Missionaries flooded the streets of Provo Tuesday as the weekly MTC devotional was held for the first time in the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus.
Due in large part to the change in missionary age requirements, the number of missionaries in the MTC has reached an all-time high. Subsequently, the MTC’s meeting room is no longer big enough to accomodate all the missionaries for weekly devotionals and other meetings.
“I think it’s awesome that there are so many missionaries that we need to go to a bigger venue,” said Sister Alicia Eliason. “There are so many young women and men who have answered the call to serve, so I think it’s cool that they need something bigger to hold all the missionaries.”
There are currently around 2,888 missionaries in the combined main and west campuses. Spencer Christensen, an operations employee for the MTC, said, “July 10 should be the peak of the MTC; we are expecting to hold over 3,600 missionaries.”
Last summer, the MTC held roughly 2,000 elders and sisters. Over 69,000 missionaries are currently serving in missions across the world; over 22,500 young men and women have received calls and are waiting to enter the MTC, and 6,000 young men and women are in the interview process.
By fall of 2013, there will be an estimated 85,000 missionaries in full-time service. Before President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement during the October General Conference, there were 58,000 serving.
“It’s really amazing to have so many people in one place with all the same intent,” said Elder Levi Neely, a missionary from Syracuse headed to Budapest, Hungary. “You’re walking down the hall … and we can feel that we are part of a historic thing, and it’s really cool.”
Eliason said she has enjoyed being a missionary at such a historic time.
“It’s been really amazing,” Eliason said. “This is a great time to be at the MTC as a missionary. There are so many smiling faces that are so eager to serve the Lord.”