Saturday, November 21, 2015

Week 32 Toyko mission

 Sister Hubbard and Sister Alder her companion

 Elder Scott and elder Ries At the cave

 Top of the mountain view

 Hundred year old shoe we found on the beach, lol.

  賽の河原 (sainokawara). The translation of the word means "children's Limbo." It is this big cave near the ocean with hundreds and thousands of little statues of children. It is a place dedicated to children who have died prematurely or while they were young. The belief about the area is that the children's spirits reside there and so families and people in the surrounding area go there to visit them and can feel of their presence.

 Last,but certainly not least! Haha this is a toki bird. Sado is famous
for them. This is of course a stuffed one, but there are real ones on
Sado too. ;)

Sister Alder and Elders

Dear family, 

Today I went on an adventure! We travelled to the far tip top of the island today for p-day to go and see some more of the historical sites in Sado. It was so far! I'm glad we went though. We got up really early and rode our bikes to Ryotsu to catch a bus at 7:30am. The bike ride to Ryotsu from our house is about a 12km bike ride, and so we had to leave the house early, and so I am pretty exhausted from today, but it has all been worth it. :) I've seen some really cool things today and learned lots more about the Japanese Culture and beliefs while seeing all of the sites. Sado's history is amazing! It still continues to blow my mind. 
We went and saw a really special spot here on the island. It is called 賽の河原 (sainokawara). The translation of the word means "children's Limbo." It is this big cave near the ocean with hundreds and thousands of little statues of children. It is a place dedicated to children who have died prematurely or while they were young. The belief about the area is that the children's spirits reside there and so families and people in the surrounding area go there to visit them and can feel of their presence. It was a neat experience for me to see all of that and to visit some of the other neat places near by. On the way there, we road the bus along the coastline. I saw Dolphins jumping in the ocean for the first time! That was really neat for me to experience. The fall nature colors are so beautiful here on the Island right now. We hiked for close to 10km to go and see all of the sites. Most of the hiking was done on along the coast line, and so we got to see the beautiful ocean waves and the beach scenery. It was so breathtaking. I always feel so close to God when being in nature. There is a special peace that comes from enjoying the small things in nature, just as much as the big things. I found a small handful of some of the most beautiful shells from the beach. I will have to send some home for Christmas. :) I have decided that Sado is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. It's absolutely stunning. While I was outside, looking at all of the wonderful things around me, the primary song "My Heavenly Father loves me," came into my mind. 

Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav’nly Father created for me.
God created such a beautiful world for us. I'm so grateful for all of the beautiful things He has created for us. Lately, I've really tried to help people understand that this earth and its beauty is a sign that there is a God and a supreme creator. There is no way that all of the beautiful things in nature evolved overtime from smaller compounds; they were organized and pieced together by our Heavenly Father for us because of love. At this time of the season, when talking with people in different places, I love to share Alma 30:44 with them. I've found that it is a great way to give people a Book of Mormon and talk about the nature of God. 

"The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." 

Anyway, just some things I've been thinking about lately. :) We are so blessed and so loved. 

Today, after asking for a few hours, we got really hungry. I had packed a whole bunch of snack because I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm glad I did, because we got out to this area and there was only some small houses close by. There were no stores, no vending machines, and after looking for a little while, accepted the fact that we might just be eating snacks for the next couple of hours, haha. As we came out from the cave and hiked another kilometer or so, we came out to a small area where there were a couple houses. We saw an older couple working together in their garden. When they saw us, they dropped what they were doing and came down from the hill to talk to us. At first, we didn't notice them, but then we saw them coming towards us. We were able to talk to them and explain why we were there. They said that it was so rare for them to see foreigners in that area. They said that they were surprised when they saw us, and they were even ore surprised when they learned that we could speak Japanese. As we talked with them, they asked us if we had food with us and if we had eaten anything. Now, as missionaries, we aren't supposed to lie, but we said that we had already eaten (snacks), haha. The woman somehow knew that we were really hungry and insisted that we wait and talk with her husband while she made us onigiri (rice balls). Before we could say anything, she had returned into the house...Japanese people are so giving. It doesn't matter if you are a stranger or a friend, they will give you all they have if you let them. I love them so much. While she was inside making the rice balls, we were able to talk with her husband about the gospel and give him a Book of Mormon. We asked him if he knew our member friend who lived close by. He said that he did, and then he asked us if the member friend could explain more about the Book of Mormon when they met. It's was such a neat experience! I hope they can come to church with the Hamada's (our member friends). That would be so great! 

A few nights ago, we had dinner with the Iwasaki's and it was so amazing! Iwasaki Kyoudai is our branch president. Iwasaki Shimai made us a delicious dinner and we ate takoyaki and a really yummy seafood soup that we put overtop of raw ramen noodles-so good! She is so good at making things. A while back, last transfer, she told sister Horito that she would make her a skirt, and then she told me she was going to make me one too. She is so sweet, kind, and one of the most considerate people I have ever met. After dinner, she brought out the skirt she was making for me and she had me try it on to see if it was fitting right. It is one of the most beautiful skirts I have ever seen! She is so talented at sewing! Everything she touches becomes more beautiful and the way she speaks and shows love to others is so special. She is such an angel to everyone. I want to be more like her. Sister Alder thought it would be a good idea to Mogi how to give Book of Mormon's away to friends. I went first and the Iwasaki's played random people on the street. It was really awesome. Soon after, Alder shimai did it too. We then encouraged them to try while we pretended to be the people they wanted us to be. They both stopped for a minute to think about who they each wanted us to be. Iwaksaki Kaichou wanted one of us to be his boss because he had been feeling like he should give a book of Mormon to him for a while now. That was really neat. I think that as he practiced, he really felt the spirit confirm to him that his boss was the person he needed to give it to. 
The spirit was felt really strongly as we practiced with them and bore testimony to each other. Watching them practice how they might talk to their friends really helped me to realize what an influence love can be when talking to people about the gospel. They are so amazing. :) I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to know them. 

Well, that's probably all I can share for this week, but I just want to say that I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love it so much and everyday brings on a new adventure. The things that happen everyday are a witness to me that God loves the people here so much. I feel that so strongly, and just as he loves the people here in Japan, I know He loves each one of you and is watching over you. This church is true. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard xoxo 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 31 Tokyo mission

 Halloween Party

 Niigata (before transfers)

Dear family, 

Thanks for your emails!
I think I will start this letter off by answering some questions, haha. There were a lot this week! 
There's been a lot of talk lately in Sado about this coming winter season. I'm trying to reach a consensus with what everyone is saying, but I haven't yet. Some people have said that Sado gets really cold, but that there isn't really any snow. They say that it mostly just snows in the mountains because it is too humid near the shore. Others say that there is close to 3 feet of snow every, I'm not sure how people could be so opposite in their experience with the winter, but it's left me wondering what's actually going to happen, haha. This past week, I had about 3 people tell me the first story, and 4 people tell me the second story... I have no idea! Haha. Maybe I am misunderstanding something, haha. I'm sure I will know soon enough. Right now, the leaves are falling off the trees and the autumn colors are really pretty. Today it's been really rainy and there has been some typhoon warnings, but it's been a great day! I am warm enough and I will get back to you all about what I may want for Christmas this year, next week. :) 今考えいます

To follow up with mom's question, I will share a really cool experience from last Sunday. I didn't really time to mention it last week in my letter and so I mentioned it briefly, but I will tell you more about it.
Every Sunday after church, we sing "I'll find you there my friend." Last week, for fast Sunday, we have a ward fast and decided it would be really great if we all knelt and broke our fast together. We were fasting for the miracle to be able to see four baptisms before Christmas. Anyway, we decided that it would be nice to sing our song before we knelt together to brake our fast. Just as everyone was getting ready to sing, I realized that the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Nagano, had taken the music to be photocopied and that I didn't have the piano music to play it. After explaining what had happened to the ward members, we agreed to sing it without the piano music. I felt like this was a special moment and that it would be so much better with the piano music. I had just barely learned the song 2 weeks previously in preparation for the Nagano's coming to visit, but I felt the Spirit tell me to just sit down at the piano and begin playing the song. Hamada Kyoudai, the music coordinator looked at me and asked me if I could remember the whole thing. The song is around 5 pages long and So I told him that I probably couldn't, but then all the ward members asked me to just to my best-even if it was just the 1st couple notes of the song. The previous week, I had struggled through the song with the music...I couldn't imagine what it might sound like if I tried without the music. I felt so overwhelmed, but agreed to try my best. I learned soon after this experience that we really can do anything with the Lord. I sat down at the piano and played the whole song while our ward sang. I listened to their voices and somehow my hands were guided to play the long streams of arpeggio patterns throughout the song. Soon after finishing, I sat up from the piano and saw some of our branch members in tears. I was so overwhelmed by the Spirit that I was also moved to tears. They asked me how I did it, and I said "自分の力でわありませんでした"(jibun no chikara dewa arimasen deshita) , "it was not by my own power." 
We then all knelt together in prayer and petitioned the Lord to help us find people who could be baptized for our Christmas miracle. Such a powerful experience. The Spirit can do amazing things. I don't always understand how things work, but I am left knowing that there is a God in heaven who loves us and is aware of us. 

This week Sister Alder and I travelled to Mano to visit a referral from a member in one of Sister Alder's previous areas. We got there, and no one was home. It was a little bit of a let down because it had taken quite a bit of our time to get to Mano. It's was almost dinner time, and so we decided we should probably head back to our apartment from there. As we began to leave, I  felt like maybe we should ask God if there was anything He wanted us to do before we left Mano. After praying, the referral pulled into her driveway straight away and we were able to meet with her. Pretty amazing! If we hadn't stopped to pray, we wouldn't missed her altogether. 

This letter is pretty short, but I just want to bare my testimony of the Lord's ability to work through us with the Spirit. I've learned that all of the miracles in the mission are performed by the Lord. They are performed regardless of whether or not the missionaries are listening to the Spirit, but as we do listen to the Spirit, we are given the incredible experience of seeing the Lord work wonders and miracles. I love this gospel and am so grateful to be a missionary. This church is true, and God is at the head of this work. Jesus Christ is our Savior and redeemer. He loves us all so much. He will never forsake us.
I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week. 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 30 in Sado

 Gold Mine
Gold mine- this place is competing for one of the wonders of the world spots right now. Pretty sweet!

 Food from this week!
 Yum Yum!

 Big tunnel the Iwasaki's took us through

 Halloween Party at the church...sister Hubbard was a nerd...zoom in to see glasses :)

 Christian Graveyard
 More recent Christians who wanted to be buried in the same area

First Christian Graveyard

Dear family, 

I was so excited to hear about our little town gaining another ward! Magrath 7th ward- it sounds great! What an amazing change. That is so exciting! I think there will be a lot of good changes that will happen with the ward split even though it may be difficult to say goodbye to some of our wonderful ward members. That is so fantastic! 

I've had a week of adventures and I am so excited to tell you all about our miracles and learning experiences I've had. To start, I want to tell you all about a profound learning experience that I had. The branch president and His wife (Iwasaki shimai and Kyoudai) wanted to take us to see the Christian tomb located in Sado. Now, this probably doesn't sound like something everyone would want to go and see, but ever since I have come to Japan, I have heard about this special place and about the things that happened there. In Koiwa, (my first area) it was mentioned a few times in the seminary class that we attended. My Japanese wasn't at the point where I could understand everything, but what I did understand amazed me. The fact that I was able to go and be in the place where so many wonderful people had been, was an amazing experience for me. I have mentioned this memorial spot before in my letters and a little bit about the history of the spot, but I will give you a little bit of background to catch you all up. To be short, there was a time in the History of Japan that it was very dangerous for Christians to live here. If there was a Christian found, they were exiled to Sado and were executed if they would not deny their belief in Jesus Christ. At the memorial site, hidden in the mountains, a hundred or more people were executed because they would not deny Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. It is more of a gruesome story than that, but men, women, and children stood at this place and were each put on trial and then put to death. Iwasaki Kyoudai and Shimai read the different inscriptions at the site, and I learned something so profound as I stood listening. I felt like my heart as enveloped by a greater power, and I felt the Spirit so strong. I share this because it led me to ask myself what I would be willing to sacrifice for Christ's sake. As I listened, they told of how these people were given an image of Jesus Christ and forced to either tear or distort the image, or be put to death. I can't really explain the connection that I felt to the people who made this sacrifice, but it was such a tender moment for me to stop and think about my own relationship with Jesus Christ. I felt such a closeness with the people who were executed. I wondered how they must feel to know that there are 13 diligent members of the church on the island now,a couple hundred years later. It was just so amazing to me to think about all of these things. There is a line in one of my favorite hymns that came to mind as I sat pondering. 

6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ’mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, “I will!”

7. Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

My heart also sang as I thought of the love that these people must have had for our Savior Jesus Christ. In John 15:13 it says: 

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

Christ laid down His life for us, and showed the ultimate love for us by doing so. It was the greatest sacrifice known to human mankind, and it was done out of ultimate and perfect love. These people died for Christ, along with the thousands of others who have died in the history of the world for the Gospels sake and for Christ's. There is so much to learn from these people. I am so grateful that I could go and see this memorial site. It was so special for me. 

Dendou was really great this week too! Our investigators are progressing well and we have been able to see a lot of changes in them over the course of the last couple of days. 
I think I have time to share one last experience.
Yesterday, we travelled to a place on the Island called Mano to visit a woman who had been dropped by the missionaries just a year previously. As sister Alder and I were going through our Area book, we felt very strongly that we should go and visit her, and so we did. We had never met her before, and had no idea what to expect, but we went and hoped for the best. When we arrived at her house, we greeted her and introduced ourselves. Immediately, she recognized us as missionaries and told us about how the missionaries used to always come over to her house and teach her and how much she loved learning from them. While she was speaking, I felt really strongly that the Lord had been working with her and began to be really excited, which is why what happened next really shocked me. She said, "it was great, but I have no interest." I was shocked, and felt like I was missing something... After talking to her God and prayer and how we can know and have a relationship with Heavenly Father, she began to listen more intensely. I asked her if she had ever felt God's love when she prayed? Although she had been taught by the sisters how to pray and knew how to do it perfectly, she said that she had never felt that love. I promised her that if she would let us teach her that her life would be able to change and that she could know for herself whether or not God exists. Tears began to form in her eyes, and she quickly turned away from us and exclaimed that she wasn't interested. I will felt like we should talk with her, and so I asked her if I could share an experience with her. She agreed and began to listen once more. I told her about the first time that I had really prayed to God, and how it wasn't until after that point that I knew that I had a Heavenly Father who loved me. I told her about how I felt something so strong in my heart, and that I couldn't explain the feeling, but that I knew it was God answering my prayer and saying that He loved me and cared about me. After sharing the experience, I invited her once more to begin learning with us again and to pray to know for herself if God was really there. She agreed and thanked us for coming over. It was really neat for me to see the Spirit work in her as time went on. Such a neat experience. 

We had a fabulous halloween party and had lots of people come, which was awesome! We were able to find a few new investigators through the party as well, so that was a huge miracle! Yesterday in Church we prayed and had a special fast together to be able to see 4 baptisms before Christmas. It was a really powerful experience, and I'm excited to see what will happen in the next couple of months here on the Island. 

That's all I have time for, but I just want to say thank you for all of the emails and prayers. I love you all so much. This church is true and God loves everyone. God hears and answers our prayers and is always waiting to help us. We just have to reach out and grab Him. 
Love always, 

Sister Hubbard