Saturday, January 16, 2010

We got 'em (missionary badges)...rh

Well we’ve finished our first week at the MTC. AnneMarie and Gary (my daughter & son-in-law) delivered us here and helped us unload into our room. Gary carried 3 of our 50 pound bags up to the second floor for us – Thanks Gary!
The only other time that I’ve been here was as the dad dropping Chris off, so I found a little about what it is like being the droppee. There were some tears and heartstrings were tugged. I am also not a 19-year-old leaving home for the first time so I guess I still don’t really know what it is like for them.

What an amazing time! There have been so many spiritual experiences. I remarked to Georgia after the first day that this place is like a temple, we don’t whisper all the time but I feel a real reverence for this facility. It really is a facility, 19 buildings, I think – and we are not even housed there. They are remodeling the senior part of the MTC to make more room and so many, if not most, of the senior couples are housed in a Super 8 motel about 1 ½ miles from the facility. We have some advantages – bed is made each day, room is cleaned and clean towels are here for us – but we have to get a shuttle to get us to the MTC and back so we miss the closeness of all the conveniences of the MTC, especially on weekends like today.
We were greeted by the MTC presidency in a meeting shortly after we arrived. Elder and Sister Buchanan are set apart missionaries who are specifically assigned to the senior missionaries. They answer questions, give us directions to get places and generally serve as our MTC Mom and Dad. We have one mature brother who is the director of training for the seniors but most of the instruction and help come from young men and women who are our instructors in sessions both large and small. They are all fairly recently returned missionaries with strong testimonies and a missionary fervor to help us ignite our own internal fires. These young folks are just wonderful to associate with. We gave them a little gift yesterday as they finished up with us.

We have met folks who will serve medical, family history, temple, proselyting and office assignments in Switzerland, Spain, Ghana, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Chicago, Denver, Boise and several more that I can’t remember. (PmG):
Our grandson Aubrey Hatch is in the MTC at the same time we are! We caught a visit with him one day at meal time - a rare and special opportunity. The young missionaries are on a different fast track schedule, Have so much more to learn, even a language in Aubrey's case. He is going to the Germany Berlin Mission. Lookin' good, Aubrey!
The picture above is of Sister Henrichsen getting "cuts in line". We were told that the young missionaries were instructed that the senior missionaries got to move to the front of the line. However, it wasn't happening at all until about the fourth or fifth day when this young man invited me to step ahead of him. I told him I needed a picture of this because he was the FIRST young elder to be such a gentleman. I told him his mother would be proud! This week has been training for new MTC Presidents and Visitor Center Directors and we met the new MTC folks that will be in Johannesburg. There are some couples here awaiting visas as well as several younger missionaries heading to Brazil. Our visas were in our mailbox the first day we checked so we’re ready to fly out next Saturday at 11 am. We won’t reach South Africa until about 6 pm the next day. We’ll be crossing nine time zones.

I thought that they would only emphasize the first lesson from Preach My Gospel, but not so. We worked on lesson one on Tuesday, lesson two on Wednesday and lesson three yesterday. I talked with our grandson, Elder Hatch, during dinner on Thursday and he said that they had only worked on lesson one so far, and he has been here five days longer than we have. I guess they give us the quick method and expect us to learn what we need to on the job and/or in our personal study time. We have felt the Spirit in all of our teaching exercises. Georgia and I are getting our timing and smooth transitions down as we do this – we will do better as time goes along.

One of our sessions was a couple who had served a couple proselyting missions both in and out of the country. They told us of their last mission in Wisconsin. They were assigned to a branch that was 90 miles from corner to corner with lots of little towns. Their goal was to visit every member of the branch whether active or antagonistic. From what they showed, they got to about 70% of the members in the 5 ½ months they served there. They were able to reactivate several families and felt that they were successful. They remain in contact with those families with which they worked.

I’m sure this doesn’t convey the excitement that I feel but rest assured I am very excited. I wish we were leaving today as originally planned. We have another week of office training to get us ready for our first duties after we arrive in the mission.
This last picture is of the "MTC BUMP". We had been asked not to shake hands because of the colds and flu that were going around. The handshake was replaced with an elbow bump. One day in the hallway I met Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. I reached out to shake his hand and he gave me the MTC Bump instead! Wish I had a picture of that.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update. We are reading them.
    Larry & Maurie