Our family has a tradition of meeting at the Brick Oven in Provo as a final goodbye when we send a missionary off. This time it was our turn to say goodbye. Steve's brother and his wife were so kind to take us and all of our things to Provo. We met Steve's parents, and another brother there, along with a new friend from Uganda and her husband. They are living in Provo now.
After a yummy meal with family and friends, it was time to go to the Missionary Training Center for the Mission Presidents Seminar. Kenney and Sandi took us to the front entrance, and we were off!!
Our first day we were given our missionary badge, and taken to our room.
We met later for dinner with the mission presidents and leadership who will be serving in our area. Most of them are from Africa, and we immediately felt of their goodness and love of the Gospel. I feel like we have new life-long African friends! We have been meeting for the last several months with a group, and it was so fun to see them here as well. We have friends going to Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Nicaragua, Mongolia, California, Idaho, and Taiwan. We may not see or hear from any of them for the next 3 years, but believe those will be life-long friendships as well.
President and Sister Clark
President and Sister McSwain
President and Sister Tay
President and Sister Odume
President and Sister Nmeribe
Most of our training was done with the mission presidents who will be going to Africa. Between sessions on our last day of training, we were able to get together with the entire Southeast Africa Area, along with a lot of the leadership that will be supporting us for a picture. It was really fun to get to see this entire group together. What a blessing to the people of Africa! The mission presidents and their wives that we met are truly AMAZING!
Elder Palmer is a member of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency. It was so fun to get to know him and his sweet wife.
As part of our training, we were assigned a district that we had to teach over two days. Our district was Elders and Sisters who will be speaking Russian, and serving in Russia and Ukraine. I think they were happy when we came to teach them because they could take a break from speaking Russian. They were incredible. The time we spent with them was so special. They were anxious to learn, and quick to be involved in what we were doing. We felt the Spirit so strongly every time we were together with them. We developed such a love for them in the little time we were together, and decided to claim them as our own missionaries! I took this picture of us together, and asked that they each write a phone number where I could send it to their family, which made a few of the sisters cry. They all hugged us when we left. They will be training for a few more weeks before they get to fly to their missions.
We have an Elder Collings in the MTC too! Steve's cousin's son is here. They have lived close by us for years, and our son is good friends with him. We looked for him for three days. Finally on Sunday, we went to the information desk and asked if it would be appropriate to see him while we were here. They jumped up and said absolutely!! A quick phone call to his zone leader, and Elder Collings was there. He had such a light about him. He smiled the whole time, and talked about how his training is going. He will be leaving the day after us, and is so excited to serve a mission. We are so impressed with what a great young man he is. What a fun experience to be able to see him while he is in the MTC!
UGANDA KAMPALA MISSION "THE GREATEST MISSION IN THE WORLD"
I appreciate that we are still in Utah. Provo is not too far away when you forget things that you really will need in the next 3 years. Steve's brother John made a trip to swap some things out for us. It was so nice to see them one more time, and a relief that we are a little more organized with our packing!
How can I even put into words what we have experienced here at the MTC. It brings tears to my eyes as I think about it! We have sat at the feet and listened to the words of President Uchtdorf, President Eyring, and ALL of the twelve apostles. We have met with Elder Soarez and members of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency and their wives, and the In Field Representative. We have had personal conversations with Elders Bednar and Renlund, and shook hands with President Russell M Nelson and Elder Oaks. Had a meal with Bishop Causse' and Elder Bednar. Not to mention the other General Authorities, and General auxiliary leaders who are everywhere. We had a sacrament meeting with Elder Bednar, and were each able to bear our testimony. The spirit has been so strong here! We feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing work! It is so evident that our Heavenly Father loves all of his children, all over the world! He wants us to share this message of love with everyone! We are so blessed!!
Next stop UGANDA!!