Daily Archives: December 4, 2006



 I found our first day at the MTC interesting if not exciting and one problem popped up very early on. We checked in at about 9:50 – among the first group to arrive. After a short wait we were given a packet that contained a number of things, including my license to teach the Gospel and our travel plans. We were shocked to find that instead of heading out on the 18th as we thought, we were scheduled to leave on the 29th! Since we have already arranged for many things to shut down or be shifted on the 18th, I asked where we could see what happened and was directed to the travel office. We could not go right away because we had more processing to take care of but after getting our name tags, had our health records checked, etc., we found time to drop into travel.

The nice folks there called Salt Lake to see why we had been changed but the woman who handled our reservations was not in so we must go back tomorrow. They thought it had something to do with holiday travel. When we later came home, I sent an email to the mission president asking if the change was from his end or if travel had made the change. He wrote back saying that Travel said there were no flights from the 13th to 29th. I could not believe that so I got online and made reservations – non-binding of course – for flights on both the 18th and 19th. Tomorrow I will check in with Travel and see if it is OK for us to leave on one of them. Of course the mission president must also agree but I would think that there should be no reason we could not come then.

After a nice lunch we started the meetings. First we were greeted by the MTC president and one of his councilors. The one comment that I found worth recording was that it was good to see us ready to go out and serve the Lord instead of sitting at home watching our birth certificates expire. Part of the introduction was to have each couple or single sister stand and give their name, where they were from, where they were going and what was their assignments, and how many missions they had served. About half – including us – had been on one or more previous missions. One single sister was going out for her fourth. Among those coming in today the earth was pretty well covered. We – and the Kanes who are also going to Indonesia – were going the furthest but there were also couples going to Croatia and Russia.

 The other major part of our training was about how to stay healthy in third world countries – over half of the missionaries are going to one of them. The main point was do not drink, cook or put in your mouth any water that has not been boiled or come from commercially sealed bottles. I am rather glad we sent a package of water purification products to the mission home.

We finished with the day’s training by 4:15 which gave us time to go to the pharmacy to pick up Mary’s prescriptions before we had dinner. Our 35% came to over $1500 – which means that the insurance company picked up the tab for about $3000. Since we are paying $250 a month for insurance, the first year’s premiums were recovered before we even left.

After dinner we came home and watched Extreme Makeover and the Christmas Devotional. I kept falling asleep during the devotional and before it was over I came upstairs to see what other flights I could find to Indonesia on the 18th or 19th. The best one I found – and the cheapest leaves at 9:30 at night and we only have about 4 hours of waiting between the other two flights.

Bob called and we set up Skype. I found out the reason we ended up with static last night was because the plug to the mike got tweaked. When I straightened it up it worked fine. Gordon Creer called and gave me a couple of names at travel who might help us get out earlier.

Tonight we are studying the first chapter in Preach My Gospel about being a better missionary and also the first lesson. Tomorrow we will have a couple of chances to knock on doors and try our approach. I will try to remembe what I always told the missionaries in the MTC – it is not so much what you say but the spirit that you say it with.

Day One

Our mission – Day one….Sunday 03 December 2006 – I am not sure if today or tomorrow is the first day of our mission but since less than an hour ago we were set apart as full-time missionaries, I am assuming that like the Jewish day, it starts at sunset.– I am not sure if today or tomorrow is the first day of our mission but since less than an hour ago we were set apart as full-time missionaries, I am assuming that like the Jewish day, it starts at sunset.We had a nice gathering for our setting apart. Bob and his family came, Lynn Wardle our home teacher, bishop Pletsch and Paul Jamison of the bishopric were here (Matt was on his way to NY), Daniel and Becky, and Brian. President Esplin represented the Stake Presidency and set us apart. Tom and Jim’s family heard a small part of it via Skype.

President Esplin presided and asked for me to choose someone to offer an opening prayer. I asked Lynn to do this. I feel strongly about the power of the home teacher to bless our home. He then was asked to give a short message and he spoke about his relation with our family and that we would have many experiences. Bishop Pletsch spoke and commented on our work in the ward. He said he felt we could do anything we were asked to do. He also mentioned that he felt strongly that by not tying Father’s hand we had opened our selves up for maximum blessings. President Esplin spoke and also mentioned that he had found that those who left it up to the Lord as to where they were called were usually the best missionaries.

Mary was set apart first. The president told her that she was set apart from the cares of the world. Also that she would need to speak out and preach the gospel.

Then I was set apart. I tried hard to remember the things that he said but most of them were quickly lost. The one point he made – and he said it in some form or another was that besides whatever else I was asked to do by those in authority, I was to teach the gospel. About the third time he said this, I felt the spirit confirm his blessing.

He blessed both of us with the gift of tongues so that we could do all that the Lord had for us to do. He promised us that we would touch the lives of many people and that we would not know all the good we did. He blessed us with health and protection of angels while we served. He mentioned that our family would be blessed – our children and grandchildren. He said something along the line that our success would grow as our relationship grew.

After we were set apart president Esplin asked for comments about the blessings. Shane said that we were an example to him. Brian seems to have been touched by the spirit and had tears in his eyes. I think Bob did also – at least when his mother was set apart.

All in all it was a spiritual experience but the true significance has not yet set in for me. I do not feel any difference. But that is not unusual – I can not remember feeling different after any setting apart. Only that I have been given rights and responsibilities that I did not have before. I find the Lord’s yoke always easy to put on, even if later I find the burden rather heavy.

I am just very glad that Bob and his family could make it. I really wish Cindy could have been here and that Jim and Tom’s could have heard what was said. But that is OK because we felt all their spirits here with us.