Archive for the ‘January 2013’ Category

The MTC – Day 11

Thursday January 31st, 2013:  We have the day off, so it is laundry and packing day.  We said goodbye to some of our new friends as they rolled their suitcases down the hall.  Win is feeling a little better but very congested.

Bob and Denise Thomas came down from Taylorsville and took us to lunch at the Brick Oven in Provo.  It was fun to get out and to catch up on what is going on with our friends in the old neighborhood. When we get home from our mission we hope to spend some time with them in McCall or St. George or both.


At 2:30 I got a hair cut here at the MTC.  Now I look like a military recruit that just got out of boot camp.  I may not need another till spring.

Dean and Joan Connolly took us out to dinner tonight so we have really been given the royal treatment by friends today.  It turns out that Dean and Joan know our mission president and his wife very well.  What a small world it is at times.  We had a nice dinner at P.F. Chang’s in Provo.  I will miss Dean a lot.



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The MTC – Day 10

Wednesday Jan. 30th, 2013:  Win is not well and so  she stayed in bed this morning.   In class we discussed developing trust with local priesthood leaders and being yoked with them in our efforts.  Alma 17:31 is an example of this type of effort to “be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will go and gather them together and bring them back…”.  Also, we applied  Moroni 6:4 to fellowshiping  youth, knowing their names and keeping them in the right way.  We reviewed the resources available to us on the seminaries and institutes web sight. Then we got to hear from Elder and Sister Bell from the S&I central office.  It was fun to see them again but they were disappointed not to get to meet Win.  Elder Bell told me that they did not request us for an S&I mission but rather it was the Brethren that made that call.

Our final topic was Developing People.  Alma chapters 8,9,10 were discussed to point out how Alma was a mentor to Amulek.  We likened verse 27, where Alma tarried or trained and taught Amulek for many days, as Amulek’s MTC time with Alma.  Then in 9:1 they went forth as a companionship to preach.

We were given a copy of Elder Eyring’s 2002 October conference talk, “Rise to Your Call”.  I am anxious to read it but will save it for the flight.

We concluded with a testimony meeting that extremely emotional.  The couples could not hold back the tears as they said goodbye to there new friends and shared their stories of how they  got to this point.  One sister had been so ill that the first food she had eaten for two weeks was her first day in the MTC.  A couple on their 6th or 7th mission said when they got home from one of their missions, their children gave them a mission call to stay home.  Then after a year or two the kids of this couple told them to get back in the field because they needed the blessings that come to them when their parents were gone.  My favorite was the Elder who said he hoped when we all get home that we could be neighbors.  I was asked to say the closing pray and could not keep it together.  At lunch all the pizza was gone because of the large group of new elders and sisters that arrived this morning.  After lunch I caught a shuttle to the pharmacy to load up on cold medicine for tomorrow and the trip over if needed.

At dinner, a couple sat down next to me and I asked if they were from Twin Falls.  They said yes, and I introduced my self as Vern and Ruth Hulbert’s grandson.  It was Gary Babble and his wife who are headed to Croatia.  Gary said he and Aunt Mickey were best friends when they were little.  Gary’s mother and Aunt Mona were very close their entire lives. For desert I when to check out the ice cream bar and there was a new elder standing there looking at the bowls of different flavored ice cream and he couldn’t decide which bowl to take.  He just stood there  saying “Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh”.

This time at the MTC has exceeded my expectations and I would not want to have gone off without this preparation.  This is truly special place.


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The MTC – Day 9

Tuesday Jan. 29th, 2013:  Yesterday our CES training focused on what to teach and today we were taught how to teach.  The goal is to help the students to explain, share and testify of the doctrines and principles of the gospel and to instill those doctrines and principles in their minds and hearts.  We spent most of the day reading, talking about and developing a lesson plan to teach Luke 5:1-11.  There were some wonderful feelings expressed and thoughts shared about the principles in  verses 5 and 11.  In verse 5, even though theses professional  fishermen, who new the sea and probably fished almost daily,  had toiled all night and taken nothing, “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”.  Think about times in our lives when we have been asked, or may be asked in the future, to do something and it doesn’t make scene or we don’t understand why.   Do we have the faith and trust to let down our nets, especially when we are done for the day and have washed our nets?  In verse 11, it states that “they forsook all and followed him“.  Some of the couples likened this unto themselves but I don’t think we are forsaking very much to go and do as we have been called.  We miss our children and grandchildren more than we imagined but are so grateful for the blessing and privilege that we senior couples have to email and Skype so often.

At the devotional this evening we heard from Elder and Sister Clayton.  Elder L. Whitney Clayton currently serves as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.  Sister Clayton said she had been blessed with the gift of a happy heart and wakes up every day happy!  She encouraged us to see the hand of Heaven in all things around us.  The hard way is the best way she said.  Growth occurs in the space past our comfort zone  and it is at the edge of our comfort zone when Heaven steps in.  If the default answer to our difficult challenges is “I know God lives and loves me”, then we will have hope and a happy heart.

Elder Clayton spoke on the divine pattern of serving missions as companions.  He read from D&C 75 where the Lord, through revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, named missionary companionship’s.  This is of course the responsibility of Mission Presidents today for the approximately 59,000 missionaries in the field.  He went on to give the following instruction:

  • The quality of your companionship will bear testimony of the work.
  • Who you are speaks louder than what you say.
  • The missionary name tag should be a reminder of who you are inside as well as outside.
  • Companions are to help, rescue and protect each other.
  • Let every man esteem his brother as himself.
  • Keeping the commandments is never a point of flexibility.

He asked for a show of hands how many elders in attendance we 18 and how many  of the sister where 19 or 20.  It was surprising to see how many hands were raised.  Tomorrow is our last day of instruction!

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The MTC – Day 8

Monday, Jan. 28, 2013:  Back in the classroom today at 8:00 AM.  There are now 20 couples left from our original group who remain this week for Seminary and Institute training.  The instruction today was centered on the new S&I handbook, Gospel Teaching and Learning. The focus was on developing content and context summary statements for the various blocks or verses of scripture to be taught in the lesson.  Then to study the scriptures to identify and understand the doctrines and principles.  A new set of senior couples arrived this morning and it was fun to see them come in to start though the training that we veteran couples have completed.

We got some wonderful drawings and notes in the mail from Rex, Maddie and Rance today (see photo below).  Of course Win started crying again as if she hasn’t done enough of that this week.  After dinner we asked the shuttle drivers to take us to Rite Aid so Win could get some makeup.  I’m surprised that there isn’t an organized family home evening for the couples but we are happy for some free time.

Win got on Skype with Janette  for a while.  Then we got to visit with the Logan clan and yes, you guessed it, Grandma got crying again.


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The MTC – Day 7

Sunday Jan. 27th 2013:  Up at 6:00 this morning to get to sacrament meeting at 7:30!  I’m glad that this is our first and last Sunday here.  A continental breakfast at 8:30 and then off to view the Temple Square broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word for 30 minutes.  All the sisters stayed in the auditorium for Relief Society Meeting at 10:00 and then the “New Sisters Meeting” at 11:00.  We Elders went to our assigned branch for priesthood meeting and then we all got back together for lunch.  In the lunch room, the wife of one of the MTC presidency counselors came over and sat by Win for a quick bit before she had to run to a sacrament meeting.  She told us that in two weeks the largest group of missionaries to date (800) will arrive at the MTC and that in the near future a group if 1,100 with come and then some will have to stay in other facilities around the BYU campus.  What and amazing force of missionaries is being prepared and planing to go forth to serve.  For desert I went to check out the ice cream selections and I heard someone say, “Hey Elder Hulbert”.  It was Reagan Gabbbitas who works in the MTC cafeteria.  We have also seen Elder Roper from the Taylorsville VP Stake.

After dinner we attended the departure devotional at 5:30 for all missionaries that will leave this week.  There were maybe 4-5 hundred there and I could not hold back the tears as we all sang “Hark, Al Ye Nations!” to open the meeting.  President Hacking,  a counselor in the MTC Presidency, stated that we will all be somebody’s missionary for ever and ever even if it is our self.  The closing hymn was God Be With You Till We Meet Again.  As we left the room there was a young sister in the hall that was overcome with emotion from the song and Win went over to give her some comfort and a hug.  The youth of Hungary are going to have a new Amerikai grandma to love them in a few more days.

Then at 7:00 we went to the auditorium for the Sunday fireside.  The speaker was Richard Heaton, the executive director of the MTC.  I knew Richard from my days working with the missionary department and on the Church Historic Sites Committee.  He gave a great talk on what it means to be successful as a missionary and that much of that depends on wanting others to come unto Christ and in coming to know that your efforts are pleasing to the Lord.

As we came out of the building, snow had fallen and covered the grounds.  It made me miss McCall.  I took the picture below of the missionaries on bikes statue.  It has been a nice day.

Ride for the Brand!


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MTC – Day 6

Saturday Jan. 26th, 2013:  It’s P-day!  We slept in until 7:00 and after breakfast washed a load of colored clothes.  We learned at the front desk that a shuttle driver would take us to the mall at 10:00 with two other couples that were going.  Win commented when we got to the mall that this was our first time to be in the outside world since we arrived at the MTC.  We purchased a couple of sweaters for Win and a small set of speakers for the i pad so Win can hear the Doris Day channel on Pandora radio better.  A lady working at the mall come up to us and asked if there was a convention of senior missionaries in town because she had seen us and some other couples in the mall.  The shuttle took us back to the MTC for lunch at noon.

As we were eating, a young sister came to our table and asked if we were the couple going to Hungary?  It turns that sister Gasser, graduated from high school in Hungary while her father was the Mission President there.  She hoped to go there on her mission because she learned the language but is in the MTC preparing to go to Finland.  She said we are going to the very best place in the world and that we will love it.  We took a nap this afternoon and Win ironed some of my white shirts. We put some casual clothes on in our room but have to dress-up again to go in the cafeteria for dinner.  At dinner we found the tables where the young sisters and elders were seated that are going to Hungary and introduced ourselves.  What a great bunch of missionaries are headed there in the weeks and months to come.

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MTC – Day 5

Friday Jan. 25, 2013:  Preach My Gospel graduation day!  This morning’s class was an interesting experience.  We roll played first as missionaries getting to know an inactive member for 15 minutes.  Then we switched and played the roll of an inactive member being interviewed by a missionary couple for 15 minutes.  We were then given 30 minutes to prepare a lesson to give to the inactive member based on what we learned about them and the reason(s) they are not active.  The next 30 minutes we meet with the inactive member and presented our message, scriptures, testimony and invitation to read the Book of Mormon and pray.  After lunch was the final group meeting and wrap up for the week with instruction on how to work with Stake and Ward leaders.  A group picture of all the couples was taken that someone is supposed to email to us.  There were lots of hugs and emotional goodbyes as we all headed back to our rooms.  Some of the couples leave tomorrow.  The rest of us have more training next week.  It has been a great example to us to see the commitment of so many couples and yet there are those with the same anxieties  and concerns we have.  We are all going out to do what we can for 6, 12, 18, or 23 months.  We were finished at 3:30 so Win and I went to the laundry room to wash some whites and study our Hungarian before dinner.  Friday dinner is pizza but we found some leftover salmon and a nice salad.  After dinner our clothes were dry so we took them back to our room and headed to language training.  We spent half the time visiting with our tutor about the country and what we might expect from the people.  It was very helpful and enlightening.  We learned today that 650 new missionaries arrived here Wednesday making a total of 2,800 at the MTC right now.  I think the place has a capacity of 3,000.  Below is a picture of our District that we spent the week with.  The Battraw’s on the left are going to Chile, the Nelson’s are going to Ecuador and the Vermason’s, on the right are going to Tacoma Washington.  Our morning instructor for the week was Brother Jacobs who is in the white shirt.  All the instructors are return missionaries who are attending BYU.  Our afternoon instructor, Brother Porter was not there today because he was on his way out or town with his girl friend to ask her father for her hand in marriage.


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