Friday, October 31, 2014

Missionary Training Center

It seems to be a tradition at the MTC that you stand in front of a world map and identify the mission field to which you have been assigned.    George and I win the prize for the most "exotic" and everyone remembers that we are going to the Zambia  mission.   Actually one couple is going to Benin but no one knows where that is so they don't get as much attention.  That is pretty exotic to me.
You have to look really hard to find Blantyre, Malawi.
There were about 45 couples and 96 people in total that entered the MTC the day that we did.  This is  one third of the group.

On the first day, we were organized into districts.  Our district is composed of four couples and we have grown quite close during the week.  We have classes together in the morning and again in the afternoon.  The most memorable occasions are when we role play and determine the best way to share our knowledge and feelings about the gospel.  Role-playing has never been easy for either George or me but after getting over our first discomfort, we have found that it is very effective for learning how to connect with people.  Really, it is just good solid advice for how to be a better listener and a better friend.  And did I mention that the eight of us laugh and have a great time too! 
The Seamons are from Ferron, UT.  They are headed to the
Marshall Islands and specifically Christmas Island.
The Barleys will be an office couple in the Wisconsin Milwaukee mission.
They are from Farmington, UT.

The Labrums, from Carrollton, TX, are going to the Kentucky Louisville mission.

One of the absolutely best parts about the MTC is working with the instructors.  You would think that they would have older instructors so they could "relate" to us.  Instead, we had two delightful students/ returned missionaries.  In the morning, we met with Elder Teuscher (which happens to be the name of my favorite Swiss chocolates!).  He is quick on this feet, very bright, has a great sense of humor.  I'm sure he doesn't know quite what to do with us sometimes because we frequently take issue with what he is trying to teach us. 
 Elder Teuscher is a real bright spot in our day.

Sister Bennion teaches us in the afternoon.  She is so sweet that we don't give her such a difficult time!
Sister Bennion served her mission in Ukraine.

During our breaks we try to walk around, socialize, take care of business (I am frequently in the technical support office, of course), or check on tickets at the travel office.  We had to get an additional shot (polio) and go through an orientation on malaria.  It looks like we will take the daily pill of doxycycline.  What shocked me was that the doctor walked us through what would happen if we DID get malaria!  It's a nasty business and I will do all that I can - take my pills, spray with Deet, and keep tight screens on our apartment. 

Today we spotted this photo on the wall in one of the hallways.

It is a picture of a baptism somewhere in Africa.  Note the "protectors" at the side of the river carrying clubs and spears...just in case the crocodiles start getting any ideas!

After our classes on Wednesday, we walked down to BYU campus, making a stop at the creamery.
Some people really hope there is ice cream in Malawi!

Departure and Arrival at the MTC - Carole's post

On Monday, October 27th,  we arose at 3:30 am to catch our 6:00 am flight to Salt Lake. 
Peggy and Jerry Butler offered to take us to the airport but that was before they knew what time our flight was!

Somehow we managed to fit all of our luggage into their car.

Everything went smoothly.  Frankly, it just seemed a little surreal that we were actually to the time and day that we had been looking forward to for so long.  After renting a car in Salt Lake, we arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo about 10:00 am.  When we walked into the lobby to sign in, the first couple that we saw were Dave and Patti Redd, dear friends from our years  of living in New Jersey when George was right out of law school.  Both George and Dave were first year attorneys in large New York law firms when we met in the Short Hills ward.  We each had young families and our whole lives ahead of us and it was such an exhilarating time in our lives.  In all of these years, we have kept up a Christmas card correspondence but only saw Dave once in the 35 years since we last saw each other.  The bonds of friendship with dear friends are very strong and it was thrilling to see them and catch up on children, careers and life experience.  Dave and Patti are going to the Paris mission to work with Young Adults.

Dave just retired as General Counsel of Bonneville Communications three weeks ago - what a change for them!

Endless Packing and Preparation- Carole's post

Never for one minute have I had any anxiety about out mission call to Zambia.  However, the preparation and packing is another story.  I have made list after list of things to do and my mind has raced as I lay awake at night.  But now, we are at the end, down to the final countdown.  We have put the final items in our bags and moved the last clothes to a "storage" bedroom in our home so that the Ringles could move in.  The last five days before leaving have been nonstop, since we arrived home late Tuesday night from a five and a half week trip crisscrossing the country to see our children.

Lists and more lists...lots of ziplock baggies...and don't forget the Ranch dressing that we were encouraged to bring!
Is it all going to fit?
How much does this suitcase weigh?

So many white shirts!

And so many blue shirts left behind?  We moved all of our clothing into a spare bedroom.

Farewell to Cottage Lake Ward--Carole's Post

Stace Rudd (we missed Sharon!), Brent and Susan Romney, Julie and Kerry Larson, Peggy and Jerry Butler, Ellen and Greg McCall

The day before we left, Sunday, was also the day we spoke in sacrament meeting.  We were also set apart right after the meeting by our stake President, Steven Fox, who was nice enough to come to the meeting and accommodate the setting apart right after.  Because we did not have any family in town to be with us at this very special time, we had our "second" family come be with us.  We crowded into Bishop Fitzgerald's office and I felt such love and closeness in that room.  How blessed we are to have such friends!