Skip to main content

Companions - Notes on Home MTC


November 18, 2021
Most people know that missionaries run around in pairs. Some of my neighbors have seen this version of a companionship lately. Let me explain.

During Covid, the church did a pivot and changed the missionary training experience from in-person to virtual. During this process they realized there were a few cool benefits that were worth continuing even after the pandemic. So the new version of missionary training begins at home with an Elder or Sister doing full-time training with a companion online. Then they transition to in person after a few weeks. 

My oldest son began on November 8 with training at home. When they are in class or working together, they are meeting and making friends with other missionaries in their district. My son's cohort has four young women and four other young men, for a total of nine kids all going to Finland in January. BUT when they're not actively working or studying together, I'm his companion. All of the places I'd normally go, he comes with me when he's not in class. Every morning and then again after school, you'll see me walking with my missionary because he's not in class during those times. He's still my son so it's cool. If you see a missionary walking around with a non-mom lady, red flag! One of the mission rules is to not be alone. "Companionships exist so missionaries can look out for each other." (from 10 things to know about Missionaries.)

The first couple of days of walking Amber to school, I was nervous for this son of mine to be wearing a white shirt and tie and nametag. There's a handful of people in the South who super-don't-like our religion. And I was hoping that people wouldn't think we're too weird. After all, I'm not wearing a white shirt and tie. I still look like this on the way to school at 7:30am. I'm glad to report that people are still friendly and say hi when we smile and wave. I'm grateful.

Some of the details are hard. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say it's all peaches and cream. My schedule changed completely because I'm trying to accommodate when he's in class and when he's not.  For example, let's say he's in class from 9:30am-12:30pm, and then class again from 1-2pm. Then a break until 4 when there's a 20 minute teaching practice. Then a break again before dinner, and then class again from 7-10pm. He's doing at least 8-9 hours of study and work, but not consecutively, and the schedule varies from day to day. 

He's living a set of really strict rules, but the rest of us are still doing normal school or work stuff. Some families choose to have the whole family following mission rules and maybe that's the ideal. But we're kinda average and happy just to have him around for a little while longer. As a mom, I'm realizing how many "lasts" are happening. Friday will be the last day we walk to school with little sister. It's like ripping off a bandaid REALLY slowly. But each of these days has been a bonus.

I've been watching a transformation in my son day by day. Not gonna lie, the first day was a detox from video games and movies and other stuff that's now forbidden. But even on that first day, there was a subtle change. After ten days, I'm here to tell you that this new version of my son is better, different... incredible. Because this blog is public, I'm not willing to share all the details of his journey because it's his. My main purpose here is to give a heads' up to the moms that are right behind me in this process.


Probably the first question from some of my friends is this: Do you have to do Home MTC? No, if it sounds too wild and crazy, there are other options. I've had friends that sent a son to live with Grandma and do the virtual MTC from their house. Another friend had her son go to work with dad and use an empty office nearby. That works too. 

In a few more days, the Home MTC portion of training ends and he starts work in Provo, UT. Right next to BYU campus, there's another school filled with young missionaries. We call it the Missionary Training Center (go here if you're super curious for more details), and you'll find hundreds of clean cut Elders and Sisters learning Spanish or French or Finnish or whatever. There's another MTC campus in Mexico (go here for more details), and many of the English speaking teenagers assigned to serve throughout the United States will go there for top-notch Spanish instruction.

November 17, 2021

These super beautiful and super tasty brownies came from a dear friend. The detailed lettering and the northern lights frosting were so cool. But more than that, their love and support meant so much to us.


November 28, 2021


And then I blinked, and Home MTC was over and he's off on his way. I take back every dumb complaint, because those two weeks were a really cool window into my son's new life as a missionary. It was fun to see him between breaks, to hear him practicing Finnish, and to eat lunch with him or watch him play with little sister. 

We spent two days driving to Utah, and then had an early Thanksgiving feast with all my siblings and parents on Sunday night. It was fantastic. Having that time with family is a favorite memory. 

Tuesday morning we hiked up American Fork Canyon.



After our hike, we said goodbye. We knew the dropoff would be quick, so we took some pictures at the Provo temple right across the street. 


I was kinda surprised that our final farewell was in the underground parking garage at the MTC. There were dozens of other missionaries there to greet and cheer and welcome us. 

And then we cried as we drove away.

His district has P-day (preparation day) on Wednesdays, so that's the day missionaries are allowed to call their families. We were so excited to hear from him the very next day. Thanksgiving was Thursday and he called us again while we were driving! They did a cool service project that day, for more details about all the meals they packaged go here. So far so good. It sounds like things are going well.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

2021 Christmas Card

December 2021  Dear Friends and Family, We love you and and miss y'all that are far away in WA and UT and other places!! This year we skipped our tradition of sending a Thanksgiving card and opted for a virtual Christmas card instead. It saved a ton of stamps and envelopes, but I definitely miss the glitter and sparkle. We hope you can feel our love even through a simple email or blog post. One tradition we couldn't skip was our gratitude tree, where the little leaves are a list of blessings. We are so thankful for God's goodness and mercy every day. Here's the highlight reel:  Cade graduated, made lots of Domino's pizza, read probably a thousand books, and is currently living in Provo, UT as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's heading to Helsinki, Finland in January. We are so proud of him and his hard work, we miss him but are excited for his opportunity to learn and serve. Shad spent a zillion hours with Marcus Ban

Love

"How are you feeling about your son leaving soon?" has been my favorite question lately. My answer is kinda mixed. During July and August I was surprised and excited. Then on September 14 he flew to and from San Francisco by himself for a day. The purpose was a quick visit to the Finnish consulate for a visa. He had fantastic instructions to get from the airport to the BART to the consulate, but waiting for the interview took longer than planned. Leaving the consulate he had less than an hour until his flight was supposed to take off. That included a 32 minute tram ride, printing a boarding pass, airport security, etc. In all honesty, he should have missed that flight home. But he didn't. Call it a miracle or a test of faith, or whatever you want to call it. But for my boy who loves to be punctual, boarding a flight 7 minutes before take-off was pretty intense. Long story short, I think we all realized a few things that day. There are so.many.details I can't control,

Shoplifting: Tic Tacs at Target

 You know when you're at the store and one of your kids asks you to buy stuff? Then they ask again and again and again and again? My reply is usually something like, 'No, but thanks for asking.' And if they ask again then the reply goes something like, 'If you ask again, the answer will be no for like a week.' OR, "If you ask again, I'll take away your favorite toy," OR "If you ask me one more time, __________." Think of a punishment you will actually do! You can't make an empty threat here. If you don't have the energy to see it through, then just say yes. My older kids will often comment on how their younger sister gets a ton of stuff or privileges. If I'm tired and don't have the energy to win a battle, it's much better to JUST SAY YES the first time. That way, when I say NO on something, it carries more weight. So I explain to the older kids that they've already run me ragged and I no longer have the patience or st

One More Syllable

It's been a year. One year ago we moved to Texas. One year ago I started asking people to call me Kristina instead of Kristy, thus adding one more syllable to my name. August is our anniversary. Last year we celebrated that anniversary by adding a cool new memory. That day we drove up to our house, found the keys and walked inside with the kids. We spent the night in our house without any stuff. Isn't it funny how places seem bigger when they're unfurnished? And that pool in the backyard? We knew nothing about pools and maintenance but just jumped in carefree. It was great. It was like being in a hotel but with room for everybody to spread out. Maybe it's time to explain the name change. For me, I had decided before moving to Texas that I wanted to quit using Kristy as my nickname. It served me well for many years and I still like it, but it's mainly for simplicity. When I'd first meet somebody, maybe I'd mumble or maybe I don't speak clearly enou

The Invisible Woman

Today I'm thinking about my mom. She spent a lot of years building and serving and lifting. She poured love and time and energy into her children, in a never-ending pattern. She did a hundred things that we still haven't noticed. I wonder if there's a coming of age that happens for a young mom, when she begins to realize how much work it is to BE a mom. Then maybe about two dozen years into this parenting thing, she begins to see  more stuff she missed. Then another realization comes when her oldest is almost grown. I'm still learning to see my mom and appreciate her as a person. But how can you see somebody who's been invisible? This morning I was talking with a good friend, another mom like me. She's younger and in a different season of mothering, yet we both can relate to sometimes feeling lonely. Sometimes we need evidence of progress, or at least a friendly word from a girlfriend. Maybe sometimes we just need somebody to notice and say thanks. Years ago I h

Skeletons

  My favorite quirk about my neighborhood is this: at Halloween all the skeletons come out of the closets. This one made me laugh out loud the other day. I was mad about something, it might have been the shenanigans going on around me or in my kids' schools or I might have been miffed about all the &*&%$ going on in the Middle East or South America or whatever. But when I drove past this skeleton, it just illustrated my current view of humanity. "Got my butt in a jam," with a skeleton literally stuck in a trashcan. I love my neighbors for their creativity, for loving the kids and for wanting to give them a fun Halloween season. I love the empty nesters for storing all this crap all year long, so that during October we can drive past and see something that makes us smile. Some of my favorites this year: I think that they're trying to illustrate that a good kegger might lead to trouble. ;) The skeleton wedding makes me smile almost as much as that gorgeous blue

Mercy

Let's start with a fun list of opposites, skipping the usual favorites like hot and cold, and day and night. Instead here's a handful of spectacular rivalries.  Adobe and Apple Young Living and DoTerra McDonald's and Burger King Pepsi and Coke BYU and Utah TX Longhorns and OU Mercy and Justice Today my thoughts are on justice. Recently I took my girls to the dentist. My youngest doesn't love to brush or floss her teeth, she loves sugar, and hadn't been to the dentist in almost two years. After hearing good news that went something like, "Yay, good job everything is looking good..." Five minutes later I learned that there's six cavities with two more teeth that need silver caps and it will cost over $800 to fix everything. I was so miffed! Why get my hopes up before looking at an x-ray, and send them crashing down to earth after seeing the details more clearly?  When I die and go to heaven, I hope justice is Nothing like what I just experienced: I thoug

A church hymn I hated for five years

Hymn #223 Have I Done Any Good? 1. Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone's burden been lighter today Because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there? [Chorus] Then wake up and do something more Than dream of your mansion above. Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, A blessing of duty and love. 2. There are chances for work all around just now, Opportunities right in our way. Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try," But go and do something today. 'Tis noble of man to work and to give; Love's labor has merit alone. Only he who does something helps others to live. To God each good work will be known. Text and music:  Will L. Thompson, 1847-1909, alt. James 1:22, 27 Alma 9:28

Church music, my favorite song by Pink, and thoughts from a recovering perfectionist

A song I've loved for years is, "You are perfect," by Pink, because it rings true for me:  I've chased down all my demons.  Or at least most of them. I've played the organ in Sacrament meeting dozens of times.  Occasionally there's a distinguished visitor or an important somebody sitting on the stand (literally two feet from my organ bench).  Sometimes it makes me nervous, but usually not too bad.  The time that freaked me out the most was when there was music professor in the congregation.  I remember having a little meltdown before church that day.  I told the Bishop, "I got a D in organ when I was in school..." and in his good natured, humorous way, he said, "We won't tell him."  Still, my anxiety was real.  I was worried about the songs, I was worried about the singing, I was worried about a lot of stuff.  Mainly, I was worried that I wasn't good enough and that somehow that music professor would agree. If you