“The Missionary Training Center (MTC) is a hallowed place where missionaries experience spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth as they strengthen their personal relationship with their Heavenly Father, and use the scriptures as their textbooks.” – President and Sister Martino, Provo MTC
All missionaries should enter the Missionary Training Center (MTC) expecting to grow. The whole campus is dedicated to the service of the Lord. Wherever you are on arrival, you will come out changed. As Sister Rebekah Harkleroad of Escondido, California, points out with a sheepish smile, “Humility is a Christlike attribute.” Of all places to be humbled, the MTC is best.
The first step of growth is recognizing weaknesses, and all missionaries who arrive eager to learn will be humbled.
“You will feel low, but it’s important to remember to get to your next level, not your companion’s or anyone else’s,” says Sister Bridgett Jensen of Kaysville, Utah.
Learning is easier when you focus on developing trust and confidence in Heavenly Father. This is a lifetime pursuit, though many returned missionaries believe the MTC is an intensive course. This is the journey every convert takes, and your experience will strengthen your testimony.
“Don’t stress,” says Sister Jensen. “Trust, learn, and obey.”
That’s easy to say, especially as the MTC is often a missionary’s first experience living away from home, but the peace in this sister’s advice is evidence of the strength gained from exercising faith in the Lord’s help. Instruction at the MTC centers on seeing others the way God sees them. While it’s easy to see how a mission benefits the missionary, don’t let this distract from your true purpose in serving.
All MTC instruction is sourced from the standard works and the inspired teachings of Latter-day prophets. Before reporting, you have access to these resources through LDS.org, missionary preparation classes, and local leadership. Your MTC experience will be more effective if you commit to becoming familiar with the scriptures before reporting for training.
Sister Harkleroad recalls being one of the missionaries in her classes who had invested time to gain a strong understanding of the scriptures.
“Really read the standard works,” she suggests, when asked what she wished she knew before entering the MTC. “Even if you just get a grip on the stories in them and where they’re at. That would have made studying so much easier.”
The purpose of a mission is not to make you a scripture scholar. All knowledge, skills, and talents you bring or gain on your mission better equip you to serve His children in His way.
The Church operates 15 MTCs worldwide. For info on the Provo, UT MTC, visit www.mtc.byu.edu.