Missionary Training Center journal — 2020
- January 2020 — Sister Stoddard, the wife of our current district president, shared a sweet story in our Sacrament meeting today. A little 3 year-old girl loved to imitate her 6 year-old brother in every way, including his breakfast habits. He love to have two bowls of cereal every morning for breakfast. The little girl would also ask for two bowls of cereal every morning. She would eat her first bowl and then request a second bowl, just like her brother, but she would only take one bite of the second bowl and then declare she was full. This went on for a few mornings, and then the mother told the little girl that if she didn’t finish her second bowl of cereal, she would have to eat it later, before she could have her lunch. The little girl readily accepted the new plan. The next morning, she ate her first bowl, took one bite of the second bowl, and declared that she was full. The mother reminded her that she would not be able to have lunch until the second bowl of cereal was eaten. The little girl still refused, so the bowl of cereal and milk was placed in the refrigerator. When lunch time arrived, the little girl requested her lunch and a bowl of very soggy, mushy cereal was placed in front of her. Upon looking at the disgusting mixture, she burst into tears and ran from the kitchen. The older brother had watched this situation with concern. Hearing the sobs from the adjoining room, he quietly said to his mother, “I will eat the bowl of cereal for her. Could she then have her lunch?” This was a gentle and tender reminder of how our Savior willingly and lovingly sacrificed for us.
- January 2020 — President Stoddard, our current district president, related the following story. Elder Robert E. Wells learned to fly an airplane and obtained his pilot’s license so that he could travel freely in his business assignments. His young wife desired to become a pilot as well, so she also obtained a pilot’s license. They both owned their own planes, and would often travel to various church or business assignments in their separate planes, based on their personal schedules. For a certain convention, Elder Wells and his wife flew their separate planes to the location. When it was time to return to their home, Elder Wells took off first and then Sister Wells followed in her plane. Elder Wells quickly realized that he had made a calculation error in mapping his return flight path. He quickly made an adjustment and changed his course. It turned out that Sister Wells had also made the same calculation error, but she failed to realize the mistake and did not change her flight heading. Due to this calculation, she ultimately flew her plane into a mountain and lost her life. Elder Wells was devastated, and chastised himself over and over again for not getting on the radio channel and telling his wife of the calculation error. He felt that her death was due to his lack of attentiveness and concern. He prayed, he pondered, he fretted, he mourned. During one of his somber moments, the Spirit whispered to him, “I didn’t just sacrifice for your sins, but for your mistakes and inadequacies as well. Move forward.” A spirit of peace came into his soul that eventually helped him move past this tragic experience in his life.
- March 2020 — This month brought a totally unexpected change into our training center experience. The spread of the corona virus across the globe forced the Church to close all of its missionary training centers, all of the temples, and all Church-related meetings were suspended. Susan and I thus were placed on ‘temporary leave’ from our missionary training center callings. Since no church meetings were being held, we held our own worship services in our home on Sundays. It was sad to step away from the missionaries and the sweetness of our weekly service at the center. We had completed three and one half years of service when we were placed on leave, so we were grateful for those many years of choice experiences.
- September 2020 — We have not set foot on the Missionary Training Center campus for almost 6 months, due to the corona-virus. We received an email from the mission presidency earlier this week, telling us that it is very unlikely that the training center will open before the end of October, and perhaps not even then. Our four years of service will come to an end at the end of September, so it is now obvious that we have completed our assignment at the center. It is with heavy hearts that we step away from this sweet service that we loved so much. We will probably receive a formal release at the end of this month. How we loved our interaction and involvement with these great and faithful young missionaries. We will cherish the experience for the rest of our lives. [Note: we received a phone call from President Alexander on Sunday, October 11th, officially informing us that we have been released from our calling at the Missionary Training Center.]
- October 2020 — We received our formal release as ecclesiastical leaders from the Provo Missionary Training Center on October 13, 2020. President Alexander of the Mission Presidency called us as extended the release, with sincere gratitude for our years of service, and we also received a letter of release from President LeSueur, the Mission President. Following is a copy of the letter we received:Missionary Training Center
October 13, 2020
Dear Brother and Sister Taylor:
On behalf of all the missionaries who have been blessed by your selfless and dedicated service here at the Missionary Training Center, we extend to you our heartfelt appreciation. Brother Taylor, your devotion to this, the Lord’s service, as a counselor in branches 41, 12, 15, and 26 has made an important contribution to the lives and service of so many.
We are grateful for the love and commitment you have both shown to the missionaries, and for the blessing you have been to us. Your example has been an inspiration. Thank you! We hope you have found satisfaction and happiness in your service. We assure yo that many have been influenced and strengthened by your efforts and your example.
We would like to add a short note from you to the history of the Provo Missionary Training Center. The note might include key things you would like to have shared with your great grandchildren. For example, what you have learned, how you have changed, significant memories, tender mercies. Please also include your testimony. Forward these within the next few days to our MTC historians. The MTC histories are preserved in Church archives.
Sister Taylor, we recognize and appreciate the love and kindness that you have shown to the missionaries and for all that you contributed during your years of service. We extend our deep gratitude to both of you and pray the Lord’s choicest blessings upon you and your family.
President David E. LeSueur
David C. Moon
Allen B. Alexander
Following is the requested note that we sent to the Missionary Training Center historians:
Dear Elder and Sister Thurgood,Here is a short note regarding our four years of service at the Provo Missionary Training Center, as requested by President LeSueur. Our service at the Provo Missionary Training Center was from September 2016 to October 2020. We learned much from our service, but primarily the fact that all things are possible to them that believe, and that the Lord truly uses the “small and simple” things of the earth to proclaim His message and spread His word. To watch these countless, faithful young missionaries go out into their various fields of service, armed primarily with fervent testimonies born of the Holy Spirit, was truly life-changing. Our service truly changed our hearts and our minds. What a joy it was each week to focus on the development of Christ-like attributes, as beautifully presented in “Preach My Gospel”. Humility, charity, service and all the other traits became integral parts of our daily lives, for which we are grateful. Our significant memories of our service primarily focus on the lives of the wonderful, individual young missionaries with whom we interacted. Their faith and devotion amazed us, sustained us, and encouraged us. Sister Taylor and I recorded our experiences on a weekly basis, and these memories can be found at <https://church-of-jesus-
christ-facts.net/ personalmtcjournal/> for anyone that might be interested. We will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve at the Provo Missionary Training Center, and to mingle with the best young missionaries and best ecclesiastical leaders to be found anywhere. Lovingly submitted, Brother and Sister Michael D. TaylorProvo, Utah