“I Hope They Call Me on a Mission?” Liahona, Jan. 2011, 58–59
Maybe you’ve heard the Primary song “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.” There is actually another important children’s song about serving a mission. It says: “I want to be a missionary now. I don’t want to wait until I’m grown.”1 Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles agrees. He said, “Young people need to commit themselves early in life to the idea of a mission.”2
However, knowing you need to serve a mission and feeling prepared to serve are two different things. Where do you start? Strengthening your testimony and knowledge of the gospel are two of the best things you can do. Below are a few ways you can prepare to serve a mission.
We need to grow our faith daily. Jesus Christ taught, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33).
Study the scriptures. They teach and testify of Jesus Christ.
Apply faith in meeting personal problems. Having faith in Jesus Christ will comfort you in difficult times and will help you overcome all obstacles.
Gain a greater control over your body and mind by learning the importance of education, fitness, and health.
Continue to repent, obey the commandments, fast, and pray to purify your life.
For young men, exercise faith in Jesus Christ by learning about and fulfilling your priesthood duties.
Elder Ballard also taught, “Missionaries need to be morally clean and spiritually ready.”3
Study and follow the guidelines in For the Strength of Youth.
Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost by fasting, studying the scriptures, and praying for guidance.
Read about gifts of the Spirit in Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–26. Prayerfully seek to discover your spiritual gifts. Seek the counsel of your parents and leaders to help you develop spiritual gifts.
Ask yourself, “Are the books I read and television programs and movies I watch uplifting?” If not, think about how you can make better choices for entertainment.
Learn to listen for spiritual promptings.
You need charity, the pure love of Christ, to serve well as a missionary. Loving others is not always easy. It takes service, faith, the Holy Ghost, and courage. Mormon said that you need to pray with all your might to be filled with the pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:48).
Pray humbly and sincerely for the ability to love others as Christ loves.
Show love for your family by doing a kind act for each family member. Choose a family member who needs extra love or attention and spend some time with him or her.
Show your love for someone in need by doing something kind for him or her.
King Benjamin taught his people about the importance of service. He said that when we serve others, we are serving God (see Mosiah 2:17).
Make service a regular habit. You could offer to do the dishes after dinner, help a sibling with homework, talk to someone who needs a friend, or help keep your neighborhood clean.
Pray for strength and direction in following the Savior’s example of service.
Help your Young Men or Young Women group plan a service activity.
Alma, one of the great Book of Mormon missionaries, invited those who were not members of the Church to “come and be baptized unto repentance” (Alma 5:62). You can follow his example.
Be a good friend and example to friends and family members who aren’t members of the Church.
Seek opportunities to teach your friends and neighbors about the gospel.
Learn the gospel and practice teaching it now. Ask your ward or branch mission leader for guidance on how to teach the gospel. If possible, attend lessons when the full-time missionaries teach investigators.
Study Preach My Gospel with your parents for family home evening. You could take turns talking about the lessons, teaching parts of them, and inviting each other to bear testimony of what you learn.
Serving a mission is an important goal to make now, and preparing now will benefit your life every day leading up to a mission. You’re never too young to start preparing—you don’t have to wait until you’ve grown a foot or two.