September 30, 2013 week 36 Roller Coaster Ride

This week was great in Oizumi. It wasn’t the easiest week we have had by far, but its becoming more and more apparent on my mission that sometimes the hardest times are the times when you grow the most, and learn to appreciate the little miracles that you see everyday. I guess things have been hard lately because we haven’t had a lot of lessons, or investigators at church recently, and we spend a lot of time knocking on doors, trying to get people to listen. I’d be lying if I said this week was easy. There was a lot of canceled appointments, returned Books of Mormon, and even a door slammed in the face. (that was a first) But! the important thing is the amazing things that happened this week. So I’m going to talk about those ones instead ๐Ÿ˜‰

The first amazing person we met with this week was Simone. She is Brazilian, and living in Japan with her husband, and her daughter who has some physical disablities, and because of them, can’t walk. We went to her house and got to really talk to her, and she let us into her home. We shared Alma 40:23 and promised her that someday her daughter is going to have a perfect body, and be just like everyone else. Simone has an amazing heart, and told us how she prays everyday for her daughter, but instead of just begging for her to be healed, she thanks God everyday for the progress that her daughter is making. She has genuine interest in what we are teaching, and she’s been reading the Book of Mormon as well. We have a lesson with her today, and we are planning on teaching her about the Plan of Salvation, something that could really help her life.

We also got to visit some amazing less active/recent converts this week. The first person is Nubia. She’s Brazilian as well, and was baptized in Oizumi a little over a year ago. For me, she is the epitomy of the word charity. She always is trying to help those around her, and makes sure that everything is taken care of before she even thinks about herself. We went and shared Moroni 7:47-48 with her, and talked about how she is an example to us of the perfect love of Christ. She really opened up to us and told us that one of the reasons why she can’t come to church is because of her job and her husband. She owns a plaza here, and since the busiest day is Sunday, her husband wants her to stay and work, and isn’t particularly fond of her going to church instead. But, she’s making progress. I know that she can come to church, even if its only for an hour. And it would help her so much.

The recent convert family that we visited this week was the Mercado family. The one thing that is hard about being a missionary is loving the people, and wanting the best for them, and being heartbroken when things dont work out. We had an amazing time with the Mercado family both times we visited them, and really had a chance to talk to their mom, Rhoda. She’s a single mom, and basically works all night to take care of her kids and make sure that they have everything they need. She gets home from work in time to get them ready for school, and then she sleeps until she has to pick them up. Both of the kids have great testimonies as well. And they love reading the scriptures and talking about the gospel. Especially CK, the daughter. We also got to go to an undokai and see CK dance. I think an undokai would be the equivalent of a field day in the US. Its a school sponsored thing where the kids run races, play games, and get to celebrate a little bit of the Japanese culture as well. CK did a traditional Japanese dance called the Soran with the other kids her age. She was incredibly excited to see us there, and ran over to give us a hug right when she saw us. Which is a good thing, because we were having a hard time locating her there with all the little kids running around. I think I stuck out a little bit with the blond hair and bright pink dress. I figure my companion will always be able to find me on my mission if we get separated. We talked to the family and Rhoda and CK both said they would be at church on Sunday… but they didn’t make it. Its so heartbreaking to have things like that happen. I want to help the Mercado family so much, but there is only so much we can do when they aren’t coming to church. But we’ll keep trying.

We also have a new progressing investigator, a Brazilian woman named Maria. The first time we met her, we only talked to her for a little bit, and gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to read it, and that we would come back to talk to her about it. When we went to visit her later this week, she came out with the Book of Mormon and told us that she had been reading, and that she really liked it! She told us how when she started reading it, she was going back and forth between the tv and the book, and then she turned off the tv, and just started reading. And then a little while later she looked at the clock and realized how long she had been reading for and had to make herself stop. We laughed and told her that it was a good thing :). She’s even been marking scriptures that she likes in the Book of Mormon. She’s amazing. The only problem we might have with teaching her is that her three daughters are evangelical, and not the biggest fans of their mom talking to the Mormon missionaries. But we can change their minds.

On Sunday we decided to go visit Celia. She didn’t look super happy to see us there when we first walked in, but we just asked for 5 minutes, and shared a scripture with her. And testified that this gospel is the thing that she needs most, and that if she follows the path the Savior has set for her, its going to bless her life more than she can imagine. When I was talking to her, I could really see her thinking, and at one point her eyes glistened, and she almost began to cry. She knows its true! And I know she feels the Spirit when we talk to her. But, today wasn’t the day for her to pick studying with us back up. It kills me on the inside to know she feels its true, and yet she wont do anything about it. After we left Sister Carrasco told me that she was “my investigator” and just said that she noticed how much her face changed when I started talking to her. I guess that means I have to work hard while I’m in Oizumi to bring her around. If anything, I think we could stop by maybe once a month and just keep trying for that breakthrough. She told us she would come to church on a day that wasn’t too busy. Baby steps.

This week I really started to have fun while we were knocking on doors trying to share the gospel with people. I think it helps that Im finally comfortable talking to people in Portuguese. One of my favorite doors that we knocked on was this young Brazilian guy, whose dog’s name was Kuma. (It means bear in Japanese. He was the cutest little small thing I’ve ever seen) Anyways, when he first answered the door, he told us that he was too busy, and didn’t have time to study anything. So, I asked him to read Alma 26:37. He read it, and kind of stopped for a second, and said “wow, I really needed that” its amazing how peoples whole countenance can change when they are touched by the gospel. Unfortunately, he’s a guy, and well, our age. So we have to give him over to the elders. darn.

Being here in Oizumi with our little apartment building church really makes me realize how much I took for granted the church building that we had back home. We were sitting in the church the other day, and I heard this “drip, drip” noise. We went to investigate, and low and behold the ceiling was leaking. It looked like it was practically raining in the buliding. Its pretty old, and not in the best condition, so I guess things like that happen. We put out some buckets, tied up our skirts, and started mopping. Luckily by Sunday everything had gotten patched up, but it would be wonderful if we could get an actual building here in Oizumi.

Cool miracle of the week (well, we had a lot, but this was recent). Last night I got a call from my dear first companion Sister Vail. She asked me if I remembered a little Filipino girl named Marjorie. I met Marjorie with another sister missionary when we were on splits. We talked to her for a little bit, and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, but never heard anything back from her. That was in June I believe. Anyways, Sister Vail ran into her on the street and invited her to Eikaiwa. She came to English class, Sister Vail invited her to church and started talking about the gospel with her. Marjorie said, “Well, this is the second time I’ve met with missionaries here, so I really think that I should come to church” Sister Vail tried to give her a book of Mormon, but she wouldn’t take it and said, “I already have one that a little blonde girl gave me (thats me!).” Sister Vail got out her camera and showed her a picture of me, and figured the whole thing out. Anyways, Marjorie went to church on Sunday and had an amazing time, and the Utsunomiya Sisters set a baptismal date with her for the end of October. She just keeps saying that she knows this is the right thing to do, because she knows that its no coincidence that she has met us twice. WOW. I guess it just goes to show that you have to talk to everyone. You never know what the results could be ๐Ÿ™‚
Lastly, our group leader in Oizumi gave a talk on Sunday and told a story about when the ward had a barbeque and invited the missionaries to all come. This was when I was still working in Utsunomiya with Sister Vail. We played soccer together and I ended up being on his team. He said that as soon as he met me, and watched me interact with the people that were there, he wanted me to come to Oizumi and help his members here. So basically there are a whole lot of reasons why I’m here in Oizumi, and why I’m on a mission for that matter. The one I really came to think about this week was that being a missionary really is the best thing in the whole world because you get to be with these amazing people and teach them about the gospel and their Heavenly Father and Christ. I wouldn’t trade a single day of my mission for anything. Even the hard ones. Its like a roller coaster. Sometimes you’re way up in the sky, other times you’re so low you don’t know what to do. Sometimes things are going by fast and you don’t know what’s going on, and other times you’re upside down. But all in all, at the end of the ride, or the day, you want to do it over and over again ๐Ÿ™‚ I think that describes how a mission is for me. I never want it to end.

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

com abraรงo,
Sister Hunsaker

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September 23, 2013 week 35 I love my life

Oi gente ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m glad everyone seems to be having an awesome week. This week was the first week to the new transfer, and it was awesome! If its an indicator of what this transfer is going to be like, then I’m stoked.

The weather in Oizumi lately has cooled down a lot, and the rain has finally ceased, so Sister Carrasco and I have been going by foot a lot more lately. Which consequently is more convenient for us with skirts, and we meet a lot more people that way. On Tuesday we had Music Night as usual, and we got to talk to my favorite little girl ever, Gabi. She is now a pro at “I am a Child of God” on the piano, and now we’re teaching her “Families can be Together Forever” She loves singing and playing the piano, and it always gets me to hear her cute little voice singing “็ฅžใฎๅญใงใ™โ€. She’s going to be baptized someday. The Elders have actually been talking to her dad lately, so hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

Wednesday was awesome, and a reminder of why working in Oizumi can be really hard sometimes. First, we had a lesson with Giani, our Peruvian friend. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation. We talked to her about how she felt about the things we had taught her so far, and she said they felt like they are all true. Awesome right? That’s when we invited her to be baptized when she got an answer that this was the true church. And…. she said yes, but then asked a question that I pretty much dread hearing here in Oizumi. “But, I was already baptized. So why do I need to do it again? Doesn’t my baptism count?” Yikes! The last thing you want to do to people is tell them that their baptism wasn’t valid, or that the decision they made to be baptized while they were acting on faith was wrong. So… we talked a little more about the priesthood, and the restoration, and how we need to be baptized by the proper authority. We invited her to pray again, and we’re excited to visit her again next week and see how she is doing.
Later that night, we also got to visit the Mercado family! We haven’t seen them in forever. They are Philippino, and were baptized in the Oizumi ward in March, but unfortunately haven’t been to church since I’ve been serving here :(. But, we went to visit them and share a message, and it was really good. We talked mostly to CK the daughter. She’s 11, and has an amazing testimony. We asked her how she felt about her baptism, and she told us that she felt like a new person, and that she felt so much love from Heavenly Father and Christ. Afterwards we talked to her Mom, Rhoda as well, and she told us that they would try to come to church this Sunday, and she asked us to keep visiting her kids, because she works a lot, and doesn’t have as much time with them as she would like.

On Friday… we knocked on lots of doors. And talked to lots of people. We gave away 6 copies of the Book of Mormon this week as well. 2 in Portugues, 2 in Espanol, and 2 in Japanese. One door we knocked on was a guy from Peru named Miguel. He said he knew about our church because he had a lot of friends that were members in Peru, and they always invited him to come play soccer with them. He told us that he had been curious about the church too, but they never invited him to come to church as well. Wow. I think that was a wake up call for me as well. You never know who might be interested in the gospel. That’s why you invite everyone to have the chance to listen ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, we talked to him about the restoration, and he was definitely sniffling during it. We have to pass him to the elders for teaching purposes, but he seems like he has a lot of potential! On Friday we went to visit a less-active named Vanilda as well. She’s hilarious and LOVES to talk. In very fast Portuguese. Therefore, we didn’t completely understand everything that was going on. So we laughed where appropriate and nodded our heads understandingly at others. But we got the gist of what she was saying, so its all good.

Saturday we got to visit the Noguti family (Bruna’s family)! We were hoping that the mom would be home as well, so we could try and talk to her, but she was busy doing other things and wouldn’t talk. So we taught a lesson to Bruna, Duda, and Kamilla. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation, since they have a new baby brother, and really focused on eternal families. My favorite part was at the end, when Kamilla said she wanted to say the prayer, but didn’t know how (She’s 5). So, she sat next to me, and I would whisper something really quiet, and then she would say it louder. I love all those girls so much. Bruna is an amazing example to all of them, even when I know its hard for her sometimes. We’re going back again on Wednesday, so hopefully we can talk to their mom then.

I learned so many amazing things this week too… they’re not entirely related, so forgive me if its a little scrambled.

1. I was reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese for language study and read this: 10 E aconteceu que vi uma รกrvore cujo fruto era desejรกvel para fazer uma pessoa feliz. (1 nephi 8:10) I don’t know why it took reading it in portuguese to love the scripture so much, but it really just dawned on me that this gospel is exactly what people need to be happy ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyday there’s always something small that makes me smile and helps other people as well, and its truly the gospel. There’s a reason why missionaries are so smiley all the time, they have the best job in the world! They get to make people happy.
2. I started reading “Faith of our Fathers” its a book about the history of the church. There’s a sentence in there that says, “There are pages of history yet to be written”. Of course they were referring to the history of the church, but think about what that means when we apply it to ourselves. We have so much ahead of us, and we get to choose what kind of story we will have, and what we will leave behind for others to remember about us. It just makes me want to work that much harder, to be able to look back with no regrets, and know that my mission was the best story it could have ever been.
3. Last was from a talk someone gave on Sunday. He said, “Sometimes when we look in the mirror and see the person looking back at us, we dont really like them, or we hate what we see. But, everytime that Jesus Christ looks at us, all he does is love us”. Because the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. ( I think that’s scripture mastery in Samuel for you seminary kiddos) And its so true! Christ and Heavenly Father will always love us! And thats something that I have felt so strongly here in Oizumi. The people here have a unique ability to just love everyone they come into contact with. They are amazing, and such an example to me of what it means to have that Christlike love.

Until next week! Stay safe, eat healthy, and don’t talk to strangers! (Unless sharing the gospel, then its okay ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

love,
Sister Hunsaker

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September 16, 2013 week 34 Transfer 5

Hey Everyone!
So first things first… we got transfer calls today. And no surprise here, I’ll be staying in Oizumi. Hip hip hooray! They don’t have any Spanish or Portuguese speaking Sisters in the mission right now, so we will probably be here for a little bit. Not that I’m complaining. I love Oizumi. And things are really starting to pick up around here.

This week we did A LOT of finding. But, we are really starting to see our hard work pay off. We found 6 new investigators this week. Hopefully we’ll be able to continue to keep meeting with them, and help them to follow the path of this awesome gospel. Most of the pictures I sent this week are of places in Oizumi that are super country compared to the rest of the Tokyo mission. But, it usually seems like the people who live out there are a little more relaxed, and have more time to take the missionaries into their home and listen to the lessons.

One of our new investigators is a Peruvian woman named Giani. We knocked on her door, and she told us that she had time to listen to what we had to say. So, we taught her the restoration on her doorstep. When we started talking to her about prayer, and the Holy Ghost, her eyes got a little teary, and she started crying. She told us that she knew with all her heart that God answers her prayers to take care of her family. She said that she would pray about the Book of Mormon, and agreed to meet with us again. We have an appointment with her on Wednesday. yosh.

This week we also had an adventure out in Kiryu. The Sister missionaries that are working there had a bunch of super old records from a few years ago of people that lived in that area, but that spoke Portuguese or Spanish. So they handed them off to us, and Sister Carrasco and I sat down with the telephone and started calling people. A lot of the numbers had changed, but there was woman woman named Patricia, who still lived in the same area. She’s a less active member. So, we printed out a map of where she lived, and hopped on a train to try and go find it. For anyone who knows me well, you know that I am awful with directions. So you better believe it was a miracle from God that we could find this woman’s house. She lives about a half hour walk from the train station. After weaving in and out of the rice fields and dirt roads, and talking to a few Japanese people though, we found it. And she was really happy to see us. When Kiryu used to have a Spanish class she went to church every week, but they stopped doing it, and since she doesn’t speak Japanese, she stopped going to church. She didn’t know that there was a ward in Oizumi as well. Hopefully we can start getting her to come out here from now on.

On Saturday we went out to Gyoda-shi to visit Sayuri and her family. Unfortunately her dad is in the hospital having hip surgery, so it looks like we will just have to focus on her for a little bit, and then start teaching them as a family again when the dad gets out of the hospital. But, we got the chance to sit down with her, and taught her the plan of salvation, and then a brief little lesson on the gospel of Christ. And… we invited her to be baptized! She said she wasn’t 100% sure yet that it was true, but that when she felt like it was true, that she would be baptized. Now we just have to make sure she keeps praying to get that answer. She’s flying through the Book of Mormon. She has already finished the whole first book of Nephi, so she’s going to start 2 Nephi now……… wish her luck ๐Ÿ™‚

As a missionary, it seems like Sunday is legitimately the busiest day of the week. Go figure. But this Sunday was AMAZING. Before church, we rode our bikes to try and see the Mercado family. And they were finally home! We talked to the 2 kids, CK and Ryle. They said they couldn’t come to church this week, but that they would be there next week. We just really have to focus on them now. We have the Toyoshima family back at church, and Marisol and Ramshan, so they are our last recent converts that we need to get coming back to church.
Church on Sunday was amazing, as usual. If there was ever an interesting ward to go to, its Oizumi. There’s always something going on, or someone speaking to keep everyone awake and attentive. I think its because we’re all such a big family (And we’re a small group… so I’m pretty sure the speaker would just call you out if you started snoozing). And guess what! Bruna came to church, and so did her younger sister Duda. Who we haven’t been able to see since Bruna has been in the hospital. She just about beat us up for not visiting her. But, we have an appointment to visit their family this week. Bruna’s mom also had her baby this week. Hopefully it softened her heart enough to listen to the lessons, and to give permission to us to teach Duda and get her baptized. She wants to. She’s a young kid, but she still has a really good understanding of everything.
After church, we had a party for everyone that had their birthdays in September. It was great to be able to talk to the ward members, and look back and think about 2 transfers ago, when I had no clue what anyone was saying to me. Its still hard, and I have to guess when I don’t understand perfectly, but its getting there ๐Ÿ™‚
After church we visited a referral from the Elders, Carina. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel, and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. One of the things I honestly love doing the most as a missionary is just getting to bear testimony to people about the truthfulness of the gospel. People can contest everything you say to them about the gospel, or about the church, but one thing that people can’t take from you, or deny, is your testimony of the truth. As missionaries, we get to bear testimony to people everyday, and invite them to find out for themselves why this message is so important. And its the best thing in the whole entire world! I seriously love each and every day. Rain, sun, typhoon or hail, its all the same message, and there is always someone out there that needs the gospel. And its our job to share it. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16, pretty sure its scripture mastery as well hehe).

I love all of you so much! Have an amazing week ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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September 9, 2013 week 33 Esperar

Boa noite!

This week so much has happened…. I don’t know if I can fit it into one email without leaving out so many important things… But, I’ll try my best ๐Ÿ™‚

On Tuesday, our zone had interviews with President Budge. It was really great two be able to sit down and talk to him about Oizumi, what we have planned for it, the people, how we can help them, everything. Transfers are next Monday, but at the end of my interview President Budge told me that they need me in Oizumi, and asked me if I could stay there another transfer. So im 99.999999999% positive I’ll be here longer ๐Ÿ™‚ which I’m defintely not complaining about. We have some amazing people here. And I know we can help them find the light of the gospel.

Wednesday was probably my favorite day of the week. It started with going to the Brazilian plaza to try and visit a less active member, Marcia. But when we got there, we actually ran into another less active there, Nubia. (Oizumi doesn’t have the best luck with retention. But, we’re going to change all that!) Nubia honestly has a heart of gold. She has a desire to help everyone. She was baptized here in Oizumi about a year ago, and has been incredibly busy with work ever since. But, we had a chance to sit down and talk with her, and afterwards she told us to stop by her house anytime to come visit. The members love her as well, so we just need to get her coming back to church. Before we left, she ran into a store and came out with these two furry stuffed animal dogs, one yellow and one green (for Brazil of course) and gave them to Sister Carrasco and I. I haven’t named mine yet, but he sits on my study desk every day.
Wednesday night we had a lesson with Erika. hisashiburi desho. We haven’t been able to meet with her for a while because she is always busy. Not gonna lie, I was EXTREMELY nervous to teach her. She’s our one investigator that we teach in Japanese, but everytime we had gone previously, we had an older sister missionary with us. That being said, I think it was one of the best lessons we have had with Erika yet. We taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ. (faith, repentance, etc.) She’s still struggling with her belief in God, but she really has a desire to know. I thought she was going to tear up a little bit when we talked more about faith. About believing in things we cannot see, and more importantly, having faith in Jesus Christ, that he is the son of God, and that he can lift all of our burdens. Erika said the prayer at the end of the lesson, and it was really great. The end of it was my favorite. I think in English it comes across something like “Heavenly Father, I’m still struggling to believe, but I really want to believe. Please help me.”. I’ll admit it, I’m a sap. Almost cried during the prayer. If we can keep meeting with Erika I know she can keep progressing.

Thursday….. on Thursday I legitimately did cry. And not for a good reason either. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
That day we went to Celia to teach her about fasting and invite her to fast about baptism. However, as soon as we walked in the front door, the first thing she said to us was, “Today is the last time I can meet with you”. Ouch. Bam. Slap. Being dropped always hurts. She told us that she was going to start going to school/studying again, so she wouldn’t have time to meet with us for a long time, but that we could still pass each other in the street and be friends. We still taught her a lesson, but it was definitely a little rough, and Im sure Sister Carrasco and I were both visually upset. And it wouldn’t have been so bad either if she hadn’t born this crazy amazing testimony after I asked her to keep reading the Book of Mormon. She knows its all true, and she said she would never deny it. She just doesn’t feel like she has time right now. Its hard, but I know someday she’ll get there. The seed is planted, and the testimony is there, she just has to figure out her priorities now.

Friday and Saturday were a blur, so I’ll just throw them all together. Bruna is finally out of the hospital! yosh! It took long enough, but she is back home hobbling around, and now just has to go to therapy 3 times a week. Now that Bruna is back at home we are hoping we can try to start teaching her little sister eduarda again… or even better, her mother Debora. Fingers crossed and wish us good luck!

We also got to meet twice this week with the Takamura family. Sayuri, her brother Fabricio, and her mom and dad. They are the referral that we got last week from the Funaki family. The Takamura family really is a great family. So full of love for everyone and always willing to help. We taught Sayuri and Fabricio about the Restoration of the Gospel, and then about the Book of Mormon the next time we met them. Fabricio is only 11, but he’s a smart little kid. He’s already in Nephi chapter 11, and he told us that he reads the Book of Mormon every night before he goes to bed. We’re hoping to be able to teach the whole family together about the Plan of Salvation, but its a little hard when the mom and dad both have really intense work schedules.
I also ate the weird food of the week with the Takamura family. They’re Peruvian, so the mom made us ceviche one night. It’s basically cut up raw octopus, squid, and some kind of white fish. Then they put a ton of lemon juice on it. I guess the acidity from the lemon cooks everything. And some cilantro. It was surprisingly good. I couldnt look at what I was eating sometimes because the octopus was purple and still had the little suckers on it, but other than that it was great.

We also did housing this week of course, but it has been pouring rain lately in Oizumi. So, we get to go around in our kapas (rain gear) on our bikes. Mine is all black, and Sister Carrasco’s is all blue, so I feel like we pretty much look like the equivalent of a robber and a smurf. I got a good laugh out of the idea.

Something cool I liked this week… is actually from PMG. Chapter 6, the Christlike attributes. The one about hope. So as a missionary, they always tell you to hope for miracles. But in portugues, the word they use is “esperar”. It kind of means, to hope, to expect, and to wait for… So when we esperar milagres, we are expecting miracles to happen, as long as we are doing the Lord’s will. There’s a quote from Neal A Maxwell on the page that says, “Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have moved away from the hope of the gospel. Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down”. How amazing is it that hope is a blessing! And, as latter-day saints, those that have the gospel, we have this hope, and we get to share it with others. Sometimes its easy to get down when things don’t go your way, when people don’t answer their doors, and when things fall through, but when we have hope, we work against all those things, knowing that it will all work out in the end for our good. The Lord is never ever ever going to throw something our way that we can’t handle. We just need to persistently have that hope that he’s going to help us out a little bit.

I love being a missionary. There are miracles happening everyday. Some of them I see here, and on the days where it seems like nothing went our way here in Japan, without fail there is an email or letter from someone, telling me about something in their life that was a blessing to them that day. So, yes, EVERY SINGLE DAY there are miracles happening out there. For us in the mission field, and for our loved ones at home. I miss you guys like crazy, but your in my prayers every night, and I know that as missionaries, Heavenly Father takes care of our families more than we ever could. Keep the faith, stay strong, and esperar to see miracles and have hope everyday. I know it’s possible, because all things are possible to them that believe.

Amo muito voces.
ๆ„›ใ—ใฆใ„ใพใ™็š†ใ•ใ‚“

Sister Hunsaker ๐Ÿ™‚

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September 2, 2013 week 32 There Is No Fear In Love

konbanwa!
sorry this letter is coming a little late, today was an incredibly hectic p-day, but it was fantastic as well ๐Ÿ™‚

So this week was… interesting to say the least. We had a lot of great interaction with ward members, and got to help a lot of really amazing people. I’ll start from Tuesday…
On Tuesday we went housing! No surprise there. Our investigator pool hasn’t been the strongest lately, so its pretty much become a daily thing. When we went on Tuesday there was this really cool apartment complex we wanted to house. But, we could figure out where the entrance was, all we could see was this fence that went all the way around it. So, being the responsible Sister missionaries we are… we hopped the fence. And we were pretty graceful about it if I do say so myself.
After housing we went to visit Bruna. again at the hospital. We decided to finish up her after baptism lessons, and taught her the restoration. Her testimony of the Book of Mormon is amazing. Its still so hard to believe she is only 14! naturally when we dendo people I feel like I don’t talk to the high school kids because I think they wouldn’t have interest. But Bruna makes me rethink all of that everytime we are with her.

Wednesday… I have never been so exhausted and tired in my life. Wednesday morning Sister Carrasco and I took a train out to Maebashi (about 1.5 hours away), and then an hour car ride to the Maebashi hospital. Remember Ana Maria? I went to visit her once and Sister Silva translated at the hospital for her. Well, the elders couldnt go this week, so Sister Carrasco and I had to do the translating. I thought my brain would explode. It was a mix of hand gestures, flipping through a dictionary, and long explanations, but everything went well. The most important part was making sure Ana Maria understood, and that her opinion was voiced to the doctors. Translating from Japanese to Spanish and back just about made my brain mush. But somehow we did it. Ana Maria has a lot of problems, but the biggest one is her foot. I wont go into it for your sakes, but she basically has a open hole the size of an egg on the bottom of her foot. She broke her foot about 3 years ago, but kept walking on it, and as a result the bone moved down and caused a sore, and then hole in her foot. In addition to this, she has diabetes, so the hole isnt closing, and she’s pretty much in pain everyday. At this point, she just has to continue waiting, but she wants the doctors to amputate her foot. We told the doctors, and they said it was pretty much the worst case scenario, but its her decision in the end. She’s going to think about it for a bit, and then go back.
After being in Maebashi for most of the day, we went to share the gospel, and when we were about a 20 minute bike ride away from the house, it started POURING rain out of nowhere. Go figure. It was around 8:30 at that point so we started racing home. You know those movie scenes, where the person is walking on the side of the road, or on their bike, and a huge car drives by and gets them soaking wet? Just so you know, it happens to sister missionaries too. Picture a splash mountain sized wave of dirty water haha. By the time we got home, we were soaking wet, and covered in dirt. Quite the sight. I wish I would have taken a picture. But as soon as Sister Carrasco and I got in the apartment and looked at each other we couldn’t help but start dying laughing. I think thats one of the most important things to remember. Always find something to laugh about. It always makes the day better.

On Thursday we went to visit Celia, and talked about faith, and action. We’re having a hard time teaching her right now. The lessons are always great, she definitely feels the Spirit, and is praying and reading the Book of Mormon, but we still cant get her to come to church. You would think we were asking her to shoot her dog or something!! But, the next lesson we have with her is about the Law of the Fast, so we are thinking about asking her to fast about coming to church. Wish us luck!
On thursdays we also teach Aulas de Ingles! It is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary in Japan. Teaching english to people. Its a little different now because the people we teach are Brazilian, but its still just as fun. On Thursday Sister Carrasco and I taught the beginner class which is just Brazilian people. It was a bit of a struggle at first, but with the help of google translate, we made it through.

Friday started with catching train out to Aioi, to visit one of our members, Graciela. She’s from Peru. We had lunch with her, and then talked to her… well, she talked to us, and we listened. But that was really what she needed the most. Like most of the foreigners living here in Japan, she really wants to return to where she was born, and where she was raised. Its hard for her to live in Japan when she doesnt really speak Japanese, and doesnt have any family out here. Before we left, we shared Mosiah 5:7 with her and talked about her decision to be baptized, and how many blessings she has received from that. At the moment it doesn’t look like she’ll be able to return to Peru soon, so the most we can do for her is strengthen her faith in the gospel, and prayer. So that she knows she always has someone to talk to when things get tough.
After visiting Graciela, we went to try and visit a referral from the Elders, a Brazilian woman named Simone. Luckily she was home when we knocked on the door. She’s a really sweet woman, she has just been really busy lately taking her daughter to physical therapy. Her daughter is probably 5 years old now, but she has a problem with her legs, and can’t walk. So she still crawls around the house, and needs help with everything. But Simone is an amazing mother despite all of that. We have an appointment with her this week to teach her about the plan of salvation, to help her understand about eternal families, and how someday her daugher will have a perfect body that works just like everyone elses.

On Saturday we did housing, visited our BFF Bruna, and then headed back to our apartment to wait for Nadia Toyoshima. On Saturday we had an activity with the Kumagaya ward ๐Ÿ™‚ We did a ward barbecue type thing and it was great ๐Ÿ™‚ Nadia volunteered to give us a ride, and we were super excited not only that her whole family was coming, but that we had the chance to get to know her better, and really strengthen our relationship with her. We visited Nadia a lot before, but we never felt like we had the chance to get to know her that well.
The coolest part about Saturday though came by way of the Funaki family. Brother Funaki is the ward mission leader, and lately he has really been trying to step up missionary work in the Oizumi ward. So guess what… his family brought a friend to the ward activity! A little Peruvian girl namedย Sayuri.ย As soon as Sister Carrasco and I got to the barbecue Brother Funaki practically sprinted over to tell us about her, and told us that she wanted to learn about our church, and that he wanted us to teach her! How amazing is that?? Amongst intense ping pong games (come on, I am in Japan), great Brazilian barbeque, and amazing members, we had the chance to sit down and talk to S. about the church, and what we believe in. When she lived in Peru, she actually had some member friends, and thats what lead to her interest in the gospel. She’s only 17, but she has a lot of questions that we know the gospel can help answer. We’re excited to be able to get to know her more, and hopefully teach her with the Funaki family.

Sunday was fantastic. It was fast sunday, so a lot of the members, and all of the missionaries, got up and bore their testimonies (even me, in portuguese. its a work in progress, but its coming!). One of my favorites was when Nadia got up. Her and her whole family (except her husband, J) came to church this Sunday! She talked about how when she hadn’t been coming to church, she felt like something wasnt right. She was reading her scriptures and praying, but still felt something was missing. She said that the second she walked into the church building last week, she realized what she was missing. She bore an amazing testimony to her kids and the members about the importance of going to church. It was great to hear. Want to know something else wonderful?? This week we had about 30 people at church again. But this time, there were 6 investigators at church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 for the elders, and 4 for us. Sayuri (the girl we met from ward mission leader) came to church, and her mom, dad, and little brother came with her as well. They seemed to all have a really great time ๐Ÿ™‚ and they told the members they would come again next week as well. Its been so long since we’ve had an investigator come to church. Its definitely hard to work every day of the week, and then not have something to show for it when Sunday roles around. But I think from here on out, things will really start to pickup here in Oizumi.
We’re going to have a baptism pretty soon here in Oizumi as well. One of the elders investigators, Victor. Sister Silva and I knocked on his door and talked to him like my first week in Oizumi. Just seeing him baptized would let me know I had purpose being here. Who knows how different things would be if we hadnt knocked on his door that day?

And that brings us to today, p-day. But not just any p-day, zone p-day. Today we went bowling with some of the missionaries in our zone ๐Ÿ™‚ It was great. Im incredibly awful at bowling, but it was nice to talk to the other missionaries and see how their areas were doing. After bowling, we went to grab sushi at a nearby sushi bar. One of the pictures I attached is of me and Sister Ono. She’s the only Japanese sister in our zone, and she doesn’t speak any english. I think its a little hard for her to work with all gaijin (american) missionaries that pretty much only speak english. I “translate” the district meetings for Sister Ono. when we have them, so I feel like we have a special relationship. She’s a sweetheart. We sat together at sushi today and she told me a little bit about her family. She’s a great missionary.
And the last part of today, something that is incredibly awful as a Sister missionary, shoe shopping. My companion made me buy new shoes. But, my current pair were pretty bad. That’s missionary work for you! I argued that they were fine… unless it rained, in which case my foot was wet in 2 seconds due to the holes in the bottom. But oh well ๐Ÿ™‚

So, a favorite scripture I came across this week is in Moroni 8:16. the end of it says: “perfect love casteth out all fear” Its like another scripture in 1st John 4:18 that I really love. But basically its talking about charity. And it made me think, the most important part of being a missionary is loving the people right? And when we have that perfect love, charity, for the people we’re serving, we shouldn’t be afraid of what might come next. I remember as a new missionary being terrified every time someone answered a door, or when we had a lesson. Because I didn’t know the people, or how they would react. But when we have charity for people, when we love them with everything we have, the most important thing we can do for them, is share the gospel with them. I’m not saying that I’m not afraid of anything anymore, trust me I still am. But, I’ve found that when I stop panicking about the language, or the lesson, or what I’m going to say next, and just focus on loving that person, its when everything goes all right. Because Charity overcometh all things. (I think that’s a scripture somewhere as well.) Well, I love you all! Sorry I won’t have time to email anyone else this week, but I promise next week ๐Ÿ™‚

amo muito voces!

Sister Hunsaker

P.S. To Sister Crane’s mom, congratulations! Your daughter is coming to the best mission in the world! The Tokyo (North) Mission ๐Ÿ™‚ The Mission has already officially split, so if her call said just to Japan Tokyo, then she’s coming here ๐Ÿ™‚ I promise to keep an eye out for her. No worries, she is going to have the most amazing experience ever! And I’ll be sure to send her an email every now and again.

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