Missions Are Forever

Hisashi buri mina san! Long time no see.

I know that my mission is far from over, but when I got home, my mom asked me to write one last blog entry to finish up my mission experience. And of course I said I would. Then a week went by…. And another… and another. I started going back to school, I started dating the love of my life, I started working. I got thrown back into the world. And then I blinked my eyes, and realized that I have been home from my mission now for 6 months. Where did the time go?

I don’t quite know what I should write about, I wish I could say that I have missionary experiences every day, that I feel the Spirit every second, and that not a second goes by when I’m not praying for those people in Japan. I’m ashamed to say that’s not the truth. Coming home from my mission was the hardest thing that I ever did. In the moment I thought it was because I was leaving everything that I had learned to love. Now I see that leaving my mission was going to be one of the hardest experiences ever because I would have to learn how to do everything on my own again.

When you’re a missionary, you hear about something called “the slip”. A dreaded horrifying thing that every single person that goes on a mission will undergo. When you are released from your calling as a fulltime missionary, and you begin to live a normal life, you experience a slip in your testimony, a slip in feeling the Spirit, a slip in your routine that you developed as a missionary. And it’s not your fault. As a missionary you devote ALL your time to serving the Lord and his children. Coming home you don’t have that luxury. You do have to devote time to other things, even important things. And no matter how hard you try, you will feel a little distant from the Father, a little weaker in the faith. But this slip doesn’t matter. What really matters is how you fight against it.

I’ve seen too many friends, loved ones, and even family members let this little slip have a bigger impact on their lives than it should. That one little slip determines our futures. We have to decide to push forward in faith, rather than letting it drag us down. It’s hard, trust me, I know. I got so used to receiving answers to prayers, and feeling the presence of the Spirit that I honestly started taking it for granted. And then I started getting angry. Why wasn’t he listening after all the hard work and suffering that I went through on my mission, all of the dedication and devotion that I showed to my Heavenly Father? Was it even worth it to keep trying?

Looking back I’m ashamed I ever felt like that. I was extremely humbled the day I read this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 84:

119 For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people.

I couldn’t see him. I couldn’t hear him, and because of my anger, it was becoming hard to feel him. Reading this I knew it would all be okay, and that I would be able to come back. I was still Sister Hunsaker.

The memories of my mission are among the most cherished things I have. And it is those memories that helped me to get out of the hole that I was digging. The hole that all began with just a little “slip”. I will never forget how hard it was to serve a mission, especially in a place like Japan. I lost count of how many times people slammed doors in my face, or ran away when I tried to talk to them. I still cringe a little bit thinking about the nights I cried for hours to the Lord asking for his help, or when I had to do the work without a companion to help me. I still remember falling off my bike and scraping myself up, getting caught in rainstorms, and coming home in the winter with purple fingers and toes. But even more important than all those awful things, I remember how much I LOVED the people of Japan. How much I LOVED my companions. How hard I worked, how hard I tried, and how much effort I put in every single day of my mission to make sure that I was doing everything possible to help these people. After thinking about everything that I had gone through on my mission, the good and the bad, I realized that I owed it to myself to pull my act together and to try  harder. I was not going to throw away those 18 months and go back to what I was before my mission.

The testimony I gained, the experiences I had, and the love I came to understand on my mission defines me. They are who I am. So yeah, unfortunately, being a returned missionary is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I wish I would have been able to pull it together sooner, but I know now that I can see all the blessings that the Lord has been giving me, even when I was pulling away from him. I have an amazing family, I have a job, a roof over my head, and the most loving fiancé I could have ever asked for.

Everything good that I have ever received has come because of my mission. I realize that now, and I will never forget it. And this is true of every single person that serves a mission. The slip that happens when we are released from our callings is real, and in all honesty, it can make us or break us. It all depends on how hard we fight, how much we nourish our testimonies, and how much we treasure our experiences in the mission field, the good and the bad. I know that the testimony I gained on my mission is the one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It will keep growing, and it is the testimony that I will share with my friends, acquaintances, and someday my future family.  I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored on this earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon, and that the words and prophecies and revelations written in it are everything that we need find answers in life. I know that God is my Heavenly Father. I know that he loves me, even when I turn away. I know that he answers my prayers. I know that his Only Begotten Son is Jesus Christ, who suffered for us, and who made it possible for us to overcome to trials that come our way. No matter how alone we may feel, there is always One who understands. I know that I changed on my mission. And I am forever grateful for that. In fact, I’m still changing, and I always will be. My time in Japan is over, but I still have a bigger mission to complete. I can’t wait to see the joys that lay in store as I embark on this next path and see what experiences are in store. The most important thing that I learned from my service as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints is that missions aren’t just 18 months, or 2 years. Missions are forever.

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July 6, 2014 Week 76 “What Will Matter”

Hey everyone!

Well, this is it. My last p-day as a missionary. I don’t know if it has
quite sunk in yet. A.K.A. I haven’t started crying like a baby about
it yet. Today we had transfer calls, and found out who will be coming
to fill my place in Oizumi. It’s a Japanese sister that has been
studying Portuguese. After getting calls, I realized I need to repent.
I’m definitely harboring some negative feelings about another missionary
that will take my place here. And I know it’s because I’m jealous that
someone else will get to come here with these people, teach them, lead
them, and help them to find the light of Christ.

These next few days will be a lot of packing and getting things sorted
away for my return, so last week was my last chance to work hard here
in Oizumi. And….. I’m exhausted haha. I literally fell asleep on the
floor waiting for the district leader to call, and again when my
companion was praying before we went to bed. My “amen” was at least 2
minutes late. But we saw SO many miracles this week, it’s crazy in all
honesty.

One of them is Ana. She’s an investigator we found last transfer that
we have been teaching for a little while now. She’s a really sweet mom
with 2 of the most adorable children I have ever seen. The only
problem is, in order for her to be baptized, she needs to get married
to her husband. Who is still married to another woman. Who is living
in Japan under a false name. It’s all incredibly complicated, and has
made me incredibly grateful for eternal marriages in the temple, and
how much our church focuses on family haha. But, we were able to
really sit down and talk to her, and set a goal for her to be baptized
in September. She’s reading and praying everyday, and we know if she
has the desire, that Heavenly Father will prepare a way for her to be
baptized. We also took her daughter a birthday cake this week. She’s
seriously the cutest thing ever. She must have blown out the candles
at least 50 times. Ana told us that this was her first time ever
blowing out the candles. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m happy I could be
a part of that moment, no matter how insignificant blowing out candles
is.

The other cool miracle happened with an investigator we have named
Maria who is from Bolivia. She wants to be baptized as well! We were
able to set a date with her for a few weeks. She’s also reading and
praying every day, now she just needs to come to church (for some
reason the hardest part), and she’ll be golden.

Our wonderful families in Oizumi are doing great as well. The
Toyoshima family is as strong as ever, and they really are making the
effort to strengthen their testimonies. We had the opportunity to have
dinner at their home this week, and it made me love them that much
more. Julio, the dad, still isn’t a member, but he’s right there. If
he wasn’t always working, he would be a member. I know they have the
potential to be that forever family.

And of course the Mercado family. I love them so much. They will be
coming to church this week Mom and Dad, so you should be able to meet
them. CK and B-boy both are trying really hard to read and pray, and
share the gospel with their friends, and I think it has really been
helping their mom, Rhoda, as well.

I could go on and on and on about my investigators and members for
days. I’ve spent 7 transfers in Oizumi, which is an incredibly long
time for one area, but it really doesn’t seem like it has been that
long. Sometimes when I’m tired, it seems likes it been a while, and
even though it’s weird, I am starting to feel that it will be okay to
return home. I still don’t want to, and I know it’s going to feel like
a part of me is missing, but I have some comfort from the fact that I
know I served my hardest, and have had a mission more incredible and
unique than I ever could have imagined. It has changed me in every
aspect of my life, and given me a desire to be a better member, a
better friend, a better sister, someday a better mother. Mom was
comparing missionary work to motherhood in her email today, so maybe
me leaving this area is somewhat like letting your kids leave? Now
that I think about it, I think the way that I feel about leaving
Oizumi is probably the same exact way that you felt about letting me
leave to go on a mission, mom. I understand now. It’s terrifying. I
feel like at this point I’ve done my best, I’ve taught what I know,
and shared my testimony and helped the area grow, but it’s come to the
point where I have to trust in The Lord, take a few steps back, and
let it go on without me. I hate it. But, it’s true that we can’t be
there every step of the way. Now is my turn to watch, and pray and
hope that everything I’ve done will be enough to keep this area going.
I’m dying inside knowing my mission is coming to an end, and I know
that now I need to trust in The Lord more than ever.

There was this pretty cool message that they sent out to all the
returning missionaries that I want to include in this email. It’s a
little long, and some of it might not make any sense, but bear with
me.

For each of us, after 18 months or 2 years, ready or not, our
full-time mission will come to an end.  We will return home.
There will be no more full-time proselyting, no more finding and
teaching, and no more companionship Gospel and language study every
morning.
All the things you collected and used or treasured while in Japan–
including your helmet and bike–will pass to someone else.
Companionship issues, including grudges, resentments, frustrations and
personal idiosyncrasies will disappear.
So, too, will your full-time missionary hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists.
There will be no more appointments 2 or 3 hours away on a bicycle; no
more waiting on Sunday for investigators to come to Church.
There will be no more soba, katsudons, okonomiyaki, sushi, domburi,
onigiri, or kare raisu meals.
Feelings of loneliness, homesickness, and fear of traffic accidents on
bikes will be gone.
Where you came from, where you served and how long you were in each
area won’t matter anymore.
So what will matter?  How will the success of your missionary days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought or saw in Japan but what you
built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is how strong you left the areas where you served and
the memories they have of you.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is how hard you worked and every act of integrity,
obedience, or sacrifice.
What will matter is how you enriched, empowered and encouraged others
by your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your courage to do what
was right and to be exact in doing what you were supposed to do.
What will matter is not how many people you baptized, but how many
people will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in
those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
What will matter is how you feel about the quality of your offering to
the Savior and how you consecrated yourself while in Japan.  Those
feelings will live with you forever.
What will matter is who you are and what you have become because of
your glorious Japanese missionary experience.

I know that my mission will live with me forever (At this point, yes I
am crying while writing the email). It’s something that has become a
part of my soul. Something that no one can take from me, and something
that I will always treasure, and lean on in times on trial. I’m so
thankful for the experiences I have had here in Japan. It’s something
that is hard to explain, and almost impossible to understand unless
you served a mission. I love you all so much. I can’t begin to thank
you enough for the support you have given me.

I love you more than all the rice in Japan, and all the sand in
California. ❤️😊🍚🌴🏄
And hey, mom and dad, I’ll see you on Friday.

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

June 30, 2014 Week 75 “Festa Junina”

Herro everyone!

Herro and not Hello because Japanese people have a really hard time
saying “l”. The sound doesn’t actually exist in Japanese.

Today was a great week in Oizumi. Busy, and unfortunately that makes
it fly by that much faster. Love you fam bam, but I’m really wishing
the time would slow down right about now.

On Tuesday, we had the chance to go on exchanges with the Sisters
serving in Kiryu again, but this time I went to Kiryu with one of the
sisters. It was way fun to go back to a Japanese area, and even though
we had to spend the whole day knocking on doors, we found 2 different FAMILIES that let us into their home, prayed with us and said we could come back. They were both Buddhist families. It was such a miracle to see them willing to pray and learn more. I’m hoping the sisters
serving their follow-up on it.

Kind of a sad moment of the week, we went to the home of a new
investigator we have been teaching for a while named Esutefany (she’s
12), and had a bit of a shock. We think her parents might not be our
biggest fans, because posted outside on the door was one of our flyers
that says “I’m a Mormon”, but the “I’m a” part was ripped off, and
there was a big black X through Mormon. We took the flyer down, put up a new one, and wrote them a note inviting them to church. It took just
about all the willpower I had not to knock on the door anyways. It’s
always a little sad when you lose investigators that way.

We’ve been seeing way cool miracles with our recent converts and less
actives lately. We had he chance to meet with CK and Nubia, and teach
and talk with both of them. We had a family home evening with the
Mercado kids, and it was way fun. If we could just get their mom to
participate now instead of running around the house, it would be
wonderful. Now we just need to get them to church. A lot of our
investigators have said they will come to church my last Sunday, which
is great and all, but I really wish they would come before that.

Sunday I spoke in church…. Again. And next week I’ll bear my testimony. So that will be three weeks in a row. The members are going to get tired of me haha. But Marisol, our less active, came to church again 🙂 she’s slowly making her way back. After church, we met with our friends Sandra and Jonas a couple that we have been teaching. We
asked them if they prayed about the message we shared with them, and
Sandra told us she didn’t really have a desire to change. She enjoys
being Catholic. It was kind of a bummer, but they are still such an
amazing family, I know that there is something in this gospel that
could change their mind.

And on Saturday, we had a Brazilian party! It’s called Festa Junina.
All the members, friends and investigators came to the church, and we danced, played games, and ate food. It was so much fun. This little
group we have here truly is a family. But at the same time, they are
so amazing at welcoming new people with open arms. I still can’t even
bring myself to think about leaving them.

Last little bit here. I’m still a missionary, so I can be as cheesy as
I want with this kind of stuff, but I really want to share a scripture
I read in the Book of Mormon with you. It’s something that I’ve read a
billion times, but this time when I read it, it took on a completely
different meaning.
Ether 6: 5-10

5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a
furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised
land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the
wind.

6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths
of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and
also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the
fierceness of the wind.

7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was
no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a
dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore
when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the
Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards
the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were
driven forth before the wind.

9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared
did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord
all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to
praise the Lord.

10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could
break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light
continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.

Basically it’s the story of Jared, his brother, and their families
traveling to the promised land. I thought it was interesting how this
huge storm came upon them, and they cried unto The Lord, but the storm
didn’t stop, he protected them. And because they had prepared
themselves by following the counsel of The Lord, the barges they made
weren’t able to be destroyed. I kept thinking about the storm. How The
Lord didn’t stop the storm. But why? Because the storm was what was
pushing them towards the promise land. They needed the storm, it’s
winds and fury in order to get to their final destination. I guess it
just reminded me that sometimes we need that trial or storm in order
to push us forward to become the people we need to be, and truly
become more Christlike. Just some thoughts for the week.

I miss you all tons! I really can’t wait to see you again, no matter
how much I say I don’t want to leave. It’s a very mixed emotion at
this point. But until next week, I love you more than all the rice in
Japan! ❤️😊🍚

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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June 22, 2014 Week 74 “True Identity”

Hey everyone! Another week has gone by…. yada. There’s your Japanese
word for the day. “Yada” is slang. It’s just something you say when
you don’t like what’s happening. It’s basically, no!!!!

It’s so funny that when you’re a first transfer missionary, sometimes
the days can seem to drag on. And then, as a last transfer missionary,
the weeks are flying by all too fast.

On Monday, we had a lesson with Marisol, the less active that came to
church with us last week. It actually went really well. She remembers
everything that the elders have taught her, and I feel that she still
knows it is true. She has a testimony. She just needs to find it
again. And, she’s teaching what she has learned to others as well!
Granted, it’s her cats… But at least now they know how to pray. And
then today we have another lesson with her. Goodness pday has already
been hectic. She called us this morning and said she didn’t have food,
or money… And she already looks like a skeleton. We couldn’t get
ahold of the members, and when we finally got ahold of the bishop for
a nearby ward… He didn’t know what to do. So, we got some food with
the elders and took it to her. I don’t want her to be dependent on the
missionaries for this kind of stuff…. But at the same time I
couldn’t just let her starve. So, we spent money that we had planned
to use to buy new clothes… On groceries for a less active. The life
of a missionary. Haha.

This week we also got to see Linda. She had a really hard weekend, so
we called her and asked if we could stop by for a little bit. She
accepted, we brought cookies, and she really just opened up to us.
Which was good, because she really is trying so hard to learn about
this gospel. She reads the Book of Mormon and prays every single
night. She just works like a mad person, so it’s really hard to meet
her.

We’ve been meeting the Mercado family again as well! I’ve missed CK so
much. It was actually a miracle finding me again, because they have
been living in a different house. But, we’ve started teaching them
again, and they should be coming to church this week. CK is even
sharing the gospel with her friend, Ainjell. She’s been an awesome
member present for us so far.

And… There are so many other miracles and amazing stories that I
wish I could tell you, but I feel like I would just about talk your
ears off 🙂 so, I’ll just tell you about this cute girl named
Esutefany that we found housing. She’s Brazilian, but raised in Japan,
so we teach her in Japanese. This morning we met her for the 3rd time,
and she prayed for us, and has been reading the Book of Mormon. Plus,
she said she would come to church with us this week 🙂 I think she
really could be that miracle person we have been searching for.

We also went on exchanges I’ll just tell you about the exchanges this
week with Kiryu Sisters. I stayed here in Oizumi with Sister
Edwards, and Sister Rodriguez and Sister Kawabataworked in Kiryu.
Sister Edwards is awesome! We had such an awesome time together, and
she was such a good sport to come here and only have lessons in
Portuguese. It’s always a little hard when missionaries come to Oizumi
to do exchanges or splits, because most of the time they have no clue
what’s going on. But all missionaries have this crazy wish of serving
here. I think it’s the allure of the Latin American culture or
something. Speaking of which… my poor companion haha. In Oizumi
everyone is Brazilian. You greet people we a kiss on the cheek and
it’s normal. Unless you’re a sister missionary and obviously not
allowed to kiss men. But average people don’t know that. Yeah. I think
I’ve just accepted it as part of my mission. I still try and avoid it
at all costs, but we went out to dinner with a member family this week
at a restaurant their friend owned, and he kissed all of the girls on
the cheek. My companion laughed it off though, so I’m glad she doesn’t
hate me haha.

So… I may or may not have heard a rumor that Oizumi might lose
sisters next transfer. I don’t know if it’s true…. But if it is, I’m
really hoping that President Budge doesn’t give us on us. It’s taking
every ounce of self control not to call him and say, “NOOOO. What are
you thinking???” We really are seeing success. Yes, Sister Rodriguez doesn’t understand what’s going on sometimes, but she’ll get there. We
have a lot of investigators with a lot of potential. And it would kill
me to have to leave my mission knowing that these people won’t have
someone to teach them. But, I guess in the end, it’s The Lord that
knows best, right?

We had zone meeting this week, and for part of it, we had this really
awesome training about our identities. And something that the zone
leaders said, is that we are all children of God. And because of that,
we have the ability to do God like things. We have the ability to
change peoples lives, and we also have the power to change our own.
That is something I definitely have learned on my mission. It’s
amazing what abilities we come to realize we have when we remember
that we have a divine heritage. I love you all so much! It’s really
really weird to think that I’ll be seeing you soon, but at the same
time it just makes me want to work that much harder, so that I can
have that much more to share with you when we are together again.

I love you more than all the rice in Japan!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

The middle of nowhere, Oizumi.

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June 15, 2014 Week 73 “Rain, Rain Go Away…”

Konnichiwa minna!

Hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day, I know I did here in
Oizumi. And we had a way awesome week here as well. Here are some of
the things that happened.

We invited Graziela to be baptized after having a way awesome lesson
with her. And she said no. Yeah. I was really sad. Mostly because she
told us that she feels that the gospel really was restored, and that
the Book of Mormon is true, but she loves the Catholic Church, because
it’s the one she grew up with. She can’t separate herself from it. At
least not yet. We’re going to to try and do everything we can to
strengthen her testimony, and hopefully that will give her the
strength needed to make that jump and be baptized.

On Saturday we saw Sandra and Jonas, the couple that we taught the
Plan of Salvation last week. We decided to teach them the restoration
this week, because Sandra needed a refresher, and Jonas hadn’t heard
the lesson before. And it was a really good lesson. I panicked at one
point, because they asked if we believed people that were baptized in
other churches would be saved. But, we handled it pretty well, and
focused in needing the priesthood authority that was restored through
Joseph Smith in order to baptize people. But they really have a desire
to learn more. We’re hoping to jet get me to come to church now.

And… There was other way awesome lessons that we taught, but I don’t
have time to tell you about Ana, and Aylime, and Ainjell. (All As…Funny).

Sunday…. No investigators came to church 😦
But we had a waaaaay awesome miracle. Marisol, a less active that we
have been working with recently, told us that she would try to come to
church after we spoke with her last Sunday. This morning we got a
phone call from an unknown number, and it was Marisol! She told us
that she wanted to come to church, just that she need a ride. So we
called some members, hopped in a car,and went to go get her. And she
came!! And she had an awesome time. She invited us to come over to her
home tonight as well. When we were talking to her after sacrament she
told us that she woke up and felt like she needed to go to church
today. We’re hoping that she keeps coming from now on 🙂 the members
made sure to welcome her back with open arms, so now we just need to
do our part and strengthen her testimony.

Sister Rodriguez is an awesome missionary. I won’t lie, when we first
got transfer calls I was incredibly nervous about having only 5 weeks
to train a new sister, but I feel that she won’t have a problem taking
over Oizumi. She has already helped so much while teaching people, and
she is trying hard to make things happen.

I had to bear my final testimony as a returning missionary this week
at the Kiryu Zone conference, so I had to think about what I’ve
learned on my mission. I think the biggest thing I learned is that
Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and chances are sometimes it’s
going to be different than what I thought/what I want. I guess I’ve
learned that there are no coincidences. That everything I’ve done in
my life a purpose. Studying Spanish, deciding to go on a mission,
everything. I feel like I’ve learned more about how I truly want my
life to be when I’ve given up the things I’ve wanted, and been willing
to trust in the plan that he has for me. And yes, part of that is
being released on my appointed date. I’m sad when I think about how
close it is, but I feel peace that Oizumi is going to be okay. Me, on
the other hand, I’m not so sure. Hahaha. My mission will always be a
part of me. That’s something that won’t change, no matter what happens
in my life.

I love you all so much! But mostly dad, because it’s Father’s Day.
Thanks so much Dad, for everything you’ve done for me, everything you
have helped me with, and for being an example to me. But most of all,
I want to thank you for being a worthy priesthood holder, and always
being ready and willing to help me. I was reading through some old
journal entries, and I found the one from the day I left home in
California. In it, I had written some of the things that you said to
me when you gave me a father’s blessing. They have all come to be a
reality on my mission. And I know that miracles like this only happen
when they are lead and guided by a worthy priesthood holder. I love
you daddy. Can’t wait to see you soon.

And I love all of you too 🙂 more than all the rice in Japan 😊❤️🍚

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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June 9, 2014 Week 72 “Thoughts From The Heart”

Hello everyone!

Transfer 11 has officially begun! We were all a little surprised when
transfer calls came around, and both Sister Cortes and Elder Jacox
left us. That being said, Elder Miranda and Sister Rodriguez are doing
great here in Oizumi. Elder Miranda has a great vision to work with
the members and really get the work moving here in Oizumi. And Sister
Rodriguez isn’t afraid to open her mouth and testify strongly. She’s had a lot of chances to teach this week, and she’s willing to go for it. She doesn’t understand a ton of Portuguese yet, but she’s getting there. I think that the hardest people for her to understand is the members, which is understandable, because a lot of them have super thick accents. But, I know she’ll do great. She’s a little shy, but is
willing to talk when I ask her to do something.

We saw lots of awesome miracles in Oizumi this week. We did housing in
huge rain, and we really saw the blessings from it. We met Marcela,
and Ayline, two young Brazilian girls, and both of them accepted the
invite to hear a lesson, and we were able to set return appointments.
We have seen so much success just in these past 2 days. Sister
Rodriguez was asking me if every day was like this in Oizumi, because
she was having so much fun, being able to actually share the gospel
with people who are willing to listen.

We also were able to teach a way awesome lesson to a potential
investigator named Sandra. We taught her the restoration a few weeks
ago, and left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon. When we went and
saw her this week, she told us she had read some of the Book of
Mormon, and she let us into her home. Her husband was there as well,
and he pulled up a chair at the table, and joined in talking with us.
So… We jumped on that opportunity, and decided to teach them the
Plan of Salvation. It was a way good lesson. The spirit was so strong,
and it really reminded me of Doctrine and Covenants 50:22.

22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one
another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

That’s really how our lesson was, we were edified together, and
rejoiced in the Plan that our Heavenly Father has for us. We invited
them to pray together as a family, and to read the Book of Mormon
together as well. They didn’t come to church today, but I’m hoping
they will soon.

These past 2 weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my mission, and
especially Oizumi. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Enough to keep
me staring at the ceiling at night, praying a lot, and searching the
scriptures and the prophets words. Trying to receive an answer. I
don’t know if I’m ready to leave Oizumi. Everything tells me that it
will be okay, that there are great missionaries that can come after,
but I’m still worried. Maybe it’s a lack of faith? But it’s still
there in the back of my mind. Extending my mission. I don’t know if
it’s even possible, or if it’s what I need to do, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot. All of the logical things are telling me that it’s okay to go home. You guys already have plane tickets and hotel
reservations, I’ve served faithfully thus far in my areas. But my heart isn’t ready to let go. I feel like there are still so many people that need me. I don’t know which one would be a bigger
sacrifice. To stay, or to go. Or which one I need to do. I’m not
saying I’m staying, nothing is for sure. It just made me all realize
how much I love my mission. And I’m starting to feel the pain of it.
It feels like my heart is being ripped in two when I think about
leaving these people. I guess it’s all very personal to me. I just
wanted to let you know how I’m feeling. My mission is a very very big
part of me. It will be hard to let that part go, no matter when I come
home.

Anyways, I talked to mom and dad a lot today, so my time is limited.
But I hope you all know how much I love you. More than all the rice in
Japan. ❤️😊🍚 until next week!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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June 2, 2014 Week 71 “The Beginning Of The End”

Dearest family, friends, and loved ones.

Another crazy week has already flown by! And today was zone pday!
Well… Kind of. The plan was to have all of the missionaries meet
here in Oizumi and play sports together, but all of the sisters bailed
out. So it turned into all of the elders and me and my companion
playing sports at a nearby park, and waiting for those dreaded phone
calls. And every single companionship in our zone got a transfer call.
It was kind of sad actually. So many people are leaving. Even within
my own companionship. Which was a HUGE surprise to me and my
companion. I will be staying in Oizumi, but Sister Cortes is transferring to Koga. But we will see each other again in a few weeks.
My new companion is going to be Sister Rodriguez. She is from Salt
Lake City, Utah, but her parents are from Mexico, so she speaks some
Spanish. But…. No Portuguese. Shoot. So I’ve got 5 weeks to get her
up and ready to take over the area. Which is all I have left,
unfortunately. I won’t lie…. I’m panicking slightly. I’ve already
been worried about my area, and now the thought of only having five
weeks to train someone here, and help them to know and love the
members and investigators like I do is terrifying. And on top of this,
we will be the Sister Training Leaders for the Kiryu West Zone.
Heavens help us. I know we can do it. This next transfer will just be
a lot of hard work. Which is good.

Anyway, this week was pretty great here in Oizumi. We saw lots of
miracles, with our investigators, and within our own ward. Sadly, I’m
not gonna have time really this week. So…. Just a few things.

We saw Graziela, and she is awesome. Still progressing, still loves
reading the Book of Mormon. We watched the Restoration with her and
her brother this week and they loved it! Score.

We got a phone call from a random number on Thursday night, and it was
an investigator from waaaaaay long ago named Noriko. Think like my
first transfer in Oizumi. She’s Peruvian. She wanted to know if we had
a bible in Japanese, because her Japanese friend wanted to learn about
Christ. We went and gave her a Bible on Friday night, and while we
were there, she asked us to come back and start teaching her again as
well. 🙂 what’s with here former investigators? They’re popping out of
the snow like daisies. (5 yen to anyone who can name that movie)

Our ward miracle was the Toyoshima family. They were baptized about a
year ago, right before I came to Oizumi the first time. We have been
visiting them recently, because we really want them to have the goal
to go to the temple as a family. We visited them this week and had
lunch with them, and then talked about the temple. They accepted the
invitation to prepare to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead
🙂 we set a date with them for July 5th, so we are hoping to see it
through with them until the end.

Goodness I love my mission. When we got our transfer calls this
morning it was President Budge that called us on the phone. When he
was talking to me he said something along the lines of, “Sister
Hunsaker, you will be staying in Oizumi for your last transfer! So
work hard, and see lots of miracles.” I guess it kind of hit me that
this really is my last transfer. What the heck? Where did the time go?
It doesn’t help that this transfer is short, so I’m sure it will go by
even faster than I would like. But, that just means we have to work
that much harder, and see those miracles. A friend of mine wrote an
email awhile ago and kind of compared missions to a song, and you are the conductor. You can chose to end the symphony with a whisper,
slowly dying down until the end, or you can choose to end with a BANG.
Throwing everything you have into it. The kind of bang that leaves you
breathless and the room vibrating from the sound. That’s the kind of
ending I want to have. I refuse to go out with a whisper. This next
transfer I will be doing everything I can, to make sure I go out with
a bang. No regrets, no unfulfilled wishes, no sorrow. A BANG. and
that’s what it will be.

I love you all so much, more than all the rice in Japan ❤️😊🍚
I probably won’t have time to email everyone because of some
technology difficulties, but I should be able to next week. Até na
próxima!

Amo vocês,

Sister Hunsaker

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