ST. GEORGE — The time has finally come for those with a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is just a few months away. You might feel overwhelmed with your mother’s long to-do list and what your older brother insists you do because he didn’t find the time before he left for his mission.
With that in mind, here are six things you definitely should do before departing on your unforgettable adventure.
- Talk to somebody who has been to your same mission
You vaguely recall an elder speaking at stake conference last fall who served in Brazil — the same mission you got called to. Make some phone calls and track him down. Chances are he would love to talk your ear off and you’d greatly benefit from his tips. Is bug spray really necessary? Is it true you get to wear open-toed shoes if you’re transferred to a historically wet city? You’ll get a better idea of what you really need to take with you and prepare for.
- Get your wisdom teeth out
Bummer, right? To soften the blow of this necessary evil, you may qualify for assistance in the procedure through the Jean Brown Research group. Be sure to schedule this appointment long in advance so you have time to recover fully. Don’t forget to take advantage of ice cream with every meal — especially if there isn’t ice cream in your mission!
- Get in the habit of journaling
Yes, you will be exhausted every day of your mission. After nightly planning you will want nothing more than a warm bed and lights out. But 10 years down the road, you will look back and wish you chose writing down special memories over going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night.
Habits are much easier to keep up rather than create — set daily journaling in stone before you leave. Practice writing down thoughts and events before bed each night. You will come to love the experience and see how reflecting on the day’s activities displays gratitude.
- Become familiar with the lessons in “Preach My Gospel”
How lucky are you that “Preach My Gospel” is available to you long before you report for your mission? What an opportunity! This style of teaching can be unfamiliar to many people, so studying the manual is in your best interest. Sign up for a missionary class online or at a local university — even audit the class just for the experience if you don’t need the credit hours.
- Get your finances in order
Eighteen months or two years is a long time away from regular life (and a paying job), so make sure you’re out of debt and have some money in savings or checking in case of an emergency.
Consider selling certain items you can do without for that time period, like a cellphone. There are many sites out there that you can do sponsorships — like anython.com — if you find you are short on money. Maybe you’d like to do a service project where you see how many people you can help and people sponsor you for helping others. This would be the perfect way to get in the habit of serving!
- Research the area you’re being sent to
Social media sites —and the Internet in general — provide the perfect way to get in touch with those who know. There are bound to be groups created by former missionaries of the area you will be serving. Start following missionaries who are blogging about your mission and get to know the area and the people through them. The more you know about the culture, geography and overall area where you’ll be serving, the better off you’ll be.
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