Friday, April 19, 2013

Week 2-MTC

April 15th-19th

Lift up your hearts and rejoice for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.
(D&C 31:3)

Today (Monday, April 15th) we officially entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, UT along with 83 other senior couples.  Tears began to flow when my missionary nametag was handed to me and I placed it on my jacket.  I thought back to the day when our youngest daughter Bethany returned home from her mission and cried when she had to take her name tag off.  After processing, (MTC Bookstore for ordering more name tags, Travel Office to receive Visas and travel plans, Health Clinic to review immunizations and Support Services to pay for our meals) we were directed to the Stadium Avenue Chapel adjacent to the MTC for orientation.  We received our Missionary Handbook and Ministerial Certificate that is in Japanese.  After listening to President and Sister Nally welcome and speak to us, each couple was asked to stand, give their names, tell where they were from and what their mission assignment would be, and where they will be serving. 
Assignments included such places as Sierra Leone, Africa, Tennessee, Arkansas, Indiana, Guam, Poland, Bulgaria, Virginia, Greece, England, Micronesia, Alaska, (Fuji, Tonga, Samoa) etc.
Various assignments include CES, Military Relations (5 other couples besides us) Women’s Auxiliary, YSA, MLS (Missionary and Leadership Service) and Church History Assignments.

As couples stood to share where they were going, I became very emotional when I thought of all of us leaving our homes and families, and going forth to serve all over the world.  What touched me even more as we have become acquainted with these sweet couples is almost all are leaving some type of difficult family situation at home either with children or grandchildren.  Some are concerned about their businesses; some are taking health challenges into the mission field and others have left elderly parents behind.  Everyone we have visited with has had a tender story to share or tell, but we have one wonderful thing in common…we are all very excited about our mission calls and ready to serve the Lord!

This week the focus will be on Preach My Gospel.  We have been placed in districts and my husband-the handsome Elder Addington has been called to be our District Leader.  We have three other wonderful couples in our group.  The Willes, Flynns and Viramontes.  Yes-it is Elder and Sister Viramontes (Mario and Connie) from the Fresno West Stake who are going to the Baltics to serve with President Boswell.  They will be teaching the new curriculum to the stakes and wards in that region.
How exciting for them!

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Today the buzz on the MTC Campus was, who would be the speaker for the evening devotional. We heard that it was going to be someone of special importance.  When Elder Richard G. Scott walked into the door as we were singing “Called to Serve” I was thrilled that it was he!  I always love to listen to this gentle, giant of a man.  His message was about the importance of prayer in our lives and especially how critical it is in facing and overcoming our challenges.
He challenged us to pray no matter how difficult and challenging our circumstances and to pray with much gratitude.  After giving us an Apostolic Blessing he sat down. When we finished singing the closing song, he quickly arose from his seat, went back to the podium and added these closing comments, “Remember, the Lord has called you to succeed, not to fail.  He knows what you need.  You will receive strength beyond what you thought you had.  He will not abandon you through trials and adversity.  Remember-you have been called!”  
He thought this message was so important that he got back up to share it with us.  I tried to quickly write it down word for word.  It is applicable to all of us.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Our morning instructors are Elder Lee, Elder Lystrup and Sister Cluff in the afternoon.  They are sharp, articulate teachers who love the Lord and have deep, strong testimonies. The Lord truly did save the best for the latter-days.  
These returned missionaries are teaching us how to effectively study and teach the principles in PMG (Preach My Gospel) and much, much more….

Today during our lunch break, we went outside and watched car after car drive through the entrance gate at the MTC.  Families poured in from all over the US to leave their son or daughter for 18 months to 2 years. What a glorious site it was.  So much excitement, and enthusiasm filled the air.  The procedure for doing this is not at all like it was when we dropped three of our children off but I certainly like it better.  It was slick and quick!  Hundreds of missionaries already in the MTC stood on the sidewalk and cheered as each car drove up.  An Elder or Sister would quickly rush to a car to welcome the arriving missionary.  After luggage was unloaded, goodbyes said, and hugs given, off they would go with huge smiles on their faces.
What a site to behold!

On a side note, we have seen cute Sister Maddie Roubicek from our home in Clovis, CA and sat next to the nephew of Stan and Lynette Smithhart in the cafeteria.  We also visited with Judy Claybaugh and her husband John who is serving as a bishop in one of the wards in the MTC.  I also discovered a second cousin I have never met.  Twice we saw President Witt’s son and the wife of one of the couples we went in with lived at the Elms apartment with me while at BYU.  We knew each other well and had crushes on the same guys.   Such a small world!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Early this a.m. we stopped at one of our favorite bakeries, ‘Shirley’s’ and purchased
orange and raspberry rolls to take to our district and instructors.  We have had such a fun, spiritual week with our group and getting to know many of the couples here.
How blessed we have been to have had such faithful, inspired teachers with strong testimonies.  Out of appreciation and love we wanted to bring treats and cards expressing our gratitude.  We have been well taught and even endured the TRC (Training Resource Center or Torturing Retired Couples) experiences.  I pray that I remember all of the important principles that have been taught to take into the mission field with me.

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