Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 18 in Tokyo

Dear family, 

Wow! Sounds like everyone has had a fun week with the family! This next week is probably Magrath days, right? Have fun everyone! Thanks for tell me about girls camp, Waterton, and everything else that is happening lately. As fun as it would probably be for Jare and lys to move to Calgary, I'm glad they are staying in Lethbridge for a little while. That will be fun to have them close by still. Congrats on getting excepted into the U of L Jare! 
As sad as it is to hear about the trampoline, I have to admit that I laughed so hard when I read Dad's letter about it, haha! I miss seeing the little boys mischief and smarts. They are so funny! I can see how it might have been fun for them to burn holes in the trampoline with magnifying glasses and then to stab it with knives... Haha. Poor trampoline... It sounds like we still need to keep a close eye on Jameson and Jarom, haha. 

Well, before I get too far into my letter, I should probably tell you all about transfer calls!!! We received a phone call this morning, and...
****drum role please****  I WILL BE STAYING IN KOIWA!  :D 
I'm really happy I get to stay. I love Koiwa so much! There are so many special people here who I've learned so much from. I'm so blessed to be able to stay in an area for longer than 3 transfers. It's definitely something special, and I know it is the Lord's will. Sister Ahn is staying too, so we will be companions for another transfer together. I should be a good one! Lots of good things ahead in August for our investigators. :) 

This week has been really busy! Our ward recently received a new bishop and a new ward mission leader. Together, they have come up with an amazing ward mission plan and they showed us this plan yesterday at our meeting together. I think we will see some amazing miracles in the work as we focus our efforts on the members becoming involved with missionary work. Their goal is to have all the members on board and dendo fired so that they are inspired to share the gospel with their friends and family members. Their vision is of families and members in the ward reaching out to their friends. From there, the missionaries will always have people to teach and the recent converts who are baptized will have automatic fellow shippers and support in their journey of conversion. I think it's really awesome. It has definitely helped me refocus my efforts on finding though the members in our ward and asking for them for referrals. It has been neat to see many of the members already take off with this plan and introduce their friends to the missionaries. It's been really neat to see. Members are so important in missionary work. 
Anyway, this week we focussed our efforts more towards visiting less actives and recent converts in the ward this week. We had some really amazing lessons and the spirit was felt so strong. We taught the Plan of Salvation to one of the families we visited. It was a powerful lesson. I love teaching about the Plan of Salvation because it is something so special to my heart. I was able to testify of the reality of God's plan and families being able to be together forever. As I was testifying, I felt impressed to talk about Renzo, Clay, Jorden, and Danae from our little town in Magrath. As I explained what happened in the car crash, and how I had to pray hard to know if I would really see them again or not, I learned that one of the boys in this family had a similar experience with one of his friends. I will never forget the hope in his eyes as I told about my experience. The whole family was listening, but I saw such a change in him as I testified. Everyone's feelings were really tender. It was an amazing experience. I promised this family and this boy that they could know anything by praying to God and asking to receive an answer. I promised this boy that he would see his friend again. 

This week was our friend Minami chan's birthday! We went out to lunch together with her friend Megumi Chan. We ate at this really neat Okanomiyaki restaurant and it was really fun! They are both doing really well. I'm really grateful I get to be here when they are Baptized. They are such good friends to us. :) I will send some pictures. 

I did receive Grandma Tessa's patriarchal blessing. Thank you for helping me with that, Daddy. I am so so grateful. Thank you for helping me get it. The other side of the veil is so close. I know that and can feel that. We are never alone and God really has promised us Angels on our right hand and on our left to bare us up. I have experienced this over and over again on my mission. It's made a huge change on the way I see things and people. It's helped me see missionary work in a new light too. Just as there are missionaries here, there are missionaries on the other side and they are helping to prepare the hearts of the people who we teach and talk to everyday. I think they are closer than we all think. It's not always easy to keep this perspective in mind, but it really does make all the difference. In light of this, I love the story in he Old Testament of Elisha and his servant. As they wake up in the morning, they find that their whole city is surrounded by armies and chariots full of warriors. Elisha's servant begins to fear for their lives. Elisha replies: 
"Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." After this, the veil is taken from the servants eyes and he sees the hosts of angels that are with them. 
Wouldn't it be something to be able to see all of the Angels that are watching over us everyday? I think sometimes in our lives we are privileged to feel heaven's help, or when we have been carried by a higher power. These experiences have always fascinated me. I read a quote by elder Anderson this week that I really liked. It says:

"As you keep the commandments and pray in faith to see the Lord’s hand in your life, I promise you that He will open your spiritual eyes even wider, and you will see more clearly that you are not alone."- elder Andersen 

What a powerful promise! In light of Elisha's story, I would like to share a few other scriptures. 

15 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.

16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;

17 Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;

18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen. (D&C 27:15-18)

I know that God sends us divine help everyday in our lives. Whether we see it, feel it, or not, it is there. Sometimes it is easy to feel like we are walking directionless and not receiving answers to our prayers, but God knows all things. He really does trust us to make good decisions and I testify that He will never leave us without help. We are never truly alone. If we could see the host of heaven that surround us in our daily lives, I'm sure we would never doubt or feel afraid. It is such a blessing when we are able to catch a small glimpse of the hand of God in our lives. It amazes me everyday. 
Anyway, thanks for letting me share some of my thoughts with all of you. :) 
Love you all so much! Have a fun week at Magrath day! 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard XO 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Week 17 in Tokyo

Food she ate this week.

Janae's package arrived safe and intact...but of course this is Japan:)

Dear family, 

Today and yesterday have been the hottest days I have experienced since being in Japan. It's pretty crazy! As soon as we step out of the apartment, it feels like a sauna outside. It's a good thing our apartment has air conditioning. The sun is shining though, and I'm grateful we have seen the last of the rainy season (hopefully). 

Oh, sorry to hear about summer games! Haha, that would make me so mad if they messed up the roster and made my team forfeit despite winning 3 soccer games by 5 or more points... That's southern Alberta sports for you right there! Haha, just shake it off Jianna and Josh. I'm sure you both played super well. :) 
Jianna! Have fun white water rafting at girls camp! It might be just as serious and as wet as our Young woman's canoe trip a few years ago.. 気を付けてください! (kiwotsukete kudasai) 
It sounds like everything is going well back home, but by the sounds of it, our house is under some exterior painting? Haha, that's probably a good thing. Have fun with that! I mean that sincerely! Painting is fun! :D  お疲れ様 です ! 楽しんでいください ! 

This week we have been really busy teaching again. We have a lot of people we are working with both investigators and less actives. It's really awesome to have my first area be an area where there are lots of teaching appointments. It's not only good practice for Japanese, but there really is a power in teaching people as missionaries. It helps us fulfill our purpose and I think that watching others conversion process is really special. It helps me remember my own conversion and reminds me of how wonderful the gospel is everyday. It's such a blessing. 

Yes! I received the package! Thank you so much! I love the shirts and have worn 3 of them already with it being so hot- they came right in time, haha. Thank you for sending those others things too. I really appreciate it. My favorite thing in the package was all of the little letters you all wrote. The first one I pulled out was Jarom's, and it made me so happy. Thank you for drawing for me Jarom! You are so good at that! You are getting really good at your letters too! That's awesome! I love you so much. 
The next one I pulled out was Jameson's- wow! Your writing is almost as good as mine! Thank you for your note Jameson. It made me so happy. I miss you too :) love you so much! 
I enjoyed reading your other letters too. The package came at a time when I needed it and as I read your notes, I felt you all so close. Thank you all so much. I love you all so much. Yes, it had everything in it that I needed and more. Thank you for your kind notes and love. :)

Lately in my study, I've been thinking about the roles that faith and fear play in my life. Reading Elder Bednar's most recent General Conference talk is what sparked my interest on the topic, but I feel like it is something I have learned and thought about throughout my life. As I've thought about it, It's been really neat to think about the times in my life where I have felt fear, but then been able to become fearless with the Lord's help. We overcome fear with Faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the scriptures, it says:

7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7) 

“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36).

“perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moroni 8:16)

 As I have pondered these scriptures, I can't help but think of the experiences I've had when I have turned to the Lord and been relieved and feel his peace and love. When my heart is full of fear and uncertainty, through prayer, I have felt the quiet peace and love of God. The act of turning to God for help begins with sincere prayer. As we pray to God, we can recognize His love and hand in our lives. This knowledge gives us the gentle reassurance that everything will be okay. There really is power in sincere prayer. If we really desire something with our whole hearts, miracles can and will happen. The Lord works according to the desires of men. There is a story I read from President Spencer W. Kimball this morning that blew my mind and made me excited to share it with you all. His story follows this statement: "I have had so many experiences in sickness and in health that leave me with no shadow of doubt in my heart and mind that there is a God in heaven, that he is our Father, and that he hears and answers our prayers.”

'One of these experiences came when President Kimball and his wife, Camilla, traveled to a conference in New Zealand. When they reached the city of Hamilton, they were so sick that President Kimball asked President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency, to represent him at a cultural event planned for that evening. Some hours later, President Kimball “awakened with a start and asked Dr. Russell Nelson, who sat watching over him, ‘Brother Nelson, what time was that program to begin this evening?’

“‘At seven o’clock, President Kimball.’
“‘What time is it now?’
“‘It is almost seven.’
“Spencer was soaked with perspiration. His fever had broken. … He said, ‘Tell Sister Kimball we’re going.’

“Camilla got out of bed, and they both hurriedly dressed and then drove the short distance to the stadium where the program had just convened. President Tanner had explained at the beginning of the meeting that they were too sick to attend. In the opening prayer a young New Zealander petitioned fervently, ‘We three thousand New Zealand youth have gathered here prepared to sing and to dance for thy prophet. Wilt thou heal him and deliver him here.’ As the prayer ended, the car carrying Spencer and Camilla entered and the stadium erupted in a spontaneous, deafening shout at the answer to their prayer.”

Isn't that amazing? I love this story so much. I wonder what kind of effect this answered prayer had upon the young boy who prayed the prophet to the stadium? I imagine it was an experience that He will never forgot, nor the 3000 youth that were present that day. God really does answer our prayers. I see that everyday here in Japan. 
This past week, I prayed to be able to give a Book of Mormon away on the train as we were traveling to go see a less active member. I had prayed the night before leaving, specifically asking the Lord to prepare the heart of the young woman that I might talk to. The next morning, On the train, I saw the woman I needed to talk to, and felt impressed to give her a Book of Mormon and tell her how it has blessed my life. It was an answer to prayer, but after seeing her, and making the conscious decision to talk to her, suddenly, I was filled with fear. What happened next, taught me a lot about how I should respond to fear and have faith. All of a sudden, I remembered the previous day how I had tried to talk to someone about the Book of Mormon and messed up on my Japanese. My next thought was, "she probably isn't interested," and "she looks busy." All of a sudden, I was stopped from going forward and following this spiritual impression. 

Again the scripture, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I quickly realized what was happening. I ignored the thoughts, and opened my mouth and started to speak Japanese. The girl I talked to had been to a Christian school in the States before, she believed in God (even though her family was Buddhist) and she had read parts of the bible before. I was able to give her the Book of Mormon, and talk to her about God and how we can pray to Him and receive answers to prayer. She was excited to receive the Book of Mormon, and thanked me for talking to her about it. She asked me many questions, and we were able to give her our number. 
As I got off the train at the next station, I felt a warm peaceful feeling inside of my heart. It was so strong, and I could feel the Lord's appreciation and love for me at that time. This experience was a huge testimony to me of how the Lord works and how Satan works. Satan wants to stop us from doing good things, and I feel like he succeeds as a result of us giving into fear. We cannot allow the fear of what might happen distract us from doing the will of God. As we move forward with faith, trusting in the Lord, our fear will be dispelled by our faith, and we will be able to feel the peace and love of the Lord. I testify that the feeling of peace is real and cannot be duplicated by the influence of Satan. Christ can calm our hearts and speak peace unto us as we turn to Him in sincere prayer. There is a reason Christ is called the Prince of Peace. My prayer is that He will always be the ruling power and source of peace in our lives. This gospel is true. Jesus Christ lives and loves us perfectly. He is the source of all peace and comfort. When our hearts are heavy and we feel the fear and weight of the world, I know that He will lift us if we allow Him to help us. He will dispel our fears as we exercise faith in Him. 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Week 16

 Starting with the furthest right-
member friend from Adachi. Minami chan, Megumi chan, Iida Shimai
member, me, and Ahn Shimai.
Megumi and Minami chan are being baptized on August 26th :) so exciting!

 A thousand paper cranes. It's a big thing here in Japan. I think it is
for good luck


Dear Family, 

Thank you for all of your letters! It's sounds like there are lots of exciting things happening at home! Josh, Jianna, Jameson- I wish you all the best of luck in your soccer games this week! Summer games are the best. Play hard and run until the adrenaline comes and takes over. It's the best ever when you can play with that rush, and especially awesome when that happens during summer games. Have fun! I'm so excited for you three! Jarom- make sure you cheer really loud with mom and dad. :) I'm glad you all had fun in Waterton and at the parade this past week. It sounds like the rest of the family is doing good too. Thank you for updating me with everything that is happening all the time. It's always so good to hear from you guys. :) 

It's been a really busy week for me! Busy is good though. We met our new mission president and his wife this past week! Sister Ahn and I traveled to the Honbu to meet them, and it was an amazing experience for me. Before the meet and greet, I was feeling really weighed down and stressed about a lot of things, but shortly after we arrived I felt like my weight was lifted. I had the most incredible experience and feeling come over me when my new Mission president and his wife entered the room. I looked at both of their faces closely and just watched them as they began shaking hands with the other missionaries in the room. As I watch them, my weight was lifted. I felt such a familiarity with both of them as I talked with them and introduced myself. I couldn't help but think about my setting apart blessing and what was said about the new mission president that would be coming. President and Sister Budge will always have a special place in my heart, and to be honest, I was a little bit worried about the change, but this experience was truly a fulfillment of the blessing pronounced. I feel so close to both of them. I was amazed by how peaceful my mind and heart began to feel as I met them. That weight was completely lifted from my shoulders, and I'm so grateful for this tender mercy. God really does know us individually. He is so gracious. Im grateful for the experience he allowed me to have with President and Sister Nagano. I'm excited to learn more from both of them as time goes on! We saw them today in the Temple and again that feeling of familiarity came over me. They are both so special. My first thought, after seeing Sister Nagano, was how much she reminds me of grandma Tessa. How she moves, speaks, smiles- everything! It's amazing to me. Seeing her was like bring back memories of grandma. It was really special for me to feel that. We had a few short moments together when I introduced myself, and although I didn't say anything about how hard this transfer has been or how I was feeling, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "hang in there," with her pretty smile and pure eyes. I was speechless. All I could say was thank you with a starting to be tearful smile. I know they will both be wonderful. To describe President Nagano a little bit, I will tell you what happened today after our temple session. Sister Ahn and I were just about to walk outside, when we realized it was pouring rain. We brought our rain jackets with us, but even with those, the probability of getting our feet and skirts soaked was looking pretty high. As we were putting on our rain jackets on, hesitantly, hoping the rain would slow up a little bit, the sliding doors in front of us opened and in walked President Nagano. He had just walked into the Temple Annex from the rain. He looked at us, shook both of our hands and asked, " do you two have an umbrella?" We said we didn't, but that we would probably be fine with our rain jackets. Without hesitating, he opened the umbrella he had just closed and held it out to us saying that He had a car and didn't need an umbrella. He said goodbye to us telling us to be careful with a big smile- I've noticed he always has a big smile. Anyway, I think they are both pretty great. :) 
As far as our investigators as concerned, I think we have seen some really neat things this week! We were able to set a Baptismal date with our 19yr old friend, Minami Chan. Last week, her best friend, Megumi Chan set a baptismal date for August 26th, and Minami decided that she wanted to be baptized on the same day as her friend. We are so excited for them! I will send you a picture of the lesson we had last night with them. I feel really close with both of these investigators and I'm sure we will be really good friends even after our mission. They said they want to visit Canada and the States after I am finished my mission. They are both amazing and so prepared. I love them so much. :) 
The family we are teaching is moving along too. We taught the mother tonight, and she is praying and taking about another baptismal date right now. It's always such a pleasure to be in their home. We love them so much. 

Dad mentioned last week that he was able to come in contact with a few other languages in his mission too. Here in Tokyo, I feel like I've met people from all over the world! In Tokyo I've come in contact with, Persian, Korean, Cambodian, Spanish, Russian, Australian, Portuguese, Chinese, Nigerian and a few other occurrences of people from America or Europe- (these being tourists for the most part). It's been really neat to meet people from all over the world. Most people are Japanese though. There are over 13 million people who live in Tokyo, and it certainly shows as we walk in and out of train stations. There are people everywhere! This morning the trains were so packed that we were squished together so tight that we were face to face almost. I'm not going to say that I'm used to being so close to a million different people, but it is a daily occurrence. On the bright side, we always have people to talk to! Haha, it's great. It's really neat to see and experience different cultures here. First and foremost, I am trying to learn Japanese, but I think learning some of these other languages would be really neat too. Our friend Chana is always trying to teach us Cambodian and so I can say a few things in Cambodian, but that's about it, haha. Japanese for now. :) 
Dad had a question about cicadas...yep! We have them! They are really loud, especially after about 8:00pm. I think they are really neat though. Oh, and I didn't eat any weird foods this week, but maybe next week, haha. 

There were some things that Josh talked about in his letter that reminded me of some of the small miracles I've heard about from other missionaries in the mission. I've heard countless stories of people who have come in contact with the missionaries before, and were given a pamphlet, or a Book of Mormon on a train or on the street. At the time, they weren't super interested, but they took the Book of Mormon or pamphlet anyway. Years later, something hard or tragic happens in their lives, and all of sudden the Book of Mormon falls from the bookshelf, or they find a little pamphlet or a note the missionaries wrote them, and thus starts a their journey of investigation and they eventually receive the fullness of the gospel. This is something I have always tried to keep in mind as I go out and talk to people. Every single word I say, every testimony I give, every Book of Mormon I give or small thing I do to invite others to Christ, is a seed that is either planted or will be planted in the future. If you think about it, every single person that has ever lived and is living now, will receive the chance to hear the fullness of the gospel. Thinking about it in this way, every effort made to reach out and teach people, even if they aren't interested right now, will someday change their lives. They might read the Book of Mormon one day and feel God's love start to flow into their lives. You never know what could happen. God works in countless wonderful ways to further His work. 

Some crazy things have happened in the world lately! I heard that same-sex marriage is now legal in all the States. In the church, President Packer pass away, and Elder Perry passed away a few weeks ago too- there have been lots of other changes in our world lately. I find it interesting that their last words in general conference were both about protecting the family, and as they pass away, same sex marriage is made legal throughout all the States. Our prophets seers and revelators truly do speak the word of God. These are amazing signs and wonders! It is sad to see so many people reject God's plan, but it is just another sign of the Savior's second coming. I think we will see more and more of that everyday that we live, but with these changes, I think there is a greater need to prepare spiritually for the things that continue happening around us. It will be neat to see who is called to be new apostles in October. We live in such an important and incredible time. We are truly witnessing the world prophesied about throughout the scriptures preceding the second coming of Christ. I'm really grateful to be a missionary at this time, and for the chance to help prepare the way of the Lord. 
It is so important for us to always be doing the consistent little things that count. Daily scripture study, fervent prayer, and keeping God's other commandments and some of these little important things. Through doing these, we will not only be happy, but we will have the confidence we need to stand strong in a world that is being increasingly more wicked. There is a scripture is Mosiah 2:41 that I really like. 

41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

True happiness really does come when we obey God's commandments. It's important to always obey the spirit too. I've learned that time and time again on my mission. 
I love you all so much. Thank you for everything you do, and for your wonderful examples. :) 
Continue to pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others. If you really desire to share this gospel, I know God will give you the opportunity to do it. God always calls us to work according to our desires. Ask and ye shall receive. :) 
Love Always, 

Sister Hubbard 

Here is a quick video of some of the celebration happening on the streets of Tokyo