Today, is Wednesday, July 4th. We have now spent two full wonderful days in the MTC. It was 41 years 11 months ago on Monday that I first stepped into the very same building as a young man preparing to go to Munich, Germany as a missionary. It is amazing to me that a building that is over 40 years old still looks like it did the day I first walked through its doors. On that day on August 2, 1976, (then known as the Language Training Mission) the first set of missionaries arrived that would both begin and end their language training experience on this new campus. I was so happy to be a part of that group. When the campus was dedicated on September 27, 1976, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Here is a picture of that event
Fast forward 41 years and 11 months and here I was again. This time with my companion of choice. We have been divided into districts of four missionary couples each and assigned to a morning and an afternoon teacher. The first two days have been wonderful as we have done a deep dive on how to extend an “invitation to act” to others that is both meaningful and spirit filled. We have also had the opportunity to teach one another and read the scriptures together as a district and discuss different perspectives about how to apply to our lives what we were reading.
Our morning teacher is Sister Krebs (left). She is a talented and inspiring instructor who has helped me to understand what it means to love those we teach. Our afternoon teacher is Sister Johnson (right). She has been excellent at helping us to understand what it means to be effective as a teacher.
One of the more popular pictures to take at the MTC is where the missionary or missionaries point to their mission on a large map of the world. We wanted to have own memory of that map and the MTC and so we asked a young missionary sitting nearby to snap our picture. Here we are pointing at the country of Sierra Leone in Western Africa. Hard to believe that in less than a week we will actually be there.
Yesterday as a District we walked over to T4 which is one of the new 6 story training buildings recently completed. On each floor there is a large mural depicting a gospel scene. The murals are between 35-40 feet long and about 12 feet high. We had the opportunity to sit in front of the mural as companionships and to ponder on the messages depicted in the paining. The one we spent time with was called “Moses” and shows the children of Israel walking through the Red Sea on dry ground.
There were two key messages that we came away with as we talked about it. 1) We need to pray for sufficient faith to see and understand what God wants us to do vs. just doing what we think we need to do. 2) We need to recognize God’s hand in our mission as we go forward so that we can build upon that which he is doing through us.
Last night John B, Dickson, an emeritus General Authority and his wife Delores spoke at the weekly MTC devotional. There were two key messages we came with (everything seems to be in two’s today!). 1) We must never be asleep at the wheel. There will be opportunities that will come to us while we are serving that if we miss them they will be gone. 2). We can handle any challenge that comes our way. For him it was the loss of his right arm days before he was to enter the mission field as a young man. Now, some 60 years later he has learned to do just about everything he could possibly need to do – with just one arm. He reported that he was so grateful for this challenge in his life because it has made him a better man.
Two more thoughts (there is that “two” again) and then we will sign off for tonight.
First, in a group training meeting this morning a comment was made about the meaning of a “broken heart”. One of the senior missionaries explained that when they thought of a broken heart, they related it to a broken horse. Therefore a broken heart, is a trained heart, an obedient heart.
Second, Elder Holland said that as missionaries we must be willing to spiritually go where those we are teaching about the church are before we can expect that they will come to where we are trying to lead them (this in regards to learning about the church and fulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ).
We love being full time missionaries. We love preparing to serve in Africa and we love the message we are bringing to the people there: Jesus Christ is the son of God and He has restored His true church to the earth.
– Tom & LaDawn (aka, Elder & Sister Kunz)