Well, we checked out of our room at the Provo MTC, Mission Training Center, last Saturday. What a sweet experience we had during these few days there. So much youthful enthusiasm to be found among these young Elders and Sisters, learning to be Gospel Representatives across the world. We felt such devotion, love, commitment and Spirit while there. We felt quite sad to leave. We met so many wonderful, experienced, devoted Senior missionary couples there also. We can only hope to be as wise and humble and charitable as them.
After an enjoyable afternoon with our son Peter in Orem watching the new Church-produced film, Meet the Mormons, we drove up to SLC and checked into our hotel room at Marriot, where we would spend the next nine days in additional education and awaiting our departure for Indonesia. This week would be filled with intensive training in the LDS Church's eMED system for monitoring and assisting global missionary health. It is a wonderful resource for education, documentation and communication for all authorized medical providers. Slightly too reminiscent of EHRs (arrrgh!), but thankfully much less intrusive, complex, and dictatorial, plus absolutely no billing pages !
Here is a typical classroom scene, this picture showing the last day during our "test". The Petersons from Richfield, Utah, are off to Johannesberg, South Africa to serve as Area Mental Health Advisors. They have a big job ahead of them, assisting many missions and missionaries all the way north to Sudan.
Kathy knew she was in trouble when they flashed this warning during some of the presentations.
It took only hours before repentance was sorely needed. We went with the Chabras, our new wonderful friends from the Roseville, California area, on their way soon to Uganda, Ethiopa and Rwanda to serve as Mission Medical Advisors, to a superb local Italian Restaurant, Cucina Tuscana, for a marvelous meal of pasta and Osso Bucco and Venetian style hot chocolate, thick like pudding. Here Kathy is getting a local epicurean tip about ordering the veal.
The Chabras, Deepak and Debra. Dee is a retired Kaiser urologist, and Deb a recently retired Med-Surg nurse. Such fun and happy people. We love them. Deb and Kathy have the exact same birthdate, down to the year even. Very similar temperaments. We have shared many wonderful evenings and meals at Lambs Grill and Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs, and MTC devotionals, and small group learning sessions, and gym work-outs, and Temple sessions and shopping trips together. We have shared testimonies and faith and conversion stories together.
Last Sunday we made a trip back down to Provo to attend the Departure Devotional at the MTC for all Missionaries soon departing for their missions across the globe. This was followed by a devotional for all MTC attendees at which Chad Lewis, now retired All-Pro receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles and Returned missionary (Taiwan) and his wife spoke to the point that we have missionary opportunities around us everywhere.
On Tuesday we again drove down to Provo to pick up our 18 months worth of prescriptions from the BYU Student Health Center Pharmacy and to purchase some additional small gifts for our soon-to-be Indonesian friends. We also attended the evening Devotional along with the new "crop" of Senior missionaries. Elder Godoy of the Quorum of the Seventy, from Brazil, spoke to all 2000 missionaries there as though he were a father speaking last words of counsel to his son leaving on a mission for two years. He used Alma 26 as his text. The wonderful irony of this was that his own son was in fact in the audience, training now to serve in Italy. It was very touching. And we learned, reassuringly so, that our Indonesian language skills need not be perfect to feel God's spirit and love, as he spoke to us in his best English. The Holy Ghost is our translator.
This evening we spent some precious hours with some of my siblings at a local restaurant. Below are my sister/superhero "Chuck" aka Jen and her wonderful husband Skip. Not pictured are my fantastic sister Deb and her SO Gary. We had such a nice time laughing and reminiscing together. I am so blessed. I found out things about my sisters I did not know before. One cares for prophets, and one doesn't tolerate (with extreme prejudice) bullies.
Below is a touching picture hanging in an Adventist hospital we were introduced to this week. Christ is the Great Healer.
Last Sunday morning we attended Music and the Spoken Word at the historic Mormon tabernacle on Temple Square. It is the longest continuously running radio show in the world. It is broadcast every Sunday morning across the world. It was a beautiful musical program, including "Press Forward Saints", "Have I Done Any Good" and "Glorious Everlasting". We then drove to South Jordan and attended the homecoming sermon given by Matt Williams, my nephew, just home from his two year mission in Texas. He is a fine young man. We enjoyed a nice meal and get together with Dave and Grethchen and their extended families, and I was able to visit with all of my sibs except Kathryn who is in Oakland, CA.
Here is a blast from the past. My son just sent us this photo from 1999 during construction of the Medford Oregon Temple. Our sons, Marc and Chris, were serving the Lord in Honduras and Dominican Republic. The angel Moroni is the golden statue atop every LDS Temple and reminds us of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith in the 1820's by an ancient prophet in America by the name of Moroni who revealed metal plates which were translated and came to be known as the Book of Mormon. It reminds us that God still speaks to us, His children, as he has since creation. The heavens are not closed. It tells us that He loves us.
Anyway, the weeks are flying past quickly. How happy we are! It is wonderful to have my wife and eternal companion with me, helping and supporting each other. We feel unified in faith and a common purpose. Tomorrow we are attending the Temple here in SLC and in the evening will be visiting some old Indonesian friends and missionary companions in Farmington.
We continue to study Bahasa Indonesia, realizing that in a mere 5 days we will be in Java! Please pray for us, as we do for you. Banyak kasih (Much love) !