Thursday, December 26, 2013


Dearest Family and Friends,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! It is Christmas Eve Eve here, and just yesterday it
started snowing a TON! Before that it really only snowed once, and
just left a bunch of ice on the roads - but we woke up this morning as
well to pure white all around outside- its going to be a white
christmas! I love what you are doing in the Tokyo Mission for a
"White" Christmas! This time of year really is so special and there is
such a special spirit in the air. Yesterday was a wonderful day - an
investigator from one of my old areas, I only got to teach her once
before I transferred, but I heard about her often because my roommates
at the time were teaching her - got baptized! She has changed so much.
When I met her she was very quiet, and very shy. I remember going with
the elders that first lesson and them asking her to pray at the end
and she tried - we waited maybe a good 20  minutes for her to work up
the courage to pray out loud - I don:t think she ended up doing it
that day - but from what I hear now she is very happy, very talkative,
and she has absolutely no problem praying, or with any of the
commandments! This gospel has the power to change people.
This week in Shinkotoni has been amazing!! We have been working really
hard, and are seeing a lot of miracles. I will try and share a few.
The other day we were going around trying to visit as many
non-attending members as we could and share a Christmas message and
give them some Christmas cookies (thank you mom for sending so many
gingerbread cookies! We ate a few, and have been handing out the rest-
everyone loves them!). Anyway, we decided that as we were going we
would talk to the people on the street, and if there were any houses
that caught our interest we would stop by and ring the doorbell - but
mainly focus on the non-attending members. At one point we passed this
ginormous apartment building - auto lock and probably 10 or 11 floors
with 15 or so apartments on each floor. We were just talking, and
saying that of all of those people living there there has GOT to be at
least one person that is ready for this gospel! We obviously did not
have time to call every room however, so we said a prayer, and then
chose 2 apartments that had cute decorations on the windows, and
decided to just do those 4. We dialed in the number of the first one
we chose, and a Christian lady answered. We told her that we were
going around sharing a Christmas message and treat with everyone, and
would it be okay if we shared it with you as well? She said that her
husband was home, and for all the 50 years she had been Christian he
had been kind of against the church, but to wait a second because she
would come down to us. So she came down (that hardly ever happens in
auto-locks!), we sang The First Noel together, and shared Alma 7:10-13
about the birth and atonement of Christ - and how the atonement is the
reason that we have reason to celebrate His birth. She is a firm
believer of the Bible, and only the Bible, and wasn:t too sure about
this other book, but we were able to introduce it, and she accepted a
copy of the Book of Mormon, and a return appointment after winter
break is over! Of the hundreds of people in that apartment building,
God led us right to who we needed to talk to - on the very first try!

Another miracle happened with no expectation on our part - but it
touched my heart. There is a lady, Ota san, a non-member who attends
church and eikaiwa and most activities very faithfully, but has not
been meeting with the missionaries for some reason - we are hoping to
change that soon if we can! But this week, she brought a friend,
Watanabe san with her to church! We had no idea she was coming, but
sat next to them all during church. First, the RS lesson was all about
Tithing. Then Gospel Principles was about Exaltation and all of the
regulations and requirements to receive it. For someone's first time
at church we hoped that those topics weren:t too overwhelming. Before
Sacrament meeting started I asked her what had brought her to come to
church today - she simply said that she had never been before, and
just wanted to see what it was like, that was all. We had sacrament
meeting. It was a wonderful meeting, with lots of Christmas music, and
great, honest speakers. After the meeting ended I turned to her
sitting next to me, and asked her how it was. She proceeded to open up
to me, and tell me how she has been wanting to change for a long time.
I guess often when people see her they think she is not very happy,
and maybe kind of a dark person, and that made her so sad. She said, I
want to be a happy person, I want to smile more. In the past she has
tried a couple of different religions, hoping that they would help her
change - but she felt one was too expensive, and the other had too
many requirements and regulations and in the end neither helped her
see the change she wanted to see in herself. Then she saw her friend,
the one that brought her to church. She too had been a fairly unhappy
person before- always someone depressed and rarely with a smile on her
face - but not anymore. Now she hardly ever doesn:t have a smile on
her face! Watanabe san saw this change in Ota san, and wondered if
maybe this church she had been going to could help her have this same
change - and so she had decided to come. After the first too classes
she said she had felt unsure about whether this was the place for her
- but sacrament meeting was different she said. After sacrament
meeting she said she felt such a good feeling - and even began to tear
up in one of the songs - a feeling like she should continue to look
into this church, like maybe this is where she could finally make the
change that she so desperately wants. I listened and testified that
this was the place for her - we were able to set up an appointment for
Christmas afternoon to meet and tell her more - and she said she plans
on coming back next week for sure. The spirit was so strong as I just
sat there listening to her explain in her own words, the spirit that
she felt in that meeting. But she has a desire to learn, and a desire
to change, and we are so excited to be able to help her find the truth
that she has been searching for!

My stories always get so long, I apologize - but there is just so much
I want to say!
I love this gospel! There is no greater joy than helping others to
understand its joy and its significance as well. I love my Savior
Jesus Christ, and I know that anyone, through his gospel and his
atonement can have the power to change - to be who they want to
become. I am grateful for this Christmas season and the wonderful
spirit of Christ in the air!

I love you all so much! (see attatched picture)I hope you have a
wonderful Christmas, full of joy and love!


Sister Budge

Week 63 - Shinkotoni!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I am in my new area, Shinkotoni, now! I love it! My companion
Sister Johnson is on her third transfer now, and is working really
hard on learning Japanese - I actually got to go on splits with her
once shortly after she first got here, and she has improved a ton
since then! She is from Spanish Fork, Utah, and the sweetest person
you could ever find. I am so excited to work with her!
We had the ward Chrsitmas party this Saturday and then church on
Sunday, so I got to meet a lot of the ward members early, and I am
doing pretty good on their names so far. There are about 50 or so
members that come every week, so I am hoping to have them all pretty
much down by next week before Christmas :)
It was so neat though, we were asked to attend Young Womens for the
first hour (they do it backwards), because as a Young Womens group
they made a Missionary Plan - inpsired by Elder Ballard's talk and the
family that had a Family Missionary Council one of the leaders decided
to do it with the Young Women. We came up with a list of some things
that we could do as YW, and came up with a list of people that we want
to be able to share the gospel with or to come back to church and made
a prayer list, talked about inviting friends to activities, and
sharing their light with the ward members, and strenghtening everyone
around them. We also decided to go out for about an hour just right
after church and go hand out flyers together - we split 3 and 3 -
1missionary, 1 leader, 1 YW - and went out in a blizzard to go pass
out flyers by the train station. It was so amazing to see the dendo
fire in the YW, and their leaders, and how supportive everyone was
when we got back to the church as well. People tend to linger after
church for a while here, and when we came back an hour later they had
some hot mugicha waiting for us by the door to warm us up. There is so
much dendo fire in this ward, I am so excited to work here!

We have one investigator in this new area, and she is doing really
well it seems - I am going to meet her tomorrow, but she has a
baptismal date for January 26th, that she made and committed to
herself. We are going to work really hard to help her acheive that
goal, and maybe even sooner than that if we can. I am excited to be
able to find a lot of new investigators, and those that are prepared
to hear the gospel here- I know that as we work our hardest, and be
obedient that God will bless us with those that are prepared to hear
the gospel.

I found some great scriptures the other day, and thought I would
share, first D+C 29:5-6 - God is waiting for each of our prayers, and
wants to answer them and bring us back home to him, and the other is
the introduction to the D+C. I have never payed too much attention to
that section before, but it really stuck out to me this time, and
confirmed to me that the D+C too is a strong testament of Jesus Christ
and his gospel, and is "of more worth than the riches of the whole

I love this gospel. I love sharing it with others, and the spirit that
comes with a testimony. I am grateful for each one of you and your
constant love and examples to me.

Until next week! May we all have the spirit of Christ (mas) with us every day!


Sister Budge

Week 62 - Hello!


Well it has been another very busy week, with all kinds of experiences - I can't even write about everything that i want to in my personal journal every night, so summarizing an entire week is especially difficult - but I will do my best!

So we started off the week by going down to Hakodate for the last zone conference this transfer- it took about 5 hours by car to get there which is why my email was so incredibly short last week - it was a very busy morning getting ready to go - it was a great conference though, and we got to do splits down there after and I got to work with Sydney Horne! We went to Waterford together - it was crazy! She was doing great! Super genki, and working so hard! Also in the same zone were Watanabe choro - who used to live in Tokyo with us, and Soderquist shimai who I took Japanese with at BYU! I put a picture in of the four of us together :) And one in front of Hakodate station. 

(Oh, and I just remembered, we went housing and met an old Eikaiwa student who said that he used to take Eikaiwa from Kent Gilbert, and Kent Derricott in Fukuoka when they were missionaries there - I didn't know they both served there - is that true? His name was Sato Masayuki, and he let me take a picture,  to see if either of them remember him or not - ring any bells? )

We got back to our area on Wednesday night, and have been able to work here since - it has been such a great week! We were able to do a musical christmas fireside at a member's house- we sang Angels We Have Heard on High, Hark the Herald Angels Sing with everyone, a couple sisters did a duet on guitar of Away in A Manger, and then me and one other sister did a duet of Ave Maria, and then I did a solo of Amazing Grace at the end, It was a really good turn out - maybe about 15 people came and it was a lot of fun - I love the Christmas season, there is so much spirit there! 
I did a lot of singing this week, we also got to sing A Child's Prayer in sacrament meeting with the Elders - I love that song. Probably more than any other it just brings the spirit so immediately and simply. 

Maybe it has a lot to do with being in the Evans' mission, but music is such a big part of dendo actually! We just had a lesson today with Oi san, one of my favorite investigators - she is so sweet, and so sincere. We had a great lesson today about Prayer, and Alma 36, and at the end I sang, and Sister Furue played her piano and we did Savior Redeemer, of My Soul for her. That song also brings the spirit so fast. We bore our testimonies at the end of the Savior, and how he truly understands every feeling that we have, and everything we go through - he is truly our Savior and Redeemer. At the end of our testimonies she began to cry - the first time I have EVER seen her cry. The spirit was so strong. We asked why she was crying, and she said that her and her mother had always thought that there was no one that could understand how they felt or what they were going through, but after that song and our testimonies she really felt like Jesus Christ could do that - that he would understand. And that brought tears to her eyes. I cannot think of any thing more beautiful than the moment that the spirit speaks to someone and they gain a testimony. The power of music is real. The spirit is real. Jesus Christ is our Savior, our dearest friend, and he does understand us more fully that we can comprehend. 

Well as you are aware we have transfers next week - I can't believe this will be my last one! Under normal circumstances I wouldn't know until tomorrow where I am going, but due to a big sister's split that we have planned on the day of transfers, we actually found out on Saturday! If you promise not to say anything to any of the missionaries here before tomorrow morning, then I can tell you that... for my last transfer... transferring to Shinkotoni!! It is a ward here in Sapporo, with two sisters, and no official elders - but elders that come regularly. I have actually never attended that ward, but I know a few of the members there so I am super excited! And for the first time basically, I will have an american companion! I have had two before, but Osterloh was half Japanese, and very good at Japanese, and Northrop shimai might as well have been half, and it was in a threesome with Nanjo shimai so this will really be my first time with just two gaijins - and for the first time in  a long time a two person apartment as well. 

I am so sad to be leaving Odori - I love the people here so much! But I am excited for this opportunity to work somewhere new, and I know that this is what the Lord wants! I am going to do my best to do everything that he has in store for me, I can promise that much!

I love this work, and I love all of you! Have a wonderful week!


Sister Budge

Week 61 - Happy December!

I'm sorry my time is so short today, I have to leave in about two minutes, but this week was so great, we had so many miracles, I got to go on koukans with some AMAZING sisters, see the Nakandakari Family - thank you for all of your prayers - three more of them have baptismal dates right now!, and had the most dendo inspiring sunday ever with a PMG class with all the members the third hour, and then a meeting after where we talked about how we can improve dendo in the ward. It was really great. 

Favorite scripture from the week: Alma 5:33-34. He is waiting. He loves us. 

I'm sorry this is so incredibly short, I will write more next week! (hopefully)

I love you all so much!!


Sister Budge

Friday, November 29, 2013

Week 60 - Good Stuff

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well this week was really great! We got to go on two splits, one back in Obihiro, my first area, and then one in my area now. One day in two hours we handed out two Book of Mormon's on the street, and they both said they wanted to hear more! One of them, was a man named Seto san. In our mission we aren't allowed to street contact the opposite gender, but we pulled into the parking lot of one of our investigator's apartment buildings that we had decided to drop in on. I had thought about calling to make an appointment before hand, but for some reason I felt we should just go unexpected. Seto san was the manager of the building, and he just happened to be out front raking some leaves as we pulled in. We said a friendly konnichiwa, and he said hello back - in English! He started talking to us in some of the English that he had taught himself from TV shows, and we had a nice little chat, and ended up inviting him to come to our English class - he accepted, and said he would come the next week! We gave him a flyer, and then went to drop in on our investigator. She ended up being busy getting ready to go to the dentist, and so we went back outside and started to get ready to leave. Earlier that day we had decided to try a new kind of dendo - and try to find a community service center that we could go to one, to look for good service projects, and two, to find good people that were searching for service opportunities that we could talk to around there. Anyway, as we were at our bikes getting ready to go, we realized that we had no idea where to start - then suddenly I had the thought to just ask Seto san - he would probably know. We caught him as he was walking in, but before we could ask him he had thought of some more English to use, and we just started talking again. He asked us if we were Mormon. We said yes. He told us a little about his life - how he is studying to be a land lord, and he is a ski instructor on the side. He said that he had kids once, but that they had passed away. He said he read a lot of books, and listened to a lot of religions, but he was never able to find  an answer that satisfied his soul - why did his little children have to die? What happened to them? But he said, I guess it just comes down to that everyone has to die at one point - there is nothing you can do. He asked us what we thought about death. We pulled out a Book of Mormon, and read Moroni 8:19 with him. It reads, "Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy." He read that, and simply said, twice and in a loud voice, "Yes! Yes!". We exchanged contact information, and he said at the end, "I am very excited to learn about the Mormon church. I am looking forward to meeting again."
I'm grateful that we chose not to make an appointment with our investigator that day - because she would have said she was busy and we wouldn't have there. I'm grateful that she was busy. I'm grateful that he studied English which allowed us to spark up a conversation. I'm grateful that we chose to do a new kind of dendo that day that inspired us to talk to him once more - even though we never did end up getting to ask him about the community center. I know that God is watching over all of his children, and knows just where we need to be, and takes care of all the little details to make the perfect little moments for us to share the gospel. 

I am grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful that I don't ever have to stop being a missionary, because members are just as much missionaries as those of us wearing badges. I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon. I know it's true. I'm grateful for God and for his all-seeing eye and his perfect love. I'm grateful for my family - you are, and always have been such a strength and anchor in my life. I have been so blessed in my life!

Thank you for your letters/voicemails, and all your love and support! I love you!!


Sister Budge

Week 59 - Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Dear Family, 

Well, it has started snowing up here in Sapporo! It's not sticking yet, but it is definitely snowing! We had a good week - we had a few exchanges with some sisters - dendoed in the hail, and witnessed a baptism in the ward, and at the end of the week I got to attend a practice for the Messiah Concert that we are doing at Christmas time. It was a busy week! 
We got a new Ward Mission Leader recently, Koyama Takuma Kyoudai - and he has so much dendo fire! We had our first Missionary Coordination Meeting this past week (I just had to ask the Elder next to me what you call that meeting in English - I have always just called it Dendo Chosei Shukai). and it was so energizing! I feel like working with the members will be a lot more smooth from here on out - he talked a lot about vision. Right now there is a problem in the church where the missionaries want to help the missionaries, and the members want to help the missionaries, but too often they perhaps use that as an excuse to not have their own vision and instead of helping each other move forward, we end up going in circles together. So we talked a lot about our vision as missionaries, and his vision as the ward mission leader, and how we could help each other move forward even more. We are trying to work towards the Christmas Goal - I am getting so excited for Christmas - there is just such a special spirit about Christmas - and after going to the practice for the Messiah, I have Christmas songs running through my head all the time now! Time goes by too fast.though. 

The Elders in our ward had an investigator get baptized this week - Iwasaki san - she was so sweet, she is in her 60s, and has such a pure simple sweet testimony. We were able to attend with Watanabe san and her 5 year old daughter, and it was a  really good experience! 

Thank you so much for your prayers - We are already starting to see the effects in both of the families! 

I love being a missionary. I know that there is no greater work - even when people turn us down, or tell us that we should probably quit that whole religion thing. I just wish they could Come and See, and know for themselves the deep and abiding peace and happiness - the goodness that is in this gospel!

You are all in my prayers! Please keep me in yours as well! :) 
Have a great week! I love you all!


Sister Budge

Week 58 - And This Transfer I Am....

Dear Family, 

Well this past week we had transfer calls, and this transfer after 5 transfers here in Odori, I am.... STILL IN ODORI!!! And I am still with Sister Furue, as STL - I am so happy! I don't know why I have been so blessed to be here for so long- this will be my eighth month here. I really feel like I still need to be here though - there are still people that I am supposed to meet - a work that I am supposed to do here - and I am so glad that I have been given more time to do it! 
Its been a great week though! Staying as an STL is a rare opportunity, in that in transfer week we usually don't do any exchanges so we had a whole week to work just in Odori! The highlight of the week was with the Watanabe family. We had a lesson where we taught the gospel of Christ, and we tried really hard to make it really fun for her 11 and 5 year old kids. We ended up using the whiteboard a lot and acting out every part of the faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end - it was really fun! Yoshiki kun, her 11 year old son was really great, he listened so intently, and asked so many great questions, he always thinks really thoroughly about everything. And he committed to being baptized the same day as his Mom!! December 22nd! 
We had Stake Conference this week, and Watanabe san came and brought her friend's daughter, that we have met a couple times just at some activities with her too! We had no idea she was going to bring her! So that was a nice surprise! Also, after the conference, The Kato family was so nice and came to say hello! I guess Brother and Sister Kato are here for the weekend, and made a special trip to come say hello! I am sending a picture :) 

I am running out of time, but I am so grateful for this opportunity to be on a mission, and to be here in Sapporo, with my companion right now, with the investigators we have now - I love the people here!!
I have learned that the funnest days are the days where you get to testify - just have no fear and choose to testify boldly to anyone that listens. There is no better way to feel joy!

I love you all so much! I testify this to people on the streets all the time, but no matter how far away we live, I always feel your love and your support, and your prayers! 


Sister Budge