Katelyn's time in the MTC was short. Just ten days. But everyday was filled with intense gospel study, devotionals, training and spiritual experiences. On Katelyn's next P-day in the MTC, she was so excited to email us and tell us what she had been doing. She started off her email by telling us about a great opportunity and experience that she had during the week. The Sunday after she entered the MTC, her Branch President called her into the office and asked her if she would accept the calling to be the Sister Training Leader for the zone. If you aren't familiar with the calling of Sister Training Leader, it is similar to an Elder being called as a Zone Leader except Katelyn's call is over the sisters. Part of her responsibilities would be to visit with each of the sisters in the zone each night to find out how they are doing and if there is anything that they need help with. She would also take part in the new missionary orientation on the next Wednesday. Here she had only been a missionary for a week herself and one week later she was helping to train the missionaries that were just entering the MTC that day. Katelyn told us just how great this experience has been for her. Even though the calling was only for a short time during her training in the MTC, it was an experience that she will never forget.
With so many missionaries entering the MTC, the Church has not been able to fit everybody in the main MTC campus across from the Provo Temple. Katelyn was one of the new missionaries who has spent most of her time at the extended campus in the Wyview apartments. The missionaries that stay in the apartments, live there, eat their meals there and attend classes in the neighboring apartment complex. Unfortunately the food on the extended campus is not quite the same. Everyday they have had basically the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Katelyn said that for breakfast they would eat bagels and cereal. Then for lunch they would have prepackaged sandwiches and a salad and for dinner they had canned vegetables and some kind of mystery meat. However, for their in-field training meeting one day they were able to go to the main MTC campus and according to Katelyn, the food there was like gourmet meals. She told us that they were amazed at all of the variety. But the best thing was the fresh fruit. She was grateful that she only had ten days at the extended campus and doesn't know how some of the missionaries that are learning another language make it for several weeks.
On the Tuesday after Katelyn entered the MTC, all of the missionaries attended a devotional at the BYU Marriot Center. Katelyn said the the devotional was great but she had been thinking about her family all day and was feeling a little home sick. That same night Katelyn's little brother decided that he would crash one of the EFY dances since he had such a good time at EFY just the month before. OK, so crashing an EFY dance when you aren't really at EFY wasn't the best choice but at the same time, there was a blessing in all of this. As Katelyn told us, she was feeling a little down that day and a bit homesick. Then after the devotional, she and a whole group of missionaries exited the Marriot Center and started walking back towards the Wyview campus. As they stopped at the crosswalk, her little brother just happened to be making a right-hand turn heading into the BYU campus. He spotted Katelyn standing at the crosswalk and leaned out of the window yelling her name. At first she didn't respond because he kept calling, "Katelyn, Katelyn". Finally he yelled out, "Sister Nicholes" and she turned immediately. They both saw each other and yelled back and forth, "I love you, I love you". We heard the story that night when her little brother returned home. When Katelyn emailed us a few days later, she told us all about the story as well and said that seeing her little brother was just what she needed that day. Seeing him picked up her spirits and allowed her to refocus on being a missionary rather than feeling homesick. In her words she said, "...seeing him made my day! It was definitely not an accident."
The day finally came for Katelyn to leave the MTC and fly out to Edmonton, Canada. She and the other missionaries that were going to Canada had to catch a 6:00 am flight so they had to be up by about 2:30 am to get ready to leave. She gave us a quick call from the Salt Lake airport and then called again a few hours later from Minnesota during a layover. Again she told us just how wonderful her MTC experience was despite the bad food. We know that we will be receiving weekly emails from her on her P-day but we just can't wait to talk with her again on the phone at Christmas time. We are so proud of her and all that she has done so far and we know that she will do great things in Canada as well.