By Stacy Johnson
With the missionary age change announced in General Conference of October 2012, which allowed young men and women to begin serving at 18 and 19 respectively, church leaders also expressed the need to reduce the time spent in the MTC by one-third.
This prompted Rebecca K. Irvine to write her recently released book, MTC at Home.
She says the announcement “shifted the impetus of preparing future missionaries from the MTC to parents and leaders … it was my desire in writing this book to give parents greater assistance in preparing and training their children.”
Rebecca, a member of Harris 2nd Ward, Mesa Central Stake, has lived in Arizona most of her life. She graduated from Mountain View High School and served a fulltime mission to England.
Now a communications professor at Mesa Community College, Rebecca has published three previous books: Follow the Prophets, Adventures with the Word of God, and Family Home Evening Adventures. She began writing several years ago. Her impetus, she says, was to create works that would better capture the attention of her own three future missionaries.
Rebecca hopes her new book will help parents apply Elder Russell M. Nelson’s message from the 2013 worldwide leadership training, where he said, “The preparation of future missionaries begins in the family. Each home can become a miniature Missionary Training Center…parents and teachers need to prepare their children earlier.”
MTC at Home is divided into eight chapters, with 4 to 10 Family Home Evening lessons, each with references to the Preach My Gospel manual, definitions of key terms and scriptures that enhance the purpose of the lesson. There are exercises included to supplement each lesson and apply the principles learned, such as how to teach, testify, and role play and how to share the message with others.
At the end of each lesson are additional resources from the nursery and Primary manuals and conference addresses, which can be used to suit individual family dynamics. Each book comes with a CD-ROM, including printable coloring pages or activities to go with each lesson.
Rebecca suggests, in order to get the most out of each lesson, the reader should to be prayerful as they review, prepare and choose activities. She encourages being specific and direct when asking questions and inviting others to make commitments related to principles. Her book also offers specific instructions on how to role play gospel discussions and what questions to ask a nonmember friend when sharing the gospel.
Rebecca adds, “As I have written these lessons and then tested each in my own family, we have experienced in-depth discussions, explored interesting questions, and gained a greater appreciation for the fundamentals of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
MTC at Home can be purchased at Deseret Book, Seagull Book and amazon.com.