Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Week 29 - Yamashita Choro and Miracles!

Dear Family -
That is so neat that the cherry blossoms are already out in Tokyo! I always loved the cherry blossoms - I guess them come out around May or June in Hokkaido so I am excited for that! We don:t have cherry blossoms yet, but it is starting to feel like spring! I even switched from my down jacket to just my normal peacoat today - and I was actually feeling hot on the walk over to the church this morning! Everyone is saying that the snow is over for this year... we:ll see if that holds to be true. But honestly, I much prefer the snow to the rain, so I am a little sad about winter ending - who would have guessed!
Well this week was great! We started a little slow because of our colds, but we are doing better now - I am totally fine - Nanjo shimai has lost her voice alittle bit and has a bit of a cough, but its on the recovering end I think. The highlight of the week was definitely Friday. We had our zone conference with Elder Yamashita and a lesson scheduled with the Nakandakari family afterwards. I was also able to sing Savior Redeemer of My Soul at the conference - I was a little worried about it because just in the 10 minutes before I was supposed to sing my throat started hurting worse than it had all week! I said a little prayer asking Heavenly Father to just let me be able to sing well to bring the spirit - I just needed 5 minutes thats all, and He gave it to me! I was able to sing without worrying about my throat at all. That was the first prayer answered that day.
After the conference ended we went with the Elders in our area (one that transferred away last transfer was back on exchanges) and we went with them to find an old investigators house that they wanted to pass to us, and then they came with us to the Nakandakaris - they were also really good friends with them. That turned out to be a huge blessing! When we got to the Nakandakari family's house we found out that they had actually tried to call us about an hour before to cancel our appointment- not only that but also to tell us that Miyu chan was not ready to be baptized yet. Earlier this week her Dad got upset at her, and said that her attitude was not good enough to make a commitment like baptism - so they made an aggreement - a way for Miyu to show how commited she is. The agreement was to go to bed at 8:30 and wake up at 6:00 everyday - if she did that then he would let her get baptized and attend the service - if not he would not attend the service, and although he wouldn:t stop her from being baptized he wouldn:t be supportive of it. Friday morning was the first morning of this agreement and Miyu woke up at 6:15 - 15 minutes late. As a result her Dad told her that she was not ready to be baptized, and finally made her call us to tell us that herself. Blessing number one that day - Nanjo shimai accidentally left the phone at the apartment that morning, and we didn:t have time to go back and get it afterwards so we never saw those calls or texts!! Blessing number 2: We had Harada choro with us, who they hadn:t seen in a long time and were excited about meeting again which allowed us to go in the genkan. If he hadn:t been there I am convinced they would have explained the situation and had us go home.  Blessing number 3: It rained that night, and none of us were prepared for the rain so all four of us were pretty soaked when we arrived - which made them have sympathy on us and let us in the houe to dry off. Usually they let us right in - but that day we were all smashed in the genkan for a good five or ten minutes before they finally invited us in.
We ended up being there for a good three hours or so - the first hour and a half was mostly listening to her parents explain their points of view - which were all very valid and good parental perspectives. They don:t want Miyu to make this commitment half-heartedly and because she broke that first agreement they felt that she wasn:t ready for it. It wasn:t at all that they are against baptism - but if she decided to be baptized they wanted her to be 100% committed because as parents they end up supporting her and taking her to activities and church and things, which they are very willing to do, but only if Miyu chan was actually committed to do it. It was a very fragile situation, and I can tell you that I was praying very very hard the whole time. It would take forever to write everything they said, but to make a long story short we went from one point where they told Miyu that if she didn:t say the real reason she wanted to be baptized than they would tell us to stop wasting our time with teaching her and that would be the end - to a point where her parents began to understand the testimony and commitment that Miyu has already been showing - by coming to church every week for a month, reading the Book of Mormon, praying, setting goals of what she needs to do before and after baptism and posting it on the walls - she was already showing a lot of commitment that her parents weren:t noticing. Miyu chan through this whole thing was very very quiet. There was a spirit of contention there, mostly directed at Miyu that made it almost impossible for her to say anything, let alone bear her testimony. We knew we needed to bring the spirit in so we finally asked if we could sing, and say a prayer together. We sang their favorite song, Love at Home, and said a prayer, and were able to share a message about the Plan of Salvation, according to our original plan, and then give MIyu a chance to stand up for herself a little bit. She wants to be baptized because she believes that God lives. She believes that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves her. She believes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true, and that is why she wants to be baptized. That was her perfect, simple. beautiful testimony - and that is enough.
As always, this story has turned out to be really long and its probably really hard to follow - but I learned so much that night. One, God knows his children, and he wants Miyu to be baptized. He made everything work out just the way it needed to so that she is still scheduled and supported by her parents to be baptized this Saturday. I always knew, but had it emphasized to me how much her parents love her, and want what is best for her - that is why they are tough on her. And don:t get me wrong they were very upset, but they are really loving - they are such a solid family and really just honestly and sincerely concerned parents. I have a lot of respect for them. In the end, things returned to normal - we made an appointment for the next day, Miyu came to church on Sunday, her family came to pick her up and met a lot of the ward, the Bishop and everyone and we even set the baptismal program up. We have appointments to meet with them every day this week, and I have faith that everything will work out.
This is the Lord's work! He knows his children and what they need. He is behind every detail and guiding every step. I am so grateful for that.
Love you all! Till next week,
Sister Budge

Week 28 - Hello!

Hello Everybody!
How are you? I hope you are all genki and happy and doing well :) Sister Nanjo and I both got a little bit of a cold yesterday, but we are both feeling a little better today, and were able to come to practice a song that we will be singing at the zone conference this week for Yamashita choro. So for the first time I am emailing today from the Honbu! Sorry if this email ends up being a little short, there are a lot of distractions here... !
I dont know if I mentioned before that Miyu Nakandakari, the 10 year old that we have been teaching has a baptismal date - originally it was for her birthday on August 4th, but about a month ago we were able to change it to a little sooner - March 31 - and it looks like it is actually going to happen! We met with their family 3 times this week, as we have been for a few weeks now. I love their family SO MUCH! They are so much fun, its ridiculous. We have kind of an interesting set up going on right now - for the first hour we serve them - I teach the mom English (from the Book of Mormon Stories book :) ) and Nanjo shimai has recently started helping their 8 year old learn math. Then we have a gospel lesson after that - Miyu chan is progressing really well! She said she really feels like God is real, and thats why she wants to be baptized. Her mom is always there for the lessons, and though she doesn't say that it is for her, she is learning, and I feel that she is starting to become more and more open to the idea of this gospel being for her as well. We have a really good relationship with the Dad as well, although he usually isn't around during the lessons. But this week we had what I count as a miracle - Miyu chan and her sister Yuki chan came to the Primary activity on Saturday and when it was over we had a lesson with them to review the Restoration and show them the Restoration DVD. We had a team up Sister, and another girl in the same Primary class there at the beginning. Just a few minutes into the lesson however, their Dad showed up to take them home (they were originally going to go home by them selves). We asked him if he had a little bit of time to hear the lesson before they went home, and he did, so we there to here all of Lesson 1, see the restoration DVD, and we were even able to show all three of them the baptismal font after it was over. It was the first time I think he has ever fully been present for a lesson, and it was so neat to have him there. Her parents are not thinking right now about the gospel for themselves - I guess the Dad kind of had religion forced on him growing up, and so he built his family on the principle that everyone is an individual, and even if all 6 of them choose different religions that is totally fine -but if you commit you've got to give it your all. As a result her parents are probably the most diligent in following up with Miyu to make sure she is reading and praying everyday. They are really supportive. So if all goes as planned she will be baptized in a couple weeks!
It was so great to hear from all of you! Interviews, otsukaresama desu. I am excitied to read your talk mom! I'm sure it is fabulous. That is so exciting that Joe Watanabe is coming! Do you know when?
I love you all so much! Until next week!


Sister Budge

Week 27 - Snow storms, Nice Strangers, and Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Hello Family!!
I think I'll start out with a story this week. On Saturday we had a couple of appointments in the morning - the first one went really well and we had a really good lesson/discussion about the Plan of Salvation with one of our investigators - a 20 year old girl who is going to be a nurse pretty soon. We left the lesson feeling really good, and left the church for our next appointment confident that we would only be in the blizzard going on outside until we made it to our next appointment. When we got there however, she wasn't feeling well, so we resorted to housing instead. Despite the blizzard we felt that we should go knock on the houses in the storm, not the apartments where we would be inside. The very first house we went to, Segawa was their name, a grandma opened the door and let us in the genkan to get out of the snow. She was a TALKER. Before we could explain anything about who we were, or that we were missionaries or really said anything at all we found ourselves sitting on her couch inside listening to her talk - I would say we were having a conversation, but that would be an exageration of our contribution. She kept telling us about her husband, and how he was a math teacher, and that there wasn't anything in the world that he didn't know, and that even now, decades later once a year students come and visit for a day or two. To make a long story short we ended up visiting with her for a good two hours - after the first hour when we finally had a chance to explain who we were and a little bit of our message she changed the topic to how she heard this rumor that people will slam doors on people like us without even listening to our message at all, and how she cried when she heard that - she had a fun time explaining the door slamming too.. "Ban ban ban ba bin binn bon - Kekko desu!" We heard that story a good 15 times or so too. I dont think I have laughed so hard with a compete stranger for such a long time before as I did with Segawa san :) wow that was a long story. gomen.
Later that day another appoitment fell through and we were on our way to do some dendo at the train station when all the sudden the thought came to me to visit a boy that just got baptized in the ward a few months ago. When I looked around to see where we were - we were exactly at the road where we needed to turn to get to his house. So we went down the hill to head to his house. The road was super icy, and my companion fell once, and I fell twice - but we continued. We got to parts of the road where the snow was up to our knees- but we kept going. We finally made it to his house, and when Yuma-kun ( the boy's name) answered the door we were surprised to see that he was close to tears, when he is usually one of the genkiest kids you'll ever meet. We talked to him for a while, and learned that he was feeling really distressed about things right then - with his parents getting angry at him for different things, and how he felt like no one could understand him - the best was his sister who could only understand about 50% maybe. We listened to him, and comforted him, letting him know that even if no one around him could understand him 100%, God did and that God would help him. I feel prompted to share Mosiah 24:12-16 with him, which we did, and then we said a prayer together before we left. He gave the prayer, and in it he said "Shimaitachi wa chodo nayandeita toki ni, chodo ii timing de kitekureta koto ni kanshyashiteimasu. Mata chodo ii seiku o wakachiatekuretakoto ni kanshyashiteimasu". "I'm grateful for the sister missionaries who came right when I was troubled, at just the right time and shared just the right scripture with me". I know that that was exactly where we needed to be at that time. I am so grateful that we decided to follow the prompting to visit him and that we didn't give up despite the difficult path to get there. I know that God was watching out for Yuma-kun, and I don't think there is any better feeling then to know that I was able to help him feel that right when he needed it.
I love being a missionary! I know that I am not strong enough to do it by myself, but I also know that I am not alone. And it is times like that that let me know that if I give my best than the Lord will make up the difference. I really appreciated what you said in your email about humilty and pride Dad, thank you so much for sharing that with me!
Mom and Dad, Thank you for your email! I haven't seen any yellow sand over here yet - just snow! Hopefully it will just stay at that ;) I actually dont really want the snow to end - mostly because when all the snow starts to melt the streets will turn into slushy messes everywhere - we've had a couple days where its been warm enough to melt a little bit and I am learning that I definitely prefer the snow to rain or puddles. But what will come will come!
That is so neat that you got to see the Litchfields! Are they still living in Canada? Tell them hello for me if you get the chance :) Speaking of Canada there is one sister missionary here from Canada, and I just met a Canadian man who lives in our same apartment building the other day. Kind of random, but oh well ;)
That is amazing that you had 6 baptisms in one day! How many baptisms does the Tokyo mission usually have per transfer?
What is the Candle Mama concert? I am having a hard time making an image of what that could be in my head... right now I am just remembering Dad's Santa story - you don't have a beard, but watch out if you wear a scarf! Insights on Love at Home.. well I dont know if this will help you or not, but We are teaching a family right now, The Nakandakari's - they have four kids and the oldest one has a baptismal date right now. Whenever we go to their house we usually start with a song and a prayer. They have been to the FHE that the Evans have at their house every month a few times now and "Love at Home" is always one of the songs they sing there. Their five year old, Samu kun loves that song, and his mom said that he will just start singing it randomly all the time "ai aru, ie yo!" "katei no naka ni, ai araba". That's all he can remember so he just sings those two lines over and over :) So now everytime we ask what they want to sing they all are super excited to sing "Love at Home". We sing all three verses everytime and they all sing - the 5, 7, 8, 10 year olds and the Mom all sing together with us. It is a beautiful sound - other times in the lesson the little ones lose focus and it can get pretty crazy, but during that song it is peaceful and you can feel the spirit so strong. There are many different religions in the world and many different ways of thinking, but the family is something that can reach every heart. Yesterday we met with another investigator who started talking about marriage how family and how strongly she believes that you can't understand love until you get married and have a family. I couldn't agree with her more - I obviously haven't been married before, but I know that the love that I feel in our family now is what has taught me to love others, and to feel God's love for me. Love at Home is the basis of any other love. It is the key, it is the foundation that any other kind of love is built on. That is why our families are so essential to everything in our lives, and in the gospel.
I don't know if any of that will help - but that is what I have learned just in the past day or two about Love at Home :) Let me know how your talk goes!
Mom and Dad, thank you so much for making our home a home full of love. You are both incredible examples to me, and I feel so blessed to have been sent to you!
Have a fabulous week in your spring weather!!

Sister Budge
Alma 26:37

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 26 - A Little Bit of Crazy Weather....

Dear Family,

It sounds like you have all had a crazy week this week! That is so neat that you were able to meet Elder Russel M. Nelson and talk with him so extensively and personally! He is one of my favorite apostles - of course I love them all! - but he just has such a neat way of speaking powerfully, scholarly, and with the spirit. I bet that was an amazing experience for your whole mission! Dad, I love the emphasis that you are putting on member missionary work - we often get new missionaries from Tokyo and every one of them tells me how much they admire you and learned from you - especially Elder Chiba who said he took a mission prep class from you? He pulled out the card with President Eyring's quote on it and everything. I love hearing about all the ideas you are using in the Tokyo mission - its neat to feel connected with the missionaries all over Japan, not just Sapporo!
Speaking of which, I was grateful to have lived in Tokyo just the other day when we met a lady on the street who just recently moved here from Setagaya to be with her new husband. We started talking and invited her to Eikaiwa - but she said that starting next month she was going back to Tokyo for about a month and a half to visit home. We asked her if she would like to go in Tokyo too, and she said yes! I was then able to explain to her how to get to the Shibuya building where I am assuming they are doing eikaiwa still? So if there is a new student from Hokkaido named Misuzu that goes to the Shibuya eikaiwa class in the next month or two... say hello for me!

This week was a great week! Saturday turned out to be probably the stormiest day I:ve seen yet - the wind was crazy! Luckily we mostly had appointments so we didn:t have to spend too much time outside, but even just walking the 20 minutes from our appointment back to the church we had ice stuck to our tights that were showing above our boots and below our skirts - that was a first! The snow was off and one between hail and snow - but both were going so fast in the wind that it didn:t really matter which. It was quite the adventure! We were mainly walking off of memory because we could only open our eyes so much so the snow wouldn:t get in them, and then the wind made us all teary eyed which blurred up what little vision we had - and then we were laughing so hard I don:t think that helped the tears stop any either :) That was probably the most that I have ever felt like I was in Hokkaido! It was so ridiculous it was fun!

We were really excited to meet with an investigator this week that we haven:t met with in a while - she comes to church everyweek - usually after sacrament meeting, so we see her everyweek, but lessons are less frequent. We felt impressed to teach her about the Word of Wisdom when we met with her this time and challenge her to live it. She has been struggling with gaining a testimony of a few things recently, especcially Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ as the Son of God - and we promised her that if she would make an effort to follow the word of wisdom that she would be able to find those "hidden treasures" of knowledge that she is searching for. She committed to do it! She is going this week on just 4 cups of coffee a day, and 6 cigarettes to start - (usually she takes about 7 or 8 cups of coffee and around 15 cigarettes, so its a big step! ). And then she surprised us by showing up for sacrament this week! She is really progressing well, and I really feel that her time to fully accept the gospel is close.

I love being a missionary! I learn everyday ways that I need to be better. I need to pay attention to spiritual experiences and record them. I need to testify more with the spirit. I need to speak better Japanese. I need to be more confident. I need to listen more. Well to put it short - I need to improve on everything! But I know that in the Lord'S time and with his help i can improve and I can be an insturment for his work here. I found a scripture that I really love in the New testament this week. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me"

That is my goal to be able to say that at the end of each day, This gospel is true! I hope you all have a fabulous week!!

Sister Budge

Here are just a few pictures from the snow storm, and then a picture with the Nakandakari family that we are teaching - right now the 10 year and 8 year old daughters both have baptismal dates that we are working towards :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 25 - Hello!

Dear Family,
That is crazy news about the mission splitting again! That will be hard for you to lose half of your missionaries! But now you:ll get to know the ones you still have even better than you could have before! So does that go into effect in July when the mission presidents normally change? How and who decides which missionaries will transfer? That is pretty exciting news!
Janna, your baby is just too adorable! I can:t believe you are a mommy now - there are a few ladies in the ward here that have little babies, and it is so fun to imagine you with them with little Colton too :) Tell me a little bit about his personality - he looks like he is a very happy baby! Do you think he looks more like you or Phil?
Dan, congratulations on becoming a teacher! I do have a birthday present for you by the way, hopefully I will have time to send it off sometime today... sorry its late!
Well another week has come and gone, I can:t believe how fast time goes! This week I think I am just going to share a few of my favorite moments - they have no relationship to each other so it will be a bit jumpy, but here it goes:
On monday we were on our way home from housing and we met a lady on the street. We explained who we were and that we were doing, and she immediately reached into her shopping bag and pulled out a coffee roll cake and gave it to us with an "Otsukaresama desu! Konna samuinaka ni, taihen desyo!gannbate kudasai! " or "In this cold weather? That must be exhausting! Good luck!" When we explained that we didn't need cake, and that we couldn:t have coffee, she quickly reached into her bag and exchanged it for some rice cereal. Simply a really nice grandma with no interest in our message - I tried the cereal this morning and it was delicious!
On tuesday we met with a member who hasn:t been coming to church for a while - she feels like she doesn:t know enough about the gospel to be confident in coming to church, or even telling her parents that she is a member (she got baptized 5 years ago). But she is full of questions and a desire to learn and understand and with that kind of enthusiasm I know she will come to understand and know for herself and have confidence in her conversion. It was so refreshing and inspring to see her excitement and enthusiasm to learn.
On Wednesday we had another interesting encounter on the street. Again she had no interest in listening to our message, but felt very open in talking to us. She too was an older lady, maybe in her 60s or 70s, but very genki (healthy) To prove her genkiness to us she told us how she was on her way home from playing tennis with 30 or 40 year olds, and was thus wearing spandex pants. Before we knew it she was insisting that we both touch her thigh to see how firm her muscle was! When she was satisfied that we were impressed she then continued on her way - just another day!
On friday we had a first lesson with a protestant lady that we found housing last week. She is in her 70s and LOVES to talk - we had a blast with her! She has all kinds of interesting stories - she is orignially from Osaka and she was 5 years old when the fire bombs in World War 2 struck her city - she remembers it very clearly. It was really neat to hear her stories and get to know her. Its not very often that we meet people with a christian background that are willing to talk to us - (I don:t know how many times we have heard - Oh its okay, I:m Christian! You don:t need to talk to me! ) We are meeting with her again on tuesday - it is a really fun opportunity to use the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and studying for her has really been a testimony builder for me of how those books really do bear testimony of each other. Anyway, we had a chance to share our family pictures with her. She absolutely loved the picture that I have of Jeremy and Lizzi at their wedding. She kept asking if Jeremy was a model, and went on for probably a good five minutes about how he would make a perfect model - his eyes are not too close not too far, his forehead is the perfect size, his teeth are perfect, etc, etc. I don't know what the modeling possibilities are in Liberia right now Jeremy, but according to Haraguchi san you could make it big in the modeling business! My favorite part of our meeting with her was at the end after we shared with her the Book of Mormon and asked her to pray and know if it was true - meaning after she read it sometime that night - but she listened, thought about the question, and then just started praying right there! It was a beautiful prayer, and really from the heart. I am really excited to meet her again.
On Sunday, the Nakandakari family came to church! The mom and all four kids came to all three hours, and then stayed for a couple hours after church as the kids all played with the kids in the ward and became friends. They were all pretty nervous at the beginning, and the 10 year old even turned to me at the beginning of primary and said "it seems like it will take a long time to become friends with these kids". But just a few hours later as they left the church they were friends with nearly every single primary kid, and the ward kids were asking them if they were coming back next week, and the Nakandakaris were all promising that they would! It was the cutest thing - after they left Sister Nanjo thanked Seira chan who is six or seven for becoming friends with them and being so nice. She looked confused and asked, why are you thanking me? For her it was completely natural to become friends with them. Nobody asked her to become friends and she hadn:t even decided to try and reach out to them - she just naturally and immediately loved them and included them and couldn't understand why we would feel the need to thank her for doing something as natural as being a friend. If I have learned anything on my mission it is that I LOVE little kids!! They truly are the best. I love them.
Oh and by the way, I somehow got through my talk in sacrament meeting! It was actually really interesting to study about. I ended up using the example in Matthew 25 of the ten virgins with their lamps and comparing filling our lamps with oil to filling our lives with charity. To sum it up simply there is no better preparation for when Christ will come again than to fill our lives with his love so that we can shine his light, and when he shall appear we shall be like him, and be able to see him. If you feel like reading a little more about it I used matthew 25:1-13, Matthew 22:37-39, Moroni 7:47-48, and D&C 33:17-18.
And theres just a few highlights from my week! Being a missionary is unpredictable, rewarding, stretching, hard work, and absolutely the funnest thing I have ever done in my life! I love it!
I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I love and pray for you all!
Sister Budge

Week 24 - Still in Atsubetsu!!

Dear Family -
How are you all? I hope you all had a lovely Valentines Day this week! Despite this year having absolutely no probability of any typical Valentines Day activities, it was a blast! This week was transfers, and it just so happened that the Sister's Conference that we have every transfer fell on Valentines Day so we all got to spend it together. I love Sister's Conferences! We have lunch together, then practice some songs, and then hear some workshops and testimonies of the Sisters that are going home that transfer. Two fabulous sisters went home this transfer which was sad, but it was neat to hear their workshops - Sister Kito talked about remembering our vision for what kind of missionary we wanted to be, and always having hope. Sister Koyama talked about what she learned about the importance of loving yourself in order to love others. The commandment says to love they neighbor as thyself - loving our neighbor begins with loving the person you spend the most time with - aka yourself. It was a great conference. It really made me think about what my image of a missionary was before I came on a mission, and if I am living up to that. Looking back I think my image was something like this:                 Always smiling. Always thinking about others. Obedient. Loving. Mature. Strong testimony and great knowledge of the gospel. On a bike or knocking on doors or in lessons all day everyday.        I think there are sometimes when I come close to being that kind of missionary, but I know there are many many ways that I still need to improve. It was a great workshop and it really motivated me to try even harder this transfer to become that kind of missionary that I always wanted to become! And since coming on my mission I have come to think that doing that all comes down to being obedient, living what is written in Preach My Gospel, but most of all just becoming more Christlike. I have decided that I really want to learn more about Christ - this transfer I have made a goal to read the four gospels and continue my study of Jesus the Christ - I don't think I'll be able to finish it quite yet.... its a long one!
If you couldn't tell from the title... I am still in Atsubetsu! Our threesome went down to two - now it is just Sister Nanjo and I. It has been a little weird to adjust to just having the two of us - it feels like someone is missing all the time! But I love Sister Nanjo so much, and I am so happy that I get to work with her for another transfer! This transfer is actually 7 weeks instead of 6 like normal because of the changes at the MTC - so we get even more time as companions! We were both sad to lose Sister Northrop, but we are excited for this next transfer too!
Mom said that the number of sisters has been decreasing a bit in Tokyo recently, but that they will increase in the summer? About how many will there be when that happens do you think? I hear that we are getting 5 new sisters next transfer - 1 gaijin and 4 nihonjin, and then 5 the one after that but 4 gaijin and 1 nihonjin! Up to this point the gaijin sisters have been very few - but it sounds like by the end of summer the ratio of japanese and foreign sisters may even out! It's exciting to see the changes that are happening - and to have the younger sisters coming too!
Mom, I love what you said about how you get a different insight from Ether 12:27 every time you read it. I had the same experience this week! (well, Sister Nanjo had the insight and then shared it with me :) ) If you look at what comes before verse 27 it is Ether expressing his concern that he is weak in writing, and that the people who would read his writings would mock at his weakness. Then the Lord promises Ether that His "grace (or enabling power) is sufficient for the meek that they will not take advantage of your weakness"..."if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them". When I read it this way I realized that God gives us weaknesses not only so that through his grace we can be humble and grow, but he gives His grace to those that are to receive us as well that they may overlook our weaknesses. We may still be weak, but if those listening to us are humble and meek than through the grace of God, even though we are weak, we can be or have a strong influence unto them.
The Lord really does love us and he will do everything he can to help us, and those around us to accept us, as long as we turn to him.
Well all is well here in Atsubetsu - it is still winter, it snows almost everyday, but we are staying pretty warm - no frost bite yet! :) I learned yesterday that it is not a good idea to schedule appointments that require you to wait at the church for a while after church - yesterday as we were waiting for our appointment to show up the ward clerk came up to me and asked me to give a talk in sacrament meeting next week. Just that morning I was saying how lucky we were to stay in the same ward so we wouldn't have to give a hello sacrament talk! But of course I agreed - and then I found out the topic. I am going to give a talk on Preparing for the Second Coming. In Japanese. For 10 minutes. next week. Lets just say that in that moment my whole week's personal study and language study time got planned out all at once! I'll let you know how that goes next week. Pray for me!
I hope you are all doing well in Japan, Singapore, Liberia, and Utah! Wow, It is getting increasingly difficult to explain where my family lives! I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Budge