Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This week was very interesting, as Cumbernauld usually is. Diane Fletcher dropped us this week. She said she had just wanted to learn more about her grandmother's religion, and she didn't see how it could benefit. We tried to see if we could come by some time this week to talk to her in person, but she refused. I don't think it's her time yet. Elder Davis, my district leader from Airdrie, told us about an investigator he had in one of his areas who he taught for a while, but they never brought up the fact that their goal for her was baptism. One lesson, Elder Davis invited her to be baptized, and she just started laughing. Then, when she realized he wasn't joking, she said ''Are you serious?'' It has re-impressed upon my mind the importance of how we begin teaching people - by setting up expectations, by setting mutual goals and an understanding learning environment, and making sure we're on the same page.

We are also still teaching Bridy, who didn't read the Book of Mormon this week, because she was busy, but we recommitted her to read, and she is feeling ''calm'' when she reads. It is great to see her faith in the Lord as she reads and cross-studies the Book of Mormon and the Bible together, and she is still learning everything quite comprehensively. We also took Brother Buckel, an older man in the ward who I have never joint taught with, to teach with us. It went a lot better than I expected, and it taught me that the gospel blesses all families who live it.

Guess what? We went to give Joe the final Come to Jesus talk, and we told him we had to see him 3 times a week, and we had to see commitment from him if we are to keep teaching him. And... he was completely sober and had been reading the Book of Mormon, and agreed to our terms. SO... Joe's back. Again. :)

Stephen has also started watching the Book of Mormon reader videos on his iPad. He enjoys them, and is able to relate the story quite well back to us. He has been keeping the commitment to pray and watch the videos. We also found out that he has been not quite honest with us all the way. He accepted coffee at the charity shop from his friends, and we don't know if he is keeping the Law of Chastity because his college friend comes over at night, and when she asked him for coffee from his bedroom, he said ''SHHHHH! Don't you want a coke or something?'' But we will talk to him this week, and be honest with him, and we hope he is honest with us. The Gospel functions on honesty - honest prayer, honest searching for the truth with ''real intent'', honest testimony, honest openness to the Spirit, eternal truth, and honest commitment to living the Gospel.

I really liked as I was studying this week in Alma 49. It talks about how Moroni fortified all the cities occupied by the Nephites. The Lamanites, intent on destroying the Nephites, first march toward the city of Ammonihah, because they remembered in the past that it was the weakest city. However, upon arriving, they are astonished because the city has all manner of preparations for war. They abandon the hope of taking Ammonihah, and revert to plan B; attack the city of Noah. Then again, to their astonishment, and even after a fierce attempt to take the city, they are defeated by the preparations and the fortifications of the Nephites. It taught me that Satan will attack the areas that he knows is weak. In Ether 12:27, it says that the Lord gives us weakness, so that when we humble ourselves and come to Him, He will make our weaknesses strong. I looked for a weakness this week, and worked to overcome it, and I saw my relationship with my companion and the Lord improve. Just like the Nephite cities, we can look for our weak points, and improve them, so when Satan comes to take advantage of them, we are prepared. It also goes the same way with missionary work. When I look for the areas I can improve, and then make plans to carry them out, I can fortify the work and help it hasten like the Lord is asking us to do.

No crazy people or animals this week.

Also... this next Sunday is Moves' Call, so Elder Christensen and I will know where we are ending up for the next transfer. I have a feeling I will be moving, because I have been here in lovely Cumbernauld for 6 months, and I think Elder Christensen will be staying (and possibly training, as Cumbernauld seems to be a place where missionaries get trained a lot, but it's up to the Lord). We will see where the Lord wants me the next month and a half! :) Which means I will not email 'til about Wednesday I believe.

Thank you for your support and emails, and I appreciate all the love I get each week. I have found out that letters and pictures from home uplift my soul and my joy, and can sometimes even bring tears of happiness. So thank you. :)

I know the Gospel is true. I know the Lord is patient with those He works with, and uses their special talents and abilities to help others. I know the Gospel bless families.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Spell check thinks Devin isn't a real word... :'( oh well

Monday, February 17, 2014

This week was a rather interesting and learning experience.

First off, Stephen wasn't baptized. He didn't pass his interview, because he wasn't ready. Normally, that would have upset me, but I have realized the important lesson that was lurking in the back of my mind, but I have not really acknowledged until now: conversion is more important and preliminary to baptism. Stephen told us on Friday, 3 days after his interview, that he didn't want to be baptized unless he felt ready, and I was in total agreement with him. He will need more time, and will not be baptized before I leave Cumbernauld. But, I know he can be ready by April. It may take more time; it may take less. But what's important is knowing he is ready and making sure he has the desire to be baptized, and not us for him. He still loves learning, and wants to learn more so he knows he is ready when he is baptized. Elder Davis, our district leader in the Airdrie area, told us this analogy: giving a million-dollar car to someone who doesn't know how to drive it is pointless. We need to help Stephen learn how to drive the car, and make sure he is comfortable and happy to drive it, and wants to drive it, and doesn't crash it in the future (I'll let you guess what that means). But he is great, and still learning.

Also, when we met with Teresa and Stewart on Wednesday, we taught them about the Priesthood. We asked Stewart if he has the Priesthood, and he said he is either a teacher or a deacon. Then, (and here's the kicker), Teresa says, ''So WHEN Stewart and I get married how long will it be until Stewart can receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?'' When she said WHEN, she glanced at Stewart, and he rolled his eyes, not in a negative way, but like a ''oh bother'' way. I was SO HAPPY! That got my hopes up that Stewart would propose to Teresa on Valentine's Day, but it didn't happen... But that means that they are planning on getting married! I hope to be here when he proposes, or get to skype or something for their wedding. But ach, well...

It was also pretty funny, because while we were tracting on Saturday, we knocked on a lady's door, and she quickly rejected us and slammed the door. However, what she didn't realize was that in the split second between when she said no, and she slammed the door, her little black shizu made his escape into the outside world. Elder Christensen and I were stunned for a second, and stared at the door in disbelief for a few more seconds, waiting for her to open the door again, and then we knocked again. No answer. We knocked again. No answer. We chapped her mail slot. No answer still... - SO
Here we are, stuck with this little black shizu outside this lady's door with no answer. Then, to add to our little predicament, a young woman comes around the corner with her dog, and this little black shizu, with no leash or owner, decides to attack this lady's dog. We quickly explain the situation so the lady doesn't go away believing that the Mormon missionaries' dog had viciously attacked hers. She quickly got into her close, and we were left with this little black shizu once again. We tried yelling into the woman's house through her mail slot, knocking, chapping, but still no answer. Elder Christensen found the backyard, and, after trying to lure the dog after us with a Vimto chewable and much exhortation, I tested the waters and tried to lift it up. Fortunately, it happily relented, for it didn't mind being petted or held, and I carried it around to the backyard, entered in through the gate, and went and stood in front of her back window with the dog in my arms. She was sitting on the couch on the phone, and we suspected that she had been calling the police or friends because of two young men who were trying to break in. She quickly came out the back door, and said ''Sorry, I didn't realize.'' We continued chapping again.

Anyways, I hope you all are having good success and that your families are doing well! Thank you for your support and letters and emails, they are greatly appreciated! I know this Church is true, and I know the Lord loves us because I have felt His love, and seen it in miracles of the Spirit.

Elder Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dear family, friends, and brethren and sistren in the work,

This week was quite a stressful one for me, but I am really excited.
Stephen's baptismal interview is coming up this Tuesday (e.g.
tomorrow) and I really hope he is ready. He also made it to Church
yesterday, and it is becoming a regular thing for him. :) When we are
teaching Stephen, it is different than any other person we teach. His
learning style is different, as is everybody's. I have been praying
for him and for Joe as well.

We met with Joe yesterday, and he just isn't making the commitment to
progress. He is basically there in his testimony, but he isn't willing
to give up the addictions that he has. I pray that he will progress
and make the right choices, but I am understanding more and more each
week how Heavenly Father feels about agency. I can understand why He
would weep when His children don't follow Him, but at the same time He
won't force His will upon us.

Bridy is doing really well, along with her grand-daughter AnnMarie.
She is reading the Book of Mormon and finds many things quite
interesting. She even recognizes patterns in the Book of Mormon that
months of study have led me to. For example, the story of Nephi, where
Nephi asks the Lord to show him the things which his father saw. When
he tells his brothers about what he saw, they complain and ask why the
Lord didn't show them these things. Nephi asks them if they have asked
God. They reply no. Then he basically says "Well, there's your
problem.'' She has great potential, and I can't wait to see her
progress in the future.

It gives me great joy to hear many of my brothers and sisters in the
work making progress, inviting others to come unto Christ, and
entering the mission field. It is a great opportunity to serve the
Lord, one full of joy and sorrow and great reward. Luckily no one
threatened us this week, although while we were at Joe's, the police
came because there was an incident between him and some youngsters
calling him names. We didn't get involved.

This week Elder Christensen also cut my hair... I had mixed feelings
about it at the beginning, but he didn't do a bad job at all. He was
pretty proud of his work. I will send pictures in another email.
Sister Brown also gave me the keyboard this week! It is quite handy
for opening hymns in Companionship Study, and Elder Christensen has
had a blast trying to sing in sync with my playing this week. It also
proves a good tool for meditation after Nightly Planning. I sometimes
take 15-20 minutes after and play hymns on the keyboard, and Elder
Christensen will lie on the couch and relax and listen. It is a great
time for myself, and I hope for him also.

I have a feeling I will be leaving Cumbernauld this transfer, but
don't quote me on that.

I leave my testimony this week that praying for specific things yields
specific results, and, like Elder Christensen said, ''The only way to
accomplish goals is to work to achieve them.'' I learned this week
that to achieve goals, I have to work with those goals in mind, and
when I work with a specific goal in mind, I can achieve that goal,
because if we do our part and work hard, the Lord always does the
rest. And I share this knowledge in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. Kelpies. Don't ask.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear family, friends, and all other people,

This week has been a great experience for myself and I have learned much by pushing myself and working hard. In weekly planning for last week, we realized that we needed a new, bigger teaching pool, so we set a goal to have 7 new investigators. We worked hard, and this week ended with 6! It has taught me the value of setting high goals, and then working hard to achieve them. We also brought out 7 lessons with a member present, and now we have a lovely couple (the McGregors), the bishop(Black), the ward mission leader (Brother Cattell), and Brother MacDonald excited for missionary work! We have so many great people to work with now as well.

I guess I'll start with Diane. She is the granddaughter of the late Gene, and we taught her and her daughter Emma and her son Thomas, along with surprise guests Elaine, her mom, and Kevin, her boyfriend. It was a great lesson, and we are looking forward to meeting them again. That was with Bishop.

We also met again with an older lady named Bridy, who meets with Jehovah's Witness, is a Catholic, and would love to hear more about the Book of Mormon. We also taught her granddaughter AnneMarie and her grandson, Somename. Although Brother MacDonald took over a bit, it was a good lesson.

We also taught Michelle, her 14-year-old daughter Ceitlyn, and her younger daughter, Erin. Ceitlyn enjoys learning about Christian beliefs and participating in activities. They are really good, and want to learn more. We taught them with Brother McGregor, and he is super stoked about meeting with her again, and encouraged us to by his neighbor (which encouragement his wife also took part in), Tracy, who lives two doors down from him, and they is really excited about her as well.

We also met another older woman named Angela. She invited us right in, but we needed another man per mission rules, so we got Brother MacDonald quick after the Priesthood social at Brother McGuinness's. She was a bit drunk when we came in, but invited us in, and broke down in tears because she had lost her brother 12 weeks ago, and her parents in the past year or so, and she was still hurting. Brother MacDonald kind of took over that one as well, but it was good, and she invited us back for lunch this Saturday.

We also met a man named Stephen who is nice, and we are going back to teach him again. That one should be good.


Joe is back on the radar. After dropping us a week ago Sunday, he called us on Saturday and told us about a great experience he had at a funeral that reaffirmed his faith. We asked if we could by and teach him again, and he said we could. He told us last night when we returned to teach him about his concerns, and said he wouldn't be baptized unless he knew it was true. We re-committed him to be baptized the 29th of March, and he committed to read 10 pages of the Book of Mormon every day. He is lonely at home by himself, and I know the gospel can help lift his loneliness. It's in his court again.

STEPHEN! Stephen is still preparing for baptism, and he has had all the lessons now, except for the laws and ordinances (see chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel). Our main concern with him is that he would be baptized without having a spiritual witness or confirmation or experience before baptism, and shortly after, without the Elders inviting him to church, go less active. So we made a daily morning prayer, scripture, and evening calendar for him up to and 3 days past his baptism. We can only pray that he makes the commitment to prepare for his baptism spiritually as well as physically. He is doing great though.

One More Surprise! :)

SISTER BOWEN MADE IT TO CHURCH! I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! SHE HASN'T BEEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME! AND SHE MADE IT! SHE CAUGHT THE DIAL-A-BUS AND WAS THERE FOR SACRAMENT MEETING, GOSPEL PRINCIPLES WITH FRASER, AND RELIEF SOCIETY! WOOHOO!!! I rejoiced so much when I saw her exit the dial-a-bus in the Church parking lot, turn and smile at us. It was such a joyful experience. When she turned to look at the dial-a-bus, she waved at the driver, but with her hand in a fist around her walking stick, the image which I saw was a triumphant fist in the air. ''Take that, adversary! One less active sister at Church!'' It was the only time I have seen her at Church in my 5 months on a mission in Cumbernauld. Now we can work at getting her to the temple again. Prayers have been answered.

On a completely different note, we were chapping last night, and we chapped a door, and this guy did not believe in God, and we asked him why not, and he invited us in for the purpose of explaining why. We reluctantly entered his house, and he told us to have a seat on the couch. I did, but Elder Christensen did not. This man, who ,we observed by his table, had drank much vodka, and he started to get worked up. He kept building up and he said if he was his own child, he would kill us, because of our belief. He then offered us a CD of some guy who he claimed was a rock'n'roll legend, and then... he pulled out the Homosexual card. He asked if we liked gay people, and we said we didn't have a problem with people. Then he said he was going to rape us and kill us and told us to get out of his house. So we got out of there quick. Elder Christensen said he never saw me get up off a couch faster in all his time with me. Needless to say, we probably won't chap there again and ask for a return appointment.

The mold is pretty much gone. We have been spraying it with mold and mildew spray, with ventilation masks and rubber gloves, and we have been keeping it ventilated well all day and night. We are thinking about moving our mattresses out of the closet room back into the bedroom, because it has been a week or so. Hopefully we can move our food and light bulbs and stuff off the table and back into the pantry soon. I also hope we can move our fridge back into the pantry room soon as well. Our vacuum is still useless, so our floors are getting dirty, but they are supposedly going to be shampooed soon by people from the mission home, so we just pick up what we can.

I finally finished all my candy, so planning sessions are getting hungry again. We tried celery and peanut butter as a snack this week, and we really like it. So that might take the stage for after planning time. We also had some delicious apple pie and eton mess yogurt. Corner yogurt is so good!

Oh yeah, and I didn't get to play at the conference, because President said he wanted someone closer to Glasgow to go so we wouldn't have to travel in by 8:00 p.m., just for 10 minutes, to travel back again. But I am playing number 62 All Creatures of Our God and King for the multi-zone conference tomorrow. It is a crazy song to try and play both hands, so I have practiced a bit, and I hope I'll be ready. Enter much prayer and improvisation skills.

Well, I think that's it for this week. A lot of stuff. Thank you for writing me and emailing me! I really appreciate it. When I open and see 15 emails waiting for me, it cheers me up. So thank you.

I know that this Church is true, and that Jesus Christ leads it today and there is a modern-day prophet named Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Lord fulfills His promises, and helps all those who ask for His help in faith, and show that they are willing to do their part. Stay strong, and remember who you are and where we are going.

Elder Devin Jay Hunter
P.S. Kirk out!
P.P.S. There really was 15 of them this week.