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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