THE VISION OF THE MISSIONARY IN TRAINING PROGRAM
By Kevin Hunt
It is interesting how the Missionary in Training Program began. It started in October of 2012 when President Thomas S. Monson announced in the General Church conference that the missionary service age would be lowered to age 18 for young men and to age 19 for young women. As this announcement was made, it was obvious to all that parents now would need to take a much more pro-active role in the training of their young children to be future missionaries. Having sent out many children as missionaries, and having served many years in various missionary roles, this subject often presented itself in my mind. But, no action was taken at that time.
On March 6, 2013, the subject took on a front-burner role with experiences that I had that day. On that date, I recorded in my journal some things that happened just a few months after President Monson announced the new missionary age. The entry reads:
MARCH 6TH – WEDNESDAY
“My morning as a school bus driver [in Mesa, Arizona] was rather routine. I went walking on Date Street, read my Book of Mormon and enjoyed having no kids to drive for one school. I had a late start for the junior high school so was a half hour later than normal getting back to the bus barn. I clocked out for a big 45 minutes.
“I decided to walk over to the Deseret Book store – located just over a half mile away. I had wanted to buy some “future missionary” badges for the children of our daughter, Kaylea and husband, J.D. – since they just bought mission-looking suits for their five boys.
[As I walked into the store to make the purchase, I had no idea of how this little visit to Deseret Book would impact my life in the future. That impact was not evident but came to light later through subsequent events.]
“As I looked for the badges, I could not see them immediately. But on another shelf, I saw some badges which said, “Missionary in Training”. As I read the badges, my mind was instantly inspired to send a “call to serve letter” to the kids along with the badges. And right behind that thought came a literal flood of inspiration for a much bigger program entitled: “Missionary in Training”. My mind was enlightened and I became very excited with the thoughts that came. And for the rest of the afternoon I was flooded with more inspiration. This proved to be a really cool experience with the Spirit. Wow! [So, I began writing, writing as fast as I could and didn’t stop writing for six months. The information literally flew through my pen to the paper.]
“And as this program and details of it came to me, I realized that it was much bigger than I am. I realized that God was going to give me something special and that I had a work to do for Him and was grateful that I was found worthy of it.” [Leaving the journal …]
That moment in Deseret Book was super powerful. It was as if my head was opened and the whole program poured down into me. I literally saw a vision of the whole program – with a lot of detail – in just that second. And then for months I wrote and wrote and wrote.
So, with that revelation of the Spirit, the program (in spite of me – but and only through the Holy Ghost) is very exciting and wonderful. And I am sure that it needs to be used by families everywhere. But, like most things that I create – even though they come of the Spirit, I have had difficulty in figuring out what I am to do with it.
I printed seven copies of the book package and had a meeting with seven different families – whom I hand picked (including three of my own children) and none of them ever did anything with the program. (Though just this week I received a message from a daughter in Ohio – who was before in Germany – saying that they are going to start it with their family. I believe firmly that it is an inspired program and that it will work miracles for anyone who does it – and am still seeking that special family who will take it and run with it – and then write (or allow me to) their experiences on my Missionary In Training website.