[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nother one bites the dust! That’s right, the Argentina Missionary Training Center, or MTC, will be closing its doors for good in July. This is the fourth MTC to cease operation within the past year after facilities in Spain, Chile, and the Dominican Republic shuttered their doors.
Daniel Woodruff, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the decision in a press release:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced it will close its missionary training center located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, effective July 2019. Plans for future use of the facilities will be determined in coordination with local leaders. Following the closure, missionaries who would have attended this center will be trained in the Mexico and Brazil MTCs.”
The aforementioned MTC serves missionaries in most of the Southern Cone in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The MTC offers a three-week Spanish program for native speakers and a six-week Spanish program for English speakers.
As of 2018, Argentina is home to approximately 450,000 Church members over 76 stakes and 14 missions. As a result of the closure, missionaries called to one of the 30 missions throughout Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile will now start their training at Missionary Training Centers in either Mexico or Brazil. Whether requiring a native of Neuquen to fly to Mexico City for three weeks before flying back down to the mission field in Antofagasta is an effective use of resources is a discussion for another time.
There is no information yet as to what if anything the building will be used for in the future, but in our internal discussions at TWiM, we’ve decided it needs to become a diplomatic facility of some sort. So if your country is looking for representation in Argentina, call up Salt Lake.
Eleven Missionary Training Centers remain: Utah, Brazil, Colombia, England, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico City, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, South Africa. Of those, the campuses in Provo, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo are by far the largest; the others typically hold less than 100 missionaries at a time. Aside from the aforementioned closures, there were also MTCs in South Korea and Japan until roughly 10 years ago.
These changes shouldn’t come as a complete shock as the Church seems to be taking a closer look at its assets and determining where its resources can be used most effectively. The cutbacks reach beyond Missionary Training Centers. For example, within roughly the past year, the Church has also closed a handful of temples and visitors centers, the former for renovations and some of the latter permanently.
Just as mission boundaries need to be realigned from time to time, and some missions close altogether, we may not have seen the last MTC to fall or new ones to take their place. As numbers of missionaries fluctuate and Church membership expands in different areas of the world, might we see more changes like these, such as more missionary training centers in Africa, where the Church is experiencing the most growth? As the cliche goes, only time will tell.