It was great to have our entire family with us for our farewell sacrament meeting and setting apart on October 26. We are also grateful for the other family and friends that joined us.
On November 3 we drove to the MTC and checked in. It wasn’t the same process as we went through with our kids. We stayed at the Wyview Family Housing, which was about a mile from the MTC, so it was a short commute every day. There were about 45 couples and 9 single sisters that started with us. There were more MLS (Member and Leader Support) missionaries than the other types. But there was quite a variety of calls, including humanitarian, record retention, stay at home M/LS, family history center, employment center, office support, PEF (perpetual education fund/self reliance), medical, and welfare. They were going to all areas of the world. One couple was going to Iraq.
We found Scott’s picture still hanging on the wall, with a family he was able to baptize in Brazil a few years ago.
We met Zach Ashton from our ward in the MTC on our first day. It was his last week before leaving to Moscow, Russia. He was in my sunbeam class 14 years ago, and was our home teacher just before he left.
Our first week at the MTC was focused on learning how to teach from “Preach My Gospel.” They divided us into districts of 8 for our classes. We were impressed with the power of the message and the teaching program. We did role plays within our district and with volunteer “investigators” who came to give us some good practice. It was a little stressful, certainly not as easy as just listening to lectures.
The food was great in the MTC. Mom wondered why she had bothered to send food to our sons. They feed hundreds everyday. Where’s
Bedke in the picture?
On P-Day we got to go to a BYU basketball game. We were standing in line to buy tickets and a man came up to us and gave us tickets. Curtis has decided to start dressing as a missionary when he needs tickets. We were able to see friends from our ward—the Hobby’s, Smart’s, and Larsen’s. After the game we saw my cousin, Curt Collard. We had seen him in Arizona last winter just after he had gone through chemo and white blood cell transfusion, so it was wonderful to see him in a greatly improved situation.
We were also able to go to the Hindu exhibit at the BYU museum, and learn more about the India culture. They have many Gods. One of the principal gods has been reincarnated 10 times. He lived some of his earlier lives as animals. He was Krishna in his seventh life (or avatar) and Budda in his tenth. They believe he will come back again at the end of the world.
Our visas didn’t come as hoped, so we stayed in the MTC for a second week. We decided to attend the office training classes, as our mission president said he may ask us to serve in the office for part of our mission. We were joined by 3 other couples. The Birch’s are from Idaho Falls and going to Calgary. They were the youngest senior missionaries there. They are in their early 50’s and taking a year sabbatical from his Optometrist practice to serve. The Keele’s are going to Ghana. The Shelton’s are going to Bakersfield.
Our visas didn’t come the second week, so we got a temporary assignment to go to San Diego until they come. I know, it sounds like a really rough assignment. The shortest time we hope for is two weeks, but it could be as long as eight weeks. We drove to Barstow on Friday the 14th and came the rest of the way on Saturday. We have a one bedroom apartment about a mile from Balboa Park. We spent the rest of Saturday moving in, cleaning, and buying what was missing. We are assigned to the San Diego 4th ward (pictured at right) and attended there yesterday. It was a very friendly ward with about 150 attending. The bishop is Don Martin, who graduated from Burley HS a year after Dave. The stake has a special fireside Sunday night featuring Alex Boye. He told of his conversion and his faith in Christ. He has a very different teaching style, but it was very good to hear his message.