Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meeting Elder Holland...and More!

Dear Family,
There sure have been lots of blessings and exciting things happen this week!  I'll see if I can remember them all.
ONE goose egg. . . filled the pan!
Storm'e is doing well and progressing in the gospel.  We've moved her baptism date to May 11th to
accommodate more people that can come from her family.  And that actually works very well for me because I can perform in the musical concert series in Bathhurst on May 4th.  We've taught a lot this week and had some really good discussions and progression with people. After one such discussion, and having to really be direct in removing some of the "distractions," one of our investigators is committed to baptism on May 18th.  Even the strep throat I've been fighting had a hard time keeping my joy down!

We had our District meeting in Caribou and I made it through that on Tuesday, but the rest of the day we stayed in because of my being so sick.  Having to stay in is the WORST!!  But we got a lot done around the apartment and Elder Clark made me some chicken and broccoli for dinner!
Wednesday was one of my favorite days of being a missionary!  While travelling to Danforth to teach George Tarbell, I saw a big moose in the trees!  It made my day!  Then, by the end of our lesson with George he agreed to be baptized, but didn't set a date yet.  That made me REALLY happy!  Driving home I saw a big bald eagle right on the side of the road.  That was sweet, too!  And when we left Tarbell's, she gave me an envelope that Porter and Celeste Nelson had left behind for me.  In it was a big gift certificate to Grammy's!!  That was really nice of them!

Later we were driving home from a lesson and were riding with Bro. Robertson, and we got pulled over by a cop,  It was pretty funny...all was good though, and we went on our way.  Heading across the border to go to Canada there was some pretty intense checking due to the stuff that happened in Boston.
We had a good dinner appointment at the Marshall's, and then we went to teach the Shaws again.  But instead they told us they "weren't interested."  That was disappointing, but as we walked away from the house, I noticed a guy smoking on his balcony across the street.  We got talking about what we are doing so far from home and what we share.  He invited us in and we had the best visit.  Strange how being "dropped" by one person can actually lead you to a family who is prepared to hear the gospel message.  It's hard to describe situations and emotions in writing . . . but that situation made me feel real good.
We ended up teaching 9 lessons on Wednesday which is pretty good for our mission!  As we approached the border to return to Houlton, there were two HUGE moose crossing the highway.  We stopped and had a stare-down for a bit, and eventually they kept going.  They were massive!!  And Elder Clark was so glad he got to see them since he missed seeing the first one I saw.

Bloody nose...yuck!!

A couple more days with being sick and working through it all was SO much fun.  Won't tell you about my disgusting bloody nose a couple of times, nor will I tell you about the humongous cold sore that attacked my lip, as if I needed one more thing to make me feel wonderful!!  But it's alright!!  It could be worse!!

Elder Nzojibwahmi and Elder Hunt meet up at Stake Conference!!
Best reunion ever!!
On Sunday morning we got up at 3:00 a.m. so that we could shower and be ready to leave by 4:30.  We made our way to Fredericton, New Brusnwick, and with the border crossing, the time changes, etc., it was almost 7:00 by the time we made it.  We got there early enough to get soft seats on the 5th row.  The meeting was to start at 9 and by 8:00 a.m. the whole place was filling up too much, so the missionaries all got kicked to the back of the church.  Then, 15 minutes later, we got completely kicked out and banished to the Primary Room to watch it on TV.  But as we sat in there, Bro. Judd (one of the high councilmen I really like) came and asked E. Clark and me to come back into the main room.  He asked us to sit with this guy who looked really nervous and was alone.  So we were the only missionaries lucky enough to be in the chapel where Elder Holland spoke.  The guy we sat by was from Panama, and it was great to sit with him.

Elder Holland and Elder Gifford Nielsen (newly sustained to the Quorum of the Seventy) gave excellent talks.  I wish I could write everything down.  Our investigator, Storm'e was there to hear it too, and she was able to sit up very close to the front.  She enjoyed it a lot, and I think it was a really good spiritual time for her.  It's always good to feel the spirit that comes when so many strong, active members are gathered in one place.

After the main meeting, there was another meeting for just the missionaries and the youth with the general authorities.  Wow!  It was so powerful!  One of the things that really had an impact on me was when Elder Holland asked us to pledge 10 years of our lives, ages 12 to 22, to the Lord and follow Him completely.  He promised us, "If you will devote those 10 years of your life to the Lord, the other 90 that you live will be the happiest you could possibly have."  He compared it to a spiritual tithing, of giving 10 years out of the 100 you could live, which I thought was a great analogy!

Afterwards I was able to shake hands with Elder Gifford and Elder Holland.  It was so great to meet yet another Apostle of the Lord!

After most everyone left, the missionaries all gathered around and sang "Happy Birthday" to President Leavitt!  What a great day Sunday was!!

Now, family, I'm glad that most all of you are going to be together in Salt Lake on the 1st anniversary of Denzel's death.  Please don't worry about me.  Being a full-time missionary, I have a special portion of the Spirit to be with me, for which I am very grateful!  I'm also glad that you'll get to be there when baby Kate is born, AND that you are all going to Erika's dance performance.  That means a lot to me, too.  Thank you for loving her. :)

AND it's Kristy's birthday on Wednesday!!  Kristy, I hope you have a WONDERFUL day, and I'll be singing "Tradition Tradition" with my hands in the air up here...maybe not...but I will be thinking about you.  I love you.

Well, I guess that's all for now.  There's so much going on with all of this, and getting ready for Nat's wedding.  I'm excited that I will get to Skype with you for Mother's Day the day after Nat and RJ get married.  I'm really looking forward to that!  I love being a missionary, and we are being so blessed with great people to teach.  This is an amazing experience.  I am learning LOTS!

your son and brother,
Elder Hunt

Look what hopped into our car. . . 

Maybe another hat???

Monday, April 15, 2013

Great People, Great Opportunities, and even Great Food!!

Monday, April 8th, was a great P-day.  After we did our normal stuff, like emailing, laundry, etc., Porter and Celeste Nelson, and their kids Zion and Cocoa, all came down to visit Celeste's mom (Sister Tarbell) who happens to be in the Houlton Branch.  The Nelson's were in my ward in my Eastern Passage area so we met up and had lunch at the Big Stop Diner.  It was really great to see them and catch up, since I never got to say good-bye to Porter or Zion when I left, and we've become great friends!

On Tuesday we were a bit surprised when Elder Clark, our zone leader, and Elder McIntyre (DL) walked into our apartment while my companion and I were studying. After a bit we headed up to Caribou together for our District Training.  At one point we were talking together and ZL Elder Clark mentioned how incredible it's going to be to "meet Elder Holland, an Apostle of the Lord!"  When I mentioned how I've gotten to meet President Monson, President Uchtdorf, and President Hinckley, he was astounded!  I never thought about it too much before, but living in Utah definitely has its perks!

Wednesday, April 10th we had a lesson with Storm'e (pronounced Storm-ay...it's French).  We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and she loved it.  She is so excited for her baptism on May 4th.  The Tarr family has been a big support to Storm'e and they are able to answer her questions whenever she's around.

Loved having dinner with the Spinneys, and then had a correlation meeting with Brother Marshall in Woodstock.  Their son John is 19 and we get along really well.  I've told him that I'm determined to get him active in the church, and baptize his girlfriend along with that.  So, we'll work hard, and pray for the Lord's help in knowing how to help them.

Thursday Elder Clark and I FINALLY found a program to use to print off a big map of our area...so now we actually have maps of all our uncluttered territory.   This evening we went to Burt and Phyllis' home for dinner.  They are a nice, non-member couple in their 70's.  They are the sweetest couple, and invited us for dinner and a lesson.  We taught the Restoration after a great dinner.

Friday was the 12th, and we spent a good portion of it planning.  (We have been told rather often that we have the best/most organized area book in the mission.  After the additional planning and changes we made, we might have the best daily planners as well!

We had a dinner with the Sides family, and their son and girlfriend came over.  We ended up playing Apple 2 Apples and got to know them really well.  As a result, they want to have us over to their place where we will be able to teach them.  Even a simple thing like playing a game can open doors to missionary work.

On Saturday we did some knocking on doors.  It was snowing and pretty cold, so that was enjoyable as usual.  Our hands freeze off because we carry things to have ready to share with people, so we can't wear gloves, or it's too hard to handle the materials.  Usually we use a golf ball to knock on doors because using our knuckles hurts too badly.  When we stopped for lunch we went to the best "hole-in-the-wall" cafe, ever! It's called Dow's Market and it was a little piece of Heaven!!

President Leavitt gave us a call and told us to go buy a webcam.  So we did, hooked it up to the computer at the church, and installed Skype.  Then we talked with President Leavitt via Skype for awhile.  He talked to us about a lot of things going on in the mission...and he wants me to travel to Bathurst to be in the Missionary Concert Series that is being put on.  He wants me to also go to Caribou and do it again, but that's the same date as Storm'es baptism.  I'm not sure how it will all work out, but I'm sure it will.

Sunday was a GREAT day at church!!  Storm'e really enjoyed coming to church and the topic of repentance was perfect since it was what our discussion was about last night.  Our stake president (New Brunswick Stake) was here, too, which is very rare around here!  He talked to us about Stake Conference and Elder Holland being present.  Everyone is very excited for next week.

We also had ten less-actives there, which was an incredible turn-around.  It is very exciting to see the gospel take hold in people's lives!

After church, Elder Clark and I did some planning of service and other activities to do soon.  We're going to set up a mini-concert series with myself and a few of the members, and taking it around, performing in all of the nursing/retirement homes.  It will be great to give the people something to do, as well as talk to them, their families, and the staff.  We're also organizing a scripture study class, which will be great, too!

It's nice to hear from and about home.  I'm so glad you all got to go to Conference.  It sounds like you had a lot of fun.  I'm glad Erika could go, too!  By the way, Happy Birthday, Mil!  Hope you had a fun day!!  And I love the pictures, and loved the sound recordings from everything during Conference weekend!!

Have a great week.  Be sure to share the gospel with others!  It's an amazing gift to share!

Elder Hunt

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Come On Mom!! Get With the Program!!! *_*

(My apologies to everyone for being SOOOOO late getting Elder Hunt's letter for LAST week up.  All I can say is...it has been one doozy of a week!)

P-days are always fun, and it's great that our mission president gave us a larger allotment of time for emailing, AND we get to email family and friends!!  Puzzles are a stress reducer for me and I have a hard one that is nearly done.

One of the teenage investigators we are teaching was suspended from school for three days because of the April Fool's joke she pulled.  She put icy-hot on the toilets in the girls bathroom at her school.  Pretty cruel, but hilarious!

We also received a phone call from the Assistants asking us what we were doing right...because we were one of the top areas in the entire mission.  That was great to hear!

One Tuesday we traveled to Caribou for another district meeting.  All of these training meetings on planning and being more efficient have really changed my perspective and the way I do things.  After the training, I stayed in Presque Isle on an exchange with Elder McIntyre.  Our day was great as we met with many different people.

Wednesday was a crazy day.  We taught an investigator at the library.  When we were walking through the library, the cutest little boy ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug around my legs.  I had no idea who he was, and I was very confused.  A bit later some other kids came around the corner and then Elder McIntyre explained they are a member family in that area.

When it was time to exchange back, Elder McIntyre and I stayed together, but we switched to being in Houlton.  He needed to meet with Flo and talk to her.

There have been some disturbing things as well.  When people make references to committing suicide because "I just can't handle it, so I'll just shoot myself in the head," it really gets to me.  I have been very surprised at how much that happens out here.  Some days are just difficult, but there always seems to be something good, too, like having dinner with the Marshalls and being around their sweet kids.

Thursday didn't go so well.  We tried to contact Flo, but weren't very successful...even after waiting for 2 1/2 hours.  Eventually we had to head back to Presque Isle, but of course our car battery had died!  We knocked on a door to ask for jumper cables, and a naked man answered the door.  He gave us a jump box with cables that worked fantastically.  We made it back to Presque Isle with a very full and memorable day. Elder McIntyre and I would always say, "The positive part of this situation is . . . " which made even the difficult things more enjoyable.

Oh, we've been told for sure that Elder Holland is going to be coming out here for Stake Conference in a couple of weeks...on April 20-21st.  That'll be a neat experience to meet him.

Saturday was General Conference.  Having it in the mission field is simply incredible.  Every word, doctrine, line of counsel rings in your ears with eternal perspective.  It was exciting to hear that the new missionary numbers have reached over 65,000 with 20,000 more about to enter the field.  Also, the announcement of a new temple being built in Cedar City, Utah is exciting.  I hope to attend its dedication when it is completed.

There were so many talks I really enjoyed.  I loved Elder Bednar's quote, "Love increases through righteous restraint.  Love decreases through impulsive indulgence."  I have always felt good at the Priesthood session, but tonight I felt a very special, comforting sense of brotherhood.
I love the strength I receive from hearing the words of our leaders, and how they seem to speak right to me, answering ANY questions I might have.

That better be all for now.  Hope you all have a great week.

Elder Hunt

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Borders and beyond!

Dear Family, 

Our area is so close to the Canadian border that we are travelling across it several times during the week. It's pretty awesome, even when it takes nearly two hours to cross due to Easter weekend!

We've been doing a LOT of walking since we're basically out of our allotted kilometers with our car.  These are NOT my missionary shoes, but it kind of shows how much of a beating my shoes have taken.  These are my running shoes that I've had for about 3 years.  It was definitely time to get new ones!

Not a wreck. . . just some help getting our car started!

We had our zone training meeting on Saturday in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  It was great to see all of the missionaries.  Elder Thompson is back from Newfoundland and is in my zone again.  Zone Leader Elder Clark gave an incredible training, and I always love the inspiration I receive from these meetings.

On our way back to Houlton, we stopped in Nackowic, home of the World's Largest Axe.
We are meeting with several different people.  Flow continues to learn more about the gospel.  She wants to be open with her family about her being baptized before she gets confirmed.  We had a great lesson with her this week, and it taught me a lot about myself as well.  

We have been able to meet with some less active people in our branch, and some of their friends, too.  We have some investigators we are working with and one that committed to be baptized when she receives an answer that the things we are teaching are true.

The people in our branch our so good to us.  One member took us grocery shopping when we were out of money for the month; others have taken us out to dinner, or had us over for dinner.  We are very blessed!!

And then, of course, SOME people send me things like THIS!!  Yes, I received a Utah rugby shirt from the Madsens.  I'm not going to lie, it looks pretty good, and feel great...but I still hold true to my blue BYU blood!!

Well, that's all for now.  I love you all!!  Hope you have a great week!

Elder Hunt