We arrived at the Missionary Training Center (referred to as MTC) on Monday morning about 11:00. After checking in and receiving our name badges, we completed a few tasks and went to our first meeting. Lunch at the huge cafeteria was exciting, as 3000 young and old missionaries went through multiple lines for food. There are 3-4 entrees each meal, with fruit, salad and desserts available in massive quantities. Drinks run the gamut from Coke to juices and chocolate milk. Back to afternoon training sessions, we holed up with 4 couples and a trainer. We role played how to talk to new people, learning about them and their needs. Then we practiced using short simple sentences to explain our gospel message, trying not to use “Mormonese” that would be difficult to understand. This evening we are attending a devotional for the entire 3,000 missionaries, held in the BYU Marriott Center. The speaker will be a General Authority (church leader). Tomorrow we get our first chance at teaching a full 45-minute lesson to investigators.
We are staying at a local hotel because we have a car and there are not enough rooms on the MTC grounds. It is a short drive and also allows us to go other places as needed. This weekend we will be off from training and will spend the time with various family and friends. Next week our training will move into more specific skills needed for our particular duties in England. We will be working with the young single adults from ages 18-30 to provide a social center where they can gather to learn, play, serve, and of course EAT! We will be providing dinner every Wednesday evening before the religion class, and expect to feed 25-30 each week. The rest of the details are to come as we arrive on site. Being surrounded this week by thousands of college-age men and women (most ages 18-22) has been reminiscent of being on campus, especially moving in crowds across the grounds and in the cafeteria, which feels like dodging people between classes at the university.
We are so excited to begin our new adventure, to be trained and to share experiences and ideas about how to best do new duties. Other senior couples are going exotic places like Russia, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Japan. Many of them are also working with young adults or serving in offices or as support to local church leaders. There is a great air of excitement and anticipation as we will be leaving next week to actually live the dream.
We miss all our family and friends of course, but it hasn’t quite sunk in that we will be across the world in just nine days.