On Friday evening we met with our Stake President, Rob Fotheringham, and were set apart as missionaries. He gave us some marvelous council and blessings. Nancy particularly remembers the advice to be patient as we will be in a foreign culture and there may be different ways of doing things!! It is easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the nature of our call, but he helped assure us that we are doing what we should be at this time in our lives. It is humbling and yet invigorating that we might be an instrument in inviting some of God's children to Come Unto Christ.
This photo was taken in the Stake President's office.
We had to have a selfie
Saturday morning, our friends, the Bowdens, took us to the airport for our 10:30 flight to Salt Lake City. We were a little worried about the weight and cost of our baggage. But since we are Delta Card holders our two 50 lb bags were free and our two 50 lb carryon bags - not quite that heavy - were checked at the gate. (It is really quite amazing how much "stuff" you can get into a carryon).
We had to take another selfie on the plane. We are on our way!!
Saturday night we all had dinner with one of Stan's dear friends, Don Pectol, and his wife, Robin, at the Pectol's in Orem. We had fun reminiscing and just enjoying the time together.
Stan and Don were friends during Junior High and High School in Arcata, California
Beautiful day at Stan's Mom's in Lehi, Utah
We enjoyed a nice Sunday visiting with family and having dinner together.
Today Stan's sister drove us to the MTC which adjoins the BYU campus. The Missionary Training Center houses about 2100 missionaries at a time. There are many young sisters and elders who spend 3 to 12 weeks here learning a language and preparing to teach the gospel. There are about 80 senior missionaries here this week. Assignments include military relations, church education, helping with member support, mission office, self reliance, etc. Locations range from Sandy, UT to Hawaii, to Italy, to New Zealand, to Armenia, to Missouri, to Montreal, to South Africa, and to Ghana, etc.!!
Today we attended various orientation meetings. We found out where the cafeteria, mail services, classrooms, etc. were located and made sure all our paperwork, visas and travel plans were finalized. We spent some time meeting other couples and learning about their assignments plus heard welcome talks from the MTC mission presidency. One couple is originally from the Philippines and they are now going on their fifth mission back to the Philippines!!
As senior missionaries we can have electronic devices, leave the MTC at night to visit with friends and family and generally can be on our own as long as we attend our training meetings. We will have the weekends free so we will be with family during that time until we leave for Africa on January 31.
The first week at the MTC will be learning how to be missionaries, reviewing the doctrines of the gospel and studying the scriptures. While senior couples may not teach as much as the younger missionaries because of other support assignments, we are to be prepared to help as much as possible. You will note that we are wearing our black missionary name tags now. (Nancy's sweater is black so hers is hard to see.)
There is a huge world map in the hallway at the MTC. Almost every missionary poses and points at the location of their mission. So, we had to follow the pattern and show our Ghana Accra Mission. At the MTC we met two couples who are also going to Ghana. One is a medical doctor from Alaska and the other is legal counsel from California. They will be in the church West Africa area mission offices (over 13 missions) so they will be close to us, but not actually part of our particular mission operations. We understand we will have "senior" missionary potlucks and meetings from time to time. We are looking forward to establishing new friendships with these incredible people.