March 23, 2014

Hachinohe week 9

This past week Kanno shimai and I taught Shion chyan and her mom and little brother. We had a training with Pres. and sister Rasmussen unexpectadley and at that training I asked president how Shion`s mom can progress towards Baptism. He wisely counseled to focus on the family. From that , we totally went by the Spirit in our lesson and focussed on them as a family. It went really well. I am so happy for Shion to go to the Temple for the first time! The 3 youth made a fund raiser in order to pay their way to travel to the Tokyo Temple. Shion is really excited. Kanno shimai and I helped a little with their fund raiser of making potato pattys. I don`t know what there called in English but there tasty!
I love studying the Scriptures and feeling the Spirit. I learn so much from the Scriptures. I love riding my bike! I say that a lot, but I really do! It makes me so happy, even if it`s in a blizzard or pouring down rain. Adventure is what makes it fun!
I had my best experience streeting this past week. I was on a split with the sister Training leader sister Lesumas from Hawaii and she is so wonderful! I felt so excited to go streeting and had a strong feeling we would find many prepared people together. It was the first time I never felt hesitant to talk to anyone. We both were smiling and talking to everyone on the street. It seemed everyone was happy and willing to talk to us! In the first 15 minutes we found 3 people that gave us their numbers! I learned an important lesson that day. It wasn`t the people`s attitudes that changed, it was mine! When I am full of faith and happy to talk to everyone, that`s when the miracles come. Faith brings miracles!
Spring began this week! But there`s still snow on the ground! It was sunny and beautiful today though.


March 16, 2014

Zone Training Week

This past week was Zone Training, like we have every month. We went to Aomori and had a great training. I learned a lot and was spiritually filled. I was able to share my experience with inviting Shion to be baptized with the other missionaries as part of the Sister Training Leaders training. I felt the Spirit as I testified that it was me inviting her, but the Lord.

   Kanno shimai and I accomplished our goal of finding a new investigator this week! We had made a goal this week to hand out 2 Book of Mormon`s every day. From that goal, we saw a lot of success. We usually would just find one potential investigator a week, but this week we found four! I recognized little ways the Lord answered our prayers. One miracle I saw this week was finding our new investigator Nemoto san.
  It was late Tuesday evening and we only had 15 minutes left of housing. I knew we had made the goal to give 2 BOM`s every day and we still had one more to give! I said a prayer in my heart that Heavenly Father would place His prepared son or daughter in our path at our last housing apartments. I prayed knowing that He would answer my prayer. I felt a prompting to have a BOM in my hand instead of pulling it out of my bag if they had interest. So I held the BOM in my hand and knocked on the first two doors. No one came, but the third door someone came! He was a 40 year old man and as soon as he saw my BOM he said, “Ah Iesu sama“ which means, “Ah Jesus is here“. I could tell right away he was a sarcastic person, but he had interest in the BOM and I showed it to him. He said he believes in God and desires more happiness in his life. I was amazed! He had all sorts of questions and we talked for 30 minutes. We gave him the BOM and he said he would read it. We taught him how to pray and he said a prayer for the first time, praying for more happiness. Lastly he said, “God truly led you to me huh?“. I was so happy, I could cry! As we left I had a 100% assurance that Heavenly Father truly answered my prayer.
   We met with Nemoto san again on Saturday and he had lots more questions, but also concerns. In Japan, many people believe in their own gods. He said he would feel guilty leaving his god to believe in ours. We told him that we all have the same, one God, but he doesn`t feel the same way. He told us that he has interest in our Church but until he feels it`s true, he won`t come to our Church. I am praying he can have an open heart and feel the truth of our message from reading and praying about the BOM.
     I talked to many people this past week! After making the goal to give 2 BOM`s every day I put my faith into action more. It was an amazing week, and I felt I could sit down and say “this past week really did work hard.“ That was a good feeling. But what made it good was knowing it wasn`t me, it was truly the Spirit.
   Shion is going to the Temple in two weeks and we are continuing RC lessons with her! Her mom has a lesson with us this week on Plan of Salvation. Our investigator Izumiyama san sadly is distancing herself. She feels the Spirit every lesson and gets emotional, but won`t come to Church. We are praying she can have an open heart to see the joy of coming to Church.
   My favorite experience this week was a small and simple experience. It was at Church in Young Women`s with Shion chyan and 13 year old Maki chyan. Nakajima shimai taught about Faith in Jesus Christ. She showed a video from LDS youth site about a girl from a poor country who showed her faith in Christ. She had little money and couldn`t afford enough to take the bus to go to Church the next day and buy food. Her mom told her to go buy the food they needed and the Lord would provide. The girl went and all the money was spent, but she said a prayer that they would have enough money to go to Church the next day. She then reached in her back pocket there was a roll of money. She was stunned and knew God had answered her prayer. From watching this video I felt a powerful conviction of how much my Heavenly Father loves me. I knew in that moment any thing I ask for in faith, it will be given to me. We have a goal this week to find a new investigator. I know the Lord will bless us with finding this individual.
   I`m excited for a new week!
Sister Tori Butler     [see new pictures from Tori by clicking on her mission photos link (top right)]

March 9, 2014

Being a Missionary is Happiness
Or should I say, Kon`nichiwa!
Shion is progressing so much in the Gospel ever since she got baptized. Sister Kanno and I are teaching her new member lessons every week and teaching her mom once a week as well. Her mom`s last lesson went well, but she said that she has a hard time praying. We are praying that Shion`s mom can come to Church. She works every Saturday night until Sunday morning so it seems impossible to her, but I know God can make miracles happen. I believe if she can come to Church her heart will open even more.
  We had transfers last week but thankfully Kanno shimai and I are still companions in Hachinohe. Two of our beloved missionaries transferred and now there`s two new ones. They are so great! Kanno shimai and I taught Izumiyama san a lesson with Kanno shimai`s grandma as a joint. That whole lesson was by the Spirit. Izumiyama san`s heart is really opening up and we pray she can come to Church. She is afraid to come and we don`t know why but pray she can commit next lesson this week.
   I heard from Ishida from my last area Akita. He`s also doing really well since he`s been baptized and I get to send him a letter of encouragement. My high light from this week was doing a practice lesson with one of the members named Nakamura shimai. She is deaf and so the whole lesson was in sign language. I had a prompting we should ask her to do a practice lesson with us and it was so spiritual. She has the sweetest heart. I am so grateful to learn JSL.
  I am so grateful to be a missionary and have this opportunity to learn more about charity.
Sister Butler
Batora Shimai

March 2, 2014

This week was wonderful! Sister Kanno and I left our apartment at 5:45am Wednesday morning to catch the train to Aomori for Zone Conference. Elder Aoyagi of the 70 and his wife came! He is so kind and I got to personally talk to his wife during lunch. Elder Aoyagi shared many things and I know he shared exactly what I needed to hear.
   I`ve been praying very hard these past weeks because I feel like I need to be a better misisonary. I am not opening my mouth as much as I should to those who need this message. I`ll walk on the street and walk past so many people and I think for a long time first “should I talk to them?“. When I first got out in the field I wasn`t afraid at all. I am with Japanese sister missionaries and they are pretty shy when it comes to talk with others. I think I kind of fell into that same whole for a while. I was praying that I can open my mouth more. I am such an imperfect missionary and I am learning about my many flaws each day. Being on a mission is humbling.
   Elder Aoyagi shared his own experience from when he was a missionary. He said that he converted to the Church and then did all he could to go on a mission. His parents were Buddhist and very against it. But he prayed and the miracle came that his father allowed him to go. So he went! But the first few days he said how he was so shy to talk to people. He thought, “is this really a mission??“. He said that he cried many times and wondered why he was on a mission if he can`t open his mouth. Then he said as he prayed a voice came that said, “These are my beloved children, and you do not love them“. He said he was surprised and realized he did not have Christ-like love for these people.
   I am striving to continually grow in charity and love for others. But I learned from elder Aoyagi that day that I need to truly love these people more.
    Kanno shimai`s grandma made us all a feast at her house and It was so fun! I have a picture of it to show you!  [click the “link to Mission Photos” at the top of her blog page]
   I am so grateful to be a missionary!
Sister Butler

February 23, 2014

Baptism is WONDERFUL!

This past week sister Kanno and I focussed on Shion and getting her prepared for her baptism. We met with her every day this week and taught her about the importance of studying the Scriptures every day. Us 4 shimai (shimai=sister) living together, Watanabe shimai, Miura shimai, Kanno shimai and I practiced a song this past week that we would perform for Shion at her Baptism called “Daughter of a King“. Because we didn`t have Church last Sunday because there was so much snow, we made sure all the members knew about the Baptism. I was praying that at least 10 members could come. My prayer was definitely answered because there were a total of about 30 members. I have never been to a baptism before that was so spiritually strong. I don`t think there was a dry eye in the room by the end.
    When Shion first arrived Saturday at 1pm I could tell she was nervous. We helped her change into her white Batpismal dress and first we all took pictures. Her mom and little brother came too. I was feeling a little overwhelmed though because of mine and Kanno shimai`s investigator Izumiyama san. Friday, the day before the Baptism, Kanno shimai and I walked from our apartment to visit our investigator we hadn`t seen in a long time, Izumiyama san. It was about an hour walk. She looked really happy to see us. We went inside and talked for a while about Izumiyama`s adventure in America 30 years ago. She loves English and when I first came to Hachinohe I taught her English class on last minute notice. She really appreciated it, but when I tried to talk to her about the Gospel after, she seemed closed hearted. We had tried calling her to set up an appoitment to teach her a lesson but she never called back. In my mind I thought she had no interest. So my goal was to find out her interest Friday. I loved that I could speak in English because I feel like I can be more caring and sincere in English. I boldly asked her about her past lessons with missionaries. She said she really loved the past elders that taught her in 2011 and saw a light in them. She`s been an investigator for a while, but had never comed to Church or really progressed I guess, so that missionaries dropped her. Than recently we decided to visit her. Friday when I met with her I learned a great lesson. As I shared a scripture in 2 Nephi 4 about Nephi`s experience with trusting the Lord and feeling inadequate, I saw a change in Izumiyama. She began to cry and she expressed that she felt such a warm feeling. We all felt the Spirit and I asked her if she desires to change her life and learn about Jesus Christ. She said with tears in her eyes “yes, please can I start from the beginning? I forgot most of it“. I said “Of course“. She told Kanno shimai and I that we radiated and she feels the Spirit so strongly. I invited her to the baptism, but she seemd nervous about coming to the Church. I prayed that night she would decide to come. Only 10 minutes before the service she decided she would come!! I was kind of in a panic. “Who can pick her up?!?“. Then Sister Nakajima, Kanno shimai`s beloved grandma came to the rescue!
    We were 10 minutes late to our own service but I know Izumiyama san needed to be there. It was a perfect service and everyone felt the Spirit. I think Izumiyama and Shion`s mom cried the most. Shion`s mom came up to me after and with tears in her eyes just kept saying “Arigato gozaimasu“. I know one day the Sasaki family will be an eternal family! We are praying for Shion`s mom and we want to teach her the lessons.
    ion is a shining example. As I studied D&C 50 this morning about gifts of the Spirit, I read about how some are given the gift to know that Jesus is the Christ. I believe Shion has this gift. She bore a powerful testimony at her Baptismal service. I could sense she was nervous before going into the font. But once she came out of the water and back into the bathroom she said “All my worries left“. I am learning that the Lord knows each one of us perfectly and so personally
It was a great week!
Sister Butler

February 16, 2014

SNOWY AND COLD BUT oh so delightful!

This past week was crazy snowy! The snow went up to my thighs! It`s cold but I like the adventure. Bike riding ended a while ago and from here on probably a lot of walking and taking the bus and train. In Japan it`s a normal every day thing to use the train as transportation. I like talking to people on the train, but everyone`s so quiet and ALWAYS on their phones. I usually can only start conversations right away with those not technologically in tune, like cute little Japanese grandmas.
Sister Kanno and I are excited for Shion`s baptism on Saturday! We had an amazing lesson with her mom on Friday. Since her mom is supporting her daughter in getting baptized, I felt we should talk to her about Jesus Christ more. That lesson was so powerful. It wasn`t until Shizuka prayed that she really felt the Spirit and she started to cry as she prayed for the first time. Japanese people hide their emotions a lot and so that was surprising to me that she got emotional. I felt strongly to invite her to be baptized. She said that she wants to keep listening to the lessons but isn`t ready to be baptized. I had a strong feeling that through the lessons her desire will grow. We are watching “The Testaments“ with her tonight and Shion too.
Today we went to a big festival called “Enburi“.I have some pictures to show!! There were thousands of people!!!
It was a great week and lots of walking, which I like! Probably the only sister missionary in our apartment out of all the nihonjin (Japanese) who does.
Sister Butler

February 9, 2014

Life in Hachinohe as a Missionary!
The area I`m in is pretty cold and it snowed like crazy last night! The whole river is frozen! All the Japanese sisters I`m living with aren`t huge fans of the snow, but I like playing in the snow! Sister Kanno and I walked 45 minutes to get to Church on Sunday. I thought of all the inspirational stories of dedicated members in poor countries walking miles and miles to make it to Church. Our walk isn`t so inspirational but it was humbling walking in the freezing cold with the wind blowing like crazy. My hair froze on the walk!
This past week we had 6 lessons! They were all with Shion! She is really progressing and is excited to get baptized February 22nd! I am so happy for her and pray her baptism can be an unforgettable experience for her. Sister Kanno and I have been planning for the Baptismal service and asking members to get involved. We want to make it special for Shion. I am so happy her mom can come to see her daughter baptized. I know it will be special for Shion`s mom to see her and maybe that will help her interest even grow more in taking the lessons.
I always feel like I have no time to write all my experiences. Sister Kanno and I went to eat a members house last night and the food is OH so GOOD! I ate bamboo and ramen and homemade Gyoza (pot stickers). I ate octopus and rice for breakfast! We eat dinner meals for breakfast, it`s kind of different. It`s not the normal cereal and milk.
That`s all I have time for! I know this is the Lord`s work! It is truly hastening!
Sister Tori Butler

February 2, 2014

Hachinohe Miracles!!!
I am seeing many miracles in this amazing city! This past week sister Kanno and I had set goals to find a new investigator, set a baptism date for our 15 year old investigator Shion, and teach 6 lessons this week. With the help of the Lord and many prayers, we completed all of these goals!
  I am so happy for Shion!!! This past week at our District missionary meeting, all of us 8 missionaries had a goal of one baptism this month. I saw a lot of doubt, like the thought “Who will be baptized though?“. We set that goal though in faith.
   Saturday we had members from Misawa, the military base area, come down for a baptism. A little 8 year old girl was going to be baptized and their water pipes had broke. It was so fun seeing so many American families! About 40 of those members drove 40 minutes down to come support the little girl. Sister Kanno and I both felt Shion should come see this baptism, even if it was in English. After the Baptsim and we were all singing hims back in the Chapel, Shion told us that her mom said she can get baptized anytime. We were shocked! Before her mom said she wouldn`t be able to be baptized until she graduates from highschool. We had been praying that her mom`s mind would change, and lately her mom has been coming to the Church for Eikwaiwa classes and we even started teaching her and I can see her heart changing. There was also another past investigator that came to watch the Baptism. When she saw the little girl come out of the water she began to cry. She said she felt something and was so impressed. It was amazing to watch Maiko feel the Spirit and I pray she will be open to take the lessons again.
    From that amazing experience watching the baptism and hearing Shion say that her mom is open to her getting baptized sister Kanno and I decided that day that we would invite Shion in her next lesson to be baptized. We had set the date for March 1st. This is a miracle story!
We taught the lesson about baptism and then when we invited her to be baptized, the little 13 year old girl Maki who was also in our lesson said that`s the same day Koshi, a little boy ward member, is getting baptized. Sister Kanno and I froze! “What should we do??“ I thought of the week before but could see Shion thought that would be too soon. We invited her to be baptized the 22nd but she said, “What?? That`s so soon! I am not going to be ready that soon“. She said she has a big test coming up and really just doesn`t feel ready that soon. Sister Kanno and I sat in silence for a little while, then I had a prompting to invited her one more time for the 22nd again. I said, “Shion, I know you have a lot of doubts and maybe don`t feel ready yet. But this is not an invitation from us, it is an invitation from the Lord and He will help you. With the faith that you have, will you put your trust in the Lord and be baptized on February 22nd?“. She looked at her calendar and then began to cry. I thought, “Oh no I am making her cry!“. But then she said she felt the Spirit so strongly. I knew that Heavenly Father had helped comfort Shion to know that she can be ready by the 22nd. That lesson was powerful and I really felt that it was all the Spirit and not me at all. Her mom came to the Church after the lesson and we were a little hesitant to share the news about her daughter getting baptized but then another miracle! Her mom said she was happy and is excited to come see. We have a lesson with Shion tonight on the Word of Wisdom and at first it was just her, but she texted us saying that her mom asked if it`s okay if she comes too. I was amazed!!! I feel her mom will be baptized too, not sure when though, but pray soon!
   So we have a baptism, but it`s all been through the Lord! We have to really do our best to teach her all the commandment lessons by the 15th before Shion has her baptismal interview. Please pray for her and her mom!
    I know that prayer brings miracles! Ishida from Akita, who got baptized in October has decided to go on a mission!!! I had been praying for him and he told me before I left that he wants to go work as a chef in Tokyo at his really nice new job and probably won`t go on a mission. But he`s changed his mind! I am so happy for him!!!
Well there`s much more to say but I don`t have the time. I am so grateful to be here in Japan and I am so grateful for prayer!
Sister Tori Butler