PROVO — For the first time in 15 months, a small group of new missionaries arrived at the missionary training center (MTC) in Provo on Wednesday afternoon to start in-person training. The center was closed last year as cases of coronavirus surged.
248 missionaries arrived in Provo on Wednesday. Similar numbers are scheduled to arrive each Wednesday in the coming weeks. Missionaries will spend approximately two weeks training in person before traveling to their area of assignment.
In a press release, officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the Provo MTC will operate at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future, as a precaution. COVID tests will be administered to any missionary who exhibits symptoms during their MTC training. Additionally, only missionaries who are fully vaccinated will be eligible to train in person at the Provo MTC, as a temporary precaution.
“This is a huge day for us to have missionaries at the MTC again, but this isn’t just us going back to how things used to be. This is us moving forward,” said Kelly Mills, the Missionary Department’s administrative director of MTCs. “The fact is that missionaries now will have a piece of their training at home, and then an experience here with more personalization and experiential learning. We’re moving forward. This is a new day for missionary training,” he added.
MTCs outside the United States will gradually begin to welcome missionaries on-site as well. They will begin with only local missionaries and will operate at a capacity of approximately 50 missionaries in each location. For a time, missionaries from the United States will not train at international MTCs.
Not all missionaries who currently have a mission call will train in person. Missionaries will not receive in-person language training at this time. Invitations for missionaries to receive training at the Provo MTC will expand as conditions continue to improve.
MTCs have remained operational during the pandemic by providing virtual training to new missionaries. A total of 32,000 missionaries received online training since March of 2019. Currently, 2,766 missionaries are involved in online MTC training.