Monday, December 24, 2012


Merry Christmas Eve!!
Christmas is here! I can't believe how  quickly this year has gone by! It has been so neat to me to see how very much the same Christmas feels even though I have never had a Christmas like this before. I feel the Saviors love so strongly whenever I hear a Christmas song or testify to someone about the true meaning and importance of Christmas. I know  that Christ lives, and that he loves every single person that has ever lived or will ever lived. This week we were blessed to have a zone meeting where we talked a lot about the Savior and his attributes and his atonement. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the Savior's humility and submissiveness in the Garden of Gethsamene. Even though God perfectly understands us and our feelings, Jesus Christ was willing to not only understand our pains, but to fully experience, and overcome them for us. Even if only one person in the entire world chose to accept His sacrifice, he was still willing to suffer for everyone's pains. so that everyone would have the chance to overcome them. The more I learn and the more I testify about the atonement of Jesus Christ the more I am amazed and overcome with gratitude and thanks for Him. I know this is Christmas time and not Easter, but this year for some reason rather than the birth of Christ, his atonement has really stuck out to me at this time. After all, if it hadn:t been for the atonement, if he wasnt our Savior and Redeemer, his birth would not have been all that important in the first place. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have now  to be a missionary here in Obihiro, Hokkaido and tell people about this wonderful gift that they have all been given, but do not yet know how to receive. I love this gospel. I love the peace, joy and truth that I feel from it. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ, and this opportunity that we have at Christmas  to remember His birth that was made significant by the miracle of his atonement. I know that He lives. I know  that he has given us all a gift, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of being able to change, the gift of being able to return to live with God someday with our families, and the gift of eternal happiness. I hope that we can remember that one greatest gift among all the other wonderful gifts that we give and receive at this most wonderful time of the year.
I am excited to talk to you all tomorrow! Have a very Merry Christmas!! I love you all!!
2 Nephi 19:6 - I didn't realize this was in the Book of Mormon too! He truly is all of those things!
Sister Budge

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Week 15 - Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!


I don't have much time to write today, so I'll try to make it quick :)

That is so great that you met a couple from Obihiro! It was probably Brother and Sister Okuda - they just started a one year mission as temple missionaries in Tokyo. They are great! Okuda Shimai teamed up with us for Onodera Eiko san's lessons alot - she is an amazing person! If you happen to run into her again, please tell her hello, and about Eiko san too! She left for Tokyo the week before her baptism so I don't know if she knows about it yet.

I sent the information for the Christmas call next week in another email, hopefully 2:00 works for you? If for some reason you can't call at 2:00, then you can try to call some other time - except for 10:30-1:00 or after 8:00 pm. But 2:00 would be best - try not to all get stuck in a bathtub and lose track of the time okay? ;) I can't wait to talk to you all! I'm trying to figure out how to talk to all of you at the same time - this family is getting too big! :D

This week was a crazy week! First of all - there is a lot of snow! Apparently this is an unusual year for Obihiro, but yesterday it snowed a good 1 and a half to 2 feet, and it all stays. Today was perfectly blue skies and sunny, but still pretty cold - I guess when it snows it snows a lot, and when it doesn't it doesn't at all - but I miraculously have still not slipped and fallen, and it hasn't been too cold yet!

We had a sister's exchange this week and I got to work with Sister Yao, who is on her last transfer for a day. She is an amazing missionary, it was so much fun to work with her! I think the thing that impressed me the most was the way that she just left a good impression with everyone that we talked to, whether they listened to us or not, and even when one lady ended up telling us about her religion for a good 30 minutes or so, she very tactfully turned what could have turned into a bible-bash type situation (without the bible...) into a good experience for both of us :) I love working on Sister exchanges and getting to learn from so many great examples - this was my third exchange so far, and all three have been with last transfer missionaries! I think President Evans knows that I need all the best training that I can get! :)

One of my favorite scriptures this week I actually heard from Sister Yao on the exchange - it is Jeremiah 1:6-9 :)

I'm about out of time for today, sorry this week is so short! In short, all is well, and the church is true!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to email next week or not - there is a Zone Christmas activity, so just in case I can't, I'll talk to you all next Tuesday on Christmas!!

Love you!

Sister Budge

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 14 - Eiko San!!


Well it is officially winter here in Obihiro! It has snowed a couple times in the last week - which is pretty unusual for Obihiro I guess - and there is a good two feet of snow on the ground. I don:t think it will be disappearing anytime soon either! We have officially quit riding our bikes and now rely on walking, buses, and occasionally member's give us rides in their cars which is great! I've actually come to enjoy housing in snow storms - everyone is super nice! They usually at least open their door and talk to us for a little bit whether they are interested or not, probably just to see who is crazy enough to be knocking on their door in that kind of weather - but thats okay! One lady that we talked to in a store even offered to drive us home! We had an appointment near by soon so we declined, but she was totally sincere. It really is true what they say about Hokkaido - the temperature is freezing, but the hearts of the people are warm!

A funny thing happened this week when we were housing with a member. We knocked on the door, and it opened, and the man inside heard who we were and where we came from and then without hearing anything else told us to wait a moment and closed the door. A few seconds later he comes out with a two foot by three foot painting and just hands it to us and says "Here, take this, it is for you! My business card and an explanation of the painting are in a folder on the back - Thank you! Bye!" Very surprised, and quite confused we fumbled to hand him at least a flyer before he shut the door again. Overcoming our shock a little bit and thinking about what to do with our newly accquired painting, we decided to go back and give him a present of The Book of Mormon in exchange for his generosity. We knocked again, he came out we gave him The Book of Mormon, and then he comes right back at us with another painting! Before we knew it we were left again outside his door with now two paintings and still no idea why on earth he decided to give them to us. But our apartment and the Elder's apartment now have original pieces of artwork to decorate! I'm still not sure what it all means, but one thing is for sure - you can never predict what happens when you dendo!

Okay, that was the funny thing this week... now for the exciting part :)
Onodera Eiko san got baptized!!!!!!! She had her interview on Thursday, the baptismal service was on Saturday, and in sacrament meeting yesterday she received the gift of the Holy Ghost. She is now officially the newest member of the church in the Obihiro ward. It was beautiful! She was so calm and peaceful before it all, and she just said that she knew that this was right. I won:t lie I was worried about it all week, thinking about anything that we might not have explained well enough, or things her family might say or do to stop her, or if she would relapse on smoking or something would happen to postpone her baptism. I told my companion about some of my worries and she kindly reminded me to think about when I was baptized. Did I understand everything perfectly when I was baptized at eight years old? Obviously not. I wasn:t baptized because I passed some test of my gospel knowledge. I was baptized because I believed in Jesus Christ and I wanted to follow him. Baptism is not how we show that we are perfect - it is how we allow God to make us perfect, and show him that we are willing to make changes in our lives to follow Him and let His gospel and His light change us. Eiko san truly is an example to me of what it means to become as a little child, submissive, meek, humble, and willing to learn, and willing to obey. At the beginning I made the mistake of thinking that I had to help bring her up to my level so to speak, help her come to my level of understanding before she could be baptized. Now I realize that I need to become more like her - its not about how much you know, its about the conviction of your heart. It was a beautiful weekend, and I feel so blessed to have been here to witness it!

I know that this gospel is true, and that it truly is the way to happiness and eternal life! I love you all a bunch! Merry December/ Christmas Season! What a wonderful time of year to let the light of Christ that comes so naturally at this time of year change us!


Sister Budge

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week 13 - Transfer Week!


I was able to buy a card reader today, so hopefully you were able to receive the pictures I sent! My card is getting pretty full so I may send it home pretty soon - but for now you have a sneak peak :) 

This week was extremely busy! It was transfers week, and my companion transferred to Odori in Sapporo so we were really really busy visiting members and investigators and packing on Tuesday and Wednesday,and very early Thursday morning before getting on a bus to go to Sapporo for a Special Sisters Training Meeting and Transfers. Although I was sad to lose my trainer, I have an awesome new companion named Sister Seto - she was actually MTC companions with my trainer! They are very different- Sister Kise has more energy and more genki than probably anyone I:ve ever met, and Sister Seto is super sweet and very quiet - its a transition, but I love them both! It really feel that both Sister Kise and Sister Seto were and are exactly the companions that I need to grow and learn - it truly is an inspired process! There is a lot of change with transfers, and its a little nerve wracking - i am now the area senpai not just with Sister Seto, but with the now 6 elders in the Obihiro ward now too! We got 5 new missionaries in the ward - they opened a new area actually! We are all super excited about that. One of the APs became a trainer and is opening the new area - I have a lot of respect for him, that is a hard situation to be in! But he is doing a great job, and I think the ward is getting more excited about missionary work now that they see it growing and expanding. 

Transfers for sisters are actually a lot of fun! We all meet at the honbu for lunch, and then we have an SSTM (special sisters training meeting) where we are trained from sister Evans and the returning sister missionaries. While we were at the Honbu, Sister Evans gave me a present from you, Mom and Dad, from Korea! I was so surprised! I love it, thank you so much! I actually forgot to bring a scarf with me and it ended up snowing the next day, so it was  very timely gift :) Then we get to go on exchanges for the night within sapporo, spend the night, and then meet the next day for lunch and then go to our new areas with our new companions. I got to work with a gaijin sister for a day, it was a blast! It was the first time for either one of us to do so. Her name is Sister Northrop - her dad actually served in Fukuoka about the same time as you Dad, does the name sound familiar? It was energizing and refreshing to meet all the other sisters and President and Sister Evans - they are really fabulous. 

I am running short on time this week, so that will have to do for now - I love you all, I know this gospel is true! I know that God lives, and that he loves all of his children. I know that he has a plan for each one of us, and that everything that happens is for our good in the end. DandC 121-122. "Fear not what man can do for God shall be with you forever and ever."

Thank you for your letters and you love! 


Sister Budge

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Week 12 - First Snow in Hokkaido!


I have officially been in my first snow in Hokkaido! Luckily it was relatively far away from where I live at a members house, and we were able to ride in the members car, so we just got to play in it, and throw some snow balls :) There is nothing sticking yet, and today is really sunny, but this morning when we went out for morning sports all the puddles from yesterday's rain/frost were frozen solid - it is getting pretty cold! It wouldn't feel so cold most of the time, except for that it starts getting dark now around 4 in the afternoon - by the middle of December it will start getting dark around 3! It's super early, and it makes dendoing pretty difficult because there aren't as many people on the streets (everyone wants to stay inside when its cold and dark :) ) and housing in the dark can feel a little iffy sometimes... so we try to make evening appointments as much as we can :) But all in all we're doing great! We can still ride our bikes, and we've stayed pretty warm - but I am a little nervous for when the real winter sets in! :)

Well it turned out that this week was not the week for Eiko san to be baptized. She hasn't been feeling well for the past week or so, and so we weren't able to have any lessons with her this past week - we met her once for about 15 minutes at her door, we just stopped by to see how she was doing - and although she is sick, she expressed how fortunate she feels to have met the Mormon church, and she is even keeping the Word of Wisdom! We are hoping to meet with her in the middle of this next week when she starts feeling better and set a new date. We tried so hard all week to be able to have her be ready for this past Sunday, fasting and praying, and doing everything we could think of - but it wasn't the timing that the Lord has in mind. But we know that he does have a time in mind, and that everything will happen when it is supposed to happen. And although we didn't see a baptism this week, we had so many other blessings in return! We got a call from an investigator that we haven't talked to in a few weeks, and she made an appointment with us! We were able to meet with a part member family for the first time since I've been here and rebuild a really good relationship with them - the daughter is about 17, a recent convert of about two years and recently she's been inactive, but she loves Joseph Smith and knows he was a prophet. Her mom loves the missionaries and I really feel she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of prayer - she just has to overcome some word of wisdom addictions, but she knows it is true. Then on Sunday we had one of our investigators show up at church unexpectedly! It was 2 hours after church had ended of course, but luckily there was a Relief Society activity going on and we had just happened to come back to the church to talk to a member when she came in! She was able to reconnect (she's been investigating for about 15 years - the last time she came to church was about 10 years ago! ) with a lot of the members, a few of which even remembered her and made her feel welcome which was great!

I've learned that as a missionary, and in life, it is important to plan - but more important than the plan you make is that through planning you show God that you are willing to work - and when you show him that effort he will bless you with His plan, which often times is totally different from the one you prepared :)

I'll end this week with a scripture that I have come to love, Alma 26: 35-37
"Now have we not great reason to rejoice? yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had such great reason to rejoice as we... for (God) has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on His name.
...For this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from an everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of his people...
... Now my brethren we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen"

I love you all! Thank you for your support, love and prayers!

I hope you are all doing well! How was the mission president's seminar in Korea?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sister Sheri Budge

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week 11 - Fruit desirable to make one happy :)


Thank you for your letters this week! It seems like it is rare now to have a week without some life changing news like a baby or a move, or a mission call, or something like that! You are all amazing, I love you tons! I wish I had more time to respond to you each personally, but just know that I love you all, and I am grateful everyday for your wonderful influences and examples for me. I have the best family and friends in the world!

This week was a very busy one, and it was great! I don't know why but for some reason Mondays, the day that we get to do our shopping, it is always raining - so we are getting pretty good at using the space in our baskets wisely and bicycling in the rain :) But despite the wetness and the cold, rainy days are actually pretty fun! We have a saying that when there is rain, we will meet a kinjin! (or a "golden person"- someone ready to accept the gospel :) ) This week on Wednesday it was pouring rain - yes! We were able to make an appointment that morning with a potential investigator that the Elder's had found, and she was amazing! She was so excited about the gospel, and has been reading the Book of Mormon that the Elder's gave her - she has been going through some rough times recently - her husband has been in a coma for a long time, i don't know exactly how long, and she has just recently moved so she can be closer to the hospital to visit him more often. She is very optimistic though, and has a fighting type personality. I am very excited to meet with her again! After a few hours of housing in the rain, we decided to stop at a Nepalese curry house for dinner - we've been there a few times before and are pretty good friends with all the workers there :) There was no one else in the restaurant, so we ended up talking to the 4 people who work there half in Japanese and half in English, and sometimes with the help of a Nepalese to Japanese dictionary about God, religion, the end of the world - (he brought up the movie 2012 and asked us if we believed that it would happen next month - we told him that there was no way to tell, but probably not :) ), and the purpose of life. It was super fun! We wanted to get some Book of Mormons to bring them next time, but apparently it hasn't been translated into Nepalese yet... I guess we'll have to stick with the Japanese/English/Nepalese method :)

Our investigator, Eiko san still has a baptismal date for next week, and we are trying as hard as we can to make it go through - but the adversary is working pretty hard to make it fall through too. Before we were worried about opposition from her husband and daughter, but now it looks like that is okay, but her parents are now opposed to her baptism. She was gone all last week visiting her parents who were recently hospitalized so we haven;t been able to have a lesson with her in about a week and half, but we have been keeping in touch. She comes back in town tomorrow so we are planning on meeting with her everyday if we can to help her overcome these trials and be able to receive baptism - if not this week than very soon after that! But we feel pretty strongly that she is supposed to be baptized this week. She really feels that this is the true church and knows that it is good. Keep her in your prayers! :) And us too! :)

I guess that's all for this week, I'm just about out of time - one last story to end it off. We met with an investigator this week who told us that the reason he and his wife enjoy having us over is because of the energy and light that we have - he jokingly said, "I don't know whether its because you read this Book of Mormon, or because of something delicious you ate - but you are so happy!". We were able to then turn to 1 Nephi 8:10-12 and talk about a fruit, most desireable and sweet to make one happy, and how to grow that fruit in Alma 32. The seed is faith, and we grow it by living the gospel. The fruit is eternal life, or one day living with God again. The gospel brings happiness! So we are happy because we read the Book of Mormon, and because we hope to one day have that delicious fruit, not just by ourselves, but with our family and friends too!

I look forward to one day eating that delicious fruit, desireable to make one happy, with all of you!

I love you!! have a great week!


Sister Budge

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 10 - Blessings Come Through Trials - Ganbarimasho!

Aisuru Kazoku -

Hello!!! I don't have too much time to write today, so I will try to get everything I want to say in as fast as I can!

First off, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE BIRTHDAY PACKAGE!! It had been sitting at the honbu - I guess they can only forward packages if they are sent through regular mail so in the future that would be the fastest way - but I was able to get it when the Evans came to Obihiro for the zone conference last week - it was wonderful!! I love the cardigan, and I wear the socks everyday during personal study, and you know i love the Almond chocolate - really everything was perfect! You are so thoughtful, thank you so much!
I don't know why but for some reason recently the amount of food that we have been receiving from people has increased dramatically - from packages, from various presents at zone conference (for being a bean-chan, having a birthday, the cleaning check, halloween - it was really quite fruitful! :) ), and then from the fruits basket, investigators - even yesterday and today from our neighbors and the cleaning lady at the apartment! The cleaning lady, Kitayama san is amazingly nice - we spent about 4 hours with her today, learning how to make harumaki (spring rolls), and a few other things. She just gave us all the materials and then all the spring rolls at the end too - she wouldn't accept any kind of payment at all! They were delicious by the way - shiso, chicken and umeboshi and the wrap, thats it - they are SO good. Anyway. We are trying to figure out what to do with all the food - we didn't have to do any shopping today at all, it was great!

The most surprising thing this week was that we got to do another Sister's exchange! I got to work with Arashiyama shimai from Osaka, who is on her last transfer. She is an amazing missionary - you can just feel her power and her testimony when she talks and you know that she knows why she is here. I'm so sad that she is going home next transfer, I would have loved to become her companion someday! The way things worked out we only got to dendo together for about 5 hours in Obihiro, but in those five hours we were able to make 5 appointments! It was amazing! It really was so neat, as soon as we got to the area that we had decided to dendo in, I just had such a good feeling about it, like that was really where the Lord wanted us to be at that time. If I have learned anything on my mission it is to never make a decision by yourself. We pray before everything we do, and more than ever before in my life I have truly been able to feel and recognize the Holy Ghost giving us answers and guiding us. It is such a fun feeling, and so rewarding when we follow it! The sisters exchange was a really good experience, despite the 10-11 hours total I spent on the trains going to and from and to and from Sapporo - its amazing how much you can learn from someone in just one day!

We are kind of in an interesting spot right now, where we don't have too many investigators that are progressing as much as we'd like, but there are a ton of people that we are just starting with that have a lot of potential, so we are working hard now on making appointments. We are still meeting Eiko san, but recently her family has started to become more opposed to her getting baptized - we are hoping to be able to meet with her family as well to help them have a better understanding of the church. Hopefully everything will work out soon - keep her in your prayers!

There is never a dull moment as a missionary! You truly have to be ready for anything - which is impossible to do by yourself, but with the Lord all things are possible! Which reminds me Mom, thank you so much for sending me your talk! It really touched my heart, and you said a lot of things I really needed to hear. I'm not surprised at all that they ask you to speak all the time! Dad, I am excited to look for "lovingkindness" in the Book of Mormon - I'll let you know when I find it :)

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and your support! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Budge

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week 9 - All The Way Under :)

Hello! :)

This week went by so fast, I can't even believe it! It was a great week - I don't know where to begin!

I had my first zone conference this week and I got to meet the other missionaries in my zone for the first time which was a lot of fun. We received training from President and Sister Evans and Elder and Sister Ross (the office couple) and the assistants - it was a fabulous conference - it was just what I needed! There are about 12 missionaries in my zone, sister kise and I being the only sisters. It is a really good group of missionaries!

We were able to meet with Onodera san 3 times this week! Twice at her house, and once when she came to church for the first time yesterday! She has a baptismal date for the 18th, and she is so excited about it! We were kind of worried this week about teaching her the Word of Wisdom - she is the first person that I have taught it to on my mission. We were pretty nervous about it. We were able to have a member with us in the lesson, and it actually went really well! She only drinks tea and coffee right now (we thought that she might have a problem with tobacco, but it turns out that that is her husband, not her!) And she committed to follow it! Our next appointment is tomorrow, we'll see how its going :) She is amazing! It is SO FUN to see the change that the gospel brings to peoples lives! She was always an amazing person, but since she has decided that she wants to be baptized, and has been reading the Book of Mormon, and gaining a testimony she has just gained this extra light about her, she really just glows with the light of the gospel - its beautiful!! She had a really good experience at church too - she even got to see a baptismal service of an 8 year old in the ward! I think we needed to do a little bit more explaining before the baptism - she understood the part about making a promise with God to remember him and keep his commandments - the thing she was most surprised about was the water! She didn't realize that you actually go all the way under - I guess we never really explained that part :) Just one more evidence that Sister Kise and I really play a very minimal part :) We are just there to help her along as she comes to know her Heavenly Father and she really is coming to know him! It's so amazing to be a part of this work. I love it! :)

We are keeping busy here in Obihiro, trying as much as possible to have appointments so that we don't have to be outside!! Yesterday was probably the coldest day I've had here so far - it was cloudy and windy, and it gets dark around 4:30 here now so a lot of our streeting/housing time is pretty cold now a days. But the warmth of the spirit keeps us going! :)

I love you all! Thank you for your letters and your prayers! :)
Sorry this week is pretty short - I'll try to write more next week!


Sister Budge :)

Week 8 - Hola :D

Hola! :D

It sounds like the Tokyo mission had a very busy week this week! The Sister's training meeting sounds like it was amazing! I want to read a copy of your talk mom! onegaishite mo ii desuka? :D The Sapporo mission does something like that too around transfer times when everyone goes to Sapporo to transfer, but we weren't able to go because we didn't transfer and we're out in the countryside - it would have been too expensive to go just for the sisters training meeting. Hopefully next time it happens I'll be able to go! Do you do all of your talks in Japanese? Do you have someone translate them for you, or do you write them yourself? That is so neat that you got to attend a triple baptism! We are having a baptismal service in our ward next week (an eight year old girl from one of the member families) and right now we have commitments from at least two investigators to come and see it. One, Onodera san has a baptismal date for November 18, and the other had a date before but it fell through - we are hoping to be able to set another one soon! This past week has been a little more difficult in terms of appointments, and people cancelling at the last minute - we've come to realize that the planners have a "Back-up Plan" section for a very good reason - we even need a back-up for the back-up sometimes. That's just how it goes though, and we work through it, and often times its when we have to revert to plan B that the really neat things happen.
One example from this week - we were on our way back home from an appointment about 30 minutes away by bike. We were riding along, when we decided to stop and talk to someone up ahead. We stopped and said hello, and instead of the usual "Oh sorry, I;m really busy right now I can't talk" - she looked astonished to see us! Luckily for me my companion had the frame of mind and the memory to put two and two together and realize that it was the same lady that we had stopped and talked to for about 5 minutes my first week in the field, about a month and a half ago! At that time she said that she wanted to come to church, and gave us her home phone number, but she never came and when we called it was a wrong number. There was nothing else we could do, so we thought that was going to be it - until we ran into her again! She said that she had had to go to the hospital that Sunday, and that her Father had answered the phone, and he is very protective I guess and doesn't like people calling for her, and so he had said that it was a wrong number! Anyway, since that time she said she had been hoping to run into us again, and had even tried to find us, but had not been able to. We exchanged cell phone numbers this time, and were able to meet the next day for lunch. I don't know quite yet where it will go from there, but I don't believe it was an accident that we met again!
Obihiro is getting pretty cold now, it is always pretty sunny but the wind is super strong so that makes it pretty cold - especially on bikes. I think its usually about 15 degrees celcius, but it feels more like 0! I'm starting to pull out more and more of my winter clothes, and getting a little nervous for what the winters will be like if the fall is this cold! But so far its been all in all very good weather - as long as I bring a coat :D
My favorite scripture of the week is Mosiah 24:12-15. I have especially felt on my mission and in the last few weeks that God does hear my prayers, both spoken and those said in my heart, and I have felt his strengthening influence in helping me meet the responsibilities of being a missionary. We are given trials so that we can be stronger - but I have realized recently that that strength does not come from us, but it comes from God - and that is the test, to see if we will have the faith, humility and patience to let him strengthen us - because he will!

I love this gospel, and I love being a missionary! I love all of you, and reading your letters!

Until next week!!


Sister Budge :D

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week 7 - I LOVE General Conference!

Aisuru Family and Friends!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Landon and Becky you are having another baby!!! I am SOO happy! :D Your family is just getting bigger all the time! btw, I was very happy and surprised to see a picture of Landon holding Claire in one hand at the Hiroo building at church yesterday! One of the Tokyo missionaries, Sister Nishihara sent it in a letter to her home ward, where I happen to be serving! She also included a picture of the Tokyo Mission zone conference, so I got to see mom and dad too - it was a fun surprise! Janna and Phil you are IN SINGAPORE! and you're having a BOY! Pretty soon our family is going to be spread all over the world - I have pretty much given up on trying to guess where everyone will be and even how many people there will be when I get back!

Second, Thank you all for your birthday emails and wishes, and even some packages! I was surprised and very happy to get one from Grandma and Grandpa Budge - THANK YOU! I am wearing the skirt right now - I love it! I haven't gotten yours yet mom - I'm guessing its probably at the honbu - which just makes my birthday longer in anticipation! It really has been the best birthday ever!! Everyone was SOOO nice, I couldn't believe it!! Just in review, on tuesday the elders in my district surprised me with a bunny shaped cake before eikaiwa, and then had all the eikaiwa students sing happy birthday to me (even though my birthday wasn't until the next day!) Then on my actual birthday my companion left a present on my desk, Sister Evans called me and sang happy birthday to me with all the office elders and the new elders that came in that I was in the MTC with, the bishop's wife took us out to lunch and even bought me a cute tote bag from the restaurant, then we had an appointment with our investigator who has a baptismal date, and we were able to move her date and teach her a lesson! (she is AMAZING, she even came to a session of conference - she is so prepared and so receptive, we are meeting again with her on Wednesday and many more times before mid-November! (when her baptismal date is) :) ). She didn't know it was my birthday, but it was probably the best present I got! Then we visited a member who gave me a really nice, really cute hand made card and a homemade cake! It was a fruit sponge cake with white chocolate - it really looked professional!! and it was DELICIOUS. She is the most amazing person, I love her to death, and I know she spent a lot of time and effort to do that for me - it was amazing. I thought that was the end, but then on Friday the ward mission leader surprised me again by giving me yet another cake, and signing to me again! It really has been an eternal birthday it seems, and I am simply overwhelmed by everyones love and kindness - it was amazing!!
This week was just a good week.
Another HUGE blessing was that I got to watch conference in English!! They set up a booth for the gaijin missionaries to watch it in english - we just watched the afternoon session while they watched the morning session and vice versa. It worked out perfectly, and I can't tell you what a releif that was! I love conference so much. I know that the Prophet and Apostles are truly inspired of God, and that the things they said and say are truly what God would have us know at this time. I know it was what I needed. Some of my favorite talks were M. Russell Ballard's talk about how the service we do in life may just be like the 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey that a bee contributes, but that together, that service is the life sustaining sweet nectar of life - like honey! Sometimes we may feel like our efforts are bringing little to no results - but if that is so its because we are trying to do it by ourselves. We need each other and we need God (the queen bee? :) )
Richard G. Scott's talk on Family history and Temple work being as connected as baptism and confirmation was a real eye opener for me - it's kind of hard to do as a missionary, but family history is something that I definitely want to do better in the future!
I also loved Henry B. Eyring's talk - it was just what I needed to hear. I love the concept of asking simply for a divine errand. The Lord knows where we are and what our abilities are. If we just simply offer him our time - he will show us how to fill it.
Boyd K. Packer's talk was beautiful - I love the first hymn he talked about, Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy (it was part of our mission music night, which I heard from Sister Evans is now online on the mission page or somewhere if you want to listen :) ). And I don't think I had ever heard Does the Journey Seem Long before, but it is earning a spot among my top favorites I think :)
Jeffrey R. Hollands was as always very powerful. I had never thought of the apostles in that light before, nor realized the true import of his question - Do you love me? True love, just like true conversion requires a change in action. We cannot claim to love something or someone unless our actions reflect that love.
I wish I had time to go on, I really just loved them all! The Relief Society broadcast was also jsut incredible - we were blessed to be able to attend most of that as well :) I am excited to read them again in next month's Liahona magazine.

I love this gospel. I have a testimony of this gospel and of the mission of our Savior Jesus Christ in helping us all return to live with our Heavenly Father. I have a testimony of the atonement. I know that Christ truly does know all of his children, and he loved each one of us enough to go perform the atonement so that he could have perfect empathy and perfect comfort. He does comfort. He does heal. He does live. And there is no better way, no other way to happiness than through him! I am so grateful to be here on a mission sharing that glorious truth!

Thank you all for your love and support!

Sister Budge

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 6 - Missions are the BEST! :)

Dear Family and Friends!!
WOW! I can't believe that they changed the age for elders AND SISTER missionaries!!! I am so excited!!! For all of you thinking about going on missions now that couldn't before - DO IT!! I highly recommend it :) Oh my goodness, I am so excited for what this change is going to bring - I feel like the sister misssionary population is going to explode! I hope it does! I bet there will be a lot of new missions opening up now as well - maybe even a Tokyo North and South? Who knows, but I am sure excited to see these changes come into play! I really am so excited, I can't even begin to explain what a blessing the mission has been for me, and I am only just beginning - I am so grateful and excited that so many more people now will have the chance to serve! :) I can't wait to listen to conference, and hear the official announcement! (although I probably won't understand most of it because they only have it in Japanese here in Obihiro... there isn't much demand for an English showing, so it'll be pretty interesting to see how much I can learn from the spirit alone!) :)
This week was so great. Most interesting thing that happened was that we got to have a Sister's split! Sister Kise went to an area called Kotoni, and Sister Masuda came to Obihiro to work with me. She goes home next week, so it was really a great opportunity for me to spend about 2 days with her, and to get some really great advice. She actually served in Obihiro for a few months earlier in her mission so we spent a lot of the time visiting her old investigators and her converts as well - it was a really good experience, and a good chance to get to know the people on a more personal level. Masuda shimai has an incredible way of showing love to everybody and really getting to know people, rather than just sharing a message with them. It was a really good opportunity for me to see a different way of dendoing, and to realize that every missionary is truly unique and that there is no one right way to dendo, but everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and they all work together to build the many different kinds of people and missionaries - all of which the Lord needs to do his work. I guess it is pretty rare to have a sister's split during your first transfer, so I am grateful that I had that chance!
Well the work is going good here in Obihiro - we have been blessed with a lot of teaching opportunities recently, and there are a few that are really progressing a lot. One of our investigators actually lived in California for about 10 years so I get to teach her in English which is a refreshing change every once in a while. She believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and she has a desire to be baptized - we are so excited to help her, and her boyfriend who also has the same desire, do just that! It is so exciting to have a temple announced in Sapporo - it really helps people see that baptism is not the ultimate goal, but simply a step along the path to make more promises with God, and eventually return to live with him again. We have been trying recently to focus more on helping members and investigators focus on the temple - i think its been really helpful. It is nice to be able to teach in English every once in a while and express my thoughts, but even more so to totally understand her responses :) That is always the biggest struggle is not necessarily asking the question that I want to ask in Japanese, but understanding their answer after I manage to get my question out there. I am beginning to understand a little more each day though - I really have felt recently that I am not learning this language by myself. It is slow, and I am becoming pretty good at imitating correct reactions from my companion to responses that I don't understand - but it is coming, and I know that the Lord is helping me, for which I am very very grateful :)
We were blessed to have dinner at three different members houses this week! They were all delicious - I never knew there could be so many different varieties of curry - no two are alike! And I have seen a lot of curry here as a missionary - I'm just saying its a good thing I love curry! :)
Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes! I truly have the best family in the world :) I love you all so much! I am pretty excited to finally be in my twenties, and to turn 20 on a mission - which I guess won't be rare at all anymore! But its still something that I never expected to have happen to me! I really love being here on a mission there is truly no where else I would rather be, and nothing else I would rather be doing. Like I mentioned earlier, for anyone that is thinking about going on a mission - i highly highly recommend it!!
Until next week!
Sister Budge

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 5 - It's gonna be a short week, gomen!

The weather has been a little crazy recently - for the past few days every one has been saying that a huge typhoon was coming today, and that it would be next to impossible to go anywhere, which would have been a big problem because we really need to do some grocery shopping today - and this morning it was pouring rain. But by the time we finished our morning study it was completely blue skies! The typhoon was completly gone! We literally see miracles everyday - its the best!
Lets see... highlights of the week... This week has been a week of lots of kids! On monday night we taught a lesson to a members daughter that is turning eight this month and is going to be baptized - they have the cutest family it was so fun - when we left all three of the little girls were hugging our legs and begging us not to leave - they are 7, 5, and 3. It was pretty cute :)
Then on Wednesday we were on our way to visit an investigator when we ran into the daughters of a former investigator. They were SO Excited to see us, and followed us around for about 30 minutes, and introduced us to their friends who were on their way home from school, who then invited us over to see their cat. So off we went to go see this cat! We spent about 30 minutes talking with them and answering their questions - they pulled out everything in our bags and asked about it - they are about 9 and 11 years old. Kids are so open and loving and curious, it was so neat to be around them - there really is something so innocent about children it was refreshing to be so openly accepted and loved instead of hearing the usual "kekko desu". Hopefully we will be able to go back and teach their family - they have 6 kids! Oh and then on Sunday we gave a five minute presentation on the Ten Commandments in primary. I love little kids - but I am also grateful that our usual investigators have a bit more focus and don't usually run around all over the place during our lessons :)
Sorry that this email is so short today, and very scatterbrained - we still have to go do our shopping so I've gotta wrap it up, but I love you all, I pray for you everyday! I know that this gospel is true, and that there is no better way to find peace and joy that is true and lasting. I'm so grateful that I have the chance to share it here in Hokkaido in Obihiro!!
Until next week!
Sister Budge

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 4 - Kiseki!!!

Wow this week FLEW BY! We were writing the report for our weekly call in report last night, and it literally felt like we had written the one for last week the night before. Time is flying by... Tomorrow I will have been on my mission for two months already! Crazy. It has been such a  great experience, I am so grateful to be here!
Up until a few days ago, I had seen no signs that Hokkaido was really as cold as everyone says it is. The whole time I ahve been here it has been HOT, or at least warm enough to go without a jacket and to sleep with the windows open - it was great! Then it rained a couple days ago, and its starting to cool off. Its still in the 20s, which is pretty good, but I am starting to pull out the longer sleeves and tights now. The word on the streets and with the members is that Obihiro doesn:t get a ton of snow, but it is freezing. It gets down to about minus 20 to minus 30 degrees C. I can:t even imagine temperatures that cold!! So I am relishing every little bit of heat that we have here while it lasts!!
Speaking of warm feelings... WE GOT TWO INVESTIGATORS TO COMMIT TO BAPTISMAL DATES THIS WEEK!!! Yay!! I am so excited! Eiko-san is set for October 28, and Ayaka-san for November 11. They are both so great! Eiko is in her mid fifties probably, and I have actually only met her once - its hard to meet with her because her mother is in a hospital outside our area and she spends a lot of time with her. Hopefully she will be able to come back soon so we can teach her more - we will probably have to move her date back if she doesnt come back soon. Ayaka is the one I told you about last week, a referral from a member that just came right out at the beginning and said she wanted to get baptized - she came to church for the first time yesterday, and we have been able to teach her lesson 1 about Joseph Smith and we showed her the restoration DVD last time we met. She is about 25, and a super nice girl, it has been such a blessing and so much fun to meet her and teach her! I am looking forward to the next few weeks as we continue to teach her - she has such a sweet spirit, and the ward members already have reached out to her a lot. The ward is great, everyone is super supportive, and we have been able to get quite a few referrals recently, so that has been a HUGE blessing. Members really are such an important part of missionary work - I wish I had understood that better before my mission!
On Saturday this week we went to a ward activity and spent the morning harvesting potatoes for a young men/young women:s fundraiser - it was a flashback to the NK with sweet potatoes, it was so fun! The members are really so great.
We also had a cleaning check this week, the senior office couple in the mission are going around to all the apartments in the mission for cleaning checks, and they stopped by last night. On a scale of 0-100, our apartment got a 99! So we were pretty happy about that - we worked pretty hard in the last couple of weeks :) it is pretty amazing though how much more you can feel the spirit in a clean apartment. So we have made it a goal to keep it clean :)
Missionary work is really so amazing. Its somewhat of a roller coaster sometimes, but the highs and the blessings always far far outweigh any lows. One example of a miracle this week (besides the baptismal dates of course :) ). It had been a long day, and we were both starving, but we had no time for a dinner break because we had appointments/meetings the rest of the night. I said a prayer as we were biking to our next appointment, a less active member whose husband is not a member, that somehow we would have time to make dinner that night, or that the less active member would offer us dinner. We arrived, and spent were talking with the member for about 20 minutes, the husband was just sitting in the corner watching TV and smoking, when all the sudden he gets up, and the first thing he says to us is "Would you like some ramen?" It was a miracle!! And it was delicious.
I wish I could tell you more, there are literally little/big miracles every single day. I love being a missionary, and I know this church is true!
I love you all, and I am praying for you!!
Sister Budge

Week 3 - Hello From Obihiro!

Dear Family,
Thank you for all of your letters this week! I am thorougly convinced that I have the best family in the world :) And I am very glad that all of you are still alive! David after getting hit in the face with a fence pushed by 20 cows, Mom with cabniets crashing down around her, and Danny cutting 30 seconds off his cross country time - I'm pretty sure the human body isn't supposed to be able to do that in one week! Then again, Danny's endurance level has never been that of a normal human body :) Omedetou! Janna's record is looking more and more reachable all the time! ganbatte! Speaking of Janna, I was very disappointed to not get an email from you this week with your news!! Next week onegaishimasu! :)
This week has been super busy as always, but great! We were able to meet with a couple that both have a lot of interest in the church, and the girl actually speaks English! But her boyfriend doesn't, so we do the lesson in kind of half english half japanese - which is nice because she can help me with words that I don't know and translate them on the spot - its very convenient. They are really interesting, they both want to get baptized, but have a hard time coming to church because she is the owner of a bar and works until really early morning on sunday. So we're trying to figure out a way for them to come - hopefully next week!
By the way, someone quoted your repentance talk in sacrament meeting the week before I got here (I forgot who...) but my companion sister Kise really loved it, and refers to it all the time. Could you maybe send me a copy in english and japanese if you have it? We would both really love a copy :)
Oh, other exciting thing that happened this week, was our music night! We got to go to Sapporo for one night and most of the missionaries from the mission all got together for a music program that we performed for members and investigators, and anyone else that wanted to come - it was a much bigger deal than I was imagining. I was picturing a talent show type setting, just singing in the chapel - oh no. There were lights, tons of microphones, - they recorded it both sound and visual, I think its going to be on YouTube soon even, and they are making CDs afterwards - it was kind of really nerve wracking at first, but it turned out to be really fun! The spirit is always so strong through music.
The more I study and the more I teach this gospel the more I realize that even though it seems incredibly challenging in Japanese sometimes, it is incredibly simple. It really all boils down to Heavenly Father's love for us and His desire for us to return to live with him again someday. He wants us to return to him, so he created a plan, and tells us how to follow it through prophets, both ancient and modern ones. But because we all need a greater power than ourselves to return to God's presence, he also provided a Savior for us, Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice and resurrection make it all possible. The more I study, teach, and live this gospel, the more I know that it is true. I know that God loves ALL of his children. I know that if we follow the plan he has given us that we can live with him again, eternally with our families. I know that this is all possible through Jesus Christ - I am so grateful for him. This gospel is truly the only way to true happiness! Scripture of the week :
Mosiah 2:41 "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and HAPPY state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven that threby they may dwell with God in a state of NEVERENDING HAPPINESS. O remember, remember that these things are true".
These things are true!
Sister Budge

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 2

Well I have officially been in my area for over a week now, and getting very comfortable here! I know my way around to important places like investigators houses and the post office and daiso :) but I am still pretty lost beyond any of that :) We do a lot of biking, and for some reason the sisters in Sapporo all have mamachari's, which has actually been pretty nice so far. It does have gears, and a basket, so its a pretty good bike :) We spent almost our whole Pday today cleaning out the apartment - I am working on figuring out the best way to send pictures home, I think I can email them, but I'm working on it still, so hopefully next week I an send you some pictures of it! Its actually a really nice apartment, I was very surprised, and the members here are so wonderful, the fridge always has food!
In fact, we went to a members house on Saturday, who lives way out in the country. She has aver 70 cows, and a huge vegetable garden in the back, so we got to hand pick a ton of vegetables to take home! Tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, ocra, sumomo (small peaces?) and some really yummy leaves/salad type thing called aoijiso (they also had akaijiso) - it was SO GOOD! They also served us watermelon from their garden, and one of them was yellow on the inside instead of red! I was very surprised. Anyway, I am eating well just incase you were worried mom :) I think I am eating more vegetables now than ever before. It's great!
Teaching this week has been great! We had one girl that we met last week that we thought was going to be really good, but it ended up falling through - so far. But we have been blessed with so many other miracles! One lady that has been meeting with the missionaries for a while finished the entire Book of Mormon!! And then at church yesterday, a member introduced us to her friend who is 24, and as we started the lesson we asked her kind of what she wanted to learn or get out of our lessons, and she said that she wants to get baptized, and she asked us to help her do that. Of course we said we'd be happy too! We are meeting with her again on Wednesday, I am super excited!! I also got to teach a lesson in English this week which was really refreshing :) It was to a Japanese lady who married a British man, so she speaks fluent english with a british accent - kind of fun. We were able to teach her about the plan of salvation, and how death is not the end - she recently had a friend pass away, a 15 year old boy - so she had a lot of questions. They are moving soon, back to England, but hopefully we'll be able to share more of our message with them before they do. They are really spiritual people, its fun. I wish I could tell you more, but I am out of time - until next week!!
To answer some of your questions mom, there are 4 elders and 2 sisters in my district - all in the same ward. They are great. Its funny we actually live in the same apartment building - elders on the 5th floor, sisters on the 6th - so there is an unspoken rule that we are banned from each others floors - so much so that today we gave them some rice from a member, but we called down the stairs and sent the rice in the elevator - it was pretty hilarious.
Sorry I don't have much time - I love you all!! Hope you are all happy and well!!
The church is true! There is truly no greater joy in the world.
Sister Budge :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Week 1 in Sapporo

I feel like the luckiest missionary in the world! How many missionaries get to see their parents at the airport on the way to their mission? It was so so good to see you!! I hope the training is going well with all the new missionaries.. if they are still around by the time you read this letter tell them all hello from my fellow missionaries here in Sapporo.
Well, we made it here to the honbu, no problems. President and Sister Evans and the assistants were waiting for us at the airport when we got there, and we all stopped to eat dinner at a restaurant there. I had my first ramen in Sapporo - it was delicious! It was about an hour ride back to the mission home, and despite my best efforts I slept most of the way. We arrived around 10:30 and all went straight to bed. This morning we all met for breakfast at 7:30 and we have been doing trainings all day - hopefully I will be able to remember it all tomorrow! We all received meishis (business cards), a Japanese name tag (but I think I'll have to wait to really use mine until I can get a magnet one... they gave me a clip one like the elders), a binder with some talks/ mission maps and information etc, a helmet, and even a photo book they put together of visual aids for lessons! I can't read a lot of the kanji in it still, but it looks beautiful! :) And most importantly... I got my new companion!! Her name is Kise shimai, and yes, she is Japanese!!! I have only known her for about 3 hours now, but she is one of the genkiest people i have ever met, and I think we will get along great :) She speaks some English, but she is still learning. So we'll help each other out. I have been assigned to the Obihiro area which is east of Sapporo in the countryside, is what I've been told. I don't actually get to go to the area until tomorrow morning, we all stay one more night at the honbu and then head out - so I am excited for tomorrow! We have about one and a half hours tonight to proselyte here in Sapporo though, so I am looking forward to that!
I just received a letter from Becky, and one from Mom! Thank you so much! I haven't had a chance to read either one yet, but I can see that Becky's is from the primary kids! Tell them thank you for me!! I am looking forward to reading them!
Jya, Thats about all the news I've got so far! Until next week when I write from my new area!
Love you all!
Sister Budge

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 5

Dear Family!
Well this is the last email that I am going to send from the MTC! I can't believe how fast it has gone by - I am so excited/nervous/anxious/ecstatic about leaving on Monday! Although I know I have a long ways to go in the language and in teaching, I feel good enough about the base that I have gotten here to know that I will make it in Japan with the Lord's help! That has been my favorite and most common realization here at the MTC is that as a missionary you really don't do anything but invite the spirit, and then he takes care of the rest. I am so grateful for that! He is infinitely more powerful than I could ever be, so the spirit is a good third companion to have :)
Well I am back in the Japanese district now, as of yesterday, and again I have a great companion, and the district is really great. Everyone is really excited to be leaving so soon! The blessings just keep on coming! I got to go to the Provo temple one last time this morning, the last chance I'll have for the next 18 months unless the Sapporo temple opens up while I'm there - which i hope it does! I am going to miss the temple, it is such a beautiful place.
Happy Anniversay Mom and Dad! I forgot to tell you on Friday! Gomen! It sounds like you had a lovely get a way for a day - I'm glad you did you definitely deserve it! By the way, practically everyone in the Japanese branch has seen your picture on the wall, and everyone says that I look exactly like you mom! So I feel pretty flattered about that :)
Email time goes by far too quickly here at the MTC - they only give us 30 minutes on email, so I have to wrap this up. I am so grateful that I am here on a mission. I love being a missionary and learning so much everyday about the gospel and about myself and about how to teach. I know that this work is guided by the Lord because there is NO other way that thousands of 19-24ish year old elders and sisters could do it. He truly does use weak things of the world to work his miracles. I love this gospel, and I love my family! You are so supportive and such great examples to me all the time! Until Japan then!!
Sister Budge

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week 4

Hello Family!!!
Oh my goodness, I LOVE getting letters from you all! Landon and Becky, thank you for the package! Those Haichu were fabulous and I am definitely going to use those stickers :) Give Asher and Claire a big hug for me!! He is so sweet! Janna, I can't wait to hear about your baby! I guess I'll be in Japan by the time you find out - wakuwaku! Jeremy and Lizzi thank you so much for the package - I have used everything in it! Thank goodness you guys were in Sandy to send me the things I forgot :) David and Karlee, I saw some of the pictures from Lizzi's blog last week (she emails it to me, don't worry :) ) and you guys are SO COWBOY it's ridiculous. And awesome. haha, I am actually very impressed by how well that role suits both of you. Mom forwarded me your letter, it sounds like you are having a blast! Make sure and send me some of the pictures when you put them on facebook! Dan, mom told me that you went to ASIJ this week for orientation? How was it? What did you think of the new building? School starts in one week right? Are you super excited? Mom, that is so great that you are running! Do you go with Sister Galbraith still to the big park? I had a chance to look through your song - it is amazing! I could sight read the vocal parts, but I couldn't quite hear the violins or piano in my head, and I'm sure that it is ten times more loevly with those - I can't wait to hear it someday! Maybe I can get that ring tone in Sapporo some how... :) Dad I love your made up word - I'm not exactly sure what it means, but from your defintion it sounds like a pretty good description of how I feel as well :) Thank you all so much for your love and support! I have the best family in the world. It's official :)
Well, a little bit about my week here at the MTC - its been great! Time is really starting to fly by. My official departure date is a week from Monday! Only 9 days left! I transfer back to the Japanese branch on Monday morning and will be with them for my last week here. I am excited to be able to study Japanese more, but a little intimidated - The other missionaries definitely have a head start on teaching in Japanese - but it will be good to learn from them before I get out there. I got a letter from Sister Evans (my mission president's wife) - she sent me the music for a program that our mission is doing for a stake on September 15 - It is almost ALL in Japanese, and we won't have music, there are about 5 songs, so I've got something to look at and memorize on the plane ride over! I am so excited to be there! Speaking of Evans, I went to devotional on Tuesday (or Sunday, I can't really remember haha) and guess who the speaker was? David F. Evans! He gave a GREAT devotional on missionary work and the parables in Luke 15, and Rescuing as well as converting. It was one of the best devotionals we've had yet. I fought my way to the front afterwards to say hi, and I got to talk to Elder and Sister Evans and Jeff and Julie for a little while, we took a picture, it was great to see them! It felt like a little bit of home :)
Oh goodness, it is so hard to think of everything that happened in the last week! I'm sorry that my letters are always so random and disorganized. Looking back on the week, I would have to say that the biggest theme has been learning about the atonement of Jesus Christ. I have learned more about the atonement in the past week then I think I ever have before in my life. It is truly incredible. I know that the atonement was personal and complete. He saw each and every one of us, and lived our lives - he has perfect empathy. Because of the atonement we can have joy. My favorite place where it talks about the atonement is the story of Alma in Alma 36 where after he turns to Christ and accepts the atonement he says, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea my sould was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!". But my favorite part is what he did about it. He didn't just live a happy life for himself after that, but he spent the rest of his life bringing that joy to the rest of the world. To me there is no better way to apply the atonement and all that it means than to share it with other people so they can feel that joy too, and in a way lighten the load that the Savior had to bear. I still have a lot to learn, and I am still working on applying the atonement in my life, but this scripture has helped me this week a lot. So I thought I would share that with you.
I love you all so much! Sorry the letter is a little shorter today, but I will have another P-day on Tuesday (because I'll be back in the Japanese branch - I know I got super lucky!) So I will write again soon.
Until next week!!
Sister Budge

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week 3

Well another week has gone by at the MTC - This weekend will be my halfway mark! I have been here for about 2 and a half weeks, and I only have about that much to go! So that is pretty crazy to think about - but also very exciting! So I only have 17:56 minutes left to write to you, so I probably won't get everything written that I want to say, but I'm gonna try!!
First, Mom and Dad it sounds like you are just as busy as ever, but doing some pretty incredible things! I printed out the song Mom, and I will definitely take a look through it when I can! Also, that is so cool that you get to give a talk in Spanish!! You finally get to use it again! I'm sure they will all be very impressed. I am excited! I wish I could have been there to be trained by you again Dad - you really are so good at inspiring, directing, and leading missionaries. I look back on my notes from the conferences I did attend often! Tokyo missionaries are the luckiest in the world! I tell them that everytime I see them. Speaking of which, I met the new Japanese missionaries that just arrived on Wednesday - and two of the sisters are going to Tokyo! They are both really sweet, and very excited to come! It's so funny, everytime I meet a Japanese missionary, and they put two and two together with who my parents are, they always want a picture :) And they want to come meet you guys in Tokyo after their missions a lot of the time too, so be prepared for that in a couple years! I remember now, it was Junnichi Maeda that volunteers here and has a son in Tokyo that has taken some pictures that he said he would pass on to you through Elder Maeda, so i don't know if you have gotten those yet or not, but that is who it was :)
Things have been going great here at the MTC - it is super busy, but always fulfilling. I didn't realize how much teaching you actually get to do here! I have about 5-6 investigators right now (some of which are teachers and volunteers pretending, but there are a couple that I'm not sure about...) so I end up teaching at least 2-3 times a day! It is really fun, and I am learning a lot - everyday I learn a better way to teach something, or a better way to begin teaching, and every lesson is different, which makes it really fun. The other Japanese speaking elder in my district and I teach each other everyday in Japanese, we switch off being the investigator and the missionary, and they gave us a Japanese tutor to help us along which has been very helpful. She actually knows David and Janna, her name is Sister Shimomiya, and she is getting married next week I think! Anyway, small world. Today I get to teach again in Japanese at the TRC (teaching resource center), so we'll see how that goes!
Other news, is that I have been called to serve as the Coordinating Sister for the branch, which basically means that I go around every night to all the sisters in our branch and see how they are doing, and just make sure they are doing well and are comfortable and happy, and I also help welcome and orient the new missionaries that come. We have new missionaries come every week because we are an international 3 week branch, so I welcomed the first group this week - they are great! It has been a really fun calling, although it takes up all of my time that I used to have for writing in my journal, so i am still working out how to fit that in somewhere.
Sorry that I can't write much more my time is running short, but I love you all so much! Oh and thank you for the cinnamon rolls!! They were delicious!! My roommates all really enjoyed them as well, and they say thank you :)
Oh and one more thing I just remembered - Dad do you remember playing basketball at TAC with Jim Whittle and his son? Elder Whittle was in my Japanese district! He just made that connection the other day, and he thought it was really funny that you were the Tokyo mission president - he just knows you as the basketball player with the fancy shot and a funny sense of humor :) so that was a fun connection!
Well I am really out of time now, so I love you all, and I hope you have a great week! The church is true!
Love, Sister Budge
(PS - Can someone please pass this on to Grandma Budge, and let her know that I wrote her a birthday card today and then realized that I don't have her address!! So hopefully I'll run into Jake soon and he can give it to me... but HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!) love you!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week 2

Dear Family,
Surpirse!! My P-day is going to be on Fridays for the next few weeks because I am in the new district now. So you get a letter today, even though it’s only been 3 days since I last wrote J So let me explain, sorry my last letter was not very informative, because I didn’t know that much about what was happening, but I can fill you in better now hopefully. After testing my Japanese they decided that I was good enough to move to the International Advanced Language District with missionaries that arrived just this past Wednesday. The district has people from all over the world that are fluent in their mission language, and are at the MTC for three weeks for lessons in Preach My Gospel in English. English is a second language for most of the people in the group, but they are all pretty fluent. My new district has six people, 4 Elders and my companion and I. My new companion is Sister Olongayo, and she is from the Philippines. Her English is very good, and we have been able to get along very well, she is really sweet, and very dedicated to the work. I love her a lot, and feel very blessed that I was able to get two great companions in a row! It was very sad to leave my old district – they seriously have become like my MTC family over the past week, so I was sad to leave them, and a little apprehensive about joining a new district. But my new district is also great, its very different and I do miss my old one, but the new one is great too, and I was blessed to have the other Japanese elder, Elder Fukino put into my new district so I will have a chance to practice Japanese with him over the next few weeks. There is no official Language Study time worked into the schedule, so we just have to do it whenever there is additional study time and speak it to each other as much as we can inbetween classes and things, but it has worked out well. Oh, there are also two Japanese elders, nihonjin elders in our building that we like to talk to every now and again as well – they know about you Dad, and one of them Elder Ishikawa really wants to meet you after his mission. I told him that you would be happy to, so be looking for him in about two years J he is serving in New York. Well, my time is about up, but that’s the update here at the MTC! I don’t have as much time to study Japanese, but I am picking up on Tagalog, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, Swiss German, Samoan, Cebuano, Spanish, Tongan, and then English too!
Paalam! (Tagalog for good-bye J )
Lots of love,
Budge Shimai J

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Week 1

Oh my goodness I don’t even know where to begin. My companion Sister Walker always makes fun of my because it takes me about 45 minutes to write in my journal every night – and I’m not even talking about everything that is going on! But first of all, I want to say THANK YOU for the letters!! I can’t even tell you how fun it is to get mail here – don’t stop J Oh, also, if you ever feel like writing me during the week you can use and they print the letters everyday and deliver it to us – our district leader checks the mail TWICE a day, so anytime you feel like writing me one of those that would be awesome J  The MTC is incredible. It hasn’t even been a week, but I feel like I have known everyone here for years. My district has ten people, Sister Walker and I, and then 8 elders, who are all really fun. We’ve had a good time. We started out the first day and had class for the first couple of days entirely in Japanese, and I was able to understand everything so that was encouraging. We taught our first lesson in Japanese on Friday! And we’ve had two more since then. They really just make you jump into everything here – it is really kind of neat. It’s been a really fun way to learn Japanese for me, because everything I study for a lesson is actually useful and it really stretches my Japanese which is nice. I’ve been trying to memorize some scriptures in Japanese this week – I got the First Vision down!  Not the whole thing, but just the part they quote in Preach My Gospel, from I saw a pillar of light to Hear Him. It took me pretty much an entire day to do it, but I did it! I am working on Moroni 10:4-5 now. I’m sorry this letter is so jumbled, there is so much to say! Sunday was AMAZING. Sacrament meeting was awesome, we had Brother Wadsworth and Sister Wadsworth speak because they both got released on Sunday, which was really sad – but I ‘m glad I got to be with them for at least a few days! I even got to have an interview with Brother Wadsworth which was fun. But oh my goodness, Brother Wadsworth’s talk and testimony in sacrament meeting was so incredible. He bore his testimony about the atonement and shared with us some very personal stories, and I really don’t think there was a dry eye in the entire branch. It reconfirmed to me again, one how amazing the Wadsworths are J, and two how incredibly important and personal , and life changing the atonement is. It was incredible, and I blame him for setting off my tears, because I think I cried in every other meeting for the rest of the day – the spirit is so strong here!! We had a fireside with Brother Swenson which was incredible, and probably the coolest part of the whole thing was sitting on the front row in that huge auditorium and singing verses 4-7 of How Firm A Foundation with 2500 missionaries singing it as fervently as they could behind me – that song has never meant more to me than it did that night. It’s a good thing I’ve been keeping a journal, because I have had so many insights and experiences in the last week that even now I can’t remember them all to tell you about them – so I’m glad I have a journal that has it all recorded… so you just get the big things that happened that my not so good memory will allow me to tell you J
Well just a few things about the MTC experience I guess, the food is decent – although the food at the temple is MUCH better – we got to go for the first time this morning which was really really nice. The dorms are nice, I’ve never had to wait for a shower, the MTC field and the gyms they have for working out are also really nice. They even have outdoor sand volleyball courts which is a lot of fun to do with the whole Japanese branch during our gym time. Every day we study Japanese, have personal study time, two 3 hour class blocks, companionship time, and more study time and more study time, and I never realized how much one person can study in one day, and still only scrape the surface. One of the things people say about a mission is that you get to focus on just one thing – and I guess that’s mostly true if that one thing is ‘the gospel’. But I don’t know if people always realize – I don’t think I realized how incredibly multi-faceted and complicated and deep and Incredible that one simple word is, and learning how to be a good missionary on top of that, and then learning how to do everything in Japanese on top of that also.
Speaking of Japanese – I got some very interesting news this morning . They tested me on Friday, just pulled me aside to evaluate my Japanese, and had me attempt to tell the Joseph Smith story in Japanese, which was something I had never attempted before… and I’ve just been waiting to hear since Friday. And maybe in the real world Friday to Tuesday doesn’t sound that long – but in the MTC one day feels really more like 3 days, so its been practically two weeks since that happened really J Anyway, so this morning they told me that this Thursday they are going to move me into a new group of missionaries coming in on Wednesday called the “Advanced Language Group” or something like that, and it is a group of international missionaries from all over the world going all over the place that are native or ‘advanced’ in their mission language. There is one other Elder in my transfer moving as well, elder Fukino (I think he has a brother also in the MTC that is going to Tokyo). I don’t know what their definition of advanced is though, because I do not feel like I belong in that group, at least not with the description they gave me this morning! I am really intimidated. I’m not even sure if I will get to study Japanese that much, because the branch is not Japanese, its just “international”. And I need Japanese study. I also really need gospel study, but I NEED JAPANESE too!! So they said I would be with that group for three weeks, and then do one more week with the Japanese branch, and then leave with the senpai group for japan on August 28 instead of October 8, like I was originally going to. Ether 12:27 has come to mean a lot to me in the last day or two. I am coming closer to Christ, and I am realizing my weaknesses – and oh my goodness do I have a lot of them – and I am definitely being humbled. BUT he gives me weakness so that if I continute in humility and faith my weaknesses can become strengths – so here it goes! I am going to need a lot of humility and a lot of faith in these next fews weeks, because  I am going to need that strength.
If there is one thing I know for sure though after being here at the MTC – it is that this gospel is absolutely true. It is. Every bit of it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it has the power to change lives – it is changing mine. Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and they spoke to him and through him restored their church. The Book of Mormon is true. We have  prophet today, and he does receive revelation for us today. I know the gospel is true, and I know that I love it. I am so happy to be here on a mission, and I know it is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but I also know that it will be the best thing I have ever done.
I love you all so much! Until next Tuesday!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Am Really Going On A Mission. Wow! :)

Hey Everybody!

This will be where my family will post all of my mission letters and pictures that I send home - so feel free to read it any time! And if you feel like writing something to me, feel free to do that as well :) Here are my addresses:


Sister Sheri Lianne Budge
Japan Sapporo Mission
Kita 2 Jo Nishi 24-1-25

Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi
Hokkaido, Japan 064-0822

See you all in a year and a half!! 


Sister Budge