April 15, 2013 week 11-the Asian side of the pond

hey everyone!

Hope everything is going swell for you! Its already going by waaaayyyy too fast. Anyways, some fun tidbits from this week:

I get reminded daily/weekly that Japan is in the ring of fire. You think I would have gotten used to earthquakes growing up in California. But not really. They still scare the heck out of me. And we had 2 on sunday. One during conference, and then one that night. They’re pretty short, not more than a few seconds, but they’re really sudden. The sisters were saying you can feel them all the time in Tokyo. awesome. Sometimes they’re really small. We had two today during a lesson that you could barely feel. I guess you just get used to them.

Japan has no central heating system! Which means that sometimes its warmer outside than inside! splendid. Every room has its own heater, the Japanese people are really concerned with saving as much energy as possible. So if you have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you run. Thats also why the toilet seats are heated. Because the bathrooms get so cold.

I’m amazed at how many international people are here. I’ve talked to 3 different people in Spanish already. That and portuguese are the most common languages in my area after Japanese. who would have thunk it. There’s actually an area in the mission called Oizumi that’s portuguese speaking. President Budge told me not to lose my Spanish because there is a good chance I’ll spend some of my mission there learning portuguese as well. Maybe I’ll come home trilingual!

I got to play this game called Indiaka the other day with a bunch of older Japanese ladies. Its like a cross between volleyball and badminton. Really fun. google it if you get the chance to.

I got to use my rain gear! When it comes down here, it comes down. Like you would be soaked if you weren’t wearing your gear. Its pretty fun actually.

I got a bicycle (so yes, everything is going well with the bank account dad). And we use it every. single. day. Some places in Utsunomiya there are a lot of buildings and people that you have to wind in and out of, but when you get to the suburbs there are a lot of rice fields and bumpy roads. and hills. never ending hills. but riding a bike in a skirt is a skill i have now acquired. The trick is to tie up your skirt with a pony tail or something before you get on. Other wise it flies back in the wind and gets caught in your brake. Which makes a bike stop really suddenly and leads to a black stain, torn dress, and rather embarrassing situation. Let’s just say I learned that one the hard way.

Utsunomiya doesnt have a lot of white people… mostly asian. not at all like Tokyo. I had this two year old boy stare at me for a good five minutes the other day. He probably thought I was an alien of some sort. His parents finally laughed and told me that he had never seen a blonde person before. Hopefully I left a good impression.

I got to go housing for the first time! (tracting i guess). We met a few really amazing people that we got to teach the lessons to. And I think the door got slammed in our faces more times then I could count. They see the Iesu Kirisuto on your name tag and make a run for it as quick as they can. Or they say they’re buddhist, shinto, SGI, or some other random religion. But as many times as we get doors slammed in our face, its always worth it when there is that one person that listens 🙂
(a lot of houses just have intercoms, so sometimes you just get a “dare desu ka” or “nan desu ka” (who are you/ what?) and then 23 seconds to spit out something before the click off)

and now for the weekly/investigator rundown…. (some of them, as time permits)

We have a new investigator named Hiroyoshi. He is married to Yana, A woman who was baptized in Russia before she came to Japan. She’s less active, but when we went to visit her husband the other day and teach him english, he accepted the invitation to take the lessons. 🙂 we’re all pretty excited to start teaching him.

We had to drop an investigator this week 😦 definitely not fun. I think I might have mentioned her in my last email. Her name is Mabico. She’s from Africa, but is studying as a student right now at Utsunomiya University. She was a referral from someone in Sapporo I think. We had already prayed going into the lesson to know what we should do with her, and it was still hard, but right now isn’t her time. We can’t get her to read the copy of the Book of Mormon we gave her, or keep any of her commitments that we extend at the end of the lesson.Anyways, She is really in tune with God, and the Bible… but that’s about it. We’ve tried teaching her a few times, but it inevitably turns into her trying to tell us everything that we’re saying contradicts the Bible and what Jesus Christ taught. Our last time with her we taught the restoration and watched the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration video with her. At the end she said she didnt believe it, quoted us some more scriptures, and gave us a typed up report basically on why Mormonism wasnt possible or right in anyway. I finally looked at her and told her that there wasnt anything she could say, or scripture that she could quote that would make me refute what I knew to be true. That everything we have taught her I know with all my soul is true. And that the key to her finding it out for herself was the book in her hand that she wouldnt even try to read. A little bold, yes, but the Spirit when i testified made me realize it was everything we needed to say.

We’re working with a less active man named Brother Nakayasu. His wife is a member, and went through the temple on her own, and he was baptized last year. Their youngest son Kevin is 7, and will be baptized before the end of the year. We’re working with him so that he can get the priesthood and baptize his son. His kids ask their mom all the time when they can finally go to the temple, and we can tell that its hurting her to see them want to go to be sealed as a forever family, but her husband hasn’t put forth all his effort yet. But he came to the general conference session on priesthood, and he says the temple is a goal, so we’re hoping to see them go through soon 🙂

Lastly, Kentaroh was baptized! He was so nervous the day of his baptism. He really has been such an amazing investigator, and an example to me of what faith is. He’s so humble. He told us a few days ago that the reason why he started taking the lessons was because he was diagnosed with some incurable disease in his digestive tract that could become cancerous. We aren’t sure what exactly it is, but he just had another doctor check up, so we’ll find out soon hopefully. He told us that when he got the news he really started to wonder what his purpose in life was, and what he needed to be doing. That was when he met the sister missionaries. God really does prepare people to hear the gospel. And Kentaroh is going to be an amazing member. The ward already loves him so much. He could barely hold all the presents they brought him after his baptism. Seeing him in his white jumpsuit waiting to go in the water made me remember why I’ma missionary. No matter how many people slam their door in my face, tell me what I believe isn’t true, and try to question every ounce of my testimony, its all worth it. The language, the people, everything. A mission wasn’t made to be easy. I think I probably realized that the first week in the MTC. But teaching those that don’t have the gospel, and guiding those who have gone astray has given me more happiness than I could imagine. More than enough to press through the storms up ahead.

I love you all. Thank you for your example to me. Being a missionary is everything I had hoped it would be and so much more.

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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