Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 5: One month down, one to go!

On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM, Amanda Robertson <> wrote:

It's crazy how fast time flies here at the MTC! As of last Saturday, I have been here for a month, and we leave for Japan at the end of this month! Crazy! We should be getting our travel plans in 2 weeks I think! That is crazy to think about!

I have so much I want to tell you all, but with the amount of time that I have, I always feel like there isn't enough time, so today I think I am only going to write in English, because it comes so much faster to me and I don't have to worry about how to spell it. Just remember that I am still learning SO much, and my Nihongo is improving more and more each day!

Okay! Now onto my week. This past week has been truly great! I love the MTC, and every week just keeps getting better and better! During class we were able to do an activity called "Demonstrate Teaching" where our teacher was the investigator, and we all took turns teaching him. The investigator that he was pretending to be was named Masuda Shimai (although he pretended to be Masuda Kyodai instead). A little background on her. Her husband found the church, and was a very strong member. She however hated the church, and did everything she could just to spite her husband. He stopped smoking, and she started. Anyways, she was/is a very stubborn lady, but she loves the Missionaries. Her husband got cancer, and couldn't go to church on his own, she had to go with him. The missionaries would come over all the time to spend time/teach her husband. Okay. So as a class we were trying to figure out what we should teach her. I felt prompted to share that we should teach her about God, and how he is our loving Heavenly Father. As I was speaking, and sharing with everyone why I thought/felt like that would help her, I felt the spirit teaching through me. I said something about how that knowledge would help her to feel loved, and help her to know that she's not alone. Well, the important part that Ellsworth Kyodai explained while he was introducing her story to us, was that her husband had just passed away, and that is when the missionaries started to teach her. Talk about teaching by the spirit! I had no idea that he had just passed away, and that she truly was feeling lonelier than ever! Heavenly Father knows his children. He knows exactly what they are going through, and I love the opportunity that I have everyday to be an instrument in his hands!

One of the things that missionaries learning another language are supposed to do, is SYL (Speak Your Language) as much as you can. If you know the word in Nihongo, then you are supposed to say it in Nihongo. If you know the general sentence structure in Nihongo, then you are supposed to say it in Nihongo, with English words thrown in if you don't know how to say those words in Nihongo. Anyways. It is a really good idea/program, and has worked miracles for missionaries (with lots of divine help of course). Anyways. It is great... There is only one problem though. I am terrible at it! Sometimes I just say things in English because it is easier, and I don't have to think about what I want to say. Or I know the word in Nihongo, but I just say it in Eigo anyways. Basically I am the worst at it! Our teacher Ellsworth Kyodai talked to us about it at the end of last week, and afterwards I felt bad for not doing it. But at the same time I just had a really bad attitude about it...
 "Kurasu ato de (after class), we went to lunch and sat by the atarashii nihonjin shimai (new Japanese Sister Missionary - from Japan). She is so kawaii (cute)! I need to be better at talking to others every day. I also need to be better at thinking optimistically. Just like my daddy said, it is all up to me and my attitude whether or not I am happy. Anyways during lunch, we went and talked to Ellsworth Kyodai and he helped me to feel a little bit less hatred towards SYL (without actually saying anything). So that was nice. I guess just the love he has for us, made me feel like he wouldn't tell us something if we didn't really need to hear it."
I have so much respect for Ellsworth Kyodai and Gauthier Kyodai. We really are like a little family! As a district, we spend so much time together, and with our teachers, that it is impossible not to love them all! Our teachers have taught us so much, and they always push us to be better. I am so grateful for them and their sincere desire to help us grow and become better. They truly are the best!

This week I had the opportunity to say the closing prayer in Relief Society (with ALL of the Sister Missionaries), and then in the Tuesday devotional (with ALL of the Missionaries here at the MTC). Talk about nervous! I actually didn't get nervous until right before I prayed! I guess it was the anticipation, and the hour to think about it and how many people were there! It was a really cool experience though, and I after having to pray in Nihongo all the time, I loved being able to pray in English! :)

This week we heard from Sister Neill F. Marriott (Second counselor in the Young Women's General Presidency), Brother Stephen B. Allen (who works for the media department of the church - probably not the right way to say that, but I hope you get the point), and Elder Lowell M. Snow (former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy Apostles). :) It was a great week! I learned so much from each of them! I wish I could share all of it with you!
One of my favorite things though, was Elder Snow's devotional of Tuesday. He shared with us so many different stories and examples of people who were/are disciples of Jesus Christ. One of the stories was about an Elder who has Cerebral Atrophy, and how everyone he met, could see Christ's image in his countenance. They knew he was a true disciple of Christ. One of the things that Elder Dan Ito said was, "It sounds crazy, but I want to change the world." I know it may sound crazy, but I want to do that too! I want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone I meet! I want to help them to know that they are loved, and that they truly have so much divine potential. I want others to be able to see His image in my countenance. To see the Light of Christ through me. I want them to open the door, and even though they may not understand a word that I say, want to know more because they saw "the virtue in [my] face." I am so grateful for the gospel, and the blessing that it is in my life. I am grateful for Christ and his infinite atonement. I am grateful for prayer, and I know that Heavenly Father answers my prayers. I know because I have seen it happen over and over again. I have felt so much love and joy as I have made a conscious effort to become more like Him. 

This week, I encourage all of you to find time in your busy lives to pray to your Father in Heaven. He loves you and he wants to hear from you. He wants to answer your prayers and to bless you. I promise that as you pray with a sincere desire, and with real intent he will answer you. He will comfort you in your moment of weakness, uplift you when you feel like no one understands. Be a friend when all you need is someone to listen. I know Heavenly Father will hear you, and he will not leave you comfortless. 

I love you all so much, and I am so grateful for each and everyone of you! You are the best! You are a child of God! :) And he loves you even more than you and I can possibly imagine. 

Robertson Shimai

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