November 2, 2014

Transfer Call Came!!!

Guess what!

Usually transfer calls would come Sunday morning or Saturday night, but mine came Friday night at 10:27pm! President Smith only talked to me saying,
   “Well Butler Shimai, the other three sisters are returning home which leaves you alone…you will be staying in Aizu your last transfer as STL with Kodama shiami“.
I was so happy I can`t even express how grateful I felt. Now here`s the miracle!
I wondered if my time would end as STL, since I`d been STL the past 4 transfers. I wondered if I would leave Aizu and they would close having sisters there. I had been praying the whole past week that this last transfer of my mission I would be with a sister where we could work hard and have love in our companionship. When I thought of all the Japanese sisters, sister Kodama kept coming to my mind. She is the sweetest Japanese sister I know! She would always hug me and was always so kind to me. I remember the first time I met Kodama shimai in January I thought, “I would be so lucky to be companions with her!“.
   My dream came true! I know Heavenly Father knew my desires and I feel so blessed!
So many things are changing in Aizu now that there will only be two sisters instead of four.
I know this will be my busiest transfer I`ve ever had! I am so excited!!!
My investigators just moved up to 4!
Maya, 24 years old, loves English. Nakaima shimai and I started teaching her FFEP (Free Family English Program) 30 min English/ 30 minutes Church message.
Katono san
Hoshi family: 26 year old wife, Izumi and 27 year old husband, Tatsuya and 4 year old daughter Yuna!
    I have been praying my WHOLE mission I would be able to teach a family, mother, father ,and child and Heavenly Father answered my prayer! I have already been around this family a lot, and taught my first lesson last week on Christ`s Atonement with Izumi. I have a special feeling about this family and believe that Kodama shimai and I have been placed to teach them and help them come unto Christ. I am excited to start teaching them!
Maya came to Church this Sunday in Koriyama! She is becoming good friends with the members! We went to Chruch in Aizu so we didn`t meet her but the members in Koriyama are so great and really fellow shipped Maya!
Katono first came to Eikaiwa in Koriyama  last month and then started having interest in what us “Missionaries“ are and why we`re in Japan. One of the Koriyama members invited her to have a lesson with the sisters and now she`s had about 3 lessons. She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying! I haven`t had a lesson with her yet because she was Johnson and Kushi shimai`s investigator but now Kodama shimai and I will start teaching her!
I`m excited to experience what it will be like living with just two sisters in an apartment. Since I`ve always lived with 4 in an apartment, I always thought it would be so lonely with just two. But after this last transfer and experiencing gossip, I am excited to have just two. I feel Kodama shimai and I will become really close. We will be having splits with the Iwaki sisters and Yamagata sisters, so we`ll be traveling a lot each week!
   I used to go to Koriyama to help with their Eikaiwa (English Class) every other Friday, but now we will be teaching kids class in Aizu every Wednesday and Koriyama kids class every Friday.
We also will still be doing service playing basketball with special needs young adults on every other Thursday and going to the Retirement homes for an hour each week.
   President Smith wants us to have at least 2 hours of pure community service each week, and we`re really lucky to have around 3 hours of service opportunity each week!
This past week was so fun!!!
First, Tuesday and Wednesday Nakaima shimai and I went to Sendai for MLC at the mission home! I learned so much and had a greater desire to be EXACTLY obedient. My goal this next transfer is to do my very best to be exactly obedient.
We also had two Halloween parties! One on Wednesday in Aizu and the other in Koriyama on Friday! We had a lesson with Maya before the party on Friday! She is progressing and praying with such sincerity. She said she has a worry and has been praying to Heavenly Father for help.
  We also had a Zone Training meeting on Friday where all the Iwaki missionaries came and the Zone Leaders gave us a training and Nakaima shimai and I also did a 25 minute training.
   We trained on being exactly obedient.
I want to write so much more but time is up! I am so excited to start off this new transfer with so many exciting new things! I know Kodama shimai and I will see many miracles together this last transfer of my mission!
love,
Tori
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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!
Tori

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.“
 
Love,
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!
love,
Tori
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!
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!

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