November 17, 2013 Week 43 White Christmas

Hello!

This week in Oizumi was amazing 🙂 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 🙂 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, “Mãe! 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 🙂 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 🙂 Stay safe, dont talk to strangers, and always choose the right 😉

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mellissa Hafer
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:49:40

    Awesome! Love love love to hear about all your missionary happenings It’s such a boost and reminder of the joy the gospel brings and the power of love! None of it would happen without the love you show the people – which is charity. You really have it. Thanks as always for your inspiration for the week!

    Mellissa E. Hafer🇺🇸😊
    Sent from my iPhone📱
    951-707-3928

    >

    Reply

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