Quite honestly, I don’t remember much from the MTC (Missionary training Center). It feels like it was eternities ago. I spent nine weeks there, during the winter. I was lucky enough to spend thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s there! So, the few I do remember must be the most important things to pass on. Here they are:
1. BRING SNACKS!
MTC food is disgusting. I repeat, disgusting. I did not have normal bowel movements for the majority of my time in the MTC. That was not fun. The day before I went into the MTC I went to Wal-Mart and bought snacks. My favorite snacks I brought were fruit snacks, pop-able popcorn and cans of fruit.
Things to keep in mind:
-If you bring cans of anything make sure they can be opened WITHOUT a can opener, you probably won’t find one at the MTC or in your room
-While can-openers are not redly available, microwaves are, making any microwavable snack (or meal) a possible
-You spend all day every day in a class room. It is nice to have snacks. Make sure they aren’t messy and don’t leave crumbs because those snacks are not allowed
2. I brought a polar fleece blanket and it was wonderful! They don’t provide you with much bedding. In my zone there were a comforters that who knows who left that got passed around as missionaries left the MTC for the field.
3. EVERYONE GETS SICK!
If you are going into the MTC during the winter it is bound to happen. It’s cold, a lot of people aren’t used to Utah’s horrible weather and you are interacting with lots of lots of people in close quarters and touching things hundreds of other missionaries have touched.
My companion and I were fortunate enough not to get sick while we were in the MTC. And I’m going to give all the credit to Doterra oils. I would rub On Guard onto our feet every night (haha) and we would take little pill capsules too with a mixture of oils I concocted to keep us from getting sick. It worked!
Want to know my secret blend??
-Oregano (just a little)
**And I would add Frankincense into mine because it makes my body happy
4. The MTC book store has everything.
Don’t bother bringing lots of pens and pencils and notebooks and what not. Not worth it, or the weight it takes up in your suitcases.
Unless it has changed, this is what the MTC Book store has:
-All the greeting cards you could ever want. I actually bought a few to send to people once I was in the field. I wish I had bought more. Some of them are pretty funny.
-A very LARGE variety of highlighting and scripture marking toold. They’ve got crayons, colored pencils, markers, dry highlighters, pens in every color and more
-Office supplies like pens (ball point, felt tip and liquid), pencils, markers, flashcards (in multiple sizes and key ring options), boxes to put your flash cards in, loose leaf paper, notebooks, binders, erasers, scissors, rulers..there is a lot.
-Scriptures and scripture cases and other gospel related materials in a variety of languages as well as study books and tools for some languages. The more obscure your language is though, the less they have. The Japanese section was ok.
-Journals. They have a pretty nice journal selection.
-Candy and Snacks
-Toiletries, stockings, hair spray and shampoo, pads and tampons, and a few odd things like a tongue cleaner. Basically it’s like a mini drug store. They don’t have every brand of each item but they have enough to get you by.
-T-shirts and MTC clothing!! I recommend the MTC sweatpants. I don’t remember how much they cost but I wore mine almost every day of my mission. Best purchase ever.
5. BUY AT THE BOOK STORE:
-SD card converter. I don’t know it’s official name but you put your camera’s SD card in one end and then the other end plugs into the USB port of a computer and then you can send pictures home! I’m guessing it probably comes in handy in the field too.
-MTC sweatpants or a sweatshirt or shirt. Get something to remember your time in the MTC!
-If you are going English speaking or are learning a more common language like French or Spanish buy things like the Book of Mormon easy reader, a miniature hymn book for yourself and maybe a few to give to investigators too, and a smaller version of your scriptures in whatever language you are learning. They give you a standard size book of Mormon..that is heavy and a pain to carry around. Get a small triple combo.
If you are going to someplace like Japan then…
6. BUY BEFORE YOU GO TO THE MTC:
-Mini hymn book in Japanese and maybe one or two for your future investigators (they were always out while I was at the MTC)
-Book of Mormon easy reader in Japanese
-Small triple combo in Japanese
7. Tell your parents about Dear Elder. It’s free and it is sooo nice to receive letters from family and friends. Cookies are pretty great too.
8. The MTC has some deal with UPS or Fedex…or whoever. The point is YOU CAN SEND PACKAGES FOR DIRT CHEAP from the MTC. So, at the end of your stay, when you realized you over packed or you want to send home your letters you got, clothes you won’t wear, or study materials or books you got send them home. It is soooo cheap. And so worth it.
9. HAVE FUN. Relax, don’t freak out. The MTC is not as bad as you might think it is. It’s actually pretty easy. It’s the easiest part of your mission, but then in some ways it is also the hardest. Just remember to be obedient, find ways to serve your companion and others and always, ALWAYS seek the spirit and be obedient to the Spirit. Do that, and you will be fine.