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