November 27, 2013 Week 44 Better Late Than Never

boa noite!
So… I know this letter is a little late in coming, but p-day was incredibly crazy for us with visiting people, so we didn’t have time to send out an email to our families until now. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. But we had an awesome week last week, and this week was amazing as well so far πŸ™‚ But I’ll try to just catch you up on what you missed.

So… last p-day we had a lesson with darling little Duda. Things have been going good with her, and she is super on track for baptism. Her interview should be sometime next week, so keep her in your prayers. I know she can do it. After visiting Duda, we headed to try and visit Marisol. And she was definitely home. But… wouldn’t have anything to do with us. Her little son Ramshan came to the door and was talking to us through the mail slot. He basically told us his mom was home, but that she didn’t want him to talk to us. So, we wrote him a little message on a card telling him to read his scriptures and keep praying and stuck it through the mail thing. A few minutes later he came back and passed us two little buttons through the slot, and a little note that said, “Gracias” on it. It just about broke my heart. I dont know what happened with Marisol to make her turn so violently from the church, but its sad to think that her son, who was also baptized a member, is being denied the blessings of the gospel. But we won’t give up. We’ll find out how to help them yet.

Tuesday… we basically traveled the whole mission! Actually in all technicality we went outside of our mission boundaries to the Tokyo South Mission. There was a 2 mission conference in Kichijoji, and we had a General Authority, Elder Evans, come and talk to us. It was an amazing conference. He talked a lot about the age change for missionaries, and what it meant for the future of the church. Our mission is incredibly young in age, and in transfers. In fact, about 65% of the missionaries here have been in Japan for about 6 months or less. Its definitely a little weird. I’m one of the oldest sisters here in the mission. Thats a scary thought. We got to see a lot of old friends though, and I actually ran into a member from Utsunomiya while I was there too! He had gotten his mission call to Tokyo South while I was serving there, and he recognized me and came up to say hi. It was way fun to be able to talk to him and you know.. actually understand what he was saying haha. Probably my favorite part of the conference though was when Elder Evans talked about something he had learned from President Eyring about Jacob 5. I’m sure all of you know and love, or despise that chapter in the Book of Mormon. Its the one about the parable of the olive tree. Anyways, he told us what President Eyring had told him in a meeting with the other General Authorities.
First off, lets be honest. No one understands Jacob 5. And those that say they do are either seminary or institute teachers. There are a million ways it could be looked at.
So, we know that the vineyard is the world, and this people, and the work being done there is an attempt to bring people to the light and knowledge to the gospel. But, Elder Evans asked us to pay specific attention to what the servants asked of the Lord of the vineyard. He compared the servants to the prophets in the latter days. There are several times in the parable where the Lord of the vineyard says that the time has come, and things are over, but multiple times, the servants ask for more time, to spare it a little longer. Until the last servant. He doesn’t ask the Lord of the vineyard for more time, he asks instead for more servants. Elder Evans told us that he felt very strongly that the missionary age change was made because the prophet asked the Lord for more servants. To help move the work forward. How amazing is it to see scripture being fulfilled. Ah. I get shivers just thinking about it.
After the Elder Evans Conference, all of the missionaries in my mission moved back to Nakano, where the mission home is. There we had a (little early) Christmas Conference. We got to talk about how things are going in the mission and the miracles that we have been seeing, and what we can do to be better missionaries. It was a great meeting as well, and we finally got home to our area at about 10 o clock. And we had to leave at about 3 am that morning. So we were incredibly tired. But it was way worth it.

On Wednesday we had the chance to visit with the Noguti kids once more. We talked with Bruna about the “Footprints” poem. Its pretty well known. I used to have it on my study wall in Japanese, but I felt like she needed it more than me. Afterwards we talked to Duda a little more about baptism and things that we need to do to get her prepared. She’s really excited to be baptized. Its just so funny teaching little kids because you never know how the lesson could go. Sometimes they sit there the whole time in awe, and other times they seem to have the attention span of a squirrel. But, all in all, that day was good. I just have to get more creative with keeping them focused haha.

Friday we went to visit the Mercado family and had a lesson with CK and her brother Rhyle (But he goes by B-boy). We decided to talk to them about missionary work. Something that CK is already awesome at because she brings friends to almost every activity we have. But they both had a ton of fun learning and talking about it. We made little missionary tags out of construction paper and gave them to them to remember that they can be missionaries too πŸ™‚

Saturday was way busy and really fun. We started out the day by going to visit Nubia in the plaza. She was a little busy, but as always way happy to see us. We talked for a little while and shared a message with her. I just wish she would come to church. AH! But we’re trying. All we can do is invite and pray and have faith. After visiting Nubia we went out to try and visit some potential investigators and had the chance to sit down with Doris. Im pretty sure I mentioned her in the last letter. She’s a sweet woman as well. We talked and shared scriptures with her, and tried to get a feel for her beliefs and how we can try to start teaching her the lessons again. She’s okay with us sharing scriptures with the Book of Mormon now, so we’ve just got to get her reading it once more πŸ™‚
After visiting Doris we rode our bikes to the church where we had a group activity! It was supposed to be a Talent Show. I say “supposed to” because none of our members came. Something came up with all of them, or they were down with a pretty nasty flu bug. (Which passed on to the sister missionaries of course) And none of the investigators that we invited came either. So… it was all of us missionaries, and CK. Because she did part of the Talent Show with Sister Carrasco and I. Have you ever played that game where you clap your hands and tap a cup, and then pass it? I know we used to play it all the time at big family parties or up at college. Its just some complicated sequence of clapping and tapping that kind of makes a rhythm. Anyways, we did that and sang a song while we passed cups, and it acted as music. It was really fun, and I’m glad CK came and had a good time. The Oizumi Group used to have way fun activities all the time, so we’ve got to get that started up again somehow.

Sunday was incredible as well. But! My favorite part for the day was during sacrament meeting. Guess who gave a talk in church today? Rhoda! CK’s mom. It was amazing. She gave the members a brief background about herself and told them she was way nervous to speak. She’s been a member for about 25 years. She grew up in the church, but she was also inactive for about 16 years. Basically until her children were baptized here in Oizumi. And she told everyone that in all the time that she has been a church member, she always listened to those speaking, but that today was her first time giving a talk herself. I feel SO priviledged to have been there with her. It was an incredible talk based on the Conference talk by President Uchtdorf called, “You Can Do It Now”. She told us she wants to be a better mom, a better example, and a better member and she knows that through the help of Heavenly Father, she can do it NOW.

And this brings us to Monday, our incredibly busy P-day. So, at around 11am after studying and cleaning and so on, we hopped on a train to Isesaki which is like 2 hours away to have lunch with a member. From there it was a 30 minute bus ride and a 10 minute walk. But it was really great to be with the members. Monday we visited the Lagunes family. The husband, Fernando is from Mexico, and his wife, Megumi, is Japanese. And they have the most adorable little baby named Feru-Sho, who is spoiled rotten by all the members in Oizumi because he’s the only baby :). We got to talk to and really get to know them, and of course left them with a spiritual thought, which I’ll talk about more at the end of my email. As we were heading home from Isesaki, we got a phone call from Vanilda, one of the less actives in the area, and she told us that she wanted to take us and the Elders out to dinner. We got back to Oizumi around 8:00 and headed over to meet with her. Vanilda was there with her 2 sons and the restaurant owner, who are all Brazilian. We had a really good time, and Vanilda told Sister Carrasco and I that whenever we go to Brazil, the door to her home is open for us to come stay. (So don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’ll be safe when I go πŸ˜‰ ). By the time we finished eating and finally got back to our house it was almost 10:00, so we planned for the next day and tried to get some sleep.

So, the part of the thought I shared with the Lagunes family was centered around happiness and love in missionary work. Something I feel very strongly about. Want to know something crazy? I opened my mission call a year ago this month. It doesn’t seem possible to have been a missionary for that long. I told the Lagunes family about the experience I had with getting my call, and talked about some of the things that it says in your call letter. The last few paragraphs say something like this…

As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ…The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among his children.

What amazing promises those are. And I have seen so many of them come true on my mission. Your testimony grows so strong, and you can literally feel happiness that I never even imagined possible as you put yourself aside and learn to love and serve God’s children. This letter is something that is sent to missionaries when they are called to serve the gospel, but, these blessings are available to everyone who wants to help in preaching the gospel. Which is the responsibility of all the members of the church. Think about the blessings and happiness that you have yet experienced. And that happiness is almost nothing compared to the happiness of that one person who will come back to the knowledge of their Heavenly Father, and their beloved brother, Jesus Christ.

I love you all, sorry this letter was a little late and a little long, but there is nothing better in the world than being a missionary. This church is true, and now is my chance to share that with everyone that I care about. Those I know, and those I’m going to meet someday πŸ™‚ Until next week!

I love you more than all the rice in Japan!

Sister Hunsaker

P.S. Tomorrow will actually be exactly a year from the time I opened my call. AHHHHHHHHH. weirdness.

P.P.S. One of these pictures is of our ghost town of a train station. We’re the last stop, and the train only comes like every hour or hour and a half. We’ve gotten very good at being on time πŸ™‚

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November 17, 2013 Week 43 White Christmas

Hello!

This week in Oizumi was amazing πŸ™‚ In so many ways its ridiculous. I’ll try to remember all of them and see if words can do justice to the miracles we saw this week.

This week we found ourselves once more with a lot of time for housing. But, we found this new area to scout out, and there ended up being a lot of really amazing people out there. I’ll just mention 2 of them in particular, Florinda and Doris. Florinda is Brazilian and has been living in Japan for about 20 years now. When we first knocked on her door, we though she was Japanese because she wouldn’t open the door, and kept saying that she was Catholic, and to go away. We were still on the bottom floor of the apartment building when we heard a door creak open and turned to see this little Brazilian woman peeking out at us. We walked over and talked to her some more, and we had a really great conversation with her. By the end of it, she was saying that she was so glad that she had the chance to meet us, and that if the members were anything like us, she would love to come check out our church. I’m hoping she does. But its amazing what a smile and sincere desire to help someone can do for a situation.
Next is Doris. She lives in the same apartment building as Florinda, but on the top floor. She’s Peruvian I believe. We were talking to her for a bit and we found out that before the big earthquake here, she used to meet pretty frequently with the missionaries, and she was really impressed with how much they really showed love to everyone and were so willing to help everyone in need. She was so inspired by their love that she read the entire Book of Mormon. But, that being said, she never prayed to find out whether or not it was true. After the earthquake, she didn’t have contact with the missionaries, and she began attending a Jehovah’s Witness church, where she is currently a member. But she loves to share scriptures with us from the Bible, and she lets us read scriptures from the Book of Mormon with her. We just have to convince her to really pray about the Book of Mormon now. I know if she does, she can gain that testimony that its true. Baby steps.

This week we also had the chance to sit down with Debora. The mom of little Duda and talk a little more. This week we decided to focus on baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We talked about what baptism is, a covenant with God. We promise to him, and he in turn promises us. We talked about the Holy Ghost and the ability to feel it at all times through the gift of the Holy Ghost. I feel like that is something that gets looked over easily by missionaries. They always focus on making sure people understand baptism, but sometimes forget that baptism is incomplete without the gift of the Holy Ghost. And, after we talked a little more, we invited Debora to be baptized. And we also asked her if Duda could be baptized with her. She told us that she was baptized Evangelical about 5 years ago, and it seems like she’s still comfortable there. Im not quite sure yet what she needs in order to really start progressing, but we aren’t giving up, we’ll find it. I know that the gospel can help the Noguti family so much. In regards to Duda being baptized, her mom said she would talk to her, and see if it was something that she really wanted to do.

Fast forward to later last week, and the purpose of the title to my email, White Christmas. It has 2 meanings. First, is the literal White Christmas. Its quite possible that on my mission I could have my first white Christmas. It has been FREEZING here lately. The temperature says its about 5 degrees Celsius (which is like 40 fahrenheit or something) Which shouldn’t be that bad, but then you have to throw in wind, and 70% humidity. I’m pretty sure I look like the little kids from A Christmas Story when we leave the apartment at night. The only reason you can tell I’m a foreigner is because my eyes are blue haha. There’s also another really special significance to White Christmas in the Japan Tokyo Mission. We want to have a White Christmas in the aspect that every area of the Tokyo Mission will be able to have a baptism before Christmas. And in order to help us do that, we’ve been doing a special fast. Mom and Dad, I think you know about this because you got an email from President Budge about it. Basically, from about 3 weeks ago until Christmas, different missionaries throughout the mission will fast for one day, for all the missionaries in the mission. So everyday there is someone in the mission that is fasting and praying for our success. This Thursday was the day that the Oizumi Missionaries fasted. And when we started that fast I knew that I wanted not only to fast for the missionaries of Tokyo, but also very specifically for Debora, and the Noguti family. That day we tried to visit a lot of people, but it seemed like no one was home. We still had about 2 hours before English Class at the church, and I got the feeling that we needed to visit the Noguti family. I asked my companion, and she felt the same way, so we hopped on our bikes and headed over there. When we got to their house, they definitely weren’t expecting us, but Bruna let us in and we talked to her for a little bit before she left for basketball practice. After Bruna left, we decided to teach Duda a lesson on the Gospel of Christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. We drew a little picture of it for her, and she was able to explain to us what all of the steps were. When we talked about baptism and the Holy Ghost, we asked her how she felt when she saw her older sister’s baptism and confirmation. She said she felt happy, and it seemed like her sister was almost a different person when she came out of the water. After talking more about that, we told Duda that in order for her to be baptized, we needed her mom’s permission. So, we asked her (if her mom said yes) if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone that holds the priesthood. And she said yes πŸ™‚ just like she has before. We got out a little calendar that she had, and flipped to the month of December. We asked her what day she thinks she could be baptized on, and she pointed to December 14th, the very day Sister C and I had talked to her mom about before. Duda was so excited about all of it that she said, okay, Im going to ask my mom right now. And the next thing I knew she was saying, “MΓ£e! Vem aqui!” A few seconds later, Debora walked into the room and sat down on the couch with us. Duda took a deep breath, looked at her mom, and told her that she wanted to be baptized on the 14th of December. And that she needed her permission to do so. I know that fear is the opposite of faith, but my heart was racing so fast in that moment that I swear the whole world could have heard it. After all, this is what we had been dreaming of for months. Debora asked Duda if this was something she really wanted to do, and she kept saying yes. Yes she wanted to be baptized. After thinking, her mom said “Okay. December 14th is one month away. You have to study hard to make sure you’re ready for that day”. As soon as she said that, Duda had the biggest smile on her face, and I know all of us could feel the special Spirit there. She jumped up and gave Sister Carrasco and I a hug and said, ‘”Thank you, thank you. I’m going to be baptized!” There are no words that can even explain how I felt as she was hugging us, and that same feeling comes whenever I think about it. Its really the love of God, the Gospel of Christ and the most joyous thing to the soul.
But that wasn’t the end of the miracles of the day. Remember Mario? The Brazilian man we met last week? The Elders started teaching him last week, and he accepted the invitation to be baptized as well. All on the day that we were fasting. its amazing what power it can bring. The last time Sister Carrasco and I fasted specifically for a family was the day that the Mercado family started coming back to church. There’s so much power when you really try to focus on those special people. I know that if we keep working hard, this Christmas in Oizumi will be white in more ways than one.

Sunday we had a group conference in Oizumi, and there was 46 people crammed into our little chapel. Brother Maeno got up and spoke and with tears running down his face he said that we had so many people there, that we had almost run out of chairs. He said looking out an everyone, it was really like a dream come true πŸ™‚ After the meeting, President Inaba (The Stake President) came and talked to all the missionaries about how Oizumi was doing. He told us that since the last time he came here, he has seen real growth. Not just in numbers, but also in the strength of the families. He said that because he knows Oizumi will continue to grow, he is going to ask specifically that more Portuguese Speaking missionaries be called to the Tokyo Mission. He said that he knows Oizumi has potential, and now he can see that they are a stable, thriving group. He said that if all keeps going well here, at the next Stake Conference in March or April, Oizumi will become a branch.

Brother Maeno’s words still ring in my ears, “Its like a dream come true”. Everything that happened last week was like a dream. So many moments where I felt so much joy because I knew I was helping people, and that they really were making those choices in their lives that are going to bring them closer to their Heavenly Father. I love the scripture in Alma 31:34-35 that says,

34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

Thats really what missionary work is, helping our brothers and sisters return to Christ. I love every second that I have spent here in Japan. Helping my Japanese, and now Brazilian brothers and sisters. Because their souls are precious.

I love you all so much! I cant wait to hear from you next week πŸ™‚ Stay safe, dont talk to strangers, and always choose the right πŸ˜‰

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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November 11, 2013 week 42 “The Worth of Souls”

Boa tarde!
Happy Preparation Day everyone! Things have been looking up this last week in Oizumi. Its amazing what a lot of prayer and fasting and missionary work can do πŸ™‚ I don’t have a ton of time, but I’ll do my best to fill you in on the week we had.

On Tuesday we finally had the chance to sit down and have a lesson with Debora. She let us into her home and we talked for a little while. She even offered to let us hold her little baby. Honestly one of the missionary rules that kills me the most. No holding little kids. I didn’t think it would bother me that much, but for some reason Japanese babies are incredibly adorable. I think its their chubby little cheeks. Anyways! We decided to talk to Debora about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. About what exactly it is, and how it can help ourselves and our families. As we were talking about the Atonement, I ended up bringing up baptism. Was NOT planning on that. We talked more about baptism, and asked Debora why she thought Bruna (her daughter) was baptized. She told us that she thinks Bruna felt peace about baptism, and liked the teachings of the church. She said that in the end it was Bruna’s decision, and that she supported her. We also talked about how baptism brings us closer to the Savior. I thought either Sister Carrasco or I was going to invite her to be baptized right there. Thats when you cue the front door ringing and a friend showing up. Go figure. But! Either way it was a great lesson, and this next time we will definitely be bringing up Duda, and trying to get permission for her to be baptized.
On Tuesday we also had some appointments that fell through, so we spent some time knocking on doors. The 2nd door that we knocked on was this old man named Mario. We thought he was Japanese when he first answered the door, so we automatically started talking in nihongo. Thats when he surprised us by saying, “Voces sao Brasileiras?” Which means “Are you Brazilian?” We were definitely a little surprised. But, its funny that a lot of people that are Brasilian here look Japanese. Its the same in Brasil in some areas I guess. Japanese ancestry and all. But, I really think we were supposed to meet Mario. He had such a kind spirit and willingness to learn. We shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon with him about faith and then prayer, when he told us about some of the difficulties he was going through. And before we left, we prayed with him on his front porch. The Spirit was so strong that I think all 3 of us were nearly in tears. Unfortunately, he lives alone, so we have to pass him over to the Elders. rats. But Im still incredibly glad to have met him.

On Wednesday we went to visit the Mercado family, well I guess it was more like CK because the rest of the family was a little busy when we got there. We didnt want to steal a ton of time because CK’s older sister is visiting from the Philippines, so we talked about the 10 commandments, and played a matching game that we gave to CK afterwards. It never ceases to amaze me how mature she is for someone so young. And she has such a love for the gospel. She actually just turned 11 this week, so one more year until she can go do baptisms for the dead in the temple. She’s practically counting down at this point haha.

On Friday pretty much everyone we visited was not home, but we did run into Bruna as she was walking to the train station. Her phone had broken, and her phone number changed so she hadnt been able to get ahold of us in the last week, and thats why she hadn’t been answering our emails. Phew. Glad to know she wasnt avoiding us. We told her that we had been talking to her mom about Duda being baptized, and she told us that at her baptism Duda was really emotional too. Pretty much crying the whole time and continually hugging her sister. I really hope this week we can get permission from Debora. I know it would make Duda so happy, and it would strengthen the family as a whole.

On Saturday we walked for almost an hour and a half… to an appointment where no one was home. We would have taken our bikes, but we had to take the train part way. Kind of a bummer. But! On Saturday we got to visit one of my favorite people here in Oizumi, Nubia. We walked in and talked to her for a little bit about how things were going, and then shared a scripture with her in Romans 8:16-19. I read it this week during study and really felt like it was something for her. We talked a little more about the scripture, and how that through our faith we can overcome the trials that might stand in our way, and in the end the glory and happiness we receive will be above anything we can possibly imagine. Nubia said she knew how true that was because last week had been incredibly stressful for her because of an event that they had. She said that basically everything that could have gone wrong, happened. She said she was praying the whole day, just asking for help to know what to do. And in the end, everything went well. All the people that came to the event were happy to be there, despite the difficulties, and it ended up being a success for the plaza. When we were getting ready to leave Nubia gave us a hug and told us how much she loves everytime we come to see her. She told us that we bring happiness with us whenever we come, and that we always share something that she needs to hear. I love being able to share the gospel with here, and see how much happiness it can bring her. Now if we could just get her to come to church! Its a work in progress. Which brings us to Sunday!

Our little chapel was almost full on Sunday! We had 30 people at church. If things keep going well in Oizumi we might become a branch in December!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH! Im so excited, Nothing would make me happier than to see our little group become a branch. Its crazy to see how much things have changed. It went from almost taking sisters out of Oizumi to soon becoming a branch. The work really is moving here, I just have to remember to always look for the little miracles that Heavenly Father puts in my path. Sunday was a wonderful day. We really got to bond with our ward even more. But one of my favorite things about Sunday was when we took the sacrament. The Mercado family has been coming to church for like 3 weeks now, but they always came in like 15 minutes late, which means they ended up missing sacrament. But on Sunday they got there right on time. And I couldn’t help but notice Rhoda(the mom of the family) crying all throughout the administration of the sacrament. Just seeing her there with her family made me realize that it was probably the first time in months that they have had the chance to take the sacrament. I’d like to think that as missionaries we played just some small part in helping her to get back to church to be able to help her renew her baptismal covenant.

So yes. This week was fantastic. Was it easy? No. Was it full of lessons and meeting people? No. Was it successful? In every way that I can possibly think of. Just like the scriptures say: (In Doctrine and Covenants 10)

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

Every single day and minute here is worth it if we can help but one of Heavenly Father’s children. I can’t imagine how much joy I will experience in his kingdom when I am already feeling so much happiness every day as a missionary. I know Im helping others by sharing the gospel to those in need, but I know that everyday Im learning, growing and coming closer to my Father in Heaven. And its the best feeling in the world.

I love you all more than all the rice in Japan πŸ™‚

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

November 3, 2013 week 41 There’s a Plan

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So this last week was… not the easiest week in the good old town of Oizumi. But sometimes you have to have harder weeks in order to appreciate all the great ones πŸ™‚

On Pday we were running around at night trying to visit some of our investigators and go figure, none of them were home, or they were busy. We were riding our bikes by Celia’s DVD shop and I kind of got the feeling we should go stop and talk to her. Apparently Sister Carrasco did too because we both stopped our bikes in front of her store without saying anything to each other. We stood outside for a little bit and picked a scripture to share with her, and made a plan for what we would talk about. We decided to share Alma 37:6-7, about small and simple things. And we took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, and walked in as chipper and happy as we could be. That being said, it went way better than we thought it would. She was a little surprised to see us, but she welcomed us in, and let us share the scripture with her. And she loved it! She was saying that she knows sometimes its the little things that count. She asked us how our missionary work was going here in Oizumi, and we told her that it was a little slow, but that we were working hard and hopefully we would see more success soon. Her response? “Keep working hard! Sometimes you just have to plant the seed with people. Like me! Its growing, its just taking a little time.” Face palm. Goodness Celia. I feel like Im dying on the inside everytime we go visit her because she always shares a testimony with us, but its like pulling teeth to get her to church. Nevertheless, I’m not giving up on her. We might only be visiting her every few weeks, but I know she’ll make that leap of faith someday.

On Tuesday, all of our appointments with people fell through, so we were left with a lot of time to find new investigators, which is something we really need. So we knocked doors all day and night. I must have climbed 100 flights of stairs. At least thats what it felt like at the end of the day. We did have a pretty funny experience though. There was this little grey cat following us around in this neighborhood, and we couldn’t get rid of it. And we couldn’t knock on doors with it there because he would try to dart into peoples houses when they opened the door. So, we were standing there trying to think of what to do, when all of the sudden I see something flying toward me, and the next thing I know I’m holding a cat two inches away from me. The darn thing tried to jump onto my shoulder while we were standing there. And he almost made it too! Haha. But, he ended up being pretty cute. We named him Skippy. We found some crackers in Sister Carrasco’s purse and put them on the ground and made a run for it. It worked for like 2 hours until he found us again. Pretty sure we made a new best friend. But, that day we did get to talk to a very strong, old grandma named Parecida. She’s from SΓ£o Paulo. It was cold outside, so she let us in and we talked to her for a little bit. She’s evangelical, so won’t read anything but the Bible, but she let us share some scriptures with her from the Book of Mormon. She’s a sweet woman, and she seems a little lonely. Hopefully we can visit her this week sometime.

Wednesday: More housing. But no luck. Just mosquito bites and cold fingers.

On Thursday we had a lesson with Duda. We decided to talk to her a little bit about baptism. It did not go at all the way I thought it would. I asked her if she wanted to be baptized, and she said yes, and then started crying. AH! Not what I thought would happen. We calmed her down and talked to her a little bit and she told us that her worry was “できるかできγͺいか。” Which basically meant her worry was whether or not she would be able to be baptized. But at the end of the lesson she said that she thought she could be baptized in December. Thats progress. We just have to talk to mom about it now. We tried to visit Debora like 4 times this week, but she was never home. Hopefully we’ll have better luck this week with that.

On Friday we tried to visit some of the people that we had met from housing on Tuesday, but none of them answered their doors this time. Rats. We also tried to visit Nubia (less active) but she was way busy when we got to the plaza. So, we wrote her a little note, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and set out to knock doors. no luck there on friday.

Saturday we were supposed to have a lesson with Maria, one of our investigators that is awesome, and we wanted to invite to be baptized. And… she canceled on us. So we probably won’t be able to see her until Saturday of this week. Kind of a bummer. From there, we got on a train to go visit Sayuri Takamura, one of our investigators. She’s Peruvian. I’m sure I’ve mentioned her before. Anyways, she lives like 2 hours away by train. We were halfway there when she called to tell us that she couldnt meet with us that day. So, we got off at the next stop and headed home. But, on the way back, we did run into one of our Eikaiwa students on the train that we havent seen in forever. So maybe the whole point in going out there was just to see her. You never know. We spent the rest of the day knocking on doors, and gave out a few flyers for Eikaiwa. By the end of the night we’d had 2 people tell us to go home, and one Japanese mom pull her son away from the door and close it quick as lightning when we said we were Christian. Tough crowd. But, they all deserve a chance to hear the gospel. So we’re not giving up on them yet.

Sunday was by far the best day of the week. There is always such peace at church, and its always needed after a week of working hard. This week was also fast Sunday. My favorite testimony was when Nadia Toyoshima got up and spoke. She was talking about a few weeks ago when she was having a horrible day. She had been laying in bed all day, and didn’t want to see anyone or do anything. She felt miserable. And then, we showed up on her doorstep at 9 o clock at night. ( I think I wrote this in an email a few weeks ago). We came in and talked for a bit, and she unloaded everything that had been bothering her and troubling her for the past few days on us. She told us in her testimony that we had brought such a light and love when we came into her home. The next morning she got up, cleaned her house, and took all the dark things that she owned out of her room and threw them away. Then she went to the store and bought things she knew were uplifting and happy, and put them around her house. Its amazing what a few yellow flowers can do to uplift someones mood. My favorite part was when she said, “I know Heavenly Father sent them to my home that night”. Just hearing her say that made everything that happened this last week worth it. And thats how missionary work always is. You don’t always see the fruit of your actions right away, but when you do, its the most joyous thing you could ever receive. The other funny moment of the day happened at the end of gospel principles. One of the members was saying the closing prayer and asked, “Please help us to be able to feel your love for us” As soon as the words came out of her mouth, cue earthquake. haha. I love Japan.

This next month I’m trying to focus on studying Faith. (Im actually trying to go through all the Christlike attributes, one month at a time. I just started with the first one) At first I thought it was funny that go figure the week that I started studying faith was the time when I felt like mine was being tested the most. But I think it helped me to realize even more how much more I can learn about faith, and how I can strengthen mine, and help my investigators to strengthen theirs as well. This morning I was reading a talk by President Uchtdorf called “Your Happily Ever After” I think he gave it in a Young Womens Broadcast. I havent finished it yet, but so far its amazing. Highly recommended. Anyways the part I read today said, ” All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan.” That really stuck with me. Yes, last week wasn’t the most successful for us, but I know that I need to trust my Father in Heaven, and remember that he has a plan for me. I dont understand everything that happens, or is going to happen, but he does. And he’s ready to help us every step of the way. There’s a happy ending for all of us out there, we just might have to pass over a few bumps in the road to come ourt victorious.

I love you all, and love getting emails from all of you πŸ™‚ (even when I don’t email back, sorry!) Have a wonderful week!

abraços e beijinhos

Sister Hunsaker

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