Next to a Mormon Temple, the Missionary Training Centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and what goes on inside, are just as much a mystery -- even to most faithful members of the LDS Church.
Unless you've served a full-time mission for the Church, it's most likely you've never been inside an MTC! And if you have, as parents previously were briefly able to, you only got a quick glimpse when dropping off a son or daughter -- and chances are even those few never really got to see what actually goes on inside.
Frankly, I can't imagine the drama of saying goodbye to my son in such a manner that past missionary moms and dads have experienced. When I first heard about the new policy of "drive-by-drop-off" for new missionaries, I felt cheated. But, after my of own experience of saying goodbye to my son, just last week, I'm grateful to have dodged that bullet! I will admit though, that I am curious as to what goes on inside the MTC to get an LDS Missionary prepared to serve!
Over the years things have evolved, as to what goes on inside the MTC and how missionaries are trained to go out and share the gospel message, worldwide. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Provo MTC! You can imagine how exciting it was when I found out that Carol Mikita, of KSL 5 News, in Utah, was given an unprecedented behind the scenes look at this remarkable facility.
The idea of how to train young men and women and senior couples to do missionary work has changed in the 21st Century -- everything from learning languages to staying fit. But it begins with leaving family and friends -- always an emotional experience.
In my search to find out more about the LDS Missionary Training Centers, I found this great video. It's a bit long, but well worth watching...
"This is a video developed by Avinci Media (avincimedia.com) which includes photos taken by Elder Browne during his stay at the Provo Missionary Training Center where he learned to speak Malay in preparation for his 2-year mission to Singapore. Included are fun and friendly photos of our family when we dropped him off, Christmas and New Year's celebrations and more fun shots of missionaries balancing out the rigors of 12-hour days studying a foreign language and their lessons for the interested people in Singapore and Malaysia."
When I was at the MTC, one of my teachers said the MTC stands for “My Time for Christ” because this is one great opportunity to study and get to know the Savior without a lot of worldly distractions. The MTC actually stands for the Missionary Training Center, a school where missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in some cases begin learning another language before they serve in their area of assignment. (Derek Hansen)
As excited as I am for the upcoming LDS General Conference, I'm just about as excited to see the one hour special on the MTC that will be presented between sessions, on KBYU-TV. As the time draws closer I'll post more detailed information for those interested in watching it, too.