—Doctrine and Covenants 4:5
Our Heavenly Father wants all of his children to hear the gospel. It is the responsibility of those who have the gospel to share this important message. In order to do so effectively, we must prepare family members to experience the great joy of missionary work. (See Matthew 28:19–20, D&C 12:6.)
Explain that before we can effectively share the gospel with anyone, we must love them. By learning to have greater love for others, we can prepare ourselves to be better missionaries.
To help your family members understand what the Lord has taught about the importance of love in missionary work, have them read and discuss the following scriptures: Doctrine and Covenants 12:8; 18:15; and 121:41.
How can we get love for others if we don’t already have it?
Read and discuss the first part of Moroni 7:48: “Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love.”
You may want to relate experiences you or someone you know may have had with being a missionary and developing love for the people with whom you worked.
You might also tell stories about how people change and learn to love others as the missionaries work with them.
You may wish to invite a returned missionary to tell how he was able to successfully teach people the gospel because he loved them.
Assign each family member to choose someone with whom they have difficulty getting along and show this person more love than usual. This could be done in secret. Have family members set a goal to try Moroni’s counsel and ask Heavenly Father to help them love one another.
Have family members make small cards that say something like the following:
“I will share the gospel of love.”
“Love one another, as I have loved you.”
Put the cards up where your family will see them and be reminded to love others.
Have your family look at maps of the world and of your own country. Discuss the nationalities and cultures of people the missionaries meet. List ways in which people are similar worldwide. (They want to be happy, they care for their children, they work to earn a living.)
Help your family conclude that all of these people are God’s children and that their needs and desires are similar to ours.
If possible, invite a convert to the gospel from another nation or culture to come to your home and share his conversion experiences with your family.
Discuss who is basically responsible for doing missionary work. The following sources might help you in your discussion:
Doctrine and Covenants 88:81. (The responsibility for doing missionary work rests with every member of the Church.)
“Every member a missionary.” (David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1959, p. 122).
“Think, brothers and sisters, what would happen if each active family were to bring another family or individual into the Church before next April conference: We would be joined by several hundred thousand new members of the Church” (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, p. 114; see also Ensign, May 1979, p. 82).
For a complete lesson on this topic, see lesson 26, “Sharing Our Blessings” in the “Lessons” section of this book.
Arrange to see the video presentation Called to Serve (53072). This videocassette may be available in the meetinghouse library.
Discuss how important it is for missionaries to know the scriptures and understand the organization and history of the Church. One young man tells the following story about himself:
“It was about the third day of heavy tracting when I decided that I had better straighten things out with my companion. After all, what was he doing telling everyone that the Book of Mormon took place in America and that the Book of Mormon was a history of the people on the American continent? During our talk, my companion got me straightened out, and I realized that somewhere in my ‘learning’ I had neglected to get understanding. You may find this hard to believe, but I really didn’t know the background of the Book of Mormon.”
Make a list of ways in which family members can learn more about Church history and organization. These may include listening attentively in Sunday School classes, participating in seminary programs, talking with people about their Church callings, and reading books.
To help your family become familiar with the scriptures and better understand the principles of the gospel, you may wish to do some of the following:
Provide each family member with his own scriptures for study and marking.
Obtain a list of the scriptures that full-time missionaries memorize, and systematically become familiar with them or memorize them as a family.
Share testimonies in your home on Christmas Eve, Easter, or another special occasion.
Discuss the things that a full-time missionary would need to know about the gospel. Then ask family members to identify some of the areas in which they need to learn more. Set family or individual goals to learn more about the gospel. These goals might include establishing a more regular and effective scripture study program, having family prayer more regularly, paying more attention in Church meetings, and studying books on Church history and doctrine. Consider using films and videocassettes from your meetinghouse library.
In advance, assign each family member a topic or problem of interest to them, and have them use the Topical Guide to find scriptures that provide suggested solutions to the problems. Help family members see the value of using the scriptures in all of life’s experiences.
Arrange to have a recently returned missionary present a missionary discussion to your family.
Plan activities to help family members learn to set priorities and organize their time. (Activities are suggested under the topic “Priorities,” in this section of this book.) Explain that they will need to be able to do this well as missionaries. You might ask a returned missionary or mission president to come and tell how a missionary plans and organizes his time. Have family members plan ways in which they will better manage their time.
When family members are asked to give talks in Church, have them practice in your family’s home evening. You might also have a speech contest within your family and give awards for the most humorous, most interesting, and most original talks.
Plan an evening in which you teach proper care of clothing. Discuss the kinds of things a missionary needs to do on preparation day. Have family members demonstrate or teach how to polish shoes, sew on buttons, press clothes, and wash and iron as needed.
Teach principles of proper food selection and nutrition. Use a poster showing the four basic food groups. Plan a week in which each family member takes a turn planning a meal and then shopping, preparing, and serving that meal. Stress the importance of cleaning up after meals as well.
Matthew 28:19–20 (Go, teach all nations.)
Revelation 14:6–7 (Gospel to be preached to every nation and people.)
Mosiah 18:9 (Those who are baptized are to be witnesses for God at all times.)
Mormon 9:22–25 (Preach the gospel to every creature.)
Doctrine and Covenants 1:4–5 (None shall keep missionaries from doing their work.)
Doctrine and Covenants 4 (Advice to missionaries.)
Doctrine and Covenants 11:21–22 (Seek to obtain my word.)
Doctrine and Covenants 62:5 (Declare glad tidings.)
See also “Missionary Work” in the Topical Guide.
“I Hope They Call Me on a Mission,” Children’s Songbook, p. 169.
“High on the Mountain Top,” Hymns, no. 5.
“I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go,” Hymns, no. 270.
“Called to Serve,” Hymns, no. 249.
“Go Ye into All the World,” on Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video Presentations (53912).
“The Joy of Missionary Work,” on the Family Home Evening Video Supplement (53276).
“Missionary Work: Our Greatest Duty,” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).