April 14, 2014

I Didn`t Get Transferred!!!

Transfer calls were yesterday and I am staying in Hachinohe another 6 weeks with my beloved Kanno shimai!
So as you can see by the picture, I`ve gained a couple pounds. BUT! I promise I will try and lose the weight before I come home 😉    The Japanese food is just too yummy! I guess my companion gained some weight with me too. We`ll work out extra harder in the mornings!   [see Tori’s humorous photos on her Mission Photos link at top right]
The other picture is of me and the cutest old woman names sister Matsuda. She is 84 years old and can`t come to Church because she is so slow at walking. We visit her every Thursday and just sit in her little entrance called the “Genkan“. Every Japanese home has a “Genkan“. I don`t remember if I ever mentioned this before but before you enter any home you turn around to face the door and slip off your shoes so their facing the door. You also say “Ojama shimasu“, which literally means “I`m an interruption“. But it is really just what you say to be polite before you enter a home. We sang a hymn with her and she always gives us yogurt to take home. When I first met her I thought she was an angel, because of her beautiful smile and glistening white hair. I know she probably won`t go to the Temple in this life, but I can imagine her some day all dressed in white greeting everyone as they walk into the Temple.
This past week my companion, Kanno shimai, and I had an amazing week! We visited so many people! We had a “Mogi lessson“with the Inoya family from the Branch. “Mogi lessons“ are practice lessons with members. I love the Inoya family. Brother Inoya said he was shy to share the Gospel, but after we taught a Mogi about the Restoration and heard his conversion story, he asked for a Book of Mormon to give to a friend at work. It was amazing!
  We also had a Mogi lesson at the church with sister Tanaka. She is the only member in her family and is not living with her husband anymore because he`s abusive. Her daughter`s 18 and we talked a lot about her. After we asked sister Tanaka about her conversion story and then testified to her of God`s personal love for her she began to cry. I had prayed that morning that sister Tanaka would feel Heavenly Father`s love from our short message and my prayer was answered. Sister Tanaka said, “I`ve been so busy with work, I forgot God`s love. Thank you“. She gave us her daughter as a referral and we are going to try to meet her daughter, Rina, this week. These Mogi lessons are powerful, because they allow members to build relationships with us missionaries and remember their own testimony. Almost every member is a convert in this branch and I`ve learned that some don`t have many spiritual experiences through out the week. We can all get caught up with work, but the simplest joys come from personal prayer, scripture study, and remembering our own testimonies. This helps us to feel God`s great love.
Kanno shimai has so many relatives in Hachinohe! Even one`s she doesn`t know about. We found out one less active is her great aunt and so we went to visit her. We also went to visit her great grandmother who`s 87 and a less active. She made us lots of food and it was a good time. But it was sad because she had turned away from the Church because she was offended by other members. Many of the LA`s here say that they can`t come back to Church because of the members. It breaks my heart and after going to Kanno shimai`s great grandmother`s house, I had never felt such a heavy heart riding my bike back. I felt the Lord`s love for her when we were in her home and invited her to remember Christ`s love for her. She was such a kind woman and smiling, but I could see that emptiness in her life. She rejected my invitation and I felt how much the Lord sorrowed for her. I felt though as I was riding my bike that I need not get discouraged. The Lord wants us to never get discouraged but press forward and love others.
I loved General Conference! A week later than U.S. time, but it was so powerful! I loved every talk and took something from each. I learned a lot from Elder Bednar and made the goal to follow his invitation to read, pray and study the Atonement of Jesus Christ this next week.
I am so excited to serve another 6 weeks with Kanno shimai! We are going to see Miracles this next week! We saw one yesterday when we talked to a 22 year old outside his apartment! We gave him a BOM and set up a next appt for Tuesday! There was such a good feeling about Abe san!
Sister Butler

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