Hunter left for the MTC in Bogota, Colombia on February 28, 2017, at 6:20 a.m. We left our house at 4:00 a.m. Mom, Dad, Brittany, Ty, Abby, Taylor, Hunter, Tanner, Irish, Karinya and her Grandmother were all at the airport to send him off. He met another elder (Elder Larson) who was on his way to the MTC in Lima, Peru for three weeks and then on to serve in Bolivia.
We had all of our kids and grandkids together the weekend before he left. Grandma and Grandpa Reese and Grandma and Grandpa Light were here as well and we had a great time.
Elder Reese made it to the MTC at about 1:00 a.m with 11 other elders he met in Atlanta, GA. We received an email from a brother who sat beside Hunter on the flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta whose son is serving a mission in Japan. It was positive and he had some great things to say about Hunter. It made my day! Here it is:
“Hi Reeses- I had the pleasure of sitting next to your missionary on his way to Colombiatoday. You must be very happy for him. My youngest is serving in Japan right now and another from our ward in Colombia. The emails I have gotten from our ward’s Colombia missionary for the last 6 months have shown an instant love of Colombia and of the Colombian people., and I am sure your son’s experience will be the same.
I want to share an observation from our flight to Atlanta. Isatto Elder Reese’s right and to his left was a non-Mormon Hispanic man. Elder Reese spent much of the flight getting to know this gentleman, sharing stories about his family and life and his upcoming mission. They spoke in a mix of English and Spanish (each knew a little of the other’s language). What impressed me was that Elder Reese has not yet entered the MTC but felt the innate urge to jump right in and fearlessly engage with a stranger. I have seen this from Elders on their way from the MTC to the mission field, but never from an Elder on his way to the MTC. He obviously has what it takes to be a good missionary.
Mom—I gave him stern advice to make sure he writes you weekly, and to let you know if there will be any gaps in his emails. Dad— As we parted in Atlanta, I urged him to work hard and be obedient.
Best wishes to you and your son for the next 2 years.”
Here is Hunter’s first email and he sounds so great!
“Hola madre y padre!!
This is awesome!! Elder Larrssen had a different flight to Atlanta than I did so we didn’t see each other after SLC. I did meet an elder in SLC named Elder Hansen who was on his way to Bogota too! He is a great guy. We walked the whole Atlanta airport together. On the flight to Atlanta Isatwith Brother Goodwin who is the man who emailed you. He was an amazing guy! He helped (me) think about things and what not. But I alsosatnext to a man named Juan. He spoke very good Spanish and decent English. He heard that I would be learning Spanish and immediatly jumped in to talk to me. He was not a member and had no idea what I was about to go do. But he asked me what my purpose was and I opened my Preach My Gospel and told him a couple of things. He just said that is good and what not, but it made me feel great to share something with someone so soon and I used a bit of Spanish too. In Atlanta we met up with 11 different missionaries including me who were all traveling to Bogota. Flying to Bogota Isatby another guy I talked with and he was a devoted catholic but was more than happy to laugh and talk with me about my mission anyways. When we landed in Bogota one of the elders going through the first checkpoint was the only one that got one of those important papers taken and it was so funny because we could only make jokes. Then Elder Skinner couldn’t find his bags at baggage claim. The first one was right in front of him and the second one he kept pointing at a bag saying that his looked very similar to it. The example bag was his bag. Gotta love Elder Skinner. Anyways we got to the MTC at like 1 am and me and Elder Kelley got paired up. But in our room is Elder Espnoso from Venezuela. He his the funniest guy ever. He speaks a little English and wanted to learn more so we talked until like 4 am. Anyways I have to go now. I will email on Tuesdays in the MTC. Let Abby know I’ll reply to her as soon as I can! This is just so you know I’m alive. Have no worries this is where I am supposed to be.