Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 52 - Sorry this week is going to be short....


I'm sorry this week is going to be really short - President Evans has arranged a Baseball activity for all the missionaries in Sapporo - to go and see The Hokkaido Fighters play at Sapporo Dome, and we are having a barbeque in about two minutes so they are telling me I have to get off the computer - so I'll make it short!

First: This week was transfers, and I am still in Odori! I am still STL, but I have a new companion, named Sister Furue, from Kagoshima - she is wonderful! Honda shimai went to Atsubetsu, one of my old areas. We now have 43 sisters in the mission and still only two STLs! We'll see how this goes! 

I found out that one of my old investigators in Atsubetsu is scheduled to be baptized this week! Her name is Shiga san, and she has been an investigator for over a year - she comes to church more fatihfully than a lot of members - I am so happy that she is finally going to be baptized! 

We have been so blessed recently with investigators and members that are willing to team up and dendo with us - the member fire is really amazing! We got a call this week from a member, calling to ask us when we had time to dendo with her! We had a couple of hours before an appointment and we were able to go with her to a ton of non active members - it was great! I don't know what it is, maybe because we are travelling so much and only know we have a few days to be in our area, but it seems like everyday we have here has just been chock-full - and it is so much fun! We are working hard, are exhausted every night in the best way and loving being a missionary just as much as ever! 

Sorry its so short this week - I love you all so much! The gospel is true! It brings so much joy and love into our lives. 

I'll write again next week!


Sister Budge

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week 51 - A Week Full of Miracles

Dearest Family!!

Hello! I heard that Danny got a day off of school for rain today - I think it is coming up here too! Its been raining at least a bit everyday up here - this morning for exercise the four of us went to a near by park and played in the rain - Its fun when you can come back in and shower right after :) 

This week has been a really fun week - so many of our investigators are starting to really progress, and turn to a really good direction - I am so excited for them! We have one Russian investigator, Irina san that for the longest time has refused to pray, and has told us countless times that her heart is hard as stone - but recently we have started going with a member, and had her over to a Family Home Evening at another members house - and last time we went over she said that her heart is half softened - and she agreed to come to church week after next, AND she PRAYED at the end of the lesson! She wouldn't say "Dear Heavenly Father", but she said what she was grateful for, and said Amen at the end - the first time I have ever heard her say that - oh my goodness I was SOOOO Happy! I had almost given up hope on her, but I have a lot of hope now! 

Another investigator, Oi san has been our investigator for a couple months now, but she is recovering from some anxiety problems, and up until now we have only ever been able to go without appointments - but we have gone every week, and we leave her letters everyweek with scriptures and a message because she doesn't feel comfortable taking a Book of Mormon - but recently she has been bringing back out the letters all marked up with questions and things she wants to know more about, and she is praying on her own! We usually go on the weekends, but this week we just had a really full schedule and it was iffy if we were going to be able to go on Sunday afternoonor not. But then at church we got a call from an unknown number - and it was Oi san! She was calling to let us know that she was going to be out that day, so she just wanted to make sure that we weren't planning on coming by that day so she wouldn't miss us! We were SO happy- she seems to be really looking forward to our visits every week - and for the first time we were able to make an appointment to come back today! 

There are so many miracles that happen everyday - ones that we see and ones that go on in the lives of our investigators that we never know are happening until we go and follow up with them. Following up is possibly one of the most important principles of missionary work I think. I know this gospel is true! It really is such an amazing gift that we have!! I feel so blessed to have this time to study and learn about the gospel. 

I love you all so much! It sounds like transfers are going to be pretty crazy this week - good luck! We'll see how things turn out up here too - with so many missionaries now it is almost impossible to guess at all. Of course I will do whatever the Lord wants to me to do - but I do not want to transfer!! We'll see how far that hope carries me! 

Love you so much!!


Sister Budge

Week 50 - Sushi, How Great Thou Art, and our Investigators at Church!

Dear Family, 

This week was so much fun! We were blessed to be able to have a lot of different lessons, and work a lot with the members. And partly because of the duet that we sang in sacrament meeting this week, we had 5 investigators come to church!! Oh my goodness, I was SO happy! I was happiest about our investigator Watanabe Megumi san and her two daughters who got to stay for Young Womens  and Primary - They seemed to really enjoy it! We didn't think they were going to be able to come because it was Manami chan (the oldest daughter)'s birthday, and they were going to be busy with that. So accepting that, we just planned on dropping by and leaving her a birthday cake and message on the doorstep before church and leaving it at that, but they ended up coming! I am so excited about their family - they are starting to do things with other members of the ward, almost without any connection to us, and she even brought a friend to an activity with her the other week! We plan on making a new baptismal date with her this week, because she won't be able to come to church enough times before the current date.Pray for us!
The Moiwa ward building is going under construction starting today for the next three months, so we took a picture with everyone in front of the building as one last memory of the building as it is now. I think this is the oldest church building in Hokkaido - it will be fun to see what the new one looks like! Hopefully I will still be here to see it! :) 

We got to go out to sushi this week with Sister Hayashi (who actually served in Shibuya when Dad was a bishop there), and Watanabe Megumi san - it was delicious, and we had a really good lesson about the Book of Mormon as well. As we were walking home afterwards we stopped and contacted a girl, and gave her a Book of Mormon, and got to be pretty good friends - when we told her that we had just gone to sushi, she said that she loves sushi, and so we made a plan to go to sushi with her today! Then last night we got a call from an investigator that wants to have us over for a Takoyaki party tonight - we have been wanting to meet with her for a while so we couldn't turn her down - we are just going to have to eat dinner twice! But if it means that we can meet with our investigators than we will just have to endure :) 

Recently I have been reading in Mosiah. I have always loved Mosiah, but reading it again has reminded me again how much I love it. I especially liked chapter 3 this time - it explains so simply about Christ and prophets. I especially love verse 13 - that talks about the joy of repentance and of the gospel. 

Thank you all for your love and support, and your emails everyweek! I love this work, I love each and every one of you so much! 

Have a fabulous week!


Sister Budge

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Week 49 -

Dear Family, 

Happy September! I don't know if its happy or not, I can't believe how fast the time is flying by - its going way too fast! I am pretty sure that summer has ended now - its been raining pretty solidly for the past few weeks, and everyone seems pretty skeptical about the temperatures getting back up again - it is a perfect temperature for dendo - not too hot that you sweat a ton, but not too cold that you have to wear a coat :) its weird to be experiencing autumn here for the second time here - I love Hokkaido so much though, it is a beautiful place. 

We had a really good week! We had ZTM, and a big koukan with the sisters, and we were able to have a lot of member present lessons as well. It really makes such a big difference to have a member in the lesson, they just add so much experience, and just a better connection to the world that the investigators are living in so to speak - as missionaries we can form a really strong bond, but the members can definitely relate a lot more. 
We went to visit a less active member this week, her name is Ogawa Satoko and she is maybe in her 70s or 80s now - she suffers from Alzheimers (spl?) but she loves when we come over, and cries every time we sing a hymn together. She is so sweet. And actually has a really good voice! She showed us the first Book of Mormon that she received from the missionaries after she got baptized, and I looked at the address written there and it said 5 Dawn Hill Sandy, UT! Isn't that in Pepperwood? I don't know if Michael Day is still living there, but I feel like I have heard his name before... do you know anything about him? It'd be fun to get in touch with him somehow! 
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I am just about out of time this week, but I have to say before I leave, Grandma and Grandpa Budge - THANK YOU SO MUCH For the family reunion pictures and the explanatory letter with it! Oh my goodness you have a lot of great grandkids - and quite a few that I didn't even know about!! Congratulations everyone!! I have loved showing those pictures to people - I love our family!! 
Also, JANNA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Your first birthday as a mother, I hope it was wonderful in every way! You are an amazing sister, I love you so much!

I love you all so much! I love this gospel, and I love this work! 

Have a great week!


Sister Budge

Week 48 - Obihiro, Maruyama Dobutsuen!

Dear Family, 

This week was so much fun! We went on splits to Obihiro again, and I was again able to see a lot of natsukashi people, and actually set up a few appointments for the sisters there with some invetstigators that they haven't been able to meet with them for a while, so that is exciting. We found one potential investigator housing, and it was kind of a miracle - I was working with a sister who just barely got here about two weeks ago, still struggling with the Japanese, but not afraid to speak out. We were housing for a while and finally at one door she got tangled up in her words and instead of giving up and looking to me to fix it for her, she just kept trying to shout it out in as many ways as she could until the right one came out - I think the man on the other end probably out a mixture of amusement, sympathy, and admiration at her diligence told us to wait while he came to the door. He was a young man, probably in his twenties, and we were able to have a lesson about the Plan of Salvation, and make an appointment for the Elders to come back next week! Its been amazing to see all of the new missionaries with no Japanese experience whatsoever, and to see the blessings that God provides as we try our best and do whatever is in our power. 

There really are so many miracles everyday, so many people waiting for the gospel, and being prepared to here it. I am so excited to be in this work, and to see the hand of God, and to be an instrument in it! I rediscovered one of my favorite scriptures this week, Alma 26 verses 15 and 16. We are instruments, and that brings us to rejoice, because our joy if FULL! 

Sorry my letter is so short this week - we went to the zoo today, and we got home a little late - but here are some pictures from the zoo! yes. I enjoyed the monkeys very much :) And then there is one with my beloved companion, Sister Honda! As you can tell from the picture, she is a blast!
Love you all so much! 

Have a great week!


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Week 47 - Rain is poring all around!

Dear Family, 

Well another week has flown by - I don't know where the time goes! We did our first couple of exchanges this week with some sisters in Sapporo - I love going on exchanges! It is always so inspiring to see the other sisters and their diligence and love for the work. It is especially amazing to me now to see almost all of our sisters training - and so many of them still so very young in transfers - but they all are trusting in the Lord, and I know that "he will prepare a way for them to accomplish" this great work! 
I got to go back to Atsubetsu again this week, and meet an investigator that I taught when I was there - his name is Ohashi san. We taught him when I was in a threesome there, and so we could actually go inside to teach him. He has interest in learning about Christ, because he is intrigued by the incredible influence that he had on the world - but he doesn't have any desire to go any where beyond "knowledge". I guess since I have been gone there were some things that happened with the other missionaries and he stopped meeting with them - so he was super surprised that we came by. But we were able to have a really good conversation, and talk really openly about everything that happened, I was able to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restoration, and in the end I think we were able to leave him with more positive feelings towards the missionaries and the church - and although he isn't really interested in taking discussions or anything he did say that he would try and come to eikaiwa - if not anything else that will at least help him to have again a positive image of the church again, and feel comfortable coming there. He also loves skiing and travelling, so I told him if he was ever in Utah to give us a call - he said he would! Maybe I can take him on a tour of Temple Square or something :) 

I can't remember if I told you or not, but for the musical number we have decided to do How Great Thou Art - we have me and Elder Sotto singing, and an Elder Mecham playing the piano for us - they are both amazing musicians so I am really excited about it. We are performing on the 8th of September - so we've got a few weeks. I'll see if I can record a few practices and try and send them home :) 

This week I was reading the Book of Mormon, and I came across a scripture that I have never really noticed before, but I LOVE IT!!  It is Jacob 3:1-2.

 "But behold, I Jacob would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. 
O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love: for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever."

Pray with faith, and he will console you! He will plead your cause! So lift up your heads, and accept His pleasing word, accept his invitation for help. Feast upon his love forever - because you can! It has no end, and he will never turn away from you. 
I know that our Heavenly Father is our Loving Father in heaven. He knows and loves and desires to bless each and everyone of His children. I am so grateful and humbled by this opportunity to be a part of that great work, and I want to make the best of every single moment. 

Thank you all for your examples, and your love! I feel your love and prayers always, and you are in mine also!


Sister Budge

Week 46 - A God of Miracles, Yesterday, Today, and Forever'

Dear Family, 

This week was wonderful!! We saw so many miracles, and met so many wonderful people! I'll kind of go day by day, and see how that goes :) 

Monday: We went housing and were able to give away two Book of Mormons! The first guy started out like he was going to reject us, but recently I have been focusing a lot on trying to testify boldy and from the heart - even when I am nervous - and when I was trying to figure out what to testify about to him - I remembered the Book of Mormon. I explained that it was this evidence that you can read, and hold in your hands - and that I knew it too be true. I think he was a little taken aback, and he suddenly seemed interested! He took the book, and we have an appointment to go back today! The next lady was an amazingly good person - she just was one of those people that you see and know they are just a good person. I wanted to give her the Book of Mormon, so I asked if she liked to read, and she said yes, I asked her what kind of books she likes, and she said she likes 1 - books that she can apply to her life, that have lots of good advice and things like that in it, and 2) history books. What better Book to fit those requirements than the Book of Mormon! We are going to go and visit her again today as well. 

Tuesday. We had a PI that we found just on sunday come to Eikaiwa! She had a really good time, and it was all because of a member that attended and sat next to her the whole time, and really became her friend. The miracle was that we had just invited that Sister to come to Eikaiwa the week before - this was her second week coming, and she turned out to be the PERFECT support for the new student - they were talking for a long time after class, and both promised each other to be there next week, and I was just so amazed at how well the Lord knows his children and what they need!

Wednesday. This miracle actually came because the new missionaries coming to Sapporo missed their flight in Tokyo and ended up coming a day late - but their trainers had already come down from the country areas - leaving two sisters in our apartment with nothing to do for a day. It worked out that I got to go on splits with my old companion Sister Nanjo, and we got to go back to our old area, Atsubetsu (because its still technically in my area now) and we got to see the Nakandakari family!! It was SO much fun - I don't know why we got to be so lucky! It was so good to see their family - they really feel like my second family, I love them so much! While we were there we also got to share a spiritual message - and we felt inspired to talk about the Book of Mormon. We talked about how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, and how everything else ultimately relies on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. The mom and dad said they had never really understood why the Book of Mormon was so important before - but now they understood. The Mom is still reading bit by bit, and I challenged the Dad to read with me - a race of sorts to read the Book of Mormon in Japanese by the end of my mission. Miyu chan is reading - but not everyday it sounds like - I am going to try and start following up with her a  little more proactively about that. The spirit was so strong in the lesson though. My favorite part was when the Dad explained to us his position right now, he said I am all ears right now, I am not turning anything down - but I want to know it all first before I commit. Once I know it, if I do find out its true, I will be really fast - when I commit I commit. I am just still in the learning phase. I am so excited for the day when he will know!

Thursday. We got to hear all the testimonies of the new missionaries that came in - it was amazing how much my dendo fire grew just from listening to their simply two minute testimonies! They are a really strong group - we have 11 new sisters and 9 new elders. One of the sisters went to Waterford, Sydney Horne, and another Monica Johnson I have met a few times before at different places (choir festivals, EFY, and BYU). 

Friday. was focused on Watanabe Megumi san, one of our investigators. She has four kids, and was able to come to a primary activity in the morning with her two younger ones - it was a really fun activity and she got to know and talk to a lot of the moms in the ward - she was really impressed and had a really good time. Then later that night was Sports Night - and activity that she comes to every week with her kids. We were able to meet today a little before and teach the Plan of Salvation, with two of her kids as well! The lesson went really well, they asked lots of questions, and understood pretty well. And we were able to make a Baptismal Date!!! She said that she feels like she has been guided to this church to bless her family. It was a GREAT day!

Saturday. We didn't have any lessons scheduled when we started that morning but as the day went on we were able to lessons with two investigators! One was Tanaka san, a brand new investigator, we had just given her a Book of Mormon about two weeks ago, but hadn't been able to have any lessons yet - but we called her and were able to make an appointment for that same day. We met, and were able to teach all of Lesson 1, and we found out that she had already read about a tenth of the Book of Mormon! It was amazing! She is super genki, and really has a desire to learn - probably because she is a school teacher :) She said she plans on reading the whole thing through at least once!

Sunday. We had the opportunity to take the sacrament (as always), and it really just meant a lot to me this week. Also that night we were able to meet with Watanabe Megumi san again - because she invited us to come see her older two kids (middle schoolers) perform on the Taiko drums at the park - we knew it would be a really good opportunity to build our relationship and trust with her family, and a great way to show support - and super fun!- so we went! I think it really meant a lot to her. Her husband passed away just last year, and I think it meant a lot to have someone to go and support her children with her. We took lots of pictures! (well mostly she did :) ) 

I know that this is the Lord's work! He is behind and through every step, and He knows where he needs us, and who needs us, and who we need. I know that he is a God of miracles, the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know that repentance is real. I know that God forgives, and that he heals. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that he loves each and every one of his children. I know that there are so many ways that I need to improve, and that I will never be perfect - but I know that He will always be there to support me and give me the strength to try.

I don't know if I always express enough how grateful I am for my wonderful family,  and all the  friends who have supported me and been the examples and strengths for me all my life. I love each and every one of you! Thank you so much! This gospel is true!


Sister Budge

Week 45 - Hello!!

Dear Family, 

Hello!! This week has been so good! We were able to visit a lot with members in the ward, and we are really starting to feel a close connection with the members. We really wanted to focus on the members and show them a lot of love. We heart attacked a few people, and just visited with as many people as we could. Moiwa ward is GREAT! They have such great dendo fire, and you can just feel the strength of their testimonies and their love for each other when you go to the ward. 

We had two exchanges this week, but they were both pretty close to our area, so we were actually able to have at least one of us working in our area every day this week! That may have been the first time this transfer that has happened. 
To answer some of your questions mom, about being Sister Training Leader, Yes there are still only two of us - everyone else needs to be a trainer! We have 11 new sisters coming this transfer bringing us to 37 total, of which 19 will be still in their first two transfers, or training. Yes, we went to all of the zone conferences, and just did a small workshop inside of the APs workshop about building a relationship of trust with the members. We also did a small meeting with Sister Evans and just the sisters where Sister Evans did some sister announcements and we had some time to say anything we wanted to as well - we just talked about the importance of exercise and eating healthily, and then we had a question and answer session with just the sisters there. Thats really about all we have done with Sister Evans so far, but one thing that she is doing that I think is really neat, is that she is making an effort to go on splits with a pair of sisters every week - with the ones that are reasonably close that is :) I don't know if that is something that is feasible in Tokyo or not, but it is always a really good experience it sounds like. I think we are working with her next transfer. 

Also for bags, I was using a backpack for a while, but then I guess that is not so good apparently, so now I am using a purse - it looks better probably, but it really doesn't hold up too well with all the scriptures and kind of heavy things that you have to carry around - so I don't know. Backpacks are definitely more comfortable, and hold up better, but purses do look better. Some sisters have the ones that have waist straps - those are probably the best. 
I did get the music too- I am so excited to use it! This transfer ended up being too late to try - hopefully I'll be able to next transfer! 

We are excited to see how things turn out this transfer with all the new missionaries coming - hopefully me and my companion Sister Honda wont have any changes... we'll see though. I know that this work is guided by the Lord - it has been such blessing to see the work going on in all different parts of the mission, and know that no matter where they are they are being guided by the spirit. 

I love this gospel. I love this work! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Sister Budge