Monday, September 26, 2011

Baptisms, Personal Chef & Rubber Boots

So life here is interesting as always!  The branch I'm in right now- the Kossoh Town branch, just split with another town called Grafton and right now they're in the process of figuring out leadership for the whole branch. So the missionaries are helping a lot. The crazy thing about the Church here is that the only people who are members that aren't converts are kids under the age of 5. The very vast majority of adults haven't been members for more than a couple of years. The growth here is so fast though! It's sweet. I'll say more on that in a bit. But for example the branch president has only been a member for 2 years. Talk about responsibility! He is a really really cool guy though. And he speaks good English which is nice. With all the new converts to the ward there are a lot of questions about little things of doctrine. I think I remember Dad telling a story about something similar to this on his mission, but like this past Sunday in Sunday school there was a big discussion about whether or not women can touch the sacrament trays to pass it down the row. I think in the end we straightened it out and they understood that it was not a problem in any way. But I"m not 100% sure because the whole conversation was in Krio and I still just get bits and pieces of conversation. I think Elder Pabie, my companion set it straight.

Anyway, back to the subject of fast growth, we had a baptismal service this weekend! Let's see, I've been out in my actual mission for how long? A week and a half? This weekend we had 5 baptisms. Yup. I baptized all the people (as you can see in the picture) and it was really cool! And before anyone asks, no none of them had crazy names that were hard to pronounce. On Sunday we split up the confirmations between people and I got to confirm one of them. It was really cool! So needless to say the Church is growing very fast in this area! We already have about 4 more people planned for baptism in the next couple of weeks. It's so crazy.

Before I go on anymore in this email though I just need to take a moment and thank everyone who has been sending me mail! Last Tuesday I got home from proselyting to see about 8 or 9 letters sitting on top of that package from Grandma. I think 4 of the letters were the ones that got sent to the MTC, but even those old ones were awesome to get! So all my friends back home I want you to know I'm getting your letters and I love all of you so much for it! And with that said I'm sorry to report that it will take a while to respond... We only write letters on Monday and even then we're super busy. Handwashing your clothes takes a good chunk of time by itself... But please feel free to keep sending them! You guys are awesome!

And Grandma/Pattersons thank you so much for the package, I've already eaten about half of the stuff in there! I was SO EXCITED to see normal food. Well, food I've known for the majority of my life. So yeah, food here is pretty much rice with some kind of leaf on it. and not like picked off a tree and dropped on top. like smashed up into this kind of paste goo. It's not too bad actually. But I'm not gonna lie, eating rice every single day for every meal makes you get sick of rice very fast. I'm very blessed to have gotten the companion I got though. He loves to cook. So much that when I tried to cook spaghetti for him he told me he didn't feel comfortable having a grown man cook for him and cooked it for us himself. I have no problems with it. Haha. So yeah, he cooks pretty much every breakfast and night and shares his food with me. I'm so lucky. He's also really good at getting people we teach to cook for us so we usually get offered one or two meals throughout the day. It's pretty nice. Sometimes we have even have problems with too many people cooking for us in a day. We get so full. Haha.

So to answer your questions quickly- no we don't have any running water. Everything is rainwater that we get out of buckets we have set outside. We only have electricity for a few hours every night because we have a generator, but that turns off at lights out every night. We do have toliets. To flush them you take a bucket of water and just pour it in. Manual flush. Haha. We do have a refrigerator, it just only is turned on when the generator is on. So that's when things get charged- which reminds me that adapter Dad sent is perfect. We have a gas stove that we hook up to a propane tank. The heat isn't too awful right now, but yeah it's just because it's rainy season. It's probably somewhere in the 80s most of the time. No idea though. They say March is the hottest month.

Well, I'm just about out of time so I better wrap this up! An idea came to me- I don't know how often Google comes into our area but if you go on google maps and look up Kossoh Town, Jui Junction, Allentown, Kobba Farm, Cashe Farm, and Grafton, you can maybe do a street view and see what my area looks like! All of those towns are within Freetown so maybe you can see them? Anyway, I miss and love you all!


Elder Hunty

ps- you'll notice that Elder Pabie and I have rubber boots on. The roads in our area get so crazy muddy that it's the only way to keep our feet dry! Also for some reason I look really dorky in the picture on the mountain. Just ignore that and enjoy the sweet view.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Finally, some mail!, Rainwater baths, and Motorbikes

Yeah so, things have been CRAZY in the past week. I feel like I haven't written to anyone in so long because so much has happened. On Tuesday morning I had to wake up nice and early so we could get in the vans and head to the airport. We got there nice and early, got on our planes and headed out. Because there were so many missionaries going to our mission the people going to Liberia flew straight there instead of going to Freetown. So 13 of us got on a plane to Freetown and headed over. The flight was fine.  We landed in Freetown and the airport there was absolutely INSANE. People were everywhere. They told us at the MTC to be sure not to let anyone take your luggage, even if they said they were trying to help, stay in a group, and wear our backpacks on the front so people wouldn't try to steal stuff out of them. So naturally when I was fighting in the big crowd around baggage claim this man kept saying he would help me over and over again and I had to tell him no over and over again. It was obnoxious. Then we had to book it out of the sweatfest and met the President and the Assistants outside the airport. We took a quick picture and loaded up in the van.

We took the water taxi across the bay and drove up to the mission home. We had a nice dinner (the last one for the next two years) that Sister Roggia cooked, and then headed to the Assistants apartment to spend the night. Their apartment was so nice. They had running water and washing machines! Man I'm never taking that stuff for granted ever again. They had electricity but it got shut off around 10 because someone forgot to pay their bills. It was great. The next morning we had orientation all day. I have to say though it was very nice when I walked into the mission office and saw letters for me! By the way I never got any letters at the MTC so hopefully they'll forward everything to the mission. The letters I got were from Dear Elder and it looks like they were ones that were sent on the 26th or 27th. So if anyone has sent any after that I haven't gotten them yet. But for those people whose letters I got, keep your eyes out on the mail because I wrote back!

The way the mail works is pretty ridiculous. Basically anything sent to me will go to the mission office. The way I get that stuff is if I go by the mission office (which never happens since I'm not a district or zone leader and we're really far away from it) or if someone is going to our area they will bring it with them. So if I ever go to Liberia I'll never get any mail. Ha. If you send me any packages be sure to put lots of Jesus stickers on it. No joke. Anyway, that same day we had orientations we also met our new companions! My companion is Elder Pabie. He's from Liberia and he's great! He likes to joke around with the people we teach but he also knows when to be serious about things. He has about 4 months left on his mission so he's an old man.

I'm currently in the Kossoh Town Area in the Grafton District. After we spent the day in orientation we drove out to our various apartments with our new companions. The elders here call my apartment "the Grafton Mansion." And rightly so. The place is really big and has a big courtyard area. However that doesn't mean it has electricity or running water. Have you ever taken a bath using solely rain water? Because I have. We get all our water from the rain. We have buckets and big drums outside to catch everything. Anytime you need water for something, like to bathe, you go fill a bucket with rain water and bring it inside. When you bathe you take a cup of water and pour it over your head. It's freezing. Then you put soap and shampoo on and pour another freezing cup of water on your head. A hot shower sounds pretty incredible right about now.

Since there's no street lights here we usually come in around 6:30 or 7. Our area is really far away from the apartment so we have to take motorbikes to it. I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty sweet. The roads here are all covered in dirt and there's huge potholes everywhere so the motorbikes are good for weaving around everything. I'll try and sneak a video on the back of one someday. But yeah I'm going to say it, I miss the roads in Louisiana. The country itself is absolutely beautiful. Seriously, part of our area involved walking up this huge mountain and the view was stinking awesome. I of course took pictures. It's sad that the people here are so poor because the countryside is so gorgeous. Right on the coast with huge green mountains. So sweet.

The people here are so nice and friendly but so so poor. I've never seen so much poverty anywhere, even in movies and stuff. This one lady we were teaching lived in a one room house with about 5 kids. It's so crazy. One lady we taught had a room full of sand. I don't really know what that's about. You see kids in the street running around naked. It's pretty sad. The kids all really like me. When I walk by I always hear these little voices going "Oputoh! Ohputoh!" Which means "White man! White man!" I usually wave and smile at them. Some of them run up and feel my skin. They're so stinking cute. Seriously... Krio is like 95% a completely foreign language. I'm getting the hang of it though! I can understand it okay now. The people can't understand like anything I say though. I have to talk super slow. It makes teaching pretty sad. I extended an invitation to be baptized and the lady turned to my companion and said "what did he say?" She eventually said yes but I was like dang it! Haha. It'll be fine though. no worries. Stuff here is pretty cheap. 1,000 leones is roughly 25 cents we got about 8 good sized potatoes for 2000 le.

 Anyway I'm running out of time so I need to go. Mom don't worry, I'm eating just fine with my companion cooking for me (I'm learning) and he really does look out for me a lot. Grandma I'm taking my pill every day and sleeping under my mosquito net. So don't worry! I love you all and miss you lots! I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Hunty

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sierra Leone!

Here is a picture that the Mission President posted on the mission blog (see sidebar if you want to check it out).  They took this as the group of missionaries arrived at the airport in Lungi.  Apparently they took a ferry over to Freetown.  I'm sure Hunter will be emailing us the details soon. At least we know he made it there :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Letter from the Ghana MTC

It's good to hear about everything going on at home. Savannah- keep up the non-crashing driving. That's very good. I also need to say that no my companion was not making crack. He had to take these pills to flush any worms in his system (all the Africans had to do this), and the pills were so big that he was crushing them up and putting them into water to drink. Not very effective pill taking, but whatever. It's sad because he's leaving to go to Nigeria and I will surely miss him, but that's just how these things go! Mom- you said Elder Wing looked like cousin Cody and I thought the same thing! Haha, he even acts like him a little bit. It's pretty funny. I'll no doubt be seeing him when we get back to BYU. Dad- I got your message too and I don't really have time to appropriately respond but I love you too and I'm thankful that you're my dad! As far as me getting mail, I haven't gotten anything. It's really depressing because I thought I would have gotten something by now. Maybe I should have and you guys are all liars and didn't actually send anything. Just kidding. Hopefully I will get it soon because I'm gone soon!
So this Tuesday I'll be leaving for Sierra Leone (FINALLY), along with about 18 other missionaries. Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked. Especially because yesterday we went proselyting! It was so awesome and crazy at the same time. We had about a two hour block in the day to go. We all went down and got into vans with our districts (We were all grouped into groups of 12 missionaries total for the districts) and the van drove us to a random part in the Tema community. The van pulled over on a random spot of the road, we had a quick prayer, all 12 of us brand new missionaries got out, and then the driver said good luck and drove away. Then we got with our companions and walked off in different directions. It was pretty intimidating. Haha. The streets are filled with trash, there's a pretty big stench of sewage everywhere, and people are just out in the streets barefoot burning trash in the ditches in front of their houses. It's very different from America. So Elder Nartey and I were walking down a random road and saw a guy sewing. He told us to go away. Then the next person was speaking Twi (the dialect they speak here in Ghana) so I stood there awkwardly while Elder Nartey talked to her. But then a man called me over and I sat down and taught him The whole Restoration and left him a Book of Mormon. All in all we were able to give away all the materials we had with us and had our last people asking us where they could get a copy of the Book of Mormon. The people here are so humble. They are all wanting to hear our message and wanting to find out about the truth for themselves. In two hours we got 9 new investigators, and taught 3 full lessons. It was so cool. It was also so much better than role playing. Gosh I'm so sick of doing that. Haha. Anyway, I have 4 minutes to finish up (the time limit is so annoying) so I'll have to tell you more after I get to the mission field! I also thought of some things I want if you want to send me something- mints, pop-tarts, peanut butter, hand sanitizer (lots!), facewash, and any other American food you can send. I miss American food SO MUCH. It sucks. Hopefully I can find something good in the field. Anyway, I love you all and miss you lots!
 The view from our window onto the football field and one of the local church buildings
 And posing
 This nasty sour bread dough called like Bonku or something. All the Africans love it. The Americans do not. But luckily when they serve that we usually get another choice, that night the other choice was-
 Cassava leaves. I know it looks like mushed up vomit, poop, pig intestines, noonafish, seaweed and dog excrement, but it's not that bad. It's worse. The plain rice and pineapple make up my dinner on those days. (okay so it's not THAT bad. But it's still pretty disgusting.)
  This picture is for Lexi Hayob. I thought she would like to know that Africans like Hannah Montana too. Those are the study journals they gave us when we first got here. Mine has "super cars" on it. They also have High School Musical ones. It's pretty special.
The other main religion here.We said that if there was an LDS one with the Book of Mormon it would say "we find you." at the bottom but, I guess that's why we aren't in charge of those things.
Big Black- I have a video here of this tall Nigerian with a crazy eye saying "I'm old GREEGGGG" but sadly the video is .9 Megabytes too big. So it'll have to wait.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Randon Thoughts & Lots of Pictures

So for some reason they decided to let us have another email day and since I pretty much said everything I wanted to, I'm just going to send a bunch of pictures! Also, a few random things I didn't have time to say last time: Every morning before me and my 3 other roommates go down to breakfast we say a prayer and guess what we do after the prayer? Yup, we all put our hands in the middle and do the little hand thing we do after our family prayer. Haha. We don't say anything though so it's kind of weird. But I dig it. Also we went to the temple yesterday. And saw a couple naked people walking around on the streets on our way over there. It was very uplifting. Anyway, the MTC is pretty boring (minus the football and temple trips) and I just want to get out to Sierra Leone! Here are some pictures!

 An African coke Ad
 This is the Ghana "White House" and it's called the Flagstaff house. I think they said it was illegal to take pictures of it because people think Americans are plotting something. Oh well.
 This is what's directly across the street from the Flagstaff house. Nice contrast isn't it?

 There's a big map of Africa in the hallway so we all pointed to our missions. Elder Liufau (the guy I found on facebook before my mission) is going to Liberia first, so that's why he's pointing at that.
 This is when black and white meet.
 This is the van we ride in. There are several rows. It gets really hot.
 This is the football field where happiness is born
 this is the guard house where the guard does cool poses.
 This is a "Hawker." Basically there's like a buttload of people that stand at busy intersections where the traffic stops and they walk up to your window and try and sell you random things like peanuts, DVDs, soccer balls, hangers, chips, bags of water, or paintings (seriously). I like to think of it as the African version of Wal-Mart.
 Peanut head
 Army guys run around with guns. It's pretty exciting. Don't worry Mom they're on our side.
This is my room. It's beautiful.

Hey just real quick I wanted to say that I still haven't got any real mail yet. Soooo it's taking longer than we though it would. Ha. If you want to just add that to the blog to tell anyone who was sending me mail that would be very special. Anyway, I just finished playing football and thought about that and remembered I forgot to explain one of the pictures from the last couple emails. The picture is the one with me and that white guy. His name is Elder Wing and he's the only other guy here who goes to BYU. We've become really good friends but sadly he's going to the Ghana Accra Mission so I won't see him anymore after the MTC. So sad. Anyway, how's everything going at home? Savannah crash the car yet? Is it still raining every day? We haven't had any rain yet. Haha. Anyway, I gotta go to dinner. Love y'all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


That's a greeting the Ghana people use. So since I live in Ghana right now I can use it.
Yes, things are quite the same here in the MTC. Honestly it's super boring but hopefully that will change when they let us out to go talk to people... which is in like a week. So that's painful. I have a tiny bit of time so i'll be quick! The chicken bones, don't worry I don't ever eat them. It was gross. The Africans all tell us that our teeth will become strong by eating them but that doesn't make any sense. As far as sending me things goes, the only thing I want is a power adapter for my camera! It would probably be best to send that to my mission. And that tropical storm- just tell Charlie to stop planking out by the hot tub and you guys will be just fine.
Anyway, I've been writing down random things in my planner to tell y'all about so let me tell you those right now!
So here in Ghana when people shake hands you do something different. You shake hands normally, but then instead of just letting go you slide your hands apart until your grabbing the other persons middle finger with you middle finger and thumb and then you both snap off each other. It's sweet. The Africans always make fun of us Americans because we all have soft hands. Speaking of soft hands, handwashing clothes SUCKS. It's going to be a long mission in that department. We've been playing lots of football lately and yes they have discovered that I'm not just a crappy American. So that is much much better. My friend Elder Wing was asked to pick a hymn to open our class and I told him to pick hymn 338. Look it up. We actually sang it. It was funny. At the temple I did confirmations and was a witness for the baptisms. The baptisms were in French. Okay now I'm going to depress everyone. So this one Elder here is from Sierra Leone and all he brought was a small bag with two shirts, shoes, a tie, and two pairs of pants. When he was 14 his home was attacked and only he and his aunt and sister got out. The people burned his house down with his family inside. It's so sad. And so that gives me a perfect opportunity to give away that extra suitcase that I definitely don't need. Yeah, the official word on the suitcase situation is that I can have one big suitcase, and one carry on (which will be my backpack) and that carry on can't weigh more than 11 pounds. I can't remember if it's 50 or 66 for the big one. So that leaves me with that other suitcase so I'm going to see if that one Elder wants to have it. Another depressing thing, about 3 or 4 Africans have told me that their one dream in life is to come to America. So feel very blessed.
Anyway, I'm out of time so I need to go! I wanted to send a video of my companion talking about eating "sweets," but I don't have the time. I love you all and miss you all!
PS if you are my friend please send my parents your address (to and have them email it to me because I have ZERO addresses and can't write to any of you! Thanks!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sending Hunter a letter/package

Here are instructions straight from Hunter's facebook on how to send him letters and packages.  Make sure you write him lots of letters :) 

If you're wondering, I can only email my family, so if I communicate with anyone else back home, it'll have to be through the mail. So, if you want to be really awesome and send me a letter, here are two ways to send it to me (if you are wanting to send me a letter BETWEEN AUGUST. 25TH AND SEPTEMBER 13TH, you must do option number 2 and select "Ghana MTC -- FREE" as my mission instead of "Sierra Leone Freetown West Africa -- FREE" Thanks!):


IMPORTANT! If you want to send me a handwritten letter you need to send it as pouch mail, NOT IN AN ENVELOPE. If this is not done right the letter will either be discarded or returned to you. Which would make me sad. Even though I'd have no idea it was on it's way. Follow these instructions:
• Lay the blank side of the single-sheet letter facing down with the writing facing you.
• Fold the top of the letter about one-third of the way down, and crease.
• Fold the bottom of the letter to the top of the first fold, and crease.
• Use two pieces of tape or two sticker tabs on the top to secure it, not more than one inch from each side, but do not seal the ends.
• Do not include any other item in the letter such as printed pictures, currency or medication, etc.
• In the top left corner, write the return address.
• Affix a stamp in the top right corner
• In the middle of the sheet, write:

Elder Hunter James Stewart
Sierra Leone Freetown Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150

Example picture here:


This is a LOT more simple than the pouch mail, although handwritten letters are pretty cool...

1. Go to
2. On the home page you should see a drop down list that says "Select Mission"
3. Scroll through all the missions and select "Sierra Leone Freetown West Africa -- FREE"
4. Then click the button underneath that says "Write a Letter"
5. On the next page fill in your address in the spaces, and then put "Elder Hunter Stewart" in the other Section.
6. Underneath that there is a big box where you simply type up your letter and hit "Send Letter" when you're done!
-It's absolutely free and the people in Salt Lake will print our the letter, fold it up, and send it to me. So to you it would basically be like sending me an email. But if you hear back from me it will be a handwritten letter.

These two forms of letter sending are supposed to take about 10 days or so to reach their destination, so keep that in mind and DATE your letters!

If you want to send me a package (which would pretty much make me love you forever), send it to this address:

Elder Hunter James Stewart
Sierra Leone Freetown Mission
#181 Pademba Rd
Belliar Park, Dwarzak Farm
Sierra Leone
Phone: 232 765-41524

Yes, you need to include the Phone number.
Packages usually take a little over a month to arrive.
I hear that packages get broken into a lot on their way over, so don't put anything too valuable in them.
I also heard that if you put religious words and stuff on the outside they won't get broken into... because African's are superstitious and don't want to mess with something with God. So I guess maybe try that.

Two emails from Hunter! (yes. already!)

Hello family!

Okay, so I had a little word with the President about not getting enough time to email home earlier today, so I got him to reopen the computer lab for me and now I'm in here with my companion getting special privileges :) Haha. I still only have about 15 minutes though so I'll be quick. So anyway, here comes the longest recap of everything I can give in the time I have! (and hopefully I can answer the questions you asked in it)

The flight from Atlanta to Accra was about 11 hours long. It was terribly long and so hard to sleep. But luckily the flight wasn't full at all so I had two seats all to myself! Side note- "Accra" is pronounce like "Uh-cra" not "Ahccra." Yeah I was getting it wrong this whole time too. Anyway, one of the Elders on the flight looked extremely familiar to me and I was finally able to figure out where I knew him from, he was in my EFY group when I was 15! It was crazy. Small world right? So we landed in Africa and waited at the airport and went to the MTC.

The MTC is really not as scary looking as people make it out to be. Sure, there's an electric fence around it, but there's one little security house. Not armed guards patrolling it 24/7. We are very safe here. So Mom, don't worry :) I haven't seen any crazy wildlife because the MTC is a PRISON. We can never leave. It's so sad. Except in Provo I think the fences are to keep the missionaries in, here it's to keep people out! Haha. As far as the AC goes we have it in all the classrooms and chapel, but only fans in our rooms. So it's not too too bad. I have like 5 minutes so I'll start wrapping this up. And throw out random things I've noticed or thought about. I've gotten to play football a couple times but it's frustrating because the Africans here are BALL HOGS. Also, I think they assume I'm bad at football because I'm American. We'll just give it some time ;) Another thing here is that the Africans like to sing. A LOT. So much that they literally shout the hymns as loud as they can. Kind of kills the whole reverence thing, but it's really entertaining so I guess it's okay. In the food department- like I said, it's just tons of rice. One day we had rice with a side of rice. It was just great. Needless to say I freaking miss American food. Oh man. So much. A Big Mac has never sounded so good. Or a waffle. Or some chips. Anyway, I'm stinking ready to get out into the mission field and teach some real people!

Well I'm out of time so I'll talk about the pictures real quick

First one- that's me eating chicken bones. Yup, not that great.

Second, yup, I'm pretty cool
Third, those are all my roommates!
Fourth, the Ghana temple! It was super cool! It's a little bigger than the Baton Rouge one so not super big. I got to be an escort for my companion because the Africans who don't have temples near them go through for the first time with the MTC. It was great! Also, the temple is about 45 minutes away. The MTC is in Tema and the temple is in Accra.

I think about y'all a lot and miss and love y'all tons! Can't wait to hear from you!


Elder Stewarty Hunt a bunt booger fun woo woo

This is in response to some questions my Dad asked him:

1. Only family can email me
2. I just want one email from the family, that way it can just get posted on the blog and I don't have to repeat things over and over again.
3. The weather is pretty much the same as home. For Mom- it has not rained here yet. The iPhone is a lie. It is pretty much overcast 24/7 though. The difference is that there's no nice air conditioned house to walk into so your room is crazy humid too. We have AC in the classrooms and chapel, but the rooms only have fans.
4. Yes! We went to the temple today actually. It was awesome and I took lots of pictures. More on all of that in the email to Mom (just cause I haven't read hers and I'll go in depth on everything then)
5. Typically we wake up, exercise (play football mostly), shower, go to class for endless hours, then eat, then endless class, then eat, then class, then sleep.
6. Well people are yelling at us to go eat so I actually can't answer more questions now. I'm actually really frustrated with this computer situation right now because people won't listen to me when they don't know how to use computers! I'll hopefully finally be able to type a real email sometime soon!