SALT LAKE CITY — Open houses are currently under way in not one but two of the LDS Church's missionary training centers, with the newly completed Ghana MTC now hosting visitors through Saturday.
The recently expanded Provo Missionary Training Center — more than 7,000 miles from Accra and located between the BYU campus and the Provo Utah Temple — is in the middle of an extensive public open house through Aug. 19, with additional tours available the following week for BYU Education Week participants.
Unlike The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ flagship training center in Provo, where demand for open house tickets has exceeded the supply available through online registration, no tickets are needed for the Ghana MTC open house, which started Monday and runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, toured the new facility with his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund.
“As we walked through the halls and went into the classrooms, we sense already a real profound spirit that comes from those that have planned and built it,” he said in a post on the church’s mormonnewsroom.org Web page. “It will be a phenomenal place for missionaries to learn about the Savior and to learn how to share his gospel.”
Ghana’s original missionary training center was built in 2002 in Tema, about 15 miles northeast of the capital city of Accra. But it could only house about 90 Mormon missionaries at a time.
A second missionary training center on the African continent is the South Africa MTC, completed in 2003 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The new Ghana MTC in Accra can house 320 missionaries — both young adults and senior missionaries — with possible expansion to accommodate up to 500, if necessary.
With its increased capacity, the Ghana MTC can not only house missionaries coming from west and southeast African nations but also serve missionaries called from across the globe to serve in Africa, helping them adjust to the area’s conditions and culture.
"When you come to west Africa, you can’t help but love the people," said Elder Terence M. Vinson, president of the church’s Africa West Area, in the same online report. "There’s a beauty and a gentleness and a love that comes from the people that is contagious. And as they come here, they’ll feel that, whether they serve here or serve elsewhere in Africa. And that will greatly assist them in terms of the work they do."
Missionaries in the Ghana MTC can study in their native languages of English or French; they also can learn the language of the area of their mission assignment.
The design of the new Ghana MTC shares similar features with the Provo MTC expansion and its two new massive teaching/classroom buildings as well as building projects at missionary training centers in Mexico City and Manila, Philippines.
Those features include architectural designs of many windows, considerable open space, similar artwork and color schemes, larger meeting rooms, and inside and outside areas to study and ponder.
The abundant glass exterior of the buildings allows for increased natural light while providing a sense of openness, with a protected, open-air courtyard allowing for outside studying, teaching and interactions.
Similar architectural principles and designs will be used in future MTC projects.
The LDS Church has 15 missionary training centers worldwide, including the ones mentioned in Ghana, South Africa, Utah, Mexico and the Philippines. Other MTCs are located in New Zealand, England, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
They help prepare the more than 70,000 Mormon missionaries serving in 422 missions in 140 countries and 56 languages worldwide.
With its capacity to accommodate up to 3,700 missionaries, the Provo MTC is the oldest and the largest of the 15 and is the MTC where 50 percent of all missionaries are trained, with the other 50 percent spread out across the other international MTCs.
New Ghana MTC is open and available for tours
The new Ghana Missionary Training Center in Accra, Ghana, has been completed and is open for public tours through Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.