Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Week 19 - I am Officially an Adult in Japan!

Dearest Family!!

Thank you Mom, Dad, Landon, and Becky for your emails! Its always so much fun to hear from everyone! Today was kind of a crazy schedule as far as emailing goes, there was a huge EFY training meeting and we couldn't use internet all day so we moved our P-day time to night, and now we just have a little bit of time to write - with three of us it always takes a little longer so it's gonna be a little short this week probably - I keep hoping that one of these days I will have time to write to everyone I want to write to... we'll see if that day ever comes. Until then - just know I love you all! And also that this weekly email is very much for you as well :)

That is so exciting to hear about everyones mission calls!! I don't even know what to say, I couldn't be happier about it!! ;) Thank you mom for keeping my updated on who is receiving their calls!

I wrote Grandma Budge a letter last week, hopefully it will arrive soon - but Grandma you are always in my prayers, and I love you so much! Get better soon.

This past week has been a blast! I love working in a threesome. Sister Northrop and Sister Nanjo are SO much fun, and such hard workers - I really am so grateful for the chance that I have been given to work with them. This week we met with the Bishop about the ward mission plan, which talks alot about focusing on families. We are so excited about this theme, and actually most of our investigators now are families, or have small children - it is a lot of fun. In Obihiro, in the county we taught mostly older people, but here in the city most everyone is younger. Its been super fun. One family has been coming to Eikaiwa for a while, they have four little kids ages 5-11 ish who all love to learn English, and are super fun. Oh yeah, Eikaiwa has changed a little since coming to Atsubetsu - I am teaching a kids class now! Last week was my first time ever teaching kids anything really - it was a little hard to keep them focused sometimes, but it was so much fun! The subject was weather so we drew lots of pictures, and I drew on my primary days to teach them all "Once there was a snowman" ;) They loved it! There were about 7 or 8 kids and 3-4 moms that were in the class - I am going to have to start getting a lot more creative with teaching English! If anyone has any tips for teaching kids - mostly preschool age - I would love to hear :) For now we're just gonna sing and draw!

I feel like my emails are always super jumbled, and I'm never sure if they make any sense really, but I'm about out of time, so I will end by sharing a favorite scripture of the week;
1 Nephi 3:7 - I read this this week and thought I'd put it to the test and think of the hardest commandment that the Lord has given us, and then to see if I could find a way that he has shown us how to accomplish it. There are so many commandments, and sometimes many of them might seem hard, but God does not tell us to do anything impossible - I would challenge you to all think of something that seems impossible to you right now, and then test Nephi's testimony and see if after prayer and studying it out you don't find a way that God has prepared for you to do it.

Thank you for everything! I love you all! I'll try to send some pictures, and maybe write a littlle more coherently next week ;)


Sister Budge

Monday, January 7, 2013

Week 18 - Happy New Year!

Dear Family,
It's so good to hear from you (mostly through Mom:) ) and to hear that you are all doing well! I am so happy to hear that Mandy had her baby girl! and I got a Christmas card from Shelly's family - I didn't know that Jordan and Chrsitina were expecting! I am beginning to lose track of all the babies being born in this family - I think so far there are seven babies that have been born or that are on the way that I haven't met - and I have only been gone for a little less than six months! By the time I get back they are gonna have to open up a new nursery school for all these babies!
Well I survived my first transfer and I am now in Atsubetsu! It is a great ward, there are so many really strong members here - I am super excited to work with them all! One of the families, the Ono family knows Landon - I think both Brother and Sister Ono served in Sendai at the same time as him - they have an adorable family, with four cute little kids. There was also a sister who lived in Tokyo before and she knew Janna as a missionary - Sister Furukawa (she speaks English fluently). Its always fun to make connections even in a brand new area with brand new people - the world is so small!
The ward is really is great, the Bishop is very young - in his 30s, and very excited about helping the missionaries. There were actually three baptisms in the ward last week, and two of them had their confirmations in Sacrament meeting yesterday - it was great! Hopefully there will be many more in the near future!
It has been a lot of fun to work in a threesome companionship! Sister Northrop and Sister Nanjo are fantastic! They are both such hard workers, and wonderful examples to me. They are always so positive, and I have learned so much from their simple pure, and powerful testimonies. I am really looking forward to working with them for this next transfer! Street contacting is always pretty interesting- the streets are pretty narrow with all the snow piled up on the sides, so we always have to walk single file, and when we try to stop someone to talk to them, it is usually the person in front that says, "Hello!" then the next person says "Excuse me", and then finally by the time they reach the person in the back they realize that we are talking to them, and the person in the back ends up doing most of the talking. It is a pretty interesting dynamic - we are still working on making it flow better, but its been a lot of fun!
Yesterday we were able to meet with an investigator and talk a lot about the Book of Mormon. He loves English, so we are helping him read through the Book of Mormon in English, and how to apply the Book of Mormon to himself at the same time. We mainly went over verse one of First Nephi with him, and asked him to find similarities between his life and that verse. As he did, I also realized how much it applys to my life as well.
"I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents" - I have been blessed with wonderful parents
"therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father" - I too have learned so much from my Father (and my mother) - and not just in everyday life matters, but also in spiritual matters too
"And having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days" - I have hard times, and things that I struggle with - but I know that ALL my days have been a blessing, and that everything I experience is there to help me grow
"having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God"  - there are a lot of things that i don't know, but one thing I do know for sure is that God is good!
I know that the Book of Mormon is true! It is written for our day, and for me, and there are really so many things to learn from it. It really is the keystone of our religion - I love what it says in  PMG, that the whole church stands or falls with the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is not true than our church is not true. But I have read the Book of Mormon, and I have thought about it, and prayed about it. I know that it is true! And I am so grateful for it.
Thank you all for your love and support! I hope you all have a great week!
Sister Budge

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Week 17 - Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!! 

It is hard to believe that it is already 2013! In thinking back on this past year of 2012 it is amazing to see how blessed I have been, and how blessed our family has been. With weddings, babies, and mission calls it has been a really big year for everyone. I am so grateful for the opportunity and blessing that I have to be here in the Sapporo mission sharing the beautiful message and truth of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for my family (which is ever growing :) ) and even more so for the fact that we can be together forever! I am pretty excited about that :) I have been blessed more than I can say, and way more than I could ever deserve, and I am so grateful for the wonderful chance I have this year, 2013 to dedicate the entire year to helping people have those same kind of blessings! I am realizing more and more just how incredibly fast the mission goes, and I have made a New Year's Resolution to use this year the best possible way that I can. I am super excited! 

We got our transfer calls this week and I am transferring! It is my first transfer out of my bean area, and I am super sad to be leaving Obihiro and my companion Sister Seto - I love them both to death, but I am also super excited to go to my new area with my new companions! Yes, I say companions, because I am going to be in a three-some! I am going to an area called Atsubetsu (which is in Sapporo) with Sister Nanjo (who is from Tokyo) and Sister Northrop (who is from California/Washington). I have gotten to work a little bit with them before on exchanges and things, and they are both great! It will interesting to see how it works as a threesome! Hopefully we don't scare people away when we try to talk to them! Transfers are on Thursday so I am trying to get all the packing and writing of meishi's (name cards? its like a business card, but its not a business... i don:t know how to translate it), and trying to see as many people as I can before then, although everyone is busy with New Years celebrations and things so its been a little difficult to do. 

The ward has been great, during this New years time we have been invited to a different members house every day for dinner - they are really such a great ward, I will miss them a lot. But we are still in the same stake, so maybe I:ll get to see them all at a Stake conference coming up in March. 

Well this past week has been a blast! It was so great to talk to everyone on the phone, even though it was short - you all sound genki! And Dad, thank you so much for sending me the pictures from the onsen! It looks like it was a blast! I am very impressed that everyone decided to do it - Janna must have been very good at convincing everyone, last I heard she was the only one excited about doing that! it sounds like you all had a very Japanese Christmas break! Did you do anything special for New years? 

We also had a Sister's training meeting, and the Messiah concert last week - we didn:t sing, we just got to listen - oh my goodness it was beautiful. I think they are putting it on YouTube, you should definitely try and see it! It was very professional, and the spirit was almost overwhelming! I had the chance to sit next to an investigator of some of the Sapporo sisters, and she just kept saying, I feel so happy! This is such a feeling of joy. I want to keep this feeling. I felt the same way.  

Yesterday for New Years Eve we had a mission wide special Day with the Book of Mormon - we spent the entire day just reading the Book of Mormon. It was great! It really is a true book. Everyone in it, and everything in it is true - and it truly all testifies and focuses on Jesus Christ. I have been highlighting all the references to Christ in the Book of Mormon this time as I have been reading - I am almost through now, and so are my highlighters! If anyone has any doubt that the Book of Mormon focuses and testifies of Christ I challenge you to find a page or two that doesn't mention him at least once. There is so much to learn from the Book of Mormon - I know it is true, and that the principles in it come from God and are meant to bless us in this day. 

I am about out of time for this week, but I love you all, and wish you all the best for this New Year! 

Sister Budge