Friday, April 24, 2009

Mission Home - Week 1

John C, Amanda, and Chelsie drove Wes and me down to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Monday April 20th. Monday was orientation. Our group is a small senior missionary group; there are only 27 in our group, 12 couples and 3 sisters. When introducing ourselves, they ask how many missions you have been on as a couple. They want us to serve more than one mission as a couple.

The first week from Monday through Friday is Preach My Gospel instruction from 8 am to 5 pm every day. There is assigned reading each night in Preach My Gospel in preparation for the next day. Because we are learning a language, Wes (Elder Stevens) and I also meet with our tutor Sarah Batbold from 6 pm to 8 pm MWF. Tuesday evening is an MTC devotional. Sunday is Church plus a Sunday evening fireside.

Seniors do have freedoms the younger elders and sisters do not have. We are allowed to have laptops and cell phones. Because of language study, Wes and I were always busy, but those without a language to learn were free in the evening other than doing their reading. They can sign out of the MTC and go out in the evening.

At orientation Brother Graham emphasized that we are heads of families. This is different from being a member of a family. There may be an occasion for which a senior could get permission to leave and then return to his mission because of his role as the head of a family where a younger elder and sister could not. (I still think this would be rare.) From Brother Graham I realized the importance of our role as heads of families.

Throughout the week the emphasis has been on the purpose of all missions, even if you have a special assignment such as mission office, visitor’s center, or military relations. All of our trainers have emphasized that we are missionaries in the same way as the younger elders or sisters. We have been set apart and are authorized representatives of Jesus Christ and have the power and authority to invite people to come unto Christ and to invite them to commit to live his teachings.

Missionary Purpose: 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.

We need to keep focused on our mission because it is easy to be busy on a mission and be doing good things and not accomplish our mission.

As we have received training, I’ve realized the importance of Preach My Gospel and how brothers and sisters in the wards should be trained with it. We can use these principles in our home teaching and visiting teaching as well as being member missionaries.

When we meet someone, we can in one minute tell them something about the gospel as truth and then testify of what we’ve said so the Holy Ghost can bear witness to them.

As a missionary we teach, testify frequently (“I know ..”), invite the investigator to commit to something (“will you ..”), promise blessings (“I promise ..”), and then follow up on the commitment.

Activities we’ve had during the week include preparing and teaching lessons to community volunteers who came to our room and acted the part of an investigator. I believe we taught about four lessons. One day we answered phone calls at the call center where people who’ve received a pass-along card or seen an ad on TV call in to request a book or video.

On Tuesday Wes and I finished getting our hepatitis, typhoid, and meningococcal shots. That cost us $453. Our shots for our mission to date have cost us a total of $686. Monday afternoon they showed us a health video so we will know how to keep our food safe and how to stay healthy.

At Wednesday’s Mongolian lesson our tutor Sarah brought her cousin who has only been in the U.S. one week so we could try to communicate with him. We can do a little, but we have a long ways to do.

Everyone at the MTC is very friendly. The elders hold doors for you. One night we noticed a group of elders and sisters at the cafeteria. Whenever one of the sisters came to the table to sit down or stood up, all of the elders (about two tables long) stood up. We wondered if the elders were going to get to eat because they had to keep standing up.

When we arrived we inquired and they told us our visas had arrived. We were scheduled to leave for Mongolia on the morning of Sunday May 3rd. Those with an additional assignment stay a second week in the MTC. Our office training is from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Thursday of the second week (April 27th through April 30th). However since we are going to Mongolia, we must also have an ESL certificate. This is only taught on Friday (May 1st) and Monday (May 4th).

Thus we’ve been rescheduled to leave the MTC on the morning of Tuesday (May 5th). It will take us 24 hours to get from Salt Lake City to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia with approximately 6 hours of layovers. We will fly first to San Francisco, then to Seoul, Korea, and finally to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia.

To send a letter to us in Mongolia via pouch, you send a one-page letter folded in thirds, fastened with a piece of tape, and addressed to us (no envelope).

Elder Wesley Bischoff Stevens
Sister Joan Matheson Stevens
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

For any other mail, use the following address.

Elder Wesley Bischoff Stevens
Sister Joan Matheson Stevens
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission
P.O. Box 242
UB – 49


Suzanne said...

I'm glad to see you've updated your blog. It's so good to hear what you've been doing! They definitely keep you busy. I love you both!

Familia Fowler said...

How great you are keeping a blog on your mission! Good luck on your mission!