Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 48

Well, changes have come and gone and I am now located in the wonderful city of Riobamba. I have been made the District Leader of one of the largest Districts here in the Mission, basically meaning bring on the stress ;) It's been a good change and I'm super excited for what this one has to bring for me! My new companion's name is Elder Read. He is from Connecticut which is really cool. He has 7 months out in the mission field and he seems to be a really great missionary and ready to work, at least I sure hope he is :) 

So, the bad news from this week is that the baptisms we had all fell through :( The parents of Estiben and Alexander weren't able to get married yet but will be soon so that makes me super happy! Liseth's fell through because her little brother got burned and had to go to the hospital and her whole family is there. They don't want her to get baptized without them them. At first I was a little impatient with it all but I felt peace knowing that they are in the Lords hands and they will get baptized, just a little bit later :) 

It was absolutely amazing being able to talk to my family for Christmas! It really has given me the motivation that I need to keep working hard and stay focused. I don't have much more to share with you guys other than it wasn't the easiest thing having to leave behind more people that we were able to baptize. The members in that ward were super great and really supportive of us. We were able to have a great Ward New Years party and it was really successful! I could feel and see the Ward growing closer which was something they have needed dearly! I love you all and hope you have a great New Year!!!

Con mucho amor, 
Elder Hunt :) 
1LOVE























Week 47

Another week down here in the incredibly chilly weather of Santo Domingo.... It just isn't normal to have a Hot Christmas but it could be worse. This week went by super fast but it was a good one! We were able to start the week out great and visit a new family we found a couple of weeks ago and then stop by and visit a less active member. She asked us if we could get her a Book of Mormon and she really wants to come back so I'm excited :) Throughout the week we had some really great lessons and were able to get a lot done. 

On Thursday, we headed up to Quito to have our Christmas Dinner with President Christensen. We woke up at 3:00 in the morning on Thursday to leave and got there at about 9:00. We learned some great things from the Assistantes, Zone Leaders and President Christensen. We then had a White Elephant gift exchange which was quite interesting. We were then able to have a Family Home Evening with them and we all enjoyed that a lot :) We then had to head back to Santo Domingo and got back here at about 11:00 at night. Long story short it was a super long day and very tiring but it was also super good :) 

On Saturday, we were able to have two Baptisms, Christian and Alejandra and they went really smooth which is always nice! This week we have 3 baptisms planned and are planning on getting the parents of Estiben and Alexander married :) 

Sunday wasn't as successful as last week but we were still able to get people to church and keep them progressing so that made the week good :) I really hope that you all enjoy Christmas and remember that its not all about the gifts. Strive to focus more on Christ and you truly will have a Merry Christmas! All of you that have missionaries out, enjoy your visits!! :)

Love you all,
Elder Hunt


Elder Hunt & Elder Goodfellow





















Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Week 46

Well, we just finished a great week here in Santo Domingo! This week I can definitely say that all of our hard has work paid off and it really does show how much the Lord helps us to complete his will. We received a ton of help from Members and were able to find some new people that have been prepared to receive this gospel. We ended up having 12 people at church! We have 2 Baptisms planned for this week and 3 planned for next week. 

Now I just want to explain something real fast to save me from having to do so later. I know that as of right now we have only baptized children/ teenagers but I just want you all to know that that's not all we are doing. We have been working extremely hard with their families. The parents of Alexander and Estiben are getting married and baptized soon. The parents of Maria Jose, Camila, and Andres are also now coming to church and are planning on getting married, which also means that their mom can get baptized and their dad can be reactivated:) We are getting ready to baptize the sister of Lulu and her mom and her grandparents are now coming back to church and with a little bit more work will be reactivated. I just don't want you all to think that were just finding random kids on the streets and getting them baptized. 

I really have enjoyed my time here in Santo Domingo and I will be sad if its my turn to leave but we need to do what the lord wants, not what we want. So I'd now like to share with you all some of the events that took place this past week. 

So to start it all off on Monday we found out that the member we always go out with named Angel eats dog at his house :O Now to explain it a little better he's from a place called Loja where they eat all sorts of weird stuff. My companion and I went to go pick him up for a cita and noticed that they always have a bunch of dogs but different ones every time we come by. He cheerfully answered our questions and invited us to try it sometime so I'll let you all know when that day comes :) 

On Tuesday we were at the house of the Briones Family and just as we ended the lesson with Lulu's sister the roof caved in...... hahaha! It was super crazy but don't worry, nobody got hurt it was just scary! One of the Bamboo poles holding it up broke so they just had to replace it that's all. Then something even more interesting happened. The Doctor's office below our house got closed down for a few weeks for not paying their taxes for this month so they started doing their appointments in one of the apartments. If I'm not mistaken they perform minor surgeries there so that's pretty sketchy haha! It just goes to show you how awesome Ecuador is. My comp and I have discussed how that just would not fly in the States but hey it's all good. We haven't heard of anyone dying yet ;) 

So that was what went down here this week pretty crazy and it turned out to be a great week! I finally got my packages from my family and I can already tell it's going to be a great Christmas :) I hope you all can not only physically prepare for christmas but also spiritually as it can be easy to lose focus on what's more important. I love you all and keep you in my Prayers! I hope you all have a great week! Love, Elder Hunt

Elder Hunt enjoying some of the things that came in his package:)


Elder Hun't Little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Elder Hunt with his little tree :)
(His mom was happy to see that they were able to get a bigger one too!!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 45

T-minus 2 and a half weeks till I get to talk to my family again! It's great to be able to feel the Christmas Spirit even though I'm thousands of miles away from home. Today we went to Supermaxi, basically Walmart, and they were playing all American Christmas Music :) Thats also one of the reasons that I don't like going there is because I miss all of the music from back home!

So this week was a pretty good one. We started the week off with two Family Home Evenings, one with Members and one with Investigators. It turned out to be really good as we were able to watch the new church video called "He is the Gift" and we got two references out of it so it was a good day! 

Tuesday was kind of a tough day as that's when we usually go out to a place called Macadamia in our sector. It takes about 15 minutes in a bus to get there. We were able to visit a few of the less active members that live out there. We had a family home evening with a ton of members and the family of Lulu. It went super good! That's really what that family needs to get them back to the church.

Wednesday was a good day and we were able to go visit some of our investigators that we have who are progressing. We visited with Family Zambrano who we're still working with to get married. It frustrates me how hard they make it to get married here! That's a big reason why they just live together and aren't married. That's what I really want to do before I leave here is to be able to help them get baptized and married. That would be awesome! :)

Thursday I'm sad to report that I was in bed all day, sicker than a dog! I was throwing up and had diarrea so that wasn't the best day. It made me mad too because that was the day we were going to visit more of the people we have but we werent able to.

Friday I felt a ton better and we went out and worked the whole day. We were able to go visit Estiben by himself to help him prepare more for a mission. In the morning we also went out to teach one of Lulu's sisters but she wasn't there so we headed over to pass by some less active members and happened to pass by one who had just had surgery done on his back and had one of the best lessons ever! Let's just say, there were many tears shed.... not by me of course since real men dont cry ;) It was great to sit down and get to know him better and have him open up to us and confide in us to help him!

Saturday we were able to contact a few of the references we had received earlier in the week but they weren't too interested. I don't think that the time we went over was the greatest to contact them but this week we are going to work with them more for sure as they have a HUGE family. They were able to go to a Relief Society Activity and really liked it so I'm hoping we can keep them going and get them progressing.

Sunday was a pretty stressful day. The ward has a hard time doing things with order here so that makes our day quite the interesting one! We got all the people we needed to at church but this week we really need to focus on getting the families we have progressing and to the waters of Baptism. It's great to be able to see the results of our hard work here and great to be able to start over on a new week as the other is already behind us. I hope you all have a great day! 

Con mucho amor, 
Elder Hunt

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 44

Well....what a week it has been! I hope you all enjoyed your feasts and the good ol Thanksgiving Football games! This past week was a very good one for Elder Goodfellow and I. I'll give you all the lay down of what happened this week. 

So, on Monday it was Andres' Birthday. We wanted to do something special for him and invite some members and the Young Men to throw a surprise party for him. It actually turned out to be a really good idea and worked out great! He turned 12 so we shared a message on the Aaronic Priesthood so he could understand the Gift that he was going to be able to receive on Sunday. It was a great message! Then we sang to him and had cake. One thing that they like to do here is when you blow out the candles, they shove your face in the cake haha so that was pretty great to see! He seemed really happy:) His Grandma had told me before hand how he didn't want to have the Priesthood and how he didn't have many friends so I was really glad we did something to help him!  

On Tuesday we were able to have a Family Home Evening with Familia Briones (less active family of Lulu) and get to know a lot more about them. It turns out that the parents and almost all of the children and grandchildren are members but they all went inactive together. We shared a message about taking our daily bread and focused on Reading the Scriptures, Praying, and Attending church. It turned out to be a great lesson and I'm excited to get working more with such a great family! 

On Wednesday we talked to our Mamita (the wonderful lady who helps us with cooking and our laundry) about if we could do something with her and her family for Christmas and she gladly accepted. We now have a great family to be with on Christmas day and a laptop, a Smart T.V. and tablet so it will make for a great Christmas!! 

Thursday was the day. We all thought we wouldn't be able to have a Thanksgiving feast but low and behold a family in the ward offered to help us out with that as it was just unacceptable. We all helped to prepare a nice Thanksgiving Feast with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Chicken, Stuffing (or at least something like it but sweet) and Rice, we can't forget the rice down here in Latino America ;) It really did turn out to be really nice and it helped us to get to know them a little bit better. I love how willing the people here are to help us Missionaries feel right at home! I'm thankful for the love that the members down here have for the Lord and for his Gospel! 

Friday was a pretty normal day and just a little bit trunky but we were able to visit the people that we have that are progressing. 

Saturday was full of stuff to do. We started the day off early in the morning to go out a little ways into our sector to visit some less active families. Then we were able to have lunch with Familia Zhingre. I really do enjoy eating and visiting with them. They have a missionary out right now who is serving in Honduras so it's nice to be able to talk to her and see how our misson sometimes affects our mothers (sorry about all the tear filled days mom :/) but also, how happy it makes her to know that her son is out there blessing tons of people! 

After lunch we headed to the Chapel to get everything ready for the Baptism. Like always, we started a little bit late but it was great to finally get her baptized and begin helping this family come back to the Church. I was the one that she chose to baptize her and I'm not going to lie, I really miss having the nice warm water like we had in Quito! Overall it was a great Saturday and a great way to mark my 10 months of being here in the mission!

Sunday was a pretty great day as well. In total we had 6 people at church and ended the week on a good note. We also were able to have a Stake Priesthood Conference to help us to know what our duty is as Priesthood Holders. Overall I have to say it was a great week and I'm ready for another one. 

I can't believe we're already into December and I know it will go by fast so let's end 2014 off good!! I hope that you all have a great week this week!  Don't get to stressed out about Christmas. Remember to focus on Christ and the reason that we celebrate Christmas. It is often really easy for us to get caught up in the things of the world and forget about the things that are most important. I want to urge you all to watch the new Christmas Message on the church website (www.lds.org) called "He is the Gift" and also "Thanks to Him". I love you all! 

Con amor, 
Elder Hunt


Andres Birthday Celebration


Thanksgiving Dinner




Baptism :)



Relaxing in my hammock




We put up a Christmas Tree!!


 
Some Pictures of our apartment




Elder Goodfellow









Week 43

Well its about time, Thanksgiving has officially arrived. Now the bad news.... They don't celebrate it here :P It's going to be a tough week but it will be nice to be able to focus more and show the Lord how truly grateful I am for all of the things he has given me in my life! 

This week I will also complete my 10th month out in the mission, which is just crazy!! Good news is that I will be celebrating it with the baptism of Lulu B, the granddaughter of a less active who we just helped reactivate :) It will be nice to have another baptism! I really hope we can get the families we have to the point of being baptized and getting them married. I will let you all know about that later! 

We are still working hard to help get this ward back into good shape. I hope that the Christmas Season can help them remember the whole reason why we're here. We really do have to develop the True Love of Christ in our lives. It's crazy how everything here is just so normal now. I love it here! 

I still think of all of you and pray for you! I hope that you have a great week and enjoy your Thanksgiving Feast, just don't go overboard. Eat an extra piece of Pumpkin Pie or Apple Crisp:)  I would really like some of that right now! It's okay though, I've got my rice and chicken :) Haha I love you all and am thankful for all the people the lord has blessed me with in my life!!

Con mucho Amor, 
Elder Hunt

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week 42

Well, the day has come Ladies and Gents, the change has ended. As exciting and stressful as yesterday was, I was greatly relieved to find out that Elder Goodfellow and I will be staying here for another change. There are so many more people who I want to help here! We have 3 families we are working with right now. In our district we only had 2 changes so not much is different although now we have an Elder from Mexico so no more "All Americans" :P 

This last week wasn't the greatest and we didn't have the success we wanted but hey we still have plenty of time. Yesterday we were able to have a Ward Counsel Training at the Stake Center. I really hope that it will help our ward out so we can all work together. This last week we were able to provide service to a few families here in the ward which was nice since we haven't been able to for a while. 

We had a new difficulty come up this past week which I have a feeling will affect us for a while. In one of the popular newspapers here they published an article about how Joseph Smith had 40 wives. Let me just say that they really do blow everything out of proportion and like to twist the truth! I've heard that the church has come out with a few videos to help people understand more about the falsehoods that are commonly spread about us. It sucks that there is so much contention in today's day and I know that it's only going to get worse before it gets better! It is really going to prove who is loyal to the Lord and who is not! 

One thing that I have really learned to do here on my mission is to defend my faith and my beliefs, something that I definitely couldn't have done before. I will forever treasure the things that I am learning here on my mission and can only hope that I will continue to do so! 

There was a talk given by Elder Neil L Anderson in the October Conference that talks about how important it is to really become converted and be able to defend what we know so that we can be ready to help others do so too. I'm thankful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost that we have all received and the guidance that it gives us everyday in our lives. If we will but follow the prompting's of the Holy Ghost and stay on the path the Lord has set before us, and hold fast to the Iron Rod, we will make it to the tree of life! 

I can attest that although it is not easy being a follower of Christ in these times, it is worth it! Just being a member of the Lord's Church doesn't guarantee us eternal life, that depends on each one of us and how we live. Be an example to the people around you. Seek to find people that really need your help in their lives so that they can be brought to the knowledge that we have in our lives, so they can receive the blessings of God. I love you all and I love the lords work here on the earth! 


I hope you all have a great week! 
Con mucho amor, 
Elder Hunt


Missionaries in my District




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Week 41

It's crazy how close I am getting to completing a year here in the mission! It's a great feeling but at the same time it scares me as there are still many things that I want to get better at and change to help the people around me. 

This past week, my Companion and I had to travel to Quito for a verification meeting with President Christensen. Lets just say that I don't love that trip.... I don't miss being in Quito. It was nice to be able to see President Christensen again. He really is such an amazing Servant of the Lord! He has so much love for all the missionaries here in our mission. He really is doing so much to help us reach our true potential so that we can help as many people as we can here in Ecuador. 

We were going to go visit the Tsachilas (An Indiginous Indian Tribe here), but we didn't get permission so were played soccer again. The love that I once had for soccer has greatly decreased while being here on the mission as now every time I play, all I get out of it is being super sore for 3 days.

This last week we were able to get 6 people at church. Family Espinosa (2), Family Zambrano (2, Parents of Alexander and Estiben), Lulu and Alejandra (Grand daughters of a less active member who we have reactivated). What we are really trying to focus on now is getting our recent Converts and Investigators to the point where they have friends in the church so that when we leave they don't go inactive. 

This last week we did a family home evening with Family Zambrano and Family Zhingre to help F. Zambrano meet more friends and to have an example of why they should get married. On Saturday we had the baptism of Rosa. It was great to finally baptize her!  I'm really excited to finally baptize a family! Although we are having success, there is much more that we can be doing and more people that need our help in their lives. I truly do love this work and the blessings we receive while making sacrifices in our own lives for the Lord. I hope you all have a great week! I can truly feel the love that God has for each and every one of you! 

It saddens me to hear about all of the deaths that have been occurring back at home! Please make sure that if you know of someone that has suffered something like that to reach out to them! President Monson said in his talk last spring "Although tomorrow you may forget the words you say or things you do for someone, they may cherish them for a lifetime." Show forth the true love of Christ. I love you all and wish the best for you!

Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder Hunt

Baptism of Andres

 Baptism of Rosa with Estiben and Alexander

The Sanchez Family put their Christmas tree up already :) haha



Me and my Zone Leader Elder Lop├ęz after soccer



Sweet sunset we had the other day


Sweet sunset we had the other day
 

 
My favorite fruit here called Guanabana :)


My favorite fruit here called Guanabana :)


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Week 40

Well, the end to a great week has come! This week was a really good one and a fun one too. Our hard work really paid off and we were able to end it with success:) It was quite the crazy week but those are the ones that usually make for the good ones! 

First off, one of our Investigators broke up with her boyfriend, our recent Convert, and wasn't sure anymore if she wanted to attend our ward and get baptized as she has no support from her family. A few days after that they finally made up and got back together luckily and now she is really excited for her baptism! I knew that she would get baptized no matter what but it's a really great opportunity for Estiben to get some practice with Missionary work. He's been reading Preach My Gospel and is planning on going to the Temple here in a few weeks with his little brother. We are currently working with their parents also so that they can get married and baptized. That's our goal, to get them all to the Temple and sealed as a family. 

We also found another family this last week named the Espinosa family. They found out about the church from the church website. The mom watched/read something about Eternal Families. She asked her husband if he would like to be with her and their daughters forever and he said yes! She told him that she found out how they can do it. They really are so great and so ready to accept this gospel and really change their lives. They are so accepting of everything and as the mom partook of the sacrament on Sunday she said she really felt the spirit and that it was something she could not explain, something she had never felt before in the Catholic Church. I'm so excited to really help them reach their true potential and receive the blessings that our Heavenly Father has for them! 

We were able to baptize Andres on Saturday and are now working to get his mom and dad married, his mom baptized and his dad active in the church again. Here, there are a lot of less active members that are so ready to come back to the church and many of families that have family members who aren't baptized. We are working on getting them active again and baptize those who need it. I really do love this work and can see how it is truly blessing me in my life! 

Today we got to play soccer as my Zone Leader, Elder Lopez from Spain goes home after this change. Lets just say it was a little bit hot and I may or may not have gotten really sunburned but hey, we go hard on P-Days haha!! I love you all and hope you all have a great week! 

Que Dios Les Bendiga!! 
Con Mucho Amor, 
Elder Hunt

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 39

Well, we are now officially done with my first change as being trainer. This last week was a pretty good one! We were able to find some new people and we will be having another baptism this coming Saturday. 

Right now we are really focusing on the less active families where not all of them are baptized. There are more than 1000 members in my ward here but every week we average about 150 who attend church so were really working hard to find all those members that aren't coming. It's been a little bit hard since we haven't received as much help from the members lately but we are now focusing on strengthening the ward so we can have the help that we need. That's something I've learned while being here - that missionary work without help from the members just doesn't work out as well. They play such a huge role in this work and without them we can't do much! 

We found a family that has a lot of references for us but they don't really trust the missionaries here (we've had quite a few not so righteous missionaries in this ward before) but they do have the desire to help us. My companion and I are really excited to prove to them that we are here to work and to gain their trust!

Tonight we have a family home evening with them and a few of the references they have for us. It's great to be here and to be able to help the members and the members that have become less active as they also need a lot of help in their lives! I'm excited for this week and to be able to work more with the members and have more success. Thank you all for your support and for all the prayers sent my way! They truly have strengthened me in the times when I need them most! I hope you all have a great week! 

Con mucho amor, 
Elder Hunt


Elder Hunt & Elder Goodfellow after the family
history activity we had with a member named Jair


The really good and surprisingly
cheap frozen yogurt we bought today




Central Park with a statue and a
Catholic Church that's actually pretty cool!




Santo Domingo streets, pretty cool!