Matthew Crabtree, a recent Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State, has been called to serve a two year mission in Tokyo, Japan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Crabtree, the son of Colonel and Mrs. Douglas Crabtree of Fort Walton Beach, will report on Oct. 9 to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, which is “bursting at the seams.” The present training center accommodates 4,000 and they now expect 7,000 new trainees by fall. To serve these huge numbers, the Church has opened a training center in Mexico City and rented student apartment buildings in Provo, Utah.

The reason behind this huge influx of missionaries is the lowering of the age requirement to 18 years of age for young men and 19 years for young women. Previous age requirements were 21 for ladies and 19 for the men. Since the new age requirement was announced by President Thomas S. Monson, thousands of young high school graduates have applied or “put in their papers" to serve missions.

Monson calls the response remarkable and inspiring. Fifty- eight new missions will open world-wide by fall with 85,000 missionaries serving. Those serving foreign missions will be trained for six weeks in the language and culture of the region where they will serve.

Crabtree served on the Academic Teams at Pryor, Choctaw and the Collegiate High School where he also won the top math award for the year. He is a member of the National Honor Society, a National Merit Scholarship finalist and was one of seven who shared Valedictorian duties at graduation May 23, where he also received his AA. Crabtree was very active in the Boy Scouts and all their service projects.

He graduated with high honors from early morning Seminary, a scripture study class that meets each school day at 5:45 a.m.

“Graduation was an amazing moment, but I was completely blown away by my mission call to Japan," Crabtree said on his Facebook page.