Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 51: Let the adventures begin!

:) It has been such an awesome week. So wonderful there are way too many things to write about and definitely not enough  time to write it all. The beginning of the week was good but crazy, with trying to get Perry Shimai ready to go to Imabari, and meeting with everyone that we could. We managed to meet with almost everyone, which we were really grateful for.

 It was really weird to be sending someone to another area this transfer instead of sending another companion home. I know she will love it though, and it will be great. I sure am going to miss her though. Companions are the best, and I can't wait to be lifelong friends with all of my companions. They have each taught me so much, and I am so grateful for them. 

After a crazy couple of days, it was time to go to Kobe to meet up at the transfer point. (When we have transfers, there are a bunch of different transfer points so that no one ever has to be alone, everyone travels with their companion, or with a group to another transfer point until they finally get to wherever they are supposed to meet.) So Perry Shimai and I woke up, got ready, did some last minute cleaning and packing, and then we headed to Kobe. When we got there we said hi to everyone. I saw some missionaries I haven't seen in 6 months! And I got to hear about how the work is going in Tsuyama, which was so fun. And I stayed near Perry Shimai's side, slightly apprehensive to start my new adventure. But, eventually I said hi to Tanda Shimai, bye to Perry Shimai, and we were on our way. 

Tanda Shimai is so cute, and so sweet! I already love her, and love being companions. I was a little bit afraid of having to speak Japanese all the time, but I was blessed to have some a group of missionaries headed through Osaka, so we it wasn't just the two of us yet. And then we also had 2 elders from our zone headed through Kyōto, so we got to talk with them. I still spoke in Japanese, but I was able to speak to hem in English too. I was truly grateful for such a sweet tender mercy from the Lord helping me to know that it would be okay. Then, Tanda Shimai and I transferred to a slower local train, and then it was just us. But, it was alright. Tanda Shimai is a 4th transfer missionary (she has been on her mission a transfer longer than Perry Shimai), and she is from a branch in Chiba-Ken (south of Tokyo). She has 5 people in her family (two older brothers, and she is the youngest). She has only had Japanese Companions (both in my doki - we came to Japan from the MTC together... I think in English sometimes it is called a batch?...), and so we are both having an adventure as we both have a Nihonjin/gaijin companion. 

So far we talk and laugh lots, so it's going pretty well. I have been amazed at how many times I have felt Heavenly Father blessing me. I had lots of fears/worries coming into this transfer. Like not being able to fully communicate, or constantly having a headache, or other little things that are seemingly unimportant. But so far, all of my worries have disappeared. I haven't had any headaches (except a small one after Stake Conference where there was both English and Japanese, and the spirit was really strong), and we have been able to communicate fairly well. She doesn't really speak any English (although I'm sure she knows a lot more then she lets on), but if I happen to not know a word in Japanese, more often or not either I can explain what it is, or she knows the word in English. :) and she is also an amazing missionary. I am so excited to serve with her! 

Another awesome thing that happened this week, was stake conference. We had Elder and Sister Maynes, Elder and Sister Whiting, Elder Aoba, and President and Sister Welch come as special guest speakers. What an incredible opportunity. I learned so much, both from them, and as I was taught by the spirit. I think that one of the things that impacted me most was Elder Mayne's talk from the Saturday night session. He talked about how the importance of having the right priorities. He asked questions like: Where are your priorities? What is number one? Is it the gospel? Another number one could be your family. What is the most important to you? Is it being rich? Is it being famous? Is it having two cars, or a bigger house? Where do your priorities lie? He then went on the share a story about a family that they met in the Philippines a little while ago. They were very poor. But they were very happy, because of the gospel. Often all they would eat was rice, because they couldn't afford anything else. One day as they sat down to eat lunch, their dad brought in a nice big magnificent fish. He put it on the table, and told the children to look at the fish, and then take a bite of their rice. Look at the fish, take a bit of rice. Look at the fish, take a bite of rice. After a while, he explained that this fish was for dinner, and they could not afford to eat it for lunch, so they just ate their rice. But despite how poor they were, they were still happy. "As poor as they were, they grew up happy because they had the gospel in their lives." I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. I have never been poor like that family, but the gospel helped me through other trials in my own life. Through the gospel I have found true joy, so much joy that I can't help but want to share that joy with others.

 “You hold in your hands the happiness of more people than you can now imagine.”—President Henry B. Eyring, "A Priceless Heritage of Hope." I know that that is true. And I know that as we look at our own lives, and see where our priorities lie, we can find the happiness that the gospel brings. You will be happier than you can even imagine.

I love you all, and hope that you have an incredible week.

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

Random Japanese greeting card. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 50: 毎日は冒険です

Everyday is an adventure. Our week was filled with them, and we are getting ready for another big one. This week with transfers, both Perry Shimai and I were feeling some changes coming up. We were thinking that I would be transferring, but we were both wrong. Perry Shimai will be transferring to Imabari and her new companion will be Sands Shimai, an awesome sister that was in my district when I served in Tsuyama. Ready for the big news with me? I will be staying here in Katsura, and the craziest part... My new companion Tanda Shimai is 日本人. She is Japanese, and from what I've heard, doesn't speak a whole lot of English. It will be quite the adventure indeed. But I'm excited. I will just be speaking Japanese all day everyday, because both of the Elders serving in Katsura right now, are also both Nihonjin. So, it will be an adventure. :) 

Let's see, where to start this week. This week has been filled with me getting sick a lot, just a random ear ache here, or my eye hurting there, nothing too big, but it did make this week a little bit difficult. On Friday we had District Meeting, and then had 2 lessons scheduled, but because they were both sick, they had to cancel. So, we decided to go finding. :) well, we made it made a mile or two down the road, and then we had quite the adventure. Perry Shimai had a little bit of an adventure. And that adventure resulted in a lot of hours at bike stores, and on the phone testing every bit of my Japanese. You always think you can speak Japanese, until you have to speak Japanese to someone at a business, or on the phone to explain the part of a bike that you need to find. Everything turned out okay though, and Perry Shimai walked away with only bruises. We were grateful. While we were trying to find a bike store, we ran into a guy, S, who spoke English perfectly. We were kind of surprised. He was really nice though, and pointed us in the right direction. We saw him again later, and exchanged numbers. We have an appointment scheduled with him for tomorrow. :) we are looking forward to it. On Saturday we were able to teach three lessons, and we were so grateful for the spirit during each one. We had an investigator that has been struggling lately, and we haven't been able to meet with her in a while. We had a lesson planned for her, but then when we got to her house, and we're following up with her, our plans changed, and we ended up teaching her as best as we could by the spirit. I am so grateful for the spirit, and the ability that it has to touch the hearts of those we teach. We were able to have such a wonderful lesson, with powerful witnesses from the spirit that what we were teaching was true. She just lit up as we taught. It was so cool to watch her go from someone that has been really difficult to teach to someone who was really beginning to understand and apply the things she was learning. I am so grateful for O Shimai. Because we weren't sure what was going to happen with transfers, we tried our best to schedule an appointment with her for before transfers, and she kept telling us that she was really busy and wouldn't have time. Finally she said, "okay. I will just come to church tomorrow." We were so surprised that she was offering to come to church, something that has been hard for her recently. When we saw her Sunday morning we were so happy. Everything that was taught during church was exactly what she needed to hear. It was perfect.

Overall it was a really good week. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary, and I am excited for what this next transfer holds. Although, I am really going to miss Perry Shimai. She is an incredible missionary and I have learned a lot from her these last couple of months. 

I love you all, and I hope you are all doing well.

Robertson Shimai

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 49: Happy Mother's Day!

:) Happy Mother's Day! I hope you all had a wonderful day! Thank you for all being such wonderful examples to me. 

This week's email is probably going to be a little but short since I just skyped home this morning. 

Nothing big happened this week. I got sick again, this time with a throat thing. I even had to go to the doctor. Going to the doctor when you don't understand medical Japanese is quite the adventure, even when you have a member go with you for moral support (although she didn't know really any English). Going to the doctor also takes an incredible amount of faith, and trust. They say things to you, and do weird things (like rub a cotton wrapped thing that has been dipped into what looks like iodine onto the back of your throat...), or then have you use a nebulizer and not really understand why you need it. Especially when after all is said and done, you leave feeling worse then you did when you got there. Like I said quite the adventure. Oh, and then being given medicine and told here, take this, but having absolutely no idea what it is, or what it is for. A big leap of faith. Luckily though, my throat is much better. 

(Mystery Medicine: I like how they didnt' even write out her whole name at the top of the prescription - Robertson Amand).

(When we were skyping, she was drinking aquarius - she said her companion was calling it an I.V. in your stomach... but for amanda, who got a whole different visual than just drinking it and it went to your stomach, she said she somehow envisioned, cutting open your stomach and pouring it in for an i.v. but it was helping her.  I like this picture of her Japanese health care options... I assume the one is a nasal spray but the one with the picture of the giraffe is just cute!  Who wouldn't want to get that one?!?!  and the other I guess is also for children, so it must be safe and o.k. for my missionary daughter to take right? :) 

Now my eye is just a problem, because in an effort to look healthy, and not sick so that the members didn't freak out again, I actually got ready. I wore my contacts and makeup, and I did my hair. Well, at some point my eye started hurting really badly. I just figured that my contact was dry. After about 3 hours of pain, we finally got home from church, and I took my contact out. My eye was still hurting really badly, so I decided to look at it and see what was wrong. Somehow I scratched my eye (something probably got caught under my contact and scratched my eye), and so now I am going to just wear glasses for the next little while, and try not to be annoyed at the fact that I can't really see out of my left eye at the moment. Oh the life of a missionary. :) I promise I am still loving Japan, and trying my best to be nice and healthy so that I can serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. :)

I just wanted to tell you about how special mothers are. I love mothers, and I can't wait to be a mother some day. Yesterday for Mother's Day, Perry Shimai and I decided to do something nice for all of the mothers, and for all of the women, We just made some brownies, and then gave them to all of the women. So many times they would be like, "What is this for?" and we would say it's for Mother's Day. And they would just look so surprised that we did something for them, especially if they themselves did not have children (because they had not yet had that opportunity, or they weren't able to have children). We were grateful for the opportunity to help some of our favorite moms feel loved, because they are all moms to us. :) 
(I am not sure how I feel about the Jesus San sticker on the brownies... I guess it will just peel right off? but also, "Jesus San", I didn't figure that would be how you'd address Him, but there you have it. Perhaps the name on the sticker is to say that Jesus San loves and appreciates the mothers/women on mothers day. I'll have to clear this one up when she comes home and gets to explain some of the things from her mission.)

This week I found this video while I was studying and wanted to share it with you. I love you all!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 48: An Instrument In Thine Hands

I can't believe we have all been on our missions for 11 months already! Time flies. Right now we are all training. :)

Where do I even begin? This week has been jam packed full of conferences, meetings, lessons, and kokans (companion exchange). 

We have been busy busy busy. But it has been so much fun. We don't have a ton of time to email today, but I wanted to share an experience that we had on the way to Kobe for Trainer Trainee Training on Tuesday. We had planned to go to Kobe with the Elders in our area since they were going too, but we ended up thinking that we were meeting at a different train station/line, and so we went on our own. We made it to Kobe, and we weren't squished too badly on the way in the middle of rush hour traffic, so that was nice. 

We got on the bus, and found a seat towards the back. When we got on there weren't that many people on the bus. We got to a stop, and a couple from America got on the bus. The wife smiled at me and so I said hi. Then we started talking. They were visiting her parents because her dad was really sick. She shared with us how hard these last three weeks have been for her, because she is not sure if she will ever see him again. As she was talking I felt like I should tell her about what we believe. She had said that they knew a little bit about the church (her husband had worked on the stained glass for the San Diego temple), but because she was going through such a hard time, I didn't want her to feel like I was trying to preach at her. I just really wanted to help her, so I just listened while she talked, and confided in us. At one point I felt prompted to tell her about my mom's parents. I told her that they both died when she was 20/22, and I can't even imagine what that would be like, especially with me being 22 right now. I told her that I had no idea what she was going through, and that it must be so hard. We talked for a little while, and then I felt prompted again to share with her that she could see her dad again. I said that I didn't know how much she knew about the church, but that we believe that families can be together forever. We promised that she could see her dad again. We talked about how it is through this gospel that we find peace and comfort when we are faced with challenges. It is through the gospel that we can make it through the hard times. I don't know how much that helped her, but she told us that maybe one day she will want to learn more, she doesn't know what to do, or where to go, and she just feels lost and confused. I hope that we were able to help her in someway. That experience really made me grateful for my Heavenly Father. He places people in our paths everyday that we can help. "He will lead you to them, or He will lead them to you." I am grateful that we were able to be in the right place at the right time, so that we could help one of Heavenly Father's children who needed to feel His love. To know that she was not alone. 

There are many other experiences that we have had this week when we were able to be instruments in God's hands. Sometimes it was just a simple thing like being at a train station at the right time, and being the only other people that spoke English, so that we could help some lost tourists find their way. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve my Heavenly Father everyday. I love this gospel. I know that it is true. I know that God loves me, and that He loves each and every one of His children.
I love you all so much, and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Robertson Shimai 

The K Family in Tsuyama sent me a picture! :) they are all so grown up! M, M, and S are all preparing for missions! :)

Where's Waldo? (look carefully)

 Play date/ visiting teaching with some of my favorite families