Friday, January 23, 2015

The Parable of the Four-Wheel Drive Truck

January 19, 2014

Hey Y'all!

Pretty good week here.

Last Tuesday we went on exchanges with Elders Erickson and Rodriguez from Nacogdoches (an hour south of Henderson).  They are Spanish missionaries, so I got to really brush up on my Spanish! I am glad to say I held my own and for the most part was able to tell generally what was being said, albeit able to contribute not much. 

Nacogdoches county's roads are pretty bad so Elders Erickson and Rodriguez have a truck with four-wheel drive. Turned out well that we had it.  I was with Elder Rodriguez who is from El Salvador and has no American drivers licence  so I was driving. I had parked the truck off to the side of a rather shoddy road while he was talking on the phone with the Ward Mission Leader. Dirt rain ditches ran the entire length of the road and it had rained a few days prior. 

After he finished, I put the vehicle into drive and started forward only to have the truck move sideways rather than forward! Our right side wheels were both in the ditch in the mud and the truck was stuck; pushing the pedal did nothing for us. Elder Rodriguez pushed a button that initiated four-wheel drive but driving straight back out was still impossible. So I drove into the ditch to level out the wheels then powered out of the mess. Then we were free - the truck was very muddy but nonetheless free!

Jesus Christ rode the good road. While His way is not always the easiest or most popular, His is the way to return to live with our Heavenly Father. All the parts and appendages of His gospel are the roadmaps, GPS units, spare tires, and gas cans needed to get us there.

Sometimes we get stuck in a ditch.   Even when we pull ourselves out, we are still dirty, still filthy. We as children of God can turn from sin, escape it and even put it long behind us, but the mud remains. Only Christ, the purest of all, can cleanse us. Works cannot save us, only His grace. We also, however, cannot remain in our ditch and expect to get to the Kingdom of Heaven.  We must, with His help and the help of others around us, pull out. Thus both grace and works combine to change us, sanctify us and bring us home. 

During that exchange, Elders Witkowski and Erickson visited the Martinezes, a Mexican family we had found recently. The mother does not speak English and that was a barrier for us until then. They were able to have a great lesson and answer many questions she had. We returned again (Elder Witkowski and I) a couple days later to find they had much family over! Easily 25 people there visiting from Amarillo and Kilgore, all related. We were able to help them clean up Brother Martinezes backyard, answer questions and teach a little bit. Hendy is picking up the pace a bit.  We found two more people who want to learn about the gospel - Matthew and Theodis as well as a few other people. We also finally got Brother Crow to church! We had helped him move in a month or two ago and have been working with him ever since, slowly progressing we asked him to give us ride to stake conference up in Longview- and he was excited to go- calling us that morning and telling us we could head up early if we wanted to!  

Love Yall!!!!!!!!!

-Elder Hunt

Friday, January 16, 2015

Duck Dynasty

January 13, 2015


Today I will debunk some myths about Dallas and Texas.  Many people think all Texas is a desert with cactuses and cowboys and such. While this is true of West Texas, East Texas is very green and forested.  I think y'all saw that with some of the pictures I sent back when I was in Palestine. 

People also think of cowboys when they think of Texas - cowboy hat, flannel shirt, blue jeans, and pointed-toe cowboy boots. Texas in this part here is somewhat different. Being so close to Louisiana, East Texas takes kind of a mix of Texas and Louisiana dress and culture. Stereotypical East Texas dress is a camo hoodie (not army-style camo but hunter camo), an old baseball cap (rounded- not flat bill), jeans (sometimes blue but often other colors of jeans), square-toe cowboy boots (never pointed-toe) and to top it all off- an awesome beard! 
Look up the T.V. show  Duck Dynasty if you don't already know it. It is extremely popular out here and I've seen more than a few guys walking around rocking that kind of look. 

Another thing that kind of surprised me is how Christian it is here. People call Texas the buckle of the Bible belt. "God bless" is a common phrase. Everyone goes to church and I can count on one hand the number of people here in Henderson who have told me they're atheist. Not using that as an expression- it is literally less than five. I can walk into the local Wal-Mart and purchase a t-shirt with verses of Bible scripture on it. 

The cowboy look is rare- however if you go into Fort Worth and further west I hear it is very common. 

Past week was a bit disappointing for Elder Witkowski and I. But good news is that Elder Witkowski gave a talk in church yesterday and we finally got a gospel principles class! We will be the ones teaching it but that should be fine. 

It has been very rainy here for the past two weeks. Thankfully we have not dipped below freezing nor come close to having ice. 

I love y'all very much!

-Elder Hunt

Monday, January 5, 2015

Life in Great East Texas is so good!

January 6, 2015

Hi Y'all!

Life in Great East Texas is so good. We are continuing with the "Another Testament" initiative, inviting people to make changes in their lives by following Christ. The Book of Mormon is the crux of that effort, center of our proselyting! 

Yesterday was a great day, we spoke to the youth about sharing the Book of Mormon with their friends out of sincerity and a desire to share something that has made a great difference in the lives. We also invited them to gain a strong testimony of the book if they did not already have one. We were asked to train the relief society and that went extremely well. 

-Elder Hunt