July 6, 2014 Week 76 “What Will Matter”

Hey everyone!

Well, this is it. My last pday as a missionary. I don’t know if it has
quite sunk in yet. A.K.A. I haven’t started crying like a baby about
it yet. Today we had transfer calls, and found out who will be coming
to fill my place in Oizumi. It’s a Japanese sister that has been
studying Portuguese. After getting calls, I realized I need to repent.
I’m definitely harboring some negative feelings about the missionary
that will take my place here. And I know it’s because I’m jealous that
someone else will get to come here with these people, teach them, lead
them, and help them to find the light of Christ.

These next few days will be a lot of packing and getting things sorted
away for my return, so last week was my last chance to work hard here
in Oizumi. And….. I’m exhausted haha. I literally fell asleep on the
floor waiting for the district leader to call, and again when my
companion was praying before we went to bed. My “amen” was at least 2
minutes late. But we saw SO many miracles this week, it’s crazy in all
honesty.

One of them is Ana. She’s an investigator we found last transfer that
we have been teaching for a little while now. She’s a really sweet mom
with 2 of the most adorable children I have ever seen. The only
problem is, in order for her to be baptized, she needs to get married
to her husband. Who is still married to another woman. Who is living
in Japan under a false name. It’s all incredibly complicated, and has
made me incredibly grateful for eternal marriages in the temple, and
how much our church focuses on family haha. But, we were able to
really sit down and talk to her, and set a goal for her to be baptized
in September. She’s reading and praying everyday, and we know if she
has the desire, that Heavenly Father will prepare a way for her to be
baptized. We also took her daughter a birthday cake this week. She’s
seriously the cutest thing ever. She must have blown out the candles
at least 50 times. Ana told us that this was her first time ever
blowing out the candles. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m happy I could be
a part of that moment, no matter how insignificant blowing out candles
is.

The other cool miracle happened with an investigator we have named
Maria who is from Bolivia. She wants to be baptized as well! We were
able to set a date with her for a few weeks. She’s also reading and
praying every day, now she just needs to come to church (for some
reason the hardest part), and she’ll be golden.

Our wonderful families in Oizumi are doing great as well. The
Toyoshima family is as strong as ever, and they really are making the
effort to strengthen their testimonies. We had the opportunity to have
dinner at their home this week, and it made me love them that much
more. Julio, the dad, still isn’t a member, but he’s right there. If
he wasn’t always working, he would be a member. I know they have the
potential to be that forever family.

And of course the Mercado family. I love them so much. They will be
coming to church this week Mom and Dad, so you should be able to meet
them. CK and B-boy both are trying really hard to read and pray, and
share the gospel with their friends, and I think it has really been
helping their mom, Rhoda, as well.

I could go on and on and on about my investigators and members for
days. I’ve spent 7 transfers in Oizumi, which is an incredibly long
time for one area, but it really doesn’t seem like it has been that
long. Sometimes when I’m tired, it seems likes it been a while, and
even though it’s weird, I am starting to feel that it will be okay to
return home. I still don’t want to, and I know it’s going to feel like
a part of me is missing, but I have some comfort from the fact that I
know I served my hardest, and have had a mission more incredible and
unique than I ever could have imagined. It has changed me in every
aspect of my life, and given me a desire to be a better member, a
better friend, a better sister, someday a better mother. Mom was
comparing missionary work to motherhood in her email today, so maybe
me leaving this area is somewhat like letting your kids leave? Now
that I think about it, I think the way that I feel about leaving
Oizumi is probably the same exact way that you felt about letting me
leave to go on a mission, mom. I understand now. It’s terrifying. I
feel like at this point I’ve done my best, I’ve taught what I know,
and shared my testimony and helped the area grow, but it’s come to the
point where I have to trust in The Lord, take a few steps back, and
let it go on without me. I hate it. But, it’s true that we can’t be
there every step of the way. Now is my turn to watch, and pray and
hope that everything I’ve done will be enough to keep this area going.
I’m dying inside knowing my mission is coming to an end, and I know
that now I need to trust in The Lord more than ever.

There was this pretty cool message that they sent out to all the
returning missionaries that I want to include in this email. It’s a
little long, and some of it might not make any sense, but bear with
me.

For each of us, after 18 months or 2 years, ready or not, our
full-time mission will come to an end.  We will return home.
There will be no more full-time proselyting, no more finding and
teaching, and no more companionship Gospel and language study every
morning.
All the things you collected and used or treasured while in Japan–
including your helmet and bike–will pass to someone else.
Companionship issues, including grudges, resentments, frustrations and
personal idiosyncrasies will disappear.
So, too, will your full-time missionary hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists.
There will be no more appointments 2 or 3 hours away on a bicycle; no
more waiting on Sunday for investigators to come to Church.
There will be no more soba, katsudons, okonomiyaki, sushi, domburi,
onigiri, or kare raisu meals.
Feelings of loneliness, homesickness, and fear of traffic accidents on
bikes will be gone.
Where you came from, where you served and how long you were in each
area won’t matter anymore.
So what will matter?  How will the success of your missionary days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought or saw in Japan but what you
built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is how strong you left the areas where you served and
the memories they have of you.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is how hard you worked and every act of integrity,
obedience, or sacrifice.
What will matter is how you enriched, empowered and encouraged others
by your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your courage to do what
was right and to be exact in doing what you were supposed to do.
What will matter is not how many people you baptized, but how many
people will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in
those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
What will matter is how you feel about the quality of your offering to
the Savior and how you consecrated yourself while in Japan.  Those
feelings will live with you forever.
What will matter is who you are and what you have become because of
your glorious Japanese missionary experience.

I know that my mission will live with me forever (At this point, yes I
am crying while writing the email). It’s something that has become a
part of my soul. Something that no one can take from me, and something
that I will always treasure, and lean on in times on trial. I’m so
thankful for the experiences I have had here in Japan. It’s something
that is hard to explain, and almost impossible to understand unless
you served a mission. I love you all so much. I can’t begin to thank
you enough for the support you have given me.

I love you more than all the rice in Japan, and all the sand in
California. ❤️😊🍚🌴🏄
And hey, mom and dad, I’ll see you on Friday.

Love,

Sister Hunsaker

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Vern & Lauralee Hunsaker
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 12:30:26

    Suzanne, We are excited about your coming home. We have loved your letters. You have been a wonderful missionary. Love, Grandma and Grandpa

    Reply

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