Whilst Elder Reynolds was in the Missionary Training Centre, he was cared for by President and Sister Preston
I asked President Preston for his thoughts about being the President at the Missionary Training Centre and his responsibility for the Elders and Sisters entrusted to his care.
He was kind enough to send the following response:
“The MTC is just where we want our son (daughter) to be, a place where he can learn how to teach others about Jesus Christ”. This is a comment we hear frequently as proud parents drop off their son or daughter, or e-mail, or message us via facebook, to comment about this very significant time in their family’s life. And each week hundreds of families repeat this farewell scene as their sons and daughters embark on an 18 or 24 month journey as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a global force now numbering a record high of more than 85,000. Because it is a very demanding lifestyle, one devoted entirely to teaching others about the Saviour and helping those in need, each missionary’s first stop is at one of the Church’s 15 Missionary Training Centres (MTC’s), where they spend 2 to 9 weeks in training. Those not learning a language which is foreign to them stay just 2 weeks before departing for one of the Church’s 405 Missions around the world. It is our hope in the England MTC based in Chorley, Lancashire, adjacent to the Preston Temple, that these marvellous young people will feel reassuring peace and a sense of purpose here. For many of these, mostly 18 or 19 year olds, the MTC is their first experience living away from home, and inevitably there can be feelings of inadequacy and homesickness. However our experience as MTC President and wife is that from the moment they arrive, the Elders and Sisters feel the safe and serene atmosphere, as they immerse themselves in the curriculum taught here, and feel the love, care and interest of fellow missionaries, teachers and MTC staff, who surround them from the moment they walk through the doors. Plus, of course, the Holy Spirit, which pervades these hallowed rooms and hallways, lends comfort and reassurance to all who enter here. We consider it a marvellous and sacred privilege to be entrusted with the care of this modern ‘Army of Helaman’ as they begin their adventure of testimony, faith, hope, selflessness and charity.
So, Elder Reynolds has now left the Missionary Training Centre and has arrived in the England London South Mission. He met his Mission President (President Gubler) and his wife (Sister Gubler) and has been assigned an area to work in. A more senior missionary has been assigned with him to work in this area.
Elder Whitehead has been on his mission for 13 months already and is the District Leader. He comes from Salt Lake City in Utah. At this point we only know that he is the second eldest in his family. His older brother served his mission in the Germany Berlin Mission.
Elder Reynolds indicated that he didn't have much time to email us this week but here are some extracts from what we received:
Yeah, I'm sorry if this e-mail is a bit brief! Its been a bit hectic! Yeah, I now have my trainer, Elder Whitehead, he's been out for 13 months, so he's quite well experienced! ... I'm loving it in Epsom, I started in a rubbish flat but then we moved down the road to a much nicer flat! Haha! But then it got interesting when we moved everything in! Haha! ... The area is pretty good! We cover Epsom to Bookhom to Redhill and Banstead and all in-between! So we can travel around quite a bit! We went into Redhill on Friday when it was chucking it down with rain! Haha! We caught two trains to get there! (email received by his mum)
First of all, when I first came down, the flat was just like any other missionary flat but then we moved into a much nicer flat! We are the first ones! Haha! Yeah, it is just me and Elder Whitehead in the flat! We have two bathrooms! We walk a lot but also use public transport when it is needed! We have needed to use the train to get to Redhill. It is quite a big area, we have just absorbed another area, so it has got over twice as big!
This week we have a dinner appointment everyday apart from today and Thursday we have two! So yeah, we are fed! Haha! But this is quite a good week, it doesn't happen often, on average maybe three at least! Consistently we are teaching at least seven, but we have 20+ investigators! (email received by his dad)
From the emails and his photos he is clearly enjoying himself. Very proud of him.