Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Zealand MTC

Welcome to the New Zealand, Auckland Missionary Training Center
Nestled on the top of a hill in South Auckland, the MTC stands as a symbol of how cultures can come together under the banner of the Lord. Flags of the many Pacific nations flutter in the wind as they line the driveway on approach, reminding all visitors and missionaries alike that this work crosses cultural borders and unites all people in a common belief.
Pres. and Sis. Bleak, current MTC President and wife, direct the incoming and outgoing of missionaries every 3-6 weeks, without even one days break in between. With their own residence within the complex, they are like parents to the hundreds of missionaries who come in and out of there regularly. They get just enough time with each missionary to feel they are losing a family member as they depart.
As with all church facilities the MTC in Auckland is beautifully designed and furnished, offering the missionaries a home-like environment. The building surrounds a beautifully landscaped courtyard that can be viewed through floor to ceiling windows as you walk the internal hallways, or enjoyed on a sunny day as each missionary takes time to study or ponder gospel principles taught.
State-of-the-art facilities in the laundry are also used to teach the new missionaries how to iron and take care of their personal appearance.
Every comfort and convenience for their accommodation is here, from lounge areas where they can congregate in small groups during down-time, to state-of-the-art laundries. Ironing boards and industrial sized washing machines and dryers sit in laundries the size of lounge rooms. Bedrooms accommodate up to 4 single missionaries and self-contained apartments offer added privacy for couple missionaries.
Eating facilities consist of a community dining hall, three chefs, and an industrial kitchen and servery.
 One whole wing of the building is dedicated to the intense training of all missionaries. Classrooms are equipped with everything needed to prepare these young people to learn essential gospel principles and teach them effectively.
Plans are now in motion to extend this facility next year to include a gym and double its capacity. 
(We still have no email from Kurt but he will be in this MTC until March 12th.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

airport goodbye :')

Since Kurt will be attending the Missionary Training Center in Auckland, his drop off for the mission was at the airport curb yesterday. Mom, Dad and Kurt attended a session at the Salt Lake City temple and stopped for a waffle at Bruges before heading to the airport. Mom said that even though she's done this six times already, it never gets any easier!

Here are some pics from the airport send off. I imagine there were a few tears. I know I shed a few just looking at the pictures.    :')

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Last night, February 25, 2013, Kurt was set apart to be missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Auckland, New Zealand mission. He flies to the country today and will enter the Auckland MTC as soon as he arrives.

He is the last O'Neal missionary from our immediate family and the sixth and final boy to serve. What a blessing to have, now, a total of seven missionaries go from our family; that's half of us O'Neal kids!

I know that for me, personally, it's been a great experience to watch how missions change our youth and make them amazing advocates for the gospel. And I know that Kurt will be an amazing missionary and do his best to spread some gospel cheer down under. I love the example he is setting for my kids!

I was not able to attend his actual setting apart last night but Mom had her iPad handy and emailed me a few photos. I will be updating this blog with letters Kurt writes home each week and also pictures. I told him he better make sure to write home faithfully and make sure to include some heartwarming stories and something to make us smile, too.

I know that missionaries need a lot of support from us, too, so I will add his email and mailing address to the sidebar as soon as I have them.

Good luck, Elder O'Neal. You will be in A LOT of prayers!

:) jen