Our ten days at the Missionary Training Center was amazing. I had been using the word AWESOME so much that it was even starting to bother me - so I changed to AMAZING! It's so hard to explain how wonderful the experience is to someone who hasn't been there but I'll try.
Everything is so orderly and scheduled and designed to help us become successful missionaries and to understand the missionary purpose which is:
"Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."
We learned that we as missionaries invite and help, and the people we teach come and receive.
Everyone is so kind and helpful. The first day was orientation and figuring out where everything is.
We were met by young elders who carried our luggage to our room. It was small but very comfortable. We didn't spend a lot of time there.
Just long enough to sleep (very comfy bed).
And study. These are the coolest chairs - I want one at home. Look what they can do.
The second day we started classes and they made sure we were comfortable.
Then they brought in footstools. They made
a big deal about us keeping our feet up.
We had a Senior Couple - Elder and Sister Stock - who made sure that everything ran smoothly and who took care of any problems that came up. They said we could call them anytime day or night. Thank goodness we didn't have to.
They made sure we had a break every hour and they treated us like royalty. We had ID cards that we were supposed to use to get into every building or to use the elevator but the young elders race each other to get to hold the doors for seniors so we didn't have to use them very often.
The first week our study was from the scriptures and the book, Preach My Gospel. I think that the most important thing we learned was that we already know a lot and we just have to have confidence in ourselves and learn to teach by the Spirit. Our instructors were young returned missionaries who are currently attending BYU. They said the job lasts for 3 years and then they have to move on and let someone else have the blessings.
Our morning instructor was Brother Harmer. He is married but has no children (yet). His motto for us was: KISS
Our afternoon instructor was Brother Albertson. He is married and has a 9 month old daughter. He told us at the beginning of the week that we would be completely different people by the end of the week. I think he was right.
The second week was more specific instruction to our mission. We learned how to conduct tours. Our instructors were a senior missionary couple, Elder & Sister Mitchell.
Nothing is ever allowed to get dirty. There are hundreds of students from BYU who come during the day and keep everything clean or painted or polished or trimmed (we saw one girl cleaning a drinking fountain with a toothbrush.) As soon as the tulips had stopped blooming, there was a whole group of students cleaning out the flower beds and digging up the bulbs.
My favorite thing was to watch the young missionaries. You see them everywhere but it's hard to imagine how many of them there are until you see them all together. Every Tuesday night all the missionaries come together for a devotional. They let the senior missionaries in first so we can get really good seats and then they open the doors for the young missionaries. They look like God's Army streaming into the room. And then - when they sing "Called to Serve" - OH MY!!!!
There were several places where they asked us not to take pictures
Usually a general authority comes to speak. Our first week D. Todd Christofferson and his wife were there. Our second week L. Tom Perry and his wife came. It's amazing to see them and listen to them in person. I'm not sure how old L. Tom Perry is but he must be in his late 80's. He is really tall and he bounded up the steps to the pulpit like a teenager.
There were several places where they asked us not to take pictures so I mentioned to one of our instructors that I wished everyone in the church could have a chance to come here for a week. He said, "They can! Tell all your friends to come!" So I'm telling you - COME!
As amazing as it was, after ten days we were really anxious to get on with the next part of the experience. So we said goodbye to the MTC and the beautiful temple on the hill and headed for Nauvoo.