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!Love,Sister Butler