Monday, January 27, 2014

Dear family, friends, and brothers and sisters in the work,

This week has been one of much topsy-turviness! We are still working on the mold in our flat, and we had to move our mattresses out of the bedroom so we could sleep in a non-mold environment (I hope... :) ). We also moved our fridge and food out of the pantry room to keep it away from the large amount of mold in there. So we have been sleeping on our mattresses on the ground in the closet room. Go figure.

Short note-I found the youth music downloads on, and they are fantastic. :)

This week Joe dropped us for good. He is not ready for more of the Restored Gospel at this time. It is tough when you have been working with someone for the better part of your mission so far, and they can so harshly and abruptly end their relationship with you. It helps me understand more what Heavenly Father must feel when we sin and when we don't do the things He asks. He gets this from billions of people not only through the world, but out of the world as well.
Betty also dropped us. She said she knows what we were teaching her is true, and she hasn't given up on the Book of Mormon yet, but she says she doesn't want to be separated more than she already is from her family by changing her religion, and she can't meet with us. But she is so golden, and I know she felt the Spirit, and she knows she felt the Spirit, and I know she knows that I know that she felt the Spirit and that I know she knows she felt the Spirit. We will not give up on her though, and we will certainly try by her soon again.

But STEPHEN! Yahoo! He is progressing towards baptism well. It is such a blessing to see people exercise their agency for good and against the odds. We taught him on Wednesday, and he was taking notes and trying to remember things. But on Church he didn't show up, and I became a little worried. So when we came over last night, he told us he has been having much back pain, and he still had us over to teach him a lesson. We taught him about the priesthood and then offered him a blessing, and he accepted. He has shown great faith and diligence in following Jesus Christ our Savior, and he is excited to be baptized on February 22nd! :) I am going to pray so hard that he is kept safe from the adversary, and I know that, if he chooses it, that Stephen can have (and does have) Heavenly Father on his side. Which is pretty awesome.

We also have 7 new investigators planned for this week, which will be so cool!!! I can't wait to get more people going. :)

Guess what? Last night, right before we went to teach Stephen, Elder Van Den Bron (one of our zone leaders in Glasgow who has been here since I was born into the mission) gave us a call. He asked if this was Elder Hunter he was talking to. I gave him the affirmative. He then proceeded to tell me about an inter-faith conference held in Glasgow, in which part many religious leaders would be attending, Jewish, Muslim, probably Protestant and Catholic, and, of course, President Brown. I was a little bit curious as to why he was telling me this. He informed me of a conversation he had with the guy who set up the Missionary Charity Concert in Princes Square Shopping Center. (Remember how I played a Bruno Mars song for that guy's proposal?) This guy, who seems to be in charge of music for the Glasgow and Paisley zones or something to that effect, asked Elder Van Den Bron and Elder Andrews if there was anyone with musical talent in the zone. Elder Van Den Bron said ''Well, there's Elder Hunter.'' I have now been invited and will be playing a short 10 minute interlude of ''classical'' music of which I have never before improvised nor played.

To put it in basic perspective, in front of probably over 100 people and a few of great religious influence and representation, including President Brown, I will improvise classical and spiritual music for 10 minutes on the piano with no sheet music.

Go figure.

Anyways, thank you for all the wonderful emails, and the letter this week! I feel greatly privileged to be in a ward (or from a ward at the present moment) who has 16 missionaries currently serving, and a family with whom I can trust to follow the Lord and discuss spiritual stuff. I know the Church is true, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in pure and sweet simplicity once again to the earth! I love my Savior, and my God.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter

P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Still not done with the candy stash... but getting there! :)
P.P.P.S. If you see me on the news, that would be sweet! But that's not what I'm here for. But it'd still be pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Well, I have learned some very important lessons this week. It has been really crazy like usual, but I'll try to get the important bits.

So first of all, this week was MOVES CALL. And.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................I'm staying another 6 weeks in Cumbernauld with Elder Christensen! I am so glad that I get the opportunity to serve in Cumbernauld for half a year. 6 months out! It's going by too fast to believe.

Stephen came to Church for the second week in a row! WOOHOO! We showed him the baptismal font, and he is still progressing towards becoming ready to be baptized. He has proven his determination and faithfulness to the Lord through his commitment to learn and to come to Church, and I have faith that he can be prepared with the help of the Lord to be baptized on February 22.

Stewart and Teresa weren't able to make it because they went to a restaurant named the Red Onion for her birthday and Matthew and Aaron are in Perth while they are who knows where. But we taught Matthew the Restoration before he left, and he is so ready to be baptized and move forward in the Gospel.

Joe is also still on the radar. He started drinking again for a night, but after much persistence and exhortation, he handed the drinks to us and allowed us to throw them away. We left him at his flat watching the Restoration DVD like we always seem to do, and we are going to visit him again tonight.

Betty is also doing well. She has been reading the Book of Mormon, and she is a bit confused judging by our last phone call, but she felt the Spirit really strong when we met her on Tuesday. She is excited to learn more, and we have left her after every lesson in tears (or very close). I know that the Lord has blessed us with finding her and that He has granted unto her the blessings of the Spirit and learning the Gospel. I cannot wait to meet her again tomorrow!

We also ran into... Nick! He was looking a bit run down from smoking, and he told us that both Mary (the lady with the dog from earlier) and him and Lee had been told some nasty stuff about the Church from Craig! Who is Mary's partner and Nick's brother. Which confirms the feelings that Elder Boehme and I had. We asked if we could come by and resolve the misunderstanding between us, but we haven't heard back from him yet. We can only pray!

I have also learned a lot about pride. With moves call coming up, it was easy to say ''Oh, Elder Christensen, you're going to be a leader'' and things like that. President Brown told us in his weekly email that missionaries shouldn't tell these kinds of things to each other. I am heeding this counsel now. I also learned that certain counsels should be left to those that are in authority, such as the Bishop for personal matters and parents for their own. I have gained a new respect for Ammon when he was boasting and Aaron rebuked him in Alma 26:10. Ammon replies in 26:11 with the words: ''I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.'' Humility is something I am currently striving for.

I have seen the miracles of the Lord many times this week. Last night, as we were riding our bikes through Abronhill, a small piece of glass pierced Elder Christensen's back tire, and we commenced in the long trek back. Much to our surprise and delight, we met a man named Collin Smith who was kind enough to take us back to his flat and fix the tire. We had a long and interesting conversation about religion with him, and we gave him a Book of Mormon to read. The Lord truly leads us to the prepared people through, by and large, our afflictions. In another instance yesterday, I was SUPER hungry at lunch, and I had to make another egg and salsa and ham and woodsmoke brown sauce, tortilla burrito. We got out a little bit late, and we hurried on our way to get work done. When we met Nick yesterday, it was right as he was coming out of his close, and we realized after that if I had not taken the time to eat, we would not have met Nick! Not that I should go overtime, that is for sure not good, but the Lord moves in mysterious ways. (and so has my stomach)

I think that is all for this week. I appreciate all the emails that I got this week and the letter! There is so much potential in Cumbernauld, and I can't wait to get somebody through to baptism! Stay strong in the Gospel, because it is true. I know it is true, and I know the Lord watches over His children.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Collin Smith apparently was a famous artist, so he gave me a sketch he was doing. Anybody know Collin Smith?
P.P.P.S. Still trying to work through our candy stash... :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dear immediate, extended, and ward family and friends,

This week has seen a lot of hard work and progress in the area from our companionship. I have been making efforts to tighten in my exact obedience and to make the companionship work. Service is definitely a big key. Brother Foote told me about a lesson he learned on his mission. He had a companionship where it just wasn't working, and they were two different personalities, and it is always difficult to work with a companion with which you are not one. He told me that he spent time to serve and to get to know his companion, and after the relationship with his companion came, the rest of the work came. I have found that to be true. We work hard, and I try to support him in his testifying and the thoughts he expresses. When you make the effort to love and take care of your friendship, it comes. The other person definitely has their agency, but you will feel like you are doing everything you can. And with Elder Christensen, it has been going well.

As far as the work is concerned, our friend Joe is still meeting with us and learning. He is at a better learning capacity now that he is off the drink (no more alcohol!!! which might mean he might not offer me another beanie to take home), and he is well aware of his baptismal date for March, which we might need to make earlier, but we'll see as we continue to work with him. Our relationship with Stephen is going quite well. We have just about daily contact with him, and he sometimes calls us to see how we're doing and we can teach him a principle or two. He was the only other investigator at Church yesterday except for Teresa, and we had a recent convert who was converted in Cumbernauld but lives in Malawi, Africa and also in the Springburn ward when he is in Scotland. His name is Witness and he is a great guy, he is a strong member, and we hope to make sure he is taken care of wherever he is. That seems to be the gist of where we're working so far, and we have some good potential less actives to work with. We lost contact with the lady with the dog unfortunately, Mary. We might try by in 6 months or so. We also have kind of lost Nick and Lee as well. We will try by occasionally with them as well.

We also have some great potential investigators this week. We have a fantastic couple, Heather and Eddy, that we are teaching tonight. Eddy loves to ask questions, and he is a very sharp and curious and laughing man. Elder Christensen connects with him very well. Last week, when we chapped on Eddy's door to see if he was home, his wife, Heather, came to the door. She said was not interested at all at first, but as we testified and taught her about Eternal Families, the Spirit and the soft feelings came. She became more and more interested, and after we prayed with her, her eyes were tearing up. She invited us back to teach her and her husband. It was a truly gratifying, teaching, humbling, and testimony-building experience.

We also have had some really cool experiences with an older woman named Betty. She had been reading a book about the Trinity, and she was a wee bit confused. We taught her once about the separate but unified nature of the Godhead, and when we went back, she had been having a rough time with her brother going through a heart attack and suffering all manner of infirmities. We prayed with her, and she felt the Spirit so strong and started crying when we were leaving. The third time we came back, we were able to set up a meeting time for tomorrow, Tuesday, to teach her more about the Restored Gospel. She kindly agreed. I am SOOOO looking forward to it! :)

We still have tons of candy in the flat, and I think it has been keeping my throat scratchy since Christmas, so I'm trying to cut down on it. Candy doesn't seem to make me fat anyways, I seem to be blessed with quite a nice metabolism. But touch wood.

We also have found a bit of mold in our flat and our vacuum isn't working anymore very well, but our iron has picked up the slack. All in all Ivanhoe is holding on and doing well.

I love hearing from home! Thank you Bryan and Grandma and everybody else who has written me! I greatly appreciate it! Please don't hesitate to write me. :) Missionaries love letters. (not missionaries' love letters, mind you ;) )

I don't think there's too much more to report... WAIT!!! So it turns out that Teresa is basically waiting for Stewart to ask her to get married, and I think that she is ready, but we need to work on Stewart just a bit more. I will update you on her and Matthew very soon. They are fantastic and ready to join the ward!!! :)

I love the work, and I love the Lord. I know that this work is not possible without Him, and that He is so loving and ready to bless us if we just do what He asks and then He'll SHOWER DOWN AS MANY BLESSINGS AS HE CAN!!! (unless you're a poor soul in a trial who needs to grow a wee bit, but He still blesses us there immensely). I know this Church is true, and that it is lead by the Savior Jesus Christ through the Prophet and Church leaders. And I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. It has iced over the past 4 days or so, but no snow yet. One can only hope!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dear family and friends,
This week was a topsy turvy week, but it is getting back to normal. Elder Christensen and I are starting to get along better and teach more in unity. It has been a bit different than Elder Boehme, and it is one of those relationships where there has to be compromise. Elder Christensen is a very clean person, and prefers many things to be done a certain way. He is germophobic. I am not quite as particular or careful or caring about germs as he is, and so we have to meet somewhere in the middle. He is a great guy, and one of the best elders in the mission, and I think he is my first companionship where I will have to learn how to work with him and compromise certain ways that I view things, so it has been a learning experience so far. It truly testifies to me that the Gospel holds together and creates a bond between those who may not be as compatible secular-wise.

Sunday was a crazy day: we met three less active members who I've never met before, and a former investigator who wants to become involved in the Church again. We also fasted for Teresa, and guess what? Her son Matthew is turning 8 in April, and I am pretty sure he wants to be baptized. Which means I will get to teach him the missionary lessons (at least part of them!) with Elder Christensen! I hope this means that Teresa will learn from the example of her son and decide to be married, and I will pray for that in the coming weeks.
The flat has so much candy!!! I think I might be gaining half a stone or something from all the sweets. I have so much candy from members, and from my family, and from a random salon owner named David, I am just overloaded! I don't think it is healthy for me to eat as much candy as I have been downing in the past few weeks, but it is not bad!

Nerf basketball is a good stress reliever. :)

We are also still meeting with Joe, and he is still off the drink! He has been doing well, but we need to get teaching him the commandments so he will not get bored! He studied to be a priest, and studied our Church quite a bit too! One just can't trust wikipedia though.

As for the weather forecast, I have stopped looking at them, because everyday it is guaranteed it will rain! The only question I really ask is how much it will rain and if I need a scarf and beanie or not. The suits and slacks are doing me well so far!

Elder Christensen and I met a young adult whose name is Flora Robertson. She is half-English, half-French (she likes the French side better) and she used to study with the BYU Independent Study or home school program. She is now studying at Glasgow University, and she is planning on moving to California with her asian boyfriend. It was a really cool experience as we talked to her, and we shared some of the gospel with her. We didn't get a return appointment, but those people I feel like they will come into the fold of the Shepherd at one time in their life.

Please tell Lynn and Melanie that I am praying for them, and keeping them in my thoughts. I love them both so much!

Well, that's me! I think that's all for this week! Thank you so much for writing me. I can really feel your love and and your prayers as I read about your experiences and families!

Elder Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. No snow... yet!
P.P.P.S. All of 2014 I will be on my mission! :) Whoa.
I didn't realize before I learned the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson that this is a continuous cycle that we live and repeat for the rest of our lives. We grow in faith in Jesus Christ, and that leads us to repent, partake of the sacrament after baptism, and, after being moved upon or inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives, we grow in our testimony and faith, and it starts again. It was so cool seeing all of you! I realized how precious our home is and what it means to have the Spirit dwelling at home. I am very grateful that the Spirit is able to reside at our flat (albeit we have a bit of cleaning up to do after Christmas) and that we can return to the flat each night. This week I have learned that the work of the Lord moves forward according to our diligence in keeping the commandments, much like the Liahona. Elder Christensen and I were teaching some people at their doors in Kildrum, and we were at a door where a young man was being cheeky with us. As he was proceeding to close the door, Elder Christensen threw a card into the door and it took me a few seconds to realize it. We walked away very quickly after that. We realized that then and a few doors earlier where I had been less than polite when someone closed the door quickly, that we were not being diligent in being dignified servants of the Lord. We apologized, and went to work again. We found some good people to teach again after that.
I have also been growing in my testimony that the Restoration could not have happened anywhere else or anytime earlier than in the Spring of 1820 in Palmyra, New York. There is no way that the Lord could have restored His Church and the Saints could have survived and spread the gospel except at this time. The Romanians often say that the Book of Mormon and that we claim the authority comes from its origin in America means that God loves America more than Jerusalem. I have come to know that the Book of Mormon proves that God speaks to and loves all His children, and that the Priesthood Authority of the true Church is being sent all over the Earth to establish the Lord's kingdom once again.
Elder Christensen and I have been trying to get the work moving again after it's short stumble during my choir tour and Christmas and New Year's, and we're really excited because Teresa's son Matthew is turning eight in April, and we will need to teach him the missionary discussions before he is baptized. Hopefully this will help Teresa see what she must do in order to set the example for her young sons. We are fasting as a ward for this cause this week, and we have faith that Teresa will come to knowledge of what she must do very soon.
I know this Gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and I know that Heavenly Father loves us enough that He sent His only Begotten Son to die and suffer horrible and unimaginable pains and punishments to allow us to live with Him again. I really like Elder Holland's discourse on Salvation never being easy. I would reccomend it to you all. I love you, and thank you for all your support! Stay strong in the Gospel, and always look for and pray for opportunities to share the limitless blessings of the Gospel.
Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Happy New Year!
Dear family,
I saw you two days ago, and it was absolutely fantastic and amazing to see your grown-up faces again! You are all growing up so fast! Brock does not sound the same, he's starting to sound more manly, and I can see his adam's apple, and he's 5'7''. Crazy! Also Jessie and Karli look so grown up! It was a really uplifting experience. I wish I could write more this week, but we only have an hour to email, so I will try my best to squeeze in as much as I can. Don't pay attention to my spling errurs.

On  Sunday 12 days ago, I left to arrive at the mission home, and we started practicing and preparing for the concerts that would take place the rest of the week. I ended up playing O Come O Come Emannuel on the recorder in a male octet and it was really powerful. I also played a duet with a sister named Sister Rousseau: she played Once In Royal David's City and then I came in the first two concerts with "Just The Way You Are" or in the last three concerts with"Where are you Christmas", and then we finished with an Angels We Have Heard On High. It was a really great experience, and the Spirit was really strong there.
I will write down more about the experience this week so I can email more about it next week.

Elder Christensen and I had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas as well. It was really interesting because on Tuesday the Paisley and Glasgow zones both met at Princes' Square Shopping Center to sing carols and share the spirit with people. It went really well. The twist was that on monday the man who was running the whole cooperation between us the charity he was working with for disabled children and adults learning to integrate into society told me that a man had asked us that we play and sing Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" during the lunchtime period so he could propose to his hopeful fiancee. And guess who he saw playing Bruno Mars at the concert in Paisley last week? So I played the song on the piano while Elder Sewell and Sister Ricks sang a wonderful duet to the music. AND... she said yes.

Christmas I ended up a bit under the weather, and I still kind of am, but I hope to shake that off very soon and get back to work as soon as possible! I love you, I love the work, I love the Lord, and I know this Church is true. I have felt it in my heart and I know without a doubt that it is true. And I say these things int eh name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. I think that is the weirdest and most unexpected Christmas Eve surprise that I have and might ever witness. :)

Thank you so much for all your support and your love!
Dear Parents,

I wish I had time to write you individually  about your missionary’s participation in our concert party. Your missionary has probably told you that the group toured the mission presenting a Christmas concert in 5 cities. Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paisley. I want you to know that they were nothing short of magnificent! They sang in choir, male ensemble, quartets, trios, duets and solo’s, played instruments and otherwise Wowed the audiences.

Sister Brown and I were thrilled as we watched, listened and felt the spirit at each performance. This experience has done much to move the Work of Salvation forward in Scotland as non-members came to hear them and members begged us to do it again next year.

The group selected seemed to blend so well and the balance of voices gave a feeling of profound depth and richness to their singing. Thank you for your encouragement of their musical talent and for lending them to us – I tell them all that if you ever kick them out I have the adoption papers ready!! They are truly champions!

With love and gratitude,

Alan H. Brown,
Scotland/Ireland Mission