June 22, 2014 Week 74 “True Identity”

Hey everyone! Another week has gone by…. yada. There’s your Japanese
word for the day. “Yada” is slang. It’s just something you say when
you don’t like what’s happening. It’s basically, no!!!!

It’s so funny that when you’re a first transfer missionary, sometimes
the days can seem to drag on. And then, as a last transfer missionary,
the weeks are flying by all too fast.

On Monday, we had a lesson with Marisol, the less active that came to
church with us last week. It actually went really well. She remembers
everything that the elders have taught her, and I feel that she still
knows it is true. She has a testimony. She just needs to find it
again. And, she’s teaching what she has learned to others as well!
Granted, it’s her cats… But at least now they know how to pray. And
then today we have another lesson with her. Goodness pday has already
been hectic. She called us this morning and said she didn’t have food,
or money… And she already looks like a skeleton. We couldn’t get
ahold of the members, and when we finally got ahold of the bishop for
a nearby ward… He didn’t know what to do. So, we got some food with
the elders and took it to her. I don’t want her to be dependent on the
missionaries for this kind of stuff…. But at the same time I
couldn’t just let her starve. So, we spent money that we had planned
to use to buy new clothes… On groceries for a less active. The life
of a missionary. Haha.

This week we also got to see Linda. She had a really hard weekend, so
we called her and asked if we could stop by for a little bit. She
accepted, we brought cookies, and she really just opened up to us.
Which was good, because she really is trying so hard to learn about
this gospel. She reads the Book of Mormon and prays every single
night. She just works like a mad person, so it’s really hard to meet
her.

We’ve been meeting the Mercado family again as well! I’ve missed CK so
much. It was actually a miracle finding me again, because they have
been living in a different house. But, we’ve started teaching them
again, and they should be coming to church this week. CK is even
sharing the gospel with her friend, Ainjell. She’s been an awesome
member present for us so far.

And… There are so many other miracles and amazing stories that I
wish I could tell you, but I feel like I would just about talk your
ears off πŸ™‚ so, I’ll just tell you about this cute girl named
Esutefany that we found housing. She’s Brazilian, but raised in Japan,
so we teach her in Japanese. This morning we met her for the 3rd time,
and she prayed for us, and has been reading the Book of Mormon. Plus,
she said she would come to church with us this week πŸ™‚ I think she
really could be that miracle person we have been searching for.

We also went on exchanges I’ll just tell you about the exchanges this
week with Kiryu Sisters. I stayed here in Oizumi with Sister
Edwards, and Sister Rodriguez and Sister Kawabataworked in Kiryu.
Sister Edwards is awesome! We had such an awesome time together, and
she was such a good sport to come here and only have lessons in
Portuguese. It’s always a little hard when missionaries come to Oizumi
to do exchanges or splits, because most of the time they have no clue
what’s going on. But all missionaries have this crazy wish of serving
here. I think it’s the allure of the Latin American culture or
something. Speaking of which… my poor companion haha. In Oizumi
everyone is Brazilian. You greet people we a kiss on the cheek and
it’s normal. Unless you’re a sister missionary and obviously not
allowed to kiss men. But average people don’t know that. Yeah. I think
I’ve just accepted it as part of my mission. I still try and avoid it
at all costs, but we went out to dinner with a member family this week
at a restaurant their friend owned, and he kissed all of the girls on
the cheek. My companion laughed it off though, so I’m glad she doesn’t
hate me haha.

So… I may or may not have heard a rumor that Oizumi might lose
sisters next transfer. I don’t know if it’s true…. But if it is, I’m
really hoping that President Budge doesn’t give us on us. It’s taking
every ounce of self control not to call him and say, “NOOOO. What are
you thinking???” We really are seeing success. Yes, Sister Rodriguez doesn’t understand what’s going on sometimes, but she’ll get there. We
have a lot of investigators with a lot of potential. And it would kill
me to have to leave my mission knowing that these people won’t have
someone to teach them. But, I guess in the end, it’s The Lord that
knows best, right?

We had zone meeting this week, and for part of it, we had this really
awesome training about our identities. And something that the zone
leaders said, is that we are all children of God. And because of that,
we have the ability to do God like things. We have the ability to
change peoples lives, and we also have the power to change our own.
That is something I definitely have learned on my mission. It’s
amazing what abilities we come to realize we have when we remember
that we have a divine heritage. I love you all so much! It’s really
really weird to think that I’ll be seeing you soon, but at the same
time it just makes me want to work that much harder, so that I can
have that much more to share with you when we are together again.

I love you more than all the rice in Japan!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

The middle of nowhere, Oizumi.

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June 15, 2014 Week 73 “Rain, Rain Go Away…β˜”οΈ”

Konnichiwa minna!

Hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day, I know I did here in
Oizumi. And we had a way awesome week here as well. Here are some of
the things that happened.

We invited Graziela to be baptized after having a way awesome lesson
with her. And she said no. Yeah. I was really sad. Mostly because she
told us that she feels that the gospel really was restored, and that
the Book of Mormon is true, but she loves the Catholic Church, because
it’s the one she grew up with. She can’t separate herself from it. At
least not yet. We’re going to to try and do everything we can to
strengthen her testimony, and hopefully that will give her the
strength needed to make that jump and be baptized.

On Saturday we saw Sandra and Jonas, the couple that we taught the
Plan of Salvation last week. We decided to teach them the restoration
this week, because Sandra needed a refresher, and Jonas hadn’t heard
the lesson before. And it was a really good lesson. I panicked at one
point, because they asked if we believed people that were baptized in
other churches would be saved. But, we handled it pretty well, and
focused in needing the priesthood authority that was restored through
Joseph Smith in order to baptize people. But they really have a desire
to learn more. We’re hoping to jet get me to come to church now.

And… There was other way awesome lessons that we taught, but I don’t
have time to tell you about Ana, and Aylime, and Ainjell. (All As…Funny).

Sunday…. No investigators came to church 😦
But we had a waaaaay awesome miracle. Marisol, a less active that we
have been working with recently, told us that she would try to come to
church after we spoke with her last Sunday. This morning we got a
phone call from an unknown number, and it was Marisol! She told us
that she wanted to come to church, just that she need a ride. So we
called some members, hopped in a car,and went to go get her. And she
came!! And she had an awesome time. She invited us to come over to her
home tonight as well. When we were talking to her after sacrament she
told us that she woke up and felt like she needed to go to church
today. We’re hoping that she keeps coming from now on πŸ™‚ the members
made sure to welcome her back with open arms, so now we just need to
do our part and strengthen her testimony.

Sister Rodriguez is an awesome missionary. I won’t lie, when we first
got transfer calls I was incredibly nervous about having only 5 weeks
to train a new sister, but I feel that she won’t have a problem taking
over Oizumi. She has already helped so much while teaching people, and
she is trying hard to make things happen.

I had to bear my final testimony as a returning missionary this week
at the Kiryu Zone conference, so I had to think about what I’ve
learned on my mission. I think the biggest thing I learned is that
Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and chances are sometimes it’s
going to be different than what I thought/what I want. I guess I’ve
learned that there are no coincidences. That everything I’ve done in
my life a purpose. Studying Spanish, deciding to go on a mission,
everything. I feel like I’ve learned more about how I truly want my
life to be when I’ve given up the things I’ve wanted, and been willing
to trust in the plan that he has for me. And yes, part of that is
being released on my appointed date. I’m sad when I think about how
close it is, but I feel peace that Oizumi is going to be okay. Me, on
the other hand, I’m not so sure. Hahaha. My mission will always be a
part of me. That’s something that won’t change, no matter what happens
in my life.

I love you all so much! But mostly dad, because it’s Father’s Day.
Thanks so much Dad, for everything you’ve done for me, everything you
have helped me with, and for being an example to me. But most of all,
I want to thank you for being a worthy priesthood holder, and always
being ready and willing to help me. I was reading through some old
journal entries, and I found the one from the day I left home in
California. In it, I had written some of the things that you said to
me when you gave me a father’s blessing. They have all come to be a
reality on my mission. And I know that miracles like this only happen
when they are lead and guided by a worthy priesthood holder. I love
you daddy. Can’t wait to see you soon.

And I love all of you too πŸ™‚ more than all the rice in Japan 😊❀️🍚

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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June 9, 2014 Week 72 “Thoughts From The Heart”

Hello everyone!

Transfer 11 has officially begun! We were all a little surprised when
transfer calls came around, and both Sister Cortes and Elder Jacox
left us. That being said, Elder Miranda and Sister Rodriguez are doing
great here in Oizumi. Elder Miranda has a great vision to work with
the members and really get the work moving here in Oizumi. And Sister
Rodriguez isn’t afraid to open her mouth and testify strongly. She’s had a lot of chances to teach this week, and she’s willing to go for it. She doesn’t understand a ton of Portuguese yet, but she’s getting there. I think that the hardest people for her to understand is the members, which is understandable, because a lot of them have super thick accents. But, I know she’ll do great. She’s a little shy, but is
willing to talk when I ask her to do something.

We saw lots of awesome miracles in Oizumi this week. We did housing in
huge rain, and we really saw the blessings from it. We met Marcela,
and Aylime, two young Brazilian girls, and both of them accepted the
invite to hear a lesson, and we were able to set return appointments.
We have seen so much success just in these past 2 days. Sister
Rodriguez was asking me if every day was like this in Oizumi, because
she was having so much fun, being able to actually share the gospel
with people who are willing to listen.

We also were able to teach a way awesome lesson to a potential
investigator named Sandra. We taught her the restoration a few weeks
ago, and left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon. When we went and
saw her this week, she told us she had read some of the Book of
Mormon, and she let us into her home. Her husband was there as well,
and he pulled up a chair at the table, and joined in talking with us.
So… We jumped on that opportunity, and decided to teach them the
Plan of Salvation. It was a way good lesson. The spirit was so strong,
and it really reminded me of Doctrine and Covenants 50:22.

22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one
another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

That’s really how our lesson was, we were edified together, and
rejoiced in the Plan that our Heavenly Father has for us. We invited
them to pray together as a family, and to read the Book of Mormon
together as well. They didn’t come to church today, but I’m hoping
they will soon.

These past 2 weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my mission, and
especially Oizumi. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Enough to keep
me staring at the ceiling at night, praying a lot, and searching the
scriptures and the prophets words. Trying to receive an answer. I
don’t know if I’m ready to leave Oizumi. Everything tells me that it
will be okay, that there are great missionaries that can come after,
but I’m still worried. Maybe it’s a lack of faith? But it’s still
there in the back of my mind. Extending my mission. I don’t know if
it’s even possible, or if it’s what I need to do, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot. All of the logical things are telling me that it’s okay to go home. You guys already have plane tickets and hotel
reservations, I’ve served faithfully thus far in my areas. But my heart isn’t ready to let go. I feel like there are still so many people that need me. I don’t know which one would be a bigger
sacrifice. To stay, or to go. Or which one I need to do. I’m not
saying I’m staying, nothing is for sure. It just made me all realize
how much I love my mission. And I’m starting to feel the pain of it.
It feels like my heart is being ripped in two when I think about
leaving these people. I guess it’s all very personal to me. I just
wanted to let you know how I’m feeling. My mission is a very very big
part of me. It will be hard to let that part go, no matter when I come
home.

Anyways, I talked to mom and dad a lot today, so my time is limited.
But I hope you all know how much I love you. More than all the rice in
Japan. ❀️😊🍚 until next week!

Love,
Sister Hunsaker

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June 2, 2014 Week 71 “The Beginning Of The End”

Dearest family, friends, and loved ones.

Another crazy week has already flown by! And today was zone pday!
Well… Kind of. The plan was to have all of the missionaries meet
here in Oizumi and play sports together, but all of the sisters bailed
out. So it turned into all of the elders and me and my companion
playing sports at a nearby park, and waiting for those dreaded phone
calls. And every single companionship in our zone got a transfer call.
It was kind of sad actually. So many people are leaving. Even within
my own companionship. Which was a HUGE surprise to me and my
companion. I will be staying in Oizumi, but Sister Cortes is transferring to Koga. But we will see each other again in a few weeks.
My new companion is going to be Sister Rodriguez. She is from Salt
Lake City, Utah, but her parents are from Mexico, so she speaks some
Spanish. But…. No Portuguese. Shoot. So I’ve got 5 weeks to get her
up and ready to take over the area. Which is all I have left,
unfortunately. I won’t lie…. I’m panicking slightly. I’ve already
been worried about my area, and now the thought of only having five
weeks to train someone here, and help them to know and love the
members and investigators like I do is terrifying. And on top of this,
we will be the Sister Training Leaders for the Kiryu West Zone.
Heavens help us. I know we can do it. This next transfer will just be
a lot of hard work. Which is good.

Anyway, this week was pretty great here in Oizumi. We saw lots of
miracles, with our investigators, and within our own ward. Sadly, I’m
not gonna have time really this week. So…. Just a few things.

We saw Graziela, and she is awesome. Still progressing, still loves
reading the Book of Mormon. We watched the Restoration with her and
her brother this week and they loved it! Score.

We got a phone call from a random number on Thursday night, and it was
an investigator from waaaaaay long ago named Noriko. Think like my
first transfer in Oizumi. She’s Peruvian. She wanted to know if we had
a bible in Japanese, because her Japanese friend wanted to learn about
Christ. We went and gave her a Bible on Friday night, and while we
were there, she asked us to come back and start teaching her again as
well. πŸ™‚ what’s with here former investigators? They’re popping out of
the snow like daisies. (5 yen to anyone who can name that movie)

Our ward miracle was the Toyoshima family. They were baptized about a
year ago, right before I came to Oizumi the first time. We have been
visiting them recently, because we really want them to have the goal
to go to the temple as a family. We visited them this week and had
lunch with them, and then talked about the temple. They accepted the
invitation to prepare to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead
πŸ™‚ we set a date with them for July 5th, so we are hoping to see it
through with them until the end.

Goodness I love my mission. When we got our transfer calls this
morning it was President Budge that called us on the phone. When he
was talking to me he said something along the lines of, “Sister
Hunsaker, you will be staying in Oizumi for your last transfer! So
work hard, and see lots of miracles.” I guess it kind of hit me that
this really is my last transfer. What the heck? Where did the time go?
It doesn’t help that this transfer is short, so I’m sure it will go by
even faster than I would like. But, that just means we have to work
that much harder, and see those miracles. A friend of mine wrote an
email awhile ago and kind of compared missions to a song, and you are the conductor. You can chose to end the symphony with a whisper,
slowly dying down until the end, or you can choose to end with a BANG.
Throwing everything you have into it. The kind of bang that leaves you
breathless and the room vibrating from the sound. That’s the kind of
ending I want to have. I refuse to go out with a whisper. This next
transfer I will be doing everything I can, to make sure I go out with
a bang. No regrets, no unfulfilled wishes, no sorrow. A BANG. and
that’s what it will be.

I love you all so much, more than all the rice in Japan ❀️😊🍚
I probably won’t have time to email everyone because of some
technology difficulties, but I should be able to next week. AtΓ© na
prΓ³xima!

Amo vocΓͺs,

Sister Hunsaker

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