Our first week as missionaries was spent at the MTC. 23 couples – including us – and 2 single sisters were in our group. Monday is spent mainly checking in, getting acquainted and getting a very brief outline of what we will do for the rest of the week. About the half the group were going on their 2, 3 or 4th mission. Included was Elder Steward who is a former mayor of Provo and his wife who are serving their 3rd mission.
The majority of the couples are serving in the US with four or five going to Nauvoo. Couples are also serving in England, Germany, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. It was wonderful to share a week with so many talented people.
In the MTC we meet in both large group and small group classes. I especially enjoy the small group meetings because we got to know three wonderful couples – Hallidays, Evers and Kerswells – and two fine teachers – Sister Pinegar and Brother Andelin. The quality of the young teachers is amazing and their enthusiasm for the work shows in their faces.
One of the great things about the MTC experience is being among 2800 young missionaries who have left their homes for 18 to 24 months to serve their God and invite others to come unto Christ. As we sat with them during meals and heard where they were going and how excited they were to serve, it built up our spirits.
Among those we spent a few minutes with were two young men who were not able to serve missions away from home but were now serving in the MTC by contacting and teaching people by phone. They beamed as they mention that they have had 17 baptisms with 3 in England and 3 in Canada. It brought to mind the 4th section of the D&C – “If you have desires to serve God you are called to the work.”
I managed to catch a cold and Mary was having problems with her back but none of that damped our spirits as we had the opportunity to teach the first three lessons from Preach My Gospel and practice working with less actives.
It is interesting that I had a cold the first 10 days I was home from Indonesia and it looks like I will have one for the last 10 days we are home. In between I never had a sniffle. Hopefully this will be the last one until we get home from South Africa.
All in all there is no way to explain the special feeling of the MTC to anyone who has not been through it or served there. We have been blessed by our prior service as full time missionaries at the MTC and our experience of being there before leaving on our mission to Indonesia.
Probably the greatest spiritual experience I had while at the MTC was the Tuesday night devotional. To sit among all the missionaries at the MTC, sing together and especially listen to the wonderful missionary choir is truly thrilling. ‘Called to Serve’ sounds different when you are among those who are willing to serve. It does not matter if it is in a district meeting with 4 young missionaries, a zone meeting with 30 or 40 missionaries or in the MTC with almost 3000 missionaries. In every case the spirit swells as soon as the voices join in ‘Called to serve Him, Heavenly King of Glory.’
This is our small group class. From left to right – The Kerswells, the Hallidays, the Piers and the Evers. Although they were taken days apart our teachers, brother Andelin and Sister Pinegar, both stood in the same place. The Kerswells and the Hallidays are going to Los Angeles to work in the Genealogy library and the Evers are going to Cleveland to serve as Record Preservation missionaries. 6 years ago Sister Evers was told she had two years to live but she obviously proved them wrong. We count it a blessing to have the opportunity to get to know these three couples.
We really are not serving in the Indian Ocean we just moved our fingers when the picture was taken. Well at least we do not think we will be serving there but then we never know where the Lord will have us serve.
On Monday we got to have lunch with Elder Ezra Subandriyo who we knew from Indonesia. He left the next morning for Ogden, Utah. Elder Subandriyo will be a great missionary. His love for the gospel shows in his eyes and his smile. We told him we would see him when we get back. He will have about 5 more months to serve.