Monday, November 25, 2013

Dear friends and family,
What a great birthday I had! Thank you so much for the letters and words of kindness, support and encouragement. It was a great day full of many surprises! :) To my surprise, early in the morning of November 20, a man with a Tesco brand on his jacket and a tub of Oreo ice cream and a DOCTOR WHO CAKE arrived on my door. I was so happy!!! :)
Stewart and Teresa had a great week this week. When we went over, we had a good lunch and were sitting down to have a lesson. As I am reaching to take a Book of Mormon out of my jacket, Stewart walks around the corner of the kitchen with a cake and candles and everybody sang happy birthday to me. I was so surprised and grateful! Stewart was also able to make it to Church this week, which was great for him because he has not been for over 2 months! He also went and taught a less-active member named Nikki (you might remember her from a month ago about) with us! We have committed them to read the Family Proclamation and pray about it as a couple. I am so excited to see where they go in the future. They are a great family, and they are ready to start on the path to becoming sealed in the temple as a family after they are married and Teresa is baptized! :)
As for the Anghel family, we are still working with them. The marriage box went well for a few days, but they told us on saturday night that their children destroyed it. So maybe we should get them something less... destructible. :) I hope they will continue to work to move forward in the gospel.
We haven't been able to meet with Stefan and Rodica at all this last week because they haven't been home or have been busy. Stefan needs to know at this point in time the importance of being baptized because he knows the truth of the Restoration, and he needs to work on gaining a testimony through reading and prayer. We are praying that he will be ready to move forward and follow the path we have laid before him!
Nick and Lee weren't able to make it to Church, but we had a great lesson with them on tuesday, and then with Nick last night. The Spirit was so strong there! He has been reading and praying, and he was unsure of what to pray for. So we taught him from the scriptures about what Zenos prayed for and taught us to pray for, and he was able to recognize why he prayed and what he can pray for. He is on the path that Heavenly Father wants him to be on, and it is great to see his progress because of his willingness to do the things that God asks of him and his humility in learning and in asking. He is very kind and even offered to give us one of his old phones with google maps on it so we could find our friends that we are teaching. :) I have faith that the Lord will prepare him to be baptized and will help him to come to Church because of his faithfulness. I hope Lee will do the same as well as we teach him!
It is really crazy what happened when we went over to teach Mary and Ryan. Unfortunately, they had forgotten about our appointment with them. What was our surprise when we knocked on their door, and Nick's brother, Craig, opens the door! I have no doubt that the Lord has prepared Nick and Craig's families to come into the fold at this time. He was a bit surprised as well, because he knew us and that we were teaching Nick, and he knew that someone was coming to teach Mary and his two sons, Ryan and Deckland, but he didn't make the connection until we opened the door! It was pretty confusing at first, but once we had an understanding of the situation, it all clicked! SO COOl!
Also, Brother McGuinness made it out to Church this Sunday again, for the 2nd Sunday in a row! He is making such great progress, and I look forward to seeing him become a faithful, worthy member of the Church again! We also helped him paint his new game room, stairway, and upstairs hallway on Saturday morning. He was so jumpy and energetic on Saturday and at Church, it's a joy to behold.
On my birthday, also, at dinner, (which was at the Footes), I was yet treated with another surprise birthday cake! Elder Boehme is the best! :) As a side note, last P-Day I went and got a recorder. I talked to Sister Brown (President Brown's wife) about it, and she said it is ok to have a recorder. I have made sure not to let it distract from the work, and when I do play it, it helps me quite a bit. It's not a Saxophone, but it'll do for now. ;)
That pretty much wraps it up for this week! Thanks again for the birthday wishes, and I look forward to hearing from you all again soon!
Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. No snow yet, but it's STILL pretty freezing cold. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dear family and friends,
Another week gone by, and there are miracles happening left and right! The Anghels are making some good progress, and we introduced a very cool two-in-one secret weapon that Elder Boehme, Brother Foote, and I, came up with! It's called........................... The Marriage Box! Basically what it is, is it's a wooden box that cannot be opened except with a key, and there is a slot where the Anghels deposit money they would have used for cigarettes that week. That way they can save up the money to be married! I hope to see great results from this, because I feel it has been inspired of the Lord! We are also going to introduce tonight the Povestiri Din Cartea Lui Mormon, or the Stories in the Book of Mormon picture book to Stefan and Mihai and their families so they can come to understand the contents of the Cartea Lui Mormon a little more fully. And we are planning to teach Rodica (Stefan's wife) and resolve her concerns so Stefan CAN BE BAPTIZED! Also, do you remember Mary, the woman with the dog named Skye? Well, we went by her house, and we had a super positive conversation on her doorstep about learning about the Church. She told us her husband doesn't feel comfortable with us coming into his home and teaching them. She stated, however, that she had been researching our Church's beliefs to see if there was anything she would have trouble doing, and what was important to us. She really wants to read the Book of Mormon, and learn what it is all about, and she wants to text us or call us when she has a question or wants to contact us. She even acknowledged after we read a scripture from the Book of Mormon, she said she had a good feeling. She totally felt the Spirit while we were there. I can't wait to hear from her in the very near future! John McCormick (I don't know how McCormick is spelled yet, but we'll get there soon) invited us into his home for our scheduled appointment last week, and he was really struggling. He said he was feeling really sick, but still got us bottles of water and invited to give us food. We left after about 15 minutes because we saw he needed to rest and be alone. As we were descending the stairs in the close as we left his flat, I heard some of the most revolting, violent, and rather loud throwing up sounds I have ever heard in my life. It showed me his commitment to meeting with us, and his kindess to talk to us even though he was feeling really bad. We plan to meet again with him soon, under better circumstances hopefully!... :)
We also met with Nick and his flatmate, Lee, this Sunday and are really excited to establish a regular meeting basis with them, because they have felt the Spirit, have seen the happiness, joy, and calm that the gospel brings to our lives, and they are ready to receive it! We also met with Teresa and taught her about the THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD. She agreed with the things we discussed and read, and was able to recognize and follow the Spirit in learning truths. But this week, we committed Teresa to read THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD with Stewart and to pray about it together. They may seriously be considering marriage in these upcoming weeks! So don't forget them. :)
There is a lot going on here, but if I were to relate to you all that is happening 'the now' then I would probably take way too much space and of your time. :)
Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! I really appreciate it, and it brings a special happiness and love to my heart! The emails I received this week were absolutely fantastic and uplifting. Thank you!!!
BTW, Brother McGuinness made it to Church this week! HURRAH! It was really great to have him there, and he is making some great progress in the hand of the Lord! I have faith that the Lord will bring him back to activity and full confidence in his independence of harmful substances in the near future.
I have been studying 2 Nephi this month mostly, and it is really neat to see how much truth is found inside those chapters, and how many of those prophecies have been fulfilled! It is really amazing how much studying the scriptures every morning with a journal in hand can inspire you to receive revelation that will help you!
Again, thank you for the emails and scriptures and memes. I love you all SO MUCH! I love the Lord and His work, and I know the Gospel can bless the lives of families in ways that they cannot comprehend. It creates change in lives that is so obvious I sometimes can't help but laugh for joy because it's too cool. Stay strong in the gospel, because it changes hearts and brings families closer to God.
Love, Elder Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Does this part even get added to letters?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Family and Friends!
This week has definitely been another crazy one. We are still meeting with the Anghels, and had a few meetings with them and Fanel and now Maruis' father-in-law Vigorol or something that starts with a V. We were discussing about Sabbath-Day observance and him and Mihai the older had a problem with worshipping on Sunday. We showed them Acts 20:7 and he absolutely loved it. He said it was beautiful and invited us over to his house to teach him more. Mihai the older and Florica are heading to Ireland very soon, they might have actually left yesterday or today. We are hoping to get a hold of the missioanries in Limerick so we can keep them in contact with missionaries while they are away. Now the only Anghels left at home are Pupa, Zorinca, and their kids, and Elizabeth and David (Mihai and Florica's kids). I don't know if I told you, but in Latin pronunciation, David is pronounced DA-VEED, as in 'ought' and 'tree'. And we are still teaching Fanel and his family. Stephen from the charity shop is also making good progress. We have a great friendship with him, and he asks us questions and concerns he has, and he shares what he remembers from primary school.
We haven't been able to meet John MacCormack for a week and a half, but he has been really busy with his working schedule because he drives lauries. He still wants to bring his daughter to church and keep learning. We also met with Blair and Yolande, and Blair has recommitted to read the scriptures and pray. He will hopefully make it to church in 3 or 4 weeks. Brother McGuinness is also making great progress! He is going to go over to Brother MacDonald's 2 or 3 times a week, and he is becoming happier and more physically active. We are seeing him change as we meet with him every week, and we hope indexing with Brother MacDonald, praying and keeping the Lord's commitments we give to him, and meeting with us every week will help him to give up smoking and return to Church.
I exchanged companions with the Zone Leaders and ended up leading in Cumbernauld again with Elder Andrus this time. It was great, and I learned from him to always be kind and look for the prepared people. I also had one of the scariest experiences of my mission.
You know those huge fireworks that explode in the sky? Well, I was walking with Elder Andrus to Millcroft to teach the Romanians, and suddenly 15 feet above our head a firework exploded. It was so scary! Suddenly the ground and air shook, and I turn around and see sparks flying everywhere. It was so terrifying and cool. It was quite a nerve-wracking experience.
The reason there were fireworks was because it was Guy Fox day, where they celebrate the death of a terrorist, or something to that effect. Everywhere in fields and on random grass stretches in neighborhoods, people (usually Neds) make huge bonfires and burn all kinds of stuff in it and set off fireworks. We always go out on holidays though, 'cause missionaries don't have holidays. :) Except for Christmas. On Christmas, we will go to members houses and share messages and just hang out and have meals and such. This is what Elder Boehme has told me.
We are getting along pretty nicely, and are still trying to get better at the schedule. It is difficult with the Romanians, but we will try to leave earlier this week.
Last night I also had a great testimony builder that the Lord prepares His children to receive the Restored Gospel, and I know He plans everything perfectly. As Elder Boehme and I were in Condorrat, we decided to visit our friend Stephen and see what was up with him that Sunday, because he didn't show up to Church. On the way, we met a woman named Mary who was walking her dog Skye, and we started talking to her about the First Vision and the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth. She shared a special experience about how she knew God was there, and wanted her son to believe in God as well, but would leave the choice up to him. We talked about how, just how Joseph Smith prayed to Heavenly Father and received an answer, so can we, and the choice doesn't have to be made alone in blind faith. I have learned this week that faith is like a seed - we don't know if it will produce anything good. Many people say we cannot know the things we know, but I have felt and seen the seed of faith I planted in my heart long ago grow and produce great fruit and knowledge which is sweet and dear to my heart. We also shared with her the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 and it was a moment full of the Spirit of God. We are going to meet Mary and her two sons, Ryan and Deckland, on Friday at 4:00. What a great and spiritually uplifiting experience it was for us both.
The weather is also getting very interesting here! It is ''spitting'' today, where it is kind of raining, but it is very lightly. It's not quite like walking in a cloud though. It's also getting close to snow! I CAN'T WAIT 'TIL SNOW! How is the weather at home? Sister Foote's son, Wayne, gave Elder Boehme and I a red telephone box blank page journal. He said he wanted to give us a present, just in case one or both of us left before Christmas. It melted my heart, just like the pictures of Rusty and Karli I have on my wall at the moment. :) Cumbernauld is great! There is going to be some marvellous work done soon here.
Thank you for your prayers and your letters, they are such a significant help to me. I love you all and can't wait to hear more from you! I hope everything goes well, and I want you to know that I pray for you often. My family, my friends in the mission field and at home, and my ward family. I know the Church is true, and I am pretty much past the point of being able to deny it. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and that He cares for all His children, and has a plan for each of them. I know that the gospel brings happiness to families. I know the little things, like reading scriptures every day with family and individually and praying with family and individually can bring us much joy and hope in this life. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter.

P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Thank you for missionary work at home!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ahhhh!!! I love hearing from everyone every week! You have no idea what a blessing it is for me!
This week was a kind of weird week, but a good one nonetheless. You remember Stephen from the Charity Shop? Well, we finally actually met with him, and he is progressing well! He kept the commitment to come to church, and I think he enjoyed it! He made some good friends, and I think he was able to feel the Spirit. One lesson I learned this week was that you should always bear your testimony. Stephen arrived kind of late to sacrament meeting, and when he came in, it was about 10:45. The thing is, there were a smaller number of people at church than usual, and it was fast and testimony meeting, so it became readily apparent to me that unless people bear their testimony, than nothing good is happening! Which reminded me of the scripture Moroni 7:17 and the emphasis placed on what we might not do good instead of what we might do evil.
Steffan, the Romanian father in Airdrie also came to our church building this Sunday to help translate for Mihai the older so he would feel less left out during our meetings. The Spirit was strong, and it was amazing to see Steffan's and Mihai's testimony amongst the members. He is ready to be baptized, his wife just needs to get there too. We're planning on a giant teaching appointment with the Anghels and the Carpacis (Mihai and his family and Fanel and Marius' families, respectively) so that the Carpacis can hear the Anghels' testimony and learn and grow from it. It truly is powerful seeing a recent convert to the Church (albeit not baptized yet) bear their testimony and become more truly converted to Christ. Hopefully this week we will see miracles with the Anghels and Carpacis!
John McCormick is doing really well as well! He has read a lot of the Book of Mormon, is expressing concerns about abusing the priesthood, and he recognizes the next step is to come out to Church or a Church activity and see what it feels like. He is following God's plan for him to learn the gospel. We hope to keep moving forward quickly; we just need to teach him the  definition of ''transgress''. He even shared with us some Opera and Stevie Woodwind. He's fantastic! I also played the sacrament meeting hymns on the piano because our ward organist is in the hospital and our really good piano player, Sister MacDonald (coincidence? I think NOT!), was not feeling well. So I played 100, 124, and 169. It was a humbling experience, because I was constrained to play the simple arrangements for each hymn so I wouldn't play something really epic (maybe ;) ) or really wrong and drive away the Spirit. Because I couldn't play 169 very well, I played only the right hand. It made me realize that the beauty of the Hymns is not the arrangement, or the skill with which it is played, but the Spirit of it. (see D&C 25:12 for proof) I just heard from my companion that the Red Sox won the World Series. Woohoo! Also, Brother Buckle also told me that the BYU Cougars beat the Boise State Broncos for the first time in a long time! YES!!! What a great moment it was for Brother Buckle and I.
I want to thank Aunt Lish again for the thermal garments she got me. They're really pulling me through the coldness so far! I've been telling Elder Boehme that I want it to snow so bad! And then I read Karli's portion of the e-mail... and Brock's portion of the e-mail... and I totally realized that they're my family. And that I love them SO SO SO much.  (They referred to wanting snow in their letters too.)
Our friend Teresa returned from her 3-week holiday this month, and now we can start meeting with her regularly again. It's time to get her married and to the baptismal font. We're making such great progress! I hope to keep working hard and never stop!
A message to any and all members of the Church reading this: WE NEED YOU! At this conference in Elder Ballard's talk and from the mouth of President Brown (our mission president in the SIM mission) we have learned that the members are so crucial in finding God's prepared children and it is largely their responsibility to find those families and individuals who are ready to receive it! Please give your missionaries someone to teach. I promise you as you look for these individuals who are ready and refer them to the full-time missionaries, you will blessed with success! For the Lord has promised it.
How is the ward doing? I really would love to hear any progress or good success / any updates from the ward! I love you all so much! Please keep working hard, and stay strong in the gospel! I know that it is true with every ounce of my heart, and I cannot deny it, because the changes in people, the promptings and feelings of the Spirit, and the blessings I have received from the Lord are too numerous and special to my heart.
I love each of you, and hope to hear from you soon!
Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. If I don't respond to you, please remind me: I don't want to leave any unanswered or feeling as if I don't care about them.

Sunset in Condorrat

 Devin's apartment