It's hard to believe this day has finally arrived. But here we are in Provo, Utah. We got to the MTC this morning, June 24, 2009. We had all the family over last night and watched home movies and had the kids favorite dinner. We had tears and hugs and pictures and finally said goodbye at around 11:00. I know our kids will take care of each other in our absence. They are the best of friends and love each other dearly.
Packing took untill 1:00 AM and we were up at 4:00 to get ready to leave for the airport at 5:30. Arrived in Salt Lake at 10:00am.
We got to the MTC at 1:00 and were treated like royalty. We attended booths and learned about important mission items. The whole day was incredible. We met many wonderful couples going all over the world. Spent the evening in the hotel room, studying and napping. We had dinner here at the Marriott. Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife, Barbara visited with us in the restaurant. Elder & Sister Mask of the Seventy also visited with us. He & his wife served in the Barcelona, Spain mission 10 yrs. ago. I asked if they knew Elder Mark Fish from Las Vegas and sure enough they remember him well and told us some "fish" stories. Our waitress, Nicole Wright, from Mesa, AR knew our friends, the Lundbergs (said he is a popular institute teacher). She is doing her student teaching in the fall in our mission. What a small world. It's now 10:00 pm and we're heading to bed, excited about tomorrow at the MTC. We will be taught and instructed by General Authorities all day. How blessed we feel to be able to have this experience.
The schdule at the MTC was 8 to 8:00. But every minute was motivational. We heard from most of the apostles and all of the First Presidency. We were taught by many of the Seventy and the Missionary Department heads. Pres. Hinckley's son, Elder Hinckley is head of the Dept. and he was wonderful. He looks like his father and we loved hearing from him. One day we met in the large room with all the missionaries in the MTC and Pres. Holland spoke. He gave a talk on having the Holy Ghost be the 3rd member of your companionship. It was a beautiful talk that I believe was put in the church news the next week. But mostly it was thrilling to be in the room with all the missionaries and hear them all sing together. I was very touched by the spirit that was felt. We saw 2 of the sisters coming to our mission in the crowd and were so excited to see them.
We were treated like royalty. A whole crew of return missionaries come to the MTC 3 weeks before the presidents arrive and they get trained. When we drove up to the building on the first day a young man at the front door walked up to the car window and looked in at us. He said, "Hello, Pres. and Sis. Albright, welcome to the MTC. He knew we were going to Wash.DC and gave us our parking pass. The whole week, this entire group of young RMs took care of all of us. They all recognized us and greeted us in all the halls and classes by name. We were so impressed with these young people. They also fed us like we were on a cruise. It was 5 star cuisine and we loved it. We were able to sit with General Authorities at many of the meals and had such fun visiting with them and feeling their spirits and personalities. One meal we sat with Elder and Sis. Oaks and they delighted us with stories and jokes. They were so warm and personable. We sat with Elder Ballard on the last evening and enjoyed so much visiting with him. After the meal He and Elder Jay Jensen set Mark an I apart. Our children had all driven up for our setting apart. They took us into a large beautiful office and there were all 5 of our children and 3 of their spouses (except Kelly and Taylor). Mark's parents and my mother, and Mark's Brother Doug and Megan and Karen and Paul Callister. The blessings were beautiful. First Elder Ballard set Mark apart and Grandpa Vern was asked to stand in the circle and then Elder Jay Jensen set me apart and both blessings were full of great promises. What a great memory.