November 17, 2013

Life in Akita 11.11 – 11. 17
WHAT A WEEK! Japan is beautiful this time of year. All of us missionaries drove with our Branch President, President Sato to another city to do some streeting and the hills of Japan are beautiful! We went to Katonodate, a beautiful famous little tourist area and tried to talk to many families. There were 5 girls visiting from Tokyo all dressed in beautiful kimonos and I took  picture with them.
   All of us missionaries in Morioka Zone had Zone Meeting this past Tuesday, but us 8 Akita missionaries had to catch the train Monday to stay over night. I had prayed that morning that sister Iwahashi and I would be able to see a miracle on the train and find someone to share our message with. From that prayer Heavenly Father quadrupled the blessings!!! We found 7 people on the train. Six high school girls all gave us their phone numbers and we took a picture with them. Then another girl named Mai gave us her number and we`re meeting with her Saturday! Prayer is real!!! God has always taught us that when we pray in faith, believing we`ll receive an answer, He will give us whatsoever thing we asked for. I know that is true because of my train experience and other countless experiences with prayer. I`ll share one experience that I had, but has nothing to do with my mission. I remember when I was 15 years old visiting my aunt Melanie`s and uncle Greg`s in Washington one summer and had an infected eye. It hurt really a lot and I just remember wishing that the pain would leave. I decided to go to the bathroom and say a personal prayer alone to aske the pain would leave. I prayed that my eye infection would leave. As soon as I ended my prayer, the pain completely left and never came back. I knew Heavenly Father had answered my prayer.
    This Wednesday`s English class was packed! The most students I think we`ve ever had. There were probably around 28! Us missionaries are trying to be more creative with getting more people to come to Eikawa. Sister Iwahashi and I were thinking about doing singing dendo! “Dendo“ is missionary work in Japanese. Christmas is Coming up and we want to sing Christmas carols when handing out english class flyers.
   This week we have a Thanksgiving Feast party! Our goal for the Halloween party was 50 people. Now our goal is 60 people for the Thanksgiving party. We will need a lot of faith and prayer to reach our goal. I know we can do it, with the Lord`s help we can do it.
   I have an amazing thing that happened this past week! Sister Iwahashi and I were going through our Area Book again looking at past investigators that had stopped taking the lessons. We both stopped on a past investigator named Ranmaru. He had only had 2 lessons about a year ago and then lost contact. We both felt we needed to go try to find his house. We rode our bikes about 15 minutes away and got to large complex buildings. We searched for a long time trying to find Ranmaru`s apartment and could not find it. I said “Well we tried…“. Then sister Iwahashi said, “Wait, we should try over here“. She wanted to go to a different building that wasn`t even on the map. I thought, “Why there? It`s not even the right spot“. But I followed her and we went over to a different building complex. We looked at the little mail boxes and sure enough there was Shutou Ranmaru`s name on the mail box. I knew sister Iwahashi was led by the Spirit. We found his Apartment and a bleach blond Japanese, 31 year old man opened the door. He looked very shy and was even shaking a little because I think he was nervous. We talked about the wonderful message we have to share with him and told Ranmaru of Christ`s love for him. It was almost as if he was waiting for the missionaries because he said he wanted to meet. The next day we had a lesson with one of the members and he said in that lesson he believes it was God`s guidance we came and found him again. He is epilepsy and is very shy. He can`t work because of his sickness and says he has no friends. His parents divorced when he was 12, and he never went to high school. During our lesson I felt Ranmaru hasn`t felt a lot of love in his life. We`ve had 3 lessons so far and he came to Church Sunday! Ranmaru is a miracle. We hope we can meet him again soon!
I love sister Iwahashi! We have so much fun together! We have picnics in our apartment for lunch! I love picnics on our little futons! We sing songs and laugh all day long! We talk about our life dreams and she strenghtens me every day. She is truly a blessing and I love her!
I love all my family and friends! I pray for all my friends around the world serving missions. I pray for my cousin Ben Coomer and Elyse Barnes serving a mission in Ukraine. I pray for Anna MacArthur serving in Tokyo Japan. I pray for all my 20 friends from Jerusalem Center Study abroad serving around the world. I pray for all my home ward missionaries serving missions! I love missionary work. This is the Lord`s work and it will press forward!

November 10, 2013

Life In Akita as Missionary

Akita is COLD! Riding my bike this morning I couldn`t feel my hands because I`d forgotten my gloves. Sister Iwahashi and I have been hearing that it`s supposed to snow today! It`s just like good old Rexburg, Idaho so nothing too new. I am actually kind of excited for the snow. I hear the snow here can get up to waste heigth. There will be lots of walking, and no riding bikes the next 3 months of snow. I don`t see any yet, so we`ll just have to wait and see.

I am loving being companions with Iwahashi shimai. She is the BEST! I really admire her and love her so much for the true missionary she is. We had many great things happen this past week. During personal study one morning I read in PMG chapter 9 “Former Investigators“ and felt that sister Iwahashi and I should look at former investigators in the Area Book. We both felt strongly about a 21 year old past investigator Ikegami san, who had taken the lessons for 2 years but stopped 4 months ago. I had heard things about Ikegami san from other missionaries, that he has no interst any more and shouldn`t waste our time with him. But sister Iwahashi and I both felt we needed to try to contact him. That day we planned to visit him but found out right before we were going to go to his apartment that he was at the Sasaki family`s house tutoring Takashi kun in science, brother and sister Sasaki`s son. Brother Sasaki told us we should go over there and meet him. When we got to the Sasaki`s, sister Sasaki welcomed us in and whispered that at the moment Ikegami san has pushed away missionaries so we shouldn`t pressure but just be friends. We agreed and as we walked in to meet Ikegami san we definitely could see he put up a little bit of a wall. But as we talked and laughed and got to know him more he started to open up. He then began to ask about us and we created a friendship. We had dinner at the Sasaki`s and before leaving shared a short message. When Ikegami san gave the closing prayer he said that it had been a long time since he`d seen the missionaries and he was grateful we`d come. Sister Iwahashi asked Ikegami san after the prayer if we could meet again to share a message and he said he was so busy but maybe the next week. We don`t know if he will contact us but I know that we were supposed to meet with him that day. I believe Ikegami san is scared to start lessons again but I know he felt the Spirit that night and longed to have it back in his life. I pray he will contact us.

      We also had our second lesson with our new investigator Kana chyan! She has let us know that her parents are against her taking lessons and so we don`t know if she`ll be able to continue the lessons. We pray she can continue the lessons. We visited an less active member who left the Church many years ago last night. Her name is Hatekaya Yasuko and she`s around 70. We brought her some apples and figured she`d take the apples and we might be able to share a quick spiritual message with her. But when she saw us, she let us in her house and fed us dinner! We talked the most with her husband who was so friendly and kind. We had never met them before and they were so kind! Yasuko san explained she belongs to the Lutheran church and so she doesn`t want anything to do with the Mormon Church. We shared a short spiritual message about Heavenly Father`s love and charity and shared the scripture Moroni 7:45. I know they both felt the Spirit because I felt it strongly. I asked at that moment if we could come back again but she said no. I was surprised because the Spirit was there and we had created a special friendship. I felt even though we left with no invitation of ever coming back, we should go back just to give a gift of thanks for the meal.
Sister Iwahashi and I went to the Akita train station downtown streets to hand out flyers for Eikaiwa, free English class. We met many people who were interested in coming! I met a girl named Alina who is from Romania on an enxchange for a year. She goes to Akita University. She said she`s been a little lonely and misses family. She seemed to not have much interest in our message but I feel she needs a friend. She gave me her phone number, so I hope we can meet her again. Then 15 minutes later I met Sebastian who is the other Romanian exchange student going to Akiat University! What are the odds! I`ve met him before and so I don`t think it was just coincidence so see him again.
We had the primary progam this past Sunday and it was so cute seeing the 6 children from ages 4-11 singing and saying scriptures. There was quite a bit of laughing during parts, especially when the youngest, AJ, who`s family`s from Tonga, was waving his arms during the song like he was a music conductor.
I love Akita and I love the people here. As I ride my bike, or walk around and say “Konnichiwa“, people will bow and say hi back. I love my mission and am so grateul to serve the Lord.

November 4, 2013

Life in Akita as a Trainer!
I LOVE my new companion sister Iwahashi!!!
I took a bus to Sendai with my trainer sister Stevenson and then met a whole group of missionaries in the Sendai train station. I would be with one of the sisters for just one day until I met my new companion at the next days new missionary meeting. I saw elder Bodily, elder Sorenson, elder Malmrose, sister Hanecamp, and my new roomie in Akita sister Tuttle! It was so fun seeing my MTC District family! Elder Bodily looked older and something had changed about him. He looked more spiritually mature and as I felt so much joy seeing these missionaries I thought of Alma 17:2 “Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his bretheren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his bretheren in the Lord; yea they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.“
I said goodbye to my trainer sister Stevenson and I felt like things were okay between us because we were moving onto to great things ahead in our new areas. She gave me a quick hug and I went off with sister…I feel bad I can`t remember her name, but she`s Japanese and was so sweet and fun! We went to our Trainers Training meeting with all the new Trainers of the Sendai mission and it was so fun! There wasn`t a whole lot of instruction other than the basics. I realized the importance of relying on the Spirit as a trainer and just loving my companion. The next day I was late to the new missionaries meeting! The sister I was with and I got the time wrong and it was pretty embarrassing being late and seeing President Rasmussen standing outside the Church waiting for us as we were running. I thought, “Oh no! What will my new companion think of her new trainer not being on time?!“. I walked in the room full of trainers and new missionaries and there she was! My new companion Sister Iwahashi! The cutest, sweetest little missionary I ever did see! She looked a little nervous but really happy! I had already had a feeling of peace and so I knew that she would be an amazing missionary. Right from the start I could feel her love and how she is truly the sweetest girl I`ve met. I am so grateful to be her Trainer.
From the beginning after leaving that meeting I had a goal to show her that we are going to talk to as many people as we could these next 3 months. We went to go to a store to buy snacks for the 3 hour bus ride back to Akita and I gave a “I`m a Mormon“ card to the cashier lady. After we left the store sister Iwahashi looked so happy and said in English “Okay I learnd!!“. From then on she has been a fire ball wanting to talk to everyone! We have been so busy these past 5 days and I am so proud of my new companion. She is obedient and truly loves the Lord. She sincerely cares about our investigators needs and loves them.
MIRACLE OF THE WEEK! Our Sendai Missions` goal is to find ONE NEW INVESTIGATOR every week. We found a new investigator Thursday!!! Her name is Kana and she is 16 years old. She goes to Catholic high school. We taught her first lesson on Thursday and will teach her again on Wednesday. Our first lesson with her on Thursday was the best lesson I`ve ever had on my mission so far. ONE: Because the Spirit was in our lesson. TWO: Because there is love in sister Iwahashi and I companionship! We had Kana say a kneeling prayer at the end of the lesson, something I always wanted our investigators to do before but my trainer thought kneeeling was silly. The spirit was there as Kana prayed and sister Iwahashi had tears in her eyes. After the lesson and Kana left the Church, sister Iwahashi and I talked about how the lesson went. We both got emotional together and talked about how amazing the experience we had with Kana was. Sister Iwahashi is so spiritual and is truly a missionary. I love her so much! We`ve already seen miracles together and it hasn`t even been a week. I know that us two can find many new investigators and I know we can see a baptism. Through our faith and hard work I know the Lord will guide us to those prepared for this Gospel. Sister Iwahashi is so fun too! We laugh all the time together. There is such a different feeling in our apartment now because sister Tuttle and sister Nakaima have an awesome companionship too, so I believe the Spirit is in our apartment.
Sister Iwahashi and I found a referral from one of the members that we will visit this week. We found a lady that came to talk to us outside her house, very rare, and she said we could come back to visit her. We went back there tody but she didn`t answer. We will go back again this week. I feel like my Japanese is improving quickly because sister Iwahashi always compliments me and helps correct my Japanese, something my trainer never did. Sister Iwahashi builds up my confidence and I`ve had times were I`ll just talk in Japanese and then pause and think `Whoa, I just said all that in Japanese`.
Our investigator Sato san`s husband just passed away on the 27th. This is the investigator who`s husband had cancer and she is feeling very alone and sad. Sister Iwahashi and I both cried when we found this out and called Sato san to tell her we love her and she`s not alone. Listening to Sat san softly cry on the phone was heartbreaking. Can you imagine living alone because your spouse just passed away. I know she`s feeling lost and alone. Sister Iwahashi and I are praying we can meet with her soon.
We just had Stake Conference this past Saturday and Sunday in Morioka with all different Branches in Morioka Zone and it was so wonderful. The focus was member missionary work and I felt the Spirit strongly. President Rasmussen and sister Rasmussen spoke and sister Rasmussen had sister Iwahashi and I speak to the sisters for a 5 minute message. We were asked to talk about how Young Womens blessed our life. During the Stake session all of us 34 missionaries in Morioka district sang “The Spirit of God“. I could see tears in some peoples eyes, it was powerful.
Sister Iwahashi and my goal this next week is to find a new investigator and invite someone to be baptized with a baptismal date! Kana is 16 and so we have to get her parents permission to continue the lessons. We are worried if her parents will let her or not because they are Buddhist and don`t have interest in our Church. Please pray for Kana that she can continue the lessons.
I love the Lord and I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon and feel Heavenly Father`s great love for me as I read.
Sister Butler

October 27, 2013

All us missionaries in Akita have been so excited to get the results to see if we’re being transferred or staying in Akita! Last night we all got calls from President Rasmussen. Us sisters were in our apartment and the phone rang, we all screamed and listened intently as President went one by one with our new assignments. Sister Nakaima was so sure she’d be leaving and sister Kirby wanted to stay in Akita. They got the opposite. Sister Stevenson will be going way down south to Iwaki. Then President Rasmussen said, “Okay sister Butler you ready?” I had a feeling all week that I would be staying in Akita but I wasn’t prepared when President said, “Sister Butler you will be a trainer in Akita”. WHAAAAAT?! I was shocked! As soon as he said I was trainer this feeling of peace came over me and I probably would be really stressed right now, but I know the Lord gave me a reassuring feeling of peace. President Rasmussen told me he had just met my new beans dad yesterday and talked to him because the dad was on a business trip. President wouldn’t tell me my new beans name but hinted that she’s JAPANESE!!! I will be training a Japanese brand new companion and I just finished training TODAY! I have never heard of anyone training after being trained other than the other Japanese companions. I know the Lord will be with me the whole journey to guide me because there’s no way I can do this with out him. Sister Nakaima and Stevenson were both crying last night and sister Kirby was sad to leave. My friend sister Tuttle from MTC District will replace sister Kirby in our apartment and be sister Nakaima’s companion! I love sister Tuttle, she was the one I felt closest with at the MTC.

I woke up this morning to the sun shining, which has been a while, and I had the biggest feeling of peace that things are going to be really great with my new companion. I am praying for her that she will feel peace too. Things will be so different, me being a trainer.  I wonder how our communication will be! I wonder if she knows any English at all. I feel so blessed to be with her, because I know she’ll help me learn Japanese even faster. I am still no where near good at the language, it’s really hard. But I feel this next 3 months training in Akita my Japanese will improve a lot.

I am so grateful to stay here in Akita with these wonderful members and my investigators, Chiemi, Yasuda, and Sato, who’s husband has cancer. I am praying that my new companion and I will be able to work hard to find new investigators, something sister Stevenson never really wanted to focus on. It’s going to be really cold this next November, December, and January! I am grateful I have sister Nakaima to help me when I won’t know how to buy a bus ticket or find my way on map because of the Kanji. If I was with out sister Nakaima I know things would be a lot harder. I know though that there will be some challenging times as a trainer, and probably pretty stressful but I’m excited!
Other exciting news! Ryujiro Ishida was baptized Saturday! I am so happy for him! Just one month ago I met him on the street and had a 40 minute conversation just him on the side walk. Sister Stevenson wouldn’t come over so I had to say as much as I could. I remember feeling the Spirit talking to him and saw a special light about him. I am grateful to stay in Akita and watch him grow in the Gospel. He received the Holy Ghost yesterday during Sacrament and the Priesthood after. I see him as a future missionary and I pray his family will be able to partake in the joys of the Gospel too.
This past week so many members fed us missionaries in their homes. The members here are incredible. I feel often that it’s hard to build a relationship and let them now how grateful I am when I can’t express it in the language, but I pray if I can show them how grateful I am through missionary work they will feel my love for them.
Tomorrow I will be taking a bus to Sendai and get trained as a trainer that night. Then Wednesday I go pick up my new BEAN! They’re called beans because…I don’t really know why…something with green beans haha.I feel like I should know that. It feels like just a few months ago I got picked up by my trainer…oh it was just a few months ago! I remember I was so excited to have a Japanese trainer that was so experienced and fluent in Japanese. I know I might have many weaknesses in this new sister’s eyes but I hope we can focus on each others strengths.
Well here’s to a new adventure as a trainer in Akita!
Sister Butler