June 22, 2013

It’s been two and a half weeks already and I’m loving my mission! I’ve had many powerful experiences this week so far. I just returned from doing an Endowment session in the Provo Temple. Thank you mom for all the DearEdler letters. It means so much to me! I love getting any sort of letter so please, when you have time send me little notes or letters of encouragement. This week flew by! I’ll tell you all about it! But first I want to answer some your questions. Saturday is my Pday and I go to the Temple every Saturday. This is the only time I can email.

I’m going to try to tell you all about my best week so far here at the MTC!   Sunday was Father’s Day,  It was a wonderful Father’s day, and I hope you could feel my love all the way from Utah dad! I thought about you the whole day as well as my Heavenly Father who blessed me with such a wonderful family. This whole week I had times of frustration with the language, and times of great joy and feeling the Spirit! I love Devotionals in the BYU Marriot Center! This past Devotional was given by Elder Gay of the 70. The Spirit was so strong and there were many things he said I needed to here. He is an amazing man and talked a lot about receiving revelation. When he served a mission in Spain, it was very hard for him and other elders to find people to teach. He said that one day they all prayed in a missionary meeting and he felt inspired to do something that was against the law in spain, put up street boards that talked about the Church. He didn’t understand why when it was illegal. But he followed the prompting of the Spirit and then later told his mission president they had already baptisms by the dozens. Later that mission president took it to court and now street boards are legal in Spain. It was from his willingess to follow the prompting of the Spirit that something great came and many of thousands received the Gospel. I’ll never forget singing the closing him “More Holiness Give Me” and feeling the great love of my Savior for me as I sang the words, “more tears for His suffering”. Tears ran down my face as I had a sudden moment of feeling the great love the Lord has for me and all. We can’t even comprehend, and we always fall short, and yet the Lord ceases to stop blessing us continually. I know angels are watching over us missionaries. I felt that during the Devotional.

This week has been a sick center! Missionaries left and right got some sickness, either the Flu or food poisoning. On Wednesday there were over 100 missionaries that were throwing up all night and 4 from our district including my companion sister Morrison was one of them. I am really grateful I could help those who were sick instead of being sick. Yesterday Sister Morrison stayed in all day and I switched companionships with Sister Tuttle. She is so great and sweet! We love to work out and do a lot of the same things, so she was very easy to get a long with. I loved her quiet diligence when we were studying and planning lessons. It helped me a lot, because I have been feeling a greater desire to be even more diligent. It seemed like a plague had hit the MTC with all the poor sick missionaries, but now we’re all good and everyone’s healthy.

Sunday, tomorrow, June 23rd is the World Wide Church Broadcast here at the Marriot Center with all the First Presidency, President Monson and the Twelve. And guess who’s singing in the huge missionary choir!? Sister Morrison and I and our whole district as well as 1100 other missionaries! It will be at 4pm MDT, and you just might spot me on the TV as well as all of us other missionaries from the ward and other friends. I feel so blessed to be apart of it. We will be singing, “Called To Serve” and “Hark All Ye Nations”. We’ve been practicing the last two weeks and I forgot to mention it in my last email.

I had many great experiences this week. I love going out to the field during gym to play and exercise. I love studying Japanese and trying to speak it as much as I can. I love my companion! I love the many miracles I see each day. I love the testimonies of all the missionaries around me. I love being able to share my testimony with Christina and Onagasan. I love my teacher Workman Sensei! He is probably one of the most humble human beings I’ve ever met and has so much love for us. He’s young, probably 24 and married to a beautiful Japanese woman. I begged him to have us all meet her, because if he’s so great she must be too!
The one thing I seemed to have learned the most this week is the Lord loves everyone! He is always there for us, and always desring that we come to Him. I learned a lot about humility this week. I learned that I need to FORGET MYSELF and teach from my heart, not worring about what I can’t say in Japanese. I think about the people of Japan everyday. I love them so much! I can’t wait to see them soon in about 6 weeks and learn from them. I pray for all you family and friends. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one true Church with the fulness of the Gospel upon this earth. I know prayer is real and Heavenly Father will answer our prayers when we ask in faith. Another great week is ahead!
Sister Butler

June 15, 2013

I am so excited to tell you all about my week! Ive been waiting all week!
First and foremost, thank you so much mom for all the DearElder letters I recieved through out the week. Those were such tender mercies! I love them! I took time today to read them all again and respond. So here is my response to the burning questions, because I have been so excited to tell you two! First, I will be in the MTC until August 5th! I also know what day I will be released from my mission. My end date is December 23rd 2014! That is so close to Christmas, and I have to say that will be a great Christmas present being able to see my family. No worries on length of emails, make them as long as you want! I take time each night before going to sleep to read them and they motivate me for the next day.
  I’ll tell you a little bit about my schedule here at the MTC. Wake up time is 6:30am as a missionary, but Morrison Shimai (sister Morrison) and I wake up at 6:15am most of the time to have more time to say morning prayer and leave for breakfast at 6:45am. After breakfast we have personal Scripture study and then many other things through out the day, mostly class and studying for our lessons with Onaga san. We go go go all day long and try to study study study! We then have planning time at 9pm to 9:30pm and head back to our dorm room and have time to get ready for bed, write in our journals, have companionship prayer, and lights out at 10:30pm. It’s a very planned schedule but it never feels like there’s enough time to get everything done. I do find though that the Lord is always beside us and there are so many tender mercies seen through out the day.
     So I wanted to tell the both of you about Morrison Shimai. She is 19 years old, and she’s from Oregon, Portland area! I’ve been learning so much from her and she has such a humble spirit, always smiling and willing to do whatever. I am senior companion, but I know that this doesn’t mean we aren’t equal companions. A companionship should always be equal and you should respect one another. I have so much respect for her. Her and I connect really well, get a long great, and we work effectively and hard together.
Saturday’s are mine and Morrison Shimai’s pdays. After emailing last week I totally forgot to tell you I was also going to the Temple that day too! it was so great! We did an Endowment session and I felt a fresh new start. Since being at the MTC, the first two days were overwhelming but after that Temple trip it has only progressed. That day Morrison Shimai and I had our second lesson with Onagasan. It went so much better than the last and we gave him his own copy of the Book of Mormon. He was so happy! That night we made goals with our District. There’s 12 of us in one classroom as a district and we get along so great. They all have become such good friends. The next day was my first Sunday at the MTC and it was very special. I was filled with the Spirit as we met as one large Relief Society and sang “As Sister’s in Zion”. We are an army of the Lord! He is with us and I could feel that standing to praise His name. I loved Sacrament meeting too. We have Sacrament meeting at 3:15pm, a little late but Sunday’s are just as busy as every day. It was the first time I heard the Sacrament prayer in Japanese. Now I have heard the Sacrament prayer in Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, and Japanese. I am looking forward to that first Sunday in Sendai! We took a Temple walk with our District and took pictures.  Monday we had our 3rd lesson with Onagasan and it was very special. I made a goal to be able to say the first vision to Onaga san in Japanese. I didn’t have it memorized but as I read it to Him I felt the Spirit pierce my heart as I read the last sentence in Japanese, “Joseph, this is my Beloved Son, hear Him”. Tears filled my eyes and I knew in that moment, one day in Japan I will be able to tell someone Joseph Smith’s first vision memorized in Japanese and as I look into their eyes we will both fill it’s truth. Morrison Shimai and I are constantly studying Japanese. We carry a little notebook with us with vocab words we write down from class and practice all day. The language seems overwhelming at times, but I’ve only felt peace. I know it’s been a big challenge for Sister Morrison. She is doing so great and really trying her best, that’s what really matters. We had our 4th lesson with Onagasan and at one point I felt prompted to let Sister Morrison struggle instead of cut in to help her. She began to softly cry and tears filled Onagasan’s eyes, and then mine. He said to her in Japanese, “I know Japanese is hard, but I can understand everything you’re saying”. The Spirit was there and even though we had only been learning this language for a week, the Spirit is helping us with what we need to say. That lesson I invited Onaga san to be baptized. It was powerful, and he said he was scared of water. We said he would be fine, but since time was short we had to leave a pamphlet on Plan of Salvation and end in prayer. We taught him how to pray and he’s so great at it! So sincere.
Thursday there was a huge surprise for our District. So our investigator Onaga san…is now our TEACHER! Our whole District teaches him through out the week, but on Thursday we were told we might not be seeing him anymore. Everyone was so sad, because we really love him! Well on our way to class there was Onaga san in a suite and tie with a name tage on “Brother Workman”. It was the best surprise ever! We already have so much love for him and he told us that he served his misison in Japan and has been playing as his own investigator he had in Japan. He then told us that we will be having a new investigator. He pulled up the video for us to watch of who this new investigator would be and sure enough it’s Sister Watanabe! She is our current teacher too and she is now Christina, our new investigator. We will still be teaching Onaga san and Christina and our lesson with them is on Monday. I have been learning so much since being here at the MTC and I love every moment. Each day I am filled with so much gratitude for the many blessings I am recieving here. I know the Spirit is with me and guiding me. I know that a huge part is the prayers of my loved ones. Thank you every one! I was able to go to the Temple today, since we go to the Temple every pday and it’s such a blessing to go to the Temple. I will miss not being able to go once in Japan, but I know I can share with others the great joy it is!

I have learned many imporant lessons being here. I strive to be exactly obedient so that I can have the Spirit, but I also am having a lot of fun. Yes, things are stressful at times and so busy, but I am having fun every moment. I don’t feel exhausted or stressed, I feel loved and motivated.  I love all of you and letters have been such a joy. I have also learned that while learning Japanese, I must always remember it’s not the language I’m learning, but Jesus Christ.

Aishtte I mas!
Sister Butler

Tori Arrives at the Missionary Training Center (Provo, UT)

This is my first time writing an email at the MTC and I hope that I can say all that I need to say with the limited time I have to say it. I’m just going to tell you all that I’ve been up to these past few days! So, after I left the airport with sister MacArthur, I felt I would’ve been crying my eyes out if she wasn’t there because I’d be alone to think about what I was actually doing. It didn’t even hit me on the airplane that I was actually going on a mission! I still can’t believe I’m doing my dream of serving the Lord for a year and a half. Is it really here? Am I really on a mission?  We caught our ride to the MTC with four other brand new missionaries and the car ride was talkative but then would get quiet because I think we all just didn’t know what to expect.

I recieved a new ID card and my key for my room and then all us missionaries went to a room with about 40 other new missionaries to recieve some information. We all introduced ourselves and as I looked around the room I could see faces of excitement, faces of nervousness, and some faces that looked like they already missed home a lot. I felt calm and at peace and followed our guide as they showed us the cafeteria where we’d be eating. I then saw another familiar face in the cafeteria, Melanie, Sister Walker who I met at BYU-Idaho. My roommate was her bestfriend my 3rd semester in the Fall 2012.   After eating dinner, and I went to my new room and then went to my new Japanese classroom. I met my roommates and my new companion! Sister Morrison is the best companion! She always has a smile on her face and she has quiet dignity. I notice so many of her strengths and she gives love to everyone.

I found out in Orientation the first day that 900 new missionaries arrived this Wednesday!!! That’s a record! Wow, so many worthy elders and sisters striving to be the Lord’s servants. I’m going to be honest, the first two days here was totemo muzukashi! That means “very hard” in Japanese. It was in Japanese class the first day when all of us in the classroom (my district) couldn’t understand what the sensei (teacher) was saying. Sister Watanabe is our teacher and she’s a young 24 year old who served in Japan. I felt very lost the first day, as we all did. The second day we found out that we’d be teaching our first investigator in Japanese Friday!! That was yesterday and let’s just say… sister Morrison and I did our best haha. It was so funny because when we met Onagasan, that’s his name in Japanese, we had our lesson all written out in Japanese so we were constantly reading from our paper. Because we had to rush from Dinner to the Lesson we forgot to grab our scriptures. When we tried to introduce the Book of Mormon and didn’t have one, I grabbed one from the shelf in the classroom we were in. We were happily trying to testify of the Book of Mormon in Japanese and then Onagasan shyly said looking down “I don’t read Chinese…” I embarrasingly looked at the Book and sure enough it was in Chinese haha! Sister Morrison and I just laughed. It was pretty funny. I learned during that first experience how much I need to diligently study the language. I’m trying my best to pray in Japanese and testify. A lot of the studying is on our own so we have to just go by the Spirit. I have had a few times where Sister Morrison and I feel very lost, frustrated and confused. But then we say a prayer and pray to Heavenly Father for guidance. I’ve been reminded these past few days of how much I need to rely on the lord and trust whole heartedly in Him.

Well my time’s already up! I wish I could tell you more!

You are in my Japanese prayers!
Butler Shimai (Sister Butler in Japanese)