This morning our goal was to leave the house at 7:00 am – (we actually left at about 7:20 am), to begin the epic drive down to Provo, Utah for MTC DAY. From our south-bound lanes we noticed a bad accident and traffic jam on the north-bound side of the Freeway and we hoped that it would be cleared up by the time we headed back to SLC.
Normally, missionaries are dropped off on Wednesdays at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) between about 12:30 – 3 PM (times are assigned alphabetically by last name). However, both Mr. MoSop and I could not miss work today, so we needed to bring Sister A earlier than her assigned time. (note: I checked and found out it is totally fine to drop off your missionary early on their arrival day).
We wanted to arrive early enough to take some photos by the popular MTC sign and the surrounding area before saying our final “goodbye”. We were surprised when we got there not to be able to find the sign! Yep. Zip. Nada. It’s gone. In its place is a blank brick wall with a bunch of newly planted bushes.
In fact, ALL signage on the MTC is gone. There is also a large security gate behind a brick guardhouse with two or more security personnel inside (this was new to us, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen the MTC) As stark as it might look, in these troubled times it’s comforting to know our children are being carefully watched over. When we pulled up to the guardhouse, the nice man asked us if we were “really ready” to go inside, and if we wanted to take any photos first? We answered “no” and “yes” to those questions, so he directed us back out and up to the Provo Temple for photo taking. When I asked about the sign, he explained that so much traffic and illegal parking was going on with hordes of families wanting to take photos at the entrance (like us) they finally removed all the signs. OK. Understandable. No problem. We’re flexible!
As we drove up to the temple, Sister A joked that the lack of signs and the big security gate “sort of makes the MTC look like a Juvenile Correction Facility now!” (he he he) Yep.
When we got up to the temple, it was freezing cold and no one was around. We wondered how we were going to get a family photo…but, just then a group of missionaries arrived walking up from the MTC headed to the Temple, and one of the Elders kindly offered to take our photo. An Elder R asked our daughter where she would be serving and when she answered Nashville, he excitedly answered that he is actually FROM Nashville! That was cool. 🙂
(Elder R. is headed all the way to the Ukraine and will be staying in the MTC 11 weeks for language training)
At 9:00 am we drove through the MTC gate and were directed to pull up to the front doors.
**MISSION MOM TIP**: GOING REALLY EARLY to the MTC is definitely the BEST way to drop off a missionary on arrival day! Hands down!
There was absolutely no one else around. No crowds, no lines of cars, no emotional farewells or family drama, and no feeling of being rushed. Everything was just relaxed and quiet. It was OK to get out of the car and come into the lobby helping our missionary with her suitcases. And, they were really nice about letting us take one final [quick] photo and giving one last [quick] hug goodbye, which we happily complied with, before Sister A was led away by a smiling volunteer [thanks, MTC!]
From the moment we left the house Sister A was grinning from ear to ear and so happy and relaxed. Her grin got even bigger as we entered the MTC. There were no tears from anyone (including me…can you believe it?). Honest. We were all grinning. There was such a joyful spirit, we just couldn’t help ourselves. Mr. Mo and I were so happy for her to get to have this experience (something both of us had)! I absolutely LOVED my time in the MTC 25 years ago as I prepared for mission service in Wisconsin (wow. yes. it’s really been that long). I had to smile as I looked around and noticed the place hasn’t changed at all – bit of a time-warp moment. I know she will be taken care of every minute and be surrounded with love and learning and a beautiful, peaceful spirit. I always like to describe the MTC as being a combination of living 24/7 inside the Temple while attending General Conference & going to EFY Summer Camp…all rolled into one!
Yeah, it’s that cool! (and it’s that exhausting).
Mr. MoSop and I walked back out the door, got in our car and drove out the gate. As we made our way Northbound and on with the rest of our day, we held hands and quietly soaked it all in.
Mr. Mo finally broke the silence, “Well, I guess that’s it sweetie. We did it. Our kids are raised and off into the world”.
I looked at Mr. Mo, “Yep. I guess so. It’s really weird, huh? Sort of like ‘What do we do now?!'”
Mr. Mo smiled and winked at me, “Oh, I think we can find a few things!”
I giggle, and he pats my hand.
We don’t know yet when Sister A’s assigned P-Day (Preparation Day) will be during the week, which is the day she can write to us. Each group gets assigned a different day to try to spread out the use of the laundromat, gym, computers, Temple, and other P-Day type activities. So, we just keep checking our email and our mailbox awaiting our very first Missionary Mail…the anticipation feels a lot like Christmas!! In the meantime, we are keeping her MTC mailbox very full writing quick notes and letters over at DearElder.com (tip: if you write before 12 noon MST, it’s printed and put in their MTC box the same day).
And thus our family LDS Missionary adventure begins! ~ MoSop
“A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind. Missionaries support that privilege with their personal savings. Parents, families, friends, and donors to the General Missionary Fund may also assist. All missionaries, younger and older, serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people.”