Work on your testimony daily. Learn to discern the Holy Ghost. Allow your love
for the Lord to grow and to grow again. As your testimony and love of the Lord
grow, don't allow yourself to be embarrassed by them. Wear just a bit of
your heart on your sleeve.
As someone that spends several hours a week at the MTC this is good advice- I
usually watch Elders and Sisters spend the first several days and even weeks
trying to figure out why they are there and shedding their old life- most
finally do it to some extent- that is the miracle I suppose- but how much more
they would get from their service if they had just done a little more along the
way and been just a little more prepared for the fateful day they walk thru
Great article, Jason. I agree with every word you've written. I'm in
a position to see how new Missionaries adjust (or don't adjust) to their
assignments. This is right on the money.
Good Advise!Let me add to that from the perspective of a slightly older returned
missionary, father of two who have served missions and one daughter now serving,
and as one who has worked with literally hundreds of full-time missionaries over
a couple of decades "in the field" as a local unit ecclesiastical
leader. Youth is centered around competition (academics, sports, social, etc..)
and the structure of missions and missionary work can appeal to that conditioned
competitiveness. Do all you can to resist that! Sincere motive (Charity /
Christlike love --feeling for others some of what the Savior feels for them) is
contrary to the spirit of competition and carries incredible strength and power
beyond your own (grace) if you are able to access it. A competitive spirit will
greatly limit your access to that power. So, despite the natural man tendency,
don't be competitive. People are not numbers and are not yours. Don't
compete for advancement, position, attention, adulation, numbers. Strive to
develop Christlike characteristics (Chapter 6 PMG) and competition is not one of
those. Strive to adopt His characteristics and over the course of 2 years you
will experience intense joy, the ultimate sign of missionary success!
When the day for Younger Jason to depart looms immediate, the final admonition,
uttered quietly and personally between the two of you, might be; "Remember
what you learned in kindergarten, when you started to use crayons, 'Stay
between the lines and pay attention to what you are doing.' because
everything matters; pay attention to the slightest detail, because everything
matters; do the very best you can every day. Because everything matters to the
Your There to serve the Lord and serve others. It is not a vacation and it is
not about you.
After waking up in the early AM, get on your knees and fervently,sincerely have
your first personal conversation of the day with your loving, caring Heavenly
Father. Then listen for the answering comfort of the Holy Ghost before you get
dressed and start your day. If you don't already, concentrate on listening
the whole day with your heart, spirit and mind for the promptings of that 3rd
member of the godhead guiding and directing your actions and thoughts.As a
Stake and then Ward missionary while working with the full time missionaries I
have observed them receive inspiration while tracting, teaching and
contemplating what or who to contact next It's a beautiful sight to see
their faces clear as they receive direction from the HG. and then act upon it.
And then the results! Wow! People get converted and baptized and that is
REALLY when the fun of a mission happens, making all the hours of tracting and
teaching truly worth it.Concentrate on refining your communication with
Heavenly Father thro the HG.
I don't think turning monastic early is the most important thing. The most
important this is to remember that a mission is not about you. That's why
we're discouraged from having "farewells" and
"homecomings." Because the rah-rah of the hero-missionary culture sends
missionaries out into the field with an inflated sense of self rather than a
humble dedication to the Lord. It's great to be excited about missionaries
and missions, but once a missionary has gotten the call, it's time to
prepare mentally and spiritually by diminishing ourselves in humility rather
than aggrandizing ourselves in pride.I don't care if a
missionary has seen a movie or gone on a date within a week or two of the
mission. Those things aren't inherently bad or detrimental to mission
preparation. To everything there is a season. What you absolutely do need to
learn how to do, though, is cook some meals, launder and iron your clothes, and
learn as much about the place you're going to as you can. You don't
have to be a monk when you hit the MTC, but you should be a grownup.
It's your mission. Make the most of it.Don't let Mormons get to you --
you'll figure that out.
Don't care about the number of people you baptize, care about the people
you're talking to.
Missionaries are still people. I was bullied in the MTC, believe it or not, and
contemplated returning home. I am glad I didn't, but you have to remember
that people are still people.
Love the people and keep your sense of humor
Love the Lord, thy God, with all your heart, mind, body and spirit. This will
help you recognize the Spirit.Love your neighbor (contact,
companion, mission president, ward mission leader, zone leader, etc.) as
yourself. Love and compassion is what forms relationships.Don't waste an available opportunity to do both of the above.If you have a conflict with your companion, offer to give a blessing and ask
for one in return. You will be amazed at what God shares with you when you give
Don't tell him anything. Let him figure things out for himself.Why is there such a strong compulsion to "give advice" among LDS
Prospective missionary here.My response? Thank you. I totally agree
with what you say in your "prospective missionary" letter.
I tell every young person going on a mission to be obedient: be obedient to the
gospel, keep the covenants you've made in the temple, keep the commandments
and obey, obey, obey your priesthood leadership in the field. Sometimes rules
seem silly, why be home at 9? Fifteen minutes late isn't That big a deal
right? Wrong, rules are about discipline, obedience, safety and love, yes,
love. Keep every single rule whether it makes sense, whether you agree with it,
whether you understand it or not. There is safety, great safety to be found in
obedience. God loves you, so does your leadership, they show it by giving you
guidelines, rules to live by and you return that love by obeying them.
Socks! Bring plenty of socks.
Advice? That's easy. 1- Don't wimp out. All missions are
tough some of the time. View everything as an adventure. That way, nothing bad
can happen because it is part of the adventure. There are way too many wimps
these days. Don't be one of them.2- Don't feel guilty about
feeling homesick, discouraged, even depressed sometimes. Those feelings are
natural and likely. What matters is how you handle those feelings. 3- Get
a sense of humor. You'll need it in dealing with your companions, members,
people on the street... and yourself. 4- Be obedient. If you can't be
obedient, stay home and save your prospective companions from a lot of grief.
5- Work hard and don't worry about the results. You'll never
ever regret working hard on your mission.
Glad Andy mentioned being bullied in the MTC. Recognize there are many who have
not yet grown up. Find a way to stand up to them. You don't want to be the
tattle-tale, but don't take it, either, and don't allow it to be done
to another missionary. After a quick prayer for guidance, get up in the
bully's face and calmly say, "I recognize you are larger (or more
handsome, or cheekier or whatever) than me (or whomever is being bullied), Elder
or Sister XYZ, but I (or Elder XY, or Sister YZ) have been called of God to
serve. I think it's time we start serving. We can practice now, on each
other." Gator from FL also mentioned not letting the Mormons get
to you. This is also great advice. So many of us have a sense of superiority or
righteousness, and 'taint necessarily true.
Trial and error may be good for science, but if you've learned something,
teach others. This benefits us all. (Btw, I was instructed to do this in my
Patriarchal Blessing, which is why I'm here today, Scientist.) Advice needs to be given to congregations, too, that when a missionary ends
his/her mission early, it's not always a bad thing, or because of some evil
occurrence. Medical reasons cannot always be apparent until after a mission
begins. It is none of our business to know WHY it happens, only that someone we
love has returned. Treat them with the same love you would offer had they served
a full mission. About obedience...some rules DO need to be
questioned. Our son served in a large cosmopolitan area. One mission rule was
that they could not back the car up without a missionary standing behind it, to
make sure they didn't hit anything. This seemed sensible to the Mission
President, but didn't always work out in the field, especially when backing
into a carrefour full of fast-moving traffic! Never be too timid to question
authority. You may save a life.
RE Twin Lights: “Work on your testimony daily. Learn to *discern the Holy
Ghost”,The Holy Spirit/Ghost8(same Greek word) Bears witness
of Jesus and that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). The Jesus of the
Bible will send the Holy Spirit. If you don't have the right Jesus they
can't have the true Holy Spirit, and your testimony is invalid. E.g..,And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us insight to
know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.
This one(Jesus) is the true God and eternal life.(1 John 5:20) The
problem with sincerity is that it becomes works righteousness because the person
is saying "Because of my sincerity, God will listen to me." In other
words, because of what's in the person God will look favorably upon him.
God does not look into a person and find something good because there is no good
in anyone (Rom. 3:10-12; Eph. 2:3). The heart is deceitful above all
things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9)
Been there. Done that.Missionary Rule #1: Make SURE that before you
enter the MTC you know, from your OWN personal experience with the Lord, that
the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If you don't know it yet, you need
to find out before you get dropped off at the MTC curb. Once you accomplish
that....- work hard- work hard- work hard
(seriously....be up and doing, don't be a lazy slug or you're setting
a terrible example and will exemplify someone who does not know rule #1
above)- Bear down in pure testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ-
Bear testimony of the reality of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and all
that it entails- Eat food you don't want to eat- Smile a lot- Be happy: you are on the front line of the front lines in the war against
evil. You represent the Master....while on the Lord's errand there is
nothing you cannot accomplish if you have faith and are worthy- Be patient
with your companions (they should be trying to be patient with you)- Be
aware this will probably be the hardest thing you've ever doneGoodluck!
@ The Scientist - Provo, UT - "Don't tell him anything. Let him figure
things out for himself. Why is there such a strong compulsion to "give
advice" among LDS people?"You reeeeeeeally like stumbling
around in the dark, don't you?....
forget home for 2 years - roll up your sleaves and be ready to work REALLY hard.
If you can't do that then stay home.
Cohabitation is real and as a result there are no "golden families" to
teach and baptize. Be prepared to bring many individual, single adults into the
gospel and hope they can resist temptation. The field is drying up fast.
I left the Mormon Church a decade ago. I then moved to the west side of Atlanta.
That summer two sets of missionaries knocked on my door. I politely invited them
into my air-conditioned home (humid summer days in Georgia are brutal) and
offered a cold beverage and chat. We talked about their home and family and the
local area. Then they asked the qualifying questions. I warned
them. One set kept the topics light and promised to return at a later time.
Never did. The other set of companions bore testimony that they were
unshakable. So I began showing them events and quotes from LDS history, actual
passages from LDS sources. They denied. They multiplied complex explanations.
They were both clearly shaken. They left, promised to return, and
didn't.After that other missionaries tracted in the complex,
but they avoided my building. My advice to missionaries? The
internet is real and there is a lot of information you were not told in
seminary. Be ready to deal with it, or be ready to walk away.
if you baptise no-one, you have cared enough to go, and each of those whose
lives you have touched now have a reference point when they pass beyond the
veil. They will never forget you or the precious message you gave them.
why did you leave, Stormwalker. Dont tell me, it wasnt the Gospel but some of
the people.The Gospel still stands. Get back to the simple building block, take
your sacrament in your kitchen by yourself of a Sunday. Its between you and Him
and no-one else.
I shall never ever forget them. Am so grateful to the parents of a Canadian and
US missionary who have been in my ward. Have been really ill with ca. am still
alive but husband had a severe stroke. Was panicking re my large garden which
required turning and on the point of not going back to church. Have been a
member for thirty years.No ones fault, just the world. Went shopping and looked
up to hear my name as if from a distance and those two angels stood in front on
me again. Had already knocked at my door to visit a few days before. But - I had
been praying for help. Later that week was rationalising that it was better not
to go back. Knock at the door, there they stood again requesting to do service
on my garden. Am not giving up, those lads were sent. Missionaries you cannot
know fully yet what you do when you touch someones life. Ask to go in and bless
the house or children, then leave. You will be remembered forever.