We, of course, took the almost required picture in front of the large world map pointing to our destination.
It was so exciting to finally be there and get our official name tags and orientation packet. We were told that we were part of the largest senior missionary group in church history. There were 153 seniors, 9 sisters and 72 couples. It was almost double the usual number so they were scrambling to provide instructors for all of us but they were successful. Actually the whole MTC program is a well-oiled machine. Everything ran like clockwork even with such a large group.
We had wonderful teachers, young returned missionaries who have been carefully selected for charisma, testimony, and knowledge. We all thought that "our" teachers were the best but everyone said the same thing. We had one instructor for morning and one for the afternoon. Our morning teacher was Brother Zundel and our afternoon teacher was Sister Sanford. They were both exceptional. I don't know how they maintain such a level of enthusiasm constantly but they were amazing. (They almost made us tired just watching them.) The Spirit is so strong there it is almost palpable. There is such a feeling everywhere that is impossible to describe.
We worked out of Preach my Gospel and mainly learned how to ask the right questions, listen to responses to evaluate where the person was coming from and listen to the Spirit to guide our lesson planning and discussion. The real key to all is asking the right questions and truly listening. We did a lot of role playing to practice these principles. They even bring in people from the community to be investigators for us to practice on. Ours was a very spiritual experience. The man we worked with was such a great person.
The group was so large that they had to break us into 3 groups for the traditional picture of everyone. We also took individual district pictures, as well. (We were divided into small groups or districts for training, usually 4 couples per district, although there were 2 that were larger.)
There is a devotional every Tuesday night and while we were there Elder Ballard was supposed to speak. But a bad winter storm came up and the roads were too dangerous for him to make the trip from Salt Lake to Provo. Elder Hafen, an emiritus member of the 70 who lives in Provo, spoke with his wife. He was just released as the president of the St. George temple. It was very inspiring.
We met so many people there. It was wonderful. I was amazed at the diverse places that all these senior missionaries were called to. Several were going to Russia, at least 2 couples were going to Mongolia. (One of them was in our district). Several were going to Nigeria and Uganda. One was going to the Cook Islands, some to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Malaysia among others and places in the states.
When it came time to leave, we had to say goodbye (again) to good friends, especially Sister Marsha Kinghorn who entered with us on the same day. We both are from Midland 2nd Ward and received our callings at the same time. It was really fun to be there with her but since she is a single sister, she was not in our district. She is going to Jamaica. Laurianne came to pick us up at the MTC on Friday to take us home to her house for the weekend before we flew out to Belize so our MTC experience cam to an end.