Wednesday, September 9, 2015

At the Missionary Training Center

David, Rachel and Harrison dropping us off at the MTC
In front of the MTC, first day
Frankfurt on the map
We are in Provo, Utah, and the Missionary Training Center. There are more than 2000 young men and young women (young men can volunteer for 2 years of missionary service at age 18, and young women can apply for 18-month missions at age 19). There are also approximately 150 "senior missionaries." The young fresh faces are from many nations. Some come for a short time to learn how to effectively proclaim the gospel and teach about Jesus Christ and His restored Church. Many or maybe even most of them stay for 6 weeks of intense missionary and language training. They have been called to serve all over the earth. We have met young people going to Ukraine, Japan, South America, Thailand, Colorado, and Indonesia. They are enthusiastic, and we listen to them chatter away in all manner of tongues. It's amazing.

The senior missionaries in our group of 107 (53 couples and a single sister) are also headed out to all manner of places. We talked to an Elder and Sister Smith this afternoon who are headed to Guatemala. He will serve as an associate area legal counsel for the church, and she will help in the office or do something else. She doesn't really know what she will do there, but she goes with faith that she can help in the work. We have four couples in our district. They are wonderful people, and have touched our hearts with their love for the Savior and for people. The Bunns are from Idaho. He will be the mission nurse in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sister Bunn will work in the mission office. The Hansens are from Sandy, Utah. They are going to Indonesia to teach people how to do family history and to support the local branches of the church. This is way out of their comfort zone, but they are going with a smile and with trust that God will help them do what they need to do -- including help them learn to speak the language. The Newcums are from Dallas. They know the Packards, and we felt an instant connection with them. They have planned for most of their lives to serve, although Brother Newcum is a convert and told us that when he was investigating the church as a younger man, he did not pray when the missionaries asked him to pray because he was afraid that if he found out that what they were teaching him was true, he would be obliged to serve the Lord and possibly be a missionary. That terrified him. But he took the step long ago, found the truth, and is now going out to serve a full-time mission with his wife. How inspiring is that? They are going to Modesto, California, to teach the gospel and reach out to less active members. We love these people.

Our son-in-law (Rachel's husband) David Chinn is the training coordinator for senior missionaries, and we have enjoyed seeing him in action. He is a gifted teacher, and is in complete charge in these large group meetings as he teaches the 107 of us how to teach people and not lessons. We love him and are so proud! He's made us feel like celebrities :) 

Last night, there was a devotional for the MTC, and Elder Gérald Caussé and his wife spoke to the entire group of missionaries. Imagine a choir of what must have been 1,000 young men and women (or more) singing "More Holiness Give Me." They only practiced an hour before the meeting, but it was amazing. Then Sister and Elder Caussé taught us to be heroes -- to become true emissaries of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of Bishop Caussé's remarks, he said that he was nervous, but that he had to be bold like he was telling us to be. He left the stand, sat at a grand piano, and began what sounds like a one-finger arrangement of "Come, Come Ye Saints." It became a concert-level performance of a magnificent arrangement of that hymn, the most beautiful piano arrangement I have ever heard. What an amazing man. He was a successful businessman in France, became a Seventy, and is now the 1st counselor in the presiding bishopric of the church. They left a comfortable life and a close family in France to move first to Germany and then to Salt Lake City, Utah because they love the Savior. It was an inspiring evening.

It is our love for the Savior that has motivated us to leave our comfortable home and sweet family as well.  He has sacrificed all for us, has blessed us and brought us so much joy and peace, how can we not sacrifice for him? To share the wonderful knowledge of Jesus Christ and the restoration of his gospel is our deepest desire. We are grateful he has pointed us to Germany where we hope to do just that.  


  1. Thanks for sharing with us, what a great experience. You are heroes, by the way.

  2. Thanks for sharing with us, what a great experience. You are heroes, by the way.

    1. Thanks, Angel. We feel blessed to be serving -- together! When have we had the opportunity to do that? Once when we were newly married 40 years ago.

  3. Marilyn and I will miss you. Thanks for setting up this blog so we can share part of your journey. As you visit some of the branches post how large they are. If they are any of the cities I served in we can compare how big they have grown In 40 years. Be on the look out fit Geissen, Neu Stadt an der Wein Strasse, Dudwiler, Sarrbrucken, Mannhiem, Hoechst, and Heidelburg

  4. Your testimony is almost "tangible" (if that is the word I'm looking for)--it radiates off the page. I often feel a little guilty that we are not having to sacrifice, just soak in the blessings of being in this beautiful place, working with great people, doing something that we love. In our "introduction" of ourselves talk at a morning devotional awhile back I said, quoting Leisl, "Somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good." It's a blessing to be a part of this great work.

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