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Ghana MTC: Blessings, and hardships, of going directly to a foreign MTC

Published: Monday, Jan. 6 2014 9:35 a.m. MST

"Another advantage of having an international MTC is that (we arrange for those who come from outside of Africa) to have an African companion so they can adapt to the food, the culture and the languages right from the beginning. I think a missionary who is trained here, an American for example, will have greater advantage and be already acclimatized when they go into the field. If they come here and they have a chance to have an African companion and have African food prepared for them — which is a mixture of Nigerian, Congolese and Ghanaian — and they’re trying to understand this ‘English speaker,’ Africans have just as much trouble understanding them. It goes both ways. Being at this MTC is a great blessing. The mission president is going to notice an easier adjustment because of what they’ve had here.”

Elder Labrum is glad for the 11 days he spent in the Ghana MTC.

“I think it prepared me more than had I gone to the Provo MTC,” said Elder Labrum. “I’m sure I would have been prepared either way. But it has kind of helped to adjust to the culture — the food and the people. I think that’s helped. It’s definitely an interesting experience. It’s quite a bit different from Utah. But one thing I’ve noticed is, most of the stuff is the same. The people here love the gospel just as much as anywhere else. We’re all united in one purpose. There’s such an amazing spirit in this MTC. You can feel it. I can’t wait to get out there.”

During their 11-day stay at the MTC in Ghana in July, Elders Wilding and Labrum were the only American missionaries. They were there with nine Nigerian missionaries.

“They’re fun. It was different because in Utah it’s like, everything is the same. When you come here, it’s different,” Elder Labrum said. “We all love the gospel. They enjoy studying the gospel. Elder Wilding and I have had to adjust. It’s been a really good experience for us to get to know these people. I’ve come to love the people here. They’re almost like my family already. I’m sad to leave them, but I know they’re going to go on and do great things.”

Elder Wilding admitted the initial adjustment was difficult, but he has been reminded why he chose to serve the Lord.

“You know, the first night, I did miss home a little bit, but really it’s not bad at all because we made this decision,” he said. “We chose to give up those things. While I’m here, I want to completely dedicate myself to serving my Heavenly Father. Those other things can wait. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be here.”

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