Monday, January 26, 2015

God Loves You + 2 Baptisms this Week!

JUNIOR, on his baptism day!

Wednesday-We had district meeting and did practices marking baptismal dates. Another highlight was my new 'Elder Hunt' tag came in but with the special "Brasil only" accent over the E.  The more Brasilain the better :) 

Elder Hunt's new name tag with the accent over the 'E'
He says 'the more Brasilian the better!'

We had great lessons that night and afternoon and confirmed everything 100% for 9 year old Renon's baptism on Sunday!  We also had a miracle meeting with another girl in a house of a less active family who said she wanted to be baptized, what a miracle!


Thursday-We had great follow ups with our investigators getting baptized this week, but the miracle girl from the day before no longer wanted to be baptized due to bad talk about the church from her inactive Grandmother. 

We need to exercise our faith, and continue with the hard work and it will all work out right?


Later on the way to another "power hour" in Tucuruvi, my comp cut his arm pretty deep on a piece of metal when he walked by, so we pressured the wound and when we got to the mission office we tried to super glue the wound shut. It worked!
        
That same day we also listened to a talk by Brad Wilcox on ‘Grace.’ It really opened my mind and reaffirmed my drive and thoughts on missionary work as concerning baptism and saving souls. I learned for myself that things are not always as white and black as I used to think. (My family members and Jacq Godfrey just read part, smiled and said "I told you so.") 

The city of Sao Paulo has a population of more than 11 million people. 
What a view even with the clouds!


No one is perfect and God's grace is sufficient for EVERYONE and EVERY MISTAKE. No one is perfect and God knows that, which is why he sent his son to atone for our sins and give us his atonement. Perfection is our life long goal, but we know that this isn’t possible for us on our own, so we must focus on progression. You can always return, you can always get back on the road to righteousness. It’s not one mistake and it’s all over, this is a tactic of the devil. If we sin, we must really repent and continue, we must also have strong enough faith to know that ANY sin can be (and was) washed away through the innocent blood of the lamb of God.

Repent of any and all your sins.   If we don’t and we don’t feel worthy, it makes Christ’s sacrifice like it was done in vain. God is happier with one repentant sinner than 99 of the faithful. But this cannot happen until the covenant of baptism is made with God. This is what our investigators and the whole world need to know. 
God loves you and there is ALWAYS room for YOU at the Lord’s table.

Elder Hunt is working hard in the favellas (slums) of Cachoeirinha


Friday-We had a planning session and had a really good talk about every need of our investigators to help them get them closer to being baptized. We had another small miracle with the girl who wanted to be baptized but changed her mind. 

We had a very powerful lesson with her, cleared her doubts, and marked a firm date for her baptism for this Thursday night at 8pm.

'This alone shows the iniquity of this area.  A crucified Winnie the Pooh.  This is the death and destruction of innocence here.'


It rained A TON and a bus driver gave us a ride for free during the rain storm (another miracle.) Soaking wet, we marched through the favelas with iniquity polluting the streets, and proclaimed repentance to the wicked with the authority and power of God. Wet, freezing, and fatigued, I had never felt more powerful and driven in my life. It was such a great day, HARD, HARD work, exhausting to our bodies and spirits. MIRACLES.



Saturday-We had great follow up with all our investigators. We have the possibility of 4 firm baptisms for Sunday. I had never prayed so hard for 4 people in my whole life.

Renon on his baptism day!

Sunday- Finally we ended up having 5 people at church on Sunday, but we had 2 baptisms!!! Renon and Junior. Renon is 9 years old, his parents are less active. But we reactivated them and baptized Renon! Renon already speaks a ton of English and he will for sure serve a mission. The Lord has a lot planned for him.

Junior, on his baptism day
'I am so proud of him and the changes he has made to his life!'

The other person baptized was Junior, he is 21 years old and when we met him he was a typical favela Brasilian guy who was into drugs, women, smoking, and drinking. But just as an example, in 2 weeks he went from smoking 40 cigarettes a day to almost 0. He is so great and I love him so much; he has completely changed his life. He’s not perfect, but trying his very, very best and he’s amazing. Congrats to him.

It was Elder Borba's birthday on Sunday and we surprised him with a key lime pie one of the members made for him.

Elder Borba had to go to a meeting really far away because he ends his mission and goes back to Uruguay at the end of this transfer, along another missionary from Brasilandia. So we did a division so they could go to their meeting this morning. 

I got to come back to Brasilandia with all my best buds Elders Lima Neto and Aguirres. I missed them and my first area SO much. I loved coming back here, it feels just like home :) I feel so much love and happiness here with my buddies.  It's like I've been on a long trip and finally got back to my family, the people that love me for me and are my friends unconditionally.  I love my Brasilian friends, I love Brasilandia.  I talked to Elder Medina last night on the phone and I was so happy.  I’m just here for the day, but I just love this house, this area, and these wonderful guys.

I also listened to a talk by our great pal President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called "Come Join Us," talking about joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." It was amazing.

My time in Cachorienha has taught me that success is not based upon the area, tactics, ward members, or anything else.  It is based only on the missionary and what he or she is willing to sacrifice to help the Lord build His kingdom.

This is some funny stuff our health secretary wrote and sent to the whole mission.


I have learned to teach, to be taught, to lead, and to be lead, how to learn, how to show faith, how to have success or triumph over difficulties, and how to be humble.  I have really been humbled here, but I've learned a ton through my difficulties and suffering.

I love this quote by Urban Meyer, he says "'I've learned to accept the things I cannot change. Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

This is the last week of the transfer and we are going to end it with a BANG!!! I expect some big changes in the next transfer, but whatever happens, I will only learn more and continue hastening the Lord’s work wherever and whomever I’m with :) 
 I'm feeling really great and love serving the Lord so much!

Elder Hunt



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Very Difficult Work Here...Ahh Brasil!

It has been extremely hot in Brasil this week.  Look at Elder Hunt's sweaty shirt.

Monday-We played soccer in the morning, I wrote letters, and Elder Burt made delicious homemade bread!
Elder Hunt eating yummy homemade bread by Elder Burt


Tuesday-We had a zone meeting and during it President Farnes came in for a surprise visit and gave us some pointers. It was great and I love that guy! As we had just left the meeting, President called me on the phone and told me I needed to come back to talk to him about something. I went up to his office and he had a letter that was from a Sister missionary from the Sao Paulo West mission. She supposedly knew me from the CTM but I don’t know her. He told me all about how I need to be careful with stuff like this, but I literally don’t even know this girl and she’s writing me letters and stuff.  What the heck?!  It wasn’t a big deal or anything it was just strange. After, he talked to me about our area and the difficulties we are facing there.  I told him all about the iniquity and problems we are having there. I’m happy that now he knows about what is really going on there.

There is no water at the church so they have to bring it in with buckets to fill the font for baptisms.

Bucket by bucket, the missionaries fill the font for baptisms.


Wednesday-We started off the day with a really good P90X workout, which is how we always start off our day, but this one is especially good. Tony Horton, the guy who you watch do the workout with you is crazy and such a goof, but is very motivating and I’d like to include this tidbit from what my best pal, Elder Drake Marley said as he relates every mornings P90X session to the mission-
           Elder Drake Marley, "One thing I have been really grateful for on my mission here in Switzerland is the fact that we are allowed to do a program called P90X3. You probably all know what it is but nobody has a clue here. Anyway, the man who runs the workouts is named Tony, and he just saves my life every morning by ripping my body to shreds, and helping me retain somewhat of my fitness from back home. Each workout is only 30 minutes; with maybe a 30 second break every 10 minutes. Every break Tony says, "We are already __ minutes in and we got more to do!" My mission has gone by pretty fast so far, with hump day coming up in just less than 50 days. In that time I will have less than a year left which is quite upsetting to be honest. Sure I do not enjoy the time 24/7, but there is nothing I would rather be doing. Just like in the mornings with those 30 minute workouts, it seems like it is going to take an eternity before Tony stops telling you to do "crawly Plyo push-ups" whatever that means... but after the first ten minutes, then the next, then the next, before you know it the workout is over with and done, and it is now your time to reflect on whether or not you gave it your all, or whether you stayed on the ground longer than you should have. I feel like I can always do more, just like when you train you are always increasing in strength, but I feel like when this second half hits, that is when the time is really going to zip by, and I cannot afford to stay on the ground at all. Instead of Tony, we have Heavenly Father and Christ leading our lives, and instead of a good physique on the line, it is eternal life and eternal families. I really hope I can give this last little bit of time my all, because just like Tony says, "We got more to do. "


Teaching in the favelas


We also went out and visited everyone in the area book who had gone to church at least one time. We visited over 12 houses, and we only contacted 1 person. This persons name is Bell, and she is quite the trip. She has tried to get baptized 5 times (and it never worked out.) She has had interviews with 2 previous mission presidents and it never worked out.

The school in the favelas

Thursday-We did a division with the secretaries and I went with Elder Curtis from Savannah, Georgia.  He is really cool and very calm and quiet. We went and did a "power hour" in a nearby area to help them out. That night we ordered pizza and did P90X. We lift weights every night, and do P90X in the morning and night. 

This is our investigator who loves Demi Lovato. She speaks Portuguese and had a conversation with him at a concert.  He is a super fan.


Friday-We traded comps back, and the rest of the day we further prepared our investigators for their baptisms.  We are working extremely hard and not getting the results we would like.  

Chocolate Chip cookie cake.  It ended up being burned on the bottom, and undercooked in the middle.  Ahh Brasil!

Saturday-Saturday was very similar to Friday, but we had Elder Arias do all our baptismal interviews for our 5 people who were to be getting baptized (they all passed the interviews btw.) We also tried to remake the chocolate chip cookie recipe, but it ended up being a cake, haha. 


Sunday-EVERY SINGLE BAPTISM FELL apart, AGAIN.... We went out with a member to pick all our investigators up and something happened with every single one. Hospital, someone died, someone’s sick, we didn’t have a single investigator at church AGAIN and all our baptisms fell through AGAIN. Satan is trying extremely hard to beat us right now, and he sure is doing a good job. The people here are struggling to keep their commitments. I feel frustrated.



Monday-P day switched because we are going to the temple on Tuesday. So we went to a mall for lunch and Elder Burt and I made this our last cheat meal before getting super strict on our diets again.  We ate pizza and ice cream. 



After, I got a hair cut that ended up being one of those "too short missionary haircuts that just happen on the mission sometimes", but it’s alright. We had some great lessons that afternoon and night. 


Tuesday-Today, we went to the temple, and took a recent convert to the temple for baptisms.  It was his first time going to the temple, so it was great for him! :)


This area is very difficult and Satan's grasp on these people is very strong, but we just have to keep going and doing our best. 
       
Mattresses on the patio because it is unbearably hot


It is also so hot, that we sleep outside on our mattresses.
Transfers are in 2 weeks and we will see what happens. But I have hope that this week will be a good one! I will do my best and persevere!


Elder Hunt

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fantasmas e Coisas (Ghosts and Things)

My view of the city from our house

(Ghosts and Things is the name of a Daft Punk album that The Duke Brothers and I used to always listen to my senior year!)

Monday-P day, I slept, listened to music, we made more apple crisp and then we went out to work at night. When we came back we all started hearing very strange noises and footsteps upstairs. We went up and no one was there. We came back down and my comp started telling me that this house has had a long, dark history with spirits and ghosts. I didn’t believe a word he said, I totally thought he was pulling my leg and messing with me, but then he told me some of the stories. I started believing him because my comp isn’t really that much of a jokester, especially with stuff like this. And also during the stories we heard more weird noises and stuff and I started to freak out a little. He even said that in the past after strange things happened, the former mission president came and rededicated the house himself, but things started again. So we got all the guys in our house together and I rededicated the house through the power of the Melchizedek priesthood.        

No one slept that night. 
 
Elder Hunt with Elder G Ferriera

Tuesday-We had a zone meeting and we did a ton of practices and it was great! After we did a division with the mission secretaries. I went back to Cashoeirinha with Elder G Ferriera, a super cool Brasilian guy! He teaches well and we get along great too! We  found a 22 year old guy named Hugo, whose father is less active. He was very receptive and wants to get baptized soon. He’s obsessed with Demi Lovato. He has over 20 posters of her on his wall in his room and he went to her concert once, took a picture with her, and now it is his prized possession.


Elder Hunt with Elder Lene from New Zealand, Elder Arias from Ecador, and Elder Medeiros



That night Elders G Ferriera, Borba (who was on a division as well) Lene, Arias, and Medeiros, all went and stayed at Elder Arias and Medeiros' house and made homemade pizza with our very own chocolate crust! It was delicious!!! What fun!
         
 Homemade Pizza Party
Chocolate crust
 Eggs and pizza sauce
 Even homemade dough!

The final product


Wednesday-My comp was throwing up sick, and I was also sick pretty sick from the throat/sinus infection that I’ve had, so we just had to go home and rest that day. 

Elder Hunt and Elder Lene


Thursday-We had a rough day. IT’S EXTREMELY HOT HERE. None of our investigators were home all day. The heat was an absolute killer and we were both exhausted. We had very little luck today; it was rough.

My man from Ecuador, Elder Arias


Friday-We did another division with the zone leaders, so Elder Noleto, a 22 year old Brasilian guy who is a very good, powerful missionary went out with me. I always learn a ton with him. But today I was SUPER motivated and my faith levels were on an all time high. Our goal was to baptize at least 3 people just in the one day. All our baptismal candidates fell and we had another very hot, tough, difficult, exhausting, frustrating day. 



Saturday-We did a zone fast for everyone in the zone to get at least one baptism this week. It was rough to say the least, but we toughed through it. Here in Brasil you fast from lunch to lunch which is different, but being out in the sun in the streets with no water was very tough. It was another tough, unsuccessful day.



We are working so hard and not getting the results we want. This area is very, very wicked. Just in the streets and in the people’s homes you can feel the very strong presence of Satan’s power here in this area. These people are blinded by evil and corruption and don’t want to change. The wickedness is really talking a toll on our spiritual well being. But this is why we are here, to help people.  Saturday around 6pm it finally rained and hailed and it was so nice!  :)



Sunday-We were out in the city before church for 3 hours looking for investigators and not a single one showed up for church. These people are very frustrating, especially when they say they will go to church and they won’t.  

I was also asked to give a talk, so I did, it was on missionary work and it was fine, but I was a bit nervous.  It was on D&C18:16, my favorite. After we had an amazing lunch and for dessert, all you can eat a├žai and ice cream with all the toppings! :) It was great! 

That night and afternoon we went out trying our hardest looking for a miracle baptism, we exercised our faith to the max and tried so hard, but it still didn’t workout. 
       
I’m exhausted, my body, my mind, my spirit. It’s so hot even during the night that I’m still not sleeping very much. I’m alright, but I am struggling right now. We are working so hard in very tough conditions with a very wicked people and we are not getting results.

I know the real question I need to ask myself is,
 ‘What lesson does God want me to learn?

I love you all, 

Elder Hunt

Monday, January 5, 2015

I Have A Cold, But We Had A Baptism :)


Cachoeirinha


I've been sick once again this whole week, but we were still rewarded with a baptism, the baptism of a 10 year old boy named Higor. His Uncle baptized him and we are in the process of converting his large part member family! :)

Monday-We got caught in a huge rain and windstorm Monday night...that was the beginning of the end. 

Elder Hunt and Elder Burt, new pals


Tuesday-Woke up super sick with the same sickness I had 4 weeks back, back in Brasilandia. Went to district meeting and shared all of our miracle experiences from the last week and then did a bunch of practices. After lunch I was just too sick, so Elder Burt, my American pal from Medford, Oregon went home with me. We did this so my comp and his comp could both continue to get work done in both our areas.

You can tell that these two are friends


Wednesday-I spent the entirety of New Years Eve day, and I passed the New Year extremely, extremely sick, this was when my sickness peaked. Also, my insomnia continued, I can’t sleep and it sucks.
How many apples do you think are in this bucket?

54 apples!

That is a lot of apple crisp!
Apple crisp made by Elder Hunt and Elder Burt on New Year's Eve

On New Year's Eve we had another barbecue and Elder Burt and I made apple crisp again! There were a TON of fireworks and wildness!

New Year's Eve Steak


New Year's Eve 2014

Brasil is a VERY wild country, especially during the holidays. The elders also picked me up a ton of fruit from the feira. 




Thursday-Basically my Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday consisted of: resting, telling back and forth crazy funny life stories with Elder Burt.  We studied, and made raw juice mixtures with mango, lime, and orange.  There was a lot of coughing, and more than 5 visits to different pharmacies to buy more and more medicine because I kept running out. I was recommended to buy cough syrup and all of my horrible childhood artificial grape flavored memories returned of cough syrup...yuck!

Street Art with Elder Hunt's name!


Friday- On Friday I mustered up the strength to make sure everything was totally good for our baptism Friday afternoon and it ended up going perfectly. 

Higor, on his baptism day with Elder Hunt and his Uncle who is a recent convert

After the baptism,Elder Burt and I also found a large tire on the side of the road near our house, so we decided to relive our old football memories, roll the big ole tire home and flip it for exercise! :)


Saturday-It rained a ton, but we went out and visited a lot of less actives. Still pretty sick, but improving.


Sunday-We started a 8am and finished at 11am for sacrament meeting looking for investigators to come to church. We literally passed by more than 35 investigators houses and we only ended up with 5, which was a little disappointing. Getting people to come to church is really one of our biggest challenges in this area and in Brasil in general, but especially in this area. 

President and Sister Farnes visited our ward, which was a real treat! :)
It was fast and testimony Sunday so I decided to bear my testimony. It was the first time I had borne a very long, substantial testimony in Portuguese from the pulpit of a sacrament meeting, and it felt great :)

We later visited more less actives and later in the night some of our investigators threw us a barbecue! It was great. 

Elder Hunt's study area

Kitchen


Overall I’m doing well.  I’m still sick, but I’m happy and my health is improving. I’m excited to be here in this area and we just need to keep making it happen!

Protein banana pancakes

Please keep my good friend Elder Josh Marley (who is currently serving his first week in the field in Montevideo, Uruguay) in your prayers! He is an outstanding Elder who has the discipline and willpower to do anything! But we all know how difficult the beginning of a mission can be.

One of Elder Hunt's favorite paintings

Eu amo voces! Feliz ano novo!!!! 
(I love you guys!  Happy New Year!!!)


Elder Hunt