In the near future, My Plan, a new online course designed to strengthen returning full-time missionaries, will become available at myplan.lds.org and on the Missionary Portal. Beginning from the time they receive a mission call, and throughout their service, missionaries will use My Plan to set and achieve goals and consider how a mission can become a spiritual foundation for a righteous, successful life. As missionaries complete their service, they will use My Plan to finalize a post-mission plan that can be shared with parents and leaders. A printable, workbook version of the course will be available for areas where Internet technology is less prevalent.
Guidelines for Mission Presidents and Full-Time Missionaries
1. My Plan includes eight learning experiences. The first is completed after receiving a mission call but prior to arriving at the MTC, the second is completed at either one year in the field (for elders) or nine months (for sisters), and the remaining six experiences are completed during the final six-week transfer in the mission field (one experience per week). As My Plan is implemented, missionaries who have already passed the appropriate time for participating in the first two learning experiences should only complete the learning experiences intended for the final transfer.
2. Each My Plan learning experience should be completed during one hour of personal study time. Missionaries can complete the My Plan experiences wherever they typically go for Internet access, in Church meetinghouses, libraries, Internet cafés, or other approved locations. Companions who are not currently participating in the My Plan learning experiences should complete their own personal study while their companion works on My Plan. As is typical, missionaries should ensure that they can always see their companion’s device or computer screen.
3. As missionaries complete the My Plan learning experiences, their post-mission plan is automatically shared with their mission president through the Mission President’s Portal. Mission presidents should review each plan and provide counsel during release interviews. The My Plan resources should enliven these experiences and help mission presidents in their efforts to “offer inspired counsel” to departing missionaries (see Mission President’s Handbook, 66).
Guidelines for Parents and Local Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders
1. My Plan includes eight learning experiences. The first is completed after receiving a mission call but prior to arriving at the MTC. Prospective missionaries will be notified of their responsibility to complete the first learning experience as part of their mission call packet. Parents should encourage completion of the learning experience and invite their prospective missionaries to share the goals and plans they have created. Stake presidents, or someone they designate, should follow up with prospective missionaries to ensure completion of the first learning experience prior to departure. In areas where prospective missionaries and their families do not have Internet access, stake presidents will be able to download and print the first learning experience for them at myplan.lds.org. In these cases, missionaries should bring their printed copy of the first learning experience with them to the MTC.
2. As they complete their post-mission plans at the end of their missions, missionaries are invited to share those plans with their parents, home stake presidents, and bishops. As their children invite them to review their plans, parents should prayerfully and respectfully provide counsel and support. Stake presidents should review and reference post-mission plans they receive in returning missionary interviews (see Handbook 1, 4.10.3). As appropriate, bishops may also review and provide counsel on post-mission plans they receive.
3. Returned missionaries are spiritually strengthened when parents and stake and ward leaders nurture them and follow up on the goals and commitments they have made. Stake presidents and bishops should prayerfully consider how to watch over and minister to returned missionaries in their respective areas. As desired, stake presidents may designate a member of the stake presidency or a high councilor to give specific oversight to ministering to returned missionaries. At the ward level, Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies should take an especially active role in watching over returned missionaries within their organizations.
4. Every Church member can play a role in encouraging returning missionaries toward continued conversion and service. Stake and ward leaders should encourage members to draw on their talents, resources, and experiences to support recently returned missionaries in accomplishing their goals.