Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Cute Puppy Joins Elder Hunt

June 23, 2014


This is Jackson. On a companion exchange this past week, I was with Elder Stadman in Palestine. We were out tracting neighborhoods and came across Jackson sitting in one of the yards. Jackson came up to us and we did the usual "aw hello little doggie" routine. Yet as we moved on door to door, Jackson followed us. Jackson started accompanying us to the doorsteps, sitting down next to us as we stood. Unfortunately, Jackson did not help us get in any doors- but he was really good morale support and made things more interesting.

This year is fixin' to be nice and cool. We have received much rain the past weeks, even rain today as I type. This keeps things cooler and many predict we won't hit hundreds for another month or so. So it's a very nice summer to be the summer stuck right in the middle of my mission! Anyway, this is a picture of some clouds that preceded a dark storm cloud.

Elder Heward and I have been visiting various families that are not actively attending church this past week. Surprising to me, there are many who talk a great talk, insomuch that they seem to be active members, yet do not even act to attend church on Sunday.  So we do what we can to encourage and invite.

Elder Heward received his "trunky papers" a few days ago. (Elder Heward will be returning home at the next transfer.) The trunky papers are your itinerary and instructions on what to do and how to prepare to leave the mission.  It is stuff like flight info, schedule for your last day in Texas, etc. Having him so close to leaving has helped me realize how short the mission is. Last transfer cycle back in Frisco with Elder Wheelhouse was the fastest of my mission, this transfer makes that one feel like rafting down a river of molasses.

I am glad to hear all is well. I pray it remains so.

Love Y'all!

Elder Hunt

Monday, June 16, 2014

Farewell to President Durrant

June 16, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, last Friday I met with President Durrant for the last time. He talked about how the mission is like going to a concert. We pay top dollar to sit right in front of the stage, yet sometimes we sit in the back. Sometimes we sit in the bathroom the whole time, and we can't even hear the concert. Others will go off to the concession stand and get a two buck hot dog where they can't even see the concert, giving up a five hundred dollar experience for a two buck hot dog. It was a pretty good analogy for missions. The more you give, the more you get out of it. 

President Durrant also showed us a video of our new, incoming mission president (PresidentTaylor) passing him the basketball during a BYU basketball game, as well as some other basketball game clips of President Durrant that we missionaries have been dying to see our whole missions. He also showed a clip from a General Conference way back when he spoke about deciding to serve a mission. He had thought the Mormon Tabernacle choir was done singing and was walking up to the podium as they began another verse. Realizing he was in a jam- Elder Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles let him sit on his lap until the song ended.  This was caught on camera by the crew doing the usual filming of the Mormon Tabernacle singing! Two other apostles leaned over and shook the young Durrant's hand and gave him thumbs up! The video was hilarious to watch. 

President and Sister Durrant also answered any questions we had at the end and gave much good advice for life. To end, we sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and then everyone wanted pictures with them. It was the last time any of us would see them because they leave in three weeks. I have grown considerably on the mission and so I thought I would try to stand as tall as President. Well, I am not quite there, but hey I'm close. (No, I am not standing on my toes!) 

Unfortunately none of our scheduled lessons went through this week. Thank you for all your prayers, they yielded fruit: we do have an appointment with one of them today as it was bumped back from last week. 

It is warming up now. This summer has been extremely mild, with much well received rain. Locals predict it will get hotter later, but by August we will inevitably reach those wonderful 100 degree fahrenheit with 100% humidity days. But if there was ever a summer to have in the middle of my mission, this is probably a good one. 

Lastly, I needed to tell y'all that I love y'all. All your prayers do help, the Lord does strengthen me when I need to do things that I cannot, but He can. I am praying for each of you. 

Elder Hunt

P.S.  Texas has some food all it's own!  This is Chicken Fried Steak!!!!! So they take a steak and batter it like a chicken and deep fry it also like chicken but it's a steak! In the bowl top center is one of my favorite foods! Fried Okra.  Okra is a kind of vegetable maybe like a pepper or cucumber or tomato or maybe it's just it's own heavenly thing.

Monday, June 9, 2014

"City of Churches"

June 9, 2014

My first week in Palestine we spent driving all over the county, focusing on meeting as many of the members of our congregation as possible. This past week we have almost exclusively spent in the city of Palestine. And for the first time on my mission, we are finding people to teach. 

We have found three new people to teach this week alone! We have also met some other potential investigators. We are meeting with (names are changed, just so you know)  Larry on Thursday, and Katherine and John on Saturday. This is good! 

Palestine is called the "City of Churches" with something like 140 plus churches in the town. Religion is in the culture here and people are much more "laid back" and willing to hear us out. So- I am super excited!

And about my good fellow companion, Elder Heward - he is from Tooele, a small town in Utah.  He grew up on a welfare farm for our church. He goes home in a month and a half! 

We have rain today, which we are very happy to have beat the mercury back down into the milder sections of the thermometer. Not only that- I have been eaten alive by mosquitoes while tracting this past week.  Elder Heward (lucky man) doesn't even have one bite! Thankfully the bites do not itch but because West Nile virus is carried by some mosquitos, I got some heavy duty deet bug spray and a pound and a third of garlic cloves. So I'm hoping to change that...

Well, I love you, pray for you, and hope your coming week goes well!

-Elder Hunt

Monday, June 2, 2014

This is Country!

June 2, 2014

Dear Family,

This past week has flown by indeed. The day after I arrived we met with the Bishop to discuss how we could best serve the ward. I thought he would give us a couple of names and that would be the end of it. Instead he took us through the entire ward list name by name and identified active families, part-member families, inactive and less-active members. We went through until 9:00 pm and had to head home. Even then, we only got through a part of the list. 

We obtained maps of Andersen county and Palestine, and set about to plot each family on the maps. In the mission, missionaries are permitted only a certain number of miles per month.  It was near the end of the month and we had miles to spare so we set out to cover all the widespread members in the far reaches of the ward. This is country!

As Elder Heward and I have traversed Andersen county seeking out the lost sheep, I have grown in some regards. Going onto people's ranches, trailers, etc. without even knowing them at all has been scary at times. Some people are incredibly friendly, some are awkward, and some are unfriendly. Our Bishop told us that the ward is in need of all its members.  

Many active members hold multiple callings. That has proved a two edged sword that works both ways. In my previous wards, there were many people.  Instead of people shortages, there were calling shortages. When working with inactive, less active, and really anyone in general an approach of "you need the church" was what we had to work with. And with so many other churches already, there were few people interested. 

Now, we go about with the message of "the church needs you."  With this invitation, we encourage everyone - no matter what sins have been committed in the past don't let it stop you from serving God, participating in the work of salvation, and enjoying the blessings of God. Perhaps our efforts have already yielded fruit, perhaps not. But regardless of the choices of others, I can invite others to come unto Christ with boldness and I love it. 

I love you Dad. You so often encouraged me to improve, to do better. As much as I rolled my eyes, I listened still. I have found that as long as I offer myself fully to the Lord, holding nothing back and improving myself day by day, it does not matter what happens. It does not matter if I can point to numbers or worldly praise to feel good about my mission. I just feel great. Thanks for providing an amazing start to my life. Thanks for providing for my mission.

Love Ya!