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 DearElder.com 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!!