December 22, 2013 Week 48 “A White Christmas”

boa noite πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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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