The Power of a Uniform

lds missionary

For this travelogue, we’re going wayyy back into February of 2019.

At this time, I had just started my mission and was pretty excited to be in a new state that naturally grew palm trees instead of importing them like Vegas did. Oops, sorry Vegas 😅

I was still getting used to the ‘uniform’ we were required to wear as ministers/missionaries of Jesus Christ- dresses and skirts. Sometimes slacks, but honestly, slacks in that weather was not great. On a usual Sunday back home I enjoyed the breezy, flowy feel of my dresses and felt confident in them. I would often plan out my outfits and choose the right shoes to go with them, deciding on the perfect hairstyle, etc.
But in Florida… in Florida I would grab the nearest dress to me, slip it on, and do the same with my shoes. I would proselyte in the muggy heat of summer daily, getting little rest and often times not enough shade.

The afternoon sky in Kissimmee, Florida, circa Feb 2019

My companion and I (she was actually training me at the time) would walk and walk and walk for several hours a day in Florida. I remember walking through the warm rain and heat waves, wondering, “How on earth am I going to do this?” It felt like I was running a marathon with inappropriate attire.

But I wore those dresses and I wore those skirts. Looking back, I’m still very proud of myself for doing that. I remember being called to a few last-minute service opportunities while in a dress.
It was fun and exciting, don’t get me wrong.

I loved serving and I still do. I ended up getting used to wearing dresses and skirts and it became second nature to me.
And yes, sometimes my dresses would get ruined and that was okay, because I learned something important while I moved out furniture from sewer-flooded homes:

I learned about dedication while in those dresses in Florida. I learned to be strong while dressing my best.
This may sound like a silly travelogue, but it means something to me and I hope it’ll mean something to you, too.

The clothes we wear really tells what type of person we are and I believe we would learn a lot from thinking about the attire we choose to wear. In my case, it was mandatory, but I learned to love it.

What good do you do in your uniform?

Me next to some Sandhill Cranes on a sandy hill, Kissimmee FL, circa Feb 2019

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Today’s Travelogue is about the MTC! 🎉

On January 23rd, 2019 I entered one of the many MTC’s located in Provo, UT. Other MTC’s are located in England, Brazil, South Africa, and the Philippines. There are 10 active MTC’s in total.

For those of you who don’t know, MTC is short for Missionary Training Center. This is where missionaries go to train and learn how to be ministers of Jesus Christ. We learn how to teach for those three weeks as we learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ on deeper levels. And for those of us learning a language, we learn a new language as well.

Each class focuses on the core necessities of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

  1. The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ
  2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ
  3. The Commandments of God as taught in the scriptures and through modern prophets and apostles, and
  4. The Laws and Ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

It sounds like a lot- and it is- but we managed to learn enough to be ready for the the mission field when our time was up!

On the day I entered the MTC and said goodbye to family and friends for 18th months, I was feeling scared, uncertain, and nervous. My stomach was doing backflips and my mind was almost numb with worry.

To be honest, the training itself was not so concerning to me- preparing to be in an even more unfamiliar place was. After my three weeks of studying, I would be flying out to Florida and starting missionary work that day. It was nerve-racking. Plus, I had never been to Provo, UT before and yet here I would be living, eating, and learning for the next 3 weeks.

When we drove into the parking garage, my fears heightened. It almost felt like I was about to drop from the climax of a rollercoaster.

While I said goodbye to my family- crying my eyes out the whole time-another sister missionary waited nearby. After my final ‘goodbye’ she helped me take my luggage up to my room.

No one else was in the dorm when I entered the room, but I could see that there would be at least six girls in there since there three bunk beds. Four beds had already been claimed except for the top bunk by the door and the top bunk closest to the window. I decided on the one by the door since it would be warmer and I was so happy to get a top bunk! Call me weird, but I actually really like the top bunk. I just think it’s more fun!

Before leaving for my classroom I looked at myself in the mirror hanging above the doorknob and left. While walking through the frigid cold wind I told myself it would be great and we would all get along.

I was also concerned about not having a companion who I didn’t get along with. When you’re a missionary, you don’t choose your companion. Each one is assigned to you through inspiration.

And luckily, my fears were in vain because my companion and I got along very well! She was my choir buddy and my voice of reason. We ended up serving in the same mission field, as well! The Florida Orlando Mission.

Sister Matthews (my MTC companion) and I

If you’ve ever seen missionaries on the street, you’ll have seen that there were at least two together at all times. This is because the scriptures state:

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three awitnesses every word may be established.

Matthew 18:16

We take this seriously as missionaries- for safety reasons and so that there would be more than one witness testifying of the gospel topics being discussed in a lesson. Jesus Christ Himself even had another witness of His divinity and that was His Father. So, as missionaries of the Lord we follow His example and share another witness along with the Holy Ghost as a companionship.

Soon after I fixed up my hair and outfit, I made my way to the T4 building where I would meet my new family for the next 3 weeks.

I was not expecting, however, that I would soon be meeting some of my best friends.

This picture is in front of the Provo Utah Temple, just across the street from the MTC.

The MTC puts the missionaries in groups in order to make sure everyone’s needs are met and classes are organized. Our ‘class’ was called Branch 31 and was seriously the BEST.
Shown in this photo was another branch that we called Oregon since nearly all of them were going to the Portland Oregon Mission. In response, Oregon called us Orlando since all 11 of us were going to the Florida Orlando Mission.

The gospel doctrine lessons, artwork, and excitement of the MTC were all amazing- but I have to say, the people really were the best part of it!

When we weren’t running up the stairs to wake up at 7 am or have fun role plays together, we were studying in class and learning how to become servants of the Lord. And we had a lot of fun together, too! I remember socializing together as a Branch or with Oregon in between classes, sharing what we were learned in class or talking about our hobbies or families.


After long days of studying the scriptures and playing a hardcore game of volleyball during our exercise time, we’d often have girls nights in the dorms.

These girl nights were the times we had heart-to-heart conversations, do face masks, eat vending machine snacks, and bond.

We were all on the same boat and it felt really good to have a community of people who we could relate to!

I remember how sweet the “older” Sisters were (those who had been in the MTC longer). They brought a lot of comfort to the other Sister missionaries and I through their examples and kind words. Because of their help, I felt much more excited and prepared to serve the good people of Florida!

To this day, I still have the name tag I received on my first day at the MTC. I managed to salvage it for as long as I could until I sprayed DEET on it one day before tracting 😥 DEET is a really strong bug spray needed in Florida.
It was a sad day, but I promised myself I would always keep this anyway. It means too much to me!

This name tag represents the hard work I put in, the love I felt and gave, and the miracles I experienced.

My name tag’s home was my dresser no matter what city I lived in. It was the last thing I put on in the morning and the first thing I took off at night. It represented me as a representative of Jesus Christ.

I learned about who my Savior Jesus Christ really was while serving in Florida; from the boondocks to the city to the beach, I learned a very consistent lesson and that was that Heavenly Father truly loves His children.

It was an amazing slice of my life and it all started with the MTC. I’ll never forget my time there and how it affected my mission so positively!

One of the many inspirational walls in the Provo MTC

I hope you all enjoyed this post!
Comment below your experience at the MTC or if you know anyone who’s been to the MTC! What are some things you’re curious about missionaries or missions? Message me and we can talk about!

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This post is a 4 min read

As an independent 20 yr old millennial enjoying life in its grainiest fullness, I can say that I absolutely love to travel. However, I didn’t always like to.

I used to have a lot of fear. A lot of anxiety. A lot of doubt. I didn’t think this was a safe world, nonetheless that it was worth seeing. The only places I really wanted to visit was New York and maybe Korea. New York because it was the home of innovation and Broadway, and Korea because I wanted to experience my heritage a bit more.

I grew up in Utah, so I felt I had seen all that was really worth seeing in the West Coast. Now, it was time to see the East. Or rather, New York.

I had to exercise a lot of faith- a lot of faith- to move to Arizona last summer, where I lived and worked at the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge. I was going through a hard time, so when my friend offered to work for the summer and travel while I was at it, I took it. I felt good about it, even though this was something that I had nightmares about. I was extremely scared of getting lost, dying somewhere, getting kidnapped, seeing and experiencing things I didn’t want to experience, and other worldly things that just scared me into my shell in the first place.

But soon enough I was all set. I was packing, planning my trip, looking at flights/shuttles, looking up weather, etc. And then… my friend got sick. Like, really sick. Just, boom, out of nowhere. Completely out of the blue. I was soooo confused. Am I still supposed to go, Lord? Do I need to wait? No, I need to go. But alone? Well, I guess so….

And I went. And I went with a heart full of fear and anxiety, but I went with the Lord by my side. I felt confident deep down that everything would be alright, but I didn’t feel it on the surface. On the surface I was shaking and sweating. I was also wondering.

Just a few weeks before this decision was made, I received an insanely strong prompting that I needed to go on a mission. I knew I was going to go one day, but something told me this trip was the beginning of my trek towards the day I would get my mission call. My own personal Exodus, Hajj, migration, whatever you want to call it. I was on my way. And I felt SO lost.

I felt like a child who’d been pushed to the front of a crowd, not willing to turn around and humiliate herself. I needed to keep going despite my doubts and fears.

I loved working there. And I had experienced the worldly, uncomfortable things there that I predicted. I hadn’t realized how impactful they would be negatively but also helpful.

I emailed my sister (who’s currently about 15 months in on her Chicago Mission) about my experiences. The people I was around, the sights, the smells, the ambience. It was all very overwhelming. I felt so alone. I was literally the only member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on that entire mountain. I was the only person who didn’t drink, smoke, have sex, do drugs, cuss, or more. I felt like a complete and utter outsider.

I mean, take this from someone who’s primarily been surrounded by those of the same faith most of her life. I was sheltered in the Gospel growing up. This was new and exposed territory. One that was equipped with barbed wire, traps, and alarms. I was careful to watch my step at all times (D&C 87:8; Ruth 3:11).

Then, one day, while having a poor day thinking of my loneliness, a group of nuns walked in to my deli. They were literally radiating light. I just knew that the Holy Spirit dwelt with them at that moment. It was a Sunday (as most Sunday’s are unusually beautiful) but they- just those women’s countenances- were radiant. The Lord had answered my prayer. The Spirit can dwell here, where I was, even though I felt it unfit. The Lord was always there. He heard my prayer the moment it was asked in my heart. This was one of the many comforts I’ve felt since my journey began.

Soon, I began to feel more love and inclusion. I didn’t complain. I didn’t say, “Why did you send me here, Lord?” every night. I would then start to say, “Lord, please help me fulfill what you sent me here for.” And I could see the gifts and skills the Lord gave me help others. Some, dear friends whom I truly hope to see again. One of those friends was my bfffffff Win. He was wonderful. Truly sent to help me. He was a wonderful friend to me when I really needed people. He helped me make good decisions (‘No. You should go to church if you feel you should. We can always watch a movie another time.’). He appalled me. He cared about what I cared about, and in that sense, he cared about me. I had never felt such love from someone before until I met him. I felt like a bird under his wing. He truly took care of and watched over me. He might disagree, but I consider him to be one of my ‘guardian angels.’

I’m talking about all of this because I want all of you to know that God is real. He cares about every single one of us. He cares about me, Julie Andrews, you, your cousin, your enemies, your teachers, the milkman, that clown from your 2nd grade birthday party, your parents, your siblings, your loved ones. He KNOWS you. He is watching over you daily and is waiting to fill your spot in heaven.