With Sister Amy Street (Our Trainer)
With the Websters, from Rexburg. They are headed to Bermuda!
Our MTC experience began with us driving our car to the MTC. I felt it such a privilege to have those gates opened to us allowing us to enter. We went through an orientation of registering, having our medical papers checked, receiving our passports with visas for Philippines, going to the book store to recieve a bag of books for our training, and being assigned our room.......a room at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Provo. We were told in our “welcome” meeting that we were the largest group of senior missionaries that they have ever had at one time in the MTC. Most were from the west but some from Pennsylvania and some from Canada. My heart was so touched as each stood and introduced themselves and where they were called and the type of mission they were going to serve. The wonderful prophetic scripture from Daniel came to my mind about the stone cut out without hands, and is referred to in D&C 65:2; “The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.” Many “small stones” were rolling forth into the world from our little group, alone, to places like: Ivory Coast, Freiberg Germany temple, Winter Quarters, Boise, Finland temple, Philippines (us), Nairobi Kenya, Washington DC temple, Washington, Omaha Nebraska, Mogadishu Africa, New Zealand, London, Australia, Bermuda, Sharon Vermont, Nauvoo, Hawaii PCC.
On Tuesday night we had a devotional with Elder Robert C. Oaks......no words can express the feeling of looking behind, where we were sitting, and seeing every missionary from the MTC sitting there.....no one can deny the feeling of the Spirit that is present in every part of that sacred place. Elder Oaks spoke on the need for the Spirit in every aspect of our lives. Some of his main points that I loved were:
The Spirit is key and core to the gospel being spread.
The Gopsel of Jesus Christ has the power to make bad men good and good men better.
The key to baptizing happens by planning and then heading out and relying on the Spirit.
The Spirit is Real....tangible.
There is no complete list of the ways the Spirit communicates to us.
How to maintain the Spirit constantly: prayer, scriptures, focus on Christ and think about His life, virtuous thoughts, obedience, follow promptings, no contention with your companion.
Don’t get discouraged, seeds planted in some soil take a very long time to grow.
Make plans-----set goals.
Lack of detailed planning by missionaries is why more people are not baptized.
The Lord truly will lead you to those he has prepared or them to you.
Treat EVERY contact like a gold coin.
We were divided into districts and Randy was called as our district leader. In our district were the Lunds from Salt Lake City, the Westovers (former mission president) from California, Harpers (former mission president) from Taylorsville, and the Leavitt’s from Canada. A Sister Street was one of our main instructors. She was a young returned missionary from Omaha, Nebraska. She was dynamite and looked like Hermione Granger from Harry Potter fame. I tried to line her up with the son of the Mangleson’s (public affairs missionaries going to Australia) Sister Street was so cute and available! She needs to find a good man. We spent time each day learning how to teach the different lessons in Preach My Gospel and then we had times when we went and taught “mock” investigators and were filmed doing it so we could learn our strengths and weaknesses as companionships. Here is what I learned....... I am our weakness and Randy is our strength!!! Boy, was I ever glad when those were done!! I did learn some very valuable things, though. Like, for instance, when the investigator had very specific questions that we had not prepared to teach, I would say,” Why, Elder Bird will be more that happy to find that reference for you and the answer to your question”......oh, Randy was sooo good. Most of the sisters were stressed about this activity....including me!
On Wednesday 325 new missionaries arrived. I saw the cars start pulling in right at 1:00 pm. We were having a break and Randy had gone to talk to someone, so I decided to just walk down on the side walk and watch as the families brought their sons and daughters to drop them off. Well, that was a mistake!! To my great surprise, as soon as I walked around the corner and saw this happening, I was so over come with emotion.....it was all I could do to not start sobbing right there!! It brought back to my heart all of those emotions of when Mike and Scott left for their missions. I was amazed at how suddenly all of those feelings returned to my heart with such power. I had to turn immediately and walk the other way. It took me most of the afternoon to get so I didn’t feel like I was going to cry if I talked to anyone!! Oh, the tender feelings of a mothers heart!! The rest of the week I had a constant prayer in my heart for each of those new missionaries and their families. Whenever we were in the cafeteria, I tried to look for faces of missionaries that looked like they might be struggling and need a little lift........I was so relieved to see that they all looked so very happy. I always tried to visit with lots of missionaries while standing in lines for food....which was often!!
The MTC was such a fantastic experience. The only down side to that week was that we would have breakfast, sit in classes, then it was time for lunch and you always eat, even though you are still full from breakfast!! Then it gets worse......you sit in more classes and at 4:30 you go to dinner and soon you have eaten another huge meal. You feel you will never eat again, but sure enough, a few hours later in your hotel room, you are relaxing and studying for the next day.....feeling all stressed and worried about teaching.....and so you have snacks!! The MTC is definitly not a place for losing weight!!
Here are a few things I jotted down in my notes from the MTC:
“As my age has gone up, my hearing has gone down”. Brother Judd
Hearing the experience, originally recorded by John C. Green in “The Life of Heber C. Kimball” that Heber C. Kimball had on the night of September 22, 1829 (when the prophet Joseph Smith received the plates from Moroni) of seeing the beautiful bow in the sky and then witnessing a great battle, and then learning, many years later, that the same night Brigham Young had the same experience and had recorded it in his journal. It is too long to write here.
“The Book of Mormon” is a revelation about revelation. It will always be the primary missionary tract” Elder Holland
The Plates were originally written by revelation and then translated by revelation. 1 Nephi is all about revelation! 2 Nephi taught what revelation is and how to use it. The middle of the B of M is about things we can get revelation on and the end of the B of M is telling us: now go and receive your own revelation!
Teach doctrine so people can solve their own problems.
On Wednesday evening we took a beginning Tagalog class. It was fun to attempt learning some of the greetings in the Philippines. We were also taught some Church language and I was asked to close the class with prayer in Tagalog. I laughed and said, “I would have to combine Tagalog and English” which is exactly what I did. I prayed by looking at my notes and with eyes open and making many mistakes. But it was a sweet experience. My husband said he was so proud of me that I would attempt it.