“Tips for Preparing Your Missionary,” Ensign, Oct. 2003, 72
In preparing for my mission, I wanted to do my best to meet the challenges of being away from my family and the comforts of home for two years. My preparations blessed me and enhanced my ability to serve. Following are ideas parents might use to help their teenagers prepare for missions and other opportunities away from home.
Become familiar with the scriptures. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that the righteous were those who followed the teachings of the Lord and “believed those records which were brought out of the land of Jerusalem” (see Alma 3:11–12). Wherever I travel or live, my standard works and other Church publications go with me. Make family and personal scripture study a priority in your home.
Be friendly. Encourage your children to make friends with neighbors and trusted individuals wherever they go. Emphasize the importance of remembering people’s names. Having a circle of good friends will enrich your teenager’s experience.
Appreciate other cultures. People respect visitors from other countries who enjoy the culture. Your children may encounter new foods or ways of dressing, communicating, and socializing. Help them learn to appreciate appropriate traditions found in their new surroundings.
Learn about the new locale. No one has to be a geography expert to learn where the local post office, market, police station, library, and other facilities are located. It is also essential that young people develop good map skills to navigate their way successfully, independent of your assistance.
Develop a talent. Wherever I go, I want to enrich others’ lives. Prior to serving my mission, I learned to play the piano to accompany Church hymns and teach piano lessons in the wards and branches where I would serve. Encourage your children to develop talents that will help them grow as they share with others.
Learn to cook. Before my mission whenever my mom cooked, I tried to assist her and write down her recipes. In the process, I created my own recipe book to use on my mission. It is also helpful to teach your children other household tasks to encourage their self-reliance.
Become a smart shopper. To be frugal with their funds, your teenagers will need to look for bargains. When I shop, I’m careful to get the most for my money. In many countries, parents can teach their children to compare weekly grocery advertisements or in-store displays and product labels to discern which product sizes are most economical.
I have continued to use these skills to help me with school and other aspects of my life. I wanted to prepare well for my mission, and in doing so, I have prepared well for my future too.
Mbaba Manasseh S., Ibadan Fourth Branch, Ibadan Nigeria District