Our week at the MTC was uplifting, encouraging, fun, spiritual, inspiring and just long enough. By the end, all of us Senior missionaries were anxious and ready to get out to our assignments.
There were about 40 couples and about 8 single sisters, all of us going to different areas of the world. The biggest group was assigned to the Salt Lake headquarters mission, some to family history, others weren't sure yet and would find out when they got there. This is about a third of the entire group - the third with us in it:
This was our district - the Ellefsons and the Easterbrooks, and two of our teachers, Elder Webber and Sister Nelson:
One couple found out three weeks ago that they were going to Athens, Greece. One couple was going to Hawaii. He builds cabinets and is going to help at the Polynesian Cultural Center building cabinets. Many of us, like us, were going to serve as Member Leader Support missionaries.
Each day started at 8 and ended about 4. We had meetings all together and had class room sessions in the morning and afternoon. Each class was a district and consisted of 3 or four couples. Our district was made up of 3 couples. One of them, the Easterbrooks, had visited Bolivia when their son finished his mission. So they were eager to talk to us about their Bolivia experiences and compare them to ours.
Our teachers were amazing. They were four young, energetic, wonderful return missionaries. They did so well to teach us how to be missionaries and to inspire us. Our morning teachers were Sister Zonk and Sister Clark. Our afternoon teachers were Sister Nelson and Brother Weber. They really made the MTC experience fun as well as relative. I found that as we went through our training experiences and even our role plays, something would touch me that I needed to do right now before we left for our mission. The MTC is a wonderful place, full of the Spirit and a lot of beautiful young people. It was fun to be with them. We got to eat in the cafeteria with all the missionaries. One day a young elder came up to us while we were eating. It was our very own Elder Michael Bown. What a treat! He looked so good and happy. He is going to Japan and was only halfway through his MTC experience with 5 weeks left to go. Michael was one of our "sons" when we went on trek. He and his family are very dear friends. We got to see him one other time and this time we went over and surprised him. The trouble was, I jumped up to hug him and he had to stop me. Here is our schedule of the week as it was displayed on the big screen, so we could review and evaluate.
This is Charles:
The emphasis was on learning how to teach from Preach My Gospel. They treated us just like we were young missionaries, going out to proselyte, even though that won't be our primary focus. Not having used Preach My Gospel as a missionary 42 years ago, the approach was quite different, but very effective, and very enjoyable.
These young returned missionaries started by emphasizing the Missionary Purpose, which starts:
To invite others to come unto Christ...
Then, for us, with our different focus, they pointed out that "others" could be members, non-members, inactive members, or even ourselves. As I pondered that, I came to realize that that simple invitation really lies at the heart of all we should be doing in the church - helping everyone to Come unto Christ. The gospel contains the truths, the ordinances and covenants, and the assurance that through Christ's Atonement, we truly can Come unto Him, find peace and joy in this life, and happiness in the world to come.