Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 21 in Tokyo

 Sister Hubbard's district in Tokyo

These two and getting baptised on Sunday!!! :D ah! So proud of them,
and love them so much!

A big escalator in a train station, or the Sky Tree and it says "hang on tight" written on the side
 Zone lunch
Sisters in zone

Dearest family, 

I forgot to tell you all last week that my p-day would be on Tuesday this week because of Temple p-day! Haha, sorry. I'm safe and am doing well. The temple was really special today, and I really felt the Spirit strong as I went though. The temple is such an amazing place, and I'm so grateful we get to go once every transfer. 

This week has been crazy busy! I have a lot to write about, but I think I will tell you all a little bit about exchanges to start. 
As I mentioned last week, I went to Uraysu for exchanges and spent the night with Sister Wharton. It was a great exchange! We saw a lot of miracles together. We visited a couple people, and they were all amazing experiences, but I would like to share an experience that we had with a recent convert named Nadia. She is Mongolian, and joined the church earlier this year. She has been less active for the last little while. Sister Wharton and Sister Sargent had been trying to visit her for the past 2 transfers together, but every time they went, she wasn't home. Sister Wharton and I were so lucky she was at home when we went to visit! Anyway, Nadia doesn't speak very much Japanese, and she only knows a little bit of English, and so between the two languages it was a little bit difficult to teach her. During the lesson, she was having a hard time understanding what we were trying to say, so Sister Wharton suggested that I share a scripture with her. I flipped through my Book of Mormon and opened to Jacob 3:1-2 that were marked from a few days previous in my study. Nadia opened her Mongolian Book of Mormon and we read the scripture together. 

1 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.

2 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.

After reading the scripture, we asked her what she thought about it. There was a long pause... 
I felt impressed to ask another question at that time..."Nadia, when was the last time you felt God's love?" Nadia looked down, silently thinking about the question... With tears in her eyes,
She said that she felt God's love so strong at her baptism, but that she hadn't felt it since.
I thought to myself for a minute or so about what she was saying and how we might be able to help her. I felt impressed to pray together at that time. Before praying, I promised her that as we prayed together, that we would be able to feel God's love. I asked her to pay attention to her feelings and to listen as we prayed. This was such a powerful experience. I can't even begin to describe the feelings I felt at that time. As I prayed, I felt such a warm love for her. I felt so strongly of God's love for her. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget! Prayer is so powerful, and I learned that when we pray for others we are able to love them more too. Nadia agreed to come to church on Sunday before we left. Such a miracle! Amazing things happen on exchanges, that's for sure! 
This week, we also had interviews with president and sister Nagano! I was so excited to talk with them both. Interviews went really well, and I feel like I have grown closer to both of them. They are both so special. During my interview with president Nagano, we received some amazing revelation together. It was a really neat experience for me. I won't tell you all the details, but in the interview, after talking about my Koiwa area, there was a small pause... The spirit was really strong, and both of us looked at each other and president Nagano said that he felt it was time for me to transfer. It was really neat. I wasn't expecting him to tell me anything, but I was feeling the same way. It's so neat how the Spirit works. He said he didn't know for sure, but that He felt at that time that I should transfer to another area. Transfer calls are on the 31st, so I guess we will see what happens and where the Lord would have me be. I love this area so much, so if I am meant to stay, I will be so happy. Most sisters stay in an area for 2-3 transfers, so I have been really lucky to be here in Koiwa for 4 transfers. My interview with sister Nagano was really good too. She reminds me so much of Grandma Tessa! It's been really neat to talk with her and see how similar she is in the way she thinks, speaks, and just her mannerisms in general I guess. She is the sweetest person ever, and her heart is so big. She has so much love and she shares it with everyone. I'm so grateful for her and for President Nagano. I think I have a lot to learn from both of them as time moves forward. 

Lately, I've been able to see a big change in my Japanese-A huge blessing! Japanese is really a hard language, but I've learned that as I focus on loving people that I am always able to say what I need too. Sometimes I would like to say more, but I've learned that keeping it simple really is better. Sometimes, when we meet people who speak English, I start complicating things because I am able to say so much! Haha, maybe that's one of the reasons why I was called to speak Japanese, but it really is a blessing to be able to say what I need to. I can speak most of what I am thinking now, and so I'm really excited about that! Things always come little by little, and I've learned that patience really is a virtue, haha. I think I need a little bit more of it, but God is helping me and I can really see His hand in my life everyday. 

Well, this Sunday is really exciting!! Megumi and Minami Chan are being baptized after church and we are so excited for them!! They both have such amazing faith and are trying to read the whole Book of Mormon before Sunday. They inspire me so much, and I feel like they are so spiritually mature and sensitive to the Spirit. I think God knew that I would need them these past two transfers, and so He let me stay here with them. I'm really excited for their baptism! The ward is really involved in the program and they are preparing a special dinner for afterwards. The Ward has really reached out to them and they already have visiting teachers and many fellow shippers. I think the will have a strong support system within the church after I leave, which I am so grateful for. Ward members are so crucial in helping new converts and less actives. I feel like that this something I have definitely been able to see here in Koiwa. Anyway, we are so excited for them!! :) 

I'm pretty sure I told you about the Chinese girl that we found on the train last week, but if I didn't, this might be a little bit out of place, haha. We were able to meet with her this week for the first time! We are really excited about her! We decided to meet for ice cream and then walk to the church and give her a church tour. (My first transfer with Sister Trent, we decided that this is always a good combination- icecream and church tours, haha) After we gave her a tour of the church, we asked her if we could sing for her. She said yes, and sister Ahn began playing some of the primary songs on the piano in the Chapel. I sang, and the spirit was really strong. This Chinese girl began trying to sing along with us, and we could tell that she felt the Spirit. We gave her the lyrics to look at so that she could sing with us. After we finished singing, she told us that she wanted to come to church and that she felt a really peaceful feeling in her heart that she had never felt before. Such a miracle! 
I've said it before, but music really is so powerful! It has the ability to soften people's hearts and make them open to learning more about the gospel. So neat! The Spirit is always so strong when we sing hymns. 

Well, I think that's about all I have time for this week, but I love you all so much! Thanks for your letters and for all of your love and support. I'm so grateful to be here in Japan and to be a missionary.
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Week 20 Japan Tokyo Mission

 Like an omelet with Bull Dog sauce on top.

 Daryn said that a watermelon is a rare treat as they cost about $100 for one watermelon.
Dearest family, 

Thanks for all of your letters! I love you all so much! Xoxo 
sorry this is kinda of late. We were really busy yesterday with p-day and our investigators, so I'm sending this letter today. 

This week has been really busy, and I think next week is going to be even busier! I'm excited for it though. Starting tomorrow we have exchanges and so I get to go dendou in Urayasu for a little while! My trainer, sister Trent, served in Urayasu for a few transfers, so I think it will be fun to experience a little bit of one of her areas. 
Also, this next week we have interviews with the new mission president! It will be the first time we have had personal time one on one with President and Sister Nagano since they've arrived here. I'm so excited to be able to talk to them both! They so special and I love them so much already. There is definitely a special bond between mission presidents and missionaries. 

I can't believe how fast this transfer is going! ...I remember saying that last transfer, and so I think that time might be getting faster...yikes! Anyway, this week has been really good. 
This week, I have been thinking a lot about how God prepares the hearts of people to hear the gospel. God really does this in so many ways, and that is something I feel like I have seen a lot of in the past week. God really does place people in our path every day who need to take the next step forwards in their lives-whatever that step may be. God knows who we are going to pass by on the street, on the train, and wherever else we go. He knows our desires as missionaries, and I've learned that it is so important to pray and ask for the Lord's miracles in our lives. 
Two days ago, sister Ahn and I were talking about an upcoming Chinese night activity in our mission. We talked about how it would be nice to be able to take a Chinese investigator to the activity, but that we didn't have a Chinese investigator. I prayed in my heart that day that we would be able to find someone to take to the activity and that this person's heart would be prepared for us. We had a few appointments that day and we were rushing around a lot. At one point we took a train..(I'm not sure what's with me and trains, but I feel like they are full of miracles, haha) On the train, I looked around at all the people who were sitting down. I sat beside a young adult named Hayashi who was Chinese! (I didn't know she was Chinese at first) 
We began talking and she asked me for our number and said she wanted to come to Chinese Night with us! It was such a miracle! I was so amazed! Later that day, she texted us and said thank you for talking to her on the train. We should be seeing her at Eikaiwa this Wednesday and we are really excited about her! She's the same age as us which is really neat too. Anyway, this experience was such a quick answer to prayer. It made me think about how involved our Heavenly Father really is in our lives. He knows our desires and if it is his will, anything can happen with his help. Sometimes, all we have to do is ask in Faith. That was a really neat experience for me. 

We taught a member referral this week, and it went really well I think! This investigator came to church a couple of weeks ago and at church she felt the spirit very strongly. She told her member friend after church that she thought she wanted to be baptized! Sister Trent and I taught this investigator a few times before this lesson, and with the way things were going at that point, we didn't think this investigator would progress very quickly, but things sure changed when she came to church! Anyway, our lesson went really well and we were able to talk to her about baptism! She expressed that she would like to be baptized, but because of how busy she is and how much more she needs to learn, she said that it might be a little while before she can be baptized. She said she would think about it some more, and that she would come to Minami and Megumi Chan's baptism on the 26th! So awesome! It's amazing how fast people can change when they really feel the spirit strong. 
We have a different investigator who lives just down the street from us. The past couple of months she hasn't been progressing, but since she lives so close to us, we always see her and are able to share a short message with her. Lately, we have just been focussing on Jesus Christ with her and have been talking about who he is and why he's so important. We've been showing her the short bible videos of Jesus Christ. This week, we showed her the video of Jesus Christ healing the man stricken with palsy. Usually after we show her the videos and try to talk about them in a way that we can invite the Spirit and help her feel it. For whatever the reason, I feel like her heart was more open to the message on this day. After the video, I asked a simple question, "what do you think about Jesus Christ?" Our investigator paused for a little while thinking. (She is usually very loud and outspoken about things and so this really surprised me). She said a lot at that time, talking about how she thought it was amazing that He could work such miracles. After she finished, she turned to me and asked me the same question. "Sister Hubbard, what do you think about Jesus Christ?" At that time, I felt the spirit enter the room really strong. I prayed so hard in my heart that my Japanese would pull through and that I would be able to say what I was thinking. It's hard to describe in words in English what I feel about Jesus Christ, and now my time had come to testify about Him in Japanese. After a little pause, I began speaking. I talked about how much I love Jesus Christ and about how grateful I am for Him. I felt the spirit so strong, even though I don't remember everything I said. I know the spirit was with me as I spoke. For the first time, I think this investigator felt something really strong in her heart. It was an amazing experience for me to see her start to feel the Spirit. It helped me love her so much and want the best for her. 
The Spirit really does speak all languages. It doesn't matter what we say, if it is spoken in the Spirit of the Lord, if the persons heart is open, they will feel the truth of the message. It's so neat to experience that everyday. God is able to take our efforts and make them something much bigger. I definitely felt that in this lesson. 
Today for p-day, we combined the east and west zones and went to Yoyogi Koen. It's a massive park near Shibuya. We played capture the flag and ultimate frisbee together and it was a lot of fun! Afterwards, we met with some of the other sisters and ate lunch together. We ate Indo curry which was delicious of course, haha. It's definitely one of my favorite foods here. :) 
Sister Ahn and I are continuing to work with the members in our ward closely. They are so amazing and are so willing to help us all the time. They love our investigators and are so excited for the baptism on the 23rd! Megumi and Minami Chan are really excited for their baptism too. We talked with them tonight about their baptismal interview, and they are so excited about everything. They are so sensitive to the Spirit and so genuinely good and caring. We love them so much! Sister Ahn and I are going to be working on the baptismal program the next two weeks making sure everything is planned out. It's such a happy time for everyone. :) Our ward is so special. I think it's amazing how the members are able to feed off of each others dendou fire so to speak. When one person gets excited about missionary work and invites their friends to church, others see the joy and want to do the same. This week, the assistants sent out a message that President Nagano wanted us to read. It is something Elder L. Tom Perry said in the new mission presidents conference just a couple weeks before he passed away. 
He said: "If you can get that spirit caught in the ward unit, that's strong and exciting and alive, then you'll start to see something happen with the missionaries that keeps their lives full. [they will have] the opportunities to teach every night, and when they get the teaching spirit, they'll not be able to leave it alone." 
I've definitely been able to see this in our ward as the 6 of us missionaries in Koiwa have strived to work closely with the members. It's amazing how excited everyone is about missionary work! It changes the way we are as missionaries too. The work is able to move forward as the members reach out to their friends. It's been so neat to see. I want to always strive to be that person in the ward who works closely with the missionaries after my mission. It makes all the difference in the work. There are only about 80,000 missionaries in the world right now, but there are a lot more members than that! Can you imagine what might happen if every member in the church made the decision to try and invite just one person to church all over the world? Or if every member decided today to pray for a missionary opportunity? I think there would be amazing miracles. There already are amazing miracles happening all over the world with members and missionaries. It has be prophesied throughout the scriptures that this message will be taken to all the world- that every nation, kindred, tongue, and people will hear this gospel message. We, as members of the church, play a huge role in bringing this to pass. Elder Nelson in a recent general conference said: 
"Together, members and missionaries invite all to learn of God, of Jesus Christ, and of His gospel. Each inquiring individual should seek earnestly and pray fervently for the assurance that these things are true. The truth will be manifest by the power of the Holy Ghost. I thank God and His Son, Jesus Christ, for the Restoration and its power to propel a magnificent wave of truth and righteousness across the earth. May we catch this wave and fulfill the Lord’s command to take the gospel “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
I echo his plea and testimony to "catch the wave" of sharing the gospel. God is hastening his work, and we are so lucky to be living in this time. We are so privileged to be witnessing this great miracle! I invite you all to continue to pray for opportunities to share the gospel. "God sends prepared people to his prepared servants"- elder Eyring. 
I know that this message will someday be known in all the world. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that He knows us perfectly. I feel His love and have seen His hands in my life. I know God answers our prayers and can bless us with a reassurance that everything will be okay. He wants to forgive us and bless us. He knows our weaknesses because He has felt them. He knows our struggles because He has struggled through them. He knows what makes us happy too, and so He blesses us with His tender mercies. I love this gospel so much. I'm so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 19 in Tokyo

 Pretty sunset :) it made me think of that picture with Christ and the
Angels in the second coming.
 Blisters from the traditional shoes, haha.
 Traditional outfits

fireworks at the celebration

 Outside Ninja Training School

Dear family, 

Thank you for your letters and love! I love you all too! :) 
It sounds like it is a really hot summer! Haha. Working on the roof shingles sounds like a hot job! I'm sure it looks really good though. I thought I had experienced pretty hot weather, but In the last few days I've experienced a taste of what the rest of August might be looking like, haha. the past few days here have been close to 40 degrees, and then it's been really humid too! It's been pretty crazy! We step outside the apartment and start dripping sweat with how hot we are. Everyone here carries around a little cloth to wipe their faces during the summer. I started seeing this close to a month ago and I thought it was really funny. I thought to myself how I would never do that, haha but after this week I am happy to say that I have a couple of the same cloths that I carry around everyday now too. It's so hot!! 

This past weekend was really exciting! We were able to go watch fireworks with a few of our investigators and members from the ward. They were a lot better than the last ones- which really surprised me because I thought the last ones were way good. It was really fun! Our friends Minami and Megumi Chan let us borrow their Yukata's and we had so much fun wearing their transitional clothes. I will for sure send some pictures! :) We had a lot of fun. 
I can't believe it is August already! It's crazy how fast time has gone. Last transfer really flew by, and I'm sure this one will go by fast too. Can you believe I have been out on my mission for almost 7 months now? I've been in Japan for almost 5... Yeah, I'm not sure how time is working right now, haha. My mission is going to fast again. 
Today we had a district p-day in Asakusa- it's a big tourist place near Skytree-the big tower. I went there before with sister Trent and a bunch of other sisters a while ago if you remember. It was really fun to go again though! :) 

We picked up a new investigator this week, and she is amazing! I am always so amazed by how prepared people are to receive the gospel. We met her last week at Eikaiwa and last Monday I was able to talk to her a little bit. Our talk led to her asking me why I came on a mission and from there I was able to teach her a little bit about the Book of Mormon, prayer, and the 1st vision. She expressed that she wanted to come to church, and she came yesterday and had an amazing experience! She said that she wants to come again next week. We have been able to see her 3-4 times this week at different activities and we are so excited to teach her some more. Sister Ahn and I are hoping to begin teaching her the lessons this next week. It's very exciting! Koiwa is such a special place. There is a really special spirit here that is so strong, especially at church. 
In the chapel of the Koiwa church, there is a beautiful grand piano. Yesterday, after the meetings, we played and sang primary songs with our investigators Megumi and Minami Chan. They love the primary songs and they already have favorites. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched and heard them sing the song, "a child's prayer." 
1.Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.

As a missionary, I have often felt God's love for the people we serve. As we sang, I felt so strongly of the God's love for both them. It was so special. Also, as a side note, this song is also sister Ahn's favorite primary song. After singing, I learned that they had both been listening to the primary songs on the lds website. Amazing! I then felt impressed to ask Megumi Chan if she had a favorite primary song. She said it was called, "I feel my Saviors love." When I heard that, the strong spirit I had felt before doubled as sister Ahn began playing it.  We all sang it together. It was a really special experience for me because this song is actually my favorite primary song. I felt the Spirit so strong in the room as they sang. 
2.feel my Savior’s love;
Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray,
My heart is filled with peace.
He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.

I feel my Savior’s love
And know that he will bless me.
I offer him my heart;
My shepherd he will be.
He knows I will follow him,
Give all my life to him.
I feel my Savior’s love,
The love he freely gives me.
There really are no chances. God's hands are so involved in our lives. I really felt that as we sang together yesterday. I thought it was amazing that out of all the songs they had listened to, their favorite songs happened to be sister Ahn and my favorite songs. This allowed us all to feel the spirit together and to bear our testimonies through song. It's so neat how the Lord works in our lives. They expressed their love for the primary songs and said they always felt so good when listening to them. Relating to their thoughts, I also couldn't help but think of when I served as a primary teacher and how so many times the children's voices and testimonies touched my heart. The primary songs are so powerful. This gospel is very simple and it is expressed in all good things, and the primary songs are a powerful witness of that. "By small and simple things are great things brought to past."

This week we have been really working with the ward members and getting to know them. The Japanese people by nature are very giving and kind. They have a hard time accepting things from people and just want to give all they have to others. I feel like I've learned so much from them about charity and Christlike love. I want to be more like them. As we have introduced our investigators to them and taught their families, I feel like we have been able to see a greater picture of who they are. I'm really grateful I can be here in Japan and learn from them. 

This week we were able to set a baptismal date with our investigator Kouno San! She has been investigating since my first week here and so we are really excited for her. She loves to learn about the gospel and has recently found a huge love for the Book of Mormon. She has been reading it everyday and always has something to show us from what she read. Her baptismal date is for October 25th, and she is really excited. :) It's been really neat for me to see the changes the gospel has made in her life over time. It's been neat to see this in all of our investigators lives. We are so lucky as missionaries to get to see the process of conversion over and over again. It really strengthens my own testimony and reminds me of how gracious God really is. He loves us so much and wants to answer our prayers. He knows our hearts and desires. He prepares us in so many ways for what we will face in the future. He knows our potential and he sees who we can become. Despite our many flaws and imperfections, He wants us to return to live with Him forever. His love is the love of a Father. I'm so grateful for this gospel and for the happiness it has brought me. It is the good news and I love sharing it everyday with people. :) 
Thank you all so much for your love and support. I love you all so much! Thank you for making my life beautiful. :) You are all so amazing. I'm so grateful for all of you. 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard