Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Surprise Transfer for My Companion (Elder Clark)!!

Dear Family,

So, Saturday night we got a phone call from President Leavitt... informing us that Elder Clark would be transferred to Greenwood, Nova Scotia in THREE DAYS!!  Talk about short notice!!  

We were both caught super off-guard.  Elder Clark is especially sad because of all the upcoming events...

About the rest of the week...

Thursday we had Christian's baptism so we made sure to get to the chapel early. . .  EIGHT hours early . . . to have enough time to fill up the font!  This also gave us time to write out talks, clean the building, and I was able to practice a bit on the piano.

There were a few funny things that everyone showing up at 6:00, except for the Branch President...who thought it started at 6:30; and the actual baptism having to be redone a couple of times due to errors and a foot coming out of the water...But it got done!!
While we waited for Christian, Sister Addie Carter and I sang "How Great Thou Art" a cappella.  She sang melody and I did the tenor part.  It wasn't too shabby for us throwing it together right on the spot!

When Christian re-entered the room after changing into dry clothes after his baptism, he said:  "There IS a new me!"  It was the best thing to hear, and I love Christian!  Janice and Molly (two of our investigators) were there and both loved the spirit they felt there.

On Friday I received a text from Janice asking if I would baptize her!  Elder Clark and I were SO happy.  Our lessons with Janice have been great, but she hadn't been willing to commit to a baptism date...until now! She said she wanted "the cowboy" to do the baptism to make sure she didn't get stuck in the water.  (Some people out here refer to me as "the cowboy" because I'm from the west...and we have horses.  Makes sense!)

In the evening we taught Molly and Ben again.  We were able to get dates finalized...there's a baby shower for Molly on the 8th, the wedding for Molly and Ben is on June 15th, and Molly's baptism is set for June 22nd, and will be done in the lake, just off the dock behind the Peters' home!

Poor Elder Clark is going to miss out!!

Sunday was a great day at Church. The sacrament was an especially good experience.  I'm constantly learning more about myself and others and how the Atonement has true enabling power.

I love being a part of the Lord's work and feel very blessed to be able to share the restored gospel with the people here!!  The church is TRUE!!

Elder Hunt

(We've had some "normal" flooding out here the past week or so.  The place we stood
 on some rocks a couple of weeks ago is now a roaring flood

Thursday, May 23, 2013

BEAUTIFUL Houlton...and Beyond!

Dear Family,

Sure had some good, fun, and interesting experiences this week!  Last Monday we were teaching a lesson on tithing and fast offerings.  The first half was really good and the spirit could be felt really strong.  But the second half wasn't so good.  I won't say a whole lot, but when the spirit leaves because of different things, it's impossible to teach and have the spirit felt.  I didn't like it at all, and it made for a "different"  evening all the way around.  It really made me even more aware of how important it is to keep the spirit with us at all times.  There is a HUGE difference when the spirit is there.

A different interesting experience:  I went on splits with Evan Carter and we visited the Anderson's.  Earlier in the day I had the feeling that I should look at my white handbook and make sure I knew how to give a blessing, no matter what type it was.  So I did, thinking nothing of it.  Well, at Anderson's, she asked for a blessing...and I was the only Melchizedek priesthood holder there.  I've given plenty of blessings before, but it's been awhile.  Had I not been prompted to read how again, I wouldn't have remembered all the steps to take.  The blessing went well, and was an emotional experience for all of us.

Also this week, Ben and Molly found out they can get married and are working on a date.  Molly is doing a lot of reading in the Book of Mormon and is loving it.  So many blessings are falling into place for her and it makes me so happy for her!

On a musical note...(ha!)...President Leavitt called and asked me if I knew how to play Bumble Boogie or Flight of the Bumble Bee on the piano.  I told him I knew Bumble Boogie, and was learning Flight of the Bumble Bee since I've been in the mission field.  He said he'd like to hear me play it.  (Side note to Mom:  since I started really working on Bumble Boogie, my right elbow has started to really hurt.  It's probably the same thing you had happen to yours!  Now I understand that pain!)

Elder Clark and I drove up to Caribou, Maine on Saturday for the concert.  I rehearsed with Elder Call and the string quartet.  Later during the rehearsal, I went into a room with President Leavitt, who wanted to hear Bumble-Boogie.  He was excited about putting it into the concert program!

I was really happy with the way the performances went that night and I received many compliments.  We were planning on staying over and performing at the fireside, but President Leavitt felt like we needed to be in Houlton for church the next day.  That was a big let down for me, BUT it was fun meeting Logan Patterson there!  He's on the BYU hockey team and we talked for a good while because we know a lot of the same people.  He lives out here and is back home visiting for the summer.

Church in Houlton was really good, and the focus was all about temples.  After church there was a linger-longer with a bunch of food and it was a good time.  We had another lesson with Ben and Molly that was really good, and we had another lesson with Storm'e.  Earlier in the week we went to her grandparents'  house for a lesson.  They used to be pretty anti-Mormon, but since Storm'e's baptism, they are seeing the changes in her life and are warming up to us.  Storm'e is doing great since her baptism and I am so happy for her.

I love seeing the gospel changing people's lives and making them happier than they ever thought they could be.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is INCREDIBLE!

Elder Hunt

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Storm'e Gets Baptized!!

Dear Family,

I have been so amazed at how strong our investigators are!  It seems when they get close to being baptized that the adversary works really hard to stop them.  This happened with Storm'e, too!  For some reason her mom/family suddenly were very against her being baptized, but Storm'e remained so strong in her testimony and her decision to be baptized. (I can't imagine how I would be if I were in those circumstances!)  She's a great example to me and to everyone around her!

On the day of her baptism (Tuesday, May 7th), we went up to the Island Falls church at around noon to begin filling up the font.  That font takes HOURS to fill up, so we were there all day.  The building was full of thousands of dead flies AGAIN, so we spent our time vacuuming, scrubbing, dusting and cleaning the whole building.  We finally got everything done and ready, and then we checked the font...I was caught really off guard, because the font had only about 2 feet of water in it!  So, with President Carter there, and only an hour until the baptism, we brought the hoses in from outside to try and help fill the font, but that didn't work either.

Everyone arrived for the baptism and the meeting started.  I performed the baptism.  When I was getting into my baptism clothes, I prayed that there would be enough water and that I'd be able to baptize Storm'e smoothly on the first try.  We walked into the water and it really wasn't very high at all.  AND it was freezing!  So, I said the baptism prayer, and then told her to plug her nose, and then I baptized her.  I swept her feet out from under her as well, because without that her legs would've been above the water.  I pushed her down and somehow managed to get all of her under the water on the first try.  Then, after we cleaned up the rest of the meeting went great!

I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost, and Elder Clark and I sang a duet of "Jesus Savior, Pilot Me."  After the meeting was over we had a bunch of refreshments and were able to meet all the people that came.  It was incredible that about 50 people were there.  That's huge for out here and the small chapel was overflowing with people.  Half of them were non-members from Storm'e's family.  They seem to be opening up now that we've had a chance to meet and talk with them.

One of Storm'e's friends was speeding to get to the baptism on time and got pulled over by a cop.  She told him she was going to a baptism, and the cop let her go.  I quickly pointed out to this friend what great blessings come from attending a baptism for the true church!

We were the first ones there at the church, and the last ones to leave when it was all over.  Wouldn't have it any other way!!

Later in the week we went out to Peters to teach Molly and Ben.  We had to wait a bit for Molly to arrive, so I went out on the dock, with my violin that I had with me, and began to play.  It was incredible, with the sun beginning to set, the peace of the lake, and you could hear my music echoing across the lake.  It was so nice and relaxing!    Better than that was when Molly set her baptism date for June 15th after our meeting with her!!

Houlton, Maine will always hold a special place in my heart!!

Elder Hunt

Monday, May 6, 2013

Music in the Mission Field!

Dear Family,

Last Monday it was great to email everyone and hear about Baby Kate, the family visiting Denzel's grave, and the plans to see Erika's dance performance.  And I'm glad my package arrived in time for you to give her my "gift" afterwards.  (He had mailed a large chocolate egg [hollow] and inside the egg had a large plastic container that perfectly fit, and inside that was a smaller wooden box, and inside that there were some straw flowers and a even across the country, he managed to give Erika flowers after her performance!!)
 After our emailing, I made homemade biscuits, then went to the church where I played the piano for awhile. In the evening we had dinner at the Wilkinsons.  Got to play with their huge dogs outside and had to rugby tackle them a few times!  We had a lesson in Oakfield with Storm'e and she's having a hard time deciding who to have baptize her...

I was expecting Tuesday to be a bit rough (April 30th is the date on the death certificate, but we recognize April 29th as his death date due to certain circumstances...) But the Lord helped me.  It was a VERY busy day, with a district meeting in Caribou, lesson with Janice (who always has lots of good questions and is progressing well.) We watched a couple of the youth in the branch play in a rugby match for a few minutes at Woodstock High School.  It was great to see, and I resisted the urge to go on the field and play!
Then we rushed off to dinner at the Peter's home.  They have the most beautiful lake in their backyard, a dock and everything.  So we had a great BBQ there and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.  Storm'e was there and she told us how she decided who to have baptize her.  She took three pencils to one of her teachers...each pencil represented Elder Clark, Brother Peters, and myself...and asked the teacher to pick one.  Well, my pencil was picked, so I'll be baptizing Storm'e, which will be fun because we've really developed a good friendship.
While at the Peter's home we had a good visit with their 28 year old son Ben, and his girlfriend.  She wants to read the Book of Mormon and learn about the church.  They want to do this together so it's even more exciting to teach them.

After all of that we finally made it back home after a long, busy day.  I thought it would be tough, but the Lord blessed me with a busy day, and things kept my mind occupied.  (Although I had "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom of the Opera stuck in my head all day!)  I was so grateful for the Lord's blessing of peace in regards to Denzel.  I've been brought to a state of great understanding and comfort, and I know I will see my brother again.

Although sometimes i really miss throwing a football around, having him cheer me on in sporting events, or even just being able to talk to my hero, I know it will all be made up with the joy in eternity.  One of the biggest things I often think about is how Denzel loved to support me, and really wanted so badly to come see one of my rugby games at BYU...but then I tore my knee and he didn't get the chance.  However, with my knee surgery, and then his knee surgery, it provided a situation and time for us to spend what I didn't know would be our last time together.  I wouldn't trade that time for my whole rugby career!  I'm grateful the Lord knows me.  He knew I needed that time with my brother, to help me through it, and to recognize the much good that is coming from it.

On Friday we got some of the things ready for the upcoming baptism on Tuesday.  I also had a little more practice time on the violin since our performance was coming up on Saturday.  We're playing a bunch of classical pieces that I haven't played in awhile, but the one that is a bit worrisome is the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by Bach.  It's a good thing I had a little more time to practice.  We got transfers today and Elder Clark and I get to stay here for another transfer!  I'm really happy about that!  Also, I made a big roast, with onions, carrots, and potatoes all in the crockpot.  It turned out delicious!  I'm so grateful my mom taught me how to cook well!!  (I'm so glad you paid attention!!)

Saturday we drove four hours to Bathurst, New Brunswick.  On our way we saw a couple of moose, so we pulled over and took some pictures.  The scenery was beautiful!

Once we got there we had a three hour rehearsal at the church.  And the actual performance went really well.  I played in six different pieces:  O Canada, TelemannViola Concerto, Brandenburg Concerto No 3, Mvmt 1 by Bach, Phantom of the Opera, All I Ask of You (from Phantom), then Amazing Grace.  Everything was translated into French for the people in attendance and it all went pretty smoothly.  On  Sunday we went to church in Bathurst, and the whole meeting was in French.  It was really neat to listen to, and I was able to pick up on a little bit of what was said.  During the third our of our meetings it was combined and our string quartet performed O Divine Redeemer with Sister Drew singing.  She's a phenomenal singer and di great!  Elder Call also performed a piece and he was incredible, as usual.  I hope one day, after many years of practice, to be able to play as well as he does.  The spirit was so strong there and I felt so blessed to be a part of it.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Elder Hunt via The Mothership. . .

Elder Hunt's mother here. . . doing a brief recap of his week; that will just have to suffice for this week.  
Last Monday was the one year anniversary of Elder Hunt's oldest brother's death.  It was a difficult time, in one way or another, for each of us.  I didn't even get to ready Elder Hunt's letters until YESTERDAY!!  So, I'm just going to share a little of what he said.

Elder Hunt and Elder Clark have some very good investigators and the missionary work is moving along really well.  They have FOUR baptisms scheduled for May.  They had a great Zone Conference with Elder Walker from the Quorum of the Seventy, and he learned some very important things.  Elder Hunt loves the people in his area (even loved getting to do "service" for one man as he and his companion got to use sledge hammers in demolition work for an hour...said it was a blast!!)

I'm sure there are the not-so-good times, but Elder Hunt manages to keep a good attitude, and people seem to respond well to him and Elder Clark.

Here is what he had to say about last Sunday:

Today we had a good day at church.  I was able to begin playing the piano and just doing prelude that I made up with chord progressions to hymns.  Everyone seemed to settle into the chapel extra early and there was just pure silence as people listened to me play.  It was a pretty cool experience and the spirit was strong.  Sacrament meeting was good too.  The focus was all on families, which was "conveniently" time for this week, where it's close to Denzel's one year mark.  At the end we sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" and I almost lost it in the middle...

...It's going to be a crazy, cool month with our baptisms.  Hopefully I don't get transferred!  The rest of the day consisted of practicing the violin (after meetings and other stuff he talked about), so I can be ready for the coming weekend.  I was really missing my family and Erika today...but, life goes on.  "A positive attitude is the nail that seals the coffin of pessimism!"

And with that said, I'll try to remember to be POSITIVE!!  Thank you for the sound advice, Elder Hunt!!