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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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

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