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Future is Bright for Former Soldier from American Samoa

On January 30th, Elder Vincent O. Haleck , Pacific Area President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, broadcast his Family Home Evening (FHE) live via Facebook.

Over 7,000 miles away Leata Hunt was watching. Inspired by Elder Haleck, Leata decided to then broadcast her own FHE live on Facebook. That’s where we found her. We soon learned that her story goes much deeper than the beaming woman on the screen.

     

Leata Hunt is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a mother and determined. If you get the chance she might tell you about her childhood, growing up in American Samoa. She might tell you about moving to the United States and joining the Army National Guard. She might even tell you about how her life started to fall apart, and about how it’s all coming together again.

Leata spent half of last year in bed under nurse care while pregnant and diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. “I went from being a fit and active soldier serving in the Army National Guard to being completely bed ridden and still for six months,” she said.

           

Due to Leata’s pregnancy, doctors discouraged using the medications needed to treat the illness. The risk of harm to the baby left Leata to fight her disease with minimal treatment. “I had to live off IV fluids day-in and day-out the entire 6 months,” she said.

Her husband, Ralph Hunt, and her family were there to support her every step of the way. “Occasional visitations of love, laughter, singing and joy lifted my spirits and brought about both a spiritual and temporal healing,” said Leata.

Still physically devastated by her sickness and wanting to get back up on her own two feet, Leata got to work and set a goal to become self-reliant. She wanted to be fit and independent again, both physically and spiritually.

Eventually, as her symptoms began to slowly fade, Leata’s health started to improve.

Leata did not have any visions or hear God’s voice, but she did start to notice His hand in her life, providing her with exactly what she needed: Help, support and encouragement.

       

That help began on January 19th, when Leata was chosen as one of seven winners to participate in the Draper Lifestyle Transformation Challenge, a competitive health and fitness program in her area. Over 500 people entered to win. Over the next few months she’ll be working with a personal trainer on a specialized Transformation Program – completely free.

That same weekend Leata’s bishop (congregation leader) asked her to attend a special devotional aimed specifically at helping people become physically and spiritually self-reliant. She learned about positive habits that would help her reach her goals, and how to apply them.

The following week Leata learned from her sister in Australia of a special Church event scheduled to happen in the South Pacific on January 30th. Elder Haleck’s FHE.

While watching, she learned that physical and temporal self-reliance is a main focus of the Church’s humanitarian efforts in her native region, the Pacific Area. “The timing of President Haleck’s FHE live couldn’t be better as it was perfectly aligned with my temporal and spiritual goals,” she said.

Grateful for the small, personalized miracles she had witnessed over the past couple of weeks, and motivated more than ever to reach her goals, Leata felt inspired to follow Elder Haleck’s example.

The following evening Leata and her husband, Ralph Hunt, gathered for their own FHE in the home of a family friend. Leata proposed the idea of broadcasting their FHE live, using the hashtag #PacificFHEGoals, just as Elder Haleck had done.

“Almost immediately and without any hesitation, everyone present joyfully agreed and from there we went live,” she said.

It’s been a long and winding road for Leata, and there’s still plenty left to traverse before she reaches her goals, but if there’s one thing she’s learned on her journey so far, it’s this:

“In order for any balance of any kind to occur within our lives whether it be temporal or spiritual, we need to ensure that we are placing Heavenly Father first in our lives,” she said.

“And the moment we do so, he opens up windows of blessings and opportunities for us to take part in. And by doing the small and simple things such as honoring the Sabbath, reading the Book of Mormon, sharing with families and friends can help make those moments possible in our lives just as it did in mine.”

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This blog is managed and written by staff of the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The information here is reliable and accurate but should not necessarily be viewed as official statements from the Church. The purpose of this blog is to provide journalists, bloggers, and the public with additional context and information regarding public issues involving the Church. For official news releases and statements from the Church, visit MormonNewsroom.org.