Elder Hunt is out of the Mission Office!! New address is on the right! :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Train Ride to Málaga

We are leaving tomorrow morning at 6 am to take a bullet train down to Málaga and it should take us about 4 and a half hours.  President Earl (CCM president) has been in close contact with President Clegg (my mission president) and he has discussed to him about each of us going down to Málaga.  My group, 8 of us, is the largest group they´ve had in a long time so Pres Clegg is excited to get us and he´s already picked out first areas and trainers for us.  I can´t wait to find out where my first area will be! I want to go to Ciudad Real (Royal city) because that is where all the windmills are.  And frankly, that´s the only thing I really want to see while in Spain! But I´ll take what I get! I am just soooo excited!

This past week was Semana Santa because of Easter and I have learned a ton about the Catholic Church. It´s kinda like general Conference because the "Area Authorities" the local Cardinals speak and then the Pope speaks from the Vatican and his message this year was about how Western Christians have forgotten how to be Christian. We didn´t watch it or anything, but some of the CCM workers did and they told us about it.  But I´m very excited to be here to teach people exactly what it means!  I learn lots of interesting things everyday!

Easter Sunday was excellent. It was very spiritual and President Earl did a devotional on Temples and wow, I learned a ton! I can´t wait to get back and share the cool things I´ve learned about it!  We also watched the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie but the church made an "investigator" version of it and so we watched that and we think we´ll be able to use it out in the field. It is such a great movie

This past Saturday at the park was very slow because it was one) Saturday morning and Real Madrid had just beaten Barcelona for the King´s Cup Friday night and everyone was up till about 4am partying and two) it was rainy and muddy.  We talked to a Jewish couple from Israel, why they were vacationing in Spain during Holy week I´m not sure, but we talked to them anyway. They said Easter really wasn't´t their thing and they took off.  But the park was slow and after we finished our time there, we were allowed to take some pictures before we left. So those are of the "Parque Retiro." At the end we always sing 4 or 5 hymns and then talk to the people who´s attention we get. But that picture of me is when it was my turn to conduct the hymns.

I don´t know really what else to say.  I cut off those two pounds and now I´m at a flat 160, which I don´t think is enough to keep me alive through a Málagan Summer.  In Seville, they say it gets up to 100´s plus Humidity, so I´ll probably sweat all the nutella weight off! but bring it on! I can take it!

We had exiting interviews with President Earl and He is such an amazing man. I´ve learned so much from him and I´m sad that he isn´t my mission president.  But I am so glad to have had the chance to learn from him. He is the greatest, he was a judge and a lawyer, and is super influential in the BYU community.  He also told me that if I ever wanted a good reference for a job or grad school he would be more than happy to do one for me.

One of my favorite things about being in Spain is playing soccer with the kids in the community.  It is a blast! I love soccer and I love those kids! It is so much fun, and I really feel like a missionary when were out making friends with kids in the community and playing soccer with them! It´s a blast, I´ll send a picture later of the ENTIRE CCM after we played soccer. ALL of us.


I love and miss you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Polynesian Dance Lesson

ahem, entonces,

This week has actually been really fast! Which is good because it is my last week in the CCM here in Madrid. Finally the real missionary work will start! But first, some cool stuff has happened while I´ve been here.  A French news crew is here at the MTC to film a documentary about a day in the life for a French missionary.  There are only 18 of us here in the MTC so we get recorded as well.  They are putting this documentary or whatever it is online, so once we find out the website, I´ll let you know and you can hopefully see me!  But the purpose of this, it was the idea of a mission president in France, is to get the French people to know about the church´s existence.  Not very many people here in Spain or France know about the church so this is a great way to spread the word!  They filmed us during a special Easter testimony meeting and it was such a cool and spiritual experience to be part of that, I thought of Alma wishing to be an Angel and preaching unto all the world, well this movie thing is going online, so my testimony, if they put it in the video, will be out there for all the world and I am so excited to be a part of it!  They have been filming us these past 2 days and we played soccer, we actually whooped the French, so they might not add that in there..hehe.  Friday and Saturday we are going to the park and they are going to record us as we make contacts and such.  I don´t really know how it is going to work out because if 2 guys in white shirts and ties approached me with a camera man following them, I wouldn´t take them seriously and i would probably think they were selling something...so we´ll see.

I had 2 really cool experiences while I was out in the park.

The first one happened when we approached a man (I was in a trio, one was Tahitian who speaks French and the other didn´t speak any Spanish, my companion, so I got the privilege of doing all the talking! yippee! So when I say ´we´ I really mean ´I´) and he was sitting on a bench. We approached him, introduced ourselves and starting talking about the Gospel.  He said right off that he didn´t believe in God and said Jesus never existed.  Right then I felt a strong feeling to bear my testimony.  I sorta cut him off and testified that God exists and Jesus lives.  I said we are all his children ( It was nice having a Polynesian there with us to hit home on that point) and that he loves us all.  It is hard to describe, but his face sorta changed, he went from stern to I guess the word would be thoughtful. My two companions also bore testimony and after it all, he said, well maybe God is there. We talked for a little bit longer, gave him a pamphlet and he left.

The second cool experience happened when we were just walking and looking for people to talk to. This man, his name was Fransico, approached us and told us that the Devil was in the park and that God told him to show us to him. It was pretty weird, I got really nervous because I´ve heard plenty of missionary stories about casting out demons and such so I was a little worried. But I said "Really? Well if God told you too, then lets go see him" So we walked and talked for quite some time until he led us to a big fountain.  On the top of the fountain was a statue of Lucifer, the fallen angel.  It was a statue of an angel who looked like he was falling and there were serpents wrapped around his ankles and the water spouts looked like demons. We looked at it for a second, i was just thinking to myself, man this is so bizarre, and I was totally at a loss of words.  It was quiet for about 20 long seconds and then finally words came to me. I said that our message isn´t about misery and pain or fallen angels, it was about peace and joy! I then started talking about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was really receptive to it and really liked the idea of a modern day prophet.  He seemed to just eat it all up. He asked questions, we shared scriptures, I thought it was going great!  I finally asked him if he would like to meet with the missionaries and so i gave him a reference card to fill out.  But he said he couldn´t give that kind of information because he didn´t want to be on any kind of records (or something like that, i didn´t completely understand) but he wrote down the number of the CCM and we told him to call it to set up an appointment with the missionaries. So hopefully he will do that.  But after it all, I thought back to what he had first said. God told him to show us the fountain with the devil on it. And I believe He did.  We taught Fransico the Gospel at that fountain and bore testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Personal revelation really does occur, all the time, and so I am sure that he was directed to approach us and talk to us.  I love having these kind of experiences!  They are just so cool!

The two Tahitian elders taught Elder Walton and I some Polynesian dance, well, they didn´t really teach us, they just motioned for us to follow what they did. they recorded it and showed it to President Earl...talk about embarrassing!  We took some fun pictures afterwards. Haha.  Those Elders are lots of fun!  The picture I added is elder walton and I with elder Tamamah-Moo (he is a prince on his island and an ENTIRE island is in his inheritance from his Father, once he gets back from his mission in France)


elder walton kept losing his towel...hah

I´m so glad that Elder Walton has been here with me. We´ve gotten really close and we´re bummed that after this week there might be a potential to never see each other for the rest of the mission.  The Málaga mission is HUGE and so we could be sent anywhere! but I am still really excited for it!

I can´t wait to get out to the field next week! It´s so exciting!

Oh one last thing, I said something funny in a practice lesson.  Negrita (when talking about words on a page, means it is in bold) but I asked the person to read the Negrito words and Negrito means little black person. The teacher started busting up laughing and i was totally lost.  but once he calmed down he explained what it meant. hah...


I appreciate your letters, your support and your love so much!

I love and miss you,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is there anything on this menu that’s not swimming in gravy?!

(**A note from Ashley: We LOVE the movie Emperor’s New Groove, so in case you don’t get his movie references (and the post title), it’s from that movie. You should watch it. It’s awesome. ;) Also, Jason has one week left at the Spain MTC. Because it takes about 10 days for handwritten letters to reach him, I’m removing his MTC address and he can be reached at the Mission home address listed to the right. Thank you so much for writing him! He just loves it!**)

This past week has been pretty uneventful.  But remember how I mentioned everything on the menu swimming in gravy? well for dinner last p-day, we had some crazy creature that looked EXACTLY like the food in Emperor´s New Groove.  I´ll send it later today.  But you can´t look at that picture and NOT think of Emperors new groove.  It was the husk of an eggplant with some kind of ground up fish and mushrooms and other abominable things.  I took one bite and really thought that I was going to puke...it was bad. i mean, just look at the picture!

4.13 (1)bleh...bad memories, there are no options here...you take what the lunch ladies give
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This past Saturday in the park was very slow.  My companion and I were there for an hour and a half and no one talked to us.  Every single person we approached refused to talk to us. Actually, we talked to an old man, they are easy targets because they walk slow, and he basically told us his life story and that he was 86 and only had 4 years left to live. I wanted to say something like, hey, if you get baptized you can live forever, but it didn´t feel right to say it. So I didn´t. hah.  But it was discouraging to say the least.  But later that day I read Alma 26:27 and I felt better. (You´ll have to look it up for yourself!)

From what all the church leaders have told us, the work is slow in Europe. Very slow.  But after conference I just have a feeling that Europe´s time to accept the Gospel is very close at hand! Right now, we are here preparing the people to completely receive the Gospel! in about 2 and half years the temple in Rome will be finished and i would bet that once it is done, the church will bloom here in the European countries.  We had a devotional and the Parable of the Sower from Mateo 13 was shared.  I am a sower.  I am out here planting as many seeds as I can in hopes that some will grow.  I really do feel that Europe´s time to accept the gospel is close at hand. It isn´t time right now, but through our hard work, the time will come! I know it! It is so discouraging because so many people have rejected us, but we just keep going! I don´t know the lord´s plans for the people of Spain, but through me, and my fellow missionaries here, we are preparing the people to receive the Gospel, and it is just so exciting!

I only have a week left here in Madrid before I get sent to Málaga.  We leave on April 26, so a little more than a week, but we only have a week left of classes.  Spanish is coming along, and I use it more and more everyday.  I gave up on learning French, the Frenchies are not willing, or nice enough to help us learn their language.  We eat a lot of French fries here at the CCM and so we make it very clear to them that we call them Freedom Fries, not French fries. Hah.

I´m kind of at a loss of words because nothing too huge has happened. We just had class and that´s about it.  Elder Walton and I go running every so often through the city and that has been fun. We´ve gotten really close as friends and that has been great.  My companion and I don´t always like to be around each other (to put it nicely), so it has been VERY nice to be with a friend every now and then.

Well, I guess I will close for now, I´ll make sure to send the picture of the food later today, and maybe some pictures of something fun that we´ll do today.  I think we´re gonna go into the city and just walk around.  Again, I know that I was sent to Spain because the Lord knows me.  We get naps on Sundays and in the field we don´t have to wake up until 7! But we also go to bed at 11 so its supposed to balance out.

Elder Walton and I, he WASN'T wearing his name tag (sí, un pecador, yo sé - yes, the sinner, I know)  so he was covering his chest
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this is me and my fellow fisher of men, Peter. He´s a pretty smart guy
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Elder Walton and I got some amazing Italian ice at the Plaza Mayor, I guess this was the place the movie "Vantage Point" was supposed to take place. But I can´t remember for certain.
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Me and the temple sign! I´m really here! I´m in Spain!
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This is me and the metal statue of the family on the temple grounds. As you can see, we´re all pretty happy the little one started walking. ;)
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That's me at Puerta del Sol
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me and don Averga or some body...can´t remember
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That's me and the back of the giant Cathedral
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me and the front of the church. The thing was HUGE! kinda freaky and intimidating as well
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Well I love hearing from everyone (family AND friends) I can feel your love and support so strongly.  I am here on the Lord´s errand and I testify that He lives and that he cares! I have grown so much while I´ve been a missionary!

I love and miss you,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Frenchies, Nutella and Hill Billy Spanish

(and there are pictures at the end!)

So my week...

I´m still in the MTC.  It just kills me.  I want to be out in the field so bad! All we do is study and study some more!  However, this CCM is way better than the one in Provo.  At week 5 for Spanish speakers, you have to teach a lesson in all Spanish once a week.  Here, we´re teaching lessons all in Spanish at least 5 times a week! Everything is in Spanish and my speaking skills have improved a lot.  We did a session in the temple this morning and I listened to it in Spanish.  It was kinda hard, but I understood most of it.

The Italians left and that was a huge bummer. I miss those chaps (we also had a Brit, so we exchanged phrases) But I picked up on a bit of Italian.  If my language skills haven´t improved, at least my acting skills have.  If we can´t use the words,we act it out. It´s pretty funny.

We realized when the Italians left that we would not have anymore female missionaries (hermanas) anymore, but then one elder in my district said, " We´ll were getting the french so what´s the difference?" AHAHAHA...ahem...but the French have been ok so far.  Two of them are not even French, they are from French Polynesia and they are pretty hilarious.  They´re gonna teach us the haka later today.  It is super hard to understand them because they speak French but with like...a Tongan accent or islander accent (like the humo´ke´likie´áhua words...I hope i didn't´t just say something though) but the gift of tongues is real and so we´ll be able to speak some French with them probably next week.  So my arsenal of languages will include English, Spanish, a tiny bit of German, some Italian, and hopefully now some French. You can´t survive in Europe with only one language.  I love learning languages though! It is so cool!  Its funny though, the French elders who are from France don´t speak any other language, all the other missionaries from Europe speak at least 2!  So like the French though to only speak their own language!

Ok enough ragging on the Frenchies...oh, I did learn that ´le poisson´ (don´t know how to spell it, the song the chef in the little mermaid sings) means "Fish" Who would have thought?! haha

Ok, so on Saturdays we go to a huge park and get to do real missionary work.  We gather our supplies and take the metro and our work starts!  It was amazing, this past Saturday, my companion and I get on the train and right there, a man signals us to approach him.  This never happens.  So we got pretty excited.  The guy said "Preach to me" I was taken aback and had a loss for words. Seriously?! He came to us! SWEET! so as I was talking to him, the guy across the seats starts talking to my companion.  I got the address of the guy I was talking to and he said he wanted missionaries to convert his family because they didn't´t claim Christianity anymore. So I got his information.  My companion had a really cool experience.  The guy that started to talk to him had led a pretty incredible life.  He also had taken all the lessons and had a baptismal date! But he had lost contact with the missionaries for over a week so he figured that the missionaries didn't´t care about him anymore.  My comp. told him and bore testimony that they still cared for him and that god cares for him even more, he said the man´s eyes began to water and that he said he would call the missionaries that night! 

When we got to the park, we talked to another lady who had had contact with missionaries before! she was from the Dominican Republic and was curious because she saw guys with white shirts and name tags there and now that she lives in Spain she sees them here! we talked to her and she wanted to know where the church was so she could go!  It was incredible! I don´t know what the Lord´s plan for everyone is but the people we talked to apparently needed to be reminded about the Gospel and about the Lord. I really felt like a tool in the lord´s hands.

The last man we talked to at the park was pretty hilarious.  My comp. said he was from Utah and he looked kind of annoyed, then I said I was from Virginia, he lit up and said, Oh, not all Mormons are from Utah?! He said his son was studying at University of Virginia and he asked me if I knew some old slave song about Virginia.  He sang the first bit and asked me to sing the song to him.  I had NO idea what he was talking about, but he didn't´t speak English so I made it up.  haha.  I think I said, "Oh sweet Virginia, land of cotton and slaves, we love pickin´ cotton, and livin´ our days" to the tune he gave me.  He accepted it and we started talking about the gospel.  haha. But towards the end, he didn't´t seem to like what we were saying about modern day prophets after we had told him about the first vision. He started to argue so I bore my testimony about Joseph Smith and about living prophets. And I looked at him straight in the eyes when I did it. He went quiet and his expression changed from anger to curiosity.  We taught him some more and ended up giving him a pamphlet about the restoration. He didn't´t want to meet with the missionaries though. But it was a very spiritual experience for me.
My Spanish is coming along, and I think I can speak it well, but I have the hardest time understanding when people speak to me! There are so many different accents here in Madrid and in the South of Spain, where I´ll end up serving, they speak hill billy Spanish. So their accent is even harder to understand! When I say hill billy Spanish, its kind of the equivalent to people that speak "English" in Arkansas and some of the southern states.  But I´m excited to speak like a Spanish hill billy!

I´ve gained 6 pounds since I left in February.  I never though I would break the 160lbs mark but as of yesterday I am 161! AH! that is the heaviest I have ever been in my LIFE!  it´s probably because I eat so much nutella here.  If fish is for dinner, I go straight for the nutella and bread! We had some kind of fish soup the other day and I smelt it and the scene from "Emperor´s new groove" came to mind when Pacha opened Kuzco´s bug for dinner. Ugh it smelt terrible! the food here kills my stomach for some reason and about once a day a scene from Dumb and Dumber comes to mind...but I´ll spare the details....

oh yea, for lunch we had Salmon.  ugh...the salty tang of the sea was a little too much for me...so I had some nutella and bread

we went to a Wal mart like place and they have kinder eggs and milka and all that good stuff we´ll find in Heaven here! I didn't´t buy any though...maybe next time!

We had General Conference this weekend in the Sala grande...basically means the big room. It was thankfully in English! The MTC President has some contraption where he can watch his TV from back home through the internet so he Tivo´d GC and that´s how we got to see it.  I can´t remember which sessions we watched each day but we watched 1 on Saturday 3 on Sunday and one Monday.  We also watched the young woman´s one but that was on maybe Friday.  This was the most conference I have ever watched in my life! yea it was pretty cool but still...whew, it was a lot because I wanted to stay awake through all of it!  But the messages were great and I felt like they all spoke to me directly! But now myself and the other elders are worried that everyone we knew back home is going to be married by the time we get back.  There were 3 talks on marriage!

I´ve only got 3 more weeks before I will finally be able to go to Malaga! but the cool thing is that after one transfer there, it will have basically been 6 months.

Well I love and appreciate your letters so much!


**I don´t remember which pictures I sent last time but this is basically the rest, I hope I didn't´t send any repeats!

But the pictures where we have beads on was the night the Polynesian elders got here. They gave everyone leis and so we had some fun with it!

I hope the pictures turn out nicely...Could you send me some of your trip to Orlando? I would love to see them!

Lots of love!**

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