Monday, February 27, 2012

MTC 2/20-2/26

                                                EXPERIENCES AT THE MTC
                                                       February 20 - 26, 2012
  Tom:     Being at the MTC among some 2,000 missionaries is an awesome experience, one that I will never forget and always cherish.  We sing hymns about the Lord’s army in sacrament meeting, but it takes being among these 2,000 stripling young warriors and some 35 senior couples to fully realize the spiritual strength and impact of such an assembly of the Lord.  Singing at a devotional in a missionary choir of some 400 voices was another choice and special experience.  Engulfed in the bass section with college age basses resounding around me I felt privileged to be included in this talented group of singers.  Sister Stokoe, likewise, felt the same in the soprano section.  The total choir was superb and gave credence to the term “a heavenly choir of angels” singing from above.
     The MTC is a spiritual “house” of commitment and dedication to study, learning, and teaching. Enthusiasm ripples through the campus classrooms, halls, cafeteria, residential buildings and adjoining sidewalks.  All around us is the vitality of youth, young adults in the prime of life chomping at the bit of opportunity to go forth throughout the world and invite people to come unto Christ. The “Standard of Truth” is indeed erected and waves unto all the world.
    Youthful instructors, returned missionaries, savvy and experienced teach the golden oldies the “ropes of missionary work” from scripture and text “Preach My Gospel.”  A host of volunteers contribute to the cause both young and old and cherish the experience as we do. I do believe that if our Savior and Redeemer were to come to a place to teach, other than one of his temples, the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah could be it.  This is the place for boosting of testimony, the bolstering of spiritual strength, and the departing runway to deliver the Lord’s message to a  sea of humanity awaiting discovery across the earth.

     Diane:   We are receiving excellent training and instruction here at the MTC.  Tom has met seven of his former Mountain Ridge students (all new missionaries) as well as some Samoan missionaries including Viliami Hemaloto’s son, who has been called to the Chinese speaking mission in Seattle. Our trainers are both recently returned missionaries: Jordan Hawks (majoring in accounting) and Jordan Hepworth, an engineering major at BYU.
     Nikki’s former bishop, Mike Huntsman, from Ferron, and wife Camille are members of our group.  Also the Days (assigned to Member Services in Texas) and Brother and Sister Rhyms. Elder Rhyms recently served as mission president in Vladivostok, Russia.  They along with the Greers and  the Meiers are going to Cambodia.  That mission was opened by President Hinkley in 1996.  Today they have five districts and 25 branches. The plan is to strengthen the branches with senior couples so they can become wards.  The Greers presented the plan of salvation today using a pamphlet entitled: “The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  We were inspired by the beautiful pictures and their simple explanations–techniques we can use in South Africa. They will be stationed north of Phenom Phen.  Elder Greer is a marathon runner.  The big international marathon race in Cambodia will be held with runners running around the famous ancient temple of Angor Wat.

  Tom:   On Thursday we had a practice session, a 45 minute meeting with a “inactive church member”, the purpose being to become acquainted and follow up on a previous visit by two full time missionaries.  It was a worthwhile rehearsal, a forerunner to how such a meeting might go in the mission field..  When it concluded Brother Rick Perry told us he spoke nine languages and had recorded parallels between the Bible and Book of Mormon in seven languages and was working on a Russian/English comparison.  He gave us two CDs of his work. His wife is, Ardeth Cap Perry, a well known LDS composer.

    Diane:   On Sunday Sister Kahatti bore her testimony in Relief Society telling of her conversion.  Born in New Delhi, she was raised in a Hindu family.  In her youth she was given a picture of Jesus Christ. He looked like the God of Love.  So she prayed to him and talked to him often while growing up.  Knowing that he was the “God of the Christians” she studied the Bible was baptized into the Pentecostal church.  She asked the pastor when she would receive the gift of the holy ghost?  He responded that he did not know and told her to ask God.  Unsatisfied, she spent the next four years searching for the truth.  Discouraged, she finally lost all hope and decided that life is meaningless until, on the verge of suicide, someone gave her a  Book of Mormon.  She began to read. Excited, she call the number on the referral card and two young missionaries arrived to teacher her and answer questions that none of the elderly pastors could answer.  They took her to a fast and testimony meeting.  She was the second person up to bear testimony,  “God had not forgotten me.  The Book of Mormon is true.  When can I be baptized?”  Her mother and cousin have since been baptized in India. Sister Kahatti will leave for her mission in Fiji soon.

   Tom and I talked with her during lunch.  Today there are two missions in India–New Deli and Bangladesh.  Missionaries in India may hold meetings, teach investigators and answer referrals but they may not proselyte.  The other young sister missionary from India has been assigned to serve at Temple Square.

    Our Sunday schedule: 8:00 a.m. Sacrament Meeting;  9:00 KSL Broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word; 10:00 Relief Society, while Elders attend Priesthood Meeting; 11:00 a meeting for all sisters new to the MTC on “Health and Wellness;” 12:00 - 1:00 lunch; 4:15 Choir Practice; 5:15 Departure Devotional – (Attended last Sunday at MTC); 7-8 pm fireside .  There are 57 branches here at the MTC.  Half of them are Spanish speaking.  About 400 missionaries are leaving the MTC this week, about 70, will all be serving in Mexico.  Tom and I were the only missionaries going to South Africa at the farewell devotional. Fifty three languages are being taught at the MTC.  (Two other couples who will serve in South Africa arrived at the MTC on Monday:  Elder and Sister Richins from Ventura will serve in Cape Town.  Brother and Sister Miller from Boise will  serve in Durban.  We all fly out together next Monday.)

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