PROVO, Utah, June 23, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A group of new missionaries arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo on Wednesday afternoon to start in-person training for the first time in 15 months, according to a statement by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The statement said missionaries will now also receive online instruction at home for a week before heading to the MTC for completion.
“I think that we’ve noticed that relationships have already been built, because they’re seeing the members of their district here,” said President Benson L. Porter, the president of the Provo Missionary Training Center. “I think some of the anxiety that they may have felt before where everything was new, is gone. Now they have some friends, they have a district.”
A total of 248 missionaries arrived at the MTC on Wednesday. Similar numbers are scheduled each Wednesday in the coming weeks as missionaries will spend approximately two weeks training in person before traveling to their area of assignment.
“The Provo MTC will operate at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future as a precaution,” the church statement said. “COVID tests will be administered to any missionary who exhibits symptoms during their MTC training. Additionally, only missionaries who are fully vaccinated will be eligible to train in person at the Provo MTC as a temporary precaution.”
MTCs outside the United States will gradually begin to welcome missionaries on-site as well. They will begin with only local missionaries and will operate at a capacity of approximately 50 missionaries in each location. For a time, missionaries from the United States will not train at these MTCs.
The Ghana MTC will begin welcoming new missionaries this week and the New Zealand MTC next week. Centers in the Philippines, Mexico and England are also in the process of preparing to train missionaries in person, beginning in late July and August and others will follow as local conditions improve, the news release said.
“Not all missionaries who currently have a mission call will train in person,” the statement said. “Missionaries will not receive in-person language training at this time. Invitations for missionaries to receive training at the Provo MTC will expand as conditions continue to improve.”
Missionaries and local leaders will be contacted directly if they will be invited to have an on-site MTC experience. Unless otherwise contacted, new missionaries will continue with online training at home.
MTC’s have remained operational during the pandemic by providing virtual training to new missionaries. A total of 32,000 missionaries received online training since March of 2019. Currently, 2,766 missionaries are involved in online MTC training.
“This is huge day for us to have missionaries at the MTC again, but this isn’t just us going back to how things used to be. This is us moving forward,” said Kelly Mills, the Missionary Department’s administrative director of MTCs.
“The fact is that missionaries now will have a piece of their training at home, and then an experience here with more personalization and experiential learning. We’re moving forward. This is a new day for missionary training.”