Friday, August 18, 2017

Baptisms are the Best!

Last Saturday we were able to attend a father/daughter baptism.  Oh, how sweet it was!  There is nothing better than becoming part of the Savior’s family and making covenants to keep His commandments.

 On Tuesday we had a youth activity at our house. 

Kacie started school this week.  She takes the subway.  It takes her close to an hour to walk to the subway, wait for the blue line, transfer to the orange line and then walk to the school.  She is a trooper!

This week was transfers.  We received 5 new missionaries and sent 9 Elders home.  It was BIG!  It included a lot of training, interviews and meals.

The lady on the left comes to help me with meals during transfer week.  Being the first time, I wasn’t sure how it worked.  I thought that maybe I was just supposed to stay out of her way, but that was not the case.  I am the apprentice in Japanese cuisine.  Language is a little bit of an issue, but she shows me what to do and I do it.

There is a tradition for the departing missionaries to have a fancy Sukiyaki dinner and testimony meeting the night before they leave. 

As of this writing, these 9 elders are on their way home.  Wow, what a week!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Exceedingly Amazed!

Family Outing on the subway to Odori Park.  This is where the Snow Festival takes place in February.

Things have been so busy.  I’m behind!

On Tuesday, July 25th we began a 1,000 mile journey--a triangle--up to the northernmost part of the Island, then down and across to the most eastern tip and back to Sapporo.  We interviewed 38 missionaries along the way and got back home on Saturday evening.  We saw lots of beautiful country—miles upon miles of fields, but even better than that was getting to know 38 of our missionaries better.  “Exceedingly Amazed” is a phrase used a lot in the Book of Mormon.  The more I get to know these young Elders and Sisters, the more amazed I am.  It is astonishing how willing they are to totally consecrate this time in their life to the Lord.  They are beautiful inside and out!

Aren't they cute!

We went to see this apartment of 4 elders late one evening.  They were on splits, so there were 6 staying the night.  There was a sweet, powerful feeling that we felt here. The Spirit was strong!  How blessed we are to work with such faithful servants and witnesses of Christ.

There were 3 quick sightseeing stops that we dashed out of the car to take pictures of.  Here they are:

Yes, you really could see Russia from here.

Yes, this really is Japan.  We were in cow country.

The picture doesn't do justice to the beauty of this spot.

Kacie became a missionary with a badge for 3 days.  One of our Sisters needed a companion for a few days and Kacie was able to fill the role.  She slept on a futon, rode a bike and thoroughly enjoyed her wonderful companion.

We have a once a month Family Home Evening Activity at our home where missionaries bring their investigators.  We had a full house--80+ people!

This is a tradition in the mission--to "pie" a missionary before they go home.

Our Amazing Assistants!

Zone Conferences are fun!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ma-ku-ru---ah or How to Say Our Name in Japanese

I thought that it would be fun to show our name tags.  The Japanese say things backwards, so it’s “McClure President”.  The first 5 symbols are Katakana for Ma-ku-ru---ah.  The Kanji (or more detailed symbols) say President or Kaicho as they call him here.
If I counted right, we did 35 interviews this week.  They were close, so we didn’t spend much time traveling, but hour upon hour sitting in interviews.  These initial interviews are L-O-N-G!!  But it is fun to get to know each one.  Russ interviews one missionary, while I visit with their companion.
 Here’s some pictures of our happy missionaries:

On Saturday afternoon our ward had a ward party--A Summer Festival.  It was pretty great.  First they had food—LOTS!  Then they had a little talent show followed by MORE FOOD!!  They dressed me in a yukata (an informal summer kimono) and ended with a little traditional Japanese dance.  

This was just interesting--kind of like a rain gutter regatta.  Water went down the tubes with noodles.  You caught the noodles with chopsticks and ate them.  As would be expected, the young boys were mostly eating here.

Sister Von Forell (also in black) is our Office Secretary

My kind of party!

Finally, here are two amazing links--videos of the Sapporo Temple.  The first is almost 4 minutes and shows pictures of the inside of the temple.  The 2nd is longer (10 1/2 minutes) and explains the symbolism used in the architecture.  I recommend both!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Temple, Toll Roads, Tunnels and Trees

This week the highlight was going inside the Sapporo Temple.  I have walked around it each day since coming, but on Wednesday we got to do a session along with 8 of our Sister Missionaries.  What a treat!!  Heaven on earth for sure!  How we love living in the shadow of The House of the Lord!
The chocolate factory


On Monday, Kacie and I were able to go with 6 Sisters to a chocolate factory for their Preparation Day Activity.  It was really fun.  The grounds were beautiful—kind of a Disneyland feel.  Very enjoyable.
Lots of Driving!

On Thursday we began the first round of interviews.  We drove to the southern-most point of the Island, Hakodate, interviewing 10 missionaries in 3 different cities.  We also got to see their apartments.  Two days of driving on toll roads, surrounded by lots of greenery, and MANY tunnels.  We are so impressed with our missionaries!  They are working hard and just are generally delightful!

Yes, KFC and McDonalds are big here.

The last T topic is toilets.  Japanese toilets are pretty fancy.  You walk in the room and the lid opens and the seat is warm.  There are all kinds of buttons which I haven’t tried.  They've come a long way from squattie potties, though you can still find those too. 


Sunday, July 9, 2017

We're Here!

All went well with our flight--Salt Lake to LA, LA to Tokyo, Tokyo to Sapporo.

Briefly met with outgoing President & Sister Nakatsuka before they left for the airport.

Our two Mission Assistants (Elders Akamatsu and Takamasa) who have chauffeured, translated, and basically carried us for the past 8 days.

We’ve had a great first week.  We arrived on Friday evening, June 30th.  Saturday evening a 5.2 earthquake shook me awake.  What a way to begin!

Our goal for the week was to meet each of our 102 missionaries.  We were in the car a lot driving to 4 different “Meet the President” meetings.  We were so impressed with each Zone as we met with them—such valiant missionaries!

On Thursday, July 6th we celebrated our 38th anniversary!! 
Russ has been sick with bronchitis, but like the Energizer Bunny, he has kept “going and going”.
Our Mission Motto is “To Become”:
Obedience is the Price
Faith is the Power
Love is the Motive
Spirit is the Key
Christ is the Reason
Joy is the Reward

Friday night we had training for new leaders and then Saturday from 9-3 was Missionary Leadership Council.  Today we spoke in church.  Needless to say, it has been a busy week!  We have been warmly welcomed and though I would normally be stressed to the max, I have felt a lot of peace.  Truly, this is God’s work and he is strengthening us.  Russ drove for the first time last night.  (Remember this is Japan—the steering wheel is on the right and they drive on the other side of the road—SCARY!!)  He did a great job getting us safely to church today.
Thank you for your prayers and love.
Here’s a few more pictures of our wonderful missionaries:

Missionary Leadership Council
Family Time - Saturday Night!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Spiritual Feast

The past 4 days of training at the MTC have been incredible.  We have walked the halls with, eaten our meals with and been taught by Prophets, Apostles, Seventies and the General Officers of the Church.  This IS the True and Living Church!!  Hurrah for Israel!

Baptisms are the Best!

Last Saturday we were able to attend a father/daughter baptism.   Oh, how sweet it was!   There is nothing better than becoming part of...