We finished our training at the MTC today. This has been an experience I will never forget. We have met other senior missionaries, and it has been fun to make new friends. Our classes and training have been fantastic. Last week our training was based on the "Preach My Gospel" manual. The theme of the manual is the purpose of missionaries: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end". Every lesson led to this theme -- the manual is incredible. This week we were receiving our training for working in the mission office. Lots of different things, and we feel a little overwhelmed by it all. Today's lesson was about the missionary vehicle guidelines, and how the missions MUST stay anchored to the approved program. Future missionaries really have no idea as to how their driving record will determine whether they are allowed to be a driver on their missions. They have to give a complete accounting of tickets, accidents, etc. etc. etc. All basically comes down to attitude, obedience and accountability. Driving privileges can be taken away because of one silly moment when the missionary has no idea someone might see the actions. The cars belong to the church, and there is a huge investment of money in the missionary car program.
Tuesday night Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke at the MTC devotional. His talk was incredible, and the MTC choir was wonderful. They sang the opening song "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer" Beautiful!!!. I want to remember some of his thoughts, so I will write some random thoughts again:
- This is the dispensation when the Son of God will come in His glory...It will not fail.
- An inactive returned missionary is not acceptable. We as missionaries MUST be converted. He said that he would not be able to contain himself if he met an inactive elder in a dark alley.
- If it is HIS work we have to do it HIS way. Obedience is imperative.
- We need to preach the gospel with power and great authority. Strive to be faithful and teach by the spirit.
- GO AND ASTONISH PEOPLE!!! Have gospel so imbedded in your soul that you will astonish people and shake the very earth beneath them.
- If you have only convert on your mission, make sure it is you, the missionary.
He then dedicated three buildings on the MTC: Addison Pratt, Dan Jones, Matthew Cowley (all three incredible missionaries). He gave a powerful blessing on the MTC itself, that there will be no acts of terror of any kind on the MTC campus. It was a very powerful dedicatory prayer. The closing song was: "Lord, I would follow Thee".
When Elder Holland came into the auditorium everyone stood until he blew kisses and waved his hand for us to sit down. That was very moving. And then again at the end of the devotional, there was no noise/no talking while Elder Holland, members of the Seventy, the missionary committee and newly called MTC presidency left the room -- then Elder Holland again waved and blew kisses to us all. Such a very dear man, a missionary at heart and a beloved apostle.
We are very grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission. We know that there will be hard days and discouragement, but we feel that we are very blessed. It is great that we can serve together and thank each of you for your love and support. We remember you in our prayers.
Tomorrow we start of drive to our mission. We plan on staying with Jeff & Kristi on Saturday and go to Church with them. Then it's on to Uticia, New York!!!