Monday, April 30, 2007

New call at the MTC

Yesterday--Sunday, April 29--Margaret and I began our service at the Missionary Training Center in Provo.

Here's the story: On Monday, April 16, the day after being released from my ten years as a counselor in the Provo Utah Central Stake, I got a phone call from President Breinholt, a counselor in the MTC presidency. We scheduled an interview for the next day. Margaret and I came to the MTC on Tuesday morning and spent almost two hours, which included a call extended to me to serve as a counselor in a branch presidency. (The missionaries at the MTC are divided into branches that average somewhere around 40 missionaries.) For some reason, I was feeling rotten that day, and I was concerned about how this call would affect time with my family. But I knew it would be a good thing; Margaret was very excited about it and rightly knew that we could actually involve the family in some ways; and I knew I would end up saying yes if I took time to think about it more. So I just said yes right then. President Breinholt was wonderfully kind and understanding and helped us get acquainted with the MTC and with the call.

Friday of that week I found out I would be serving in branch 46, a French-Tahitian language branch, with Ron Eliason as branch president and Kuinisi Matagi as first counselor. Brother Matagi is originally from Samoa, served a mission in Arizona speaking Navajo, and met his wife (a Tahitian who speaks French) in Hawaii. Currently there are just 17 elders and 2 sisters in the branch, but more are coming on May 9.

It turns out that this new call is about as heavy as the one I've had previously--maybe more so, since there are fewer Sundays free (like virtually none except near Thanksgiving, Christmas, and when I'm out of town). But the call is more focused. And I'm very excited about it. It will be a wonderful opportunity to stretch, grow, learn, and I hope contribute. And since Margaret and the kids can be involved to some extent, I think it will be an opportunity for all of us to grow and grow closer to each other.

In a nutshell, I'll be spending about 7am-4pm every Sunday at the MTC, along with Tuesday evenings (about 6:30-9:30pm), some Wednesday evenings (when new missionaries arrive for our branch), and an hour on Thursday evenings when both Margaret and I will (separately) visit missionaries in their residence halls.

A little over a week ago, on Sunday, April 22, I got to sit with my family in sacrament meeting in our home ward--the first time, I believe, in almost ten years. Except when we're on break for some reason from the MTC, we won't be sitting together again for a while.

Yesterday Margaret, Julie (our 18-year-old daughter), and I went to the 8:00 a.m. sacrament meeting where I was sustained. Margaret and I bore our testimonies, along with the outgoing counselor (Brother Curtis) and his wife--actually they're being transferred to a German-speaking branch. I was then set apart by Brother Breinholt, after which I got to participate in a series of meetings (priesthood, district meetings, branch council) and interviews. I got acquainted with all the missionaries--they're a great group and are heading to several missions: Montreal, Canada; Paris, France; French West Indies; and Ghana, meaning the French-speaking areas of West Africa. Meanwhile, Margaret went to Relief Society and a special meeting for wives of branch presidency members.

I'm a bit overwhelmed right now, trying to figure everything out and especially to be spiritually fit for the service. But I'm happy to be embarking on a new chapter of my life, especially since I'm doing it--or a lot of it--with my sweet companion Margaret.


Cynthia said...

Congratulations, President Young. I am very happy for you and your family. As a convert of 3 years, I loved the MTC because that is where I learned indelibly that Heavenly Father loves me. The structured lifestyle was liberating not restrictive for me. I was able to rely upon the discipline to help me reach a fuller potential. Best blessings, Sister Cynthia L. Hallen

Garry Wilmore said...

I'm about three years younger than yourself, so I share your memories of the old LTM, which you referred to sort of indirectly in the e-mail you sent out. I can't say I have particularly fond memories of the LTM, partly because I quickly became sick and tired of not being able to inhale without hearing or seeing the words "Viva su lengua," but I understand the MTC is much better. Anyway, congrats on your new calling, at which I know you will do very well.

Design Mom said...

Oh Bruce, this sounds like a wonderful calling for you. Thanks for sending a link to your blog.

v said...

I have grateful memories of my branch's presidency at the MTC. And, knowing you, I know that you will generate many similar wonderful memories in your missionaries. Being the companion to the DL, I saw more of our presidency than some missionaries did, and learned how much of a difference they made in ways that others didn't notice. I also gained insight into the significance of the presidency in the years I taught there after my mission.

I encourage you to find opportunities to talk with missionaries individually, to listen to them in the difficult time of growth that the MTC often is. The visits you mention to the districts (with your wife) are great moments for insight and needed spiritual support. Many missionaries come from families that don't offer them much support in the work, and having a branch presidency who knows them, fathers them, is a wonderful blessing.

I look forward to hearing about all of the tremendous things I know you will do there.

All of my best to you, Vernon :)

Margaret said...

My experience and thoughts our first Sunday:
It was lovely. I'm going to have to get some new clothes, because I need to be dressed like the missionaries. I wore my most conservative suit today, but even it isn't quite right.

But to the important things: Most of the missionaries in our branch who I met African or West Indian areas--Madagascar, Ghana, Guyana... I need to get the French down.
I gave a talk and mentioned African American LDS converts Jane James and Ted Whiters. I didn't know at the time that so many missionaries were headed to African nations, but I have let it be known that this is something I have a little knowledge of. Of course, my objective wasn't to say, "I know about Blacks in the LDS Church," but simply to talk about faith.
I feel such a need to be more consecrated, better, kinder, to read my scriptures more and to attend the temple more. This is a mission for Bruce and me, not just a support for the missionaries, and I want to be every bit as consecrated as the missionaries are.

myartisfashion said...

I couldn't be more happy with your new calling. Doesn't it just feel so right? One thing I think you'll be able to see through the calling is that you are capable of doing more than you might think. As you help young men and women prepare to serve missions, while letting them feel your spirit and sweetness, I'm pretty sure you'll also become better acquianted with your own spirit. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I think you'll get to know your remarkable-ness better. It's just neat what God has put in your path because of your efforts to try in life, remembering him. Do you see that? It makes me happy. And proud of you, though that might sound weird, but I am. =)

Erica said...

I stumbled upon your blog while searching for your daughter Kaila's blog...I found this post and just had to post a comment. My father was the mission president in Tahiti for 2002-2005. I hope you love this calling! The MTC is a wonderful place and you're playing such a large role in preparing those missionaries to serve "my people".