July 30th 2009
We had an amazing week at the MTC. It is difficult to explain how great it was. On Monday when we arrived we went through an orientation and met the other senior couples going through the MTC this week. Although there are several MTC's throughout the world, all senior couples come to the Provo MTC for their training. There were about 25 couples in our group and about 5 single sisters. Everyone was going to a different part of the world. It was amazing to hear everyones stories about where they had been called to. We are going to be scattered throughout the world including Mongolia, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Viet Nam, Ghana, Johannesburg, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Germany, Holland, Ukraine, and many others. It was amazing that so many were going so many far away places. Most of the couples were like us. First time couple missionaries but some of them were serving their 2nd or third Mission. We couldn't believe what unity we instantly felt. Most of the couples were from Utah, Arizona, or Idaho, there was a couple from Iowa and one from Texas and one from Canada.
We spent the week with basically the same group but split off into groups of 6 for a lot of the instruction. We have never had so much information given to us in a short period of time in our lives. It was like getting a drink from a fire hydrant. We were up by 6:00 each morning and on the Road to Provo by 7:00. We had a full day of lessons and hands on teaching experiences and group meetings til about 5:00 We had dinner there then went to either a devotional or a 2 hour session of language training.
Elder John Groberg was the speaker at our Tuesday evening devotional. We especially loved hearing from him because of his service in and his love for the Polynesian People. It was awesome because they save the area of the auditorium right in front of the speaker for the Senior Missionaries and the Auditorium filled quickly with young missionaries. It was pretty impressive to see 2000 missionaries file in through the various and fill the auditorium. What a great experience!
On Wednesday and Thursday we went to a Language class for Fijian. Needless to say in that amount or time we didn't learn much of the language but we did learn basics so at least we can pronounce the words We received a lot of material to study and we we hope to pick up on the Language better once we get to Fiji. By the time we got to class we were so tired our brains were shut down but it was just the two of us and our tutor was a young girl who had just returned from Fiji and spoke the language fluently. It was fun to talk to her about the culture of Fiji and she gave us a lot of basic information about the experience we were about to embark on. There were 6 young missionaries at the MTC training for the Fiji mission. Thursday night during our language class they all came to meet us. It was so fun to visit with them and share our expectations of where were going. One of them was an Olympus High Titan! They all fly out together on Aug 15th. Our tutor talked to all of us about the culture and things to expect.
On Wednesday, the day that all the new missionaries arrived was the best. It was fun to just observe them and wonder what was going through their minds. Several of them seemed scared to death. We wanted to go up and hug them and tell them to hang in there. It made us think of the day we dropped our boys off at the MTC. They don't have the big meeting anymore with families because of the Swine flu so parents just dropped their missionaries off at the front door. I think i would have liked that better.
The MTC has had a no handshaking/hugging policy for the past several weeks do to the Swine Flu scare. The night of the Devotional the President said that the hand shake and hug ban was lifted. The missionaries cheered. The Missionary who said the opening prayer expressed gratitude that they could all shake hands again. At first i thought that was a funny thing to be thankful for but as the week went on i realized how much the handshakes meant to everyone.
We ate lunch and dinner in the Cafeteria. The food was. . . well what do you expect for $3 a person? But it was fun to just observe the thousands of missionaries. As you look over the room it was a sea of white shirts.
Our classes were amazing and we became so close to the other couples. It was an experience that we will never forget. We were stretched way out of our comfort level as we had to teach the Mission lessons to each other and then to volunteers but we grew spiritually and learned so much. On Thursday Ed Pinegar and his wife spoke to us. What an amazing guy. We were so proud to be missionaries and we received confirmation over and over again that we were doing what we needed to be doing right now in our lives. We got home about 8:30 or 9:00 every night we were so tired we literally fell on the bed, slept til 6:00am and got up and started all over again. We have never felt so tired but so good. I compared it to running a marathon when you are totally exhausted but the feeling at the end made it all worth it.
Dave was invited to say the opening prayer on Monday morning and was then asked again to close the final session on Friday evening. He gave a most beautiful prayer and there was total silence in the room except for the sniffles of many of us. I have never in my life felt the spirit so strong. That was the last time we will all meet together as a group. Some of the couples departed on Saturday, others will be leaving throughout this week. We felt such a closeness to everyone that it was difficult to say good bye.