What's New?

We witness tender mercies and mini-miracles every day as we find joy in pressing forward. We are immensely grateful for our time of service as missionaries in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Life and opportunities continue. See our missionary and life story in pictures by clicking here: http://rayc.shutterfly.com/

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wonderful Week at the MTC - More Fun to Come

We enjoyed a wonderful five days at the MTC in Provo. We are now name badge-wearing missionaries! Ten single sisters headed to Nauvoo joined nearly 30 couples heading for Nauvoo, Russia, Georgia, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and many other places around the world at the senior missionary training sessions. It seems to be the week for Visitor Center and Historic Site and Member and Leader Support missionaries.  Last week, it was thirty "teamsters" who began their MTC experience to prepare for the summer in Nauvoo as hosts and wagon operators.

Thursday afternoon we received a message from the MTC staff to first call the Missionary Department and then President Wolfert in Georgia. He decided to change our assignment and needs us to serve in the Mission Office to kick off our time in Georgia. So we will be returning to the MTC next week for four days of additional training. We'll serve where we are needed!

We've recorded spiritual experiences and many details of our week(s) in the MTC in our journal, so we'll record just a brief summary here. Housing in the Jacob Hamblin building for the seniors is terrific - newly furnished apartments, private, quiet (almost too quiet), and comfortable. MTC elders met us upon arrival and carried our luggage to our room and gave a quick tour of the campus. We were treated with such courtesy all week long. By 11:30 a.m. we had administratively checked in and enjoyed a large group meeting; it would be the way we started every day. Great instructors! Then we headed to lunch. The cafeteria and the variety and volume of food served and consumed there is amazing! We enjoyed another afternoon session, followed by evening study and settling in.

Our MTC District:
Sister Betty Purtell and Sister Cheryl Fowers, headed to Nauvoo
Elder Bart and Sister Barbara Christensen, headed to the Oakland Temple Visitors Center
Elder and Sister Connors, headed to the Georgia Atlanta North Mission Office
Elder and Sister Halford, headed to Nauvoo
Brother Chinn, our instructor
On Tuesday morning we met our MTC classmates and our a.m. instructor, Brother Chinn. In the afternoon, Sister Clarissa Thomas was our instructor. We love them all and are learning so much from them. Our days included study of lessons and teaching techniques from material in Preach My Gospel. Evenings included more prep and study. On Tuesday we began preparing 45 minute lessons. On Wednesday and Thursday we knocked on a mock apartment door where we taught to the needs of a volunteer convert/past investigator while we were monitored remotely by camera by our instructor. It was intense and fun, exhausting and motivational. The week included additional group meetings and an MTC fireside where we enjoyed the wonderful choir of elders and sisters and Elder Craig Cardon of the Seventies as the guest speaker. Seniors can leave campus in their evening free time, if desired, so we took a short getaway on Thursday to see the progress on the Provo Tabernacle-Temple reconstruction. All is all it was a marvelous and tiring week. Our briefcase full of scriptures and missionary books was heavy!  The spirit of camaraderie and kinship and shared love of the Lord was so evident. We met so many fantastic people, even former friends or professional associates.* The spirit at the MTC was strong so many times; happiness continually. Mild spring days added to the positives. Daffodils were blooming by the time we left.

Today we did laundry and packed the car for Georgia; Nephi and Lilla moved some of their things into the basement so they can move in on Monday. Tomorrow we'll be able to attend meetings at our Orchard 6th home ward (and also Mike and Wendy's ward since the girls are singing and Wendy is speaking). We'll spend next weekend sleeping at Mike's house, meetings in the 6th Ward, then off to Georgia on Monday, March 26.

*Notes about unique friendships from the MTC and mission:

·         Barry and Carol Ellis are local volunteer MTC coordinators, and we were pleasantly surprised to see them leading meetings at the MTC. Barry was a Beneficial Life agent, and Carol grew up in Linda's home ward and went to school (K-12) with Ray’s class.)
·         We also visited with Shirley Morby, a high school friend and Ted DeMars, a Beneficial life agency manager at the MTC.
·         One the couples we enjoyed visiting with during meal breaks was Susan and Robert Larsen. We sadly spotted Susan's obituary while checking the Deseret News online while in Georgia. She had died while serving in Nauvoo. We went to high school with Bob and Susan; their son was Ray's physical therapist after knee replacement; Linda worked with Susan and her father at Beneficial.
·         We also spent time at the MTC with Corrie and Garth Moore, who were on our temple shift team. They were preparing to serve in the Hague after two years of medical setbacks that had delayed a mission call. Linda had worked with Corrie at Beneficial Life, too. Corrie would pass away in the Netherlands just two months into their mission. When Ray visited with Garth by phone from Georgia, Garth expressed such hope and positivity.

·         Death would again impact our mission friends. Sister Ann Tewalt and Brother Bill Tewalt of Loganville, GA, worked so selflessly as local service missionaries to help the office staff out with housing and mission luncheons. Ann succumbed to a devastating stroke about six months after we returned home. In notifying us of her death by email, Bill shared his testimony:  I do not understand all that I should about the timing of her death, but I trust heavenly father....The mission was one of the high spots of our life of nearly 47 years together and we were so blessed to know you.

We are so grateful for our missionary interactions with these wonderful people; they are truly our brothers and sisters. They so freely shared their gospel light; their desire to serve the Lord lit up their conversation and our lives. What a blessing to have shared precious time with them as we bonded in the joy and dedication that surrounds missionary work.

No comments:

Post a Comment