October 26, 2014

Stake Conference Week

I went on two splits, one on Tuesday with sister Ishikawa and Thursday with sister Matsumoto. I learned a lot from those sisters. Sister Matsumoto came from her area in Yamagata to go on a 24 hour split with me. Since she had previously served in Aizu she wanted to visit her past investigators and members. She shows so much love and has much charity. I felt inspired by her to love the members and investigators more these last 7 weeks.
There has been much emotion in our apartment since the three sisters I`m living with are returning home from their missions next week. I have only one more week with Nakaima shimai and I am going to strive to serve her and work harder with her the best I can this last week together. I had my interview with President Smith on Friday in Koriyama and even though it was a short 15 minutes he taught me something I will keep dear for the rest of my life. He told me to love Nakaima shimai and treat her as if I was the Savior Himself. I felt the Spirit so strongly when he said that. I am far from the Savior in perfect love and charity, but I am praying to become more like him and have more charity every day so I can love all those I`m around.
There were many teaching opportunities this past week. Maya is progressing! She kept her commitment to pray for the past week and she said she had a good feeling. She also started reading the Book of Mormon. She said it`s hard to understand and so we want to read it with her and help her apply what she reads, but since she`s in Koriyama we can only see her once a week. But I know the Lord placed her in our path.
   Today for p-day, all of us sisters came to sister Takase`s house and she fed us yakisoba and gave us massages and let us use her computer to e-mail. I am still here and she is massaging Nakaima shimai. She is so kind and I`m amazed at how much love these members show. We have dinner tonight with the Saito family and are doing FHE with them. The Saito family is probably the most inspiring family I`ve ever met in my life! They have 10 children and are so dedicated to the Gospel. The ALWAYS put the Lord first. Brother Saito is always sharing his testimony in every conversation and they always feed us and have us over. This is a family I for sure want to introduce my family to one day. I want to find a husband like brother Saito. He honors his Priesthood. I`ll never forget in our English class on Wednesday he was asked what his hobbies were. Everyone else had said things like sports and drawing, then brother Saito was asked. He said, “I love to read the Scriptures“, infront of all these non-member english class students.
    Nakaima shimai and I got to ride back to Aizu with them from Koryima. We got in the car and ride before driving off, brother Saito turns to sister Saito and says in English, “I love you honey“. Haha! I had given him a commitment about a month ago to tell his wife, “I love you honey“ every day, because he said he never does because in his words “I`m bashful“. It was the cutest seen, and I recorded him saying I love you to sister Saito.
  He said from my commitment he hasn`t missed one day, and sister Saito said sometimes he says it more than once a day haha. I loved that!
I wish I could write more but we are off to get ready to go to the Saito family.We are setting up decorations for our Halloween party on Wednesday. Then we have another Halloween party on Friday in Koriyama. I have a costume and I`ll take lots of pictures 😉
 Love you!

October 19, 2014

What a Wonderful World!

Mother, Father, Family, Loved ones!

    Nakaima shimai and I went to Iwaki for a 2 day split this past Tuesday through Thursday. I was with Orgill shimai and once again I learned the power of specific prayer. Orgill shimai came to Japan the same time I did and we both return in December. There are many sisters returning with me, I think over 20. Sister Orgill had planned that we go housing and as we were knocking on apartments we felt impressed to go to a certain apartment complex. We had prayed that we would specifically find a woman, teach her a lesson and set a next appointment with her. Then the miracle happened.

     We met Eden! At first she slowly opened the door and told us she has a friend who`s Mormon. Eden`s from the Philippines! She`s a mother in her mid 30`s and has lived in Japan over 20 years. Orgill shimai got so excited when they both realized that the Mormon friend she has is an Iwaki member, named sister Juliette. We were all stunned when sister Orgill realized this was the Eden that sister Juliette had been talking about sharing the Gospel with the previous week. 
    We taught Eden a simple message of the Savior, showed her the Book of Mormon and she invited us in her home to pray. I`ll never forget kneeling on her bare mattress in that tiny apartment and telling her the Savior loves her and our message is true. I could see light in her eyes. She said she grew up Catholic, but said she barely goes to Church or prays. We taught her prayer and then Orgill shimai prayed. After the prayer Eden said “Tori hada“, which means “goosebumps“ in Japanese.  She said she had such a good feeling during the prayer. We told her that`s the Spirit because our message is true. After leaving and having made a next appointment for Thursday, I couldn`t stop hugging Orgill shimai I was so happy. Once we got to our bikes, we both said a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for guiding us to Eden. We had smiles the whole rest of the day!
That miracle of meeting a very prepared person exactly when she needed the missionaries was an experience of joy I will never forget!
    Orgill shimai shared with me that night many of her personal goals before returning home from her mission.
One that really touched me and I decided I want to work on more as well was “Have absolute control over the natural man“. That is a hard obstacle, because we all have the natural man in us. But I was inspired after Orgill shimai shared that goal and when I feel tired, or maybe have a negative thought I will strive to quickly change to the positive.
I went on splits with Iwahashi shimai as well! My beloved daughter that I trained in Akita. She is happy and we both had fun helping a little Japanese grandma plant plants in her beautiful garden. We had a lesson with a member in Iwaki, sister Keiko and she was so kind and gave us a bunch of doughnuts!
I went on splits with Sister Marilyn Johnson on Friday too! We had three lessons that day! One was with Maya, Nakaima shimai and my new investigator!! Maya lives in Koriyama, but we set up a schedule to do 30 minute English 30 minute Church message twice a week, Friday`s and Sundays. We switch off going to Koriyama every four weeks so she might have to be taught by other missionaries. She said she wants to know why Christ suffered on the cross and why we believe in God when we can`t see him. We taught Maya how to pray and read Moroni 10:4-5 with her and invited her to pray for the first time at the end of the lesson. She did and it was from her heart! She said she had a feeling of being healed after the prayer. I am always amazed after teaching someone prayer and inviting them to pray for the first time, something they`ve never done before in their whole life, they always share that they felt good inside. The Spirit will always touch anothers` heart through prayer.
I wish I had time to share more from this past week, but all I can say is I am so grateful to be a missionary! I love these people of Japan. I love my companion sister Nakaima! Miracles are happening every day as faith is shown. Just like Nephi and his family showed faith, they were pointed the way by the Liahona,
 40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God;therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.“
Sister Tori Butler

October 12, 2014

Tuesday and Wednesday sister Nakaima and I headed to Sendai for Missionary Leadership training! We first went to the Church in Nagamachi and had an activity there. President Smith and the AP`s had planned that we would be split up in different companionship`s and go housing for 1 hour.
  I was with my previous companion in Morioka sister Konishi! We decided that we would prayerfully set the goal to find one new investigator! We would teach her a lesson and make a next appointment. A few of us missionaries rode in the car with President Smith to get dropped off in the area we would be housing.
Once we got out of the car, sister Konishi and I went of a ways to a secluded area to pray that we would find this one prepared woman. Then we began to walk around and the first house we went to was an old woman. She talked to us for a while and was so kind, but didn`t seem to have real interest. As we left I felt we should go to the apartment complex right in front of us. The first door we knocked on, a girl opened slowly and once she saw my face she kind of jumped. I assumed it was because I was American. She then had a smile as we introduced ourselves. Konishi shimai was so well at getting to know this 27 year old girl named Chen Tian. It wasn`t until half way through of talking that we found out she is from China!
   Chen was so open to our message that God lives and loves and knows her. She said she believes God does live and she wants to know more. We gave her a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation and asked if we could meet tomorrow to tell her more about Heavenly Father`s plan for her. She said she`d be busy, but could the next day at 7:30pm. We were so excited. I then introduced prayer and asked if we could pray together before leaving. Chen agreed and I`ll never forget how she so humbly folded her arms and closed her eyes just like the picture in the pamphlet. She said she`d never prayed before so it was her first time. Then Konishi shimai prayed and after we all looked up at each other.
   Chen said, “I feel so good inside“.
We told her, “That`s because God was listening to our prayer and that`s His love for you“.
After we left, while walking down the stairs Konishi shimai and I grabbed each other in a big hug walking down the stairs. We quickly said a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for answering or prayer!
On the way back I got to sit in the car upfront with President Smith driving. He said, “Well sister Butler, did you find anyone?“
I told him our miracle and he then said something that touched my heart.
“Sister Butler, Heavenly Father smiles wherever you go“.
We stayed the night at the Mission Home and the next day we had training. There were a few things I wanted to share from that training.
Sister Smith talked about the Temple and referred to the Bible Dictionary under “Temple“. She talked about how the “Tempe is literally the House of the Lord“. I want my home to always be like the Temple.
The AP`s did a training on using the Pamphlets were given to teach a lesson. President Smith was their pretending investigator. I learned something so special from this roleplay.
Elder Ito (AP) is a convert to the Church from the age of 17. Elder Law (other AP) were teaching about the Restoration and as elder Ito began to talk about Joseph Smith`s first vision he showed the picture of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove with the appeared Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He then began to recite Joseph Smith`s own words of his first vision,
    “I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun. Which descended gradually until the light rested upon me. As the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air“
  Elder Ito then began to weep. He was so sincere and I could see that this elder new Jospeh Smith`s words were true. He then continued,
“One of them spake unto me, and said pointing to the other, `Joseph, this is my Beloved Son, hear him“.
Not only did I have tears in my eyes but other missionaries and President Smith.
I learned that anytime truth is taught, the Spirit is there.
On Friday sister Nakaima and I had a 30 minute training the Zone Leaders asked us to provide. We chose to train on having JOY everyday as a missionary. We read passages from Alma 27, 29 where Alma and Ammon have joy in their missions.
 Then we took 10 minutes for every missionary in our Zone to write a letter. In this letter they wrote when they`ve felt joy on their mission and then we had them write their own address on their envelope. We told them this letter would be to their future self they can open after their mission. I will be sending those letters today to all their individual homes.
    I remember doing a similar thing as an EFY counselor in Washington. I had all the kids in my group write what their desires are from what they`d gained the past week at efy. I took all their personal letters and sent it to their homes a few months later so they could be reminded.
    There is joy in REMEMBERING. When we remember, we are grateful.
I LOVED General Conference on Saturday and Sunday! Nakaima shimai and I invited less actives and recent convert, sister Madoka. Sadly, not many came, but it was still a joyful meeting.
Sister Nakaima and I still have no investigators at this time. But we met a 24 year old girl named Maya at Eikaiwa (English class) in Koriyama! She wants to start doing the FFEP (Free family english program)! 30 min of English, 30 minutes of Gospel message! We`ll start this Friday in Koriyama with Johnson shimai and I because we have a split together on Friday!
   Nakaima shimai and I will be gone the next 3 days on splits in Iwaki with sisters. This whole next month is full of splits and meetings. We will be going down to Sendai once again the 24th, 25th for Missionary Leadership Training. We are going to talk to as many people the Lord puts in our path!
We have a Halloween party 29th in Aizu and 31st is Zone Training Meeting and Halloween party in Koriyama. Since there are no missionaries in Koriyama do to radiation, we switch off going to Church in Koriyama for English class and Sacrament Meeting.
Have a wonderful next week!
Mom I did love elder Jorg Klebingat`s talk too!! It`s so true, “Casualness in Spiritual living was never happiness“
I have felt this truth many times in my life.
“Don`t be immobalized by your weaknesses“ – Elder Jorg Klebingat
I am always praying for you and my family and friends!
Butler Shimai

October 5, 2014

As a mission, we are focussing a lot on service. This past week we went to play basketball with some special needs young adults. They are all pretty there physically and some have only a slight mental disability. It was a ton of fun! I hadn`t played basketball in forever and so ofcourse doing running drills my leg starts cramping. I thought, “Wow I am so out of shape!“
  I really do miss sports and being more active. Riding a bikea little bit every day is not enough, but we do get to play tennis next week with brother Takase! He is taking us next Monday with all the missionaries!
We went to the Takase family for dinner on Friday night. One sister from the mission who just ended last week came for dinner with her mom. This is crazy but sister Ono`s mom grew up in Washington and guess where she went to school and highschool! Carnation!!! She is 47 right now so I don`t know if anyone would know her. I don`t know her first name but last name is Ono. It was fun eating with Sister Ono and her mom and brother and sister Takase.
    An experience I loved fom this past was going to less active sister Tani`s house. We gave her the commitment last week to pray every day for one week. Sister Tanis a nurse and works a lot on Sundays and from there became busy and stopped reading her scriptures and praying. She has forgotten her testimony. But when we visited she told us that she wants to have a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and wants her family to be closer. We showed her a video on faith and prayer. From that she said she felt the Spirit and wants to change. My favorite part wasn`t my companion or I testifying, but listening to sister Tani`s sweet prayer.
   Saying “Ai shi te imasu“ (I love you) is rarely said by the Japanese. It is only said to a wife, husband or very close family. Well, in sister Tani`s prayer, she paused and said, “Heavenly Father, ai shi te imasu“. It was the first time I`ve heard a Japanese person tell Heavenly Father they love Him in a prayer. It was so sincere and I felt the Spirit so strong. We want to keep meeting with sister Tani to help her to keep remembering her testimony and grow closer to the Lord.
   There was a foreign festival in Aizu that we volunteered at this week! It was fun to see many from different countries. There were mostly Japanese, but a few Americans and Africans, Chinese and Koreans. About 4,000 came! Our booth was the garbage! Haha we greeted people as they threw away their garbage in the correct bins. Even though we weren`t allowed to preach, at least people could see our name tags and our smiling faces.
Sorry no pictures this week ;( The pictures won`t load. But I`ll send some next time!!!!
I am excited to watch GC on Saturday and Sunday!