Thursday, December 26, 2013


Dearest Family and Friends,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! It is Christmas Eve Eve here, and just yesterday it
started snowing a TON! Before that it really only snowed once, and
just left a bunch of ice on the roads - but we woke up this morning as
well to pure white all around outside- its going to be a white
christmas! I love what you are doing in the Tokyo Mission for a
"White" Christmas! This time of year really is so special and there is
such a special spirit in the air. Yesterday was a wonderful day - an
investigator from one of my old areas, I only got to teach her once
before I transferred, but I heard about her often because my roommates
at the time were teaching her - got baptized! She has changed so much.
When I met her she was very quiet, and very shy. I remember going with
the elders that first lesson and them asking her to pray at the end
and she tried - we waited maybe a good 20  minutes for her to work up
the courage to pray out loud - I don:t think she ended up doing it
that day - but from what I hear now she is very happy, very talkative,
and she has absolutely no problem praying, or with any of the
commandments! This gospel has the power to change people.
This week in Shinkotoni has been amazing!! We have been working really
hard, and are seeing a lot of miracles. I will try and share a few.
The other day we were going around trying to visit as many
non-attending members as we could and share a Christmas message and
give them some Christmas cookies (thank you mom for sending so many
gingerbread cookies! We ate a few, and have been handing out the rest-
everyone loves them!). Anyway, we decided that as we were going we
would talk to the people on the street, and if there were any houses
that caught our interest we would stop by and ring the doorbell - but
mainly focus on the non-attending members. At one point we passed this
ginormous apartment building - auto lock and probably 10 or 11 floors
with 15 or so apartments on each floor. We were just talking, and
saying that of all of those people living there there has GOT to be at
least one person that is ready for this gospel! We obviously did not
have time to call every room however, so we said a prayer, and then
chose 2 apartments that had cute decorations on the windows, and
decided to just do those 4. We dialed in the number of the first one
we chose, and a Christian lady answered. We told her that we were
going around sharing a Christmas message and treat with everyone, and
would it be okay if we shared it with you as well? She said that her
husband was home, and for all the 50 years she had been Christian he
had been kind of against the church, but to wait a second because she
would come down to us. So she came down (that hardly ever happens in
auto-locks!), we sang The First Noel together, and shared Alma 7:10-13
about the birth and atonement of Christ - and how the atonement is the
reason that we have reason to celebrate His birth. She is a firm
believer of the Bible, and only the Bible, and wasn:t too sure about
this other book, but we were able to introduce it, and she accepted a
copy of the Book of Mormon, and a return appointment after winter
break is over! Of the hundreds of people in that apartment building,
God led us right to who we needed to talk to - on the very first try!

Another miracle happened with no expectation on our part - but it
touched my heart. There is a lady, Ota san, a non-member who attends
church and eikaiwa and most activities very faithfully, but has not
been meeting with the missionaries for some reason - we are hoping to
change that soon if we can! But this week, she brought a friend,
Watanabe san with her to church! We had no idea she was coming, but
sat next to them all during church. First, the RS lesson was all about
Tithing. Then Gospel Principles was about Exaltation and all of the
regulations and requirements to receive it. For someone's first time
at church we hoped that those topics weren:t too overwhelming. Before
Sacrament meeting started I asked her what had brought her to come to
church today - she simply said that she had never been before, and
just wanted to see what it was like, that was all. We had sacrament
meeting. It was a wonderful meeting, with lots of Christmas music, and
great, honest speakers. After the meeting ended I turned to her
sitting next to me, and asked her how it was. She proceeded to open up
to me, and tell me how she has been wanting to change for a long time.
I guess often when people see her they think she is not very happy,
and maybe kind of a dark person, and that made her so sad. She said, I
want to be a happy person, I want to smile more. In the past she has
tried a couple of different religions, hoping that they would help her
change - but she felt one was too expensive, and the other had too
many requirements and regulations and in the end neither helped her
see the change she wanted to see in herself. Then she saw her friend,
the one that brought her to church. She too had been a fairly unhappy
person before- always someone depressed and rarely with a smile on her
face - but not anymore. Now she hardly ever doesn:t have a smile on
her face! Watanabe san saw this change in Ota san, and wondered if
maybe this church she had been going to could help her have this same
change - and so she had decided to come. After the first too classes
she said she had felt unsure about whether this was the place for her
- but sacrament meeting was different she said. After sacrament
meeting she said she felt such a good feeling - and even began to tear
up in one of the songs - a feeling like she should continue to look
into this church, like maybe this is where she could finally make the
change that she so desperately wants. I listened and testified that
this was the place for her - we were able to set up an appointment for
Christmas afternoon to meet and tell her more - and she said she plans
on coming back next week for sure. The spirit was so strong as I just
sat there listening to her explain in her own words, the spirit that
she felt in that meeting. But she has a desire to learn, and a desire
to change, and we are so excited to be able to help her find the truth
that she has been searching for!

My stories always get so long, I apologize - but there is just so much
I want to say!
I love this gospel! There is no greater joy than helping others to
understand its joy and its significance as well. I love my Savior
Jesus Christ, and I know that anyone, through his gospel and his
atonement can have the power to change - to be who they want to
become. I am grateful for this Christmas season and the wonderful
spirit of Christ in the air!

I love you all so much! (see attatched picture)I hope you have a
wonderful Christmas, full of joy and love!


Sister Budge

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