February 25, 2014 Week 57 “I Love To See The Temple”

愛する皆さん!おはようございます☀️

Good morning everyone!!

Sorry this is coming to you so late (forgive me mom). We went to the
temple this morning, and came back pretty late. But more about that
later.
It seems like it has been forever since I last emailed. Probably because so much happened this week in Tsukuba. We had appointments with people we have been finding almost everyday this week, and it wasnice to be busy for once.

On Tuesday we met with a woman named Nozue. She is Buddhist, but for
some reason has a lot of interest in religion. Mostly as to why there
are so many, and why people fight over them do much. Pretty much the
first thing she tells us as we start the lesson is that she isn’t going to join our church, but that she is interested in learning about it. Hmmm we shall see my friend. We talked to her about being cleansed from sin, and about the atonement of Christ. I was surprised how deep her questions were. We ended up talking to her a lot about the premortal life, and why Christ was chosen as the Savior. Once we explained everything she understood the atonement a lot better than she has before. Unfortunately she said the next day she could meet
would probably be in April. -.- these people kill me. I’ve never seen
people that are so busy. Let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time on my mission that people set a next appointment for a month or 2
later. I’m never using I’m busy as an excuse ever again.

Wednesday was a crazy day. First we went to Ushiku, the area above us,
where we had zone meeting. I gave a training on the importance of
inviting people to be baptized on the first or second lesson. Which is
something I’ve always thought is really important as a missionary.
It’s a scary thought to invite someone when you barely know them, but
it really helps give people a goal, and let’s you know how to help
them. I wanted to make it interesting, so I decided to kind of do an
object lesson. Before the meeting started I put a bowl full of candy
on a table in the front of the room. And left it there. Didn’t say a word. And the meeting went on. A lot of people came up and looked at
the candy, picked it up, but not a single missionary ate it. And then
I did my little training on baptisms. And at the very end, I asked the
missionaries some questions. “How many of you are hungry?” All the
hands fly up. “How many of you noticed the candy at the front of the
room?” All hands up once more. “How many of you ate some?” No hands.
“Why not?” And one elder said, “we didn’t know we could!! You never
invited us.”. Bam . Point made. The look on all the missionaries faces
was priceless. My point I was trying to make is that we never know
until we invite someone. We never know of they are prepared unless we
ask. And they won’t get to baptism without us inviting them. It was fun.
We rode our bikes like mad people back to Tsukuba, where we had lunch
with a Chinese girl named Joy. She was a referral from the Elders.
They had knocked on her door a few days earlier.We met with her in a
little cafe by the church and started chatting about ourselves. I was
amazed how smoothly the topic changed to church things, and we all
went over to the church together to talk over there. Joy has amazing
faith in God and Christ. She’s always sort of had an interest in Christianity, and she has been to Christian churches a few times, but she has never been baptized so she doesn’t consider herself Christian. That being said we had a great lesson with her. She asked a lot of questions, but they weren’t ones trying to tear down what we were telling her or questioning our beliefs. They came from a person
genuinely desiring to know about God. She said the prayer at the end
of the lesson, and then she gladly accepted her copy of the Book of
Mormon. And then…. She went back to China. Haha, go figure right?
But she should be coming back later this week, so we will most
definitely be seeing her again.
And then, that night we had a lesson with an investigator named
Sumiko. That one was interesting as well. We went over the gospel of
Christ with her, and asked her questions to kind of get to know her.
She told us that she doesn’t believe in God, and that she’s Buddhist,
but when we asked her what she wanted to do with her life, she said
return to live with God in the celestial kingdom…. Right. We have
some work to do, but the interest is most definitely there. Just have
to help her realize it.

The last people I want to talk about are Amina and her family. Amina
was really busy the last 2 weeks so we didn’t get the chance to see
her. She’s a high school student and they just had a crazy week of
testing. Today even. She couldn’t come to church with us because she
has an English test, but she said she would come next week. Anyways.
On Saturdays in Tsukuba we do a sports day with the investigators. You
know something fun. Amina and her younger brother Isaac and her sister
Asher both came. And they brought their dog, Barack. Who isn’t named
after the President. It actually means happy in Swahili. 🙂 we played
sports with the kids, and then we went back to their home and the
parents invited us to go out to dinner with their family Their family is so amazing. The mother is Japanese, and studied Anthropology, for which she went to Africa to study the people there. She fell in love with the culture, and the young man that had to fix
her jeep when it broke down haha. They’ve lived in Japan since Amina
was 4, and the younger kids were pretty much born here. But they go
back to Kenya in the summer sometimes. As part of her study, the
mother studied religion as well, and she knows a lot about the Mormon
church. The father… He was raised Muslim. Which is my one worry for
this family. ( just for those who aren’t aware… Depending on where
a person is from, and their background, if they are Muslim sometimes we can’t teach them. Because of consequences that might come from others if they converted to a Christian religion. It can be dangerous for some people, so as a rule of thumb, they generally say stay away) He doesn’t practice, and I don’t think he ever has. And they know we are missionaries. He smokes and drinks, but he has a great knowledge of religion as well. We talked about prophets at dinner (can’t quite
remember how that one came up), and he was blown away by the fact that we have a prophet today. He said we were very lucky, because we have
someone that can help us to know God’s will. I want so bad for the
whole family to learn together. To take the lessons together. What if
I hasn’t sat down next to Amina on the train the first week of this
transfer?? We would never had met them. I know they’re prepared. They
just might not know it yet :). I’m still trying to figure out how to
get all of them there though. They definitely trust us. And they know
we are missionaries. They know we teach. They ask questions all the
time. On Sunday we went over to their home for lunch with them and a friend from Kenya. We ended up on the subject of marriage and taught them about eternal families. I can just picture them so easily all
together. Being baptized. Coming to church. Being sealed in the
temple. They’re really the first whole family I’ve gotten to know on
my mission that weren’t members. I’ll definitely be fasting and
praying for them.

Things have been getting better in Tsukuba. There are still days when
it’s really hard, but there have been such awesome moments as well.
This morning we had the chance to go to the Tokyo Temple. I can’t even
describe how thankful I am for that. The second I walked into the
celestial room and sat down I could feel so strongly my Heavenly
Father’s love for me, and a sense of peace. That everything is going
to be okay. It’s been a rocky transfer, but just the spirit I felt in
the temple this morning made every single tear, every slammed door,
and every sleepless night worth it.
I got a letter from dad while I was in the MTC, and I remember him
saying that on my mission I would see the highest of highs, and the
lowest of lows. But to always remember to trust in The Lord, because those moments of happiness and joy will always trump whatever trial we come across. I read a scripture in Isaiah this week that I love.

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they
shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I love the imagery of wings of eagles. We can literally soar above
those hard times, and not be weary. It’s a great comfort and blessing
to know how much The Lord really does watch over us as missionaries. I
love you all so so much. Your emails and prayers have been a blessing.
I love being a missionary with all my heart. I know this is where I’m
supposed to be. And I know that we have the gospel to overcome the
hard times. It’s when we truly come to understand the atonement that
everything makes a little more sense. Always remember, I love you more
than all the rice in Japan 🍚❤️

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

P.S. Next week is transfer calls!!! Ahhhhh. I have no clue what will happen.

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February 16, 2014 Week 56 “Still Never Alone”

こんにちは皆さん❤️

I won’t lie I’m incredibly jealous of the warm weather that I heard California has been having the past few days. Not fair!!! It’s freezing here in Tsukuba. It snowed again this week, and then it
rained a ton, so everything is way flooded with water. Today looks a
little nicer at least. The temperature says Japan isn’t that cold…
But the humidity throws it all off. I’ve never been so cold in my whole entire life. Seriously. But people are nice to you when you knock on their door and it’s cold outside. And then they find out you’re from California and they take a lot more pity on you. That or I
look like a drowned kitten when we go housing at night. Not sure which
is worse.

This week in Tsukuba was.. Hard. Haha. And full of miracles. Welcome
to the life of a missionary right? Also, everything in Tsukuba is way
far away, except for the church. Just in one day alone here we rode 15
miles on the bike. And it’s not flat either. If I round everything we
did this past week it’s around 50 miles. I’m now a pro. And my legs
hurt almost daily. Lots of stretching at night.

So… Things that happened this week in Tsukuba. First on Tuesday went
to go housing around where some of our members live. Not a lot of
people were interested, but while we were going from house to house,
I saw a woman across the street walking home with her kids, so we went over to go talk to her. Her name is Selya, and she is from Pakistan.
She was way nice, and told us that when we were done knocking on doors to come to her house so that we could have a break from the cold, and
that she would give us something warm to drink. We took her up on
that, and something warm to drink turned into dinner with her and her
kids. She is a nice woman and her family is adorable. The only
downside to this little story is that Selya is Muslim. Which means we aren’t allowed to teach her. Really big let down. But, some of the members live next door, so they can still share the light of Christ through their example.

This week we also did a lot of traveling. We had interviews with
President Budge one day, and after that I had to go to the Mission home
for a training meeting for all the mission leaders. It was an amazing
experience to be on the other side of everything that happens in the
mission. It made me realize just how important it is to all be united as missionaries. That night we also had eikaiwa. Me and my companion teach the children’s class, and it’s always a blast. They all give us high fives when it’s over, and one of the moms always comes up and tells me that when they get home their kids talk about how much fun it was, and can’t wait to come back 🙂 made me smile.

This week I also got to go on exchanges with one of the sisters that
I’m over in our apartment, Sister Kelly. I love her. She is an amazing missionary and has such a strong desire to serve The Lord. We went to visit a recent convert (that lived 7 miles away by bike) whose name is Maiann. She’s Filipino! Being with her and teaching her and her little family made me think about the Mercado family in Oizumi.
Such an awesome experience. I loved every second of it.

Sunday was my favorite day of the week. One of my little eikaiwa students that happens to be a member turned 8 recently and got
baptized! She was so excited for all of it to happen. Her grandpa is the one who baptized her because her father has been less active for a while now. But she bore the sweetest testimony about how she had tried fasting for the first time recently, and that she had fasted for her dad, and that she was going to keep doing that until he came back to church. Mitsuki is adorable. She’s going to be an amazing young woman when she grows up. On Sunday night we had a lesson with an
investigator named Keiko. We found her last Sunday night housing, and
she let us come back! She had even read some of the Book of Mormon
that we left with her 🙂 how cool is that? We talked to her about the
Restoration, and she agreed to pray about the Book of Mormon and said
we could come back again. She even said the closing prayer for the lesson. It was a way awesome experience.

But most of this week was spent out on the street finding people, or on my knees, trying to figure out how to help Tsukuba. I won’t lie, there was a lot of things this week that made it seem so hard, but looking back helps you realize that there were small miracles everyday as well. This morning I just finished reading a talk that a friend sent me awhile ago called “Lessons from Liberty Jail” by Elder Holland. I had no clue how much that talk would help me as a missionary. But every time I read it, it helps me remember that I’m never alone, and that Heavenly Father is always with us. And that everything that happens is for a reason, even if we can’t understand why. I love you more than all the rice in Japan 🍚 until next week!!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

February 10, 2014 week 55 “iLove My Mission!”

こんばんは皆さん!

Greetings from the ice cold city of Tsukuba! Yes. Ice cold. The ground
is currently covered in snow. We had a pretty bad storm roll through
on Saturday. It literally snowed all day, and was really bad at night.
And when there’s a lot of snow in Japan, the trains stop going, which
leads to people not going anywhere. A lot of wards here had to cancel
church altogether on Sunday. As for Tsukuba… Church was moved to 1
pm instead of 10 am, and we only had sacrament meeting. Way weird.
But, I digress. This week in Tsukuba was full of ups and downs, and
all sorts of adventures. I can’t wait to tell you about them.

On Tuesday we met Ana! The one who is Brasilian and I met her mother
in Oizumi. She’s really cool. Speaks good English, and Japanese
because she pretty much grew up here. She doesn’t remember anything
about Brasil, but she wants to go back someday. We talked with her a
little it about the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy before saying
goodbye. She’s actually going to America for the next little while.
For homestay. You’ll never guess where she is staying, Salt Lake City
Utah. Haha. Here’s to hoping that she has a chance to check out Temple
Square while she is there.

Another person that we met with this week was Amina. Our miracle from
last week. We went to go check on her and see how she was doing. Sadly
she is going to be crazily busy for the next week and a half due to
tests in high school. Japanese high schools are insane. Just so you
know. They live up to every stereotype that you could ever think of
haha. But her and her family are awesome. And I know they could
really use the gospel. So we’re going to keep trying.

Someone else that we met with twice this week is a woman named Miyuki.
She met the missionaries a while ago, but she hadn’t seen us since I
got to Tsukuba. She is hilarious. In her 30s and married, but loves
English, and missionaries, so she likes being with us. Her interest in
the gospel is still a little small, but she’ll get there little by
little. We made hamburgers with her this last week and she thought it
was the best thing she had ever eaten. She took us out to eat some
traditional Japanese food today, and most of it was pretty good.
Except for the raw squid in some weird sauce. I could do like one
piece and I was done. Chewy, squishy, and juicy. An awful combination
if something doesn’t taste good. Ew. But she is way sweet. This week
we might go play ping pong with her at the church.

Which brings me to the next event! Ping Pong 🙂
We usually have a sports day every Saturday, but since it started
pouring snow, we couldn’t really go play soccer. So a bunch of members
and friends came to the church and we set up a ping pong table and got
a tournament going. I made it to the top 3, which is a miracle in
itself, and then got schooled by one of the members. Another
stereotype that lives up to its name. Japanese people are awesome at
ping pong.

And then on to the title of my email. “iLove my mission!” This week all
the missionaries turned in the personal computer that was kept in the apartment, and every single missionary in the Tokyo Mission was given an iPad Mini. How crazy is that?? Not even one for companionship, one
per missionary. I’ve still got mixed feelings about it. I’ve always
been more of a fan of paper and pencil and books, but for things like
the area book and maps it’s wonderful. And I just continue to carry
around my old paper planner just in case. But yeah, pretty much
everything we do as a missionary has been digitalized. It’s weird, but
it really is helping us reach out to these people. We aren’t allowed
to use Facebook for proselyting yet, but it’s in the works. The mission president said it’s just a little while before we start using it as well. So strange. Still getting used to it all. If my email is full of errors…. I apologize.

The rest of our week in Tsukuba we spent on the streets and knocking
doors. Which was a lot of our time. Sometimes it was hard. Like when
you’re sliding on ice trying to get around, but I really saw that when
we go that extra mile and push past the things that try us and make us
uncomfortable (or freezing cold) is really when Heavenly Father
blesses us. This next week will definitely be interesting, but I’m
looking forward to all the fun and adventure it will bring. I miss you
so much! Stay warm, keep smiling, carry on 🙂

I love you more than all the rice in Japan! 🍚
Sister Hunsaker

Sent from my iPad

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February 2, 2014 Week 54 “One Year Later…”

happy p-day minna!

I think no matter how much you love being a missionary, you still always look forward to p-day. Its much needed after a long week of hard work, and plus its necessary to do things like laundry and buy groceries haha.

This week in Tsukuba was… I don’t even know if there is a way to describe it. We’ll go with worth it. Because in all honesty it was probably one of the hardest weeks of my mission so far, but we saw so many miracles. We’re spending all of our time on the street contacting, or knocking doors, and I can see that its really starting to pay off. Anytime I started thinking “why is it so hard?” we saw some amazing miracle that reminded me of how much our Heavenly Father watches over us and listens to our prayers.

Tuesday was great. We had a conference down in Chiba, where Elder Whiting from the Quorum of the 70 came and talked to us. The theme of the conference really seemed to be finding our power as missionaries, and learning how to use it when we are teaching people. On the way back from the conference I sat next to a really cute girl on the train named Amina. She is from Kenya, but has lived in Japan since she was 4 (12 years now) and her Mom is Japanese, so she’s half. We exchanged phone numbers and decided we would go to lunch sometime soon. More about her later. Tuesday night we got a phone call from a random number, and the person on the other end was speaking Japanese really strangely. I could tell they weren’t Japanese, but still has no clue who it was until a word slipped in Portuguese haha. It was Lucinda, a woman who I met housing while in Oizumi. She had given me her daughter’s phone number (That lives in Tsukuba) and I had tried to call her, but it didn’t work. We laughed and talked for a while, and then she gave me her daughters new number. I called Ana (the daughter) and we talked for a little bit. She is a way funny girl. She’s in college, attending the University of Tsukuba. We talked, and she asked me alot about the church just over the phone. We have an appointment with her tomorrow, and I am excited to see how it goes 🙂

On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Sister Christensen, one of the sisters that is also living in our apartment. She’s hilarious, and from California! And lived in the same apartment complex as me at BYU haha. We actually had a bunch of mutual friends, we just never met. Funny how that works. Any ways, we had a super fun day of missionary work. We streeted, knocked on doors, and did anything we could to talk to people. We even met a Brazilian woman! We were riding our bikes and went past a woman speaking portguese. So, we skipped to a stop, and ran back to talk to her. Unfortunately she doesn’t live in Tsukuba. But, every once in a while she is here because her son has to have his doctor appointments at the hospital here. She said she needed help because she didn’t understand enough English or Japanese, so we exchanged phone numbers and she said she would call next time she was here. It made me miss Oizumi a little I’ll admit. That night we had dinner with Yumi and Chieko, some of our Eikaiwa students. We tried bringing up the church a little bit… and they shot us down pretty fast when we tried to invite them. But hey, Im not giving up. I think Chieko actually has a little more interest, so the plan is to meet with just her next time 🙂

Thursday was my 1 year anniversary of being a missionary. AHHHHHHHHHHH. How does that even happen. I didn’t even realize it until I was writing in my journal that night and wrote down January 30th. It seriously goes by so fast. I have no clue where the time all goes to. On Thursday we went and visited a less active in our ward named Tomishima Shimai, She was baptized just 2 years ago, so its sad to see that she is already less active. But she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church, it seems like she has just let other things become more important in her life at the moment. We also had Eikaiwa on Thursday. Sister Sickles and I teach the children’s class, which is really fun. Mostly because we focus on simple things like colors, animals, etc. And we have to play lots of games in order to keep them entertained. This week we talked about the alphabet and body parts and played Simon Says. It was pretty fun 🙂

Saturday was a miracle. On Saturdays, all the missionaries in Tsukuba, plus the members, and the investigators (or potential investigators) get together and have a sports day 🙂 It was tons of fun. We played soccer (don’t worry I didn’t knock any elders over this time, but I may or may not have hit my zone leader in the face with the ball… oops), volleyball, and football. It was tons of fun, and it gives people to be able to see the missionaries in a less intimidating setting than the church. After sports day, we came back to the house and changed, and I started going through the phone and calling people that we had contacted earlier in the week. Thats when I realized that I still hadn’t called Amina, the cute girl I met on the train. So I called, and asked if we could see her sometime next week. She started thinking, and said…”Well how about today? I’m not busy.” Yes, of course we would visit. We tried to figure out a time and she said she could meet us in 10 minutes, and we could walk to her house with her. Wow. So we threw our stuff in our bags, put on some shoes, and ran out the door.
We met Amina’s whole family at her home. And I was a little nervous because usually parents aren’t incredibly excited when they find out their child has been talking with 2 missionaries. But, we got there, and her mom let us in and said, “I was so happy when Amina came home and told me she met a missionary on the train! She needs someone to teach her about God and the Bible”. I was in shock a bit for sure. Turns out basically her whole family knows a little bit about the Mormons someway or another. They kept saying that they had never seen girls before, but they always saw the boys riding around on their bicycles with helmets. Even in Japan they identify the missionares by the bicycles and helmets. Somethings never change. We talked with Amina at her house, and we told her a little bit about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and had her read a few scriptures out of the Book of Mormon. She LOVED it. After reading she looked up and said, “This is so good. I would want to read it before I go to sleep or something because it makes me feel calm and relaxed.” Surprised, once more. We let her have a copy, and she was really happy to accept it. And then we told her about church on Sunday and asked if she would want to come with us. She said yes, and her parents said she could go as well. Yay!

Sunday. Amina came to church with us! And it was my first week in the Tsukuba ward. (Because of stake conference) All the members are really nice, and were good at welcoming her to the ward. After sacrament meeting, we grabbed one of our member friends that is the same age as Amina and we went in a classroom to talk for a little bit. We decided to teach her about the Restoration. It was an amazing lesson. We told her that the church she was in today, was the same church that Christ had established when he was here. Her eyes got big, and she just kept saying, “wow!”. We talked about Moroni’s Promise, and the promises we make with Heavenly Father, like baptism. She had already started reading the Book of Mormon since we gave it to her, and she said of course she would pray to know if it is true. We then asked her that when she feels it is true, if she would be baptized. And she said, “Yes, I want to be clean.” We set a goal with her for February 22nd, and she is so excited. She said the closing prayer, and she was a natural. She kept saying thank you for helping me to meet the sisters, and please help me to learn more, because I want to be baptized. Am went home after that because she had to study, but she was so happy. And so was I. We walked back into the church and the zone leaders saw us grinning from ear to ear and they already knew that we had found a really really special daughter of God that needs our help. I love her to pieces and I am so excited to see her again this week and keep helping her to progress and learn about the gospel.

So something that I have been studying this week, and something that we talked about with Elder Whiting as well, is the Atonement. I mean, I knew what it was before, but I feel like whenever I thought about the Atonement, I just always applied it to the remission of sins and repentance. This week I really studied and came to love the other part of the Atonement. The fact that Christ felt everything that we have or will gone through. The hard parts, the lonely parts, the sadness, the joy. He is the one person who can truly say, “Its okay, I know how you feel”. And he overcame all of those trials as well, so he knows how to help us and guide us over the rocks that sometimes get in our way. It was a good reminder. To know that we are never alone, because of what the Savior did for us. And I am so incredibly grateful for that sacrifice.

I love you all bunches and bunches. Being a missionary is the best thing in the whole wide world. It’s almost always a roller coaster ride, but it’s the best one out there. I love every second. Until next week 🙂

I love you more than all the rice in Japan!
Sister Hunsaker

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