Monday, April 11, 2016


Being home is one of the most wonderful surreal things. It has also been quite the adjustment. There are days where I feel like I am drowning. When I first got home, everything just felt so foreign. The people, the cars, the roads, the language, the food. Everything. I remember the first day I was home, it was hard for me to walk into my house, because I didn't know where to put my shoes. And then all meals were on big plates, and it scared me a little bit. Or when I would try to explain something or tell a story, and I couldn't think of the right words to say. I think the hardest day though, was the day that I first tried to drive again. I freaked out the entire 20 minutes to my sister's house, and as we were just down the road, I turned onto the wrong side of the road (left turns still take a LOT of mentally reminding myself to stay to the right). Luckily it was a back road, and no one was there, but man did it scare me. As soon as we got into the driveway, I gave the keys to my mom, and told her I didn't want them anymore. Then we went to go inside, and I freaked out again. I had a little anxiety attack as I reminded myself that it was okay. I could still take off my shoes, and then just sit them by the door. I got inside, and was shaking so much. I went straight to the couch and just sat there curled up into a ball laughing and crying at the ridiculousness of the situation. I remember feeling so weird.

Well, slowly but surely, things started to get a little bit more normal. We had a wonderful Christmas, and then about a week after I had come home, I was able to go to the temple with my mama and daddy. What a wonderful blessing that was. The temple is just filled with so much peace. I missed the temple! After we spent some time in the temple, we stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way home for some dinner. While we were there, I felt like maybe I should apply to work at Cracker Barrel. I knew that I needed to find a job, but I wasn't quite sure what, or where, but I felt like I should apply. The next morning I sent in an application, and then two hours later I got an email asking me to call and set up an interview. The next day I had an interview, which went really well, and oddly enough we ended up talking about my mission. After my interview, I was told that he would call me that night to schedule the second mandatory interview. Well, that night I got a phone call, but instead of it being to set up another interview, it was instead offering me a tentative job, as long as my background check checked out. The whole time, I knew that for some reason, I needed to work at Cracker Barrel, and Heavenly Father was leading me to this.

The question that I think I hear the most is what are your plans now? They are always surprised when I tell them that I am planning on moving to Australia. The next question is always, well, what is in Australia? The biggest reason I am moving to Australia is because that is what feels right. A wonderful perk to being in Australia is that my best friend will be there too.

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Now that time has passed and I am a little bit more settled, I will give you an update.

I was able to get that job at Cracker Barrel. ;) It has been working out really well, and I am grateful to have a job that helps me earn enough money to go to Australia.

I have found a wonderful family in Brisbane, and will be moving there in May (stop by my new blog Southern Belle in the Land Down Under for my new adventures). I will also be living 20 minutes away from my best friend. We couldn't be more excited. It has been incredible to watch the hand of the Lord in every step of this. First with feeling like I was supposed to go, and then with helping me to find a way to be there (au pair), then finding the perfect family, and then with visa stuff, and money, and timing. Everything. I am so grateful for my loving Heavenly Father that leads and guides me every day.

Being home from a mission can be hard. It is sometimes hard to know that you have all these things to worry about now, like what am I going to do with my life, and where do I need to go? I was talking with some other return missionaries, and missionaries recently about what it is like to be home. At first I just remember it being weird, like there were all these new things and changes. Like I was coming home more culture shock then I had when I got to Japan. Well, now that I have been home a little bit longer, I have started to get back into the swing of things. I have a job. I've gotten to spend time with my family. I have new and exciting plans. My life is really good right now. But, despite all the good, sometimes I just feel like I am drowning, or like I am just struggling to stay afloat, which is weird if you think about all the awesome things I've got going on.

This is something that I have been thinking about a lot recently. Feeling like I am just trying my best to push through, and to not be consumed by all the things around me. It has been on my mind and in my prayers a lot. During General Conference Elder Holland's talk (Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You) spoke to me personally. Elder Holland spoke a lot about how I have been feeling lately. About the change that comes when we go from a very spiritual high back into normal life. I decided to read through it again a few nights ago. The thing that I love the most is just how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. He never wants us to fail. In fact He wants more than anything to bless us. And He does, as long as we are trying our best. Sure sometimes life changes, the situations we are in change, we start sinking and feel like we are drowning with no one there to rescue us, but there is someone there. Jesus Christ. And as long as we try, and we do all that we can to follow Him, then we are doing enough. And if we have a bad day, or a bad week, or even a bad couple of months, He is always there. Ready and waiting, with Him arms extended. He will never fail us. And as long as we are trying our best, we won't fail Him either. So, here is to trying to be more trusting of my Heavenly Father.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Week 78: The land that holds my heart.

What a wonderful, wonderful 18 months it has been. I am so grateful
for all the things I've been able to learn, and for all the wonderful
people that I have been able to meet. Oh my goodness, I can't even
begin to express how much these people mean to me. I am SO grateful
that I was called to serve in the Japan Kobe Mission, and for the
opportunity that I have had to grow to love these people. I have made
so many lifelong friends that I intend to stay in contact with

It's really weird to think that this week I will be headed home. But
there will always be a part of me here in Japan. I may be a little bit
strange, and awkward, and my English might not always make the most
sense. I might bow often, and say weird things in Japanese. Just
smile, and nod. :) and try not to laugh too much.

This week has been incredible, and full of so many wonderful things.
Every single day something new happens. This week though, I have begun
to learn even more about members. As we were studying this week, we
began to talk about the importance of working with the members. We
were reading in Preach My Gospel, and noticed that since the church
began, we have been taught that members and missionaries need to work
together in doing the work of the Lord. We have taught this since at
least 1830, but for whatever reason, it took until the last 6 weeks of
my mission to really truly understand that. Truly working with the
members has been such a huge part of what made my mission so
wonderful. I love the members here in Japan. They are some of the most
wonderful people that I have ever met. And when we work together, we
really do see miracles. Missionary work is so much different... So
much more different? than it was when I first came on a mission. In 18
months it has changed into something so much greater. Missionary work
is not knocking on doors and talking to people on the streets. Sure
that is a part of it, but a very small part. Missionary work is SO
much more than that. We are called to invite others to come unto
Christ. By others, that means everyone. Those who don't know about the
church, those who may have forgotten, those who are trying their best,
those who always strive to reach out and help others.... Everyone! As
missionaries, we work with everyone. And we can share the gospel in SO
many ways. To do missionary work, both as a missionary and as a
member, we don't merely have to go knock on doors all day. We can
share the gospel with our friends. We can strengthen those we see at
church. We can help lift those that are struggling. We can help lift
those that are doing everything. In order to do missionary work, all
you need to do is to teach and to invite them to do something. It can
be as simple as telling someone that you went to church and learned
about how to become a better person when they ask about your weekend.
And then you can invite them to come. It is that simple, and it
doesn't mean you need to sit down for an hour. You can share the
gospel very simple and very powerfully in just a few minutes.

I could just keep talking for hours and hours about how much I love
this work! I love being a missionary! And I love sharing the gospel.
Just because I will be going home, doesn't mean I ever have to stop, I
will just have a new calling. But I can still share the gospel always.
And for that I am SO grateful! :)

I love you all so much, and I am so excited to see you all soon. I
hope you have a wonderful couple of days. You are in my thoughts and
prayers always! Thank you for being a part of this wonderful journey
with me!

Robertson Shimai

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 77: Missionary work is the greatest!

Well, I don't have a ton of time this week since I spent a lot of the
day packing. But, I wanted to share a quick thought with you all! :)

This week has been fun of lots and lots of miracles, and Hamilton
Shimai just keep thanking Heavenly Father. 
Despite the craziness of
Zone Training Meeting week, where we have to spend the majority of two
days traveling and at ZTM, we still were able to teach 20 lessons this
week! What an incredible blessing that is! I know that when we show
our fait, and try our best to work with all of our heart, might, mind
and strength, that Heavenly Father sees that desire, and does
everything in his power to bless us. :)
Two of the triplets from Tsuyama are about to go on missions and they came to Zone Training Meeting.  

Recently we have been finishing up our Book of Mormon reading
challenge, where we studied the doctrine of Christ, and beginning a
new challenge to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by the end of
December. We are going to continue studying the Doctrine of Christ,
but this time we will also be studying the relationship between
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and also the way that Jesus Christ
teaches. I am so excited for this new study challenge. I have really
enjoyed learning about and beginning to more fully understand the
Doctrine of Christ. I can't even begin to explain how it has not only
helped to teach, but it has also helped me to change and to grow. I am
so excited to continue to study the Doctrine of Christ for the rest of
my life!

I love you all! And I can't believe how soon I will be back home. My
mission really had been and continues to be the greatest time of my
life. I have never been happier.

I love you all!

Robertson Shimai

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week 76: What a Crazy Incredible week!

Well. This week was so incredible, and filled with way to many cool things to even begin to explain! 

Remember the two sisters who I talked about last week? The ones who invited their friends to hear about the gospel? Well we got to teach both of them, and wow! They are SO incredible. One of the ladies, Y San committed to be baptized when she comes to know that these things are true. We got to teach her the next day as well, and what a powerful lesson it was! She feels the spirit so strongly, and she knows that what she is learning is true. She told us that she feels like she has just gotten a peak through the cracked opened door, and she just wants to see and know all of it. She did tell us though that it was okay to go slow, because after all, she just learned who God is! This week we were able to hear two people pray for their first time, and we also got to teach 3 people about God for the first time. Missionary work is so cool! And I am so grateful for the joy that comes from serving the Lord. With my mission quickly coming to a close, I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for the gospel in my life. If I didn't have the gospel, I would have no idea how to get through all the hard twists and turns of this life. Because sometimes life is hard, sometimes you are faced with trials and challenges that you never even imagined you would be faced with. But when the trials and the hard times come, when you feel like you are just being put through the ringer, remember that you are not alone. That Heavenly Father knows and loves you. And He will even bless you with the opportunity to find joy, despite all of the hard things that you are faced with. I know that is true, because I have seen it happen in my own life. I know that this gospel is true, and I know that it really does bring true happiness. Sometimes, we just need to open up our hearts and let it in, and serve others as we do it. I've never been happier than those time when I am in the service of those around me. When I stop thinking about myself, and put others first, that is when the joy comes. Maybe one day, you will have to ask me about this week, and I'll try my best to explain it all. All the ups and the downs, but mostly just how much God really loves us. I'd be happy to share it with you. :)

I love you all so much, and I hope that you have an incredible week!
I love M Shimai!

After the best day ever!!!!

The Beach, and snow on the Mountain :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 75: Missionary Work is the greatest thing!

I just can't even begin to express just how grateful I feel for everything this past week! Yonago is such an incredible area! Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting the theme was Missionary Work. And, three of the members were able to share experiences that they have been having with missionary work. Two of them, were sisters that we have been working with. One, F Shimai, the member who's friend started the mommy and me group up in another part of our area, and the other, N Shimai, a sister that worked a lot with the sisters and invited her friends to ballet, but recently has gotten really busy with work, and so she hasn't had as many options to share the gospel. And both of them were return missionaries. As they both spoke, I was reminded of my final interview I had with Welch Kaichoon Friday

Anyways, F Shimai has been trying to find ways to share the gospel with this friend for the past 8 years. Ever since they met, she could just picture seeing her in the Celestial Kingdom and giving her a big hug! She has been looking for the opportunity to bring the gospel into Y San's life, and then through the mommy and me group, she found the perfect opportunity. I was able to share with F Shimai yesterday before sacrament how KK went, and how a week or so ago, we were able to teach one of the moms from the group. I also told her about our appointment that we had set up with Y San, and asked if she had time Tuesday to doseki. F Shimai then shared about that experience in her talk, and about how recently she learned just how fun doing missionary work is! SO amazing!

Then, N Shimai also spoke. She started out by saying that recently she has felt like she needs to change, and get her priorities set. She has been so busy with work, that she has been giving up opportunities to share the gospel with her friends. She has a friend, N San, who she was able to share the gospel with about a month or so ago. She invited her to meet with the missionaries, and then N Shimai told us. She was so excited to set up an appointment, but then she got really busy with work, and then all of the sudden, she couldn't find time to meet. We would follow up with her, and ask her about her friend, but she would always talk about how busy she was. About a week or so ago, we called her, inviting her to the kids ballet and also asking her about her friend. She told us how she really wanted to dendo, but she also needed to work, so she was having a hard time. After talking for a while, and trying to figure it all out, she told us that she was going to pray about it. We heard back from her, but somehow there was a miscommunication. So, we thought she had received an answer to her prayer, but really she was just asking if we could change the ballet times. So, we didn't end up hearing anything about her friend. Well, then in sacrament meeting she started sharing about her, and about how she had been able to share the gospel with her. And about how she wanted to share more. And then she said that she had gotten her priorities straight, and that this week she was going to set up an appointment for her friend to meet with the missionaries. When she was talking to us later, we found out that the same day that we called, and asked her about her friend, she prayed, and later that same day also got a promotion in one of her jobs, giving her an answer, and a way to dendo. We were able to set up an appointment to meet. N San already believes in God, and is so excited to learn more! 

The work really is progressing so much here! It is so cool to be just a small part of it. In Yonago this week, we taught 43 lessons as an area (between us, and the elders). We were able to teach 13 this week, and able to learn lots of ways to continue to improve. It is really cool though to know and to see just how much things are changing. 6 months ago, as an area we were only hitting about 20 lessons a week. And, now it has doubled. We are so excited to see what this next week brings! Yonago is doing great though, and we are able to really work with the members!

So, now one of the things that I learned, that has been reinforced over and over this week. One of the things that really stuck out to me in my interview, was just how small and simple things really do have so much power. It is so simple to pray, or to read the scriptures, or to do other things, that sometimes we get lazy. But, they are each so much a vital part of our growth, and progression. It really is so important that we are doing all of the simple things daily, and having new experiences daily, because it is through those daily things that we continue to learn and to grow. On Friday night, as I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I read Helaman 11:23. "having many revelations daily." When I read that this time, after talking about how I can continue to be active my entire life, it had so much more meaning. They understood the doctrine, and they continued to receive many new revelations every day. They didn't just rely on the things that they learned when they were younger, or when they were missionaries. They continued to learn and to grow every single day. They had new experiences every day with sharing the gospel. They received answers to their prayers every day. As I read that, I just couldn't help but be grateful for the things I have learned, and the habits that I have been able to develop on my mission. I know that I will be able to take these things and apply them into my life, not just now, but for the rest of my life. And, I know now more than ever just how important it is to continue to grow and to progress. To have those experiences daily, for the rest of my life. 

I love you!
Robertson Shimai

Sister Amanda K. Robertson
Japan Kobe Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Letters from friends.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 74: Crazy, crazy, crazy.

Coming home on the train

What a crazy week full of so many things! All good things, just a lot of unexpected things. Like being invited next door to talk with the owner of a lot of the surrounding businesses, and with two of his associates, and in the process teaching them about how the gospel blesses families. Or, trying to contact an investigator and instead calling two different wrong numbers instead, because the right number was actually saved in your previous companions phone that was then taken to another area. Or failing at speaking English... About  ... Well, all of the time, although that isn't too unexpected. (We can learn it on ourselves... Instead of the right thing to say- we can learn it on our own/ we can learn it by ourselves.) I pretty much make English mistakes all the time, most of the time though, the second I say it I realize that it wasn't quite right. Or when my name tag disappeared. Or when our entire area book planner (missionary app) stopped working so we weren't able to see when any of our appointments were, or where anyone lived, or able to schedule any appointments. We decided to switch back to paper planners for the time being. Or, when we planned a ballet class, and there was an unexpected stake leadership training that was using the whole building, so we ended up using the primary room, and just opened up the kitchen and tried to do ballet with crazy energetic children. Or, when I cut my finger on the back of a knife as I was cutting vegetables (don't worry, it wasn't that bad, just very surprising. I didn't even know that that was possible). Or being given the opportunity to work with so many people this week, who just came up to us and asked how they could help, or if we could meet. Yonago really is filled with so many incredible people, and I am so excited that I get to continue working with them all.
Mackenzie Shimai her companion from 2 companions ago, is finished with her mission and her mum came to visit from New Zealand and they have been able to visit lots of the area's she served in. Here they were able to attend District Meeting, so Robertson Shimai got to see her again! They always looked like they were having soooo much fun when they served together!

One of my favorite unexpected this this week though, was meeting with H San, one of our new friends. We had called and scheduled an appointment to meet, and she said that she wanted to come to the church. So, we were waiting for her, when she called saying that she had gotten a little bit lost. I tried my best to explain to her where the church was, but realized I didn't even really know how to explain it in English (they don't really have road names here, or even road numbers for that matter..., and so it can be difficult to explain, especially when they are from a completely different part of town). So, I tried my best to explain, and she didn't quite understand, but said she would try. So we waited a little bit longer, and realized that because there were members at the church, it would be a perfect opportunity to just ask one of the members to help, so we called H San, and told her that maybe one of the members could help. Then we found U Kyōdai, and he was able to explain. We were so grateful! She made it safely, and was able to meet both U Kyōdai and M Shimai when she walked in the door. They all happen to live close together. Then we met with her and her baby, and taught some English. Then we got to show her around the church (because she had never been to church before), and then share a little message about Jesus Christ. Then at the perfect time, U Kyōdai's wife, U Shimai walked in the door, and they were able to meet and talk. As they talked, they realized they had so many connections - school, job, friends, where they live. It was so perfectly unplanned. We were SO grateful for God and His perfect timing. H San was able to feel very welcome, and fellowshipped, and was able to make new friends. This week I learned the importance of members and missionary work. Sometimes the most helpful thing for our investigators, is when they have a member that is their friend. Because then they always have someone there when the missionaries leave. It also gives them the opportunity to talk to someone when they have questions or concerns. I don't even know of that makes any sense. I do know that members are such an incredibly taisetsu... vital part of missionary work.

Rain or Shine :)

If you have the desire to help the missionaries, or to do missionary work, but aren't quite sure how, just ask the missionaries. They can help you! :) ( )

I love you all! You are incredible! Have a wonderful week!
Robertson Shimai

Sister Amanda K. Robertson
Japan Kobe Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I forgot to mention the time when my companion got a flat tire, and we decided to fix it, but decided after trying to take it apart that changing the back tire is a lot harder than changing the front. So instead we put it all back together and I have been riding a mountain bike one of the elders left, while my companion rides mine, until her real bike arrives in a couple of days. Hurray for 6:30 AM runs to the church to fix a flat tire. 

Happy Sisters! :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 73: I believe in miracles! ♡

What an incredible week! My heart is so absolutely full that I don't even know where to  start! 

I guess I can start with my new companion. Her name is Hamilton Shimai, and she is incredible. I am so blessed! When I first met her, and she sat next to me (sitting right where I sat next to McLaughlin Shimai, and right where Perry Shimai sat next to me - it happened coincidentally with Perry Shimai, but I did it on purpose this time) I just looked over and thought about so many things! One was obviously, how did time go by so quickly? But also as we were talking, it felt like I had made this big loop. She reminds me of my own trainer in many ways. I remember thinking of my trainer often the last time I trained, and I guess it shouldn't be surprising that I thought of her again. Anyways, Hamilton Shimai is incredible! She is so willing to just try new things, and she is so fearless. She also has a beautiful voice! Hamilton Shimai is from Salt Lake City, and she is 19 years old. It's crazy to think that Sariah is only a transfer ahead of Hamilton Shimai. It's still so cool to think that my own little sister is serving the Lord too right now. :) 

Anyways. Hamilton Shimai is awesome! We got back to Yonago on Thursday night, and since then things have been busy, busy, busy. Our first day together we taught 4 lessons, and she did SO great. She definitely doesn't feel like a new missionary. The work is just about to start exploding here in Yonago, and we are SO excited! This week we received 6 referrals and we are just trying to find the time to contact them all. The ward is SO incredible, and I am so blessed that I get to work here, and be a part of this big family! Yonago really has become just another big part of my family! Yesterday we had a dendō fireside (um... A missionary work fireside?) and our dendō shunin (ward mission leader) talked about how the members can work with the missionaries. The members here are all so willing and ready to work with us, and they are all fine with us just stopping by to visit, to share a short message, and to do missionary work around each of them. We are SO excited! If we teach 3 lessons every day, we will easily be able to teach 20 lessons every week. 

This transfer Hamilton Shimai are going to work with all of our heart, might, mind and strength to see miracles here. We are going to teach 20 lessons every week, get 2 people to come to church every week, and we are going to do everything we can to see a baptism this transfer. This area is SO prepared, and we are ready! I have never been more excited to be able to stay in my area all week. :) the members are really excited to have missionaries here too!

I wish I had time to tell you all about all the wonderful things that have happened here in Yonago! I am just so grateful! And like I said, my heart it full!

I love you all! You all are in my thoughts and prayers!

Robertson Shimai

Sister Amanda K. Robertson
Japan Kobe Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
This was before we begun the hike. (Wow... English is hard, and I may or may not make a lot of mistakes...I realized after I typed that, that it was wrong...)

We went with members and hiked Daisen (or Big Mountain)