind. 

Well, I think that is good for this week. I'm sure I'll have more stories to share next week.
con amor, Hermana Hutchins

shout out to my little sis Becca, turning 14 this week! crazy! ps, if you write me, I'll write you back.
and to my friend Steph Rimmasch who we've been good friends for....10 years now. pilas (cool)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let us all press on

ok. another week.

here is my mailing address. Please use HERMANA hutchins for any packages (I don't expect any).

hermana Hutchins
Mision guatemala este
apartado postal 951-A
Guatemala, Guatemala C.A.

for the comic relief of the week. Another one of those "gotta share this with the fam" moments. In church on sunday, we were singing the closing hymn. We don't have someone to play the poor electric piano (I'm the best one there), so we sing a capella. I would probably try to play, but everyone sings in a lower key here because people don't really have a bunch of singing talent here in general, or maybe it's just that people aren't shy to sing, even if they don't have the skill. well, either way, we were singing the closing hymn "we sing we now at parting" or something like that, to the tune of "let us all press on". not on purpose. That was special. My American companion and I got a a good chuckle out of that one. like really?! does no one know how to read music here? haha. 

I taught the basic docterine class on sunday...and I didn't even die! wahoo! it's super intimidating because I don't know what the people's comments are, so If they say something wrong, or go off on a tangent, I don't know how to fix it. But everything went well! and I could understand (mostly). yay. 

Saturday we had a baptism! I am randomly attaching a photo, I hope it is of the baptism, I don't know for sure. She is super super sweet and this day was very special for me, especially when she was in the water and acted with faith. This girl is the one who I committed to baptism my first active day in the field, so that was really neat. 

We had Zone conference this week. It was pretty sweet to see more missionaries. We traveled 4 or 5 hours each way, but I really enjoyed the lessons shared and it got me more pumped as a missionary, so I think it was worth it. However, we were the only sisters there, I was kinda bummed that I didn't get to meet more sisters. Guys are cool and all, but when you are unavailable, and they are unavailable, being in a room with a 10 to 1 boy to girl ratio isn't all that exciting.

We continue to see miracles in our lives!
just this morning a woman on a motorcycle, well, two women (because who puts just ONE person on a motorcycle around here), oh yeah, and one of them is pregnant. well, they crashed on the motorcycle in the middle of the road right in front of us as we were waiting to meet up with some elders. It scared me, like a lot, to realize I could have just watched a pregnant women die right in front of me. But she didn't! she walked away with some bad scrapes, and some sore muscles, I was also able to help her out because I had some clean water and handsanitizer on me. And the other lady was un harmed. I don't know how that happened. but I am grateful I didn´t have to witness a death. kind of a strange blessing, but I am very grateful. 

another great moment this week. 
We have an investigator who has been waiting for an interview with the mission president because of some past life situations he had to clear up. well. This guy has been waiting for over a year, and has been going to church, with his baptised family, hoping that one day he can one day enter the waters of baptism too. This last week president watts was here for some random reason and we asked him if he could interview this hermano, he knew who we were talking about and his voice did NOT seem hopeful. we were all a bit bummed, but kept a hope and faith that it would turn out well. Saturday morning he had the inverview aaaaaaaaaaand HE CAN BE BAPTIZED! We all know that this is a huge blessing for this family, and we hope to see them go through the temple in a year from now. I love there little 10 year old girl, Debra. She doesn't know that my name is Deborah, but she is like my little friend here. I am so happy for them. Faith is real. Miracles are real. 

I'm not sure if all of the blessings because it is my companion's last month, or if it because it's my first, but whatever it is, I am grateful for them!

This week has been a bit difficult because of the random stuff going on, and I am still adjusting to thought of being here for a year and a half. It's quite intimidating honestly, but I hope that I can become the missionary for our Padre Celestial that He wants me to be. I sorta feel like this is another step in the "plan of salvation"....and then, after earth life is mission life where you have to put to practice everything you learned in earth life, and teach people about everything you have learned, and grow in patience, and love, and Christ-like attributes. and then after mission life you go back to earth life...haha. yep. this is my life. 

Let us all press on!
thank you for the support, love, and prayers!

con amor, Hermana Hutchins.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My life is a game of catch phrase

Well, it's official. I'm a real sister missionary; I have the awkward missionary shoe strap tan line to proove it.

Life is getting better here out in puerto barrios. We moved apartments saturday to this cleaner, more airy (wind is important people) apartment over a couple of streets. I was a little sad to say good bye to the neighbors talking parrots. they were so friendly, they would always say "buenos dias" or "hola". I think that's pretty legit if you ask me. but i wasn't so sad to say good bye to the pug dogs that bark and drool on us through the gate right next to our apt. door. We had a miricle of help moving our stuff. Seriously, no one here has cars, but somehow we got a hold of someone with a truck who we could pay 40 Q (like 5 bucks) for every trip to our new place. 3 or 4 men from the ward were there to help move all of our stuff. I am so grateful for them because carrying all of our stuff up 3 flights of stairs in the middle of the afternoon isn't what I would call prime. well, thanks to them we are now in a new and cleaner apartment. it is smaller, but I like the balcony as well. I'm getting more used to the humidity and heat so that's good news. 

some random stories:

last week, one night, we finished a nice lesson a bit late (but not too late, but it was time for us to go back to our apt.) we were leaving, and it was raining. a lot. but the part-member family let us use a couple of umbrellas and a big rain coat. well, we thought things wouldn`t be too bad, but a couple minutes later when we were walking in the street (they don't have side walks here) when the "river" was up to our knees, we just laughed. and laughed, and trugged along for the mile or so walk back to our apt. We got home and had issues with our shower (in the old apt.) so it turnes out I didn't get to shower until the next morning. life is life. I was just a little concerned with all of the dirt, and garbage, and who knows whatever that was stuck to my leg for a while in the street "river".

driving here is also an adventure. we don't drive, but we ride a lot, and walk in the streets a lot. Driving is pretty much a game of "chicken" and cutting people off is just how it is done here. and there is no such thing as "j-walking" or that is all they have here. aka, there are no rules for pedestrians! just good luck! 

the game of catch phrase and charades continues on! pretty much when I talk, or if my companion has a new word for me, we have to explain the one word we want to say with a bunch of other words that get the point across. and Charades....actions are universial, and they help. 

we have new investigators! we have a family that is super interested in the gospel, they are super humble and the dad asks a lot of simple, but sincere, questions. I love teaching people who want to know. 

We are also teaching Carlos. He is 19 years old and used to date a member girl. He is very humble about learning the gospel too. He is so sweet how he just wants to do what is right. He is very easy to teach. The other day we were going over 3rd nephi ch 11 with some highlight verses because he didn't get the time to read because he was helping this random dude fix his truck for free. Good guy. well. we were going over those scriptures and there is one where it talks about your desire to follow christ and be baptized, and pretty much after we read that HE asked US if he could be baptized! MILAGROS! (miracles) 

the miracles go on. Saturday night, when we were planning for sunday, we were setting "goals" for sunday and for lessons with a menos activos (less active aka inactive) and a recien conversos (recent coverts) and one of my companions trugged a long and declared in a very unhopeful, but our duty kinda voice "1 for menos activos (and said under her breathe "that would be a miracle"), and 1 for recien coversos (and again, that would be another miracle)". after she said that I replied, in a very hopeful and real voice, "why not!? why should there not be a miracle? I bet we could have one of each come to church tomorrow." well, to my companions suprise, the next day at church we had 1 recien converso and 1 menos activos show up for church. That was really neat to see happen. My companion admitted that is was a couple of little miracles. 

Also, in that same day at church one of our investigators with her little 4 year old son came to church again! (they really don't have much money to get to church, but they came!) So this lady, Clara, can't read (I wish I could help!) and neither can her 4 year old son (not a big suprise) well, she was super happy to see me there and I was super happy to see her. They sat in sacrament meeting, and then came to the next class too. This class is for missionaries and investigators/recent converts. it`s like a basics sort of class. My companion, hermana ramirez was teaching a lesson about prophets of old and prophets now. Cesar (the little boy) was bored, but he didn't want to go to the primary classes, so I whipped out the "liahona" we just recieved and gave it to him to look at pictures in the children's section and such. He would ask me "what's this?" and I would explain it. or I would ask him, pointing to a picture of christ, "who is this?" and so on. We were just wispering and I ended up explaining about the picture of george albert smith and how he was a prophet, but he is dead now, but we have a new prophet. I showed him pictures of the prophet and apostles, and the temple, and so on. He really like the pictures of the apostles (who knows why a 4 year old boy liked the pictures of 12 old guys in suits the best!?) well, He showed his mom some of the pictures, which was a bit distracting for her, but she really liked them too, because that is sort of her way of reading. She asked me some questions about the pictures and cesar explained a lot of the answers; how this guy is dead, he was a prophet, these are apostles, they help the prophet, this is the prophet, this is....and so on. after that, the class was ending, we said a closing prayer and then after clara raised her hand and said  "I would like to make a comment." I was really curious what she had to say, because she is ususally SUPER quiet, and I have heard her say hardly anything. but she raised her hand and spoke. She ended bearing her testimony of the gospel, this church, how much joy and happiness it brings to her life, and how...full...she feels when we are talking about it with her. She went on for like 3 minutes strait. It was SO COOL! The spirit was super strong and after, when me and my companions were in the bathroom, my companion was whiping away tears. It was so tender, and so special!

Other little miracles happen in my life. I am so grateful for them. I am so grateful to be an instrument for the Lord and His work.
Sometimes in lessons I get promptings to say something, or bear testimony, or share a scripture. Ususally I don't know what is being said at the time, or if it would be "appropriate" but I get up the guts and act with some faith and open my mouth. These moments always turn out to be really good and my companions keep encouraging me to keep it up because it is always so perfect, and fits in just right. I would consider this a little "gift of tounges" kind of moments. 

I had another oportunity to help bring a tender mercy to someones life yesterday. 
we had to take the 6 hour bus ride to the capitol yesterday for visa purposes. that's 12 hours in a bus to sign a piece of story. there we met up with a lot of missionaries doing visa stuff too, of these missionaries included ALL of the missionaries from my dristrict in the CCM. It was soooo good to see them. Talking to them I feel like I have the best companions in the world. So we were there and then right before we left for our bus to go home, me and my companions stopped in the church office building for some technical stuff, but while we were there, we had the elders check for mail. My companion asked if they would check for packages too. As he was rummaging through the boxes of stuff he calls out, "does anyone know a pheobe evans?" and then I was like "yeah! yeah I do." Pheobe is hermana Bender's friend (Hermana Bender, from my ccm district) who we have all been expecting hermana bender to receive a package from the entire time we were at the ccm. Well, it turns out pheobe forgot to write hermana bender's name on the package. she had all of the other info, just forgot to write her name. I told the elder that I KNEW that it was for hermana bender and that she had been waiting for more than a month to get this package. I felt like this was a neat moment because hermana bender is having a bit of a hard time with her new companion (who doesn't speak english and doesn't quite follow the strict missionary life that we all should be) I wanted to help her, but didn't really know what I could do but just be there for her and pray for her. So this was pretty neat because I felt like I really actually helped. What are the chances we would be in the office, ask for packages, the elder call out "does anybody know a pheobe evans?" and to actually know that pheobe is hermana benders friend and that the package should be sent to her. there was like 6 people in the office in total. there are like only 3 or 4 people in the whole mission that would know that pheobe evans is hermana bender's friend. It was cool for me. 

Life is good. I'm happy to be here. I try to keep a smile on my face at all times because if I can't speak the langauge, at least I can share my apperance with a smile. I am so blessed to see the hand of the lord in my life and in the lives of others. 

Please keep emailing me, letters are like gold, I'll put my new address for the mission home ( I think it is the same) for mailing up next week. usually I write on mondays, yesterday we were in the capitol.

here are some pictures. mom, you should share the one with skylar rogers with his family. I'll get some new ones with my new companions soon. most of these are from the ccm, unless they look like they aren't, then they are from down the street right next to the ocean, and there should be one from my balcony view with a bunch of orange red roofs. 

Love you all!
Hermana Hutchins.