Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Captain's Log, Star Date....

Hey everyone!!! This has been a super busy week. We met with quite a few of our investigators, said bye to the Inaba's (missionary couple) officially, did a lot of Eikaiwa (English classes), and a lot more! I also had splits with my DL (district leader), it was super fun and we found some awesome new investigators. I also met with a bunch of NA's (not sure what this means) this week and they were all SUPER hard to understand.

Over all this week has been really good and I have learned a lot this week. Sorry, not a whole lot of time this week but know that I love all of you and look forward to your letters!

Love Elder Harvey

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Farewells ;( (2/20/17)

So this week we heard that the Inaba's (the senior missionary couple here in Iwamizawa) will be going home this Wednesday to help their family. So a lot has happened this week very quickly.

Tue: We had a lesson with a member's friend at the church and a lesson with someone we found in our phone. He requested a Book of Mormon from us so we went to his house and met his family and explained the divine purpose of the book.

Wednesday: We had to go to Asahikawa for interviews with our mission president. It was a great interview from which I learned a lot. It was also really fun to be together with everyone from the whole zone.

Thursday: We had our zone conference which was great. I learned a lot about the atonement and life after death. We also met with an investigator this night and had PIZZA HUT! He gochi-ed us (had a dinner appointment/fed us) and we met his girlfriend for the first time. We had a really good lesson on prayer with them. (P.S. A large pizza here is about medium size or smaller, and is 30 bucks. This day everything was half off but he still bought 3 pizza's! Awesome guy)

Fri/sat: I got sick from zone conference so I was out all day both days. Only dendoed a little on Saturday

Sun: This was a very sad day. This was the last Sunday together with the Inaba couple. They both talked in sacrament meeting and everyone was in tears from Inaba shimai's talk. We also held a really big party for them at the end of church. Of course really sad. Elder Inaba played the weird Japanese flute for everyone, we took a bunch of pictures and somehow I was sucked into the Inaba's pictures so it was just a picture of us 3. We also had a lesson after church with the guy from Thursday. He wanted to come to church but he had work. :(

aaaand I'm out of time

Love you All

Elder Harvey

(Elder Harvey at his zone conference - top center)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Emergency Transfer!?! (2/13/17)

This has been a very interesting week. A lot has happened in the past few days so I will do my best to give as much information as I can.

Tue: We had DTM (District Training Meeting) in Ebetsu (in between Iwamizawa and Sapporo). It was my first time going there and it was a blast. We then returned and dendoed. This night we were calling people and making appointments for the week and such, when suddenly right after we end a phone call the APs (Assistants to the President - two missionaries that help the mission president run the mission) call us. We were slightly confused. It turns out the phone call was to inform us that Elder Morse was going to be emergency transferred down to Kushiro. I was going to receive a new companion Elder Yamaoka. We were told that they would find a bus for Elder Morse and he should start packing. We then, in our shock and disbelief, made some phone calls and then started packing. By the time we finished it was 12:30 :S

Wed: We woke up earlier, went to the church for some business and also made more phone calls. We were at the train station by 10:00. I saw Elder Morse off and then had to go on splits with the Inaba's (a senior missionary couple in the area). We ended splitting with just me and Elder Inaba going to the Library and then back to their apartment. Sister Inaba made us an amazing lunch and I continued to make phone calls. We picked up Elder Yamaoka and then had kid's Eikawa (English class). We also attended the Branch presidency meeting.

Elder Yamaoka is a Nihonjin (native Japanese). Right now he is at transfer 16 and has 5 weeks left in his mission. He was the AP when I first arrived in Japan. His family is 3 people - him and his parents. We have a lot of the same hobbies. He was enrolled in the 5th best college in Japan. He likes tennis. He is also really good at English.

Thursday: We did our weekly planning, got to know each other, and had Eikawa. We had a new person come who found our Eikaiwa through looking online and finding the site. We then had a lesson with Masaki San after Eikaiwa.

Friday: We finished our planning and making phone calls and then went to Ebetsu again for splits. I was with Elder Uerano who is a transfer 2 missionary. He's Canadian. We stopped some really interesting people who might have been a little out of it....

Saturday: We still had splits this day and I got to know Elder Uerano pretty well. He's a really fun guy and we had a blast dendoing together. Then around 5 o'clock we headed back to Iwamizawa. We had another lesson with Masaki San. I also destroyed them in billiards.

Sun: A lot of people were surprised that Elder Morse suddenly left. They all got to know him super well as he was here for 3 and 1/2 transfers. Everyone loved Elder Yamaoka through. Also an old investigator of about 16 years ago suddenly decided this day that he wanted to come to church and showed up half way through sacrament meeting. He stayed all 3 hours and gave us his phone number. We then went on our way to a less active member because it was his birthday.  We were able to get a return appointment doing "Mogi (role playing) lessons".  Hopefully we will be able to reactivate him! Then we did more phone dendo and found some more people. I also found a referral for Ebetsu sisters. :3

Mon: I got a haircut. Japanese barber shops are legit. They not only cut your hair but also shave you, trim your nose, trim your ears, wash your hair, and style it for you. It was also pretty cheap for how well of a job and all the things they do.

All right out of time
Love you all,

Elder Harvey

They say that it snows more in Iwamizawa than anywhere in Hokkaido (an average of 25 feet of snow per year, which is about 6 more feet of snow than Sapporo gets and 3 times more than the Buffalo/Rochester, NY area, the snowiest places in the US).  Sapporo is the snowiest city on earth, but Iwamizawa is not a "city."

The church in Iwamizawa

Friday, February 10, 2017

It Aperated (2/5/17)

It Aperated (2/5/17)

This was my first full week dendoing in Iwamizawa! It has been a lot of knocking on doors and a lot of "bukkyo dakara"s (very common rejection sentence which literally translated means "It's because I'm Buddhist..."), but it has also been a week full of MIRACLES!!! I also got to meet another one of our strong investigators :) We teach her kids English and do primary lessons with them and on other days we visit her in her genkan (entry way or porch) and talk with her about various things and the Gospel. Until I came to Iwamizawa I never thought I would have so many Japanese parents. XD  Really though, the members take such good care of us, the Inaba's (Senior Missionary couple) help us out so much, and our investigators too help us out so much! This investigator pretty much acts like our mom. Anyway it would be easier if I did a play by play for this week. Just like how the Pats are going to have play by plays on how they destroy the Falcons. >:)

Tue: We had our Zone Conference down in Asahikawa!  (About 103 kilometers or 63 miles away.  It is surrounded by mountains and holds the record for coldest temperature in Japanese history at -41.8 degrees F.)  The day before we had our zone activity too where we played a bunch of games and did a lot of Japanese culture stuff like calligraphy and throwing beans at an oni.  (See http://www.omniglot.com/language/articles/japanesebeanthrowing.htm for reference.)  The ZC was really good and I learned a lot from it. I even got judged on my nails (I passed (D u D) ). Then we got some famous onigiri (rice balls of various types) which were delicious! Best one though was the zange (type of fried chicken) mayo onigiri. Then we took the long train ride back, but we had a whole train car with just our district. People are scared of us when they see more than 3 white people together X). OH, though we saw like 5 other white people at a train stop on the opposite track and even we were a bit nervous X). Going back to America is going to be very frightening.

Wed: This was the day when I first met that mom like investigator, Katayama-San. We had a really good time talking to her. We also had children's Eikawa (English class) with the Branch President's (Miyazaki Kaichou) kids.  It was a lot of fun and it started off English then turned into Morse Choro showing the kids pictures and videos, while I showed  Miyazaki shimai pictures of my family and showed her and Inaba Choro family history stuff. We also did a lot of finding.

Thursday: This day I wasn't feeling too well so I took a nap, we did DKK (companion planning meeting) and then Eikawa (English class). Our Eikawa class was a ton of fun, and we talked about our goals in life. We also talked about if we had to live in a foreign country where would you live. I chose Iceland but to my surprise NO ONE had heard of the country before! That was a fun conversation. I also made a new life goal to make 1 friend in every country in the world! That would be awesome if I could achieve that
dream. :)

Fri: This was a busy yet fun day. We had a lesson with the Miyoshi's which went really well. We shared with them some promises that came from 3rd Nephi and explained what the sacrament was. We also committed them to come to church on the 12th! We also got some flowers from them. (They are flower farmers). We then took the hour long car ride back and headed to the Katayamas for MORE EIKAWA! Yup, we do Eikawa 3 days in a row. Their’s though, is the free family English program for their 7 year old and 10 year old daughters, so we taught them English (more like I was quizzed on kanji ;S ).

Sat: Lot's of finding. We found one guy who we shared a slightly shortened version of the first lesson. We also had lunch at Makudonorudzu.  (McDonald’s).  I swear this may be the one word I will never be able to say in Japanese.  (Interesting side note, it is the most often repeated Japanese word by Harvey Choro’s dad)

Sun: None of our investigators came to church but I was able to meet more members. :)  We also had dinner with the Inaba's with our investigator Masaki-san. We read 1st Nephi 3 and 4 explaining to him how the Lord prepares a way for his work to be done and relating that to his life and relying on the Lord. It was an amazing lesson and he opened up a lot to us regarding his life. Then on our way home right before we parted he suddenly stopped and told us to stop. He reached down into the snow and picked up Inaba Choro's name tag which he had lost last Friday on his way back from the Katayama's, at least 2 miles away from where he could have lost it. It was undamaged and had very little snow on it. It either was picked up by a wizard who aperated it or that was the hand of God in teaching us a lesson. We were so surprised and explained to him the circumstances regarding how it was lost and how Inaba Choro had been praying to find it. We then related that back to the lesson we just had and felt the spirit SO strongly. The Lord truly prepared all of that to testify to Masaki-San of the truthfulness of our message.

Love you all and I hope you can all find the miracles in your lives!!
Elder Harvey

The Kanji I wrote were n Sword pronounced Ha   ”ü‚µ‚¢ and beautiful here pronounced bi. I wrote my name HaBi :)

House Arrest (1/30/17)

House Arrest (1/30/17)

So this week Elder Morse and I were pretty much on house arrest the whole time. The doctors told us on Monday that we were not allowed to leave the apartment until Saturday. Soooo, that was interesting. We watched a lot of church videos and studied the scriptures a bunch, studied Japanese, and everything else we could think of. We called all of our investigators pretty much every day and couldn't call old investigators because the entire area book was called 3 transfers ago.

:( To get over my intense boredom after hours upon hours of reading I finally broke and started to make a story.  Anyway that was a fun yet very unfun time. The only upside was when the wind was howling inside our apartment we were glad we were not outside. (But the feeling of dread came that February is going to be a monster of a winter.) So for those who haven't heard I transferred to Iwamizawa. Pretty much the center of the island. It pretty much has the feel that I am in Rexburg Idaho. In the middle of nowhere and really cold. I was pretty sad that I was leaving Moiwa (and the city) but excited to see what the rest of the island was like. It was really sad saying bye to investigators and church members, but more so saying bye to my apartment mates. Anyway my new companion is Elder MORSE. He is from North Carolina, and is a baller! I got to say West does not = best. East is best! After being in the apartment for so long I got to know him pretty well.

Saturday on, though, things actually happened. We had our mission tour which was awesome! No the tour was not on the new schedule but on subjects Nakatsuka Kaichou, Nakatsuka Shimai, and Yamashita Choro and shimai prayed about (the mission conference had President and Sister Nakatsuka, with Elder and Sister Yamashita visiting as the presiding authorty). We also had a really awesome lunch made by the Kotoni Ward members. I felt like I was at a restaurant. We had butadon (buta is pork and a don is....) and the side was arranged really fancily. AND they fed us all ice cream. They are so awesome! Then we went back to the apartment to finish our house arrest.

Sunday was also really awesome. My new area is a branch. With about 25 members. Everyone here is super awesome. They are all really nice and give us a HUGE fruits basket. We also had an investigator come to church for the first time!!!!!! He's a really cool guy about 23 years old. He was deeply impressed and strongly felt the spirit at church.  We also got to dendo for the first time this week!!! Felt so liberating...and cold but the good outweighs the bad! :)

Ok my time is out!

Elder Harvey

Mission tour meeting (Zach is in center top row - click to enlarge)

Transfers/No Time (1/22/17)

Transfers/No Time (1/22/17)

We have a sick missionary on board, not me.  I'll put in this week’s stuff next week maybe if I'm not sick.

I transferred to Iwamizawa. It's an awesome place. My comp got influenza so we are dealing with that today so I don't have much time today.

Love you all
Harvey Choro

(Note:  Iwamizawa is only about 25 miles (about an hour train ride) from Sapporo, but it is a very different place.  Instead of nearly 2 million people with a density of about 4,400 persons per square mile like Sapporo, Iwamizawa has about 90,000 people and about 100 persons per square mile.)

Splits, Schedules, Baptism, and Miracles! (1/15/17)

Splits, Schedules, Baptism, and Miracles! (1/15/17)

It's weird to think that this week is the half a year mark since I have been a missionary. Time truly does fly! Ok too much has happened this week but I will do my best. :S

Mon: Ok last Monday I didn't have time to explain, but now I might. So in the morning for P-day we had a Mochitsuki as a ward. Basically a mochi (pounded rice) party which a few investigators came to and it was super fun. I even got to pound some mochi. Then we had a zone activity which was a snowball fight. Also really fun! Though my team lost all of our games....;(

Tue: ZTM! (Zone Training Meeting).  Crazy things are about to go down! We had an awesome ZTM where (since my companion is the District Leader for our area) Elder Isobe and I got to mogi (role play) with the Kotoni (another Ward in Japan) Bishop. We also had 3 seconds to prepare a lesson on prayer that had to be completely done in 5 minutes. Stressful to say the least. BUT, more importantly OUR SCHEDULE IS CHANGING! It looks super strict and honestly, almost impossible to follow. I'm pretty sure our schedule isn't the only thing changing though, *cough cough*

Wed: We had planned to dendo with a kind of less active member this day but he was a no show. ;( Instead it turned into just a DKK (Doryo (companion) Keikaku (plan(ing)) Kai (meeting)). And then we had to head over to Kotoni to start some splits! I stayed in Moiwa but with our Japanese Zone Leader. He used to be (or still is?) the best swimmer in Japan. This night we also learned why he came to Moiwa. As soon as we all got into bed the fire alarm went off. As we surveyed the building we noticed there was no actual fire and we found where the box was.  Elder Akamatsu instantly figured out how to turn off the alarm (which none of the residents knew how to do) and took control of the situation. It turned out this problem has happened a few times before here so he settled everything down, we went outside and checked all the windows finding nothing, and then returned to bed.

Thur: This was a really fun but really slow day. The only people Elder Akamatsu and I met was a member family who haven't been coming to church recently. We spent an hour or so just talking with the mother and being her friend. At the end we shared a spiritual message and went on our way. We then walked all over the city and up a hill over to grandmothers house we went. But still no cookies waiting for us at the end. We did however get to slide down a steep staircase that turned into a sledding hill. We had a lot of fun talking about random things. It turns out his favorite Japanese band is also my favorite Japanese band. I was the first gaijin (foreigner) he met that knew this band too.  Then we ate and went back from splits.

Fri: Another day of splits! This time I was not in my area. Instead I was with Elder Murdock in his area. We went up this huge hill where at the top of it is a famous ski resort. Just below it however are all these houses we housed. We spent the entire day housing but with no luck. To treat ourselves after this long day we went to get SUSHI! We decided to get a few of the expensive plates and split them. I got to try a bunch of new foods such as, fatty tuna, Ikura (fish eggs), uni (sea urchin), and kujira (whale). Of course we ate more than just this but these were the noteworthy ones :3

Sat: So the Sisters’ investigator got BAPTIZED! And also she wanted me to do it! Weird thing about Baptisms in Japan is that the first part is held in the chapel and the person being baptized with the person baptizing sit on the stand. Also when the person isn't in the chapel everyone just sings random hymns until they come back. Also it was really weird trying to explain exactly how one is baptized such as hold onto my left wrist and you need to be completely immersed, in Japanese. Her hand didn't go under the first time but I did it right the second time.

Sun: She got confirmed as a member! Also a member's heart stopped beating after sacrament meeting. Everything was in a blur but I just remember I was holding his legs and he came back to life. He then was picked up by an ambulance. It was honestly a miracle he was at church and some one noticed otherwise he would have died. Ambulances in Japan suck and they move really slowly down the road. We also met a former investigator at the eki (train station), passed an investigator to the sisters, got dropped by an investigator, and a potential investigator became a real investigator and we got his phone number!

All in all this week has been WAY CRAZY! Love you all and I hope you all see miracles!

Elder Harvey

P.S.  Also the "cough cough" (on the Tuesday summary) was about how there will most likely be a new PMG (Preach My Gospel) coming out. BE EXCITED! They will probably announce it around the 21st or something. We have a mission conference on the 24/25 depending on where you are in this mission so it will be announced around then if it's happening! Look forward to next week’s email SPLITS

AI SHITERU (love ya/I love you)

The legit frozen of the chosen


Zone picture

Shrine Week (1/9/17)

Shrine Week (1/9/17)

Hey everyone! This week has passed by in the blink of an eye. I also don't have much time so I will be brief :S

Tue: To end our Pday this day we went to the Largest Shrine in Hokkaido! It was awesome to see the hundreds of people there and all the stalls and stuff. It was probably the first time I really felt I was in Japan.

Wed: Nothing too interesting happened that I can really say. We met with some investigators and had some interesting talks.

Thur: We had our weekly planning session at a place called Victoria's.  We just got the drink bar and were there for about 3 hours. I think I had about 24 packets of cream because of all the Hot cocoa I drank :3

Fri: This day we went to Kotoni with a member who we are worried about. We played some soccer and I still have bruises on my legs. (Now I understand how Elder Perry feels. Japanese people are also pretty good at soccer.) Then we played some baseball until we destroyed the ball. And finished with basketball. All in all it was really fun.

Sat: Noteworthy thing of this day was I did the Ou-Sama (king) challenge at sukiya. I lost with about 2-3 bites left. Then we dendoed and during that night we looked for places for our zone activity. We found a place where the snow was a bit deeper than my waist.

Sun: A lot of interesting things happened but I'm out of time. ;(

Love you all,
Elder Harvey

This is udon at a cheap udon place.

Ou-Sama Challenge!

Visiting the shrine

Snow ball fight!

Go pound rice!!

Shogatsu & Miracle week! (1/3/17)

Shogatsu & Miracle week!  (1/3/17)

SO much has happened since last Wednesday it's kinda hard to believe.  Anyway this week has been shogatsu week (New Year) so a lot of special things happened this week that only happen around this time. Shogatsu is by far the biggest holiday here in Japan. Ok here's the lay out.

Thur: So this day I had splits with Elder Fullbright. We started off the day by going to the church to help the ward with church Ward Cleaning Day which was pretty fun. Then we went and ate sushi! It was Elder Fullbright's first time. Then we went to visit investigators but no one was home. As we started making our way back to the church to finish our studies *BOOM* miracle. The investigator whom we just happened to run into on the train the day before walks right in front of us. To say the least I was amazingly surprised. It turns out he was just on his way to the store so he could buy some pizza sauce. We talked with him for a while, helped a taxi driver get unstuck, and then taught an amazing lesson. Eventually we had to say farewell, but not before making a return appointment. I was not going to let this miracle go to waste. Then we went back and did some home teaching with a member. We went to the Stake President's house, I shared a spiritual thought and their son ran back inside to grab me some chocolate.

Fri: Our last day to dendo! We went to go visit some people but no one was home in the morning. :( BUT, we visited a family that is struggling right now which was good! (That we were able to visit – not that they were struggling.)  Then we visited Keita-San and taught him a lesson. Then we had to jog/slide down a mountain to get to a goach (dinner appointment) with a member. It was really fun! She is the ward missionary so she also invited our dendo shunin (ward mission leader).  We had a great akashikai (testimony meeting) and the sisters got a referral! :) On the way back home we found a guy super drunk who had fallen into the snow. We helped get him back up and tried to offer our help but after I took his hand he just pushed me away. ;(

Sat: So this was the start of Shogatsu week. This day we were not allowed to proselyte at all. Instead it was designated as apartment cleaning day. Though we spent most of the day at 2 member family's houses. During Shogatsu there is no 1 hour time limit for goach's so that's why it took pretty much our whole day because the members knew and wanted to play games with us. We went to the Mabuchi kazoku (family) first where we ate mabudofu and Kara age (a tofu dish and fried chicken nuggets) Then they brought in a bunch of bags and were like "ok we are playing bingo to get presents." It was really fun. Then we went to the Domon kazoku. They had a bunch of traditional food. Surprisingly enough it was the first time I ate squid and octopus in Japan. We also talked a lot about how their daughter got engaged with our mission president's son.

Sun: We had Church as normal but the Stake decided to change fast Sunday till next week. It was really cool though because a lot of older women were wearing kimonos because it was Shogatsu. We also went to the Koyama family again! They are so awesome! Any family who feeds you on Christmas and New Year's Day is amazing! They made homemade sushi, chicken, and other amazing foods. Then we played some games with them at the end.

Mon: We got fed by Tando Shimai, again! She gave us a ton of mochi (rice cake of varying kinds) which was super good! The best type was the cheese mocha.  Which is funny because it started off as a joke by Elder Murdock. I don't know what kind of cheese she used but it was delicious! Then Elder Isobe and I shared the spiritual message. It was amazing to find out during this lesson about how specific it was to her needs. Then we walked around for a while and then headed to the Bishop's house for another goach. It was delicious as usual. The bishop's wife made something I probably will never have again. She made pizza gyoza (Japanese dumpling)! It was awesome!  Then we played a traditional Japanese game which was really fun. Oh also this day was designated as Morumon Sho (Book of Mormon day)

Tue: TODAY,  This day is all day p-day! We went to Funajima kazoku today which was really fun! We played various games and ate professional desserts made by their patisserie daughter. PICTURES

Love You all

Elder Harvey

(Clicking on pictures will enlarge them.)

Merry Christmas (12/28/16)

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! This has been a week full of Christmas miracles! We met with a lot of members this week because around this holiday season Japanese people love to feed the missionaries. Starting Saturday 31st there is something called shogatsu. Basically New Year's Day is a HUGE holiday in Japan. It lasts generally until the 3rd of January. We have done a lot of snow shoveling, unburied a rabbit house, taken a LOT of buses and done a lot of walking. The member's here are amazing people. It feels like we are going from party to party because members invite their friends to these meals (non-members and members). We just had a meal where there were 18 of us. Luckily I had the spiritual message by myself so it was an amazing lesson.  Luckily my Japanese has improved and I made a funny play on words. :)

This Sunday was a lot of fun, I got to Skype my family and the mission president was at our sacrament meeting. His son got engaged to one of the Ward members here in Moiwa. We also had temple p-day today! Also a really cool miracle happened on the way back! The French investigator me and Elder Larson found has kinda dropped off the face of the Earth. BUT, on the stop right before ours he got on the Chikatetsu so I was able to talk to him for a little bit and introduce him to Elder Isobe. Christmas miracles truly exist!  Another Christmas miracle was that for lunch today we went to the best Hamburger place on the entire Island, Jacksonville! I'll let the pictures do the talking. Though it was really expensive....2330 (0.O) Totally worth it though X).  We went as a big group.