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 πŸ™‚ (I think that was the nicest way to say, you better come to church πŸ˜‰ ) 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 NubiaΒ 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.

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Lots of love,

Sister Hunsaker

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