We started our journey to Provo, Utah and the MTC on Thursday, February 10th. We had been set apart as missionaries the previous evening by President Hyrum D'addabbo, a counselor in the Queen Creek South Stake presidency. We love President D'addabbo, and appreciate his kindness that he showed us that evening. On Thursday morning we got into our heavily loaded car (no cranny was unoccupied) and drove from our home in San Tan Valley, Arizona to Lehi, Utah where we spent a few days visiting our daughter Victoria's family, and the family of our son Ian, for the weekend. On Monday we then reported to the MTC to begin two weeks of training as senior missionaries assigned to member and leader support (MLS) in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission. Below is a back view and front view of our car. The back barely had room for our luggage at the end. You can see how stuffed the front is from the second picture.
On Monday, February 14, 2022 we entered the gates of the MTC and received our room assignment and began our orientation. On that day, 30 senior missionary couples and senior sister missionaries began their service. We come from all walks of life and parts of the country and Canada. Some have served multiple missions, and some had served missions as young men and women. It is inspiring to see so many who are willing to serve wherever they are called to go. In our small district one couple is headed to Ghana Accra Mission. The other couple is headed to the Hungary Romania Mission. Many are headed to missions overseas where they will speak English but live in Germany, for example. One couple are Tongan, the parents of 14 children in a blended family with an astounding 44 grandchildren! You've never met sweeter people. I even met a senior couple where the husband served in Argentina at the same time I did. He was a year behind me, and his first area was my first area in Haedo. We lived in the same apartment with the same German landlady, Gertrude. We've formed some new friendships that we hope will continue on after this experience. The picture below is of a portion of the 30 missionary couples including ourselves.
The first five days of training were filled with learning how to teach the gospel and how to work together doing it. This requires a learning each other's strengths. Our teachers were both young men, aged 22 years old. Brother Tanner Monroe in the mornings, and Brother Trevor Rich in the afternoon. It is very hard to think that at one point I was that young. Even more incredible are the young men and women here that are being trained for missionary service at the ages of 18 and 19. How young they look to me now. Just to add insult to injury, here I am at age 21 in Lujan, Argentina.
It has been 43 years since I was here at the MTC. This is a beautiful campus with a number of new modern buildings that have excellent training facilities. The majestic mountains that lie to the east of Provo are still the same. Here is one photo to end this blog that doesn't do justice to just how beautiful these mountains are and some pictures from around the campus. Until next week!
Well, it almost seems impossible, but here we are just one week away from reporting to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. My amazing wife has been preparing things for weeks, while I am my normal procrastinating self. I prefer the "think" method that Professor Harold Hill from the Music Man used. My preparation consists of thinking about it, and that has predictable results. Thomas S Monson said, "when the time for performance has come, the time for preparation has passed."
We will leave sunny Arizona on Feb 10th and spend a few days in Utah with family before beginning our training on February 14th. The list of seemingly small disconnected items that you need to do and remember to bring is endless. You cross one item off and 10 more pop into their place. During the last few weeks we've had five Zoom sessions that consisted of two hour pre-mission training with Elder and Sister Spencer to get us ready for the MTC. They were terrific with loads of good advice, having been missionaries in Cambodia and New York City as a senior couple. We've connected to our New Hampshire Manchester Mission office staff and the Mission President and his wife. We found out where we will be living in Lowell, MA, and even found out that I have 2nd cousin once removed living near where we will be. We will just miss the big snowstorm that hit the Boston area, but I am sure we are not going to miss the rest of the snow this winter. We will drive from Provo to Lowell, MA starting on Feb 26.
We've had our granddaughter here with us for the past couple of days for a gymnastics meet in Phoenix. She is our oldest grandchild and is now 11. She is a terrific gymnast and can do endless flips that make old people wonder if it is even humanly possible to do that sort of thing. Time is passing by quickly when your grandbabies are getting so big. She has an enjoyed being with her boy cousins, a 4 year old, and 2 year old twins.
That's all for this post.