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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