Sunday, September 20, 2015

Final Week at the MTC

All of these good people will serve in mission offices. Two on the far right (young) were instructors.
Our second week at the MTC was focused on training for administrative tasks we will have as we work in the mission office. We loved getting to know these devoted Latter-day Saints. They are going to diverse places -- Spokane, Rancho Cucamonga, Detroit, Santiago, Warsaw, Baton Rouge, and Manila. Some have traveled to other countries, but others have never really left their home state. They go with faith in Jesus Christ and look forward to serving Him. Our new friends Elder and Sister Jones are from Gilbert, Arizona. They are going to Warsaw, Poland. Neither one of them speaks Polish, but they are cheerful and happy about the opportunity to serve, and they are diligently studying the language so that they can be of greater use in the field.

The young men at the far right are teachers at the MTC. We appreciated their spirit of joy in this work and their efforts to find in even the most mundane a connection to spiritual things. Austin Tyler is squatting in front. He is the training coordinator for office training. All of our MTC instructors have been wonderful -- dedicated young men and women who love the Lord and work here part-time because they love the work.

A whole week in front of computer screens
Our Tuesday night devotional was an address by Sister Rosemary Wixom, the General Primary President of the church. Her remarks were centered around the experiences of Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam as they returned to their homeland to attempt to retrieve the records engraven on brass plates (See 1 Nephi 3-5 She likened this trip by these four young men to a mission. We had never seen this story in that light, but it was perfect. Sister Wixom remarked that all four had come home to welcoming parents -- they served their mission and completed it. But their experience and what they learned from it varied greatly. Laman and Lemuel learned little, but Nephi and Sam were strengthened by the experience and their faith in the Lord grew. What kind of mission experience we have is largely up to us.

Provo Utah Temple
Wednesday evening Janet and I walked up to the Provo Temple and attended a session. We miss the temple in Houston and regular attendance and service there. It was good to be in the House of the Lord. I was reminded of Isaiah 2 where the prophet says

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us ago up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the flaw, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Our formal training concluded Thursday afternoon. After lunch, we had a brief meeting where we had the opportunity to share testimonies. We were especially impressed by the witness of the Rushtons who had great challenges getting here. A daughter died of breast cancer in the spring. Then after they received their mission call to Detroit, a son was diagnosed with an orange-sized brain tumor, and another son who is a fire fighter injured his back and is now disabled and can't work. With support and encouragement from their family, and with faith that God "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek after him," they are going on their mission. Each couple had a similar story of faith and of a desire to dedicate their lives for a period of time to service in the Lord's vineyard.
Happy couple David and Rachel Chinn

This is what you get when you tell Harrison to say "Cheese"

It's great to have a permanent companion
David and Rachel took us out to eat Thursday evening to celebrate the completion of our training. Rachel does not like seafood, and David loves it, so he was excited to take us to Red Lobster. We learned that Harrison, who is a picky eater, can eat all of the macaroni and cheese you put in front of him. We appreciated their kindness and enjoyed the time we had to visit with them and have a good dinner.

Friday was sort of our preparation day. Rachel took us shopping for some things we needed, and some we didn't but wanted. When we pack everything on Monday for our flight Tuesday, we may have to leave some things behind to meet the 50 pound weight limit on each bag. Well, we'll cross that bridge. 

We had a lovely Friday evening. The twins arranged for babysitters and the 6 of us went to the Mount Timpanogos Temple. The temple was beautiful, peaceful and extremely well organized. We are grateful for this time with Todd and Rachel and their families. We will have a difficult time saying goodbye.

Saturday morning we planned to meet my cousin Kathy and her husband Roger at breakfast. We saw Cullen Bebee from our ward in Silsbee (had seen James Powell from there the day before). We had breakfast with Kathy and Roger and then stayed with them until my other cousin Janet and her husband Tony came to pick them up. Being here at the same time as Kathy and Roger was one of the Lord's tender mercies. It was great to visit with them, share stories, and talk about our respective missions. 

Saturday afternoon, Jeff stayed with Harrison while he napped. Rachel and David went shooting with the other members of his bishopric, and Janet headed to the mall for hair color. Janet and I took Harrison to American Grove to meet Todd and Kristi for dinner at Chick-fil-a while David and Rachel went to a friend's wedding reception. It was a good time to visit while Harrison and Callie tore up the play place at the restaurant.

We ended the day at Todd's office watching part of the BYU-UCLA football game. It was great to see where Todd works. The company is young, hip and creative. The environment is playful, and we can see why Todd fits in well there. We closed out the week tired, spiritually fed, and ready to get on our way to Germany next Tuesday.


  1. Can't wait to read about y'alls first week in Germany! I love reading this, but it reminds me I have to say goodbye! But at least I have this to look forward to :)

  2. So good to read about your closing days at the MTC--brought back memories of our recent stay there. The young missionaries who teach are truly amazing and it is really inspiring to hear the stories of others who are headed out. We'll be thinking of you this week and keeping you in our prayers for safe travels.