Monday, August 29 was our official start date at the MTC. We checked in at 10 a.m. to get our orientation package. From there they sent us to a few other places on campus for information, materials, etc. Then, after lunch, we had a large group meeting with all of the 73 senior missionaries at the MTC this week. We got an overview of the week's schedule and were divided into smaller districts for training. We were told that the average number of senior missionaries at the MTC in a given week is about 80, although sometimes it's over 100 and sometimes its below 40. (I thought the numbers would be at least twice that high.)
The whole week we were trained in Preach My Gospel. The first day we focused on our missionary purpose. (Invite others to come unto Christ!)
Following our afternoon training, Bob and I were set apart for our mission by Presiden Michael J. Bertasso, 1st counselor in the MTC presidency.
Elder and Sister Bertasso(Since we left home so long before the beginning of our mission, our stake president didn't set us apart before we left. Instead, he arranged for us to be set apart after we got here.) The blessings we received as part of that setting apart were truly wonderful. It feels too sacred to talk about them, but, it was, by far, the best blessing I've ever received.
This is us, shortly after we were set apart.After dinner, we got to see a fabulous video of a talk by Elder Bednar about the character of Christ. We were told it is only available at the MTC, otherwise, I'd get a copy so I could watch it again.
The rest of the week followed a similar schedule. It was mostly small group study and training in classrooms, with occasional large group meetings. All very inspiring.
On Tuesday night we got to hear from Elder Watkins of the 70 at the weekly MTC devotional for everyone at the MTC. There are 2,400 missionaries here this week, and when that many of us are singing together, it's awesome!!
During our Thursday training, focusing on the Holy Ghost, we saw another MTC exclusive video with Elder Bednar. Wonderful, wonderful talk. Fabulous. Again, I wish I could have a copy of it.
We did a lot of role playing during the week with other senior missionaries and it was helpful to have these experiences. I actually wish I could have had this kind of training way before this - I'd have been a MUCH better member missionary! (Of course, there's still time after the mission) :-)
Friday afternoon we drove to Salt Lake City to meet with some of the housing coordinators, etc for our mission, sign our lease, and get instructions for our first few days in the mission. Although there are only 12 new senior missionaries in our group, there are more than a thousand missionaries in this mission. In fact, I was surprised to learn that we are not under the missionary department. We're under the family history department - a mission unto itself.
Then we moved in! Oh, boy!!
We unloaded everything we had with us at the MTC and then went to get all the stuff we had in storage. I'm not sure how many trips it took for us to get everything inside, up the elevator and into the apartment. One nice thing was that members of our new branch (Salt Lake 2nd Branch) left us a goodie basket with a variety of food items and snacks. That was a sweet surprise.
Since we had a completely bare cupboard and refrigerator, we headed to the grocery store before we did much in the way of unpacking. Fortunately, the apartment building has some courtesy shopping carts that help get multiple shopping bags into our apartments. That helped!
Saturday we did more unpacking and also ran some errands to pick up a few things we don't have that we didn't think of or were too tired to get Friday night. (kitchen utensils, bath accessories, etc.) Its been a long time since I needed to think about getting some of these things.
We're mostly unpacked and organized now, but, I'm looking forward to having everything in place and getting into a routine. . .
Its a blessing to have this opportunity.
I forgot to say that when we had our meeting with some of the mission staff Friday afternoon, they had us move our name tags from the left shoulder to the right — because we're working for people who are on the other side. :-) Everyone in this mission wears them that way.