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How do I prepare for life as a missionary?

Serving a full-time mission is accepting a call to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a joyful experience, but it is also hard work. To be a successful missionary, you must prepare spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. Effective preparation in these ways allows you to serve “with all your heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2).

Ideas to Help Me Learn

Using time wisely

Read page 137 of Preach My Gospel, and complete the personal or companion study activity. Write in your journal what you learn about how Heavenly Father feels about His children and the effort He requires of His servants. Watch “9:00 p.m. Daily Planning” (9:27) from The District, and ponder what you can do now to learn to use your time wisely, such as setting goals, using a planner, following a schedule, and so on.

Learn about missionary life

Choose and watch an episode of The District. Take notes on the things that impress or surprise you about missionary life. Discuss with a family member or friend who has served a mission how you can prepare for the things you noted.

Identify ways to prepare for missionary life

Watch, listen to, or read President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “Come, All Ye Sons of God,” and take notes on what he teaches about adjusting to missionary life. What do his words inspire you to do as you prepare for your mission? Ask a full-time missionary or a returned missionary what adjustments he or she had to make and what advice he or she would give you to prepare for those adjustments.

Manage challenges

Study Alma 17:1–12; 26:23–31; and Doctrine and Covenants 84:88. Mark or make note of passages that you feel will strengthen you in times of difficulty on your mission. Counsel with your parents, bishop, or another trusted leader about how to cope with homesickness, discouragement, rejection, fatigue, irritability, impatience, and other difficulties that may arise on a mission. Discuss with a full-time missionary the joys and stresses he or she experiences while serving. Ask the missionary to share scriptures that have given him or her strength during difficult times.

Find others to teach

Study chapter 9, “How Do I Find People to Teach?” in Preach My Gospel and watch “Developing the Faith to Find” (2:54) from The District. Make a list of ways you can find people to teach. How can you best work with members to find people to teach? Use one or more of the ways on your list to find someone to teach before your mission. You could arrange to accompany the full-time missionaries when they are finding people to teach.

Answer challenges to faith

Study Mark 9:14–27 and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “Lord, I Believe.” Ponder and record in your journal how you can use Elder Holland’s observations when you face challenges to your faith as a full-time missionary. Role-play with your family or a friend how you would respond to challenges to your faith.

Study More

D&C 4 (Instruction from the Lord about missionary work)

Mark 8:35 (We should lose ourselves for the gospel’s sake)

Mark 9:14–27 (The Lord can help us believe)

Proverbs 3:5–6; Matthew 5:14–16; 1 Nephi 3:7; Mosiah 2:17; Doctrine and Covenants 58:27; 88:124 (Counsel to help prepare to be a missionary)

Ezra Taft Benson,Keys to Successful Member-Missionary Work,” Ensign, Sept. 1990, 2–7

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lord, I Believe,Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 93–95

Lyle J. Burrup, “Raising Resilient Children,Ensign, Mar. 2013, 12–15, or Liahona, Mar. 2013, 10–13

Robert K. Wagstaff, “Preparing Emotionally for Missionary Service,Ensign, Mar. 2011, 22–26

Come, Follow Me: “What are effective ways to share the gospel with others?” (Sunday School); “How can I help my less-active friends return to church?” (Aaronic Priesthood or Young Women); “How can I be a missionary now?” (Aaronic Priesthood)

Missionary Preparation,” Gospel Topics on LDS.org

Preach My Gospel (2004), chapters 8–11

Whosoever Will Lose His Life for My Sake Shall Find It” (1:57), Bible Videos

“Companion Inventory” (7:27), The District

“How to Set Goals” (6:11), The District