September 16,2013

Life in Akita as a Shimai

Communication is so important. Especially with your missionary companion! The only thing is…if you two speak different languages, sometimes communication can be very hard. I am learning to be patient with myself and with my Japanese companion. We have our many struggles and frustrations with each other through out the week but when I look at the eternal perspective I just realize how much I need her. Sister Stevenson is teaching me a ton! Most of the times we see things differently, but I am learning that it`s more important to always look for the positives in one another instead of the differences. When you serve someone and see them for who they truly are, you can do nothing but love them. I love sister Stevenson and am so grateful to have her!
This past week was full of many blessings! Monday, sister Lita from the branch took all us sisters to this beautiful Japanese park and we took pictures again for her photography website. It`s so fun to be able to do this. We will probably do it every week. She takes us shopping for groceries every week. I love this Tongan Mormon! She is so fun and I just love her! I only got to see 2 of the pictures she`s taken of us but I guess it`s on the Missionary Facebook page which is excitingI
Our investigator Chiemi chyan is so ready to be baptized! She wants to be baptized and her faith is so strong. She reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day. The only thing is her mom still won`t let her be baptized until she graduates in 3 years. Recently though I heard news that one investigator who couldn`t be baptized because of their parents had fasted and prayed and her parents gave her permission. We had been praying for this girl for a while and her prayer of faith was answered.  I know that Chiemi chyan can have the same experience if she prays in faith and we can pray in faith for her. We had a lesson on Saturday on the Temple. She has had all the lessons mulitple times but this was the first on the Temple. She desires to one day have an eternal family and she said she does believe that through the Temple she can have an eternal family. I am so grateful for this young 19 year old Japanese girls faith. She is our only investigator who comes to Church every Sunday. She is always so tired and studying but still daily study`s the Scriptures and prays, comes to Church and keeps all of God`s commandments. What an example!
On Thursday us four sisters (Sister Kirby and Sister Nakaima, Sister Stevenson and I) traveled by train to our Zone Conference in Morioka. We saw all of our Zone and heard from President and Sister Rasmussen. I felt the Spirit as I heard other`s testimonies and President Rasmussen invite us to keep goals. I have been praying for our investigators who aren`t progressing to be guided by the Spirit in how I can serve them and teach effectively. Lessons in Japanese has been a challenge. But I have learned that it`s not going by a rote lesson but rather teaching from my heart. If the investigator, or member can feel the Spirit then the missionary has done his job. Lately I have been wanting to do better with this and I will continue to strive to always have the Spirit in the lessons.
I had such a cool experience, well actually many! First, today sister Stevenson and I rode our bikes in the TYPHOON!!! It was so fun! Well…I was having a good time but maybe sister Stevenson wasn`t enjoying it too much haha. She has seen a few Typhoons in Tokyo where she`s from, but It was my first! The rain was pouring and wind was blowing brachnes and the streets and sidewalks were covered with what seemed a river of water! The few people I saw running down the streets had their umbrellas flipped inside out and blowing away. It was an adventure for sure and there were a few times my bike got thrown around by the wind while riding!
     Traveling to Morioka by train for the Zone meeting, the train was packed with people! The missionaries gathered together and talked, but I felt like I needed to talk to people. I knew someone would be on that train ready to learn about Jesus Christ. It`s been so interesting meeting people every day who have never heard of God or Jesus Christ. I sat by a young 16 year old girl on the train and as we talked about her life and goals and dreams I was able to share the first whole lesson of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon with her. I asked her what her image was of God and she said, `I have never heard of God`. She had no idea who God was and It was so neat testifying to her that she has a Heavenly Father who knows and loves her. We talked the whole train ride and I know that the Lord placed her in my path. I had been praying someone would be placed in my path to share the Gospel with and my prayer was answered. She walked away with the Book of Mormon I gave her, pamphlets, and the flyer I made for English class every wednesday (Eikawa). I explained to her how simple prayer is and why prayer is important. She promised she would pray to know if the message is true that night, and hopefully she`ll come to Eikawa activity on Saturday. I pray she can read the Book of Mormon and come to know it`s true. Saturday`s activity this weekend we`re making SMORES and having a campfire for all the Eikawa students! It`s fun planning activities and drawing fun flyers.
    My other experience on the train after the Zone meeting is my favorite moment of my mission so far! Back on the train returning to Morioka Friday night I once again had a strong desire to talk with as many people as I could. All the missionaries gathered together to talk and I sat by two young girls. We talked for a little while but seemed to not have interest in the religious aspect. So I went to talk with another girl, but she wanted to listen to her music. Meanwhile I had noticed a girl and thought I should talk to her but she had earphones in and was closing her eyes. I have noticed Japanese people are always tired on the trains and listen to music and sleep. Japanese people work so hard! They work all the time and when sister Stevenson and I have found those who are interested they say, `But I have work and I am so busy, sorry`. This girl on the train at one point took out her headphones and I began to talk with her. I learned a lot about her life as I asked her many questions. She was so friendly and kind. I learned she is sick a lot and she doesn`t have a good relationship with her family. I began to tell her about Heavenly Father`s plan of Happiness and that she is never alone. She too had a very little understanding of God. I shared the Book of Mormon with her and read a scripture, Alma 18:32. She looked deeply into my eyes and asked so sincerely, `God is real?`. She asked in such a way as if she had just been waiting to know. I then felt the Spirit so powerfully on that noisy train as I testified to her that God is real and that he knows her personally and has a great plan for her. As I taught her about prayer and how we can communicate with God, she took out a piece of paper and began to write down her phone number. As she was writing she said that she had some friends who would want to know this message too. I couldn`t believe it! She asked for the pamphlet and as I tried to give her the Book of Mormon she kept refusing because she thought it was such a special book. She finally took it. She got off the train at her stop and I sat alone pondering on what had just happened. I said a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for placing Asami chyan on that train. I didn`t do anything other than share what I know to be true. She said she would pray that night and read what I had given her. She too is not near our area but I pray she will pray and feel God`s love for her.
The Lord will always place people in our path we can help and serve. We just have to have the courage to open our mouths and talk to them. I am striving every day to be an obedient and forget myself missionary. This is the Lord`s work and I know He is walking by my side.
Sister Butler

September 8, 2013

Life In Akita!
We had a BBQ on Saturday that us missionaries put together for investigators and less active members. Our ward mission leader made his famous burgers and everyone loved it. I was scrambling to try and think of last minute games we could play with the 6 that showed up. Us missionaries didn`t have time to come up with activities so I quickly thought of a few. I felt bad the 6 that came looked confused for the first little bit and then it ended up being fun. We had a few younger girls and a few older men. In America playing musical chairs would be thought of as lame, haha but we played it! It was fun! I love how Japanese people are up for anything. If Americans think it`s fun, it`s fun for them hah!
We had a lesson Wedensday with Natsuko chyan the 15 year old girl and this has been my favorite lesson. She knew nothing about Jesus Christ so we read a few scriptures in Mosiah 3 together and then showed her the movie `Finding Faith in Christ` DVD. The Spirit was so strong and I felt my Savior`s love. I felt that she felt the Spirit too. I asked her at the end of the lesson if she believed Jesus Christ really is real and the movie is true. She said yes. I invited her to say the closing prayer after we gave her the commitment to read a pamphlet and the Book of Mormon. She said such a beautiful prayer saying `Thank you Heavenly Father for this video, I know now that Jesus Christ is true.` I felt the Spirit witness to me of this sweet girls goodness.
I love the Japanese people and learning from them. They show so much respect. I do notice the difference in showing affection and I always want to hug the sister members but they always shake hands, even with each other. This past weekend my mission President and his wife, President and sister Rasmussen came for the weekend. They spoke to the members at Church on Sunday.  I was able to talk with sister Rasmussen and get to know her. She is so kind, but a little quiet because she doesn’t speak any Japanese. I feel so much for her, because she really wants to serve the people but she can’t communicate with them. I know how she feels. You really do tend to hide inside and be quiet because you don’t want to say anything wrong so you just don’t talk at all. But I’ve learned that I can still smile and laugh and try and speak with others. She expressed to me how it’s been very hard for her. I almost started getting emotional because I felt all this compassion for her and know she does so much and gets little in return. They travel every week to a different area in the Sendai mission and the whole time sister Rasmussen mostly just keeps quiet because she can’t speak Japanese. I wrote her a letter telling her how much we missionaries love and appreciate her and gave it to her right before they were heading back for Sendai. She said she would treasure it.  We talked about how Japanese culture isn`t very huggy. I am trying to hug the siste members and it’s funny their reaction, but I think it`s a good thing. This week is Zone Conference in Morioka with President and sister Rasmussen on Friday. I`m excited to go see our zone! Sister Johnson from Eugene Stake is happy and I`m excited to see her again!
Thank you for your love and prayers! LOVING JAPAN! Please pray for these people. Through prayer, miracles happen.
Sister Butler

September 1, 2013

Life in Akita as a Missionary
Akita is cooling down and the weather is turning to be more rainy and cooler. This past week sister Stevenson and I rode our bikes to a few less active members houses to go see if we could give any service. No one was home. That has happened a lot where we’ll bike across the city to find they’re not home, then we turn around and come back. There’s one less active family that we did end up meeting! Sister Chigusa and her two daughters Momo and Mei. I helped Momo with her English speech because she was going to be in a English speech contest. So was another girl from the Branch named Natsumi. I helped them both with their English pronounciation and then we went to their contest on Saturday. Natsumi ended up winning the contest! I was so happy for her. 
Eikawa, English class, this past Wedensday was a blast! The best one yet! The elders made it super exciting and we had new students! There were about 12 students this time! Sister Stevenson and my new investigator, Natsuko, brought her little 10 year old brother and her 6 year old niece. They will come every week! 
Natsuko chyan is progressing as our investigator. She is 15 years old and I see the desire in her. I am still trying to always become a better teacher. The Japanese language is hard!!! But I know with patience I can do it. The Lord will help me.
We had three other sister Missionaries travel from Aomori to Akita. We did splits, where I switched companions for a day. I was with the sister training leader sister Yoshikawa! She has been on her mission for a little over a year. She is so great! I learned a lot from her. She is so natural at sharing the Gospel with others and we found two people who were interested in our message. 
There are so many things I learned this past week. Sister Stevenson and I had a lot of struggles this past week. I make her frustrated very easily when I don’t understand Japanese and it’s been a battle for the both of us. I had a neat experience though that I want to share. So I have been feeling distant from my companion sister Stevenson and it really has effected everything. It’s hard to be upbeat and happy when the other person is not. I tried many times through out the week to see what was wrong and there was never a response. Finally on Saturday right after a lesson with Natsuko chyan, I asked sister Stevenson what was wrong. She broke down and began to cry. I immediately felt this love for her that I had not felt before. Many times through out the week I had prayed to love sister Stevenson, even when I wasn’t getting any love in return. As she cried I started to cry and felt this compassion for her. I realized she was not mad at me but did not feel like she was a good trainer. She felt discouraged and felt like I was doing so good and she wasn’t. I reassured her what a great missionary she is. It was such a good experience. I know that every day I need to serve her.
I wish I had more time to say so much more! Just know that I am so grateful to be a missionary and I love the Lord.
Sister Butler