As a missionary, you are called to represent Jesus Christ in ministering to Heavenly Father’s children. The Savior loves you, and He will help you succeed. He has promised: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
As you exercise your faith and act on the decision you have made to do the Lord’s work, you will develop the skills, gifts, and strengths you need more quickly. You will feel His help and grow in confidence in your ability to serve the Lord.
Even with a promise of the Lord’s help, many of the greatest missionaries in history recorded that they suffered and struggled in their missionary labors. Ammon and his brethren “suffer[ed] much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit” (Alma 17:5). At times, they apparently wanted to go home. “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success” (Alma 26:27).
Much of the secret to dealing with the discouragement and stress that are common to missionary service is to renew with the Lord your decision to serve. President Gordon B. Hinckley tells of his experience when he first began his mission in England.
“I was not well when I arrived. Those first few weeks, because of illness and the opposition which we felt, I was discouraged. I wrote a letter home to my good father and said that I felt I was wasting my time and his money. He was my father and my stake president, and he was a wise and inspired man. He wrote a very short letter to me which said, ‘Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.’ Earlier that morning in our scripture class my companion and I had read these words of the Lord: ‘Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.’ (Mark 8:35.)
“Those words of the Master, followed by my father’s letter with his counsel to forget myself and go to work, went into my very being. With my father’s letter in hand, I went into our bedroom in the house at 15 Wadham Road, where we lived, and got on my knees and made a pledge with the Lord. I covenanted that I would try to forget myself and lose myself in His service.
“That July day in 1933 was my day of decision. A new light came into my life and a new joy into my heart. The fog of England seemed to lift, and I saw the sunlight. I had a rich and wonderful mission experience, for which I shall ever be grateful” (“Taking the Gospel to Britain: A Declaration of Vision, Faith, Courage, and Truth,” Ensign, July 1987, 7).
President Hinckley found success in dealing with his discouragement as he renewed his decision to serve the Lord. He later said: “The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired” (“Words of the Prophet: Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel,” New Era, July 2000, 7).
Missionary work can be both joyous and stressful. This booklet will help you better understand stress and how it affects you, but it is not meant to be read all at once. Using the instructions listed on page 1, you will be guided to suggestions on the topics you select. These ideas will also help as you serve and minister to your companion and other missionaries.