Advice to New Missionaries and their Mums

How ready is your missionary for the MTC experience…or a mission for that matter?

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:

  1. 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’
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Teach them basic cleaning skills and provide opportunities for them to perform these duties at home before they leave.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 🙂
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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:

Knowledge Preparation:

  1. Memorise the 100 scripture mastery scriptures – know the keywords and the doctrine associated with each.
  2. Read the Book of Mormon through – absolute must.
  3. 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?
  4. Know how to look up and search the scriptures using the footnotes, topical guide and Bible dictionary of the scriptures.
  5. Understand the culture of the mission or country they will be going to. They will not get any training for this in the MTC.

Experience Preparation:

  1. Be a faithful Home Teacher or Visiting Teacher.
  2. Complete YM Duty to God, Eagle Scout  or YW Personal Progress programs.
  3. Complete the 4-year seminary program.
  4. Spend time working with the local missionaries – tracting and teaching.
  5. Serve and volunteer within the church programs and in the community. Allows the missionary to give of themselves freely and willingly.

Spiritual Preparation:

  1. Nurture the desire to serve. Read Doctrine and Covenants 4
  2. Study the scriptures daily with real intent and purpose.
  3. Pray daily for the guidance of the spirit to build testimony and conviction.
  4. 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.

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The 14 Day Challenge

For those of you who are not a friend of Missionary Mums Meeting Place on Facebook, you might be interested to know that for the last 14 days I have been sharing one idea a day on how to join the online conversation.

If you would like to join with 56 other people, then you are welcome to ‘Like’ the Missionary Mums Meeting Place Facebook Page. You can follow the link HERE, or by clicking the ‘Like’ button on the menu bar on the right side of the ‘Homepage’ on this site. That way you can get any added updates there automatically, as well as keep up to date with posts here.

But, for the benefit of all I have decided to share the 14 ideas here on my blog.

Challenge Day 1: First challenge is to share my ‘What to Share’ post with your FB friends. If you are not comfortable sharing it with all your friends, then you can choose who to share it with by selecting the ‘share on a friends timeline’ option. That way you can select specific people to share it with.

Challenge Day 2: Another FB share. A touching focus on what fathers can do to raise their daughters. Share this short video with your FB friends by clicking the ‘share’ button and leaving a short message about how it makes you feel. *Don’t forget to watch it first 😉

Challenge Day 3: The article in Mormon Midrashim, ‘Freedom and Faith’, has relevance to those of us who celebrate our freedom every day (I love the name ‘Mormon Midrashim’, it evokes the feeling of two cultures meeting, both so different in many ways, but both connected in so many other ways).

Please have a read of it and if you are brave enough post a comment at the end of it. And don’t forget to share it on your facebook profile…

Challenge Day 4: Todays challenge is really simple. Just take a look at this very short video on being genuine when answering questions about the church. But don’t forget to share it with those friends who you think might like to watch it too.

For my Aussie friends, some of you might recognise Bro. Mike Otterson from years gone past. He is currently the Managing Director of the Public Affairs Department for the Church.

Challenge Day 5: Share this video with family and friends who might need it…

Challenge Day 6: Have you ever struggled with how to explain the Plan of Salvation to someone you thought might be ready to hear it? Todays challenge takes you to a blog post that gives a wonderful explanation of this great plan of happiness. Whether it be for your own benefit or the benefit of someone else, this post is well worth exploring, and makes for a great Sunday read, as Katheryn offers lots of extra links to support her writing.

Thanks to one of my favourite LDS bloggers, Kathryn Skaggs, at the popular ‘A Well-Behaved Mormon Women’ Blog.

Challenge Day 7: This video is close to my heart as I only just recently experienced something similar with my beautiful YW at church (You can read about my experience at Missionary Work of a Different Kind).

If you have a daughter who is looking for a 10 hour project for her Personal Progress, then here is a great idea. But don’t forget to share it with some of your other friends and family. It involves missionary work of a different kind.

Challenge Day 8: This one is easy. Visit and then share the blog post ‘Joining the Conversation – What to Share cont.’. Looking more in depth at what to share when starting the conversation, and what to share when adding to an existing conversation.

Challenge Day 9: I have just added this link to my most recent ‘Joining the Conversation’ post – ‘What to Share continued..’. So thought it would also make a good addition to my 14 day challenge to join the conversation online.

Heather Farrell shares a heartwarming story on her blog, ‘My Testimony of The Book of Mormon’, about a missed opportunity to share her testimony of the Book of Mormon. Her feelings come from the heart and it carries a beautiful spirit.

Challenge Day 10: Today’s challenge is just for fun. I’m sharing an ‘I’m a Mormon’ video by my friend Sarah. These days Sarah seems to pop up on many LDS blogs since the Church released their mormon.org widget for bloggers. She is wonderful, bubbly, and can talk the lid off an iron kettle if you let her. I have been lucky enough to work with Sarah on a couple of stake and multi-stake events, and have always enjoyed feeling her energy.

Here is the video that will show, and below is the link to the widget download.

For Aussies, you will love it and feel at home with Sarah. For my other friends…welcome to Australia 😉

If you have a blog and would like to include Sarah’s video on it, then here is a link to the widget download:

Challenge Day 11: Question – Have you created an LDS profile on Mormonn.org? As of this week the Church will be beginning a campaign to share many of the current LDS profiles on Twitter. This will allow, “… people all over the world to read the testimonies of members of the Church who have shared their beliefs, interests, and experiences through Mormon.org” (from an email we received this week informing us of this move).

So, today there are 2 things to do.
1. If you have not created a profile on Mormon.org, then visit there and do so.
2. If you Tweet, then sign up to follow Mormon.org and keep an eye out for some of these profiles so you can re-tweet them.

Challenge Day 12: So here is a real life, of the moment opportunity. Yesterday the Bloomberg Business week published an extremely biased article about how the church handles its finances. For some, even the image they used on the front cover of their publication was offensive in the way they manipulated a sacred event in our history to sensationalise the story. This article is an example of how people can really get things wrong.

In response, Katherine Skaggs of ‘A Well Behaved Mormon Women’ blog has offered a balanced view to this article. As usual, she does a wonderful job of it. Including adding the churches view on financial independence.

So, here is your challenge (you can do one of either, or both):

1. Visit Katherine’s blog and leave a comment so that you can join the conversation there.

2. If you are feeling really confident, visit the Bloomsberg Business Week online, and make a comment there about how you feel in regards to their article.

Remember, if you are not sure how to approach your response, visit my blog post on ‘What to Share’ when joining the conversation.

Challenge Day 13: Almost to the end of our 14 day challenge to join the conversation. Todays challenge involves something very simple. Go to the ‘Missionary Mums Meeting Place’ FB page. If you haven’t liked the page yet, then go ahead and do that. If you have, then at the top of the page, just beside the ‘LIKE’ button, there is a drop down menu that offers you a chance to share the MMM FB page with your friends.

Today’s challenge is to invite, or ‘share’, this page with those of your friends who you think would benefit from it. There might be some people on your friends list who would be interested in some of the ideas that I have shared here. They don’t necessarily have to be a mother of a missionary, but just someone who you think would like what is on offer. If each of you invited just one friend to join the group, that would more than double our numbers.

Go ahead…you know you want to…Thanks for taking the time to follow my 14 day challenge.

Challenge Day 14: Well, this is it. The last day. I hope that someone out there has enjoyed one or many of the challenges. It is hard to tell from my end, I don’t get a lot of feedback. So todays challenge is to let me know what you think. I am pretty thick skinned, so I can take just about anything. But most of all, I would love to have you just say hi and even tell me if you were brave enough to take any of the challenges.