Our second day at the MTC was June 26 and the three couples, the Carpenters, the Cummings and the Felsteds were are all meeting in a small room with a chalkboard, two tables for us to sit around, a large computer screen in the corner and underneath, a computer set up on another table. The Carpenters left for Hungary July 3 – so they were further along in their language preparation than us. The Cummings had bought the Pimsleur language program and were studying that before they got into the MTC, so they seemed further ahead of us also. And Elder Cummings had a couple of other languages under his belt. We were feeling pretty inadequate studying along side them!
Our schedule was as follows:
8 AM to 10 AM – two hours of instruction by a returned missionary (RM) from Hungary, who is now a student at BYU and works at the MTC to earn some money.
10 AM to 11 AM – Personal study. We went off to the computer lab and worked on a missionary computer program with letter sounds, words, phrases and other things – all in Magyar. The missionary next to you could be doing the same thing in Spanish or another language.
11- 12 – Individual study with a “study buddy” – this is a volunteer RM, who loves the language and volunteered to come in for an hour to help us. We are supposed to direct them as to what we need and want to learn. Once we only had one study buddy for one of the hours, we were all together in a Skype lesson with him – and we learned a lot from that session.
Noon – 1 PM – Lunch. There were not many other senior missionaries this week, so we sort of stood out in the sea of white shirts and ties and youth in the huge cafeteria! Salad bar, wraps, combo line, three other food lines. BIG PRODUCTION feeding all those people. Cost $4.20.
1 – 2 – Personal study time
2 – 3 – Study buddy time
3 – 5 – Time with Kyle Smith. (He was our Skype tutor.) Very special young man. He was a Branch President in one of his areas. Civil Engineering student. The Spirit is very strong with him and he always starts with prayer and has a spiritual thought before the lesson starts. He also outlines his goals for the lesson.
5 – 6 – Dinner
6 – 8 – Personal study
Today was a very special day because we were forewarned by Kyle to have our (very brief) testimonies memorized so we could give them to the 12 young elders who are going to Hungary in a few weeks. We went downstairs to where they were studying and they were divided up so each couple were with 4 missionaries. Then we bore our testimonies in Magyarul to them and they bore their testimonies to us. VERY SPECIAL! And then….. Kyle asked us to go outside and find some missionaries sitting on a bench – or walking along and ask them if they would listen to our testimonies. Of course, they would not understand them, but hopefully they could feel the SPIRIT of the testimony. Then they would bear their testimonies to us! We did this to three sets of missionaries. One girl was from Thailand and was learning English to be at the Temple Square in SLC. So she bore her testimony to us in English! Her partner was going to Italy. I think this was the most spiritual day that we had so far.
To our friends: I want you to think about 19-21 year old males and 21 year old females having this experience at the MTC. If they are going foreign, they are there under a schedule similar to this for 3 months (12 weeks). If going to English speaking missions, they are only there a few weeks. Then they serve for TWO YEARS, setting aside all worldly things (mostly). When they come home they resume their studies, if going to college, or return to work. They usually get married within a year or so. Since we do not have a paid ministry, this not only trains them to be our future leaders, but they learn to rely on Christ, Our Savior and the Holy Spirit, as they search for those who are seeking the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful system! What choice youth that are being raised up for these end times.
As I was going through my emails tonight, this was in my mailbox (Church publishes these Daily Gems and I subscribe to these postings). It expresses my thoughts above.
“We have implanted in our souls a desire to be free. The Lord understood this when He granted us our mortal probation. With that freedom, however, comes accountability. We are instructed not to idle away our time nor bury our talents and not use them. We are expected to make our lives better through our own initiatives and efforts.” —L. Tom Perry, “Youth of the Noble Birthright”