May 27, 2013 week 18 Tan lines and tracting

konnichiwa!

Things are starting to heat up here in Japan. It actually feels really great. Incredibly humid, but I don’t mind it. It currently feels a little warmer than Hawaii, but I’ve heard that by the end of summer, you’re just perpetually wet. i. can’t. wait. that being said, as a sister missionary you get some pretty sweet tanlines. I’m currently sporting a CTR ring tan line, watch tan line, and shoe strap tan line. (aside from the obvious farmers tan that is inevitably coming) I’ll send some more pictures when they become a little more defined.

We had a lot going on this week, but all of it was great, and im looking forward to the week ahead! We did a lot of finding/tracting this week, and we actually met a few really sweet people that we have appointments with later on this week πŸ™‚ the picture of me in front of the sign that is written in Japanese was seriously the highlight of my day. it says “Kirisuto wa anata ni eien no inochi o ataeru” (or something like that) which translates to, “Christ will give you eternal life”. you better believe we stopped and knocked on that house. go figure no one was home. but you never see things like that in Japan. Usually its pulling teeth just to get people to believe that there is a God out there.

I made a nihonjin friend on the train to this week! It seems like a silly thing to be excited about, but I think it was really one of the first times I tried to talk to someone all on my own and get to know them. Her name is Miki. and she is a college student. I couldn’t understand completely everything she said, but it was encouraging to know that I could somewhat do it on my own. Before we got off the train Miki. said she wanted to meet again! :)she gave me her email and phone number, so Sister Vail and I are hoping to set something up with her this week. Maybe she’ll even become an investigator. How great would that be?

I had the chance to go on exchanges this week with Sister Long. Because of all the sister missionaries in the field, they created this thing called a Sister Training Leader. Its like the equivalent of a zone leader. They do exchanges with the other sisters, and they go to all the trainings that the elder zone leaders have to go to. Sister Long is really an amazing missionary. Its fun to see how other missionaries have different approaches in terms of dendo, and I picked up a few things from her that I’m looking forward to trying in the field, like using the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon to tell its story, and explain it to people. on Saturday we had the chance to teach a lesson together to one of our Eikaiwa students, Laxman. He is from Nepal and doesn’t speak too much Japanese, but he speaks some English. It’s a little hard sometimes because we don’t quite know exactly how much he understands. For his first lesson we actually dove in and taught the Word of Wisdom. We’ve invited him to church a few times, and he told us that’s reason he couldn’t go was because on saturday nights he would go out drinking and come Sunday morning he wouldn’t be…. well fit to come to church. But before Eikaiwa this Wednesday he told us that he really wanted to stop, he just didn’t know how. He was really receptive during the lesson, and when we talked about baptism at the end, we could tell he really wanted that chance to start a new life. He agreed that after he studied some more, he would want to be baptized. Hopefully we can get him some church member friends so that these habits he is struggling with will be easier to overcome.

Fun thing of the day πŸ™‚ today we did this thing called purikura. I attached a photo of it. It’s basically this huge Japanese photobooth that you stand in, and it makes you look super perfect (and Japanese) in all the pictures. It makes your eyes bigger, airbrushes on some make up. Its hilarious. hopefully you’ll be able to tell by the pictures.
I read a scripture in Exodus this week that I loved. Its Exodus 4:10-12.

10 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?
12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

It made me realize how important it is to open your mouth without fear, and that its not by our power that we speak, but by Heavenly Father’s. As long as we have faith in Christ, why should we fear anything that comes our way?
sorry, I dont have a ton of time today, but i love you all! stay awesome πŸ™‚

love,
sister hunsaker

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May 20, 2013 week 17 stopping to smell the roses…literally

konbanwa minna! (good evening everyone)

This week has been quite the week. There’s a lot to fill you in on.
So firstly, let it be known that Sister Vail is quite possibly the greatest trainer ever. I love her so much. She pushes me just enough so that I am progressing and becoming a better missionary, but at the same time I feel like we’re best friends. The companionship really is amazing πŸ™‚ I thought having just one companion in the field would be difficult after starting off with 2, but I feel like I can contribute a lot more to the lessons now, and everything gets done so much faster.

This week, we kind of saw something I’ll refer to as the “funnel effect” with our investigators. Basically you start out with a bunch of investigators, and then slowly, little by little, they start to fall out, and you’re only left with a few and the finding process begins again. That’s basically the point we are at now. Three of our investigators stopped answering our calls/blocked us this week. Kind of a bummer. I think the biggest shocker came after Eikaiwa on Wednesday night. After class, one of our investigators, Toyota-san, came up to me and said, “I have to give you your book back”. I think my heart dropped right about there. He said that he felt like he couldn’t live the Mormon lifestyle. I guess last week at church he heard someone talking about the word of wisdom. He wants to be a good father for his family, and he doesn’t like drinking at all, but whenever there is a work party for his job, they are expected to drink. I think its actually pretty common in Japan. He’s afraid that if he doesn’t drink, he’ll lose his job and wont be able to provide for his family. That’s just a brief summary of what he said. Kind of a bummer. But he agreed to keep coming to Eikaiwa, so maybe somehow we can get a member there who has dealt with that kind of thing before to talk to him.

Another experience we had this week made me realize how glad I am that we live in a place with such religious freedom. on Wednesday, we visited one of our investigators Ryu-chan, and her cousin who is visiting from China, named Kiri. Ryu has been incredibly busy the last few weeks, but we had a chance to teach her about the sabbath day and push back her baptismal date so that she could make it. Her new date is June 16th. We know she can do it. Her cousin Kiri has amazing faith and an incredible understanding of the scriptures. She told us that she had read about 50 pages of the Book of Mormon since we gave it to her, and had been praying every night. That being said, she’s recently returned to Peking, where missionaries currently aren’t allowed to proselyte. We showed her the new website that was made for members of the church in China, but the most we can do for her at this point is hope that she finds some great church members there, and that she keeps reading the Book of Mormon. And we can email back and forth of course πŸ™‚ Hopefully missionaries will be able to go to China soon. Just seeing Kiri and her desire to learn made me realize that if she can have so much faith, there has to be more people in China who are just waiting for a chance to hear the gospel.

Our ward is really awesome, especially the Bishop. He drives this huge motorcycle to church every Sunday, and his wife is the sweetest woman I have ever met. On Saturday we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Hayakawa-san. He’s 61 years old and divorced. He’s working as a taxi driver right now so he has a lot of free times on his hands. His baptismal date was for May 26th. We were talking to Bishop after the lesson, and he said that he was concerned that Hayakawa-san wasn’t ready to be baptized. At first Sister Vail and I were a little upset, but looking back on that from today made me realize how much power priesthood holders have. Utsunomiya is a sisters only area, so Sister Vail and I get to teach everyone, male and female. And at this point Hayakawa-San isn’t quite there.

The Nakayasu family is amazing. Sister Nakayasu is from Brazil, but joined the church in Japan, and married Brother Nakayasu, one of our currently inactive members (he was baptized about a year ago). They have two amazing kids, Diana(9) and Kevin (7). We’ve been trying to work with Brother Nakayasu lately so that he can get the priesthood and baptize Kevin. On Sunday, Sister Nakayasu took us to her home in Nasu (google it, absolutely gorgeous) and we taught Kevin and his dad together about the Law of Tithing and Keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The family really is amazing. Sister Nakayasu takes such good care of Sister Vail and I. She actually hung out with us today for p-day. She picked us up and took us to this gorgeous place in Moka that just has plants everywhere! That’s where the pictures are from. She also brought us strawberries, broccoli and lettuce. (One of my favorite veggies is now broccoli, gotta love Japan. So healthy). Sister Nakayasu is really an amazing member. She went through the temple to get her endowment on her own, and she takes her children to church every sunday, as well as serving as a ward missionary. She’s almost like my mom away from home πŸ™‚

well, I think that’s it for now. Summers coming soon and things are starting to warm up, so I’m looking forward to the sunshine (and typhoons naturally) that lies in store. The mission is wonderful!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

P.S. what day is Father’s Day? I cant find it on a calendar anywhere here.

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May 14, 2013 week 16 Penguins and bunnies and dogs…oh my?

Things are going swell on the asian side of the pond. On Monday we went to the strangest “zoo” that I have ever been too. It was literally like cats and dogs and bunnies. You could even rent the dogs to take them on walks around the zoo. The most interesting animals there were probably a lesser panda, and the capybara. it was definitely a funny experience.
Tuesday I got to go to Shibuya. I there encountered one of the biggest cross walks in the world. Like millions to billions of people cross it everyday. I think its called the scramble crossing or something like that. Anyways, that being said, I think I saw more people in Shibuya in 15 minutes than I did for 6 weeks living in Utsunomiya. funny how that works. We went to Shibuya so that we could go to the temple the next day. Every six weeks, every missionary in the Tokyo mission has the chance to go to the temple together. Its a really cool experience. And the Tokyo temple is GORGEOUS. its kind of built upward, like most of the buildings here in Japan. And it has some amazing stained glass windows. It’s a little hard to get a good picture of the outside because its in the middle of the city, but if you google it im sure you could find a good one.
When we had district meeting this week, me and my companions shared a little bit about how we go about doing our work here in Utsunomiya, and bear our testimonies on it. The district leader asked us to do this because Utsunomiya is currently leading our little district in the work right now, and its almost the top of the zone. Its honestly crazy to think about how many miracles we have seen here. For example, on Sunday we had 5 investigators come to our ward on Sunday, and this next week we’re planning for even more. How great is that? πŸ™‚ And I’m actually speaking in church this Sunday. In Japanese. Wish me luck.
saturday we had transfer calls… dum dum dum. I’m happy to say that I’m staying here in Utsunomiya πŸ™‚ Sister Vail and I are still going to be companions for the next 6 weeks. I’m so excited to be able to get to work with her. She is such an amazing missionary. She makes me want to be a better missionary and a better person. Sister Dolan is transferring to Kanagawa, where she’ll be training Sister Harding, my MTC companion. funny right? such a small world. even in Japan.

This week we also had the chance to teach the Yamazaki family a little bit, and we decided to focus on Christ for the message. I am so glad that we did. You could really tell in Brother Yamazaki’s face after the video (we watched the Lamb of God) that he was touched by the Savior’s sacrifice and the atonement. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what to teach him next, but the most important thing now is that he’s willing to listen and feel the Spirit.

I think Sunday in itself was a miracle. We had 5 investigators at church! You could tell how impressed the ward members were with how hard the missionaries are working. One of our investigators that came was Irene. We actually hadn’t seen her in an incredibly long time. On Saturday night, after we had talked about a few of our investigators, I had a really strong impression that we still needed to focus on Irene. I remember praying for her to come to church so she could be with us and feel that Spirit. Irene and her boyfriend Jonathan walked into the church building about halfway through the Gospel Principles class. I think that may have been one of the most visual answers to a prayer that I have ever had.

I read a talk this week called, “You Know Enough”, by Elder Neil L. Anderson. It was really amazing, and I think something that I needed to hear. The underlying message of it was that we dont know everything, but in the end, we know enough. Even just knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us is enough to get us through the hardest times, and just having a testimony of that love can give you the power the proselyte in the mission field. I really thought that was neat.

Today was a wonderful p day as well. Sister Vail and I go running every morning and if you run like 5 minutes away from our house and the city, you can see all the traditional places in Japan. It’s almost like exploring. today we came across this really cool old shrine that we checked out for a bit.

well, not much time again today, but I sent some pictures this time! love you all!

sister hunsaker

p.s. it was great to see everyone on mothers day! I cant wait to see how different you all look by Christmas!
p.p.s. I’m glad I have the Japanese accent apparently. It’s better than having a spanish accent and speaking japanese right?

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May 12, 2013 week 15 Mother’s Day

Family and friends,

We didn’t receive an email from Sister Hunsaker this week because we had the opportunity to Skype with her for Mother’s Day! She is doing extremely well in Japan and loves her companion and area. She said she had five investigators at church on Sunday and she no longer has two trainers. She is companions with Sister Vail and the other companion has moved to a new area. She has developed an amazing love for the Japanese people and she even spoke to us in Japanese.

Taylor insists that she already has a Japanese accent, which is funny because she is a little blonde girl who does not look like she would speak Japanese! She said her area is beautiful, the weather was good, and she has been eating a lot of veggies and fish. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to hear more of her missionary experiences in Japan.

Love,

Sister Hunsaker’s mom

May 5, 2013 week 14 Miracle in the Making

Good morning!

Tsugi, Mother’s Day is fast approaching. (hopefully you get my package mom) but, we are allowed to call/skype our families from Sunday the 12th until Tuesday the 14th. so we should probably coordinate that soon. I can check my email in my downtime, so just get back to me soon on that. I think the best time would be between the hours of 7am-12pm here for me. I’m not sure what that translates to over there, sorry!
Mom is going to have to call our cell phone if we want to call or we could try skype and phone, so I can see everyone. The internet connection is a little jumpy, so if its just skype, we might drop the call a few times.

And on to the week!

So last p day we went to Oizumi, aka little Brazil. Tons of fun, but they pretty much only speak portuguese. Some speak spanish too, so I understood a little bit, but at this point I think the japanese is stronger than the spanish. Definitely a funny thought. Anyways, we got to hang out with some of the missionaries and their investigators and had a picnic at this park and played soccer and got schooled by the brazilians. No surprise there I guess. But it was tons of fun! I probably wont be able to send pictures again this email because we’re kind of in a rush, but next week I promise! Today we’re going to this awesome zoo/animal kingdom up in Nasu with one of our investigators today, which should be fun. And tomorrow we get to go to the temple! All the missionaries in the Tokyo mission get to go to the temple once a transfer, and everyone gets to catch up and chat with people they knew from the mtc/other areas. They told us to treasure the temple as much as we can because when the mission splits, the south mission won’t have the chance to go the temple anymore.

We had 4 investigators at church yesterday πŸ™‚
Richard, Aki-chan, Hayakawa-san, and Yamazaki-san. We’re a little worried about our two investigators with a baptismal date, Ryu (woman) and Cho. They haven’t been to church yet. At this point, Cho won’t be able to be baptized until the 26th, but if Ryu (woman) makes it to church this week and next week she could do it.
We also have another investigator with a date! This week we had the chance to teach Hayakawa-san the plan of salvation and the word of wisdom. He accepted the invitation to be baptized on May 19th as well. But, that being said, he’s struggling with sake and the word of wisdom a little. Hopefully he’ll be able to break that habit soon. Richard Β is actually really close to accepting a baptismal date. He’s so humble and ready for the gospel. The first time we taught him he said it made him so happy that he wanted to cry. kinjin right there. We met Aki-chan this week when we were riding our bikes. Both her parents just passed away, so she has to take care of her handicapped brother by herself, and she was just diagnosed with some kind of colon disease. She could really use the gospel. We gave her a book of mormon when we met her, and when she came to church she told us that she had been reading it everyday because it made her feel so peaceful. It definitely strengthened my testimony of scripture study. Yamazaki-san is what you might call an eternal investigator. He could get baptized if he just stopped drinking tea. The sisters stopped teaching him right before I got here, but this week at church he invited us over to his house to have dinner with his wife and daughter. Maybe there’s a miracle in the making there.

This week was also my first time doing exchanges! Sister Vail and I got to travel down to this place called Abiko. its GORGEOUS. I’ll make sure to send pictures next time. When we were there, we had the chance to give a church tour to an eikaiwa student and teach her lesson 3. I think the thing I liked most about Abiko was the fact that they had other missionaries there. In Utsunomiya (the biggest area in the whole mission) there’s just us 3 sisters. But in Abiko they have 4 elders and 2 sisters. It was so much fun to be able to work with elders on the mission. I think when there’s more of you it really pushes you to work harder. But, that being said, most of our investigators at the moment are men, so if we got elders here we would have to give them up. So I’ll suck it up for now πŸ™‚

The companionship is great but when someone is being kind of difficult, there’s no spirit, and when you don’t have that, its hard to be cheerful and chipper and it’s downright impossible to teach with the spirit, but the Lord knows what we need in order to be successful!

This week, looking back on the Japanese language, I think I’ve come to realize how much I’ve learned. I can talk to people on the trains now, even if its a little slow and scattered, I talk about investigators in DCS (ward council) every week, and I can teach a lesson from the heart, without practicing it through for an hour. The language is far from perfect, and I still dont understand a lot, but its humbling to see how much Heavenly Father has already helped me to learn this language so that I can teach this people. its only for them. not for me.

Well, much love, and I’ll talk to you soon!

love, sister hunsaker πŸ™‚

p.s. fun fact of the day, the church in Japan interprets the word of wisdom to mean that Coca Cola and other caffeine sodas are against it. so we have to teach that too when we teach the word of wisdom. which makes it a little harder, but if anyone can do it, its the japanese people.
p.p.s. tell grandma and grandpa hunsaker thank you for the birthday card πŸ™‚ and grandma and grandpa aston thanks for the beautiful journal, my other one is just about full.