Kaye and Richard had an enjoyable week at the Mission Training Center or the MTC. We entered the MTC at 10 am on Monday morning the 31st of December. We celebrated New Years Eve by going to bed around 10 pm.
The first week was devoted to being taught how to use the “Preach My Gospel” manual. Numerous short video clips – most of which can be found at mormon.org and lds.org – were shown. There were 44 couples and 12 single sisters at this session. At the end of the first day we were divided up into small districts consisting of four couples and instructors. The instructors were returned missionaries and students at BYU. Brother Hung instructed in the morning and Brother Pearson instructed in the afternoon. The instruction procedure was to review a section in the manual and then practice by role playing to apply and use the principle taught. On Wednesday and Thursday persons from the area would come to the MTC and role play a certain character. Most of the community role players have been doing this for a number of years and I was very impressed how well they stayed in character. I tried to get them to come out of character after the role play was completed and they did not. The maintained their character from beginning to end.Elder and Sister Mason are in the center and the photo was taken in the class room that we were taught in during the first week of our mission.
Tuesday evening the MTC conducts a devotional with a church general authority. Elder Yoon Hwan Choi was our speaker. His message was very good and can be summarized by understanding that we are all handsome or beautiful. I think he embarrassed his wife a bit by making her come to the podium and have her tell us why he was handsome. She kept turning around to him – he had set down while she was talking – and would ask him enough if she had said enough things about how handsome he was. His whole point was, however, to make sure that we are all children of our Heavenly Father and to him and to us we should all be handsome physically and spiritually. He emphasized that if we are to become Christlike we must see and find the beauty in everyone and stressed that if you do not see beauty in you companion then it is your problem not his or hers.
There was an out break of the stomach flu so they moved the devotional to a class room and then ported the devotional to the class rooms for the missionaries to view. They are trying hard to minimize the spread of the stomach flu. It is lasting 48 hours and those that get it are, apparently, very sick when they get it. To contain it is a real challenge because you have over 1600 young men and women using the same dining room and class rooms and apartments. That is there is plenty of opportunity to spread it around.
This week there are about 1,600 missionaries being trained at the MTC. By April they expect to have 4,800 missionaries. Because the senior missionary rooms were filled Elder and Sister Mason were housed in a room in the down town Marriott – I know it is tough to be a missionary. We had not planned on keeping a car but it turned out to be very convenient to have a car and not have to depend on being taxied between the Marriott and the MTC.
We eat three meals at the MTC and they feed all 1600 plus in an hour and a half. There is a stream going in to the cafeteria and stream going out. There is a very good variety in the selection of the food so they have a very good and efficient system. We have been impressed with the meals. For a cafeteria system they are both efficient and good.