Sunday, September 24, 2017

Earthquakes, Missiles and a Typhoon


Yes, we’ve been here only 11 weeks and have experienced these 3 things.  We’ve had two earthquakes, two early morning emergency alerts that a North Korean missile was flying over our Island and last Monday Kacie’s school was cancelled for a typhoon.  We are safe and well—and feeling very blessed as we realize that other areas have had terrible tragedies.
We’ve been busy doing regular mission stuff, but have found a few hours the past two Saturdays to have a family outing.  Last week, we decided to enjoy a bike ride and headed down the path right next to our house.  We were surprised that after only a few kilometers we were out of the city and in beautiful mountain terrain.  We loved our time together and enjoyed being out in nature.  

Yesterday, we visited a famous shrine.  There was a children's kendo tournament going on that we got to walk through and experience which was interesting.  Also there was a celebration day when 3,5, and 7 year-old children visit their shrine called Shichi-Go-San.  Families were coming and going and we loved seeing all the children dressed up for this special event.  The Japanese love to celebrate!!

It is always fascinating to learn about other religions.  This sign is posted beside a cleansing area outside of the Shinto Shrine.  We, too, believe that the purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to cleanse us of our sins so that we can live happy lives now and be clean and receive the Savior’s mercy at the day of judgement.  We, too, come before Deity--humbly communicating with our Heavenly Father to receive help to make our way back to Him.  We, too, try to walk beside our Savior down the straight and narrow path by following His example and keeping His commandments.  These truly are the Last Days!  May we all prepare by connecting with Heaven.
This meal is our all-time favorite—gyoza and curry rice!  YUM!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Be Ambitious for Christ!

On Labor Day we had a fun outing to visit the famous statue of Dr. Clark who introduced modern agricultural techniques and Christianity to Sapporo in 1876.  He is known for his admonition to his students, “Boys, be ambitious!”—“Be ambitious for Christ.”  Our dear friend, Elder Yamashita, spoke of this statue in General Conference a year ago and we were excited to see it. 
Here is the link to the talk:

Kacie, being a former Fort Collins High School “Lambkin”, liked the sheep even better than the statue.

Later in the week our mission was visited by our new Area President, Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy and Sister Gay.  We brought all our missionaries in for two big zone conferences.  Elder Gay has vision and will help us to fulfill a modern day prophecy of dramatic growth to take place in Japan.  We are grateful for his insight and guidance.

          Zone Conference lunch.  The Sister on the front left was in Riley’s BYUI ward last winter.

Our Fearless Assistant!  Got to love missionaries!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

All of our pictures this week seemed to be of food, so that will be our theme.

I LOVE to eat!!  I love that our bodies need constant nourishment and I enjoy every bite.

                              Lunch together after District Training Meeting in Kotoni

         The Assistants and Office Elders have been telling us about this place that serves sushi for $1 (100 Yen)  a plate and we finally got to try it.

                       The best part is that the food is delivered to the table by Shinkansen (bullet train)!

      This shows the sushi and how you pay by how many plates you have stacked up in front of you.

Russ traveled 6 hours with his counselor to be at the Branch Conference for a sweet group of saints in far away Nemuro.  After their church service, and before heading back home, they enjoyed a curry-                                                                   rice lunch together.

Just like our bodies, our spirits need constant nourishment.  Jesus Christ is “The Bread of Life”.  We put Him into our life when we pray, read the scriptures, go to church and keep His commandments.  So let's dig in and give ourselves a spiritual feast!!

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!

Earthquakes, Missiles and a Typhoon

  Yes, we’ve been here only 11 weeks and have experienced these 3 things.   We’ve had two earthquakes, two early morning emergency a...