March 26, 2013 Week 8 Nihon ni ikimas!

Hey Everyone!

So this will be my last email from the MTC. how crazy is that? When I get to Japan my P day will be on Monday, so you should get the emails late Monday night I think. We just got a letter from our mission president that gave us the low down on what will happen when we get there. We have to bring a carry on with us with clothes to live off of for a few days because our luggage is being shipped to our first area. When we first get to Japan, we will stay at the mission home for a night for orientation and then we’re off to the field! crazy stuff.
OH! and i got my flight plans. we leave the MTC at 5 am to go to salt lake where we catch a lay over to LAX. I think we get to lax at like 9:30, and then our flight leaves at 12:30. so if i call you guys, it would most likely be between 9 and 12 california time. or super early in the morning. Should I call the house? or mom/dads phone. let me know in a letter. I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to email again before I leave.
I’m so excited to get to see Brooklyn!!!!!!!!! I actually get to be a missionary host this week on Wednesday so I might even be the one that takes her to her classroom and such. That would be awesome 🙂 Also, I see Elder Phillips pretty much every day here. His class is just across the hallway and we run into each other all the time. I’ll be sure to send a picture with the next email.
Sister Wright and I got to teach Shimada again and it was fantastic! We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and obedience to God’s commandments. We were supposed to take a pamphlet with us so he could read it, but when we got into the lesson we realized we had forgotten the pamphlet and I had to pull of saying the whole thing in Japanese. Amazingly enough I pulled it off. We also had an awesome scripture moment. He was saying that it was going to be hard and he didn’t know if he could do it. He’s been reading the Book of Mormon, so I shared Nephi 3:7 with him but changed it a little bit, “watashi shimada-san wa, Ten no Otosama ni…” And I Shimada said unto my Heavenly Father…” I’m sure you can see where that was going. He really liked that scripture and thanked us for our testimonies. He agreed to live the Word of Wisdom and will be baptized March 30. Because of time constraints it was our last lesson with him before we leave, but we’re glad it went so well 🙂
We also got to go to TRC this week which was super fun. I hadnt been in 3 weeks and TRC was definitely one of my favorite parts of the MTC. we got to teach on the power of prayer. Which is definitely something that I gained a testimony of while being at the MTC. Also, my district is amazing. I’m going to be so sad to see them go. Our District leader right now is fantastic as well. Missing class again this week was rough, and I finally pulled him aside and asked him to give me priesthood blessing. I am so glad that I did. It made me feel that much closer to my Heavenly Father and know that everything that is happening right now is happening for a reason.
 I love the MTC experience but I am sooooooooooooo ready to get out of here. This week was fantastic and spiritual and all that wonderful stuff, but I’m ready to go. Nihongo wa muzukashii desu, kedo Nihon ni ikitai desu. 🙂 (Japanese is difficult, but I want to go to Japan). I love getting letters and pictures from everyone, it makes my week that much more awesome. I hope the family is all doing well. And tell Taylor to stop being a dingo and write me back one of these times. I’ll write you all letters today as well 🙂
ai shite masu yo!
Sister Hunsaker

March 19, 2013 Week 7, 13 Days and counting!

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Hey everyone!
I have a ton to write… so hopefully I can remember everything, but if not I’ll try to include it in letters.  My companion is getting better. She went to class yesterday and we got to go to the temple this morning so things are on the up and up. Thank you everyone so much for your prayers. I was thinking of how someone told me sometimes the Lord gives us amazing spiritual experiences to prepare us for hard times in the future. Thinking about how amazing the week before this little hiccup was makes me realize that it is most definitely true. So a little summary of my week…..
Wednesday: I taught  our investigator Shimada with one of the other sisters in our district. And the lesson went surprisingly well! Shimada has been coming to church for 3 weeks now and he has committed to keep the Sabbath day holy. Our next lesson with him is the Word of Wisdom. Which is particularly difficult with the Japanese people because of how cultural drinking tea is for them.
Also I finished reading the  Doctrine and Covenants today. Reading d&c 135 always makes me feel the Spirit so strongly. Joseph Smith gave everything, even his life, to make sure that the gospel pressed forward. It makes me want to be a better missionary.
Thursday: We had an awesome class time and did a lot of mogis (role playing). One thing that we have started doing now is teaching the other missionaries as themselves. Its a really cool experience to have a missionary in your district be able to receive such a strong witness of what you need to hear at that moment. And its almost cooler to be able to feel the Spirit teaching through you.
Friday: Two of the sisters in our district were sick today, so sister Wright and I got to go to class together. I taught another lesson, this time to our investigator Hitomi. She drives me crazy sometimes. She went to church for us, but went without her husband, and still doesn’t understand the need for baptism and the importance of repentance right now. It’s something that we will have to teach her more about next time. That aside, the lesson went great, and its making me feel like I can actually speak Japanese when I stick my neck out on the line. Sometimes its scary as heck, but I think my companion being sick made me realize that I need to be more self dependent and not rely so much on my companion’s abilities.
Saturday: We got to go to class in the afternoon with Brother Brinley. (and i got a thing of mint brownies for St. Patrick’s Day from Aunt Amy, and a weiner dog card from Grandma Aston, you guys are the best!) Today instead of doing progressing investigator, we practiced teaching some of the kohai (new Japanese missionaries) in the other districts. With my luck, I got paired with the one sister that is half japanese and literally fluent. That aside, I can tell that my teaching skills are really improving this last little bit at the MTC. It makes me realize how important it is to really press hard these last 13 days (yikes!).

Also, the  church growth in Asia is astonishing. If you get the chance, go on LDS.org and watch the video called “the gospel in asia” or something like that. It was on the home page a little while ago. It doesnt mention Japan specifically, but it does say that right now, the church’s progress in Asia is unprecedented. and its going to just keep growing. Hence a lot of missionaries now getting called to Asia or speaking Asian languages.

Sunday: Happy late St Patrick’s Day! (and Mom, if you could tell Elizabeth happy late birthday for me that would be swell) Today we got news in our sacrament meeting that kind of shocked our little branch of 60ish missionaries. As long as the MTC has been around there has only ever been one Japanese branch. There just aren’t a lot of missionaries that go to Japan in the mtc at the same time. That being said, the Lord truly is hastening his work in Asia. On April 3rd or 4th, the MTC will be getting over 60 Japanese missionaries, and even more are coming in after that 🙂 that’s more than we even have right now! Because of this growth, the 68th branch of the MTC was formed for Japanese missionaries. TWO BRANCHES!!!!!!! my district, as well as 3 other districts have been assigned to the new branch to get it up and running in time for these new missionaries to come in. How awesome is that?? I feel like a pioneer for Japanese missionary work. Its so cool. Everyone always says how Japan is so hard, and has all these expectations of no converts. But the influx of new missionaries says otherwise. The Lord is preparing Japan to hear the gospel. IT’s even weirder to think that I’ll be one of the Sisters that trains all the new missionaries coming in. That doesnt even seem possible at the moment. One of our new branch counselors said something in his testimony that I really liked. “The Lord must really love you to send you to Japan”. I know thats true. The language is hard, and im going stir crazy in the MTC, but I can always feel love from my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

 – also if you get the chance, watch Elder Bednar’s talk “The Character of Christ” amazing. (I am inserting the talk I think Suzanne is mentioning, but I am not for sure because there is no talk with this title. Forgive my liberties with this!)

Monday: My companion is healed! well not quite yet, but we both went to class today, so things are looking up!  So crazy/most amazing thing ever/ coincidental thing happened yesterday. A bunch of nihonjin (Native Japanese missionaries) arrived at the MTC yesterday. When we were sitting in our class having language study, a missionary came and knocked on our door and asked if we could have some of them stay in our room for a bit while they looked for somewhere to put them. We had about 6 elders from all over Japan. One elder came and sat next to me and said konbanwa, then looked at my name tag and said “AH! SISTER HUNSAKER!!!” I was a little confused as to how he knew who i was. (side note- this elder speaks zero english so this all went down in Japanese. feel free to be impressed) He told me he was from Nagoya and he knew one of my friends there. Freshman year at BYU one of my really good friends, Elder Koch was called to the Japan Nagoya mission, and since I’ve gotten my call to Japan I’ve been trying to write him but cant find the address. Anyways- this elder told me Elder Koch served in his stake and asked him to give me something at the MTC. It was a little business card with a message on the back from him and a congrats to my call. (In Japan, missionaries hand out personal business cards to close ward members or friends when they get transferred). It really is such a small world. And now everytime the elder sees me he waves and says Sister Hunsaker!!!

 All the Japanese missionaries are so amazing and so kind. They try and talk a little slower to us so we can understand, which helps a lot sometimes haha. But I can already tell from how much I love the missionaries that I really am going to the love the people even more 🙂 It’s crazy to think that we are almost done at the MTC. This week we get our travel plans, passports, and our nametags in Japanese (i’ll send pictures next time). It’s crazy to think its almost over! But im so excited to get out and serve the Lord and the people and share my testimony of this wonderful gospel. My time is up, so I’ve got to go. But I love you all! and miss you tons 🙂

Love,

 Your favorite missionary (at least I hope so),

Sister Hunsaker

March 12, 2013 Week 6 New Challenges and Blessings

Hey Everyone!

This week has been… well interesting to say the least. If I was going to say that every week in the MTC was a chapter of my life, the title of this one would be “Living in the Chateau d’If”. Mostly because this last week I’ve spent about 7 hours a day of the time that I’m awake in the residence halls. 15 if you count when I’m sleeping. My companion has been sick so we have been keeping to ourselves.
This week I have really learned the importance of personal study. Both in the Japanese language and in the scriptures. This week I’ve been working on doctrine and covenants. I just finished Section 121 and 122. Joseph Smith’s account in the liberty jail. I know my situation right now isn’t nearly as destitute as his, but I feel like in some way, I really needed to learn that afflictions are for our own good, and that our Heavenly Father is truly with us every step of the way. Another thing I thought about was all the blessings you could get from your Heavenly Father both while you’re on your mission, and just in life in general.  But one thing you can’t ask for is more time. So you have to cherish every single moment you have. especially in the mtc. Anytime you slack off those minutes can really add up. It’s almost a scary thought.  But it just makes me want to work that much harder. It’s funny how I could already care so much for a people that I know nothing about.
Our district is now the dai senpai, which means we are currently the oldest Japanese missionaries at the MTC. How weird is that? 20 more days and I’ll be out of here and in Japan! eeep. I dont feel quite ready enough, but hopefully if I work really hard these last few weeks, I’ll be confident enough to get out there and share my testimony.  One of the elders that was supposed to leave this Monday dislocated his knee a week ago and actually tore his meniscus (I’m sure dad understands how it works). We thought he would just be here for a little longer, but his recovery time was longer than they thought it would be, so he was sent home yesterday to recover. If everything goes well, he will be reassigned to a mission in Utah for a little while when he comes back, and then he’ll get to go to Japan still. I bring this up because the one thing that he stressed that is until we have exact obedience, we won’t have blessings to benefit us in our mission. Exact obedience brings miracles. and I need all the help I can get haha.
But seriously, I love being a missionary. I wouldnt change it for the world. I know all the experiences that I’m having right now are just preparing me for something bigger that I’ll encounter in the mission field.
Love,
Sister Hunsaker
P.S. Another reason this one is so short is because I’m also talking to Mom back and forth through email at the moment. how cool is that! I can call you from the airport when I fly to Japan so I’ll get to talk to you all soon too. And impress you with my amazing Japanese. Maybe not amazing, but its getting there 🙂 ai shitemasu yo!

March 5,2013 Week 5 -The best week ever

konnichi wa mina-san!

This week has pretty much been spectacular. It definitely makes up for the last week.

So last p-day the speaker we had at our fireside was M. Russell Ballard. How awesome is that? As soon as he walked in the room everyone shot out of their chairs. You could feel the power and Spirit that he brought just with his presence. My favorite part of his talk was when he addressed the missionaries and said, “You are a miracle”. the more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me. This church is based on miracles isnt it? The Savior performed miracles when he came to this world and established his gospel. It was restored to us once more through Joseph Smith and the miracle of his faith and the first vision. And now we have so many missionaries rushing in to the field to share the gospel with others. Through faith I can already see so many miracles coming my way 🙂

Wednesday was incredibly long. Sister Harding is sick, so we were in the residence until about 4:30. But all in all, I think the studying I got done there really helped. I finished the Book of Mormon, and found this awesome scripture in Corinthians about walking by faith, and not by sight. I think it made me realize that even when I cant be in the classroom I can receive revelation for myself as well.

Thursday was hectic. Sister Harding had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and then…. drum roll please. We got to leave the MTC. I was in the REAL WORLD. not quite as exciting as I thought it would be. Wednesday night during lunch the glue on the end of my permanent retainer got unbonded and was sticking out, so we got to go to an orthodontists office to get it fixed up. No worries Mom and Dad, its all good now.

Friday marked our halfway point through the mtc……. and that’s pretty much all I can remember from that day. They all kind of just blur together after a while.

Saturday we had TRC once more. Which is always fun. I talked to Sister Watanabe again and she said she had fun talking to mom after she sent that picture. Today we also started teaching people in our class as investigators. Sister Harding and I taught Nick (Elder Buxton), Ezra (Elder Nakayama), and Jason (Elder Robb). It was a little hard to teach them all at once since they were so different from each other, but it was still fun to get to teach some other people as well. When you take on the role of an investigator in the MTC you are supposed to pretend to be someone you know really well. Either a convert friend, or someone that you know needs the gospel. Anytime I’ve been taught as an investigator I’ve been Kelly. Hopefully she doesn’t mind. I guess it’s because she’s one person that I care so much about that hasn’t fully accepted the gospel yet. It’s amazing though to be able to see the lesson through the eyes on an investigator. It makes you realize what they might have worries or concerns about.

Our Sunday night fireside was given by the President of the Provo temple. Two things I really liked that he said were:
– “If you serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, It will be harder for you to come home than it was to leave for your mission” (can definitely see that one happening)
– “When we stagger and stumble, The Savior is there to steady and strengthen us.” So so so so so so SO true.
That night we also got to watch the Joseph Smith story in Japanese. I couldnt completely understand all of it, but the parts that I could were things like the first vision, and whenever someone testified of Christ. I think that watching that film in Japanese I felt the Spirit stronger than I ever have before. It was awesome. I think if I ever had a weak point of my testimony it was about Joseph Smith. But watching that, and teaching our investigators here about the first vision has transformed that part of my testimony to be one of its strongest I have.

On Monday the MTC tried to give all of my district a heart attack. In the middle of one of our lessons someone walked in and told us that we had to go to the departing missionary devotional. We kind of laughed and explained that we weren’t leaving for 4 weeks, but they said I know, lets go. So then rumors started floating around that we were going to be leaving 2 weeks earlier than previously thought, and so on and so forth. I’m pretty sure all of us were freaking out. Except for a few of the elders, who said they’d be perfectly fine with finishing learning the language in the MTC. Crazies. But anyways, the meeting was truly amazing. The main thing we focused on was how so many missionaries have preconceived expectations of Japan from what other people tell them. It’s going to be so hard. No one will get baptized, no one will listen. You’ll get the door slammed in your face. No one even believes in God. But all those expectations are man’s expectations, and if we want to be successful missionaries we need to focus on what Heavenly Father has in store for us. “through faith we can do all things which are expedient unto him”. Everyone in Japan at some point accepted Christ as their Savior. Our job as missionaries is just to get them to remember that. We have to trust God, get up, and go to work. Direction wont come until our feet are already moving. There were a few amazing quotes that were read during the meeting, all from Heber J. Grant when Japan was first opened for missionary service. (he was the general authority that went over and did it)
“I have an abiding faith that this is to become one of the most successful missions EVER established in the church. It is going to be slow work at first, but the harvest is to be something great and will astonish the world.”
one of the most successful missions. EVER. how amazing is that? I dont think a lot of people realize how much the Lord has promised to bless these people. In the Book of Mormon there are literally tons of promises stated towards these people. And I dont think I ever realized it until I started studying my scriptures here. The Savior specifically mentions his people on “The isles of the sea” (look it up) numerous times. One of my favorites was I think 2 nephi 10:21. perhaps.
the other quote I really liked was when the Japan Mission Home was dedicated. “There will someday be many church buildings, and even temples, built it this land”. The church buildings in Japan are huge. Like three stories high, with multiple bishops offices in them. They arent full yet, but the Lord is preparing for when this marvelous work begins soaring in Japan. Japan now has 2 temples, Tokyo and Fukuoka, with a third currently being constructed in Sapporo. All of the things that church leaders prophesied about are already coming true. I can’t wait to get to Japan and be there to witness firsthand how much the church is growing. There are already 3rd generation church members there, and in America the church really began to grow when its 3rd generayion of members stepped forward. AH! its so exciting.

Well, other than that, The mtc is fantastic. I love and miss everyone so much and love being able to hear from you in letters and emails. My family/friends are some of the biggest blessings that I have in this life.

Kono kyokai ga shinjitsu da to shitemasu. Josefu Sumisu ga Kamisama no shinjistu yogensha to akashi shimasu. Morumon Sho o yomeba, Iesu Kirisuto no fukuin ni tsuite akashi o ukeru koto ga dekimasu. Inori ni yotte, mina san ga Kamisama no ai o kanjiru koto ga dekiru to yakusoku shimasu. Kamisama wa watashitachi no inori o kotaemasu. Watashitachi tames ni Iesu Kirisuto o koro saremashita. Iesu Kirisuto no aganai ni yotte, watashitachi no tsumi o yurushi o ukemasu. Kono fuikin o ai shite masu. Kokoro kara mina san ai shite masu.

Love,

Sister Hunsaker
(Ichiban senkyoshi ne?) 🙂

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