If a mission is the right thing for you, here are some ways you can continue the preparation you've already begun as a disciple of Christ.
Francesca had long thought about serving a mission, but she was only 19, and the option of a mission was still two years away. Not knowing what could change during that time, she was preparing to serve however Heavenly Father might want.
When President Thomas S. Monson announced in the October 2012 general conference the change to age eligibility for missionary service, Francesca was one of many who counseled with their parents and priesthood leaders, sought spiritual confirmation that the opportunity was right, and started the recommendation process.
Missionary service is an opportunity, not an obligation, for women in the Church. Prayerfully counsel with your parents and priesthood leaders about your decision of if and when to serve.
If you, too, have felt a desire to serve and that a mission is what Heavenly Father wants for you, then you may have already realized that your efforts to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ have set you firmly on the path of successful mission preparation.
Here are some suggestions for additional preparation you may want to consider.
Starting the Process
Missionary service is an opportunity, not an obligation, for women in the Church. Prayerfully counsel with your parents and priesthood leaders about your decision of if and when to serve. Once you’ve decided it’s right, you will work with your bishop or branch president throughout the missionary recommendation process.
Gospel Knowledge and Testimony
Your regular study of the scriptures, participation in the Church, and attendance at seminary have provided a firm foundation of gospel knowledge. If you aren’t already, begin studying Preach My Gospel—particularly chapter three and its scripture references. As you prepare in your studies to invite others to receive the restored gospel and come unto Christ, you will strengthen your own knowledge and testimony.
Prepare to share the gospel by taking every opportunity to share what you are learning right now. Regular opportunities are found in the Personal Progress program, in the new Come, Follow Me curriculum, in visiting teaching if you are in Relief Society, in accompanying the full-time missionaries during lessons where possible, and in inviting others to learn more about the restored gospel. Teaching family home evening lessons from chapter three of Preach My Gospel is also a great way to prepare.
Personal worthiness is key to being open to the influence of the Holy Ghost as you prepare to help others come unto the Savior. Your ongoing preparation to be worthy to enter the holy temple is important whether you are preparing to serve a mission or not.
“When a young woman is worthy to enter the temple, then she is also prepared to serve a mission,” said Young Women general president, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, in an interview with the Church News. “The temple comes first! A missionary experience helps provide a setting in which she keeps the covenants she has made in the temple as she dedicates her time, talents, and personal resources to building the Lord’s kingdom.”
During the missionary recommendation process, young women who are preparing to serve should counsel with parents and priesthood leaders to decide when the time is right to receive the temple endowment. In addition to living in line with temple worthiness standards, young women can prepare by studying the temple preparation handbook.
Your mission will require a high level of activity. Improving your physical fitness, if necessary, will increase not only your ability to perform the work but your enthusiasm for it as well.
Learning to cope with challenges and the stresses of living and interacting with others is an important skill whether you serve a full-time mission or not.
Physical preparation can be different for every missionary. As part of the missionary recommendation process, be sure to ask your doctor about any concerns you may have.
Learning to cope with challenges and the stresses of living and interacting with others is an important skill whether you serve a full-time mission or not. Your parents and priesthood leaders can help you evaluate how prepared you are to handle the stresses of mission life and identify the weaknesses you may want to focus on.
Church leaders have long counseled prospective missionaries to prepare to pay for as much of their missionary service as possible. You and your family should consider your financial circumstances carefully. Counsel with your bishop or branch president if you have questions. While financial challenges outside of your control don’t automatically disqualify you from service, Heavenly Father expects you to do what is within your control.
Dress and Grooming
Not only is it important to save money for the monthly cost of a mission, but also for clothes and other supplies you’ll need in preparation.
As representatives of Jesus Christ, all missionaries are asked to present themselves appropriately. Be aware of the dress and grooming guidelines for sisters.
Wait to gather clothing and supplies until you have your call so that you will know what is suitable for the climate where you’ll serve. Remember to keep your clothes and supplies to a minimum, because too much luggage can make moving during transfers more difficult.
To find additional suggestions and resources for preparing to serve a mission, visit lds.org/missionary.
See examples of dress and grooming standards for sister missionaries.
Learn more about missionary life by watching The District, a show featuring the daily life of missionaries.