Sister Stevenson and I entered the Missionary Training Center at Provo, Utah on June 21, 2014. We were warmly welcomed and treated like visiting dignitaries. We were so happy to finally begin our mission. It seems like such a long time ago that the call came.
Our first session was just for the African Missions and was training on Malaria. We left with a bag of pills that we will take each day for the next 37 months. The general idea is don't get bit and take your pills.
Our next training centered around the opportunity that I will have to preside over Member Districts of the Church. These are units where a stake has not yet been formed and they fall under the direction of the mission president. I will function much as a stake president for these congregations. I loved being a stake president and look forward to interacting personally with the members in Ghana.
After dinner, we were bused to a multi-plex theater to view the newly produced motion picture, "Meet the Mormons." I thought it was fabulous and can't wait for it to be released this fall. It gives wonderful examples of how our faith is a blessing in our homes, families and communities.
My father and my brother Brian and his wife, Cheri came up from St. George to see us set apart as
missionaries. I had asked my father to give me a blessing, so we all got together early in the
hotel room. Dad gave me a beautiful blessing and then turned to Sister Stevenson and asked if he could represent her father and give her a blessing as well. Her father passed away several years ago, so this was very tender and set a beautiful tone for the day.
We were joined by Evans, Breanne and Jacob at the MTC for the setting apart. We met with Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Clayton of the Seventy. We had a nice visit together, then Elder Nelson set me apart as a mission president and Elder Clayton set apart Sister Stevenson as a missionary. They both pronounced beautiful blessings that gave us great comfort and confidence.
The rest of the day was amazing and included a Sacrament Meeting with the First Presidency and all
but one member of the Twelve Apostles. President Monson spoke to us and gave great counsel and encouragement.
One thrill for me was to meet my mission president and his wife again after 35 years. Sister Oscarson now serves as the General President of the Young Women for the Church and she and President Oscarson are attending portions of the Seminar. They have both been a huge influence for good in my life.
We will stay at the MTC until Wednesday and will receive additional training each day. It has been and will continue to be a significant spiritual experience. I find myself looking at Sister Stevenson
throughout the day and feeling so grateful that she is my companion. I know we are going to have a marvelous experience and hope that we will be a blessing to our missionaries and to the people of
The walls of the MTC have historical pictures of missionary work. This one is my favorite. I don't know when or where it was taken, but the line of converts and the crocodile defense squad intrigued