Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 1- MTC Life

They fed the Senior Missionaries where our classes were. There are so many Senior Missionaries that they teach us at a Stake Center next to the MTC
Hi Everyone!
     We have had a wonderful week here since last Monday. We were mainly taught by young returned missionaries in our districts. We grew so close to them. Two single senior sisters are going to San Jose, CA mission, two others are going to Hungary, and Salt Lake City Temple exhibits. One senior couple is staying in their home stake, and then our two couples are going to Nauvoo.  We were taught about Preach My Gospel and how to teach people, and answer their questions. No longer is there a script you follow. We are to get to know the investigators and discover their needs and interests, and teach by the spirit, what we are prompted to teach. And mainly it is to teach the first principles of the gospel: faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. But within this is also to relate the Restoration of the Gospel, having a modern day prophet, and "inviting" them to read the Book of Mormon.  That is a "new" word for all of us: "invite" which is how the purpose of our mission starts; "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them ......." It is such a beautiful concept and so loving. I know what we have learned is from the Lord, and this fairly new program (within the last 4 years) will help the missionary work move forward at a faster pace- and is inspired by the general authorities. The spirit has been so strong in all of our classes. I am usually crying by the end. 

Here we are with Sister Marti Calder Shelley. She and her husband are going to Chicago. She used to teach seminary at the same time as me in the Placentia Stake.

   For two days we actually met with "investigators" who are actors that we teach them this new approach based on their experience. In most cases these persons had been nonmembers and joined the church, so they act like they were before. And it was a little hard at first, but we succeeded. We used the basics we were taught like getting to know them first, having a prayer to begin, and asking questions. Then teaching one basic principle, bearing testimony and challenging them to read the Book of Mormon, and pray about it. I know all you returned missionaries are chuckling, but it was such good practice for us both.
Our district with our morning instructor, Sister Holland (no relation to Elder Holland). A fun group with 4 widowed sisters.

Our afternoon MTC instructor, Elder Lystrup. He went to Japan on his mission.
     Our basic day went like this: Wake up at 6:30 a.m., study and pray together, get ready, breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and to our chapel devotional at 8:00 am. Usually one hour of a group meeting by a speaker; sometimes a former senior missionary couple who told about their mission, or the MTC director/president. Then we broke into our small districts in classrooms, and were taught. We had lunch right there in the cultural hall, then back to a group meeting, and to our classes again. We ended in time for dinner and had the evening for study, laundry, or a large group devotional with fantastic speakers; general authorities. These always included special musical numbers that were excellent! This has been the most wonderful experience for us both. I have loved every minute of it.

     On Friday we said goodbye to all the couples who are not going to Nauvoo and other visitors centers. That was kind of sad and hard for us to say goodbye. Then we had the weekend off, but we slept here at night. 
Us and the gang at Macaroni Grill in SLC.  Now back to the MTC. Sac. Mtg. is at 7:30 a.m.
    On Saturday we met Heather, James, who had driven down from Rexburg to see us, and Sam and Chan at dinner at Macaroni Grill in SLC. That was fun to spend time with them. Harrison had to work late. But after our sacrament meeting on Sunday morning, we went to Sam's where Heather cooked a delicious Sunday dinner of meat loaf (yes for her dad) creamy potatoes, corn and salad. Then she made rice krispy treats for dessert. Harrison was able to come for that. We had a great time visiting and laughing and singing! Then we had to say goodbye for 18 months. It doesn't get any easier. We had to do that in California with all our other children and grandchildren. But we know that our families will be blessed while we are gone. We have been promised that.

     Two days ago, on Monday we started training for visitors centers. There were 18 couples going to Nauvoo, Cove Fort, Palmyra and Mormon Battalion. We had a field trip in Salt Lake, and toured the visitors center there. We were taken down into the call centers, where missionaries answer their contacts, and others who have an interest in knowing more. What a blessing! They have many missionaries from different countries who speak several languages and can talk to these people all over the world! Then the rest of our training was back down at the MTC, and we learned how to greet people, what questions not to ask, how to speak from the heart with humility, and sincerity, and we did a lot of role playing with other couples. Tomorrow we meet until noon, and then start driving to Nauvoo after that.  We found out this week that we finally have a new mission president. President and Sister Hunter could not make it because of health issues, so our new president is President Larry Gibbons and his wife. They are from Texas. We are excited to meet them when we arrive. It is about a 1,800 mile drive so we are taking 3 days, and stopping at a few other historical sites, like Winter Quarters, and others. We are trying to follow the actual trail the pioneers took through Wyoming and across Nebraska and Iowa.

Guess where?  Cracker Barrel in Lincoln, Nebraska

      I want you all to know what a stronger testimony I have received while being here in the MTC. The gospel is true and more than ever before, I know that the Savior loves me, and knows me personally. I love Him and want to show Him by serving this mission to the best of my ability. Keep loving your children and grandchildren! Don't take anything for granted! Most of all Keep His Commandments! That is all He asks of you!  And I challenge all of you to plan on serving a mission when your children are raised and you are able to.

Thank you to all who have made this possible for us to go! You know who you are. I love you all!

Mom and Dad

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