Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 26 on the island of Sado

 Sister Horito and Sister Hubbard...boat ride to zone conference on the main island...silly girls...happy they have a sense of humor and are having fun!
 Some recent converts in Sado
 On boat ride eating Onigiri (rice ball stuff, Janae's is wrapped in seaweed and Sister Horito's is not)
 Being silly for us on their boat ride to zone conference and back
 The church building they attend in Sado. If they are able to get 20 people to church every week, they can get a new building..it's one of their goals...
 Zone P-Day
 Example of some of the Sado Bin language used on the island...she said her dad could understand..(Daryn could read some of it)
 They are harvesting rice right now on the island..she said it smells so good!
 Zone Conference last week
 Eating Onigiri on the boat

 Some beautiful pictures of Sado
 Sister Hubbard and Sister Horito ride bikes to their appointments

Picture with President Whiting

Here is a short letter Janae's companion sent to me this week:
Hello sister hubbards mom!
This is sister hubbards companion, Horito shimai! :D I just wanted to
write you and tell you how great your daughter is. She really is the
best! I'm almost done with my mission and to be honest, sometimes I
am so tired but sister Hubbard does not let me slow down for a minute.
She is so awesome and such a great example to me. I really look up to
her so much. Her love for others is so contagious. The branch here
loves her so much. (She's so easy to love) she talks so much about
your family and so now someday I just need to meet all of you because
you all sound so great and funny! And I heard that Jarom and Jameson
are really smart. They have taught me a lot too... Sister Hubbard will
tell me something really cool and I ask where she learned it and she
says from them. Haha!
Anyway,you are all great I'm excited to meet you all someday! Have. A
Love, sister Horito

Here is Sister Hubbard's letter this week:

Dear family, 

Thank you for your letters! I loved reading about Jarom's new little kitten ;) ... Mom, it sounds like you have had a change of heart as far as cats and kittens are concerned.  あぶないでよ, haha. I'm sure Jameson and Jarom are so happy you are letting them keep the kitten in the green house. Sounds like an adventure to me! :)
Well, can you all believe that I am almost at my half way mark?? I can't! The thought of it really scares me... My mission is going way too fast! I'm praying hard that they will announce that Sisters can extend to two years at General conference coming soon, haha. Wouldn't that be wonderful? I guess we'll see what happens! I think it will be really neat to see who is called as new Apostles soon. So exciting! 

Well, I have some exciting news!! Do you all remember the family who I would always talk about in Koiwa that we were teaching? They were baptized yesterday in the Koiwa Ward!! I was able to skype with them a little bit and it was so special. :) I will send pictures. It warmed my heart so much to see them before they were baptized. They were glowing with God's love and light and it was so special. You really can't explain these experiences with words and I'm learning that more and more as I am here. The fruits of the gospel are so beautiful in every way. 
We saw some really cool miracles on Sado this past week! Sister Horito and I have been trying to do everything we can to be more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We have already seen so much success as we have tried to give ourselves more to the Lord and act in faith. 
On Saturday, we met with the Makise fufu (senior missionaries for Niigata stake) and visited some of people in our area book who live father away because the Makise's have a car. We were able to meet with an investigator that the sisters haven't met with for a long time, which was a big miracle! After we had finished dendouing with them, we decided to walk home from our previous destination and try and find some prepared people. We felt impressed to stop at an apartment building on our way back. As we approached the building, we noticed a mother who seemed to be really busy working in her house. She had been taking boxes up to her apparent and it sounded like she had a lot of unpacking to do. Sister Horito and I both felt like this was a huge opportunity for us to try and help her. After praying, being as excited as we were, we rushed to go and ask her if we could help her! She told us that she didn't need any help and that she was busy... We could hardly believe our ears! It looked like she had so much to do and we really felt like the Lord had prepared her for us, yet she was refusing to let us help. We decided to write her a note and tell her what we were thinking. In the note, we wrote about how we felt. We said we felt that God wanted us to stop at her house and talk with her. Some of the note was in English because this woman was from the Philippines. We wrote our number on the card and Left it in her mail box. While leaving the apartment, we felt at peace about what had happened and went on our way. The next morning, we were a little bit surprised when she called us! She asked us if we were the ones who wrote the note to her. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude and we were able to set up an appointment with her for next Sunday. We are hoping that we can begin to teach her and her family really soon. Such a Miracle. :) 
We have a young girl named Eri Chan who we have befriended and are working with. Her family used to be progressing investigators and then something happened between one of our members and their family which has made the situation very difficult. Eri chan loves meeting with us and would like to join our church, but her parents will not allow her to be baptized. It's really sad, but we still enjoy meeting with her and hearing her young testimony. I think she will be a huge influence on her family someday as she continues to push forward and learn about the Gospel. 
We were able to find some new investigators this past week, which was such an amazing blessing! God is really helping us in this area. I think there are some big things ahead for our little branch of 13 members. :) I'm excited for the opportunity to continue to love and serve them. They are all so amazing! Some of them live close to 2 hours away from the church on the other side of the island, yet they come to church every single week. Another member picks up an older member who lives on the opposite side of the island as he does, and drives miles in the opposite direction so that this member can come so church. Outstanding! They are all so amazing. 
Because there are only 13 members in the branch, the missionaries teach Gospel Principles class and speak all the time in sacrament meeting. I spoke last week and it was so fun. :) 
No one can play the piano on the ward, and so I have been playing for sacrament meeting since I got here. There are a couple of people in the Ward who want to learn how to play the piano and so I think I will be teaching some of them. So exciting! :) 
So, I realized last week that I haven't told you much about sister Horito. She is from Las Vegas, and is really awesome! She is on her 10th transfer and is so fun all the time. She is a go-getter and is a fabulous missionary! She is very sensitive to the Spirit, and I am so blessed to have her. We have seen a lot of really neat things together, and I'm sure we will continue to see the many miracles God has in store for this beautiful Island. :) 

Alright, back to some of our investigators...We are teaching a woman named Yamada San who just decided that she would like to be baptized! Because she just had a baby, we do not have a date for her yet, but as she recovers we are hoping to set a date with her. She's really awesome and her baby is so cute!! I think I've said it before, but Asian children are my new favorite! I love them so much! They are just the cutest! Today, on our way to the church, there were all of these little kids playing at a park. As we passed by, one of them said to the others-"Eigo no hito iru!!!" They all yelled "hallo" (There is no"L" sound in Japanese so is sounds like "harro" )  in their little Japanese accents, haha. So cute! They were all probably around 4-5 years old and their mothers just laughed as we passed by waving. 

We met some more Nichiren this week and were able to teach them again. I've learned that in order to understand where they are coming from, that I need to know their culture and religion a little better. So, I've been studying a lot of Buddhism lately. I remembered a lot about Buddhism from being in seminary and studying about different world religions. Shout out to brother Blackwell! I'm really grateful that I was able to learn about the Buddhist faith before my mission as it has helped me so much being here in Japan. I still have lots to learn though...
It's amazing to me how many similarities there are between our faiths. It's made me wonder more about the great apostasy and how things became so mixed up, resulting in so many other faiths with similar doctrine and beliefs. The figure worshipped as "Buddha" , and the story behind how he became Buddha is so similar to Jesus Christ's life's story which is so amazing to me! Studying their faith has given me greater respect for their culture and has also helped me to strengthen my own testimony in Jesus Christ. I can't really describe how neat this experience has been, but it's been really really cool. 
I feel like my Japanese has really picked up again this transfer! I always find myself saying things I've never said before, and I am so grateful for the gift of tongues. It is so real! It's was real before, but now that I have experienced it, it is so so real to me. I'm so grateful for the Lord's tender mercies and for His love. He really does know us personally and allows us to struggle and learn so that we can grow, but then strengthens us along the way. :) He's always there. I've started reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese this transfer and its really fun! I've heard before that if you read the whole Book of Mormon in another language that you can become perapera in that language. (Speak that language fluently)  頑張りたいです. Even though I can't speak perfectly all the time, I've really learned that our mouths can be filled as we trust in God. I've experienced this time and time again. It's amazing! 
Anyway, I'm out of time! I love you all so much. Thank you for everything! 
Love always,  
Sister Hubbard 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 25

Dear family, 
It sounds like this past week has been exciting! Thank you for your emails and love. :) 
Thanks for letting me know what has been happening. I feel like it was just yesterday that Johnny, Devon and Nolan received their mission calls, and now they are home! It's pretty crazy to think about. Sometimes I think that time freezes on missions because I feel like we are able to do so much in a day, but then the weeks go by so fast and then the transfer goes by even faster! Time is backwards I think, haha. Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well and that you all had a good week. 
I've had a wonderful week! 
Today sister Horito and I traveling an hour or so on a bus to a place called "Ogi" to visit a member in our branch. On the way, we saw some huge tourist spots here on Sado. There was a gold mine, and some really old historic temples and houses. It was neat to see from the windows on the bus. Most of the houses here look like something off of that movie "the last Samurai" which is really awesome. Everything is very old fashioned. I love it! The woman we visited today has got to be one of the funniest people I've ever met. We decided to visit here because she didn't come to church yesterday and were a little bit worried about her. She is an older lady who is really sweet and is hilarious! Anyway, we thought it would be good to visit her. She said she didn't come to church yesterday because the elders kept bringing an investigator who smelt bad and that she couldn't take another week of it because it made her head hurt. She expressed that she was too old to have to stand in the other room and listen to church with her nose plugged and that if something didn't change, she would stop coming altogether! Sister Horito and I had a good laugh about the conversation we had with this lady... So funny! Anyway, we convinced her to come to church next week and promised her we would talk to the elders about their investigator who was causing her problems. I'm excited to see her next week at church, haha. We love her so much! 
I've heard before from other missionaries that the Japanese is pretty different in Sado and I am realizing that more and more each day. They call it "Sado bin" and say that the missionaries who serve here become "perapera" (fluent) in Japanese. It's definitely different from Tokyo Japanese and has been a little tricky to figure out, but I'm getting it and have seen a lot of improvement in my Japanese since I've been here. I think my ability to learn Japanese is getting faster as I don't have to think so hard to understand or learn things anymore. I had a really neat experience this past week with the gift of tongues that I want to share. Before I tell you, I should probably explain who the Nichiren are. So, a long time ago, the was a branch of people who started their own sect of Buddhism and their leader was banished to Sado along with many of the followers, (or so I hear from the people here). Anyway, a lot of the people here are part of this Buddhist sect, and they are known for being very aggressive in their viewpoints and dendou. They proselyte in Sado and a lot of people when they first meet us ask if we are Nichiren because most people have run into them before. Past missionaries here have had some problems with them, and I'll just leave it at that. Anyway, sister Horito and I were out finding and we met this lady on the street who claimed to be Christian and we were able to meet her later that day on the beach and teach her the first lesson. Sister Horito and I were so excited to teach her as we had been out finding all day and not many people were listening to us. Before I go any further, I want to share a scripture that I have come to know is true through this experience. In the scriptures it always talks about how when we open our mouths, God will fill them. In doctrine and covenants section 100:3-6 it says: 

3 Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.

4 Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.

5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;

6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. 

As we approached the beach, we saw our new friend get out of a vehicle and start walking towards us. We were so relieved that she came and were really excited to teach her. I asked her if her friends in the car wanted to come and listen to our message too, thinking that would be a good idea seeing as we want to teach as many people as possible. We all sat down by the beach and sister Horito and I began to teach the 1st lesson. The lesson was going really well and they seemed to be listening really well and when we taught about Joseph Smith's story and the restoration, the Spirit was so strong! It was amazing! As we were concluding, talking about the Book of Mormon and prayer, the mood began to change. They began asking us pressing questions and told us that our religion was flawed and full of mistakes. What they said took us by surprise because they had been listening to everything so well just moments before. I remember saying a silent prayer in my heart that everything would be okay as they tampered with the things we had been testifying of to them. I felt a great strength come over me as the words came to my mind, "you shall not be confounded before men." I felt a great peace come over me and I began to answer their questions explaining doctrine I had never taught before. My mind was continually filled with what I needed to say and when I opened my mouth to say the words, they came out easily. I remember feeling amazed at what was happening in the moment. I feel my words were guided by the Spirit and sister Horito and I were able to testify powerfully to them about the reality of our words. It was an amazing experience! I know they felt the Spirit as we spoke and I hope and pray that someday they will accept the truth. We ended in prayer with them, and walked away confident feeling we had done what the Lord wanted us to do. I think they were surprised by how confident we were and how calm we were with everything. It was a neat experience, even though we weren't able to pick up a new investigator like we originally wanted to. 
This week we had another amazing zone conference in Niigata! President Whiting ( president for the whole Asia North area) came and spoke to us about Faith. He was one of the most powerful speakers I have ever heard in my life. What he said, changed the way I view missionary work and the rest of my life. During the meeting, he shared with us the statistical results of a survey our mission had taken regarding our day to day missionary work. In the survey, there was a question that asked if we as missionaries ask our investigators to be baptized in the first lesson or not. The results of the survey were shockingly low and it made me sick to my stomach thinking about the number of missionaries in Japan who said that they didn't ask their investigators to be baptized until the 5th or 6th visit. He shared with us about how he visited with Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Ballard asked the question, "why are we not baptizing more in Japan?!" 
Anyway, long story short, (I wish I could tell you about how amazing this conference was) we all talked about having the faith to baptize and how the only reason Japan isn't seeing as many baptisms as we should is because of our individual faith as missionaries. His words both hurt and empowered us. He challenged us to invite everyone to be baptized and promise us that as we exercised more faith, that we would see more baptisms. His testimony was so powerful and I felt a really special connection to him. He began talking about what the apostles expected of us in Japan as missionaries. During his training, I felt a huge prompting that I would be asked by Him to do something. He hadn't asked anyone to do anything before this time, but I felt that I needed to be prepared personally as he was speaking to us. I said a quick prayer asking God to help me do whatever elder Whiting was going to ask me to do. When I finished the silent prayer, he began walking towards me sitting in the crowd of missionaries. I felt at peace, as he asked me to read the scripture in Genesis 18:14. I stood up and began to read. He had me read the scripture 3 times, and each time I read, I felt the spirit stronger and stronger. It filled my whole soul and I knew that it was the Lord's will for us to accomplish this special task to exercise more faith and baptize in Japan as missionaries. I read:
 "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?"
He asked me to read it again...
"Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" 
Is any thing too hard for the Lord?
By the third time, my Spirit felt illuminated and I knew the Lord would help us accomplish everything we had been asked to do. It was a very special experience for me. 
After the conference, elder Whiting wanted to interview 6 missionaries from the conference. The assistants had told me the night before the conference that President Nagano wanted me to be one of them. It was really neat to speak with President Whiting in an interview. It lasted about 3 minutes, but I felt like it changed my whole life. I will always remember his words to me. Some things you really can't say with words and this was one of those experiences. So amazing! 
I'm sorry I don't have time to email you individually this week, but thank you so much for the letters! I will try hard to do it next week. :) It was so good to hear from you guys, and especially from Jared.
I will send pictures next week!  
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 24 Sado

 Sister Horito and Sister Hubbard
 Lots of sea food in Sado

 Sister Hubbard will be eating more traditional Japanese food in Sado...
 Cooking in their apartment...
 Janae said she found this in her apartment...Alberta Honey all the way to Japan!
 Sister Hubbard and Sister Horito
 The boat Sister Hubbard arrived on
 Sister Horito and Sister Hubbard
Cool bush they found

Dear Family,

Hello everyone! Thank you for the emails and love! 
For the past four days I have been in Niigata because we had all of these conferences that we had to go to. On Friday we had zone conference with president and sister Nagano. It was really great! They both gave amazing trainings an I really felt the spirit. I'll talk some more about it later in the email. On Saturday, we had a huge district conference with all of the branches in Niigata! I would compare it to stake conference, but because we only have "groups" and "branches" up here, we call it district meeting because there are no wards yet. Hopefully soon! :) we had a zone p-day today and it was really fun! I've met a lot of people who I have never met before in the mission because they have all been in Niigata for a little while. It's been really fun! Because it is really expensive to ride the Ferry, we just spent 4 days in Niigata so that we could be part of all of the activities happening in our zone. Right now I am on the Ferry writing to you all on my way back home. The boat we are riding on today is huge! It's a kind of crew ship and is pretty exciting! 
Sado is doing pretty good! As I mentioned earlier, we weren't able to be there for very long this week because of all of the meetings and such, but we saw some pretty cool miracles! On Sado, there is this Main Street where all the stores and things are. Sister Horito and I often bike/walk down it and talk to people. Most people seem to have little or no interest as we go finding, and so lately we have been thinking of some ways that might be more effective. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not last week, but Sister Horito's Dad suggested that we buy brooms and sweep in front of all of the shops on this main road. We tried it last week and saw a lot of success as we served the people by sweeping in front of their shops. We met an older lady named Nakagawa San and had a really good talk with her. Anyway, long story short, we visited her again this week and took her some apple cake that we made her. She was really happy to see us and she introduced us to her daughter named Rieko San. We think they have a lot of potential and are planning to eat dinner with them this next week sometime. Pretty exciting! 
We also spent quite a bit of time housing this past week in Sado. About half way through one afternoon, we were having no luck. We talked to so many people, but they all told us that they had no interest and that they didn't believe in God. I was feeling a little bit discouraged, but we decided to house down a few more streets. About half way down, we met this lately who listened to us for about 10 minutes. She was also a very strong Buddhist, but we were able to explain who God is and teach her about prayer. It was really neat! About half way through the conversation, she asked us how we knew God existed and we were able to bear our testimonies of prayer and of the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was really strong and we could tell that she really felt it, despite saying no to our message. 
I feel like dendou is a lot different in Sado than it was in Tokyo, but I feel like I am learning a lot as a result of it all. In Tokyo, Eikaiwa was a huge tool we used to find people and teach them. In Sado, Eikaiwa isn't a huge deal because most people who live here will never have to use English unless they move to the mainland. Even then, they don't see much of a point because everyone speaks Japanese. So, right now our attendance for Eikaiwa is very low. We are trying to build it right now. As a district, we went to some of the surrounding schools and offered to help the students learn English. Right now we are waiting for the Principals to call us back and let us know if it is a go or not. Hopefully we can see some miracles there! We are trying really hard to focus on the youth in Sado and get them to do fun activities with us so that someday they will have the opportunity to be taught by the missionaries. There is a fun place here in Sado where all of the school kids go after school to hang out on weekends. The place has a fun  Purikura booth (photo booth that prints out pictures and you can decorate them and collect them) and games and such. Anyway, we are planning to go there and become friends with all of the school students and hopefully interest them in our Eikaiwa. :) It should be fun! We are already friends with quite a few of the high school students here and it is always so fun to see them on the streets and say 'hello' as we ride our bikes by. They are all awesome! 
Well, I guess I should tell you a little bit about the 4 days I spent in Niigata this week. Our zone conference was amazing! President and Sister Nagano are so wonderful. They're trainings were so powerful. In zone meeting, we read in judges chapter 7 about the story of Gideon and the 300 soldiers who fought blowing trumpets and with the power of God against the Midianites, who's numbers were as the sands of the sea. Together, we read the story. 

16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.

17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.

18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.

19 ¶So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.

20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.

21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.

President Nagano opened everything up for discussion and I feel like everyone learned a lot as we read and studied the scriptures together. It was really great, and I felt the spirit very strong as he compared us to the 300 warriors going to battle against the 41 million people in Tokyo- pretty amazing comparison if you really think about it. I really felt the power of the Spirit as we all discussed and read together. So powerful! Every time President and Sister Nagano speak to me personally, or to us as a zone or mission, I feel so strongly that they are called and inspired of God to do what they do. God really can work miracles though us, but it is our responsibility to be sanctified enough to receive those special blessings. We talked a lot about speaking and acting with spiritual power. We talked about how this spiritual power comes from being exactly obedient and turning our thoughts and hearts to God. After the meeting, our zone leaders encouraged us to join in a special 40 day fast with them. We all accepted and Covenanter with the Lord to fast from the things that keep us from focussing 100% on the work. We each wrote down what we would work on individually to become more sanctified. We then made goals and plans for each companionship to be able to see 2 baptisms in the next 4 months. It got us all really excited and committed to our 40 day fast that we had started. So powerful! :) 
The next day, president and Sister Nagano spoke in the stake conference meeting about member and missionary work and committed the whole congregation to find people for the missionaries to teach. As part of the commitment, they gave everyone a Book of Mormon stick in that answers a lot of questions Japanese people have about life. All the questions are answered though the Book of Mormon. Anyway, I wish I had time to tell you about his whole talk! Since I don't, I will just say that it was really neat to see all of these members accept the invitation and commit to sharing the gospel with their friends. The feeling in the room was so powerful as president Nagano promised blessings upon the members and missionaries in that meeting. I was so amazed! The Spirit is so powerful! 
All in all, it's been an amazing week! I feel like I'm almost in a whole different mission being way up here in Niigata, but it is an amazing area to be in. I feel the the members are beginning to be very excited about the work here and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to see prophecy be fulfilled through them. Their hearts are so strong. 
Well, that's all for this week! I love you all and am always praying for you. Stay strong and please share your testimonies with those around you! Share it by being you! People can really see the light that you have and there are prepared people everywhere!! ... Yes, even in little ol' Magrath ;) haha. I love you all! Thank you for your love and letters! 
Love always, 

-Sister Hubbard 

Week 23 First Transfer

 Saying goodbye to new friends and converts in Koiwa, Megumi and Minami Chan
 The adventure begins with a 5-6 hour bus ride...then a 2.5 hour boat ride to the Island of Sado.

 Houses in Sado

 Janae's new companion, Sister Horito
 forest's are very dense in Japan

 rice fields

Janae feeding birds on boat ride
Dear family, 

Thanks for the emails! I can't believe it is September already... So crazy! It blows my mind how fast time goes. 
Well, let me tell you about my two day trip to Sado! On Wednesday morning, I said goodbye to sister Ahn and traveled to the Honbu with Sister Crandall, my temporary traveling companion. Megumi and Minami Chan wanted to come and say goodbye to me at the Honbu, and so they travelled with us to Higashi Nagasaki. It was so sweet of them to come and say goodbye to me, and to travel so far to do it. I love them so much! Saying goodbye to everyone was really difficult in Koiwa as you could probably imagine, but my last day there, we saw so many miracles! It was amazing! I think I will always remember Koiwa as an area full of miracles. There are so many prepared people there, and I feel like I really saw God's hand in the work there everyday. From the Honbu, I said goodbye to Megumi and Minami Chan and pair up with sister Borchert who had been transferred to the Niigata area. We were companions for the rest of the day traveling. It was fun to visit with her! I feel like we are really similar. She was homeschooled for most of her life and has 6 siblings and is the second oldest, and oldest daughter! Maybe someday we will be companions. :) She's awesome. Anyway, the bus ride was a good 5-6 hours long and so we didn't arrive in Niigata until later that night. It was a good trip though! When we arrived in Niigata as a group of missionaries, and after eating dinner, we visited the Niigata missionaries Eikaiwa class and the people in the church. 
Sister Borchert and I then met our new companions at the church and we stayed the night in the Niigata Sisters apartment. My new companion is so awesome! I love her a lot. We have a lot of fun together and work really hard here in Sado. Anyway, back to my traveling story! The next morning, Sister Horito and I hopped on another bus to the boat dock where we would board the ferry for our little island of Sado! The boat ride was about 2 and a half hours long, but it was really fun! We met some neat people on the boat and were able to do some missionary work too, which was really fun on the boat! I will send you some pictures and a few videos I took. On the ferry, we had a lot of fun feeding the seagulls, haha. It was kinda scary at first, but super fun. As our journey continued, we slowly began to see the island in the distance and it made me really excited. 
Sado is so nature filled and beautiful! The only place I could begin to compare it to is Alaska and the beautiful nature we saw there on our hiking trip. So beautiful! The ocean in really close to our apartment- probably 5 minutes away- and we talk to people on the beach sometimes. I never thought I would be dendouing on a beach, that's for sure! Right now it's a little too cold for swimming, but there are a lot of fishermen and people on the beach. The waves are so beautiful, and I feel like I'm somewhere off the planet sometimes, haha. What's better than being on a beach with beautiful waves and Sister Horito? Well, let me tell you! Being a missionary doing missionary work, on a pretty beach, with Sister Horito, is a hundred times better! Haha. It's really exciting. Yesterday, there was a huge triathlon that happened here and there were so many people on the island to talk to! The triathlon started at 4 in the morning and finished close to 9pm at night. Pretty cool! Obviously, we didn't see a whole lot of it, but a lot of people thought that we were there for the triathlon because there are not a lot of foreigners on Sado. People are always so surprised when sister Horito and I tell them we live in Sado. Some people here have never seen a Caucasian before and its been fun to talk with people. Most people here are very Buddhist and have never heard of Jesus Christ or God before. The past week has been difficult to find people who are interested in our message. We've talked to a lot of people, but the church is still really new in this area and so not many people know what it even is. I am the 11th sister missionary to ever serve on this island, which is pretty neat. My last area was huge and we had 300ish members in the ward. Here, we have a small branch of 13 members. I love everyone so much though! They are wonderful. As a ward, we talked about how we can invite more people to church and share the gospel. Everyone is pretty 'dendou fired' so to speak, so I'm really grateful for that! We don't have very many investigators and so we have a lot of time for finding. It's okay though, because I love finding! Lately, as we have been knocking on people's doors- well, actually I shouldn't say that... Here in Sado, we open people's doors and yell, "gomen kudasai!" Haha. Anyway, as we have been finding, most people say that they are Buddhist and not interested. Other people say that they have no idea what we are taking about and that they don't understand what God or Jesus Christ is. Its been a pretty different experience for me. Missionaries have told me that this is a really hard area because everyone is so Buddhist and they're probably right, but if it's God's will, we can change that! As I've been thinking about the area and what needs to happen, I've felt rally strongly that family History is going to be a huge part of the changing process. This week in district meeting, we are going to talk about it all and put a game plan together. I'm excited for this area and I feel like I'm going to see a lot of miracles happen here. I'm really happy to be here serving here. 
Today, we went with the elders to an old folks home and sang Karaoke for them and played bowling with them. It was so fun! It reminded me a little bit of the diamond willow home back in little old Magrath that we always did activities at with the seniors. So fun! It was a great service experience. I've learned that everyone knows us as "the Christians with white helmets" around Sado. It makes me laugh so hard when people say they have seen us before around the island on our bikes and wearing our white helmets, haha. I'm starting to wonder if the helmets we have to wear while biking are more for identification purposes instead of for safety? Haha, I'm not sure anymore, but it's really funny. We will probably go back to do service again because they really enjoyed everything and asked us to come again. 
The weather here is a lot different than it was in Tokyo. It's been really windy and rainy lately, bu it's also been warm and sunny sometimes- kinda like southern Alberta, haha. The weather is always changing! It rained yesterday, and You know that smell that is so fresh and perfect when it rains? It smells so good here because of all the nature and the climate is very natural, Haha. 
So, I've learned some really cool things about this area in the last week! So, apparently there was a time in history when it was really dangerous for Christians in Japan. They would send all of the Christians who refused to deny Christ to Sado for execution. Crazy right?! I'm sure I will hear more about it all as I am here longer, but that really amazed me! I've hear all kinds of stories about people who were sent here and killed because of their Christian beliefs. Sometime for p-day, we are going to go and check out the ruins and the historical site where all of this happened. I'm really excited! I feel a strong inner connection to this area, and for some reason it is already so dear to my heart. The area is definitely different and missionary work is hard here, but I love it here so much. I'm excited for what is ahead of me. :) 
Well, I have so much more to say, but I'll have to leave it at that. I love you all so much and am so grateful for all of you. This church is true, and I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I know God lives and that He loves us. He loves us individually, and personally. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and for what He has done for me. This Gospel is so wonderful. 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 22 August 30, 2015

 going away transfer dinner...

 Sister trainer luncheon

 Surprize going away cake for sister Hubbard
 Going away party was at Red Lobsters

 Pday zone treat...pancakes, ice cream and nutella and chocolate and bananas
Pizza with octopus, shrimp and tuna. Pasta dish with fish and veggies

Dear Family, 

I hope you all had fun camping this week with the Lybbert's! I'm sure it was great fun! :) 
Thanks for the letters and for your love and prayers. 

So, today was transfer calls!! Transfer calls are always a little bit nerve racking for me and today was definitely one of those times, haha. Well, as most of you could probably guess, I'm being transferred! The place came as a bit of a shock, but I feel really good about it now. :) 
So, if you remember last week, I made a comment, as a joke, saying that they send all of the Canadian's North for the winter! Well, guess who's headed North?? Me! Haha. 
You probably recall seeing a little Island on the map included in my call packet when I opened my call. Well, after 5 and a half months in my beloved Koiwa, I am being transferred to the little island of Sado!! I'm still trying to get over my jitters from being nervous, but I really do feel good about it. I've heard from other missionaries that Sado is a really nature filled place and it is really beautiful. I'm excited to see grass again! (For the longest time I couldn't figure out what was missing in Tokyo.. There is no grass anywhere here! Haha) Apparently there are a lot of service opportunities in Sado too, so I'm really excited for that! Koiwa is one of the biggest wards in the mission, and now I'm transferring to one of the smallest wards in the mission. I'm sure it will be a great experience for me! :) 
My new companion's name is Sister Horito! I've met her a couple of times, and she is in Sister Ahn's Douki (MTC district), so she is just a transfer ahead of me! :) She is Japanese, but grew up in the States so she had to learn Japanese too! It should be fun! 
If you look on a map, I'm pretty much at the bottom of our mission right now in Koiwa, but Sado is almost the farthest North in the mission. On Wednesday morning, Sister Ahn and I will be traveling to the Honbu to pick up our new companions. The Sister who is replacing me is Sister Franks. She is really awesome! I've been on exchanges with her a couple of times and I feel like she is exactly what Koiwa and our investigators need. I was actually more worried about who would be replacing me in Koiwa than where I would be transferred to. I'm really grateful that I can feel at peace about leaving here. I know Koiwa is in good hands and that my friends here will be taken care of. Everyone here was hoping that I would be transferred somewhere else in Tokyo so I could be close by, but God really does know best. For the past week, everyone has been saying, "It better not be Niigata or Sado," haha. Tonight, we are having a fun ping pong activity at the church for our investigators and members. I'm a little bit nervous to tell everyone where I will be transferred to at the party, but I know it is where the Lord wants me to be. Yesterday at church, I told everyone that my parents would be coming to Japan next year! They were all really excited for that and told me to call them when the time came so that they could prepare a party and meal for them, haha. I love this Koiwa ward so much. I feel like I'm leaving home again. I feel like I'm saying goodbye to my family again! They are all so loving and kind. I'm sad to be leaving them for a little while, but I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to serve them and for everything they have helped me learn and see. I've heard it said that there isn't a lot of growth in an environment a person is accustomed to, and so I think it is important for change and unfamiliarity, but it is also another difficult time because of all the goodbyes. I think saying goodbye to people has been the hardest thing I have experienced on my mission so far.  I don't like to think about it, but leaving Japan will probably be so hard for me when the time comes. 
It takes a long time to get to Sado, and so after we exchange companions at the Honbu, I will be traveling to Niigata with all of the other missionaries transferring up north on a bus. I think we will be staying the night in Niigata and then make the tripe to Sado in the morning on Thursday. We will then be taking a 2 hour-ish boat ride to the Island of Sado... Pretty exciting! I've been wanting to ride in a boat since I arrived here in Japan, but missionaries aren't aloud to unless they serve in Sado. So, I get to ride in a boat finally and I'm way excited about that! :D 
A lot of missionaries joke that Sado is the 'exile' area because it is kind of cut off from the rest of the mission. The Sado and Niigata areas aren't able to attend temple P-day because it is too far away. I love temple p-day, but it looks like I may not be able to attend the temple for a few months. Kinda sad, but come what may and love it! :) I really am excited! 

This week was really special for me! Megumi and Minami Chan work at a restaurant called 'Red Lobster' close by and they said they wanted to take sister Ahn and I there before I leave. We went and it was a lot of fun! We ate some really yummy food and had a really nice visit with each other. Megumi Chan was working at the time, but we were able to see her a few times in between which was awesome! Just when I thought we had finished eating and it was time to go, they surprised me with a special plate of cake saying, "いすもありがとう ハバード姉妹," expressing their thanks and gratitude. It was so sweet of them to do that, and I was so surprised! They are so thoughtful and I'm so grateful for their friendship. This week I made them both sock monkeys between our dinner and lunch time. I'm excited to give the monkeys to them! I will send you pictures of the cake. A woman from the restaurant also came out and took our pictures and gave them to us. It was so fun! 

I feel like we saw many miracles this past week! We found 3 new investigators and they will all be coming to Eikaiwa on Wednesday. Even though I won't be here, I'm so excited we could find more people to teach! This is such a rich area! God is really blessing the people here. 
Megumi and Minami Chan were confirmed yesterday in Sacrament meeting, and it was such a sacred experience. They both had tears in their eyes and said that they couldn't describe what they were feeling, but that it was wonderful. The blessings pronounced in their confirmation blessings were beautiful and wonderful. I really felt that they were from God and that He was so pleased with them. They are so excited to go to the temple soon to do baptisms for their ancestors soon. Minami Chan's family is Buddhist and when they heard about our family history, they were really impressed. I think that they are both going to influence so many people, including their families, by joining he church. I am constantly amazing by their goodness and their testimonies. They are amazing! 
The past week has also been really busy as we have tried to visit all of our investigators before I leave. It's been bittersweet to say hello and goodbye to everyone, but I feel like I have done what I was supposed to do in this area, and learned the things I was supposed to learn. When the call came this morning and I heard where I was going, I feel like my mindset was changed and now I want to be in Sado. It was amazing to me how fast that change was able to come as I was called to serve somewhere else. Because this week has been so full of goodbyes, it was definitely a tender mercy for me because I didn't know how I was ever going to leave Koiwa and the people here. My heart is so full of gratitude for the opportunity I had to serve here. I'm excited to return someday! :) 

I'm sorry this email is a little shorter than usual. I've spent most of today cleaning and packing. I love you all so much, and am so grateful for you all. 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard Xoxo