Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Called to Serve... In Seattle?


Sorry that this was so delayed! P-day was moved an extra day (but really I didn't have a P-day :))

This week was a pretty dang crazy one, I have to admit. Lots of strange happenings that seemed a bit out of control. But I'll start from the beginning of it all. 

Hoki.

I love her. We have had such a wonderful week together! As it turns out she has only been on her mission for about three months now, and just finished training. So she was just off the training program when I got her in Bowmanville. We are two peas in a pod, she and I. She is turning 20 this Thursday and is originally from California and has lived in Utah the past couple of years with her family. She is a student at the University of Utah (it's okay, I spared her some rivalry comments out of the Christlike parts of my heart). We decided that we could baptize all of Bowmanville together. Those are some good goals, we thought. Our District Leader told us perhaps it was a little unrealistic... Not sure if I came back with a little sass about his lack of faith. It seems like a long time ago, but it sounds like something I would have done :) 

Something really great happened this week that was quite unbelievable: a new investigator literally fell into our lap... at church. Diana called us earlier this week and said that she really wanted to come to our church service. So of COURSE we weren't about to tell her otherwise. Sure enough, on Sunday we had a fellow-shipper and whatnot arranged and in walked Diana! We were so excited to see her. In perfect timing for the primary program. She was basically taught the first two discussions by the children by their sweet testimonies and in song. It was awesome. I swear we don't have to do anything, the Lord's got it under control. Diana is already planning on coming next week and to all the upcoming activities. 

Do you know what is difficult? Trusting. Especially trusting in things I don't understand. And for me that is what this last week was about. There were some symptoms that I was experiencing that were getting in the way of this missionary work that I love and that were causing me too much pain. After a considerable amount of effort with the medical institutions available to me in Canada, the Missionary Medical department in Salt Lake City decided to send me back to Seattle where I could get the most rapid care available and return with little delay. So that is my current situation. I am currently at home in Sammamish Washington with my beloved family doing all that I can to maintain focus on what the Lord would have me do, as well as trying to receive the medical attention necessary to speedy quick return to the Great White North. Which I heard is actually beginning to get white. It snowed last night. Yikes... 

My my cute bishop's family. I love the Walcers and I'm going to miss them.

Don't worry, I spent my last night in Bowmanville decorating a Christmas tree with one of the members in our ward whom I love. It was a wonderful way to go. There's never too early a time to celebrate Christmas. No matter what anyone says. 

So yeah, Sister Hoki and I mourned our little 6 day companionship. Short lived. But that was probably because it was way too easy. We probably would teach and baptize all of Bowmanville. Sometimes things need to move slower than that. So I guess I needed to temporarily get kicked out of Canada. Don't worry, I'll be right back ;) 

Apparently the Lord has stuff for me to do here in Seattle. Which should be fun. Maybe I'll make Andy  my new companion and turn him into a missionary... Is that allowed? I'll pray about it. 

Peace. 
Sister Hutchings 

Monday, November 4, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

This was quite the interesting week. It was a very long week, which seems to have flown by much faster than I would have liked.

So I assume you're anxious for my transfer news, eh? Well if you're not, I'm going to pretend like you are and give it to you first anyway :) I will be staying here in Bowmanville and my new companion is Sister Hoki. I have met Sister Hoki a few times because she is currently serving in my zone. But I don't know much about her. She's been serving in the field for about 4 1/2 months at this point I think...? I'll have more for you about her next week, after we've actually been together.

This week was definitely Halloween, and we had about all the missionary fun that we could :) I have for you some photos of our Halloween shenanigans that occurred during this week. We had quite a lot of fun. The elders in our ward cooked up some jello in brain molds. We were intending to carve the angel Moroni into a pumpkin... But sometimes marvelous ideas are only left as intentions, we never got to that part. Bummer. I think the whole of Canada suffered because of it.

Tracey was confirmed this week in Sacrament meeting and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a wonderful blessing that will be to her. I am so proud of all that she has decided to do these past couple of months. I feel like a mother beaming with pride at my dearest child each time someone I have had the privilege to teach decides to make covenants with our wonderful God in heaven.

Lots of little miracles happened in the work yesterday, which was wonderful after the roller coaster of the week that occurred. I am so grateful the Lord knows exactly what we need and provides for us exactly when we need it.

 One of my dearest friends I have made in the mission is going home on Wednesday. He's the first one who I've known well to go home. It is so weird. It really puts into perspective how fast mission life just flies by. There seriously is no other bond that is forged than between those in service of the Lord. It is incredible and I am so very blessed to know all those I've been able to grow to love thus far in Canada. No matter what, whenever you think the Lord can use you to change others, you will look back and find the most change occurred within yourself. That's my life right now.

I love you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week! Stay safe,

Mall
Sister Hutchings


1. Halloween silliness with Elders McKay and Crane
2. Our jello brains and other Halloween goodness
3. A CRAZY decorated house in Bowmanville!
4. Elder Inception...?
5. Our last District Meeting, it was wonderful. We have a tradition with chocolate eggs called "Kinder Surprise" eggs that have toys inside of them. Throughout the mission on transfer week you buy a kinder egg and open it up. You then interpret the toy on the inside which fortells your transfer news. It's great fun. This is a photo of us with our Kinder Egg transfer predictions :)



Monday, October 28, 2013

Countdown to Halloween!

Again I find myself in the last week of the transfer! So this coming Sunday will be transfer calls, which means that there is a chance that there will be change in the life of this little missionary. So if you have letters to send out after today, hold them until you get the update next P-day about where I will be and who my new compadre will be, etc.

Sister Noker and I are fairly certain that there will be changes happening around here, so it shall be pretty exciting.

Not too much happened for us this week. I was still recovering from sickness, so guilt set in pretty heavily each time I took a nap and rested in order to recuperate and repair my body. BUT I think that the Lord approved, because the moments we spent doing missionary work were some of the more productive moments we've had yet, and our teaching opportunities were incredible this week. So that was a great blessing.

So guess what? The end of the world happened this week. And don't worry, I'm not being dramatic in the least, I swear. It was just a regular October 23rd like any other, and we were in one of our northern towns visiting some classy folk when disaster struck: the first snowfall of the year. I was petrified. I couldn't even drive the car. I sat in place and just stared for a good fifteen minutes. There goes my hope of anymore warmth. The long-dreaded Canadian winter can no longer be denied.  There has not been anymore snow and nothing is on the ground, but I know it is coming. The weather is definitely playing with my heart.

We had interviews with President Scott this week! We have interviews with our mission president probably every third month or so. It was really great to be able to have a couple minutes to chat with him. Do you know what I learned? I learned that by Christmas we will have reached 300 missionaries in our mission. THAT IS ABSURD! That is so many missionaries! Most missions in the world have half that amount. It's because of the mission age change, missions are changing at such a rapid pace. I bet you that this mission will split again over the next year or so. Whew.

President Scott asked me to reflect upon the first half of my mission. Think about that - the first half! I can't believe that I'm halfway done; yet in some respects it seems like I have been a missionary for all of my life. He asked what I have learned about myself. I had so many things I have learned, I didn't know where to start. Missions are incredible, and anyone who serves a mission will NEVER regret the time they spent in the service of their God - regardless as to how they got there. President told me how proud he was of Sister Noker and me for working through all of our difficulties. This has been such a difficult companionship for us, especially from the beginning, but now things are so much better. It felt so good to know that the Lord gives us challenges, and then also provides us with the strength and support we need to overcome said challenges. I love this gospel.

So this Thursday is Halloween. I am so excited for Halloween. Guess what I'm dressing up as? You guessed it: A missionary! But we have to be inside our apartment at 6pm on Halloween and need to be as "productive as possible." So guess what we're going to do at some point? We're going to have a Monster Mash (aka our own Halloween Party)! Just the two of us. Pretty cute, eh? We have the best activity ever: We're going to read spooky/horror stories in the dark with flashlights on our faces... from the scriptures! Ha ha the Old Testament is full of them. I know you're jealous of us, life as a missionary is the best.  [Editors' note: We're really not sure what "as productive as possible" means, but we're pretty sure whoever came up with that wasn't thinking of "Mallory's Monster Mash"]

Speaking of scary, the member who we live with has stitches in his finger. I found this wonderful detail out when we had dinner at his house yesterday. I offered to take the stitches out and he said "yes." I am SO excited. So I'm taking out his stitches on Wednesday. Highlight of my week. By far. Don't worry, we'll pray first ;)

I love you all so much! Please stay safe. I think of you always. Get lots of candy this year for me. I miss you incredibly.

Pal
Sister Hutchings

Photos:
1. Me in the first snowfall of the year.
2. Me staring at the first snowfall of the year from inside of the car. Maybe shedding some tears. 
3. First time with the leaf blower! I am absolutely dreadful. Sister Noker took over rather quickly after this photo was taken.

Monday, October 21, 2013

BONUS POST - Interview with Mallory II

In another of our highly-regarded interviews with Mallory, we asked her to let us know what are some of the questions about the church that they get asked frequently and what are the typical answers they give as missionaries.  Here's her feedback:   

First of all, we usually we try to refer back to Jesus Christ, the Restoration of the Gospel or the Book of Mormon in the answers we give to most every question.  But here are some of the most common questions we get asked and our answers:

1. IF GOD REALLY LOVES US (AND/OR EXISTS), WHY DO SO MANY GOOD PEOPLE SUFFER AND BAD THINGS HAPPEN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD? 

We know that the purpose of our life on earth is to gain experience, and that "this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God" (Alma 34:32). In this instance, you can compare God to a parent who wants their children to gain their own experience - it doesn't take away his love for us because he doesn't control our choices! He aches when we make bad choices and when we hurt. God will never take away our agency, or ability to choose. "Adversity in the lives of the obedient and faithful may be the consequence of disease, accidental injury, ignorance, or the influence of the adversary. To preserve free agency, the Lord also at times permits the righteous to suffer the consequences of evil acts by others."* If we trust in God, we can understand our trials and hardships can be seen as blessings and learning opportunities: they can be wasted if not.
*Ronald E. Poelman

2. ARE MORMONS ALLOWED TO HAVE MULTIPLE WIVES?

No, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not support plurality of spouses. At multiple points in the history of Christ's church both in biblical times and in the latter-days the Lord has very specifically revealed through his prophet on the earth an exception necessary for this rule. We do believe that "all who pretend or assume to engage in plural marriage in this day, when the one holding the keys [the prophet of God] has withdrawn the power by which they are performed are guilty of gross wickedness." -Bruce R. McConkie. We believe marriage to be between one man and one woman.

3. ARE MORMONS RACIST? WHY COULDN'T BLACK PEOPLE HAVE THE PRIESTHOOD IN YOUR CHURCH?

No, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not support, encourage or practice racism or any kind of racial superiority. We believe any worthy man can hold the priesthood once he is 12 years of age regardless of his lineage or descent. Because the priesthood is the Lord's power and he has full authority to whom it is given, we obey his guidance by the mouth of his prophets regarding how to officiate in the ordinances of the priesthood. The Lord has been selective since the beginning of biblical times as to which lineages specifically would hold the priesthood, for example when the Levites were the only ones of all the twelve tribes who were assigned to be priests and who were allowed to hold the priesthood.  In 1978, the Lord revealed that all worthy men could receive the priesthood without regard to race, color, lineage or descent. "Our day is the long-promised day when every faithful, worthy man in the church may receive the priesthood." (Preach My Gospel (PMG) 32)

4. I'VE ALREADY BEEN BAPTIZED ____NUMBER OF TIMES BEFORE, ARE YOU ASKING/INVITING ME TO BE BAPTIZED AGAIN? WHY?

Yes, we believe that baptism is a choice that we ourselves need to make and that no one else can make for us. We choose to follow Christ's example and make joint promises with our Father in Heaven when we are baptized. We believe that the priesthood power that was on the earth when Christ and his apostles were on the earth has been restored in its fullness through the modern-day prophet, Joseph Smith. To be baptized again by this proper priesthood authority is not to say that your previous experiences and baptisms weren't important, but this experience and essential ordinance performed by authorized priesthood holders adds to and increases the importance of your past experiences. When we invite you to be baptized again we are inviting you to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by the same power, authority, and method that he was. 

5. DO MORMONS BELIEVE THEY WILL BE THE ONLY ONES WHO GET TO HEAVEN?

No, we believe that all people, regardless of their religious beliefs while living on the earth, can enter the highest level of heaven and live with their families, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ for all eternity; provided they accept and participate in the necessary ordinances by the proper priesthood authority - whether in this life or the next. 

6. DO MORMONS WORSHIP JOSEPH SMITH?

No, we do not worship Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith is a prophet of modern day much like biblical prophets and messengers of God such as Noah and Moses. We talk about and teach of Joseph Smith often because his role as an instrument for the Lord was key for the Lord's church to be restored, or brought back, in these modern times. We only worship God, the Eternal Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.

7. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND OTHER CHRISTIAN CHURCHES? AREN'T THEY ALL THE SAME?

We share many common beliefs with other Christian denominations: We believe the bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly, and we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer - and the only means whereby we can achieve salvation and live with God again. However, in addition to the bible, we study from another book of ancient scripture, the Book of Mormon, which also testifies of Christ and helps clarify the fullness of his gospel. We believe that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Christ's original church he established when on the earth has been restored and it contains the priesthood power of God - or the authority to utilize God's power, that lasts on earth and in heaven: such as baptism and marriage. 

8. WHY DO WE NEED A PROPHET ON THE EARTH IF WE CAN JUST PRAY TO GOD OURSELVES AND RECEIVE ANSWERS?

"God wants all his children to know the truth... therefore he reveals the truths necessary for salvation through prophets and apostles. He reveals personal truth to us personally through the scriptures and personal revelation." (PMG 75)

Feel free to let me know if there are any specific questions that I didn't address that you'd like me to answer! I love doing things like that.

Bowling & Baptizing

WHAT. A. WEEK.

It's only been five days since I last emailed you all, but it's incredible all that we've packed in these last few days!

TRACEY GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY. Hallelujah. It was so fantastic. I walked into our ward council meeting (a meeting of the various leaders in the local congregation) yesterday morning right as Elder McKay was telling everyone the story about how we weren't sure whether or not Tracey was going to get baptized a week and a half before, but then "Sister Hutchings just started planning her baptism, and went over to her house and told her all about the baptism plans. When Tracey didn't stop her, she figured it was a green light! So here we are, it's her baptism day!"... The whole ward council got a kick out of that and told us we need to just start planning baptisms for all our investigators like that. Maybe we will - it worked for Tracey!

Her baptismal service was absolutely beautiful. The spirit was so incredibly strong. There was a point right before she was baptized where I knew in my heart that Heavenly Father was communicating to me that one of the reasons he needed me in Bowmanville was for that very moment in time. I wished I could have paused it and never let that feeling leave me. Missionary work can be extremely challenging, but it is exponentially more rewarding. Always. I am so grateful that the Lord lets me feel a sliver of the joy and peace he must feel when one of his children decides to follow him.  

Last week we had an impromptu zone activity at a bowling alley. It was awesome. I scored second overall. Don't worry, I'm not competitive in the least, so it's fine. I bowled as Voldemort, of course. Maybe that's why I did so well :)

The famous "Historic Bowmanville Apple Festival" was this last Saturday. They blocked off all downtown Bowmanville and converted it to a big festival in honor of that particular fruit. It was actually pretty fun! We walked there in the rain, and got absolutely soaked.  And as much as I would have liked, the apple treats didn't really warm us up that much. But hey, it was a life experience we could add to our list, right? And there were lots of families there who were basically begging us to teach them about the gospel. So we just had to oblige.  

This is probably the worst news of the week, but I am sick. I have been on somewhat of a partial bed-rest the past couple days. But let me tell you what it's like being sick as a missionary: it's the worst thing in the world.  There is always something that needs to be done, and unless you literally have NOTHING left inside of you to be able to do it, you feel bad about taking a rest.  So this last week has been exhausting.  I am grateful for prayer.  The Lord has been answering each of my quiet pleas to get me through each hour (especially planning Tracey's baptism) without feeling like death.

It's getting cold. Really cold. But we're going to the zoo today to find Richard Parker. So all is well in the world. I'll report back on that next week. So stay on the edge of your seats for that one! 

I love you and miss you incredibly.  

"Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God" Alma 26:36

Mall
Sister Hutchings