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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