April 20, 2014 Week 65 “Feliz Pascoa”

Boa tarde gente!

So much to update you on it’s crazy.

This week was amazing. Really the best. I wasn’t surprised when we got transfer calls, but I was incredibly excited to get back to Oizumi. But, my last few days in Tsukuba were really amazing as well. Sister Hanashiro and I had a lesson with this new investigator named Tsuhaku that was really great. We taught her the restoration. And she was so open to all of it! I even invited her to be baptized at the end of the lesson, and she said yes. Wooooooow. It was a great reminder at The Lord really does prepare people. And from there… Everything flips from Japanese back to Portuguese.

My first day back in Oizumi we saw literally one of the coolest miracles I have seen yet on my mission. In the middle of Eikaiwa, we got a call from the mission president and he said he wanted to talk to me. busted. Just kidding 🙂 he was calling to tell me about an investigator that he had heard about named Linda, but the sisters had never taught her. So basically he called and told me to get on it and talk to her. Yes sir! And we did talk to Linda. Mind blown. Basically, she’s kind of had a hard life, but really wants to follow God. A while ago, she had a dream, and in the dream she was trying to find a path, but in order to get to the right place, she needed to meet a man named Smith. In the end, she found him, and he guided her to God, to the truth. Crazy right? It gets better. A while after that, a banner for the church popped up on something while she was on the internet, and she clicked on it, and realized it was what she had dreamed about! She asked for a free copy of the Book of Mormon so she could study more, but it never came. and then, she moved to Japan, Oizumi, and got an Eikaiwa flyer in her mailbox and decided to check in out. And now here she is. Wow, right? I ran over to her after Eikaiwa and we started talking a little bit, and then Sister Cortes came and joined me, and eventually we pulled up some chairs and had a lesson right there. We taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she just absorbed everything. And kept saying, I want to learn, so please teach me! No worries, we can do that. She said she would try really hard and come to church, but she didn’t make it. We had three people say they would come today and none of them did… Kind of sad, but we’ll keep working hard.

And the other days of the week we started getting out and finding people. It’s getting easier and easier to switch back and forth from Japanese to Portuguese, which is a relief, because when you knock on someone’s door you have to be ready to respond in whatever language they talk to you in. The one I have yet to master is Tagalog. I don’t think I’ll ever learn that one though.

But my favorite day of the week was of course, Sunday. It was SO great to see the members again. I missed them all so much. Most of them already knew I was coming back, but there were a few that seemed pretty shocked haha. Sunday just about melted my brain as well. Sacrament meeting we translated Portuguese to English, and then Sunday school was English to Portuguese and Portuguese to Japanese. Depending on who was talking during the lesson. and then my companion and I taught young women’s in Japanese. Lucky for me Sister C is amazing, and a master of languages, so we were able to tag team on some things.

But being back in Oizumi this week made me realize exactly how much I missed it. The members have truly become my family. A part of me forever. And there are so many amazing people here in Oizumi that I know I need to find and help. Yesterday was Easter as well. Feliz Páscoa! Happy Easter! There is a really amazing video that the church produced called ‘Because of Him’ you should all watch it if you get the chance. It’s a wonderful reminder of what Christ did for us so that we can live again. I love you all so much, have a wonderful week 🙂 until next time, I love you more than all the rice in Japan 😊❤️🍚

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

Story of my mission. Portuguese and Japanese 🙂

I love Oizumi❤️

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April 13, 2014 Week 64 “It’s Like I Never Left â¤ï¸ðŸŒ”

Good morning everyone!! So today is a bit of a rushed Pday because wehave lots and lots to do. We had transfer calls this morning, and
yours truly will be leaving Tsukuba. But you’ll never guess where I’m
going….. Back to Oizumi!!! In all honesty, I knew I would go back.
The President of our mission has been hinting at it the last few
times I’ve seen him, but I didn’t want to jinx it by saying something,
or get my hopes up and then not go. So yeah!! 7 of my 11 transfers in
the Japan Tokyo Mission will have been in an area speaking.
Portuguese. Pretty sure that’s the most unique mission experience I
could ever have.

This week was pretty great in Tsukuba. I don’t have a ton of time
because I have lots of packing to do, so I’ll give you the really
quick version. Sorry fam.

We went on our last set of exchanges this week! Yay, finally over.
Won’t lie I’m tired haha. I worked with Sister Ellis here in Tsukuba,
and we met some really fun people on the street. In the end, our
appointments canceled, so that was kind of a bummer, but we still had
a great time talking to people on the street.

And basically everyday this week was spent finding. My favorite
activity. You really do find some awesome people and see great
miracles though. Like Sally. We went to try and visit a Brasilian woman that we had found, but when we got to the house, we found out
that she had gone back to Brasil, and now Sally is living there. She
is from the Philippines. Cool right? She was really willing to listen
to what we had to say, and she even accepted a copy of the Book of
Mormon. Communication however is a little hard, because her Japanese
and English are a little limited. And I don’t speak Tagalog.

But the coolest miracle ever was Sunday night. We were way exhausted, but we decided we were going to keep going until the night was over.
We rode our bikes about 15 minutes away from the church and started
knocking on doors. Pretty much everyone told us to go away, and that
they weren’t interested. And then we got to a little house and debated
ringing the doorbell or not because it was kind of creepy looking.
Plus it’s pitch black outside and there aren’t really street lights
near the rice fields. Anyways, we ring the doorbell, and a light turns
on, and a woman peeks out, looks at us, and says, 宣教師? (missionaries?)
I then get super excited and think we have found some long lost golden
investigator. We talk to her for a while, and find out that this woman
is actually a member in our ward, but has been less active for a little while. After realizing that I didn’t feel as bad for not recognizing her. She welcomed us into her home, and we sat down and shared a short message with her and her daughter, who is 18. It was a
great lesson, and the mother really felt the spirit. Afterwards she walked with us back to our bikes and told us that she had been praying a lot for her daughter recently, and for their family. She knew they needed to bring God back into their lives somehow, she just wasn’t sure how to do it yet. She couldn’t stop thanking us, and really told us that we were guided to her home. That’s the best feeling ever, just
knowing you were the answer to someone’s prayer.

I finally got to watch conference this weekend. I still haven’t quite
picked a favorite, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out 🙂

I love you all so much! I promise to send a better email next week!
I love you more than all the rice in Japan! 😊❤️🍚

Sister Hunsaker

Random pictures while waiting for transfer calls…

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April 6, 2014 Week 63 “Spring Is Here” ðŸŒ¸

Darling dearest family and friends,

This week has flown by so fast it’s ridiculous. And technically it was
a little bit shorter because we had the temple trip on Tuesday. Which
was one of the highlights of this fantastic week. We seriously saw so
many amazing miracles this week.

Probably the most mind boggling part of this week was the fact that I
think I taught more in Portuguese than Japanese. Two different Brasilians in one week. That’s never happened here in Tsukuba. The first woman was someone we ran into at a park. Well…. Okay. I may or may not have totally followed her around the park trying to figure out what language she was speaking, and once i realized it was Portuguese practically ran over to talk to her. Her name is Dahlina, and she
lives here in Tsukuba. She was way nice and interested in learning
about how families can be together forever.
And the other Brasilians… Don’t live anywhere near us haha. They
live in Niigata, way far away. It used to be part of the Sendai Mission. I got a call from the Elders serving there and they needed help talking to a investigator family that they are teaching, but don’t really speak English or Japanese. There was a Brasilian elder serving there, but he just finished his mission, so they gave me a
call. The family is waaaay nice though. The dad is a professional
soccer player, and the mom stays at home with her two little kids.
Hopefully the elders up there can make some headway with them.

Awkward moment of the week/incredibly funny at the same time. Going to Tokyo on Thursday morning. Sister Hanashiro and I, plus the zone
leaders, all went together for Mission Leadership Council (all the
zone leaders, and sister training leaders) to plan things for
conferences and for the mission. Tsukuba to Tokyo is a bit of a ride,
and usually when we go, there aren’t a ton of people. It must have
been rush hour or something. Sister Hanashiro and I made the mistake
of standing next to the elders when the train wasn’t very packed, and
then realized we were in trouble when tons of people flooded the train
and all the missionaries are jam packed together. Seriously so many
people that you can’t even move. And pressure on every side. I’m
pretty sure one of the elders was freaking out that he was being
sandwiched by sisters. And we were just standing there laughing and
apologizing for the next 10 minutes, because that’s about all we could
do. Lesson learned: don’t stand next to elders when going to Tokyo.

Saturday was amazing. The sakura is soooo beautiful. But it really is
fleeting. When the petals start falling off the trees it looks like
snow 🙂
On Saturday we went to a park and had a picnic with the sisters, and
went to go “run into” one of our investigators. Didn’t go quite as
planned, but it was still a nice day. From there we went and walked
around the park and stopped and talked to people about the church,
gave out copies of the Book of Mormon, and testified our hearts out
about the gospel. And we met some pretty amazing people. My favorite
was this little Filipino family that we saw walking around. We talked
to them, and then their daughters ran up and wanted to take a picture
with us and added us on Facebook. We’ve been talking to them since
then and it’s going really well.

Sunday. We had an investigator come to church!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was
the member referral we received last week. Her name is Yamamoto Terue.
She came to sacrament meeting and we taught her a lesson. Yes, just in
case you are wondering we don’t get to watch conference quite yet.
It’s always a week behind in Japan. So we will see it next week. After
sacrament meeting we went upstairs to teach Terue-san a lesson.
Originally we had planned to teach her the restoration, but as we were
talking to her before the lesson, she told us about her husband who
had passes away, and how she felt so alone and dead on the inside
sometimes. My companion and I just looked at each other, and turned to
Terue-san and told her, “Today we want to teach you about Heavenly
Father’s plan for his children. It’s called The Plan of Salvation.”
And that’s exactly what we taught her. And a little bit of the restoration about the Book of Mormon. She had a bit of a hard time believing some of it, but there is no way we are giving up on Terue
that easy. She’s so prepared it’s ridiculous. Her brother is a member
in our ward, and one of her daughters converted at BYU Idaho and just
got married in the Salt Lake Temple to a returned missionary. Heavenly
Father is definitely working on her family. She really likes us though, and she seems like she wants to believe, so I know something amazing can come of it.

Want to know something crazy? Next Pday will be transfer calls 😳😳
that’s a scary thought. I have no clue what’s going to happen, but
whatever does will pretty much determine where I end my mission. Stay tuned my friends. Until next week, I love you more than all the rice
in Japan! 😊❤️🍚

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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April 1, 2014 Week 62 “Sakura”

Hello everyone!!!

Sorry this email is getting out so late. It’s been a crazy week. Full of adventure and so on. And this week is going to go by even faster I can already tell.

So… Updates in Japan. It’s April. Want to know something scary?
Exactly a year ago today I got on a bus at 5 in the morning and then called Mom and Dad at 6am to tell them I was at the airport getting ready to leave for Japan. I’ve lived in Japan for a year! Wow. And that’s not even an April fools joke. I feel like I’ve been having major déjà vu from my first transfer. The Sakura is here!!!! The
beautiful cherry blossoms are coming out all over the place. It’s really quite the site to see. Unfortunately all my pictures are currently on my camera so I’ll send some next week. Maybe. And the weather is warming up. Which is definitely a relief.

We just got home from the temple, and that’s always quite the trek. This week was all kind of a blur, so I’ll just kind of mush things all together.

We did lots and lots and lots of finding this week. All of our appointments canceled once more. Talk about lame. But we also saw some crazy amazing miracles as well. So I’ll focus on them…

First the Nemoto family. Sister Nemoto and all her kids always come to the children’s eikaiwa class. Sister Hanashiro and I were doing study one morning and suddenly the phone rang. It was Sister Nemoto calling and asking if we would come to her house for dinner that night. Of course we said yes! (This would be like the 4th time on my mission a family has had us over for dinner. I can seriously count it on one hand. Enjoy fighting over the missionaries at home family. ) It was tons of fun. Sister Nemoto, her children, and their cousin Sumika was there.
We had a great time with them making crepes, and sharing a message at
the end. As Sister Nemoto was driving us home, we found out that
Sumika isn’t a member of the church, but since she has been staying
with the Nemoto family, Sister Nemoto has been teaching her a little bit about God, and she said she is even praying by herself now. We gave Sister Nemoto a copy of the Book of Mormon for Sumika and when we
saw her at church the next day, we found out she has been reading it!
Sumika is such a sweet girl with so much potential. The only thing is… She’s only going to be with the Nemoto family for about 2 weeks and then she’ll go home to a tiny island next to Nagasaki. They have no missionaries there. Or established church. There is one family on the island that are members. It’s so sad to think that there are still
parts of the world that the missionaries haven’t touched. But I know Su will have the chance to learn about the church somehow. We will
make sure of it.

Another cool miracle came on Sunday. We were eating lunch after church
with the primary kids and Haruka-chan came up the stairs and said,
“can I borrow the sister missionaries for 2 minutes?” So Sister Hanashiro and I volunteered and went downstairs where Sister Yamamoto (the relief society president) was standing in there parking lot with 2 people we had never seen before. A mom and young daughter. She introduced them as her sister in law, and told us that the woman’s older daughter had just joined the church in Idaho. Crazy right. But even cooler is that Sister Yamamoto decided to invite her to come to eikaiwa, and then she asked, “why don’t you learn about our church with the missionaries?” And she said yes! We set up a time right there
to meet them next Sunday after church. I’m looking forward to seeing
them. They have so much potential.

And last one for the email because I’m running out of time. We still
have to buy groceries and do laundry. Yesterday we went on exchanges
once more! I went to Abiko. Which if anyone remembers, is actually
where I went on my first exchange as a missionary last April. Scary
how that played out. But Abiko is just as beautiful as I remember it
being. My favorite part of the exchange was going to visit this old
woman named Naito Shimai. She is 96 years old. Add the most active
grandma I have ever seen. She even got up out of her chair and
shuffled around the room to show us how well she could walk. Despite
breaking her hip when she was 93. She may have told that story a few
times :). Sister Naito is actually a bit of a less active member. I think it’s mostly because she doesn’t have a way to get to church, and feels bad calling people to come get her. But she has an amazing testimony of the gospel. We talked to her about charity, and how when we really love others, we share with them the things that are the most
valuable to us. Including the gospel. Sister Naito’s children are not
members of the church, and it seems to be a really big regret for her
that she didn’t take them to church when they were younger. But the
biggest thing we wanted to help her realize is that there was no point
lingering on what she didn’t do, but now looking to the future and
realizing how many people she can help with her testimony. I’ll never
forget that sweet woman. She helped me realize how important it is to
hold strong to our faith, no matter what challenges are going on
around us.

This week was truly amazing. I think it was honestly one of the times
on my mission when I’ve been the most in tune with the Spirit, and
have really been able to recognize exactly how much Heavenly Father is
helping me out in this great work. And how important it is to realize
that we can’t do anything without him. We are such imperfect people. I
make mistakes every single day, and yet He still loves me, because I’m
His child. I read a story about the young Joseph Smith that I really
loved. It was recounting the story of when he needed to have surgery
on his leg, and refused to drink alcohol to numb the pain. His
response to everything was, ” I will have my father sit on the bed and
hold me in his arms, and then I will do whatever is necessary.” Aren’t
we all the same? We don’t have to do everything by ourselves. Heavenly
Father is there. Holding us in his arms, so that we can do everything
that we need to. Go through those trials so that we grow, feel sorrow
so that we understand happiness, and experience joy in this life. I
love being a missionary so much. And the joy I’m feeling just grows
everyday. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.

Thank you so much for all your letters and emails. I miss you tons,
and of course, I love you more than all the rice in Japan ❤️🍚😊

Love,
Sister Hunsaker