Monday, June 16, 2008

MTC 6-15-08

Sunday June 15, 2008
Today is Sunday and we are on a little different schedule. We went to one of a hundred Sacrament Meetings (our main worship service where we take the Sacrament) with the 56th MTC branch. All of these young missionaries are assigned to a congregation while here. The "Branches" of the church have a Branch President and two counselors just like the regular congregations. They also "call" members of the Branch to jobs in the Branch such as pianist, chorister, teacher, etc.

At this meeting a member of the MTC Presidency released one of the counselors to the Branch President and sustained a new one. The Branch President then called on two missionaries to speak extemporaneously like they would be asked in their mission field ward or branch. The branch choir sang a beautiful song and the outgoing and incoming counselors spoke. It was just like any other ward in the church.

We then went to the Snow auditorium to see the "Music & the Spoken Word" broadcast and the sisters stayed there for a new sisters meeting and Relief Society meeting. The men went off to find a Priesthood Meeting in one of the chapels in the Administration Building. I found one being conducted in German (although the lesson was in English) and found it instructive and interesting. They had a lesson on blessing the Sacrament properly in German and then discussed the importance of retention of new converts and their role.

After meeting Cindy for lunch with some of our group who were still here, we came back to our room to write, clean-up Cindy's email contact list and try to lighten our suitcases.

It is 10:50 pm here and we are about to get in bed after calling some of our friends in Sacramento. Tonight we attended departing devotional for the 228 missionaries who are leaving this week. It was a very spiritual meeting and fun
to see how many were going to each mission as they stood when there mission name was called. The airport will be busy I'm sure.

We then went to the Fireside in the big gym (Snow Bldg) with one of the Branch Presidents as the main speaker. Afterwards we saw the new Joseph Smith movie in the same building. It is a powerful portrayal of Joseph's suffering and constant challenges. I was so exhausted watching him go through it all that I was a little numb walking home to our room. On the way, it hit me that Joseph and the saints of his day suffered year after year to establish the Church as I know it. I, we, have only been asked to give two years. It seems so small a sacrifice after watching what he, and they, did. I am profoundly grateful for their faith and work that gave me this chance to give something of my own to the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Two years in Siberia doesn't seem like so much in comparison.

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