COVID-19 has been quite the curveball this year. Our lives have been completely turned upside-down! However, the inconveniences I’ve faced seem like nothing compared to those of the full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I feel like it would be especially terrifying to embark on your mission during this time. Luckily, I was able to interview a couple of sisters who experienced the online MTC to hear all about it!
I wanted to make sure I was getting two completely different online MTC experiences. These sisters were not companions! Because of this, some of their answers are a little different. Every experience is unique!
First up are the logistics. Do they still have to get up at 6:30 every morning? Do they exercise? What is their morning routine?
Sister Porter: “The morning routine changes every day. I’ll get up at 6:30 am, exercise, get ready for the day & try to do personal study. Some mornings are busier because we’ll have workshops before class, so on those days my personal study usually happens later in the day!”
Sister Gittins: “I woke up at 6:30 am and have my companion study. I would then get ready and eat breakfast before I start my class @ 9:45 am!”
Both of these sisters absolutely loved their classes. They both had two teachers. One that taught them from 9:30-12:30 and another that taught from 1:45-4:45.
They use Zoom for all of their meetings. They also use email and software called Canvas to communicate!
One of the most important parts of the MTC is something called TRC lessons. This is where missionaries get to practice teaching! The people they teach could be actual non-members or simply acting as one. Either way, it’s a great way to learn the skills you need for the field. But how do they make it work online?
Sister Porter: “This kind of reminds me of online dating, honestly. Just because we get to look at a website & see a picture & bio of all the people we could teach. Then we sign up with them there. At least for English speaking missionaries, they like us to do 3 TRCs a week, with a new person each week. We meet with them for about 25 minutes over Zoom.”
Sister Gittins: “We get a link through Canvas. Once we schedule a lesson, they send us a Zoom link to join.”
Connecting With Your District/Companion
During my time at the MTC, I became extremely close with my district and companion. You form a pretty amazing bond with people that you’ve only just met. Could this still happen when you’re doing online MTC classes? How did they make it work?
Sister Porter: “This was what I most worried about, but I’ve gotten lucky with the best companion & district. It’s kind of shocking how close we have gotten! For the district, we have a Google hangouts chat, we have time to talk in classes together, & on P-day & Sunday, we try to find time to do a district Zoom call. My district even had a special greeting we all do together when we start & end class! I have the best group of kids with me & I’m so lucky we’ve managed to become such good friends even over Zoom.
“I’m also really lucky that my companion lives close to me! We do Zoom for our companion study together every day. But we’ve been able to meet up on P-day & I even got to go to her farewell!
“My advice for anyone worried about connecting with their district would be to make extra efforts to be in contact with them. Make sure you’re praying for them & make sure you’re finding time outside of class to get to know each other!”
Sister Gittins: “We used Zoom for companion study. On weekends we did Come, Follow Me with the district over Zoom as well. We also had a district group chat we would talk on daily!”