Thursday, April 17, 2014

Letter #90

Dearest Family,

Perhaps you're wondering rightly why this letter is coming on Wednesday instead of Monday. . . Well, we've changed our p-day to Wednesday for now. We've self-enlisted to take upon us some more work regarding reports sent to the church, and it has to be done early so for now I come to you from the everlasting palm trees of Brasil on Wednesday : )

We're traveling too, as you noticed. Most of last week we spent in Adamantina and Tupã. We traveled ten hours by bus on Thursday, worked a bit and made a surprise visit to the elders in Adamantina. All day Friday we worked hard to help them increase the number of people they're teaching. We did. It's up to them now to continue the work there.

It's a wonderful little city of about 40,000 that is the last area in the uppermost left corner of our mission. We've passed there before and I enjoy working there. We spent most of the day in an area that missionaries had never worked and it was fruitful. The city there, along with two others, is a part of the district of Tupã, which held its semiannual conference to reorganize the leadership there this Sunday.

We grabbed a ride with the priesthood of Adamantina who went to Tupa on Saturday for the priesthood leadership session. We rode in a great big blue Ford van. I felt like singing Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" as we hit the highway.

We got there safely, helped do some interviews and brought a couple of people to the Saturday night session off the street. We slept in the house of Nova Tupa with Elder Washburn and Elder Clemens, as Tupa is now an area of sisters. I was able to visit some recent converts, give some good references to the sisters, who baptized the uncle of my last baptism in Tupa. We enjoyed Sfihas on Saturday night which were on a 99 cent special price for the restaurant's anniversary party. Good stuff : ) Thoroughly enjoyed Elders Washburn and Clemens joyful spirits and dedication. They baptized two people just last night.

We caught a ride back with President and Sister Genaro and the missionary couple Lima as they were in attendance. I sat in the back of the back of the back and took a small nap. The dynamics between so many people in the car was hilarious. Elder Lima had to stop and use the restroom and unlike there, we do not have frequent rest stops or fast food places. He stopped at the military police headquarters but was told that he would have to be detailed and prove his identity before being able to use the restroom. Good times!

I almost forgot, but we had leadership council last week as well. Boy oh boy time flies! We did everything different, setting up a round table discussion with a small presentation on the numbers. We just sat down and went about trying to help each other resolve problems and look for new ways to lift the work higher. Lunch was good. Unfortunately for the first time in my mission I was on the light plate diet as some kind of virus took a ravaging toll on many many missionaries last week. I didn't get anything bad, actually I escaped practically unscathed, just wasn't feeling super duper.

When we got home on Sunday we came home to good news, really good news!  Our young woman convert finished her mission papers and submitted them. Our young man received his call and is going to Goiânia where President Tavares' son is serving, and the couple we are teaching, his father and mother decided after Sunday's meetings to be baptized this Saturday!!! They have finally built up the faith to take this significant step. They're very excited of course and a little nervous, but then so are we : ) Our other convert gave us a splendid lunch for the second time yesterday.

President has declared a White Easter, saying that each zone that has every companionship in the zone baptize two people will receive a special Easter surprise. Here in the mission we have white Easter, white Christmas, white Mother's Day, white everything : ) That's the way it's supposed to be!

Got a letter from Hunter in the mail, and a special shout out to Uncle Aaron who is sending so many letters, or perhaps is being highlighted in the absence of other writers, that the secretaries are beginning to ask me, Who is this "Hutchins Law?" I just smile : )

I love you all so much. I was so very proud and so very happy to see the picture of Hunter receiving the Melchizedek priesthood. Here in the mission I have come to value oh so much more sacred things. The priesthood, its keys and the authority, are sacred things. That we may all be living the gospel and sharing so that others may feel the power of the priesthood as we do,



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DIY Ukelele

Although it is missing the strings, it is a piece of work!
(My favorite are the mini frets ;-)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

With All Our Love

Dear Tanner, 

Fresh off the press tonight, is a picture from your adventures in Tupa. You'll have to share what happened!

There was an interesting article in CNN this week. In regards to "signs" of the second coming of Christ, I thought you might enjoy reading it! "Prophecy loves signs from the heavens, and they will deliver Tuesday with a moonlight spectacle. In other words, get ready for an unusually beautiful moon to grace the night skies next week. There will be a total lunar eclipse Tuesday that will turn the moon a burnt reddish orange, NASA says. It's called a blood moon, and this one is just the first in a series of four consecutive total eclipses. Within a year and a half, North America will be able to see a blood moon a total of four times. The moon takes on this color during the eclipse as it passes through the Earth's shadow, which is the color of a desert sunset. The four blood moons will occur in roughly six-month intervals on the following dates: April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015, but don't be mislead in thinking they are commonplace." It won't be too early for you to see it, I think about 5 a.m. in your locale.

Your cousin Naomi made me smile - again - this week when she wrote, "Soeur Carter sent us a challenge. Points were distributed for contacting, getting numbers, etc. and my contribution was an extra 300 points for every male contacted who was over six feet and looked like he could wield a broadsword!" She's hysterical!

Just some thoughts on preparing your homecoming talk, and youth conference presentation. Review some of your journal entries, and mark those that might be appropriate, so your preparation will be easier once you enter our chaotic, always busy lives. You won't have much preparation time, as we have MUCH to do when you return ;-)

The mother of your future roommate ;-) was in Utah this week and spent hours visiting complexes that had openings for six. There weren't a lot of options, and most were on the west end of campus. She and I decided upon one together. You three amigos will have fun. Is there anyone else you want me to invite from your mission to fill the empty slot? (A picture of your new game room ;-)

Porter has started his serious driving skills. **Dad took him to the cemetery, so he didn't have to worry about killing anybody, they're already dead.** They're hysterical together. Dad is THE back seat driver, and has plenty to say with sons behind the wheel. Today in church he crunched our bumper while practicing his backing up skills in the parking lot. He saw the light post, but missed the cement barrier poles, not visible except from someone sitting in the backseat. It was a good lesson to learn. Know your environment before you leave park!

Thursday was Hunter's senior salute unveiling ceremony. The hit of the night was your sister, but I don't think Hunter minded. Sis. Parrish was so gracious in coming to share in the evening! Hunter will be on display in the library (yeah! we love the librarians and they love us), WesBanco (our favorite coin bank, and Hunter's bank), the middle school (he's there now) and a couple of other places they'll rotate his picture in before graduation. I so wish you had applied for this! I'll just have to make my own senior portrait of you ;-)

Friday we picked up the "Hunger Games II" DVD. The boys have waited a while to see it, and are excited to catch you up on a few good flicks you've missed while you've been gone. We're psyched for our 6:30 a.m. summer scripture reading program as well! Okay, maybe 7 a.m.!

Saturday was a beautiful spring day, perfect for the opening day of the baseball season. The morning began with a parade of players (and more candy thrown than given out at Halloween!), opening ceremonies, and a hearty "play ball!" Miller had one of the first games, and played great! Enough so to be given the game ball by the coach. Miller said it was because he fielded ten balls to first base. His coach posted this comment on Facebook, "A great start to the Eastham Black season! Extra inning 5-3 thrilling win over Ohio University! Miller Schenewark knocks in 3 and has 6 assists to lead the way. Proud of his and their defense as they played perfectly all morning!" Your brother lives for baseball practices and games. It's a great motivator to get his homework and chores done. He plans his uniforms the day before. His concept of time is not concrete, so he's always asking when he can play again. He played the pitcher position, which is right next to the pitching machine, the spot where most of the balls go through.

(This is a good picture from a practice...players in that position have to wear the protective face mask.)

And, upon returning home, spent the entire day playing baseball batting balls, hitting the hit-away, and rolling balls off the roof of the house to catch. Unfortunately, he slipped on an untied shoe lace, and misfired the ball. I do believe our number six son is the first to do this!

Sawyer's game was later in the day. I've been asked to keep the team's books again, so I sit by the dug out, and try to keep up with the game. He pitched 85 throws, which was too much, after pitching at Friday's scrimmage. But considering it was the first game of the year, he did great for two innings, okay for one, and was DONE by the fourth. If he's not pitching, he plays shortstop or third base, depending on who else is in as pitcher.

Dad and Porter and Hunter were on the bus at 5 a.m. to go to the regional quiz bowl tournament in Lancaster. There were sixteen teams, and they placed fifth. The two winners were both private schools who will represent Ohio at nationals. Dad came home on the grumpy side because he couldn't sleep on the bus. Remember those bus bumps? ;-) He got to ride with the team because of his coach status with the track team, which was a perk. Mr. Hayes also considers him his back up.

Today was stake conference. It was the first time the ten other units in the stake stayed in their building, and watched from webcast, so they didn't have to travel. Most of those in attendance were from the 1st and 2nd Huntington wards. Hunter had been invited to speak, and did a wonderful job. He had two friends come to listen and one retired substitute teacher. He's also come to watch all the boys play basketball with the missionaries before. And they stayed for all two hours ;-) and those two hours were amazing. "They talk[ed] of Christ, we rejoice[ed] in Christ, [they] preach[ed] of Christ."

After church Hunter was ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood, in the office of Elder. He was counseled by Grampy to not wait until we could be together with family, so he included those men who are dear to him here.

We also had an "Eight is Great" event held for those being baptized this year. That would be Miller! He talked about making sure you were here before this happened, and I assured him you would be home for school on your Christmas break. Porter is very excited to be the brother with the honor of performing the baptism. Sawyer sat and figured out a few details, determined that it would be Cooper who baptized Breyer, and then became sad knowing there was no one left in the family for him to baptize. 

I know in a few weeks you'll be reading this, but thought it was too good to have you wait. Out of Uncle Aaron's letter tonight, he stated, "Yesterday I attended my final Eagle Scout court of honor as a representative of the Board of Selectman. That is the one thing I will miss. None of my seatmates can be bothered with doing that for the boys. I don’t understand why. More than marching in a parade or participating as a rubber stamp in budget approval processes, the appearance and acknowledgement of a town official at these ceremonies has been the most meaningful thing I’ve done. And whether the boys actually appreciate it is immaterial, because the parents and scout leaders do, to say nothing of the fact that it’s simply the right thing to do." In your leadership position you have the choice to be like most of the board members, concerned with televised meetings and making appearances at "important" events, or like Uncle Aaron, concerned with "ministering to the one." There are many elders that would benefit from your ministering to them one on one, and in so doing will be doing something much more important.

While studying for seminary I was reading In 3 Nephi:22-23 and came across these verses, so applicable to the work you're doing as a missionary. "And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; But ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name." There's a difference in praying for them, and praying for them "unto the Father, in my name." Learn about the difference, and apply this teaching of the Savior in your work. He is your best source of help. I can only make you smile once in a while, and send you care packages. We love you dearly!


Mom and Dad

P.S. Speaking of care packages, I was literally ripping off the tape to close your package, when Dad called and read your letter. So I dropped in your requested items. **And according to Uncle Ben, he said that Amazon has a strategic plan in place to employ drones to deliver packages directly to your door! He said that the technology has already been proven - - the only thing holding it up is federal regulation regarding use of air space. Can you imagine getting a package from us, in Brazil, from a drone?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Princess Needs

"Mom, I need to be a princess. Where's my castle?"

Friday, April 11, 2014

Top Ten Moments at "Senior Salute!"


1. Arriving to see ten easels covered by green velour ;-)

2. Capturing the cute photographer in a photo!

3. Having a cute Easter side-kick, who did a GREAT job waiting for cupcakes!

4. Finding a nose shot on the camera...

5. Being the only parents who brought a cute side-kick to help unveil the photographs ;-)

6. Realizing what every other parent must have felt when it was their turn: Hot, red, twitchy cheek muscles

7. Finding out only ten seniors were chosen...

8. Finding out my child is the most handsome ;-)

9. Having someone dear come to help us family-less out-of-staters represent!

10. Remembering that Ranger was remembered.