Dear Family -
Things are really warming up here in Sapporo now - we even went out to go grocery shopping without our jackets today! I am loving the spring weather.
The most exciting thing this week is that I was finally able to meet Becky's cousin's family - the Katos! They are an amazing family!! I was able to meet the Mom and two daughters on Tuesday and then the whole family again on Sunday afternoon - they are such a cute family!!! Kotaro kun and Yume chan and Megumi chan are all super nice to each other and just adorable. And Yozo and Ryoko are such nice parents too - I really felt at home at their house - even though it was the first time I had ever met them they really felt like family! Which I guess they are if you really think about it :) That threw some of the members at church for a loop when they asked what we were doing after church and I said i was going to go visit my 100% Japanese relatives that lived down the street :) If all goes well with work, they are going to come to a big Family Home Evening at the ward on Saturday - and the host family is actually Kotaro's kumon (juku - after school school?) teacher! So they already have a good connection with the ward which is great! I am excited to see them again.
Well, being a missionary is a pretty crazy experience. I swear I have never had so many emotional roller coasters in my life! haha - but what is life without a few amusement parks every once in a while? I love being a missionary, I really do. I don't know if there is anything else in the world that will bring such great joy as sharing the gospel - but I also don't think there is anything that will point our your weaknesses quite as clearly. Just when I think I am starting to get it down - I fail completely and feel like I have to start all over again. For example, just a couple of hours ago actually we had an appointment at the park with a lady we met last week and gave a Book of Mormon to - we were at the park at the appointed time, but it is a HUGE park and we realized we were at the wrong end of it. We texted our appointment and asked her for the address, and told her we were on our way - that we were super close - but she texted us back and said that fate was just not meant to be that day - that time and trust were very important to her and that we would just have to see if fate allowed us to meet again - because today was just not going to work. We continued, running now, to where she said she was - but when we got there,15 minutes late now - she was already gone. My companion and I found the nearest bench and sat down and texted her an apology and cried, and repented and talked things out for a long time. I have always known that one of my biggest weaknesses is dependability. I try so hard to be as dependable and trustworthy as I can - but I am not perfect and there are times when I fall short. But this time it was not just my reputation at stake - but the church's and more importantly Christ's. As a missionary I am a representative of Christ, and I had let him down. It has been a while since I have felt so disappointed in myself. My companion was very loving and we worked things out together - she shared a scripture with me that we all know very well - Mosiah 18:8-9. It goes "As ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light, yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn, yea and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at ALL TIMES, and in all things, and in all places..." I learned the importance of standing as a witness of God at all times today. I also learned about repentance. We truly felt regret, and sorrowed for what we had done. We did our best to make amends with our appointment. We mourned with and comforted each other, and then promised to never let the same kind of thing happen again. We prayed and talked about all of this with God. He listened, and he gave us both peace. I don't know how things will work out for her from here on out - but I know that somewhere along the line things will work out. We learned. We will grow. "These things gave us experience and shall be for our good".
I am so grateful for this missionary experience. I am so grateful for this chance that I have been given to realize my weaknesses and improve. I know I can never be perfect - that is not part of the plan for anyone - but I know that through his grace and his help I can be better than I am now - and that is so exciting! I will do my best. I know that God lives and hears and answers prayers. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that God has given us the scriptures to guide, comfort and bless us. I know that this gospel is true - and I am so grateful for it!!
Sorry I am out of time - until next week!
I love you all so much!
- Sister Budge