It's really a difficult thing for a 48-year-old dad to remember what it was like 29 years ago as I entered the MTC. I don't remember very much, except that the food was great and the Spirit was strong. I do remember the awesome teachers and some of the wonderful--and not so wonderful--missionaries in my district. Of course, that was before they raised the bar, so I'm sure all the missionaries in Elder Call's district are wonderful.
My own journal entry six days into the MTC says,
12 September 1979
Today was an interesting day.
We went to the temple early in the morning—went through one session, then had a question-answer period with President Gunther, president of the Provo Temple. That was really neat. I felt so spiritual—especially when I was sitting in the Celestial Room. It was great—I love the temples.
Then we had class in the afternoon. I said the prayer—I was quite nervous. It went alright, though.
Tonight I realized that I’m not working up to my potential. I’m really not. I've got to get on the stick.
But for this Elder Call, who is much more prepared than I was when I entered the MTC, life sounds much better:
24 February 2009
Thank you for your letter, Mom. I got it yesterday. Rebecca has sent me three letters so far, and I appreciate them all. Sorry I am sending both these letters at the same time. I have had virtually no time for this type of stuff. Today is preparation day. Generally we are only allowed to write on preparation day. The only exception was on our first day.
All four elders going to Pocatello are in my district and room. There are no sisters going. My departure date from the MTC is 10 March 2009. That is a lot later than I thought it would be. But I am glad that I get to be here so long. The first day is a confusing whirl; the second is very long and tiring and you feel as if you have absolutely no idea what's going on (because you don't). The third day is the same as the second until about 4 p.m. Then you still have five hours and 30 minutes until you go back to the residence hall, and one hour on top of that until lights out.
The fourth day you feel as if you are getting into the swing of things and have an understanding about what is happening. Fifth day (Sunday) is amazing.
Though I feel as if I know what is going on, every day I learn something new. . .I love it here.
The classes are pretty astounding. Our teachers are probably two of the best teachers I have ever had. I look up to them so much and am very grateful that they are my teachers. . . .
The most amazing miracle I have seen so far is the food. It is all so good. Even the stuff that doesn't look that good. But the real miracle is that about 2/3 of the way through I think that I am going to need seconds. But then I can barely finish my first plate. And they are not huge portions. I know it sounds very silly, but it's true. . . .
Say hi to everybody and tell them I am doing well and am very excited all the time. Our schedule is 16.5 hours. And every minute we have something planned. Last night I saw that it was 5 p.m. and I was very disappointed that we only had four hours left.
Love you all,