It sounds like everyone's had a good week and are enjoying their summer. It's starting to get pretty warm here, but not too hot yet. We've had a busy week! The Japan Tokyo and Japan Tokyo South missions are now both open and going. Today's actually the official opening day for this mission. We're here in Kichijoji working hard. President Wada is Japanese, but very American. He moved to Utah when he was 16 years old, just after being baptized, and has basically been in the states since.
President Budge was left with the responsibility of learning the Lord's will as to which missionaries would be in which mission. He prayed, fasted, and went to the temple. He went through many different (about 14) 'scenarios' and we met with him as it was starting to wrap up and come together. Some big changes were made right in the end, but after prayer we felt like the Lord was pleased with how it ended up.
Well, here's a quick recap of this past week here. The returning missionaries came into the mission home (Nakano) on Monday and had their final interviews with President Budge. That evening they all had dinner and a testimony meeting together. The next morning, Tuesday, we had breakfast with all of them and a few of their parents. Then they were off to the airport or with their parents. We had a few meetings during the day, organizing and planning everything going on with transfers, etc., then that night we went out to the airport (Haneda International) to pick up the new missionaries. We left the mission home at 9:30 pm and arrived at the airport around 10:30 pm. The new missionaries' plane arrived at 11:15 pm and they finally got through customs around 12:00 am. From there we loaded all of the luggage and missionaries onto a big bus and went back to the mission home. 25 new missionaries came in. On the bus back to the mission home we announced that half of them would be going to the Tokyo Mission and half would be going to the Tokyo South Mission and read the list of who was going where. We had already assigned areas and companions before they arrived because the final split of the mission had to be submitted even before they arrived. This transfer just happened to fall at a really awkward time with the mission split and everything going on. We ended up getting back to the mission home and going to bed around 3:30 am. We were up at 6:30 am the next morning as usual. The new missionaries were still on Utah time so they didn't really notice the difference. That Wednesday morning we had a buffet-type 'come and eat when you can' sort of breakfast put on by sister Budge from 7:00 am to 9:00 am while President Budge interviewed the new missionaries. We started training just after 9:00 am, but it was a little different than previous trainings. President Budge welcomed everyone and then we had everyone say their last goodbyes to those going to the other mission than them. Then Elder Olson and I took the 12 new missionaries and took the trains down to Kichijoji where just he and I trained them for the day. For lunch in Nakano the new missionaries had a meal prepared by Sister Budge. For us in Kichijoji, we took the new missionaries out to an ATM where they were able to make their first withdrawl on their new mission cards and go out to eat. There are a lot of restaurants and places to eat around here in Kichijoji, so we just had them stay in groups and eat where they wanted but be back at the church by 1:00 pm to continue training. Kichijoji's a really happening place and actually the most wanted to live in city for young families in Japan (of course, because there's a nice big church where they can all learn about Christ and how his gospel blesses families!) The afternoon portion of training was very powerful and the new missionaries and trainers left for the areas with great faith! They're all amazing missionaries.
On Thursday and Friday Elder Olson and I went around with President and Sister Budge to the four zones that were to be the Tokyo South Mission for their final "training" with the missionaries. President and Sister Budge had to be sure the missionaries were all very well "trained" for the new mission. In actuality these conferences weren't anything formal, they were just to say goodbye to everyone and get closure. It was such a great opportunity for Elder Olson and I to spend time with them as we drove to each conference. After the conferences on Friday we also had the opportunity to go out to dinner with them (on their 'date night', that of course doesn't happen every week.) It was so great. We talked and got to know each other a lot better. I really, really love President and Sister Budge and are so grateful for the influence they've had and will have on my mission and life. That night was Elder Olson and my first night staying in the Kichijoji mission home rather than the Nakano mission home. Anyway, running around without much sleep caught up to us and we all slept like rocks.
President and Sister Wada arrived Saturday evening. It's been great working with them and getting to know them. We've been running around with a lot of new mission things to do. Today Elder Olson and I went to lunch with President Wada and were able to hear about some of his thoughts and plans for the mission. He wants to really focus a lot on the Book of Mormon and we're really excited to lift the mission to new heights!
I'm really glad that everyone's doing good. Keep working hard and having fun. I love you all so much!! Take care!
P.S. I'll attach and send pictures of the office and apartment today.
Elder Olson, Pres. Budge,Elder Tauchi (commissarian),Elder Nagaoka (recorder)
President and Sister Budge with Elder Olson and myself