The Home is the New MTC
One of the most telling days of my life was the day my son did NOT get his mission call. Nick was born in 1989, three months early, weighing, 2 lbs 9 ounces. Two days after his premature birth, excessive ventilator pressure blew holes in his lungs and his heart stopped. CPR was administered. His life was spared, but the result was a traumatic brain injury.
This is not a story of his life, but a witness that comes only after a trial of faith. Nick learned to walk, to talk, to read and write and many other things the doctors said he may never do. Yes, he has mild cerebral palsy on his left side and nonverbal learning disorder (NLD), but through faith and prayer, sweat and tears, he grew, progressed in the Gospel, earned his Eagle Scout award, and graduated from high school with a 3.4 GPA.
Then he turned in his mission papers and waited for his call.
And waited. And waited.
And we began to fear that something was wrong.
Finally a letter came (not to Nick, but to the Stake President). He was honorably excused from full time missionary service. He was shattered. We were shattered. How could this be? He was our miracle boy. We had known his whole life that he would serve a full time mission. We knew it like we knew God lived and the Church was true. We believed we had been preparing him for it his whole life.
The Stake President contacted the missionary department requesting reconsideration. Nick was sent to LDS Social Services for an evaluation. And we waited again. But this time while we waited, we emphasized the active part of prayer and faith. We had been given a second chance to prepare him, and we went to work in our home to qualify him in every possible way for missionary service.
Blessings came along the way. We were guided to a means of reducing his stress and anxiety without medication. He was able to complete a college course on-line. And we were prompted to help increase his confidence in teaching by making the Teach My Gospel Missionary Training Cards you see on this site. The first set was homemade. With pictures cut from Church missionary pamphlets and key words and concepts from Preach My Gospel, I created card sets so Nick could practice delivery and gain the confidence he needed to share the Gospel message. He practiced every night with his father, a returned missionary from the Japan Fukuoka Mission.
Finally, in October of 2008, Nick received a call to serve as a full-time missionary in the Florida Tallahassee Mission. He entered the MTC on December 17th, 2008.
Since then I have given Teach My Gospel Missionary Training Cards to several youth preparing to serve missions, as well to a daughter who served in the Korea Seoul Mission and another son who served in the Guadalajara East Mission. They have been used as a tool to solidify Gospel concepts and increase confidence in sharing personal experiences and bearing testimony. One young convert who had received a call to serve in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission told me he barely knew the Gospel himself. He appreciated learning with the cards as he practiced delivering the lessons to others before entering the MTC.
The original cards were time-consuming and expensive to make (as the pictures were all copyrighted.) I have since created the downloadable set available for purchase at minimal cost with artwork from the public domain, family photos and purchased stock photos.
I hope the Teach My Gospel Missionary Training Cards will assist you as you teach your future missionary to know and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bear witness of Him.