The Missionary Training Center

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We arrived at the MTC on Sunday evening checked in, got our room, unpacked and got ready for the day to start on Monday. The first couple meetings were primarily orientation and meeting the other senior couples.  What a great senior missionary force here!  Couples going off to serve in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Costa Rica (office help), London (YSA’s), Germany (military relations and legal aid), Uganda, South Africa, Portugal, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the Navajo Reservation (member and leadership support), and even Iraq (“Branch Building” – which is as yet undefined!).  There’s also several going to various assignments in the US.  There are two other Humanitarian Missionary couples – one going to Timor Leste, a neighbor of Indonesia and the other to Armenia.

The MTC complex is huge and houses up to 2,700 missionaries.  Imagine the effort needed to feed that many HUNGRY missionaries every day – so the cafeteria is of course massive!

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There is a special Spirit here – even with that many people roaming the halls, it is quiet, peaceful and the grounds are beautiful.  It is wonderful to see all of the young Elders and Sisters – so happy and cheerful and so willing to talk and share their excitement of where they are going to serve!

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After a general meeting with everyone, we broke up into smaller ‘districts’ of 4 couples each and had classes taught by young, recently returned missionaries.  Our morning teacher (Sister Rawle) served in Italy and our afternoon teacher (Brother Hollingshead) served in Salt Lake City – both were exceptional!

At noon, we had to visit the MTC Health Clinic where we found out we needed a Hepatitis A booster shot.  So, $168 later (no, they are not free, and yes, we had to pay for them) we are (hopefully) done with immunizations.  They told us we did not need Yellow Fever or Meningitis, but we DO have to take Doxycycline every day for Malaria.

This evening there was a devotional with D. Todd Christofferson, one of the 12 Apostles. The MTC choir was several hundred strong and it was amazing what they put together with one hour practice!

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More classes tomorrow….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Stop…Fairfield, CA

Our last stop on the way to the Missionary Training Center was Travis Air Force base in Fairfield, CA for a visit with our daughter Holly, her husband, Jason (newly commissioned 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force) and their 3 girls – Bella (age 8), Gena (age 5 and Tessa (age 2).  What precious girls they are – and we had a great time playing cars

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playing at the splash pad

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eating ice cream at Fenton’s

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touring Mrs. Grossman’s – the world’s largest sticker factory

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riding the carousel at the mall

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walking around a beautiful park in Sonoma County

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and relaxing in a giant chair

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And finally topped off with Isabella’s baptism on Saturday.

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What a great occasion that was – and so special to be there and to participate in her baptism!

But, then it was time to go.  What an unbelievably hard thing to do  – say goodbye to your granchildren for 2 years.  They really didn’t comprehend that we were really leaving – although Bella cried almost as much as we did!  Holly was terrific though and kept us from completely losing it!

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With a last hug from her baby girl….we were off to Provo and the MTC.

 

San Diego

Next stop was San Diego to visit with my sister Carol and her husband Robert.  They spend the summer at a very nice RV park in Chula Vista, CA, so we spent several days relaxing on their porch enjoying the cool breeze off the water.  One evening was karaoke and DeeAnn wowed the crowd with a few songs – Rocky Top, You Belong to Me and Crazy.  We also had a chance to meet their friends, one of whom has a sister that lives in Provo and recently returned from an LDS Mission in Mozambique.  We will be having dinner with them one evening while we are at the MTC, so that was a very nice plus!  Did a few of the ‘touristy’ things – Pt Loma to see the Cabrillo Monument, Seaport Village, and my favorite drive in all the world – Hwy 163 between downtown San Diego and I-8.  Not sure why I like it so much – since I was a kid it always represented the beauty, coolness (since I grew up in the desert), and serenity of San Diego….still does and did!

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Arizona

Arrived in Mesa to visit with DeeAnn’s father who is 89.  Had a very enjoyable time there with him and his sister – went to the temple one day, took them to a movie one day and even ‘instructed’ them both in the use of their cell phones.  Now this was the definitive ‘blind leading the blind’ because I am a complete rookie.  But that is all relative because compared to a couple in their 80’s, I’m a technological genius!  I think they should bring high school kids into these assisted living places to have them help the older generation learn how to use their phones.  What a ‘win-win’ – the youth can use what they know naturally to serve someone who really needs it!

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Soon it was time to leave and head to San Diego to spend a few days with my sister…

Heading West….

“It’s been a great 16 years in Joplin / Carl Junction / Carthage Missouri, but now it’s time to move to the next chapter.  It’s been a hectic several weeks what with retirement, good bye lunches and dinners with friends and packing, purging, selling, trashing, and/or donating the remaining of our worldly possessions so we can go on our mission unencumbered and unburdened of worrying about our “stuff”.  At this point, there isn’t any “stuff” left, so we’ll go to Indonesia then worry about what to do. where to go and what “stuff” we really need when we get back!

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We divided the remaining clothes, etc into two groups: (1) four large 50 lb. suitcases with clothes and things we’ll need in Jakarta and sent them ahead via Greyhound Bus to the Mission Training Center in Provo, UT and (2) a couple small suitcases for our trip west.

With that, we picked up Sarina from school on Friday, August 19 and headed to Kansas City to visit with Kevin.  We had a nice visit and took he and Sarina to the KC Zoo on Saturday.

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After breakfast on Sunday, there were lots of tears and a big hug from her baby boy….

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Then it was off to Mesa, AZ (with a midway stop in Tucumcari, NM) to visit DeeAnn’s father.  A very nice visit there – hot, but it was August in Arizona, so what did we expect?!

More later….

Just About Time to Leave….

 

Today was an emotional roller coaster for us – our last Sunday with the YSA Branch.  The  closing hymn was ‘God Be With You ’till We Meet Again’.  I could not sing….I was reminded of when I left on my first mission to Georgia Atlanta in 1975.  At the time it was tradition the missionaries to attend the Sunday morning broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word (the mission training center was in Salt Lake City at the time).  The missionaries would stay for a few minutes after the broadcast and the choir would sing a few extra songs for us.  That day the last song was God Be With You and I remember I just cried like a baby – just like today….

After Church this evening was an open house to say good bye to a few friends who stopped by.  The Angel Council (the wives of the Branch Presidency) put together a meal and treats and it was very nice – with a beautiful cake decorated by one of our former YSA’s.

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And with that, we now concentrate on the next chapter of our lives.

We are just about 95% ready to go.  All of our stuff is essentially gone or there are plans to get it delivered this week to where it is going.  We have one chair left in our living room and DeeAnn have to split time using it!  It’s getting emotional to be getting rid of the last of our stuff and packing our clothes – there is a sense of sad finality as we will likely not be coming back to Carthage except for a visit and to pick up the few things we are leaving in storage.  So many memories and so excitign to anticipate a new adventure!

Our plan is to leave Friday and go to Kevins and spend a couple days there.  Then we will drive to Mesa, AZ to see DeeAnn’s father and spend a couple days there.  Then to San Diego to see my sister, then to Fairfield, CA to visit Holly and her family.  Our grandaughter Bella will be baptized on Saturday, Sept 3, we will fly to Salt Lake on Sunday and then report to the MTC on Monday, Sept 5.

Preparations Continue

The countdown continues and we are getting closer and closer to leaving! The sale of our stuff continues and we are getting down to very little left – we sold DeeAnn’s car yesterday, and that was really the last big thing to worry about.
Tomorrow we speak in Church for the last time, and our last YSA dinner is tomorrow evening. Then the 14th is an Open House and a chance to say goodbye to our friends her in this area.
The plan then will be to leave Carthage on Friday, August 19 and go to Kansas City to see our son, Kevin. We’ll stay with him and leave Sunday morning for Phoenix and plan to arrive there on Monday evening. We will stay there for a couple days to visit DeeAnn’s father. Then off to San Diego to visit with my sister, then off to Fairfield to see Holly and her family. Bella (her oldest) will be baptized on Saturday, September 3, we will fly to Salt Lake on Sunday, September 4 and report to the MTC in Provo on Monday, September 5.