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