Full-time missionaries should master three basic skills, President Thomas S. Monson says: (1) prepare with purpose, (2) teach with testimony, and (3) labor with love. “Young men, you are preparing for your missions when you learn your duties as deacons, teachers, and priests and then perform those duties with determination and love, knowing you are on the Lord’s errand,” he says. He also offers counsel for sisters and couples.
A Way to Honor God
None of us will honor our Heavenly Father and our Savior more than by serving as a devoted, compassionate missionary, President Monson says, remembering the Lord’s promise in 1 Samuel 2:30: “For them that honour me I will honour.”
“Missionary work is hard work,” he counsels. “Missionary service is demanding and requires long hours of study and preparation that the missionary himself might match the divine message he proclaims. It is a labor of love but also of sacrifice and devotion to duty.”
And he offers this encouragement: “Now, some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to the call to serve. Remember that this is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. The Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it.”
A Call to Serve
“First, to young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel.
“A word to you young sisters: while you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service.
“And now to you mature brothers and sisters: we need many, many more senior couples. To the faithful couples now serving or who have served in the past, we thank you for your faith and devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. You serve willingly and well and accomplish great good.
“To those of you who are not yet to the season of life when you might serve a couples mission, I urge you to prepare now for the day when you and your spouse might do so. As your circumstances allow, as you are eligible for retirement, and as your health permits, make yourselves available to leave home and give full-time missionary service. There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master.”
Preparing for a Mission
President Monson also suggested a formula that would ensure the success of future missionaries.
“First, prepare with purpose. Remember the qualifying statement of the Master: ‘Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.’ Missionary work is difficult. It taxes one’s energies, it strains one’s capacity, it demands one’s best effort—frequently a second effort. No other labor requires longer hours or greater devotion or such sacrifice and fervent prayer.”
“Second, teach with testimony. Peter and John, those converted fishermen who became Apostles, were warned not to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Their answer was firm: ‘Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’”
“Third, labor with love. There is no substitute for love. Often this love is kindled in youth by a mother, expanded by a father, and kept vibrant through service to God. Remember the Lord’s counsel: ‘And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.’ Well might each of us ask himself: Today, have I increased in faith, in hope, in charity, in love? When our lives comply with God’s standard and we labor with love to bring souls unto Him, those within our sphere of influence will never speak the lament, ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’”
President Monson offers this challenge to Aaronic Priesthood holders: “Young men, you are preparing for your missions when you learn your duties as deacons, teachers, and priests and then perform those duties with determination and love, knowing you are on the Lord’s errand.” And, he adds, “Most of you young men will one day receive a call to serve a mission. How I pray that your response will be as was Samuel’s: ‘Here am I. … Speak; for thy servant heareth.’ Then will heavenly help be yours.”