"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Of Lessons and Languages – Life in the MTC

Fifteen Missionary Training Centers (MTC) around the world process thousands of new missionaries through weeks of gospel and language training. The MTC in Provo, Utah is a busy place this particular week.  There are several thousand missionaries being trained, and 400 new ones just arrived yesterday. The logistics alone are staggering – housing all these new missionaries and welcoming new ones every week; feeding several thousand hungry missionaries three times a day; 
organizing training for them in small group settings where they can practice their new skills and become comfortable talking to people; keeping track of immunizations needed for each one; arranging flight plans; providing language training; handling and arranging service opportunities such as cleaning, hosting, greeting new missionaries, and lawn care;  - it is mind boggling just to think about it.  Watching it in action one feels it is nothing short of miraculous.

In addition to residences, classrooms and the huge cafeteria, the beautifully landscaped MTC contains a gym, medical services, a barbershop, laundry facilities, a bookstore, a travel department, a mail room, a print and office room, and of course vending machines in multiple convenient places for snacks and drinks in between meals.

Our nametags!!!

Senior couples or single sisters stay anywhere from one to 2 weeks depending on their assignment. Here is the group of seniors for this week!

Missionaries are divided into groups called districts. Elder Coffey was chosen to be one of the District Leaders. We study gospel topics and practice role playing with each other and with volunteers from the community.

Elder Coffey and I planning the next teaching role play.

Senior missionaries in our district have been assigned to Chile, Japan, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Canada, England, Germany, Baltic, Spain,Vietnam, Belgium, and multiple places throughout the United States. Foreign language skills are usually not needed for senior missionaries, though many, like us, try to learn a little bit.

A husband and wife team taking a few minutes to plan their schedule.  They have been called to serve in Chile. This is their second mission.

Senior sisters also make up the worldwide missionary force.  We have five single sisters in our group this week.  They will be serving in the Family and Church History Headquarters Mission in Salt Lake City.

Younger missionaries stay from 3 – 9 weeks.  If they are learning a language they usually stay the full 9 weeks. Over 50 languages are taught in the MTC! 

Philippines-bound Elders having a prayer together before they begin their language (Tagalog) and gospel studies as a companionship. Missionaries are taught to rely heavily on the Lord for help every step of the way.
A Philippines-bound District of Elders, preparing to preach the 
Gospel in the Ilokano language.

But the greatest miracle is all of these young people who take so seriously their call to serve the Lord.  Their countenances beam as they scurry back and forth between classes, memorizing lessons and languages on the go, or studying quietly in personal study times. It is a delight to see. They are courteous, respectful, hard working and filled with faith.  The world, truly, is in good hands with these missionaries!

 Called to serve Him, heav'nly King of glory,
Chosen e'er to witness for his name,
Far and wide we tell the Father's story,
Far and wide his love proclaim.

Called to know the richness of his blessing--
Sons and daughters, children of a King--
Glad of heart, his holy name confessing,
Praises unto him we bring.

Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Onward, ever onward, as we glory in his name;
Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be; press forward ever,
Called to serve our King.

                                                                                Called To Serve, Hymn # 249

Our next post will be from Vietnam!

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