We were officially set apart as missionaries, and entered the MTC for missionary training on Monday, Nov 2nd for one week of intensive training. After sending off seven of our children to this same facility, it was exciting to finally experience the process ourselves! We took this photo by the famously large world map in the main foyer. We were placed in a “district” with two other senior couples, one going to Ghana and one going to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, along with two single senior sisters.  We were lucky enough to stay with Spencer and Kristin in American Fork each night, and very much looked forward to eating breakfast and dinner with them.

Day 1 (Monday, Nov 2nd)
We were impressed at how organized and efficient things operate. Everyone is over-the-top happy. This was the largest group of senior missionaries they have had so far this year with 117 of us checking in. We had to get a polio booster—making it our 12th and final immunization. We were given our missionary badges, which we must wear daily until we actually arrive in Jordan.
Had a powerful talk on commitment and recognizing the Holy Ghost given by Elder David Bednar.

Day 2 (Tuesday, November 3rd)
Elder Richard Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife spoke to all 1500 elders and sisters. The days are long—up at 5am and returning home at 9pm. Singing songs at the MTC seems empowering. Many of the elders are only a few years older than J, our oldest grandson. We think of him as we study the movements of the Elders whisking through halls from class to class.

Day 3 (Wednesday, November 4th)
Practiced teaching investigators, which we got to do in English. Many of the younger missionaries are trying to teach in their new language and struggling. We got an A+ from our trainer—which she probably gave to everyone, and our investigator was golden to teach. Reed’s expertise is with scriptures. Sandi is more socially oriented. The focus is always on the blessings that the gospel can bring to families. We felt a good spirit as we customized the lesson to the needs of the investigator. Our trainer wants us to bear testimony, promise blessings, direct questions and get commitments…none of which we can do in Jordan, but it will still be useful at some point in our lives.

Day 4 (Thursday, November 5th)
Today we did more training with non-member couples. We met with them for 15 minutes, prepared a lesson for 30 minutes, and then taught them for 30 minutes. There was also a class for seniors on how to help out in wards and branches without “taking over.” Next was training in the gospel library functions. There is an undeniably strong spirit here at the MTC.

Day 5 (Friday, November 6th)
We turned in our access cards as today was our last day of training. We felt like we could really relate to the other dozens of senior missionaries, as we have gone through many similar stages of recent mission preparation. There is a myriad of things to do. This list is probably not exhaustive:
*Dejunking/arranging for our homes to be left OR selling homes; arrange for yard and house care; animals farmed out or adopted to others; clean out fridges, freezers, cupboards
*Final travel to and visits with children and grandchildren; legacy activities, letters, memory items prepared, open houses
*Preparing wills and trusts, safety deposit box, funeral arrangements
*Turning businesses over to others to run; retirement activities
*Personal banking arranged and accounts put in order
*Legal papers drawn up or updated; taxes, contributions, and voting arranged for; retirement funds activated; international driver license obtained
*Finding comfortable walking shoes and clothes with long enough skirts
*Arranging finances to leave for 1-2 year
*Learning about the cultures into which we are moving
*Getting immunizations (12 for us), doctor visits, procedures and tests so we know autopsies aren’t necessary; health care benefits/insurance arranged for foreign travel

We related deeply to many fellow senior missionaries on professional, family and church experience levels. Overall, it was an energizing week.

We ate dinner at Grand America on our way driving home to Idaho at the end of the week. We saw Elder Anderson of the Twelve, who came over to our table when he saw our name tags, and asked, “So did you complete your Green Beret training while in Provo this week?” We had a good laugh. I trust he was kidding?

We are honored to represent the Church and will give our full energy to doing what needs to be done to build bridges of understanding with Muslims In Jordan, as well as help the many Christians and others who find themselves in Refugee camps.