Tag Archives: MTC at home

Molly’s Last Day at the MTC

Standard

IMG_2794 (2)

Yesterday was Molly’s last day of missionary training. After three weeks of daily, online MTC classes, she bid farewell to her teachers and the other missionaries in her district. It wasn’t easy for Molly to remove the nametag that has become so precious to her these last few weeks,

And it wasn’t easy for her to say good-bye to the young men and women she has been studying with and growing with these last 21 days.

Eight hours a day together (even when it is all  through the computer) creates bonds that are hard to shake.

Their time together has been spent studying, learning, praying, practicing and even playing together. On Saturday night one of their MTC teachers hosted a virtual cooking class after the topic of favorite missionary meals came up in discussion. He shared that he often made Greek yogurt pizza as a missionary because it was an inexpensive meal. He offered to teach the rest of them through a Zoom cooking class.

On Saturday night Molly set up her phone in the kitchen and proceeded to make dinner with seven other missionaries, scattered across the country.

IMG_2717 (2)

It turns out the Greek yogurt was used to make the crust. Molly soon found out she miscalculated her yogurt to flour ratio,

IMG_2722 (2)

But Grace stepped in with a little water and helped salvage the dough.

IMG_2724 (2)

Soon the pizzas were baking and the finished product was delicious!

Just one more skill Molly learned during her time at the MTC!

IMG_2728 (2)

On Sunday we headed over to Buttermilk Falls for a hike.

IMG_2765 (2)

It was a bit disconcerting to venture out of the house after being isolated for so long, but Rusty needed to get some drone footage of Buttermilk Falls for a college assignment he had due. We decided to make the most of the errand and turn it into a family outing.

IMG_2734 (2)

We enjoyed a little hiking and exploring,

IMG_2781 (2)

While Rusty worked to capture the shots he needed for his assignment.

IMG_2769 (2)

Unfortunately, he didn’t take into consideration the breeze that would be coming off the falls, and soon found his drone stuck in a tree when a gust of wind blew it out of control.

Luckily, Toby and Rusty were able to rescue it and there was only minimal damage. One blade was broken and Toby’s forearm got a bit beat up by the spinning blades when he pulled it from the tree, but it could have been much worse!

IMG_2778 (2)

While the boys were working on the drone, the girls and I worked on Molly’s missionary photo shoot.

IMG_2738 (2)

This was originally scheduled for the end of March, before she left for Utah, but the worldwide pandemic squashed those plans. When Molly’s training got moved online, we forgot to move her photo shoot to another day on the calendar.

IMG_2746 (2)

Sunday offered the perfect opportunity to get some pictures of Sister McCleery!!

IMG_2730 (2)IMG_2825 (2)IMG_2808 (2)

IMG_2786 (2)

As of today, Sister McCleery has been released as a missionary until it is safe for her to travel to Utah to serve her 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This will be a hard transition for Molly. Like so many other missionaries who have been called home in the midst of Covid-19, she waits, uncertain of what is next and when that next phase will come,

IMG_2834 (2)

But like all of us who are navigating the uncertainty of this unusual time, Molly has been given the opportunity to exercise those spiritual muscles of faith, optimism, resilience, mindfulness, presence, positivity, and hope.

And all will be well!

IMG_2846 (2)

Sister McCleery- Week 2 at the MTC

Standard

Here are Molly’s thoughts from this week:

IMG_20200402_181619

Every day is a new adventure.

Hundreds of emotions are felt in a period of 24 hours.

My understanding of what I thought I understood as a kid, has grown deeper and stronger than ever before!

My love for my Savior has been edified in ways that are so special and sacred to me.

This week has been filled to the brim with a very busy schedule…two 3-hour classes daily, workshops with a hundred or more missionaries in my same position, and daily scripture study- both independent and with my companion.
I wake up at 6:30am and devote the next two hours to studying and growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I begin with a prayer which is key to a good study session. I have been amazed at what the Holy Ghost will guide me to read, learn, or the thoughts that pop into my head which make an impact on my heart and soul.
 I have been blessed with a great district too.
 I. Love. Them. 
They are the people that help me to not feel as alone on this uncertain journey. They are the people that make me laugh after staring at a screen for hours. They are the people that teach me so much through their bright testimonies. 
I also love my teachers! I am thankful for their willingness to serve and teach, and the hours of effort they put into what they do. 
This week was also my 20th birthday.
This was a different kind of birthday than any I have ever had before. In addition to being quarantined in my house, my day was packed with a busy MTC training schedule. I spent most of my birthday in my bedroom doing online learning, but had many wonderful experiences that made me feel so very loved on my birthday. The birthday wishes I received meant the world to me, my sister brought me lunch (which is so simple but made me swell with love that she checked up on me.) The birthday gifts were all so generous, I had my favorite foods and I got to spend time with my family in small snippets through the day which meant the world to me!! 
This week I have learned a lot about faith, humility and grace.
As some of you may or may not have heard, due to the worldwide pandemic, all missionaries training in the MTC will be released from their calling at the conclusion of their training and then will be given the choice of either waiting at home until their assigned location is ready and safe for more missionaries to arrive,  or they can choose to wait up to 12 to 18 months to start their mission.
When I received this news I felt nothing but anxiety and stress. Then came emotions of sadness over the change in what I expected. I struggled with doubts like,  “can I handle this?” and worries that I wouldn’t make the right decision. There were many evenings where I was just overwhelmed and frustrated with life itself. When I was going through all this I was very critical of myself for doubting at all. Shouldn’t a missionary’s faith be greater than her fear? Shouldn’t a missionary go forth in all things and never fear? 
At the beginning of this year I decided to work on the virtue of humility. I prayer for experiences that would build humility. God has answered that prayer through this unique missionary experience. 
Over the past few days I have done a LOT of praying, a lot of relying upon God, a lot of reading the scriptures and a lot of letting go.
Every moment is a gift: good or bad, easy or hard. I have come to know that God called me to His work for THIS TIME. He has given me personal revelation and personal answers that bring me strength and peace.
I know that God loves me and is walking with me EVERY step of the way.
I need not fear because God is not a God of fear.
Daily I give my day to Him and allow Him to guide me.
My mission isn’t about me at all.
 I will go forth with courage and in faith.
I will try to be humble and teachable.
 I will remember that it is okay to be human and to experience moments like I’ve had this week, but I also need to remember that at the end of the day, EVERY DAY, God lives!
He will give us grace to endure and do all that He asks of us.
I come before Him knowing that I am scared, broken, imperfect and uncertain of what the future may hold for my mission and my life,  but He will give me grace, and His grace is sufficient!
I testify of the reality of God because He testified that reality TO ME. I have walked a humbling journey this week. It has not been easy but it has blessed me in profound ways. Know you are not alone. God is and always will be there for you. I pray that my experience and testimony might be a source of peace and comfort to you no matter your circumstance, for God is walking your journey with you and at times may even be carrying you!
(As me and my roomate from BYUI would always say to each other) 
I love you and Jesus loves you, 
Much love!
Sister McCleery

Happy 20th Birthday, Molly!

Standard

Well, it was a birthday that won’t soon be forgotten…

And certainly a birthday far different then the one we imagined for Molly’s 20th.

First of all, we never expected to have Molly home for her birthday celebration. If life had moved forward as planned, Molly would have been celebrating her 20th birthday in Provo, Utah with her missionary companion. Instead, Sister McCleery, was at home for her big day, as we find ourselves living through a worldwide pandemic, quarantined at home, with Molly attending the missionary training center online instead of in person.

The reality of the world as it stands now, on Molly’s 20th birthday, is best documented by the following excerpt shared by a friend:

“Just so I NEVER forget….. April 7, 2020

Gas price was $1.04/gallon
School cancelled – yes cancelled – since 3/12; teachers and students are now all doing online schooling.
Social distancing and self quarantining measures on the rise.
Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other.
Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
Entire sports seasons cancelled.
Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
No masses or services, churches are closed.
No gatherings of 50 or more, then 10 or more, now none at all except the people you live with.
Scouts, clubs, and groups are hosting virtual Zoom meetings.
Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.
Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.
Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels, no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer.
Shelves are bare.
Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.
Fines are established for breaking the rules.
Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths.
Government incentives to stay home.
Barely anyone on the roads.
People wearing masks and gloves outside.
Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.
Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020.

Molly’s day was filled with classes and MTC training. She had a limited amount of free time in the middle of the day, so we reserved our celebration for first thing in the morning and for the end of the day.

We arrived at her bedroom door at 7:30 am, ready to wake her with her traditional birthday cake slice and birthday song. She was already awake and doing her personal scripture study when we walked in. We greeted her with a birthday sign,

IMG_2436 (2)

And a birthday song.

IMG_2440 (2)

She made her wish and blew out her candle.

IMG_2443 (2)

The rest of her birthday cheesecake was reserved to enjoy later as a family.

Before the busyness of her day began, we gathered in the living room to give Molly her birthday gifts.

Luckily most of our birthday planning was proactive, as the original plan was to celebrate her birthday mid-March, before she left for the MTC. This means gifts were already purchased and wrapped, the makings for her birthday dinner were already in the pantry, and her cheesecake had been chilling in the freezer for weeks in preparation of her special day.

She received gifts fitting for our sweet sister missionary, including a new dress from Braden,

IMG_2454 (2)

A new necklace from Tyler,

IMG_2451 (2)

A quill pen and ink set from Rusty,

IMG_2457 (2)

Water color pens from Grace and Zach, and a messenger bag from Toby and I.

IMG_2462 (2)

During the day Molly received love sent from those afar, including a birthday card/gift from Mimi Joy and from Aunt Kelly’s crew, a surprise package from her best buddy (Tatum,) a phone call from Uncle Travis and Aunt Krista, and the traditional birthday serenade on the answering machine from Mimi and Pop Pop Real.

That evening we enjoyed a dinner of spaghetti pizza, garlic knots and Caesar salad, per Molly’s request, before ending the meal with cheesecake.

For Molly’s birthday activity she requested a bonfire outside…the first of the season!

It was a beautiful evening and the weather cooperated.

IMG_2404 (2)

We ate dinner around the fire,

IMG_2408 (2)

And then pulled out the marshmallows for an after dinner treat.

IMG_2413 (2)

Everyone filled up on toasted marshmallows while we did our family scripture study by firelight.

IMG_2429 (2)

We ended the evening, as we do every birthday, with each family member expressing the trait they love most about the birthday person. This was the high point of the day for Miss Molly, whose love language is words of affirmation.

Happy birthday, Miss Molly!

We love you to the moon and back!