Missionary work requires physical and emotional commitment. The standards in this section and in Adjusting to Missionary Life will help you prepare your mind and body to better serve the Lord and His cause. Regularly review these standards throughout your mission.
Proper hydration and nutrition are important to your well-being.
Please follow the general nutrition guidelines below:
Drink 6 to 12 glasses (48 to 96 ounces or 1.5 to 3 liters) of clean water daily. You may need more water and salt if you sweat heavily throughout the day or during exercise.
Eat balanced meals that include vegetables, fruits, grains, healthy fats, and protein.
Limit junk food, carbonated drinks, processed foods, and restaurant fast food.
Observe the following guidelines to ensure that your food is prepared safely:
Wash food preparation surfaces with clean, hot, soapy water before and after cooking.
Clean cooking and eating utensils with clean, hot, soapy water after each use.
Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood separate from other foods while cooking.
Cook meat, fish, and poultry thoroughly.
Avoid eating undercooked or raw meats.
Peel raw fruits and vegetables, or wash them thoroughly.
Refrigerate leftovers and foods that will spoil. To avoid getting sick, throw away any items that have been left out longer than the time recommended on the package.
Try to avoid eating foods from street vendors, because food quality and preparation safety are unknown.
Apply these guidelines consistently, even if others (including other missionaries) try to convince you they are not important or are extreme.
Watch this video for more information about proper nutrition and food safety.
Only clean water and pasteurized dairy products are safe for you to drink or eat.
Follow these and any additional guidelines provided by your mission:
Use a water filter if you are serving in an area where purified water is not readily available.
Use clean water to brush your teeth and to wash and prepare food.
Eat only pasteurized dairy products.
Be aware that in some locations, ice cubes and soft drinks at restaurants or markets may be made from unpurified water. Be cautious, and do not consume ice or soft drinks if they may not be safe.
Exercise keeps you healthy and helps relieve stress. Make it a part of your daily routine (see 2.4.2). Contact the mission office if you have any questions. Follow mission-specific guidelines as well as the following general guidelines:
Get different kinds of exercise during the week, including cardio, strength, and flexibility training. For your safety, avoid lifting heavy weights.
If you have a mobile device, you may use an app approved by your mission leaders to plan your exercise.
You should not exercise at public or commercial gyms.
Missionary work is demanding, and feeling stress from time to time is normal. You can prepare your body and mind to better handle stress by taking advantage of family support (see 3.9.1) and by practicing habits of healthy eating (see 4.1.1), regular exercise (see 4.2), regular sleep, relaxation, and spirituality (including praying, pondering, and studying).
Throughout your mission, use Adjusting to Missionary Life to help you manage your stress and to help other missionaries. If you feel that you or your companion has difficulty managing stress in healthy ways, or if there is an emergency, contact your mission leaders.
If you have been prescribed medication for stress, follow the prescription and your doctor’s directions.
The Apostle Paul reflected on his missionary efforts and taught that the Lord will sustain, support, and help those who seek Him. The Lord will never abandon you. Paul taught:
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. … We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. … We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak. … For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:6, 8–9, 13, 17).
For more information see section 7.6, “Difficult Situations.”
Take your physical and emotional health seriously. Make the mission medical coordinator aware of all medical issues (such as medications you are taking, allergies you have, or activities you should avoid) so you get the support you need. Contact the mission office if you have any questions about health concerns.
For your safety:
Do not share prescribed medications with anyone or use someone else’s prescribed medications.
Do not have family or friends send you medications that are restricted in the country or area in which you serve.
If you have a health emergency, take common-sense actions for your immediate safety or care. Call local emergency services (such as 911 in the United States) unless you have been given other instructions in your mission. As soon as possible, contact your mission leaders.
If you need non-emergency medical care, call the mission medical coordinator right away. Nonemergency visits should be approved in advance by the medical coordinator. The medical coordinator can direct you to a medical care provider in your area.
For more information see section 7.7, “Physical and Mental Health Concerns.”
Many possible dangers can be avoided with common sense and by observing mission standards, including staying where you can see and hear your companion. However, people may still harm you even when you try to be safe. If there is a problem, immediately report it to either of your mission leaders.
Leave immediately if you or your companion feel uncomfortable about a location, person, or situation (including a teaching situation). Listen to spiritual promptings. You may leave your companion if you feel he or she may be a danger to you. If you leave your companion, call either of your mission leaders immediately.
For more information see section 7.8, “Dangerous Situations.”
Show respect for your housing, the property owner or host, and your neighbors. If you cause damage, you are responsible to pay for repairs using your personal funds. Talk with the mission housing coordinator if you have any concerns about your housing.
For more information see section 7.9, “Housing Safety.”
Always follow local traffic rules, laws, and customs as you travel. Use common sense, be aware of your surroundings, become familiar with your area, and follow the general safety standards in this handbook.
For more information see section 7.10, “Transportation Safety.”
The funds donated by you, your family, and Church members to support you on your mission are sacred funds and should be used responsibly and honestly.
Use mission funds to pay for living expenses. With minor exceptions, you should use all your mission funds each month. Do not save money from these funds or give any of the money to anyone else, including anyone at home. Do not loan or borrow money.
Your budget for mission funds might include the following:
Fast offerings paid to the ward or branch where you are serving.
Food to prepare nutritious meals (see 4.1.1).
Transportation, including gas or public transportation.
Hair care and personal hygiene items.
Missionary clothing in need of alteration or replacement.
Cleaning and laundry supplies.
Postage or internet expenses for weekly communications home (see 3.8).
Limited restaurant or fast-food meals.
You do not need to pay tithing on mission funds.
See 4.8.2 for a list of items that should be paid for with personal funds.
Personal funds are money sent directly to you from home. Use personal funds for:
Nonmissionary attire and exercise shoe replacements.
Bicycle purchase, maintenance, and repairs.
Medical expenses not paid by the mission, such as copayments, normal eye or dental visits, and care for preexisting conditions.
Traffic and parking fines.
Repairs to housing if you cause damage.
Audio or video devices.
Souvenirs and gifts.
Tithing on personal funds received and any income from a business or investments at home should be paid with personal funds through your home ward or through online donations.
Become self-reliant during your mission by creating and following a spending plan. This skill will help and bless you throughout your life. Do not ask companions or family for extra funds unless it is an emergency.
Creating and following a spending plan includes making a list of everything you must buy for the month and then choosing what items are most important and paying for them first. Always choose what you need before choosing what you want.
If you need additional money or have questions about expenses, talk to the financial secretary or to your mission leaders.
Your dress and grooming should be a demonstration of humility, respect, and faith. The way you present yourself influences the way people think about you and the Lord’s Church and may help protect you from harm.
Certain items and styles of clothing will be recommended to fit the culture and climate of your mission. On preparation day, you should wear regular missionary clothing in public. However, if necessary for a specific activity, you may wear more casual clothing. Please review standards found at missionaryclothing.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Use insect repellant as needed to protect your health, and in areas where needed, keep as much of your skin covered as possible (see 7.7.4).
Follow healthy grooming standards:
Bathe daily, if possible.
Brush your teeth regularly.
Use deodorant daily.
Wash your hair frequently.
Wash your hands regularly, including before preparing food and after using the toilet.
Choose a neat, professional hairstyle that is easy to maintain.