January 5, 2014 Week 50 “Look Not Behind Thee”

Darling Loved Ones,

How are you all doing? I hope your holidays and week were as good as ours out here in good old Japan. This week was interesting, definitely a little rocky, but at the end I think I learned more about myself and how important our investigators are than I ever have before.

So this week was obviously New Years. Everyone keeps asking if I learned alot about Japanese culture… but in all honesty I spent New Years with a bunch of Brazilians… so I have no clue how the Japanese people are on New Years. Except very intoxicated. They advised us not to go tracting on New Years Eve and New Years, and to stay in the apartment for the most part unless we already had appointments.

But New Years was really fun. We took a train down to Okegawa, where some of our members live and had dinner with them, and played bingo and jenga. You know, one of the few games that we can play as missionaries. And, of course, before we left we shared a spiritual thought with them for the New Year. But I won’t talk about it yet. I’ll save that for the end of my letter.

This week my companion and I also gave a training at our district meeting about “casting out fear with love”. It was incredibly intimidating at first to be the one doing the training instead of listening, but it was still fun. You know what they say, the best way to understand something more is to teach it 🙂

For the sake of time I’m just going to mention one lesson that we had this week. It was with our Peruvian friend Doris. We went in and decided we were going to talk about the Book of Mormon, and baptism. We began by sharing a scripture with her out of the Bible, the one in Ezekiel that talks about the stick of Ephraim and the stick of Judah. We then talked about it and told her how this was referencing the Bible and the Book of Mormon. And she really understood it. You should have seen her face. She was completely in shock. Like I’ve never seen someone have such a strong reaction to that scripture before. And then we shared some scriptures out of the Book of Mormon that talked a little more about reading the two together, and how they both testified of Christ. After that is when we started to speak about baptism. And she told us it really was her desire to be baptized, but that she felt like she needed to be completely sure before she did anything. Which is respectable. Its good to make sure you have a testimony of something before diving in blindly. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted. Now we just need to get her to a date.

So, something that I really learned about this week, and the message that we shared with the members was centered around the story of Lot and his wife. The ones that were commanded to leave Sodom and Gomorrah. (its in Genesis 19). And, as the story goes, the Lord told them that no matter what they do, “don’t look back”. But, sad as it is, the wife of Lot turned around and was turned into a pillar of salt. So what’s the importance behind this story? Why did Lot’s wife look back? Probably not because she was just curious about what was going on, but because her heart was still in the city she was leaving, and she was longing for her old life. But the Lord had commanded them to leave all that behind, and focus on their future. And its the same with us. As we start this New Year, we need to keep our eyes set on the future, as with our faith. We can’t change what has already happened, but we sure can aim for a better future. All of us can leave the past behind, and become the people that we are meant to be. There’s a really cool scripture that I read this week in Philippians 3:13.

“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”

Thats my New Years Resolution. Forgetting the past, and reaching for those things in the future. To look towards the future with faith. Faith that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but I know that as long as I’m out here serving with all my heart. might, mind and strength, that it will be more wonderful than anything than I could ever imagine.

I love you more than all the rice in Japan.

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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