July 27, 2013

Only One More Week at the MTC?
I am so excited to leave for Japan in a week! I think about the Japanese people I’ll meet every day and I can’t wait to meet my mission President and his wife, as well as my new trainer and Japanese ward. So it seems as if this past week has been full of so many “Japanese pump me ups”.
So every Saturday our district goes to TRC, where we meet real volunteers who are fluent in Japanese and we in companionships go in little rooms to share a 20 minute lesson with them. This is never a prepared lesson, Sister Morrison and I just pray before that we can know the individuals needs and teach by the Spirit. I’ve loved TRC and learned so much. This past Saturday sister Morrison and I met a lady named Yogi, she said, “like yogi bear” haha we laughed. She was such a nice Japanese lady and told us she was a convert. As we were teaching I felt prompted to ask if she had a friend who needed the Gospel in her life. Yogi sad yes, and then I invtied Yogi to share an inspired scripture with this friend and her testimony. She said, “Thank you so much, I will”. She told me that’s exactly what she needed. I felt the Spirit guiding that lesson. The next room we went to was a young married couple who were American and both served their missions in Japan. Brother and Sister Powell. As we talked with them we found that they were both 3 months a long with a little girl on the way. I was so excited for them. I at first had no idea what I should share with them, but then I felt impressed to just start talking about my day. That went to talking about how usually I would go to the Temple on Saturday’s but it’s closed. Then I felt impressed to ask the question, “Brother and sister Powell, how will you prepare to teach your daughter about the importance of the Temple?”. Brother Powell’s eyebrow’s went up and then after a few moments of silence said, “Wow my wife and I teach primary, little 3 year olds, and your question is exactly what we’re teaching the primary children tomorrow.” After they shared their testimonies of the Temple, then I felt I should talk about the importance of FHE. They said that’s something they’ve felt they needed to work on, so I invited them to have FHE every monday so they can prepare now for their future family. They told sister Morrsion and I thank you. I loved that TRC day, not because I could understand Japanese and speak, but because I could understand the persons needs and help them.
So every Sunday before Church, our MTC branch president, President Johnson, has our branch prepare talks all in Japanese that we might be called on to speak. Two speakers are randomly called on right after the Sacrament and no one ever knows who will be speaking. So I had a feeling that I would be called on, and as soon as the Sacrament ended and brother Waits stood up to call on two missionaries I knew right then and there sister Butler would be said. I was right! I prayed walking up to the stand that I could speak from my heart and be able to speak the language. I didn’t look at my notes once and I could feel the Spirit as I spoke Japanese. I know the Lord helped me that whole talk. I don’t remember all I said, but after many missionaries told me they were inspired to learn the language more diligently. It was a humbling experience and got me even more excited to go to Japan.
Next pump me up experience! So usually we go to the TRC on Saturday’s, but since going to Japan is coming closer, instead this week we went to go Skype! Sister Morrison and I skyped with a 31 year old man named Ando san living in Japan on Hokaido island. He was so nice and I could understand him and speak with him. We were sharing a scripture then I felt I should ask what his hobbies are, he said “Cello!”. I got so excited! I said please play for us! He brought out his cello and over skype sister Morrison and I listened to Ando san play the best cello piece I’d ever heard. It gave me even a deeper desire to learn how to play the cello. Someday 🙂
I wish I  could share so many more experiences but I have so little time. I have learned this week about how important it is to have FUN. People who meet missionaries for the first time probably see as super serious and only talk about spiritual things 24/7. These past few days I’ve learned that it’s a good thing to have fun and be happy. Somehow a rumor went around I can beat box and next thing I knew last night missionaries from our branch going to the Sapporro mission came in our class room during planning last night asking if I would beatbox. Thoughts went rushing through my head, “Is this missionary appropriate?!”. I did a little bit and we all laughed and I then felt so happy and love for these missionaries. Not because I beat boxed for them, because they were smiling and happy and we could all have fun together.
I love you all and pray for you every day. Thank you for your prayers and love. This will be my best week yet at the MTC, get ready Japan 44 of us missionaries are coming your way SOON!!!
Love,
Sister Butler

July 20, 2013

MTC Life
 
Family & Friends,
 
Our District is counting down the days of when we’ll be flying to Japan. When first coming to the MTC I had no idea I’d be here for 9 weeks, but I have been loving every moment and realize what a blessing it is to be with the current army of God.
 
This past week has brought many learning experiences. I usually have my journal with me to remember and share things that happened through out the week, but I didn’t have time to grab it before coming to the comuter. So, I will just rely on my memory and hopefully there is something I share that will be meaningful to someone.
 
This week felt the most productive with class time. Usually Watanabe Sensei has us review any Japanese grammar we feel we need help on for language review, but this time we all got in a line of chairs facing another person from our district and had 5 minutes to teach a principle of the Gospel in Japanese and then we’d move down a chair and have the next person teach us. I’ve been learning that teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t telling someone about Christ, it’s showing them Christ, through asking them inspired questions to help them understand the importance of their relationship to Him. I have felt that my Japanese has been improving and I love reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese, even if I can’t understand the context with out looking at my English Scriptures. One time this week, when sister Morrison and I went outside to have language study, I decided I want to try and memorize D&C 4 in English and Japanese. By starting the study with prayer, I could feel as I was memorizing those special verses my mind was clear and I was understanding the Japanese. That is a simple experience, but I have been learning the Lord will help us with whatever we desire, when we ask in sincere prayer.
 
I got the sweetest letter this week from two little girls. Ellie and Audrie from the CTR 6 in our ward class drew me some pictures. Ellie asked me with the cutest 6 year old hand writing, “Hi sister missionary. What is your name. And what do you do?”. I laughed because of how cute it was and then pondered on that innocent question. That little girl Ellie taught me something. The Lord says through out the Scriptures how He loves little children because of their humility and goodness. He counsels us to become as a little child (3 Nephi 9:22). Ellie asked me what I do and that made me think about what I am doing. I am simply telling helping others understand the love of Jesus Christ so they can change and become as a little child, by being humble and willing to follow Him. I’ve thought about Ellie’s question multiple times.
 
Wednesday, hosting day was so fun!!! I saw 5 people I know and it was so refreshing to see a familiar face. I saw my friend Jenny Riding who was an EFY counselor with me last summer. I saw Suzanna, Anne Staples, and Audreigh from Jerusalem! Anne is right across from my Japanese class because she’s going to Tokyo mission. I saw my friend Marissa from Eugene Singles ward. Friends at the MTC is a motivator for sure, because they help remind you of why you’re here.
 
There’s so much more I want to say but sister Morrison and I promised our District we’d go read scriptures out on the grass together before Dinner. I forgot to mention I have two new investigators, who are Sister Tuttle and Elder Bodily playing different investigators. We all get to play a different role. It’s been neat seeing how much I learn from playing the role of being taught by the missionaries.
 
I  love you all and I am so grateful for your prayers. I am reminded each day of the amazing people that are in my life supporting me.
 
Love,
Sister Butler

7/13/2013

MTC (Make Time Count) Life at the MTC
I’m trying to make each moment count here at the MTC. I had not thought about the MTC standing for “Make Time Count” before until a wise friend shared it with me. I am realizing that with only 3 weeks left here I need to be more and more diligent in studying Japanese to prepare for Japan. The missionaries that came in 3 weeks before my District are leaving on Monday and they’re all super excited! I’m excited for them and know it won’t be too long before I’m in their same shoes.
Last Sunday Sister Morrison and I taught our District the Sunday lesson on Repentance. While teaching the lesson I felt someone had something they needed to share, and then I needed to give them the opportunity. I asked and Elder Low (going to Sendai Japan too) said he had something very hesitantly. Then he paused and said he’d forgotten, so we continued with the lesson. Then the Spirit told me at the end before closing that I should ask one more time if anyone had anything they needed to share. Silence filled the room and then slowly Elder Low’s hand went up and he said he felt he needed to share something, but he didn’t know what. As he thought for a moment he said he felt he needed to share a personal story from high school. Before I tell you what he shared, I need to express how much I look up to this elder. He is 19 years old and has changed a lot in his life to be able to serve a mission. He wasn’t always strong in the Church and said that many of his young years and through out high school he didn’t want the Church in his life. He has shared with our District many times his own personal testimony of his coming back to Church and he’s said that sometimes he doesn’t know why he’s serving a mission but knows that he needs to because he wants to follow the Lord. So anyways, Elder Low began to share his personal story of how in high school he did not pray and did not turn to God. He talked about how he went to not having the Spirit at all in his life. Then he began to cry and said that he was like a lost sheep in the Lord’s fold, but that the Savior left the 99 to go find him. I felt the Spirit so strongly as he spoke and the Spirit filled the room. Every time Elder Low shares his sincere testimony I am strengthened. A few days later, elder Low was sharing his testimony again during Devotional review. He said that a few days ago he felt the Spirit prompt him to share that story and that I was prompted to let him share it. With tears in his eyes he said that he didn’t know why he needed to but he was happy he followed the prompting. Well, I know why he needed to, because all of us needed to hear it. Elder Low is a great blessing to our District. Every time he speaks sincerely of his love for the Lord, anyone listening is filled with the love of God. After that experience a couple of us sisters were talking about how the Lord knew that our district would be together before and we are together for a reason. Even if one of the sisters or elders from our District wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be the same. We truly need each other.
Last Sunday evening was MTC Movie night. Every Sunday evening we get to watch a past MTC talk from a General Authority or a Church video, like the Prophet of the Restoration. Sister Morrison and I saw that “Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration” was playing in Japanese! So of course we ran to get a seat. It was packed with all of us missionaries, probably over 60! I could understand a lot, and a lot I couldn’t understand haha, but the Spirit was there and when the movie was ending I looked around the room at all of the amazing missionaries preparing to go to the Land of Japan and thought, “Wow, only 150 years ago the Church was a few members and Joseph Smith only saw those few. Now today here’s over 60 of us missionaries going to Japan watching a movie about the Prophet Joseph Smith in Japanese preparing to spread the Gospel to the Japanese people”. I was touched and thought of how Joseph Smith must feel to know the great work that has come forth.
So our District makes goals together every week and this week our goal for Monday was to have an English fast, meaning not speaking english the whole day! It was so much fun! I loved it, even though there were times Sister Morrison and I would laugh as we could only make hand gestures to explain something. Some in the District, like Elder Low, did not like it and didn’t speak most of the day at all. But I have realized that putting the faith forward to speak even when words aren’t there, the language will come. It was hard for some to not express there feelings and I think it was a good learning experience, because once in Japan, it’s 24/7 English fast!
Lessons this past week has been good, but not many. Watanabe sensei and Workman sensei had different things going on and so we had a sub, Reading sensei. He served his mission 3 years ago in Kobe. So we practice taught Reading sensei as “Saito san”. It was very basic beginning lessons of teaching prayer and introducing the Book of Mormon. I was grateful for being able to talk about prayer and the Book of Mormon because it reaffirmed to me that this Gospel is simple. We have so many tools and just need to show our faith by using them. Sister Tuttle from my district and I worked out again together this week while sister Morrison walked the track. It’s nice being able to have someone push you, and sister Tuttle does! I love that we push each other and it’s fun to work out hard! We run around the indoor track twice then run down the stairs and do a certain work out like burpees or jump squats then sprint back up the stairs to run around the track twice and start over, doing that about 10 times. I don’t know what it is about being in the MTC gym haha but I feel like I have more motivation to work out harder. It’s amazing how accomplished and good you can feel about yourself when your healthy. I also have been keeping my goal of no cafeteria sweets and ice cream! Some of the other missionaries tease me by trying to get me to eat ice cream since it’s everywhere! Literally there’s an icecream freezer box around every corner and cake at every meal haha. But I’ll be strong, I’ve gotten this far and nothing’s standing in my way, not even BYU Creamery!
I’ve been studying the Book of Mormon in Japanese, trying to learn the many Kanji’s and just being able to pronounce sentences fluidly. I love the Book of Mormon, and each time I read it, there’s a verse that I needed to study that moment. The Lord truly does speak to us through the Scriptures. They are His words for us, His children. I have been studying in the Scriptures about our purpose here on this earth. It’s amazing what clarity and light fills the mind when there’s understanding of the simple truth that you are a child of God. Knowing that you are a child of God and that He loves you brings greater peace than anything else this world can offer, because Heavenly Father will never fail you. He is always there and we can talk with Him anytime. A good KC from Jersualem loved this quote and would say it many times, “We talked to God through prayer, but He speaks to us through reading the Scriptures”. The Bible and The Book of Mormon are His words and I would not have peace in my life if I didn’t talk to God through prayer and reading His words.
    Harold B Lee once said, “The most important thing you can do is to talk to God. Talk to God as if talking to your Father, for He is your Father and He wants to hear from you”.
    My MTC Branch President, President Johnson, said this past week to our District, “Heavenly Father will peel back the veil from your mind to help you understand who you were before coming to the earth if you ask Him”.
I know that these things are true.
I love you all and you are in my prayers. I am so grateful for my wonderful family and think of you every day. Until next week…
Love,
Sister Butler

July 6, 2013

Loving The MTC
Time is flying by, and I find myself feeling like the every day is just zooming right past me. I’ve already been in the MTC for one month and have less than a month to go. All the days have so many different experiecnes but they all mesh together. I can’t even remember simple things, like what I ate the day before for lunch…wow I really can’t remember haha. I’ve been thinking about what it will be like packing up all my stuff to fly over to Japan soon. I want to spend every moment I can here at the MTC wisely so I’ll be the best prepared I can for the Japanese people.
   So I had the goal last week to memorize Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Japanese, and I completed that goal this past week. I’m really happy that I can look someone in the eyes and share that powerful true story from my heart. It’s not perfectly smooth, but I try to say it from my heart. I had a humbling experience on Tuesday. I was feeling like I could be a better missionary. I felt like I needed to work harder, trust more, and give more. In my feelings of weakness I went to Devotional hoping for a message of comfort. I continaully receive messages of comfort, but at this time was feeling that I needed to be a better missionary. I loved Elder Richardson of the 70’s talk. He talked about, “Wher’er thou art, act well thy part” and gave an amazing talk. I still had an empty feeling inside though and wondered why. I felt the Spirit, and I understood his message. As much as his uplifting words were to edify, I felt I still needed uplifting. It was until the very end of his talk, when I was yearning for comfort from the Lord, that Elder Richardson showed a picture of Christ. That’s when my feelings of needed self-improvement turned into feelings of comfort and love from the Lord. Then we closed with singing the hymn, “How Gentle God’s Commands”. The line, “Come cast your burdens on the Lord” sank deep into my heart as I learned that I need to always remember that the Lord will comfort me.
     Sister Morrison and I volunteered to host all the new incoming missionaries again on Wedneseday. It was a lot of fun seeing the excited new missionaries. It touched my heart seeing sons and daughters hug their parents good bye and then getting to see the parents reaction as their child walked away in the distance. One mother I won’t forget. She was smiling and waving with joy and then as her daughter disappeared she put her hand over her mouth standing by the car and began to cry. I could tell she really felt so much love for her daughter and was proud of her. She then got in the car with the rest of her family and let out all her tears. I felt for this mother and then pictured what it would be like to one day send my own son or daughter off on their mission. I was able to get a small glimpse to what that will feel like as a mother so proud of their child. While waiting for cars pulling up to host a missionary, things were coming to a close and all the missionaries had almost all arrived. I saw a few missionaries jump with excitement as they’d see friends they knew. I thought, “That’s so special, I wonder if I got to see someone I knew”. Then the miracle happened! The next car pulled up and the other hosting sisters said, “You got this one sister Butler”. I walked over to the car to open the door and there was my friend Diane Poklinkowski from BYU-Idaho. She cried as I opened the door and then I started tearing up. I knew the Lord allowed Diane to be the sister I would host, because I needed her. We were so excited to see each other. Last time I saw her was before Jerusalem in the fall and we were on councils together in Student Support. The first time I met Diane was when I was her mentor for Get Connected 2 years ago. I’ve always looked up to her and had no idea she was serving a mission. She explained to me that no one in her family is a member and she’s a convert. She said she wasn’t planning on serving a mission but felt she needed to recently. I am so proud of her decision, which must be so hard with little family support. She explained how she desires to have her family come to the Gospel and be happy like her. Diane reminded me the blessing it is of serving a mission. She is going, not because anyone expects her to but because she loves the Lord and wants to serve. She is serving in Poland, where her family heritage is from. As I showed Diane the Bookstore and her room and around the MTC, we both talked of the joy it is to be given a call from the Lord to serve where our family heritage is from. She will be a wonderful missionary.
   So Thursday was Independence Day and it was so fun! It was a normal day and then surprises just kept popping up in the evening. All the missionaries got out of class early aroud 7:30 and we had a mini devotional. It helped bring the Spirit. Then we all were told we’d get to watch “17 Miracle”. I was so excited! I love that movie and have seen it many times. Sister Morrison hadn’t seen it so I was excited for her. I want everyone to see that movie to understand how blessed we are today for those Mormon Pioneers who suffered so much for us and trusted in the Lord. I learn something new every time I watch that movie. This time I learned that the Lord was with them the whole step of the way. I also noticed that every miracle came because of a prayer of faith. It seems like this whole week I’ve been learning about the power of prayer through experiences I’ve had. I know that Heavenly Father will always answer our prayers. Just take the time to get on your knees and tell him the desires of you heart. He is listening, always.
   I hope something I said is what someone needed to hear. I pray for all who read my letters that they will feel the great feel Heavenly Father has. I love all my parents, my brother Abe and my sister Amber. I am always thinking of my family and friends. Thank you for your love. I am so excited to meet the people of Japan soon.
Love,
SIster Butler

June 29, 2013

I am so excited to share with you all that has happened this past week. I cannot express enough the many tender mercies the Lord is blessing with me each moment of my mission. I’ll start off by talking about the beginning of this past week. This past Sunday, June 23rd was the World Wide Broadcast “Hastening The Work of Salvation”. It was such a blessing being able to sing in the choir with all the missionaries from the MTC who will be serving all around the world. I was right! Sister Morrison and I were caught on the camera! haha! I had a feeling, and it wasn’t until after that a lot of our friends in the MTC were saying, “Hey we saw you on the screen!”. That broadcast was such a special meeting. As the eleven Apostles walked in the BYU Marriot Center, the whole 20,000 of us sitting in there instantly went still and stood in reverence. I felt such a powerful feeling of love and joy as elder Nelson turned to all us missionaries and waved with a kind smile. I knew in that moment they truly are Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wrote down many of the words they said and felt a stronger motivation to prepare all I can for the people of Japan. I already love the Japanese people and yearn to share my love with them and tell them of Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to meeting the Japanese members in the wards I’ll be in. I have realized the great importance of serving the ward members and helping to unify the ward. I know that us missionaries have an important role in teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but the Church members have an even more important role with sharing that message to their friends and family so that the missionaries have people to teach.
    This whole week has been super hot and I love it! I imagine riding a bike up the rolling hills of Japan in even hotter, humid weather and get excited. Yes, I know I will be sweating more than a rainy day in Eugene, but I’ve come to terms with this fact. I’m not sure how riding a bike wearing a skirt will work, but if the last 50 years of sister missionaries could do it, I CAN! Sister Morrison and I go outside a lot to play during gym time out in the field with other missionaries, and we go outside a lot to study the Scriptures. We have language study every day for an hour and this past week was awesome! We decided this week we’d focus on bearing our testimony. So each evening at 8pm, we’d go outside to share our testimony with random missionaries in Japanese. It really has strengthened our confidence and I’m continually amazed at how fast we are learning Japanese. The Lord is truly with us.
   Our progressing investigators “Onaga san” (our teacher Workman sensei), and “Christina” (our other teacher Watanabe sensei) are doing really well. Sister Morrison and I have tried to really focus on teaching by the Spirit, and never by paper. We spend time planning out our lessons, looking up Scriptures and how we’ll say things in Japanese, and then we unexpectedly feel impressed to not even talk about what we planned just right before going in to teach. This has happened every time, and it’s been a great blessing knowing the Spirit is with us to teach us the needs of Onaga san and Christina san. One miracle of the week was teaching Onaga san. I felt like sister Morrison and I should make the goal to commit Onaga san to be baptized. Sister Morrison felt good about it too and so, not knowing what to expect, we went into the lesson with Onaga san prepared for whatever promptings came. Towards the end of the Lesson, I asked Onaga san, “You know that good feeling that you said you have with us when we teach, how would you feel if you could have that feeling even more?”. He smiled and said softly, “I want that feeling more”. I then testified to Onaga san that through coming unto Christ by being baptized, he will be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost and he can have that good feeling; the Spirit, with him always. It then was quiet for a few moments and I looked Onaga san in the eyes and said, “Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized Onaga san?”. He looked down for a few moments, and I felt impress to say, “We have a date July 13. If you’re not ready by then that’s okay, but as you pray for strength to Heavenly Father, you will be ready”. He said he would be baptized! The Spirit was truly in the room. I know that this isn’t a real situation, and more roleplaying, but the Spirit is real and we feel it each time we teach a lesson.
   It’s interesting how the hardest days, are the best days. When Sister Morrison and I taught Christina on Thursday, it was the total opposite. We would try and explain things and she would look at us confused and we would struggle explaining in the limited Japanese we know. I went away from that lesson feeling sad that I tried to bear testimony from my heart and she still looked confused. After the lesson I wanted to just cry, but I was trying to stay positive. Then Watanabe sensei (who plays Christina), came up to us and said in Japanese, “How do you feel it went”. Then the tears just came pouring out haha. It was the first time I felt a lot of sincerity and care from Watanabe sensei. I understood she was teaching Sister Morrison and I that we need to prepare for the times out in Japan when people won’t understand. I know that as long as I have sincere love for them, and see them for all their great worth, the Spirit will guide me with what I can say.
   Seeing familiar faces is such a joy! Sister Morrison and I were outside studying Preach My Gospel when all of the sudden Peter Barnes walked by from our home Ward. I stumbled over my words, “elder..no uh…brother…Ah Peter Barnes!” At the MTC you call everyone elder, sister or brother so that explains my struggle. It was good running into him and I had no clue he teaches at the MTC. Then I saw Elyse Barnes later that day! I love seeing Elyse, she is so nice and fun to be around!  I’ve seen Anna, Sister McArthur a few times too and she looks very happy each time.
   I love my District so much!!! We just keep getting closer and closer. The times we get to hear each others testimonies, laugh together, and study are all times when we grow closer. Oh Kickball out in the field makes us close too haha.
Today was my last day being able to go to the Temple for the next 17 months. The Provo Temple is being closed for renovation for 6 weeks. There are only two Temples in Japan, Tokyo and Fukuoka. Sapporo is on it’s way of building a Temple. I pray Sendai will soon be blessed with one. But Today in the Temple I felt so much peace and can’t wait to share with the people of Japan that families can be together forever through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tuesday Devotional was so amazing! I am amazed by the wonderful speakers us missionaries get to hear each week. Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us! She composed the Church’s children hymns, “Sisters of Zion”, “Army of Helaman”, and many other musicals and Church songs. I learned so much from her. She showed all of us missionaries her own family song that she wrote and had each of her family member sing in. It was so FUN! Her husband, this cute old little man, was up there dancing away to the beat of the song haha! She said after the song, “I can read my husband like a book, but today I don’t know what page he’s on”. We all laughed. She inspired me! Someday I want to record my own family song! Dad, get ready to sing a line. Now I have the best part to share with you…
    When I was 14 years old, I went to EFY and grew so close to the Lord going to that Church camp. While I was there, it’s tradition for all the young men and women to stand and sing “Sisters of Zion” and “Army of Helaman”. I’ll never forget that day when I felt the closer to God than I ever had before as all of us young, 14 to 18 year olds stood and sang that song. I’ll never forget tears running down my cheeks and thinking, “One day I will serve a mission”.
Well, four days ago, during that Devotional, all of missionaries stood together and sang those exact song in unison, but this time I am a missionary. Even thinking about it now I feel so strongly that the Lord prepares us in more ways than we can comprehend. I love the Lord, and will always follow Him. He is my light and my strength. Through His Atonement, we can all repent, have peace, and one day return to His presence. I know that I willl see the Lord some day, and we all will stand before Him to be judged of our time on this earth. This knowledge gives me greater strength to forget myself and serve others.
Thank you for all your prayers and love. I love my family so very much!
Until next week,
Love,
Sister Butler