Dear Fellow Missionary: “We compliment you on the great opportunity you have to be a missionary. There is no more compelling work than this, nor any which brings greater satisfaction.”1
These first words in the new Preach My Gospel missionary guide are from the First Presidency. They love you and know you will be blessed as you prepare to be the great missionary they know you can be.
To become that future missionary, however, is going to take some real work in the here and now. It will take study and practice and prayer. And it will take learning to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
“You can’t do missionary work without the Spirit,” says Sister Mary C. Memory of the New York New York North Mission.
Preach My Gospel has missionaries teach the gospel using their own words instead of memorized discussions. The doctrines are the same, but instead of reciting them to investigators in a set order, the missionaries assess the needs of investigators, study the doctrines they feel investigators need to learn, and then make lesson plans based on those needs. Missionaries have to be worthy of the Spirit so they know what and how to teach.
“With Preach My Gospel, I’m learning to feel the message in my heart,” says Elder Mason Warr, serving in the Perú Lima East Mission. “I listen to the Spirit to know what to teach.”
Elder Nicolas Gervic, serving in the New York New York North Mission, agrees: “You teach from the heart.” Elder Gervic is doing well using the new approach to missionary work, but he wishes he had been more prepared to teach. When he goes home, he says he will try to be better at sharing the gospel with others than he was before his mission.
Besides sharing the gospel, gaining a solid testimony of the gospel and the Restoration is essential preparation, says Elder Travis C. Hollingshead, Elder Gervic’s companion. “I really didn’t understand the Restoration before my mission. I knew how important it is, but I didn’t realize how important it is in my life.”
Elder Hollingshead was excited to use the teaching methods in Preach My Gospel. He said the book has helped him learn the gospel better so he can teach it better. He is also glad he went to seminary and studied the scripture mastery curriculum. “I am able to answer questions using the scriptures rather than using my own words.” To prepare for their missions, he encourages youth to “read the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony of it.”
Elder Paul A. Mann says “Amen!” when Elder Hollingshead talks about seminary. He and his companion, Elder Joel D. Rodriguez, live with Elders Gervic and Hollingshead in Yonkers, New York. “Seminary gives you a real understanding of the gospel,” he says. “I wish I had taken more time to internalize the scripture mastery verses so I could use them more now.” One of the scriptures Elder Mann has a testimony of is “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). He knows you need to gain a testimony so you can share it with others.
Elder Rodriguez knows this is true too. “Get a testimony of what the gospel is and who Joseph Smith was,” he emphasizes. It is easier to teach from the heart when you feel the truth of what you are saying and you really know the gospel.
Elder Mauricio Chavez of the Perú Lima East Mission emphasizes the importance of learning to plan well. “It takes a little longer to plan now,” he says, “but it is more effective. This planning is helping our investigators develop stronger testimonies.” He is also looking forward to using his new planning skills to better organize his life when he returns home to Sucre, Bolivia.
The mission preparation these missionaries stress most is staying worthy of the companionship of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, they could not teach effectively (see D&C 42:14). They also emphasize the need to know in-depth the doctrines of the Church and the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.
Sister Valeree Price, Sister Memory’s companion, says, “I wish I would have prepared better for my mission by putting more emphasis on things that are important.”
“Yes,” says Sister Memory, “we can quote movies, but it’s hard to quote the scriptures. What a waste!”
Elder Jon Hitchcock, serving in the Perú Lima East Mission, says, “The wonderful thing about Preach My Gospel is that everything is in a step-by-step progression. It teaches you how to teach people the gospel, how to feel the Spirit, how to convey feelings, and how to get commitments. It allows you to customize the lessons and make sure you really connect to each person one-on-one spiritually and emotionally.”
The sisters and elders know that teaching from their hearts is challenging. They have to have the Spirit with them always, they have to know the gospel, and they have to carefully plan their lessons and days. But they also know that their preparation is the foundation of their success and that it will help to bring more of Heavenly Father’s children to a knowledge of His gospel.
The Lord promises, “Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted to every man” (D&C 84:85).
In their message in Preach My Gospel, the First Presidency gives this challenge: “Rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven in His glorious work. … The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.”2
These missionaries testify this is true and invite you to come on a mission and see for yourself.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Gain a testimony of the Savior and His gospel, be worthy of the companionship of the Spirit, and learn to heed His promptings.
Develop a deep love and knowledge of the restored gospel, especially of the Savior, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon.
Practice having a good attitude and being kind to others, especially your siblings.
Gain a strong desire to serve.
Study the Book of Mormon daily, and know it well.
Go to seminary! Learn the scripture mastery verses.
Learn how to use scripture tools such as the Topical Guide.
Some Practical Ideas
Learn how to do simple things like making your bed, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of your clothing.
Eat well, stay healthy, and take care of yourself.
Learn how to study. This will help in your schoolwork, too.
Take a missionary preparation class.
Go on exchanges with the missionaries when possible.
Obtain the Preach My Gospel book (item no. 36617) and start studying it. (It is available at distribution centers or at ldscatalog.com.)
Learn a second or third language.
Save up and know how to budget your money.
Teaching and Planning Basics
Learn to use a simple planner and be organized. Plan your homework and your time.
Fulfill your Church callings. Be a good home teacher.
Develop teaching skills. Share the gospel whenever you have the opportunity.
Use your Duty to God and Personal Progress requirements to gain teaching experiences.
Use opportunities in family home evening or other settings to learn to teach.
Practice setting and achieving goals.