What a great week! I really love being in my area. :) With all of the kokans that we have been doing, and lots of taikais (meetings) and everything, this is the first entire week I have been in my area in a long time, and it was so great. We were able to see so many people. Yonago is such a wonderful area and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve here.
As a mission we have been focusing on working with the members a lot more. I remember always hearing/ being told about what President Gordon B. Hinckley said. “So many of us look upon missionary work as simply tracting. Everyone who is familiar with this work knows there is a better way. That way is through the members of the Church." No matter how many times I heard it though, I never really fully understand what it meant. A couple of weeks ago during Missionary Leadership Counsel, we talked about working with the members. A lot of the time when we think of doing missionary work, we often just think of knocking on doors, and talking to people on the streets. The really cool thing about missionary work though, is that it is really SO much more than that. And working with the members really is the best way to do it. President Monson once said, "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work." Now really is the time for the members and the missionaries to come together and work together.
District Meeting with the incredible Nagata fufu (couple). They will be set apart this week as missionaries, and we will have the blessing of working with them here in Yonago until they get transferred at the beginning of next year.
We have been blessed with so many tools and "means" to share the gospel lately. The Lord's work really is hastening, and He has given us so many incredible tools. One of the tools that I would like to tell you all about is an new app, made specifically for Japan. It is called LDS Teachings, and has 3 pamphlets that help to explain things simply for those without a Christian Background. And as missionaries here in Japan, we have been given the opportunity to test them. We have been trying our best to use it, and because we are still trying to figure out how to use it best, we have been mogi-ing (practicing using) it with the members. And what an incredible blessing that has been! This week we got to meet with MH Shimai, a really sweet sister who moved her a little over a year ago when she got married. Her husband is not a member, and we thought maybe by sharing with her the first pamphlet (What to Expect when meeting with Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that perhaps she might feel like it is an easy way to share the gospel with her husband. What we learned though, and the experience we were able to gain through meeting with her was incredible. She is SUCH a wonderful lady, and I am so grateful we got to meet with her. We talked for a little while and got to know each other a little bit more, and then we went through the pamphlet with her. One of the cool things about these pamphlets is that it is just used as a way to direct and start conversation, not to just be read. We still teach by the spirit, and can stop wherever we feel like we should. There are also questions at the bottom of each page that help to check for further understanding. And embedded into the pamphlets are definitions for words that not every one is familiar with. When we started, MH Shimai pretended to be an investigator, but as we taught, she got really into it, and was just herself. There is one page in the pamphlet where it asks how the missionaries can help you. We asked if there was any way that we could help her. Through sharing experiences with her before, about who we are, and our purpose as missionaries, and also about why we are personally here on missions, I was able to share one of the reasons I am here. Because my life has been changed through the gospel, and I have been able to find so much peace, guidance and happiness. And I have also been able to see my own family change through the gospel. When we asked if there was any way that we could help her, she really opened up, and asked if we could pray for her brother and sister. They have been going through a hard time recently, and because she knows the power of prayer, she wanted us to pray for them too. It was such a simple thing, but for her to see that we really are just her to help her, she was able to share something important to her. It was a really cool experience. And through mogi-ing with her, we have been able to be more prepared as we use the pamphlets with our investigators, and the people that we are teaching.
That may seem like a little experience, and I'm not sure how well I really explained that, but one of the biggest things that I have learned is the importance of becoming truly converted. When our own testimonies are strengthened, that is when we have the desire to share the gospel with others. It works the same way with everyone, not just missionaries. When members testimonies are strengthened, and they realize how much the gospel blesses their lives, that is when they have the desire to share it with others. We have had lots of times recently when we have been able to talk with members, and hear about their own conversion stories, or about how they have been sharing the gospel recently. We had a sister come up to us the other day that was SO excited that she was able to invite her friend to meet with the missionaries, and the friend said yes! Then N Shimai bore her testimony of how important it is to really believe that something is possible. If you are trying to share the gospel, and you really believe that someone you share it with will be ready and willing to listen, then you will be able to find that person. Because, like my little sister shared last week, Heavenly Father really does bless us with the righteous desires of our hearts. To have a member come to us to share her testimony of that, and to share that experience made us so happy! Now really is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together. Through being one and working together, that is how the work of the Lord will continue to hasten. I'm not sure if any of the made a whole lot of coherent sense, but I hope you all know that I have gained such a strong testimony of not just missionary work, but member missionary work.
You are all awesome, and I hope you have a wonderful week. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sister Amanda K. Robertson
Japan Kobe Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Deciding what to start sending home just incase I get transferred one last time before I go home in December. Time is going too fast!