We took a break over the weekend and stayed with my sister (Marge) in Lehi, UT. On Saturday we drove into Salt Lake City to do some shopping. We went to church with Marge on Sunday and then had dinner with my family – Marge, Catherine, Robert and his wife, Ann.
We returned to the MTC about 6:00 p.m. to attend a devotional. Elder Stephen Allen, the Managing Director of the Church Missionary Department was the speaker. I was wrong about last week’s devotional. The auditorium holds 2200 people, not 1000. The missionaries unable to attend in the auditorium were in overflow room on campus. Elder Allen spoke about the need to “have both feet in the MTC”. He spoke to the missionaries about how there will be times of discouragement, home sickness, and challenges, but that it will be worth it. It was really a very good meeting.
Today, April 29th, began the second week of training. We took a “field trip” to the Church Welfare Square in Salt Lake City. This facility is amazing. We began the tour at the Bishops' Storehouse. This is a Grocery Store - without a cash register.
The Bishops’ Storehouse is a facility that people in need can come and obtain food with a Bishop’s order form, or they can work for a food order. This is available to members and those who are not members of the Church. Included on the “Square” is:
a bakery that produces 3,500 loaves of bread each day; a cannery that produces about 6-7 products;
a grain elevator ( holds 16 million pounds of wheat); a milk processing plant that produces milk, cheese, and sour cream; and Deseret Industries Thrift Store that sells clothing and furniture manufactured in other Church facilities. We learned that 85% of the clothing donated to Deseret Industries is sent thought the Humanitarian Center to the needy in countries around the world. Also, 100% of every dollar contributed to the Church Fast Offering and to the Church Humanitarian Program is used for this operation.
It has been a full day and a very impressive day to learn more about Welfare Square and the distribution of food throughout the world. Following the tour we went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City for lunch and more training on Welfare issues and Employment Resources. The objective of the Welfare System is to practice “Pure Religion” as defined in the New Testament - to visit the fatherless and the widows, care for the poor and needy, and teach self-reliance. (James 1:27)