Thursday, December 3, 2015

November 16- 29, 2015 - Missionary Training Center Provo and Home

We entered the Provo Missionary Training Center on Monday, November 16, 2015. We were assigned room 317 in the 2M building. It is like a large hotel room that includes a small table and two chairs.

Elder Ronald and Sister Shauna Peterson arrive at the MTC

Monday was the day to check in and get ourselves organized and unpacked. We met together later for the video devotional presented by Elder David A. Bednar on the Character of Christ.

At the orientation meeting Tuesday we met with the other 18 couples who will also be serving. Our group is the smallest of the entire year. Two weeks after our group, the Monday after Thanksgiving, they are expecting the largest group of the year, about 170 senior missionaries. One of the couples, the Carlson's was not in the picture. They had to go to Salt lake to straighten out a visa problem.

 Tesch, Price, Colemere, Peterson, Jeppesen, Charchenko, Ricks, Jex, Michelini, Branham

 Larsen, Rhoades,Wilson, Brady, Christensen, Roderick, Scholes, Ingols

Elder & Sister Peterson, Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission

Elder Taylor and his wife are on a full time mission at the MTC and help direct the senior missionaries. Elder Peterson is the man in charge of all the senior missionary training.

Elder Taylor taking our District picture
We were divided into districts. Our district has 3 other couples. Elder and Sister Charchenko, who will be serving as Member Leadership Support in the Johannesburg, South Africa Mission; Elder and Sister Colemere, who will be serving as Member Leadership Support in the Nairobi, Kenya Mission; and Elder and Sister Jex who will be serving as Member Leadership Support in the San Pablo Philippines Mission.

Elders and Sisters Jex, Peterson, Charchenko, and Colemere

Our morning teachers were Sister Kunzler and Sister Patino. Our afternoon teachers were Sister Anderson and Brother Hyde. This first week we were being trained in Preach My Gospel. We learned the first thing we should do in meeting with people is to get to know them, find out what their needs are, and then be able to teach a lesson to meet those needs. It is very different from the way Ron taught lessons as a young missionary. Then all the lessons were memorized word for word. Needs of the people were not emphasized. This new way of teaching is much better.

We practiced two different days on meeting new "investigators", volunteers who come to the MTC and visit with us. We were able to get to know them, assess their needs, and then immediately teach something to that person. It was amazing how serious we felt in wanting to help this "investigator" feel the spirit and want to know more about the Church. Emotions came quickly to me as I bore witness of the truth of the principle we were teaching. I forgot that this person was not really there to be "converted" to the gospel.

The entire week was full of feeling the spirit. On Wednesday 628 new young Elders and Sisters came to the MTC. That brought much energy and more spirit into the experience.

We found this picture on the wall at the MTC. Liz Lemon Swindle is the artist. It has special meaning for us and the African people we will serve.

Cafeteria food meet all the anticipated expectations we had. It was delicious and so many choices! A favorite place was the wrap station. A huge tortilla with guacamole and piled high with lettuce, spinach, veggies of every kind, topped with cheese and salsa. The trick was for the worker to get all of that wrapped so food didn't fall out. They would also just make me a salad without the wrap. It looked just like what I would make if I were at a salad bar. The chocolate milk was soooo good. I limited myself to just 3 glasses during the whole week. There was a wonderful orange, guava, passion fruit juice that we usually drank. 

Wednesdays are a highlight at the MTC with the BYU creamery coming in with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry soft ice cream. Huge pans of hot fudge, caramel, and marshmallow, and strawberry topping was available, as well as crushed Oreo cookies, Reese's pieces, and min M&Ms. What a treat!!

In the cafeteria we met some of our former students.  Ron saw Kelsey Fivas, Bryan Davis, and Elder Fuentas from the Spanish Branch.  Also Chelsie VanDerwerken and Isaac Pectol, two of my high school students found me in the cafeteria. That was so exciting to see 
missionaries from home.

With Sister Kelsey Fivas going to the Philippines

With Elder Bryan Davis

With Elder Fuentas

With Chelsie VanDerwerken. She's going to Dallas, Texas
Sister Peterson and Elder Isaac Pectol. He is going to Vancouver, British Columbia

Another day we paired up with another senior missionary couple. Each pretended to be a less active couple in the Church. We met a first time to get to know each other. Then we had about a half hour to prep to assess their needs and prepare a lesson for them. We then met again with them and taught our lesson to them. It was humbling to really feel the spirit as well as a love for these people (even though they were pretending to be someone else).

We are having a great time. The spirit is soooo strong. We love it. We went to the temple with our district Thursday night.  Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and the Philippines. Four couples, four countries. Consecration has a greater meaning to us today. We were all together in the circle too.  Awesome to be with such instant good friends.
We loved our week at the MTC getting to know other couples who are going to serve.

Since we live close and the training ended on Friday, we went home for the weekend. There will be 2 other couples coming back next week for Office Training, the Ricks who are going to Morristown, New Jersey, and the Michelini's who will be going to Rome, Italy.

We attended church with Leslie and her family on Sunday, then to Sarah's for lunch with their family before returning to the MTC. There was a farewell devotional with the MTC presidency, then the devotional with Elder Jorge Zebellas. After that was a video of Elder Bednar's talk on the Character of Christ. I took notes on that video last Monday evening. Tonight we able to enjoy and absorb his message again.

Monday, November 23 -  was office training. It is good that all of us had previous computer experience. It made it easier for our teachers to cram four days of training into two. Elder and Sister Ricks live in Nephi and they have been driving back and forth each day tying up some loose ends before they leave.

We obtained tickets for the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Museum of Art. Elder and Sister Michelini went with us. While there we saw Gary and Kelly Chapman (Sarah's husband, Trent's parents).
Gary & Kelly Chapman, Sister & Elder Peterson
We finished our training on Tuesday afternoon and said goodbye to Elder and Sister Ricks.
Elder & Sister Peterson, Sister  & Elder Ricks, Sister & Elder Michelini
Here is a picture with one of our office training teachers, Sister Lauren Faber.
Elder & Sister Peterson, Sister Lauren Faber, Sister & Elder Michelini
Notice the beautiful sunset through the window behind us
 We stayed for the devotional on Tuesday evening. Stephen Allen from the Missionary Department spoke. 

On Wednesday morning we attended the Provo Temple in the initiatory area. It was wonderful to hear those blessings repeated five times. This was the view as we left the temple that morning.
Sunrise reflection as we look west

At 10:30 a.m. Sarah and her children met us at the Art Museum to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit. It was a good thing we took time on Monday night to read all the information about each picture. The children were fine with just a quick breeze through. 

We then met Elder and Sister Michelini for lunch at the cafeteria for one last meal with them before saying goodbye. They will stay at the MTC for Thanksgiving and then fly out on Friday morning to Rome. 
Elder & Sister Peterson; Sister and Elder Michelini
Elder and Sister Michelini are from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We have enjoyed our extra time with them. Our mission president, F. Brent Thomas was their former Stake President. So they know President and Sister Thomas, Elder and Sister Draper, as well as Sister Vance. So we are going on our mission with their friends. What a small world it is.

We were able to spend Wednesday night through Sunday morning with family at Shauna's mother's house. We had a great time with family and friends.

Thanksgiving Day we were grateful to be together for a delicious meal and lots of fun playing soccer in the church cultural hall.

Friday evening Van and Bonnie Call took us out for dinner. We had a wonderful visit with them. They are such good friends. Van and Ron have been friends since they were 12 years old. I met them when we were first dating. Spencer was a baby and we went to their house to visit.
Van and Bonnie Call, Shauna and Ron Peterson

Saturday our Granddaughters were sewing pocket covers for their Personal Progress or Faith of God books. Their mothers were supervising. Some of the grandsons were sewing bags to put "stuff" in. It was organized chaos. 

Saturday night we went to dinner with Elder Peterson's siblings and his mother. His brother Lyle and his wife LaRae went to the MTC two weeks before we did. They are serving in the Family History Mission as a host couple. They were able to come to dinner with us.
Elder Lyle Peterson, Wanda Peterson, Elder Ronald Peterson
Sunday morning was very hard to say goodbye to Shauna's mother, Betty. With Shauna's older sister Vickie and her husband Stephen Funk serving in the Knoxville Tennessee mission, half of the children will be gone. Vickie and Steve will return in June of next year. Many tears were shed,  hugs and kisses shared, then the moment came to leave.

We took Ron's mother to church in the Hooper First Ward. It was good to see ward members that we know. It was Fast and Testimony meeting because they will have Stake Conference next week. Elder Peterson shared his testimony and the legacy that the Hooper First Ward has of caring for and supporting youth. Our last goodbyes were tearful here as well with hugs and kisses to last for two years

We also attended Sacrament Meeting in Erin's ward. Her daughters sang with the senior Primary a song, "Children All Over the World." Tears were shed as we said our final goodbyes to her family. Then it was on to Grantsville to finish the packing.

Leslie, Sarah, David, and Rebecca's family all gathered for supper. The women helped Shauna pack her suitcases. This whole idea of final goodbyes was getting old. It takes an emotional toil on a person. I didn't think I had any more tears--but alas, here they came.
Tera, Becca, Shauna, Leslie

Shauna - Will it all fit??? Does it weigh too much??

Shauna and Tera, Leslie in mirror

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