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What to Expect at the Missionary Training Center

Everything You Need To Know About Your Stay at the MTC

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The Missionary Training Center (MTC) is where new LDS missionaries are sent for training. What goes on at the MTC? What do missionaries learn there before they leave for their mission? Learn about MTC rules, food, classes, mail, and more in this detailed article about the Missionary Training Center.

Entering the Missionary Training Center

Two Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
MTPICHON/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons
When you check in at the MTC you will be given a "power dot" (bright red/orange sticker aka "dork dot") to identify you as a new MTC missionary. Wearing this sticker allows MTC volunteers, employees, and the other missionaries help you, such as carrying your heavy luggage to your dorm room- who doesn't want help with that? The MTC is huge, with 1000’s of missionaries and many buildings, so don’t feel ashamed to ask for help if you get a bit confused.

After an orientation with the MTC president you will process some paperwork, receive any additional immunizations, and receive a packet of information that will include your assigned companion, dorm room, district, branch, teachers, classes, preparation day, mailbox, and debit card.

Obeying MTC Rules

Missionary Dress Code
Missionary Dress Code for Sisters
When you enter the MTC you will be given a card that details, "Missionary Conduct at the Missionary Training Center" with a list of specific rules that are in addition to the Missionary Handbook. Some of these rules include the following: to not arrange or accept visits from your family or friends while at the MTC; to not arrange for food to be delivered to you; that the residence halls of the opposite sex are off limits; and reminders for proper dress code including what is/isn't allowed on preparation-day.

Of special note is the MTC rule to arise from bed at 6:00 a.m. which is half an hour earlier then the regular missionary daily schedule- another reason to apply number seven from 10 Practical Ways to Prepare for an LDS Mission.

Companions, Districts, and Branches

My MTC Companion and Roommates
My MTC Companion and Roommates
One of the basic rules of all missions, including your time at the Missionary Training Center, is to always remain with your assigned companion. The "missionary conduct" rules also tells MTC missionaries to "cultivate your companionship by sitting together in all meetings and at all meals." You will share a dorm room with your companion and probably two or more other missionaries who may, or may not, be in your district which usually consists of 12 missionaries.

The district works under a branch and each branch attends regular sacrament meeting services together on Sundays.

Lessons, Learning, and Languages

Waiting for an MTC class to start
Waiting for class to start
The majority of your time at the MTC will be spent in classes with your district. Each day (except for Sundays and preparation-day) for three weeks you will have three classes, each with a different teacher. During class time you will learn how to study the scriptures, preach the gospel, and proselytize. For those learning another language you will have classes for nine weeks, in which you will learn your new language as well as how to preach the gospel in that language. The missionary manual you will study the most is, Preach My Gospel.

At times it can be hard to focus during class time which is why the MTC rules also counsel missionaries to "keep alert and fit through regular participation in your physical education classes."

MTC FOOD

The MTC Cafeteria
The MTC Cafeteria
Food at the Missionary Training Center is excellent! The cafeteria has an assortment of tasty dishes to choose from for each meal. Since there are thousands of missionaries at the MTC you will often have to wait in a long line before you get your food, although the winter months are less crowded (due to less missionaries) than the summer ones.

One common practice among MTC missionaries while waiting in line is to practice being a missionary, such as inviting people to hear your message, as well as practicing your new language, if you're learning one. My fellow district missionaries and I spent many hours memorizing new words and phrases in Spanish. As time progressed we even worked to only speak to each other in Spanish.

Money, Mail, & Missionary Materials

Missionary Access Card is the MTC Debit Card
Missionary Access Card is the MTC Debit Card
But what about money, you ask? Don't worry, the Missionary Training Center has it covered. You will receive a missionary access card which is basically the MTC's debit card. Each week a specific amount of funds will be deposited into your account which you will use for laundry, meals, and at the MTC bookstore. The MTC bookstore stocks the basic missionary supplies, such as books, pamphlets, scriptures, scriptures cases, backpacks, laundry detergent, and a large variety of other missionary related materials and goodies.

There is a post office at the MTC and each missionary is assigned their own mailbox- which address is among the papers you receive when you first arrive at the Missionary Training Center.

Preparation-Day at the MTC

Playing Volleyball On P-Day at the MTC
Playing Volleyball on P-Day
Preparation-day, called p-day, is one day set aside during your mission (including your time at the MTC) to take care of personal needs, such as laundry, cleaning, haircuts, write home, do service, and exercise. Missionaries at the MTC are also supposed to attend the Provo Temple on their p-day.

Missionaries are assigned specific duties as part of their p-day service, which might include things like cleaning bathrooms, dorm buildings, the grounds, and other buildings. My companion and I often cleaned the toilets while at the MTC.

You will have time to get some fun exercise with activities such as volleyball, basketball, and jogging. P-day ends at the beginning of the dinner hour, so make good use of your time- it will go fast.

MTC Culture Night

Sampling food at an MTC Culture Night
Sampling food at an MTC Culture Night
Missionaries who will be working with people of another culture will have a culture night at some point during their time at the MTC. Culture night is a fun evening when you meet with missionaries, or when possible, those of that culture who tell you about the customs and culture of those you will be teaching. There will be pictures and other items native to that culture and sometimes even food to sample. This is a great opportunity to learn more about your specific mission, how to more fully prepare yourself (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as well as physically) and to ask questions. It would be a good idea to jot down any unanswered questions you might have about the people of your mission, before or after you enter the MTC.

Humanitarian Training & the Call Center

Many missionaries who will be working with people of an underprivileged society are assigned to receive humanitarian training during their last few weeks at the MTC. These missionaries learn the basic principles of welfare which helps them be prepared to better serve those in their mission. As missionaries for the Panama, Panama City Mission, my companion and I received humanitarian training at the MTC, which I really enjoyed.

Some missionaries while at the MTC will be assigned to serve in the call center. This is where phone calls are received from those interested in learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are sometimes media referrals, people who have seen a commercial or other advertisement, or received a pass-along card.

Keeping a Missionary Journal

Missionary Journal
Missionary Journal
Writing in a journal that's specifically for your mission is part of life as a missionary. See these journal keeping techniques as well as these journal keeping tips to help you develop a habit of regularly writing in your mission journal. One of the best rewards for regularly keeping a journal while on your mission, is being able to go back and read past entries after your mission. You may think that you'll never forget the names of companions, investigators, friends, and the places you've served, but unless you have a photographic memory that's unlikely. Keeping a journal is a valuable tool- one I've thankfully been able to use.

Leaving the Missionary Training Center

MTC Missionaries Pointing to Mission on World Map
MTC Missionaries Pointing to Mission on World Map
Those traveling to another country will have to await the processing of their visas, and if there are any problems (which isn't too common) a missionary's stay at the MTC might be extended, or on a very rare occasion their mission assignment might change either temporarily or permanently. For the most part, visas and other requirements for foreign travel are quickly and efficiently taken care.

When it's time to leave for your mission you will receive a travel itinerary, instructions, and any other necessary documents for your journey to your mission.

One favorite tradition at the Missionary Training Center is to have your picture taken while pointing to your mission on the map of the world.

Continue by learning about Life as an LDS Missionary.
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