Hi there all my murder to mission followers.
Just finished the midway point of the week. Yay! Great MTC adventure. We've made new friends, met people from all over the country and even enjoyed the company of the Nish's--a couple from Joburg (that's the affectionate name of Johannesburg) South Africa who are being sent to serve in the Solomon Islands. How cool is that? And if that's not enough, one of our RM teachers served his mission in Joburg just 2 years ago. His wife (before she was his wife) also served in...I'm gonna say Ghana...but don't quote me... and they loved Africa so deeply they actually honeymooned in the Kruger National Park which is in South Africa. Thanks to those new friends we have learned lots about South Africa including where to grocery shop. I'm feeling like a local.
So, maybe not that much but I'm beginning to feel at home and we haven't even left Utah.
Learned a lot so far. Have had some good laughs and even shed a tear of two. Learned something super interesting on Monday. In the afternoon, each companionship (husband and wife/Elder & Sister) had to stand and tell where we were from, where we were going and what kind of mission we were called to serve. Towards, the end of the 50 introductions, a woman stood to utter her answers and said they were going to "Danville, Ohio, to teach school." Of course a few eyebrows knitted together in that universal "huh?" face so she was asked to tell the story behind her and her husband's unusual assignment. So here it goes.
Several years ago... about three... an Amish man in Danville, Ohio, was given a Book of Mormon. He was very interested in learning about these really strange Mormon neighbors so he secretly read it. He instantly believed it to be the word of God but he knew he and his family would be shunned by his community if he were to even mention that he was reading such a book. So, he told his wife and together they read the book and shared it with their two trusted friends knowing that if they were going to be shunned then at least their friends would know why. Well, the other families became converted and together they contacted the missionaries who taught them and baptized all three families which included 13 children ranging from 5-13.
Naturally, they were shunned by their community and part of that included not being able to participate in the Amish school system. They really wanted to keep their Amish lifestyle of natural living with very little progress, so the really had no way to get them to the nearest public school and they really didn't want that as an option. So, they contacted their Stake President who came up with a solution. There were two Ohio University students nearing graduation who were willing to teach the children. After their graduation they went home to WA state and after a months vacation returned to Ohio at the request of the Stake President to teach the children. In the interim, the Stake President obtained permission from the Brethern to create a mission for teachers to serve as this tiny school's teachers. It is a one room classroom with all the students together. The couple called were so elated that they could serve in this way they could hardly wipe the smiles off their faces. They will be the first missionary couple to do this kind of service. About six months ago, the 3 families attended the temple and were sealed as families. These are the kinds of things you hear at the MTC.
We have two more days to go and then its home to await our flight. I can hardly wait for 20 hours of air time.
Yay! And just think, the excitement is just beginning.