March 23, 2014 Week 61 “Blessings”

Dear family, friends and loved ones!

Spring is coming :)))))). I’m so excited it’s ridiculous. Today was
the first time in months that I didn’t have to wear a coat outside.
It’s a great feeling. The flowers and everything are starting to come
out. We should have Sakura (cherry blossoms) in just a little while.

This week was great, stressful, everything all rolled into one. And so
different from last transfer that it’s astonishing. Really though.
There’s a lot more responsibility, but at the same time my companion
and I find the time every day to just laugh and talk. It makes going
and and doing missionary work together that much more fun.

On Tuesday, the Matsudo South Zone had a training meeting, and Sister
Hanashiro and I basically split the training in half with the zone leaders. We had about 3 trainings, and 2 workshops that we were in charge of for the meeting. Let’s just say I was grateful for the opportunity, but thankful that it’s over haha. After the meeting, we
went on exchanges with the Matsudo Sisters, Sister Kubota and Sister
Imaizumi. Sister Im came back with me to Tsukuba. She’s from Nagoya, Japan, and on her 2nd transfer. I don’t know why I always get so nervous for exchanges when they are with Japanese sisters. My companion is native as well, but I think sometimes I forget that when were together. I guess it’s always a little intimidating to work with someone that speaks the language you are trying to learn perfectly. But that being said, we had a ton of fun πŸ™‚ we did some housing,
streeting, and then we had a dinner appointment with two cute girls,
Kaori and Eri. I met Kaori a month or 2 ago at the Tsukuba Station, and we talked for a bit. She said she would give us a call, and hadn’t heard from her since. But look! She actually did call. And they are
both super cute girls. We had the chance to talk a lot about what we
do as missionaries, and the lessons that we teach. They both seem like
they would be really interested in learning more about the church. The
only worry is that both of them have crazy part time jobs every Sunday. Go figure. And they’re college students. But! Were praying for them.

The rest of the week was really spent out on the streets trying to find people to teach. And I won’t lie, it’s really easy as a missionary to start feeling pressure when you don’t have a ton of
investigators to teach. Everyone that we taught before suddenly dropped off the face of the planet. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we have to rely on God’s will, and understand his plan for the area that I’m in right now. We met a lot of really cool people this
week. Some of them definitely miracles. Just to name a few:

Peter and Ingrid. We met them at the park because their little girl accidentally ran into me full speed as she was running around the playground. They are from Hungary. We asked them if they had ever heard of our church before, and they said YES! Wow. That’s cool for
one. They live in there capital city of Hungary (not sure what it
is…)so they see missionaries all the time. But they said it’s always
boys. They’ve never seen sister missionaries before. We talked to them a little bit about the plan of salvation, and what goes on afore this
life. They were really curious, and we got their email, so we’re hoping to see them again.

Ishi-San. He’s a college student, and since he’s male… Probably gonna have to pass him to he elders. But he was hilarious. We talked a little bit and he said he had heard of our church before. So we asked if he had ever heard of the Book of Mormon. Yes again. Did he have one? Yes again. Did he read it at all? His response, ” Yeah I read the whole thing… It was waaaaay LONG. But all the stuff about Christ
coming to America is pretty cool”. Sister Hanashiro and I about passed
out on his doorstep. Apparently he took a religion class at Tsukuba
university about American religions. And he did his final project on
Mormonism. So he read the entire Book of Mormon and purchased and
watched the restoration movie for it. Super cool right???? Things like
that are too unreal to be coincidence.

Working here in Tsukuba has really been an interesting experience. The
people here are all really nice. And really smart. They have a
tendency to analyze everything, instead of letting their heart tell
them what to do. We’ve been working hard every day though, and even
when it is rough, we can always look back and see how Heavenly Father
has blessed us that day.

I guess the “spiritual thought” that I wanted to share with you all
for this week comes from church yesterday. Two sisters spoke together
in church. One of them just got home from her mission, and the other
is younger, about 17, and just returned to activity in the church.
Ai-chan was always raised in the church, but when she was a teenager
she stopped going to church. She just didn’t want to go, and made up
the excuse that she was so busy that she didn’t have time. Right
around that time her older sister, Yu left on her mission to Kobe.
Ai-chan talked about the time that she was inactive. She did things
she shouldn’t have, and wasn’t super happy, but wasn’t ready to make
any changes. She emailed her sister on her mission about it, and Yu
told her to get a fathers blessing. And she did. Ai-chan said that
during her blessing she felt the spirit stronger than she ever had,
and it testified to her about how much her family on Earth and in heaven loved her. After that blessing she realized how much she had
missed the spirit in her life, and she started coming back to church.
And now she has an amazing testimony of the church. And then her older sister got up and talked about her mission. How it shape her, but even more than that, how much it blessed her family. She worried leaving on her mission about here family, but when she got home she realized that The Lord had blessed them even more than she could have if she would have stayed home.
I think that was a huge testimony to everyone in the chapel about the
power of faith and missionary work. We leave everything behind, but
Heavenly Father takes care of it all. Our friends, our family, they
can all be blessed through our service.

I love all of you so much. Thanks for your letters and emails. My
mission has been flying by faster than I would like it, and it’s the
best experience in the world. Until next week, I love you more than
all the rice in Japan 😊❀️🍚

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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March 16, 2014 Week 60 “There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today”

Good morning everyone!

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, spring is coming!!!!! I’m so happy. Today was the first time in MONTHS that I didn’t have to wear tights outside. And then I came to the awful realization of how white my legs have gotten. I’m lighter than my Japanese companion. Not cool. From now on… I’ll be out in the sun as much as possible.

This week in Tsukuba was insane. I’ve never been so incredibly busy as
a missionary in my life. We finish planning for the day, start calling
sisters to check on them, shower, and then it’s already time for bed.
I’m also forgetting English. I can’t count the number of times I started typing Japanese words into this email already. But that’s a good thing I figure. Means I’m actually learning this language.

On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the other Sisters here in
Tsukuba, and I got to work with Sister Davis. We were actually in the MTC together, so it was a lot of fun to be able to see her again. That night we had a super awesome lesson with one of our investigator named Phoebe. Remember her? She is Chinese. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and one of the ward members from Taiwan came to help us teach. Which was really good. Phoebe really loved the lesson, and she said an amazing prayer at the end. At the end of the lesson our member actually just jumped in and asked her to come to church and be baptized. We were surprised, but it was way good timing. Sadly, Phoebe is going back to China on the 4th of April, and she’s going to
be busy until next week. Basically we’re praying for a miracle at this
point. Like she decides to stay in Japan, specifically. I just know
she’s so prepared. I wish we could have found her sooner.

On Wednesday we went to visit one of our less actives, Sister Tomishima. She actually came to church last week!!! It was a miracle because she hasn’t been in a way long time. Sister Hanashiro and I
decided to teach her the Restoration once more, because it has probably been awhile since the last time she heard it. And it went really well. At the end of the lesson she actually told us that lately she had been thinking about her children a lot and decided that she really wants one of them to learn about the gospel. Her son Sho, who is 14. She said he is a little busy right now, but that when he
gets done with basketball she would like for us to teach him!!! How
cool right?
After the lesson with Tomishima Shimai we went to another lesson that
we had planned with a woman that Sister Davis and I met streeting the
day before on exchanges. Her name is Anubhuti She’s from India. We taught her the restoration as well. She had even read a little bit of the Book of Mormon that we gave her the day before. But the lesson was a little difficult. She is a very smart woman. Thinks too much with her head. Not enough with her heart.

Thursday…. The leaders of the Tokyo Japan Mission went viral. We are
now full time online proselyting missionaries. Via Facebook. Wow. It’s
weird for sure. And there’s a lot of rules and things that we still
have to figure out, so everything is pretty much in trial mode right
now. But the purpose of it is to connect more with the members and the people we are teaching. Anything that isn’t missionary related is not
allowed, and still can’t talk to friends or family through it. But we’ve already seen that it helps out a ton. Just have to hope that everyone in the mission is honest and obedient when it comes time for everyone to use it.

And since I’m running out of time, we’ll end with Saturday. Saturday was an awesome day. For lunch, we went to a relief society activity that was like a Thanksgiving day type thing. We all talked about what we are grateful for, and ate American food. One of our
Eikaiwa students, Yoko came to the activity as well. We sat by her, and pretty soon one of our (super excited about missionary work) members
came and sat by us as well. Score. We ended up teaching Yoko most of
the restoration right there, and the member really was doing most of
it. Which is actually the best way for things to go, believe it or not. But it was way good, and Yoko seemed like she was really listening. And from there, a member drove us to the station so we
wouldn’t miss our train, and we headed to Kamagaya for a zone blitz.
Some sisters just got put there, and they don’t have any investigators, so all of us went down there to go help them out. And we saw so many miracles there with all the missionaries working super hard. Hopefully enough to give them a jump start in their new area.

But yeah, being a missionary is the greatest thing ever. So much joy
in the work when you have a great companion who loves being a
missionary too. We have seen so many miracles here in Tsukuba, but
even more than that we are having fun as missionaries. Which I think
is really important as well. If we aren’t enjoying it, what’s the point?

Anyways, sorry I have to go so soon, but I love you more than all the rice in Japan 😊❀️🍚

Sister Hunsaker

March 9, 2014 week 59 “Living The Good Life And Preaching The Good Word”

Hello! Good morning! It’s a beautiful day… Well the weather is awful, but this last few days in. Tsukuba have been a blast. The beginning of the week was a little stressful, but things have been getting better. I’ve honestly never been so busy as a missionary.

Tuesday was packing and cleaning and transferring things. As Sister Training Leader, you have to coordinate how transfer go down. Basically figure out however sister can go to her area and meet her companion without being alone. Took forever. But it happened! More on that later. We also met with Miyuki, and made yakisoba together. And,
we actually had the chance to kind of share a gospel principle with her!! Little by little she’s letting us in. She saw my small copy of the Book of Mormon in English and wanted to try reading it, so I flipped to a scripture and let her try. Then when she didn’t
understand we broke it out in Japanese and explained it to her. It was way awesome. I’m glad she’s just letting us actually teach her something for once.

Wednesday was Sister Sickles and I last day together in Tsukuba. It was probably my favorite day of the transfer as well. Granted we were cold and wet because it was pouring rain, but in the end we laughed and hugged each other, and everything that happened this transfer just kind of made sense. We also got to meet with Amina, who is super sad that one of us is leaving. But her family is actually going to travel
in the United States (around Hollywood) in late July, so we will all
see each other again. There’s no doubt about it.

Thursday was in all honesty probably the most stressful day of my
mission. Thursday was the day where transfers actually happen. Something came up and my companionship needed to travel all the way to the mission home in Tokyo, somehow meet my companion, and go back to
Tsukuba. On top of that three sisters missed their trains and buses.
And when we got to the Tsukuba station, no trains were coming or
leaving. We had to call a member to give us a ride to the closest station, and it ended up being okay after that. Most of the day was spent traveling, and we got home just in time for eikaiwa. Which was fun and stress free!! And I got my new companion! I love her. Such an angel. We’re laughing and joking around all day. Pretty much all communication is in
Japanese, which is nice for me, because it’s helping me learn faster.
And forget English haha. I started talking to some of our English
speaking ward members in Japanese more than once on Sunday.

Saturday was tons of fun. On Friday morning the primary president
called me and asked if we had anything going on Saturday morning. I
said no, and she told us that the primary children and some of the
ward members were going to another members farm to plant potatoes. She
said she would be bringing a friend with her that wasn’t a member, so
she would appreciate if the sisters were there to meet her and help
her feel welcome. You better believe we said yes! Planting potatoes is actually a lot of fun. and a lot of work.
Especially when it’s windy and you’re in a skirt. We didn’t realize we
would actually be out in the middle of nowhere in a field haha.
But we met Ichi! She’s a very sweet woman who came with her 2
kids to the activity. Sister Han and I got to talk to her a lot and she’s pretty awesome. Has even been to a Christian church before. We invited her to come to church with us and to come to eikaiwa. After the activity, Sister Nakamura (the primary president) thanked us and told us that she would try and talk to her friend some more and invite her to church. So great!

And Sunday. Church was wonderful as usual. And want to know something
really cool!!!!??? We met Brasilians!!! Happy day. The other sisters
were knocking on doors and found them, so they called me and we went
over to visit. 2 very sweet people. Both from Sao Paolo. Neither of them spoke any Japanese, and hadn’t lived here for very long. The first man didn’t have a ton of interest, but the second person was a woman and she said that we were welcome to come back any day and talk to her. πŸ™‚ speaking of Brasilians, my old ward in Oizumi sent me a package last week ❀️They all wrote letters and sent them to me, along with my favorite candy. Love them to pieces. I will definitely be
visiting them again. No matter what it takes.

And that’s basically it. The last few days have been seriously awesome. Amazing. Spectacular. It’s mind blowing how many miracles we
have seen in just the past little while here in Tsukuba. I guess it just shows me how Heavenly Father blesses us when we give everything we have to this work. My time is about up, but I’ll talk to you next week!!

I love you more than all the rice in Japan 🍚❀️

Sister Hunsaker

Sent from my iPad

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March 2, 2014 Week 58 “My First Native Companion!”

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Hello everyone!!!

First, a disclaimer. I sent a TON of replies to emails last week, but
my mailbox freaked out, and none of them made it. Including the family
email, which is why it was so late. So. I love you all. Sorry if it seems like I didn’t answer. You’ll probably have to email me again if you want a response. Sorry! πŸ™‚

This week in Tsukuba…. Haha. Well, it was the last week of the
transfer!! Which means I should probably tell you all how transfer
calls went πŸ™‚
My companion is leaving, but I will be staying here in Tsukuba with a
new companion. Her name is Sister Hanashiro, and she is Japanese!!! My
first native companion. We will be Sister Training Leaders together.
That will be pretty fun. So we will basically be sister zone leaders
haha. I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully it will help with
me learning Japanese a little bit faster.

Back to this week. On Tuesday after we went to the temple, we had the
chance to go meet a new friend of ours named Phoebe. She’s from China.
We knocked on her door a few days ago, and she was really willing to
meet with us and find out what we do as missionaries. Turns out Phoebe
is pretty darn awesome, and she has a ton of interest in the church
and in Christianity. She was way excited to get a copy of the Book of
Mormon, and then she told us that she is going back to Shanghai in
April. Wow. Not fair. We keep finding these awesome Chinese people who
go home to China super fast. I don’t know if you remember Joy, but
she’s still in China at the moment. Rats.

On Wednesday we met with our friend Miyuki. She’s a funny one. Definitely marches to her own drum. But that’s why we love her so much. She took us to go eat sushi. Yum. And we talked a little bit about he and her life. She doesn’t have a ton of interest in church stuff, but she’ll get there. We also had an appointment with Sumiko.
We decided to teach her about faith. Since she really enjoys gardening, we shared the example of faith being like a little seed. We have to nurture it and take care of it in order to help it grow. After we talked about it with her, we read Alma 32 together out loud. She
really seemed to understand it. But every time we try and commit her
to do something she kind of laughs and shrugs it off. Still trying to
figure out exactly what she needs. I’m really hoping that when we teach her the Plan of Salvation in 2 weeks we’ll be able to make some headway with her.

And my personal favorite, Amina and her family. She came to the church
on Saturday with her little brother Isaac to play ping pong with us. I might add that I am improving in my Japanese and my ping pong skills. Took first place in the tournament this time thank you very much. After ping pong we went upstairs and watched the restoration movie with them. Probably a good thing that we watched it in Japanese with them. She definitely understands more Japanese than English. So we might need to switch back and forth with her on that. She liked speaking English with us, but when it comes to church terms I think
she would be better off in Japanese. On Sunday after church Amina’s
mom invited us over to make cinnamon rolls with them and we ate dinner with them as well. It’s called ugali. Apparently it’s what you eat in
Africa when family comes over. It kind of reminds me of the masa from
the inside of a tamale. You eat with your hands and made it into a
little spoon to eat stew with it. While we were eating dinner they all
said that since we had eaten ugali with them that we are officially their family. I love them all do much. They even gave us handmade bracelets from the Masai tribe in Africa. So sweet. And we had the chance to talk with the mom a lot about the church and out job as
missionaries. She knows so much about the gospel. She took an American religion class and had to do a project on one. And she chose
Mormonism. Cool right? She’s been to church a ton, but she basically
just studied it from a academic standpoint. But it sounds like she is
willing to learn more. Little by little πŸ™‚ that family is awesome. Love them so much.

Before I forget!!! Funniest moment of my mission so far!!! My companion and I were walking in the park finding people to preach the good word to, and we saw a group of like 10 people taking pictures with professional cameras of this old guy. So we got a little closer to see if it was someone famous, but of course we have no clue because he’s Japanese. And then one guy turns around, looks at us, and then turns back around, and everyone with cameras starts turning towards
us. Uh oh. One of the guys came over and asked if we would model for
them. They are in a photography class at the university. So… We said
yes. Hahah. I’m not a model. It was funny, and awkward. They were
pretty professional. Had the little silver reflectors to get light on our a faces and everything. And then Japanese people walking by stop and look, and because we’re American I think they thought we were famous. So the people walking by started taking pictures as well. My five minutes of fame I guess.

Well, I can’t believe this transfer is over. I’m a transfer 9
missionary as of now. Sheesh. I’m the oldest sisters they have in the
mission. Sometimes I still feel like a newbie though πŸ™‚ but that makes
it all the more adventure. And that much more fun. I love getting
emails from my friends that are just beginning their missions. It
really is so important what kind of experience you have as a new
missionary. That’s why I’m so thankful that I had such an amazing
trainer. She loved every second of her mission, and knew how to have
fun. And she taught me how to do the same thing. Being a missionary is
the most joyous thing in the world. Sure there are moments when you
feel like you’re trapped in liberty jail, but our prayers are always
answered. Sometimes the trial isn’t gone, but instead we are blessed
with strength to persevere, and comfort and patience to keep enduring just a little bit longer. I think that really is the lesson that I learned during this transfer in Tsukuba.

I’m so grateful for you all, and to be a member of the restored church
of Jesus Christ. I can’t even begin to describe how much I have learned and grown as my mission has gone on. It’s been life changing. For all of you that aren’t out here yet, think about it, and pray about it. These people need help. Japan needs help. My investigators
need help. And sometimes I need help. And that’s why the gospel is so
amazing. We can always find the strength and help we need when we have faith that it will come πŸ™‚

I love you all. More than all the rice in Japan. 🍚❀️

Until next week!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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