Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sushi, Splits & Shinden

For those who are wondering what the best acronym is, here you go SSS (sushi, splits and Shinden).  Now for those who are wondering what Shinden means, it means Temple. As in the Sapporo Temple. Sorry for forgetting to mention that last week.  Especially because there was an Earthquake and Tsunami down in the mainland of Japan. Anyway I don't have any time today so I will try to be quick.

Tue: We found out one of our Sisters had to go home due to health reasons. A sad day.

Wed: I went on Splits with Satou Choro. He is the Nihonjin (Japanese person) who is in our apartment. It was a ton of fun. We did a lot of Streeting and housing and had one investigator visit who we had to drop :(  But towards the end of our day we found a KINJIN (literally Gold Person translation: golden investigator.)

Thur: Another very apparent miracle. The very first thing we did this day was go to see some investigators we have been wanting to see. We decided to visit them one last time. First person not home. Second person, I prayed in very gaijinpoi (Gaijin is foreigner and adding poi to a noun basically means like a noun) Japanese to make this person be home if He (Heavenly Father) wants us to teach him. Elder Larson explained to me what I said and then added "besides if he's not here it's not like Heavenly Father can just make him appear." So we knock on his door, no answer. We stand there for a little while and then the elevator opens. It was the guy. We found out his name and set up a return appointment.

Fri: This day we had Zone Conference. One of the many things I learned was how to make a good tasting salad. Then we went back, I packed my stuff and we went housing for an hour while I was carrying a duffle bag full of stuff. I got a few strange looks and a lot more people saying hello back to me. Probably because they think they can outrun me. Anyway the reason I had the bag is because I was going on splits for Saturday with one of our ZL's (Zone Leaders)

Sat: A lot of walking around finding less-active members and housing/Streeting. It was really fun though because we had a lot of time to talk. I heard a lot of stories this day.

Sun: Stake Conference! Once again strange looks because of the duffle bag.  Our area authority was here and so was our dendo Kaichou (mission president). It was a really good meeting. Also the two kids sitting next to me made me 4 paper airplanes, an origami fox head, table, cherries, and this thing you blow on and it spins and looks cool. They were pretty cute kids.  Then dendo wise we found another KINJIN! We were on our way to an appointment when we almost passed this guy but decided to talk to him.  Long story short he accepted a Book of Mormon and invited us back.

Mon: NOT P-DAY! Instead this was another split. This time I went with Murdock Choro my other apartment mate. I guess to make a very long story short. We walked 12 miles, visited 3 LA's (less actives) found 4 PI's, housed a former investigator who invited us back, got a thing of pineapple, 2 apple juice boxes, 2 persimmons, an imported pear, and bought my first onigiri (a rice ball usually wrapped in nori/seaweed and filled with something). We also found this incredible park that screamed VERMONT! Made me a little thanksgiving sick (we won't have one ;( ).

Tue: Now this is where I get to sushi. So many miracles this day but before that - sushi. After our DTM (district training meeting) we went to sushi together for district lunch. Sushi is SOO good. I got 5 plates of sushi and one of fried chicken because it's amazing here in Japan (literally everyone bought it, and I may or may not have gotten all the left overs :) ).  Just to put in perspective how cheap it is too I got all of my food for exactly $11. The winner for most number of plates though was Elder Murdock at 10 plates of sushi. His was just under 30 dollars. Ok, Miracles. We went to visit the KINJIN we found my first day. He was finally home. We talked with him a while, committed him to read the Joseph Smith experience with his family and made a return appointment.  Then as we were walking down the street this old lady stops to talk to us. Turns out she is a less active. She was baptized 40 years ago, fell away from the church, and then moved to Sapporo (she used to live in Hakodate). She said she has been looking for the missionaries for years. She saved up on a rewards card for a grocery store money so she could buy missionaries food. She wanted to buy us lunch at first but we told her we ate a little so we could keep talking to her. She took us to a bakery bought us breads and then drinks. Then we had about a 40 min conversation on a bench in the store. We gave her a Book of Mormon and got her phone number. She is totally going to become active again!

Wed: So Elder Larson's Temple Recommend actually expired this month and literally everyone from honbu (headquarters/mission home) was out. Luckily though Elder Murdock said I could go with Elder Satou to the Temple. It is such a gorgeous building. Sorry I'm out of time but something interesting about the temple is you have to take off your shoes at the entrance.  They even have a huge closet for shoes and coats in the lobby.

I Love you all,

Harvey Choro

Orangina - all is well




Where does the sushi come out??


Our beautiful Sapporo Japan Temple


Thursday, November 17, 2016

BIG AMERICAN BREAKFAST!!!

So this email may or may not be mostly be about food...ok it will be mostly about food...

Mon: Finishing up last week I went to a bunch of thrift stores.  Japanese thrift stores are pretty interesting to say the least. You could buy pretty much anything you want for pretty cheap there. You name it - clothes, skis, books, music, guitars, games, food, ok maybe not food but pretty much anything.

Tue: We had ZTM (Zone Training Meeting) this day. It was pretty fun especially seeing some of my Kouhai as beans (kouhai or kohai is a junior or protege in a mentoring system - just the opposite of senpai, and bean is a reference to a greenie or brand new missionary.  So this is a reference to an earlier class of missionaries met at the MTC that are now in Japan as brand new missionaries.)  Interesting story - one of the elders named Elder J________ got coke, food, 2 cans of beer each and a whole season of Law and Order from a drunk guy. Needless to say they left the beers and Law and Order and booked it out of there. Then they called him the next day to go get lunch and he just hung up on them. The feeling of people hanging up on you is honestly the worst. Then we went home, had a repair man check out the broken vent window and heater in our apartment, did some dendo, had a mogi (role played - probably in preparation for a lesson) and then EIKAWA! (English class)  This week we talked about morals and honestly Japanese people need to improve on some of those....

Wed: This day was really cool. We met with Yuasa San and his friend at the church and had a really good lesson about a lot of things. The best part was we showed them this manga (a type of Japanese comic book) that a missionary made which kind of explains who Christ and Satan are and they just analyzed the whole thing by themselves and taught themselves a really cool lesson.  Then we played some badminton which was pretty good exercise for these old smokers. The other cool thing we did this day is we went to a members restaurant for lunch with Honda San. Something happened at this restaurant that hasn't happened to me my whole life. I liked a salad. This restaurant was all natural foods and there was no meat in the meal. It was a salad, veggie sushi, enzyme rice, miso soup, dried fruit and nuts, and a fruit smoothie. It was actually really good! It was also a really great setting to teach this investigator at.

Thursday:  We had out heater fixed! Now we don't have to freeze in an ice box any more. We also did our weekly planning. We then went out to the streets to go visit people but nobody was home . :(  One interesting thing though was we stopped by a konbini (a Japanese convenience store) to use the restroom and I got a Dark Matter black thunder. To my chagrin it was only dark chocolate and nothing special inside. Elder Larson, however got something really interesting. He got this weird fish marshmallow thing with miso broth. Basically imagine a baseball, but it's this soft fish marshmallow thing. Pretty much the only thing that happened this day was we found a new potential investigator, but I think she really just wants to talk with us because she thinks we are cute.

Fri: This day... So we went to Mister Doughnuts (Japanese doughnuts are SO much better than American doughnuts, especially golden chocolate) to teach Y______ San and his friend a lesson. We taught the Law of Chastity which was super awkward because he had a slightly naughty picture for his phone background and he said that he had it because it reminded him of _______ shimai. Yet another email to Kaichou (Mission President) about this. After the lesson he went out a different way and Larson Choro suddenly had to use the bathroom. As we left we noticed Y_______ San ahead of us and our hearts sunk. He was smoking. Coincidence on us leaving later than planned?  I think NOT! Before he told us, repeatedly, that he had stopped smoking.  It was really sad.


Sat: BIG. AMERICAN. BREAKFAST. We had our breakfast event and we had 8! Investigators come. It was delicious and a ton of fun. The member support was really good too. We had probably 15 members there. For a pretty last minute activity, that was a really good turn out. I will let this picture talk for me about the food this time.


Serving breakfast (far right)



We also had some delicious bread and drinks but you can't see those. Then we gave Y______ San a call and he admitted to us about smoking. We assured him that we will continue to encourage and help him through this and he seemed pretty humbled by that.     

Sun: None of our investigators came to church. ;( We did however commit one of our weaker investigators to meet with us for real lessons on Monday nights. He is a college student who lived in Utah for a few years in high school. Also he decided to write his college paper on....THE MORMON CHURCH! I am pretty excited to start teaching him real lessons instead of 5 minute visits at his door. He also gave us POPTARTS! Then we helped Miyauchi San move some more and confirmed his interest in learning. As he bore his testimony I could feel his love for God and this church.  It seems like he really wants to join our church. Then we housed but no luck. 

Is anyone else hungry after reading this letter? 

Love Harvey Choro

Rise and shine.


Sunrise in Japan


Hanging with the locals

Out and about






Fall meets winter


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I am no longer dreaming

That is of course about a white Christmas haha. SO MUCH SNOW! First time snow sticks and it just happens to be a foot of snow. But that's ok. I think I actually prefer walking to biking. This way I can talk to all the people we used to pass on our bikes. The only downsides are it takes forever and you might die.  The ice here is insane. All the sidewalks are now even smaller and there's just a path of ice. Though I have made it 2 days with only almost slipping . :) Anyway into the frozen solid details of the week. Sorry that it's not juicy :( Side note Black Thunder is the best candy bar on the planet! I also had the Ice cream bar.

Mon:  MY FIRST SPLITS! So there we were on our way to FHE when my comp calls our mission president and asked if all four of us should go. As I had presumed he told us to go on splits. So Elder Satou (a Japanese Elder who knows almost no English) and I went to go dendo! We visited
3 referrals and housed all of their apartments. It was really fun! We only met one of the referrals though but he was a pretty interesting dude! He kept saying how wonderful our message was but was saying that it was impossible for him. He'll soon learn better, we got an OK to come back!

Tue: Another interesting day. We had DTM (district training meeting) where we talked about thoughts.  It was really cool and only the beginning of a deep discussion among our district. We fixed (more like tried to fix) our districts new shimai's (sister's) bike. Had a lesson with Honda San, did our weekly mogie (role play of a missionary lesson) with some members and then taught Eikawa (English class). This week was really fun! We taught advanced class and they were just telling us scary stories about their travels. One got robbed in America by gunpoint, One was picked up by his head and robbed, and one punched someone in America. Interesting stories. Our plan for next Eikawa is morals.

Wed: Ok so this day was slow because pretty much no one was home. However 2 really cool things happened. We visited a recently active member in the Church. He's probably in his 80's or 90's we talked with him for a while just trying to become better friends with us. When we left he gave us ham bacon grapes and all these little snacks. Old people in Japan are so nice. They always give us so much food. I feel so bad being piled up with this food thinking what are you going to eat but they insist. Then when we were biking we got a call from Simon and he said he made a decision. Dun dun dun.... But right before he could say his decision Elder Larson remembered a story told 2 general conferences ago about a guy sitting on a fence during the pre mortal life. Long story short Satan convinced him to jump on his side. After telling that story Elder Larson was like, "so ya what was that decision you made?" Simon then responded by saying that his decision had changed. God really is looking out for Simon I know He has a plan for this boy.

Thursday: Our entire day was eaten up by planning and random people calling us making planning so much harder. This was such a long day.

Fri: This day was awesome~. We were fed an amazing goach (dinner appointment) by Oda shimai. She made us REAL RAMEN! First ramen experience in Japan! It was absolutely delicious.  The amount of oil in it was disgustingly amazing!(Though I hear the best ramen has like 3 times as much oil {O_0} )  She also put in a ton of vegetables and made fried chicken to dip in the broth, yum!  She also made us apple pie and cheese cake.  Her food is so good! Then we went out to dendo. After we did a little dendo in Oda-shimai's area, we went somewhere else we wanted to go.  We biked up a mountain and went to a bunch of places. Most interesting thing about that was we read the Book of Mormon together with the Sisters' investigators. We were visiting our investigator who lives next door and found their investigator smoking :( but we encouraged her to do her best and ask God for help. Then we read.

Sat: We looked out the window and what did we see? Popcorn popping on the snow? It was snowing. However by the time we left the apartment it had turned into rain. COLD RAIN SUCKS! We walked around, housed a bunch of places trying to find old investigators but no luck. However, we found 2 new investigators! On one, I pointed out a bike to my comp and we ran over to see it. Inside was this 20 something year old guy and we bike dendoed him. We talked with him for a while and showed him the come follow me video. We got his phone number (in Japan people don't give out phone numbers unless they have real interest and like you).  The other one was the last door we housed. It was this 77 year old lady who has a ton of interest in religion but because she is the oldest and she has no brothers social duty means she has to be Buddhist. Though she really wants to hear our message! Oh, and we found a place for squash ball if anyone wants to tell me what that is.

Sun: POOF! It was a scene like out of a movie. We look out the window and everything is just covered in a foot of snow. We went to Church and began to shovel but the members told us we didn't have to shovel so cleanly. They only wanted us to do a small portion and only shovel off the top half of the snow on the ground. Then they just drove the bishops car all around the parking lot to pat the snow down. Usually they have a contracted company come but that doesn't start until December. Then my companion went with a member to go pick up Yuasa San for church. I stayed with the other elders to shovel. Church was great and we taught Yuasa San a lot. He stayed for all 3 hours. Funny thing though is he had a dream and we confirmed/answered the question he had about this dream without him even mentioning it to us. He told us after church. Then we did a little bit of dendo and then went back to the apartment to be picked up by the bishop. We were having a Goach with the Bishop, AND with Yuasa San and his friend. We taught them about tithing and fasting.

Mon: Today we went with Simon to a shrine and explained temples to him a bit. It was really fun. He told us all about this Buddhist Temple (he really dislikes their religion) and we in turn told him a lot about our temple and it's purpose. Then we did other uninteresting P-day stuff like shopping and going to recycle stores.

All in all, another week of miracles. It's amazing what you start to notice when you have your eyes open and start looking around you.  There are opportunities to see miracles everywhere so long as you are paying attention to what's around you and follow what the spirit is telling you to do.

Love You ALL

Elder Harvey

I'm dreaming of a white Thanksgiving!


Chillin'


My fantastic district!


Ready to set the town on fire!


Superheros - Habi & Rason


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

TRANSFERS!

This week has been so slow! Only because of transfers and gouches (aka member meals). So the news is.......I'm not transferring and Elder Larson is still my comp!! What's even better though is we got 2 new Elders in our apartment Elder Satou and Elder Murdock. Anyway I'll go through the week

Tue: We had DTM (District Training Meeting) and District lunch where we ate sushi. Sushi is SOO good in Japan. I'm lucky to be in Sapporo which is known for having the best sushi in the world. Then we wrote letters for an investigator who was at the hospital, had a lesson with a new investigator and had Eikawa (English class). We played the sign game but with Halloween things like witch and ghost.

Wednesday: Slow. We picked up a new elder down at the subway in the main part of the city Odori (downtown Sapporo where all the outdoor festivals and winter carnival are held). Then we had an amazing gouch. We went to this buffet at a hotel. Way high class. I ate about 5-6 trays of food.  Then we went back to the apartment and pretty much spent the day moving stuff around to accommodate 4 ppl. Then we did some housing as a San(3)nin doryo(companion(ship)).


Thursday: Back to Odori, We had some extra time so we went windows shopping because we were out of our area (Can't proselyte outside your area unless on splits). Then back to the apartment and continued to move some stuff around. Then we met Simon who took us all over the place. We also went to a koi fish pond which is owned by one of his old yakuza (Japanese mafia) buddies. Then we went back to his parents house and he showed us his ties. He has pretty much everything packed up because he can't wait to go to college. He still has a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon but he seems like he really doesn't want to find an answer right now.

Fri: Another Gouch. This time by a bunch of member Obaa-chan (older people) who meet at the church about once a month to do lunch with the missionaries. Then we biked like mad to get to a bunch of different places but nobody was home all day! And all the houses we knocked on to introduce ourselves got kekko desued ("no thank you").

Sat: A fun yet slow day. This was our Halloween party day! The day pretty much consisted of studies, planning, and the party. The Halloween Party was great! We had 13 non members come to it. 2 were our investigators and 7 who aren't investigators who came because of friends or family. It was a lot of fun, we had mini games for the kids, and themed food. They had little hotdogs that had spaghetti through them, black spaghetti (It was squid ink, surprisingly delicious), pumpkin soup, and other things. Then we played Basketball after with some members and non members.  I'm sorry I don't have a pic of my costume.  I'll try to get one. We all got the same wig which had really long hair and cut them to our desire. Everyone thought mine was hilarious, I looked like John Lennon because I had a ponytail in the back. 

Sun: We had an Investigator come to Sacrament Meeting for his first time! We asked a member to invite him and he came! He left right after Sacrament meeting though. Then we did some car dendo with our dendo shuni (mission leader) and a member Nishino Kyoudai. We went to 4 houses in an hour but no one was home :(. Though we did stop by a seico mart where an investigator works and gave him candy :). Then Larson and Murdock Choro practiced for their performance tonight at FHE (Family Home Evening). Then things got fun. We biked around for a while but nothing. We stopped by an investigator's house whom I haven't met until last night. We helped them move some wood and offered to come back and help chop for them later. Then we went to Takahashi sans house. Oh my goodness these people are so nice. We dropped by unexpected but Takahashi sans wife made us a fruit plate, cookies, salmon onigiri (see Wikipedia), squid, some garlic thing, and some frozen udon packages. We felt kinda bad but she insisted we take all this food. While we were there we shared the video mountains to climb and talked about it for a bit with Takahashi San. He totally felt the spirit and said so but refuses to acknowledge that it is actually the spirit. Oh and they gave us clementines, made me a bit nostalgic for Thanksgiving time. Then we went housing but no luck, we even got kicked out of a neighborhood but I was really nice about it so that was good. 

Mon: We climbed up a Marayama Mountain in the rain! I'll let some pics do the talking for me. 

All the other pics of us as a district are on my comps camera So I'll get those later and send those to you all. 

Love you,
Harvey Choro.  

District lunch with Obaa-chan


My companion's hair has changed!

Some Halloween basketball.

P-day on Marayama Mountain





Koi fish pond
video