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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂 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 “Will I return safely to my heavenly home?””

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 🙂 have a great week.

Sister Hunsaker

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