I just love being connected to so many missionary mums through the LDS Missionary Moms Email Group. I hope that you have taken the opportunity to join one of the many groups out there if you have a missionary preparing, or already serving.
Recently Betty Pearson of LDS Missionary Moms shared with us some advice from various Mission and MTC Presidents on how we can best prepare our missionaries for the field. More particularly, on preparing them to enter the MTC. These are people who see our missionaries coming and going on a regular basis. As a result they have highlighted the key things that may be lacking in some of our missionaries preparations. So here you have a jump start.
While I don’t wish to share word for word what Betty wrote, I have taken the key points from it all and compiled them here for mums and their missionaries.
There is some VERY important information here that will assist in making both yours and your missionaries experience more positive and uplifting. PLEASE share this with other missionary mums and families so that we can assist these noble young men and women to fulfill their callings in the best way possible.
What parents can do to help their missionary prepare:
- Give them ‘separation from home and family’ experiences. If they don’t go to college prior to their mission, then find ways that will allow them to experience life and choices without your intervention. See my article ‘Helping Them Find Their Voice’
- Let them consistently do their own laundry before they leave. The MTC is a new enough experience for them to handle. If they also have to learn how to do laundry there, then it makes it that much harder to focus on their religious and spiritual training.
- Let them prepare meals at home before they leave. They may not have to do much of this on their mission, but be assured that they will have to do it at some stage.
- Teach them basic cleaning skills and provide opportunities for them to perform these duties at home before they leave.
- Teach them basic food hygiene habits. Having a son or daughter sick on a mission because they didn’t understand how to handle food safely can be distressing to any mother.
- Provide them with some basic and easy recipes that they can use on their mission. See my ‘Food Friday’ meal suggestions. This can have future marital benefits too
- Encourage them to exercise every day. A regular exercise regime is a big part of their mission routine. Best to get them used to it before they go.
- Provide some kind of routine in the home so that they are prepared for the strict routines of a mission. Key to a successful mission is time-management and self discipline, preparing them beforehand for this is going mean they are far more prepared for a rigorous mission routine.
- Remind your missionary that, if he/she is learning a new language, that they will learn that language most in the mission field and not in the MTC – so don’t stress if it all seems too hard.
In addition to the above things that parents can do to assist, there are some other ways that missionaries themselves can prepare:
- Memorise the 100 scripture mastery scriptures – know the keywords and the doctrine associated with each.
- Read the Book of Mormon through – absolute must.
- Be familiar with Preach My Gospel – at least read it through and understand its purpose. Attending a Mission Prep. class through Institute will help to familiarise the missionary with the doctrines it contains. Did you know that you can now get a pocket size copy of this?
- Know how to look up and search the scriptures using the footnotes, topical guide and Bible dictionary of the scriptures.
- Understand the culture of the mission or country they will be going to. They will not get any training for this in the MTC.
- Be a faithful Home Teacher or Visiting Teacher.
- Complete YM Duty to God, Eagle Scout or YW Personal Progress programs.
- Complete the 4-year seminary program.
- Spend time working with the local missionaries – tracting and teaching.
- Serve and volunteer within the church programs and in the community. Allows the missionary to give of themselves freely and willingly.
- Nurture the desire to serve. Read Doctrine and Covenants 4
- Study the scriptures daily with real intent and purpose.
- Pray daily for the guidance of the spirit to build testimony and conviction.
- Bear your testimony whenever possible. Your testimony will be the one thing that you will use daily on your mission. Get used to bearing it and make sure you understand what a pure testimony is.
The most common thing I hear from missionary mums and their missionaries is that their mission experience goes soooo… fast. Before they know it they are returning home. So for me, I think that the more a missionary is prepared before they go, the better the chance is that they are going to make the most of it for the short time they are out there.
For most of them, never in their lives will they again have such an opportunity for both personal growth and the influence in the lives of so many of the Lord’s children on earth. Preparation is key to the optimum success of both these things.
Some related links:
MTC - Missionary Training Center, Provo Utah – Take a virtual tour around the MTC, or just find out what it is all about.
An Army of Faith – Inside the MTC. Produced by KSL TV, here you will find a series of videos on what it is like to arrive at the MTC, live in the MTC and learn in the MTC. A must watch for every prospective missionary and their families.
Next time I will talk a bit about what our roles as parents are when our sons/daughters are leaving for service out in the field.