Sunday, April 21, 2013

Provo Missionary Training Center -- Week One

Here are several important parts to the "MTC Experience" which all missionaries, young and senior, experience when they accept a call from the Lord:

1.  Associating with several thousand young men and women, each called by the Lord to leave home and friends to serve, and the experience of building relationships with the 35-40 couples called each week to go through the similar training experience.  Building a relationship with the couples is an experience we've sought, simply because there is so much depth and experience wandering around the stake center in which we are all trained.  Our lives have been doubly blessed because we have a couple, Elder and Sister Crisp, who have been called to our same mission and who will share that lengthy flight with us to Guam.  So, the first part of the experience deals with relationships; and

2.  Going through the training of Preach My Gospel, administered to us by mission leaders and by young returned missionaries.  We had read through the manual and thought we knew much of the material contained therein; however, the Spirit of the teaching was absent in our home teaching and training, and that Spirit was most evident as we separated into districts and began the long process of being taught throughout the week.  It was a privilege to share faith and testimonies with volunteers and senior missionaries.  We learned so much in the instructional part of the experience.
Our MTC district

These experiences dealing with fellowship/relationships and with instruction with live with us always.  We have been warmed by other senior missionaries as we've listened to their tales of conversion, the challenges of being called and serving, and the hopes each couple has for their children and grandchildren.  Truly, the work of the Lord is moving forward in an extraordinary way.

There was a "first" at the MTC this week:  It is the first week ever in which there were more sisters (259) checking in than elders (253).

 It has been extraordinary to feel the promptings of the Spirit as we've contemplated the next stage of our service.  We have felt those promptings as we've spent some time with family.  Our hearts are full as we close out this week.  The trappings of our former life have vanished in our minds and hearts and we are not anxious to return to them at this stage of our experience.  We have also been blessed with people this week who have been tossed in our path and to whom we've given advice and counsel.  As we have looked into the eyes of those the Lord has entrusted to our care we have been reminded that this is not OUR work, but it is HIS work.  We are but simple instruments in this work.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pre-mission Missive

April 15, 2013

Packed & ready for the MTC
Leaving home

We left our home last Thursday afternoon to visit family and friends before entering the Missionary Training Center today, and have no doubt our call came from the Lord.  So many "tender mercies" have been extended to us as divine acknowledgement that we are to serve in the Micronesia Guam Mission, specifically the island of Palau.  Maybe we ought to mention just a couple.

Three weeks ago we met the Thomas family as we walked through a new home during the St. George Parade of Homes.  Following the promptings of the Spirit, Elder Carter (then simply Allan) felt impressed to talk to this family and ask if they were looking for a home to rent.  They visited for quite a while, and all of us felt strongly that they should move into our home.  What a blessing to leave our home in the hands of such a kind, loving family.

Though we had already sold one vehicle, we were left with a sedan and a truck to sell.  We wanted to sell the truck first and drive the sedan to the MTC, but had no luck.  After praying for days and days about the problem, Elder Carter determined that we'd been praying for the wrong vehicle to sell.  Upon this realization, on the very same day, we received a call about the sedan and sold it the following day.  Heavenly Father knew we couldn't possibly fit all of our suitcases, items to distribute among children, and gifts for grandchildren in the sedan.  We can still hear Him laughing about our optimism! 

Just last Monday we experienced another miracle.  Though we thought we would eat some of our refrigerator leftovers, we decided to go out to eat instead.  After debating restaurants, we decided on one and were seated.  Almost immediately, our dear friends Jan and Bill Boice greeted us on their way out of the restaurant.  They introduced us to their friends who had served in the San Antonio, Texas area and we talked about our mission assignment on the island of Palau.  After they left, one of the hostesses approached our table and said, "I heard you're going to my home.  I'm from Palau." 
We felt the hand of the Lord directing us again as we visited with Maylin Obak who had only worked at the restaurant for three days!  She told us just a bit about Palau and invited us to call her later at the Carlson home where she was living.  We called the following day and spoke with Eric Carlson. He immediately invited us to dinner Tuesday evening where we enjoyed their hospitality and friendship.  We love Maylin and the Carlson's already!  They shared their love of Palau and the people they'd left behind, and we fell in love with every single one of them!
Maylin is in blue and part of the Carlson family
Well, we can go on and on about the miracles in the last few days as we have prepared to serve a full-time mission, but many are too sacred to share.

Thank you to our family and friends for your faith and prayers in our behalf because we have felt strength, knowledge, and power far beyond our own!  The gospel of Jesus Christ is true and we are grateful to be His humble servants.
Local time in Koror, Palau