Elder Matt Naylor entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah on Wednesday 26 June. He'll train there for about 9 weeks and then travel to Nagoya, Japan. Here he is with his first companion, Elder Brown, of Hooper, Utah:
This is Matt's nametag. He introduces himself as Naira Choro (Elder Naylor):
Matt's message is below. Thank you for your interest, for your faith and prayers on his behalf!
I got all my stuff and dropped my luggage off in my new room, and then I was IMMEDIATELY thrown into a class with about a dozen other new missionaries. The teacher (sensei) immediately greeted us in Japanese and just started off talking. In my two and a half days here, she has not said more than probably three words in English. Every class is taught in Japanese. It's nuts.
After we got our brains rattled for about two hours, we went down to the MTC orientation for us brand new missionaries. Thankfully, it was in English. The MTC president and his wife and other MTC presidency people greeted us all, and we all sang a couple hymns and listened to all the welcome remarks. It was pretty cool to hear almost 1000 new missionaries singing "We Are As The Army of Helaman" in unison. After the welcome remarks, we were treated to a gracious supply of Papa John's pizza, which was promptly devoured. After dinner, my district was sent back to our classroom where we first started out, and we sat there for about another 3 hours studying Japanese. We met our zone leaders that evening, and they greeted us and told us a few logistical things. Then we got back to our room around 8:30 or so and had the rest of the evening to unpack and get settled until lights out at 10:30.
So our district consists of 14 new missionaries. My companion, Elder Brown, is one heck of an awesome dude. He's 18 years old, fresh out of high school from Hooper, Utah. We're best buds already. He is a very hard worker, and very motivated. I've already learned so much from him. The other Elders in our district are total bros. One of them, Elder Watson, is from Melbourne, Australia, and has the most wicked accent I've ever heard. He sounds like he should be on TV, seriously. It's cool when he speaks Japanese with his Australian accent. Most of the other missionaries are from Utah (go figure), but we have one Sister here from Boise! Well, Middleton actually. Sister Panicke. She's great. Our whole district is great! It really feels like a family.
You're not gonna believe this, but on Friday we taught our first lesson to an investigator....IN JAPANESE. I kid you not. At the rate they've been drilling this language into us, my brain is ready to explode. The lesson went fairly well, though. The man's name was Kojima San, and throughout the entire lesson not a single word of English was used for about 20 minutes. Elder Brown and I struggled through it, but managed to get our point across. We taught him about God's role as our Father in Heaven, and how he loves each and every one of us, and how families are central to His plan. Though our Japanese was very broken and rough, he still somehow understood us (or at least pretended to). Whenever he asked a question though, it just went straight over our heads. We had no idea what he said. We basically responded to every question by saying "God loves you" in Japanese. I hope that was enough, haha. We're teaching him another lesson today.
We have now gotten to the point where we can pray and bear our testimonies in Japanese. Our prayers and testimonies are extremely simple, and our pronunciation is horrible, but we will eventually get the hang of it. This whole experience has been extremely humbling though. I've really realized how much we must rely on the Lord to help us out with everything.
The MTC is cool. Everywhere you go, you can see groups of missionaries sitting at tables studying scriptures or with the heads bowed in prayer. There is an essence of the spirit here that I have never felt in any other place. I have really come to love studying the gospel and the scriptures. More importantly, I am developing a love for people. We had a testimony night on Thursday and each time someone went up, I could overwhelmingly feel of God's love for that person. When it came my turn to go up and speak, I was just overcome with the spirit and started tearing up and just expressing all the feelings of my heart. God loves each one of us so much.
I will try to write more to you guys next week! Don't worry though. I am well, and I am the happiest I have ever been in a long time. I am honored to serve the Lord.
Elder Matthew Patrick Naylor
2007 N 900 E Unit 7
Provo, UT 84602