Members of the media toured the newly expanded Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo on Wednesday. The new facility can house over 3,000 missionaries at a time.
The Provo MTC is where the majority of Mormon missionaries are sent before they go “into the field” as they say, to the city or country they’ve been assigned to proselytize.
Missionaries spend a few weeks to a few months practicing how to teach what are called the Missionary lessons. Many of the missionaries here are also learning how to speak a new language.
"This MTC now has just over a million square feet of floor space sitting on about 35 acres with a capacity of 3,700 missionaries. We teach missionaries in 56 different languages and we train about 22,000 missionaries a year at the Provo MTC," says Kelly Mills, director of the 15 MTCs worldwide, of which Provo is by far the largest.
The two new six-story buildings are used primarily for instruction with 200 classrooms between them. Mills says they’re a major improvement.
“This is about twice the number of square feet as the old classrooms, but it has the same number of missionaries, 12." Mills says.
The old classrooms were small and cramped with very little natural light. Missionaries would sometimes say it felt prison-like, a comparison Mills hopes to shake.
These new buildings were designed to create feeling of tranquility. There’s plenty of artwork on the walls, bright colored paint and impressive mountain views.
It’s a place where missionaries are supposed to feel comfortable and safe before taking that next step into the unknown.