“LDS Scene,” Ensign, July 1999, 79–80
Several tornadoes struck Oklahoma and Kansas in early May, including one tornado with winds in excess of 250 miles per hour. A member and his nonmember wife were among more than 40 people killed, and 15 member homes were destroyed and 16 member homes extensively damaged. Emergency supplies were distributed from bishops’ storehouses in Oklahoma City and Dallas, Texas, and disaster relief centers were established in the Oklahoma City Oklahoma South Stake center and that stake’s Tuttle Branch meetinghouse.
About 125 Latter-day Saint students were attending Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, when a shooting and bombing attack on 20 April resulted in the deaths of 12 students, 1 teacher, and the 2 assailants. No members were killed, but one LDS youth suffered multiple gunshot wounds and several others witnessed the carnage. “One of our students had a gun held to his head,” reported seminary teacher Rob Hildebrandt. “Many of our students huddled in the corners of classrooms.” During the attack about 70 people took sanctuary in a nearby LDS seminary, and that evening about 600 members gathered at the stake center for a devotional, after which counselors and therapists from LDS Social Services and other organizations talked with youth and parents. Subsequent meetings and service projects were held in support of victims and witnesses.
Brigham Young University’s men’s volleyball team won this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association volleyball championship, beating Long Beach State in three games in Los Angeles. The BYU volleyball team was ranked number one for much of the season. BYU’s other NCAA championships include men’s track and field in 1970, men’s golf in 1981, football in 1984, and women’s cross country in 1997.
Diplomats from 22 countries attended the 15th annual BYU Management Society dinner recently in Washington, D.C. Also present were eight LDS members of the U.S. Congress and numerous Church leaders, including Elder J. Willard Marriott Jr., an Area Authority Seventy. “We had a record turnout of international guests this year, not only because they know we host a great evening but because of the values we stand for and the friendships we have cultivated over the years,” said Ann Santini, Church director of international affairs. U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said, “It is important for the Church, as we become more and more of a worldwide religion, that we reach out to representatives of other countries and provide a good example for them to take back to their homelands.” Countries represented included Botswana, Cape Verde, China, Croatia, Fiji, Gambia, Hungary, India, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mauritius, Pakistan, Philippines, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
Foreign-language missionaries normally spend eight weeks in the Provo Missionary Training Center. However, missionaries called to serve in Brazil now leave the Provo MTC after four weeks and study for another four weeks at the missionary training center in São Paulo. During their time in the Brazil MTC, missionaries mix with native Brazilian missionaries and go proselyting once a week, which helps increase their language skills and eases their transition into the mission field.