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