October 28, 2013 week 40 Transfer Six What!! what!!

hello everyone!
Today I started my 6th transfer as a missionary. Crazy right?? And…….. drum roll please.
Im staying in Oizumi with Sister Carrasco. This will be our 4th transfer here together in Oizumi. And I’m so happy to stay here. There really is no place quite like Oizumi in the mission. You get to serve in Brasil while living in Japan. Really the best of both worlds. So… this week was crazy. I felt like we were all over the place.

On Monday we went down into Tokyo to try and go shopping before going to the mission home. I forgot how big and confusing the train stations are down there. We made a lot of friends with these sweet Japanese people trying to figure out where exactly we were supposed to transfer and so on. After walking around Shinjuku for a bit, we went to the mission home in Nakano. Well… we tried. The mission home is only 10 minutes from the train station if you walk, but neither of us really knew the way, so we got very lost in Nakano for a good hour. There’s just so many streets and places you could go! If anything it just testified to me that I, a. am not good with directions and b. want to serve out in Kiryu zone my whole mission. I prefer my little towns like Oizumi that have basically 2 main roads and only one train that goes to and from haha.

On Tuesday we got to go to the Tokyo Temple. I honestly feel so lucky that we have a temple in our mission. Its really the best feeling in the world to be able to go to the temple. It helps me to remember what my goal for all of our investigators should be. Not just baptism, but getting them ready to go to the temple. And the Tokyo temple is GORGEOUS. It has these beautiful stained glass windows on it, and the little angel Moroni manages to stick out even amongst all the huge buildings in Tokyo. After the temple on Tuesday we had a special training meeting for all the sisters in the mission. From there, we had to run to the train station in order to get home on time. Its a good 2-2.5 hours home to Oizumi by train. So you get to talk to lots of nihonjin. The trains in Tokyo are ridiculous though. Like sardines in a can. I’m sure you could look it up on youtube or something. They literally have personnel there whose job is to push people into the train so that the doors can shut. You don’t even have to hold on to anything so that you don’t fall because everyone is so close. Yuck. haha.

On Wednesday we taught the Noguti girls. They’re all young as well, so our lessons always have to be aimed towards little kids. Now that we have the “ok” to teach Duda we are starting from square one and making sure that we teach everything. We found this cute thing in the friend magazine where you can teach the restoration using these little picture rings that you put on your fingers. Afterwards we talked a little bit about the Book of Mormon and we read together from it in Japanese. She has read all the way to 1 Nephi 15 by herself. How amazing is that? She’s only 10, but so strong. She’s practically a church member already. And she came to church this week as well and had a really good time with everyone. We just need to talk with her mom now about baptism. As soon as we can talk to her mom, and get approval I have no doubt in my mind that Duda could be baptized.

From Thursday until Saturday we had some crazy weather. I guess right now is typhoon season, so its been incredibly windy and rainy lately. Nothing too bad, but on Thursday we couldn’t really leave the house except for when we went to Eikaiwa, and it wasn’t super surprising when only a few people came. I don’t blame them, it was pretty nasty rain. We have had a few earthquakes the last few days as well. Still hate them as much as I did when I was at home in California. You think I would be used to them by now.

On Friday we braved the gross rain and went and visited the Mercado family. I thought CK was going to have a heart attack when she opened the door and let us in. She didnt think we would be coming because of the rain, and the fact that most of the streets were pretty flooded. On corners when we crossed the street is was maybe 9-10 inches deep. Craziness. But the lesson with them was super fun. They are really becoming strong members. Rhoda’s oldest daughter, Kiara, just arrived from the Philippines this week, and she will be staying for a few weeks with them. I think it can really help because she has an awesome testimony. Whenever we talk to Rhoda, she always says that she has to worry about doing a bunch of things for her family because she is a single mom. Things like dishes, laundry, etc. So, we decided to talk with the Mercado kids about service. We brought a shoe box with us to their house, and wrote “Service Box” on it, and let them decorate it. Afterwards, we got out little pieces of paper and had them write ideas on it for ways they could show service. Then, we got out candy, and taped the ideas for service on them, and put them in the box. We told them that in order to eat the candy, they had to do the service that was written on it. It looks like it’ll be a hit 🙂 As soon as we finished the lesson, Rhyle (the youngest) jumped up, ran to the sink, and started doing the dishes. I thought Rhoda (The mom) was going to have a heart attack when she walked into the kitchen and saw her 9 year old son doing the dishes! All of the Mercado family came to church as well this week 🙂 I love seeing them there, and the members are so glad to have them back as well.

Saturday we had a Halloween party together with the Kumagaya ward. It was tons of fun. Sister Carrasco and I went as vampires. Something that is relatively easy to dress up as while still looking like a missionary. You just add a cape and fangs. And I drew a bite mark on my neck with some eyeliner and lipstick. It was all pretty realistic if I do say so myself. All these little boys were freaking out about it. Im pretty sure I could have convinced them it was all real. We had a ton of people come to the party that we invited as well 🙂 Bruna,  Duda and Kamilla came, and so did the Mercado family kids, Plus, CK brought 2 friends with her. It was great to be able to socialize with the Kumagaya ward members as well. They love the Oizumi members and are always trying to at least say “boa noite” or “bom dia” to them. Its really cute. We had a lot of fun little games that we played like bobbing for apples and fishing for candy. And the game where you wrap someone up as a mummy of course. What would a ward party be without that.

And last but not least, Sunday. It was like “missionary sunday” in our ward. All of us had to speak, and we did a musical number. I got to give my first talk in Portuguese! I talked about one of the conference addresses, “Strength to Endure” or something like that by Elder Richard J Maynes. It went a lot better than I thought it would. Portuguese is coming slowly but surely. Now I just can’t forget my Japanese. But! Another wonderful part about Sunday was the baptismal service. The Elders started teaching an African man named Eddie a few weeks ago that was a referral from some Sisters that live close to us. On Sunday we all gathered at the Kumagaya church (because Oizumi doesnt have a font) for the service. Its so amazing to be able to see someone be baptized. I get teary eyed every time. The best part is really the look on the persons face when they come out of the water. They just feel different. And they look different. They really have the light of Christ burning in their eyes. Words can’t do it justice. It just makes missionary work that much more amazing.
Just a little bit from my talk on Sunday. I kind of based it on this quote from Elder Maynes.
“As we temporarily endure the challenges we can solve and as we continue to endure the challenges we cannot solve, it is important to remember that the spiritual strength we develop will help us successfully endure all the challenges we face in life.”

Then, I talked about running. Something I dearly love, but also can be one of the hardest things out there. And told a story similar to that of Elder Maynes from one of my first meets about my coach cheering me on, when I thought I was going to die because it was so hard and I was exhausted.
What’s truly amazing is that our coach in this life is our Heavenly father. Just when we think the race is too hard and we want to give up, we have to remember that he is there beside us. The end of the race is the most important part, and we have to endure. We have been prepared spiritually for what lies ahead. Imagine that he is with you in this great race of life. Saying, “Vamos lá, você consegue fazê-lo. preparou para isso! Tente duro, correr rápido, e não desista. (Come on, you can do it. You prepared for this! Try hard, run fast, and don’t give up.)” If we follow Heavenly Father and remain faithful to our testimonies he will sprint with us to that finish line, and we will be able to look back with joy to see what we have accomplished. And that joy is the greatest thing in the whole wide world! I have honestly never felt as much happiness in my life as I have on my mission. Its amazing what the Lord does for you when you serve him. I love you all lots! Until next week 🙂
Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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October 20, 2013 week 39 Heavenly Help

bom dia!

This email is coming a little early today because we have a ton of stuff to do, and a train to catch as well. So this will probably be the only thing I send out today. Sorry everyone!

This week was great 🙂 little miracles were seen every single day, and thats what makes being a missionary so amazing!

I never quite know how to go about organizing these emails… so maybe today I’ll try going by people.

First! The Mercado family 🙂 Things have been going so great with them. We visited them this week and talked about the plan of salvation. I even made this cute little board game to play with CK. Mind you, I am not an artist, so it was a little rough. But she appreciated it anyways haha. My favorite part about visiting them was when CK had her friend Ainjell over to dinner as well. Her friend saw the plan of salvation game, and asked CK about it. So, we got to watch (and help a little bit) as CK taught her friend the plan of salvation. Thats really one of the best parts about being a missionary, helping and empowering the members to share the gospel. CK is only 10 and she is already so willing to share the gospel. She even told her friend Ainjell that she should be baptized so that they can be friends together in the Celestial Kingdom. So cute. And….. The Mercado family came to church again on Sunday :). It was definitely an adventure, and because Rhoda only speaks English or Japanese, I had to translate church for her. I think my brain just about lost it at the begining. But, I think it will help me learn faster, and it helps to be able to really build that strong relationship with her. I have a feeling that the little clip on mic is going to be my new best friend. I really think that this is going to be their return. If we can just continue to strengthen them, I have no doubt that Heavenly Father will take care of the rest.

Next, the Noguti family. Bruna is awesome, and doing great as usual. We got to visit her, as well as her 2 younger sisters Duda and Kamilla this week. I love all those girls so much. And on Sunday, Duda came to church with Bruna and had a super good time. She even gave us a little note at the end of church that said thank you for always visiting and teaching me about church, and no matter where you will go I’ll always remember you, so you have to remember me too. After talking to Duda and Bruna at church yesterday, Sister Carrasco and I recognized that now more than ever we needed to go and talk to Debora, their mom, and get things figured out. Which brings us to today. I’ve never been so terrified in my life to go talk to someone. We decided that we were going to invite Debora to hear the lessons, and ask her if it was okay if we taught Duda (her daughter) as well. We must have stood outside their apartment for 5 minutes before we finally went up to knock on the door. And…. it went way better than I ever thought it would. The other times we tried to visit she was busy doing things, but today when we went, it was just her and her new baby. We asked if we could just talk to her for a second, and she said of course, and let us into her home. We invited her to listen to our message and she accepted. She even told us that she has read a little bit of the Book of Mormon. After recovering from shock as quickly as possible, we shared a scripture with her about prayer, and how it strengthens families. And then we asked about Duda, and she said it was fine that we were teaching her as well. And she said that we could come back any day of the week to come and talk to her, because she is basically just going to be at home with the baby. Sister Carrasco and I were more than a little surprised at how well it went. Now we have the chance to essentially teach the whole Noguti family. Its an amazing miracle! A wonderful way to start our p-day and the last week of the transfer. And none of it would be possible without Heavenly Father’s help. Honestly coming back to the house on our bikes I wanted to sing every happy song I knew at the top of my lungs. There is nothing like the joy you feel when you are a missionary. Im sure some people think we’re a little strange when we’re smiling from ear to ear as we’re riding our bikes in the pouring rain.

We also got to visit some of our less active members this week. One of my favorite people to visit is Nubia She really has a heart of gold, willing to help everyone. When we went and visited her, we could tell she was more than a little stressed about everything that is going on at her work. Business isn’t as busy as it could be at the Plaza, and everyone is starting to feel the effect. We talked about happiness with her, and told her that Heavenly Father always wants us to feel that joy in their lives. As a commitment, we told her that she needs to laugh at least once a day. Its funny but true, that every time you see someone laughing, you want to laugh too. Its a really easy way to share happiness with others, and at the same time boost your Spirits. So all of you out there, when ever you are having a hard day, just laugh. Find one small thing to laugh at. I promise it helps 🙂

We also had a fantastic lesson this week with one of our investigators, a Brazilian woman named Maria. Before when we visited her, we only really had time to talk a little bit about the Book of Mormon, or share a scripture with her. But, on Saturday, we had the chance to share the message of the Restoration with her, including the First Vision, and Joseph Smith. Saturday was the first time I got to share the first vision in Portuguese. 🙂 After sharing the first vision and testifying about this church and the Book of Mormon I though for sure one of us was going to shed a tear or two. Im slowly getting better at not being a cry baby when I share my testimony I promise. When we asked Maria how she felt about what we had shared, she said she felt like it was nothing that could be wrong. She’s been to a lot of different churches, and she said they all pretty much just bash other religions, but she loves being able to talk to us, because we only focus on our church, and what we know to be true. She was busy this Sunday so she couldn’t come to church, but we asked her to really pray about the message we shared, and hopefully when we meet her next week we will be able to teach her abou ther Plan of Salvation and invite her to be baptized.

So many more amazing things happened this week, but I don’t have time to share them all, because we have to go to Tokyo this afternoon. We have a sisters conference as well as temple day tomorrow. 🙂
But, I did want to share something from conference that I really enjoyed. It was in a talk called “Drawing Closer to God” by Elder Terence M. Vinson. He told a story that I really enjoyed. Here it is:
A young boy was trying to smooth out the dirt area behind his house so he could play there with his cars. There was a large rock obstructing his work. The boy pushed and pulled with all his might, but no matter how hard he tried, the rock wouldn’t budge.
His father watched for a while, then came to his son and said, “You need to use all your strength to move a rock this large.”
The boy responded, “I have used all my strength!” His father corrected him: “No you haven’t. You haven’t had my help yet!” They then bent down together and moved the rock easily.

Sometimes I think its really easy to try and just do something by our own will and volition. We pull and tug with all OUR strength and get frustrated when things don’t work out. Just like the little boy in the story we have to remember that we always have divine, heavenly help. Our Heavenly Father is aware of our every action, trial and struggle. He’s watching and waiting to help, we just have to remember to ask him. There were so many times this week when I knew there were things that I could no way do on my own. And its tempting sometimes to say “There’s no way I can do that!” And its true. There are a lot of things that WE can’t do. But Heavenly Father can do all things. We just have to trust him and ask. And those things that were impossible on our own, will be accomplished easily.

I love you all! Have a safe week 🙂

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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October 14, 2013 week 38 They Came!!!!!!

Hello! Its 3:36 here in the beautiful country of Japan. And now that its October the weather has finally cooled down, and I’m not getting eaten by mosquitos. Which is nice for a change.
This week was fantastically amazing. Probably one of our best weeks here in Oizumi. I think we had an incredible spiritual experience every single day.

First!
Monday, P-day. It was incredibly busy surprisingly. First, we had lunch with one of our investigators, Harumi. She had a lot of fun questions about temple marriage and sealings. But, all in all, she’s awesome. She loves the missionaries and the ward members. She still doesn’t have a ton of desire to learn about the church, but it all starts with friendship right? After Harumi, we really got this feeling that we should try and go visit the Toyoshima family. We haven’t seen them for a while, probably haven’t visited them by ourselves since Sister Silva left. I think a big part of it was fear that we wouldn’t understand 2 words coming out of Nadia’s mouth. But, we went. Nicole (the oldest daughter) answered the door, and we talked to her and Fernanda while we waited for their Mom. we shared a scripture with them about doing all things through faith. After that, we started talking, and Nadia really opened up to us. Basically about her whole life. By the end of it all of us were sniffling, and Nicole was holding her mom’s hand while she talked. Its amazing how much people open up to you as missionaries. But, it really lets you be able to help these people as well. The Toyoshima family really needed us on Monday, and I’m so glad we were able to be there to extend a hand.

Tuesday we went housing, and met an adorable little girl named Aoki, from Sao Paolo. At the end of talking to her, she was super excited to read the Book of Mormon, and was already thumbing through it as soon as we handed it to her. Then we asked what day we could come back and talk to her about it. Go figure, her family was leaving for Brasil in 3 days. Which was obvious by the suitcases stacked up inside their house. Darn. After Aoki we knocked on more doors, and ended up running into an old investigator, Noriko. Everyone was a little shocked when she opened the door. But, she was happy to see us, and told us to come back on Wednesday so that we could talk. Which we gladly did :).

Wednesday was great as well. We got to visit with Noriko, and we talked with her a little bit about prayer and faith. We talked about daily prayer and challenged her to pray everyday. And then, she said we could come back on Monday (Thats where it gets good, as you shall soon see). After Noriko, we ran over to try and visit the Mercado Family, or set up an appointment to come back and see them. Rhyle answered the door, and CK ended up coming home while we were standing there. We found a really cool picture of a knight on lds.org, and wrote her name cute on top, and talked about the “Armor of God”, and the things we need to do in order to stay strong (like a knight) in todays world. CK is awesome. Sometimes I forget that she’s only 10.

Thursday we had a 2 zone conference in Kiryu. Which is like an hour and a half away by train, but because Oizumi isn’t very populated, the trains are only once an hour, so it took us a little while to get there. But it was great! All the Oizumi missionaries (my companion and I plus the 2 elders) sang a special musical number “Where Can I Turn for Peace” We sang the first verse in English with piano, and then sang acapela in Spanish and Portuguese. Go figure I came down with a cold this week. But it sounded great other than that. As part of the conference, all the missionaries either taught President Budge, or one of his 2 assistants a lesson. Basically you would just go in a room, sit down, and they would ask you a question based on one of the lessons in PMG. It felt like the MTC all over again haha. But, we ended up teaching about the Holy Ghost. The craziest thing about it though, on the way home, I was talking to a Japanese woman on the train, and she asked me the same exact question that we got asked in our mini lesson. So Sister Carrasco and I were way prepared. Its awesome what kind of miracles you see as a missionary.

Friday. Friday was, amazing… and so hard (in a different way) all at the same time. On Friday, we went to visit the Mercado family again. Since CK really is, you know, a kid, we decided to try and do something fun with her. So, we brought popcorn, her favorite candy, and a church movie “The Testaments” (highly recommended, one of the few ones we can watch as missionaries) and had a movie night with her. She was really excited, and it ended up being really fun, and spiritual all at the same time. Rhoda left for work about halfway through the movie. Thats where things get hard. CK’s mom literally works all night to provide for her family, and doesn’t get home til like 6 in the morning. After which she makes lunch for her kids and gets them ready for school. And then, if she has time, she sleeps. But you can tell CK really loves her mom, and doesn’t like to see her leaving all the time. Sister Carrasco and I were talking after we got home, and we both knew that if we were really going to help the Mercado family, the only thing we could really do for them was fast for Rhoda, and pray for her. Thats one of the hard parts about being a missionary that they don’t tell you about. You start caring about these people so much that you want to do everything possible in your power to fix their lives for them, and make choices for them because you know what amazing potential they have. Darn free agency. (kidding of course… but really. Im sure all moms understand this one) But really, the only thing you can do for them is point them towards the Savior, and try and guide them there. Its just always so hard when they stumble or go off the path along the way.

Saturday we went to churrasco with our lovely ward! Its was great. We played soccer (come on we are brasilian), volleyball, and ate meat. And pineapple. Churrascos are literally just meat. I think Brasilians are carnivores in that aspect haha. But it was great to be able to bond with the ward and get to know them. And the place where we had the barbeque was absolutely beautiful as well. It was right next to this river in the middle of nowhere in Oizumi. Literally rice fields on one side, and the green river on the other. I think I included a picture.
After the barbeque, we met with one of our investigators, Tany. She is 17 and Brasilian as well. Super cute girl. I think she would be the equivalent of a hipster in america. Loves poetry, old music, and red lipstick with black eyeliner. (or maybe hipster is something different now. No clue). Sadly, she’s going back to Brasil as well this year for college. But she loves Americans and English, so right now we’re trying to make that transition from English Student to full time investigator. So far so good. She has a lot of questions about forever families, so we think the Plan of Salvation would be really good for her to hear.

Sunday was GREAT. We got to watch the Sunday morning session of conference with our ward. In Portuguese of course. (Fun fact on the day, Richard G Scott translates his talks himself into Portuguese and Spanish. They play a recording of his voice when they translate conference). And on Sunday as well, we had a special fast for Rhoda and her family. We dedicated everything we did that day (study wise) to the Mercado family, and how we could help him. And, at 3:05, while we were just getting ready to start watching the session, The whole Mercado family walked into the church building :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))). Multiply that by a billion and that’s how happy I felt in that moment. They haven’t been to church at all since I have been in Oizumi, so its been a while. I got a little teary eyed when we first saw them, admittedly. The ward members were so happy to see them as well, and those seats that Sister Carrasco and I had been saving for weeks were finally full. Even better than that is that CK brought a friend with her to church! She’s already a little missionary. AHHHHH. All the fasting, praying, tears, worries, heart break, everything was worth it, because they CAME!!! Just the happiness in seeing them at church I feel like gave me just a taste of what Heavenly Father feels for each and everyone of his children. There was a quote from a talk by Jeffrey R Holland that said, “Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend.” Its so true though. We are literally children of GOD. And he loves us more than we can comprehend. Its really an amazing thought, and something that can bring comfort in even the hardest times 🙂

So! All in all, this week was one for the history books. Here’s hoping that next week is just as wonderful!
I love you more than all the rice in Japan!
SIster Hunsaker

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October 6, 2013 week 37 Come.

Happy P-day!
Last week really seemed like it flew by. Probably because for part of the time, I wasn’t in Oizumi. This week we had sister exchanges! I got to go to Takasaki once more with our Sister Training Leader, Sister Halversen We had a really good time, and got to teach a lesson to one of their investigators with a baptismal date. Its always a little weird going back to an area where its pretty much all Japanese people. It gives me the chance to dendo in Japanese, but at the same time it makes me really miss Oizumi and the people there. I never dreamed in my life that I would go on a mission to Japan (of all places), and then serve in an area where I would need to learn Portuguese.

On Wednesday, we had a lesson with one of our Eikaiwa students, a girl named Reyry. She’s from Peru, and hasnt lived in Japan for very long. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon a little while ago, so we finally had the chance to sit down and talk with her about it. She said she had started reading, and thought it was really interesting. She said that she had never had the chance to read a book besides the Bible, that really testified of Jesus Christ. Which is awesome, because thats exactly what the Book of Mormon is, another testament of Jesus Christ.

We also ran into the Noguti family twice this week. Once was when we met with Bruna. She just got home from a vacation in Okinawa so it seemed like we hadn’t seen each other in ages. We talked with her a little bit about how things were going, and she told us that when she was in Okinawa she read the Book of Mormon everyday. Bruna is the greatest. She’s the strongest convert we have at the moment. I would love for all the converts in Oizumi to be like her.
The other time we saw the Noguti family was when we ran into Eduarda on the street with her little friend Kimiko. It was actually pretty funny. The two girls were going to get a drink out of the vending machine (which are seriously on every single street corner in Japan. Its ridiculous) and Eduarda was explaining to her friend which drinks were okay, and which ones were bad. We walked over and talked to them a little bit, and we actually got to teach her little friend Kimiko about prayer, and the Word of Wisdom. Its so funny how curious little kids can be sometimes. But they really can have a desire to learn at the same time. We’re going to have a ward Halloween party in Kumagaya pretty soon, and both of them said that they really want to come. As we were talking to Eduarda and Kimiko, Eduarda’s mom Debora got home. We’ve been trying to talk to her for ages with no avail. And unfortunately today was no exception. She kind of brushes us off whenever we try to talk about the gospel with her, but she told us it was fine that we taught it to her children. I guess thats step one right?

My favorite day this week though was probably Saturday. On Saturday we caught a train out to Higashi-Gyoda with the intention of visiting one of our investigators, Sayuri. But, we got there a little earlier, so we kind of sat on the stairs and waited. Right as we sat down, David Funaki (one of the members in our ward) came walking out of his front door. We had no clue they were even home. His mom, Isabel hadn’t come to church last week, so we decided to stop by, say hi, and see how she was doing. I’ve never been so glad to visit someone in my life. As missionaries, I really think you have the ability to visit people, your investigators, your members, in the exact moment when they need you most. We talked to I, and she told us that she has really been struggling the past few weeks with knowing whether or not her and her family should go back to Brazil. Her kids are just about to finish high school, so if there was ever a time for them to go, it would be now. She said she wasn’t sure what to do, or where to go. Everything was kind of pulling her in different directions. We shared a scripture with her in Alma 37, verse 37. It talks about counseling with the Lord in every thing we do, and he will direct our paths. We talked to her a little more and told her we would see her tomorrow 🙂 (I think that was the nicest way to say, you better come to church 😉 ) This Sunday was fast Sunday for us in Japan. We get to watch General Conference next week. (In portuguese of course). But, during testimony meeting, Sister Funaki got up and bore her tesimony. Me and my companion were both in tears by the end of it. I’ve never felt the Spirit testify so strongly of someone that needed me to help them. Sister Funaki said that she had been praying all day for something, anything that could help her. And she said that her answer that Heavenly Father knew her and loved her came when “her two little angels” knocked on her door Saturday night. She still isn’t sure what exactly is going to happen, but she said that we helped her realize that the Lord knows what is best for her and her family, and that he will guide them safely there. Testimony meeting in the Oizumi Group is honestly one of the most amazing things anyone could go to. The Spirit is so strong! And the other best part about the amazing meeting was that we had an investigator at church today 🙂 her name is Tany. She’s 17 and Brazilian. She was super excited to come to church, and she even stayed for the youth classes where they talk about the New Testament. We talked to her after church, and she told us that she really liked it! She said it was different than the churches she was used to, but at the same time it almost felt like she was coming home, because everyone is a big family. Thats always one thing that I feel like I don’t need to worry about in Oizumi. The ward fellowshipping our investigators. They practically run up and hug them as soon as they walk in the door 🙂

This week we also got to see Maria, one of our now progressing investigators. Her house is a little ways away, and of course, once we were about halfway there, it started pouring rain. So we showed up on her doorstep soaking wet, and tired. (I think it was like 9 o clock when we got there). But she was so touched that we would come and visit her in the rain. We talked with her some, and shared some scriptures, and before we left, she thanked us for the work we were doing, for sharing the gospel with her, and for going out everyday and trying to share the light of God with everyone else. She’s amazing. And we have an appointment next week as well. Hopefully things keep moving up from there.

The only thing that has been struggling recently in Oizumi is the converts. We still haven’t gotten the Mercado Family to church, and Nadia Toyoshima stopped coming too. Her kids still come, but for some reason she isn’t coming. And then we have Nubia and Marcia, who were baptized about a year ago. Probably the hardest part of this week was when we tried to visit Marisol and her son Ran. They got baptized in March. She hadn’t been returning our phone calls lately, so we decided to stop by and visit her house before church. When we got there, she wouldn’t open the door, and instead talked to us through it basically. She told us that she wasn’t coming to church from now on, and to stop coming to her house to visit her. Needless to say were were incredibly shocked, and devastated as well. We honestly have no clue what happened. We talked to some of the ward members, and Elder Martinez said they would try and go talk to her and visit her to see what exactly happened.

I haven’t had a chance to watch all of conference, but we got to watch a little bit of Elder Uchtdorf’s talk at the end of the Saturday Morning Session. There was a part of his talk that he kind of directed to church members, when talking about those who fall away from the church. (Mind you this probably isn’t a perfect quote) He refereces John chapter 6, when Christ is talking to his disciples,

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

President Uchtdorf says that we have to answer the same question, “will we also go away?” Being a missionary has really given me the opportunity to work with people that are struggling in the church, or those that have left, and and are trying desperately to come back. And its never an easy path to make, but once they set foot in the church building they all realize what they were missing, and want it back in their lives. If the Savior stood in front of us, and asked, “Will ye also go away?” what would our answer be? A testimony of this gospel is something so important and so precious. It can be strong as the iron rod, but at the same time incredibly fragile. And all of us have to be strong enough so that we dont go away. And then to make the call to those around us “come join with us”. I get to say that everyday to people I meet. “Come and see, come and join with us” And in all honesty there is nothing that will make you happier than inviting someone to come, and watching how much their life changes for the better.

皆さん愛している!

Lots of love,

Sister Hunsaker