In the coming days, tens of thousands of visitors will take part in the public open house of the newly expanded Missionary Training Center.
They will wander through the new classrooms housed in the two new six-story buildings. They will watch young missionaries teaching in, say, Mandarin, Swedish or Spanish while sitting beside the new outdoor gardens and fountain. And many visitors will marvel at the stunning views of the Wasatch Range and the Provo Utah Temple now offered by the MTC's ubiquitous floor-to-ceiling windows.
But officials here say the expanded Provo MTC is about much more than visual "oohs and aahs." First and foremost, it’s a place to feel the hastening of Christ’s work in action.
The newly expanded campus — and the feelings it generates — is incomparable to any place on earth, said Provo MTC President David C. Martino.
“It’s beautiful to be here,” he said. “This is the Lord’s university.”
The first-of-its-kind public MTC open house begins July 31 and runs though Aug. 19. To meet high demands, an additional 20,000 complimentary tickets have been made available online at mtcopenhouse.lds.org.
Additional tours are available Aug. 21-25 for registered BYU Education Week participants.
On Wednesday, July 26, media members were given a sneak peek of the new and improved MTC. Leaders such as President Martino and Young Women general president, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, hosted the reporters and photographers.
“We’ve been anticipating the opening of these two new buildings for several years, and it’s an exciting time,” said Sister Oscarson, who serves on the Church's Missionary Executive Council.
The new buildings and exterior features, she noted, “are going to expand the experience missionaries have when they come to the MTC. The atmosphere is incredible.”
Missionary-themed signage and images are found throughout the new MTC facilities. There are familiar murals of Christ calling His apostles and stirring scenes from the Book of Mormon. Meanwhile, missionaries on their way to class pass by outdoor banners that read Humility, Godliness, Patience, Temperance and Knowledge.
Each visual element is a reminder of the sacred and essential call shared by the elders and sisters studying at the MTC.
“It’s what the missionaries feel that truly impacts their lives,” said President Martino.
As a youth leader, Sister Oscarson is excited for the thousands of young men and young women who will be participating in the upcoming public tours.
“I hope that the youth who visit here will feel the spirit and enthusiasm that comes with doing missionary work,” she said.
As many as 3,700 young missionaries and senior missionaries can reside at the Provo MTC at a time.
“Growing up in the area, I’ve been able to see this building under construction for a while now, and I wasn’t sure if it would be completed by the time I got to the MTC. But I’m here now and it’s in use, and it’s amazing,” said Sister Kyla Rogers of Salem, Utah.
“It has these huge open spaces. The classrooms have these beautiful, big windows. And all the colors and the murals — everything is just so visually appealing, and it’s so nice to be here.”
Sister Rogers will be serving in the Canada Calgary Mission.
The new expansion also includes updated living areas, along with upgraded mechanical and utility systems. Meanwhile, the new exterior landscaping is designed for missionaries to study and learn amid open space and natural beauty.
In fact, there are enough outdoor chairs and benches to accommodate every missionary at the MTC — even at full capacity.
Since its opening in 1976, the Provo MTC has trained more than 600,000 missionaries from nearly every country. It is one of 15 MTCs worldwide where missionaries serving in the Church’s 421 missions receive training in 55 languages, according to a Church news release.