Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 23 - Doing the Little Things....

Dear Family -
Congratulations Janna and Phil on your new baby boy!! Colton Cape Badger is so adorable!!! I can't wait to see lots of pictures of him over the next year until I get to meet him in person. You are going to be fabulous parents!!
This week has been super busy - and those are the best kinds of weeks! This next week is transfers - and our threesome is for sure going to dissolve so we are all pretty nervous about this next transfer. Who knows where I will be writing from next week - I hope it is Atsubetsu, I do not want to transfer! I LOVE all of our investigators and the members are amazing, and I love my companions too! This transfer has really been the best! We'll see what happens. Hopefully there will be some sort of miracle and all three of us will be able to stay companions here!
This week I am grateful that the Lord is always so patient with me. He knows what I need, and he always gives me second chances - sometimes many more when I am being a little slow. I am learning that when I feel the spirit telling me to do something to just do it! If you don't sometimes you will get a second chance to follow it, and sometimes you won't. This week as we were streeting we came across a lady with a dog - we stopped and talked to her for a bit, mainly focusing on her dog and building a natural type conversation from that. But before we could talk about the gospel the lady walked away and continued her walk. I was super dissappointed about it - but we continued on our way, determined to talk to the next person we saw, which we did, and just kept on our way. Then about 30 minutes later we ran into the same lady with her dog! I guess her walking route had led her in a perfect circle right to where we were still walking! We were able to talk to her again and invite her to come to church and give her a flyer. I don't know if she will come or not, but I was so grateful for that second chance that God gave us to talk to her, and plant even just that little seed. Later that same day, we were housing. We were planning on taking the bus home after we knocked on doors for about an hour - we left the area we had planned to house in to check the bus time before we went back to where we had planned. Right by the bus stop there was a house, and right when I saw it, I really felt like we should knock on their door - but we didn't have that much time and we had planned to house a different area so I ignored my feeling, rationalizing that it probably wouldn't come to anything anyway, and right now we busy. we housed in the other area for about an hour, and then headed back to the bus stop. We ended up being about 20 minutes early, and we passed that same house and again I felt a stong prompting to ring their doorbell. This time I decided that if I didn't at least try I would regret it - so I told my companions that I wanted to stop and we rang their doorbell. I'm so glad that I did! We met a super nice couple, the Matsumotos. At first just the wife came out, but as we kept talking she asked us to wait for a minute and went to the kitchen. As often happens with super nice people like her, we thought she was going to bring us some sort of food or treat - but instead she surprised us by introducing her to her husband!! That was definitely a first! We were able to talk to them a bit, and we have an appointment to meet with them again tomorrow!! I am super excited, and again I was so grateful that God gave me a second chance to follow the prompting to do something as simple as knock on a door.
I know that this is the Lord's work, and that if I will just follow the promptings that he gives me we can see miracles!!
This week, the Snow Festival has been going in Sapporo - we haven't had a chance to see it yet, but we are going as a district today - it will be day time so we won't be able to see teh light shows they have, but I am super excited to see the sculptures!
I know this church is true, and I love it!! I love you all! And Happy Valentines Day!!
Love,  Sister Budge

Week 22 - Happy February!

Well it is officially February this week - which everyone has said is the coldest month of the year here in Hokkaido - but so far it has been the warmest its been in a long time! One thing I have learned about the weather here is that no matter what weather it is it is "unusual". I don:t think I have ever talked to anyone about the weather without them commenting on the rarity of the situation. Either there is no normal in Hokkaido, or this truly is an unusual year! We even started to see most of the roads and some of the sidewalks again this week - haven:t seen that in months! But it just started snowing again about an hour ago, so maybe they'll cover back up again. The craziest thing that happened this week was an earthquake we had on Saturday night - it was about 11 at night so we were all in bed- I was just starting to fall asleep when all the sudden the cell phone starts going off like a fire alarm! I guess all the cell phones here have earthquake alerts - if the earthquake is over a certain magnitude everyones cellphones go off - I think that alarm was the scariest part of the whole thing! Its not the first earthquake I:ve had here, but its the first time I've heard that alarm. It lasted probably a good minute. It was pretty long. But there were no negative effects as far as I know, so no worries ;) Just shaking things up a little bit!
This week one of our investigators that we have been teaching pretty solidly once or twice a week this whole transfer came to church for the first time on Sunday! I was SO happy that he came! We actually ran into him randomly when we were shopping today as well, and followed up with him about it - he said it was totally different than what he had imagined - in a good way! I think he is starting to be a little more open to the message. I am excited to meet with him again. Hope it all goes well!
Sorry this letter is going to be super short today - we have an appointment tonight with the Nakandakari family - an investigator family - they are so great! But it was Nanjo shimais birthday last week, and the Dad and sons birthday as well this week so they are having us and the elders over for a birthday party tonight - so we have to leave pretty soon. Gomennasai!
Janna, Otsukaresama desu!! I was pretty excited to see a picture of your little baby boy this week - hopefully by next week huh? Hang in there! By the way an elder in my district introduced me to a scripture this week that I thought you might like - totally unrelated to the baby but still... the first three words of Phillipians 3:2. :) So mom are you in Singapore already or are you waiting to go until you know for sure he is going to come?
I love you all! Favorite scripture of the week 1John 4:8-11.
Sorry its so short - till next week!
Sister Budge

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Week 21 - Six Months?!

Well another week has gone by here in Sapporo, which actually marks 6 months since I entered the MTC. It is going by way too fast!! A lot has happened in these past six months! I have really come to love the people here - I am already starting to miss the people in Obihiro, and I haven:t even been away from them for a full transfer yet! So far I have had four companions, and I love every single one! I have to say that being in a threesome is the best! If I could be in threesomes the rest of my mission I would love it! I really feel like every single companion I have had has helped me to grow in the way that I needed to most at the time. I love all the members in Obihiro and Atsubetsu - they are amazing! So many of them are so excited about missionary work and sharing the gospel with their friends. I have also been so impressed with how much they reach out to us missionaries! After all we are only in their wards for a transfer or two, and then new ones come through - but even still they take the time to get to know us and have us over for dinner and what not - I definitely want to be better about supporting the missionaries in my ward when I get back - I feel like I didn:t do anything before! And then of course all the investigators that we have been able to meet with. I have learned that just when you feel like you have met every type of person there is to meet - you meet another one. Everyone truly is unique and different and each one just as special and needed as the next. Some people take more time than others, some people have harder shells than others - and every one has a different background and different needs. I have learned that there is no one perfect lesson plan that works for everyone - but while the order of things may be different this is a perfect message that is for everyone. It truly does amaze me how no matter how many different kinds of people we meet, no matter how different they may be from anyone we have met before - the answers they are looking for are in this gospel! I love it! Recently I have been looking back over my journal and planners up to this point - it is amazing to me how much can happen in a week! My planning skills have definitely improved since becoming a missionary! One day this week we had 4 lessons back to back - we just barely had time to travel between them.
In summary - being a missionary is the BEST. There is nothing else that I would rather be doing. There is no where else I would rather be doing it. Its so much fun!
We had a zone conference this week and the APs did a work shop about the attributes of Christ. At one part they showed a video from the new Bible videos they made recently of the Good Samaritan. It is a great video! After watching it one of the assistants pointed out an analogy that I had never thought of before. The Good Samaritan can be compared to Christ - he carries us out of even our deepest trials and has given us all that we need to make it through. He paid the price for us. He saved us. But we have never seen him. He has no desire for praise or glory, and we just simply have to trust that he was there, and that he did sacrifice so much for us. I loved it! It was a whole new perspective for me.
It's so great to hear from all of you! I will be waiting anxiously to see baby pictures next week if he decides to come on time! I will be praying for you Janna! Jeremy, do you know when you are leaving for Africa yet? Becky, that picture is adorable!! Mom, it was fun to see you doing the Mochitsuki too - it really does look like we are having exactly the same experience! Dad, I:m glad you got the letter- sorry it was so late! I heard that the Kobe mission is getting a huge amount of new sisters this transfers - more than they have right now! Are you seeing any increases in the numbers in Tokyo yet? I love you all! You are the best!
This gospel is true!
Sister Budge

Week 20 - And Now For Some Words :)

Well, hopefully you are able to see all of the pictures that i sent - they are not necessarily in chronological order - but I will try to give a brief explanation of what they are :
1. Christmas Morning!! Thank you so much for all the presents!!
2. All of my companions thus far! (left to right, Kise Shimai (trainer), Sister Northrop (now), Me, Sister Crofts (she hasn't been my companion yet actually), Sister Seto (third transfer companion), and Sister Nanjo (now). They are a fantastic bunch!
3. My first Okonomiyaki! Oishikata.
4. Mochitsuki at the Ward New Years Party -  I wasn't very good at it ... :)
5. Kusume Kaicho and my companions
6. Seijinshiki! Coming of Age Day in Japan where all the 20 year olds dress up in kimonos and attend a coming of age ceremony - I didn't realize how many twenty year olds there are around here! I felt very plain in my poofy snow jacket, but they were nice enough to take a picture with us :)
7. My first sushi on my mission - it was actually pretty good! This was an avacado salmon one :)
8. The first sunrise of the new year from our Obihiro apartment
9. Sister Evans and Sister Evans the second!
There are just a few for now - hope you enjoy them!
This week has been super fun! We are working with a lot of kids now, not only with the kids eikaiwa class, but our investigators as well! I LOVE kids! They are super fun! We always have to think of creative ways to teach to keep their attention long enough to teach them - its been a blast! I'm starting to get a new view for Mosiah 3:19 that tells us to become as a little child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, and full of love - the world would really be so great if everyone could become just a little more like a child. A few of my favorite moments this week - Miyu chan, she is 10 years old and loves to read. We gave her a Book of Mormon this week, and when we showed her the picture of Christ she started telling us all about Him! I guess she borrowed a book about Christ from the library once and she remembered the whole thing! The Christmas story, baptism, a lot of his miracles - we were shocked! She is super excited to read the Book of Mormon now. Another favorite moment was when we were teaching Chizuru chan with her mom. We taught them the message of the restoration, and at the end we asked Chizuru chan and her mom if, after they met with us more and knew for themselves that this message was true, if they would be baptized. Immediately Chizuru chan started nodding her head yes, and when she saw that her mom wasn't saying yes right away she reached up and starting nodding her head for her! Her mom doesn't have interest in joining any religion, but she is very supportive of her daughter listening to the lessons, and she even said that she would support her if she decided that she really wanted to be baptized!
One more super cute kid story this week is from Eikaiwa - there were only two kids in the class this week - sisters 4 and 1 years old. They are both suprisingly good at English - we learned food this week and used flashcards of lots of different kinds of food to learn vocab. It was SO cute - the one year old was saying words like apple and banana, and even ice cream!! She can hardly even speak Japanese yet, and she knows apple, banana, and even most of the ABCs! She is too cute. I love kids!
It has been a fun week. The snow hasn't been too bad - it snows everyday, but its not too cold. I had to laugh about the four inches of snow causing so much havoc in Tokyo - I can't believe the bus took 7 hours to get home! I guess without snow tires it would be a little more difficult. Its just funny because I haven't seen the gravel on the roads here since November probably - I don't know if the snow will ever melt! 
 Oh, and I got the package yesterday - Mom thank you so much for sending it! Jeremy and Lizzi thank you so much for bringing my stuff, and Janna and Phil thank you so much for the CD and the pocket knife! Its super cute, and I am SO excited to listen to voice male!
Thank you for your letters every week! I always love reading about your week, and writing down all the scriptures you suggest to look up in personal study tomorrow. One story that I loved this week was the story of the Jaredites in Ether 6:4-13. Prepare. Trust in the Lord. Sing praises and give thanks during your trials, pray and give thanks when its over, and work hard. God watches over his children!
I love you all and I love this work!
Sister Budge