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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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