As I reflect on the past months I’ve spent preparing for my mission, I felt impressed to share what has helped me prepare for my mission. The advice I would give to any young sister or elder preparing to serve a mission (or anyone desiring to become a better member missionary) would be:
- If available, attend Temple Prep and Mission Prep classes in your ward. Many YSA wards offer these classes, and family wards (I believe) can offer them as well as requested. I attended Temple Prep before I received my endowment, and I chose to take Temple Prep again after I went through the temple, and I learned even more the second time and was able to share my testimony of the temple with those taking the class. They are great classes that helped me focus on preparing spiritually for my mission ahead of me.
- Go to the temple frequently. Go as often as you can. I am so grateful for the chance I’ve had to attend the temple myriad times this past semester at school and continually seek to understand His Plan. The temple shows us the grand panorama of the Plan of Salvation, and as we better understand the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and Christ’s Infinite Atonement, we will be better prepared to share our testimonies of Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel.
- Read the Book of Mormon every day. (And if you can, read the Book of Mormon in the language you are preparing to speak.) During the past few weeks I’ve read/listened to the Book of Mormon in Español on lds.org, with half of my computer screen with the English text of the Book of Mormon, and the other half with the Spanish text of the Book of Mormon. Then I followed along with the Español reader as he read the text, and if I didn’t know what a word meant, I could quickly glance over at the English text and get a feel for what the word could mean. This has helped me become familiar and review some Spanish structure, learn some important words, and practice my pronunciation before I head to the MTC for a complete language immersion. (I feel this could be very helpful for those learning a language they are not familiar with, as they can listen to the reader reading it and get a feel for the language.)
- Become familiar with the lessons in Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. As I’ve studied them, I’ve felt more comfortable with the teachings – it’s an amazing resource I’m excited to study with greater intensity throughout my mission and after.
- Don’t just pray – talk with your Father in Heaven. He is listening and can help guide you as you prepare for your mission. One friend reminded me of the importance of conversing with the Lord last week, and as I kneel in prayer and pour my heart out to the Lord, I feel closer to Him and better prepared to receive revelation in how I can best serve those with whom I come in contact.
- Remember, missionary work is not just for full-time missionaries. As I’ve attended BYU-Idaho, I’ve spoken with a few sisters who shared their experience being “shunned” since they decided not to serve a mission. It hurts me to see sisters pressured into serving a mission. Everyone’s mission is different, and some of the most important missionary work we can do as sisters is through motherhood and member missionary service. Anything that helps others come unto Christ is missionary work. Serving as a Sunday School teacher, Nursery worker, or Relief Society Pianist can be missionary work. Searching for names of family members, writing in a journal, serving in the temple – all of these things can be missionary work. I would highly recommend Clayton M Christensen’s book The Power of Everyday Missionaries. Christensen discusses how missionary work can be and should be a part of our life and very being. He shares experiences he and others have had as they share the gospel as a part of their everyday life. Power truly comes through members in the Church reaching out to those with whom they come in contact.
- Take care of your body. Stay active, eat nutritious foods, and get enough sleep. The Lord expects us to take care of our bodies as well as we can, and by staying active, fueling our bodies with the nutrients it needs, and giving it sufficient rest, we will have a greater capacity to serve. While at school I followed the morning missionary schedule (wakeup 6:30am, prayer, exercise, prepare for the day, study scriptures, etc.). It helped my body adjust to the morning hours a little easier.
- Study the words of the living Prophet and other general authorities. General Conference is amazing for this. If anyone asks us what they prophet is saying, we can share with them what he’s said recently. This is one thing I wish I had spent more time doing.
Best of luck to anyone preparing now! If you have any questions, write me and I’d be happy to help in whatever way I can. 🙂
Con muchos oraciones,
Picture source: https://www.lds.org/media-library/images?lang=eng, http://deseretbook.com/Power-Everyday-Missionaries-Clayton-M-Christensen/i/5097487, and http://deseretbook.com/Preach-My-Gospel-Guide-Missionary-Service-Spiral-Bound-LDS-Distribution-Center/i/4923830