Monday, February 6, 2012

2-3-2012 Email: 50th Anniversary of Missionary Training!

Hello Everyone!

I feel really lucky to have been able to be here in the MTC this week, because it just happened to be the 50th anniversary celebration of missionary training! (meaning the MTC and the couple of language training places before it) Apparently on December 4, 1961 the first missionaries recieved language training before going to their missions in Argentina and Mexico. There have been missionaries since the beginning of the church, which was way before that of course, but until 50 years ago missionaries would go directly to their missions and have to figure out the language and everything there! That would only be slightly terrifying... I am very grateful for the MTC haha. Oh another cool MTC fact: apparently in 2007 the one millionth missionary entered the Provo MTC. That is a lot.

So the actual celebration was on Tuesday evening, and there was a lot of build up for it and speculation about who would speak. We ended up getting to hear from Elder Russell M. Nelson (for the second time since we're been here. Cool, huh?) and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who are both from the Qurom of the 12 Apostles so it was really awesome. Funny note, before they started talking Elder Nelson had them announce the then current results of the presidential primary in Florida. So I'm sure that means that it's ok for us to receive the occasional presidential election update (hint, hint).

There were a lot of extra visitors for the event so it was actually kind of hard to get seats in the gym, but luckily our Branch President had suggested joining the choir a few weeks ago, and if you're in the choir you automatically get seats... so that worked out really nice! It was a lot less stressful. I'm sure being in the overflow would have still been cool, but it's way more awesome to be in the same room as Apostles! Win. Elder Holland only spoke for a few minutes and then Elder Nelsen gave the main talk. They both focused on the legacy of missionary work in the church, and it was really inspiring.

Elder Holland said that we had stepped into history that night, and then said that we are obligated to honor the history of missionary work in the church. He said we are not perfect, but that we should do our best and stand tall and true like the missionaries who have come before us and will come after us. And then Elder Nelson shared some stories about some of the really awesome missionaries who have come before us and how much happiness they were able to spead to others and just the importance of the Book of Mormon and the wonderful influence it can have on other people's lives (another fun fact: The Book of Mormon is now available in 107 languages). After that he asked us to join him in a prayer to rededicate five buildings on the MTC campus that have recently been rennovated, and it was a really neat experience that I am sure I will always remember. I'll definitely remember the whole night, because it was a real treat and a great event to make us even more excited about being able to be missionaries right now. Yay!

The other big news for the week is that our Senpai (we call the Japanese missionaries who have been in the MTC longer Senpai) and the Nihonjin left for Japan! It was so sad and so exciting at the same time. We had a lot of fun taking picures with the Nihonjin the night before and such, but it's so weird not to see them around all of the time now! The classroom area seems so empty. But it was also so exciting because that means that we're even closer to being able to go to Japan ourselves! We've officially reached the halfway mark. And it's also really cool to think that the next time we see some of our Senpai will be when we are both in Japan together... I'm sure they are already doing an awesome job of being missionaries over there because they are really cool.

But it is also weird because usually the new Kohai (Japanese missionaries who have been here less time) would get here next Wednesday, but this time there won't be any new ones until February 22nd! We're going to be so lonely. Plus, being a Senpai sounds like fun because the Kohai think you know everything. Apparently what is happening is that the next group of Japanese missionaries is going to be a pilot group of sorts, to see if it works to learn Japanese in 10 weeks instead of 12. That will be interesting. It'd be cool to get out in the field sooner, but I think I will enjoy having a little extra time to improve my language skills...

Um, not much else has happened. As an update to last week's medically crazy blog entry, physical therapy has been helping Northrop Shimai's knee a lot. There's still a long way to go of course, but it is so wonderful because it is helping a lot! And we get to take nice little field trips off campus three times a week, which helps with my claustrophobia...

Well, I'm out of time but I love you all! And thanks so much again for all of your letters! You rock.

Crofts Shimai

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