August 5, 2013 week 28 Alma chapter 26

I don’t even know where to begin! This week has been honestly one of my favorite weeks on my mission so far. I guess I can start off with last week, and p day. So last week we once again had the chance to visit the beautiful Tokyo temple. Its funny because if you look up the pictures of it on lds.org it looks like it is separated from everything, when in reality if you are walking down the streets on Tokyo, if you weren’t looking for the temple, you might miss it. It’s like building, building, temple, building. But the angel Moroni still manages to stick out on top 🙂
After the temple we went to this place called Asakusa, which is like a huge outdoor marketplace and has a lot of Japanese architecture around it. That’s where the cool pictures came from. And, I got a nametag in portuguese for Oizumi! Never thought I would have a tag like that on my mission, but it’s fun nonetheless.
After Asakusa we had to catch a super fast train back to Oizumi in order to get back in time for eikaiwa. So we got home in 1 hour, instead of the usual 2 and a half it takes us. After Eikaiwa, we had a lesson with Erina. She still has that desire to be baptized, but we can tell she has a worry about something, and we just need to figure out what it is, so that she can continue to progress.

Wednesday was incredibly busy, but in the best way possible. We were busy having lessons with some really amazing people.
The first person we went to visit was Bruna, and her younger sister Eduarda, who is our investigator. We had her draw a bunch of little sheep on a piece of paper, and then took one away and put it somewhere else in the room. Then we taught her about Jesus Christ, and how he is our shepherd, and he will always go out to find the lost sheep, and make sure they come safely home. Eduarda was also our one investigator that came to church this week 🙂 Hopefully if we can make a good relationship with her mom, she’ll be more willing to let Eduarda come to church and we can get her mom’s permission for her to be baptized. That’s pretty much the only thing thats holding us back right now.
After Eduarda, we went to visit Celia, and taught her about repentance. It was my first time leading a lesson that was in Portuguese, and it was terrifying. But, it was one of the best lessons we have had with her. We taught her about repentance, and how through Jesus Christ and his atonement, we have that power to change, and become better people. It was honestly the most I have ever felt the Spirit in a lesson with Celia, which is a really good thing, because next we want to teach her about baptism, and you definitely need the Spirit to teach about that. (but i’ll talk about that lesson later).
After Celia, we had a second lesson with Erika, the girl we found housing a few weeks ago. We taught her about the plan of salvation. The only problem we really have with Erika is that she wants to understand everything with her head, and we just want her to focus on if it feels right in her heart. She is still working on her belief in a God, but at the end of the lesson, we got her to pray for the first time in her life. It was incredibly simple, but it was what she needed to ask Heavenly Father. The one thing she said that I remember so clearly was, “Heavenly Father, I still dont know if you are really there… but I want to know. Please help me to know.” There is something so powerful when you hear someone pray for the first time. Even when they don’t completely understand it, you can always feel how happy Heavenly Father is to have one of his children reaching out to him once more.
That night, to celebrate the great day we had, we had a takoyaki party for ourselves. Takoyaki is one of my other favorite Japanese foods. It’s basically octopus, vegetables, flour and seasoning. Kind of like okonomiyaki. But its really fun to make. They kind of look like pancake balls at the end. So I put in some pictures of that too because I’m a goof. The head thing I’m wearing has some kanji on it that says something along the lines of, fighting spirit. I thought it was fitting.

On Saturday we had 2 more really amazing lessons. And 2 really cool exciting things happen. Our first lesson was with Celia again, and Sister Silva let me take the lead on the lesson again. We taught her about baptism. Why Christ was baptized, how we are baptized, and then the blessings of being baptized. At the end of the lesson, I pulled out my little picture of me and dad from my baptism day that I always keep on me. I told her about my baptism day, and what I felt, and then I told her about how we prayed for her everyday, and that I knew God loved here, and that he wanted her to return to him. She started to get teary eyed at the end, and so was I. But the Spirit was undeniably testifying to her the importance of baptism. Thats when we invited her to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority. She said, “Yes, I want to”. There is nothing more amazing than having one of your investigators accept the invitation to be baptized. We set a baptismal date with her for September 15th, and she’s a little nervous about it, but we know as long as we can get her coming to church, everything will work out. That seems to be the one thing that always holds people back. Just coming to church.
After Celia, we went to visit one of our other investigators, Noriko, from Peru. We taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Noriko is our one investigator that we teach in Spanish, and teaching her made me realize that I understand Spanish better than portuguese, but at this point I’m pretty sure I speak better Portuguese when it comes to lessons. But both need a lot of improvement haha. At the end of the lesson, Sister Carrasco invited Noriko to be baptized. She said yes, and we set a baptismal date with her for September 1st. Our one concern with Noriko is that her family is Catholic, and she is worried what they will think if she is baptized into our church. But she testified to us so many times in our lesson about the peace she feels when she reads the Book of Mormon, and the peace she feels when she meets with us. She wasn’t sure if she had received an answer yet, but I told her that that peace that she gets when she reads is part of God’s answer to her that this gospel is true, and that it could really bless her family. As long as we continue to meet with her, I know she can be baptized. She has so much potential to get there.

Sunday was fast Sunday once more, and we had an amazing testimony meeting with the members. About halfway through the meeting Brother Maeno (the leader of the Oizumi group) leaned forward in his chair and gave me the “I want you to bear your testimony look”. So I did. I told the members about when I first met them, and how I didn’t understand anything they said, but when I wrote my letter to President Budge that week, I asked him if I could serve in Oizumi during my mission, because I felt such a strong Spirit from the people there. They all have amazing testimonies of the gospel and such love for each other. And then I got transferred to the wonderful land of Oizumi. During the rest of church, I thought my brain would melt out of my ears. We had 2 Japanese sisters come and visit from another ward, and they asked me to translate for her during Relief Society. The poor woman is lucky if she got half the lesson. I still don’t understand all of Portuguese, especially when it’s something from a church magazine. The words are incredibly hard. That and the grammar is backwards. So you have to wait until the end of the sentence so that you can translate to Japanese. Goodness. It’s something I’ll definitely have to work on. But, hey I guess it will help out my Japanese as well. After church, we had a break the fast/farewell party for Sister Silva. It was great to have all the ward members there, and some of our Eikaiwa students came as well. Oh! And Sister Nakayasu, from my ward in Utsunomiya came too 🙂 It was so great to see her and her kids again. She said things are going great in Utsunomiya, but that she’ll be visiting Oizumi every so often to see me and meet with the members. I think she misses Brazil a little bit. But I took some pictures with her (9), and then with the Toyoshima girls, who came to church as well (10) 🙂 Nicole is on my left, and Fernanda is on my right. I really really want to strengthen their family and get them back to church. They haven’t been coming regulary since I came to Oizumi.

Today was another fantastic p day in Oizumi 🙂 we had a zone pday, so everyone came here and had a good old time. We played soccer, ate Brazilian food, and then had a massive water balloon/water gun fight. That’s why we look soaking wet in all the pictures. I’m still not dry as I’m sitting here writing this email. But it was tons of fun. Not everyone from the zone came, but enough to have a good time with everyone. (11 and 12). My favorite people that came though were Eduarda and Gabi. Gabi is a little girl that comes to our Music Night and Eikaiwa with her older brother. She’s the cutest thing ever. She was fascinated with my hair and kept telling everyone how she wanted it. She’s on my left in the picture with her and Eduarda. (13).

So… the other thing that we had today was of course transfer calls. sadly my current district will be changing a lot. It used to be just me and a bunch of Brazilians, but a lot of people are leaving our district, and we have a lot of new people coming in. But, Sister Carrasco and I are staying in Oizumi, and continuing to work here. I can’t even begin to describe how happy it makes me. Sister Silva was talking to someone the other day about it, and the transfer that I came to Oizumi they were supposed to close the area, because they didnt have anyone that could speak portuguese. So they decided to give it one last chance and stick in the california girl that could understand spanish. and after that, the niigata zone from the sendai mission got added to the Tokyo mission, and we had Sister Carrasco come and help us too. And because of all that divine intervention, Oizumi is staying open for Sister Missionaries 🙂 It just makes me so happy. There are so many amazing people here that need to gospel, and I’m excited to spend another transfer here working hard, and trying to understand whats going on, and spreading the gospel to everyone. Sister Carrasco and I are still pretty young missionaries (I’ll be transfer 4, and she’ll be 3), but I know we are going to see so many miracles here next transfer in Oizumi.

I got a really great email this week about Alma chapter 26. All of you should go read it. Its exactly how I feel about being here in Oizumi.
2 And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?

3 Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.

4 Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God.

5 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.

6 Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.

Sometimes when times get rough, its hard to see what exactly the Lord has blessed us with. But look at what Ammon says.. Thousands of people were brought unto God, and Ammon says that when the storms come, their converts will be strong, and work together, and won’t be overcome by the darkness. That’s my goal for working here. To work so hard and see these people come closer to God, and to be strong even when the whirlwinds come, because they do.

I’m so grateful each and everyday to be a missionary. especially here in Oizumi. Its something completely new, and incredibly hard everyday, but its also the most blessed I’ve felt in my whole life. I love you all!

te amo!

sister hunsaker

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mellissa hafer
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 14:21:52

    Wow Suzanne. You are rocking it as a missionary!!!! I am beyond happy and impressed with your letters. You are exactly what is needed for the work. A great attitude, willing heart, love for the people, love for your companion, a strong testimony. Etc….! You will be so blessed your service. And I can tell your family is glowing in the blessings also. I love it. I love to hear all your experiences. I love that you have a picture from your baptism with you. What a great idea. You are truly on fire girl! And speaking Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese?!?! What?!?! Like no big deal. I’m a translator. Isn’t it incredible the things you will do as a missionary?, and the things you can do because The Lord makes it possible through you? I start teaching seminary in less than a week and I am so excited and also humbled by the trust I’m being given to work with these kids at this exciting time. I will have all the seniors at the Norco building. Chaz and Tyler D and mckayla B and other kids I’m sure ill know! This is go time for these kids because it will be a blink of the eye till its their time to go on a mission and I just pray I can do and say what I need to to maybe influence them to go and serve and fortify their faith, anchor it for their life. I have to run to a mtg but keep up the great work. I’m sure ill be sharing your letters. No pressure! Your awesome!!!!! Xoxoxoxo sister H.

    Reply

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