A Day in the South Africa Missionary Training Centre (SAMTC)
Sister Edy Howes
From the 6:30 “arise and shine forth” wake up call until the 22:30 bedtime prayers and lights out, the SAMTC is designed to prepare missionaries for daily activities while serving in their respective missions. The spirit of the Lord is present all day every day as these elders and sisters prepare for full time service spreading His gospel.
Each missionary is part of a district in the SAMTC. A district spends time in classroom together and as companionships. The instructor in each district is a returned missionary who has a wealth of experience upon which to draw. Every instructor helps the missionaries in training learn a variety of skills including effective study, and anticipation and preparation for discussions with investigators.
Personal study, companion study, planning for teaching investigators, and learning the basics of the first three chapters of Preach My Gospel are incorporated into classroom study. There are even sitting rooms where “investigators” meet with the elders and sisters in a simulated homelike teaching environment. About eight hours each day Monday through Saturday is devoted to classroom study.
For many missionaries, the journey to the Johannesburg Temple is the first temple experience in their lives. It is a highlight of the week for missionaries and for the temple workers. Missionaries often have the opportunity to participate in all of the ordinances of the temple as they do baptisms, initiatory work, endowments, and sealings for their deceased relatives.
One of the favourite hours of the day is “sports time.” The outdoor sand volleyball court is always popular as impromptu teams form with seven or eight to a team- no score is kept. While an animated volleyball game is underway, other missionaries may be honing their soccer, basketball or ping pong skills or even playing rugby or cricket.
President Reber, a former coach, often gives pointers to those who want to improve their skills. Sister Reber sometimes joins the volleyball game as a very capable, active participant.
Another favourite activity is choir practice at the end of each day. Every SAMTC batch of missionaries forms a choir which practices at 9:20 p.m for ten minutes singing the hymns of Zion. In order to become more proficient, the missionaries shadow President Reber’s conducting taking turns leading the choir as Sister Reber accompanies- unless a missionary plays piano.
On the Sunday before departing for their fields of labour, the SAMTC choir sings at the Roodepoort Ward, The Florida Ward, and the Rumisig Ward which meet in the building next to the SAMTC. Members of all three wards- especially children and youth- look forward to SAMTC choir Sunday.
If you feel a little tired after going through a day with SAMTC participants, you can be sure that the young missionaries do too.