It's official now. We know this because he's got The Badge.
Yesterday, accompanied by his parents and baby sister,Brandon entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah! The weather in Provo was gorgeous and warm, considering this is April in Utah. The MTC is amazingly efficient, between parking, unloading luggage and luggage stations, and how well they process the young men in. Our experience there was a bit unique, for two reasons. First, there was a fire alarm that went off just after we checked in. After a short evacuation, they invited everyone back in and continued on. (Apparently a microwave and an overdone baked potato were at fault.)
The other item of interest is the brand new policies that are a direct result of swine flu. Frequent handwashing is encouraged, as is use of the numerous bottles of hand sanitizer, which were available in several spots. Missionaries were asked NOT to shake hands (!!), to use a tissue for sneezes or coughs (rather than the elbow method), and to report right away to the medical personnel if they had any flu-like symptoms. Plus, if they were sick, they were instructed to remain in their rooms and not go out in the common areas, or to meetings or classes. As we entered the door, we were also asked if we had any sore throats/runny noses. There was a doctor in the lobby ready and waiting.
As is usual for the MTC, there was a short meeting with the missionaries and families, and then it was goodbye. It was certainly a bittersweet goodbye, and we were emotional about it, but he was SO ready to be there. It's a nice beginning. Because Brandon does not have to learn a language, he will only be there for about 3 weeks before leaving for Jamaica. He will leave the MTC about May 18th. See the sidebar for his mailing address. These are a few pictures from our day - enjoy!