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

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