At the Missionary Mall and the Sister Missionary Mall, we are all about preparation. We help future missionaries everyday choose what clothes, shoes, and bags that are going to work best in their particular missions, so naturally we are also here to help missionaries with their spiritual preparation. Alex Balinski at preparetoserve.com compiled this awesome list of creative things you can start doing today that will help you to prepare to be the best missionary that you can be!
- Memorize a scripture a day. Preach My Gospel suggests committing to memory passages of scripture that you can use in teaching. Memorize the 1st Vision, the missionary purpose, or some commonly used scriptures in your mission language (see PMG for ideas) Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a cabinet with friends, values and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world.” (Richard G. Scott, The Power of Scripture, Oct. 2011)
Learn from the RMs you admire. You can gain a wealth of valuable insights and advice by talking to returned missionaries who served in your mission. Learn interesting facts about the place where you have been called to serve. The more you know, the more you are able to understand and help the people you will serve. Over the last several years, we have interviewed hundreds of returned missionaries about their missions. Here is some advice they gave for those preparing to serve mission:
- ”Learn to LOVE the people. Learn to love each and every one one of them. The poor and the rich, the needy, the old and the young. Learn to pour out your heart and to really feel the love for them that the Lord has, so that you can really make a difference and do the things the Lord would do.” (Sunshine, Hungary Budapest Mission)
- "Go to the temple as often as you can to learn and to receive the Spirit and the power you can receive from just being in the House of the Lord.” (Lynne, Minnesota Minneapolis Mission)
- ”Continue to read the scriptures and know Preach My Gospel like you never have before. If you do that, you will be prepared to teach the gospel.” (Bruce, Brazil Manaus Mission)
- ”Study the Gospel. Take advantage of the time you have in seminary to study the scriptures. Learn them, understand them, gain a testimony of them.” (Dallyn, Australia Melbourne Mission)
- "First, read The Book of Mormon more consistently and gain a better testimony of it, and secondly, study Preach My Gospel more.” (Tommy, Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission)
- “Really work to have the Spirit. Then you don’t have to worry because you can trust God, and that He will take care of everything else.” (Alessandra, Washington DC North Mission)
- “Get out and work hard so you can be a good influence on others so that when you finish your mission, you can look back and feel like you have done a good job.” (T.C., Ohio-West Virginia Mission)
- “Contact every single person. Never let your mouth close. Get on every bus and contact every single person there. Shout your testimony to the ends of the earth. Make sure everyone knows your last name and who you represent. Don’t listen to any lazy people. Don’t let a lazy missionary, a lazy member, or a lazy family member get into your heart. Work until you drop.” (Jared, Mexico City South Mission)
- “Be spiritually prepared. Study the scriptures, search them for answers to your questions and questions of the people you teach.” (Rebekah, Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission)
- “The biggest piece of advice I’d give any missionary is to be a happy missionary and be excited about your life and the lives of those you teach.” (Ashley, Czech Prague Mission)
- “Pray like you have never prayed before, trust in God like you have never trusted in anyone your entire life and expect miracles! Go out there and work every day as if you were going to have a miracle that day and I promise that rain or shine, you will see miracles throughout the course of your mission.” (Parker, Washington Everett Mission)
- Practice talking to EVERYONE now. “Much of missionary work involves relating face-to-face with people, and unless you set the bar higher in the development of your social skills, you will find yourself underprepared. Let me offer a simple suggestion: get a job that involves interacting with people” (Elder L. Tom Perry, Raising the Bar, Oct. 2007). Unplug those earphones and connect with people.
- Have an occasional technology fast. Although you may not be completely cut off from technology on your mission with the new advances the Church is making, you will still need to exercise self-control in order to abide by mission rules. Occasionally disconnecting can be a great way to exercise self-discipline, identify any unhealthy addictions and dependencies you may have, and give you the opportunity to focus your full attention on face-to-face interaction in the real world. Being too immersed in technology can also sometimes distract you from listening to the Spirit, so taking a break may assist you in developing this vitally important skill.
- Explore new ways to handle stress. “You must recognize that missionary service is emotionally demanding. Your support system is going to be withdrawn from you as you leave home and go out into the world. Many of the ways you use now to cope with emotional stress-like hanging out with friends, going off by yourself, watching TV, or listening to music- are not allowed. There will be days of rejection and disappointment. Learn now about your emotional limits, and learn how to control your emotions under the circumstances you will face as a missionary” (Elder L. Tom Perry, Raising the Bar, Oct. 2007). Missions can be hard. Get to know yourself emotionally long before you enter the MTC and discover appropriate methods for coping under pressure.
- Become a great member missionary in your own ward. “The single more important thing you can do to prepare for a call to serve is to become a missionary long before you go on a mission” (Elder David A. Bednar, Becoming a Missionary, Oct. 2005). Ask your ward mission leader or the Bishop how you can help. Offer to go help visit less-active members or investigators. Fellowship others at church meetings and activities. Familiarize yourself with the ward mission plan and work with the missionaries.
- Take advantage of LDS tools to share the gospel. The Church has created some wonderful online tools to make sharing the gospel more easy and fun. Create your own mormon.org profile and familiarize yourself with the content on the Church’s website, “Hastening the Work of Salvation.”