December 30, 2013 Week 49 “Last Sunday”

Bom dia everyone 🙂

It’s crazy to think this week was Christmas. It’s literally always flying by so fast. And in a few days it will be New Years. It’s incredibly hard to believe. Especially because I started my mission in January. eeep. Today actually is my 11 month mark. And it’s been a year since I went to the temple for the first time. It still feels like yesterday.

But anyways, this week was really great. Lots of fun moments, and moments that I’ll never forget. And lots of shivering and layering clothes. I’m incredibly jealous of the California sunshine right about now.

So Monday was P-day, and we decided to make cookies to give out as Christmas gifts to our investigators/less actives/ random Brazilian people that we know here in Oizumi. The only problem with that is that Japan doesn’t have ovens… the microwaves have a setting that you use that basically makes it a little oven. But that being said, you can cook about 6 cookies at a time in there, so it took a while to get all of them done. After slaving away for our p-day “fun” we went out to try and visit a referral that we got forever ago from the elders, but was never home. We knocked on the door and a cute Bolivian mom answered the door. Her name is R. She invited us in (Thank heavens because I couldn’t feel my toes at that point), and we started talking with her a little bit. We started to share a little message about prayer and about halfway through it R’s eyes started to water and she began to cry. She told as that lately she felt as though God hadn’t been hearing her prayers. And then we realized that was why we needed to meet her. To tell her that she had a loving Heavenly Father who listened to every prayer she offered, and that he wanted to help her. We gave Rosa a copy of the Book of Mormon in Spanish and set up an appointment for the next week. Today actually 🙂 I can’t wait to see how it goes.

Tuesday was Christmas Eve, and it was lots of fun. We started taking the cookies to some less actives/recent converts and Christmas Caroling/tracting. We also went and helped one of our less actives, Vanilda, decorate her restaurant for the Christmas season. And because we helped her set up, she fed us a Christmas Eve dinner. Rice, beans, coxinha (really good, highly recommend), turkey, chicken, meat, and pudding. It was fun to be able to spend Christmas Eve with her. She’s only been to church once since I’ve been here, and we haven’t quite figured out why yet. But we’ll figure it out soon.

Wednesday was Christmas! My first Christmas really away from home. Its funny because as a missionary I have been geographically incredibly far away from my family, but its the time that I have felt the closest spiritually to my Heavenly Father. We ran around trying to visit a few people, sang some Christmas songs, spread Christmas cheer, gave cookies to a diabetic man (that one was on accident, he appreciated the intent), and then hopped on a train to go have dinner with one of the families in the ward, the Funaki family. For dinner we had lasagna (but it had a crepes in it, so it kind of absorbs everything… really hard to explain), rice, beans, and chicken. Basically your typical Brazilian meal. But asides from the dinner, it was nice to be able to sit down with one of our member families. We played a game with them, and shared a message with them about Christmas. The Funaki family is great. Thats one thing I love about Oizumi. I really see the members as my family away from home. My brazilian family in Japan 🙂 All the members took really good care of us here mom and dad. So don’t worry 🙂

The next day we saw one of our Brazilian investigators, Diane. She’s slowly but surely progressing. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon this time when we met her, and she said she would read it. yay! We also saw Nubia. This Sunday is her last activity at the plaza, so she said after that she still start coming to church every week. We are way excited to see her there. I refuse to leave Oizumi until I see her at church.

Sunday was a really awesome, long day. We attended church for 6 hours! A Japanese ward and a Portuguese ward. On Sunday morning we traveled out to Kumagaya for another baptism. Remember that story I told you from way long ago? About the man that Sister Carrasco and I found housing. A sweet Brazilian man named Mario. that we felt like was really prepared. We bugged the elders about going to visit and they started teaching him, and he accepted everything really fast. Today was his baptism. He bore a really amazing testimony about how he had almost given up on God, and he decided that if he needed to start going to church and following Christ once more, that people would be put in his path to help him. A few days later was when Sister Carrasco and I knocked on his door. His baptismal service was really great and all the members seemed really impressed with how hard the missionaries in Oizumi are working.
After church in Kumagaya we went back to Oizumi. Before church we ran over to the Noguti family house to make sure Duda was coming to church. When we got there she came and opened the door all dressed in her Sunday clothes and ready to go. Bruna her sister is out of town, and her mom went to Saitama all day, but she decided to stay home by herself in order to go to church. She is awesome.

For the 3rd hour at church everyone gathered in the chapel and we opened a container of goals that the members made for 2013. It was really fun to hear everyones goals. For the most part they focused on being happy, providing for the family, and losing weight.

All in all, Oizumi is swell 🙂 Serving here has really showed me that the Lord knows me better than I know myself. I don’t have too much time, but I love you all! Have a happy New Years!

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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December 22, 2013 Week 48 “A White Christmas”

boa noite 🙂

so i got to talk to you guys this morning, so I’ve already updated you on some of the stuff thats been going on. It was great to be able to see you all and talk to you 🙂 its almost like you’re here in Japan with me when we get to call. Its the best Christmas present I could ask for.

So this week in Oizumi was pretty amazing.I wouldn’t change it for anything. It was probably one of the times that I have felt the Spirit the strongest since I have been on my mission. But, I don’t have a ton of time, so I’ll just focus on 2 people/experiences that we had this week.

The first was with one of our less actives here in Oizumi, Nubia. We tried to visit her like 4 times this week and it seemed like no matter what we did we couldnt get ahold of her. I guess 4th times the charm because the last time we went in there we finally got to talk to her. When we walked into the Plaza we could tell that she wasn’t doing to well. It was incredibly quiet and there was just kind of a somber mood in the air. We went and tried to talk to her for a little bit, but she just seemed kind of distant. After standing for a little while she finally looked up at us teary eyed and said that they were going to lose the plaza, and her home, and basically everything they owned. I was in shock. And of course we had no clue what to say, or what we could do to help her. So we just let her talk to us, and get out all of the anxiety and depression that she had been feeling in the last few days. In the end, I got out my Book of Mormon and shared with her a scripture in 3 Nephi 9:13-15.
13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God

Its when Christ invites the people to return to him, and says that his arm of mercy is extended to all those in need. We testified to her that the only thing that could really help her right now is the church. And we invited her, just like Christ invited those people, to return to the church. She started to cry again and said she knew that she needed to come back, and that she wanted to, but there was just not enough time, especially with things going the way that they currently are. But I’m not giving up on Nubia. I know if she remembers the reason why she joined the church in the first place she’ll take the time that she needs to to come back to church.

Oh! And on Saturday we had a Christmas Party with the Kumagaya Ward. They are so funny because they are always saying how much they love it when the Brazilians come to their parties because they are so much fun. I’m glad we could be a part of it 🙂

This Sunday was one of my favorite days on my mission so far. This Sunday morning at 9 am was Duda’s baptismal service. Everyone of us woke up super early and got to the Kumagaya church just for her special day. And it was one that I will never forget. For her baptismal program, we opened with the song, I am a Child of God, and then I introduced her, first in Portuguese and then in Japanese. After that, one of the members, Sister Maeno, gave a spiritual thought. She talked about how the path had started with Bruna, taking that first step and being baptized, and then Duda followed her example, and now it was their resposibility to keep each other strong, and to show an example for their mother. So many people testified today that they knew that someday we would all be gathered back together in the Kumagaya church for a baptismal service, but that it would be for Debora, their mother, and that all the Noguti family would be able to make that step together towards being an eternal family.
After that, we walked with Duda to the baptismal font and opened the door so that she could walk in. Before entering the font she looked at us with a look that I can’t even describe and started to cry. I hugged her and we cried together and I told her that I knew Heavenly Father was so happy right now. She sniffled a little and said that she knew it too. And that she could feel it. And then she went into the baptismal font, and was baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority. She became a new person. Completely free of sin, and on the path to return to her Heavenly Father whose love everyone felt so strongly today. After the baptism, Duda got up and bore a little testimony. She told everyone how thankful she was that she was able to be baptized today, but even more than that, that her sister had set the example for her today. I was sitting on the stand with Duda during the program and I could see her sister Bruna the whole time. And the box of tissues that was in her lap the whole service.
For the closing hymn we all sang “Families Can Be Together Forever”. There wasn’t a single dry eye amongst us and the members during that last hymn. All of us that were there could easily testify that we felt so strongly Heavenly Father’s love for the Noguti Family, and that they will have that chance to be an eternal family someday.

Just being at the baptism yesterday made me realize that this really was the best gift that I could give to my Savior this Christmas. Bringing one soul closer to him. And when we give that gift, he lets us feel a joy that is impossible to describe. It truly is the pure love of Christ, and it is something that works miracles amongst the children of men. I love being a missionary, and I’m so glad I could be here in Oizumi this Christmas. I love you all so much and miss you a lot, but I know this Christmas is something that I will never forget.

I love you more than all the rice in Japan!

Sister Hunsaker

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December 16, 2013 Week 47 “Like A Little Child”

Konbanwa minna 🙂

P-day once more, and as usual it flies by faster than all the other days of the week. And there’s always a billion things to do. Write letters, email, laundry, buy groceries, spread the gospel, and breathe if you have time to.
But this last week was pretty darn amazing. It made me so happy to be here in Oizumi serving as a missionary and serving the Lord. Granted there were some hard moments, and awful weather, but you can’t tell the good from the bad if you don’t have some bumps along the way.

Monday was one of the harder days. We had a great time on p-day with the other missionaries, and we got to visit a lot of great people. We saw Duda and read the Book of Mormon together with her, and then we went and saw Marisol, one of our recent converts turned less active. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been to church in ages, and she recently started ignoring our phone calls and not answering the door. However the light on her front porch was out on Monday, so she couldn’t see out her peephole when she checked to see who it was. We talked to her for a little bit, but in the end she just kept saying, “No voy a volver a la iglesia”. Im not going to come back to church. She says she’s been crazy busy with her job and work and all, and that it isn’t because she doesn’t believe, she just doesn’t have time. But it was honestly like a stab to the heart hearing that. I wanted to scream, “You do have time! You do!” But that wouldn’t help anything. She gave us back all the Liahonas, church talks and pamphlets that she had, and her Book of Mormon. She asked us not to come back. I won’t lie, my heart was broken. And it still kind of is. To see her find the truth, and then turn away from it so suddenly. All we can do is pray that she figures it out, and realizes the mistake she is making.

Tuesday was good, we visited Nubia, one of our less active members and had the chance to sit down and really talk about her family, and her life. We focused on how this gospel is meant for families, and testified that if she makes that effort to come back to the church, it is really going to bless her family. I’ve read her record from the past missionaries a million times, and Im always so amazed by the testimony that she bore and had while she was going to church. She hasn’t been in a while, and says its because she doesn’t have time, but I feel like there is always another reason why. We just have to figure it out. But I’m not losing Nubia. I have to see her at church just once before I leave Oizumi.
After Nubia we went to visit Duda once more, and talked about the Law of Tithing, and did a practice baptismal interview with her. We ended up moving her interview up to Wednesday because there was a few conflicts in everyones schedules and that would have been the easiest day for everyone.

Wednesday we tried to find some previous investigators whose records we found in the area book. Japan is on a grid-ish system, almost like utah in that aspect, so of course we were frighteningly lost after about 15 minutes. In my defense, the addresses were also wrong. But we did meet Marcelo. He’s waaaaaaaay less active, but his wife used to be an investigator, and from what we read she was progressing along really steadily. We actually went back on Friday night and met his wife Daniela. She’s a way sweet Brazilian woman. We invited her to start taking the lessons again and she accepted 🙂 We have an appointment with her next week 🙂
Wednesday night Duda had her baptismal interview. The poor thing was so nervous I thought she was going to pass out. After about 10 minutes she flung open the door and gave us a hug and our district leader told us that she was okay, she passed :). Poor thing still looked scared to death, sweaty palms and everything. But, she is way set to be baptized 🙂

On Thursday we met with Diane, one of our Brazilian investigators. She’s always a little hard to teach because she believes that the church is within all of us. That if we have faith and believe, thats all we need. So, getting her to come to church is like pulling teeth. But everytime we visit her she says that she loves when we come because it brings the love of God into her home. -.- . Goodness these people kill me sometimes.

Friday we went to go visit the Toyoshima Family. We decided to do something fun with them, that still had a gospel message. So, I tried to think of things that we do in America around Christmas time, and thought of snowflakes. You know, where you fold up the paper and cut out little triangles and so on and then open it up and BAM snowflake. Well, it was a hit with the Toyoshima family. We talked about how we are like snowflakes. Every single one of us is different and unique in our own way, but we all come from the same place, and have the same Creator, Heavenly Father. And plus the cutting paper gave us time to catch up with the family and see how they were doing. Nadia has been really worried about her youngest daughter, Fernanda. She has epilepsy, but lately she’s been passing out for no reason, and wakes up like 5 to 10 minutes later with a headache. They’re still waiting on tests to figure out exactly what it is. But as we were getting ready to leave their home, Fernanda tried to start talking to us, then slurring her words, and before her mom could get her to the couch she passed out on the floor. We helped Nadia pick her up and lay her on the couch and the next few minutes were full of holding hands, and trying to get Fernanda to wake up. I’ve never been so scared/have no idea what to do in my life. Lets be real, Im not a doctor. Im a missionary. So all we could do was sit there and wait with Nadia until Fernanda came around, and then say a prayer together before we left.

On Saturday we went out to Higashi-Gyoda to visit the Takamura family. We have been teaching Sayuri, but with her own illnesses going on, the focus has been more turned towards her mother. The lesson was a little rocky at first, but in the end we really stressed just praying for that answer, and then being ready and willing to follow Christ when it comes.

Sunday was wonderful as usual. We were out from about 9 o clock in the morning until 10 o clock that night. (Don’t worry we made it before our curfew). We were exhausted, and frozen, but happy. Duda and Bruna both came to church together, and they had a great time. The members were all asking Duda if she was excited to be baptized and she kept smiling and nodding her head. I can’t wait for next Sunday 🙂 After church we went out to visit our Peruvian friend Doris. That was stressful. The lesson kind of began with her reading off a bunch of scriptures and magazine articles that she had gotten from her church. It was a little hard to get two words in without her counteracting us. The one thing that she was having a hard time with was a prophet. Thanks to the grace of God, we had just studied the Life of Joseph Smith in Relief Society earlier that day, and it was one of the most spiritual lessons I’ve had there. After Sister Carrasco and I bore testimony about Joseph Smith, and the prophet we have today, Doris softened up, and the lesson really turned. And we had a chance to ask her again to pray. But for a week, just one week, to leave aside all the extra materials from her church, and to just read the Bible for her answers. She promised us that she would. I know if she does, she’ll be able to find that answer she needs.

Favorite scripture of the week comes from 1 Kings 3:7-9. It says
7 ….I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

This week there were a lot of things that happened that were overwhelming and seemed so out of our control. So many people to help, so many things to be done. It felt almost impossible to know how to help these people and know exactly what they need to hear. Thats when I found this scripture. Its right after Solomon has been made king, and he feels overwhelmed. Like he could never measure up to King David. And he has a dream where the Lord asks him what he needs, and this is what he asks for.

Sometimes, no.. a lot of the time, we’re like little children, we don’t understand how to get things done. And we feel like we’re overwhelmed. We don’t know what we should do, or who to help. But this story really showed me that what we can do us ask the Lord for an understanding heart. And then be willing to trust in his judgement. Because that’s the only way that we can really help this people. Our friends, our family, those we don’t even know yet.

Well, I’ve got to go, but I love you all 🙂 and can’t wait to see you next week!

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

December 9, 2013 Week 46 “Finding the Lost Sheep”

Darling Loved Ones,
The last few p-days have been pretty rushed, and today was no exception. This morning we had zone p-day where we met with all the Kiryu Zone missionaries to play volleyball and soccer (no worries I didn’t knock any elders over this time). Today we also had transfer calls! Probably the most stressful thing ever. Transfer calls start at 9 am and go till about 11. Today we didn’t get our call until 11:30. waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy after they called everyone else. The missionaries in charge of transfers forgot to call our zone leaders beforehand about us, so we were a tad bit forgotten. But we called the mission office and figured it all out, so all is well. In case my last email didn’t give it away… I’m staying in Oizumi 🙂 With Sister Carrasco. That’ll be 5 transfers together. And I know we are going to see soooo many miracles as long as we keep working hard together and stay obedient.

So, like I said time is incredibly short, so I’m just going to focus on 2 people for todays email, Duda and Doris.

Duda. I’m pretty sure I already told you about earlier this week. The changing of the baptismal date and the worry that ensued. This week went much much better. We visited Duda later this week and had the chance to talk to her again about her baptism. She chose a new date of December 22nd. After we talked a little more about that, we got her mother Debora in the room as well to talk about the baptismal service and how things would go down. We also got all of her baptismal paperwork done and got it to our ward secretary on Sunday, so her record will be made and ready for her to be interviewed. Probably next Sunday or sometime next week. But she is way excited to be baptized, and is progressing really well. Just keep her in your prayers that everything turns out okay and goes smoothly. I know Satan has the tendency to work the hardest on us when we are so close to our Heavenly Father.

And Doris. She is a Peruvian woman that we met housing a little while ago. We went to her house last night and had the chance to talk to her a little more. The lesson was a little rough at first, but it ended up going way well in the end. Years ago she took lessons from the elders here in Oizumi, but then the big earthquake happened, and the missionaries left. When they were put back in Oizumi it took a while for them to contact her, and by that time she had started attending another church. But she kept saying how much she knew that God had guided us to her house, because we didn’t know anything about her past. We’ve searched everywhere for a record for her and we can’t find one. She said she was like an ovejita. A little sheep. She had the missionaries to guide her, but when they left, she got lost, and started going down other paths trying to find the true church. She loved the story of Joseph Smith and how his story was like hers. She told us not to lose her again, to make sure she doesn’t become a little lost sheep once more, because she finally feels like she is finding her way home. She said she is going to have a special prayer tonight about the things that we taught her, and the reality that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the Earth. After the lesson, Doris even drove us around Oizumi to the homes of different people that she knew and told us what time we could go visit them so that we can teach them more about this gospel. She’s like a member already 🙂
Something cool that I enjoyed reading this week during personal study was in the Bible. It wasn’t necessarily the verses that I enjoyed, but more so the story, and the application that I got from it. I was reading in Samuel, and read about David, how he fasted and prayed for his newborn son that he would live day and night. He felt such suffering and pain that when the child died, his servants were afraid to tell him, because they feared what his reaction would be. When David learned that his son had passed away, he rose up, worshipped the Lord, washed his face and ate. The servants were astonished at his behavior, and wondered why he was acting this way when his son had passed. David’s response was that he had done all that he could and pleaded with the Lord for it to be one way, but his son had passed, and there was nothing that he could do now to change the will of the Lord. He had to get up, and keep pushing forward, having faith that it would turn out alright. I was impressed with the story because I know there are so many times when after fasting and prayer and pleading, things don’t go our way, and then we have a tendency to look back and wonder what we could have done more. What scripture could I have shared, what testimony should I have borne, what could I have said to have helped this person accept the gospel. But the important thing that we have to remember is that the past is already done. We can’t change what is there. But we can change the present, and even more than that, the future. No matter what things lie behind us, the future is always bright when we put our faith in Christ. That’s always something for me that is important to remember.

I love you guys so much! I miss you tons and am looking forward to hearing from you next week 🙂

Love,
sister hunsaker

p.s. some eikaiwa students wanted to dress us up in kimonos, thats where the pictures are from. It was a cool experience. we also went with them to Nikko, and got to see the more ancient side of Japan. And snow. ew.

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December 3, 2013 Week 45 Half Full

I know, I know, another letter a few days late in coming. But! I have a good excuse for this one. We went to the Tokyo Temple today 🙂 So P-day was actaully moved from Monday to Tuesday. But, this week was… a cup half full. I’ll explain more later.

On Tuesday, we went over to Maebashi because we had interviews with President Budge. They happen every 2 transfers. You know talk to the missionaries, see how everything is going, and so on and so forth. Being able to meet with President Budge is great, he always has amazing insights on how to help our investigators, and strengthen the areas we are in. We also talked a lot about Oizumi and the future of it. We only have 3 brazilian missionaries in the mission, and then 2 sisters that speak Spanish (My companion and another) plus me, who speaks the broken portuguese haha. President Budge asked me how long I had been in Oizumi, and told me that ideally, he would like to move me out of the area so that they could use me in other parts of the mission. But then he told me that they need me in Oizumi, and asked if I would be willing to stay a long time here. Of course I said yes. So, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon, but transfer calls are next week, so we will wait and see.
After interviews with President Budge, Sister Carrasco and I had the chance to work with our sister training leader here in Oizumi. Its like exchanges, but for sister missionaries. The exchange was way good, and we got to visit a lot of awesome people.
First, we saw darling Celia. We talked about how Christmas is coming up, and how we can all sacrifice something as a type of Christmas present for Christ. Celia told us that she wants to put God first more in her life. We told her transfers were coming up and she started freaking out. She told Sister Carrasco and I we basically weren’t allowed to leave. She thanked us for all that we have been teaching her, and helping her to find the word of God. Now if she would just come to church. But we told her that we would come back to let her know whether or not we were transferring, so we can work on her then.
After visiting Celia, we had a little more time before we had to be home, and we felt a little bad that we had took our training leader to appointments that were either in portuguese or spanish, so we decided to go visit Bruna. Bruna has an awesome testimony of the church, but one thing that she struggles with is reading the Book of Mormon. So, we shared a thought with her about testimony and compared it to basket ball, something she loved. We all know that when we don’t practice a sport, we get really bad at it, our muscles are weak, and we don’t have the strength to play well. We told Bruna that faith, and our tesimonies, are the same. If we exercise our faith and our testimonies, by doing things like reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church, we can keep our testimonies strong and be able to stand as a witness of Christ. We followed up with Bruna a few days after that, and she’s been reading. 🙂 I just bought her a mini triple combination at the temple today, so Im planning on writing my testimony in it in Japanese and giving it to her for Christmas 🙂 She deserves it.

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Duda. It wasn’t very long because we had to run, but we talked a little bit more about her baptism. By then we were a little worried because she hasn’t been to church for 2 weeks, and we havent been able to get her baptismal information from her mom yet. I had no clue there were a billion forms to fill out for baptism until I was a missionary. Its quite the process.

Friday… Friday was hard. We were supposed to meet with Doris but couldn’t because she wasn’t home, and every appointment after that fell through. Like every single one we had planned. So… we knocked doors, and couldnt find anyone to listen. Not my favorite day, but you need those ones to appreciate the great ones.

Saturday. Saturday had its ups and downs. We gained one investigator, and lost a different one. We went to visit Noriko our Peruvian investigator, but by the way things were going when we were talking to her, we knew that she wasn’t progressing. She hasn’t been reading or coming to church, and anytime we try to make a next appointment she side steps the question. So, we’re giving her a break for a little bit.
But, on Saturday we also got to visit the Takamura family. Also Peruvian. Before, we were teaching the daughter, Sayuri. She was just diagnosed with some severe mental problems including depression, Her mom had to quit her job to stay at home with her, and then the father of the family just had leg surgery, so he hasn’t been working lately either. We went over to teach them on Saturday, and we were able to sit down with Sayuri and her mom. We talked a lot about finding peace through the gospel, and Senora Takamura told us about a member family that they were really close with in Peru. She said she always noticed something different about them just from the way that they acted amongst each other as a family. And they seemed to have such a light within them. So make sure to let your light shine my friends, you never know who is watching.

Sunday was good as well. Unfortunately Duda didn’t come to church again. Which is a problem. We don’t want her to be less active before she is even baptized. But we’ll talk about that later. However this fast and testimony meeting was really spiritual, and one of the recent converts in the ward got up and bore his testimony about how happy he has been since being a member of this church. He says that everyone tells him he is different, and he knows it is because he is going to church every Sunday. Brother and Sister Lagunes also got up and bore their testimonies about missionary work, and how when we came to their house on Monday it brought a special spirit into their home and gave them a greater desire to assist in the work. I hope that can give all the members an extra “umph” to be member missionaries as well.

Monday was great, and INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL. First we had a lesson with this really cute Brazilian girl named Diane She’s a young mom, her daughter Emmaneula is almost a year old. We found her housing a few weeks ago, and had the chance to come talk to her again. She’s curious about our church, but really won’t read anything but the Bible. So when we teach her, we pretty much have to use verses from the Bible. Which is a bit of a challenge, but until we can get her to believe in the Book of Mormon its our only shot. From there, we went to the Noguti house to talk with Duda. At this point, we were incredibly worried about her baptismal date, and after fasting on Sunday we both agreed she needed more time. That lesson was so incredibly hard. But at the end was one of the best. When we first got there, we talked about the importance of the Sabbath day, and how we need to come to church. And then we told Duda we needed to change her baptismal date because she hadn’t been coming to church. She was incredibly upset. We talked a little more and assured her that the day didn’t matter, it just mattered that she was prepared. The consoling and talking went on for almost a half hour. Us trying to explain why the date needed to be changed, and Duda almost in tears at the prospect of moving her date. That was when Bruna got home. We asked her to come join us, and tell us why she was worried about Duda being baptized. Her fear is that her little sister doesn’t understand yet what baptism is. That it isn’t the end, and that she has to keep trying. That and the fact that their mother isn’t a member makes Bruna worry that it will be hard for them to stay active. We asked Bruna if she believed some day her Mom would be baptized. Her response was hesitant, and her eyes told us no. We shared Moroni 7:33 with her and asked her to read it out loud. “And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” Bruna was the first member that I met here in Oizumi, and then I met Duda and Kamilla. And I told them that the first time I met them, I knew that they were an incredibly special family, and that I knew I was supposed to meet them for a reason. Of course as I was saying this I was sniffling, and by the end of it Bruna and Duda were too. I guess its contagious. But there was a really special Spirit in the Noguti home that night, and we asked them to keep praying for each other and for their mom. Because if there is anything that will cause Debora to have a change of heart, it will be the example of her daughters.

And today, the temple. There’s no way to describe the peace you can feel there. Its like heaven on Earth 🙂

But I won’t lie, as I was getting ready to write my email this week, all I could think about was really the things that went wrong, or the things that we could have done better. I honestly considered just sending a short message that said I couldn’t write this week because things were busy. But, I read the emails in my inbox before writing this letter. I hope you all know how amazing you are. My family and my friends. You inspire me to be such a better missionary and a better disciple of Christ. Every letter I read this week had testimony of some gospel truth, or a spiritual experience written in it. It really changed my outlook that I had this week. The glass went from being half empty to half full :). In portuguese you can say, “vocês forte me fazem.” It means, “you make me strong”. Its so true. Your testimonies make me strong, and help me to remember that we dont have to do these things along, because we have the Lord on our side. So, this email is a novel because I had to share how amazing this week was with all of you. And thank you all for helping me to see it that way 🙂

I love you more than all the rice in Japan 🙂

Sister Hunsaker

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