Personal Musings on Preparing for My Mission

It’s February already and out of the blue I can actually start counting the weeks before our three year adventure will begin. What happened to the idea that the new year would bring me some breathing space after a hectic Christmas and new year?

We are immersed in endless emails, phone calls, medical appointments and skype sessions, with various people and authorities, macro-managing all aspects of our future mission life. Big details which will affect us for the duration of our service.

But this morning I found myself lying in bed micro-managing our experience. The big things seem easy compared to the little things that will have to change. So here are two lists I have put together, of things that will have to change.

The Obvious things:

  1. Read the scriptures EVERY day. Shock, I can hear you say to yourself, that any future mission presidents wife would not be reading the scriptures every day! But in reality I live a real life, and sometimes scripture study loses out to other things. But not now!
  2. Know the scriptures. Oh for the days of my proselyting mission where I could quote almost all the relevant scriptures in the discussions and some…
  3. Always have a two minute talk prepared. Ask any mission presidents wife and this will be their #1 recommendation.
  4. Always have a smile for the missionaries. Not much to change here, I always have a smile for the missionaries. But there may be days where it takes a bit more effort.
  5. Stop talking long enough so my husband can say a few words. It’s become most obvious in the last few weeks (mostly during our Mission Presidents tutoring sessions) that I love to talk and share my ideas and thoughts. Great, but I have to remember that my husband is a little more thoughtful and considers his words more carefully before speaking. I need to learn to take a breath in between sharing so he can share….
  6. Hold myself back from wanting to hang out with the sister missionaries ALL the time. Sister missionaries are the coolest people on earth and I just want to hang out with them…is that such a bad thing for a mission presidents wife?

The Less Obvious Things:

  1. Start carrying a handbag. Currently my chosen form of personal item transportation is my pocket – one for my phone and the other for my credit card and keys. This will have to change in order to carry all those extra emergency supplies…make up, Kleenex, water, nail file, hand sanitiser, moisturiser, electronic devices, hair brush, mirror….eek, possibly the whole contents of my bathroom.
  2. Wear make up most days. From the day we received our call I knew that I would have to step up my personal presentation. I don’t mean to transform myself into model status, but definitely have to focus more on the personal grooming.
  3. Brushing my hair every morning. Hahaaaaa…thought this might get your attention. I am guilty of neglecting this on the odd day where I don’t need to go out..bit like the next one too.
  4. No more PJ only days. It will be three years before I get to have one of these…
  5. Remembering people’s names. Show me a face and I will forever remember it. But give me a name and I struggle. What is the trick to remembering names? I’m sure any of the brethren could tutor me in this…they are amazing.
  6. Learning to ‘glow’ not sweat. Humidity and I just don’t click. This one is going to be tough for three years in the Philippines. How am I ever going to keep that make up on? Note to self – definitely need that make up in my handbag
  7. Wear practical shoes. I’ve always lived a little on the edge when it comes to shoes. Flip flops are my current choice of footwear. But I remember when I served my proselyting mission I splurged on a bright pink pair of suede shoes for tracting in (soon to be replaced by a more practical black pair – not because of their edginess, but because they just couldn’t live up to the rigors). For that day and age those shoes were considered radical…I put it down to the day my mum caved in to me when I was about 7 and bought me a shiny pair of red patent leather shoes instead of the more practical black buckle ones. Ruined me for life 😦

I hope my musings haven’t worried you too much. Just wanted to share some of the thought patterns, and funnier side, of my mission preparations.

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The Call of the Future

Missionary Training Center

Do you feel it in the air? It’s thick with anticipation and excitement. At church, at home, lunching with friends, through email, phone and text, and of course all over Facebook. It’s the call of the future…Everyone is affected by it, so if you are not preparing now then it’s time to start.

Just this morning I read of several new missionary announcements on Facebook and received an email from a friend revealing her daughter’s call to the Tokyo, Japan Mission. This is a daily experience for me, as I am sure it is for you. It seems the call has gone out and the challenge has been accepted…on a mass scale.

It’s exciting!

In a previous post I talked about the qualities required of a missionary…Faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God (D&C 4:5). So today I want to add to that and suggest some ways that we can, as families, help prepare our young men and women develop those qualities and be able to answer the call of the future.

Elder HollandParents, families and all in the church, have been summoned to participate as a joint effort. Elder Holland made it clear on October 6th 2012 when he stated, “As part of the pre mission preparation, we are going to ask everyone to be working earlier and sooner…”

In our own home, as we prepare our 17-year-old son for this phase of his life, we have been searching out the most effective ways to equip him with the resources and attitudes necessary to leave in less than a year. Notice how I suggest here that it is ‘we’ and not just ‘he’ that is involved in this preparation.

With our daughter not long off her mission, we decided as a family to explore the Preach My Gospel manual in our FHE lessons. Following the model of the youth teaching curriculum (the model of the Saviour’s teaching), we take turns in presenting some of the gospel principles from the manual. I must admit it has been a struggle at times to get everyone involved…but fun. Playing the investigator and trying to come up with some interesting questions for the teacher is a highlight. But most of all it’s definitely helping to prepare our future missionary son.

Who is ‘everyone’?

If you feel you are exempt as a mother or father of very young children, then think again…remember what Elder Holland said? “…everyone to be working earlier and sooner…”

Preach My GospelToday I read a great blog post by an amazing LDS mum, and I believe she struck upon gold while struggling with some choices about teaching her young children. In the process of decision-making she was prompted several times to explore Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel,

“I wanted to teach them letters, study world cultures, geography, study music, art, history, numbers, and go on field trips.

“So ignored the prompting and delved back into my hunt for just the right educational curriculum. My feelings of unease increased and so I went back to my knees. Again, the same answer, “Chapter 6, Christ-like Attributes. Once a week on Family Home Evening isn’t enough, they need it every day.”

“But God, that chapter really isn’t designed for 4-year-olds how am I going to teach that? But I get the idea you want me to teach them virtues, right? Okay, I can do that.””

                                           —‘Moms Missionary Training Center’ – Women in the Scriptures

Richard G. Scott

Richard G. Scott set forth the challenge when outlining the power of Preach My Gospel,

I encourage you to find out how this extraordinary resource can help in your missionary efforts, either as a parent preparing a child for a mission, a Church leader helping new converts, a member sharing the gospel, or an individual getting ready to serve.

                                    April 2005 General Conference

For The Strength of YouthAnother mother suggested that we have all the resources at hand, but may not recognize it. Her recommendation was to use the principles taught in the For The Strength of Youth booklet…a great idea for our youth. For several years as our family grew we would spend 10 minutes each Monday night exploring and discussing a different section of this booklet. At the very beginning of the book a promise is given by the First Presidency,

“We promise that as you keep the covenants you have made and these standards, you will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, your faith and testimony will grow stronger, and you will enjoy increasing happiness.”

                                        For The Strength of Youth

Certainly nothing to be ignored…don’t we all hope and pray this for our children?

Come Follow Me CurriculumThe new Sunday school and youth curriculum is a wonderful model for mum’s and dad’s to follow in Family Home Evenings and other learning sessions. If you haven’t checked out the ’Come Follow Me’ website, then it is a must. It includes ideas and methods of teaching that we can all use at home and at church.

Would it surprise you if I told you that parents are an important part of the success of this youth teaching program as it prepares them for missionary service? How much do you pattern your FHE lessons around the lessons they are having in Sunday School and Youth classes each month?

English: Name tags of two of . Created by Saaby.

Then of course, for those young men and young women who are on threshold of their future, there is the inspired institute program of Mission Prep classes. It’s here that they will work together to practice and implement much of the missionary specific principles contained in the Preach My Gospel manual.

All the resources are there at our fingertips to help in getting these precious young men and women prepared for service. It’s now time for all of us to answer the call of the future…