July 29, 2013 week 27 -“Six months later”

hello everyone!

I came to the crazy realization today that yes, I have been on my mission officially for 6 months now. Where on earth all that time went I have no clue. This transfer is also drawing to an end, so we will have transfer calls next week. Chances (and I really hope) are that I’ll be staying in Oizumi with Sister Carrasco for a while. ๐Ÿ™‚ I couldn’t be more happy.

This week was crazy and hectic in Oizumi, but we also had a ton of experiences that made me realize how much the Lord answers our prayers. We had 2 great lessons with Julio Toyoshima this week, and on Tuesday, we invited him to be baptized. He accepted, but he won’t set a date with us until he feels that he knows it is true. But, we also get to have family home evening with the Toyoshima family tonight, and they came to church yesterday, so things are looking up!

On Thursday we had a huge missionary conference in Urawa, and got to talk a little bit about the mission and had some trainings done by different leaders, sisters and elders. For those of you that don’t know, we now have Sister Training Leaders. They are basically like zone leaders but sisters. They go to all the meetings, and train missionaries at conferences and so on. Go sister power! After the conference we caught an incredibly long train back to Oizumi and made it just in time to teach Eikaiwa. Teaching Eikaiwa is honestly one of the most fun things you get to do as a missionary. Not that I’m saying I want to be a teacher at some point, but it’s fun to be able to talk to people in a laid back situation in a language I completely understand haha. Our students are all great, and some of them are also our beloved investigators. Today we had a new student named Tany come to class. She’s 16 and brazilian. Her dad was one of the elder’s investigators about 6 months ago, but then he disappeared when he said he was going back to Brazil for a vacation. Tany is adorable. She speaks super great English, and Portuguese and Japanese, so she told me not to worry, and that she’ll teach me everything I need to know ๐Ÿ™‚ I talked to her a little bit after Eikaiwa and she asked me what I was doing in Japan. I got to talk to her a little bit about what missionaries do, and she told me that she had read part of the Book of Mormon that her dad had, and wanted to learn more. Wow. Awesome right?? She took off pretty soon after that, but maybe if we get to know her a little better we can teach her some more ๐Ÿ™‚

On Friday we got to visit some of the ward members. The first one is Graciela. She is about 58 and from Peru. Her husband isn’t a member, and she lives super far from the church, but she still manages to come most Sundays. We went over and had lunch with her, and then shared a little bit of the plan of salvation. It was probably a good thing we did, because there was a lot of things that she didn’t quite understand. But, she is such a sweet woman, and I can tell its hard for her to be away from her home country in Japan. She wants to go back to Peru at some point, but at the same time she loves all the people that take such good care of her in Oizumi. She said her husband isn’t ready to listen to the missionaries quite yet, but she told us to keep coming over, so we hope that if we can strengthen her testimony she’ll be willing to introduce us to her husband.
The other family that we got to meet with on Friday is one of my favorite families in the ward, the Funaki family. The Mom and Dad are Isabel and Sidney, and their kids are David (boy) (17) and Dayene (girl)(14). They are a really great member family. The parents converted with their kids about 4 years ago. They have remained strong members since then, but they still haven’t made it to the temple as a family. So, we decided to teach them a little bit about the temple and we asked the family what their goal was as a family, and we challenged the parents to prepare to receive their endowment with David when he goes through the temple. David turns 18 next month, and he’s really excited to start his mission papers and get out there to share the gospel. Maybe him being a missionary will help his family realize why forever families are so important.

Saturday was the Japanese Summer festival known as O-Matsuri! We woke up to a lot of Japanese music and people playing drums in the street. It’s the most Japanese thing I have seen on my mission. For O-matsuri they close down all the main roads and have things like food, games and bands set up for everyone to see. Other events as well, but not things that we can see as missionaries. That morning, we got to meet with a family from Urawa that used to be Sister Silva’s investigators, The Jitsukawa family. The father and daughter are members, but the mother and son aren’t. They are a really sweet Japanese family. We met them at the church and decided to teach them the plan of salvation. I think it was one of the most spiritual lessons on my mission. It was one of the strongest times I’ve felt the spirit working with me and helping me to tell these people what they needed to hear in Japanese. At the end of the lesson the mother was crying, and the son offered to say the closing prayer. It really was amazing. They aren’t our investigators, but they agreed to start taking the lessons from the missionaries where they live. Hopefully they can continue to see miracles with them.
After the lesson, Brother Jitsukawa took us to lunch at this Brazilian restaurant in front of the church. It was a churrasco, which means it was basically all meat. They came to your table and cut it off with a huge knife right in front of you. I’ve never been to Tucano’s in Utah, but I think it would be something similar. You can now add chicken heart to the list of strange things eaten here. Oh, and we ate sting ray later that day. bones and all. Not my favorite, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve eaten here.
After the Jitsukawa family, we got to put on yukatas (like a summer kimono) and go to the festival with our one Japanese investigator, Erina. She is really sweet. Her baptism was scheduled for this Sunday, but unfortunately, she didn’t quite make it. She still has interest though, so we aren’t giving up on her yet! We taught her a little bit about eternal marriage while at the festival.
We also met up with our new friend Tany there! However, in the middle of the festival there was a huge thunderstorm, and we had to take refuge in a less active members store for almost an hour. It was the craziest rain storm I’ve ever seen. Nothing like California. Its incredibly hot and humid, but then this roaring lightning and rain come pouring down. Plus wind. Peoples stands for O-matsuri were blowing over and everything, and those who were walking around outside were in rivers almost a foot deep. It was crazy. But we got to know Tany a little better, so I count it as a blessing in disguise.

Sunday was also wonderful, as Sundays always are. After church, we had a fireside with our members about missionary work, and how easy it is to invite others. It could be something as simple as serving someone, and then inviting them to come to dinner, and invite the missionaries as well. Hopefully we can continue to keep the ward fired up about missionary work and increase our little group of 12 to something much better.

Oizumi is wonderful and amazing and so much better every week! The languages are coming, but I’ve been learning that when the words arent there, you just need to show love to those you teach. Well, I don’t have a ton of time this p-day because we are going to the Tokyo Temple as well, so I can’t email everyone I would like to, But i love you all!

te amo!

sister hunsaker

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