Wednesday, July 24, is a holiday in the State of Utah. But, it is not a holiday at the MTC! Classes started at 8:30am in the chapel building next to the MTC campus. Before class began, we had opening exercises with a song and a prayer and some housekeeping announcements. For class, we had a role play with volunteers that come from the community outside of the MTC. Arlana and I had a nice old man that was pretending to be an investigator who had invited the missionaries (Arlana and I) to his house for the first time. Our appointment lasted 45 minutes. We got to know him and then we discussed the plan of Salvation. We committed him to read the pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation and then pray about it. We then set a follow-up appointment. Our role play was then evaluated by our instructor who was hidden on the other side of the partition. After a break for lunch, we were instructed on how to follow up on prior commitments and then prepare to give lesson 2 in Preach My Gospel. Our classroom day ended at 4:15pm at which time we went to the mess hall to eat dinner and then catch the shuttle to the Marriott Hotel. That evening was spent watching the national news, catching up on the emails, and then lesson preparation for the next day.
Thursday was much like Wednesday except for the announcement that one of the Elders in our senior couple group had a heart attack the previous day and was taken to the Hospital in Provo where he underwent a procedure to have a stint put in one of his arteries that was completely blocked. The role play Thursday morning was with an elderly couple who volunteered from the community. They had invited the missionaries back for a second visit, but since that first visit the missionaries had transferred and Arlana and I were there now in their place. So after a time of getting to know them, we inquired about what they had done since the prior missionary visit. He had done nothing and she had read some of the Book of Mormon. So after some more discussion, we ended with a re-commitment to read 3 Nephi before our next appointment. Again, we were evaluated by our instructor who was sitting behind the partition. After a lunch break, we resumed our training at 1:30. In the afternoon, we were trained how to use the Book of Mormon in our lessons as well as how to work with less active members of the church. The afternoon session ended with a senior couple telling of their experiences from their multiple missions in the South Pacific Islands. Their experiences somewhat parallels those of Bro Groburg in the movie the "Other Side of Heaven". That evening, Arlana and I went on a walk around downtown Provo and viewed the construction site of the Provo Center Temple. The shell of the old tabernacle is on stilts as a basement is built below it as well as an underground parking garage.
Friday started out much the same way as the other days. But today, we were joined with the Elder who had had the heart attack on Tuesday. He was happy to be with us, no doubt. He was not cut open. Rather they enter his artery through a vein in the wrist to implant the stint near his heart. A miracle! The Friday morning role play was between missionary couples. One couple was chosen to play the less active and another couple was chosen to be the missionaries. We then rotated places in which the roles were reversed. After we got to know the less active couple and their problems, Arlana and I spent the next hour trying to figure out what was causing them to be less active and develop a lesson and a commitment to do something. So after the preparation, we got back into our roles and presented and then received the lesson that was prepared. It was a lot of fun and we got to know two other couples really well. After lunch break, we returned to the chapel building and learned about how the missionaries should interact with ward and stake leaders and how to interact with ward members. The end of the afternoon marked the end of our training on "Preach My Gospel". An elderly couple came in to tell of the multiple missions to the New Zealand area. Quite interesting! That night we prepared to transfer the next morning from the Marriott to the apartment room in the MTC.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
On July 22, we went to the Salt Lake City airport at 8am. In terminal 2, we caught a shuttle that took us to the front door of the MTC. We walked into the front door with our 4 suitcases and two carry-on bags and computer case at around 10:30am. There, they gave us our name tags, and a packet of material, guided us to the immunization kiosk, the book store, the travel office, and general services desk. There they told us to leave our bags by the door and that we would meet in the chapel located just outside of the campus at 1pm. In the bookstore, we received our plastic card key which opens doors and pays for laundry and meals. (The card key acts like a debit card since we had to put money into it to pay for all of the meals and laundry.)
At noon, we ate our first meal. The mess hall is like a food court in that they have 4 different serving areas with each area having a different menu. They give you a choice of beverage ranging from water to different kinds of milk to different kinds of juices to different kinds of carbonated drinks. They also have an ice cream freezer and a place to get pre-made salads and parfaits. The seniors ate along side the young missionaries. Most of the young elders wore ties and slacks and white shirts and some wore suits. All of the seniors wore suits and Sunday dress. So everybody in the mess hall was courteous and well mannered.
At 1 pm, all 84 seniors met in the chapel of the church building next to the campus. After an opening song and prayer, everybody, in turn, introduced themselves, told where they were from and where they were assigned and the type of mission. There were couples from Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, California, Montana, Oklahoma, Mexico, and Canada. Their assignments were to all corners of the world, including Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, India, China, Central America, South America, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, Cambodia, and various parts of North America. One couple from Tucson was going back to Tucson to serve in the mission office. The type of missions varied from Member Support to Perpetual education service, to office support, to humanitarian, to physical facilities.
Everybody oohed and aahed after each introduction. It was a neat experience. After some housekeeping business, we separated into classrooms with each room being an assigned district consisting of four couples. I was the district leader in my classroom. The couples in my district were from Las Vegas, NV, Tucson, AZ, and Hamilton, MT.
At 4pm, we broke up and went to eat dinner in the mess hall. After eating, we went to the front lobby of the main building and waited for the shuttle to take us to the Marriott Hotel where we checked in and got reunited with our luggage. The hotel is under contract with the MTC to house the seniors that could not be housed on the MTC campus because of a lack of space.
On July 23, we got up at 6am and got ready for another day. The elders were each decked out in their suits and the sisters in their Sunday dress at the front door of the Marriott. The shuttle came at 6;45 and took us up to the campus. We ate breakfast in the mess hall. Training started at 8:30am in the chapel of the church building next to the campus. Training started with an opening song and prayer and announcements. After about an hour in our large group, we broke up into our districts for training the rest of the morning. We trained out of "Preach My Gospel" book and the scriptures. We learned how to begin teaching and preparing lesson plans. Between noon and 1:30, we broke for lunch. In the afternoon, we started off in the chapel again with a song and prayer and learned about commitment invitations. We then broke into our districts and practiced the invitations to commit people in role plays. I was humbled in the role play because it was hard. At 4:30 the training ended and we went to dinner in the mess hall. That evening, there was a devotional in the Marriott Center on the BYU campus. We had to be in our reserved seats 6:45pm. Arlana and I walked from the MTC to the Center. It was all downhill. Elder Carmack and his wife and grandson spoke about contention and contending and about missionary work. All of the missionaries at the MTC attended. What a site to see them walk to and from the Center. The seniors got on a bus back to campus and the hotel. By the time we got to our hotel room, it was 9pm.