Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Time Crunch!

This has been a really weird week. All of our time got eaten up by activities and such. It kinda sucked to have all our dendo time get sucked up by other things. :( But, I did see miracles this week!

Mon: Me and Elder Isobe just played around at the church for our Pday.  We also got zange ramen. Mama (important word: average) ramen but the zange is why you go there. (Editor's note - I have not been able to find anything that tells me what zange means.)  It kinda reminded me of apple cider doughnuts from Vermont. We met with Keita San and a really good discussion with him. It was probably my first really good lesson I have had with him. He had a ton of questions and I was spouting out answers left and right...IN JAPANESE! Then again that's why I am here so it's futsu (normal).

Tue: We didn't have our ZTM (zone training meeting) today because the snow was so bad on Monday the government was still trying to clear the roads. So that got moved to Fri. Instead all of our time got eaten up by singing practice for the Christmas party and for sacrament meeting on Christmas. Then we had our mogie (role playing), dinner and Eikawa (English class).

Wed: This day was a lot of walking. Noteworthy things of this day were: eating an apple ice cream bar and teaching a lesson by myself to one of our investigators. There was construction going on just outside this guy's apartment so Elder Isobe couldn't hear him. But it was a really good lesson on prayer. Then our time got eaten up at night because we were told by the AP's to go to institute to help out...even though there was no one there. Awkward! I also found my first bathroom where toilet paper is not provided and went to my first Boston Bake 30% off sale. It was a battle zone in there. Everything is 30% off every night after 7:30.

Thur: This day we had the Obaa-chan (older people) lunch which Elder Murdock taught.  It was really cool and we had an investigator there which was nice.  Then we had DKK and institute AGAIN! The only people who were there was the teacher, one sister and us. It was fun and we got fed Boston Bake. I love Boston Bake. And the ward members. Most noteworthy thing though was as we were leaving the teacher Nakajima kyodai told us "Oh Elder's I'm looking forward to feeding you on ___ date. Oh, and I am inviting the mission president.  Bye." Needless to say we are all freaking out about it a little on the inside.

Fri: ZTM which was really good. It was a lot of fun until I made my douki sisters cry (I believe douki sisters means the sisters that were in the MTC and started at the same time as Zach). I had to be the messenger of bad news to them. Then a little after I told them we had pictures which I forgot about.
Whoops. Then I went to an all you can eat Yakiniku place, same one as b4 but because it was lunch it was cheaper. Then a lot of rejection or people not being home. That was no fun, but that's missionary life for you.

Sat: Our Ward Christmas party happened! It was a ton of fun! We had 3 investigators show up. Which was actually 100% of the people we got real commitments out of. We had a play, a bunch of musical performances, Amazing food, and I got to dress up as Santa!

Sun: Church was fun, we went caroling with members, and walked to an investigator who wasn't home.

Love you all,

Elder Harvey

Santa Zach!

Missionaries singing, "Silent Night" in English and Japanese.  Warning - turn up the volume and take dramamine if necessary.

This is the main drag in Sapporo during the different seasons (i.e. winter and not winter).
Elder Harvey lives at the base of the mountains and to the left a bit.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Now I'm waist deep in this....

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN CRAZY! SO much has happened that each day goes by super fast but it feels like it's been weeks since I last emailed. Ok meat and potatoes dake (i.e. "only" or "just" meat and potatoes).

Mon: Went Bowling with the zone, ate all you can eat Yakiniku (grilled meat dishes) and had an awesome lesson with our French investigator at Starbucks.

Tue:  Had our last DTM (district training meeting) where we got our transfer calls and announced them.  (Every 6 weeks the missionaries find out if they are going to transfer to another area and/or if they are going to be assigned to a new companion.  Zach is staying in Sapporo, but is getting a new companion.)  Then we had SUSHI. Then dendo (missionary work), and Eikawa (English class).

Wed: This morning Elder Larson was saying bye to investigators. We made 2 new baptismal dates, and went to the top of Moiwa Ropeway.  (This is a tram just a block from Zach's apartment that takes people to the top of Mount Moiwa.  All the venues for the 1972 Winter Olympic Games are within walking distance of Zach's apartment.  Some are a long walk, but still....)

Thursday: TRANSFERS: We missed Elder Larson's bus by like 2 min. BUT, We had some investigators there to say bye to Elder Larson. Then I stayed with some other Elders while I waited for my new companion to arrive. My NEW COMPANION IS...Elder Isobe!! Elder Maloy's Dad. (A "Dad" refers to a trainer - so Elder Larson was Elder Harvey's "Dad."  Elder Maloy was Elder Harvey's companion in the MTC, so Zach now has his MTC companion's Dad as a companion.  Got that?)  It was hilarious when we got the call because we kept saying I was going to go to Abashiri with Elder Isobe, but he came to me. 

Fri: We did our weekly planning and found 2 new investigators. 

Sat: AHH BLIZZARD! At any given point during this day I was walking on a foot of ice. Oh just so you know we only stop dendo if it seems like we will legitimately die by going outside. We visited a bunch of people, handed out a Chinese Book of Mormon, and "borrowed" someone's shovels to shovel them out, their neighbor out, and our investigator out. We asked (for permission to borrow the shovels) once they got home though. 

Sun: We had an amazing church block. We had an investigator come and had an amazing team up lesson with the young men's class. Then we spent pretty much all day trying to get to a member's house for an AMAZING goach (dinner appointment). At one point I was literally waist deep in snow. We also got stockings which was so nice of them. This family really cares about their missionaries and we could feel that. Not just by gifts, but through the Spirit I felt the strong love they have for us. (In a separate e-mail Zach said they had another blizzard on Sunday and " I don't think I will see the ground for a long time."  It snows there almost every day.) 

Elder Harvey


I can't believe I ate all that.

Japanese bowling and more food

The climate is affecting my complexion

The bottom and top of the Moiwa Ropeway

(I [Zach's dad] had found the Moiwa Ropeway on Google Earth before I even knew where Zach was going to serve, so it was pretty cool when I found out that his apartment and the church were just a block away from the bottom of the tram.  I've been telling him I wanted him to go to the top and take pictures, so in the first video his reference to fulfilling my wish is a direct reference to that.  The view looks over the entire city of Sapporo.  The Olympic venue sites are on the back side of these mountains.  In the second video, Zach and his friends say hello and goodbye.)

An early Christmas with a fantastic family!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Speaking in Japanese, English, and FRENCH!?!?

This week has been absolutely crazy! I have seen so many miracles and I feel a TON of things have happened. First off though, shout out to Sister Harvey out there in France. French people are SO easy to talk to. At least when you are in a foreign country where no one speaks French...  Anyway, onto the details.

Mon: We went to FHE (Family Home Evening) with Keita San as I said before and it was really fun. We played a telephone game where we had to write the word in Katakana (one form or alphabet of the Japanese written language) on the persons back in front of us. The teams' answers were dancer and kuruma (car). The correct answer was actually Santa though. Then Nakatsuka Kaichou (President Nakatsuka is my Mission president) gave us a message on what all the traditional Christmas stuff's meanings. It was really fun!

Tue: Pretty futsu (normal). We had DTM (district training meeting) and then had lunch. Then we went to Takahashi-San (the one who was hospitalized) and found out he has diabetes. Really sad, but I really feel that our visit to him was important. I really feel like he needed our love and friendship in that moment. Then we had our mogie (role playing), dinner, and Eikawa (English class) where Elder Larson got destroyed! He wanted to do raps and the entire class utterly rejected the idea, so we talked about music.

Wed: This day was a roller coaster day! At the beginning of the day no one was home and one fairly new investigator dropped us :(. We were feeling pretty low and had no idea what to do. To quote my companion, "This is the first time since I have been Senior Companion that I have no idea what to do." So we ended up going to the Library. We got inside and turns out the Library part was closed. Now we were even more lost on what to do. We go sit down and start reviewing our area book and sending out texts when all of a sudden we hear this guy speaking French to his family. Elder Larson JUMPED up and went to go talk to him. Turns out he is a professor at the College right next to the temple. His wife is Japanese and she speaks not only French and Japanese, but English as well. Now here's the real crazy part. We had about an hour long conversation just jumping between French Japanese and English. What's even more crazy is that I understood a lot of what was being said, EVEN IN FRENCH! Long story short we talked to them about French stuff, missionary stuff, and other stuff.  We got their phone number to boot! Throughout this week we have been texting them in French. (It's pretty funny that the French speaker keeps asking me how to spell words.) Oh and they invited us over for dinner TONIGHT! I also forgot to mention the wife was in France when they met because she was studying French Cuisine. Now I finally get to see what Sister Harvey gets to eat all the time.

Thur: Planning day! However for the one lesson we did have it was AMAZING! The lesson started out with our investigator, Simon, saying straight up that he did not believe in God at all. We talked for a long time and eventually committed him to pray (again) to know whether or not God was there. We knelt down with him and he said a prayer as preparation for that night. I called him the next day and asked him how it went. He said he felt "odd feelings but they felt good". I explained to him that those feelings was his answer. He took a second and was like yeah it was. He said he now cannot deny that God and Christ exist. Quick shout out to my Dad, your tatoe (parable, example) of the spiritual engine blocks verses pieces of paper to make a phone book played a HUGE role in getting him to pray. Thank you for always teaching me! :)

Fri: This was a day of walking with nobody home. BUT, We saw some miracles for people. Once again we went to Tai-San and right as we got there the Sister's investigator was just lighting up a cigarette. If that timing wasn't a miracle I honestly don't know what is. Heavenly Father is pulling all the stops to help this person stop smoking! We also got to meet Tai-San and gave him a Chinese Book of Mormon. He goes home (to China) in about a week. Other cool thing that happened, we went to go talk to a new investigator and she gave us Black Garlic. Basically garlic you cook for about 2 weeks I think? Anyway tasted weird.

Sat: Another make it or break it lesson. This time it was with Yuasa-San. He told us the day before that this will probably be the last time he will meet with us because he wants to go to a church closer to his house. Luckily we got Yuni-kun (a member) to be a team-up. It turns out he was worried because of all the information on the internet was saying scary stuff that isn't even true. We talked a lot about prayer and getting answers from God. Another long story short, he was at church the next day with his friend. Then right after that lesson we made a video with Yuni-kun which was a lot of fun. The rest of the day was pretty slow.

Sun: Yuasa-San and his friend were the only two who came to church out of our investigators. Zan'nen (too bad). We had invited 6 people.  Though it was really good. We had a member Nishino Kyodai drive them to and from Church. We learned later that Yuasa San had wanted to share his testimony during sacrament meeting. He had shared it with Nishino Kyodai in the car. Then we went out to dendo with a different member and the two people we wanted to visit were not home and sick.
But it was really good because we had a car and didn't waste a lot of time walking to be met with rejection. What's even better though was this member was like who should we go to next. We didn't know so we prayed about it and I felt we should visit Huugo Kuhn who we haven't met in forever and hasn't been responding to us. Well he was home, and it turned out that he wasn't responding because right now is the time for College Entrance Exams, so he was studying hard. When we got there he was like HEY ELDERS! I was just thinking of contacting you guys. We had a short lesson but most important was that we made sure he had interest and didn't drop him. Then we texted the French guy (Cedric) and walked around housing before the Bishop's dinner.

Mon: I'm really excited for today. We are going to a Yakiniku (Japanese bbq) buffet for lunch and we are getting a French goach from a new investigator! To be continued

Love Elder Harvey

Zone conference last month

Saturday, December 3, 2016

I smell like cigarettes

That does not mean, however, that I smoked them. This was just another cool miracle of the Lord's guidance.

Wed: So after emailing and everything we went to dendo (did missionary work). We visited a bunch of referrals but only one was home. We also went to go see Satoshi San. His house is the reason for the subject title. We talked with him for a long time, just sitting in his genkan (entryway/porch), about a lot of things. Interesting fact, he is convinced the second coming will happen 2033. Why - I think it was because he read somewhere that Christ said he was coming back in 2000 years.

Thur: Nothing really happened on the dendo front this day. However, we made an amazing thanksgiving feast! We had purple mashed potatoes, gyoza (Japanese dumplings), and chicken. Then for dessert we had cold mashed sweet potato.  All the while we were watching On The Lord's Errand: The story of President Thomas S. Monson. Great movie by the way. Then we did DKK (weekly planning) and then people kekkoing (saying "no thanks") and dropping us :( Oh but we did walk up to a rich neighborhood and found a history teacher who had a teepee and took a Book of Mormon so he can learn more about Ancient Native Americans.

Fri: This was a fun day! We started off having the Obaa-chan (grandma) lesson at the church. And we had an investigator come! Our lesson was about the atonement. For those of you who remember the doughnut story from general conference a few years ago? (the seminary one where the guy has to do push-ups for people's doughnuts) you will know what I am talking about. It was really good - all the old ladies felt really bad for Elder Murdock. Then we went to a RC (Recent Convert) with Nishino Kyoudai. We felt like we should talk about the word of wisdom with him. It was really cool though because he led us into it talking about healthy food. Then we learned he has been drinking coffee and tea every once in a while. He didn't even remember that it was dame (dah-meh) (not allowed, bad, must not). We committed him to stop drinking it.

Sat: A really sad day where people were not home, did not have time, or dropped us . :( We did however find a new investigator who gave us Oreos.

Sun: Ooguro-San came to church! We taught him the Plan of Salvation right before church and then we had the Primary Program (an annual program where the young Primary children sing and give talks). That was a lot of fun AND I could understand what they said (well when they spoke audibly and didn't mumble their words). Then Ooguro San left and will be back in the Hospital again. Oh that's right he just got released from the Hospital and the first Sunday out he was here. :)  Then we went to visit Satoshi San again. It was a lot of fun but I understood very little. Even Elder Larson did not understand a lot of it. Another interesting fact, he is convinced Jesus loved to drink beer.

Mon: WE WENT TO THE THOUSAND GATE SHRINE. (See pictures below.  You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.)  Time to write a few essays.

 This shrine is just on the other side of the hill where the ski jumps for the 1972 Winter Olympics are located.

 Views of Sapporo from the top of the hill.