Life at the MTC

After the large group meeting with the President of the MTC, families go out one door, and the missionaries go out a different door. The families go out to their cars, and a new journey begins for the green missionary.


I remember queueing up to leave the presentation room, nervous and excited. I followed the crowd to another spot where there were older service missionaries (who were serving service missions AT the MTC) who were helping us newbies get our bearings. Taking photos, making sure our grooming was up to par (mine wasn't, you 'll notice I had a quick hair cut from the first photo in the first post to later!) and I think they pointed me to my room. They also told me who my assigned companion was. (Missionaries spend all their time together in companionships. The thought is that two are better than one. Nobody is perfect either and everyone is subject to temptations from time to time, having two helps keep missionaries from making really BIG mistakes. )


Wednesdays are the day (at least they were in 1997) where the MTC takes on new missionaries, and since my last name starts with a "B", I was at the first large group meeting of the day, so I figured I'd be the first one of my companionship to be there, but I was surprised when I got to my bunk room that there was another missionary already there. We were both a little shy at first, but we figured out after a few minutes that we were companions. Turns out, he flew in pretty early in the day from Canada (near the Great Lakes area), so he had beat me there by several hours. I was pretty excited to be paired up with someone from Canada, since that is where I was going - to the great Canada Calgary Mission. Here he is. His nickname was Beezer.


He told me that there was a great big sheet of ice at the border, and when we flew over in the plane, I should look for it. (ha ha). We chatted about the great North for a while while we waited for other Elders to show up. We eventually went to dinner and then went to our first class that evening.

A note about classes. The purpose of the MTC is to train Sisters and Elders (that's the title we give missionaries. If your name was Joe Snyder, you would be called Elder Snyder; if you were Emma Brenner, you would be called Sister Brenner, etc.) to be missionaries. Well, that is a tough task, but the instructors are up to it. We talked about our conversion to the gospel and the Spirit that evening if I recall.


The instructors are all men and women who have previously served missions who are (generally) attending school at BYU. Teaching at the MTC is their job. Honestly, I don't think it pays that well in terms of dollars, but the Spiritual benefits are what really bring the instructors out.


The class instruction focused a lot on the Spirit (see Galations 5, the fruit of the Spirit; Moroni 10:5 in the Book of Mormon; and Doctrine and Covenants section 50 if you want a real in-depth study). The idea is that as missionaries, we would encounter different situations every day out in the mission field (once we left the MTC). While the lesson material would try to prepare us to discuss the doctrines of our church, the best Advocate a missionary can keep with him or her is the Spirit. It will guide and direct as necessary. In fact, we believe that convincing someone that the message is true by logic alone is not a true conversion to the faith. One must be taught by the Spirit to gain a true knowledge of the truth. It is an interesting topic to be sure. I cannot cover it in correct detail in this post alone.

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