Photo illustrations by Leslie Nilsson and Church Publishing Services
A young man I know recently left to serve a mission one week after graduating from high school. His excitement was contagious. He was willing to serve. Like so many others, he and his family had been invigorated by the chance to serve a mission at 18. However, like many other missionaries, he felt somewhat unprepared to serve.
These feelings of unpreparedness are normal when we receive any calling from the Lord. Both Moses and Enoch expressed concerns about their calls to teach the gospel. The Lord’s message to each of them was similar. He told Moses, “I will be with thee” (Exodus 3:12). To Enoch he declared, “Behold my Spirit is upon you … and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me” (Moses 6:34).
You will receive the help you need when you are doing the Lord’s work. Proper preparation, however, will help you become a greater instrument in His hands.
The Fulfilling My Duty to God booklet is a great resource in that preparation. It contains six sections, and each section is directly related to missionary work.
A Great Secret
Sometimes the best solutions are right before our eyes. This may be the case with missionary preparation. The most basic duty of an Aaronic Priesthood holder is to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ” (D&C 20:59). So, what resource is right before your eyes to help you with this duty? The Fulfilling My Duty to God booklet. Since it was created to help you learn and fulfill this duty, it will not only help you be a missionary now but will also prepare you for missionary work in the future.
Obtaining Spiritual Strength
Pray and Study the Scriptures
Duty to God invites you to learn about the power of the scriptures and then act by making a plan for personal scripture study. You begin making plans as a deacon and continue to improve on them throughout your Aaronic Priesthood years.
The outcome is a pattern of daily scripture study. Using Duty to God, you:
Learn how to search the scriptures diligently.
Teach from the scriptures long before serving a full-time mission, including using the scriptures in Sunday lessons and at home.
Discover that you can turn to the scriptures to find answers to life’s questions.
Gain a power that comes to those who have feasted on the word of God daily.
All of this will help you share truths you have learned from the scriptures with others—a skill that is essential when an investigator asks you a gospel question on your mission. You can then lead them to the scriptures for the answer.
Duty to God invites you to learn how priesthood power is tied to personal worthiness. You will act by making plans to live the standards contained in For the Strength of Youth. You will share with others the blessings of living the Lord’s standards.
As you live the Lord’s standards, you will become a beacon of light to others in this darkened world. Missionary opportunities will come to you as others see this light and want to know what makes you stand out. You will not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Romans 1:16). You will not be afraid to let your standards be known. You will be worthy to receive the impressions of the Spirit to know how and when to serve others. This is essential to your full-time missionary service as Heavenly Father guides you in His work. You will also be worthy to perform sacred priesthood ordinances.
Duty to God lists basic doctrines of the gospel, which are the same as those found in the third chapter of Preach My Gospel. You are invited to learn four doctrines a year and act by teaching these doctrines to others.
Your family and others will be blessed as you share these truths. You will see your own testimony grow each time you testify of their truthfulness. You will find it easy to share the gospel with others, and your confidence to teach your family and friends will grow. That knowledge and confidence will help you enter the mission field ready to share the gospel from day one. You won’t be afraid to teach a lesson or ask investigators if they have any questions about the gospel, because you will have already learned and taught these principles.
Performing Priesthood Duties
Duty to God will help you learn what it means to hold priesthood power and perform sacred ordinances. You will act by making plans to carry them out with the dignity they deserve. This will happen as you prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament, participate in temple ordinances, and serve in your quorum to help others receive ordinances.
Performing these ordinances will prepare you to continue in priesthood service. Missionaries baptize, confirm, and confer the Holy Ghost. They give priesthood blessings to those in need. Sections in Duty to God help you learn the oath and covenant of the priesthood and how to perform Melchizedek Priesthood ordinances.
Service is at the heart of missionary work. Duty to God will help you learn what the Savior has taught about serving others. You will act by making plans to serve individually and with your quorum. Your family and others will be blessed as you fulfill those plans.
The outcome is a priesthood servant, someone who has found the joy that comes from putting others first. You will come to know the Savior by serving others. And you will be able to carry that love for the Savior and His children into your mission, where you’ll again be able to feel the joy of putting others first as you dedicate your life to serving others.
Invite All to Come unto Christ
Finally, Duty to God invites you to be a missionary now. You will learn what the Lord has taught about your duty to share the gospel as an Aaronic Priesthood holder, and you will even write down specific names of people you could share the gospel with.
One of the best ways to prepare for a mission is to share the gospel during your youth. As you do so, you will feel the Spirit prompt you to know what others need and what to say. You will be guided in your efforts and feel the joy that comes to those who find the restored gospel. Those you invite to come unto the Savior may even be members of your own family.
So, as you create a plan for missionary preparation, remember how much Duty to God can help you. Each of the first five sections helps prepare you for the sixth—to invite all to come unto Christ, both now and in the future as a full-time missionary. Consider inviting your father or another priesthood holder to work on Duty to God with you. Together you will find that the principles and activities not only prepare you for a mission, but they also prepare you to be a priesthood servant for life.