Posted on April 20 2018
Awaiting a mission call can be difficult. We've all been there. You've made the decision, you've done the interviews, you've gone to the doctors appointments and now your papers are finally sent it and THEN... you wait. And wait. Sometimes the waiting can seem like forever. Some receive their calls within 2 weeks while others can wait up to 4 months to get their call. So what can you do to fill your time as you anxiously await that big, beautiful white envelope to arrive in your mailbox? Well here are some ideas that not only fill your time but also help you prepare for the days that follow the arrival of the call.
1. Study the scriptures- Read the Book of Mormon through you haven't yet, and if you have, do it again! Getting in the habit of daily morning study will help with an easier transition into the mission schedule. Missionaries spend 1 hour every morning in personal study, followed by an additional hour spent in companionship study. If a missionary is learning a language they will have another hour of study available after companionship study to focus solely on the language they are to learn. Take the time to get familiar with Preach My Gospel. Start a topical study of the lessons section, found on pages 31-88. You can purchase a copy of Preach My gospel from the Church Distribution Center at this link here. (Or purchase the mini version here.) You will teach these lessons daily while out in the mission field. The more familiar you are with them now the more comfortable you will be when the time comes for you to teach others.
2. Read the other books in the Missionary Reference Library- There are four books in the missionary reference Library; Our Search for Happiness, True to the Faith, Jesus the Christ and Our Heritage. You can find the set here on the Deseret Book website or here on the lds.org store site. (If you live near a Deseret Industries you can almost always find these books sold there for a few dollars.) These books are a wonderful resource about church doctrine that is recommended reading for missionaries while on their missions. Starting early reading these books is never a bad idea.
3. Ask the missionaries how you can help- Get in as many opportunities you can to go on split with the missionaries in your area. Missionaries are always happy to have members come with them to teaching appointments. Added testimony is always welcome during lessons. Having a member present during lessons also allows investigators to see an example of a member who is living their regular life--unlike the missionaries who are dedicating every moment to the Lord. Members are easier to relate to sometimes and they offer someone to help fellowship right from the very beginning.
4. Attend the temple often- If you are blessed to have a temple nearby take advantage of it and attend the temple often. You will have the opportunity to attend the temple a few times while in the MTC if you are there for more than 1 week. After that, unless you are assigned in an area near a temple, you won't have the opportunity to attend much while you are serving.
5. Ask Your Ward Mission Leader How you Can Help- Ward Mission Leaders are always looking for members who can help fellowship less active members or recent converts. Ask how you can help and they will be happy to put you to work.
6. Talk to Everyone You See- This may seem silly at first but learning the skill of talking to anyone you come in contact with is a true skill and one that is important for missionaries. You are going to talk to people every day that you don't know and often you are the person who is going to have to make the initial start to the conversation. You talk to people on the street, other missionaries, and ward members daily. Also, the more you connect with the members of your ward the more willing they are to usually trust you with their friends and family members because they can feel that you genuinely care for people. Also, don't just talk to talk, learn to ask people about their lives and learn to listen to what is important to them. You'll also ask lots of people every day what their name is. Learn tricks to memorize people's names. It will help you during your service.
7. Starting to Learn Your Mission Language Now- If you are called to teach in a different language than your native language take advantage of learning the language early. Don't be too concerned about the details of the language, you will learn quickly in the MTC about all the grammar rules, but start simply by reading the Book of Mormon side by side in the language. Don't worry about understanding but be familiar with the letters and characters. Getting familiar with the way the language looks and sounds can be incredible helpful. Some languages are available to listen to in General Conference. If talks are available in your mission language listen to the speakers and follow along with the written talk as they speak.
8. Study the Area Where you are Serving- Research the area you are called to. Even if it is state side, research it. Get to know about the culture. Learn about what makes the people who they are. This can be incredibly helpful in becoming close to the people you will serve.
Often I have heard missionaries who are waiting for their call speak of doubting whether or not they should serve anymore. They almost always talk about how excited they had been and how strongly they felt they should serve initially but now that they are waiting they are having mixed thoughts and feelings. I don't think this is a coincidence. Waiting for a call is much like when an investigator sets a baptismal date and the ball in motion to be baptized. The adversary immediately starts working on that investigator and often you hear that investigators have incredibly hard things they experienced that seemed to come out of nowhere once their baptismal date was set. I believe the same happens with missionaries. Satan and his angels know how much good influence each and every missionary has in the field. Even if the missionary never has one baptism while they are out, they plant dozens of "seeds" on a daily basis and invite people daily to come unto Christ. Of course he would do all in his power to keep that missionary from influencing other people. A talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland brought comfort to many missionaries while serving. The talk is entitled, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence". My favorite part of this talk talks about when you may receive doubts after getting revelation to serve.
Opposition turns up almost any place something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. It certainly happens in matters of love and marriage. It can occur in situations related to your family, Church callings, or career.
With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.
The full talk can be found here. If you follow these suggestions while waiting for your call and follow Elder Holland's advice if doubts arise you will be well prepared when you call comes. Congratulations on deciding to serve! You will never regret it.