Top Ten List of Advice to My Missionary Son

Here are some things that, in retrospect, I wish I had known when I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ or Latter-day Saints.  Since my son is leaving for his mission in the next few days, I thought I'd share those ideas with him, so that he can be more successful than I was.

1.You are entitled to receive answers to your prayers and help beyond your natural ability.  Come to expect it. Note when those kinds of events occur. Write them in your journal. As you do, God will trust you with a greater outpouring of answers and divine assistance.

2. Get to know the people you serve. They will be much more receptive to your message if they know you think of them as a child of God instead of just another potential statistic. Get to know your missionary companion. If the people you want to teach can see that you and your companion like each other, they'll be much more likely to think your message is genuine.

3. Preach yourself a sermon everyday while you're walking to your next appointment or if there's no one to talk to on the bus. In strengthening your testimony and what you know about the gospel on a regular basis, you will have a much greater skill at sharing what people need to know about it.

4. Some days will stink.  It's not your fault.  Dogs can run faster than you. Doors will get slammed in your face.  That "golden" family that you were expecting to baptize next week might suddenly start ignoring you. Tomorrow is almost always a better day.

5. If you don't enjoy the work, you're doing it wrong. If you're starting to resent all the doors slammed in your face, take a break and do something different. Be happy.  Missionary work is fun!

6. You will encounter "something new" on a regular basis. Don't be afraid of it. Be intrigued by it.  Learn to enjoy the challenge of it. The skills you develop on your mission will last a lifetime.

7. Not only are you different as a missionary than you were before, you will be seen as different.  And not just because of the white shirt, tie, and name tag. There is something spiritual about you as a missionary that some people will notice.  In order to give them a chance to approach you about it, always have a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye, because you have something precious that you are trying to share. Make eye contact with as many people as possible, and say hi to them.

8. Do something spontaneous when the Holy Spirit guides you. There are rules to govern you, but the spirit will from time to time prompt you to do something unusual.  I'm not talking about anything big, but rather small spontaneities, such as going to a new area that you feel prompted to visit, staying up later to continue studying a gospel topic for which the spirit seems very close and very instructional, striking up a conversation about the gospel with someone on the bus, or going all the way across town because you feel that an interested contact might be home now.

9. Care for Church members as much as you do investigators.  If they invite you to dinner, graciously accept, and be a gracious guest when you are in their home. Share your testimony with them. Ask them how they joined the Church and why it's important to them. Develop strong friendships with them so that you will be comfortable introducing to them at Sunday meetings those who are investigating the Church.  If you develop close enough confidence with Church members, they will feel confident asking you to help teach their non-member friends the gospel.

10. Don't be frustrated with people if they don't want to hear your message.  If your frustration begins to rise, it is probably a good time to walk it off or otherwise take a break. There are a lot of fantastic people in the world who are doing a lot of good in other religions. If they don't want to hear your message, love them anyway.


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  2. Thanks for Sharing. I wish someone had given ME this list when I left on my mission. Then again, I do see alot in there that can be applied to ANY calling you serve in.
    --Jessica's Husband


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