14 December 2006 – Thursday
Our last official day at the MTC – we will go back tomorrow to take in a day of training on how to teach ESL. It seems to me that it has been both a long and a short 11 days. That is it seems like we have been at the MTC a much longer time than 11 days, and at the same time it seems like we arrived yesterday.
Today Mary mentioned that she while she knows how long it is until we leave for Indonesia, she has to stop and think about long it is until Christmas. When I told that in one of the classes a couple of other people said that they feel the same way. We seem to have truly lost ourselves in the work.
The presentations today were only made interesting because of the presenter. Sister Elkins was back and her great attitude makes even dull subjects pretty interesting.
After the classes we all met together for a wrap-up and testimony meeting. Our 9 couples have grown very close over the last 11 days. Four of us shared most of the same classes and the other five were in many of the ones this week. We have grown very close in a short time.
Each couple is very different. Elder Thompson is a gruff looking man with a very tender spirit. Sister Thompson is a delightful person with a great sense of humor. They are going to Salt Lake and will be in charge of all senior welfare missionaries throughout the world. So they will know where each of us are during our mission. I did not get to know brother Gillman very well, but his wife is a very quiet and very spiritual sister. They are successful farmers and she mentioned that she could drive a John Deere tractor with the best of them. I find it hard to picture this neat older woman behind the wheel of a large tractor. They are going to South Africa as Area Welfare Agents – which means they will be over all Wellfare missionaries in their area.
The Nelsons are going to Boston as Area Employment Specialists. Sister Nelson is a spiritual rock. She is quiet but when she says something it is too the point and full of insight. Elder Nelson is another one who is very tender hearted. The Dunns are from up Provo Canyon. They are probably the most humble couple in the group. They are thoughtful and are close to the spirit. Their call has been changed a number of times and each time they have decided it was the Lord’s will. One of the things that sister Dunn really wanted to do was to go on a proselyting mission and when theirs was changed to India they had to sign a letter saying they would not do any proselyting. Today their visas came through and they found that it was marked with an ‘M’ – they will be allowed to teach the gospel. She said in her testimony that the Lord was too kind to her in granting all of her prayers. They are going to be Country Humanitarian Specialists and oversee all the humanitarian projects in India. They are going to be great.
The Wimmers are an interesting couple. I doubt if I saw them apart I would ever think of them as being married. But the complement each other perfectly. He is big and quiet – she is small and fiesty. They are going to Frankfort to work in Social Services. The Mills are going to Croatia to be Country Humanitarian Specialists and could be models for senior missionaries couples. They look like grandfathers and grandmothers should look. They are soft spoken and filled with the desire to do the work.
Of course the Kanes have become close friends. We have been able to help them in a few ways. Today after the testimony meeting we took them to Ross Dress for Less. They are a tall, handsome couple. They look like they are made for each other. They are always cheerful. Elder Kane is easily touched by the spirit and bears a strong testimony of the gospel. I am glad we will get to stay in touch with them in Indonesia – they will be only an hour away from Jakarta.
As I bore my testimony I could only get as far as my testimony of the Savior and his atonement for me. I feel that this mission is just a small way to start to thank Him.
After the meeting we all stayed around to say goodbye and to exchange a lot of hugs. Hopefully we will all stay in touch throughout our missions and even after we get back home.