June 24, 2013 week 22″ that’s not the language they taught me in the MTC…”

To quote possibly the most beloved missionary movie of all time, the Best Two Years. Because, it is actually legitimately TRUE.

I have alot to catch you all up on, but I guess the most important thing is transfers!

I have been transferred out of Utsunomiya. I definitely didnt see that one coming. However, I am not training. And I’m incredibly glad on that part because I have been called to work in OIZUMI.
I know I’ve talked about Oizumi here before, but I’ll just explain it a little more. So, the purpose of the Oizumi area is to take care of the Latin American population that is living in Japan. Everything about the missionary work here is focused towards them. Our hours are even different. We wake up at 7, and can be in our apartments at 10 o clock. (Because they usually all work really late). Oizumi currently has 4 missionaries. 3 brazilians, and me, possibly the most american looking person you could possibly send here. The reason all the missionaries here are brazilians is because the main language spoken here is PORTUGUESE. yeah. wow. so needless to say my first day here, it felt like I was in another country. Everything here looks like Brazil. The people, the shops, the culture. All wrapped up inside Japan. We actually speak 4 languages in Oizumi. In order of most common to least, its: portuguese, spanish, japanese, english. So, for language study everyday im studying something different. But, the spanish is hiding back there somewhere, so hopefully it will come back to the front fast.
However I’m not worried about losing Japanese because my companion is amazing! Her name is Sister Silva. She was born in Brazil, but moved to Japan when she was young, and grew up in Nagoya. So, her native language is Portuguese, then Japanese. And she knows a little english. She’s great. We speak mostly Japanese, but she wants to learn English better too, so sometimes we speak in English. This is actually her last transfer as a missionary, and I’m the only sister in the mission that studied Spanish, so if we want to keep Oizumi open for sisters, I’m going to have to study fast.
But, I already love Oizumi! Its great. I’ve talked to a few people in the scarce spanish I can remember, but I always end up throwing Japanese words in there. Gotta love the human brain. I’ll get them all straight soon enough. But prayers and tips for learning 3 languages would be much appreciated.
Since I was called to Oizumi, I will be staying in the Tokyo Mission. (Not moving South). So President Budge is still my mission president. that part im glad about.

So now that I’ve filled you in about Oizumi… I can tell you how my last week in Utsunomiya went. I think it was my favorite week of the mission yet.

On Saturday we went to Kentaroh’s house and got to meet his mom and the rest of his family. They’re all Buddhist, but the mom is incredibly open minded, and we actually ended up teaching her the plan of salvation, and Kentaroh acted as the member present. It was great. I really think she felt the Spirit strongly. After the lesson, we got to do some volunteer work. Kentaroh’s family actually owns a blueberry farm! It was pouring rain, but we went out in our kappa (rain gear) and picked some blueberries with them ๐Ÿ™‚ lots of fun. and the blueberries were delicious of course.

Sunday was a day of miracles.
first, Irene , one of our investigators, came to church for the second week in a row. We talked to her really quickly after sacrament meeting and she said that her and Jonathan (member fiance) had been talking this week, and she decided that she wants to be baptized. I’m surprised I didnt pass out on the spot. I. has been an investigator for a while now, and we could never even get her close to baptism. The thing that changed it all though, was that she actually started reading the Book of Mormon. She said that when she was reading it, she just knew it was true. I’m sad I wont be there to see her get baptized, but I know that her and J. will be able to be a forever family.
We also had an amazing lesson with one of our other investigators, Yamazaki Kyoudai. He’s a tricky one as well. We sat down and taught him a little bit about the plan of salvation, and then about the Word of Wisdom. We know he has a problem with tea and tobacco. However, at the end of the lesson, he sid he would try out the Word of Wisdom and see how it went. His prayer at the end of the lesson was also amazing. His prayers are always great, but he has a hard time asking for things. He never wants to ask God to help him with anything. But, this week, we challenged him to put an o-negai (ummm its like asking for something) into his prayer. It was a little hard for him, but he managed to ask God to help him live the Word of Wisdom. He is so close to being baptized. We can feel it.
But, my favorite part of Sunday happened after church. During sacrament meeting, Brother Nakayasu was sustained as an Aaronic Priesthood holder. This Sunday was Kevin Nakayasu’s baptism. And his dad was the one who got to baptize him! The baptism service was amazing. The Primary kids all got up and sang that Primary song that says, “I like to look for rainbows, whenever there is rain…”. The spirit that came from it was something so special. After the talks, we went down to the font and Kevin and Brother Nakayasu went inside. Brother Nakayasu was incredibly nervous, but he managed to get every word right, and Kevin all the way under the water on the first try. As soon as they went to go change, Sister Nakayasu turned around and gave us a big hug. She is so happy to see her family becoming an eternal one. I’m sad to be leaving them in Utsunomiya, but Oizumi is close, and Sister Nakayasu loves to chat with the other brazilians, so i’m sure I will be seeing them again soon.

Well, I cant quite to figure out more about the strange place they’ve shipped me off to, but I’ll be sure to update you with everything next week. The languages, the people, and everything in between. I love you! Wish me luck.

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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June 18, 2013 week 21 Twelve weeks strong

hey everyone!

another fabulous week has flown by in the wonderful area of Utsunomiya and I am currently on my last week of training! Yep, I’ve been in Japan for almost 12 weeks now. Crazy how fast time flies. That being said, we have transfer calls this Saturday, so in my next email I’ll be able to let you know where I’m serving, who my companion is, and everything in between. The Tokyo Mission is also splitting in the middle of July, so basically where ever you are transferred to in the next 2 weeks determines what mission you will be in. A little scary, but I know that the South Mission is going to be just as amazing as the regular Tokyo Mission.

This week we had a lot of adventures, some really hard times, and some great spiritual experiences too.

I guess I can begin with the harder times. This week I got a phone call from my beloved MTC companion Sister Harding. She still hasn’t been feeling well, and it seems like she has been even more sick since she actually came to Japan and in order to make sure she had the best medical care possible so that she can get better, she has returned home to the United States.
It’s always hard to see people leave when they were in your district, and my first companion is no exception. But I find some comfort in knowing that Heavenly Father has a plan for every single one of us. Today our district got together and took a picture of the 7 (it was originally 10) that are still serving in Japan (plus 2 nihonjin). We hope that those other 3 missionaries that we lost along the way will someday make it back out to the field.

Adventures!
So, way way way long ago, Utsunomiya used to be a really popular place to stay for people that were traveling to Nikko, and it also was home to a lot of feudal Lords. There’s this really cool reconstruction of a castle that Sister Vail and I run to everyday that we finally went and checked out on p-day. Its beautiful! Looks just like what I would imagine a Japanese castle to be. And our tour guide was this sweet old man that we invited to our eikaiwa class and church. (always a missionary… even on p-day.)
I also got to eat sushi for the first time since being here! Kentaroh (our first convert baptism) took us to this little sushi restaurant that has the nifty little turning tables that you just pick sushi off of. And, if you wanted something special, you could use the handy-dandy little I-pad to order whatever you wanted, and it was special delivered to you by a mini train on a track. got to love Japan. Afterwards, we went to this festival in Tochigi and got to learn a lot more about where exactly we were living. Plus eat fish on a stick, and try out a police man’s motorcycle. Dont worry, it was parked.

of course spiritual moments…

this week, we all had the chance to have interviews with President Budge. He is such an amazing mission president. Always gives the best advice and helps us to be better missionaries. Even just sitting with him in the interview room I could feel what an amazing spirit he has. After having the interview with him I’m a little worried that I might need to train a new missionary in just a week. There are a TON of new sisters coming in (not that im complaining), and not that many currently serving. Which means that every sister that can be training, will be. yikes.
on friday, we had the chance to have a lesson with Brother and Sister Nakayasu while Kevin and Reika were at school. It went incredibly well. Brother Nakayasu is a little worried about Kevin’s baptism though. I think he’s worried he might mess it up somehow. But, during the lesson we talked to him about the temple, and about the opportunity to become an eternal family. We can tell that both of them really want to be with their children, and each other, forever.
On Sunday, the whole Nakayasu family came to church ๐Ÿ™‚ I dont think I have ever seen Sister Nakayasu more happy since I have been in this ward. And…. Brother Nakayasu’s interview went great! He passed ๐Ÿ™‚ He’ll be getting the priesthood next Sunday, and baptizing Kevin. I think it is legitimately the baptism that I have been most excited for since I got here. Not just because little Kevin gets to be baptized by his dad, but also because this marks such a big moment for their family. They are that much closer to going to the temple. I even heard Sister Nakayasu talk to the Bishop after church and ask when they could be interviewed for temple recommends ๐Ÿ™‚ The whole thing just makes me so incredibly happy. this is really what being a missionary is all about. Being away from your family, so that others can be with their families for eternity.

On Sunday, one of our investigators, Irene also came to church. She’s a little hard to work with sometimes because she doesn’t always show up to church, and lives almost 2 hours away, but she has such strong faith in Christ. We taught her a little bit about temples, and then talked to her about the Book of Mormon. Her problem is that she really loves the Bible, and has a hard times accepting anything else. But she surprised us by saying that she had been reading it, and that she really enjoyed it. She says that when she knows this church is true she will be baptized, but we still cant get her to commit to a date. But, she’s praying about it this week, so we’re hoping to talk to her again this Sunday.

We have another investigator named Akiko Honda that we are meeting with this week. I’m sure I have talked about her before. She was in a really bad car accident a few years ago, so her face is a little scarred on one half, but she is the sweetest person I have ever met. She loves meeting with us and learning, but she works on Sundays so she can’t come to church, and her parents are Buddhist, so she thinks that she can’t be baptized because of that. We really think that if we work hard with her she will be able to receive an answer to her prayers and come that much closer to Heavenly Father.

Other than that, are investigator pool is unfortunately lacking a little bit at the moment. We do have some appointments this week with some potential investigators that have some promise. Wish us luck!
We’ve also been doing a lot of streeting/housing lately. Japanese people love to talk, but they are also incredibly busy. I feel like its a miracle if you can get one of them to stop and talk to you.

Today we also got to go to the Tokyo temple again ๐Ÿ™‚ it was our last chance to go all together as a mission. The Tokyo temple is really beautiful. Its white, but has this amazing stained glass window that is bright blue and orange and all different colors. It makes it look a little different than all the other temples throughout the world. Being in the temple made me realize how much I love my family, and miss them, but at the same time, I know that I can be with them for eternity.

This week I read an amazing talk by elder uchtdorf that was given in a general young womens broadcast. But I feel like the words he said apply to each and every one of us. The talk is called, ” Your Wonderful Journey Home”.
Elder Uchtdorf talked about how all of us, in the pre-existence chose to come to this earth, and to be tried and tested and challenged, but we knew that it was the right thing for us to do. my favorite quote from his talk was,

“In that sacred place, surrounded by those you knew and loved, the great question on your lips and in your heart must have been โ€œWill I return safely to my heavenly home?โ€”

That really hit me. How excited and scared we must have been to be able to come to this earth, but Im sure that all of us at the same time wondered if we would make it home safely. Some of us were priviledged enough to be born into the gospel, and have its guidance from the beginning, but some of us are still searching, and dont know or remember what we had promised before we came to earth.
That’s why I’m a missionary. I know that somewhere here in Japan, some of Heavenly Father’s most valiant servants are still in darkness, still unaware of the plan that he has for them. And its our job, as missionaries, and as church members, to help bring those people back. So many times just since being on my mission I feel like I have met people that I knew before this life.
Sometimes being on a mission is a little frightening, but I always try and remember how I must have told my Heavenly Father that I would go and help once I got to earth. I would do everything I could to make sure that his beloved children, and my friends, made it back to him. I still feel like that every day I am here.
I know that I’m not the only one that needed to know that. Every single one of us on earth chose to follow Jesus Christ, but its not always easy. But being on a mission has made me realize how truly worth it it is. So keep trying hard, dont give up, and always remember that your Heavenly Father wants you to return home. No matter how hard it gets, his arms are always outstretched to you.

I love you all ๐Ÿ™‚ have a great week.

Sister Hunsaker

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June 10, 2013 Week 20 Surprise!

Dearest fam bam, friends, and anyone else out there….

This week was full of surprises. hence the incredibly catchy title of this email.

It all began on Monday. We got a call from our investigator, Hayakawa-san, asking when his baptism was. The thing is, the bishop of the ward wanted to sit down and talk to him before he got baptized, just to make sure he was doing it for the right reasons. So we gave Hayakawa the bishops phone number and continued on with our p-day of buying groceries and exploring Utsunomiya. That night, at around 8:30 pm we got a call from Koume Kyoudai ,the ward mission leader. Apparently Hayakawa- san was so anxious about being baptized that he met with the bishop that night and talked to him. The bishop was so impressed with his testimony and desire to be baptized that he said that he could be baptized that Sunday! We quickly called our district leader and set up a time for an interview for the next day.

Tuesday was crazy busy. That morning, we made pancakes and brought them to one of our investigators, Ryu-chan. She hasn’t been meeting with us lately, because she has been so busy with school and so on, so we figured if we went over to her house super early we would be able to catch her. Well, it worked! Granted she was half awake, but we had the chance to sit down and talk to her and teach her the word of wisdom. She agreed to follow it and said she would try to meet with us on Thursday.
After meeting with Ryu, we sped over to the train station to pick up the elders and bring them to the church. Elder Flack. had a great time interviewing Hayakawa-san. It seemed like they were practically best friends by the end of the interview. And….. HE PASSED! with flying colors I might add. We planned his baptismal date for the 9th.
During the day, we did some streeting and met a man that is walking all around Japan by foot. He said he was searching for something, but he didn’t know what yet. That being said, he was incredibly receptive to our message. We gave him a pamphlet and exchanged emails. Unfortunately he is still currently continuing on his journey and is somewhere in Sendai at the moment.
That night we had dinner with a less-active named Taeko- chan. She married an American man that was Mormon, but it ended up being a really bad situation. The family wouldn’t allow them to get married until she was baptized, so she pretty much just took the lessons and said yes to everything in order to get married. She moved to Oregon with her husband who ended up being an abusive husband. From there, with the help of some ward members, she filed for divorce and since then she has returned to Japan and is living with her mom again. Her whole story is so sad, but she loves the Mormon people because of those friends who helped her though the hard times. She always tells us she “isn’t really Mormon”, but she recognizes so clearly how much God has helped her out in his life, and all that he can continue to do for her. She is moving back to the United States in September or October, but we’re going to try to keep meeting with her until then. Taeko. really needs some good friends.

Wednesday was Sister Vail’s one year anniversary of living in Japan. So we decided to be as Japanese as possible ๐Ÿ™‚ we even wore yukatas all day. They aren’t as heavy or nice as a kimono, and are made of cotton. A lot of people wear them during the summer. Suprisingly comfortable.
We had lunch and a lesson that day with one of our Eikaiwa students, Yusuke. (Man) . One of the young women in our ward that got her mission call to Fukuoka came to be our woman joint. (Or third person to teach with us) Her name is Yukie(young woman). The lesson was a little interesting. Yusuke (man) is a very devout Protestant. Before he was Catholic, but when he was younger he got into a lot of bad things, and this Protestant man helped him to get his life back in order and figure things out. Because of that man and his respect for him, Yusuke converted and became Protestant. That being said, he loves Mormon people, and said that he can’t be Mormon because he feels like it would betray his sensei (teacher). He said that maybe if his sensei died, he would become Mormon. So…. we’ll just hope for a change of heart with him.
Every Wednesday night we teach Eikaiwa (english class) I teach the advanced class and have around 8 or 9 regular students. They all love speaking and asking random questions about America. It’s so much fun to teach them. And they love coming.
After Eikaiwa we had an AB lesson with Kentaroh. We taught him about the priesthood and patriarchal blessings. I think it really took me going on a mission to fully understand parts of my patriatchal blessing. And knowing how much it has blessed me made me want Kentaroh to get his really bad. He said that he would work on getting the Priesthood and his blessing, and we promised we would help him get there. He really is going to be an amazing dad and priesthood holder for his family someday. He was my first convert in the field, and I’ll never forget him.

On Thursday, we met with Handa-san (girl) again. She taught us how to make air fresheners and we taught her a little bit of Christ’s doctrine. She is actually a former investigator, so she already knows a lot about the church. The trick now is getting her to act on what she knows and feels. She still lives with her parents, who are buddhist, and they don’t want her being baptized anytime soon. But, she reads to Book of Mormon with us and prays, so we’ll get there with her eventually.
Today we were supposed to have an appointment with Ryu, but her friend called and said she wouldnt be coming. We tried to set up another appointment with her, but we can see her desire to learn waning. We don’t want to stop teaching her, but at this point she isn’t keeping commitments, and the only time we can teach her is when we totsuzen (unexpectedly…. i think?) drop in on her. If she doesnt make it to the next appointment, that might be what happens.

On Friday, we rode all the way to Urawa to have an AMAZING conference. Elder Ringwood, the president of the Asia North Area, came and toured the Tokyo mission, so we had a chance to hear him, his wife, and President and Sister Budge speak.
One of the things that they talked about alot was relating missionary work to raising a family. Both include you teaching someone, and guiding them so that they can receive eternal life. It made me realize how our investigators really are like our children. We really want them to suceed, and we need to be the best teachers we can be, and look out for them in order to make sure that they get there okay. I actually sang a musical number there too. Sister Vail and I, along with a few other missionaries, sang a really pretty arrangement of “Lead Kindly Light”. We didnt have a ton of time to practice, but it turned out pretty good, so no complaints there.

On Saturday, we went to Kanuma and actually met Hayakawa-san’s (boy) mother. She is 85, and still kicking. We taught her a little bit about baptism and invited her to come to his baptism, but she said she couldn’t. However, she thanked us for everything we had taught her, and said we gave her a lot to think about.
Afterwards, we visited this darling family in the ward called the Fukuda family. We shared a message with them based off the scripture Helaman 5:12. First we had the kids build a human pyramid with the oldest ones on the bottom, and the youngest little girl on the top. Then we told them how our lives were the same, and we have to build on the strong foundation of Christ in order to succeed. Their kids are adorable and love the missionaries. Sister Fukuda. is such a sweet woman. She told us that she loves having the Sister missionaries over because she feels like we are so close to God, and that is brings a strong Spirit into her home. She’s currenly counting down the days until her kids are old enough so that her and her husband can go on a mission together. ๐Ÿ™‚
Later that day, we had a lesson with Brother Yamazaki. He’s a tricky one. But has an amazing story already. He read that book, “7 Habits for Highly Effective People”, and thought the author was a really amazing man. From that book, he looked up the Mormon church and started going on his own. After the second or third time he went to church, he came home and talked to his wife and found out that she was actually a less active member. Since then she’s become incredibly active and they come to chuch every week. He’s been taking the lessons for a while now, and has been challenged to be baptized about 6 times now. He always just says that he feels too much pressure. It doesnt help that his mom is opposed to him joining the church. That being said, We had a great lesson with him on Saturday. We talked about the priesthood, and the importance of eternal families. He said that he wants to have an eternal family, and that he wants to raise his daughter Lily in the church. He also gave an amazing prayer at the end of the lesson, and asked Heavenly Father to help him understand things more so that he could be a better person. We really think that we are getting close with him.
Saturday night we had an activity with some of our recent converts and potential investigators. It was a pancake party ๐Ÿ™‚ we brought the stuff for pancakes and everyone else brought toppings and stuff to put on the pancakes. It was a great turnout. 2 recent converts, a current investigator, and 2 potential investigators came (plus some members) After we ate pancakes, we watched “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration” with them and bore our testimonies about the importance of Joseph Smith in the restoration of this gospel. It really was a success, and from it we are planning on having a movie night where we watch “The Testaments” with them. 2 of the very few movies that we can watch as missionaries.

Sunday was amazing and wonderful. Not only did we find 2 investigators on the street that night, but we also had a baptism ๐Ÿ™‚
This Sunday our investigator Takahashi Hayakawa(61) was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He lived his whole life being Buddhist, and it was so amazing to teach him and watch the gospel bless his life as he gave up alcohol, stopped smoking, and started to read the Book of Mormon and pray. The second he came out of the water from being baptized he had a smile on his face and we could just tell how happy he was. When he got up to bear his testimony that day, he started to cry when he talked about how loved he felt, and all the help that the missionaries and the ward members gave him. Sunday was really one of the best days on my mission so far. Heavenly Father has been letting us see so many miracles here in Utsunomiya, and I love working with the members here.

Something that I really liked this week was in Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Basically, not everyday out here is nearly as wonderful as Sunday was. But just knowing that nothing, not even death, could separate us from the love of God, makes me know that I am never alone.

ใ‚คใ‚จใ‚นใ‚ญใƒชใ‚นใƒˆใŒ็งใฎๆ•‘ใ„ไธปใ ใจใ—ใฆใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚ใ„ใคใงใ‚‚ใ€ใฉใ“ใงใ‚‚็ฅžๆง˜ใฎใ‚ใ„ใŠใ‹ใ‚“ใ˜ใ‚‰ใ‚Œใ‚‹ใจ็ด„ๆŸใ—ใพใ™ใ€‚ใ“ใฎ้›ปๅ‹•ๆฉŸๆขฐใซๆ„Ÿ่ฌใ—ใฆใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚ใฟใ‚“ใชไธ‰ใŠๆ„›ใ—ใฆใ„ใพใ™ใ€‚

i know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I promise that you can feel God’s love at anytime and anywhere. I’m so grateful to be serving a mission, and I love you all ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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June 3, 2013 week 19 “Having Been Born Of Goodly Parents”

Konbanwa!

Today has definitely been a crazy p-day, so I’m just now getting around to writing this. One of our investigators called us this morning and said she had the day off, so we went to a mall with her and walked around and shopped and talked. She’s super cute. Her name is Akiko Handa. ย Her birthday is this week, so we are going to have a little birthday party for her at the church with some other investigators.

This week I feel like I got to visit all over the mission! On Tuesday night, we went to the mission home to stay the night for a meeting the next day on Wednesday. Utsunomiya is the farthest away from the mission home, so Sister Budge invited us over. That night was lots of fun, and in the morning Sister Vail. and I went for a run with Sister Budge around Tokyo. She is in great shape. Literally gave us both a run for our money (hehe.) After that, we helped make breakfast and got to eat with her and President Budge and talk to him. It was really nice just getting to see them in that setting. They have so many missionaries to take care of, but just from that breakfast I could tell how much they care about each one of us individually. On wednesday we went down to Nakano (Tokyo) for a new missionary meeting, where they just talked to us about how things were going, and we got some training on how to do better streeting and so on. Lots of fun. I still think mogis (role playing) are the most awkward thing of all time, but they always pay off in the end.

Thursday was GREAT. SO AMAZING!!!!! So i know that I’ve mentioned the Nakayasu. family before, but we had the chance to teach Brother Nakayasu. and Kevin again. This time we talked about the priesthood, and about making sure that we put the important things first in our lives. (Like coming to church instead of work for Brother Nakayasu). He was really touched by the lesson, and we could tell that he wants so badly to get the priesthood so that he can baptize Kevin. After the lesson he told us that he would come to church for the two weeks prior to Kevin’s baptism, and that he would do everything he could so that he could get the priesthood. The Spirit there was amazing, and the whole family looked so happy afterwards. After the lesson when we got home, we called Bishop Nara. and talked to him about Brother Nakayasu. He told us that if everything goes as planned, and he makes it to church those 2 weeks, he can get the priesthood and baptize Kevin:) Sister Vail. and I were almost in tears when we heard Bishop say it. We called Brother Nakayasu. after that, and we could tell he was equally excited. On saturday when we saw Sister Nakayasu. again, she just ran up and gave us both a big hug and just kept saying thank you. That whole family is so special to me, and just knowing that they are that much closer to becoming an eternal family makes being on a mission worth every second. Even if I never saw another baptism, I would be happy knowing that I helped them in that small way.

Saturday was probably the most interesting day of my mission. So, on Monday, we met this woman named Yuka at a stoplight. She was really nice and asked us if we could have lunch with her at the end of the week, so that we could tell her a little more about what we believe. Golden investigator right? “Samsonsite. We were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.” We met Yuka and her friend at a Chinese restaurant and had plans on taking them on a tour of the church afterwards. When we tried to bring up taking them to the church, she just said, “Oh, we’ll talk about that later”. So it turns out that the two women we met are from this strange group in Japan that focuses on a new type of Buddhism. They want the whole world to become this one religion so that everyone is safe. They stand on street corners and hand out newspapers on them that talk about how you can find safety in their religion and statistics about how many people are in Japan. Its kind of incredibly strange actually. I’ve never been so glad to not completely understand Japanese in my life. (in fact, the church members told us that if we ever run into them, to just act like we don’t speak Japanese). But, the part that really kind of got to Sister Vail . and I was the way that they talked about Jesus Christ. They think America is a dangerous place, and they also think that everyone who lives there is Christian. Therefore they make the assumption that Jesus Christ does nothing for people, and that there is no way he can save you or protect you. Even the way they said his name made me feel disgusting. Unfortunately we couldn’t get up and just leave because we were all on the same check. Before we finally just got up and said we had to go, they asked me how long I had been Christian for. I told them that both my parents were Christian so I had grown up in the church.The response we got was, “Oh. So you just believe it because your parents do”. Ouch. We left shortly after that. But afterwards, I was thinking about my personal testimony, where it came from, and how I gained it. This is what I came up with. Yes, I was raised in the church, but I know that little by little I gained my own testimony based off what my parents taught me, and experiences I had on my own with things like girls camp, church, and youth conference. Then I thought about the Book of Mormon. The keystone of our religion starts off with “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…” Even Nephi, one of the greatest heroes in the Book of Mormon, recognizes that he got where he was because of what his parents taught him. The other thing that I liked was my favorite primary song:

We have been born, as Nephi of old,
To goodly parents who love the Lord.
We have been taught, and we understand,
That we must do as the Lord commands.

We have been saved for these latter days
To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
We hear the words our prophet declares:
“Let each who’s worthy go forth and share.”

We know his plan, and we will prepare,
Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
Daily we’ll learn until we are called
To take the gospel to all the world.
We are as the army of Helaman.
We have been taught in our youth.
And we will be the Lord’s missionaries
To bring the world his truth.

How true is that. So basically, thanks Mom and Dad. for teaching me everything I know, and helping me to get where I am today. I was proud to tell those women that I knew that my parents believed it, and because of their testimonies, and what I gained from that, I came to know for myself that this is the true church restored on the earth, and that through the gospel I can be with my family forever. And that is one of the greatest blessings I could ever think of.

I love you guys,

Sister Hunsaker