January 26, 2014 Week 53 “New Places And New Faces”

Konnichiwa minna!

My first p-day in a Japanese area in almost 7 months. So weird. I have a ton to tell you, so I’ll try to remember everything. The first half of the email is going to be while I was still in Oizumi, and the other half in Tsukuba.

My last 2 days in Oizumi we saw so many miracles. It made it that much harder to leave, but Oizumi will always be in my heart. They became my family. I’ll always be praying for them.
On Tuesday morning we finally got to have a lesson with Debora. Go figure, right before I leave. But it was really good. We talked about families, and then we talked a little bit about her daughters, and the conversion that they went through. We asked Debora if she thought that her daughters had changed since they joined the church, and she stopped and thought for a second, and then said she knew that they had. They were stronger as a family, and both of them seemed to have more direction in the things that they wanted to do. At the end of the lesson we invited Debora to come to church with her daughters, and she said that she had always thought about it before, but had never taken the time to actually go. She was almost just waiting for us to invite her to come and see.

Wednesday was the hardest day of my mission without a doubt. There was so many people that we ran around visiting, so many people that I had to say goodbye too.
We saw Nadia and Nubia first. I’ll miss both of them so much, but I know that the sisters in Oizumi will take care of them.
The hardest was visiting the Mercado and Noguti families. We visited the Mercado family first and had a lesson with them, and then stayed for dinner afterwards. CK purposefully ate her dinner as slow as possible, just so that I would stay longer. When we finally left she gave me a hug and said not to worry, “またいつか” Which basically means that we will meet again someday. I sure hope so. We left the Mercado family and went to the Noguti family house. We had Bruna and Duda talk about why they were baptized, and did a mini akashikai (testimony meeting). I was already practically in tears before the closing prayer. We said a prayer, and then Bruna ran back to get a little present for me. A letter that she wrote and a keychain she made. Saying goodbye to Bruna and Duda was harder than I ever imagined. I’m surprised I didn’t fall off my bike on the way home.

All in all, I know Oizumi will always be such a big part of my mission, and not just because I spent half of it there. The people there, the members and my investigators, they became my family. They will always have a special place in my heart. I feel like leaving there I really understood what Ammon felt when he was talking to the king and he said that he desired to labor among the people all the days of his life, even until the day he died. Being a missionary you have the chance to forge such a special bond with the people you teach and help to grow in the gospel. Its something that can’t be broken by distance. Whether I’m in Tsukuba, or back in California, I’ll never forget them, and how much they helped me on my mission. I just hope that I helped them as much as they helped me to grow.

On Thursday morning we woke up early and got on a train to go to Omiya, where we changed companions and I had to say goodbye to Sister Carrasco. That one was hard too. We were companions for 5 transfers! I feel like that’s practically unheard of as a sister. I love her like my sister. The only reason Im okay with leaving Oizumi is because I know she will take care of it.

And then we rode lots of trains until I finally arrived in Tsukuba with my new companion Sister Sickles. She’s a great missionary, and she has a lot of desire to be a missionary. And she isn’t afraid to stop people and talk to them. We’re going to see so many miracles this transfers.

Tsukuba is waaaaay different than Oizumi. It kind of reminds me of Utsunomiya a bit. Right around the Tsukuba eki (train station) there is a lot going on, and the farther away you get the more rice fields and little japanese garden trucks you see. We don’t have any investigators, so we’ve been out on the street everyday stopping people and trying to share the message of the gospel, of eternal families, and of our Savior’s love with them.

We’ve met some way awesome people so far, and have exchanged phone numbers, but no appointments quite yet. So this week will be a lot more knocking doors and stopping people. I’ll be a professional finder in no time 🙂

And guess what… there’s another language that I started learning here in Tsukuba! Kidding 🙂 Well, kind of. A lot of our ward members are deaf, so them, plus some of the other members speak/sign Shuwa, or Japanese sign language! Sister Sickles and I went to a class that some members did on Saturday and so far I can introduce myself and say my name. Plus God and Jesus Christ. And colors. haha. It’s a start. Shuwa is actually way easier than spoken Japanese because you don’t have to worry about grammar nearly as much, what is really makes Japanese so darn hard. I don’t think I’ll ever learn enough Shuwa to every be fluent in it, but it has been lots of fun so far.

Sunday was… up and down. Literally. We had to ride our bikes from Tsukuba to Tsuchiura to a members home so that we could get a ride for stake conference. It’s like an hour bike ride. And its basically all hills. I have never been so tired on my mission. Not as bad as a marathon or anything but I was definitely praying the whole way home. Which took about an hour and a half because the wind was blowing directly against us the whole way. Probably the most challenging thing so far on my mission. No joke. But, we made it to stake conference, so all is well. Stake conference went really well, there was one talk that I really enjoyed, but I’ll tell you more about it later.
When we got back home from stake conference we hit the streets to go find some people. We went to the Tsukuba eki to do some streeting and pass out some Eikaiwa fliers. While we were there you will never guess what we saw. A whole team of SUMO WRESTLERS. I’m super bummed I didn’t try and take a picture. They were HUGE!!!!!!!! Like giants! I always pictured them as way chubby japanese men, but not so my friends. They are incredibly tall and thick. Most of it muscle. I can’t even quite describe it. Rather frightening at first actually.

To end on a spiritual note….
At stake conference, a woman related a story about a stray cat that she always saw whenever she went grocery shopping. He was always there, just watching her. A few times she tried to help him, but he always ran away. One day it was raining, and she saw the cat again in the parking lot, looking as sad as ever. She went over to it and said things like, Nyan-chan (What she named the cat), aren’t you cold? Don’t you want some food? It’s warm at home. Why don’t you just come with me? Im here to help.” She tried again to help, and the cat started to back away, but she tried again, “Nyan-chan, isn’t it cold? Aren’t you hungry? Wouldn’t you rather come home?” The second time the cat came to her, and she took it home and took care of it, and she still lives with the cat to this day. But she related this story to our Heavenly Father, and us. Sometimes we get lost, and we sit and wait for our Heavenly Father to help us, but when he sends someone our way, we run away, we get frightened to take that step that we need to in order to come home. And then the day comes when it is raining, and it can’t get any worse. And our Heavenly Father is there. “My child, isnt it cold? Arent you hungry? Wouldn’t you rather come home?” Our Heavenly Father is always there for us, we just have to be willing to take that step, no matter how scary it might seem sometimes. We can just keep sitting there and waiting until that day when the rain comes, and it seems like we are abandoned. We have to have courage to take that step, come unto our Father in Heaven, and he will help us and heal our wounds. I think that is one thing my mission has really helped me to understand. How to rely on my Heavenly Father. Because I know I cannot do anything without his help. I love being a missionary. It’s the greatest experience anyone could ever have. We get to help those people that are out in the rain to make that step to return to their Father in Heaven. I love you all. I miss you too, but I know this is where I am supposed to be 🙂 Until next week… I love you more than all the rice in Japan!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lauralee Hunsaker
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 18:55:20

    Sister Suzanne Hunsaker,

    Grandpa and I are so amazed at your letters. They are wonderful and we always feel happy and amazed when we read them.

    We are so happy that you are serving the Lord by being on a mission. We can tell you are working very hard and doing your

    Best. The Lord guides you when you are on his errand and that is a great blessing.

    We just returned from Utah. We went up to Grandpa’s brother’s homecoming. He and his wife were in the German, Swiss, Austria mission.

    They had some amazing experiences. It is always exciting to hear missionary experiences. We loved our three missions and wish we were

    Up to another one. So when it comes time to come home – We know you will be sad to leave, but just know that you hopefully will have

    A chance to serve several couple missions later in your life.

    We love you lots! Grandma and Grandpa. Xo xo

    Reply

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