Missionary Preparation


Start Now!

Some skills that you will often use on your mission you can start learning now. Don’t delay learning these skills because they will come in very useful on your mission.

Accept speaking assignments. When asked to be the youth speaker in your ward, accept the assignment and learn how to prepare a good talk. You’ll have many opportunities to speak on your mission.

Practice memorizing. Learning how to memorize as you are growing up will help when you are faced with learning discussions and scriptures.

Learn to meet people politely. On your mission, you will make many new acquaintances. Learn now how to be polite and sensitive in meeting new people. Develop the ability to listen to newcomers and make them feel welcome.

Learn to cook and do laundry. It will make your life as a missionary much easier if you already know the basics of keeping your clothes in good condition and preparing nutritionally well-balanced meals.

Get used to different foods. Learn to try new and different things to eat. On your mission you’ll have the chance to eat many foods that may be strange to you. Learn to try new things.

Learn a second language. A second language—always useful to know—could be a great asset to you as a missionary. Even if you are assigned to a mission in your native land, you may be working in an area where there are immigrants from another country, and your language ability may be the key to reaching them with the gospel message.

Keep practicing the piano or organ. If you have had the chance to take piano or organ lessons, don’t quit until you feel comfortable playing hymns. This ability will be a welcome asset to the people you will serve.

Dress and Grooming

While serving as a missionary, your appearance should be suitable for a representative of the Lord. How you look should strengthen what you say, dot detract from it. Appropriate dress and grooming will help earn the respect and trust of those with whom you work.

  1. 1.

    Missionaries should dress conservatively. Elders wear white shirts and conservative ties and/or business suits in conservative colors while proselyting and to all meetings, unless otherwise directed by the mission president. Sisters wear conservative colors. Skirts and dresses should cover the knees. Pantsuits and floor-length skirts and dresses are not allowed.

  2. 2.

    Elders should keep their hair trimmed above the collar and ears. Extreme or bulky hairstyles are not acceptable. Elders should not have moustaches or beards, and sideburns should not extend below the middle of the ear. Sisters should choose hairstyles that are conservative and easily maintained. Missionaries should keep their hair clean and neatly combed at all times.

  3. 3.

    Missionaries should be neat and clean in every way.

How Do I Receive a Mission Call?

In order to receive a mission call, you must be recommended by your bishop or branch president. You can talk with him and let him know of your desire to serve a mission, but you cannot recommend yourself.

You arrange for an interview with your bishop or branch president, who will determine your worthiness and ability to serve. When he recommends you, a Missionary Recommend form is then completed and signed by both of you.

The bishop also gives you a Health-Dental Record form. The health portion of the form is completed in part by you and in part by a licensed physician, who then returns it to your bishop. The dental portion of the form is given to your dentist, who completes the form and returns it to your bishop.

If the Health-Dental Record indicates nothing that would affect your ability to serve effectively, you are then referred to your stake president or district president for another interview. You take with you the Missionary Recommend form and the Health-Dental Record form. Two photographs need to be attached to your recommendation form. (In these photographs, you should keep missionary dress and grooming standards.) If the stake president agrees with the bishop to recommend you for a mission, he signs the Missionary Recommend form and sends it together with the Health-Dental Record to the Missionary Department for processing and ultimately for assignment.

What to Take

We asked some returned missionaries about things they were glad they had taken with them on their missions and about the things they wished they had put in their suitcases. The following items may not be mentioned on the standard list, but you may be glad you packed them anyway.

  1. 1.

    Clothesline and clothespins.

  2. 2.

    Measuring cup and measuring spoons. These essential cooking items never seem to be available when you want them.

  3. 3.

    Familiar recipes. You will probably be assuming some cooking duties for yourself and your companion. You may wish you could remember just exactly how to prepare something your mother has made. (By the way, most countries of the world use the metric measuring system, but it’s possible that you may be in a mission area where you need to convert to other measuring systems.)

  4. 4.

    Extra buttons that match all your clothes.

  5. 5.

    A strip of Velcro. You’d be surprised at the different uses you’ll have for it.

  6. 6.

    Thongs.

  7. 7.

    Extra pairs of shoes or other items of clothing if the size you wear is smaller or larger than the average sizes.

  8. 8.

    For rainy areas, rubber galoshes to put on over regular shoes.

  9. 9.

    Sisters who wear an unusual size of nylon stocking should take plenty of extras. All sizes may not be available in many countries.

  10. 10.

    An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses.

  11. 11.

    A first-aid kit with your favorite medications and remedies.

  12. 12.

    A sewing kit with thread that matches all your clothes.

  13. 13.

    Scissors and/or pocketknife.

Courtesy at Church

For missionaries, common courtesy in church is essential. Here are a few things to think about:

  1. 1.

    Smile pleasantly and greet members and investigators warmly.

  2. 2.

    Talk more softly and walk more slowly in congested areas of the building.

  3. 3.

    Avoid boisterous behavior.

  4. 4.

    Be on time for every meeting. Be in your seat five minutes before the meeting begins.

  5. 5.

    Do not comb your hair or clip your fingernails in church meetings.

  6. 6.

    Do not eat, chew gum, or use toothpicks in church.

  7. 7.

    Join in singing all songs.

  8. 8.

    Listen quietly and attentively. Do not sleep or act bored.

  9. 9.

    Help, don’t hinder, the reverence in the chapel.

  10. 10.

    At the conclusion of prayers, say “amen” loud enough to be heard—but not too loudly.

A Sample Mission Day

Your time as a missionary is precious, so each day should be used to full advantage. Following is an example of a recommended daily schedule:

6:30

Arise

7:00

Study time with companion

8:00

Breakfast

8:30

Personal study

9:30

Proselyting

12:00

Lunch

1:00

Proselyting

5:00

Dinner

6:00

Proselyting

9:30

End proselyting; plan next day’s activities

10:30

Retire

If you are serving where you are learning another language, spend time each day studying that language. Schedule time also for writing in your journal and for regular exercise.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer