October 20, 2013

Life in Akita as a Missionary
I am so excited to share about this past week! All of us 9 missionaries worked with our amazing Tongan friend and member sister Lita to put this Halloween party together for Saturday. We had all fasted the same day to be able to accomplish our goal of having 50 people with 20 non members come. Through out this past week we called and visited many of the members and it seemed that many members had other plans and wouldn’t be able to come. Every day sister Stevenson and I prayed that we would still be able to accomplish our goal. I knew that through our faith the Lord would give us this goal. As the week went on other things happened, like going to another Tongan families for dinner. There’s two Tongan families in this ward, the one all of us 9 missionaries went to for dinner is a less active family. It’s hard because the dad is a professional rugby player and has games on Sunday and the mom doesn’t speak Japanese so doesn’t understand when she comes to Church. It was so fun having dinner though at their house. Very loud, lot’s of laughing, and just made me miss my fun family. Their three boys are crazy, the youngest is 3 and is a wild child! He looks like a little jungle boy with long curly hair and is adorable. I pray us missionaries will be able to continue to serve this family and love them.
We had only one lesson this week! That sounds so pathetic, but we were working so hard trying to get things ready for this Halloween party that all other things seemed to be put aside. I almost felt we should still be going out and trying to find more people to teach, but sister Stevenson wanted to focus more on making decorations for the party. Us missionaries are trying to figure out how to work more with the members so we won’t seem so much like a party planning committee. Our numbers this week for lessons and PI’s was the lowest they’ve ever been. We had an awesome lesson with Chiemi though and talked about faith in Jesus Christ and I drew a picture of a seed growing into a tree from Alma 32. She is so amazing and her faith is so strong. I can’t wait for her to be able to be baptized. We had a typhoon on Wednesday and had to stay in our apartment all day! That’s one of the reasons our numbers were low because we didn’t get to go out and talk to anyone. The weather cleared up by the evening and we were able to do English class. We had the lowest turn up of students ever! It seemed that this week was just not progressing and everything was weighing on the Halloween party.
Then Saturday came! We started off the day with all of us missionaries going to Akita University’s open campus. There were lot’s of booths of different foods students made and our ward mission leader is an English teacher so he had a booth too. When all us missionaries get together it seems we hide inside and don’t talk and it kind of bothers me. I felt like the only one who wanted to go talk to people. Sister Stevenson was clinging to the other Japanese companion sister Nakaima and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I tried to find opportunities to talk to others and met a girl from Cambodia. Her name’s Linda and I told her about my cousins Emily and Adam going to Cambodia. She was so kind and sister Kirby and I invited her to our Halloween party that night. She said she might come.
We had spent 3 hours all of us missionaries decorating and us sisters made lots of egg and tuna sandwiches. We were all anticipating seeing how many people showed. It was a miracle!!!
54 people came and 21 of them were not members! What a blessing! Almost every one that came had a costume and all of us missionaries had prepared different fun games in each room. It was definitely an answer to our prayers and fasting. The Lord will always answer your prayers.
Members that came brought friends and I was amazed to see the huge turn out. Linda who we had met earlier that day came!
I am so excited for Saturday! Ishida who I met on the street last month in getting baptized! We taught him a few lessons and had to pass him to the elders but I still feel he’s like my investigator. He’s such an amazing 18 year old kid. His family drinks tea every meal and he’s given up drinking tea all together. He is truly becoming converted to the Lord.
This is my last week of training. I don’t know if I’ll stay in Akita or go somewhere else. It’s probably my last week with my trainer. I was moved to tears this morning as I watched a DVD called “The District”. These missionaries talked of their love for their companions and I felt this overwhelming love for my trainer sister Stevenson. We may have had our times of hardship but we’ve been through a lot together and I truly love her.
Sister Butler

October 14, 2014

Hello Eugene 3rd Ward! I love you! Do you know how amazing you are! Serving a mission in Japan is my dream come true and I am so happy to be a missionary!
 I watched General Conference on Saturday and Sunday and absolutely loved it! I was praying and fasting to be able to receive answers to personal concerns. I know that they were given through these talks. I took many notes and it was so fun watching conference. Us 7 missionaries were in one room for English and the members and sister Stevenson and Nakaima were in the main room for Japanese. I loved Elder Holland’s talk. I felt the Spirit powerfully through his talk. I also loved President Monson’s talk and felt the Spirit as he talked of giving his old sunday school teacher a Priesthood blessing. Isn’t conference wonderful!?
This past week many great things happened. I love teaching English each week, and it’s a great way to be able to serve the community. The students are so fun. This past week all of us 9 missionaries in this one tiny branch came together to make all the decorations for this upcoming Halloween party we’re having on Saturday. Our goal is to have 50 people come, and 20 of them to be nonmembers. I know we can do it!

I have to tell you about a miracle! I was fasting all day Saturday watching during General Conference so that I would be able to gain answers to personal questions and that sister Stevenson and I would be able to find someone before the week was over. I knew that the Lord would place someone in our path if we diligently looked and opened our mouths. Sunday, after the inspiring words of Conference I was inspired and had an even greater determination to find that person who would be placed in our path. We returned to our apartment and sister Stevenson and sister Nakaima wanted to take pictures outside for the Christmas slideshow. I thought it would be a 15 minute thing but it was about 2 hours and I defintetly felt like there was much wasted time. Especially because I had been praying we would be able to find someone during that time. A boy walked passed us on the road in front of our apartment and I said hi. It seems everyone was shy to talk to him and I immediately regreted not talking to him as he passed on. I had a prompting to talk to him and I didn’t follow that prompting. I said a silent prayer that we would still be able to find someone, and that an opportunity would be given. Twenty minutes later that same boy had walked all the way back and immediately as I looked up to see him I felt the Spirit and knew that Heavenly Father had answered my prayer. He asked us who we were and we told him we were taking pictures with the BOM. We invited him to take pictures with us. He agreed and was so friendly. There was a special light about this 19 year old boy. I desired to share the message we had and we gave him a BOM. Sister Nakaima and Stevenson often when together will talk about many things with people we meet except the Gospel and it’s been hard to know when to come in the conversation. We got his number and I pray we’ll see him again.I know Heavenly Father answered my prayer, and he must’ve felt prompted to come back and talk to us. This may be a small miracle to some, but it was a big miracle to me.
Thank you for all your love and prayers,
Sister Butler

October 6, 2013

This past week we had a lesson with our investigator Sato san. She met us at the Church and we had a joint lesson with a member sister Usami. We talked a little before to see how she was doing and then said a prayer. Right after the prayer I noticed she was getting teary. She began to cry and I felt like we needed to ask her how she was feeling. It seems the Japanese culture gets very uncomfortable with emotion. I noticed sister Usami and sister Stevenson looking like they didn`t know what to do, but I wanted to just hug Sato san. I asked her how she was feeling and she poured out all her feelings, with me only being able to understand maybe 5%. I did understand though that she feels alone at this time with her husband in the hospital every day and her sons at college in Tokyo. She is alone every night, eating dinner by herself. Tears began to fill my eyes as I felt so much love for her. We all shared scriptures with her of comfort and sister Usami shared her testimony about the Savior. It was a completely different lesson than we planned, but I`m so grateful we were able to comfort her. The next day we rode our bikes to her house and dropped off some Jello cups we got from the store. I pray she will pray and continue to read the Book of Mormon.
We had a zone meeting this week in Morioka! All us 26 missionaries got together and talked about our goal for finding 1 new investigator every week. We are all trying to work hard to keep our vision. It was fun being will all the missionaries and meeting the new missionaries. There is one elder who is brand new and has amazing musical talent. He made up a song on the piano called, `One Heart One Mind` and sang about us being of one heart and one mind as missionaries to bring others unto Christ. The Spirit filled the room as we were all touched with new motivation to work harder as a zone.
The next day it seemed the Lord just poured all these blessings on us! One of the members, sister Piedad from Columbia invited us missionaries to lunch! We went and celebrated another members birthday at his house and it was so fun. The members here are so kind and giving. Yesterday at Church we were given all these bags of food. Service is flooding in Akita branch, it`s so amazing! My favortie experience this week was learning that Ishida san, who I found on the street, has a baptismal date! He will be baptized October 26 and we are all so excited for him! He is only 18 and is so willing to follow Christ! I am so grateful for this young boys example. Ishida has strengthened me.
One more humbling experience that happened this week was our kind Branch Presdident Sato rented a car just so he could take all of us missionaries to a farther city to do missionary work. He took us to this open campus and we met many young college students. Then we went to this garden to eat lunch. We still hadn`t found anyone yet and President Sato walked over to talk to a little family, a mom and her two daughters and mother. I knew President Sato was prompted to talk to them. Us missionaries follwed and while talking to this mother we found out many things. She said that her husband passed away last year and she was just told by her doctor she has only 3 more months to live because of her Luekemia. As I listened to this courageous mother`s story she began to weep talking of how her two little girls are her hope and she is just doing all she can now to give her love to them before she goes. Us sister missionaries stood there and started to cry with her. I testified to her that God loves her and death is not the end. I shared Alma 40:11-12 from the Book of Mormon with her. I gave her the BOM and my number and she said thank you. It was truly humbling. I pray she will call us.
The Lord loves us all and He is with us. I love the Lord and desire to be more like him. I can`t wait to listen to General Conference next week with the members. I know President Monson is our true prophet today.
Sister Butler

September 30, 2013

Life In Akita Japan
I had such a humbling experience this past week. Lately there has been so much negativity in sister Stevenson shimai’s and I companionship and I have earnestly been praying how I can serve and love her more. I feel unloved a lot of the time but had an experience this week that made me feel my Savior’s love I want to share. We were riding our bikes and sister Stevenson just wasn’t happy with me and I really don’t know why. I could feel this contention and was praying that we can just be positive and happy. We decided to ride our bikes far away to our investigator’s house who we don’t see very often because she’s busy and her husband’s been in the hospital. I had never met Sato san’s husband and didn’t know if I ever would. As we rode our bikes I thought she probably would take our treat we brought for her and we’d be on our way. But as we knocked on her door and she saw us she looked so happy and said her husband was home from the hospital. We were surprised and went inside. Her husband turned to us and had a big smile on his face. He has been in the hospital for 2 months because of prostate cancer and was very sick. He looked 75 but is only 56. He has gone through so much and as he started to talk with us he said, “How did you know to come here?” I wondered what he meant and then he said, “We just got back from the hospital and then you came and I know it was grace from God.” I felt the Spirit so strongly as he told us that he was hoping we’d come to visit and then we showed up. I didn’t even think much of us going to Sato sans because I thought she’d be busy. We ended up staying for two hours talking with her husband about his life changing experience how he’s become closer to God through this trial of cancer and he said he is open to opportunities God gives him. I bore testimony that us coming to his house was from God and then shared scriptures with him from the Book of Mormon. He is now back in the Hospital but it was truly a humbling experience and both mine and sister Stevenson’s heart was softened.
To see this man so humble after going through so much was a witness to me that Heavenly Father gives us trials so that we will be humble and turn to him. We can choose to become angry at God and wonder why we have to deal with this trial, but that is when the bitterness turns to anger and slowly there is emptiness. But Heavenly Father wants us to turn to Him in prayer. Sato san’s husband said that he now prays every day and didn’t before this trial. In Japan I never meet anyone that says they’ve prayed before to God, He does after going through his cancer. I was so grateful for this experience. Heavenly Father truly does answer our prayers.
This past week Ishida, our new investigator, well now the elders investiagtor, said he wants to be baptized! I invited him to be baptized after we watching the movie “Finding Faith in Christ” and he said he wants to. We gave him the Scripture 2 Nephi 31 to read from the Book of Mormon and he read it that night. He then texted us saying, “I want to be baptized”. He is such a good kid. He’s 18 and in his last year of high school. I hope he can be baptized this month!
We have another missionary coming! We will have 9 missionaries in one branch!
It’s so exciting!
I know the Book of Mormon is true and am so grateful to be able to read it every day.
Sister Butler

September 23, 2013

Missionary Life in Japan Land!

I am officially done with my first transfer as a missionary! Transfers are every 6 weeks, but since I am being trained I will be done with training after another 6 weeks. We have a new missionary in the branch and our friend elder Bailey is now in a different city. This new missionary elder Rasmussen came in looking confused and nervous and I know exactly how he feels. He will be a great missionary and I am excited to serve with him.
This past week many great things happened! Our Zone goal is to have a new investigator every week, and guess what! We found a new investigator this past week! I was handing out Eikawa flyers for english class and went up to talk to a young 18 year old boy. He was wearing a sick mask so I could only see his eyes. Every Japanese person wears a sick mask even if it’s just barely a cold. It’s the normal thing here. Anyways I began to get to know him a little bit and his religious background. He told me he listens to Christian music and I was so surprised. He knows about Jesus Christ from listening to this music but doesn’t really know anything else. I asked him how he feels when he listens to this music and he said he has a good feeling inside. I told him that that feeling is the Holy Ghost testifying to him the message is true. We talked about the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon. We talked there on the street for 20 minutes meanwhile sister Stevenson and the other missionaries were passing out flyers. This boys name is Ishida.After I gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and got his phone number we parted our ways. Over texting we gave him commitments to read certain things and he said he read Moroni 10:3-5 and had a good feeling. He said he wanted to come to Church and learn more! We were so excited!
Meanwhile, we were going to other appointments through out the week. We have been going to this old lady named Yukiebachyan’s house every week or so. Her son is a convert of 6 years, and she doesn’t have so much interest in the Church but we still visit her. She is 85 and the sweetest, funniest little Japanese grandma I ever did see! She always feeds us and I love her laugh. We never really get to teach her but hopefully we can keep serving her and teach her more about Jesus Christ.
We had a super fun activity for Eikawa Saturday!!! It was a SMORES Campfire night! We had many people come and went to this park to do the activity. We played games and ate smores. I think everyone had fun. Ishida came, our new investigator. The day before, on Friday he had thought the activity was that day and waited at the train station for 45 minutes! We went to find him and went to the Church to have a lesson outside. Unexpectadley sister Piedad from the ward drove up because she was dropping her daughter off at Seminary. Sister Piedad and her daughter Natsumi chyan had a joint lesson with us, what a tender mercy! Ishida san learned how to pray and said the closing prayer. We invited him to pray that night. This is my favorite part! The next morning sister Stevenson and I had a text that was from Ishida san. It said, “I prayed! I feel the power of Christ”. Right there at 6:30am we were jumping up and down so happy! We have a lesson with him Thursday this week with the elders. He will become their new investigator since us sisters can’t teach him. Please pray Ishida san can come to know this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and be baptized.
Planning activities have been fun. We have our next activity this Saturday for Akita branch FHE. It’s going to be a movie night in the Church and we’ll have popcorn and watch “The Testaments”. I hope and pray many can come and invite friends.
The Lord always places people in our paths to serve and lift. I am so grateful to be the Lord’s missionary and proclaim His Gospel. Often times I feel weak and I need to be a better missionary; more diligent and hard working. But I am learning that when I turn to prayer and the Book of Mormon I am strengthened and reminded of my purpose.
Much love Thinking of you all the way from Japan! Thank you for your prayers, I need them! This work is a joyful work! It is the Lord’s work.
Sister Butler