Mexico City MTC: A Sacred Center of Learning
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- The first missionaries began arriving at the Mexico MTC in June of 2013.
- More than 13,000 missionaries have received training at the Mexico City MTC since its 2013 opening.
- For nonnative Spanish speakers, the Mexico City MTC is a priceless language-learning center.
- Mexican members have found blessings in volunteer service as they fulfill callings in branch presidencies and donate their time as senior couples.
“All aspects of this beautiful campus make for an ideal place for all the missionaries to come to know more fully their Savior and learn to help others come to Him.” —President Octaviano Tenorio, Mexico MTC president
On January 29, 2013, President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was in Mexico City to make a historic announcement. The beloved Church-owned Benemerito de las Americas School, he said, would be converted into a missionary training center. The Apostle then offered this prophetic statement: “This hallowed ground where we sit tonight will become more and more sacred with each passing year.”
Several months later, the school transitioned into the Church’s second-largest MTC (second only to the Provo MTC). The first missionaries began arriving here in June of 2013. More than two years have passed since that maiden “class” of new missionaries. And, as President Nelson foresaw, this sprawling 90-acre campus in the heart of Mexico’s capital city has, indeed, become an increasingly sacred sanctuary of gospel learning. Legions of missionaries—called to serve throughout Latin America and the United States—will forever remember their time spent training at this facility.
A few facts:
• More than 13,000 elders and sisters have received training at the Mexico City MTC since its 2013 opening.
• About 55 percent of those missionaries have been from the United States. Most of the others have hailed from Latin America—with about two-thirds from Mexico and the remaining third from Central and South America.
• Missionaries have also come from Europe and Asia to train for Spanish-speaking assignments.
• Outside of one administrator from the United States, the entire staff and faculty are from Mexico.
A native of Mexico and an emeritus Seventy, President Octaviano Tenorio, leads the Mexico City MTC. He told the Church News that the former boarding school continues to bless Latter-day Saints in Mexico and beyond. “Having an MTC like this in Mexico is definitely an evidence of Heavenly Father’s love and desire to move forward His work around the whole world,” he said.
Many American-born elders and sisters who train at the Mexico City MTC will be serving in foreign countries. Others will labor among Spanish-speaking folks living in the United States. “The transition time at the Mexico City MTC serves them very well to adapt more quickly to the new culture,” he added. “All aspects of this beautiful campus make for an ideal place for all the missionaries to come to know more fully their Savior and learn to help others come to Him.”
For nonnative Spanish speakers, the Mexico City MTC is a priceless language-learning center, he added. But the blessings of the MTC here stretch beyond the new missionaries. The Mexican Latter-day Saints have also been edified over the past two years. “A significant number of missionaries from many parts of the country have the blessing of doing the important work of teaching missionaries while they are in school and working to build their future lives,” said President Tenorio.
Scores of other Mexican members have found blessings in volunteer service as they fulfill callings in branch presidencies and donate their time as senior couples. The full scale of blessings found at the Mexico City MTC, he added, will only be recognized with the passing of time.
Almost a half-century before President Nelson announced plans to transition the Benemerito school to an MTC, one of his apostolic predecessors, President Marion G. Romney, spoke at the groundbreaking of the Benemerito campus. His words transcend the events of the day: “This school for which we are breaking ground today is destined to become a great Spanish-speaking cultural center. Its influence will reach far beyond the valley of Mexico. … It will be felt in all of Latin America, including South America. Hundreds of thousands of people will come here. … This school will prepare men [and women] for a better future here on earth and for eternal life in the world to come.”
Elders and sisters gather inside a classroom at the Mexico City Missionary Training Center. Photo courtesy of the Mexico City MTC.
Missionaries enjoy lunch at the cafeteria of the Mexico City MTC. Photo courtesy of the Mexico City MTC.