You’ve got you call! … So now what? Well, obviously post it on Facebook because a bit of shameless self-promotion won’t hurt your chances for more mission mail. But after the tripods are taken down, streamer strands brushed up and the “TA-DA” cake has long been digested, then what?

Obviously, you’ve googled your mission to death, and possibly stumbled upon a few of the thousands of videos at preparetoserve.com – And I hope you’ve liked the FacebookMissionGeek, but we both know that’s not going to carry your enthusiasm, every single day through the next 6, 10 or even 12 weeks until your arrival at the MTC. So where next? What now?

It’s not an easy time, I remember well. I was one of a huge percentage of missionaries who every year became a “Visa Waiter” (echoed with scary Dracula organ chord). I waited the long six months after receiving my call, until finally arriving at the MTC. So I had to get pretty creative to stay motivated.

 

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“It’s not that scary to wait six months, in fact it’s a blessing”. 

 

Now that’s a long time for someone who thought they’d have to wait a few weeks. But I was wrong, I wasn’t waiting at all. In fact, let me tell you something most people don’t understand. Your mission isn’t about to start; you’re not on the cusp of something great. In fact, your call letter marks the beginning of something really special – if you’ll let it – it’ll draw a line in the sand that you’ll never again return to. With that letter in hand you are standing with real purpose. And it’s purpose that makes the missionary.

This isn’t a dream anymore, it’s no longer a fantasy moment. It’s recorded in Heaven and you have been given time to qualify, prepare, refine and refocus for this ‘once in a lifetime’ moment. The time you have between your call letter arrival and your departure date isn’t an inconvenience at all, it’s a blessing designed to allow you time to grow into your call and fit into those missionary shoes.

 

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Exciting times? But what does it really mean?

 

At my time teaching at the MTC I met some excellent missionaries who spent months leading up to their departure date carefully preparing for their missions. They were not perfect in any way, they weren’t great teachers, they knew that there was still much to learn.  They’d come to terms with mission life and had started their mission routine. Many of the best missionaries I ever taught were ‘one year’ converts with little church experience and basic gospel comprehension, but they understood their purpose, they were teachable, they were already missionaries.

And then there were the few Elders and Sisters who didn’t become missionaries before arriving at the MTC. They planned their pre-mission schedules with as many ‘last time’ trips, ‘last time’ dates and ‘last time’ kisses as possible. Their parents literally pried their electronic devices off them at the gates to the MTC.

 

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 Can you really put it down for eighteen months to two years?

 

They probably thought that as a ‘seminary graduate’ they’d been preparing for their missions for years, and that was enough. I mean, “How hard can it be?” they said to themselves. “If my older brother or sister can do it, then it’ll be easy for me”. “That’s what the MTC is for, to prepare and train missionaries”, “I’ve got to worry about people not writing to me and my girlfriend/boyfriend staying committed”. Even though these people are ‘set apart’ as missionaries, have they become one yet?

Can you imagine what the first Elder and Sister took away from their 12 day MTC experience compared with the second? How do you think that affected their missions?

So, that’s what I’m sharing with you today… 20 smart mission moves to help you become a missionary and get the most out of your missionary experience.

Well, like everything worth acquiring, it takes work, but let’s be smart about it, I’m not a fan of working hard for working hard’s sake. I prefer working smart and that usually means talking to people who have already ‘been there, done that’. So, you’ve already started by reading this article. Not bad! You’re already on your way to becoming a missionary.

So here are 20 work-smart things you can do while you wait.

 

Watch “The District”

Watch videos here

I prefer season two over season one, but they are both great for getting anyone into the spirit of missionary work. And let’s be realistic, no one jumps up and down for joy at the concept of “Mission Prep”, but it doesn’t have to be all books and boring. I’d suggest watching one episode every couple of days. If you re-watch them, try taking notes. For example, divide your page into three and write “Inspired question”, “Invitation” and “Promised blessings”. Every time the missionaries do well in one of these areas, write it down and try and figure out why their technique was so effective. You now get to share (not steal, we’re all on the same team) their skills.

 

Work with the missionaries – make yourself available.

Read the Book of Mormon every day – Calculate how many days it will take you to read the Book of Mormon. Calculator here

 

Start to learn your language – Go to the App Store or Google Play.

 

Go to Mission Prep class at Institute.

Offer to teach in Sunday school or priesthood class.

Start a blog and use social media to create a buzz about your mission call and decision to go. This is a great way to become an example and role model for younger members of the ward and friends. It will also help to strengthen the faith of people around you and serve as a great record for your entire mission. Get family and friends to continue it after you leave with Missionary Mailbag Site Here (Honestly, this is amazing!)

 

Start to memorise some scriptures, just the reference at first. Here are 12 of my favourites to get you started.  Find them here

 

Save money, I know sometimes it’s not easy to find a temp position, so try farms, offices, parents, and friends. Ask members, many are willing to pay you to do yard work or home based stuff if they know you are saving for a mission. Be bold and ask for help if you need it, it’s for the best cause.

 

Visit friends and family who might not understand why you are going on a mission. Share with them your love for missionary work and why you are going. Teach them about what you are going to be doing. This is my favourite Mormon Message on Missionary Work (maybe because I trained Elder and Sister Going as a missionary couple… gosh I love these guys). Watch it here

 

Go home teaching and take the lead, ask for help and plan the lesson yourself.

 

Ask your bishop if you can speak in sacrament meetings more than once before you leave.

 

Go to events, meet people, introduce yourself to strangers. David A. Bednar recently said that one of the challenges our missionary force faces is their inability to interact socially with people they don’t know. In essence, social media creates less one-to-one, face-to-face interaction. Up your ‘social skills’. Don’t wrap yourself up in cotton wool; a mission is all about exposure.

 

Start doing it now 

It was never easy for me to get up at 6:30am, but the MTC experience would have been a bit easier if I’d had started before the day I arrived. Start trying to go to bed at 10:30pm and waking up at 6:30am. Or at least try 11pm – 7am and work at it.

A few more,

 

  • Understand the washing and drying symbols on a clothes label (I ruined a fabulous tie because I didn’t know)
  • Change a flat tyre on a bike 
  • Cook some simple foods and learn basic food safety 
  • Know how to use everything in a first aid kit 
  • Get a list of people’s emails you want to keep in contact with, including less active friends

 

Repent 

This might seem like an odd one. If you’ve got your mission call, it’s unlikely there are any ‘great sins’ hanging over you. And if there are, you must see your bishop. Do not rob yourself and everyone you teach of your best and the Lord’s spirit. D&C 42:27 “If ye have not the spirit, ye shall not teach” and you can’t have the spirit with you unless you are clean. I Cor 3:16-17.

The few Elders I’ve met who have gone out into the mission field unworthy say that “the weight of the sin will certainly catch up with you”, their journeys could have been so much more enjoyable, spiritual, exciting and life changing, if they’d talked with their bishops before hand.

Even Joseph Smith was told in D&C 3:7 “For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God”. I promise you that a clear, light conscience filled with faith and hope is worth more than anyone else’s opinion, esteem or approval. Please, if you’re going to do such a momentous thing as becoming a missionary, then please, do it right.

Take a look at the really short chapter of 2 Nephi 16 where Isaiah is being called by God and what he does ‘symbolically’ to qualify himself for the calling. Scripture Link

 

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 Isaiah’s sins being purged… why? Just take a look in Nephi. 

 

So no matter who we are or what we’ve already done, there’s still more to do. I promise you that everything you do leading up to your mission will determine how you serve and who you will become. A mission was the greatest adventure of my life and has had more impact than anything else I’ve done since. Every blessing has stemmed from this decision.

Work smart and make it count.

 

Other articles you might be interested in:

One Secret Every Missionary Needs to Know http://www.missiongeek.net/2014/12/one-secret-every-lds-missionary-needs-to-know/

 

 

 

 

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