“Preparing to Serve a Mission,” Liahona, July 2018
In every country in Asia, we need more, and better prepared, missionaries. With the growth of the Church throughout the world, especially in Asia, most of these missionaries need to come from each of the countries of Asia. They will come from the youth who are maturing in the gospel and from those who are already of missionary age: 18–25 years old. With the billions of people in Asia, the primary missionary force needs to transition from one that has been provided from North America and other countries outside of Asia to one that comes mostly from Asia. As prophets have foreseen, we all need to work toward the goal of being first truly self-sufficient in providing missionaries, and then contribute to the needs of other countries.
However, it is not just the number of missionaries from Asia that needs to increase. The Lord also needs better prepared missionaries. President Nelson has said, “President Monson declared ‘that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much.’ Again he explained that for young sisters, a mission is a welcome option but not a responsibility. …
“Preparation for a mission is important. A mission is a voluntary act of service to God and humankind. Missionaries support that privilege with their personal savings. Parents, families, friends, and donors to the General Missionary Fund may also assist. All missionaries, younger and older, serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people.
“The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come. A desire to serve is a natural outcome of one’s conversion, worthiness, and preparation.”1
Conversion comes through living the gospel and seeking to receive a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Alma asks those seeking such a spiritual witness to “experiment” upon the word, to not resist the Spirit of the Lord, and to begin to receive this witness of the truthfulness of the gospel (see Alma 32:26–43). Of course, the way that one “experiments” on the word is to live the gospel and keep the commandments. We “experiment” by attending sacrament meeting each week, keeping the word of wisdom, paying our tithing, repenting, worthily partaking of the sacrament, avoiding pornography and keeping the law of chastity, reading the Book of Mormon daily and praying to know that it is true, and by being kind to our family members and others. In addition to reading the Book of Mormon, one should begin to study the Preach My Gospel.
As we do these things, we become clean and worthy, receive a witness that the Book of Mormon is true, that the Church has been restored, and that we are led by a living prophet of God. Not only this, but our very desire to share the gospel increases, and this brings us great joy.
The best preparation for missionary service is to gain the testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and keep the commandments. In addition, one should work for and save some of the cost of a mission. Your bishop or branch president can help you know how much you need to save and what assistance can be provided by the General Missionary Fund. However, please know that after you have made a reasonable effort and sacrifice, there is financial help available and that the Lord and His prophet want you to serve.
Recently, the First Presidency provided a list of standard questions to be asked by your bishop or branch president prior to being recommended to serve. You should feel free to obtain a copy of those questions and to review them in advance of your interview. If there are areas where you need to repent or improve, please do that before serving.
The Asia Area Presidency invites all young men and young single adult men to talk with your bishop or branch president regarding serving a mission. We want you to serve. If you are not now worthy, please repent and become worthy. The Lord needs you to serve. We extend a similar invitation to each young woman and young single adult woman who has a desire to serve to consider missionary service. We express our love to you and our hope that we will see you on your mission. We witness that missionary service will bring you great joy and will “shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come.”2