Three of the Church’s 10 missionary training centers worldwide are now training missionaries on site after the March 2020 closure of MTCs because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest to reopen for in-person training of full-time missionaries was the New Zealand Missionary Training Center, which welcomed 25 new missionaries on June 30.
The flagship Provo Missionary Training Center was the first to resume onsite training of new elders and sisters, beginning on June 23 with 248 new missionaries. The Ghana MTC had 48 new missionaries arrive for its reopening last week.
Also, three more missionary training centers — the Mexico, England and Philippines MTCs — have been cleared to resume in-person training in late July and August.
In Auckland, New Zealand, the 25 missionaries arriving at the MTC are all from New Zealand. Another 12 missionaries from Australia were scheduled to join them but were unable to do so because of recently imposed travel restrictions due to the pandemic; they will continue their training online.
Also, the New Zealand MTC will continue online training for other missionaries located in other parts of the South Pacific.
In Accra, Ghana, 48 new missionaries came to the Ghana MTC from a host of African nations, including Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Uganda. Others from Eswatini and Namibia are expected in coming weeks.
All are English-speaking elders and sisters going to English-speaking missions. MTCs are anticipating to add training in additional languages in the near future.
Combining online, onsite training
Missionary training centers are implementing a new phased approach for training full-time missionaries, combining online and onsite instruction.
Closed to missionaries for the past 15 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTCs worldwide became centers of virtual training, as new missionaries remained at home for instruction and language lessons via videoconferencing.
This phased approach — with roughly a third of training online, even after MTCs return to full operations and capacities — will allow missionaries to continue to experience many of the positive elements of online instruction that have been realized during the pandemic period of training new missionaries.
The Provo MTC is starting out with missionaries who are from the United States, fully vaccinated and serving English-speaking assignments. Spanish and Portuguese will be the first languages added at yet-determined dates, with other languages to follow.