Lesson 23: Practical Preparation for a Mission

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 83–86


Objective

Each young man will understand how preparing in practical skills will help him to be a more effective missionary.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      A pencil and a piece of paper for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Write the following quotation on the chalkboard or on a poster, and display it throughout the lesson:

    “‘Will you be a valiant and effective [missionary] or merely a set-apart missionary?’ This will depend on your preparation” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Advice to a Young Man: Now Is the Time to Prepare,” New Era, June 1973, p. 8).

  3. 3.

    With permission from the bishopric, arrange ahead of time to have a recently returned missionary or a full-time missionary report briefly on the practical aspects of missionary work. (Caution him to take only three or four minutes. If you have been on a mission, you may want to give the report yourself.) You may want to show the missionary the list of areas for practical preparation in the lesson so that he will have some idea of the topics he should cover. He might discuss such things as how many hours he worked in a typical day, what he did during those hours, how much time he studied, what he studied, who prepared his meals and mended his clothes, how much he traveled within his area, and how much money his mission cost each month. Some of these factors vary from one mission to another, but from the report the young men should be able to see the necessity of practical preparation for full-time missionary service.

  4. 4.

    If the Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277) is available in your area, show segment 14, “Missionary Work: Our Greatest Duty.”

Note

A young man can do many things to prepare for a full-time mission. This lesson is meant to make the young men aware of the need to prepare, and to give them some specific suggestions for preparing. The young men will be more likely to act on the suggestions that they have thought of themselves. The lesson calls for small group discussions to generate ideas. Depending on how many young men attend, you may need to involve all of them in the discussion.

Suggested Lesson Development

Full-time Missionary Service Requires Preparation in Many Areas

Report

Have a recently returned missionary (or a full-time missionary working in your area) give a brief report on his everyday missionary activities. The report should not be longer than three or four minutes. It should center on the practical aspects of a missionary’s life rather than on spiritual experiences.

Explain that the better prepared young men are, the more effectively they will be able to use their time as missionaries.

Chalkboard and discussion

From what the young men have heard about the practical demands of full-time missionary work, ask them to identify specific areas in which they could better prepare themselves now. Write the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. Their responses might include finances, physical health, social skills, work and study habits, language skills, household skills, and grooming and cleanliness.

You may want to discuss briefly the importance of each response, using such questions as these:

  • How would you feel if you were able to finance your own mission with money you had earned? Would you value your mission more than if someone else paid your expenses?

  • Why is it important for a missionary to be physically fit? Point out that a missionary who is physically unfit for the work not only hurts himself but also hinders his companion.

  • If you were looking for someone to represent you to the world, what qualifications would you want him to have? How would you want him to relate to other people?

  • Some missionaries feel that when they get into the mission field they will have time to develop good work habits. What is the danger of this attitude?

Quotation

  • Of what value is learning a language if you are called to a mission where that language is not spoken?

The following quotation from President Gordon B. Hinckley will help answer this question.

“Study a foreign language if you have opportunity to do so. You may never be called to a land where that language is spoken, but the study will have given you a better understanding of your own tongue or of another tongue you may be asked to acquire” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 63; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 42).

  • What effect will neatness and good grooming have on you as a missionary? What effect will they have on your self-confidence, on your companion, on your physical health, on the example you set for others?

Aaronic Priesthood Holders Should Begin Now to Prepare for Full-time Missionary Service

Group discussion

Divide the young men into small groups. Assign each group one or more of the areas listed on the chalkboard. Ask them to discuss ways that they could prepare themselves in that area to be more effective missionaries. Give each young man a piece of paper and a pencil to record the group’s ideas. Appoint one member of each group to lead the discussion. Allow about ten minutes for the group discussions. Then have the leader of each group give a brief report on the suggested activities his group discussed. As time permits, have the young men discuss these suggestions. Emphasize the following areas:

Finances

  1. 1.

    Start a savings account if you do not already have one, and establish a program of regular savings. Set aside some money today, no matter how little it may be. Then, whenever you receive money, put at least part of it into a savings account for your mission.

  2. 2.

    Get a part-time job, and save the extra money you make.

  3. 3.

    Practice self-discipline. Make yourself a budget, and stick to it.

Physical Health

  1. 1.

    Start a regular exercise program.

  2. 2.

    Eat well-balanced meals.

  3. 3.

    Get enough sleep each night. Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 88:124 to reinforce this point.

Social Skills

  1. 1.

    Learn common rules of etiquette.

  2. 2.

    Learn to like a wide variety of foods.

  3. 3.

    Be punctual.

  4. 4.

    Make a point to remember the names of people you meet for the first time.

Work and Study Habits

  1. 1.

    Do something each day that you don’t want to do that day or would otherwise put off. In this way, you can develop self-discipline.

  2. 2.

    Do your schoolwork when you first get home from school, rather than put it off until later.

  3. 3.

    Carry out your Church responsibilities faithfully.

  4. 4.

    Apply yourself in seminary and in school. Do more than the required reading.

  5. 5.

    Get in the habit of reading the scriptures daily.

  6. 6.

    Memorize some scriptures from the missionary discussions.

  7. 7.

    Spend some time each week setting goals and making a plan to reach your goals.

Language Skills

  1. 1.

    Take a language class at school.

  2. 2.

    If you are already studying a language, study it more diligently.

  3. 3.

    Learn about the culture of the people whose language you are studying. Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 90:15.

Household Skills

  1. 1.

    Learn to cook and plan menus. Do the shopping.

  2. 2.

    Learn to sew, and mend your own clothes.

  3. 3.

    Learn to wash and iron your own clothes.

  4. 4.

    Collect recipes for dishes that are nutritious and simple to prepare.

Grooming and Cleanliness

  1. 1.

    Learn to practice principles of personal cleanliness and good grooming.

  2. 2.

    Begin now to observe missionary standards with respect to such things as Sunday dress and hair length.

  3. 3.

    Keep your room clean without having to be told.

Activity

Have the young men list on the back of their paper the ways they spend their free time. Then have them answer for themselves the following questions:

  • Which of these activities are preparing me for a mission?

  • How could I better spend my time in preparation for my mission?

You may want to ask the returned missionary what things he would do if he were starting now to prepare for his mission.

  • Why is it so important to begin now to prepare for your mission?

Quotation

“Young men having planned for 19 years to fill a mission will be more fruitful, more effective, and more successful when they serve and more people will come into the Church and will create more enthusiasm and there will be a chain reaction. Is there any other thing that would have a greater chain reaction and affect more interests and people?” (Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks Out on Being a Missionary,” New Era, May 1981, p. 48).

Quotation

“The Lord’s work needs the very best you are capable of providing. Now is the time to prepare for that service” (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, p. 63; or Ensign, May 1982, p. 42).

Conclusion

Adviser presentation

Explain that a mission represents the greatest challenge that many young men will have faced. It is hard work and requires thorough preparation. But preparation for a mission is good preparation for the rest of a young man’s life.

Quotation

“When our prophet-leader, President Spencer W. Kimball, says, ‘Every young man on a mission,’ he is looking far beyond the months spent in the mission field. Upon your return you will be a better bishop and a better stake president, a better husband, a better father, and a better whatever you will be both in this life and the one to come” (J. Thomas Fyans, in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, p. 56; or Ensign, May 1977, p. 40).

Challenge

Have the young men select from the list of suggested activities two or three that they feel they could do. Have them write these activities on the back of their paper. Challenge them to begin this week to prepare for their missions in the ways they have chosen. If you are a returned missionary, conclude with your own testimony of the importance of preparing now for a mission.

Activity

You may want to plan an activity night in which the young men could meet with the young women or with their mothers to learn and practice such practical skills as cooking, ironing, and sewing. You may wish to make it a “Missionary Preparation Olympics” and have contests in different practical areas.