Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mission Home - Week 2

We have now finished our second week at the MTC. The first four days we had mission office training with the church program MOS (Missionary Office System).

On Friday we received EIL instruction which stands for English International Instruction. It differs from ESL in that ESL teaches English and American culture and EIL teaches English without the American culture. It is designed to help students learn English so they can improve their economic situation since English is an international language. We will finish our EIL instruction and teach an English class on Monday.

This week on Friday we found the couple going to Mongolia who will enter the MTC in July. They are Elder and Sister Lassen. They live in Salt Lake City and come down to the MTC for their language instruction three days a week. They are a great couple. It was difficult not to shake their hands.

At the fireside last Sunday night the MTC mission was given the directive to not shake hands. You forget how ingrained shaking hands is, especially in a Church setting. We are to wash our hands a lot, use hand sanitizing lotion frequently (there are dispensers all over the MTC), and not to shake hands.

The couple and elders and sisters who are to go to Mexico are on hold because of the problem with the Swine Flu and the airport closed in Mexico.

There is a couple here, Elder and Sister Berrett, who entered the MTC Feb. 2nd. They were to go to Vietnam which is part of the Cambodian Mission. Their first assignment was Saigon, then Ho Chi Minh. After a while it became apparent that no visa would be issued for them to enter Vietnam. Last Sunday they received a reassignment. Now their mission call is to the Philippines, and they are again waiting for a visa. After having learned Vietnamese, they are now trying to learn Tagalog while awaiting their new visa.

There is a branch in Quartsite, AZ which has a lot of snowbirders. In March their branch president issued calls to some of the snowbirders to serve a 6-month mission to Cove Fort. Last week’s incoming senior group included 9 couples from Quartsite, AZ. One of the couples who arrived didn’t receive their call until Mon. April 27th, but they were in the MTC by Wed. April 29th. They will live in their own fifth wheelers or trailers. I understand one couple didn’t have a trailer so they went out and got one.

We met with our tutor Sarah (Сарантуяа) Batbold WF evening last week and MWF evening this week from 6-8 pm and on Saturday morning from 10-12 am. Sarah’s mother, her aunt, and her uncle flew in from Mongolia for her wedding which is Saturday May 9th in the St. George Temple. She brought them to class Friday night so we could practice speaking Mongolian with them. We enjoyed meeting them; they are very nice people. We found that her uncle knows more English than we know Mongolian.

Our speaker at last Tuesday’s devotional was Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the 1st Quorum of Seventy who is an assistant executive director of the missionary department. His talk was on developing Christlike attributes. He quoted 3 Ne 27:27 “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” and 3 Ne. 27:21 “That which ye have seen me do, even that shall ye do.”

He said just as vital as what you do is what you are. He said you can’t have DO without BE or you have the appearance of godliness, but deny the power thereof. You also can’t have BE without DO because faith without works is dead. We are to set specific DO goals to develop a Christlike attribute since a BE can’t be measured. Then scores of DO’s will result in a BE.

Sunday morning was a missionary conference from 10 am – 12 pm where the members of the mission presidency and their wives spoke. Sister Smith, the MTC mission president’s wife, said, “If you are faithful, he will make you more than you are alone.” She quoted Elder Holland, “Missionary work is hard; get used to it.” Then she added, share with everyone who will listen; be anxiously engaged every minute. Thus we’ll fulfill our covenants.

For the Sunday evening fireside the speakers were Elder and Sister Anderson from an MTC district presidency. They both spoke about the prophet Joseph Smith. Sister Anderson remarked, the Lord expects obedience with exactness as exemplified by the prophet Joseph Smith.

Thursday evening was our first free evening since we’ve been at the MTC. We had the pleasure of having Stephanie come to visit us. She returned from Israel on Thur. April 23rd after we’d already entered the MTC; we were happy to see her.

Saturday afternoon Wendy and Travis came to see us. We enjoyed spending time with them. Wendy received her master’s degree in accounting the day before from Weber State University.

Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m. Connie and Elden came to see us. Then after 5 o’clock and before our fireside, Marjorie, John, Jordan, Amanda, and Chelsie came to say goodbye. It’s hard to say goodbye to all of our family and our friends. We love all of you and will miss you, but the Lord will watch over you.