D&C 1:38– “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”
In February of 2012, I wrote in my journal “I am going on a mission!” I had no idea the age change would come 8 months later, and that I no longer had 2 years to prepare, but I could now go anytime I wanted. I found myself wondering “Am I ready?” I felt like I’d had enough life experience (at 19 years old) to serve well, and help others come unto Christ per the missionary purpose, but I still felt uncertain. Why did I declare “I am going!” if I wasn’t actually ready? Who knows, but long story short since I’ve made the necessary steps and entered the mission field, I have some advice and real experience to share with ya’ll:
Number 1- Study Preach My Gospel. It will teach you all you need to know about the Doctrine. It was hand crafted to make this work fun, and as stress free, and easy as it possibly can be, so do yourself a favor, and make your “missionary mile” easier by studying the manual!
Number 2- Live the gospel with exactness, and be exactly obedient. How can you ever expect anyone to gain a testimony of the truths you are teaching if you don’t have a true testimony of it yourself, because you don’t live it? How can we extend commitments to people if we our selves are not willing to keep commitments to the Lord and others? Exact obedience to all the rules and guidelines we have as missionaries truly bring miracles into the work, so strive for that!
Number 3- Be yourself. The worst thing anyone in the field could do to themselves is feel they need to be something or someone they are not. You were called of God. No one else can do what you do, the way you do it, or touch people’s hearts the way you can.
In Moroni 10 we are taught about spiritual gifts, and in Matthew 5:14-16 we are taught that we should not hide our talents. The Lord gives us our natural gifts and talents that we may magnify our calling, whatever it may be. Since I’ve been on a mission, I have gotten a slight taste of what it must feel like to be a parent, and to be God (to some infinitesimal degree!) who watches their children choose lives of unnecessary pain, hardship, and just down right misery because they have allowed Satan to blind them to their divine heritage, and divine nature.
Number 4- Love the people. Feel for them, so you can help them progress. Most of those you find will have no clue that God loves them personally, and as a Father. They don’t understand the Atonement, or that there is always hope to change and become their best. Make it your business to remind your brothers and sisters of their divinity. Let them know you want to be with them in the Celestial kingdom someday! Empathize with them by trying to imagine what they feel like.
Number 5- Push yourself. It is impossible to grow and become your best self if you never leave your comfort zone, so set goals and make plans (as taught in Ch 8 of Preach My Gospel) to be a better version of yourself by the end of your mission.
Whether you want to admit it or not, missions are hard. My “Mission Mom”, Sister Craig said “Hard things aren’t bad, they’re just hard.” I testify that that is the truth. There is nothing wrong with trials, or growth, or change. There is however, a problem when we act like we’re victims, and we don’t do our part to grow and become stronger so we can continue to endure to the end. I promise you, that as you strive to live the gospel, be obedient, be yourself, love the people, and push it hard… You will not only have a successful mission, but you’ll have a firm testimony that what you are teaching is true and you will feel successful. I am so grateful to be a missionary, and to learn so many helpful “tips and tricks” to endure my “mile” of life successfully. I know all we experience is for our growth and benefit, and that we can do so much to help those around us along the way. Stay strong, and have a Merry Christmas…