Not long after my daughter, Hannah, received her mission call, was when I first heard of an official Pre-MTC program from the Church. Hannah said that all of her BYU roommates from the previous semester who had received a mission call had done Pre-MTC before entering the actual Missionary Training Center (MTC). Upon doing some further internet research, I found that Pre-MTC is something the Church has been doing for several years.
What is the Pre-MTC?
Pre-MTC is an optional tutoring program from the Church that occurs for several weeks prior to entering the MTC. Pre-MTC meetings are held via an online video conference call with an MTC teacher and generally start a month or two before the missionary’s MTC start date. Missionaries are not required to participate in Pre-MTC training, but it is offered by the Church to help new missionaries get a head start on learning their missionary purpose, building faith, sharing the gospel, and learning a new language (when applicable).
How long the meetings are and how frequently they happen is flexible and will differ for each missionary. Hannah says most of her friends met with their Pre-MTC teacher a couple of times a week, for 30 minutes to an hour, and so that’s what Hannah did as well. About six weeks before her MTC start date, Hannah received an email from an MTC teacher offering Pre-MTC tutoring. The email included a link to sign up, as well as the email address and phone number of the MTC teacher.
“Hello future Portuguese speaking missionary!!! My name is _______ and I am your Pre-MTC tutor! Pre-MTC tutoring is so awesome because it helps missionaries get a head start on the language before they start the MTC. I love Portuguese and I love missionaries and I would love to help you get started on your Portuguese journey!”
For the weeks before starting the MTC, Hannah met with her Pre-MTC tutor a couple of times a week and began to learn how to do things like this in the Portuguese language:
- Introducing herself
- Sharing scriptures
- Testifying of Jesus Christ
Within a session or two, Hannah was offering meal prayers and family prayers in Portuguese to practice what she was learning in the Pre-MTC. And when she gave her farewell talk, she also bore her testimony in Portuguese due to the personal study she was doing and the training she got in the Pre-MTC. The Pre-MTC helped Hannah set goals, do extra study, do gospel sharing role plays, and grow her testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another missionary named Shelby Robison said this about her pre-MTC tutor: “I was assigned Sister Kuster as my online tutor. She is AMAZING! I love her so much. …Right off the bat I loved her! She is so bubbly and energetic! I felt so loved and that she truly cared about me. Every week we would Skype each other and talk anywhere from 30 mins to an hour and a half. I loved those days I got to talk with her! I would share with her what happened in my week, what I was studying and how I shared the gospel in the week. We would talk about the difficulties of life, the miracles I saw, and the way I shared my light with others. It wasn’t always just Skyping either. She would text me and Facebook me. She would send encouraging messages and videos. She would set up questions to make me think about what I was studying. To really dig deep into my testimony. It was amazing!”
Hannah mentioned that, in the first days of her home MTC experience, it was obvious which missionaries had gone through Pre-MTC tutoring and which had not. The ones who had done Pre-MTC, on average, had better language skills, were able to say more words, even prayers, in Portuguese, and were more confidence in sharing the gospel. So if you have the opportunity to do Pre-MTC tutoring, I highly recommend you take it.