September 28, 2014

MIRACLES
I went on two splits this past week. I was with one sister who said that she is really struggling. She has been so exhausted, mentally and physically. We spent a long time to just talking. I spent time just reminding her of why she is on a mission and the blessings she`s seen being out in the field. Through talking about these things her countenance started to change. She went from being in darkness and thinking she`s not a good missionary, to positive thinking of recognizing that she has a divine purpose as the Lord`s missionary. She realized that it all started with her thoughts. I noticed that by the end of talking she started to look up more and smile. She is such a strong sister and has a strong testimony. I learned that I must always remember my blessings to keep hope. The next day we found a girl on the street who wanted to have a relationship with God. It was amazing to then see this sister who was in darkness the day before to have light shining from her eyes as she powerfully bore testimony to this girl we met on the street.
The other split I went on was with sister Smith. We were in Akita together when I was training sister Iwahashi. It`s so funny because now they`re companions! So they both came and I got to hug my little Iwahashi! I love sister Iwahashi so much!!!
On this split with sister Smith we saw so many miracles.
First we prayed specifically that we would find one new investigator and 2 PI`s (potential investigator).
We walked on this street and the first two girls we talked to were 18 and told us they believe in God. They made an appointment with us to meet the next day! It was a miracle!
Then we walk down and talk to a few more people, but just before heading back we talk to one last girl. She is 18 and her name is Kotomi. She goes to a Catholic school. She said she knows God is real because she prayed before and He helped her. She said that she got bullied when she was younger and so she transferred schools. She said she prayed to God to where she should go and He answered that she should go to this Catholic school. It was so amazing to hear this 18 year old girl share her testimony with us. We invited her right then to come to our Church close by and if we could share a short message with her about Jesus Christ. She agreed! We showed her our Church and had a short lesson with her about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ being two seperate beings, who have bodies and know us personally. We also taught about prayer. She said the closing prayer! She made a next appointment with us for today! But walking out she said that she wasn`t share what her parents would think.
   Sad to say, she didn`t come to today`s appointment. But I was amazed that when sister Smith specically prayed, we got a specific answer! Heavenly Father led us to 3 people who were prepared!
On Saturday we played Soccer at Aizu University fields. There were lots of families there that Nakaima shimai and I talked to. While we were leaving we saw two college boys walking and decided to ask them for directions out of the campus. We went from directions to talking about God and if He`s real. They both were so open and polite! I am just still amazed at how kind and polite every Japanese person is, even young 23 year old guys! They had the manners of a very mature 40 year old haha! One of them agreed to come to our Church on Sunday. His name is Masataka! He came to Church and is GOLDEN! He said he wants to “be saved“. He said He believes in Jesus Christ and is looking for the right Church. The elders are starting to teach him. I`m excited to see what happens with him.
  Hirono, who we met housing at the beginning of last transfer is still coming to Church and taking the lessons with the elders! So this week we had many investigators come to Church! There was such a joy at Church because of all the new faces!
After Church one of the sisters was going to do a practice lesson with us. She said that her sister, who`s not a member, has a concern about our beliefs on eternal families. She said that she wants to be with her children but not her abusive husband. Sister Kuwahara`s question was “What do I tell my sister? If she`s sealed to her husband, will she have to be with him forever after this life?“
I knew clearly that her sister would not have to be with her husband because the Lord wants us to be happy. I told her that the Lord would never want us to be unhappy and so she can choose to not be with her husband after this life, even if they were sealed.
 She said, “But where is there a scripture for that?“
Immediately D&C 132 came to my mind, but I didn`t know what verse. I just opened my scriptures hoping to be guided and the Spirit completely guided me when I said, “D&C 132:39“
She read it and then said, “Wow, that answers my concern I`ve been searching for for months.“.
It was amazing to feel like I was a tool in the Lord`s hand to help sister Kuwahara who can now help answer her sister`s concern.
Love,
Tori

September 21, 2014

Miracle

All the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders have meetings every month at the mission home. We also do a little mission activity before. We were all asked to share our experience from the activity that night at the mission home and I shared mine. President Smith said after I shared, “Sister Butler, will you please write that down and send me a copy that we can keep in our records?“.
I of course told him I would and just typed it up. I thought I would share it with you.
September 3, 2014
I had sat next to a woman on the bus coming back from the MLC activity in August  and talked to her the whole ride back to the mission home about the Gospel. She seemed somewhat interested, so I gave her a mormon.org card with my name and number. I wasn`t sure if anything would come from it, but prayed that something would. The next MLC activity in September we were asked to focus on asking inspired questions and share our experiences that night. Nakaima shimai and I had talked to a few people in Sendai before coming to the mission home, but no one seemed interested. We got on the bus to head to themission home and I felt prompted to sit next to a young girl on the bus.
      As I sat next to her I immediately introduced myself and started getting to know her. I asked her, “What is your happiness?“. She told me that her family was her happiness. I complimented her on her love for her family. I then began to introduce how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless her family. She then surprisingly told me with a huge smile that she had seen me before. I paused and asked where she might`ve seen me. She told me that about a month ago she was riding this same bus and that I was sitting behind her next to a woman. She said that she heard my whole conversation and was intrigued. I was so surprised and realized that Heavenly Father had placed this girl that had sat in front of me a month ago in my path to share this message with her. I then told her that my purpose was to help others learn of their relationship with Jesus Christ. The bus ride abruptly ended when I realized I had to get off. All I could do was giver her a mormon.org card with my name and phone number. She said thank you with a smile and we parted ways.
   I don`t know if I`ll ever see her again but I know the Lord places prepared people in our path. I know if anything that girl will remember my testimony that God loves her.
Love,
Tori

September 21, 2014

This week was…AMAZING!!! I feel like I use that word too much…this week was SUBARASHII!! That means amazing in Japanese.
I will first tell you about the time I spent with a 21 year old Japanese sister who`s only been on her mission for 4 months. Nakaima shimai and I traveled to Yamagata to do splits wit the sisters there and I spent a day with Fujiki shimai.

This sister has such a pure heart and we saw so many miracles together!One was meeting the “Mister Doughnuts“Angel! There`s a doughnuts shop called “Mister Doughnuts“ and everyone loves it in Japan. Well, we were on the street walking to a stoplight and there was a woman on her bike. Before the light turned I said hello and asked if she was from Yamagata. She said yes and warmly began to talk to us. We asked her the happiness she feels in her life and she told us her family is her happiness. We started to testify of Jesus Christ and she complimented us on what we were doing as missionaries. Before parting ways after giving her a mormon.org card she said that she had just gotten off work and handed us a whole bag of doughnuts! We were shocked at this woman`s kindness and told her to please give the doughnuts to her children. She wouldn`t stop insisting and so we gratefully took the doughnuts. What an Angel! I turned to Fujiki shimai after and said, “The people of Japan say they`re not Christian, but they are the most Christ-like people I`ve ever met!“

Another miracle that day was housing. Fujiki shimai chose a random apartment building to go housing at. We started knocking on the doors and no one answered. We realized we hadn`t prayed and so said a prayer before continuing. I prayed specifically that we would find a prepared person to hear our message. The last door we knocked on surprisingly greeted us on their intercom. Instead of introducing us as missionaries from a Church, I asked the woman on the intercom what her happiness was in life. She told us, just like many else have, her family was her happiness. We started to tell her that we had a message that would bless her family and we talked so long that the intercom cut us off and she ended up coming to the door.

     When I first saw this woman I felt the Spirit so strongly. She was holding her little dog and looked about mid 50`s. She looked exhausted mentally and physically. She was kind and gentle. We told her that God lives and knows her and loves her. She surprisingly asked us what happens after death. I paused and then unexpectedly began to tell her about my experience of my grandma passing away 5 months ago. I began to testify that I knew I would see my grandma Peggy again and death is not the end. Tears began to stream down my face and I looked at Fujiki shimai who also had tears in her eyes, then I could see tears in this woman`s eyes as well. The Spirit was so strong. I have never had an experience like this one. What touched me is that I could feel a Heavenly presence that I don`t know how to explain. 
      It was as if grandma Peggy was there too. This woman opened her heart to us, 2 strangers, but I know it was because she felt the Spirit and felt God`s love. It was subarashii. We then taught her how to pray and said a prayer at the end together. After the prayer she told us she felt a warm feeling inside. This woman`s name was Shouji san. She said that we could come back. I pray that Fujiki shimai and her companion will be able to continue meeting with Shouji san.
 
  We had a Zone Conference in Koriyama with President Smith and sister Smith and our tiny Zone of 14 missionaries. It was so wonderful, like a little family. We had a testimony meeting and Marilyn Johnson shared her returning home testimony. She only has one transfer left. I will be giving my returning home testimony in December at that Zone Conference. Just thinking of it makes me get emotional.
    Nakaima shimai met had 2 lessons with recent convert Madoka shimai this week! We also had a lesson with a less active named Tojyo shimai. We ate dinner at the Kuriki family`s house and they had invited a less active named Tani shimai. We shared the video, “Because of Him“ a Mormon message. I love that that Church has Mormon Messages in Japanese. I just love Mormon Messages! They are so powerful!
I have one more week until transfer calls! Here comes the best 12 weeks of my mission!
 
love,
Tori

September 14, 2014

Miracles are around every corner!
Remember the man named Hirono that Nakaima shimai and I met housing? Well, we had a lesson on Monday with him and the elders at the Church and he became their new investigator. The elders said they called him a few days later and he`s been reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day.
  I`m still amazed that that night Nakaima shimai and I both riding our bikes in the dark late one night felt impressed to go to his certain apartment complex and knock on his door! I`m excited to see what happens with Hirono san!
Our mission was blessed to have Elder Whiting, Asia North Area 70, come to our mission and have a conference with us! I am still amazed that every concern and question I had prior to Friday`s Mission Tour was answered at the conference.
   I learned so many things, but something that touched me was every principle that was taught was taught through the scriptures. I then realized, every time I teach any principle in a lesson I should teach through the scriptures.
Elder Whiting even asked us, “Are you searching the scriptures diligently?“
So I ask you, are you searching your scriptures diligently every day?

Nakaima shimai and I had 2 mogi`s (practice lessons with members) on Sunday after Church, but they were only 10 minutes. We simply had the member ask any, one question and we would answer that question through using scriptures. It was amazing!
There`s a 19 year old member, Miruka shimai. She served mission in Fukuoka for 6 months but had to come back due to illness. Nakaima shimai and I are trying to serve her and do things with her because she loved being a missionary and was sad to come back early. My heart goes out to her. But she said she is determined to go back out once she gets better. She did a mogi lesson with us and asked us the question “Why do I need Faith to be Baptized? Why can`t I just be baptized?“
We asked follow up questions to find her needs and then the scripture Alma 7:14 popped in my mind. To be honest I didn`t even know if it talked about faith but I followed the prompting and sure enough it did! It was amazing to feel the Spirit even in a practice lesson.
 
Nakaima shimai and I traveled to Yamagata to go on splits with the sisters there. I went on splits with Tui shimai and we had a miracle of meeting a 12 year old boy one the street with a group of his friends. He was excited to tell us his favorite Apostle is Paul and he reads the Bible on occasion! I was thinking, “Who is this kid? He`s amazing!“ haha
Tui shimai was so bold and sweet and gave him a BOM and he was excited to read it after we taught a little bit about it. Little miracles like that teach me that even young kids can be searching for this message of Truth.
I always want to share so many miracles because so many always happen! Sister Meralyn Johnson shared with me about recording miracles. She told me that she spends a few minutes every night writing in a seprate journal that day`s miracles. It hit me that I need to do the same thing! Sister Johnson is a wonderful example and she is probably the sister I admire the most in this mission. She shared with me she`s had many trials on her mission but learned to serve and love. I am so grateful to have her example in our apartment.
One miracle from this week was Nakaima shimai and I were riding our Bikes Saturday night heading back to our apartment after teaching a less active a lesson. Nakaima shimai pulled her bike over on the side and took off her helmet and said, “We`re not going back home until we pray to find someone“. I was blown away! I`ve seen Nakaima shimai change so much in becoming selfless.
I excitedly jumped off my bike and took my helmet off to pray. Nakaima shimai prayed specifically that we would find a woman. We ended and looking up got back on our bikes. Then across the road was a blond haired lady clearly looking lost. We rode over and she said she was from Russia and was waiting for a bus to drop off her friends from Russia but didn`t know when the bus would come. We tried to help her and then after a while she said she`s be fine. It wasn`t until riding away I realized he was the answer to our prayer! She was in a hurry so we didn`t get to introduce much about the Church, but I was grateful to help her a little bit.
There are opportunities to serve everywhere, and there are even more when we pray to recognize them!
“The Character of Christ is constantly focused on others“
“Selfishness is so destructive because it takes us away from the character of Christ“
-elder Whiting
Love,
Tori
Sister Butler

September 7, 2014

Forget Yourself and Get To Work

Nakaima shimai and I were making all of our plans for this month and it`s busy busy BUSY! I love busy, so it`s a real good thing.
This month of September is just gonna fly by since there`s so many companion exchanges, and meetings. Nakaima shimai and I went on our first split this transfer with two sisters from Iwaki, sister Iwasa and sister McGreevy. I love getting to know sisters on splits and hearing how they`ve changed on their mission. I was with sister McGreevy for 24 hour split and she told me about how she`s changed a lot from her mission. I learned a lot from her. Our bike`s lock got stuck so we had to walk back to our apartment from the Church (about 30 minute walk) and on that walk she told me something that I loved!
She said,
   “Butler shimai, I don`t want my mission to end! I love it so much!“
That simple saying of not wanting a mission to end because you love it so much always makes me smile so big and feel so much respect for that missionary. I then think, “I should feel that same way!“
To be honest, I do love my mission, but the first year I never thought that I didn`t want it to end. I loved everything about that first year, but I honestly would get excited thinking about returning home. Now, it`s not that way anymore. I can honestly say I will be so sad when it`s time to pack up to leave. With only 3 months left I treasure so many things now I might`ve taken for granted before.
This past week Nakaima shimai and I went to the mission home for “Missionary Leadership Council“ like we have every first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month. Since transfers there`s a lot of new companionships and it`s so fun! I was inspired listening to President Smith teach us all on the importance of asking our investigators inspired questions. We did roleplays “mogi lessons“, and practiced asking inspired questions to a fake investigator. I learned that it`s more important to sincerely listen to your companion as they testify than it is to try and think about an inspired quesiton. It wasn`t until I turned to Nakaima shimai as she testified that I felt inspired to ask a specific quesiton. Companionship unity is so important to have the Spirit!
  Nakaima shimai and I do service every Saturday at an old folks home and this past week I just loved talking to the grandma`s and grandpa`s. It amazed me that they all had blue rings around the outside of their iris on their eyes. I`ve noticed that in many older people. The older they get, the lighter their eye color becomes. As I was talking to them I could feel the Light of Christ radiating from them. I always can feel the pure kindness and innocence some old people carry with them. I believe it`s because they become like little children.
  Our Zone had it`s first Zone Training Meeting on Friday!!! I love Koriyama Zone!!! It`s by far the smallest Zone I`ve ever been in! There`s only two districts! A total of 14 people! My beloved daughter (trainee) Iwahashi shimai is in the Zone! It`s so fun being in the mission for a while because no new missionaries have been coming in so everyone`s real close.
     Nakaima shimai and I gave a 30 minute training on being unified. It was super fun! We had everyone write on the back of a puzzle peice one thing needed to be unified. Then everone came up and put the puzzle peices together to form a heart with a scripture. It was Mosiah 18:21,
   
       “And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another“
We focused on focusing on the strenghts of our companions and not the weaknesses. We felt impressed to ask each companionship what their companions strengths were. It was humbling to see the whole atmosphere of the room become so filled with the Spirit and love as missionaries told what they loved about their companion.
At MLC training, President Smith told us that elder Ringwood (Asia North General President) is challenging all of us missionaries to teach at least 20 lessons a week. Nakaima shimai and I have many split appointments and meetings this next week but we believe we can teach half that! We will strive our best to teach 10 lessons this next week. This past week we taught 5 lessons!
Do you remember the story about the man we met a few weeks ago who looked sad but Nakaima stopped to talk to him on the street and boldly testified to him? His name was Ishii san. Well, miracle!!! We met him again this week walking in the rain. We had a lesson with him right their on the street. We prayed in the rain and he thought it was hazukashii (embarrassing), but we know God wanted him to hear our message. We didn`t make a next appointment, but we had many experiences like that this week, where we were at least able to teach a lesson. Last Monday we met a man housing who said he wantst to build a relationship with God. We taught a lesson right there outside his apartment. We invited him to pray at the end, but since he`d never prayed before I gave him a demonstration. I didn`t realize that he thought I wanted him to repeat what I was saying, so as I prayed, he repeated my every sentence. It was so sweet, like when a little child first learns prayer. It amazed me that this man had never prayed, but now he was! We have an appointment with him and the elders tonight at the Church for a lesson!!! His name is Hirono san!
    You asked about Fumiya kun! He didn`t end up texting us back, but I`m not giving up on him. Nakaima shimai left our phone on the bus on accident so we`re just waiting for it to get mailed to us.
   I have a scripture that I loved when I read it this past week! It`s a scripture mastery and I`ve read it hundred of times, but this time when I read it it just hit me!
      “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.“
I want to have this scripture on the wall of my home one day with pictures of my children. Children eminate these qualities and it`s is all because of the Atonement.
I love you so much! I am always praying for you!
Find miracles this next week and write them down so you can share them with me!
Love,
Tori

August 31, 2014

Every Week is Full of Miracles!

The day before I had met a boy on his bike late at night and noticed he was wearing a backpacking backpack. I complimented his backback and asked if he likes hiking. He told me yes and had an excited look because we seemed to have the same interests in the outdoors and track and field.
   His name was Fumiya, seventeen year old high school student. I asked if He`d ever thought about God before and he surprisingly said yes. He said that he always prays to God before every race. I told him how important that relationship is with God and Nakaima shimai testified too and gave him a mormon.org card with our phone number. I rode away feeling like there was defitinely a special feeling about Fumiya kun.
I felt impressed to pray for Fumiya. But not just any prayer, a specific prayer. Then the words from the Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:26, flash into my mind,
   “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believeing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you“
I knew that this scripture was true. I knew I could pray for anything in that moment but I felt impressed to pray that the boy I had met the day before would look at the site, feel the Spirit, and call us.
  Now, as long as I`ve been a missionary, and as many of those mormon.org cards that I`ve given out, not one person has called. I knew though, that as I was talking to Heavenly Father on that bathroom floor, if my plea was in faith, He would answer it.
The next day, at about 9:12pm, Nakaim shimai and I looked at our phone to see we had a missed call from an unfamiliar number. We got excited, not knowing who it could be and sure enough, it was Fumiya! He told us that he`d looked at the site and read some of the peoples stories and felt he should call. We made an appointment to meet with him right then.
It was incredible. But the funny thing is, I had forgotten that specific prayer I had given until later that night I knelt down to say my personal prayer and then realized in amazement that Heavenly Father had answered my exact prayer.
Prayer is real. It is a literal two-way conversation with our Father in Heaven. When we pray from our heart, with real intent, and imagine Him right there, listening, it becomes a conversation.
The Lord guided us this week to find one investigator, so now we have two!
Harumi is 83 years old, and our new investigator is a 24 year old girl named Megumi. She clearly has some metal illness so I`m not sure where the lines are with teaching her. She wants to learn English so we`re doing FFEP, and she prayed and commited to read BOM and come to Church. She came to FHE but after that hasn`t answered our e-mails so I feel her interest has gone down.My favorite part of this week was just the joy of working with the members. The Saito family and Takase family are the most Christ-like, ichi ban DENDO FIRE members I`ve ever met!!! We had a ward missionary meeting with the 5 ward missionaries and Misison leader and I was blown away! They are working so hard to work with us missionaries and I love that it`s not the missionaries doing activities, but the members and we support each other. A member named Haga shimai jointed in on a lesson with a PI names Matsumoto san. We taught Matsumoto san POS and it turned into being focussed on the Atonement. Matsumoto san`s baby passed away at birth and that has really traumatized her. She told us that she`s not ready to learn about Jesus Christ and the POS because it reminds her of her sons death. We did plan to meet with her again though to make key chains (her hobby). Plus she will be playing the piano for the sisters in the branch at a Day service activity happening Wednesday! It`s amazing that she said the lessons are too much but the members are befriending her and showing her Christ`s example through action. Haga shimai`s joint was AMAZING!

I love these members in Aizu and this is the first time I`ve seen members and missionaries work so close together with one heart and one mind! Moses 7:18,

   “The Lord called His people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness“

 

Love,
Tori
Butler shimai

 

August 24, 2014

Aizu!

I am in an internet cafe and have no time because I had to do a online questionaire for the mission and my time is already up! There are no computers at the Church in Aizu so we have to come here every week!
I sent many pictures so I hope you enjoy!
I love working with Nakaima shimai! It`s a lot different being companions then being roommates in Akita. I am with Johnson shimai which has been fun!
I love the members here!!! They have so much dendo fire!!! missionary work fire!
I introduced myself and bore testimony yesterday at Church. There are 4 of us new missionaries!
Nakaima shimai and I have no investigators so we are going to try and find those prepared. We have splits with other sisters in Yamagata and Iwaki every week this month! We have been super busy already but seen little miracles here and there!
  I feel pretty stressed lately, probably with transfers, new companion and new area. But I know the Lord is with me and will help me to feel peace. I am going to the Aizuwakamatsu famous Castle today with a woman who lives at our same apartment complex and her two little boys, 12 and 7 years old. She wants me to teach them English. We are going to try and share the Gospel with her family but don`t know where her interest is yet. Right now it seems she`s only interested in English. I will take lots of pictures of the Castle!
Love,
Tori