August 17, 2014

TRANSFER CALL!

The big TRANSFER CALL came!!!
Usually it would come Sunday evening but President Smith changed to Saturday night, Sunday morning so that the we`d have time to tell the members at Church and say our goodbyes.
Well… I was pretty surprised that I will be transferred…drum roll please….
Aizuwakamatsu (you can shorten it to Aizu)
It`s Fukushima ken!!! Where my great grandpa Shichijuro Sato was born!
I will be companions with Risa Nakaima! If you don`t remember, we lived together for 4 transfers in Akita. There were a lot of hard times, but I know the Lord put us together for a reason.
Nakaima shimai and I will continue to be STL`s and it`s so funny because I will STL over my trainee sister Iwahashi again!!! I am excited to see her and other sisters!
I heard that sister Johnson from Eugene will be living in our apartment too! Her companion is sister Holmstead, who I LOVE! I spent one day with her when sister King and I first transferred to Morioka and sister Holmstead was so fun and so easy to get along with.
It will for sure be a fun apartment!
I have just 3 more transfers so I wonder if Aizu will be my last area. Sister Nakaima (my new companion) only has 2 more, so I will at least have one more companion after her.
I`ve still kept the record of only Japanese companions, yataa!
I am sad to leave Morioka, actually really sad. This beautiful, green city has been my favorite area so far and I will DEFINITELY come back someday!
I had the opportunity to bear my testimony and say goodbye to the members at Church. I looked out to the audience as I stood up to share my testimony. I felt the Spirit completely guide my words as I spoke to those members. I shared one of my favorite experiences from Morioka.
It was a day I will never forget. I was handing out flyers for English class on the street and this older woman with a bike came right up to me with a huge smile and look in her eye that she wanted to talk to me. I looked at her with a smile and she said,
“Who are you?“
I told her who I was, a volunteer missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She just smiled, not saying anything and I told her that God loves her and knows her personally. Tears filled her eyes, as well as mine. I had just met this woman, with out knowing anything about her, but the Spirit told me that God knows and loves her. I showed her a picture of Christ and she had interest. I knew that she yearned for light in her life, and I believed she stopped because she saw that I had light to give.
As I shared that experience, I could see tears in many of the members eyes, and I then felt so much love for these members. One member, recent convert from December, named Mayo cried and gave me the longest hug I`ve ever received from a Japanese person. That touched me and told me that I had helped strengthened her in some way.
I had so many MIRACLES this past week!
Hamano shimai and I went on our last split together in Sendai and on our way coming back to Morioka we saw this African girl walking infront of us outside of the station. She had super colorful shirt and see through black skirt. I immediately judged this girl to probably be a crazy partier. I told Hamano shimai she should say hi to her, and when she did this girl turned to us with the biggest smile and the sweetest personality. She asked who we were and we told her we`re missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She immediately asked where the Church was and wanted to come! We found out that she`s 18 from Mozambique, Africa studying Japanese. She said that she`s Christian and loves Christ. I showed her the Book of Mormon and told her that we believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it`s translated correctly and that we believe the Book of Mormon to also be the word of God.
   She immediately had interest when I told her that the Book of Mormon is an account of Christ coming to the America`s after He was Ressurrected. She said “Really?!“.
Well at that point we were trying to figure out how to contact the sister missionaries for the Kamisugi ward but we didn`t have their phone number. I didn`t know then, but Hamano shimai said a silent prayer that we could somehow contact them, and as I`m talking with this girl, here comes the other sister missionaries!
It was a complete miracle! We introduced them to Pashi and then had to run to the bus. I know the Lord answered my companion`s prayer.
Next miracle!
On Saturday Hamano shimai and I were walking on a big open road to put English class posters in stores and while waiting at a stop light a white car quickly drove up on the sidewalk. Hamano shimai and I were a bit surprised. Two men were in the car and the one driving had this creepy smile and started asking me all these questions,
“Where you from? How much longer are you staying here? How old are you?“
I immediately got the feeling this guy is not someone I can trust. He spoke English well, but then started talking to my companion in Japanese, trying to make the mood light by asking about English class. As he was talking to her I was carefully watching him. He suddenly put his hand up to his mouth covering what he was holding in his hand, but saw that I had seen it so quickly putting his hand down and smiling at me with this dark smile.
I felt super un-easy and asked him in English,
“What are you holding?!“
He embarassingly answered hesitantly that it was oxygen and quickly changed the topic. My companion was being super friendly because she thought he sincerely had interest in Eikaiwa and I was trying to figure out what he was up to. He then put his hand back up to his mouth and I could see it was some spray can. He quickly put it down again and continued the conversation. In the moment the Spirit strongly told me, “Get away from him!“. My heart was racing and I quietly told Hamano shimai, “Let`s go!“. She ended the conversation and the man quickly zoomed away.
It wasn`t until after the situation that I realized he was holding something to spray us, but he tryied several times to take off the cap and could not. He tried about 5 times. I then realized that it was the Power of Heaven that saved us from him getting that cap off.
Hamano shimai and I went off near by to say a prayer of safety and quickly went back to our apartment. I know that the Lord protected us from those two men.
Last Miracle!
Hamano shimai and I just came out of a store to go back to our bikes and up rode a tall, blond hair guy. Hamano shimai said hi and we learned he was from Canada. We talked for a while and he told us he had friends in Canada who were Mormon. He said,
“They didn`t preach by their words, always by their actions. I always noticed They were different, in a good way“
I asked Justin what he believed and he said he believes in God. I then felt prompted to give him a Book of Mormon. I showed him my small pocket one and promised him that if he reads this book sincerely, and pray to ask God if it`s true, he will come to know it`s true. He said he would read it. I got super excited but realized I didn`t have an English one, so we rode super fast back to our apartment to grab one. I quickly wrote my testimony on the blank front page telling him it wasn`t coincidence we`d met and then raced back. He told us that day that he`d be leaving for home, Victorai, CA the next day, but that he`d read it with an open heart. I loved that he said “I`ll read it with an open heart“. He asked for our emails and said he would let us know what he thought.
I had such a good feeling about Justin and can`t wait to hear if he meets up with the missionaries in Victoria.
Well, those were a few miracles this past week. Hamano shimai didn`t have anyone to teach so we did a lot of finding. I prayed each day that I would be able to recognize the miracles from the day and Heavenly Father answered my prayer!
A quote I loved from personal study,
“If we remember the Savior and all He has done and will do for us, we will improve our actions and thus come closer to Him…“
I want to change a few words in this quote to make it more personal,
“If you remember the Savior and all He has done and will do for youyou will improve your actions and thus come closer to Him…“
 
As I learn about the Savior, I have been able to grow in Charity and love for others. 
I finished my 40 day challenge on Saturday given by a friend. I fasted from FEAR for 40 days, and strove to open my mouth teaching about the Savior wherever I went. It increased my confidence and even though I can still improve I`m grateful for that challenge and am continuing to throw away my fear.
 
Love,
Butler shimai
 
Tori
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August 10, 2014

Dendo is Fun!
 
Here`s so pictures of some fun on the mish! [see Tori’s mission photo link at top of this web page]

When it always comes to Sundays there`s no food in the apartment because we ate it all during the week, so we have to eat whatever we can find.
 Well, Hamano shimai found some pancake mix and put some jam and chocolate sauce on it!
I found an ice cream bar! King shimai found a piece of bread and put chocolate sauce on it. Haha, don`t worry we eat healthy!…most all the time…
 
Here`s a picture of our District family! I love these sisters and elders! We all have so much fun together, and I can honestly say this is by far my best district! We are unified and work hard. With my companion and I as STL`s, the Zone Leaders, and District leader, we`re all super motivated to accomplish goals and work hard. We also play hard! Haha, when it`s “mahari“. “Mahari“ means “funny when it`s time to be fun, and serious when it`s time to be serious“.
I`ve been in districts before were some missionaries don`t know how to be mahari. I am so grateful for my District!
 
Oh and of course I just had to include a picture of what I come home to every night. Yes, my sweet mother and father sitting on my desk beaming with huge smiles saying “Hi our little Tori, how was dendo today?“. Then I tell you all about my day and my companion wonders why I`m talking to myself…okay I really don`t talk to your picture but thank you for always making my smile. 
I really do say, “Hi mom and dad“ when I come home though.
 

I sent these two pictures of the Takazawa family here in the Branch. Aren`t these kids adorable?!  They have six children, but one passed away at birth, so they really have seven. Both parents are returned missionaries who served in Japan. My companion and I made an appointment with them last week to get to know them better and see how we can serve them. I always thought that I would be booked with dinner appointments as a missionary, but that hasn`t been my experience. They members serve us in so many ways, but I`ve learned that because we don`t get fed by members, I have to look for other ways to get to know them. We asked this family if we could share a spiritual message with their family and help prepare their little boy, Kamui kun, for Baptism. He`s seven and will be baptized in November. The parents said they want our help with teaching him the Gospel.

We had a way fun time and taught very simply on Baptism and played a game. As soon as I walked in their house all the children were dead silent. Japanese children are complete opposite than American kids haha! I had decided though before we got there that I was going to be enthusiastic to get them all to open up. In Japan silence isn`t considered awkard, so let`s just say there`s lots of silence. It`s taught me that silence is okay and to be patient.
They started opening up a little through out the game of hiding a toy and being blind folded to find it by only hearing their family member`s directions. It was to help illustrate the role of the Holy Ghost.
    They then treated us to sweet potato bread (which I got the recipe for and will be making at some point!), and brother Takazawa showed us pictures of his comic drawings.
   So everyone in Japan loves “Manga“. It`s pretty much Japanese anime, comic books. I have always thought it`s pretty nerdy, but now being around everyone who loves it…I still think it`s a little nerdy haha.
     Brother Takazawa draws animations on the computer of his family`s funny memories! I think it`s an awesome way to use his talents and document his family memories! We built a really good relationship with this family and learned their afraid to share the Gospel. We want to keep trying to help them not be afraid or shy about sharing the Gospel.
 
   This past weeks results were all 0! It`s funny because I should be really disappointed, but Hamano shimai and I worked really hard this past week and had so many service opportunities. We were in Sendai for two days and had Zone Training meeting on Friday, as well as a split on Thursday, so that could be part of it. Satomi chyan is still in Miyako and has kind of distanced herself from us. She will come back on Saturday this week so we hope we can meet with her.
    No new investigators, but we set up an appointment with a 60 year old man named Nakai san for tomorrow. We met him in a park 2 weeks ago and he has interest in learning English and learning about our Church. I don`t know how high his interest is in the Gospel, but with our Free Family English Program, we can teach him 30 minutes of English and 30 minutes of Japanese.
 
   Yesterday`s Sabbath was amazing!
I prayed this morning that I would feel the Spirit today and be able to help someone. Hamano shimai and I taught Gospel Principles class on Prayer and listening to everyone`s experiences of prayer really brought the Spirit. Mom, you asked how my Japanese is and dad you said “I`m sure your Japanese is excellent now“. Well, not at all excellent, but yesterday`s class I felt for the first time speaking in front of everyone I could express everything from my heart exaclty the way I wanted to. The Spirit really guided my Japanese! I can understand pretty much everything. There are occasional vocab that I don`t know, but then I write them down and practice until it comes naturally to say.
   I actually have a really funny story from yesterday! Elder Fukuchi and elder McClellan came by our apartment in the evening and elder Fukuchi was talking to us about how we need to strengthen one member in the ward. As he was explaining the story he said “Tsumari“. I thought, “That`s a word I don`t know“. I waited till he was done with his story to ask what the word was, because he was being super expressive in telling us and I didn`t want to interrupt. I then said to him “Tsumari wa nan desuka?“ which means, “What is Tsumari?“. He looked at me super offended and started to repeat his story he just told us. I stopped him confused and said, “no no, what is tsumari? the word Tsumari?“. He then laughed and said, “Oh, tsumari means “in other words“.
 
I then just realized that when I had said, “Tsumari wa nan desuka?“ that translates to, “so…in other words??“. He thought I was rudely telling him, “in other words??“.
Elder McCllelan laughed too and said, “Ya Butler shimai I thought that was pretty of you at first“.
 
     After Church my companion and I both felt prompted to find Hibiki, who got baptized last September, to talk to her. She as it turns out has been feeling really lonely. She`s only 19 and her family don`t support her in the Church. She grew to seperate herself from her family and even her friends here at Church who got baptized recently. We found her in a room watching a Church DVD and talked to her for a long time. She really opened up her heart to us and told us from our talk she decided she will start talking to her family again and pray. She is going to go streeting with us tomorrow and we will set the goal of giving someone a Book of Mormon and finding their needs. Hibiki just needed love and to know someone loves her and she is special, a special daughter of God.
 
I am so grateful for all the times the Lord has placed me in someone`s path to serve them. I want to be there anytime someone needs a kind word, a hug, or just a listening ear,
 
“Kindness is the power that God has given us to unlock hard hearts and subdue stubborn souls and bring them to an understanding of His purposes“.
I loved reading this today during morning personal study.
 
Love,
Tori

August 3, 2014

Splits in Akita!

I went to Akita from Thursday to Saturday morning. I went on splits with Stice shimai, a sister from Utah and we met up with my past investigator when I was in Akita, Ayaka!
It was so good seeing Ayaka!
She hasn`t been coming to Church or reading the Book of Mormon, but we went out to lunch and I felt I should help remind her of the Spirit she felt when we had lessons together. I shared with her how when we rely on the Lord, He will carry us through any trial. We need the Lord in everything.
After a long conversation in the restaurant, Ayaka said she feels she wants to read the BOM and come to Church. I gave her two pictures of Christ with scriptures and just pray that Ayaka will be baptized soon. She never had a baptismal date, but I know that she desires to.
I also took a picture with brother Checketts, past ward mission leader. He is from Utah but has lived in Akita forever with his wife.
I also took a picture with youth member Natsumi, me, and her friend to the right.
Loved Akita! I also saw Ishida! He looked beaming with joy! He is so involved in the Gospel and preparing for his own mission!
love,
Tori