モルモン

とは?

What of the

Mormons?

帰還宣教師から

From Returned Missionaries

03/26/2012

 

戻る

President Hinckley in Japan

From Van C. Gessel (Currently serving as President of the Oregon Portland Mission)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Though I'm a bit short on time myself (go figure), I do have one "President Hinckley in Japan" story that probably nobody else can tell. I was in Tokyo--living with some friends who were house-sitting what would become the Grobergs' mission home in Fuchu--the summer of the first Area Conference in Japan, the one where Pres. Kimball announced the Tokyo Temple. I was asked to be a translator for the conference; I was assigned to interpret for Elder Komatsu's talk; he gave it in Japanese, and I translated it into English so the Brethren in attendance could know what he was saying.

Almost all the other interpreters were, of course, Japanese brethren who would be interpreting for the General Authorities. All the talks were prepared and sent over in advance so they could be translated, but in our training we were given very clear instructions that some of the Brethren might be inspired to depart from their prepared texts, so we'd better be ready to do it on the fly!

Tensions mounted among the interpreters as the conference approached. You could almost see the panic spreading across their faces--after all, this was the very first Area Conference, and they were given the weighty responsibility of appropriately conveying the remarks of Church leaders to the members assembled in the Budokan. It seemed almost as though they felt a mistranslation would result in excommunication! :)

A prayer meeting was held in the interpreters' booth a couple of hours before the first session. The anxiety was palpable. The dear Japanese brother who gave the prayer actually asked the Lord to inspire the Brethren to stick to their prepared texts! (Ironically, this same brother ended up interpreting for Sterling W. Sill, whose first words at the podium were: "I feel inspired to depart from my prepared text..." and then he began his characteristic quoting of long memorized passages from the likes of Shakespeare, Milton, etc.! You could almost see this poor brother melting at the mike.

Perhaps 45 minutes before the first session, the door to the interpreters' booth opened, and in walked President Gordon B. Hinckley. The interpreters all leaped to their feet and stood at attention, worried, perhaps, that they were about to be reminded that no errors would be tolerated. President Hinckley smiled and waved and said, "Who's interpreting for me?" A panic-stricken brother raised his hand as though volunteering for the death camp. President Hinckley walked over to him, shook his hand, asked him to sit down and pulled a chair up next to him, put his arm around his shoulders and said gently, "Do you have any questions about my talks? Any parts I can help you with?" It was such a powerful and touching affirmation of the incredible love Pres. Hinckley has always had for the Asian Saints, his uncanny ability to sense when others need a calming reassurance, and the ways in which he goes out of his way to serve others. I was privileged to witness that act of pure love.

Don't know if there's a way you can use that--but it's a true story!

Best to you in all your terrific labors! Van