When my son was waiting for his mission call, we were surprised as his friends opened their calls and read the words “Home MTC.” We knew that traditional MTCs were operating…so why did all of the mission calls include instructions that their MTC experience would start at home?
As more and more calls came in, including my son’s, we realized that Home MTC appears to be here to stay. When you think about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been shifting to “Home centered, church supported” learning, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see that same shift in missionary training. I think it is a beautiful thing!
I loved this article from the Church in 2021 that has quotes about the experiences of missionaries who participated in Home MTC.
If you have a missionary preparing to start his or her mission with Home MTC, you might have questions about what that experience will look like. I’m here to help! While there may be some variation in rules depending on your Stake President (who will be your missionary’s Mission President during Home MTC), here are the basics of Home MTC as well as some ideas for making it a wonderful experience for your missionary and your whole family.
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Why Home MTC?
In 2020, the Church had to make a huge switch in missionary training. Can you imagine working for the missionary department during that unprecedented time?! Amazingly, the church was able to pivot to online MTC or Home MTC. This big change allowed missionaries to continue to be trained even though they couldn’t have a “traditional” MTC experience.
Once missionaries were finally able to go to the MTC, the Church saw the benefits that came from the Home MTC experience. Having a portion of the MTC training at home allows for an easier transition time as missionaries start learning while feeling safe and secure in their own home. At home MTC also helps missionaries create relationships with their district prior to leaving home and entering the MTC, and (one of my favorite parts) let’s missionaries share their experience with their own families.
Online MTC helps with homesickness, creates strong district bonds, strengthens families and makes the transition from home easier for missionaries.
How long does Home MTC last?
This answer is dependent on a few factors: If your missionary is speaking their native language, and which MTC they are heading to.
If they are speaking their native language, your missionary will spend one week at Home MTC, and then travel to their assigned MTC for two more weeks of training.
Beginning on May 1, 2023, if your missionary is heading to the MTC in Brazil, England, Mexico, Peru or Provo and they will do one week of Home MTC and then report to their MTC. If they are learning a different language they will spend the remainder of their assigned 6 or 9 week language training at the MTC (so subtract the one week of Home MTC from that).
If your missionary is headed to one of the other five MTCs, Colombia, England, Ghana, New Zealand, Philippines, or South Africa, they will (as of right now) do one week of home MTC if they will train in their native language, and two weeks of home MTC if they are learning a new language.
This information can be found in the Missionary Portal on the left menu under “About my mission.”
What to Expect from Home MTC
Home MTC mimics the standard MTC in many ways. Missionaries will be working in a district of eight to twelve missionaries. This district will be traveling to the same MTC after at-home training so they will already have a bond with their group and their teachers prior to heading to the MTC.
If your missionary will be speaking their native language, they will do one week of Home MTC. Missionaries learning a new language will do two weeks of Home MTC before traveling to another MTC for the remaining weeks (between 4-7 depending on the language) of their training experience.
Your missionary will be assigned an online companion and will participate in 5-6 hours of online training each day. Their training includes teacher-led classes in teaching the gospel, language classes (if learning a new language), practice activities, large group instruction, small group break-out sessions as well as personal and companion study.
The weekly schedule also has a P-day as well as time for your missionary to participate in normal Sunday worship.
Your missionary will be expected to follow a typical missionary schedule, including waking up early, exercise, class and study time and retiring early to bed. Each week they will get to participate in a special online missionary devotional, district training, and attend the temple (if there is one close by).
The exact Home MTC schedule for your missionary will be dependent on a few things, including your current time zone. Some missionaries might be awake earlier than usual to participate in their districts training schedule.
No more than a week prior to the Home MTC start date, your missionary should receive information from their MTC teacher. If you haven’t received information within a few days of starting you can contact them by emailing [email protected] or call 801-422-6977 (Provo MTC), 801-422-8083 (all other MTCs) .
Should my missionary be endowed/set apart before Home MTC?
Yes! Home MTC is the beginning of your son or daughter’s mission. They should be fully prepared, endowed, set apart, bedroom packed up, and suitcases packed for their mission prior to beginning Home MTC.
This will help them to focus and not feel stressed out about any of those “getting ready” tasks.
Do I need to have study materials for Home MTC?
Just before your missionary starts their Home MTC training, a package will be shipped to the address listed in their missionary application that will include their nametags and a ministerial certificate.
The study materials needed for Home MTC are available online. Additional study materials (if needed) will be provided upon arrival at the (non-home) MTC.
What are the rules for home MTC?
Your Stake President will be your missionary’s acting Mission President during Home MTC. There may be some variation in rules because of this. However, generally the Home MTC rules are the same as the normal MTC, including:
- Follow the approved schedule
- Adhere to missionary dress and grooming standards
- When going out of the house, your missionary should always have a companion. If it is possible to have a companion nearby all the time, that is ideal…but if parents work and your missionary doesn’t have a companion during the day that is okay.
- Avoid television, movies, video games, and unauthorized videos.
- Scale down social media use, using it only to teach the gospel and complete assignments
- With the exception of younger siblings, your missionary should not be alone with children.
- Participate in family activities on P-days or Sundays.
What are the times for Home MTC?
Typically, Home MTC hours are lined up with the hours of the MTC they will attend after Home MTC because they are meeting in their MTC district. For example, if your missionary will be heading to the Mexico MTC, you can expect Home MTC hours to line up with daytime hours in Mexico.
To find out the time difference, do a quick google that says, “What time is it in _____” (São Paulo, Mexico City, Provo Utah, Cape Verde etc) and compare it to the current time where you live.
Unfortunately, this may mean for some really early, or super late hours for your missionary. But it should help them adjust more quickly to the time change once they arrive at the MTC.
How do I find out which MTC my missionary will attend?
Since the switch to electronic mission call letters that are more abbreviated, some people are unsure if their missionary will have Home MTC and which MTC they will report to. The answers to all of these questions are in the missionary portal.
Have your missionary log in at missionary.churchofjesuschrist.org, then click on “General Instructions Checklist” and scroll down to “MTC Experience.” This will explain the length of Home MTC as well as what MTC they will be heading to.
How to prepare your home for home MTC
Preparing your home for missionary training is a special time. Your missionary will need a quiet room, free from distractions while they train.
One good idea is to have your missionary “MTC” their room. They should remove and pack up personal items that might be distracting and simplify it to MTC level (basically a bed!).
It’s also important to talk to all of the members of your household about ways they can contribute to making your home a place where the Spirit will reside. Avoiding movies, shows, music and media that are questionable is a great start. You can also encourage them to be diligent about their own daily prayers and scripture reading.
I love the idea of helping younger siblings recognize the change that will happen in your home (and your missionary!) as your home transforms into a sacred place of training up the Lord’s missionaries.
Some other ways that you can prepare your missionary’s space for home MTC include:
- Hang up a picture of your local temple or the temple where they will serving
- Hang up their favorite picture of the Savior
- Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection
- Your missionary will need a computer camera or web camera (foreign missionaries might need the web camera for calls home!)
- Noise cancelling headphones with a microphone will also be helpful (and great for them to take on their mission for calls home!)
- Be aware of the background/lighting that will appear in Zoom
- If you can purchase or borrow a larger computer screen (or two!) that will help your missionary
- Provide paper or white board for taking notes
- Stock up on your missionary’s favorite snacks and drinks
- Plan meals for the 1-2 week Home MTC and include your missionary’s fav home and takeout meals. The Home MTC schedule allows for meal breaks, but having everything ready to go will allow you more time to chat with and learn from your missionary.
Things you might need to purchase for Home MTC
If you are on a budget, ask around to see if any returned missionaries or neighbors have these items you can borrow. Some of the things that you might need to purchase for your missionary’s Home MTC include:
- Noise cancelling headphones with microphone for computer (this pair is mid-range price wise and has amazing reviews)
- Webcam (if it isn’t already built into the computer). If your missionary is going foreign, you might want to send a webcam with them anyway for calls home.
- Scripture marking pencils/pens
Sample Home MTC Schedule
This sample Home MTC schedule is similar to one your son or daughter should receive within a few days of beginning Home MTC. Your missionary’s exact schedule (including times!) will depend on the teachers, time zones of missionaries in the district, and if a language is being learned.
This is just to give you an idea of what Home MTC might look like for your missionary.
What can my Missionary do for P-Day while at Home MTC?
P-day (or Preparation Day) while doing Home MTC will look a little different. Your missionary should begin with a normal wake-up time, exercise personal study and planning time. Other Home MTC P-day activity ideas:
- Clean room/bathroom
- Practice grocery shopping/cooking
- Go on a local day trip with family (museum, park etc)
- Go on a hike or walk
- Physical activity with friend or family like pickle ball, soccer, or tennis
- Special one-on-one outings with younger siblings
- Temple outings with siblings or other family
- Meet-up with district members who live in the same area (if applicable)
- Go out to eat at favorite restaurants
- Do a service project
- Visit with extended family members
- Church standard movies like The Other Side of Heaven if approved by the Stake President
Home MTC gives your family the chance to play a small part in getting your missionary ready and the chance feel the Spirit the accompanies missionaries.
With some forethought and simple preparation, you can help make your son or daughter’s Home MTC experience special for them and your whole family.
I hope these tips and information are helpful!
Do you have other Home MTC questions or tips? Please comment below!