First missionaries enter new Provo MTC campus

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Two Provo apartment complexes, each on either side of Freedom Boulevard, are now occupied by missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of an expanded Missionary Training Center.

So far, 110 missionaries have been transferred to the additional buildings at Wyview Park and Raintree Commons. Once fully populated, approximately 1,000 missionaries will reside in the Wyview Park buildings and 700 missionaries will reside in the Raintree Commons buildings.

Scott Trotter, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the missionaries “will be dropped off at the Wyview administration building much like they currently are at the main MTC campus.”

Host missionaries are assigned to escort new arrivals through some initial checkpoints as they enter the training facility for their two-year or eighteen-month missions.

Raintree Commons has leased its apartments to the Church for 18 months, with the option to extend the lease. Wyview Park is owned by Brigham Young University, which is operated by the Church.

“We are currently reviewing options with the city and neighbors that would approximately double the capacity of the Provo MTC,” Trotter said. “These plans are not yet finalized.”

In October 2012, Thomas S. Monson, President of the LDS Church, announced the age of eligibility change to serve a mission, allowing young men to serve as early as 18 years-old and young women as early as 19.

In the announcement, President Monson stated that “many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries and we welcome their service.”

Missionary applications increased by nearly 500 percent in the weeks following the announcement and in February, the Church created 58 new missions to accommodate the influx.

Sister Aley Davis was part of the first group to enter the new campus. She was part of the first “beta group,” comprising 40 missionaries.

“It feels pretty cool,” Davis said.

Davis said the group’s branch president had encouraging words for the young missionaries.

“He said (our group) was ‘hand picked to be here and the Lord has great expectations for us to set the tone for this campus.’ … It is an honor to be here as the pioneers of this campus,” Davis said.

There are also many benefits of the new campus, she said, but it comes at a cost of figuring out new procedures as a test group.

“We eat good food. It is catered to us since we are such a small group,” Davis said. “(But) we are piloting everything – meaning figuring out how everything is going to work out for this campus.”

Missionaries perform nearly all their regular activities at the new campus, including exercise, eating meals, attending church meetings and receiving classroom instruction. The expansion has also increased the number of jobs available for student employees, including instructors, cafeteria workers and grounds crew members.

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