Good luck in your new home, sounds awesome.I have a question for you when you get back online. I read that the MTC in Tokyo is being shut down, and Japanese missionaries will be flown to Provo for training. But I haven't seen anything official from the church on this. Have you heard anything? Is this true or just a rumor?
I have heard the same thing as James. I work in the MTC and the word is going around. I also talked to Kelend I. Mills, president of the international MTCs and former president of the Fukuoka Japan mission, and he said that they were closing it down and the MTC building was being torn down and replaced with something else. But he didn't give a timetable on when this would be happening...
I have another question. Sorry I guess you'll be busy as soon as you get settled haha. I noticed that a district was created in Shanghai, but that it isn't designated as an international district. I was under the impression that outside of Hong Kong the people of China could not worship freely in a branch. Do you have any details on if this is another international branch or if special permissions were given to open up the ability of Chinese citizens to worship freely?
I’ve received information that the new district in Shanghai is designated as Mandarin speaking, and the district president has a Chinese name. While most of us (including myself) can only speculate about what is happening in China these days, we do know that many Chinese nationals have joined the Church outside of China and have since returned to their homeland. The Church has not yet made public any information about any communications or agreements that may have taken place with the Chinese government, but unofficial reports indicate that several Mandarin speaking groups, branches and districts may be operating within the country. If this is true, I don’t know what has happened to allow these to exist. It may be that these districts are not necessarily similar to what exist in other parts of the world. For example, these districts could be something like clubs or support groups instead of organized religion. Needless to say, the Church has always made it very clear that we are all to respect the laws of the country in which we reside, and we should remain confident that this respect for Chinese law is being observed.
I have arrived and situated myself in my new home in Seoul, Korea. I wanted to respond to a few comments that were made.About the MTC closing in Japan: The MTC here in Seoul was closed a year or so ago I believe. I imagine this was partly due to the fact that so few Koreans serve missions nowadays. The MTC in Seoul was very small and I imagine that the MTC in Japan will closer for a similar reason. I believe that when missionaries serve from places like Korea or Japan, they lose out on the feeling at other, larger MTCs of being in company with many other missionaries and teachers as well. As for the reports about a new district in China that is not English speaking, all I can say is that the Church in China functions in a similar way as it does in Pakistan or Vietnam. The Church has maintained a very respectful relationship with the Chinese government, which it hopes to continue. It is true that many Chinese have joined the Church outside of China and returned home. There was a news article out of Utah which referenced my blog about the Church in China a little while ago that referred to some of these members. Once the time comes that the Church sees fit to make public its operation in China I am sure we will all learn many interesting things.
Alright then, I'll leave a comment. I'm excited for you in your new endeavor. That's going to be awesome. Teaching English can be a good time for sure. It's always sweet to learn something now.I just wanted to let you know that a new Branch was formed last Sunday in Montreal, Canada. As far as I know it is the first French YSA Branch in the world. It's called the Laurier YSA Branch. They also said that it's Spanish as well, but the first meeting was completely French so I'm not sure how that's going to work. I've seen English/French Branches before and it causes quite a few unique problems. Anyway, I just thought that this is a pretty significant development as far as church growth goes. It was an honor to attend that first day of the branch.Thanks for your blog. I probably won't remember to check these comments again so feel free to contact me at email@example.com
That is great to hear a YSA branch was created for French speakers. The United States had its first French speaking congregation created (from the information I have) in Maryland for African immigrants not too long ago.As for YSA congregations outside the U.S. and Canada, they are very rare. There are a few in Australia and maybe a couple in New Zealand. The First YSA in Africa was created a year or two ago in the Johannesburg area. There are a couple in the Philippines as well. I don't think there are any in Europe.The creation of YSA and Spanish branches in 2004 resulted in one of the largest increases in Church units for the United States ever in one year, with around 350 congregations total created.
I also noticed something funny relating to Shanghai. Just a week or two ago the expat branches in Shanghai are at a new meetinghouse location.
My niece served a mission in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. From what she said, in mainland China members of the church can't talk about religion, and if you're not a member of a religion you cannot attend the meetings. But if you are a member already, then you are free to attend meetings. So, those who in some way become interested in the Church end up taking a trip to Hong Kong. Once there, they are taught by the missionaries, and, hopefully, baptized. Then, when they return to their homes they are eligible to attend the meetings.
A new ward was created in my stake. The Cambridge Massachusetts Stake. Its called the Charles River ward. I was told that it was for Single Adults ages 30-40.
Oh, I have a question. So, where in Korea are you now? And does your wife speak any Korean? How do you like your new job?
We live in Northern Seoul. We like our jobs, but it has taken some getting used to in terms of teaching young children all day long.
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