Elder Albright is from Crofton, Maryland, and graduated from high school in 2010. He attended Brigham Young University until he received his call to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He reported to the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center (MTC) on June 15, 2011. Because John didn't have to learn a new language, he was only in the MTC until the beginning of July, then he was off to New Mexico.
John had the unique opportunity of entering the MTC the same day as his sister, Emily, who was called to serve in the Alabama Birmingham Mission. Sister Albright just returned home last month, after 18 months of service in Alabama. We'll ask her to share her experience with us in a later post.
|Elder John and Sister Emily Albright, entering the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah.|
It's become a tradition for missionaries to take a photo opportunity at the MTC map, pointing to the place where they have been called to serve.
|Neck ties - The Spice of Life|
|Elder Albright's super organized, and dreadfully boring closet :)|
When missionaries enter the "mission field", they are assigned a trainer to help them learn the ropes. A trainer is a missionary who has been out for a while and knows the area and the people.
"Companionships" are two or three missionaries who are assigned to work (and live) together for a period of time ranging from 6 weeks to many months. During the course of one's missionary service, they can have anywhere from 6 to 15 companions, or more. Learning to work and live with someone else, especially for those young people who have never lived away from home, can be one of the most challenging parts of being a missionary. But everyone will agree that learning to serve and work together is a valuable life lesson.
Within a month of arriving in New Mexico, Elder Albright and his trainer were able to celebrate the baptisms of two new members of the church in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Celebrating another baptism! Elder Albright is wearing a white jumpsuit because he will be performing the baptism. To baptize someone into Christ's church, the Savior taught that you must hold the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood was revealed to Moses, and deals with the temporal and outward law of the Gospel. It holds the keys of the ministering of angels, of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored to the earth on 15 May 1829 by the angel, John the Baptist. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are baptized by immersion, in the same manner that John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
While missionaries are serving, it's not all work and no play. Once a week they have a "Preparation Day" ("P-Day" for short), where they can dress in casual clothes, do their laundry, go grocery shopping, and engage in wholesome activities like hiking and low impact sports. Missionaries do not date, watch television, go to the movies, or swim. There are also some restrictions on the kinds of music they listen to, and they usually only call home (or Skype) on Mother's Day and Christmas. Despite the limitations, missionaries usually find plenty of fun things to do with their companions on P-Day.
|Even on P-Day, missionaries wear their Missionary Name Tag.|
|Shocking! It SNOWS in New Mexico!|
|Just because they're missionaries, doesn't mean they aren't human. Elder Albright stops for a photo with the incredible Michael Jordan!|