We got up early on August 1st so Sunny could drive us to the airport. It had rained during the night, so it was a beautiful morning.
We rode the shuttle from the airport to the MTC in Provo. We were the last senior couple to arrive since our plane landed at the time we were supposed to arrive. We had a couple of mix ups, but eventually made it to our room and got checked in just in time for lunch!
Even though we've been through this before, there is such a great spirit here at the MTC. We met some missionaries from Logan (the Karrens who know Aunt Vonda), a couple going to South Africa where my cousin and his wife will be headed, another couple going to Korea to be with military relations. Oh, and of course, a couple going to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
One couple in our district (the Alemans) had been in the Russia Novosibirsk Mission just before we arrived there. The Fairchilds had been in Cambodia with the Thalmans (our wheel chair specialists). The other couple (the McDougals) have served on Temple Square and are headed to Accra Ghana to help with BYU-I Pathways.
The first week is on "Preach My Gospel". It is mostly taught by young returned missionaries. We loved getting to know them and hearing of their experiences. We also are able to watch some videos of training given at the MTC by the apostles. A special one was by Elder Bednar on the Character of Christ. It is about the difference between having a testimony and being truly converted.
Our afternoon teacher was Brother Brown
Our morning teachers were Sister Clark and Sister Richins
The Tuesday night devotional was given by Bishop Christopher Waddell. He spoke about the difference between going on a mission and "serving" a mission.
We also met some missionaries with Russian name tags, so we asked if anyone is going to Kazakhstan in this group. We were able to meet two elders and showed them some of our photos about our experiences.
And, we've met some Japanese and Korean missionaries too. We even met an elder from Tucson that used to be in our ward!
We had not seen Elder Power since he was a deacon!
When the new missionaries came in on Wednesday, we were amazed at how crowded it got! They had 820 new elders & sisters enter that day. It sure got crowded and noisy in the cafeteria!
Friday morning, we got a text from Sunny to check our Facebook page. Heather and Nate had gone to the hospital during the night and our posterity has increased to 19 grandchildren!
Jackson Baker Williams is named after Nate's grandfather Jack, and Heather's grandfather Foster Baker Allen. We're so grateful that all is well!
These girls are in love with their baby brother (so far)
His parents hope he get his days and nights straight soon!
I had to excuse myself from our class for a few minutes to skype with Heather and see our little man. It was a tender morning for me. Someone said, "This will be the hardest day of your mission!" So if this is the hardest day of our mission, I'll be a happy missionary!
Friday afternoon, we were picked up by Mark, Alan's brother. We went to dinner with the Andersons. Scott brought grandma so we could say good bye one more time. Seth came down from Logan too. We were able to go to the Provo City Center Temple on Saturday.
When we returned to the MTC Sunday evening, we had a devotional with Matthew Holland, the President of UVU. Their son just went into the Mexico City MTC this week, so the Holland's were a little bit emotional looking at all those missionaries! He spoke about the Pathway to Palmyra and the challenges that Joseph Smith endured. The musical numbers were wonderful too, "Praise to the Man", "Joseph Smith's First Prayer", "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief", and of course "Called to Serve"! It was a great night.