Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 47: I Love Spring

Spring is in full swing here in Kyoto. We were able to go on a picnic this week with the relief society, and it was so much fun. We went up into the mountain to a temple, where there was a pond, and forests, and turtles, and  ducks. And lots of birds chirping in the trees, with the nice warm breeze of spring. It's the best. Some days Perry Shimai asks me if this is what summer will be like, "is this as humid as it gets?" And I immediately think of summer in Alabama (because Kyoto and Alabama are like the same place when it comes to weather). And then I just laugh. Nope... Not even close, in just a few months it is going to get really hot, so we are trying to enjoy the beautiful spring while we can. 

Yesterday in Gospel Principles (Sunday school class) we learned about the creation. We talked about all the things that Heavenly Father created. He created me, and you. He created all of the flowers, and trees. All of the birds. He created the mountains, and rives and streams. He created it all. One of my favorite things, is nature. Especially the spring with all of the blossoms. I love watching the sunset, or walking along the beach. I love being up in the mountains. I love nature. When I look at the beautiful sunset after a long day, it reminds me that Heavenly Father loves me. Biking next to thousands of wild yellow flowers, or through the cherry blossoms. I love it all, and it helps to remind me of Heavenly Father. 

Last week we sang at T Shimai's baptism with the Elders. We sang "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me." 
1. Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav’nly Father created for me.

2. He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev’rently
For all his creations, of which I’m a part.
Yes, I know Heav’nly Father loves me.
Words and music: Clara W. McMaster, 1904–1997. © 1961 IRI. Arr. © 1989 IRI  Genesis 1


I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and for all of his beautiful creations. I'm so blessed to live in this beautiful country, full of so many of God's wonderful creations. 

This week we were able to meet with almost all of our investigators, and so many of them have progressed so much since the last time we met with them. Some of them just a week before. It is amazing how much the gospel changes people. Two of the less actives members we have been working with both set goals to receive their temple recommends, and to come back. I can't believe how much they have changed over the last 3 months. I will never get tired of helping others come into Christ. Being a missionary is the best, and I have never been happier. :)

I love you all so much, and hope you are all staying safe with tornado season. I'm praying for you all. Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers. 

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 46: The Gospel Changes People

Even though the picture on my license is a little bit cheesy, and the contrast between the too pictures isn't the best with the lightening, I think you can tell the difference between the happiness. :) 
This picture is of a painting by one of my favorite little guys. 

Just this morning, Perry Shimai and I were looking at pictures of me before my mission. We were talking about how long my hair had gotten (kind of random, and not really relevant, but I promise there is a point to this story. Haha.). So we were looking at all of these different pictures. I had found a picture of my hair right before my mission, and was comparing it with a picture we took yesterday. Originally I was just looking at my hair. Then I was trying to see if I looked older at all, because I remember looking at myself yesterday, and even at the picture I had just taken yesterday, and feeling like something was different. But I couldn't figure out what it was. So, I decided to ask Perry Shimai to see if she thought maybe I looked older too. Or if at least she could figure out what was different, because I couldn't figure it out. After looking at it for a while, and comparing it to some other pictures, she said something that I'd like to share with you today. She said, "You look so much happier. Not just your smile, but your eyes too." It was then that I realized something that I've probably mentioned almost every week. I am so much happier. Not that I just feel happier, but I am happier. The gospel changes people. 

Yesterday we had the wonderful opportunity to attend a baptism for T Shimai, a sweet lady the Elders have been teaching. They have been teaching her for about a month and a half. I remember the first time I met her, was when she came to church. She was really cute, and sweet, and a happy person. She was friendly, and talked with everyone. The members of the ward helped her to feel loved and welcomed. Seeing her yesterday though, there was something different. Something had changed. But not just anything. She had changed. Her countenance was radiating. She was smiling not just with her mouth, but with her eyes. The gospel changed her. After her baptism, she looked so happy, and so full of joy. We all went to tell her congratulations, and give her hugs/shake her hand, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone so happy. There were tears in her eyes, but they were tears of pure joy. I walked up to her, and she gave me one of the biggest, most loving, sincere hugs I think I have ever gotten. All I could think was, "I didn't even do anything but say hi to you, and ask you how you were doing, and give you hugs," but to her, that meant the world. 

T Shimai's baptism yesterday. :) 

The gospel changes people, and even when we do simple things like smile, or say hi, or even remember someone's name, when we make an effort to help others feel loved and welcomed, they are able to feel the pure love of Christ. They are able to feel their Heavenly Father's love for them, through us. I am so grateful for the gospel. And I am so grateful for the joy that it brings into my life. And I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to share that love and that pure joy with others. 

This week, Perry Shimai and I decided to make it a goal to "share the happy." I know, it's not proper English, and it probably sounds a little weird, but we wanted to share the reason we are both here on missions. Because the gospel of Jesus Christ makes us happy. With that goal in mind, we went housing. We talked to a couple of people, but no one was really interested. Despite the rainy weather, and still being a little under the weather, we kept on housing, trying to share with others the happiness that the gospel brings. We housed into this one lady, who came outside to talk to us. We told her who we were, and started talking about the church. She had told us about how wonderful she had felt at church, and kept mentioning how good she was feeling. We tried to share something with her, but couldn't get a word in edgewise. She then told us that she wasn't really interested, but was grateful to have talked with us. In a last attempt effort, I asked if we could leave her with our chirashi (flyer), and she was so thankful. Then she told us to wait, and ran in the house. I have had sweet little grandmas run inside before to get us something, so I figured maybe just a little snack, or drink, or trinket... When she came back out, she walked up to me, and shoved something in my hands, and said that it was for the feeling. She had just handed me money. I knew that we couldn't accept the money, and tried for the next ten minutes to give it back, but she wouldn't take it, and with my limited Japanese, she didn't accept the "a missionaries we can't accept this money," or "I'm so sorry we can't accept this money," or even the attempts at trying to hand it back to her. It started to rain, and she ran inside saying, take it, it's for the feeling. We were left standing outside in the rain with money that felt like a 1,000 lbs. There was no way that we could take this money, and we didn't even want to take the money. All we wanted was to share the joy the gospel brings. And she was able to feel it so strongly that she wanted to pay us for it. (After she shut the door, we called up our district leader, and our zone leaders and were told to go back with a member that could explain that we couldn't take her money, and so we were able to go back with S Shimai a couple of days later to give the sweet lady back her money.)

The message that we share as missionaries, is a message that all the money in the world couldn't buy, and it is a message that can bring you more joy and happiness than having all the money in the world. This message, this is why I am here. This is why I am here in Japan, speaking a foreign language that I barely understand, living and working and teaching people that I don't know, eating weird food, being out in the rain or shine, humidity or bone chilling cold. This is why I spend hours riding my bike, why I spend hours going door to door, or talking to everyone I pass on the street. This is why I am so happy. It is all because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is because I know that the true church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth today. It is because I know that God's power and authority, the Priesthood, has been restored. It is because through the Book of Mormon, I can grow closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and to my Heavenly Father. It is because I know that Heavenly Father created a plan for us to be able to return to live with Him and our Families forever. It is because I know that my family can be together forever through the sealing ordinance performed in the temple. It is because I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. It is because I know that He hears and answers my prayers. It is because I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and Redeemer. It is because I know that through the infinite atonement that I can find peace and happiness in my life, I can be forgiven of my sins, and healed of all my weaknesses. I am here because I know that all of this is true. I've never been so sure of something in my life, and I've never been happier. The gospel changes people, and I'm glad that it is changing me. 

I love you all so much, and hope that if you don't learn anything else from the things that I've shared about the experiences I've had, that you have learned one thing, the gospel changes people.

Sister Amanda K. Robertson
Japan Kobe Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
One day I let Perry Shimai pick fish for us to eat for dinner, because I felt like being nice, even though I'm not really a fan of fish. Well, she found a little present in hers... And I didn't even take one bite of mine. 

Perry Shimai's present in her fish... We'll see just how adventurous I get next time. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 45:I am grateful for my health


What a crazy week it has been. At the end of last week, both Perry Shimai and I were starting to feel sick. We were really hoping that it was just allergies from hours and hours outside with all the pollen. On Sunday night, we were feeling pretty bad, and decided that if we were feeling sick, we would just takeMonday and rest so we could get better. We woke up Monday morning with sore throats, earaches, and congestion, and to top it all off we were feeling like we had just run a marathon or something. So, we did what we needed to in order to prepare for the week (email, and go shopping for groceries) and then we went home and rested. By 6:00pm when it was time to start dendoing (doing missionary work), I was still asleep and feeling terrible, and Perry Shimai was starting to feel sick. So, we called Welch Shimai and were told that we needed to rest, take medicine, and get better. And that sharing the gospel when we are sick is just spreading germs, and no one wants that. The rest of the week we spent taking turns feeling sick. I would be feeling better and good enough to go teach, or go finding, but Perry Shimai would be feeling terrible. And then when Perry Shimai was feeling pretty good, I would feel terrible. On Wednesday we had to teach Eikaiwa, and so we went to the church, both feeling terrible, and by the time we got home, we were out cold. One day I woke up at 9:30, ate, and by 12:00 I was back in bed asleep for 4 1/2 hours. Somedays were filled with dizziness, other days not being able to breathe, sometimes our stomachs would be upset. Pretty much anything that you can think of with a cold, we got it. And with the two of us going back and forth, we had to cancel all of our lessons during the week. And the only times we left, were for Eikaiwa, and General Conference, where it was just the two of us watching it in English, so still not a whole lot of contact with people. 

We went through an entire bottle of honey and six lemons in 5 days... And more tissues than I could even begin to count. 

With all of the craziness of being sick, we were still able to see some blessings though. One of our investigators A Shimai, who were were supposed to teach on Tuesday, has been having a hard time with prayer. She prays sometimes, but most of the time, only when we ask or remind her to pray. When we told her we needed to cancel our lesson because we were sick (and biking 45 minutes in the rain to teach her, and possibly make her and and son sick sounded like a really bad idea), she told us that she was going to pray for us. We felt so loved, and so grateful that even though we couldn't teach her that day about prayer, she knew that prayer was important and that through prayer, we could get better. I am always so grateful when our investigators begin to realize the importance of the things we are teaching them, and begin to do those things on their own. Like praying on their own, or reading their scriptures, or even coming to church without the constant asking and inviting. We should always invite, but I love it when they don't have to be invited anymore because they know and understand the importance. 

I am so grateful for the gospel, and for the blessing that it is in my life. I can't even explain how amazing it is to see others begin to see those blessings in their lives as well. Recently the elders in found a sweet lady named T Shimai. She was interested, and said that she wanted to come to church the next Sunday. One day while they were studying, they got a call from her, saying that she was at the church, and wanted to see the church, and be taught a lesson. That Sunday, she came to church, and she has been coming every week for the past four weeks. She came to a Relief Society activity a couple of weeks ago, and she even came to all 5 sessions of General Conference (Saturday morning and afternoon, the General Women's meeting, and Sunday morning and afternoon). She is so strong, and the members love her. She seems to love the members too. If you didn't know, you would think that she has been a member for years. I love T Shimai. She is going to get baptized on Sunday, and we are all so excited. I know that there are people prepared in this area, and just seeing how much T Shimai has changed in the last few weeks, and we haven't even been teaching her, just fellowshipping her. Seeing her change though, and the joy that she brings, and the joy and life in the members over the last few weeks makes us all the more excited to go out this week and find more investigators like T Shimai, and more less actives like N Shimai, people who are ready and just waiting to be found. 

I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. I am grateful for the wonderful blessing of being a missionary. I am so grateful for the opportunity that we had to watch General Conference this weekend. To hear, and to be taught by the General Authorities of the church, and to be taught and edified by the spirit. I learned so much, and hope you did too. One of my favorite talks was given by Elder Holland, about how our Savior Jesus Christ can and will be those strong hands and determined arms. He won't ever let us fall. I can't wait to go back and study the things that were shared during General Conference. 

I love you all so much. You are amazing, and we each in my prayers.

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

Week 44: I Know That My Redeemer Lives

April 5, 2015

I don't even know where to begin this week. I can't believe how fast
time goes. Last night Perry Shimai and I were reflecting on these last
5 and a half weeks, and all that has happened. What a crazy transfer
it has been. But oh how much I have learned. I really love serving
with Perry Shimai. She is an incredible missionary, and I am excited
to be together for the next transfer. I've also learned how to rely on
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Without their help, I would be so
lost. I wouldn't be a very good missionary, and I definitely wouldn't
be able to train a new missionary. I still don't feel that competent,
and there are many times that I think back to my first two transfers
with McLaughlin Shimai. She was so patient with me. And I am so
grateful that I had the opportunity to serve and learn from such an
incredible missionary. Just last night I caught myself saying, I
remember McLaughlin Shimai saying... Or I learned this when I was
serving with Howden Shimai... Or Larkin Shimai taught me this. Being a
missionary without a companion would be impossible. It has been
through serving along side such wonderful missionaries that I have
been able to learn so much. And I can't want to learn even more.

This transfer has been filled with many hard things for our
investigators. One has been sick, another has been dealing with
everything possible and on top of all of that, looking for a new
house. We have another investigator who has been facing a lot of
hantai (opposed) influences. With all the trials that our
investigators have been facing, I can't help but want to help them
more. Just the other day, I remember turning to Perry Shimai and
saying, "Imagine what would happen if we prayed for all of our
investigators like we pray for Y Shimai. Imagine what a difference
that would make." So that is what we have been working on. We have
been working on praying specifically for all of our investigators the
way we have been for Y Shimai.

That is something else that I have learned this transfer. The power of
prayer. There have been many times when we have had no idea where to
go, or what to do. When I have had no idea what to say. When we have
been so confused and so caught off guard that we didn't know what else
there was to do. It was in those times that we prayed. I think I have
offered some of the most heartfelt prayers over these last few weeks.
I have never felt so in need of divine help in my life. I know that
Heavenly Father answered those prayers. I know that He loves me. I
know that He never left me alone of uncomforted. And I know that He is
always there for each of our investigators as well. Heavenly Father
loves each of us SO much! I am so grateful for the little but of that
love that I have been able to feel. I know that when we do what He
asks of us, He will bless us even more. Heavenly Father is never
disappointed with us when we are trying our best. Don't give up. Stop,
take a deep breath, count your many blessings, maybe even sing a hymn,
and then keep going. I promise that you will feel Heavenly Father's
love, and you will feel someone right there pushing that rock with

I just wanted to leave you all with my testimony. I know that my
Redeemer lives. I know that He loves me. I am so grateful for Him, and
for His infinite atoning sacrifice. I know that through Christ,
through the infinite power of His atonement, I can do all things. I
know that Heavenly Father loves us each and every one of us. I am so
grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the joy it has
brought into my life. I have never been happier than I have here on my
mission in Japan, spending everyday serving the Lord, and sharing His
gospel. I know that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can find
true joy. I testify that these things are true, in the name of Jesus
Christ, Amen.

I love you all so much, and I am so grateful for the impact that you
have each had on my life. Thank you for all of you love, support, and

Robertson 姉妹